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How to spend 7 days in California


Are you planning your 7-day California itinerary and wondering how to spend one week in California? Then read on as you will find your answer here.

California is most famous for Hollywood and all the movies that are made there. Still, there are many other fun and exciting things to do here as well and it is a great place to visit. However, it gets a bit problematic as the state of California is very large, and in 7 days in California, you will not see all the beautiful spots/cities.

But there are a few cities that I suggest you visit during your one-week itinerary: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. 

San Francisco is more in the north of the state and has a different vibe from LA and San Diego in the south, so you get to experience different atmospheres and places.

If you have time, you can even add in a day trip – but we will talk about that later.

In this post, you will find out:

  • How to get to California
  • What to pack for one week in California
  • Where to stay in California for 7 days
  • How to get around California
  • More travel tips for your California itinerary
  • Map of places to visit for your 7-day California itinerary
  • San Francisco – 2-3 Days
  • Los Angeles – 3 Days
  • San Diego – 1 Day
  • Extra: California Day Trip – Big Sur

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This 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.



First, here are my travel tips for a California itinerary to some of the best destinations.

What to Pack for One Week in California

California’s climate is different in the north and the south. San Francisco was cooler than LA or San Diego. Depending on the season, pack appropriately – and most importantly, pack comfortable shoes. San Francisco is very hilly, and you will be doing a lot of walking in the other cities, too. Also, there are a couple of hikes you want to do.

Where to Stay For 7 Days in California

You will find some hotel recommendations for each city on this California itinerary below.

How to Get around California

From San Francisco to Los Angeles, you can take a bus or train. It takes a few hours (up to 8 hours) but it’s great if you get the bus in the afternoon and arrive in the evening. 

From Los Angeles to San Diego, it is only about 2 hours by car, train, or bus. I surely don’t recommend flying there for that short distance, though you could fly into San Diego International Airport from Los Angeles.


When I visited California, I started in San Francisco. I flew from New York to San Francisco International Airport, but you could also arrive via Oakland International Airport. I then took a Megabus from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

  • BY BUS: Getting from one city to another by bus was not bad. This was cheap and all right (and I prefer buses over flying), but the scenery was kind of boring. In the beginning, it was exciting, but there is a lot of nothing in between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • BY TRAIN: You can also travel between cities by train. It takes more time, but the views are supposedly good. You need to get a bus in San Diego to get to the city center.
  • BY CAR: Road tripping California would probably be more fun (though also more expensive and less environmentally friendly).


San Francisco is not geographically big, but due to the many hills, curvy streets, and hidden alleyways, getting around only on foot could be tiring. I never used any cabs, just walked or took the tram or bus.

San francisco Hyde Street Cable Car Tram of the Powell-Hyde in California USA
  • Another great way to get around San Francisco is via cable cars, which are tourist attractions themselves.
  • Also, hop-on and hop-off buses, which I love, might be a good option for San Francisco, because they also include entry to some attractions.
  • In Los Angeles, you can get around using buses and the metro or rent a car. It’s very spread out here, and so while you can get nearly everywhere by public transportation, it sometimes takes a while. But you can also walk often, like when you are downtown. If you rent a car, California is well-known for its traffic and its roads that are hard to follow because of changing names and winding streets. GPS or a map is very helpful if you are driving.
  • San Diego has decent public transportation, with buses, trains, and trolleys. You can take a ferry to Coronado Island. But to go to nearby La Jolla, you will probably need to take a cab or Uber or rent a car.

More Travel Tips For your 7-Day in California Itinerary

  • While I was visiting California, I did not take any special precautions. I felt quite safe, even going to watch the sunset from the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course, LA Downtown after sunset was a bit dodgy. My tip is to leave a place when it does not feel safe. Just be careful and keep your belongings close to you and practice common sense.
  • Look into a city pass, like the Go San Diego Pass, for discounted entries to popular tourist spots.

Map of Places to Visit

Check out this map – here you can see the places to visit in 7 days in California.

One Week in California Itinerary

This itinerary is divided into three parts: San Francisco for 2.5 days, then another 2.5 days in Los Angeles, and 1 day in San Diego. There is about half a day in between each to account for travel time.

San Francisco – 2-3 Days

San Francisco is often called the most beautiful city in the US, and once you visit, you will know why people love the “City by the Bay” so much. Without a doubt, it is one of the best cities to visit in the US.

San Francisco - the most beautiful city in the USA @shutterstock

In general, I suggest staying between 2 and 3 days if you have a week in California.

Depending on how you get to LA (remember, I took a bus that took quite a while), you have to plan in some time for getting there.

Best view of San Francisco_

Painted Ladies with Arzo Travels

Where to go in San Francisco

  • Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • See San Francisco Bay
  • Ride the cable car
  • See the views at Twin Peaks
  • Visit Alcatraz
  • Relax at Golden Gate Park
  • Visit Fisherman’s Wharf
  • See the sea lions at Pier 39
  • Stop by Lombard Street
  • Visit Alamo Square and see the Full House houses
  • Explore “The Castro”
  • Visit Union Square

I wrote a detailed itinerary for San Francisco that you can check out here.

Where to Stay in San Francisco

  • For a luxury stay, check out The Ritz-Carlton which is perfectly located (close to Union Square) and has all the amenities and facilities you can expect from a luxury hotel.

Los Angeles – 3 Days

I arrived by bus in LA and discovered the city – and its beautiful surroundings. There is so much to do and see, especially outside LA, so you need a minimum of 3 days to get a first glimpse of the area.

Santa Monica pier at Sunset one of the best places to visit in LA in 3 days

LA itself was not my favorite place. I think you are either a NY or LA person, and I am definitely more into New York City. However, I did have some great memories, and I was impressed with the beautiful places around LA, so it is a must for any California itinerary.

Los Angeles - Echo Park a must-see in LA
Hollywood, California a must-do in 3 days

What to do in Los Angeles in 3 Days

  • Stroll Venice Beach
  • See Watts Towers Art Center
  • Visit LA Fashion District 
  • Explore Chinatown
  • Have a picnic at Echo Park Lake
  • Go to the Griffith Conservatory
  • See Shakespeare Bridge
  • Hike the Hollywood Sign Trail
  • Visit the Hollywood Walk-of-Fame
  • Take pictures at Mulholland Scenic Overlook
  • Wander Rodeo Drive
  • Visit Santa Monica Pier
  • Explore White Point Park
  • See the Getty
  • Relax at Huntington Beach

I have a detailed 3-day itinerary for LA that you can check out here

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

  • For a luxury hotel, pick Hotel Bel-Air. It is an icon in the city and boasts amenities like an on-site restaurant, pools, etc.
  • A more mid-range option is Level DTLA, which is still a nice hotel and has a great location for getting to some popular attractions.
  • A budget hotel with clean rooms, a good location, and even a restaurant is the New Seoul Hotel.

San Diego – 1 Day

It is only about 2-3 hours from LA to San Diego. You can take a bus, train, or drive there (or fly, but I do not really recommend it due to the proximity to LA). It’s a beautiful trip as you spend some time traveling along the coast. 

