Before diving head first into the holiday season, plan a quick getaway to relax and enjoy the final weeks of the season. It seems that most of the US had a somewhat late summer this year which means the fall leaves are appearing and sticking around later than usual. Thanksgiving is a month away and it starts the insanity that is the holiday season, but not if you start preparing now! In the meantime, give yourself a break by taking a quick trip away from everyday life. These five destinations have a mix of warmer and colder fall weather but each is a strong contender in its own right. From New England to California, whether you have a regular weekend or a long weekend, these are worth a fall getaway…Read More
Solo travel is one of the most rewarding experiences. It’s a chance for self-discovery, adventure and getting out of your comfort zone. It’s a true test of character and resilience. You learn just as much about yourself as the culture of the destination you’re visiting. It’s an experience everyone should have at least once but something I know I try to make a regular occurrence. One of the biggest questions that I’ve been asked since my first trip is about safety. As a woman, it can be scary and intimidating to travel alone, especially in the world we live in today. While I can’t guarantee that every experience will be a positive one, I can guarantee that every experience will be a memorable one and will enrich your life in one way or another.
Each city has its own pros and cons. These factors include walkability, number of activities, friendliness of the people, etc. As a solo traveler, I prefer visiting destinations that have good walkability. I’d rather not rent a car and I’d ideally like to be able to get around as easy as possible. Public transportation is something I can figure out pretty quick so I’m not above using it when it’s available. Every other part of choosing a destination is personal to you. What are you looking to get out of your trip? What are you interested in? And what you do want to take away from it? I can’t help you there but I can share a few recommendations for first time solo travelers. These destinations also keep women in mind. I’ve personally visited all but two of these cities and I was by myself for each of them. The others come from lots of research and strong recommendations from fellow travelers.
These cities are organized alphabetically but Boston is by far my favorite on this list. As far as stateside travel goes, Boston will mostly likely always take the cake. Boston is a fantastic food city. Zagat and The Daily Meal have both recently included it in lists sharing the best food cities across America. It is a history buff’s dream city. It takes you back in time walking down the street. From trendy neighborhoods like Beacon Hill to quick trips across the river to Cambridge, the entire city is one giant adventure just waiting to be had. Don’t miss the Boston Common, grabbing a slice of pizza or a cannoli in the North End, and walking through a Harry Potter-esque, early Gilmore Girls dream come true on the Harvard Campus.
Chicago is one of those cities that gets a bad rep from the media but doesn’t deserve it. It’s a beautiful city with tons of history, stunning architecture and an endless number of things to do. Bon Appetit even named it the Restaurant City of the Year in 2017 which was a mere three months ago. The culinary scene is without question one of the best and most exciting in the US and it’s constantly evolving. There are plenty of craft coffee shops to visit in every neighborhood and our obsession with donuts can be found in too many specialty donut shops. We have some of the best museums...did you know that the Art Institute of Chicago has the second largest collection of impressionist art in the world, only second to the D’Orsay in Paris? And we’re set to receive the biggest dinosaur ever discovered at the Field Museum very soon. Not to mention, Chicago is a walkable city, the public transportation is not hard to navigate at all and the people (I’ve been told) are friendly. We might be freezing cold for several months out of the year but if you catch us in a good month, especially during fall, you won’t regret the experience at all.
There are a lot of great places to visit in Colorado near the Denver area. Boulder is a fantastic city, there are several towns in the mountains that are great to visit. Denver is easy to access and it’s great for exploring by yourself though. It’s walkable, public transportation is easy to navigate and there’s plenty to do. One of the things that I feel is less known about Denver is the amount of graffiti art it has. The art scene is huge in general but it’s fun to walk around and see the designs. Denver also has suprisingly nice weather. For non-locals, Denver seems like it would always be snowed in and cold. It’s actually a somewhat mild climate with a few bad weather days. I’d say that those are pretty good odds for a successful trip.
