From coast to coast, the United States is home to some of the world's greatest cities, including internationally-renowned metropolises like Seattle, New York City, Chicago, and Miami. Travelers can enjoy weekend getaways at beautiful destinations like Gatlinburg and Asheville, tucked into the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains, or explore hip shopping and dining options in trendy cities like Austin and San Diego. Year-round recreational opportunities throughout the nation range from skiing and hiking in beautiful cities like Stowe, Vermont to chances to explore cultural attractions in gorgeous Southern destinations like Savannah, New Orleans, and San Antonio. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina is set against the backdrop of the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, known throughout the Southeast for its amazing culinary scene and lovely cultural attractions. Visitors can explore the majestic Biltmore estate, which was originally constructed for George Washington Vanderbilt II and has been preserved as a living history museum showcasing some of the most beautiful architecture of the Gilded Age. Downtown, delicious restaurants within the city's historic planned district serve up elevated New American and international fare, perfect for romantic dinners or group dining. Major attractions include the North Carolina Arboretum, which is home to hundreds of acres of landscaped nature trails, and the nearby Pisgah National Forest, known for its hiking and camping opportunities. Visitors can also make a weekend out of side trips to the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located along the Tennessee-North Carolina border within easy day driving distance.
Boulder, Colorado is known as America's happiest city, home to some of the state's most beautiful natural wonders and top-tier culinary destinations. The city, which is located against the backdrop of the gorgeous Rocky Mountains at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet above sea level, is the home of renowned attractions like the Fiske Planetarium and the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, located on the campus of the University of Colorado-Boulder. Stunning natural wonders like the iconic Flatirons craggy rock mountain formation are open to the public for outdoor recreation, along with beautiful observational sites like the overlook at Flagstaff Mountain. After a full day of exploring, visitors can dine at legendary restaurants like the Flagstaff House or peruse cultural districts like the city's Twenty-Ninth Street retail district. The city hosts spectacular annual special events such as the Colorado Music Festival, drawing top-name international acts, and the holiday Polar Bear Plunge.
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3.San Diego, California
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San Diego, California is one of Southern California's largest cities, known as the "Birthplace of California" due to its connection to the state's Spanish pioneer era. The city, which sits just north of the United States-Mexico border at the Baja Peninsula, is known around the world for its stunning Pacific Ocean waterfront, which showcases more than 70 miles of pristine beaches offering chances for swimming, boating, and watersports opportunities throughout the year. Massive Balboa Park, one of the nation's largest and most acclaimed urban parks, is home to renowned attractions such as the world-class San Diego Zoo. The city's historic Gaslamp Quarter is home to some of its liveliest cultural attractions, along with some of the Pacific Coast's top dining destinations. Families can enjoy attractions such as SeaWorld San Diego, known for its aquatic shows and high-thrill theme park rides.
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Portland, Oregon is one of the Pacific Northwest's most progressive cities, located at the confluence of the beautiful Willamette and Columbia Rivers at the foot of majestic Mount Hood. The city is a favorite destination for liberal and eco-friendly travelers, home to delicious farm-to-table restaurants and over independent craft microbreweries that have earned it the title of the "Craft Beer Capital of the World." Visitors can explore the city's sprawling public parks, including lovely 412-acre Washington Park, home to the family-friendly Oregon Zoo and a traditionally-designed Japanese tea room and garden. Cultural attractions include the Portland Art Museum, and the Hoyt Arboretum.
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Galena, Illinois is one of Illinois' most picturesque small towns, named as the home of one of the United States' top All-American Main Streets by Travel and Leisure and Forbes. The charming city preserves attractions connected to former United States President Ulysses S. Grant, including the gorgeous Ulysses S. Grant Home, open to the public throughout the year as a living history museum. Visitors can explore a plethora of preserved historic buildings within the National Register of Historic Places-listed Galena Historic District, which showcases stunning Victorian-era architecture. The Chicago Athenaeum houses design art exhibits, while the West Street Sculpture Park features two acres of landscaped grounds showcasing three-dimensional artwork. Nearby, beautiful Horseshoe Mound preserves the site of a former indigenous ceremonial mound.