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

San Diego is a beautiful city, and I liked the vibe there but compared to LA and San Francisco, I found fewer attractions I wanted to see and visit. So, while you could stay longer than 1 day, I think, with only one week in California, 1 day in San Diego is probably enough.

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

Where to Go in San Diego (1 day)

  • Explore Balboa Park
  • Relax at Mission Beach
  • Visit La Jolla
  • See the Point Loma Tide Pools
  • Explore San Diego’s Old Town
  • Wander the Gaslamp Quarter

Check out my detailed itinerary for San Diego to find out more about the city and what to do & see.

Where to Stay in San Diego

If you stay in San Diego, I would suggest taking a hotel in the downtown area or La Jolla, which has great ocean views.

Extra: More Places to Visit in California

If you want to skip any of these places and take a day trip during your California itinerary, then here is my suggestion:

California Day Trip – Big Sur

Big Sur is a place I haven’t gotten to myself, but I recommend it if you want to take a day trip while in California.

California itinerary

Located along the central coast, Big Sur is an area with lots of state parks that are popular for hiking and camping. The Santa Lucia Mountains are on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, so you should have some really nice scenery.

If you take State Route 1, you should also see many views of seaside cliffs and coastlines covered in mist.

Big Sur is between San Francisco and Los Angeles, so if you drive down during your weeklong California trip, you can take this road and see Big Sur on your way.


Hopefully, this one week in California itinerary has shown you the best things to do and places to see while you are here. You can divide the days as you like, but with only 1 week, this is how I would do it.

I stayed a bit longer and created my California itinerary a bit differently back then. However, I hope you will have a fun 7 days in California using the above itinerary because it is how I would – in hindsight – plan my trip.

Stay safe and have fun!Safe Travels, Arzo

Categories USA

How to Create An Epic 3-Day Miami Itinerary

3-day Miami Itinerary


Are you thinking planning a trip to 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. 

Miami is one of the best cities to visit in the US and 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.

This Miami itinerary will allow you to discover the city with a mix of different activities. You’ll also find useful travel tips.

So, whether you want to discover more of your own “backyard” or if you come from abroad – 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_


Let’s start with some quick travel tips.

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, you can also take the Amtrak train or a Greyhound bus.
  • If you’re driving (and doing 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 (17ºC) and 74ºF (23ºC) 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 (26ºC) to 88ºF (31ºC) and is very humid and muggy. However, you can expect rain at this time as well.

What to Pack for Your 3-Day Miami Itinerary

  • The two things you definitely want on a trip to Miami are 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 Miami in 3 Days

  • BY CAR: 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.
  • PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: 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. However, 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, 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 3 am!
  • Many restaurants will include an automatic gratuity on your bill of 15-18%. Some restaurants 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. 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 snacks to go for a picnic lunch, make sure it isn’t packed in a Styrofoam box. You could get a fine.
  • 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. 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. Always lock your doors and keep possession close.


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. 
  • Then head to a special museum about 3 miles (5km) from Little Havanna.

HistoryMiami Museum

If you’d like to know more about Miami’s history, you should visit this museum. The HistoryMiami, formerly known as the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, has lots of exhibits and collections. You can also participate in public tours that include walking tours and boat tours – it’s a great way to explore Miami’s history and culture.

  • This stop could take a few hours but you can also go through it more quickly and learn the basics in an hour or so.
  • Head to the Gesu Church now, which is a 10-minute walk from the museum.

Gesu Church

Built in 1896, this Roman Catholic church, Gesu Church, is the oldest in Miami.

Gesu Catholic Church located in Miami Downtown, 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 artwork.

  • This will only take about an hour.
  • Then head to the Bayside Marketplace which is just a 10-minute walk

Bayside Marketplace

After visiting the church, head to the Bayside Marketplace. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, you should still come for the views.

View of the Miami Bayside Marketplace.

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.

  • This can take one hour or much longer.
  • The next stop, the Wynwood Walls, is about 2 miles away (3,2km). Either catch a taxi, a bus or walk there.
  • If you visit Miami with kids you might want to head to a museum Children´s Museum first which is about 2miles away.

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

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.
  • Then it is time to head a bit north and see some art (fun for people of all ages). From this museum, the Wynwood Walls are about 3 miles.

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

This outdoor exhibit is a collection of street art done by graffiti artists from all over the world on walls of galleries and restaurants. 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.

You might want to check out the timing of the tours – if they start in the morning, I suggest doing the tour first and then visiting the other places mentioned on day 1.

  • This stop should last about 1 hour or so.
  • Then you could head back to Miami Downtown.

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

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 City Skyline Tours.

Or you can enjoy a nice dinner or head out for drinks. There are many fun bars.

Make sure to spend a little time wandering the downtown area and seeing the city lit up in the dark as well!

Day 2 of 3 Days in Miami

For day 2, I have the following ideas for your itinerary. This day is all about beaches and outdoor activities, so dress accordingly and prepare for a day to relax while also seeing quite a lot. 


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

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 and it will make your Miami itinerary more enjoyable.

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_

Located at the southern tip of Key Biscayne, you can explore the lighthouse and the beautiful surroundings. Enjoy the great views 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 bicycles, boats, and even aerial tours available.

  • 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._

It’s beautiful with its mangroves, dunes, and reef. If you are interested in water sports, you can kayak or stand-up paddleboard. This is also the perfect place 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 for solo travelers and couples.

Hobie Beach

Visit Hobie Beach, which you will also find near Crandon Park.

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. This is also great because there are equipment rentals nearby. 
  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.
  • Spend a few hours relaxing here before heading to the next stop.

South Beach

Famous as a celebrity destination, you’ll see lots of glitz and lights at South Beach.

South Beach, Miami Beach. Florida._

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

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.

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 many spots to stop and people-watch. Enjoy a 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 5 am!

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

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 to see it with a guide.

  • After an hour or two, you can head to the next destination.

Venetian Pool

The Venetian Pool is located a few miles from downtown, in Coral Gables. This public pool is one of the most popular places in Miami.

Coral Gables Venetian Pool in Miami - Florida.

Dating back to 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.

  • Kids under 3 years of age are not admitted, so be aware of this if you travel with young children.
  • This relaxing visit may take 1-3 hours.
  • Then, 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 here, but it is a nice stop when you are spending 3 days in Miami. This is a great stop for families, couples, and solo travelers.

  • This should take a couple of hours. 

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 special pieces of art at your own pace.

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


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

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 compress your itinerary into two days, I highly suggest spending one day on a day trip to Key West

The Florida Keys are a beautiful group of islands also well-known for their pastel-hued, conch-style houses.

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.

It is 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. 


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


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 Philadelphia in 3 days, itinerary


If you are wondering about your 3-day Philadelphia itinerary, this post is for you as we talk about the best things to do in 3 days in Philadelphia, and you’ll also find many travel tips for your trip.

Philadelphia is one of the largest cities in the northeast of the United States. Known for the historical part it played in the American Revolution, Philadelphia is much more than that.

Full of museums, cultural landmarks, beautiful outdoor areas, and other fun and interesting places, this city has a lot to offer travelers coming with families, on their own, or as part of a couple.

