AMAZING 3-DAY SEATTLE ITINERARY – WHAT TO DO AND SEE

3 day itinerary Seattle, where to go and what to see in 3 days

WHAT TO DO IN SEATTLE IN 3 DAYS – A FUN AND EASY ITINERARY

Seattle is a fun, lively city with a thriving art scene. If you plan to spend to visit this dun city, this 3-day Seattle itinerary helps you plan your trip. Find out about the best things to do in 3 days – what to see, the best attractions and more travel tips for your trip for your trip.

This post was written by Cassandra

Skyline of Seattle itinerary in 3 days

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 3 DAYS IN SEATTLE

If you love art, music and a general funky vibe Seattle is a great spot to go to. There are tons to do and see in the city but everything is quite close together so you can easily make Seattle a fun 3-day trip.

If you have more time, I’d say to combine your Seattle visit with exploring more of Washington state and west coast. Just outside the city lies some really gorgeous natural beauty worth exploring as well. It’s unique place merging urban life and nature so you can have definitely the best of both worlds on your Seattle trip! 

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. MORE ABOUT IT HERE

View of downtown Seattle skyline in Seattle Washington, USA best thing to do in Seattle in 3 days
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How to Get Around

The easiest way to get around was via taxis and Uber although there is plenty of public transportation as well. There is no need for a car in the city. 

Best Time to Visit

You can visit year-round but going in spring/summer months would be the best weather-wise. I went in late May and found it perfect. Bring layers as the weather can fluctuate. The city can get windy and rainy at times too. 

Where to Stay in Seattle

I would recommend staying in the downtown or Belltown areas are so you can easily walk and explore the area. Anywhere near the Pike Place Market is a great spot and also not too far of a walk from the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture and the Chihuly glass garden (all must-sees). 

Some of my favorite options are the Ace Hotel and the Fairmont Olympic

If you’re on a budget The Best Western Pioneer Square Downtown has a good location.

Tips for Solo Female / Security

The city like any other has some rougher areas, there is also a huge population of homeless which is usual in a lot of US major cities but during my visit, most appeared to be drug users or mentally disturbed individuals that would shout at us.

Something to just be aware of, I recommend just continuing along your way and ignoring any such behavior. I personally recommend not walking around alone at night- I walked everywhere during the day with no problems but would suggest using taxi services or Uber after dark.

Downtown Seattle, Pier 66 is one of the best places to visit in 3 days
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Costs

The city is pricey! Most cities have higher costs but I was surprised mainly at the high cost of entry for museums and art exhibits- I’m used to entry on a donation basis from many places in NYC and DC so was not expecting to drop $40 USD pp every time we went into a place so it added up quick!

Better to be prepared and bring some extra funds for sightseeing. Tap is drinkable though so you can save by bringing a reusable water bottle and some pre-packaged snacks on your trip.

Restaurants

One of my favorite stops was The Biscuit Bitch for breakfast. It was so good I had breakfast there twice. Plus, it was a lot of fun.

There’s barely any seating so best to get it to go and it’s a hot spot so you need to get there at opening time (and there will most likely still be a line) but they move very fast and you usually you don’t wait too long. I got the “bitchwich” with egg and cheddar both times which was about $6 USD.

Their biscuits are delicious and are served in a variety of ways- with gravy, as breakfast sandwiches, or with various toppings. They offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options too so something for everyone plus a coffee bar. 

Another recommendation would be Pike Place Market- it’s an awesome spot to explore and filled with various dining options as well as fresh goods.

Seattle skyline is one of the things to do in 3 days

BEST THINGS TO DO IN SEATTLE

So, now let´s talk about the best things to do in 3 days in Seattle.

DAY 1 IN SEATTLE

Day 1 in Seattle starts with the Pike Place Market.

Pike Place Market

I recommend trying to get a flight that lands you there in the early morning or afternoon, so you can still have some time to explore on your first day. After arriving and getting settled I recommend heading to the Pike Place Market as it is one of the best places to visit in 3 days in Seattle. Pike Place Market is an iconic marketplace in Seattle that started in 1907.

Visiting Public Market Center is one of the best thngs to do in 3 days in Seattle-clarisse-meyer unsplash

Pike Place includes a farmer’s market, a crafts market and an array of shops and restaurants well worth exploring.

Start off your Pike Place visit with a coffee from the first ever Starbucks before exploring everything Pike Place has to offer – beware it gets crowded! I recommend heading there earlier rather than later. If you are traveling to Seattle with kids, then you might want to visit the Seattle Aquarium which is located close by.

Gum Wall

Just near the Pike Place Market is also the iconic gum wall– it’s an alleyway completely covered in chewing gum, yes maybe a little gross but also awesome and worth visiting for a few photos and thus is a must-see in Seattle in 3 days.

Gumwall is a must see in Seattle in 3 days

The gum wall is a sign of Seattle’s still thriving grunge scene in 2015 the alleyway was scraped clean, but it didn’t take long for Seattle natives as well as tourists to build it back up again.

Pioneer Square

The Pioneer Square is another must-see in 3 days in Seattle and a popular Instagram place in Seattle. After all the walking I’d recommend a stop for lunch at Piroshky Piroshky before heading to Pioneer Square with a nice walk along the waterfront.

Iron Pergola on Pioneer Square is a must-see in 3 days in Seattle
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Pioneer Square has been around since 1852 and has several stops worth visiting including the waterfall garden, the Klondike Goldrush historical park and the Tlingit Totem Pole.

You can choose to do an underground tour which takes place in the subterranean passages.

These passages were created in 1889 after Seattle’s Great Fire when the city was rebuilt over the ruins.

The tunnels are known to have paranormal activity and are brimming with the history of the city. When you’re ready for dinner head back towards Pike Place for some good food and locally brewed beer at the Pike Pub.

DAY 2 IN SEATTLE

This is the day where you wake up early and get to it!

First, stop at opening time (8 AM) Biscuit Bitch for an amazing delicious breakfast and fun experience. There will be a line but the line moves quick and it’s worth it.

The Space Needle

Afterwards, head to The Space Needle – you’ll want to stop here first before lines get long. After getting your ticket and traveling to the top for amazing views you should visit 2 of my favorites- Mo Pop and Chihuly Glass Garden. All 3 are right next to each other.

The Needle in Seattle, Washington

The Space Needle is 600 feet tall and an amazing vantage point for views of Seattle. With glass walls and floors, it’s a must-do on anyone’s first trip to Seattle and if the ultimate icon of the Seattle skyline.

Museum of Pop Culture

Mo Pop (Museum of Pop Culture) is another uniquely spot to add to your 3-day Seattle itinerary. Showcasing musical history, rock stars and of course Seattle’s own grunge subculture it’s a fun and interactive museum unlike any other.

Museum of Pop Culture Seattle a place to go in 3 days
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They have fun and unique pop culture showcases such as the “Horror” or “Sci-fi” features I visited during my stay and plenty of rotating features as well.

Chihuly Glass Garden

The neighboring Chihuly Glass Garden is a very different side of Seattle’s art scene featuring elegant glass creations both indoors and out. Even those that aren’t art lovers will still appreciate the unique sculptures and beautiful gardens. 

Chihuly Garden and Glass museum conservatory a must for a 3-day Seattle itinerary
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All 3 stops should take up most of your day and at some point in between you’ll get hungry, a good local spot to grab lunch nearby would be the Skillet Counter.

Olympic Sculpture Park

While in this area be sure to walk through the Olympic Sculpture Park as well, it’s a lovely walk right on the waterfront – 9 acres of sculptures on display by the Seattle Art Museum (which is also nearby if you have some spare time).

Olympic sculpture park, Seattle 3-day i tinerary
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When you’re ready for dinner head back downtown and grab a mela at Lola’s for some delicious Mediterranean fare.

If you’re a grunge music fan be sure to grab an Uber out to Viretta Park to see the memorial bench for Kurt Cobain and his old home.

DAY 3 IN SEATTLE

Although Seattle is a big city, it is surrounded by big nature! So, whether you want to hike near Seattle or do other acvities, I highly recommend on one of your days to book a day tour out of the city.

San Juan Island

My recommendations would be one of the following: San Juan Island– San Juan Island is only a ferry ride away but has a completely different feel than the city.

Mount Baker from the San Juan Islands is a good day trip from Seattle
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Laidback island life, lighthouses, vineyards and a charming coastal town to stroll through will give a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Mt. Rainier National Park

If you’re visiting over summer months you can sometimes spot whales along the way as well- particularly Orcas. Another option is a day trip to Mt. Rainier National Park.

Mt. Rainer National Park near Seattle_
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This is the perfect choice if you enjoy hiking and wildlife spotting. Mt. Rainer is a glaciated volcanic peak soaring over 14,000 feet. It’s a gorgeous sight even from afar, if you visit over spring you’re likely to see the slopes covered in wildflowers and rivers rushing by from melted snow.

Snoqualmie Falls

If you want something a bit more mellow but still want some glimpses of the surrounding natural beauty, a day trip to Snoqualmie falls which usually includes some vineyard visits for wine tasting would be a great option.

Snoqualmie Falls near Seattle
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The waterfall is absolutely gorgeous and doesn’t require any strenuous hiking to get to, nearby are several vineyards where you can taste, sample and sip the locally made Washington state wines.

No matter your style there’s an option for everyone! Most of these tours take up a full day so when you get back to the city head out to grab your last dinner in Seattle.

I recommend El Borrachos- a tasty authentic style Mexican spot by Pike Place with tons of options including a vegetarian and vegan menu.

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Hopefully, this 3-day Seattle itinerary has helped you plan your trip to the city and find out about how to spend 3 days. Stay safe.

PIN ME FOR LATER – SEATTLE ITINERARY

Seattle, USA in 3 days, an itinerary

About the Author

Cassandra is a US-female travel addict who loves traveling the world and works for a tour operator. She is a freelance writer for Arzo Travels where she shares her expertise and has a special love affair with Mexico – so she knows pretty well what she is recommending to you 🙂

Follow Cassandra on Instagram

Safe Travels, Arzo

Categories USA

Best 3-Day San Diego Itinerary

Best things to do in 3 days in San Diego, itinerary

HOW TO SPEND 3 DAYS IN SAN DIEGO – ITINERARY

San Diego is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the US on the west coast. Although it is not as well-known as Los Angeles or San Francisco, it is still a great choice for a trip at any time of the year. With great weather and lots of beaches, museums, and parks, this city has something to please everyone – families, couples, or solo travelers.

If you are looking for the best way to spend 3 days in San Diego, then this post will help. Find out, where to go and what to see. It also has some travel tips to make your own San Diego itinerary even better.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. MORE ABOUT IT HERE

The post was written by Rebecca

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 3 DAYS IN SAN DIEGO

Before talking about the main activities for your itinerary, here are some important travel tips for a smooth trip.

How to Get to San Diego

You can fly into San Diego International Airport, and from there, take a taxi or rental car to your hotel. If you are driving in from the north, take Highway 101, aka the Pacific Coast Highway. And from the east, take Interstate 15. 

Once you arrive, you can take a bus to from Terminal 1, a tram, or a taxi to your hotel. There is also a shuttle service. The best option will depend on the location of your hotel.

Weather

The weather is San Diego is really nice, year round. Summer temperatures range from 67ºF-77ºF, and winters are from 49ºF to 66ºF.

The rainy season is from December until March. Generally, I have found that the mornings feel a little chilly, but once the sun is out in force, everything warms up quickly.

What to Pack

Since San Diego has pretty mild weather normally, you can pack pretty much the same all year. During the summer months, take some sandals, shorts, and t-shirts with you for the warmer afternoons, but make sure you have a jacket, just in case you’re out at night.

For winter, sneakers and boots, pants and long-sleeved shirts are great, but be prepared for warm-ish afternoons and colder evenings. Also, there’s nothing more chilling than a cold rain, so pack a coat in case you run into a storm.

Where to Stay in San Diego

There are so many hotels in San Diego, not to mention the little neighborhoods throughout the area, like La Jolla. I would suggest taking a hotel in the downtown area or in La Jolla, which has great ocean views. Or, if you don’t mind the move, take one night in each!

For a luxury option, I suggest the Pendry Hotel downtown, which has great amenities and service, or the Pantai Inn in La Jolla, which offers a boutique experience and great location.

For a mid-range hotel, try the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter in the downtown area, which has a good location.

For a budget option, you could stay at Holiday Inn Express – Downtown San Diego, which includes breakfast, or the La Jolla Cove Suites, which has vintage décor and good location. 

Note that most of the hotels are more expensive in La Jolla than in San Diego proper, so just keep that in mind as you are booking.

San Diego, California, USA downtown city skyline
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How to Get Around San Diego

San Diego has public transportation throughout the city, including buses, trains, trolleys, ferries, and taxis, not to mention Uber. So, for the popular attractions and within the downtown area, you can get along fine with these.

There’s even a ferry that will take you across the bay to Coronado. 

But when it comes to visiting La Jolla, Legoland, and other things that are farther, I suggest renting a car. The added bonus is that you can drive down scenic coastal routes, like the Pacific Coast Highway, which starts in San Diego and follows the ocean all the way to Oregon.

More Travel Tips For Your San Diego Itinerary

If you plan to stop at a lot of the main attractions, such as the Air & Space Museum, Legoland, and Belmont Park (and others mentioned in this post), then I suggest getting the Go San Diego Pass. You can get one for just 3 days and it will save you money on entrance fees.

Travel can get pretty bad, especially on Interstate 5. To avoid this, there may be times when public transportation is the way to go. Look into trolley, train, and bus schedules to save you time and frustration.

Day trips to Tijuana are very common since San Diego sits right on the US-Mexico border. To make it fun, do a little research on where to go when south of the border. Also note that while the drinking age for alcohol is 21 in the US, it is 18 in Mexico.

The hotel tax in San Diego is 10.5%, and 12.5% for larger hotels with 70+ rooms. So, don’t be surprised if you see this added to your bill. 

Avoid visiting during the giant Comic-Con convention, unless you’re attending. The city hosts about 150,000 attendees and hotel room rates are super high and sell out fast. It’s usually at the end of July each year.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN SAN DIEGO

After all the travel tips, here is your itinerary.

DAY 1 IN SAN DIEGO

Let’s start with day 1 in San Diego.

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a must on any 3-day itinerary in San Diego. Encompassing 1200 acres, this park is more than a park and has something to offer every visitor. 

San Diego's Balboa Park in San Diego California USA
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Botanical House

Gardens dot the park, so you can enjoy beautiful greenery wherever you are.

Balboa park Botanical building and pond San Diego, California USA
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Enjoy breakfast on a bench among the 350 plant species so you can get an early start on your first day. Stop by the Botanical House, which has a pond in front with lilies and lotuses.

