Three, four, or even five-day weekends are an ideal time to pack your bags and go somewhere that you’ve never visited before. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel across the seas to experience something new. Here are eight cities make great destinations for long weekend getaways in the United States.
- Austin, TX
Austin is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for an escape down south. The city is known to have the best BBQ in the country, in addition to being dubbed the Live Music Capital of the World. Take a stroll down Sixth Street to enjoy live music right along the sidewalk, or jump into one of the city’s outdoor swimming holes such as Barton Springs Pool located inside the city, or Hamilton Pool Preserve less than an hour out of town.
One particular eatery that resembles Austin in a nutshell is Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. The food truck serves Texas BBQ, tacos, and even has a special breakfast menu from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM. Be sure to get there early because word on the street is they sell out frequently.
- New York City, NY
New York is always a fun option if you’re seeking a long weekend getaway on the East Coast. Immerse yourself in the high culture vibe of this concrete jungle by simply wandering the streets during the day, and then admiring the bright lights of The Big Apple from a rooftop bar at night. If it’s your first time, you should take the ferry to Staten Island, and get the best views of the Statue of Liberty.
Fans of the popular 90s sitcom Friends can see the city from the perspective of Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey with VacationRenter’s very own Friends 25th Anniversary New York City Travel Guide. But one of the best things about New York has got to be the variety of cheap, yet delicious food all over the city, such as the NYC classic, Artichoke Basille’s Pizza. You definitely won’t fall short of things to do in the city that never sleeps!
- San Francisco, CA
There are so many exciting things to do in San Francisco that we would highly recommend renting a car in order to get the full local experience. The city itself is filled with kid-friendly activities to explore, but there are also a handful of neighboring cities worth checking out while you’re there, such as Berkeley and Napa.
See the Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach, or snap a postcard-perfect tourist shot from the Marin Headlands. For nearly 360 views of the city, head over to the dog-friendly Bernal Heights Hill. On a sunny day in San Francisco, the best place to be is Mission Dolores Park, where you can pack your own picnic and witness the unique characters of San Francisco. To top off your SF experience during any time of year, go on your very own tiki bar crawl throughout the city and enjoy a round of tropical drinks with your travel buddies.
- Chicago, IL
We surveyed 1,000 travelers to find out which U.S. cities were the best for foodie adventures, and found that the #1 destination leads us to Chicago. The Windy City is known for its legendary deep dish pizza, but you can also get your hands on a variety of mouthwatering meals. Au Cheval cooks up one of the best cheeseburgers in town, with lines piling up around the block on some days. Foodies will also get a kick out of trying to hit all 25 Michelin starred restaurants in the city.
In true tourist fashion, you should snap a selfie at the famous reflective bean known as Cloud Gate, then test your fear of heights on the Willis Tower Skydeck, 103 floors up! Baseball fans can try to catch a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field if you can. Lastly. if you’re in search of nightlife, check out Three Dots and a Dash, where they have cocktails served in mugs unique to each concoction.
- Miami, FL
For anyone in dire need of an escape by the beach, Miami is calling your name! This city is filled with art, culture, and tropical vibes to satisfy all your beach holiday needs. It also ranks as one of the top U.S. cities with an international vibe, proudly flaunting a mix of its Cuban and Haitian culture. Choose from a handful of latin salsa bars to spend the night dancing away, starting with Punch Miami.
There’s tons to explore during the day, including the trendy Art Deco District in South Beach and the colorful Wynwood Arts District. The Art Deco District emulates architecture of the 1930’s, making you feel like you’ve stepped back into time as you walk along the beach. Over at Wynwood, you’ll find colorful murals lining the streets, along with a variety of hip eateries and bars like El Patio. On the second Saturday of every month, Wynwood hosts a monthly Art Walk, which is basically a block party full of local surprises!
- Washington, D.C.
If getting cultured sounds like your kind of vacation, or you’ve always been curious about American history, head over to the nation’s capital: Washington, D.C. Visit the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the National Gallery of Art. If you wish to visit the White House, you are required to submit a request through a Member of Congress no less than 21 days in advance.
Beer lovers will enjoy a handful of breweries to drink at, including Atlas Brew Works, Blue Jacket, DC Brau, and Right Proper Brewing Company. You can also indulge in local bites at food halls such as Tastemakers and Union Market. Want to keep the fun going? Make your way to Georgetown and explore the neighborhood’s nightlife!
- Nashville, TN
Nashville, also known as Music City, is a wonderful vacation destination for music lovers. The city has its very own Walk of Fame, a landmark paying tribute to various artists in a wide range of genres. With dozens of music venues filling up the streets of the city, including the historic Grand Ole Opry, you’re guaranteed a night full of entertainment.
One unique Nashville experience is to make a reservation at The Listening Room, where you’ll get an intimate experience of songwriters performing their musical creations while you enjoy a seasonal meal. You can also visit Nashville’s Parthenon, which is a full-sized replica of the architectural masterpiece that can be found in Greece.
- Mendocino, CA
Our final long weekend destination takes us back to California, to the beautiful coastal community of Mendocino. This is a great place for either outdoor activities, or major rest and relaxation. Here, you’ll have access to plenty of outdoor attractions including Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, the Point Arena Lighthouse, and not one, not two — but three parks to explore.
Going from north to south, and all less than 20 minutes away from each other, there’s Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park, Russian Gulch State Park, and Van Damme State Park. You could check out all three in one day, or take your time exploring one park a day over the long weekend. Russian Gulch State Park also has campsites available for anyone seeking a true great outdoors adventure!