And though it is not famous as NY, San Francisco, or LA, it has beautiful places to visit and fun things to do if you stay in Philadelphia for 3 days.

The post was written by Rebecca


I’ll also include important information and travel tips to make your Philadelphia itinerary the best it can be.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

Weather in Philadelphia

  • The weather in Philadelphia is warm and a little rainy (also humid) in the summer, with July temperatures, usually ranging from 72ºF to 89ºF as the warmest month.
  • Fall and spring are not as wet and milder, so this would be the best time.
  • But winter has its own charms, and you can enjoy about 5 inches of fresh snow each month through the season. Temperatures range from about 28ºF to 41ºF during the coldest month of January. 

What to Pack For Your 3 Day Trip to Philadelphia

  • If you will be visiting in the summer, it’s best to bring light fabrics and colors since the temperatures are hot and humid. Shorts and t-shirts in cotton would be great.
  • For winter, bring a nice warm jacket along with gloves, scarves, and hats. You might also want to bring a pair of thermal pants to put under your jeans to keep your legs warm on those colder days.
  • And good walking shoes are a must! You’ll need them no matter what the season, and if they are resistant to water (and melting snow in winter), then all the better.

Where to Stay in Philadelphia For 3 Days 

With plenty of hotels to choose from around the city, here are a few suggestions for your 3 days in Philadelphia for all budgets.

  • For a luxury option, I recommend The Rittenhouse Hotel. It is within walking distance of the city center, and offers amenities like a tea room and spa, and is a favorite for couples.
  • A mid-range budget option would be Club Quarters Hotel in Philadelphia. It’s a nicely decorated hotel with a great location near Liberty Bell Center and a subway station.
  • If you’re on a tight budget, take a look at La Reserve Bed and Breakfast, which has 19th-century décor and is located in downtown Philadelphia near popular Rittenhouse Square.

How to Get Around Philly For 3 Days

The best way to get around in Philadelphia is by public transportation or on foot.

  • Most of your destinations are located either in the Old City, Society Hill, or Rittenhouse Square areas, so walking is a great option. Philadelphia is a very pedestrian-friendly city.
  • Use the subways or the Philly PHLASH bus, which are cheap, run on time, and take you to all the attractions you’ll want to see. They will take you to all the major sites, so consider getting an all-day pass for $5 on the days when you’ll be using it more than twice (otherwise, it’s $2 a ride). Children under 4 and seniors are free. It runs every 15 minutes from 10 am-6 pm during summer and the holidays. Oh, and these buses are bright purple, so they’re easy to spot.
  • You can use taxis and Ubers if necessary, but that will be rare.
  • While you can rent a car to get around the city, you may find it difficult to navigate the convoluted street patterns and traffic, not to mention find parking. So, I would suggest skipping a car since you will be spending most of your time in the city center.
  • You can also check out sightseeing bus tours – the hop-on and hop-off buses are a popular way to get around. Check out prices here.

More Travel Tips for Philadelphia

  • Philadelphia is known for a few food items, like their soft pretzels. But, venture out for some other great culinary delights – like the restaurant Vedge, which is completely vegan and has lots of creative offerings. So, explore the Philly food scene while you’re here.
  • You might also want to look into the SEPTA’s Independence Pass, which will not only get you discounted transportation but also cheaper admission tickets at various attractions.
  • There is also the Go Philadelphia All-Inclusive Pass – it includes admission for over 30 Philadelphia attractions and it might save you tons of money. Calculate the admission prices for the attractions you want to visit before you buy the pass – it might be very useful for your trip. Check out the All-Inclusive Pass here.
  • Philadelphia is a very safe city, so long as you take the same precautions you would take in other big cities. Keep your belongings close, avoid walking alone down empty side streets after dark or subway platforms late at night, and be aware of your surroundings. Like any city, some areas have more crime than others, like Nicetown-Tioga and Hunting Park in North Philly, but the destinations on this itinerary will generally keep you closer to the city center.


So, here are fun things to do in Philly.


It’s Day 1 in the City of Brotherly Love. How shall we begin? 

Fairmount Park

Our first stop today is one of the most scenic and fun outdoor spaces in the city: Fairmount Park.

Fairmount Park, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania must see in 3 days

At over 9,200 acres, Fairmont Park is perfect for outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and just strolling through the greenery.

This is a great place to let the kids run off their energy and for the adults to explore the natural beauty. Bring your breakfast and have a picnic by the water if you like. If it’s winter, you can still explore, button-up!

  • After an hour or two, take an Uber/taxi or drive to the Please Touch Museum.
  • I rarely recommend ubers/taxis, but in this case, it will save a lot of time over public transportation and it should only take 5-10 minutes 
  • You could walk to the Please Touch Museum, but it would take around 35-45 minutes.
  • If you skip the Please Touch Museum and head to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it should take about 15 minutes by public transportation or 30 minutes on foot.

Please Touch Museum

Despite its weird name, this Please Touch Museum is a favorite among locals, especially parents. You can enjoy interactive exhibits, and there are also special events regularly held.

This is a fun stop for families, especially with elementary-school kids. But if you’re a couple without kids or a solo traveler, skip this museum in favor of the next one, which is one of the best in the city.

  • Check out the website of the Please Touch Museum for more info.
  • From the Please Touch Museum to the Philadelphia Museum of Art it takes around 45 minutes on foot and about 10 minutes by public transportation. 

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Full of various permanent and rotating collections, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a great place to visit during your time in the city.

Fountain and the Art Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Along with the artwork, there are hands-on activities and special events, like caroling during the holidays and live music on Fridays. There is a free audio tour that you can use by just subscribing to the museum’s podcast on your phone.

Make sure to grab some lunch before heading out.

  • If you go on the first Sunday of the month or on a Wednesday between 5:00 pm and 8:45 pm, entry is free.
  • Check out the website of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for more info. 
  • Our next stop is the Eastern State Penitentiary and it is just a 15-minute walk from the museum

Eastern State Penitentiary

Operational from 1829 to 1971, this prison, Eastern State Penitentiary, is a National Historic Landmark that once housed the famous mobster Al “Scarface” Capone.

Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia

Now, it is closed and used for tours and the site of one of the top haunted houses in the country – The Terror Behind the Walls. Massive and castle-like, this prison is pretty imposing and may not be appropriate for younger children. 

  • The six attractions will take about 45 minutes to walk through.
  • Check out the prices for admission here.
  • Then you can stop for a snack and some music in The Yard.
  • Click here for more information.
  • Time to head to our next stop, the Franklin Institute. It’s about a 10-minute bus ride or a 15-minute walk.

The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute is an interactive science museum with fascinating exhibits that rotate throughout the year. But that’s not the only reason to visit – though it may be if you’re a science buff.

Franklin Institute in Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia itinerary

The 72 stone steps that lead up to its front door have become iconic because of a scene in the movie “Rocky” in which Sylvester Stallone runs up the steps. Tourists love copying the scene and have pictures to prove it.

So, bring your camera and your running shoes. Don’t worry. No one will stare. We’ve all done it. ☺

After you’ve finished here, it’s off to the last stop of the day.

There are two options for ending your day.