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Sequim, Washington is a charming town in Clallam County, located at the base of the majestic Olympic Mountains along the banks of the Dungeness River. The town, which is nicknamed "Sunny Sequim" due to its gorgeous year-round climate, is known throughout the world for its commercial production of lavender, on display at unique attractions like the renowned Purple Haze Organic Lavender Farm. Visitors can explore the stunning Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, home to protected populations of native wildlife and gorgeous preserved historic structures like the New Dungeness Lighthouse. The city's Museum and Arts Center showcases cultural and natural exhibits, including displays of mastodon fossils uncovered in the area. Each year, the city hosts the annual Sequim Lavender Weekend, held the third weekend of July.
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Memphis, Tennessee is a delightful western Tennessee city on the banks of the gorgeous Mississippi River, home to some of the United States' top attractions connected to the history of American popular music. The city is best known as the former home of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley, whose Graceland estate has been preserved as a living history museum. In hip Beale Street district, visitors can view the legendary Sun Studio recording studios, which launched the careers of international icons like B.B. King. Cultural attractions abound, including family-friendly museums like the Blues Hall of Fame and Stax Museum, the Peabody Place Museum, and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Unique outdoor attractions include Mud Island River Park, which recreates the historic terrain and ecosystem of the Lower Mississippi River Valley, and the Memphis Zoo, which showcases one of the only panda exhibits in North America.
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8.Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Santa Fe, New Mexico is the gorgeous state capital of New Mexico, located within the foothills of the picturesque Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Stunning Pueblo and colonial architecture abounds, ranging from the historic San Miguel Chapel, constructed in the 17th century, to the Acoma Pueblo, designated as a National Historic Landmark to protect the United States' longest continually inhabited dwelling site. Cultural attractions include the vibrant Santa Fe Plaza market, the Museum of International Folk Art, the New Mexico Museum of Art, and the gorgeous hilltop Santa Fe Opera House. The region's natural wonders are showcased at Hyde Memorial State Park, known for its hiking and camping opportunities, and the gorgeous Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary.
Seattle, Washington is the Pacific Northwest's liveliest major city, known as the home of world-renowned tech companies like Amazon and Apple. Visitors can explore iconic attractions like the city's Seattle Great Wheel, one of the largest observation wheels in North America, and the Space Needle, preserved from the 1962 World's Fair. Hip clubs throughout the city have broken some of the world's biggest rock and jazz bands, including Nirvana and Pearl Jam. The vibrant Pike Place Market is home to hundreds of vendors, including the original location of famed coffee chain Starbucks. Couples traveling with children in tow can explore family-friendly attractions like the Woodland Park Zoo and the renowned Seattle Aquarium or frolic at the city's many public parks, which offer direct beachfront access along the Puget Sound.
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10.Miami Beach, Florida
Miami Beach, Florida is known around the world for its decadent Art Deco architecture and vibrant cultural nightlife, perfect for a weekend getaway for those traveling to Florida's Atlantic Coast. The city, which is connected to mainland Miami via bridge, showcases stunning 20th-century architecture within its gorgeous Art Deco Historic District along scenic Ocean Drive. Visitors can enjoy a plethora of shopping and dining opportunities throughout South Beach, known as a popular celebrity hotspot. Beautiful Lincoln Road Mall offers open-air shopping experiences, including some of the city's top upscale boutiques and international chains. Cultural attractions include the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum, which showcases artifacts dating back to the Industrial Revolution. Each year, the city hosts the acclaimed Art Basel event, one of the nation's premiere yearly art shows.
Austin, Texas is a hip mecca in south-central Texas, known throughout the world as the host of the annual South By Southwest music and innovation festival. The city, which is often nicknamed "The Live Music Capital of the World," is America's greenest urban area, home to gorgeous public parks and lakes that offer ample opportunity for swimming and hiking throughout the year. Family-friendly attractions include the Texas Capitol Building, open for tours as a living history museum, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Hip neighborhoods like city's Hyde Park and South Congress districts are associated with the city slogan "Keep Austin Weird," home to independent stores, art galleries, and music venues. Nearby, suburban district Deep Ellum preserves the state's jazz and country music history, home to historic music halls that were once graced by the likes of Bessie Smith and Willie Nelson.