From here, head to one (or all) of the museums that are housed within Balboa Park.

San Diego Museum of Art

If you like art, stop at the San Diego Museum of Art located within the park. It specializes in Spanish Renaissance (even the architecture is done in this style) and Baroque paintings.

Check their website to see what programs are running for fun cocktail events, film screenings, and activities for the kids.

San Diego Natural History Museum

If you’re traveling with kids, the Natural History Museum be a good stop within the park. Examine fossils, explore different ecosystems, and see 3D displays that bring the Ice Age to life.

Even adults will find the exhibits fun and interesting. 

San Diego Air & Space Museum

This museum is an homage to the evolution of human flight.

You’ll find reproductions of the Wright Brothers’ glider from the first flight ever, and artifacts from Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. Flight simulators are really cool for the adults, and if you’re traveling with a family, the Action Hangar is set up as a play area for kids.

If you’ve had your fill of museums, stroll over to the next landmark in Balboa Park.

Old Globe Theater

This theatre was built as part of an expo in 1935 and is a replica of the original in England where Shakespeare’s plays were performed. It has three stages, and one is outdoors.

San Diego Balboa Park Old Globe Theater
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If you’re in the mood for a play, check the schedule. There are usually two performances a day and three on the weekends. Or, just wander around and take in the architecture and atmosphere of this Tony-award winning institution.

And now it’s time to leave Balboa Park for the beautiful island of Coronado. This stop at Balboa Park should have taken about 3-4 hours, depending on how many museums you visited.

Coronado

Coronado is located on the peninsula of San Diego Bay. Famous for its landmark hotel, this is also the home of some of the US Navy SEAL teams, who can be seen working out on Coronado Beach sometimes.

Panorama of Coronado old pier reflecting on in San Diego Bay from Coronado Island, California
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The Hotel del Coronado, which was the world’s largest resort hotel when it opened in 1888, was the place to go for the rich and famous, like Babe Ruth, Edward VIII, Charlie Chaplin, and 16 different US presidents.

It’s also been features in a dozen movies. Take a 75-minute tour through the building and ornamental gardens to get a look at this famous resort.

Then, head to our next stop on this San Diego itinerary. This stop at Coronado should have taken about 2-3 hours.

Embarcadero

One of the best things about San Diego is its closeness to the water. Embarcadero is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal, do some shopping, and take in the views.

Walk along the harbor and see Coronado island right across the bay. If you happen to be visiting in the summer, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra performs from the end of June until September. Also, Waterfront Park has interactive fountains and playgrounds for kids to enjoy.

If you’re wondering what to do in San Diego in 3 days, then here’s what Embarcadero has to offer.

USS Midway Museum

Take a tour of the USS Midway Museum und the aircraft carrier with a self-guided audio tour. You can climb into cockpits and try simulators to feel like you’re actually flying, as well as check out the below decks areas.

Take a Harbor Cruise

Since you are right in San Diego Harbor, why not take a cruise? You’ll get to see some of the many landmarks of the city, not to mention views from a whole new angle. This will be especially fun on a warm, sunny day. 

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA USA Coronado ferry boat Embarcadero
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Spot wildlife like sea lions and pelicans. And listen as an experienced guide tells you about the marine habitats and history. Cruises last one hour.

Whale Watching

Another must do in San Diego if you are visiting from December through April is go whale watching. This is the time of year that the California Gray Whale migrates from Alaska to Baja.

These cruises have a naturalist on board as a guide to answer questions.  Cruises can last up to four hours.

That’s about all we can fit into Day 1. This stop at Embarcadero should have taken about 3-4 hours, unless you did the whale watching cruise. So, get a good night sleep before we start Day 2 at the beach. 

DAY 2 IN SAN DIEGO

For day 2, you can add these activities to your itinerary.

Pacific Beach

We’re starting Day 2 at some of San Diego’s best beaches.

Get an early start to watch the sunrise at Pacific Beach, located along Ocean Boulevard just north of downtown. This is a rather tranquil spot compared to other beaches, so a perfect place to enjoy the sea, sand, and sun in the morning.

Crystal pier in San Diego, California
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Take a walk on Crystal Pier and watch waves break. You have a great view of the city and the town of La Jolla from the end of the pier. The beach has lifeguards, so this is a good place to bring kids.

If you prefer a beach with a younger crowd and more of a party atmosphere, then I suggest Mission Beach. This stop at Pacific Beach should have taken about an hour.

Mission Beach

Lined with a boardwalk that has its own small amusement park, Mission Beach is a lot of fun. If you’re visiting in the early hours, then rent a bike and traverse the boardwalk, play some mini golf, have a coffee in one of the lovely gardens, or take the kids to a playground.

Mission Beach Sunset and View of Downtown, San Diego California, USA
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If you want to lay out in the sand, you’ll have plenty of company year round. So long as the weather is good, people will be out at this popular beach spot.

If you stop here at the end of the day, you’ll find a lively atmosphere. Great for solo travelers and couples.

Belmont Park

If you love amusement parks, it will be hard to resist Belmont Park.

Located on the boardwalk, this park has 12 rides, including the Giant Dipper – a wooden rollercoaster that has been named a National Historic Landmark and a favorite of locals. There’s also an 18-hole Tiki-themed mini gold course and eateries. 

Once you’ve gotten your roller coaster fix, let’s head to La Jolla. This stop at Mission Beach and Belmont Park should have taken about 2-3 hours.

La Jolla

This seaside community sits on land that juts right out into the ocean, surrounded by water on three sides. There is lots to do here, from hiking to surfing to exploring sea caves.

La Jolla, California is one of the best places to visit in 2 days
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La Jolla has a very chic, cosmopolitan vibe about it. Filled with boutiques and cafes, it has a different atmosphere from many other parts of San Diego. 

Stroll down Prospect Street and stop at the Legends Gallery. Here you’ll find original art displayed, including from a former resident, Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr. Seuss!

Stop for a little while to relax in one of the beautiful parks. If you’re visiting in the summer, the Ellen Browning Scripps Park offers open-air concerts, so you might be able to enjoy some live music, too.

Children’s Pool Beach

Whether you’re traveling with children or not, definitely check out this part of the beach. Because La Jolla’s surf can be powerful, they constructed a seawall to protect an area of beach and make it safe for children to swim in the calmer waters.

Drone view of the Children's Pool in La Jolla San Diego is one of the best things to do in 3 days in San Diego
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An unexpected byproduct was that it was also a prime location for seals and sea lions to come and give birth to their pups. From December to May, they arrive.

Access to the beach is limited for this reason, but you can climb up the seawall to get a great view of these adorable sea animals.

La Jolla Cove

This cove is a must-visit, as one of the most famous on the west coast of the US. The views are gorgeous and definitely Insta-worthy. 

Drone view of the Children's Pool in La Jolla San Diego is one of the best things to do in 1 days in San Diego
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With tons of sea life in the water and sunning themselves on the rocks, you’ll take some great pictures in this cove. But I’d avoid swimming because the waves are really strong here. Another option would be to take a bike tour or go kayaking. 

Surfing

There are lots of places to surf, and not just in La Jolla. About 30 minutes north of the area, you will find Swami’s, which is a popular surf spot. Oceanside and Del Mar are also good choices and less populated. If you need to rent surf gear, each beach has a rental spot nearby.

And if surfing isn’t your thing, then grab lunch at an oceanside restaurant and watch others hang ten while you enjoy your meal.

Then, let’s head north to a beautiful nature reserve to end the day. This stop in La Jolla should have taken about 2-4 hours, depending on how long you spend shopping or at the beach.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

About 15-20 minutes north of La Jolla, you will find Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

Broken Hill at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and State Park La Jolla San Diego California
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This huge, 2000-acre park is home to the endangered Torrey Pine tree. It also consists of eight trails for hiking and walking, empty beaches to relax at, and sightings of gray and blue whales during their migration season. 

This park is also situated on a plateau that offers some really gorgeous views of the water, so make sure you take a moment to breathe in the salty ocean air and take in the scenery.

If you’d like to take a guided walk, they are available on certain days at 10am and 2pm, starting at the visitor’s center. This stop should take about 2 hours.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

For all you adventurers out there: check out the Torrey Pines Gliderport on your San Diego trip. At the edge of the park, you’ll find a platform that is used for hang-gliding and paragliding. They also offer tandem flights for a fee. 

Torrey Pines Gliderport is one of the top places to go in 2 days San Diego
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But this location isn’t just for adventurers. If you just want to check out the views from the cliffs, this is a great vantage point. Benches are situated around the area. 

By this time, you are probably nearing sunset, and this is the perfect place to see it. Enjoy the views, grab dinner, and either head back to the hotel or spend a lively evening at Mission Beach.

DAY 3 IN SAN DIEGO

For day 3 in Seattle, consider visiting these places.

Point Loma

Our first stop this day, will be the Point Loma Lighthouse, built in 1855.

This is a local landmark and very cool place to tour. Not only do you get great views from this lighthouse, but you can check out the keeper’s quarters and the lens that can see almost 25 miles out to sea. 

Point Loma Tide Pools

If you catch the tides at the right time, you can actually climb down into the pools and look around at the sea caves and ocean life down there when the tide is out. Starfish, hermit crabs, and even octopus have been spotted. 

POINT LOMA, CALIFORNIA is one of the best places to add to your 2-day San Diego itinerary
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After Point Loma, let’s head to the Old Town. This stop at Point Loma should have taken about an hour or so.

San Diego Old Town

The term “Old Town” means something very different in America than it does in Europe. San Diego’s Old Town is actually the site of the first European settlement in the state, from 1820-1870. The neighborhood, its adobe buildings, and the streets are well preserved.

Check out Casa de Estudillo for a lovely example of Spanish architecture.

Presidio Park is a good place to see historic settlements, specialty shops, art galleries, and get authentic Mexican food. There’s even a real-life blacksmith that you can see working at the forge. This stop in the Old Town should have taken about 2 hours.

Mission San Diego de Alcalá 

Head to the Mission San Diego de Alcalá to see the first Franciscan mission in California, established in 1769.

Daily tours are available. See the choir stalls, living quarters of the friars, and the artifacts and tools that came from the Kumeyaay tribe that inhabited the region. This stop should take about an hour.

Liberty Public Market

Visit the Liberty Public Market, which is a fun and exciting town market set up in a former navy building. Lots of fresh food, pastries, and arts and crafts, this is a great stop for lunch and to see where locals and tourists do specialty shopping.

Open 7 days a week from 11am-7pm, you’ll find souvenirs for your trip and great examples of regional cuisine here. This stop at the market should have taken about an hour.

Gaslamp Quarter

When planning 3 days in San Diego, you don’t want to forget the Gaslamp Quarter. Enter through the archway on Fifth Avenue and stroll the 16-block downtown area. Full of eclectic charm, this area has something for everyone.

Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego
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Look over the historic buildings. Stop for a bite at one of the many sidewalk cafes. Check out a movie at the Rooftop Cinema Club – a fourth-floor outdoor movie theater where you can see a flick and the sights at the same time. 

If you come at night, you’ll find plenty of clubs, bars, and breweries, many with rooftop lounges. Visiting the Gaslamp Quarter should have taken about 4-5 hours, depending on what you do while you’re here.

ALTERNATIVE DAY TRIPS FROM SAN DIEGO

With so much to do in San Diego, it’s hard to fit in the things that are just outside of the city. So, as an alternative to any of the days on this itinerary, here are three great day trips to consider for your vacation.

Day Trip #1: Legoland

Located just 30 minutes from San Diego, Legoland is a great stop if you are traveling with kids. This amusement park is Lego-themed and full of roller coasters and other rides, as well as playgrounds and kid-centered activities. 

Park hours are 10am-5pm daily. Prices range by age, but there is a discount for Go San Diego Pass holders.

Day Trip #2: Pacific Surfliner

The Pacific Surfliner is a great way to travel along the California coastline. The train ride offers amazing views, especially in the stretch right out of San Diego.

You could make a day trip to Los Angeles and use this as your main transportation. The train will even get you to Disneyland in two hours – which is great considering the crazy traffic in this area.

Tip: Sit on the right side of the train if you want to catch the sunset on your way back to San Diego.

Day Trip #3: Mission Trails Regional Park

This huge natural reserve is found at the northeast edge of the city. The sixth largest park in the country, it deserves its own day. 

Here you can enjoy horseback riding, hiking, cycling, and climbing. You can even get up to the highest point in the city for the best views available – the tip of Cowles Mountain is almost 1600 feet up! You have amazing panoramic views from this spot (even if it is a bit of a hike).

Take in the beautiful scenery and natural surroundings, right inside this major US city. 

FINAL THOUGHTS ON YOUR 3-DAY SAN DIEGO ITINERARY

San Diego is surely one of the best places for a long weekend break in the US. I hope this 3-day San Diego itinerary will help you plan an amazing trip. There is a lot to see and it is a great location for families, couples, and solo travelers to enjoy nature, the beach, and city life, all in one place. 

About the Author:

This post was written by Rebecca, who runs her own blog at The Journey at Home – where she writes about her life as a mother of 5 with everything that comes along with it. She lived in New York for a long time before she moved to Las Vegas. She also works as a freelancer for Arzo Travels.

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

Categories USA

Best Things to do in 3 Days in Boston

best things to do in Boston in 3 days

A Fun 3-Day Boston Itinerary

So, you are thinking of visiting Boston, Massachusetts, and are wondering about the best things to do in 3 days in Boston? Well, you have come to the right place. This 3-day Boston itinerary will help you decide the best way to spend your time and what to do and see in this historic American city.

Boston is the largest city in the state of Massachusetts and also its capital. But Boston is even more famous for the part it played in US history, including during the American Revolution. Founded in 1630, it is (by American standards) an “old” city.

Though not as famous as San Francisco, Los Angeles or Chicago it is a great place to visit for a few days and one of the best places for a short weekend break in the US.

You’ll find many historic landmarks and sites, cobblestone streets, and buildings that date back to Boston’s roots.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

The post was written by Rebecca

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 3 DAYS IN BOSTON

But before we get to what to do in 3 days in Boston, here are some travel tips to make your stay smoother.

How to Get to Boston 

By air: If you are flying into Boston, you will be arriving at Logan International Airport (BOS), which is located only 4 miles from the city center. You can easily grab a taxi, subway, or even a water taxi from the airport to your hotel downtown. 

By car: If you are driving in, then you can take Interstate 84 from the south, Interstate 90 from the west, or Interstate 95 from the north. (Keep in mind that parking is hard to find in Boston, and your hotel will likely charge you per day to park in their garage.)

By train: Public transportation is great in Boston, so you can also take the Acela high speed train into the city.

Boston, best cities to visit in spring
@shutterstock

Weather in Boston

The weather in Boston is really nice, if a little humid in the summer, so this is the best time to visit (along with spring and fall). The average temperature at the height of summer in July is between 66ºF and 82ºF. Rain is moderate throughout the year.

