Looking for the best US weekend getaways to take this year? We got you covered. In this post, we are sharing our favorite cities in the USA for weekend trips – from nature, adventure, history, and culture, to lesser-visited destinations to make the most of your short vacation.
Most of the sightseeing recommendations below are best for a long weekend, but you can always customize and pick your favorite activities for crafting a 2 day USA weekend trip.
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US Weekend Getaways: 18 Best Weekend Trips in the US for every traveler
San Francisco is an amazing destination to spend a weekend trip in the USA. Located in the state of California, San Francisco brings the best of coastal views, culinary, museums and iconic landmarks.
The Golden Gate Bridge Park is one of the must-visit attractions in the city. From here, you can enjoy a relaxed stroll at Baker’s Beach and admire the bridge from afar.
Another spot to enjoy a stroll or picnic is the Crissy Field. The Crissy Field Center is managed by the National Park Service; it has retained much of the structures from the 1920s. Most importantly, you get views of the Golden Gate Bridge, as a bonus!
Wandering the Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 is a must. Although a bit crowded over the weekend, this historic site is still worth a visit for its vibes, food and Ghiradelli chocolates!
History lovers can enjoy a guided tour to Alcatraz Island from here. For art lovers, add a trip to the SFMOMA to your San Francisco itinerary.
Looking for a romantic and relaxing spot in San Francisco? Visit the Palace of Fine Arts located in the Marina District of San Francisco. This monument showcases beautiful Art Deco architecture, which was originally built for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition.
We also liked visiting Sausalito in the evening for a nice dinner out!
Read next: Best Road trips from San Francisco
New Orleans takes you to a wonderland getaway of jazz, good food, history and culture.
NOLA is great for a romantic couples trip or a girl’s getaway. Most travelers love to explore New Orleans in about 3 days. In three days, one can check off the city highlights, eat a lot of delicious cuisines, hang out in cafes or listen to live jazz.
Exploring the French Quarter is a must in New Orleans. This is the historic part of the city, and you must take a walking tour or a food tour to hear about its past and rich heritage.
After all the walking, you must sit down at a cafe or restaurant to relax and enjoy live jazz at Bourbon Street.
One of the most popular tours in NOLA is to join a cemetery and Garden district tour, this is where you get to learn about the mystery of the French Quarter’s oldest active ‘City of the Dead’ to the tomb of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.
Next must do tour is a live jazz sightseeing cruise tour on the lower Mississippi River.
Along with the tours, don’t forget to just hang out at the French Market, or visit the WWII museum, and Museum of Arts/NOMA, which is perfect for history and culture lovers.
From hot dogs and pizzas to architectural marvels, river cruises, and more, Chicago is one of the most amazing US weekend getaways for couples, and families. Located in the state of Illinois, there are a lot of things to do in the City of Chicago, which we are sure you will love.
Start your day in Chicago by wandering through the Millennium Park, checking out all the beautiful buildings in the city. When visiting Chicago, do check out the Bean, or the Cloud Gate, as it is officially called. As you must have seen in various images of Chicago, the Cloud Gate is the centerpiece of AT&T Plaza, situated at Millennium Park in the Loop community area.
A city known for its unique buildings and skyscrapers, you must embark on the must do Chicago Architecture River Cruise on their harbour. The sightseeing tour takes about one to two hours, with a story telling, highlighting the history of the city.
Chicago’s bold architecture is graced with skyscrapers like the John Hancock Center, Willis Tower (or the Sears Tower) and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower. At the Willis Tower, capture the beauty of the City of Chicago at the SkyDeck and walk their glass boxes!
The city is also known for its museums. One of our favorites is the Chicago Field Museum. This is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. If you are an art lover, visit the Art Institute of Chicago, which is well known for its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works.
When in Chicago, don’t forget to try their delicious Deep Dish Pizza. For all girls, or a couples getaway reserve a rooftop dining experience on Chicago’s skyscrapers!
