34 Amazing U.S. Cities for a Short Break
Life is way too short to just waste it sitting around on the weekend! Make the most of any free time you have and use it to travel, even if it’s just for a short break in your own country!
The U.S. is full of amazing cities to explore. Whether you’re looking for beautiful beaches, amazing food, great music, or simply escaping the cold, this post will have you covered.
With the help of some of our fellow travel bloggers, we’ve put together a list of the best US cities for a short break. Now, where will your next weekend getaway be?
- Asheville, NC
- Atlanta, GA
- Austin, TX
- Baltimore, MD
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Boston, MA
- Buffalo, NY
- Carmel, CA
- Chicago, IL
- Cleveland, OH
- Dallas, TX
- Helen, GA
- Kansas City, MO
- Key West, FL
- Los Angeles, CA
- Memphis, TN
- Miami, FL
- Monterey, CA
- Nashville, TN
- New Orleans, LA
- New York City, NY
- Palm Springs, CA
- Portland, ME
- Portland, OR
- Raleigh, NC
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- San Juan De Puerto Rico
- Savannah, GA
- Seattle, WA
- Sedona, AZ
- St Louis, MO
- Tucson, AZ
- Washington, DC
Darcy – Plan Ready Go
My absolute favourite city for a weekend away is Asheville, North Carolina. It has a wonderfully relaxed and artistic vibe that I find to be more reminiscent of my hometown of Seattle than what one might think of as a typical Southern town.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, Asheville is particularly beautiful in the fall. Many species of deciduous trees grow in the area, which means Asheville can have a long and impressive fall color season. The surrounding mountains and rivers offer visitors a great wealth of outdoor activities such as kayaking the French Broad River or hiking in search of waterfalls.
Sustainability and environmental responsibility are hallmarks of the Asheville culinary culture that embraces Southern comfort food but often with a modern twist. Vegetarians and vegans will find many great dining options including restaurants like Laughing Seed Café in downtown Asheville.
No visit to Asheville is complete without seeing the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately-owned home in the United States. Built by George Vanderbilt (grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt), Biltmore was completed in 1895 and opened to the public in 1930. The family still owns the house that welcomes guests from all over the world. A perfect day at Biltmore includes a tour of the house, exploring the acres of gardens and hiking trails, shopping, and dining at the estate’s award-winning restaurants. To get the full Biltmore experience, extend your visit with a night or two at The Inn on Biltmore Estate.
Where to stay: The Inn on Biltmore Estate
Charmaine – Jamaica Travel Saver
Atlanta, with its unique character and myriad activities, is an ideal getaway for the weekend or a short break. The fact that Atlanta also has the world’s busiest airport makes it easy to find reasonably priced airfare if you plan to arrive via plane. The best time to visit is from March to May, it tends to get very hot and humid in the summer.
There are a number of things to do in Atlanta. If you are a history buff you definitely should pay a visit to the Atlanta History Center, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, or the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Atlanta is also home to the Jimmy Carter presidential library, the World of Coca-Cola museum, and the CNN studio. All of these attractions offer tours. If you are traveling with kids a visit to the Georgia Aquarium, the Atlanta Zoo, or the Atlanta Botanical Garden should definitely be on your itinerary.
Atlanta is a foodie’s paradise so try to pace yourself! If you want to experience some southern food you can try Mary Macs Tea Room or the Busy Bee Cafe. If you are looking for the best BBQ in Atlanta my favourite place is Fox Bros. BBQ. There are so many great food places in Atlanta it would really be hard to squeeze them all in. This is just a brief overview of what to do in the capital of the South. Chances are, however, that after your short visit you will definitely want to return.
Buy an Atlanta CityPASS to save over 40% on Atlanta’s top 5 attractions!
Where to stay: Hotel Clermont
Gemma – Two Scotts Aboard
Austin, Texas is unlike any other city in the States. With its nature trails, dive bars and festivals, there’s so many fun things to do in Austin.
Coined the music capital of the world, Austin, is an awesome place to visit all year round if you are a music fan, like us.
This is especially true during March when doors open to the famous South By Southwest festival – ten days of music, film and interactive events.
Austin has many hip bars on East 6th and outstanding street art around the city. Check out the famous I Love You So Much Wall at cool South Congress. This street has lots of independent shops selling clothes, art and trinkets.
It’s a must to eat at one of the many food trucks and don’t forget to try Tex Mex breakfast at Juan in a Million or Cisco’s Restaurant. It’s Texas so BBQ has to be on the menu too. Famous joints include Black’s (buy at counter) but we highly recommend Green Misquite (table service).
Where to stay: Archer Hotel Austin
Renee – ReNanaMom
Baltimore, Maryland is an exciting city. There is a lot of hustle and bustle during the week, similar to New York City, as the corporate folks aggressively walk to their offices or next appointment.
A weekend in Baltimore however, can be very relaxing. I love to walk through Inner Harbor to take in the sights of the tall ship The USS Constellation, the 911 Memorial, or sit on a bench and watch boats come in and out of the harbor. You can also visit the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center or take a lunch or dinner cruise with Spirit of Baltimore. These are just a few things to do in Baltimore, there is so much more.
