It’s fall y’all! That means it’s time to plan those sweater and boot weekend getaways. If you don’t have fall weather where you live, no worries, you can always escape somewhere else to get a taste of fall. If you need some inspiration, here’s a few of the best USA cities to visit in fall. So get your pumpkin spiced latte ready and start planning!
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Chicago is always a good idea but it’s really a good idea in the fall of the year. The weather is still pretty warm in September, with October and November getting cooler. But for the most part, the humidity is gone. You’ll see signs throughout the city that winter is on the way and Chicago has a way of making the best of it.
Stay in the Loop at the Silversmith Hotel. The block where this hotel is located is one of my favorite blocks in the whole city. Walk to Millennium Park, sip coffee, listen to street music and nosh on autumn goodies from Goddess and the Baker. Head over to “Restaurant Row” on Randolph Street, where you can enjoy sidewalk dining or takeout from one of the many delicious eateries there. Take an architectural tour on the Chicago River and relish in all the fall colors in Chicago.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is one of my favorite and best USA cities to visit in fall. The weather is cooler and the summer crowds have thinned. I’ve visited in September, October and November. Each month was perfect in its own way. In all those years traveling to Vegas – since 2007 – there was only one occasion when I needed a coat. It was in late October and it was only for like a day. The best thing is, it’s still the desert, so even Vegas cooler temps means it’s warm enough to relax by the pool. Most of them are stay open well into the fall.
Stay at Bally’s on the central strip. It’s connected to the Paris Hotel so you can use the amenities at either property. Brunch on eggs benedict and mimosas on the terrace at Mon Ami Gabi, one of the BEST spots on the strip. Get a bird’s eye view of Vegas from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Watch the fountains at the Bellagio from chef Julian Serrano’s restaurant, Lago, while nibbling on tapas. Inside the Bellagio, be sure to check out a fall themed wonderland in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. Walk the strip – autumn sunsets in Vegas are sublime.
And if you don’t gamble or think Las Vegas isn’t for you, it’s one of the best cities to fly into and explore the many national parks and public lands in the area. There’s plenty of things to do off the Vegas strip.
Atlanta, Georgia is One of the Best USA Cities to Visit in Fall
I’ll admit, good fall foliage color in the south is hit or miss. It varies from year to year depending on our rainfall and temperatures. BUT the weather in autumn can’t be beat. Atlanta ends up with vibrant blue bird skies and temperatures perfect for exploring. Even into November at times. That’s why this southern city is a top contender for one of the best USA cities to visit in fall. You might just get lucky and hit the jackpot with some golden hued trees.
Stay in Midtown at one of my favorite Atlanta hotels, the W Atlanta Midtown. You can walk just about everywhere from there. That comes in handy if you want to avoid Atlanta’s notoriously bad traffic by not renting a car.
Take advantage of perfect fall weather by visiting one, or several, of the city’s outdoor spaces. Ponce City Market’s Skyline Park on the roof overlooking all of Atlanta is the ideal place to start. Visit Piedmont Park or the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Stroll the Beltline. Sip cider, tear into tacos and eat biscuits. Don’t miss – actually you can’t miss – all the street art. It’s everywhere! Atlanta in fall is a force to be reckoned with.
San Antonio, Texas
If you are one of those people that wants to hold onto summer just a little bit longer, then take a trip down to San Antonio for the fall. It’s just far enough south to still be in the 70’s during the day, even into November. Visiting during October puts you in the city during the popular Dia de los Muertos and the city hosts several events to celebrate it. San Antonio and area also puts on a big harvest season in November with corn mazes and special seasonal activities. You might not get the autumn color but you certainly get the vibe.