If you decide to visit in the winter, it is definitely a bit colder. The average temperatures in January are between 22ºF and 37ºF. New England winters are no joke and you will see the most snow in January and February.

What to Pack for a Your 3 Days in Boston

If you are coming in the spring, summer, or fall, you can usually just pack light clothes, like jeans, t-shirts, shorts, and dresses. Bostonians aren’t known for their high fashion and tend to dress according to the weather. Boston is also a big college town, so the basic jeans-and-shirt look works all year round.

If you are coming in winter, make sure to pack a warm jacket (preferably waterproof), scarf, gloves, and hat (bonus if it’s a Red Sox one – Boston takes their sports seriously). 

Sneakers are fine since you will be walking a lot (though locals prefer loafers). And boots are a must during the snowy, winter weather. 

Where to Stay 3 Days in Boston 

There are a lot of possibilities for accommodations in Boston, some with a lot of charm and history. Here are a few suggestions for different budgets during your 3 days in Boston.

  • For a luxury hotel, try the Fairmont Copley Plaza, which is located in the Back Bay area of the city and is close to popular spots, like Newbury Street. It’s a historic building that’s been redone with modern décor, and particularly favored by couples. You can find out more here.
  • A midrange option would be the Revere Hotel, which has a great location right near beautiful Boston Common and the Visitor Center. It’s also very sleek and modern. Check it out here.
  • There are not a lot of budget hotels in Boston, but the HI Hostel would be a great choice for couples and solo travelers, with a breakfast provided and private rooms with en suite bathrooms. Located near Boston Common as well, it offers easy access to public transportation. Find more information here.

How to Get Around Boston

One of Boston’s nicknames (besides “Beantown”) is “the Walking City.” So, bring your walking shoes as you explore the city and the destinations on this itinerary that are nearby each other.

Other than that, public transportation is the way to go. Trains, trams, buses, and subways can be found all over the city and are the cheapest and most convenient way of getting around Boston. You can easily buy one-way paper tickets (known as “Charlie Tickets”) at most stations for $2.75.

If you want to get a Charlie Card, you can preload it and rides are only $2.25. This also offers a free transfer to the buses. There is a 7-day unlimited card, but this might not be worth it for this 3-day itinerary in Boston.

If you drive your own car or a rental, expect an on-site parking fee at most hotels, as well as difficulty parking as many areas require a residential-only neighborhood permit.

More Travel Tips For Your Boston Itinerary

When you stay in Boston for 3 days you should know that Boston is an expensive city. And hotels are no exception. The most expensive time to visit Boston is in mid-May (when many of the colleges are having graduation ceremonies) and in September/October (conferences in town and visitors coming for the changing of the leaves/fall foliage).

A lot of buildings and hotels in Boston are historic and converted over the years, but they still retain things like no elevators, steep stairways, etc. Europeans may not find this unusual, but Americans from other cities may be surprised. If you need accessible hotel rooms or want central air conditioning, check before you book.

Boston also has a lot of brick and cobblestone streets, which can be tricky when wearing high heels or in the snow. Just be aware as you make your shoe selection where you will be sightseeing.

It is actually illegal in Boston to have happy hour drink specials. Instead, they offer food specials from 4pm-6pm.

Smoking marijuana is illegal in public, but the purchase and possession of it is legal in Massachusetts. Just don’t take it over state lines.

This is not a 24-hour town. Boston mostly closes up by midnight (bars at 2am) and the last subway leaves at 1230am. There are, however, a few all night supermarkets, restaurants, and night clubs.

Boston is a safe city so long as you use common sense and proper precautions. Avoid side streets after dark and subway stations late at night if you are alone. Keep your possessions close to you at all times. And probably avoid the more crime-ridden areas of Roxbury and Dorchester.

WHAT TO DO IN 3 DAYS IN BOSTON

After all the travel tips, let´s get started with the 3-day Boston itinerary.

Day 1 in Chicago

Day 1 starts at the lovely and centrally-located Boston Common. This is easy to reach by bus or might even be within walking distance of your hotel (if you chose one of the suggestions above).

Boston Common

Boston Common is actually the oldest city park in the US, dating back to 1634. In the center of the park, you’ll find Frog Pond, a reflecting pool that makes a nice place to sit and enjoy the early morning light.

Boston Common and Frog Pond
@shutterstock

In the winter, it’s turned into an ice skating rink and even has a skating school nearby. In summer, it’s a spray pool. There’s also a children’s carousel, so this is a great stop for visiting families.

It’s also the official starting point for our next Boston attraction. After an hour or so, we can head there.

Freedom Trail

The Freedom Train a path that is lined with red bricks and connects a lot of the famous historic landmarks of the city and it is a must-see/do activity for 3 days in Boston.

Freedom Trail in Boston is a must in 3 days
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The trail is about 2.5 miles long and the best way to see the trail is on foot, and you can enter and exit it as you like. Some of the sights you will see are the Park Street Church and the Benjamin Franklin statue.

Depending on if you walk the entire trail or not, you will probably be done in 2-3 hours.

For more background information, there are guided tours available as well as apps that allow you to do a self-guided tour.

Our next stop will be a great place for snacks and souvenirs. It’s about 10 minutes by subway or 15 minutes on foot. 

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

This Faneuil Hall Marketplace is huge, encompassing four different historic buildings from the early 1800s that have been converted into a place for shops, restaurants, and even a promenade.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace a must on a 3-day Boston itinerary
@shutterstock

Faneuil Hall is an indoor/outdoor mall and eatery. Besides the North and South Markets, the other famous building is Quincy Market (and a favorite among locals and tourists).

Quincy Market is a very lively and exciting place, perfect for souvenir shopping, tasting local delicacies, and just wandering. If you like chess, there are tables set up for anyone who wants to stop for a game. And if you have ever seen the American TV show Cheers, a replica of the bar is here, too.

This market deserves at least a few hours of your time. It’s a lot of fun and a great place to eat a meal. Then, head to our next destination, about 10 minutes away on foot.

Old North Church 

If you like historic churches, then the Old North Church is a good stop. Founded in 1722, it was made famous as the place from which Paul Revere received the signal that the British had arrived, which led to the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. 

Old North Church in Boston, visiting is one of the best things to do in 3 days
@shutterstock

This is an interesting stop for families, couples, or solo travelers.

You’ll even find a bust of the first American president, George Washington, inside. After a half hour here, you will probably be ready for our next stop on this Boston itinerary. It will take about 30 minutes by train.

Esplanade

The Charles River Esplanade is located in the Back Bay area of the city. It is also located on the south bank of the Charles River Basin. This park is a nice place to picnic or just relax and wander. 

Take a breath and enjoy the cute, picturesque bridges, lush grassy areas, and view of the water. Then, head to our last stop of the night (15-20 minutes by either train or on foot).

Skywalk Observatory

Families, solo visitors, and couples alike will not want to miss this spot. The Skywalk Observatory offers amazing views of Boston because it is the only place in the city that has an elevated 360-degree perspective.

Skywalk Observatory is one of the best places to visit in Boston in 3 days
@shutterstock

Located in the Prudential Tower, you can also learn a little bit more about Boston’s history by taking the audio tour that is available. Or just come for the views.

They are definitely worth it (especially at night), and the perfect way to end Day 1 of this Boston itinerary. Check out prices – you might save money if you get a Boston Pass.

Day 2 in Boston

Day 2 starts with another charming outdoor area in the middle of Boston. After breakfast, let’s head to one of the city’s most popular public gardens.

Boston Public Garden 

The Boston Public Garden was created in 1634 and went through a few changes in the Victorian Age to become the haven of plants and flowers that it is today. It is located right next to Boston Common.

Boston Public Garden
@shutterstock

You’ll find over 80 different local species, some a result of new techniques like hybridization, as well as exotic trees and plants. All of this gives the garden a gorgeous, colorful, and vibrant feel that is really nice to stroll through.

Besides the plant life, another very popular thing to do here is take a ride in the Swan Boats on the lake. Over a 100 years old, these boats are a fun activity for adults and kids alike. If you want to just sit back and relax though, grab one of the many benches and enjoy the morning. 

This stop should take a couple of hours. Then head to Mary Eddy Baker Library and a fun attraction inside, about 15 minutes away by train.

The Mapparium

The Mapparium is a free area within the library, which itself is a popular spot with its 1930s neo-classical architecture. But this fascinating section is a must-see when in Boston.

Boston public library, central branch on Copley Square
@shutterstock

Built by map-guru Rand McNally in 1935, it is a 3-story, stained glass globe that can be seen from the 30-foot-long bridge through its center. It was built with the idea of seeing the countries of the world in accurate geographical relationship to each other.

You’ll also notice the changes that have taken place in borders and even country names. 

But even if you aren’t a huge geography buff, the Mapparium is breathtakingly beautiful and too pretty to skip. Half an hour is all you need to take in its charms.

You may also want to stop and get a bite to eat. Then let’s try something a little different. Grab the train 10 minutes west (or a 15-minute walk).

Fenway Park Tour

I mentioned that Bostonians take their sports seriously and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone here who isn’t a Red Sox fan. And Fenway Park is where they play.

Fenway Park in Boston is a must on Boston 3 days itinerary
@shutterstock

This baseball stadium is the oldest in the country, and relatively small, but has hosted numerous baseball, soccer, and hockey games, as well as religious and political rallies.

Take a fun tour of the stadium and see the players’ club houses, the press room, and the seats that are above the infamous “Green Monster,” which is the 37-foot-high wall in left field that is very difficult to hit a ball over because of its proximity to home plate. This is a fun tour for families and any sports fan. 

When you’re done seeing Fenway, let’s head over to another cultural landmark in the city, albeit of a very different sort.

This is a 10-minute train ride, but I suggest walking it for the same amount of time through the “Emerald Necklace,” which is a series of city parks.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is one of the oldest in the country, and also one of the most comprehensive. It houses 450,000 pieces of art, so I don’t think you’ll get through it all today!

Museum of Fine Arts Boston is a top in 3 days in Boston
@shutterstock

But, your ticket does allow for a free re-entry within 10 days of your first, so if you can’t get enough on Day 2, you can come back tomorrow. 

Take in the vast collections, galleries, and architecture of the building itself. This is a great destination for solo travelers, couples, and families that enjoy art and strolling through beautiful things.

Tips: To save on the $25 entrance fee, consider planning your trip for a Wednesday after 4pm when the museum is free and open late, until 9pm. Also, check their website for any free days that are coming up.

This stop could take you a few hours, depending on how much you love fine art. But take your time because our last stop of the night is open late. Stop for dinner and then grab the train 10 minutes east.

Wally’s Café Jazz Club

This cozy Jazz club is a great way to end your evening. One of the oldest continuously-running jazz clubs in the US, old-school jazz and blues are performed here nightly by students and locals. Sit back, have a cocktail, and enjoy the talents of the local musicians.

Tip: Bring cash. They may take cards, but cash is easier at this little spot.

If you’re visiting with family, Wally’s may not be the best spot for you and your kids, so my alternate suggestion is take the family about 30 minutes east by train to try a Boston tradition.

South Boston Candlepin bowling is tougher than regular bowling and a fun nighttime activity for pretty much anyone, but kids especially will love the challenge.

And that’s the end of Day 2. Let’s see what the last day of our itinerary has to offer.

Day 3 in Boston

For Day 3, let’s begin at a fun and lively area of the city. 

The Lawn on D

Morning outings to the green areas of Boston seems to be a theme, but don’t skip the Lawn on D because it isn’t like other parks here.

This grassy area is nice for picnics and relaxing, but people really come here for the events and games. If you’re coming in the warm parts of spring or fall, and especially in summer, you can enjoy an area devoted to fun and silly lawn games, as well as oft-scheduled outdoor events. There are also concessions so you can grab a snack when you work up an appetite.

Speaking of food, I hope you have been trying some of the local cuisine. And if so, I suggest either Flour Bakery or Mike’s Pastry for a chance to try one of Boston’s most famous desserts: Boston Crème Pie.

The Lawn on D can be a lot of fun, but we still have other stops – so after a couple of hours, let’s head north for a different kind of museum – one on the water! You can walk or take the train, either way will take about 15-20 minutes.

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

The Boston Tea Party was an important event in American History and now you can visit the museum that’s been created to share artifacts and information about it – on a ship!

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is one of the best places to go in 3 days
@shutterstock

This is a fun stop, with interactive exhibits, actors playing out the scene, and even the chance to throw some tea overboard yourself. There’s a café and gift shop as well on this restored ship that you can check out when you’re done. This stop takes about 1-2 hours.

Then, it’s off to one of the most famous neighborhoods in Boston, about a 25-minute train ride.

Beacon Hill

This area is full of Federal-style row houses and is often what you see depicted in movies about the city. It’s also the most-desirable part of Boston to live in.

Beacon Hill in Boston
@shutterstock

Stroll the brick sidewalks and narrow streets that run through Beacon Hill, through Charles Street and Louisbourg Square. Adorned with charming lampposts, the area is full of cute cafés and small shops, as well as luxurious residences.

After an hour or so, you can head to a particular favorite of families, or for those of us who are kids at heart (about 25 minutes by train).

The Boston Children’s Museum 

Created in 1909 by local science teachers, the Boston Children’s Museum is a fun, hands-on learning and playing environment that is popular for locals and tourists alike.

There are tons of exhibits and the educational aspects are perfectly complemented by the fun of digging in and doing a wide variety of activities. 

Check out the sculpture on the first floor that children can safely climb – up 3 floors! This is a great place for families, as it’s clean, safe, and well-run. It’s also a lot of fun, especially if you are visiting in the winter and want to spend a few hours warming up.

Our last stop for Day 3 is the picturesque Harborwalk, located about 30 minutes north and across the water.

Harborwalk

If you’ve had dinner, this is a great place for an after-meal walk. The Waterfront Trail skirts along the edges of piers, wharves, beaches, and the shoreline.

Boston Skyline from Downtown Harborwalk
@shutterstock

Particularly on a warm summer evening, this is the place to go. Join other locals and tourists, from families to couples to singles, who are enjoying some fresh sea air and exercise while taking in some lovely areas of the city that haven’t yet been seen.

The Harborwalk is actually in the process of being expanded, and once done, will be almost 46 miles long in total. But for now, enjoy the walk, the views, and the art that is placed throughout. 

Take in a sunset or see the glitter of the city lights from this new vantage point. This is a lovely way to end your visit to the city of Boston.

MORE THINGS TO ADD TO YOUR BOSTON ITINERARY

Another interesting place to visit in 3 days could be the world-famous Harvard University. Who hasn’t heard of this iconic university? So, if you are interested to spend time on the campus you could easily visit yourself – it is quite close to the city center – or do guided tours.