Madison is a gorgeous city to visit any time of the year. The University of Wisconsin - Madison campus draws plenty of visitors and has become known as one of the most beautiful in the country. If you’re one of the many who prefers to discover destinations by foot, Madison has a unique bicycle program that makes covering a lot of ground easy and endless trails to explore as well. Madison has a food scene supported and inspired by locality. For example, a lot of the beers you’ll find at restaurants and bars you’ll only find in Wisconsin because they keep to a local business code. The lake views are gorgeous photo opportunities and if you visit in warmer months, the lake is a hotbed of water sports. If you don’t believe me when it comes to Madison, believe my cousin who moved there for college and never looked back...and also this article from Travel + Leisure.
San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is a surprisingly amazing city. I’m not sure what most people expect when it comes to San Antonio but for myself, I didn’t have any expectations. All I knew was that there was this riverwalk everyone talked about and that the Alamo was here. Little did I know that it feels like a tropical escape, the riverwalk is absolutely stunning and there is a load of things to do. Just the riverwalk alone can take up your time for days. There are a multitude of restaurants, shops, and activities from live music to historical monuments. The riverwalk has a water taxi that takes you along the majority of the city’s most popular destinations including the Pearl District, an ex-brewery turned multi-purpose establishment with a hotel, restaurants, shopping, residences, and more.
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco was the first city that I traveled to alone. It was my first trip after starting my freelance career and more circumstantial than anything since a friend of mine was getting married out there. I organized a three week trip - two weeks visiting family in Dallas and five days in San Francisco. San Francisco, while not my favorite place I’ve visited, is easy to navigate (if you don’t include the thigh killing hills) and there is plenty to occupy your time with. From gorgeous parks to interesting neighborhoods, ferry rides to abandoned prisons and day trips to wine country, there’s something for every interest. Lots of shopping, plenty of restaurants to try, you name it. Don’t miss the opportunity to ride a traditional trolly or get a beautiful shot of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s also worth it to mention that the weather is perfect year round so packing for San Francisco is a breeze.
Seattle is one of those cities that’s always been on my radar thanks to Nirvana, Sleepless in Seattle, Starbucks and Grey’s Anatomy. The home of grunge rock, too much rain and plenty of fish markets, Seattle is a city I keep hearing about which makes me want to buy a plane ticket now. I mean, my own personal list of things I want to do in Seattle is pretty long. Visit the high school where 10 Things I Hate About You was filmed, go see a few live music performances, go to a vineyard and winery, sit in a coffee shop and pretend I’m having coffee with Frasier, Niles and Daphne, visit the original Starbucks, visit Pike Place Market, and there’s more. Seattle saw the birth of an entire genre of music which also happens to be one of my favorites. Not to mention, the cloudy days would not bother this girl one bit. For you first time solo travelers, I’ve been told Seattle has really friendly locals. That’s always a plus…
Washington DC is one of those places that is so approachable even schools send groups of students there for special trips. That’s actually how I discovered Washington DC for the first time - on an 8th grade trip. 12 years later, I returned for a 10-day visit after five days in Boston. Seeing the nation’s capital as a 25 year old as opposed to a 13 year old was a really interesting experience. DC is great for solo travel because there is an endless list of things to do, it’s a walkable city with easy to navigate public transportation, and because it’s such a high-tourist destination, the people almost expect you to approach them with a question. It’s friendly, welcoming and you certainly won’t be bored!
Even if you don’t think that solo travel is for you, I encourage you to try at least one trip. Make it a city you’ve already been to so it’s not a completely new experience. Imagine a trip where you don’t have to think about what anyone else wants to do or when they want to do it. The only opinion that counts is yours. If you want to stroll around aimlessly one day and pack in a full schedule of activities the next, you can! If you want to change your mind last minute about what restaurant you’re heading to for dinner, do it! That’s the best part of traveling solo. The only person you need to consider the entire time is yourself. When was the last time you were able to do that?
Winter only began less than one month ago. Isn’t that hard to believe? With almost three months left of the cold-weather season, it’s time to plan for a winter getaway. Everyone loves a beach but you can visit those any time of the year. Snow only falls during during one season making it a little more special. It’s hard to ignore how pretty everything is covered in pure white, glistening snow. Everything looks magical and nothing beats getting cozy at night in front of a fire with a warm blanket and cup of hot chocolate. Maybe I’m biased since winter tends to by my favorite time of year (almost tied with fall) but it’s hard to ignore the beauty of the season. If you’re itching to get away for a long weekend or something more, we’ve put together a list of spots to go for a winter getaway in North America.