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Chicago, Illinois is the American Midwest's largest city, attracting millions of visitors each year to explore its gorgeous cultural attractions on the banks of Lake Michigan. The charming "Windy City" was known around the world for its historic skyscrapers and Gilded Age landmarks throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, it is home to some of the Midwest's top landmarks, including the lively Navy Pier entertainment complex, which showcases the iconic Centennial Wheel observation wheel and a wide variety of delightful shopping and dining destinations. Its gorgeous Magnificent Mile is lined with preserved Gilded Age mansions, many of which have been converted into art or living history museums, and some of the nation's best upscale shopping options. The renowned Broadway in Chicago organization presents world-caliber Broadway and professional musicals, showcased at theaters like the Cadillac Palace Theatre and the Chicago Theatre.
13.New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the American South's most cultural cities, known around the world for its stunning European-style architecture in its gorgeous French Quarter district. The city, commonly known as the "Big Easy," hosts the world's most prominent annual Mardi Gras festival each spring, acclaimed for its vibrant parade floats and party atmosphere. Visitors in town for the weekend have a plethora of delightful cultural museums to explore, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, the New Orleans Jazz Museum, and the Louisiana Children's Museum. The city's lively French Market is the United States' oldest commercial vendor market, originally founded as an indigenous trading post in the 18th century and home to renowned cafes and coffee shops. Other popular attractions include the city's historic Jackson Square and gorgeous Garden District, home to majestic live oak trees and historic mansions.
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Savannah, Georgia is the oldest city in the state of Georgia, dating back to the state's colonial era. Today, the city preserves one of the United States' largest urban historic districts, showcasing uniquely designed town squares laid out by Georgia colonial founder James Oglethorpe. Visitors can explore a plethora of historic attractions throughout the city, including the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the United States' oldest public museums, and the Juliette Gordon Low Historic District, which preserves sites connected to the birthplace of the founder of the Girl Scouts. Cultural attractions abound, including the delightful Savannah Theatre, the Savannah Ballet Theatre, and the Savannah Orchestra. The Savannah City Market, which dates back to the 18th century, showcases shopping and dining experiences in restored warehouse buildings. Charming cobblestone streets are lined with gorgeous live oak and Spanish moss trees, offering horse-drawn carriage rides and spectacular photo opportunities.
15.Key West, Florida
Key West, Florida marks the southernmost point of the United States, located just 90 miles north of Cuba's northernmost island tip. The island destination is one of the most famed islands within the beautiful Florida Keys, known throughout the world for its gorgeous colorful historic conch houses and attractions connected to the state's Spanish colonial history. Visitors can explore a plethora of living history museum attractions, including the city's Oldest House Museum, or learn about Spanish pirates and treasure aboard the preserved Nuestra Señora de Atocha galleon ship. The 1860 African Burial Ground preserves the nation's only African refugee cemetery for those who died following the transatlantic slave trade. The island's Historic Seaport District is home to a plethora of delicious dining and vibrant shopping destinations, serving as a port for many eco-tourism waterfront excursion companies. Each evening, the island's lively Mallory Square showcases performances by street performers, including musicians, magicians, and jugglers.
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16.Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada is one of the United States' top tourism destinations, renowned as the "Entertainment Capital of the World" for its luxurious casino resorts and around-the-clock nightlife destinations. Visitors can explore the attractions of the state's legendary four-mile Strip, which showcases iconic attractions like the stunning choreographed fountains of the Bellagio hotel resort. Resorts like the MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, and the Golden Nugget showcase stunning visitor exhibits, ranging from opulent art displays by world-renowned artists like Dave Chihuly to massive aquariums with choreographed animal shows and walkthrough experiences. Visitors can also ride high thrill rides at the Stratosphere Tower and New York New York Hotel, see recreations of international landmarks at resorts like the Paris Las Vegas hotel, or explore the hip Fremont Street Experience district, which is home to an LED-lit walkway tunnel and a plethora of shopping and dining destinations.