I have found it much easier to stay in a hotel right in Inner Harbor like the Pier 5 Hotel Baltimore. This way I am close to everything and don’t have to fight the traffic coming in or going out of Baltimore.
There are always things to do in Baltimore making it a great city to visit any time of year.
Where to stay: Pier 5 Hotel Baltimore
Baton Rouge, LA
Amber – With Husband In Tow
Although often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, New Orleans, Baton Rouge is a great place for a city break for anyone who travels for food.
On the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, down in Louisiana, lies a vibrant city full of incredible Cajun cooking, nightlife, and Southern hospitality. It’s the Louisiana state capitol, Baton Rouge.
From the French meaning Red Stick, Baton Rouge is a quick ninety-minute drive up Interstate 10 from New Orleans and well worth the journey. Thanks to Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge has an energetic and lively feel offering travelers classic Cajun gastronomy, seafood, craft beer, and year-round festivals. It’s also one of the best cities in the US for oyster-lovers.
Once the home to Governor Huey Long, the Old Governor’s Mansion today is a museum chronicling Louisiana’s past along with the Old State Capitol. Both must-see attractions. Afterwards, stroll along the river at a leisurely pace taking in the variety of river traffic heading up and down the Mississippi. Baton Rouge is a surprisingly fun city break destination.
Where to stay: WATERMARK Baton Rouge, autograph collection
Jeff – Our Passion For Travel
A city neck deep in historical significance in the US, Boston is a beautiful city to enjoy a short break.
In the Fall, you’ll be greeted with a mix of reds, oranges and yellows. Whilst Fall is a spectacular season across the US, there aren’t many cities that can match Boston for its mix of dying foliage amongst its stone buildings and green lawns.
You’ll see plenty of these scenes walking the Freedom Trail, a free 4-kilometre path marked with red bricks through the city and across the North Washington Street bridge. Along the way, you’ll learn about the foundation of the US and see the graves of former Presidents, churches and monuments to some of Boston’s past heroes.
When you need to give your walking shoes a rest, head to Faneuil Hall marketplace to satiate your appetite. A slice of Boston Pizza, some clam chowder or a lobster roll will rid you of your hunger and warm you up.
For those who like to massage their intellect, you’ll feel instantly smarter as you wander the grounds of Harvard. Walk in the footsteps of Barack and Michelle Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Al Gore. You are now qualified to drop stories of “when you were at Harvard”. Watching the sun go down as the rowers complete their strokes on the Charles River is a delightful treat.
And for the sports lover, this is your city. The Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots and Celtics all call Boston home. Boston’s Fenway Park is the oldest baseball stadium in the US. Even for the non-sports lover, there is an interesting story behind just about every corner.
Uncovering Boston for the first time, you’ll find plenty to want to bring you back again.
Buy a Boston CityPASS to save up to 45% on Boston’s top 5 attractions!
Where to stay: Copley Square Hotel
Sharon – Daily Dream 360°
When thinking about a short weekend getaway, Buffalo might not be on the top of your list. However, what you may not know is how much Buffalo is changing as it completes a massive waterfront development and the revival of its iconic neighbourhoods.
Stay at the Hotel Henry, a boutique hotel built inside the walls of the historic Buffalo Asylum. This landmark property has brightly lit rooms and spaces which double as an art gallery. Nearby you’ll find Elmwood Village and Allentown neighbourhoods filled with museums, art galleries, boutique shops, cafes and pubs.
From Allentown, you can continue down towards the waterfront and Buffalo’s next neighbourhood: Downtown. Downtown Buffalo is home to Shea’s Theatre where you can catch a Broadway show under its beautifully restored historic ceilings and structure. You will find some more shopping here and some of Buffalo’s newest restaurants including The 716 Sports Bar, Osteria 166, the Sea Bar and Hutch’s Seafood.
Catch the free streetcar down to the waterfront and explore Canalside. The restored waterfront has several activities from kayaking, concerts to its Naval museum.
Finally, make your way to Riverworks known for its ‘Labatt’s Blue six-packpainted grain silos. Here you will find a vast sports entertainment park with zip lining, more water sports, a tree-top trekking course and tiki boat rides.
Where to stay: Hotel Henry
Noel – Travel Photo Discovery
Carmel, California is the perfect getaway destination for a short visit or city break. This small city located along the central California coastline is stunning with beautiful beaches and landscape, a historic downtown area and the spectacular Mission Carmel to visit and enjoy.
Close by are the amazing wines to try in Carmel Valley with fantastic wineries to choose from. Carmel by the Sea is the lovely and colorful downtown area filled with European charm galleries, restaurants, boutique shops and delicious bakeries and other food specialty venues.
You will really enjoy your time exploring the village appeal, the beach and outdoor coastal areas, wine country and fantastic drives just outside of the city limits. For more inspiration, check out my weekend getaway to Carmel by the Sea here for more images and places to visit in the city.