For those who love the outdoors, Banff is the perfect winter getaway. Located in Banff National Park, this small resort town features skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, snowboarding, and every other winter activity. There’s also hiking and fishing. For those who prefer to stay away from sports, there's plenty of shopping, dining and spas. Or stay in one of the gorgeous cabins and resorts to cozy up and catch up on reading. Not sold yet? Check out the city’s blog post on why you should visit in January.
Black Hills, SD
Go off the grid for a true getaway in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This remote, isolated area is the perfect location to disconnect and unwind, especially after a crazy holiday season. The Black Hills are a snow-filled wonderland making it an ideal wintry escape. Close by are Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, and Devil’s Tower, all accessible year-round. Something tells me a photo of Mount Rushmore covered in snow is worth the escape.
Boston is magical any time of year. The city’s age gives it a magical atmosphere making it perfect to visit no matter the season. Imagine the brick roads and cobblestone sidewalks covered in snow. The smoke coming out of old chimneys and the smell of baked goods wafting through the air. When the city glistens in the cold night, you’re taken back in time and nostalgia sinks in deep. The lights throughout the city are beautiful over the holiday season but if a January/February trip is in your future, it won’t be any less magical.
Remember in White Christmas when they’re on the train talking about how it would nice to have a white Christmas in Vermont? It’s the snow capital of the world! Well, Burlington is no different. Plus it carries small town charm with an old world feel. For those who enjoy culture, dining, and entertainment, Burlington is the getaway for you. It’s a great town for a long weekend visit with cozy accommodations and beautiful views. The Boston Globe recently shared an article on five ways to enjoy the city. It’s a great read for a jump start on planning that weekend escape!
Door County, WI
There isn't one winter round-up that doesn't' include Door County. A winter wonderland of the Midwest, Door County is Wisconsin’s ultimate snow land with 15 different towns to visit. There’s something for everyone whether you’re looking for a kid-friendly, family getaway or a romantic escape for two. From light houses to wineries, forests and national parks to unique restaurants, Door County has it all. Catch a jazz concert or stay in with a cozy cup of hot cocoa in front of the fireplace. Get a taste of cherry pie with local fruit the area is known for. Go on a brewery or distillery crawl, see a variety of wild animals, and take a ride on a snowmobile. If there were ever a winter wonderland, Door County is it.
Galena is a small city in the Northwestern corner of Illinois. The town rests on the border of Illinois and Iowa with only the Mississippi River dividing them. It’s a charming place to visit with plenty to do but you can tackle it all in a weekend. For a longer trip, venture out to close cities including Elizabeth, IL and Dubuque, IA. Enjoy skiing, sledding, and other winter sports as well as relaxing spa days and delicious meals.
Hudson Valley, NY
The Hudson Valley is an expanse of counties and towns along either side of the Hudson River in upstate New York. The area is known for gorgeous views of nature, lots of history and an ever-growing food scene. Whether you’re visiting for a long weekend or planning an extended stay, there are plenty of small towns and national parks to explore. If you’re looking for a city escape, it’s also within driving distance of New York City. America’s oldest winery is located in the valley and the Appalachian Trail is one of the most popular hiking spots in New England. Want a taste of history? Visit one of the many old homes or estates for a trip back in time. With ten different counties to explore, there will be plenty to do now and even more to come back for.
Quebec City, Canada
For a European experience without the long flight, Quebec City is about as French as it gets in North America. The city is more than 400 years old so if you love historical destinations with a back-in-time feel, this is the spot for you. The city is known for a European experience but within minutes, outdoorsy types can find hiking, winter sports, and nature escapes. Visit some of North America’s oldest streets in Old Quebec. Take a day trip to Ile d’Orleans which is like stepping into the French countryside circa 18th century. Take a winter hike in the Jacques-Cartier National Park. Take photos of extraordinary views at the Chateau Frontenac. Wander through Place Royale for an afternoon of shopping and sightseeing. Quebec City and Montreal are two cities towards the top of my travel list I'd like to get to sooner rather than later.