You can easily combine a weekend trip getaway full of city lights, concerts, and stunning landscapes. Years ago I went on a girl’s trip to Las Vegas, and on another occasion spent a romantic getaway to Sin City!
In Las Vegas, make yourself at home on the Strip. Book yourself an amazing hotel suite. Our favorites – The Cosmopolitan, LinQ, Luxor Hotel, and the MGM Grand. All of these hotels offer rooms with strip views, dining, and casinos on their property.
Walking the Las Vegas Strip admiring the beautiful works of art (which are hotels) is like wandering the world. My fellow travelers, hop from Paris, New York City, Venice to Greece. Along the way stop by M and M, watch the fountains of Bellagio, eat out, people watch, and then rest for a gondola ride at the Venetian Hotel.
This hotel also has a lot of stores, and will delight every shopper! You can end the night with a night lights tour of Las Vegas Strip, and the Fremont Street Experience.
Don’t like a bus ride, well, ride the High Roller in style. It is the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, offering stunning views of the city.
On our long weekend 3 days trip to Las Vegas we even visited the Grand Canyon National Park south rim. There are tons of tours to take you from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon south rim or west rim by bus, jeep, or helicopters.
Red Rock Canyon State Park is also an easy addition to your Las Vegas itinerary, as it is located only 20 minutes away. This is great for hiking, and spending a few hours in nature.
Our verdict: Vegas hands down, is one of the best US weekend getaways to choose!
New York City
New York City is one of the coolest places to spend an epic US weekend getaway. Perfect for couples, girls trips or an educational family vacation, you can’t get it wrong with NYC.
If this is your first time to the city, start at the Financial District, admire the urban jungle, capture the skyscrapers, statues like the Bull at the Wall Street, and when tired, rest your legs at a local cafe!
Visit the Oculus – World Trade Center Railway Terminal, and don’t forget to snap that Instagrammable shot from the weekend. On your weekend trip, set aside time to take a ferry ride to the Liberty Statue Monument. One of the coolest things about this ride is that you can soak in views of Manhattan, Ellis Island, Brooklyn and of the course the Liberty Statue in about 30-40 minutes.
In the afternoon, enjoy a lovely walk at the Washington State Park, and finish your day with drinks at the Empire State Building.
One of our favorite neighbourhoods to wander around is the Greenwich Village. Located on the west side of town in New York City’s borough of Manhattan, Greenwich Village is a bohemian paradise, and a great place to hang out.
If you are a FRIENDS fan, don’t forget to add a tour of their scene locations at Bedford. Many also love visiting Central Park for a picnic or a walk with their loved one, when the weather is pleasant.
Another option is to head to the Chelsea Market instead and shop around, or eat your heart out. From there, walk away to the Vessel, the newest addition to the New York urban-scape. The spiral staircase comprised 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs, with almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings, making it a MUST visit photo spots in the city!
During the off-season months, streets won’t be super crowded, making it perfect for gentle strolls, whilst enjoying this poster boy city. Iconic landmarks and sites like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Central Park look beautiful in autumn colors.
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One of the best US weekend getaways involving beaches, sun and sand, with art and history is in Miami. Located in the state of Florida, on the east coast of the USA, Miami is known for its beach resorts, water sports and expensive boulevard.
Miami Beach, and South Beach are the most popular beaches in the city. South Beach has more options for restaurants, accommodation, and gorgeous shopping streets.
Miami also has a few unique artistic gems, which are also great photo spots for a girls trip. The Wynwood Art District is a must-visit neighborhood in Miami, where you will find hip street art on every corner.
Another neighbourhood worth exploring is the Art Deco district , where you can wander through thousands of historic buildings with unique decor and facades, that speaks volume of the city’s rich heritage.
Couples’ can enjoy an open-air movie theatre (SoundScape Park at New World Center), while they cozy up. Or walk down Ocean Drive, hand in hand, in style.
Oklahoma City is home to 51 state parks and is a perfect heaven for those who love history and nature. One of the popular things to do in Oklahoma City is to head to the Riverside and enjoy a nice stroll with your loved one.