CONCLUSION: HOW TO SPEND 3 DAYS IN BOSTON

I hope this 3-day Boston itinerary has given you a good idea of where to go and what to do. There is a lot of history and fun to be had in this popular American city, and 3 days in Boston may not be enough to see it all, but this list gives you the highlights and will hopefully enable you to plan your own exciting Boston trip soon.

About the Author:

This post was written by Rebecca, who runs her own blog at The Journey at Home – where she writes about her life as a mother of 5 with everything that comes along with it. She lived in New York for a long time before she moved to Las Vegas. She also works as a freelancer for Arzo Travels.

Safe Travels, Arzo

Categories USA

Best Outdoor Places in the USA to Visit

Best outdoor places to visit in the USA

BEST OUTDOOR PLACES TO VISIT IN THE US – PERFECT PLACE FOR NATURE LOVERS

The US has some amazing cities and towns – that is for sure. But the US has also amazing national parks and beaches that have to be on your itinerary.

While it is almost impossible to see all of the 58 US National Parks and the endless amount of stunning beaches, this post introduces you to some of the most amazing places of the USA – so be prepared to find out about the best outdoor places to in the USA to visit.

With one post on the most beautiful cities and towns in the US, this post only covers the most beautiful places for nature lovers.

Grand Canyon in Arizona

Recommended by Arzo from Arzo Travels

Grand Canyon @shutterstock
Grand Canyon @shutterstock

Outside the US, the Grand Canyon is probably the most famous national park. After visiting myself as a day trip from Las Vegas, I can clearly see why this place is so popular amongst foreigners and locals.

Ideally located for people who like to escape the craziness of Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon makes a wonderful day trip – though, you will only see a small fraction of this giant national park located in Arizona.

There are plenty of things to do – hiking and cycling (depending on the weather), rafting, and enjoying the amazing views are just a few options that you have. While you basically have these views from everywhere, there are some special viewpoints: the Grand Canyon Skywalk is extremely popular among visitors, though less popular among the Native tribes that live there.

So, while I think that the Grand Canyon was an amazing part of my US trip, it is important to remember to be careful where you go and where you leave your garbage – this applies to all the places you go, but it is even more important with parks and beaches.

Sequoia National Park in California

Recommended by Kirsty from Travel With Meraki

Sequoia National Park packs a punch. From the world’s largest tree to granite rocks towering above wilderness, amazing wildlife and magic underground crystal caves.

With so many things to pick from to do in the park, one of our favorites was standing next to the largest living sequoia. The General Sherman Tree makes you realize just how small we are in the scale of things. Over 11 meters in diameter and 83 meters tall, this 2000+ year old tree is hard to get into just one photograph!

If seeing this huge tree has given you a taste for sequoias, The Giant Forest’s Big Trees Trail should be your next stop. Wandering amongst these regal giants seems to give you a sense of peace and you can see visitors often finish this walk in total silence, just soaking in the views and atmosphere.

After seeing the National Park form the first floor you need to head up Moro Rock to see its vast scale from above. The 350 steps leading up this huge granite dome are no small feat but the view from the very top is definitely worth the climb.

We left Sequoia National Park with a little bit of enchantment in our hearts after walking amongst giants, seeing a mama bear and her two cubs, and relaxing amongst wilderness at Silver City Mountain Resort. 

Glacier National Park in Montana

Recommended by Nathalie from Unbridled

If you ever plan a road trip through the North of the U.S., you should definitely hit the Glacier National Park.

It is my favorite of all places in the U.S. Montana’s only National Park is a playground for hikers and outdoor junkies. It has many stunning trails for day hikes and trekking, crystal-clear lakes for kayaking, and remote areas for relaxation. You can fully disconnect from your stressful life because cell phone service is non-existent.

My favorite hike was the Highline Trail, which offers incredible views of the mountains and valleys. Kintla Lake is another fantastic place in the very North of the park. It is extremely quiet because it is far away from the visitor center and only available by dirt road.

If you are like me, you will be camping. The campsites are very popular, so you should reserve your site before you go or get up extremely early so that you can get one of the precious spots at Lake McDonald or Rising Sun.

Glacier National Park is one of the few places in the U.S. with the clearest night sky. On cloudless nights, you get to enjoy the impressive milky way that will appear over your head. There are even stargazing gatherings with telescopes in summer.

Divine nature and remoteness make Glacier National Park the best place to visit in the U.S.

Joshua Tree National Park in California

Recommended by Marta from Learning Escapes

Joshua Tree National Park is a wondrous place.

Here, two desert systems meet: the Colorado desert, which lies in the Eastern part of the park, and the Mojave desert, which is higher in elevation and has some distinctive traits such as giant smooth boulders and the famous Joshua trees that give the park its name.

The Joshua Trees are unique to this area and were named by Mormon settlers that thought they looked like the prophet Joshua with his arms stretched towards the heavens.

Joshua Tree National Park can be visited all year round and the best activity here is hiking: there are paths for all levels of ability and the views are spectacular!

If you love camping, campsites are available in the park but make sure you are prepared for the weather as especially in summer the heat is intense!

Joshua Tree can be visited in a relatively short period of time and it is even possible to get a sense of the beauty of the park driving through it.

The park has many sites of interest such as Skull Rock and the Cholla Cactus garden but what is special here is the vast desert landscape with the evocative Joshua trees, giving the park a distinctive otherworldly and unique appearance.

Volcano National Park in Hawaii

Recommended by LC Hunter from Birdgehl

The Big Island of Hawai’i doesn’t see nearly as many visitors as the other Hawaiian islands of Oahu or Maui. This is silly because the island has something the others don’t – Hawai’i Volcano National Park, which makes a trip there worth it, alone.

The island is comprised of five volcanoes – Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea. Three are considered active, with Kilauea erupting continually since 1983.

Entry to the National Park is $25 USD and a pass will last you a full seven days. On entry, you can see steam vents, walk through lava tubes, visit both an observatory and museum, or check out the action at the Volcano’s summit.

Best of all, the park is open 24/7. You can rock up any time of the day and night. I’d advise arriving about an hour before sunrise – there’ll be less people there (only the very dedicated) and it sure is a sight to see the glow of the volcano against the backdrop of millions of stars. It’s somehow even more impressive than witnessing it in the light of the rising sun.

You can also ride a bike or walk from the town of Kalapana to the ocean’s edge, where if you’re lucky, you’ll see lava fields flowing straight into the water. Try to arrive an hour before sunset to scope out a decent spot.

The park is a two hour drive from the city of Kona and around forty minutes from Hilo. You can also stay onsite within the park, but accommodation is generally cheaper in either of the island’s two big cities.“

Finger Lakes in New York

Recommended by Sky from Sky Vs World

When traveling through the East Coast of the United States, the Finger Lakes region of New York is a must-visit.

The area is known for several long, thin lakes that resemble “fingers” and is one of the best wine regions in the country. The Finger Lakes encompass around 9,000 square miles and many small towns as well as a few larger cities, like Ithaca and Corning. Besides wineries, the region is also known for beautiful hikes and waterfalls at state parks.

Ithaca is home to Cornell University, one of the best universities in the country, as well as the Buttermilk State Falls. The Buttermilk Falls are absolutely stunning when there’s been rain, though the hike to the top is considered strenuous.

Watkins Glen is another area with many beautiful waterfalls and cute towns. Wineries can be found all around the lakes, with wine trails set up on Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake. For those looking for a little more, Seneca Falls is a quaint historical town known as the birthplace of the Women’s Rights Movement.

The museum there is definitely worth checking out! Overall, you really can’t go wrong with a visit to the Finger Lakes, whether you want to sip on wine, take a hike, or just enjoy small-town New York like!

Yosemite National Park in California

Recommended by Taiss from Together To Wherever

National Parks in the United States are some of the most amazing places to visit in the world.

We may be a bit biased as Californians, but we’d say that Yosemite is the absolute best of all to visit. The natural beauty alone is more than mind-blowing even if you’ve already seen pictures of this place. The awe-inspiring sights at Yosemite National Park provide a backdrop to any kind of vacation one may choose.

There are plenty of adventures to be had, such as epic hikes on Half Dome, as well as checking out several viewpoints like the famous Glacier Point, along with chasing some of the waterfalls that are dotted all around the park. Yosemite offers tremendous value to visitors on any budget.

Getting around the park is easy and free with the buses that are provided there and the park entry is good for up to three days. There are a variety of options for accommodations ranging from renting a campsite and pitching your own tent to motels, bed, and breakfasts, or renting cabins.

However, park visitors have the option to also enjoy some luxury amidst the raw natural experiences by staying at a high-end hotel like Tenaya Lodge. The luxury accommodations there include a spa, steam and sauna rooms, as well as several pools.

So, whether you are into camping or glamping or you just want to see some stunning landscapes, courtesy of mother nature, Yosemite National Park should be high on your list of must-see places in the US.

Naples Beach in Florida

Recommended by Lori from Travlinmad

Soft white sand? Check! Crystalline blue water? Check! Warm enough to swim year round? Check, check, and check! Welcome to Naples, Florida.

Located in the subtropical southwest corner of the state on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, the summers here are hot and humid while the winters offer perfect warm temperatures and little to no rain.

And although there’s the typical great shopping, dining, and cool arts scene here, perhaps the biggest draw to Naples are the spectacular beaches – after all, what better to do than relax at the beach with more than 300 sunny days a year!

There are several great ones to head to – from family friendly and dog friendly – but Barefoot Beach Preserve tops the list for one of the best beaches in Naples. With a secluded location, natural dunes, and nice wide beaches, the Preserve is 342 acres of natural land, and one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on Florida’s southwest coast.

You could hardly be blamed for spending the entire day here relaxing in paradise. And the icing on the cake is one that kids of all ages will love — Barefoot Beach Preserve has some of the most spectacular shelling in the world, where little gifts from the sea wash ashore against your ankles.

Just be sure and return the live shells back to the sea!

Redwood National Park in California

Recommended by Sam from Alternative Travelers

The wilderness of the United States is one of the country’s biggest assets and visiting the Redwood National and State Parks in California is a must-see for travelers to the U.S. West Coast.

This is one of the only places in the world where you can stand in the presence of such massive and humbling trees. In fact, the tallest measured tree in the world, named Hyperion, is located within the Redwood National Park.

Wandering among the trees truly feels like entering another world as the unique redwood coastal ecosystem is home to a number of rare species. The Redwood National and State Parks are now a protected UNESCO World Heritage site and an International Biosphere Reserve.

The best way to experience these magnificent trees is to take any of the numerous hikes with varying levels of accessibility. While camping is restricted to backcountry camping in the national parks, state parks have more accessible campsites that allow visitors to spend a few nights under the canopy of the redwoods.

For those who cannot or do not want to hike or camp, there are many scenic drives through the forest, such as the Avenue of the Giants or Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway.

Visiting the redwoods is a great stop on a West Coast road trip, or even as a few day trip from San Francisco. The state of California alone has nine national parks, so if you plan on visiting a few, make sure to grab a yearly parks pass, as it will save you tons of money! You can buy them at any park and you can even pick up a parks passport too so that you can collect stamps at each park that you visit.

Sanibel Island in Florida

Recommended by Bret from Green Global Travel

Located on the gulf coast of Florida just minutes from Fort Myers, Sanibel Island offers a nostalgic taste of Florida as it was 40-50 years ago.

Visitors may get the feeling of having stumbled onto their own private paradise. Neon, stoplights and fast food restaurants are prohibited (except for a Dairy Queen built before 1974). Businesses are prohibited from using gaudy colors or building taller than the tallest palm tree. Homes must be built a certain distance from the shore. These are just a few of the reasons Sanibel has keep me coming back over and over again since my first visit in the early ’90s.

Sanibel is a barrier island, created by nature to buffer the mainland from the elements via native palm and mangrove trees. Its gorgeous white sand beaches are consistently ranked among the finest in the world, lined with sea grape and sea oats that lend themselves to striking sunrise/sunset photography.

Sanibel is also widely considered the #1 shelling beach in the world: Take a stroll along it and you’ll see many people searching in a position known as the “Sanibel stoop.”

The island is a haven for nature lovers, thanks to the 5,200-acre J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which protects one of the country’s largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystems.

Hiking, biking or driving through the refuge is a must, revealing wildlife ranging from raccoons and alligators to a world-renowned assortment of birds that includes herons, egrets, and the fluorescent pink Roseate Spoonbills. We also recommend taking a naturalist-led kayaking tour in Tarpon Bay, which was voted one of the Top 10 places to paddle in the nation by Canoe & Kayak magazine.

From learning about marine conservation at Sanibel Sea School and mollusks at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum to fishing for tarpon and Sea Trout just offshore, this quiet little island offers a surprising array of attractions and activities. The only problem is, after visiting once, you may find yourself wishing you could call it home!

Antelope Canyon in Arizona

Recommended by Christine from The Traveling Pinoys

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon in Navajo Nation – a native American Indian territory that covers a part of three States: Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon in Navajo Nation – a native American Indian territory that covers a part of three States: Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

The Canyon has 2 separated sections: the Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon. Both sections offer amazing landscapes and the only differences are the cost, your own mobility and the crowd.

Upper Antelope Canyon is more expensive and popular – hence it is more crowded. However it offers more dramatic views because of the light beams from the slots. The trail is also easier.

While the lower canyon offers a more secluded tour and less expensive, the trail can be quite tricky. Antelope is also a decent drive away from Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend and Grand Canyon which makes it ideal if you want to do an epic road trip in Arizona – if you are a photographer, it will give you one of the best photo session that you won’t forget.

It gives you the feeling of being in a different world – with its totally unique landscape that you can’t find anywhere else in the world

Fairbanks in Alaska

Recommended by Rebecca from Tattling Tourist

Fairbanks, Alaska is one of the top destinations to visit in the USA because of all it offers.

It is best to start a visit here with a trip downtown and to the museum to learn about the town’s gold rush history.

Then, enjoy one of the many tours offered in the area. Earn bragging rights as you cross the Arctic Circle while touring the Ice Road Trucker’s Dalton Highway. Keep your eyes open for wildlife as you make your way on the 2 hour journey to see the highest peak in North America, Denali.

Head to Chena Hot Springs where you can relax after visiting the nearby Aurora Ice museum, the largest year round ice museum in the world. Get a close up of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline on the way back into town.

It is easy to enjoy Fairbanks no matter what time of year you visit.

Enjoy long summer days spent hiking, fishing, panning for gold, or enjoying a festival. In the winter, despite the short days, there are many activities to keep you busy such as dog sled tours, ice fishing, skiing, a visit to the Santa Claus House in the North Pole, and viewing the Northern Lights. Fairbanks, Alaska is a town full of history and activities to keep you busy year round.