Winter Park, Colorado
About 45 minutes outside of Denver is a small mountain town with plenty of charm and an abundance of privacy. My girlfriends and I visited last February for a long weekend getaway and it was a nice escape from regular city life. There are no words to describe the mountains. They’re magnificent and peaceful all in one. Leave the city on Sunday to take advantage of the Winter Park Express, a train that goes from Winter Park to Denver without any stops. The train travels through the mountains providing unbelievable views of the mountains and valleys. Winter Park is a ski town with lots of winter sports but if you’re like me and not as athletically inclined for sports that require balance, there’s also lots of restaurants, shops and spas to indulge in. Or, you could stay in with friends while taking advantage of the beautiful views from each window in the house.
If you’re looking for a serious carb overload, Boston’s North End is your destination. With an unlimited amount of trattorias and pizza joints, the Italian neighborhood serves up famous cannolis and pizza in every imaginable style...except deep dish. That seems to be limited to Chicago and being a native, I wouldn’t trust it anywhere else. The North End is also home to several destinations along the Freedom Trail including the Paul Revere House and Old North Church. Many of the streets and sidewalks are paved with brick or cobblestone and the buildings are so old you can feel the history seeping through each crack. While Beacon Hill offers an elite experience into historical Boston, North End offers an intimate look into the lives of its residents, many people who were just like you or I. The main difference being they lived a hundred or so years ago...maybe even more. It’s a neighborhood that offers a deeper connection to the stories of those who came before us. All it takes is one walk through the neighborhood and you’ll understand exactly what I mean.
First thing for your to-do list, walk down Hanover Street. Hanover works as the “Main St.” of Boston. It’s full of shops, restaurants, homes, businesses and more. It’s also a great starting point to use when discovering the neighborhood for the first time. Walk down the street and branch out when you want to explore. A few places in particular we recommend include:
- Thinking Cup: this quaint, local coffee shop is serving up delicious coffee and serves breakfast and sandwiches all day. It’s a great spot to grab something on the go or sit down, grab a bite and plan out the day.
- Galleria Umberto: bring cash and comfortable shoes because this Sicilian-style pizza joint serves up some of the best pizza in Boston. Lines are known for being long and once they’re out, that’s it for the day!
- Mike’s Pastry: after pizza, head down to Mike’s Pastry for unbeatable cannolis and other sweets. This is another cash-only spot so make sure to have plenty on hand and be prepared to stand in line. This is a local and visitor favorite so the line can get a bit long.
- Paul Revere Statue: right off Hanover Street, there’s this towering statue of Paul Revere on his horse. It leads towards the Old North Church, one of the Freedom Trail stops and makes a for a great photo.
For anyone interested in history, North End has several spots off the Freedom Trail you can knock off the list. The Paul Revere House is tucked away on North Square Street which runs parallel one block away from Hanover Street. It’s across the square from Sacred Heart Church which is a gorgeous Roman-Catholic Church. No surprise there considering this is the Italian Village of Boston. Old North Church on Salem Street is right down the mall from the Paul Revere Statue. It was the starting point for Paul Revere’s ride made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Finally, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Boston’s second cemetery. This isn’t an official stop on the Freedom Trail but has been adopted since it brings many visitors in and runs along the trail anyway.
Still hungry? North End is loaded with plenty of wonderful restaurants, coffee shops and cafes. A few more in particular we recommend include La Galleria 33 for bomb bolognese and a traditional white tablecloth restaurant experience. The service is spectacular and I wish I could have brought home the basket of fresh baked bread. My mouth drools thinking about it. For those looking for a traditional New England cuisine experience, Neptune’s Oyster Bar is a must-visit. It’s a bit pricey so be prepared to stretch the budget and wait. Neptune’s doesn’t take reservations so get there early or be prepared to find something to do while waiting for the call that the table is ready.
1 - Hanover Street is a must but also venture down Salem Street. There are a number of hidden gems from cute residences to small bakeries and shops. If Hanover Street feels historical, Salem Street feels downright ancient.
2 - Not exactly in North End, there’s a pub outside the North End boundaries on Union Street called the Bell in Hand Tavern. It’s the oldest tavern in America founded by “Boston’s Town Crier for 50 years,” Jimmy Wilson. The pub became known for only serving beer and the best beer at that. The Bell in Hand Tavern was founded in 1795.