Sedona, Arizona is a gorgeous city within Arizona's picturesque Verde Valley, known for its year-round temperate climate and connection to the New Age spirituality movement. The city is known throughout the world for its stunning red sandstone formations, brilliant red buttes, and steep surrounding canyons, which are home to unique attractions like the Chapel of the Holy Cross, designed by architect Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright. Districts like the Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village showcase works by indigenous artists, while attractions like the Sedona Arts Center highlight works by regional contemporary artists. Stunning natural wonders are showcased at areas like the beautiful Cathedral Rock Trail or lovely Oak Creek Canyon, a popular spot for swimming and fishing throughout the year. Annual special events include the Sedona Bluegrass Festival, the Sedona International Film Festival, and popular arts and music festival GumptionFest.
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18.San Antonio, Texas
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San Antonio, Texas is a lovely cultural hub for Texas' Spanish colonial heritage, home to preserved attractions like the world-renowned Alamo Mission, known for the major role it played in the state's 19th-century fight for independence. Visitors can explore the mission, preserved as a living history museum, as part of the city's historic Missions Trail, which also showcases sites such as Mission San Jose and Mission Concepción. The picturesque San Antonio River Walk meanders along the shoreline of the beautiful San Antonio River, offering access to some of the city's biggest attractions, including Hemisfair Park, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the family-friendly San Antonio Zoo. Three major theme parks are located within the city's metropolitan area, including acclaimed Six Flags Fiesta Texas, home to some of the United States' most popular roller coasters. Each year, the city hosts delightful special events like the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, one of America's largest annual rodeos.
Stowe, Vermont is a delightful ski resort town in beautiful Lamoille County, known as the "Ski Capital of the East" for its fantastic winter sports opportunities. The city is best known as the home of lovely Stowe Mountain Resort, which sits atop majestic Mount Mansfield and offers opportunities for world-class skiing and snowboarding during the winter months. Visitors can stay in style at gorgeous mountaintop resorts like the Stowe Mountain Lodge and the Stoweflake Mountain Resort, which offer stunning views of the area's natural wonders. Cultural attractions in town include the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum and the Stowe Theater Guild, which presents live theatrical performances throughout the year.
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Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a gorgeous Southern getaway town tucked into the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains, located on the Tennessee border side of the national park of the same name. The stunning resort city is known as the home of some of Tennessee's top family-friendly attractions, including the acclaimed Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies and the delightful Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum. Visitors can ascend to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle or ride the Gatlinburg SkyLift for unparalleled views of the region's mountain skyline. Alpine coasters and family-friendly rides are offered at the Ober Gatlinburg ski resort, accessible via a two-mile aerial cable car, and the newly-opened Anakeesta mountaintop theme park. Nearby in neighboring city Pigeon Forge, theme park Dollywood is home to some of the world's top roller coasters. Each holiday season, the city comes alive with stunning Christmas lights as part of its yearly Winterfest celebration.
21.Atlantic City, New Jersey
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Atlantic City, New Jersey one of the Eastern Seabord's top tourist destinations, known for its glitzy high-rise hotels, 24/7 casino floors, and vibrant nightlife destinations. The city's gorgeous boardwalk, which stretches along its Atlantic Ocean coastline, was the United States' first public boardwalk when it opened in 1882 and is noted today as the inspiration for the popular board game Monopoly. Visitors can stroll along the acclaimed four-mile boardwalk and see renowned landmarks like the city's famed Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, and Tropicana Atlantic City resort complexes. Family-friendly attractions include the Steel Pier amusement park, which features beachfront thrill rides, and the Atlantic City Aquarium, which is home to native and exotic marine life. Annual events include the Miss America pageant, held in the city each year since 1921.