Where to stay: Carriage House Inn
Diana – The Elusive Family
Chicago is a city that must be experienced, as its charm, its food and its beautiful shoreline along Lake Michigan provide some of the country’s most amazing experiences.
Chicago has a large assortment of museums and activities that are great ways to get to know the city. The Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum as well as the Museum of Science and Industry are all top museums to visit in Chicago. Navy Pier is a wonderful experience during the summer months as visitors can easily enjoy a great meal on the pier or go on a day or evening boat ride on Lake Michigan.
Chicago’s food is among the best and the windy city has some of the nation’s best restaurants. A deep-dish pizza, Italian beef or a classic Chicago hot dog are a requirement for any visitor to the city. If visiting in the summer, be sure to attend the Taste of Chicago, a multi-day event hosted downtown that has plenty of food and activities for everyone.
The best time to visit Chicago is in the summer or fall. The summer is filled with festivals, events, shows and a host of other special attractions. Autumn, on the other hand, provides for cooler weather outdoors and a taste of a beautiful Midwestern fall.
Buy the Chicago CityPASS to save up to 50% on Chicago’s top 5 attractions!
Where to stay: Ace Hotel Chicago
Theresa – Fueled By Wanderlust
Cleveland is a fantastic city for a weekend getaway. There is plenty to keep you busy over a couple of days, but it’s not so big that you would be overwhelmed over such a short amount of time. Although Cleveland can be perfectly cozy in the winter, I definitely recommend visiting in summer. The city is located right on Lake Erie, and the views in summer are especially pleasant. There’s nothing better than finding a patio to sit on while enjoying the view with a beverage in hand.
On a trip to Cleveland, I highly recommend checking out the bustling brewery scene. There are upwards of 30 breweries in the greater Cleveland area, with some great choices being right downtown. Masthead makes some of the best beers in the area, and also serves up some tasty pizzas. Great Lakes Brewing Company, is just a couple minutes down the road in Ohio City, has been established for decades and is perhaps the most well-known brewery in the area.
That being said, Cleveland is more than just a bootstrapping rust-belt city. It actually has a highly esteemed arts culture, featuring Playhouse Square, the “second largest performing arts center in the country” (New York is the biggest), and the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra.
So, check out Cleveland for a weekend, eat some Brewnuts and Barrio, visit the Lake, drink some beer, and go home a little more cultured (and bloated) than you came.
Where to stay: The Glidden House
Dallas Texas, a city populated by friendly folk, affordable drinks and activities that get the heart pumping and hormones running.
This cowboy-toting city promises an electrifying getaway whether you’re a partying socialite, a history buff or an adrenaline junkie looking to get your next fix. I’ve spent mornings exploring the momentous history of this metropolis by standing in the spot where former President John F. Kennedy was shot (and testing my own skills at the Elm Fork Shooting Sports – sans any presidents of course), afternoons soaring at breakneck speeds through the air on the various rides at Arlington over 6 Flags, winding down with a quality drink at The House of Blues, and finally dancing the night away at Don’t Tell Supper Club.
Dallas is a warm city by nature, so my recommendation for the best times to visit would be Spring and Autumn where it maintains comfortable temperatures most days – ideally late March and April and then late September to mid-November.
Texans are indisputably proud of their barbequed meats and related cooking methods, and there is no place better to try the best of their efforts when digging into their Chicken Fried Steak or slow-cooked Chili. To truly get the real deal I would find a way to get invited to a bonified Dallas Barbeque, but otherwise the restaurant Slow Bone on Irving Blv will be the closest thing to being surrounded by family while still being treated like royalty.
I’ll see you there Cowboy!
Where to stay: Hotel ZaZa Dallas
Jillian – Adventure Dragon
Just an hour north of Atlanta at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll find a cute little village named Helen Georgia. This fairytale-like place houses just 430 permanent residents but consistently ranks as the third most visited city in the entire state of Georgia.
Helen’s popularity is due mostly to its quirky charm and Bavarian architecture, making it the perfect spot for a short break or weekend getaway in the United States. The buildings remind me of the Hansel and Gretel storybooks I used to read as a small child, and it’s easy to spend an entire weekend exploring them without running out of things to do.
In the main plaza, local artisans perform free glass-blowing and pottery demonstrations. Candy-makers also let you sample yummy treats that they make right in front of you. Definitely try some of the fudge! There are over 20 unique flavors, including my favorites–Peanut Butter, Amaretto Almond, and Chocolate Raspberry. If you get hungry for a full meal, head under the bridge along the riverfront to find the Troll Tavern. This charming restaurant has delicious cuisine and an outdoor patio where you can sit over the water.
Kansas City, MO
Adam Cheshier- Wanderway Publishing House
Kansas City, Missouri in the springtime is one of the most pleasant weekend trips to take across America. What it lacks in notoriety, it makes up for with a culture of welcoming locals, a vibrant and up-and-coming downtown, buzzing arts, and a wonderful food scene featuring the best barbecue in the country.