Tip: It is recommended to stay in the downtown Fairbanks area since everything is within walking distance.

This is convenient in the winter as some hotels, such as the Springhill Suites by Marriott, provide free pick up and drop off at the airport. With all the tours that offer pickup service, driving on the snow covered roads in a rental car is not necessary.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in N. Carolina and Tennessee

Recommended by Ashley from A Southern Gyspy

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of my favorite places in the entire world. It consists of large portions of Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina in the United States.

Being from Tennessee, I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Smokies often and they always blow me away by their beauty. This national park is the most visited national park in the US and for good reason.

Some of my favorite things to do include driving and hiking the 11-mile Cades Cove loop for the best black bear sightings, seeing the synchronous fireflies in June (one of only two places in the world to see them), spotting elk in the Cataloochee Valley, exploring the ghost town of Elkmont and all the hiking you could possibly ever want.

The Smokies offer a little something for everyone and is a spot that should not be missed in the United States.  Many people come to this area for Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge but forget about the amazing outdoors right at their backdoor.

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

Recommended by Ljojlo from The Traveller’s Guide

Yellowstone National Park is a volcanic wonderland located mainly in Wyoming with small sections sprawling into Montana and Idaho.

This place is special because it is not only the first recognized National Park in the USA, but it is full of wildlife and spectacular geothermal activity. There are countless areas of Yellowstone to explore however are dependent on the time of year because during the winter much of the park is closed.

Spectacular spots not to be missed include Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Yellowstone Lake took my breath away because in the middle of April it was still frozen.

Being from Australia seeing a frozen lake doesn’t happen, ever, so seeing this was magical. Mammoth Hot Springs is a site to be witnessed by all. The colours and the features can’t be described but must be seen. So, do yourself a favour and visit.

Lucky last on my top three was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. As the name suggests, this is an impressive canyon topped off with a raging waterfall. Other spots to be noted are Old Faithful a cone geyser always waiting to excite onlookers and finally getting a campsite and staying in the park.

Without a doubt enjoying the park from the comfort of our RV was undoubtedly a highlight.

Yellowstone National Park is a must-see purely because I have seen nothing like it and nothing quite as spectacular, except maybe Antarctica but that is another story.

Big Sur in California

Recommended by Sierra from Passport Voyager

One of my favorite places in the entire world is Big Sur, California.

I grew up in Monterey, about 40 minutes north of Big Sur, and visited on a regular basis. The Big Sur coastline boasts incredible natural beauty as well as many iconic sights, including McWay Falls, Pfeiffer Beach, Garapatta State Park and Bixby Creek Bridge.

Stopping on the drive up or down the coast to visit any of these spots is a great way to break up the trip! Another beautiful viewpoint can be found by stopping at the famous Nepenthe Restaurant, which offers lots of delicious food (including vegetarian and vegan options), as well as a gorgeous view down the coastline from their upper deck.

If you’re on a budget, try eating at Cafe Kevah downstairs, which has a slightly more affordable menu.

Hiking through the beautiful state parks and spending time on the iconic beaches are two of the more classic Big Sur activities, but there are lots of other options as well! For a truly magical experience, I recommend staying at Deetjen’s Inn (or just grabbing a meal there if you can)!

This inn is made up of a set of rustic cabins set back in the Redwood forest of Big Sur and will provide a cozy experience no matter how long you stay. Big Sur is a must-see location because of its unique, exceptional natural beauty and local charm and a perfect addition for your California itinerary.

Bryce Canyon in Utah

Recommended by Danielle from Like Riding a Bicycle

Everyone thinks the best of this area is the Grand Canyon, and while stunning, to me at least, it didn’t hold a candle to Bryce Canyon.

Located in southern Utah, with beautiful canyons all around the area, Bryce Canyon has stunning rock formations that look like pillars coming out of the ground. You can drive up and see this amazing canyon from above, or go for a hike right down into it – and a much less strenuous hike than at the Grand Canyon, might I add!

It’s best to go during the daytime of course so that you can see it all, but I highly recommend early morning, as watching the sun rise above the canyon is absolutely spectacular. The canyon is huge, and while we did one hike down into it, there are many different options, so if you’re lucky, you’ll rarely see another person, or can take a quick break so as to separate yourself from the rest.

I always prefer hikes that are along (or just with my group) so it’s wonderful that this is so much less crowded than the Grand Canyon. Bryce Canyon is an absolutely essential place to go to if you find yourself in Utah – believe me, you’ll be sorry if you don’t!

Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan

Recommended by Natasha from The World Pursuit

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park in Northern Michigan covers over 35 miles of beautiful and almost untouched coastline.

When you visit the water is so blue you would think you are in the Caribbean.  It’s the perfect place to visit in Michigan to relax and be at one with nature. There are some beautiful and historic hotels in the area or you can take a campervan.

The whole area is great for hiking, canoeing, and being out on the water – especially in the summer months of June, July, August!

Some ideal things to do there are to venture out on a Dune Climb, take in the stunning overlooks as at Pyramid Point, and stop off for an ice cream ice-cream cone in Leelanau County.

In the heart of winter, the whole area turns into a winter wonderland as well! In general Sleeping Bear Dunes is a great spot on any USA trip. It provides beautiful water, relaxing towns, and amazing forestry to vacation in.

 

Images: all images from shutterstock.com

FINAL THOUGHTS ON VISITING BEAUTIFUL OUTDOOR PLACES IN THE US

There are so many stunning places for nature lovers in the US, it would be impossible to add them all to this list. However, this list of beautiful places is pretty great to start exploring the best spots in the US.

For the best cities to visit in the US, check out my “best cities and towns to visit“.

What are your favorite places to visit in the US? Have we missed an awesome outdoor spot in the US? Let us know.

Safe Travels, Arzo

Categories USA

Best Things to do in New York in 4 Days

4 days in New York itinerary

HOW TO SPEND AMAZING 4 DAYS IN NEW YORK – ITINERARY

My favorite city in the world? It surely is New York. The city is one of a kind – if you are planning your New York itinerary, you might be wondering about the best things to do in New York in 4 days.

4 days in NYC is surely not enough time, but you will be able to cover the most famous attractions and tourist hotspots in that time. Whether you visit from within the US or from abroad – NY is one of the best cities to visit in the US (if not in the world).

The atmosphere and energy the city has makes it one of the greatest cities in the world. I guess, this is not only my opinion, but many agree (and only a few would disagree).

When I booked my trip, I was thinking that 8 days in one of the most famous cities on the planet might be too much – but it definitely was not. With that “many“ days, I had the chance to aimlessly stroll around and get lost (sometimes even literally). 

However, this itinerary will help you discover the main places as a first-time visitor. 

TRAVEL TIPS FOR NYC IN 4 DAYS

So, ready to find out how to spend 4 days in New York and learn about what to do and see? Just some quick travel tips before we discuss the itinerary.

How to Get to New York

By train: If you are arriving by train, the Long Island Rail Road can bring you in from the east, and Amtrak and NJ Transit from the other directions. The trains stop at Penn Station in Manhattan, and from there, you can catch a cab, subway, or bus. 

By plane: If you are flying into NYC, you can arrive to either John F. Kennedy International Airport or LaGuardia Airport. From there, you can take a shuttle, bus, train, taxi, or rental car to your hotel.

By car: If you are driving in, just be aware of the time of day. Traffic and construction are pretty constant in the city. Also, parking is hard to come by. 

How to Get Around

Public transportation is good in New York City, and also plentiful. If you don’t want to venture on foot, then I’d recommend the subway or bus.

A MetroCard, which is used to pay for subway and bus fares, can be purchased and loaded in kiosks at the terminals and subways stations. Using this instead of paying taxi fares will save a lot of money.

Parking is difficult, so I advise leaving your car at the hotel (or not even bringing one) unless you plan on making a day trip outside the city.

Where to Stay in New York City

Depending on what you have planned and where, as well as your budget, choose a hotel that will make a good base for your outings. New York City is fairly large, but accessible by public transportation.

If you plan to take day trips, consider a hotel close to Penn Station (34th Street, between Seventh & Eighth Avenues), where you can grab subways and trains to locations outside of Manhattan. 

While there are hundreds of choices within the city, make sure you book ahead of time if you are arriving during busy seasons, like the holidays or Fashion Week.

Weather in New York

Weather in New York is wet and cold in the winter, and hot and humid in the summer. The nicest times to visit the city are from March to June and from September to November.

If you visit in the winter, you might find yourself experiencing snow. This mostly occurs between December and March (check out my” NY in winter guide“). It doesn’t rain very much in New York City, and it’s about the same month to month (except in the winter when it is snowing).

New Year´s Eve in New York is also a great time to visit.

What to Pack for New York City

If you’re wondering what to wear in NYC, let me offer a few suggestions. During the winter, it is best to pack for the cold, so bring warm clothes, a jacket, scarf, and gloves.

I’d suggest comfortable shoes – or better yet, winter boots – because you’ll probably land up walking quite a bit. New Yorkers tend to dress well, so if you want to fit in, pack some nicer clothes as well. In fall and spring, the temperatures are mild, so pants and short-sleeved shirts are good.

In summer, because of the heat and humidity, shorts and skirts are probably best. Sandals are common, too. New York is very diverse, and so are the clothes you will see.

More Tips for your New York in 4 Days

New York City is an expensive place in general. But within Manhattan, the prices are higher than, say, in Brooklyn.

So, the closer you are to touristy areas and upper-class neighborhoods, the higher the prices for food, clothes, etc. Check out my budget travel tips for NY.

Traveling in New York City can be very safe so long as you use caution. Be careful when traveling at night.

Avoid neighborhoods that have higher crime rates. Avoid empty subway platforms at night and badly lit side streets. Stick to populated areas, particularly after dark. And always keep your valuables close to your body and in sight.

New York City has very strict no-smoking laws. Smoking is not permitted in any indoor area (including bars and clubs) or outdoor public area (like beaches and parks). There are also high taxes on cigarettes in the city.

The drinking age in the United States is 21. Even if you are not planning to drink alcohol, most places that serve it will not allow admittance without a proper government-issued id or passport. So, carry yours on you if you plan to go to any bars or clubs.

EPIC 4-DAY NEW YORK ITINERARY

Four days in NYC is not a lot of time for a city as full of attractions as this one. So, in order to see the best things and make the most of this New York itinerary, you will have some busy days. But don’t worry – there are some breaks built in for you to rest and relax while still enjoying this amazing American city.

DAY 1 OF 4 DAYS IN NEW YORK CITY

The best place to start is Midtown Manhattan. The heart of the city, this area boasts many famous landmarks. It’s also home to NYC’s entertainment venues, including Broadway shows, and iconic Fifth Avenue. So, let’s get started…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Your first stop on Day 1 is this beautiful cathedral located on Fifth Avenue – St. Patrick’s Cathedral. While it’s not nearly as old as many churches found in Europe, it is one of New York’s landmarks, a tribute to the religious freedom that many immigrants found when they arrived in America. 

St. Patrick's Cathedral beautiful place in NY
@shutterstock

Built in the mid-19th century, the Roman Catholic church is done in a Neo-Gothic style. If you love architecture and old churches, this is a great stop to make on your visit to New York City. You can wander throughout the church and take pictures as long as a mass is not being held. Exploring the cathedral should take you about an hour.

Fifth Avenue

Probably one of the most well-known streets in NYC, Fifth Avenue is the dividing line between the East and West sides of Manhattan. Once you leave the cathedral, head toward the shops that line this avenue. 

Fifth Avenue is a must go on any 4-day New York itinerary

Here you will find high-end retailers, like Saks, Tiffany & Co., and Louis Vuitton. If you are in the mood for shopping, then you can spend the rest of the morning exploring the stores and buildings (like the Flatiron Building). And even if you do not plan to buy, window shopping these luxury establishments can be lots of fun, too. Walking Fifth Avenue should probably take about two hours, or more. Are you getting hungry?

The High Line

After all that strolling, I would suggest stopping for some food and then heading to the High Line.

HIgh Line. Urban public park on an historic freight rail line on any NY 4-day itinerary
@shutterstock

To get there, walk to the 5th Ave/53rd St subway stop and take the E train to the 14th Street station. It’s about a 5 to 10-minute walk to the High Line.

There are a lot of restaurants and small eateries nearby, so you can either sit in and eat or take something to go (vegetarian/vegan foods are available). I suggest take-out so you can enjoy your meal on the beautiful High Line. 

Located above the busy streets of Manhattan’s West side, the High Line used to be a freight rail line that was going to be demolished. But instead, it was turned into a public park. It has really lovely scenery, with its high elevation, greenery, and art exhibits.

The entire line is almost 1.5 miles, so you may not want to walk the length of it. But it is a gorgeous spot to stop for a picnic on your first day exploring New York. This should take about 1-2 hours.

Times Square

Of course you have to see Times Square! This famous landmark is great to see either day or night. After you have relaxed at the High Line and enjoyed a nice lunch, it is time to return to the hustle and bustle of the city.

Times Square in NYC @shutterstock
Times Square in NYC @shutterstock

To get to Times Square from the High Line, take the E train again from the 14th Street station to the 42nd St/Port Authority Bus Terminal stop. It is only a few-minutes-walk to reach it.

Times Square is a major destination for tourists, so you can expect it to be busy.

Here you will find stores, restaurants, towering billboards, and crazy characters. I was a little disappointed that I missed the Naked Cowboy who is often there. But there are lots of attractions to enjoy in Times Square, so I suggest you set aside at least 2 hours for this stop.

Broadway Shows

Watching a Broadway show is one of the most popular things to do in New York – whether you are here for 4 days, a week, or just a night. Broadway is a street that runs right through Times Square and houses some of the best plays and musicals in the world. 

I admit that I did not get a chance to see one while I was here, but for many, it is an absolute must.

If you like shows and want to end the night in a relaxing and entertaining way, then this is a good stopping point for Day 1. You can get tickets at the booth in Times Square for some of the shows playing, or even venture off Broadway to see one of the smaller productions there. 

DAY 2 OF 4 DAYS IN NYC

For the second day of your New York itinerary, you will be heading to the south end of the city, spending the day in Manhattan and Brooklyn. These attractions that I am suggesting are in the same general vicinity, but they are not as close together as those on Day 1.

So, you may want to grab your walking shoes and MetroCard for today.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

Your first stop on day 2 is at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

Botanic Garden Walkway one of the top places to go in NY in 4 days
@shutterstock

You can take the 2, 3, 4, or 5 subway to the Eastern Parkway or Franklin Avenue stations. Once you arrive, admission is about $15 (tip: if you are visiting on a Friday from March-November, admission is free from 8am-12pm).

These gardens are just beautiful. Even if you are not a huge nature lover, you will still fall in love with all the flowers and greenery. It is a really nice change after a day in the busy city.  You can either wander the gardens, seeing everything at your own pace, or they also offer tours.