Spruce Street Harbor Park (Summer-Fall) OR Blue Cross Riverrink Winterfest (Winter-Spring)

Depending on when you visit, here are two choices to end your night on Day 1.

Spruce Street Harbor Park

If you visit Philadelphia in the summer or fall, visit Spruce Street Harbor Park for some fun on a warm evening.

This urban beach is equipped with hammocks to lay in, tons of stalls selling snacks and drinks, beach games, and a boardwalk that you can stroll and explore. There’s even music and dancing. You can bring the whole family or just yourself and your other half.

Blue Cross Riverrink Winterfest

Or… if you visit in winter or spring, head over to the Blue Cross Riverrink Winterfest right on the Delaware River waterfront.

Have cocktails in the lodge, enjoy live music and dancing, take the kids ice skating at the riverside rink, and even snuggle up with your special someone in the warming cabins. This is the quintessential winter experience and a great place for families, couples, and solo travelers.

Enjoy the views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge from both spots before turning in to get some rest for Day 2.


For day 2 of this 3-day itinerary in Philadelphia, let’s start at lovely Rittenhouse Square.

Rittenhouse Square

Built at the end of the 17th century, Rittenhouse Square and the area are some of Philadelphia’s most expensive parts.

Buildings at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia one of the best things to do in 3 days

Full of boutiques, dining, and luxury housing, it’s nonetheless an interesting place to stroll. The park is a breath of fresh air, full of greenery in the middle of the city.

  • Wander the area for an hour before we try our next stop, City Hall. It is a 10-minute walk or slightly less by bus. 

City Hall

Located in the middle of Center City, you’ll want to stop at the City Hall during your visit, which is one of the historic places in Philadelphia.

City Hall building in Philladelphia is a must go on 3-day itinerary

Once the tallest building in the US, the structure is more than 14 acres large and surrounded by over 250 outdoor sculptures. 

There are tours inside that explore the art, architecture, and history of the building, or if you’re pressed for time, take the 15-minute tower tour.

Each one will give you a chance to see the city from the Observation Deck (not the same as the One Liberty Observation Deck), which is the highest open-air deck in the city at 548 feet.

Reading Terminal Market

The Reading Terminal Market is located below a former railroad terminal in Center City, and inside it, you’ll find just about everything you could want to buy.

Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, USA

You will find fresh and local produce, housewares, jewelry, and much more.

Stop here and wander the stalls for some souvenirs to bring home. And grab lunch at one of the many restaurants and eateries.

  • Then it is time for the next destination on this itinerary. It’s about 10 minutes by bus or on foot – Love Park.

Love Park

As I’ve mentioned, this is the City of Brotherly Love, so it’s no surprise that the most famous landmark in the city is a sculpture that spells out LOVE, located in John F. Kennedy Plaza – but known by all as Love Park. 

LOVE Park in Phildalphia itinerary for 3 days

Take some selfies with the iconic statue before wandering the newly redesigned green area and seeing the added water feature. If you’d like to see the Spanish counterpart to the LOVE statue, take a short walk to Sister Cities Park, which showcases the AMOR sculpture.

  • This will probably take about an hour, then head to our next spot, Philadelphia Magic Gardens, about 15 minutes away by bus.

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

This artsy landmark, Philadelphia Magic Gardens, is actually a space maintained by a non-profit organization to showcase folk art.

Philadelphia´s Magic Gardens

It is the largest work created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. Wander through the three city lots and explore the eclectic mix of art. Don’t miss the outdoor area, which is like a labyrinth! Fun for solo visitors, couples, and families – and anyone who loves art! 

  • Check out the website of the Magic Gardens for more info.
  • After an hour or two of exploring, you’re probably ready for our last stop of the night.
  • Grab some dinner before heading over (a 20-minute bus ride) to the One Liberty Observation Deck.

One Liberty Observation Deck

Known as “Philly From the Top,” this One Liberty Observation Deck deck gives some fantastic views of the Philadelphia skyline.

View from the top of One Liberty Observation Deck

Located on the 57th floor of One Liberty Place, it sits 883 feet above the ground and is the perfect place to end your day.

If you time it right, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset from a whole new perspective. And if it’s after dark, the twinkling lights of the city are also breathtaking. 


Let’s start the last day in Philadelphia at the Liberty Bell.

Liberty Bell

Today, we are starting at the iconic Liberty Bell. Famous as a symbol of freedom and liberty, it’s a must-see.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA at the Liberty Bell

Visit early in the morning because the lines aren’t usually that long then (about 30 minutes). You can see the bell from its vantage point over Independence Hall (which you can see in the background and makes for even better pictures/selfies), and then we’ll head over to the Independence Hall.

Independence Hall

You can’t skip Independence Hall. It played a crucial part in America’s history, as the place where the Founding Fathers gathered in 1776 and signed the Declaration of Independence – leading to the Revolutionary War and the nation’s birth.

Independence Hall National Historic Park Philadelphia Pennsylvania with sunset

It was also where the US Constitution was put together and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • I recommend picking up a free ticket (they have set times) and taking the guided tour. 
  • But they often sell out, so stop by the Independence Visitor Center first thing to get yours.
  • An hour or so later, let’s visit just one more museum (a 5-minute walk).

The Museum of the American Revolution

Now, if you’ve had all the American history, you can skip this attraction – I absolutely understand.

But, if you’re up for one more stop, then this museum is the place.

Dedicated to all things involving the war that gave America its independence from Britain, from the first battle at Lexington and Concord to the end, you’ll see weapons, paintings, and hear speeches. There are also quite a few special events if your trip coincides with one.

  • Our next destination on this Philadelphia itinerary – Mural Arts Program Tour – will be 15 minutes away by bus.
  • Stop for a bite of lunch before you get there, though.

Mural Arts Program Tour

Murals are painted all over the city – so keep an eye on them as it is a must-do in 3 days in Philadelphia. However, they’re hard to find unless you know where to look.

Mural painted on a wall on South Street in Philadelphia

That’s where the tour comes in. Take one of the Mural Tours (there are different theme tours) and see the various works of art, how they were created, and the history of the communities they are found in. These tours can be done on foot, by trolley, train, or even Segway.

  • The guides are locals and incredibly knowledgeable (remember to tip yours to show your appreciation).
  • Prices vary depending on which tour you choose.
  • Most tours take about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Check out one of the mural tours in Philadelphia.
  • After the tour is finished, we have one last stop to make: Boathouse Row. It’s about 25 minutes by bus.

Boathouse Row

This National History Landmark consists of 10 boathouses, thus called Boathouse Row, that were built in the mid-19th century.

Boathouse Row in Philadelphia as the famous historical landmark

It is one of the most recognizable sights in the city and definitely worth a stop during your 3 days in Philadelphia. 

  • Stroll along Kelly Drive as the sun sets or take a walk on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive for a broader view.
  • When night falls, this is a gorgeous spot because you can see all the glittering lights from the boathouses reflecting on the surface of the river.

It’s a dazzling sight, and I hope it leaves you with good memories of your time in Philadelphia.


