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Three weekend getaways to inspire wanderlust this summer

Taking time off doesn’t have to mean committing to a week or more away from home. These world-class cities are among the best places for a weekend getaway. | By Paul Oswell | August 3, 2023

There’s nothing like a change of scenery to kickstart some inspiration, recharge your batteries or connect to loved ones. If you can’t commit to a week or two away, then a weekend getaway can offer a great retreat where you can find a good fit for whatever suits your interests. Take a more spontaneous approach to making memories with these bespoke weekend trips around the United States:

  • Scenic Seattle: Surround yourself with stunning national parks for a refreshing slice of nature

  • Culinary Chicago: The city’s dynamic food scene is ideal for hunting down regional classics and cutting-edge kitchens

  • Notable Nashville: Put a song in your heart with a stay in a city that celebrates melody, harmony and creativity

Market area with people visible outside
The fresh, seasonal catches served at Hotel 1000 Seattle’s All Water restaurant are sourced from Pike Place Market.

Seattle

What better place for a quick reviving hit of natural beauty than the Pacific Northwest? Seattle is a dynamic urban center that retains an adventurous outdoor spirit, and there’s nothing like the stunning scenery to be found in and around the city.

Within hours of arriving, you can be transported to a picturesque paradise, hiking in the verdant foothills of nearby Mount Rainier, with its lush wildflower meadows and the mountain forests of Longmire. If you want to take in the surroundings in a more serene and time-effective way, your concierge can arrange for you to glide above the scenic national park in a hot air balloon — capped off with a Champagne toast, of course.

Back on land, head to Seattle’s vibrant waterfront to get lost in the city’s iconic 9-acre (3.6-hectare) Pike Place Market, where more than 500 vendors offer an enticing array of locally grown produce, artisanal crafts, wine, antiques and more. Primely located downtown, the market is a short walk from the Seattle Great Wheel, where you can take in inspiring views of Seattle and the Puget Sound from the comfort of an air-conditioned gondola. Your concierge at nearby Hotel 1000 Seattle, LXR Hotels & Resorts can arrange your visit to all these activities and more.

Unwind from the day at All Water restaurant. Just steps away from Pike Place Market, All Water’s seasonal catches are always fresh, making the journey from boat to table in less than a day. Then indulge yourself with a revitalizing treatment at The Spa at Hotel 1000. If you want to fit in some golf during your weekend retreat, but don’t want to commit an entire day on the green, the hotel also boasts an on-site Topgolf Swing Suite, where you can play a virtual round.

Woman getting gold luxury facial
Indulge with a relaxing spa treatment at Waldorf Astoria Chicago.  

Chicago

The Windy City has plenty of options to satisfy a weekend getaway, including copious amounts of culinary excitement. Chicago has classic restaurants befitting a quintessentially American city, and you won’t find better old-school steakhouses than those typified by River North’s Gene & Georgetti, a true Italian American institution. At the highest end of the gastronomic scale is Alinea in Lincoln Park, with its three Michelin stars. Chef Grant Achatz delivers an experience that is part theater with dishes arriving with scented vapors and tableside tricks.

Once properly fueled, head to Chicago’s renowned Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue for a shopping spree at designer boutiques and retail destinations, including 900 North Michigan Shops. The seven-level, 450,000-square-foot (4,1806-square-meter) art-inspired lifestyle space features 70 high-end brands, a chef-driven food hall, art installations, cooking and music classes and more.

After a day of exploring, find rest and relaxation at Waldorf Astoria Chicago. Ideally situated on Michigan Avenue, the hotel’s Waldorf Astoria Spa offers personalized massages, body treatments, kids’ manicures and pedicures, beauty services and more. Enjoy top-class contemporary American cuisine blended with brasserie traditions at Brass Tack, which sources the freshest ingredients from local farmers. For a more unique weekend treat, book the unforgettable getaway package, which includes a complimentary room upgrade, valet parking, an in-room movie plus a special theater treat amenity with your own popcorn machine, theater snacks and drinks.

The Lounge At Blue Aster
Cap off your weekend getaway with cocktails and live music at Conrad Nashville’s The Lounge at Blue Aster.

Nashville

There’s nothing like some live music to really stir the soul, and Nashville’s nickname of Music City is well deserved. Create your own soundtrack to the weekend by exploring some of the city’s legendary music venues. The Grand Ole Opry, for instance, operates an exclusive Backstage Tour where you can experience behind-the-scenes sights, sounds and stories before taking in a star-studded tour exhibit.

The high notes continue at some of Nashville’s many fine dining restaurants. Etch is emblematic of the gourmet kitchens that are leading the way in the hospitality of the New South. Award-winning chef Deb Paquette serves globally inspired, contemporary American food in two minimalist dining rooms, which bask in chic earth tones. The city’s movers and shakers also chow down at Kayne Prime, a high-end, new-generation steakhouse with a focus on impeccable service and ingredients.

Nashville also has a world-class art scene, and you’ll find cutting-edge works displayed regularly at OZ Arts Nashville. Get your fine art fix at galleries such as David Lusk Gallery, Zeitgeist Gallery and Tinney Contemporary, all of which are worth your time if you’re looking for striking new exhibitions.

Sip equally artful cocktails that showcase Southern spirits as you take in top-class live music at The Lounge at Blue Aster at Conrad Nashville. Savor a delicious dinner at on-property restaurant Blue Aster, before topping off the weekend with a cutting-edge concoction at the hotel’s Thistle & Rye cocktail bar.

Busy schedules mean that we sometimes forget to take a minute for relaxation. In reality, all it takes is a couple of days away from familiar surroundings to refresh your outlook on life and indulge your passions. Consider a weekend break away and come back invigorated with new energy and great memories.

Paul Oswell is a British award-winning journalist and published travel author based in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. His books include Bucket List North America and The Great American Road Trip, as well as New Orleans' Historic Hotels. He has also been an editor of and contributor to several guide books/editions published by Dorling Kindersley (owned by Penguin), including New Orleans, Florida, Orlando, Los Angeles, California and The United States. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure (both of which he has written multiple online travel guides for) and The Guardian, as well as dozens of international newspaper and magazine titles, and inflight magazines for major airlines.

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