There are seasonal ones that are different depending on what time of year you are visiting. I love a good tour, and this is a great way to learn something about all the beautiful plants in the garden. Depending on your speed and interest, you will probably finish at the Botanical Gardens within about two hours.

Statue of Liberty

This is one of the most famous landmarks in the world – even little kids know about it. 

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was a gift given to the US by the French in 1886 to symbolize their friendship during the American Revolution. It is a symbol of freedom for many.

The easiest way to get here from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is to take the subway from the Franklin Avenue station (the 4 or 5 train) to Bowling Green, and then walk a few minutes to Battery Park, where you will take the ferry to Liberty Island.

If you plan on going up to the pedestal of the statue, get your tickets when you buy your ferry tickets). Important: Only buy tickets from Statue Cruises to avoid getting fake ones from street sellers.

The ferry ride felt great when I was on it because it was a rather hot day. So, enjoy the ride (it takes about 15 minutes). There is a museum on the island, as well as Park Ranger-led tours that last about 30-45 minutes (free).

Also, there is an audio tour that comes with your ferry ticket, which you can pick up when you arrive on the island.

If you want to go up to the crown, it’s very limited in access and needs a prior reservation and additional fee. From the pedestal though, you can get panoramic views of New York, New Jersey, Ellis Island, and New York Harbor.

This stop should take about 2 hours, or more if you decide to see Ellis Island as well. The hours are 830am-4pm.

Chinatown

Once you return to Battery Park, walk for a few minutes to the Whitehall subway station and take the N or R train to Canal Street, which is the heart of New York’s Chinatown.

Street view of Chinatown in NYC one of the top things to do in 4 days
@shutterstock

Chinatown is an amazing, lively, and chaotic place. There is so much to see from the shops to the street vendors. There are lots of knockoff handbags and electronic items for sale, and pretty much everything else. Tea shops, restaurants, and other businesses line the streets. 

When the Chinese immigrated to America, many of them moved to Chinatown. They opened businesses and moved into the apartments above. So, while this is a popular tourist destination in New York City, it is also a thriving local community. 

There are a lot of restaurants along Canal Street, many with options that are vegan and vegetarian. You can stop for lunch/dinner here before heading on to the next stop on the itinerary. 

(By the way, if you prefer Italian food, just a few blocks over is New York’s Little Italy.)

Extra: Dumbo

I have not visited but nowadays (mainly because of Instagram I guess) Dumbo has become very popular amongst visitors.

So, with its cobblestone streets and converted Brooklyn warehouse buildings together with the are the many independent boutiques, high-end restaurants and cafes it has become a popular photo location. So, if you are heading to Brooklyn (as mentioned below) you could add Dumbo also to your NYC itinerary.

Brooklyn Bridge & the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

This was one of the highlights of my trip to New York. Crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan was one of the most amazing travel experiences I have ever had.

I came in the evening, and seeing the skyline and the city’s lights on – it was a great memory. (You may want to move this to the end of the day if you want to cross at night.)

Crossing Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most romantic things
@shutterstock

To get to the promenade from Chinatown, take the R train again, this time to Court St/Borough Hall, then walk along Montague Street (here you’ll find lots of brownstones and boutiques) until you reach it. The promenade is a fun place to explore so wander around and see the 9/11 exhibit and take some photos of Lower Manhattan from this perspective.

Brooklyn Bridge from The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is a must-see in 4 days in New YOrk
@shutterstock

Tip: there are no bathrooms here so you will need to go to one of the shops – and probably buy something before being allowed to use it.

If you want to head to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, you’ll find other great things to see, including a carousel built in 1922. There are a lot of events and exhibits held in the park, and if you are here in the summer, there is a pop-up pool to cool your feet in. 

Since you are in Brooklyn, you can cross the Brooklyn Bridge heading into Manhattan. The bridge is 1.3 miles long and will probably take about 20-30 minutes to cross. I loved my view in the night, but you can cross in the morning or afternoon, too. The views are gorgeous and unforgettable (and if you are looking for romantic experiences in NY than it is a must).

Extra: National September 11 Memorial & Museum 

The last stop for the night is the September 11 Memorial. This is located where the Twin Towers once stood and is a somber tribute to those who died from the terrorist attacks that day (and from a bombing in 1993).

To get here, take the R train from City Hall to Cortland Street (one stop). Or, you could just walk – it will take about 10 minutes (unless you are all walked out!). 

The museum is open until 8pm (last entry at 6pm) and costs about $26 ($46 with the tour). If you arrive by night it will be closed so you can either come here earlier the day or you visit the memorial without visiting the museum.

But the memorial itself is free to see. Here you’ll find the twin reflecting pools, the inscription of nearly 3,000 names of the dead, and the “Survivor Tree.”

The museum gives a lot of information about the 9-11 attacks and also about each of the victims. You can walk through this at your own pace or take a tour if you prefer (for an added cost). 

This stop may take about an hour or two.

DAY 3 OF 4 DAYS IN NEW YORK

For the third day of this New York 4-day itinerary, you will be doing a lot of walking, but also a lot of relaxing. After yesterday, this will be an easy day.

Hudson River Waterfront Greenway

Spend the morning at the Hudson River Waterfront Greenway. This greenway runs around the island of Manhattan and is very popular for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. 

It is gorgeous, but can also get busy, especially on the weekends. And it is easy to see why. You can see beautiful views of Manhattan and New Jersey. You can visit Chelsea Piers. There are tons of places to stop and rest. There are not a lot of places to get food, but there are some here and there. 

You can spend a good amount of time at the greenway if you choose. It can be a really energizing spot to start the day. 

Central Park

The next stop is iconic Central Park. This is 843 acres of park in the center of Manhattan. It’s like a lovely oasis in the midst of the busy city surrounding it. 

Central park in New York - what to do in NY in 4 days
@shutterstock

You can enter the park from multiple entrances, so there are a lot of options for transportation from the greenway to the park. Once you enter this space, you can stroll around and see all the natural beauty. There are benches along the paths, which run all throughout the park.

There are open areas for playing sports or picnicking, too. You could easily spend a whole day here. Try to see as much as you can, especially if the weather is good. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art 

The last stop for this day is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is one of the country’s most famous museums, and it is so large, you will likely not even see half of what they exhibit in one day.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York itinerary
@shutterstock

But even if you are not a big art fan (as I am not), there are so many things to see that it is still worth a visit.

To get to the museum from Central Park, just exit the park on Fifth Avenue and walk to the museum (should be only a few minutes). Admission tickets are about $25 (and they are good for 3 consecutive days if you want to stop back). The museum is open from 10am-530pm.

Since there is so much to see, I suggest you see whatever interests you most, or stop at the exhibits the museum is most famous for, like the Egyptian Art and Greek & Roman Art. But there are also visiting exhibits that change frequently. It is really a lovely museum and beautiful to stroll through.

After the museum, you can grab dinner at one of the nearby restaurants or even head back to Central Park to end the night with a walk. 

DAY 4 OF 4 DAYS IN NYC

This is the last day of the trip. There are still some amazing things to see in NY in 4 days, so today will be a few stops at well-known landmarks and historical sites. 

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal is amazing. It is not just a place to jump on a train, but a place to visit, in and of itself. I found it interesting and fun, with so many things to see and do.

Grand Central Terminal Manhattan

Built in 1871, the terminal was rebuilt twice to be the building it is today. It is one of the busiest train terminals in the world. You will find restaurants, shops, and artwork here.

I especially liked the Whispering Gallery. There is a place in the terminal by the Oyster Bar where, if you whisper into one corner, a person standing in the opposite corner can hear you (as if you had shouted) because of the way the arches and acoustics are. You have to try it!

I did a free walking tour which is a great way to learn more about the history of the terminal and see all the cool features and secrets inside. This stop will probably take about 1-2 hours, or more if you explore thoroughly.

New York Public Library

This is a very famous building in New York and a great landmark you should see during your visit. You can easily walk up 42nd Street from Grand Central Terminal to the library.

New York Public Library a must on a 4-day NY itinerary
@shutterstock

It is an impressive building with stone lions guarding the front doors. Inside, there are large windows and beautiful art covered entire walls. The library has an extensive collection, including a children’s section. The architecture of the building, known as Beaux-Arts, is also impressive. 

You will probably only need an hour here. The library is open from 10am-545pm (except Sundays, which is 1pm-445pm).

Empire State Building

Once you leave the library, head to the Empire State Building. This landmark will give you amazing views of the city and if you are into views, it might be one of your highlights of your New York in 4 days trip.

New York -#1 @shutterstock
New York -#1 @shutterstock

Built in 1931, this art-deco skyscraper stands at 1,454 feet high. There are two observation decks that you can get to that offer 360º views of Manhattan. I loved the scenery from the top of this building, looking down over Midtown and beyond. It is a highlight for many who stay come to see New York in 4 days.

To get here, you can just walk down Fifth Avenue, which should take less than 10 minutes. The observation decks are located on the 86th and 102nd floors. I suggest going right to the top for the best views. It’s a beautiful panorama! And on a clear day, they say you can see 80 miles out.

The Empire State Building is open from 8am-2pm, but it is least busy in the first couple of hours. There’s also an Express Pass, which is a good idea for skipping lines. Visiting here will probably take about two hours, or more if you check out a lot of the exhibits. 

230 Fifth Rooftop Bar

This is the perfect way to end your last night in New York City. This 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar was another highlight of my trip and I almost didn’t get to see it. I forgot my ID the first time I went, so they wouldn’t let me in. So, remember to bring ID when you come.

This view is from the rooftop of the 230-fifth Bar one of the best places to visit in 4 days
@shutterstock

From the Empire State Building, walk up Fifth Avenue for about 5 minutes and you will reach the bar. You can choose the fully enclosed lounge, but I suggest going to the open-air rooftop. In the winter, heated igloos are used to keep visitors warm. But in the summer, it is open to the sky.

There is a lovely garden up there and you have great views of Manhattan. It felt very unreal to me, sitting there and overlooking the city and its lights. But it was a really memorable experience and with New York in 4 days, I highly recommend coming here for once. 

____________

FINAL THOUGHTS ON VISITING NEW YORK FOR 4 DAYS

I hope this NYC itinerary gave you a good idea of how to plan your trip and all the things to see and do here.

There are so many famous landmarks and attractions, it’s hard to fit them into your New York itinerary but you will get a good place of this amazing city. Yes, I do think New York in 4 days is a good amount of time to explore the main sights.

And it also means you should visit again, or maybe stay longer. It is one of the most interesting cities in the world (sorry LA and San Francisco) Either way, I hope you enjoy your visit to this busy and exciting city.

TIPS:

Visiting New York in winter? Then check out this NY winter post

Safe Travels, Arzo

Categories USA

Reasons to Do Solo Female Travel in a Camper Van

Solo female travel in a camper van

REASONS TO DO SOLO FEMALE TRAVEL IN A CAMPER VAN

Hello, world! My absence on Instagram, and here on my blog, doesn’t mean I have stopped thinking about traveling. Though life is crazy at the moment, to say the least, I have another project in my mind that revolves around travel.

Besides lots of research, I haven’t actually started, but my project will be quite big and I can’t wait to actually start physically working on it.

Wondering what it will be? Let me tell you: I will be converting a van! Well, most likely.

No, it wasn’t the #VanLife that is floating around Instagram that got me here. There are many reasons why I want to travel with a van.

I love cliches, that is why I plan to do it. Another solo female traveler who is about to travel the world (or let’s say Europe to start) in a van. With a little dog in tow.

No, seriously, there are many solo female travelers out there who inspired and eventually motivated me to also walk this path. 

BUT,  of course, I am a bit careful after all, so I have done my research and I tried out traveling in a van, too. And I loved discovering Iceland in a van on my own. I visited Iceland twice and in the summer months, I rented a small camper van (without a toilet, shower or anything luxurious) and spent 10 days in Iceland – and in the van. And I loved it.

Image

BUT,  of course, I am a bit careful after all, so I have done my research and I tried out traveling in a van, too. And I loved discovering Iceland in a van on my own. I visited Iceland twice and in the summer months, I rented a small camper van (without a toilet, shower or anything luxurious) and spent 10 days in Iceland – and in the van. And I loved it.

And while I will not be living full-time in my van, I still have big plans for it.

After years of traveling in a car (with some sleepovers when I did not book a hotel on time and had to sleep in the driver‘s seat of my car, which was too uncomfortable to plan on doing it again), I finally will take the plunge and just get a van.

If you have ever wondered why people, including solo female travelers, travel in vans – or you still need an argument to convince you, here is why I think van traveling is an amazing way to explore the world.

Before I share my personal reasons, I will also share a bit of my background.

As some of you might know, I work full-time as a teacher here in Germany. This means… a lot of vacations for me. This allowed me to do many road trips in Europe, whether I road tripped Switzerland (many, many times), Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany or many other countries. So, I am okay with driving long-distances and with so many weeks off, I can continue doing it.

In total, I have more than 12 weeks off (2 weeks around Easter, 6 weeks for the summer holidays, 2 weeks in fall, and 2 weeks for the Christmas holidays, plus a few long weekends here and there).

Best places to visit in the Dolomites

So, besides my Christmas holidays, I plan to travel with a van throughout Europe. However, I do not plan to live full-time in my van.

It will be a van for my travel only. This is probably one main difference that will make a huge difference.

Why do I want to so solo female travel in a van?

Why I want to travel in a camper van

Spontaneity and Freedom

If you have ever followed one of my trips, you probably know how spontaneous (some might call it unorganised) I am and how much I love to decide spur-of-the-moment where I want to stay.

If I like place and enjoy the weather, I want to stay longer – whether it is just a few hours, a few days, or even longer. 

I know many people love to plan weeks or months in advance. 

I am definitely not such a person and you might be able to relate if you like to go with the flow.

Weggis_ hidden gem

If I visit a place, especially an expensive country like Switzerland, I do not want to be stuck in a city with bad weather. If the weather is better further south or up in the north, I want to be flexible. 

With hotels, this can be tricky.

Of course, if you travel during the high season and want to stay at campsites only, planning might be necessary, too. But if you want to camp in the wild, then you have a lot of freedom – a freedom I am looking for and which is my main reason to travel in a van.

I will try to stick to local rules and not break them – and whenever I can (and feel safe), I will camp wild. Because not planning much ahead means freedom to me.

Costs

A van is – or can be – quite expensive. The initial costs are quite high. Of course, you can also find very low-budget vans, but most often, they are more expensive than “regular“ cars. 

But not only is the purchase price high, insurance is higher than for regular cars, and they have higher fuel consumption. 

However, once the van is bought, it gets much cheaper to travel.