This 3-day Philadelphia itinerary should have answered the question of where to go and what to do. I hope you will find it helpful to plan your own trip to the City of Brotherly Love. There is so much here to explore and see in Philadelphia in 3 days, whether as a solo adventurer, part of a couple, or as a family vacation together.


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

Create an Epic 3-Day Washington D.C. Itinerary

3-day Washington D.C. itinerary


So, if you are wondering what to do in 3 days in Washington, D.C., this itinerary will help you plan an exciting trip.

Washington, D.C. is the United States’ capital, located between Virginia and Maryland along the Potomac River. And while it is one of the most famous cities in the US, it is not as high on people’s bucket list as New York or Los Angeles, for example – however, there is a lot to see.

For such a small area of the country, Washington, D.C., has a lot going on. Politics and government aren’t the only things happening in this district. Full of neoclassical architecture, museums, and art venues, not to mention parks and monuments, Washington, D.C. has something for everyone, whether you’re a family on vacation, a couple, or a solo traveler looking to explore the American capital, which makes it one of the best cities to visit in the US. So, do what you can and come back again soon.

The post was written by Rebecca


But before we discuss your itinerary for 3 days in Washington DC, here are some travel tips.

Weather in Washington, D.C.

  • Washington, D.C. enjoys moderate weather, warm summers (temperatures range from 68ºF-89ºF), and colder winters (temperatures range from 25ºF-43ºF).
  • You’ll see the most rain in May and June, so bring your umbrella during those months.
  • And take your snow boots in January and February.

Where to Stay in Washington for 3 Days

Because this area gets so many visitors, both foreign and domestic, hotel room prices can be pretty high. But here are a few suggestions for luxury hotels, mid-range, and budget options.

  • The JW Marriott Washington, D.C. is a good luxury option, with a great location near the White House, modern décor and amenities, and easy subway access.
  • I suggest The River Inn, which has a kitchenette, on-site restaurant, and central location for mid-range budgets. It is especially great for families.
  • A unique budget option is POD DC, which offers small, very modern rooms in a great location, at a low price for the area, and the best for solo travelers.

TIP: To save money on hotels, look for accommodations in Rosslyn, Crystal City, and Falls Church. As long as the hotel is near a subway station, you can easily make your way back to the city center for sightseeing while sticking to your budget.

How to Get Around Washington, D.C.

When it comes to Washington, D.C., you can’t go wrong with public transportation. Driving here is complicated in the extreme, so taking the bus, subway, trolley, or even walking is the best way to go.

  • The Metrorail is the subway system you will use when venturing out of the city center.
  • The Metro bus is great for reaching areas that the subway doesn’t go to, such as nearby Georgetown.
  • For a more fun form of transport, try the Old Town Trolley, which offers facts along with a scenic ride through the district.
  • If you’re planning to use the metro and bus a lot, consider getting the SmarTrip card, which is refillable. Or, if you prefer, you can also get a one-day unlimited pass for $14.75.
  • Taxis and Ubers are, of course, another option, but at a premium price.
  • However, if you make Washington D.C. your base, you can rent a car afterward and go on some awesome road trips from Washington D.C.

More Travel Tips For Your Washington D.C. Trip


  • If you’re on a budget, visit in either summer or winter – just plan for the hot and humid summer months and the cold and snowy winter months.
  • Spring and fall have the nicest weather, but that also means the area is much more crowded and expensive.
  • If you decide to come in the spring, then make sure to visit during the famous Cherry Blossom season. This is a beautiful display of natural beauty and a huge draw for tourists. The average date for the peak bloom occurs between March 15 and April 18. 


  • Some major attractions, like museums and government buildings, are free to enter but require advance tickets.
  • When you’re visiting federal buildings and museums, expect intense security checks. To make it easier for you, pack lightly and make sure you don’t have anything on you to get flagged by the security officers.


  • Washington, D.C., offers free, clean tap water throughout the city, so bring your own water bottle so you don’t have to buy any while you’re here. 


With only 3 days in Washington DC, there is a lot to see, so let´s start with day 1.

Day 1 of 3 Days in Washington D.C. 

National Mall

Day 1 is all about the National Mall. This area is deceptively large, covering over 146 acres. But it is worth the time and walking because here is where you will see some of the most popular monuments in Washington, D.C.

When you arrive, start at the western end and work your way across. There are many museums, landmarks, beautiful water features, and plant life to see at this stop, which will take the majority of your day.

We will talk about some of the attractions now in detail. The first stop could be the Lincoln Memorial.

Lincoln Memorial

Created to honor the 16th president of the US – Abraham Lincoln – who helped end slavery in the country and unite it after the Civil War in the mid-1800s, the Lincoln Memorial is one of the most famous attractions in the National Mall.

Washington DC - Lincoln Memorial on 3-day Washington itinerary

Large and imposing, make sure you take a moment to read the inscriptions on the opposite wall, which are Lincoln’s two most powerful speeches. Also, there are 58 steps at the Lincoln Memorial – why? 2 for the number of terms he served as President, and 56 for his age when he was assassinated.

Washington Monument

If you’ve ever seen any show or movie that is set in Washington, D.C., then you’ve seen a shot of the Washington Monument. Built to honor the first US president, George Washington, it stands at just over 555 feet.

Washington Monument Washington DC a must see in 3 days

You can go inside the monument (where you will find – amongst others – a statue of George Washington) but the number of people allowed per day is limited

If you arrive between 9 am and 5 pm, you can take a glass-enclosed elevator to the 360-degree observation deck, which offers gorgeous views of the National Mall, White House, and other areas of the district.

White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the home and workspace of the American President. The White House in Washinton DCStop here to take some pictures of the carefully cultivated front lawn and exterior (which was repaired after being set on fire during the Civil War). If you were lucky enough to set up a tour, explore the various historic rooms and enjoy a guided tour full of information about the rooms, famous visitors, and art.

To tour the White House, a request must be submitted to a member of Congress at least 21 days in advance of the tour date you want (international visitors must go through their embassy).

But if you haven’t set anything up in advance, then grab some pictures, and let’s check out the next destination in the area.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is absolutely huge, full of aircrafts like those flown by Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh.

You’ll find exhibits, simulators, IMAX theaters, and even a planetarium – everything you need to fascinate kids and aviation-loving adults. Plus, there’s a 3-story gift shop if you want to bring home a memento. 

  • Tip: Try to get here earlier in the day to avoid the worst of the crowds.

National Gallery of Art

This is one of the best art museums in the district: The National Gallery of Art.

National Gallery of Art, a national art museum in Washington, D.C., National Mall Anton_Ivanov

Divided into two buildings, the East offers more modern works, like Henri Matisse, and the West has older ones, like those by Sandro Botticelli. This gallery is rather large, so be sure to stop for snacks – there are five cafes for refreshments throughout.

You can also enjoy free concerts on certain evenings in either the East building auditorium or the garden courts of the West building.

Whether you want to explore the museum on your own or join a guided tour of the museum – it is free (and no admission for the museum).

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Located right next to the National Gallery of Art, you can enjoy art sculptures here, as well as plants that are native to the area.

Some nights there are some free jazz concerts, and in winter, the fountain in the garden is turned into an ice rink. So, whatever season it is, this is a fun stop to enjoy some outdoor time and maybe a little music.