Bricktown OKC is one of the major attractions in the city, where repurposed warehouses provide an eclectic dining experience. We also recommend enjoying a canal cruise here. Most sightseeing canal tours and Bricktown water taxis are priced at $12 USD and are for an hour.
When in Oklahoma City, you must also visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial Site. The Oklahoma City National Memorial is dedicated to the victims of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is another popular attraction here. It is home to over 28,000 Western and American Indian artworks and artifacts, and is a great place to learn about the history and evolution of cowboy and American rodeos.
A lovely spot to take photos in OKC is at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. It is home to a 17-acre botanical garden and interactive urban park, and the garden’s multiple tiers of greenery make it an amazing backdrop for couples photos and weddings in the city.
Graced with Spanish vibes and southern charm, Savannah makes for a great USA weekend trip idea. It is one of the oldest cities in the state of Georgia.
The city is perfect for those who love history, nature and the food scene is amazing here. Savannah has something for everybody, and it opens its arms wide to welcome you in.
The Europeans settled here in the 18th century, and found Georgia by the Savannah river to be its welcoming home. Devoid of tension or any struggles, Savannah flourished, and its legacy is evident from the heritage squares. These squares are filled with lush greenery, aptly giving it a nickname, the Forest City.
To learn about its past, visit the Savannah History Museum, showing history of three centuries.
Not into museums? Pick up your camera, and walk the historic lanes, houses, and markets. When tired of walking the cobblestone lanes, sit down, and enjoy a drink at one of the many cafes in the city centre.
San Diego is located in the state of California, and is its southernmost city, sharing a border with Mexico. San Diego will remind you so much of the European vibes, that you can experience here in the USA.
Since the Europeans settled here in the 18th century, it shaped the outlook of San Diego, from its ports, beaches to culinary. San Diego’s old town is the birthplace of California, combining the richness of Mexican and American heritage. Enjoy a few hours here taking a trolley ride, or learn about the city origins by attending ‘living museum’ performances.
With focus on the waterfront and Downtown San Diego, you have to check out the numerous heritage buildings in the neighbourhood. The Gaslamp Quarter is a must visit here in downtown. Known for its nightlife, Victorian architecture, Spreckels and Balboa theaters and restaurants and lounges, there is never a dull moment here.
A visit to the Maritime Museum, and the Navy Pier is a must to feel the pulse of the city of San Diego, that connects to the seven seas.
With so much European influence, you got to explore Balboa Park, which is home to a replica of the Alcazar Palace in Seville. This park is free to enter, and boasts of a 1,200-acre area, with vegetation zones, gardens, and miles of walking paths, museums, several theaters, and the San Diego Zoo.
Read next: Prettiest Coastal cities in California
Located in the state of Washington, Seattle is an amazing weekend getaway from the USA and Canada. It is one of the stunning cities in the USA with a great downtown area with leafy squares and high-rise buildings. For an epic city view, head to the observation tower, located on the 35th floor of the Smith Tower in Pioneer square.
Another great option is to head to the Space Needle Observation Deck, and capture all of Seattle’s prettiest points in one shot – Downtown, Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier, and more
Seattle Waterfront is another place to hang out, and here you can enjoy sightseeing cruises to explore the city, and learn about its rich maritime history. From the harbour, you can see the mountains calling out to you.
A short walk from the waterfront is the iconic Pike Place Market, where you can try out fresh seafood, and speak to locals. Or hang out at the world’s first Starbucks cafe.
Prefer to just hang out or picnic? Then head to Alki Beach, and admire the Olympic Mountains. You don’t have to venture away for water views in the city.
Seattle is also amazing as a foodie destination, of active nightlife with live music and concerts playing late into the night.
For those looking for an active weekend away in the US, visit the Mount Rainier National Park, which welcomes you to many hiking and walking trails. Or if you just love road trips like us, you can go circling the mountains themselves, or go chasing waterfalls.