Some of my favorite things to do on my getaways are attending a live concert in the Electric Power and Light District, chow down on the nation-renown Joe’s Kansas City Z-man barbecue sandwich, and take a stroll along the beautiful downtown plaza.
The city is known for its abundance of fountains and simple Midwest feel. You simply don’t feel the stress of a big city while being able to enjoy all big city pleasures.
Its arts and technology scene is thriving as one of the top in the United States. And the locals are the most passionate about their professional sports teams I’ve ever seen. Make sure you attend at least one sporting event while in Kansas City.
KC is one of the best spots to travel to for a weekend getaway and you can enjoy its best parts for a fraction of the price of more often-traveled cities in America.
Where to stay: Crossroads Hotel
Key West, FL
Lori – Travelinmad
When you’re looking for some fun in the sun on a short break, hop a flight south or take a road trip to the last stop on Highway A1A in the Florida Keys, and celebrate Key West-style!
Key West, Florida is the Southernmost Point in the USA, just 90 miles from Cuba, and attracts partiers and pirates from around the world. A Key West getaway means warm sun, island food, a lively bar scene, and water everywhere. One of our favorite things to do in Key West is snorkel the crystal clear water — and a sunset snorkeling cruise is even better when you can catch the fiery sunsets the island is famous for from the bow of a catamaran. At night, do the Duval Crawl, a DIY pub crawl stopping at some of Key West’s finest dive bars for a quick cocktail and live music.
Be sure and try conch fritters when you’re here, a speciality in a place known as the Conch Republic, and of course a slice of fresh key lime pie. Then wash it all down with a shot of Cuban coffee from Cuban Coffee Queen, one of the most Instagrammable sites in Key West!
Where to stay: The Gardens Hotel
Los Angeles, CA
Di – Slight North
Los Angeles is one of the best places in the US for a quick visit because there’s something for everyone in the City of Stars: shopping, nightlife, beaches, hiking, and everything in between. You’ve seen LA on the big screen for all these years, now it’s time to visit in real life!
When you arrive in LA, one of the first things you need to do is walk down Hollywood Boulevard for some iconic sightseeing. You’ll pass the Dolby Theater – where the Oscars are held every year – and the Hollywood Walk of Fame with the stars on the sidewalk. Just be prepared to be bombarded with plenty of celebrity impersonators, kitschy souvenir shops, costumed characters, and so much more that you’ll just have to see to believe!
The next day, drive along Highway One from LA to Malibu for sparkling ocean views and then enjoy the sun and sand at Venice Beach or the Santa Monica Pier. Finally, grab a bite to eat at In N’ Out Burger or the Grand Central Market and round out your city break with a hike through Runyon Canyon to rise above it all and snap some amazing pictures of Los Angeles spread out beneath your feet.
Where to stay: The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills
Chris and Heather – A Brit & A Southerner
When it comes to weekend getaways, Memphis, Tennessee may not be the first city you think about visiting but there are plenty of reasons to justify why this should be near the top of your list. Whether you are an Elvis fan and intrigued by the thought of visiting his former home at Graceland or simply want to head off the beaten path and explore many of Memphis’ diverse neighborhoods, there is plenty to see across the city.
For many, Graceland epitomizes the heart and soul of Memphis. However, I would argue that you need to head downtown, starting out along historic Beale Street before venturing away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and enjoying the eclectic blend of areas including Cooper-Young, South Main, Broad Avenue Arts among others. Memphis is home to Bass Pro Shops…but don’t worry, it’s not like any regular store, instead, it’s located inside the iconic Pyramid along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi River.
A visit to Memphis wouldn’t be the same without sampling the stereotypical Memphis BBQ. Visit Interstate BBQ for an authentic pulled pork sandwich or ribs and find out why the reputation of BBQ across the city is so popular. If you are planning a visit to Memphis, you can visit all year round and enjoy this city. However, the middle of summer (June/July) is perhaps a time to avoid given that the weather is generally hot, humid and rather uncomfortable to explore the city.
Where to stay: Big Cypress Lodge
Mary – Calculated Traveller
Miami Florida is a wonderful city for a weekend getaway for so many reasons. No trip to Miami is complete without a little chill-time cocktail in a lounger under a palm tree on the world famous South Beach but if sun, sand and surf aren’t your cup of tea the area is excellent for people watching, fans of Art Deco architecture, and partying in the many nightclubs in the evening.
Food lovers will enjoy exploring nearby Little Havana for some Cuban culinary delights and culture. For a little bit of retail relaxation and shopping make your way over to Lincoln Road Mall, Bayside Marketplace, or Wynwood Art’s District a trendy Miami neighbourhood with art galleries, good eats, bars, and lots of street art.
Where to stay: Hotel Sense Beach House
Priyadarshini Rajendran – Glorious Sunrise
Monterey is a charming little town on the gorgeous California coast. This place is about 120 miles from San Francisco and makes for a cool road trip with family and friends. Monterey has everything you would need for a refreshing weekend break including beautiful beaches, parks, an amazing aquarium and awesome seafood.