3 - Walk through North End Park. This small but long park along the edge of the North End has one of the best views of downtown Boston. Those skyline photos you’ve seen me share and post on social media were taken at North End Park.
4 - Have a picnic in Christopher Columbus Park. Located on the waterfront, this favorite spot has gorgeous views of the water, a play area for kids and gardens. It’s also a popular spot for events.
Fall is my favorite time to travel. The weather is at its best and depending on where you go, prices can be more affordable than usual. For example, I bought a round-trip flight from Chicago to Dallas to San Francisco and back to Chicago for under $200. I’m not making that up either, it was a steal! My travel time is typically from October to April, breaking during the holiday season. Fall and spring are ideal for traveling in the north and winter is perfect to visit the south. I love putting together mini guides of sorts sharing where to travel when, where to travel for certain things, etc. Today, we’re going with three great cities to visit in the fall. While this list could be endless, I’m tailoring it down to a few places that have made an impact on me during this time of year. Keep reading to find out why.
This is probably not a hard sell for the fall season. The New England area in general is known for spectacular fall colors and Halloween celebrations. It’s a dream of mine to make it to Salem close to Halloween and take a trip throughout the entire Northeastern region but baby steps. Boston is a city where you can feel the history and age. From the cobblestone and brick streets to the century-old buildings, it’s the closest you can get to Revolutionary and pre-Revolutionary times. Each road, each building and each neighborhood has a special story waiting to be discovered. Add the chilly, cloudy fall weather and colored leaves, it’s a magical experience. While I recommend everyone to visit Boston at least once in their lifetime, I recommend even more visiting at least once in the fall.
Maybe not the most obvious choice for a fall trip but one worth mentioning. I visit the Dallas-Fort Worth area every year, usually in the fall. I’ll arrive sometime close to Halloween and stay through mid-November. The best of Chicago’s fall is just about ending by the time I leave and Dallas’ fall is starting to begin. It means I get an extended fall each year, something I’m not mad about. Texas doesn’t get as chilly as the north during fall but it can get cool enough to wear cute sweaters and boots. You’ll also get treated to a few trees turning colors. Like the rest of the south, Texas is unbearably hot for at least 4-5 months out of the year. The weather in fall is sunny, breezy and beautiful. It’s the best time, in my humble opinion, to visit the state. There’s also a decent-sized wine country so fall also means harvest season! How can you resist celebrating a grape harvest?
What to Do:
Take the free trolley along McKinney Avenue to see some of the Dallas neighborhoods or simply walk
Grab a burger at Village Burger Bar
Visit Grapevine! Later in November, all of the decorations are out for Christmas.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
San Francisco has gorgeous weather year round but it's also within driving distance of Napa Valley and Sonoma, the US’s favorite wine country. The city of San Francisco itself has plenty to offer in the fall and any time of year. The Presidio is one site in particular beautiful to visit in the fall. For those who love the sunshine and want to soak up every last minute of it, San Francisco is your friend. Go for a hike, enjoy one of the many parks or stroll along the ridiculously hilly streets. Venture outside of San Francisco for the Muir Woods, Yosemite Park, Montery or Carmel. California might not have a traditional fall experience but the northern region provides a spectacular one nonetheless.
Happy International Coffee Day! If you haven’t figured it out already, coffee is the main attraction around here. Without it, I’d probably resemble something that walks out of the gates of Mordor each day in both physical appearance and behavior. Work would not get done, conversations wouldn’t be had and sanity would definitely be lost. If you caught a few of my latest Instagram stories, you’d know that I’m dealing with a malfunctioning Keurig at the moment. Let’s just say, mornings have gotten a little extra strenuous managing a French Press and I have greatly increased my Starbucks spending habit. I know...pathetic. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta to for a good cup of the strong stuff. That’s all I’m going to say.
Back to International Coffee Day though. To celebrate this glorious food holiday, I’m sharing my favorite spots to grab coffee from each coffee guide that has been on the site as well as a few recipes you can make in the comfort of your own home. Once you’ve browsed through, tell me in the comments below where your favorite place to grab a cup of the good stuff is and what your favorite coffee beverage is!