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Colorado’s capital city of Denver is one of the mesmerizing US weekend trips that you can take. Blessed with great weather, unique architecture, and historical and art museums, Denver is a delight for the young and the old.
Denver’s Civic Center features over 16 galleries and museums, parks and civic buildings in a great setting, Known as the Golden Triangle, a walk through the center is more than enough to give you a glimpse of the city’s fun and unique side!
Denver Art Museum is home to over 18 thousand Native American art collections, making it one of the finest spots to learn about their heritage.
Kids will love their time at the Children’s Museum. They learn, have fun and also get to climb a big old fire truck at the museum.
Denver Museum of Science and Nature is another amazing spot for children to learn about fossils and the dinosaur trail. If you are up for a break visit the Dinosaur Ridge, located about 14 miles west of Denver (Morrison Fossil Area).
For outdoor lovers, stop at the Golden. Located only 12 miles away from Denver, Golden is one of the oldest and most historic towns in the state of Colorado. The Red Rocks Amphitheatre here is one of the popular spots to enjoy a walk, jog or just to admire the open-air amphitheatre built into a rock structure.
Beer lovers – Denver also has a Beer Triangle, and you can join the Coors brewery tour and sample many craft beers.
With over 300 days of sunshine and scenic views of the peaks of the Rocky Mountain National Park, Denver will not disappoint you. If you have additional time on your hands, drive an hour out to see the Garden of the Gods.
Known for BBQ, fountains and Jazz heritage, Kansas City is often overlooked by travelers. But that’s all the more reasons to visit Kansas City for a weekend.
Union Station connects Kansas City to other states in the country. It is over a hundred years old, and offers great family friendly activities, from museums, model train exhibits to planetarium.
Located right outside the Union Station are the city’s tallest fountains. They say that Kansas City is one of the largest fountains in the world (right after the likes of Venice and Rome!). Close to the fountains are the World War Museum and Memorial complex, which is dominated by a towering memorial.
The museum is a great visit to learn about World War I, its aftermath, and details the events leading up to it. Once you have explored the museum, head to the top of the tower to soak in some stunning city views!
After sightseeing, stop for some BBQ at the Arthur Bryant’s and eat their delicious sandwiches. Kansas City is known as the barbecue capital of the world.
Art lovers must visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It is an art museum, which showcases art collections from every continent and culture, particularly Asian art. The interiors of the museum are super pretty and worth a visit. Entry to the museum is free.
The city of live music, goo goo clusters, and murals, Nashville is one of the best weekend trips in the USA. Travelers to Nashville frequent the city for its live music, and what better place than concert halls and bars at the Lower Broadway. The district is filled with electric music, bright neon signs, and vibes that are totally hard to resist on a night out!
Another attraction worth visiting is the Ryman Auditorium, which was originally built as a church, and is now an auditorium.
Country Music Hall of Fame, spend a few hours here. Buy letterpress posters from the Hatch Show Print, located at the complex, and take them back home as a souvenir.
Country Walk of Fame, which is the Music City Walk of Fame on Nashville’s Music Mile, is also located right outside the Hall of Fame. This landmark is a tribute to those who have contributed to the world through their music and songs.
Johnny Cash Museum has tons of things to see, so set aside 1-2 hours here to read, watch movies and listen to some great music.
Don’t forget to eat the Goo Goo Cluster – their store is located in downtown Nashville, minutes away from the Johnny Cash Museum.
Also situated in Downtown Nashville is the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, from where you can take in views of the city’s stunning skyline. Being a pedestrian bridge, you can walk, or bike across it. Or pose for your Instagrammable shots, without worrying about traffic jams!
Other cool things to do in Nashville include visiting the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park (Bicentennial Mall), which is a large state park in downtown Nashville. While you are in the neighborhood, stop by the Nashville Farmers Market and enjoy a delicious meal and dessert.
Lastly, visit the Parthenon which is a replica of the one in Athens Greece. It was built as part of the Tennessee International Exhibition, and today it has a small exhibit hall.
Located in the state of Tennessee, Memphis is an amazing destination to spend a weekend soaked in rock and roll, adventure, and history!
Visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis which is home to exhibits showcasing the history of the civil rights movement in the US from the 17th century to the present times. To completely explore the museum, set aside 2-3 hours. You can go on a self guided tour to browse and read through documents, films and interactive components.
Spend your afternoon at the Broad Avenue and buy some souvenirs, knick-knacks and unique items to take back home. This district is filled with vintage-y shops and cafes.
When in Memphis, don’t forget to try their BBQ sandwiches.
Being a city of Rock and Roll, you must spend a day just checking out the Graceland (Elvis Presley Mansion), and Memphis Sun Studio, which is the birthplace of Rock and Roll. At Graceland, you can choose between the basic Mansion Only Tour ($$), or the ultimate Elvis Experience Tour ($$$).
Lastly, for a weekend trip to Memphis, visit the Peabody Fountains and check their ducks.
Washington DC is located on the East coast of the USA. It was named the capital of the country, in 1791. As soon as you arrive in Washington DC, there is a sense of patriotism and rich history, which is the center of everything in the city.
National Mall is usually the first attraction that many love to check out upon arriving here, especially those who want to learn about US history. With tons of greenery, and having all the iconic state buildings and museums in one spot is a delight to visitors.
From Zero Milestone (point of measuring distances in the USA), the White House, Washington Memorial, Capitol Building, Vietnam Veteran Memorial, to the Lincoln Memorial, you will be mesmerized by the sculptures and learn about the history of the USA, as you wander through.
Children will enjoy time at the various Smithsonian Museums. There is more than enough to keep them busy for a weekend from exploring the International Spy Museum, Newseum, to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Need a break from museums? You can visit Washington DC’s stunning Botanical Gardens.
For a city break (without a lot of history), head to the charming downtown area of the capital city – Dumpert Circle, and browse bookstores, go shopping, or relax in a cafe.
Or enjoy the quaint district of Georgetown, where you will find cobblestone streets and vintage shops. Georgetown Waterfront Park also has a beautiful riverside promenade with gardens, along with a biking pathway.
You will be delighted at the upmarket restaurants and waterfront seafood spots, and clock in to midtown at various bars, taverns and intimate live music lounges.
One of the fun USA weekend trips is to visit Athens in Georgia. Known for its world class music, college appeal, stunning mansions, and botanical gardens, Athens is more than a University destination.
During your 2-3 day trip, explore the city’s antebellum architecture, one of the prettiest in the country. Athens’ restored downtown neighborhood is bustling at all times of the day, and with over 80 bars and restaurants, you will surely find tons of options.
Downtown Athens is located just across Broad Street from the University of Georgia’s historic North Campus, which is the country’s first state-chartered university.
Athens is also home to many museums such as the Georgia Museum of Art. There is the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, which is worth a visit. And if you wish to check out something unique, head to the ‘Tree That Owns Itself’ site, which is a white oak tree called the Jackson Oak, which legally owns itself, and the land within eight feet below!
And of course, if you love University football, you don’t need any other reason to visit Athens!
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A big city with small town vibes, Boston makes it to the list of one of the best weekend trips in the US. Boston is known as the ‘cradle of modern America’, and is one of the most historic cities in the United States.
As you wander through the city’s cobblestone lanes, you will feel the passion and spirit of the American Revolution here. These very lanes give Boston a small-town like vibe.
If you are a history lover (like us), start your 2 day Boston itinerary with the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is an excellent way to see 16 historical sites placed all across the city. Here is a free map of the route that you can do as a self guided tour. The route is about 4 km or 2.5 miles long and it’s best aside one full day to explore it all.
If walking is not your jam, you can join a Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Trolley to check out the city’s highlights and the stop at these locations for an in-depth exploration – Museum of Science, Boston Common & Boston Public Garden, Museum of Fine Arts, Skywalk Observatory, New England Aquarium, and Old State House OR USS Constitution Cruise.
We hope you enjoyed our top picks for the best US weekend getaways to enjoy this year!
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