Monterey Bay Aquarium is famous across the nation for its display of rare marine species and most spectacular jellyfish displays.
Summer and fall seasons are famous for whale-watching tours in Monterey where you can spot the majestic humpbacks migrating. Winter and spring are good for spotting gray whales! Though Monterey is a year-round destination, if you prefer lesser crowds and warm weather, visit here from late March to early June.
Lover’s Point Park and beach is a favorite spot with all visitors. Another awesome beach to explore here is the Pebble Beach. If you have time, do the 17-mile scenic drive to Pebble Beach. Do not forget to enjoy a coffee at Carmel Bakery at Carmel-by-the-sea.
Where to stay: Wave Street Inn
Margie – DQ Family Travel
Nashville is a fantastic city for a weekend getaway because of the food scene, nightlife, and overall ambience. One of the highlights of this city is definitely the food. There are many Southern food variations of their signature hot chicken, barbeque, and biscuits at restaurants around the city.
At night, there is no shortage of places to grab a drink and listen to country music. Broadway is lined with live music bars and is considered the birthplace of country music stars.
Nashville also has plenty of activities during the day as well. Popular things to do include visiting RCA Recording Studios, the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium. Vanderbilt is also located in Nashville too, as is the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home. The Belle Meade Plantation is another place to stop to soak in some history, and if you enjoy a drink or two, there are breweries and a winery around the city as well.
Nashville is a great city to visit year round as the temperatures are usually not extreme during any season. A weekend getaway in Nashville is perfect for those who would like to kick back, eat, drink, listen to music, and enjoy a little Southern flair.
Where to stay: The Hermitage Hotel
New Orleans, LA
Eric – Food And Drink Destinations
New Orleans should be on every traveler’s bucket list. It’s one of the most unique cities in the US, with its French and Creole influences.
Most known for its springtime Mardi Gras parades and jazz music, it’s also a must-visit city for food and drink lovers. Between po’boy sandwiches, crawfish, beignets, and muffaletta sandwiches, there is plenty to chow down on during a weekend break. When it comes to the best Po’Boy, head on over to Mother’s for the Ferdi’s special. It’s a large sandwich with their famous ham, roast beef, and debris, which is bits of beef and au jus. The sandwich is finished off with shredded cabbage, pickles, mayo, and mustard and is one of the best things to eat in New Orleans. Also, track down a couple of the most famous New Orleans cocktails, the hurricane and the hand grenade.
But, there is more to New Orleans than food and drink. Other activities include taking a riverboat cruise up the Mississippi River or visiting the Mardi Gras museum, where they take travelers behind the scenes on how they make the famous floats. The National WWII Museum also is a must-visit for history buffs. There’s more than enough to keep any traveler busy during a city break.
Where to stay: Bourbon Orleans Hotel
New York City, NY
Elaine – Show Them The Globe
A combination of its contagious energy, amazing sights and incredible restaurants and bars make New York the best city for a short break in the United States.
There are so many fun things to do in NYC: our favourites include exploring Central Park, cycling across the Brooklyn Bridge, gazing at the incredible skyline, absorbing the craziness of Times Square and walking the High Line.
After working up an appetite sightseeing, it is time to indulge! The food choices in NYC are endless be it a quick snack or a Michelin Star outing. The city is famous for its pizza, hot dogs, bagels and cheesecake and they are all mouthwateringly delicious.
While NYC is amazing all year round, our favourite times to visit are during summer and in the run-up to the holidays. A summer visit is perfect for picnics in the park and rooftop cocktails while the lead up to Christmas, when the city explodes with festive charm, is truly magical.
Buy the NYC CityPASS and save up to 43% on New York’s top 6 attractions!
Where to stay: Casablanca Hotel by Library Hotel Collection
Palm Springs, CA
Carol – Wandering Carol
Palm Springs, California, is a fabulous destination for a short break and a relaxing place to escape a cold winter. Only 100 miles from LA, it’s a world away in both feel and geography, a spectacular desert area that offers chic accommodation, hip restaurants, mid-century modern architecture and great activities, from luxury spas to view-worthy hikes.
One of the best things to do in Palm Springs for a good overview of the area is to take the Aerial Tramway. After soaring up the side of Chino Canyon, you’ll be in the San Jacinto Mountains where there are plenty of hiking trails and spectacular views of Palm Springs below.
Back in town, it’s good to get some time poolside, and there are a number of hotels and resorts that bring lounging to a new level. Most buzzworthy is the Kimpton Rowan, a focal point for the downtown area’s massive $400 million revitalization project. With the only rooftop pool in town, this is the place to see and be seen.
Just a short way away, the Holiday House offers a much more laidback vibe. This boutique property hangs onto its retro motel roots, but with the addition of bold contemporary art and a tasteful décor. The pool has a garden setting and is a tranquil place to unwind and renew.