Downtown + River North Neighborhoods: While I love all the coffee shops in this guide, Two Zero Three is my favorite. It has a prime location in the Virgin Hotel and I can always count on a spot to sit and trusty internet to use. The drinks are great, the music not too loud and the ambiance perfect for getting things done.
Logan Square Neighborhood: This was a tough one. Gaslight has the best grilled cheese and tomato soup combo I’ve ever had plus the space is hip making me feel like one of the cool kids. But since it’s International Coffee Day, I’m going to have to go with Brew Brew Coffee Lounge on Diversey. They serve up great espresso drinks and it’s particularly charming during the holiday season.
South Loop Neighborhood: This neighborhood is continuing to grow and change which makes it so exciting. Our list of coffee shops for the South Loop might be small but I have no doubt it will continue to grow over time. With that said, Overflow is our top pick. There’s a ton of seating making it the ultimate remote office location. They have good internet and tasty coffee drinks including seasonal options.
West Loop + Ukrainian Village Neighborhoods: Considering the West Loop is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago right now, it should be obvious my #1 pick would be from this area. Sawada Coffee gets the top spot for originality, location, vibe and caffeinated beverages. I had one of the best lattes of my life in this coffee shop and the space is so fun. From the graffiti door to industrial, loft-style space, it’s one of the more unique coffee shops I’ve been to and especially one of the more laid back.
Beacon Hill: Anytime I visit Boston, Tatte Bakery & Cafe will be on my list of spots to visit. The Charles Street location feels like it could be a second home with how welcoming the atmosphere is. And while this might not be coffee, they have Belgian Hot Chocolate that is to die for. Besides that, it’s in my favorite Boston neighborhood.
Cambridge: Crema Cafe on Brattle Street is a local hot spot. It makes sense since they know how to brew a good cup o’Joe. This two-level space has tons of seating but it doesn’t matter because it fills up quick! Don’t be surprised if you need to share a bistro table with a stranger. I did but I had a wonderful conversation with two New England natives.
North End: Also know as Boston’s Italian neighborhood, it’s no doubt this part of town knows how to make a good cup of coffee. Thinking Cup on Hanover Street is one of the larger coffee shops I’ve ever been in. Extending way back, there is plenty of seating and a full menu making it a great location when you have a full day’s work ahead of you.
Jane on Larkin will always hold a special place for me when it comes to San Francisco. Serving up a bomb cappuccino and quiche, this corner coffee shop is everything you’d expect in San Fran. It has an urban yet chic vibe but isn’t stuffy. It’s not a large space but there is a bit of room to sit down and get work done. It became my home away from home for a few days.
Dallas: This is a tough one thanks to the Bishop Arts District which was so much fun to explore. The winner here is Sip | Stir Cafe in Uptown. What quickly became my favorite neighborhood in the city, it’s an urban spot that’s also casual which I love. There’s also tons of seating both inside and outside and good internet which is something that’s important to me.
Fort Worth: BREWED will always be one of my favorite spots to visit along Magnolia Street. It’s a coffee shop, a brunch spot, a bar, a patio, a live music scene. The food is great, the drinks better and it’s always a great time.
For those of you interested in making your own caffeinated beverage at home, check out these seasonal coffee recipes as well! Happy International Coffee Day!
With fall being here almost a week, the weather has finally started to cool a bit but not to what it should be. After almost a full week of 90 to 100 degree days, Chicago has sent off summer with brutal temperatures that I never want experience again. The next week is promising with 60 to 70 degree days but for those of us who love to embrace sweater weather, the low 60s/high 50s is where it’s at. Even though the Midwest might be coming off an intense heat wave, one things for certain - the trees are ready for fall. Leaves are falling everywhere and while it’s not peak fall transition yet, it’s enough to get us fall lovers excited for what’s to come. In celebration of the cooler season, we’ve put together a list of destinations across the US to see the prettiest fall leaves. There are hundreds more where this came from so if you don’t see your favorite fall destination on our list, tell us in the comments below! Make sure you also check out our ultimate guide to fall for more seasonal inspiration.