Especially if you visit expensive countries like Switzerland, Austria, Southern Germany, or other places in Central or North Europe, where you will pay a fortune on accommodations. Even if you stay in budget hotels, it can take a big chunk of your budget.

So, in those countries, it can actually save you tons of money traveling in a van. But before you just go out and randomly buy a van, calculate the costs for yourself.

Since I haven’t bought my van yet, I cannot say how much I will save in the end.

However, if I travel in Europe for 12 week a year (which is realistic with my job), I would have to pay accommodations for more than 90 nights.

In Switzerland, I sometimes paid more than 100€ for a quite basic room (that allowed dogs and was centrally located) during the high season. I am talking about 2 or 3-star hotels that were very simple.

Of course, there were times I paid less. Especially in Southern or Eastern Europe, hotel rooms are cheaper and I paid around 20-40€ for a basic room.

So, it is hard to really come up with a figure, but accommodations could cost me up to 5000€ annually. 

I hope that van life, even with higher petrol costs and insurance, etc., will help me save money!

Dog

I often travel with my now 7-year-old dog, Puppygak. Luckily, he loves staying in a car and traveling is very easy with him…

But staying with dogs in hotels or Airbnbs can be… difficult.

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Even dog-friendly countries often do not have many dog-friendly accommodations. In countries like Germany – according to my research – only about 50% of the hotels allow pets.

In countries like Bosnia-Herzegovina, the number of hotels that allow dogs were less than 30%.

In the high season, it can be tricky to find a good hotel that is not too expensive. 

Plus, many hotels charge extra for having a dog, and unfortunately, the extra fees for dogs are not always very transparent.

As much as I love traveling with my dog, I hate booking accommodations, so I am looking forward to easier traveling once I travel in a van.

Cooking

I am a picky eater, yet I love the food I prepare myself. No, I am not cooking fancy stuff – actually basic and simple food, and yet, I enjoy preparing my own food when I travel for more than a week.

Cooking in a camper van

This is for several reasons: First, I am trying to eat vegan as much as possible. While I still eat milk chocolate and eggs here and there, I try to reduce that consumption, and in countries like Switzerland, southern Germany, and many other parts of Europe, finding plant-based food is not very easy.

I love food, but I do not want to spend a lot of time researching restaurants that have plant-based dishes. 

However, I do always think about food and delicious food to eat. 

And though I do book Airbnbs with kitchen access once in a while, it isn’t always possible. And if you move every other day, it is difficult to travel with groceries. In my van, I will have a fridge, my spices, and my staples (spelt pasta, oats, legumes, etc.) – and of course, my vegetables and fruits.

While many of you guys probably enjoy eating out, I am looking forward to dining out only occasionally while cooking my own food most of the time…

And while I might never cook as good as my mom, I still often think to myself, “very well done…“ 🙂

Views

Okay, I said that I am not about Instagram trends. BUT great views are not about Instagram, great views are what I live for.

Whether I do this terrible thing called hiking or pay a bit extra for a hotel room with a good view – a great view is what can make my trip! 

And having the chance to wake up many mornings with great views… it is so worth it! 

I even enjoyed waking up after my daily naps in Iceland and seeing the views…

Piva Lake in Montenegro is the answer to the question where to go

So, there are some more reasons why I want to travel in a van as a solo female traveler (or despite being one?), but the above-mentioned arguments for buying a camper van are my main personal reasons for getting one.

What camper van will I get? I am not sure yet. I have been looking online for used Sprinters, Transits, Ducatos, and other models, but in the end, I will decide based on the price and offer. I most likely will not get a VW Bullie because they are a bit too small but right now, I am just like, let’s see what I will choose.

I plan to convert a van on my own (with 100% help for my electrics and minor help with other jobs), but if I find a great van that is already converted, then I will buy that one.

My decisions on the length and height also aren’t set in stone yet – I would love a high roof, but not a very long van.

I do have some things that I definitely want in my van – like a toilet and a “real“ kitchen – but other than that, I am flexible. I will be spontaneous.

So, if you are also toying with getting a van – or if you would love to find out how my van story will continue – stay tuned and find out about it here on my blog.

I am looking forward to sharing the progress – which van model will I end up with, posts on how I convert the van (probably including the many fails), and of course, where I travel with my van.

It might take several months until the van is bought and converted, but I hope to take you with me on my journey to become a part-time van dweller. 

So, hope to see you soon! Stay safe.

Reasons to travel in a camper van - solo female travel, Arzo Travels
Pic: @unsplash

Categories USA

BEST THINGS TO DO IN DALLAS IN 3 DAYS

Best things to do in Dallas in 3 days, Texas

Headed to Dallas and wondering about the best things to do in Dallas? Then read on and find out about what to do (and also, how a perfect 3-day itinerary could look like).

Dallas is famous for a lot of things – Tex-Mex and football are the first to come to mind. But this city is known for a lot more than that. Located in the northeast corner of the state of Texas, Dallas is a cultural and commercial hub in the southern part of the US.

Many companies are headquartered here, making it a place with lots of income – which means there are lots and lots of entertainment options which makes it one of the best cities to visit in the US.

This post was written by Rebecca (find out more about her below).

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

BEST TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR DALLAS TRIP

So, if you are looking to plan a your Dallas itinerary and are wondering what to do during that time, then this post will help. I’ll offer some of the best things to do in Dallas in 3 days, as well as some helpful travel tips for getting around the city and making the most of your time here. 

How to Get to Dallas

If you’re flying into Dallas, you will be arriving at one of two airports: the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) or the Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL). From there, you can either take public transportation to your hotel or rent a car.

Another more economical option is taking the train. Amtrak has stations in Dallas, making it easy to get here by train ride. Cross-country buses are even cheaper, if a little less comfortable.

If you are driving from the north or south, take Route 35 into the city, and from the west and east, you can travel along Route 20.

Weather in Dallas

The weather in Dallas can be beautiful, but some seasons are more comfortable than others. Dallas is the perfect fall and spring destination in the US.

Summer temperatures range from 77ºF to 96ºF, and with humidity, it can feel very hot and muggy.

Winters are between 36ºF and 56ºF, and spring and fall are more temperate, though sudden thunderstorms are not uncommon.

What to Pack

Because of the heat and humidity, pack light clothes and sunscreen if you are visiting in summer. Also, Dallas locals put a lot of pride into dressing fashionably, so keep that in mind if you’re looking forward to some nights out on the town.

Where to Stay

There are a lot of hotels located in the downtown area, as well as near the airports. But here are a few suggestions based on your budget:

  • For a luxury accommodation, you can stay at the Hotel Crescent Court, which is very modern, has on-site restaurants, and a private balcony off of each guest room. Great for couples and solo travelers.
  • The Omni Dallas Hotel is a good mid-range option with great views and a heated infinity pool that’s especially nice in the cooler months.

How to Get Around

Dallas is a very spread-out city, so for convenience, renting a car would be my suggestion. You will have to deal with parking and traffic though, so there is a trade-off for being able to drive yourself. 

Even though a car is the easiest mode of transportation, it’s not the only way to get around. Dallas has a really good public transportation system known as DART, which includes bus routes as well as a train system. It’s also constantly expanding to offer more coverage to the busy areas of the city and suburbs. You can buy single-fare tickets or day passes.

MORE TIPS

Texas is hot in the summer, and Dallas is no exception. Heat stroke is a very common malady for first-time visitors, so make sure you stay hydrated. The tap water in the city is well-filtered and safe to drink, so keep a bottle with you at all times and fill up often.

Keep an eye on weather reports when you’re visiting Dallas. From hail storms to tornadoes, extreme weather has been known to hit the region. So, just give a look at the forecast before you head out each morning.

There are a lot of free things to do in Dallas, but a lot of attractions have entry fees. So, to save money, consider getting a City Pass, which will discount prices for popular stops, like the Sixth Floor Museum.

Dallas is a pretty safe city for tourists, so just use common sense precautions when visiting. Keep an eye on your belongings, park in lit areas, and be careful of train platforms and side streets when traveling alone at night.

I mentioned that Dallas is a city with a lot of disposable income, so going out is as popular with the locals as it is the visitors. Expect longer than usual wait times at popular eateries and night spots.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN DALLAS IN 3 DAYS

Here are fun things to do and see in Dallas in 3 days.

Day 1 in Dallas

Of course, you can play around and start with “day 2” – this is up to you, but here is how a great start in Dallas could look like.

White Rock Lake Park

The first stop is White Rock Lake Park because…visiting is one of the best things to do and it is one of the many free things to do in Dallas.

Sunset at White Rock Lake, watching is one of the best things to do in 3 days in Dallas

This huge park just northeast of downtown is perfect for anyone who loves nature and the outdoors. There are biking and hiking trails, kayaking, and also a museum and a cultural center, which I suggest you stop at. This is a good place to let the kids get their wiggles out if you’re traveling as a family.

There’s also a picnic area, so bring your breakfast and enjoy the fresh air while you eat. After an hour or two, you can head to the next destination.

George W. Bush Presidential Center

What makes the George W. Bush Presidential Center interesting isn’t so much the president himself, but just the things that you can see at a presidential center.

Each president gets one, and this particular one has cool artifacts from Bush’s presidency, including through 9/11, as well as 43,000 gifts he was given while in office. And if you never get to see the Oval Office in the White House in person, here you’ll find an exact replica. This takes about 2 hours to tour.

Highland Park Village

With a lovely Mediterranean Spanish-style architecture, Highland Park Village was the first shopping center in the US, build in 1931.

It’s full of luxury stores, restaurants, and outdoor spaces. Even if you’re not coming to shop, it’s a great stop for nice architecture and something to eat. It was made a National Historic Landmark in 2000. So, grab a coffee/lunch and a bench and just people-watch for a little while before checking out the next stop.

Klyde Warren Park

This urban park is situated over the Klyde Warren Freeway and bridges uptown and downtown.

Klyde Warren Park, Downtown Dallas, Texas

It has tons of free activities, a playground for kids, and food trucks that are there to provide a variety of local cuisines. It’s a fun environment and very popular among locals and tourists alike. It’s also very close to the next stop on this itinerary.

Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art is one of the largest museums in the country and has over 22,000 pieces of art to see.

Dallas Museum of Art on Dallas itinerary, Gilberto Mesquita, Shutterstock.com
@Gilberto Mesquita – Shutterstock.com

 

It’s a really diverse place and has exhibits that cover ancient Mediterranean art to 20th century America, to Asia and Africa, and beyond. There are even pop culture exhibits about famous musicians, cultural trends, and touchable exhibits. This is a really fun museum to stop at while visiting Dallas’ Art District, whether with kids, as a couple, or solo.

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

Our last stop is best seen at night. The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge was designed by world-renowned engineer Santiago Calatrava.

It’s beautifully dramatic and can be seen for miles. Illuminated at night, this white arch soars to 400 feet at its center as it straddles the Trinity River. The architecture is really stunning and I highly suggest making this the last stop of your night. And if you get hungry, there are a number of restaurants nearby after you’ve gotten some great pictures.

Day 2 in Dallas

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Day 2 will start at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardenm. Dallas aphotostory, Shutterstock.com
@aphotostory, Shutterstock.com

 

This 66-acre garden is full of bright floral displays for every season and walkways hugged by lines of trees. There are exhibits and events held here throughout the year and it’s a great place for a picnic. So, take your coffee and breakfast to go and spend a couple of hours strolling through the beautiful natural scenery.

Swiss Avenue

The Swiss Avenue Historic District is a residential neighborhood that you can walk through and see examples of century-old architecture.

The houses were built in the early 1900s and were done in the styles of Colonial Revival, and 19th and 20th Century Revival. The houses are even opened up to the public to walk through on occasion. Even if you are not a huge architecture buff though, these buildings are stately and lovely to look at, plus it’s a nice area for a walk. 

Texas Discovery Gardens

This public park is great for kids because it’s not just a pretty outdoor area, but one that tries to educate the public on ecology and nature.

There’s a very cool 2-story butterfly house and a snake exhibit here, as well as many events. Explore the gardens and exhibits for an hour or two before checking out the next stop.

Old City Park / Heritage Village

This destination is actually now called Dallas Heritage Village but it’s still an amazing example of what the city used to look like.

Landscape view of the entrance to the Dallas Heritage Village Shutterstock
@Shutterstock

Restored buildings and furnished homes from the 19th and early 20th centuries create a space here that’s devoted to the cultural and historic heritage of North Texas. Stroll the tree-lined streets and explore the general store. Enjoy a historical reenactment or mock gun fight. This is especially fun for families, but I’d recommend it to any Dallas visitor.

Deep Ellum

Our last stop of the night is Deep Ellum. This quirky and lively art and music district is located in East Dallas.

Full of experimental theaters, live music shows, and Tex-Mex restaurants, it’s a fun place to hang out. Jazz and blues are big here, but all music varieties are represented.

Check out art installations and grab drinks at one of the lounges. Weekends are especially boisterous in this part of the city. Finish out your night here, enjoying the artsy vibe of Dallas.

Day 3 in Dallas

For your last day in Dallas, you can visit following places.

Dallas County Courthouse / Old Red Museum

It’s the last day and our first stop is the Old Red Museum / Dallas County Courthouse.

Old Red Museum, formerly Dallas County Courthouse in Dallas, Texas main sight for Dallas itinerary

This red municipal building was built in 1892 and still has beautiful architecture. Done in red sandstone with marble accents, it’s really pretty.

And you can go inside and learn even more about the building and the city. In 2007, it became the Old Red Museum and you should check out its exhibits for an hour or two before heading to the next stop.

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

The Sixth Floor Museum is located in the former Texas School Book Depository in Dealey Plaza.

Dealey Plaza in Dallas a must-see in 3 days
@Rick Seeney – Shutterstock.com

 

It gained fame as being the place where the man who assassinated President John F. Kennedy was when he fired on the presidential motorcade. The museum is really interesting, especially because this particular tragedy is shrouded in conspiracy theories.

Take the audio tour, which is included in the price of admission, and learn more about it. This stop should take about two hours. (Parents should use caution if their children are younger.)

There are also several JFK Assassination Tours that you can book.

Reunion Tower

It just wouldn’t be right to visit a beautiful city like Dallas and not take in the view from above.

The Reunion Tower stands as the sun sets in Dallas, Texas. stock_photo_world, Shutterstock.com
@stock_photo_world, Shutterstock.com

 

Reunion Tower is definitely one of those places where you have to go in Dallas in 3 days. Check out the city with panoramic views. The 360-degree observation deck is amazing, and you can also eat here and get souvenirs if you like. But most of all, enjoy the skyline and scenery.

AT&T Stadium

There’s nothing bigger in Texas than football. And the Dallas Cowboys are the hometown heroes.