This is also our last stop of the day.

The National Mall has many more monuments, but these are the highlights. You might not be able to see all places mentioned on day 1, so pick those which are the most appealing to you.

We’ll see a few more on Day 2, but for tonight, enjoy dinner and drinks at one of the many restaurants surrounding the National Mall.

Day 2 of 3 Days in Washington D.C. 

We’ll start Day 2 with a beautiful cathedral.

Washington National Cathedral

This Gothic-style cathedral took more than 80 years to complete, but it’s easy to see why.

Washington National Cathedral visiting is one of the best things to do in 3 days

Massive in size, the Washington National Cathedral is surrounded by lovely gardens and made up of high buttresses and intricate stained glass windows.

But what everyone comes to see are the gargoyles. In the summer months, there is even a Gargoyle Tour so that you can explore all the different ones (including a Darth Vader gargoyle). If you want, you can attend worship services here on Sundays.

This stop will take an hour or two. To get to our next destination, take the bus and/or metro train (about 40 minutes).

Smithsonian Castle

The Smithsonian Castle is actually the home of the Smithsonian Visitors Center.

Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall in Washington DC, melissamn
melissamn @Shutterstock

The crypt of the institute’s benefactor, James Smithson, can be found inside, but the outside is the real draw. Wander around and explore the interesting exterior, or head inside to see the crypt and learn some things about the well-respected Smithsonian Institute. 

Just a 5-minute walk will bring you to the next enjoyable stop – the International Spy Museum.

International Spy Museum

For any spy buff, the International Spy Museum is the place to see. Containing the largest collections of espionage artifacts in the world and offering interactive spy experiences, you’ll have a lot of fun here.

It is a great place for families with older children, couples, and solo travelers.

  • You can buy tickets online (unfortunately, this is not a free museum to visit).
  • The museum is open 7 days a week.

Tidal Basin

This 2-mile-long pond is often the highlight of many people’s trips to Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC at the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial

Every spring, the cherry trees that were gifted to the country by Japan come into bloom, and it’s beautiful. You could spend hours wandering through the area, getting amazing pictures, and just enjoying the views. Still, you might also want to consider taking a paddleboat out and seeing the blooms from a different perspective. 

If you’re visiting in the winter or late summer, then you can have a good time here. Take a walk along the water and visit the three monuments close by: the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

Then, head to our last stop of the day, about 50 minutes away by train. You might want to take a taxi/Uber here because it cuts travel time down to about 15 minutes.

Georgetown and the Waterfront

Georgetown and the surrounding waterfront is the perfect place to end Day 2.

Georgetown Waterfront Boardwalk,
Chiyacat @Shutterstock

Characterized by cobblestone streets, Federal-style architecture, and many upscale shopping and dining options, you’ll have plenty to do here. Because of Georgetown University’s proximity, there are also plenty of nightlife choices, from college bars to more sedate lounges.

The waterfront offers a promenade and gardens that you can stroll through after dinner.

  • When you’re finished exploring Georgetown, head back to your hotel because there are lots to do on the last day of this Washington, D.C. itinerary.

Day 3 of 3 Days in Washington D.C.

For our last day in Washington, D.C., let’s explore a few more favorites for tourists and locals.

United States National Arboretum 

The National Arboretum is a lovely outdoor space that has tons of flowers, trees, and plants, as well as walking trails that you can travel along if you have the time.

But don’t miss the main attraction, which is the capitol columns and the bonsai trees. They’re a nice place to picnic and take photos. 

The bonsai trees are located in the Bonsai and Penjing Museum in the Arboretum, and you can see some of the 300 trees that are on display throughout the pavilions and gallery.

  • After a couple of hours (or longer if you like), head to our next stop, 30 minutes away by train.

Union Market

With over 40 vendors, Union Market is the best place for eating your fill of local cuisine, buying souvenirs, and exploring the local culture. It’s located in the revitalized NoMa neighborhood, and you’ll find plenty of interesting sights and tastes at this gourmet food hall.

  • Once you’ve eaten and enjoyed this bit of local flavor, head to the next stop on this Washington itinerary (about 25 minutes by train).

Library of Congress

Located near the Capitol Building, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world. It is also the research center of the US Congress, so it gets a lot of use.

Library of Congress in Washington, Sean Pavone,
Sean Pavone, @Shutterstock

Explore the beautiful architecture of this impressive structure (which is actually 3 buildings) before heading inside to see what this massive library really looks like.

The museum is not open every day, visitor hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, with the last passes of the day offered at 3:00 pm.

The library is free to visit – but you need to book a ticket online.

  • Then, walk over to the Capitol Building.

United States Capitol

The United States Capitol is where Congress meets to debate and vote on laws.

United States Capitol- Washington DC to see in 3 days

While the chambers themselves are only accessible with permission from a Senator or Congressman, you can tour the south and north wings and the Rotunda in front. There are many sculptures, paintings, and frescoes for you to admire as well. This stop is well worth the time and effort.

  • Day-of passes for the Visitor Center are usually available (except for the peak seasons of spring and summer), but to go beyond those areas requires advance tour reservations.

Then walk to the next stop which is just a stone´s throw away.

United States Botanical Garden

The US Botanical Gardens is another great place to add to your Washington D.C. itinerary. 

Washington DC historical Bartholdi Fountain and United States Botanic Garden Conservatory

With different galleries and exhibits featuring exotic flowers and plants, strolling through the gardens is very enjoyable. Families with kids and any adult who loves flowers will want to spend the day here. There’s also a butterfly garden that’s worth a visit.

The grounds are fairly large, and you could spend hours here.

  • But before the day ends, let’s visit our last stop of the trip. Public transportation will take about an hour from the Botanical Gardens, or you can take a taxi and arrive in 15 minutes.

National Harbor and Capital Wheel

Your last destination is National Harbor, which is actually across the state line in Maryland. 

Oxen Hill, Maryland, USA day trips from Washington on itinerary, Gary C. Tognoni
Gary C. Tognoni @Shutterstock

The harbor sits on the Potomac River and offers shopping, dining, outdoor art, a carousel, and the Capital Wheel, which is a Ferris wheel that offers 360-degree views over the water.

It’s the perfect way to cap off this 3-day Washington, D.C. itinerary.

Another Idea for Your 3-Day Washington DC Itinerary

Alternatively, you can add these activities to your Washington D.C. itinerary.

Potomac River Boat Cruise

Since Washington, D.C. is located right off the Potomac River, why not enjoy a boat cruise to see the sights from a whole new perspective.

This is a great way to spend a summer afternoon, so if you have the time or want to skip one of the other destinations, then slip a boat cruise into your itinerary for 3 days in Washington, D.C.


While many people think about politics first, the capital has more to offer. I hope this 3-day Washington itinerary has helped you discover where to go in 3 days Washington. and how to make the most of your visit to the US capital.


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




Are you planning your San Francisco itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in San Francisco in 3 days? 

After hearing so much about this beautiful city, I was excited to explore the place myself, and here are my tips for your trip – while this is not a typical itinerary, these are things you can do in 3 days. Yes, it will be busy, but it is absolutely doable to visit the places below.