Having recently spent a week in this historic city at the peak of the fall season, I cannot recommend enough a visit to Boston during this time of year. The leaves are incredible. Coupled with the cobblestone and brick roads and the historic buildings, it becomes an immeasurable experience. For a true fall experience, stroll through the Boston Common or take a minute to explore Acorn Street in Beacon Hill. You’ll find multi-colored trees throughout the entire city but these two particular spots provide an exceptional experience. If you have time, take a day trip across the river to Cambridge where you’ll experience even more fall greatness. For a bit of a longer hike (about an hour’s drive), head to Salem for the ultimate fall road trip that mixes gorgeous foliage with spooktacular festivities.
Located near the heart of Colorado in the Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge is a beautiful site for those lucky enough to live in the area and see it annually each fall. The leaves turn vibrant shades of red, yellow, orange and brown making the scenery seem more like a piece of art rather than real life nature. "The mountains should start seeing leaves change this weekend," says Tiffany of The Dwelling Tree. "Breckenridge and Aspen both have gorgeous fall colors." I've only had the chance to see the mountains in winter with multiple feet of snow but if I have a chance to go back during fall, you bet I'll be taking all the photos I can manage!
Galena is located about three hours outside of Chicago, two or two and a half if you get good traffic. It’s a small, historic city located right on the Mississippi River. It’s a picturesque town with rolling hills and beautiful historic buildings which is magical in the fall. Walk down main street for a middle-America, small town experience with plenty of shops and restaurants to meander through. For those who love hiking, there are trails on trails on trails. While Galena might not be particularly close to...well, anywhere...it is 100% worth the drive. If you happen to plan a fall adventure, you will be welcomed with beauty that only fall can offer both in and out of this incredible city.
Lake Geneva, WI
Known as the summer home destination of wealthy Chicagoans, we prefer this southeastern city in the fall. Located on Lake Geneva, it’s one of those rare spots where fall foliage meets reflecting water. Not only will you build your photography collection while visiting, you’ll also be able to celebrate Oktoberfest, drink loads of cider and beer, go apple picking, roast marshmallows over a bonfire and more. It’s the ultimate Midwestern fall experience that every local to the region must enjoy at least once or twice. My good friend Dannie from Stile.Foto.Cibe. recently wrote a post sharing top fall foliage spots in the Midwest! Make sure you go check it out when you’re finished with our post!
Morton Arboretum in DuPage, IL
Another Illinois gem, the Morton Arboretum in Lisle provides a stunning landscape and natural wonder during the season. They also provide a variety of events all season long for locals and visitors to enjoy. "The Morton Arboretum has an annual fall colors festival when the changing leaves are at their peak," says Katie Matusky of Entropy Organized. "Enjoy miles of hiking through different species of trees, live music, and a candy apple bar. It is an absolutely lovely way to get some fresh air and admire changing foliage from around the world."
Representing the western part of the country, Portland seems like the perfect city. Friendly, filled with fantastic food and pretty perfect weather. Average temps are mild for the most part making it my kind of town, especially being a craft coffee mecca. The northwest, in general, is a rather spectacular spot to enjoy fall leaves but if we had to pick one spot Portland wins. Enjoy one of many parks and gardens, browse a bookshop while sipping an unreal cup of coffee, grab a bite to eat (preferably on a patio if you can), go for a hike and enjoy the uniqueness the city offers.
Maybe not the most obvious choice for a fall foliage post, I couldn’t leave the south out. While they may experience warm weather more than cool weather, they do experience fall even for a short time. Savannah is one of those places. “The Spanish Moss trees begin to turn as the weather cools,” says Chelsee from Southern Beauty Guide. “It’s particularly stunning at sunset when all the colors come together. Just gorgeous.” Savannah is one of those destinations that is at the top of my wish list. The city is absolutely gorgeous with a vibrant history, beautiful architecture and a booming food scene.
Known more for the cherry blossoms in spring, Washington D.C. should also be noted for their fall colors. Being a little farther south, fall comes a bit later for the capitol but it’s perfect for northerners that want to extend the season a few weeks. I’ve never experienced the cherry blossom trees in spring and I’m sure they’re gorgeous but there was something about walking among the Capitol Building’s grounds and the National Mall in the crisp fall air with leaves falling all around. It was special, that’s the best way to explain it.