Stay at the Marriott Riverwalk, steps away from the color and fun of the Riverwalk. Float it – there’s even a hop on/hop off tour – walk along it but certainly don’t miss out on it. Have a burger at Boudro’s Texas Bistro or dip some chips in queso and sip a prickly pear margarita at one of the many Mexican restaurants that line the Riverwalk. Make time to visit the Alamo or a mission tour and the Tower of the Americas. If you are in town for a few days, San Antonio has a super pass that includes four downtown attractions including the Tower of the Americas.
Fall is THE perfect time of year to visit Savannah. While you may not get much leaf color on the trees in coastal Georgia, you will get lower humidity. The temps are just right for exploring all those squares Savannah is famous for and sipping cocktails on the many rooftop bars. If you are still craving some beach time, add in a day trip to Tybee Island. Early fall is prime time for golden colors in the marsh.
What to Plan
Stay at the Hyatt Regency on River Street or just a few blocks over at TRYP by Hyatt. Ride the Savannah trolley to see as much of the city as you can. Shop Broughton Street and try honey from the Savannah Bee Company. Enjoy a steak at Belford’s or binge on all the southern food – fried chicken – you want at The Lady & Sons. Save room for dessert or a nightcap at the Top Deck Bar located above the Savannah River in the Cotton Sail Hotel. Fall in the Savannah is ahmazing!
St Louis, Missouri
A Midwestern city isn’t usually what comes to mind when people think about leaf peeping season but put St Louis on your map because it’s a perfect city for autumn travels. The weather is mild and the trees are gorgeous. It’s a great time to enjoy one or all of the parks the city is renowned for. City Museum, which has a many outside features, the St Louis Botanical Gardens and even a national park, the Gateway Arch, are all perfect for fall.
Stay downtown at the Union Station Hotel. There is so much to do around Union Station now. There’s the aquarium, the Wheel and much more. Eat St Louis barbeque and try all the other goodies this area is known for. Gooey butter cakes, frozen custard, toasted ravioli and St Louis style pizza, are just a few of the tasty delights found in the Gateway to the West. You can even catch some of the “Mother Road” or Route 66 in various areas of the city. My favorite is the Maplewood neighborhood. St Louis also has plenty of breweries for the beer lover. Thrown in an Oktoberfest celebration to round out your fall experience.
Asheville, North Carolina
Our next contender for best USA cities to visit in fall comes from my friend and fellow blogger Christine from Uncorked Asheville. Find even more fall Asheville tips on her blog.
Nothing beats an Asheville, North Carolina autumn, especially in those blue-hued mountains. If you are looking for mild fall weather with vibrant fall foliage that tops the leaves in New England – I say this as a Connecticut native – why not head down the Blue Ridge Parkway into Western North Carolina?
Once you land in town, head over to the Omni Grove Park Inn for one of their infamous sunsets over the city of Asheville while sipping on a fall cocktail from The Edison. Then, visit Biltmore to tour America’s largest home and peek at their gorgeous gardens while getting those foliage views from the loggia. Don’t forget the Stable Café where you can eat lunch in the former yet fancy horse stables.
Of course, no fall trip to Asheville would be complete without a waterfall hike. As Asheville locals, we recommend Graveyard Fields in the early fall and Dupont State Forest as the season progresses. You might also want to stop at nearby Mount Pisgah, Fryingpan Tower, and Black Balsam for views and easy to moderate hikes
Little Rock, Arkansas
I have this crazy love affair going on with Little Rock. It’s no wonder it’s one of the best U.S. cities to visit in fall. I first visited in 2018 with the kind people of Visit Little Rock but I’ve been back to LR and Arkansas so many times in the past two years, it’s not even funny. Sometimes it’s just passing through and stopping for for a fancy meal or just tacos. At times, it’s a night or two to catch up on my Locally Labeled Passport. Whatever the case, Little Rock is one of my favorite cities to visit whenever BUT in the fall, it’s seriously special. Even though Arkansas is pretty far south, you are almost guaranteed to see autumn color there.