I stayed 3 nights in San Francisco – I think it was good to explore the main sights and attractions.

Important Travel Information for San Francisco

Okay, before you´ll find out about the best things to do, I have summed up important travel information for your visit.

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.

How to Get Around San Francisco 

San Francisco is not geographically big, but due to the many hills, curvy streets, and many hidden alleyways, it is not easy to get around solely by walking. I never used any cabs, just walked or took the tram or bus.

The cable cars in San Francisco are a tourist attraction themselves and great to use to get around in San Francisco.

You can also get a ticket for the hop-on and hop-off buses (I love hop-on and hop-off buses), which also include some tours and entries for main activities. Book Your Hop-On and Hop-Off Ticket for San Francisco

Where to Stay in San Francisco

Now, whenever I travel, I look for a hotel with a good review close to a bus or train station.

Where to Eat in San Francisco

I do not have any great places I can suggest. However,  read Andi´s tips about good places to eat vegetarian in San Francisco.

Solo Travel in San Francisco

I visited San Francisco as a solo female traveler- and it was a lot of fun. While I met another female traveler in the hostel I stayed at – and we spent one day exploring SF together – I did most of the sightseeing myself.

I did not take any extra precautions – one day, I was out quite late (as I wanted to watch the sunset from the Golden Gate Bridge) and felt fine getting back in the dark.

However, I always suggest being careful. Hold your belongings close to you and practice common sense. Head to my post where I talk about tips for solo female travelers. But other than that, San Francisco is also a great family destination or a fun getaway with friends or as a couple.

Places to Visit in San Francisco in 3 Days

Okay, let’s get started with the best things to do – while I visited all these places within three days, it is not a typical itinerary.

Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge

Surely none of the hidden gems in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous and impressive structures in the world – and probably the most famous sight in San Francisco. With a length of more than 2,7 km, the suspension bridge connects San Francisco to Marin County.

San Francisco - the most beautiful city in the USA @shutterstock

The bridge was finished in 1937 (it took about four years for completion) – before that, people had to take a boat to get from one place to the other.

Actually, the bridge is great to visit day and night time, and it is probably one of the sights you will never tire of looking at, so it is one of the best things to visit in San Francisco.

If you get the chance to walk or cycle across the bridge, it is even better (if you get your 48 hours ticket for a hop-on and hop-off tour in San Francisco, you´ll have e a free bike rental.

  • Tip: The best viewpoint is apparently from Battery Spencer – especially for sunrise, the views are breathtaking.

Chill at San Francisco Bay

Why not book a cruise and see SF from a different perspective?

As a boat lover, a cruise in San Francisco is, of course, one of my top tips. Is there anything better than getting around via boat? Enjoy the beach area at the Bay with great views at the Golden Gate Beach.

For about an hour, you will, under the Golden Gate Bridge, pass the famous Alcatraz Island – an audio commentary will tell you more about San Francisco’s history and the attractions you pass.

Ride the World Famous Cable Car

Taking a ride on the Cable Car is a must-do activity in San Francisco. It is the world’s last manually operated cable car system, operating for almost 150 years.

San Francisco Hyde Street Cable Car Tram of the Powell-Hyde in California USA - best things to do in 2 days

Arzo Travels in San Francisco

It is actually also pretty handy because it gets you around, and you get some good views. I got so lucky with one of the cable car drivers.

Obviously, I was a tourist, so I did not even have to ask for a picture. It was just offered to me. Thanks to that friendly, dear cable car driver, I will always have that special memory of cable cars.

There is also a cable car museum if you are interested in finding out more!

Enjoy the Best View at Twin Peaks

As you probably know, I am all about great views. And in this city, with so many beautiful views in San Francisco – my favorite was the one from Twin Peaks.

View from Twin Peaks @shutterstock
View from Twin Peaks @shutterstock

When hearing Twin Peaks, I still think about the movie Twin Peaks, though these two hills, with an elevation of about 925 feet (282 meters), are not scary at all.

Rather they offer the best view in town (unfortunately, it was very foggy when I visited, so my view was not as awesome as it should have been). You can even see the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, and Alcatraz from up there on a clear day.

Tip: Though I did not visit at night, this is a great place to end the day. On a clear day, San Francisco’s views, with all the lights, it is supposed to be fantastic.

  • You can get here by car, bus – or hike up!

Visit Alcatraz

Alcatraz served as a federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963, housing criminals such as Al Capone. You can do a 45-minute cell tour to find out about its history and inmates (audio guide).

Alcatraz Island - the infamous prison in SF

I am one of those people who really thought it was possible to book an Alcatraz ticket once I was in San Francisco. Well, no, it was not. I had been told to book in advance, but I thought I knew better, and people only exaggerate. But tickets sell out several weeks in advance.

Do not make the mistake of ignoring the tip with booking early if you want to explore the infamous prison.

So book your ticket in advance, or you will bite yourself in the butt (like I do). 

Rest at Golden Gate Park

The Golden Gate Park was my favorite place to chill in San Francisco. There is so much going on and plenty of places to see and rest!

Also, I am a fan of flowers, and the flower arrangements and the relaxed atmosphere makes it perfect after all the walking. It has a similar shape to Central Park but is actually way bigger.

If you prefer a bit more activity, you can also rent a Segway to get around.

Discover Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman´s Wharf is a popular tourist area on the northern waterfront with many restaurants, hotels, and little shops. You can also do boat and city cruises from here.

Fishermans Wharf of San Francisco

Yes, it is touristy. Yes, I still liked it. 

  • If I could turn back the hands of time, I would have done a segway tour here.

Say Hi to the Sea Lions at Pier 39

Pier 39 is a part of Fisherman´s Wharf and one of the main tourist attractions in California. Especially the area the sea lions call home is popular.

Pier 39 - full with sea lions - when I visited none was there shutterstock
@ Shutterstock

However, I did not get to see any (not even one) sea lion. They decided to stay away from Pier 39 that day (which can happen). But this is normally a great place to say hi to the stinky but cute animals.

There are also many activities, carousels, an aquarium, and many more attractions that you can visit with the Pier 39 Attraction Pass.

Take Pictures at Lombard Street

I talked about curved streets at the beginning of my post. No other street is as curvy or, better yet, crooked as Lombard Street. It is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns. But it is not just crooked though, but also full of beautiful flowers, and you´ll have a wonderful view from the top of the street.Lombard street on Russian hill, San Francisco

It is hard getting decent pictures with all the people snapping pictures – however, the best view is from the top of the street. So the mini-hike is shorty worth it.

Visit Alamo Square and see the Full House Houses

Like many people of my generation, I grew up with the TV show Full House, and visiting the Painted Ladies was high on my list. Normally, Painted Ladies refer to Victorian and Edwardian houses and buildings repainted – which started in the 1960s – in three or more colors that embellish or enhance their architectural details

Painted Ladies with Arzo Travels

There is a little park in front of the houses. Alamo Square is a hilltop park with views of the Painted Ladies.  On a warm day, this must be such a great place to chill – when I visited it was quite cold and chilly, so I did not stay there for too long.

