12 Most Beautiful + Best USA Cities to Visit in Fall
It’s fall y’all! A season of change. That means it’s time to plan those sweater and boots weekend getaways. There’s just something about fall that makes you want to travel. Especially if you – like me – live in the south where summer seems to go on forever or if you live somewhere that doesn’t get much fall weather or colorful trees – escaping to another city for a taste of autumn is essential. As inspiration, here’s a few of my favorite and best USA cities to visit in fall. So get your pumpkin spiced lattes and apple cider donuts ready and start planning.
Best USA Cities to Visit in Fall
When you think about fall travel in the USA, cities in the the northeast and the New England states are generally what comes to mind. Even though those destinations should be at the top of anyone’s fall foliage list, there are literally hundreds of other absolutely beautiful cities across the country worthy of an autumn visit. These best USA cities to visit in fall on my list are just a few of my personal favorites.
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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 warm in September and much of the summer humidity is gone. October and November are cooler, with signs throughout the city that winter is on the way. Luckily, Chicago has a way of making the best of every last minute.
Quick Guide to Chicago in the Fall
To take advantage of the beautiful Chicago weather, stay in the Loop at the Silversmith Hotel. This block where this hotel is located is one of my favorite blocks in the whole city. From here, it’s an easy walk to Millennium Park – another favorite. Sip coffee, listen to street music and nosh on autumn goodies from Goddess and the Baker and donuts from Firecakes. Head over to “Restaurant Row” on Randolph Street, where you can enjoy sidewalk dining from one of the many delicious eateries there. Fall is also the perfect time to take an architectural tour on the Chicago River and relish in all the fall colors.
Las Vegas, Nevada
If you think the desert doesn’t experience a change of colors in the fall – you would be wrong. One of the best places to see it firsthand is in Las Vegas. Another one of my favorite places and one of the best USA cities to visit in fall. In autumn, there are less crowds and the weather is much cooler. One pretty exciting thing about lower temps in Las Vegas is that it’s still warm enough to relax by the pool. Plenty of hotels keep their pools open well into October and November.
Quick Guide to Las Vegas in the Fall
To visit, stay at Bally’s on the central strip. The property is connected to the Paris Hotel so you can use the amenities at either place. Plus the location can’t be beat. Brunch on eggs benedict and mimosas on the terrace at Mon Ami Gabi, one of the BEST hidden in plain site 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 hotel, be sure to check out a fall themed wonderland in the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. Walk the strip and revel in vibrant Vegas autumn sunsets.
If you’ve ever thought Las Vegas isn’t for you – or you don’t gamble – no worries there are plenty public lands, national parks and other places to visit near Las Vegas.
Atlanta, Georgia – One of the Best USA Cities to Visit in Fall
I’ll admit, good fall foliage color in the south is very hit or miss. It varies from year to year depending on the rainfall and temperatures. BUT even without colorful leaves, the weather in autumn can’t be beat. Atlanta is sublime in fall with vibrant blue bird skies and temperatures perfect for walking and exploring. Even into November, the weather is usually pretty awesome. That’s why Atlanta is a top contender for one of the best USA cities to visit in fall. If you decide to visit, you might just get lucky and hit the jackpot with some golden hued trees.
Quick Guide to Atlanta in the Fall
Stay in Midtown at one of my favorite Atlanta hotels, the Georgian Terrace. It’s a gorgeous hotel and you can walk just about everywhere from there. That’s super handy if you trying to avoid Atlanta traffic by not renting a car.
Make use of perfect fall weather by visiting one – or several – of the city’s outdoor spaces and patios. 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 Atlanta 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
Some people want to hold onto summer just a little bit longer. If this sounds like you, 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 popular Dia de los Muertos with plenty of events to celebrate. Additionally, San Antonio and the surrounding area schedules a lot of harvest season activities in November – complete with corn mazes and special seasonal events. You might not get the autumn color but you certainly get the vibe.
Quick Guide to San Antonio in Fall
Stay at the Marriott Riverwalk, just steps away from the lively Riverwalk. You can walk it or float it – there’s even a hop on/hop off tour available. Whatever you do, certainly don’t miss out on it. Have a delicious burger at Boudro’s Texas Bistro. Dip some chips in Texas queso and sip a prickly pear margarita at one of the many Mexican restaurants that line the Riverwalk. Take time to visit the Alamo or do a mission tour and the Tower of the Americas. If you are in town for a few days, San Antonio has a city super pass that includes four downtown attractions.
Autumn is the perfect time of year to visit Savannah. It’s one of the best USA cities to visit in fall. While there may not be too much leaf color on the trees in coastal Georgia, you will get lower humidity and gorgeous colors in the marshes. The temps are just right for strolling all those squares Savannah is famous for. Spend your evenings along the Savannah River and sipping cocktails. If you are still craving some beach time, add in a day trip to Tybee Island.
Quick Guide to Savannah in Fall
Stay at the Hyatt Regency on River Street or just a few blocks over at TRYP by Hyatt. To see as much of the city as you can, take a ride the Savannah Trolley. Shop Broughton Street and sample 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 might not be what comes to mind when you think about “leaf peeping” season but put St Louis on your map because it’s a great USA city to visit in fall. Although you might need a jacket, the weather is relatively mild. The trees are absolutely divine so it’s the ideal time for enjoying a few of the parks the city is renowned for. City Museum has many outside features for the entire family, the St Louis Botanical Gardens and the famous Gateway Arch, are all big hits in fall.
