America has some of the best cities in the world, hands down! And for most North Americans, vacation time is precious. We don’t always have the luxury of planning a long, elaborate holiday. So for those in between times when a weekend is all you have, there are plenty of fabulous city escapes that will leave you feeling recharged and rejuvenated, without the stress of draining your bank account. So start socking away a few dollars and start peppering your calendar with some of these great American city getaways:
San Antonio, Texas
In the midst of the fury of winter, heading south is always a good idea. Snag yourself a little extra Vitamin D in what is often rated as one of the most visitor-friendly cities in the country. Its picturesque setting is a photographer’s dream, the myriad historic sites around the city including the Alamo are a virtual mecca for history buffs and the city’s beautiful Riverwalk has a 15-mile stretch of bicycle pathways.
Kansas City, Missouri
The 2008 Recession was tough on everyone, but there has been some silver lining. Cities that were otherwise ignored by the tourism industry have seen a dramatic increase in visitors, eager to explore and experience more of this great country. Kansas City is one of those cities, with its wonderfully affordable hotel prices, great art museums, city parks a-plenty and a culinary scene that will leave you with a few extra delicious pounds.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Nestled in the mountainous Salt Lake Valley, Salt Lake City is the ultimate “everything” destination. The Olympic Park, the Natural History Museum and the Hogle Zoo are just a sampling of sights you’ll find. And with a nightlife worthy of any large metropolis, and a culinary scene the most discerning of foodies would love, Salt Lake City is the perfect city for a getaway.
Providence, Rhode Island
Believe it or not, Rhode Island is often hailed as the top 10 most budget friendly American cities, even in the high season. If you do happen to be here in the summer, most of the outdoor events are free to attend, and on the third Thursday of every summer month, hop aboard the Art Bus and take part in “Gallery Nights”. Enjoy a riverside bonfire, take a sailing trip, or spend the weekend cuddled up in one of the various quaint B&B’s dotting the coastline.
Spending a weekend in Philadelphia is more than just an escape, it’s a historic pilgrimage. Every American should have the opportunity to visit the birthplace of American democracy. The City of Brotherly Love is home to the Liberty Bell, the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of Paris, and the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, if that isn’t the combination for a perfect city escape, what is? A weekend may not be quite long enough to experience everything, but it’s a great start!
Houston is cosmopolitan, chic and on trend wherever you look. If food is your passion, Zagat estimates that meals here are about $3-$4 less than the national average! Hotel options are plentiful, varied and affordable for every budget from the super opulent to the budget minded. Voted as one of the top 10 best american cities for everything from live music events, fashion, shopping, green space and art, Houston is a great choice for a weekend getaway.
Austin may be the “live music capital of the world”, but Nashville is coined the “Music City” with good reason. Home to the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music and the $123 million Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville is a city that thrives on rhythm. Take a stroll down the Music City Walk of Fame, and be sure to see who’s in town while you’re here to catch the music scenes hottest stars rocking their heart out at Bridgestone Arena.
Seattle may not be the least expensive cities on the list, but it is certainly one of the most visitor friendly, the most walkable and the friendliest. Made famous by countless movies, most notable, Sleepless in Seattle, places like Pike Place Market, the Space Needle and the must-see Music Experience Project are all worth the visit.
Charleston, South Carolina
Much like Seattle, Charleston not only ranks among the friendliest cities in America in Conde Naste Traveler Magazine, it’s ranked as one of the best American cities by Trip Advisor contributors – The people have spoken! King Street boasts a collective of independently owned boutiques, immune from big box chains, and the cities myriad cobblestone streets are often best explored by a romantic horse drawn carriage tour.
San Diego, California
Avoid the pollution, endless traffic jams and exorbitant pricing of its neighbour to the north and enjoy a warm, laid back escape to sunny San Diego. Home to one of the world’s most renown zoos, a safari park and childhood meccas like Legoland. If you want to slow the pace down, catch a wave or two, laze around on Coronado Beach, and enjoy a cocktail or two in the chic Gaslamp district.