In normal non pandemic years, Little Rock has some epic fall festivals. There’s the Brunch Fest in September and the World Cheese Dip Championship is held every October. Then in November, it’s time for the long running Cornbread Festival. Even though the festivals were affected in 2020, I’m manifesting that they will happen again soon by posting about them.
For now, visitors to Little Rock can still enjoy the diverse neighborhoods, a charming downtown, colorful murals and some of the tastiest food I’ve had the pleasure of eating. Didn’t I already mention cheese dip? Stay at the Capital Hotel, right in the heart of everything. Stroll through sculpture gardens and along the Arkansas River. Get to know the Clintons a little better at a presidential library. You’ll want to return to Little Rock again and again just like me.
Autumn is a unique time in Washington DC. The summer crowds have disappeared and you’ll have a chance to see more of the city and its incredible sites without so many people. With an abundance of outdoor spaces and trees, there’s plenty of areas to see red and golden colors right in the city. The weather should also be just about right into October and early November.
Stay downtown for a truly posh DC experience or if you choose to stay across the state line in Alexandria or Arlington, Virginia, it’s a beautiful drive along and over the Potomac River to the Washington Mall. Visit the Lincoln Memorial – and all the other memorials – while you’re at it. Pack a picnic and eat it while gazing at the Washington Monument. Plan a decadent brunch or a gin tasting. Washington DC is a city to be savored and autumn is the perfect season to do it.
If there’s one cowboy town I’d move to, it would be Jackson. I’ve been lucky enough to visit in every season and fall is gorgeous in Jackson Hole and that’s the reason it’s on my best USA cities to visit in fall list. However, autumn does come early and it’s not unusual to see new snow on the Tetons in September. The aspens and the grasses take on a deep golden color that signals winter is coming fast. By late October and November, it can be downright cold. So, while you don’t get as long of a season in Jackson as some of the other cities on my list, what you do get is worth every fading fall minute.
Stay downtown at the historic Wort Hotel and visit their famous Silver Dollar Showroom Bar. Shop the town square and pose under the iconic antlers that decorate it. Have coffee, fresh roasted right in Jackson, at the Cowboy Coffee Co to keep you warm. Eat pizza or get a taste for local brews from Roadhouse Brewing Company. Visit the Elk Refuge to see wildlife on the move and Grand Teton National Park for views that will take your breath away. Most of all, relax and take it all in. It may just become your cowboy town too.
It’s impossible to compile of list of the best USA cities to visit in fall without including a city in Montana. While there are more famous and mountainous towns in Montana, Billings is situated in just the right spot in the southeast part of the state to experience autumn a little bit longer than cities in higher elevations. And you still get great views, good hikes and a plethora of interesting park sites in the surrounding region for day tripping. Billings is the perfect place to escape the crowds but still be close enough to the action or not.
Stay in an Airbnb in adorable downtown Billings and treat yourself to Montana’s only walkable brew trail. The trail includes 6 breweries, 2 distilleries and 1 cider house. Eat at Stella’s Kitchen & Bakery and indulge in the biggest cinnamon roll you’ve ever laid eyes on. Have a steak at Jake’s Downtown. Take a day trip to Little Bighorn National Battlefield or to Pompey’s Pillar, the site where Captain William Clark or THE Lewis and Clark, stopped on their famous expedition. There is so much to do and so much fun to be had in Billings in the fall.
Fall Trip Planning Resources
Planning a trip soon? Here’s the websites I use when I’m ready to start planning:
- For flight info and airplane tickets – Skyscanner
- To book a vacation package with rooms + a car – Expedia
- See hotels and hostels – Booking.com
- How about a home stay – VRBO.com
- Find a vehicle rental – Rentalcars.com
- Check reviews and what other travelers are saying – Tripadvisor.com
- Important travel insurance – TravelInsurance.com
Best USA Cities to Visit in Fall
So what’s your go-to best USA city to visit in fall? Do you have one that should be added to my list? I’d love to hear what it is. Let me know in the comments below.