Located in the South? Head to Atlanta, Georgia. There is a fantastic aquarium and a number of historical sites to check out. One of the best would be the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park, which is free (but you should make a reservation for guided tours). There are also highly rated Southern food and barbecue restaurants, cafes and bars that will keep foodies satisfied over the weekend without breaking the bank.
Warm weather, deserts to explore, and a cornucopia of outdoor activities to try out—that’s Tucson. For those who love the outdoors, definitely check out the Saguaro National Park, full of cactus-lined trails and amazing views. Then walk around Barrio Historico for some artistic adobe shops. Downtown has a number of trendy cafes and bars, but if you really want something unique, head over to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Gaslight Theatre. Don’t forget to exit using the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway—you won’t regret it.
There is a lot to discover in Charleston, but if you find yourself stuck on King Street, the main drag of the city, that’s fine too. You can even hop aboard a horse drawn carriage to check out houses that have stood since the antebellum days of the South. Don’t forget to check out Battery Park and enjoy the sight of Fort Sumter, both just a short distance from the downtown. However, for a true weekend retreat, don’t forget Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach, and the Isle of Palms County Park.
Though most of the city is built around the philosophy of the perfect barbecue, there is so much more to Kansas City than what meets the eye. Nightlife here is rich and revolves around beer and jazz—depending on your tastes. There are also excellent museums, such as the National World War I Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. An excellent free attraction is the Hallmark Visitors Center. And if you’re looking for beer, don’t pass up a tour at the Boulevard Brewing Company.
Once, Nashville was equal to country music. Now, the city is quickly becoming a focal point for hot chicken, barbecue, and culture. If you head to Nashville in the fall, definitely check out the Music City Food + Wine Festival, whose founding members include the Kings of Leon and Jonathan Waxman. Other than that, there are 150 venues in Nashville with free music available. Johnny Cash fan? Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as well as the Johnny Cash Museum for a new take on your favorite artist.
Though most think of Oregon when they hear the name Portland, Maine has its own special town with the same name. On Congress Street, there are art galleries, shops and more. You can hop on a bike to explore this small city or take your time and walk the streets. There is a surplus of fresh seafood too! Food tours, craft breweries, and a bunch of food trucks make Portland, Maine a foodie’s heaven. Afterwards, you can burn off the calories by paddle boarding or kayaking in the ocean.
The City of Brotherly Love might have gotten a bad wrap over the years, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from checking out everything that Philadelphia has to offer. There are a lot of free attractions, such as the Liberty Bell. You can also see the largest collection of Rodin sculptures in the US at the Rodin Museum. For those who love beer, Philadelphia has a number of bars and restaurants; but you should definitely head to the Yards Brewing Company or Philadelphia Brewing Company for a tour (and free sampling). Oh, and if you consider yourself a cultured carnivore, get yourself a REAL Philly cheesesteak from Pat’s or Geno’s.
The food scene in Austin is top-notch, and you can eat your weight in breakfast tacos, barbecue, and listen to local bands that put NYC and LA to shame. However, aside from food and music, there are a number of beer breweries to visit. But, you certainly don’t want to overlook the cultural and historical elements of Austin either. Check out the LBJ Museum and state capitol building before visiting the quirky boutiques that you can only find in Austin. When it gets hot, head to Barton Springs or another swimming location to cool off.
A truly family-friendly city that is quiet and clean. That would be Salt Lake City. With museums and parks to keep you busy, the weekend will go by in the blink of an eye. Join in the active culture of the city and head to Wasatch National Forest or Big Cottonwood Canyon. In the winter, there’s the famous slopes of Snowbird Ski Resort. Love the Olympics? Catch up on its history with a trip to the Utah Olympic Park where the 2002 Winter Games were hosted for a guided tour.
You don’t want to leave Providence without checking out the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum of Art, where over 84,000 objects are on display across 6 floors. Those who love history and architecture will also find themselves amazed by the Rhode Island State House, a building with the world’s fourth largest self-supporting dome. If you are more of a shopper, Downtown to Westminster is an emporium of arts and crafts that will have your drooling. Art galleries, pedestrian-friendly streets, and a number of cultural offerings make Providence an underrated but amazing location.