22.New York, New York
New York, New York is known as the "City That Never Sleeps" for its lively cultural attractions, fast-paced lifestyle, and internationally-renowned landmarks. The city, which is home to a metropolitan population of more than 23 million residents, is home to iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, which sits at the entrance to New York Harbor, and the Empire State Building, located in central borough Manhattan's Midtown district. Neon-illuminated Times Square is home to vibrant shopping and dining destinations, while the elite theaters of Broadway showcase the world's greatest theatrical performances. The city's subway system, the largest of its kind in the world, offers easy access to the city's other four boroughs, including hipster-friendly Brooklyn and diverse Queens, home of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which preserves attractions connected to the 1964 World's Fair.
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Columbus, Ohio is one of the United States' top sports destinations, home to the prestigious home sporting teams of renowned Ohio State University, including the Ohio State Buckeyes collegiate football team. Visitors can explore a plethora of family-friendly attractions throughout the city, including the acclaimed COSI Science Center, widely considered to be one of the nation's top science museums, which showcases interactive STEM-focused exhibits for visitors of all ages. The Columbus Museum of Art showcases important collections of American and European art, while the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been named as the nation's best zoo. Annual special events hosted in the city include the Ohio State Fair, known for its thrill rides and unique fair food.
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Boston, Massachusetts showcases some of the United States' top attractions related to the country's colonial period and fight for independence in the 17th and 18th centuries, linked along the city's lovely 2.5-mile Freedom Trail. Visitors can explore landmarks connected to the American Revolution, including the lively Faneuil Hall marketplace and the 1723 Old North Church, the launching-off point for Paul Revere's famed midnight ride. Cultural attractions include the lovely Institute of Contemporary Art, the Boston Athenaeum, the New England Aquarium, and Fenway Park, one of the nation's most historic and acclaimed baseball stadiums, which hosts home games for the renowned Boston Red Sox. The city's gorgeous Emerald Necklace park system, designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, is home to gems such as the beautiful Boston Common.
25.Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a gorgeous valley along Wyoming's border with neighboring Idaho, home to some of the nation's top skiing areas, including Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which offers top downhill and cross-country skiing terrain areas. The valley is anchored by lovely town Jackson, which serves as a jumping-off point for visitors looking to explore the lovely natural areas of nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Snow King Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort offer winter sports experiences for visitors, while numerous tourist companies lead sleigh ride excursions during the holiday months. In town in Jackson, visitors can explore the lovely National Museum of Wildlife Art, which showcases works by renowned artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe and Andy Warhol.
25 Best Weekend Getaways in the United States
- Asheville, North Carolina, Photo: dbvirago/stock.adobe.com
- Boulder, Colorado, Photo: jzehnder/stock.adobe.com
- San Diego, California, Photo: Sean Xu/stock.adobe.com
- Portland, Oregon, Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
- Galena, Illinois, Photo: Jason/stock.adobe.com
- Sequim, Washington, Photo: yellowj/stock.adobe.com
- Memphis, Tennessee, Photo: Kevin Ruck/stock.adobe.com
- Santa Fe, New Mexico, Photo: brent coulter/stock.adobe.com
- Seattle, Washington, Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
- Miami Beach, Florida, Photo: miami2you/stock.adobe.com
- Austin, Texas, Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com
- Chicago, Illinois, Photo: Christian Hinkle/stock.adobe.com
- New Orleans, Louisiana, Photo: Patrick/stock.adobe.com
- Savannah, Georgia, Photo: PT Hamilton/stock.adobe.com
- Key West, Florida, Photo: digidreamgrafix/stock.adobe.com
- Las Vegas, Nevada, Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com
- Sedona, Arizona, Photo: mdesigner125/stock.adobe.com
- San Antonio, Texas, Photo: Christian Hinkle/stock.adobe.com
- Stowe, Vermont, Photo: haveseen/stock.adobe.com
- Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Photo: quasarphotos/stock.adobe.com
- Atlantic City, New Jersey, Photo: Christopher Boswell/stock.adobe.com
- New York, New York, Photo: Stefan/stock.adobe.com
- Columbus, Ohio, Photo: Sean.Reid/stock.adobe.com
- Boston, Massachusetts, Photo: Nate Hovee/stock.adobe.com
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Photo: aceshot/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
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