The same owners of the Holiday House also own Sparrows Lodge, where dining ‘family style’ under the stars at a communal table on Wednesdays and Saturdays is one of the hottest meal tickets in town. Just be sure to make reservations.
Ioana – The World Is My Playground
Sometimes overshadowed by its Oregon namesake, Portland, ME, is the little charming coastal city that can dazzle you for a weekend or for a week. The lively city caters to all types, from the foodies to the history buffs, bikers, hikers, and everything in between.
The best part about Portland is how walkable it is. Leave your car at the hotel and get exploring! Jump on a Casco Bay ferry for a tour of the islands or to catch the sunset over the harbor, rent a bike and explore the hidden gems, or jump on the Maine Brew Bus and visit some of the infamous breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
There are so many things to do in Portland, you’ll be planning your visit back before you leave! Lighthouse-hopping makes the top of my list. There are 6 lighthouses accessible (by car, bike or boat) from the city center and one is more beautiful than the next – if you don’t have time to check them all out, start with the two most famous ones: Portland Head Lighthouse and Bud Lighthouse.
Portland is a foodie city, something locals are very proud of. Throw a stone and you’ll hit a great restaurant. However, don’t leave without trying the fresh and delicious seafood — especially the lobster! There are many walking food tours available if you don’t know where to start. Better yet, step into the shoes of a fisherman and jump on a Lucky Catch lobstering tour on Casco Bay. It’s a unique experience you won’t soon forget!
The best time to visit Portland, ME is between the end of May and September. A lot of the tourist attractions, including the Observatory tower, don’t open until the end of May once the weather starts warming up. July and August are the most crowded, and expensive in terms of accommodation, so plan ahead and book as early as possible.
Where to stay: Portland Harbor Hotel
Chris – Amateur Traveler
My wife and I traveled to Portland after a wedding in the northwest this winter. Portland is a great city any time of year, although I would probably wait until the temperature warms up in May or so, because this is a city where you will want to get outside. Some of its best attractions include the nearby Columbia River Gorge, the Japanese and the Chinese gardens.
But the number one reason to spend a weekend in Portland is the food scene. This is the city that practically invented food trucks and food carts. I highly recommend taking a Portland Food Trucks and Food Carts tour. We are talking about a city with 848 food carts and trucks and 83 distinct cuisines when I visited so it is helpful to have a guide point out some of the best. Not only will you learn the history and meet the chefs but you will eat yourself silly on this tour. We had BBQ and falafels, waffles, ice cream, steamed buns, bratwurst and grilled cheese. One of my favorite food carts was Bing Mi which offers Chinese wraps. The only drawback to this tour, besides getting very full, was we did it in February when it is cold walking around outside for a couple of hours. So go in May, and think of me when you order Venezuelan Arepas.
Where to stay: Inn at Northrup Station
Mikkel – Sometimes Home
This capital city is perfect for a weekend visit or a 36-48 getaway! Raleigh, North Carolina is easily accessible from RDU airport (that’s the airport code for the Raleigh Durham region) or a short trip from I-95 if you’re driving along the east coast of the United States. It’s even incredibly easy to get to by train; Amtrak regularly stops at the brand new Union Station downtown.
There’s so much to do in downtown Raleigh from visiting the capital building, which is open for free tours nearly daily, to a science museum and history museum with free admission, to incredible bars and local restaurants, several of which are owned by James Beard Award-winning chef, Ashley Christensen. It’s also an incredibly photo-worthy city with many murals to snap for an Instagram photo and a picturesque skyline to boot.
If you’re interested in art there’s CAM (Contemporary Art Museum), or the North Carolina Museum of Art just a 10-minute drive from the heart of downtown. Don’t forget to check the Red Hat Amphitheater concert schedule if you’re visiting or the events at the Raleigh Convention Center, including the huge national Bluegrass festival held annually or the regional Comic Con celebration.
Where to stay: Hilton Garden Inn Raleigh / Crabtree Valley
San Diego, CA
Laura – Blue Eyed Compass
San Diego, California is a tropical destination perfect for a weekend getaway in the US. There are plenty of beaches, parks, hikes and lots of neighborhoods with their own unique charm to explore. Truly perfect for any individual or travel style.
If you’re an outdoors person like me, then you’ll love all of the beautiful hikes in San Diego, and if you’re up for the challenge, you may enjoy trekking the Ho Chi Ming trail in La Jolla.
If you’re more of a foodie person, then you will love the Little Italy and Hillcrest neighborhood farmers markets on Saturdays and Sundays (respectively). You can then enjoy one of our many world-class restaurants, many of which cater to vegetarian and vegan diets! Then be sure to enjoy a cocktail at You & Yours Distillery, a female owned & aesthetically pleasing hot spot in the downtown area.
You can visit all of these places if you choose to stay at the stunning Pendry Hotel, known for its interior, Hotel Republic, that has a great rooftop bar or an Airbnb in Mission Beach. But be sure to choose the timing of your visit wisely. It’s surprisingly best in September and October.
Fun tip: Within one to two hours drive you can visit our own wine country, drive across the border & head to Rosarito, Mexico or even go skiing at Big Bear!