Naming favorites isn’t a thing that I typically try to do but when it comes to Boston, I found myself leaving with too many of them. While I found a favorite restaurant, coffee shop and street, I would even go so far to say I found a favorite neighborhood as well. Beacon Hill encapsulates everything that comes to mind while thinking about Boston. Old-fashioned street lamps, cobblestone streets and historic buildings make up this hill top neighborhood. Walking through the streets in the residential area, you get a good leg and butt workout wandering about. I promise, it’s worth the repeated climb. And for a little direction to your Beacon Hill wandering, we’ve put together a few places to grab a bite, a few spots to visit and tips to take with you.
3 Spots To Grab a Bite
Figs, located on Charles Street, is a local favorite. Todd English provides guests with a casual bistro-style setting and his famous super thin crust, free-style pizza. The pizza is made with an almost cracker thin crust and rolled out rustically giving foodies a different shape every time. The restaurant also serves up homemade pasta making it a standout simply for that.
Tatte Bakery & Cafe is a spot I’ve already included in several posts including our restaurant round-up and 3-day itinerary. It was the second place I ate at while visiting Boston on my first full day in the city. It was cold and rainy and I had only brought sweaters with me but I fell in love anyway. Tatte’s is another local favorite, especially the Charles Street location because of it’s large outdoor patio. They serve breakfast through dinner with a great amount of variety. There are many locations around Boston and in Cambridge so even if the Charles Street location isn’t doable, make sure to check out one of the others.
Toscano is more upscale compared to the other two restaurants but well worth a try. Serving up Tuscan food made famous in Florence, Toscano pays homage to their roots with seasonal and imported ingredients. You’ll find handmade pasta, a variety of cheeses, sausage, tomatoes and more. Their wine list is large and in charge featuring variety but also Tuscan wines that are well-known like Chianti. It’s about as Tuscan of an experience you’ll get outside the region itself.
3 Places You Must Visit
Beacon Hill Chocolates is a tiny shop with artisan chocolates from all over the world. From truffles to chocolate covered pretzels, there’s a treat for everyone. You’ll find seasonal chocolates and treats as well as classics. According to their website, the owner travels around the world to find the best chocolates and ingredients making her shop wonderful.
The majority of Beacon Hill’s attractions are along Charles Street so it would be impossible to miss it. Much of Beacon Hill is residential buildings except for the top of the hill (literally) where the Massachusetts State House sits. Charles Street is home to a number of restaurants, antique shops, boutiques and more including the Charles Street Meeting House. Veer off of Charles Street and you’ll see lots of brownstone buildings and cobblestone streets the neighborhood is known for. It’s also part of what makes it so expensive to live in!
A historical building. Beacon Hill has several historical buildings that visitors can tour. The Park Street Church and Charles Street Meeting House are both part of the freedom trail but only the Park Street Church is available for tours. For those who love a good home tour, the Nichols House Museum is one of the earliest recorded homes in Beacon Hill and serves as a museum open to visitors.
Where to Grab Photos
All of Beacon Hill is Instagrammable. For specific locations to keep in mind, keep a close eye for interesting and unique shops along Beacon Street. There’s a post-office that looks like something out of an old movie. Acorn Street is also a must. There’s nothing spectacular about it in particular but it makes you feel like you can touch another place in time by being there. If you plan to venture outside of Beacon Hill, there is the Boston Common, esplanade and Beacon Street which are all photo-friendly. Finally, veer off Charles Street and the main roads because the residential parts of Beacon Hill are incredible. The houses are beautiful not only because of their architecture but because the people who live there no doubt take pride in their homes and the location they’ve chosen to live.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes. Beacon Hill is full of steep hills, cobblestone and brick sidewalks and roads and they’re not always even. Being fashionable is great but spending an afternoon of your trip in the emergency room because of a bum ankle ruins everyone’s time.
- Beacon Hill is within walking distance from the Back Bay, North End, West End and downtown neighborhoods. Pack your schedule by visiting one of those neighborhoods and Beacon Hill in the same day.
- Visit the Boston Public Garden along Charles Street across Beacon Street. It’s a great spot for photos with lagoons, boat rides, fountains and more.
- Access the esplanade from Revere Street, Mt. Vernon Street or Pinckney Street.
- For a true tourist spot, the original Cheers Bar is located at the edge of Beacon Hill along Beacon Street. Stop there for a photo and if you’re in the mood for classic bar bites.