AT&T Stadium in Dallas fitzcrittle,Shutterstock.com
@fitzcrittle – Shutterstock.com

 

AT&T Stadium was built in 2009 and is one of the most impressive sports stadiums in the country. With a retractable roof and 160 foot jumbotron, there’s a lot to admire. Take a self-guided tour that lets you see the entire stadium and turf. Even if you’re not a football fan, you have to admire the technology and grandeur of the place.

And for sports-loving kids and adults, this is a fun stop. It’s located just outside of Dallas, in Arlington.

Sundance Square

The last stop will be Sundance Square.

This is the only destination that’s located in neighboring Fort Worth, but it’s worth the extra travel time (pun intended). This downtown district is the perfect place to end our visit, with restaurants, theaters, shops, and pubs lining the streets. Stroll through and see what catches your eye.

Enjoy dinner and drinks. Watch a drama or musical performance. Or check out the pools and waterfalls at the nearby Fort Worth Water Gardens. There’s so much to do in this little area, and it’s great for solo travelers and couples, as well as families.

CONCLUSION: BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN DALLAS IN 3 DAYS

I hope this Dallas itinerary has answered the question about the best things to do in Dallas in 3 days and given you some guidance for your own visit.

This is a huge city with lots to enjoy, so 3 days hardly seems like enough. But this list gives you the best stops to make and I hope you have a great time exploring this unique city.

Pinterest - Best things to do in Dallas, Texas, USA

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This post was written by Rebecca, who runs her own blog at The Journey at Home – where she writes about her life as a mother of 5 with everything that comes along with it. She lived in New York for a long time before she moved to Las Vegas. She also works as a freelancer for Arzo Travels.

Categories USA

How to Create An Epic 3-Day Miami Itinerary

3-day Miami Itinerary

HOW TO SPEND EPIC 3 DAYS IN MIAMI, FLORIDA

Are you thinking of visiting Miami, but aren’t sure where to start? I have good news – this 3-day Miami itinerary will show you all the best places to go while visiting this exciting and fun city in south Florida which is one of the best cities to visit in the US.

Miami is not the capital of Florida, but it is the most well-known city in the state thanks to the many TV shows set here and the number of celebrities that like to visit South Beach. But you’ll also find parks, pools, and wetlands here, as well as many cultural and historic sites and this Miami itinerary will allow you to discover the city and you’ll also find useful travel tips.

So, whether you want to discover more of your own “backyard” or if you come from abroad – Miami surely is not boring and here is what to know before your 3 days in Miami.

This post was written by Rebecca (find out more about her below).

South Beach in Miami, Florida_
@shutterstock

A PERFECT MIAMI 3-DAY ITINERARY

Here is how to spend 3 days in Miami (at the bottom you’ll find plenty of helpful travel tips).

Day 1 of 3 Days in Miami

For day 1 let’s start with this place.

Little Havana

The first stop on this 3-day Miami itinerary is Little Havana.

Just west of Miami’s downtown, this hub of Cuban culture, art, music, and food is a great way to start the day. Grab a cafecito (Cuban espresso) and wander the streets. Check out the historic Tower Theater, listen to some Latin music, and try some authentic Cuban cuisine. Visit Cubaocho for the art. This should take an hour or two.

History Miami Museum

If you’d like to know more about the history of Miami, then you should visit this museum which is about 3 miles from Little Havanna.

Besides having lots of exhibits and collections, you can also take part in public tours that include walking tours and boat tours. This could take you a few hours, but it’s a great way to explore Miami’s history and culture. 

Gesu Church

Built in 1896, this Roman Catholic church is the oldest in Miami and a 10-minute walk from the History Museum.

Gesu Catholic Church located in Miami Downtown, shutterstock
@shutterstock

It’s also a registered Historic Place in the US. This is still an active church, so you can either attend a service or explore when there isn’t one going on. But do try to stop at this lovely church with its gorgeous architecture and art work. This will only take about an hour.

Bayside Marketplace

After visiting the church head to the Bayside Marketplace which is just a 10-minute walk. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything at the Bayside Marketplace, you should still come for the views.

View of the Miami Bayside Marketplace.
@shutterstock

This is an open-air market that is two stories tall and is surrounded by Biscayne Bay and the city marina. It’s also a huge shopping mecca and a favorite among visitors, so stop here to do some souvenir shopping, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the local artists and musicians. You can also book tours, if you prefer.

Wynwood Walls

After lunch and some shopping, you can head to Wynwood Walls.

Colorful graffiti art line the street walls and back alleys of Miami, Florida, especially in the Wynwood Walls neighborhood
@shutterstock

This outdoor exhibit is a collection of street art done by graffiti artists from all over the world on walls of galleries and restaurant. It’s a pretty interesting collection of urban art and you can stroll the area, stop for some jazz and a drink, and explore the various pieces in the Wynwood area. If you prefer a buggy street art tour, check out this tour.

Miami Children’s Museum

If you’re traveling with children, the Miami Children’s Museum is a great place to stop and let them unwind and have fun.

Miami Children's Museum located on Watson Island, shutterstock
@shutterstock

It’s a non-profit dedicated to learning through play and I’ve never met a kid who didn’t love to do hands-on experiments and activities like the ones found here.

Tip: If you purchased a Go Miami Pass, then the entrance is free.

Explore Downtown

To finish off your night, spend the evening exploring downtown Miami.

Fish eye view of the Brickell Key area in downtown Miami along Biscayne Bay
@shutterstock

This vibrant city has lots to do at night. If you prefer a guided tour, you can take a Big Bus Miami Night Tour. There are also nighttime Fishing Tours and City Skyline Tours.

Or, if you prefer, you can just enjoy a nice dinner or head out for drinks. Either way, spend a little time wandering the downtown area and seeing the city lit up in the dark.

Day 2 of 3 Days in Miami

For day 2, I have following ideas for your itinerary.

Stiltsville

For day 2 of this Miami itinerary, let’s take a boat tour of a strange and unique collection of houses, also known as Stiltsville.

Historic Stiltsville, a collection of homes on Stilts in Biscayne Bay National Park, shutterstock
@shutterstock

This group of houses was built on stilts and sits about a mile out from the Florida coast. It’s actually pretty beautiful if you head out here in the morning, with the sun shining and the Atlantic Ocean in the background. Stiltsville is a fun and curious sight, so try to fit it into your Miami itinerary.

Cape Florida Lighthouse

This lighthouse was built in 1825 to guide ships as they approached the Florida Keys.

Famous lighthouse at Cape Florida in the south end of Key Biscayne , Miami_
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Located at the southern tip of Key Biscayne, you can explore the lighthouse and also enjoy the great views you get from this old building. It also has a lot of history attached to it, so be sure to check that out. And if you like, there are also bicycle, boat, and even aerial tours available for the lighthouse. This should take an hour or two.

Crandon Park

Quite close to the lighthouse, you will find this two-mile stretch which was once a coconut plantation and is worth a visit.

Beautiful Crandon Park Beach located in Key Biscayne in Miami._
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It’s beautiful with its mangroves, dunes, and reef. If you are interested in water sports, you can kayak or stand-up paddleboard. And if you want to enjoy a picnic lunch, this is the perfect place. There are great views, tables, and even barbeques. This is a good spot for families, but also solo travelers and couples.

Hobie Beach

Since this day is all about beaches and outdoor activities, visit Hobie Beach which you will also find near Cramdon ark.

Hobie Beach has two things going for it: 1) it is a great spot for windsurfing on Biscayne Bay, as well as paddleboarding and kayaking, and 2) it is one of the few dog-friendly beaches in the Miami area.

So, if you are traveling with your fur baby and want to let them run leash-free in the sand, then Hobie Beach is the place. This is also great for outdoor sports lovers, with equipment rentals nearby. Spend a few hours relaxing here before heading to the next stop.

South Beach

There are galleries, restaurants, and bars and clubs galore in this area of Miami.

South Beach, Miami Beach. Florida._
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Famous as a celebrity destination, you’ll see lots of glitz and lights here. For singles and couples, you can spend the evening dancing, enjoying local music and drinks, or just strolling and people-watching. If you plan on clubbing, dress to impress because standards are high at some of the more popular places.

But seeing South Beach is definitely a must when planning what to do in Miami in 3 days. 

Espanola Way: This area of South Beach has beautiful architecture, restaurants and coffee shops, and lots of spots to stop and people-watch. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through Espanola before grabbing dinner at one of the unique eateries. This is known as a romantic spot, so perfect for traveling couples.

Tip: If you have a late night, don’t worry – some food places are open until as late as 5am!

Day 3 of 3 Days in Miami

For day 3 in Miami here are some other activities (away from the beaches).

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

For the last of our 3 days in Miami, we’ll start at the pretty Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

Waterfront view Villa Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami Florida
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Built in 1914 by a local businessman, this estate is surrounded by formal gardens, sculptures, and grottos. It’s fun to explore the mansion and its lovely grounds, and it also teaches a little about the history and culture of the area. You can book a tour if you prefer seeing it with a guide. After an hour or two, you can head to the next destination.

Venetian Pool

Located a few miles from downtown, in Coral Gables, this public pool – the Venetian Pool – is one of the most popular places to visit when in Miami.

Coral Gables Venetian Pool in Miami - Florida.
@shutterstock

Built in 1924, it is a well-known swimming area with caves, coral rock formations, and waterfalls. Even though it’s public, there is a fee involved and an age limit. No one under 3 years of age is admitted, so be aware of this if you are traveling with young children.

This is a popular activity so make sure to visit in 3 days in Miami and after a relaxing visit to the pool, make your way to another outdoor destination.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Full of flowering trees, palms, and butterflies, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a serene and beautiful place to visit.

It’s also quite large so you may not be able to see all of the tropical plants and other collections that are here, but it is a nice stop when you are spending 3 days in Miami. This should take a couple of hours. Great for families, couples, and solo travelers.

Coral Castle

This limestone sculpture garden – Coral Castle – is a really cool place to visit. Built by an eccentric businessman who carved each structure himself, you can explore the garden and see the beautiful pieces of art at your own pace.

It’s a bit of trek from the downtown area, but it’s worth an hour’s stop on your way to our next destination.

Everglades

For your last stop on this 3-day Miami itinerary, head to the Everglades. This is one of the most famous parts of Florida and there are lots of options for how you’d like to see this wetland preserve.

Sunset at Everglades in your 3-day Miani itinerary
@Pixabay

Whether it’s hiking, diving, bird-watching, or taking pictures from the Shark Valley overlook, the Everglades is a vast and varied natural attraction. Taking a boat ride is probably one of the most popular things to do and I definitely suggest it.

This is a great way to end your trip to Miami, where you can enjoy the natural beauty and great scenery of this famous locale.

Day Trip Idea: Key West 

If you find some spare time and can compress your itinerary into two days, then I highly suggest spending one day on a day trip to Key West. This way you will see a lot in 3 days in Miami and make the most out of your trip.

The Florida Keys are beautiful and heading to Key West along Route 1 offers some of the best views of the trip. You’ll be crossing the ocean in between islands and at the end of the road is Key West – known for its laid-back style, friendly locals, and drinking establishments.

Enjoy a relaxing day in the keys if you can make time for a day trip. Check out tours to Key West here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR MIAMI ITINERARY

So, here are some of the best things to do in Miami in 3 days, as well as travel tips to make your stay even better.

How to Get to Miami

There are two major airports to fly into in Miami: Miami International Airport (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

If you prefer a more economical mode of transportation, then you can also take the Amtrak train in or a Greyhound bus, among others.

If you’re driving (and do a Florida road trip) then you can either take the I-95, which has tolls but also runs along the coast, or the Florida Turnpike, which skips the tolls, but is more inland.

Weather in Miami

Most people winter in Florida because the temperature stays between 63ºF and 74ºF and thus it has become of the most popular places in winter in the US.

But if you want to enjoy the beaches, then the better time is summer. It ranges from 79ºF to 88ºF and is very humid and muggy, and you can expect rain at this time as well.

What to Pack for Your Miami Itinerary

The two things you definitely want on a trip to Miami is sunscreen and bug repellant, especially in the summer.

The sun is very strong here and you can burn easily. And because of the tropical climate, bugs are common, especially if you want to visit places like the Everglades.

Also, if you plan to club with the celebrities in South Beach, pack the appropriate nightclub attire.

Here is my packing list for a day at the beach.

Where to Stay in Miami for 3 Days

For a luxury hotel, try the Four Seasons Miami, which has beautiful bay views and is located close to South Beach. It is great for couples but of course also for solo travelers or families as well.

A mid-range hotel would be EB Hotel Miami Airport. This boutique hotel offers waterfalls and grottos in its Venetian-style pool and is close to attractions and shopping.

For budget travelers, try TownePlace Suites by Marriott, which is close to the airport, great for families, and includes breakfast.

How to Get Around

If you’re thinking about convenience, then I would suggest getting around Miami by car. Many of the attractions are spread out and public transportation requires that you make multiple transfers.

That being said, you can definitely get around doing this 3-day itinerary in Miami by using the Metrobus, Metrorail, Metromover, and trolleys. This is cheaper and reliable, but just factor in the extra travel time between stops.

More Travel Tips For 3 Days in Miami

If you are coming to enjoy some of the famous Miami nightlife, just know that the clubs don’t really get going until after midnight. Some places that are open all night don’t even have the DJ on until 3am!

Many restaurants will include an automatic gratuity on your bill of 15-18%, but some may not mention it. So check your bill carefully before leaving your tip so that you aren’t double-tipping (unless you want to).

Miami has a very large Spanish-speaking population, so there may be times when you find a cab driver or vendor who speaks no English. Using “Spanglish” and hand gestures is totally acceptable and very common.

Parking is expensive in Miami, so look for lots in high-traffic areas that only charge a dollar an hour or a $20 flat fee for the day. But always check, because some areas have decent metered parking and that would be the cheaper option.

Miami parks and beaches have banned Styrofoam, so if you are grabbing a to-go to take for a picnic lunch, make sure it isn’t packed in a Styrofoam box – or you could get fined.

Avoid visiting in the first week of December because the city hosts an international art show that increases the price of plane tickets and sells out the hotels.

Miami is a pretty safe city, and you will find that most of the landmarks on this list keep you away from the more seedy or dangerous areas of the city. Just use common sense and caution when traveling alone or at night, and always lock your doors and keep possession close.

CONCLUSION: HOW TO CREATE A PERFECT MIAMI ITINERARY

I hope this 3-day Miami itinerary – though quite busy – has helped you figure out where to go in 3 days in Miami. This fun and exciting, as well as beautiful, city offers tons of choices to make your visit memorable, whether you are traveling as a couple, solo, or with family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This post was written by Rebecca, who runs her own blog at The Journey at Home – where she writes about her life as a mother of 5 with everything that comes along with it. She lived in New York for a long time before she moved to Las Vegas. She also works as a freelancer for Arzo Travels.

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

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