San Francisco, CA
Christina – Travel2next
Famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf and cable cars, San Francisco is the perfect city to visit for a weekend away. Not only is San Francisco a with world-famous attractions, but you’ll find excellent restaurants, interesting neighborhoods and a transport system that is of the city’s main attractions. My favourite thing to do is to ride the cable cars up and down the hills of San Francisco, with no specific destination in mind! It’s a fantastic way to explore and discover San Francisco’s secret spots.
Another place to visit if you’re on a short break is Fisherman’s Wharf, where you’ll enjoy wandering around the shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. Fisherman’s Wharf has several places that serve San Francisco’s famous clam chowder, which is a delicious meal served in a bread bowl. Some other things to look for at Fisherman’s Wharf are the sea lions basking in the sun at Pier 39 and pier 45, where you’ll find the intriguing and little-known Musée Mécanique.
Another well-known attraction to add to your San Francisco itinerary is Alcatraz, which was formerly a prison island which you can explore as a half-day tour by boat.
Besides famous attractions, San Francisco has some cool neighborhoods that are fun to explore, such as a massive Chinatown covering 24 city blocks, with alleyways and delicious Chinese food.
Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been before, there’s always something exciting to discover in San Francisco.
San Francisco is a city you can visit at any time of the year as the weather is temperate year-round and when it rains, there’s a good choice of excellent museums and galleries to visit too.
Buy the San Francisco CityPass to save up to 45% on San Francisco’s top 5 attractions!
Where to stay: Hotel Zetta San Francisco
San Juan De Puerto Rico
Miguel – Travelsauro
San Juan, the capital city of beautiful Puerto Rico, is located in a privileged environment right in front of the Caribbean Sea. The old city has one of the best preserved colonial quarters in the Americas, and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.
Puerto Rico makes the perfect destination for a short getaway in the United States. You won’t need to choose between a cultural capital or a sunny beach destination: San Juan is both. The architecture of this city ranges from the Spanish colonial era to the “art deco” movement of the twentieth century. It is true that many streets are reminiscent of Spanish cities. However, the vivid colors of the facades, the Latin rhythm and the Caribbean atmosphere will confirm that you are in tropical lands. In addition, the nearby beaches are just perfect, with white sand and turquoise water, just like on a postcard.
Among the best things to do in San Juan, we can highlight: exploring the colorful old quarter, trying some Puerto Rican food (don’t miss arroz con gandules and chicharrones de pollo), visiting Castillo de San Cristobal and snorkeling in Culebra Island. The best time to visit San Juan is from March to July, right after the peak season and before the rains.
Where to stay: Decanter Hotel
Emily – The Journey of Parenthood
Savannah, Georgia is a fabulous location for the perfect weekend getaway!
It has a little bit of everything – history, gorgeous scenery, great restaurants, shopping, culture, nearby beaches, family-friendly activities for the kids and romantic options for reconnecting kid-free.
A must-do on a visit to Savannah is a tour of the town to learn about the rich history of the area. A ghost tour is also a super fun way to learn more details about history in a fun, entertaining environment.
Visitors must eat breakfast at The Funky Brunch where you are able to make your own pancakes at your table! For dinner, the Olde Pink House is phenomenal food in a gorgeous location – perfect for a date night!
No trip to Savannah is complete without a walk down River Street and a meal at The Pirate House. Along with pirates, Savannah is well known for that famous southern cooking and Paula Deen has several great restaurants to get your fill!
If you have the kids along then be sure to visit the Savannah’s Children Museum for TONS of hands-on fun!
Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend away together, time with girlfriends or a family fun-filled weekend – Savannah, Georgia is the perfect place for you to plan your next trip.
Where to stay: Planters Inn
Kylee – Passport and Preemies
Seattle… recognized as the “city with the Space Needle” is the most populated city in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Seattle is surrounded by water, Elliott Bay on the west, the Cascade Mountains in the background. Nicknamed the “Emerald City” for the lush, green forests that encompass it; in Seattle, there is something for everyone.
Perfect for a weekend getaway, Seattle has so much to offer. From surrounding vineyards found in Woodinville to the numerous hikes, you can take outside of the city. You can play tourist and visit the Space Needle. Or spend time in the oldest, consistently run market in America – Pike Place Market. Opt for an off the beaten path weekend, exploring neighbourhoods such as Ballard, Fremont, or the up and coming Beacon Hill.
Best known for its seafood, while you’re visiting Seattle dine on fresh oysters that come from the bay. Head to Taylor Shellfish (Pioneer Square location) where you can get a plate of fresh, raw oysters. Or my personal favorite, the fried oysters atop deviled eggs, known as buffalo soldiers. If you’re feeling adventurous opt for the geoduck, a saltwater clam native to western Canada and the northwest USA.
For the best time to visit Seattle opt for the summer months. The Pacific Northwest, mainly Seattle, is known to be rainy for most of the year. Your best chance at clear blue skies will be during the summer.
