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Life is too short to wait around for the perfect time to travel; make use of your weekends and explore some of the most amazing cities right here in the U.S.!
12 Best U.S. Cities for Weekend Trips
1. Portland, Oregon
In Portland, you can really make the most of your weekend outdoors. Spend your Saturday at the Portland Saturday Market, and explore some of Forest Park’s thousands of acres on foot or bike. While there’s plenty of opportunities for hiking, Washington Park remains the most popular spot for visitors looking to get a glimpse of Portland’s roots.
Try one of Oregon’s local brews at an independent brewery, dip into the foodie scene, and don’t leave the city without picking up a legendary vegan VooDoo doughnut! Stay at Hotel Monaco or Jupiter Hotel, which really encompass Portland’s funky vibe.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Portland in a Weekend
2. New York, New York
NYC speaks for itself — it’s on nearly everyone’s bucket list (for good reason), so why not take a couple of days and immerse yourself in the Big Apple? Seeing the city in its entirety is impossible no matter how long you stay, so see a few attractions but don’t spend all your time at tourist traps. See the Statue of Liberty for free on the ferry to Staten Island, and get the best view of the city from Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
Stay in the glitzy Upper Eastside for easy access to Central Park, or the trendy and artistic SoHo neighborhood for a variety of cuisines and shops.
Read more: Affordable Travel Destinations for 2017
3. Savannah, Georgia
With its beautiful historic squares and wispy Spanish moss draped from every tree, Savannah looks like a town straight out of a storybook. The picturesque Forsyth Park and Cathedral of St. John the Baptist should top your list of things to do, but be sure to make time for a guided history tour and nightlife on River Street!
Enjoy some authentic southern hospitality at a B&B with a view, like Planters Inn on Reynolds Square.
4. San Francisco, California
The Golden Gate is an obvious attraction for travelers worldwide, and one that should be seen at least once in one’s lifetime; take a couple days to go explore the natural beauty and artistic appeal of SF! Go shopping for vintage designer clothing on Polk Street, and grab dinner & drinks in the Mission District. If you’re feeling up for a short day-excursion, you can even make your way across the bridge to the hillside marina town of Sausalito.
Hotels in Union Square are very popular for the central location, but opting for a Queen Anne-style Airbnb makes for a unique experience!
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to San Francisco in a Weekend
5. Charleston, South Carolina
Recently dubbed “The South’s Best City,” Charleston is a romantic combination of small town living, city life, and coastal relaxation. Fill up on savory southern food at the beach or enjoy the luxuries of fine dining downtown.
King Street is a must for boutique browsing and shopping, while architecture gazing can be done all over the city (although the colorful houses that make up Rainbow Row might be my favorite). Regardless of the activities that occupy your weekend, the history and people of Charleston will charm you!
The Vendue in the waterfront French Quarter is easily one of the best places for accommodation, as is the Francis Marion in the Historic District.
6. Miami, Florida
Miami is a place where singles, couples, and friends alike can come to have a lively weekend — regardless of age or interests. And, with average temperatures in the 70˚F to 80˚F range, there’s never a bad time to visit! Escape nasty winter weather and swim in the Venetian Pool, or spend a day in South Beach.
Ocean Drive is the epitome of Miami’s well-known art deco scene, so take a guided tour or stroll it at your own pace. The bright colors, Cuban culture, music and dancing are just a few of the things that make this city the perfect weekend getaway (especially if you’re in need of a tan)!
Stay at one of the many boutique hotels in South Beach — like Sense Beach House — or live the high life in South Beach at 1 Hotel South Beach.
7. San Diego, California
With San Diego being in the Top 10 Happiest Places to Live in the US, it couldn’t hurt to spend a few days there, right? Surf, sand, and constant sunshine just about sums up this city (in addition to the best Mexican food you’ve ever had).
Hike Torrey Pines and say hi to the seals in La Jolla, but be sure not to miss the amazing farmers markets! San Diego’s sunsets on the beach are unparalleled, so start your evenings off the right way: on the shores of some of the best beaches in the country.
You can’t go wrong staying in nearly any part of San Diego, but Hotel Pendry in the heart of the Gaslamp District is within close walking distance to the best nightlife in the city.
Read more: Insider’s Guide to Planning a Trip to San Diego
8. Austin, Texas
Although in the heart of Texas, Austin doesn’t abide by this state’s stereotypes; you’re not likely to see many cowboy boots in this town! Austin boasts the most vibrant culture and coolest locals of anywhere in the south.
Enjoy a small local concert on 6th Street (it is the Live Music Capital of the World, after all), eat your weight in BBQ and TexMex cuisine, and relax in the natural waters of the Barton Springs Pool. At the end of the weekend, your Instagram will be teeming with unique sights and adventures.
Embrace Austin’s “weirdness” and settle into the trendy hipster-esque Archer Hotel or eco-friendly Heywood Hotel.
9. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is about more than just the booze on Bourbon Street. Head to Preservation Hall for live jazz every night of the week, check out artists painting in Jackson Square, The Presbytere museum dedicated to Mardi Gras and Hurricane Katrina. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling in February or March, try to plan your trip for the weekend before Mardi Gras for a bucket list-worthy experience!
For a grandiose stay in the Big Easy, book a room at Le Pavillon Hotel.
10. Seattle, Washington
Don’t be deterred by a little rainfall! With its ever-green scenery and stunning Mt. Rainier backdrop, Seattle might be the most beautiful city in the Pacific Northwest. Get your fill of tasty treats and seafood at Pike Place Market, then walk to Olympic Sculpture Park for the massive sculptures and marina views. If you find yourself in the city on a rainy day, take cover in one of 1,700 (!) coffee shops or the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
I’d suggest buying a Seattle City Pass for free entry to Seattle’s major attractions like the Space Needle, EMP Museum, and Chihuly Garden and Glass. As for lodging, book an Airbnb in the central Belltown area — there are plenty of apartments and homes available, often for under $100!
11. Chicago, Illinois
On the eastern border of Lake Michigan lies Chicago, a city known for its modern architecture and towering skyscrapers. Stroll the Navy Pier, take in a Cubs game at the famous Wrigley Field, or see the city’s skyline from a bird’s-eye view at Skydeck. Don’t forget to snap a picture in front of the Chicago Bean!
Book a room at the Ivy Boutique Hotel for rooftop dining, easy access to the beach, and short walk to shopping and entertainment on the Magnificent Mile.
12. Nashville, Tennessee
Music City may be an obvious choice for country music fans and whiskey lovers; Tennessee’s capital city has plenty of sights and activities for anyone interested in experiencing a little taste of America’s back-country roots.
Aside from the famous Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium — both of which offer nearly daily live shows — Nashville offers numerous museums, distilleries, a variety of southern dishes (try the hot chicken!) and outdoor wonders like Centennial Park and Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. Stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and check out 9 acres of beautiful indoor gardens, rivers and waterfalls.