Quick Guide to St Louis in the Fall
Stay downtown at the Union Station Hotel. There’s so much to do in this area and around Union Station now. The St Louis 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 drive some of the “Mother Road” or Route 66 in various areas of the city. My favorite neighborhood for that is Maplewood. Throw in an Oktoberfest celebration at one of the area’s many breweries or a haunted walking tour 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?
Quick Guide to Asheville in the Fall
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
Arizona might not be what you envision when it comes to fall travel but believe me – it definitely should be on your autumn travel list. The entire state is pretty incredible and lush after summer monsoon rains but the star of fall travel in Arizona is Sedona.
Even though Sedona is known for its red rocks and other geological features, it’s located in the Coconino National Forest, at a fairly high altitude of 4300 feet. This means means it’s full of diverse landscapes with everything from green Ponderosa pine forests to flowing creeks and streams. Plus fall means cooler more moderate temperatures.
Quick Guide to Sedona in Fall
For a relaxing escape, stay at Element Sedona – the best mix of a hotel and resort. The rooms are huge and come with kitchenettes and plenty of comfortable seating. Outside, take advantage of the fire pit, heated pool and jacuzzi after a long hike. There are also plenty of luxurious ranches in the area. Sky Ranch Lodge is the ultimate romantic weekend hideout.
When visiting Sedona, take a jeep tour of the area and let someone else do the driving. Learn the secrets of the sacred vortex that make Sedona unique. Even if you aren’t a hiker, there are plenty of scenic views on the Red Rock Scenic Byway. Check out the art and handmade Native American items at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village and grab lunch at Secret Garden Cafe while you are there. Practice self-care by partaking in a spa or a salt room experience. Trust me when I say you won’t run out of fun fall activities in Sedona.
Little Rock, Arkansas
I love Little Rock. It’s a special place and one of the best USA cities to visit in fall. Not to mention, one of the friendliest cities I’ve ever visited and has some of the tastiest food I’ve ever eaten. Bonus points that it’s convenient, affordable and a great place for families to enjoy. Even though Arkansas is pretty far south, you are almost guaranteed to see autumn color on the trees there. Little Rock’s location on the Arkansas River is a plus in fall. Walk a bridge, stroll through a park or paddle the river. There’s so many things to do in Little Rock.
Quick Guide to Little Rock in Fall
Stay downtown at the Capital Hotel, right in the heart of everything. From there you can visit the Little Rock River Market – an entertainment venue with museums, shops, restaurants and bars. Get to know the Clintons a little better at the Clinton Presidential Library. Search for murals that can be found throughout the city. Little Rock also has some epic fall festivals. There’s the Brunch Fest in September and the World Cheese Dip Championship, held every October. Then in November, it’s time for the long running Cornbread Festival.
Autumn is a wonderful time in Washington DC. The summer crowds have almost all 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. You might want to stash an umbrella or rain jacket just in case.
Quick Guide to Washington DC in Fall
For a posh DC experience, stay downtown at one of the area’s upscale hotels like the Westin City Center or the Marriott Marquis. You can also stay across the state line in Alexandria or Arlington, Virginia. It’s a gorgeous drive along and over the Potomac River to get to the Washington Mall. The fall weather is ideal for visiting the Lincoln Memorial – and all the other memorials. Pack a picnic and eat while gazing at the Washington Monument. Visit one of the many Smithsonian museums. Plan a decadent brunch or a gin tasting while you are at it. 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 stunning in Jackson Hole. That’s the reason it’s on my best USA cities to visit in fall list. However, autumn does come early. The aspens and the grasses take on a deep golden color that signals winter is coming fast. It’s not unusual to see new snow on the Tetons in September and by late October, it can be downright cold. So, while you don’t get as long of a fall season in Jackson as some of the other cities on my list, what you do get is worth every fading minute.
Quick Guide to Jackson, Wyoming
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 hang on the corner. Keep warm with coffee roasted right in Jackson from the Cowboy Coffee Co. Eat pizza and taste some local brews from Roadhouse Brewing Company. Visit the Elk Refuge to see wildlife on the move and visit Grand Teton National Park for views that will take your breath away. Most of all, relax and soak it all in. Jackson 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 ultimate spot to escape the crowds but still be close enough to the action – or not.
Quick Guide to Billings, Montana
Make yourself at home in the quaint downtown of Billings at Home2 Suites or the Northern Hotel 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 of – yes, that Lewis and Clark – stopped on their famous expedition. There really is so much to do in southeast Montana and so much fun to be had in Billings in the fall.
Best USA Cities to Visit in Fall Conclusion
There you have it. My favorite autumn cities. The United States is full of plenty of other cities that could be added to the list but I chose to include only those I had personally visited in autumn. 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. Drop me a comment and let me know.
Planning a fall trip soon? Here’s the most helpful websites I use when I plan a vacation:
- For flight info and tickets prices for these USA fall, cities shop prices on Skyscanner.com, Kayak or Google Flights.
- To book a package with a flight and a car all at once use Expedia.com.
- My absolute favorite website for hotels, hostels and even some long term stays is Booking.com.
- To check out home stays and long term places try VRBO.com.
- For cars and vehicle rentals – Rentalcars.com.
- See real reviews and what other travelers are saying at Tripadvisor.com.
- For local tours & experiences use the helpful Viator.com
- And finally, one of the most important items in your travel plans is travel insurance. Browse a variety of coverage options at TravelInsurance.com.