Buy the Seattle CityPASS and save 45% or more on Seattle’s top 5 attractions!
Where to stay: Inn at the Market
Michael – The World Was Here First
Sedona is one of the best cities for a short getaway in the USA for travelers who are looking to enjoy an active weekend away.
One of the best reasons to visit Sedona is to enjoy the plethora of hiking opportunities that exist and truly appreciate the unique landscapes of the area. There are popular hikes such as the Devil’s Bridge Trail which is well-signed and relatively flat for the majority of the trail. Alternatively, if you’re after something more challenging, you can enjoy a hike like the West Creek Trail which has 13 creek crossings to contend with!
Even if you’re not much of a hiker, there is plenty to explore in the town of Sedona which a lot of interesting new age and spiritual shops around. There are also a few great sunset viewing spots that are fairly accessible.
The best time to visit Sedona is in spring or fall as the temperatures in the summer get extremely hot which makes hiking difficult.
Where to stay: Red Agave Resort
St Louis, MO
Jess – Unearth The Voyage
St. Louis, Missouri is a great city to spend a weekend in but is often a city that is overlooked. There is so much to do and discover in St. Louis, you could end up spending an entire week here and still not see everything. One of the best things to do while you are visiting St. Louis for the weekend is to visit the St. Louis Zoo in Forest Park. The Zoo is free and is voted as one of the best Zoos in the country.
Besides visiting the Zoo, Forest Park has a lot more to offer- such as an Art Museum, History Museum, outdoor musical theater, science center and a festival almost every weekend.
Another great thing to do while visiting this incredible city for the weekend is to take a tour of the Anheuser Busch Brewery. Tours are held every day and are free!
After all of the sightseeing, you are bound to get hungry! You most certainly should not miss out of trying some St. Louis staples like St. Louis BBQ at Sugarfire Smoke House, toasted ravioli at Mama Toscano’s Ravioli, or gooey butter cake at Park Avenue Coffee.
Finish the day off by sipping a locally made brew at one of St. Louis’ lesser-known breweries! It is best to visit St. Louis during the spring or fall, as St. Louis summers can get pretty hot and the winters can be fairly cold.
Where to stay: Angad Arts Hotel
Jenn and Ed – Coleman Concierge
Tucson is a perfect weekend getaway because it’s home to one of America’s most unusual landscapes – the Sonoran Desert. Life here faces this harsh environment searching for water, soil, and shade but this land is far from barren. The enormous Saguaro cacti require a host plant’s protection for the first 30 years of life, and endangered pygmy owls retreat to burrows during the heat of the day. We found hiking is the best way to explore this landscape, especially on trails, like Romero Pools, where you can find rare desert springs.
Did you know that Tucson is America’s first Capital of Gastronomy? UNESCO bestowed that distinction in 2016 because of native plants and Tucson’s multi-cultural influences. Tucson is the oldest continuously populated city in America. The Hohokam and Tohono O’odam lived here for centuries before the Spanish settled the Santa Cruz River Valley.
Later, the city belonged to Mexico and finally America. Since the 1300’s, these people lived off of the desert’s strange and exotic native plants. Today, you can still get mesquite pancakes with saguaro syrup and a glass of prickly pear lemonade at the Tohono Chul Tea Room. There are more heritage foods grown within 100 miles of Tucson than any other city in North America.
If you’re looking for a fantastic travel bargain, come to Tucson during the summer and enjoy heavily discounted rates at their many top-end resorts like Starr Pass, La Paloma, Canyon Ranch, or Dove Mountain (the list keeps going).. The resorts are conveniently located at the edge of the desert so you can hike in the early morning and play in the resort pool, lazy river, or waterslides during the heat of the day. A weekend visit to Tucson will leave you refreshed and invigorated simultaneously.
Carrie Mann – Trains, Planes and Tuk Tuks
Start by exploring the myriad Smithsonian museums — all free. Whether you’re into space exploration, fine art, natural history, or American culture, there’s a museum for you. Then, take a free tour of the Capitol building or the White House. If the weather is nice, wander around Georgetown for a couple of hours or rent a kayak and see DC’s skyline from the Potomac River. Nearby Arlington National Cemetery and Old Town Alexandria make great half-day trips as well.
In the evening, you could walk around the National Mall after dark, when the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and others are lit up and the daytime crowds disperse. If you’re into politics, grab a drink at the Democratic favorite Little Miss Whiskey’s — where you may run into Members of Congress enjoying a night off — or the GOP stronghold Tortilla Coast.
DC also has a growing foodie scene. Ethiopian food is the highlight — Chercher is the top restaurant to try it. But you can also get fantastic Mexican food at Taqueria Habanero, high-end modern Indian at Rasika, wood-fired pizza at Timber, or amazing barbecue at The Federalist Pig.
The best time to visit Washington, DC is in the fall. October and November are particularly lovely. If you want to see the iconic Cherry Blossoms, plan your visit for April — but be prepared for huge crowds and skyrocketing hotel prices!
Where to stay: The Hay – Adams