Seeing those houses for even a short bit was worth the visit, so definitely put Alamo Square on your list and make sure to wear warm clothes – the weather in San Francisco is crazy.

Explore “The Castro”

I am not necessarily a “hippie,” but I love the free and liberal spirit of San Francisco. The Castro is the area in San Francisco representing liberty like almost no other area in the US.

Piotr Musiol Unsplash

Though it is known as a gay quarter, it is also fun to visit and discover the area if you are not gay since there are some cute cafes and museums (for those of you who are interested in museums).

Spend Time at Union Square

Union Square is the main shopping district and is also known as San Francisco´s crown jewel of shopping districts. I did not buy anything, but strolling the streets is something I did not want to miss.

READ MORE: Best cities and towns to visit in the US

San Francisco sure is one of the most beautiful places in California – or even in the US. 

3 days in San Francisco is a good amount of time to see and explore the city and get a taste. You can always come back to discover more. So, hopefully, this quick guide with some activity tips has inspired you.

Safe Travels, Arzo


Categories USA

What to Do in Winter in Hawaii


Wondering about what winter in Hawaii is like? About the best things to do in Hawaii in the “cold” winter months? Then read on and find out about the best places to visit and top things to see during the season.

If you are looking to get away from the cold, then a Hawaii vacation is the way to go. Beautiful warm weather (and nothing really cold here), stunning beaches, and friendly people, Hawaii in winter is relaxing and fun.

This unique American state is made up of eight islands, 4 of which (Oahu, the Big Island, Maui, and Kauai) have been a vacation destination for Americans and people worldwide for decades. So, if you are wondering about the best things to do and see in Hawaii in winter, then this post will help.

It will also let you know how to arrive, what to pack, and how to get around, as well as other important travel tips. If you are ready to start planning your Hawaii winter trip, then read on for the best activities.Kona in Hawaii


This post with the Hawaii travel tips was written by Rebecca, a regular Hawaii visitor.

How to Get to Hawaii

As Hawaii is completely made up of islands, there are only two ways to arrive: by boat or plane. While many cruises can be taken from the west coast of the US to Hawaii, they will take about two weeks to cover the 2500 miles.

This can be a luxurious way to travel if you have the time, but if not, then I would advise flying.

If you fly to Hawaii, several carriers come to the major airports on the islands. Personally, I have always taken Hawaiian Airlines and loved it. 

Depending on your island destination, your flight price will vary, but you can always island hop. I have often flown into Oahu, then traveled on to the Big Island of Kauai by way of an inter-island flight.

Hawaii’s major airports are:

  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (Oahu)
  • Kona International Airport & Hilo International Airport (Hawaii, aka the Big Island)
  • Lihue Airport (Kauai)
  • Kahului Airport (Maui)

How to Get Around Hawaii

In Hawaii, you can get around by taxi, shuttle from your hotel, with tour buses, with ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, or by public transportation.

TIP: I really recommend making a reservation for a car that you can pick up once your flight lands. There are so many lovely little nooks in the Hawaiian Islands that you might miss if someone else is in charge. By driving yourself, you have the chance to really explore in a relaxed manner befitting the Aloha State. Since you have to catch a few flights (if you visit more than one island), you have to rent a car on each of the islands.

The great thing about Hawaii is that the weather is good, so you won’t have to worry about a lot of winter weather conditions making driving hazardous. However, Hawaii is a tropical climate, so rain is common.

Use caution and drive slowly – regardless of the weather because speed limits are generally lower in Hawaii than in other US states. It’s not unusual to see bumper stickers that read: Slow down, this isn’t the mainland.

Where to Stay in Hawaii

What hotel you decide on for your Hawaii visit will depend on which island you will be staying on.

  • I can recommend the Hilton Waikoloa on the Big Island as a great hotel for families (there are water slides) and couples.
  • I also suggest Oahu the Royal Hawaiian (very luxurious and classic, great for couples).
  • For Waand the Ala Moana Hotel (great central location in Waikiki). 

Since tourism is a major part of the Hawaiian economy, there is no shortage of hotels throughout the islands.

However, if you are visiting the smaller islands, like Lanai and Kauai, there will be fewer options, so book ahead. Winter in Hawaii is beautiful, which means it’s also the high season for visitors.

Weather in Hawaii in Winter

Winter in Hawaii is very mild, with average temperatures around 78ºF at sea level. If you are going more inland where the elevation may be higher, it will be slightly cooler.

  • December sees temperatures as high as 82ºF and as low as 67ºF,
  • and January and February have highs of 81ºF and lows of 66ºF.

Winter is known as the wet season, so expect some rain, especially in December.

What to Pack for Winter in Hawaii

When it comes to packing, Hawaii is easy. Pack light and comfortable for the warmer weather, and leave plenty of room for souvenirs from the islands. 

  • Beachwear is a must and don’t forget any special gear you might need for hiking, snorkeling, etc.
  • Flip-flops (what locals call “slippers”) are worn by pretty much everyone.
  • Other winter vacations may require bulky coats and boots, but here, you can wear shorts and t-shirts every day (though I’d bring one sweater, just in case).
  • Resorts and restaurants have relaxed dress codes compared to other cities in the country, and the world, so a nice dress or slacks should suffice for a night out.


More Travel Tips

  • English and Hawaiian are the co-official languages of Hawaii, but most locals speak Hawaiian Pidgin (particularly to each other). This can be a little confusing, as a few words are English and then others are not, but in the hotels and tourist areas, you should get on fine.
  • Car break-ins are rather common in Hawaii, particularly in Oahu and Maui. Make sure that you do not leave valuables in your car and park it in well-lit areas. Avoid isolated locations.
  • Be careful when driving at night, as you can run into both rain and fog. Use caution and check the weather forecast before heading out.
  • Hawaii is expensive. Period. Part of this is because many products are shipped in from the mainland, and part is since tourists have little choice but to pay what is charged once they have arrived.
  • To save money, consider stopping at a grocery store for your staples and snacks to avoid costly roadside meals as you explore. Also, gas is pricey here, but remember to fill up before heading into more remote areas.
  • There are agricultural laws about what live plants can be brought into and out of the islands. So, keep that in mind if you had planned to bring some island flora home with you.
  • Speaking of taking things home, I know that souvenirs are hard to turn down, but a couple that you should avoid are pieces of volcanic rock and stones from the beaches. This is considered bad luck and frowned upon by locals. And really, while you’re on an island with an active volcano, do you really want to upset Pele?

Winter in Hawaii – What to Do and See

Let´s get started and talk about the best winter activities in Hawaii.

Shine Bright with the Honolulu City Lights (December)

Hawaii is a beautiful place to celebrate the holidays.

Honolulu City Lights in winter

If you are planning on being on the island of Oahu, stop at downtown Honolulu Hale for the festivities. Starting with the Electric Lights Parade, which features local bands and floats, it ends with the mayor lighting the city’s Christmas tree.

If you aren’t here for the parade, it’s still a lot of fun to stroll around and see the lights and decorations — not to mention the huge statues of Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus. That’ll make for some great holiday photos. There’s also a trolley tour if you’d rather not walk.

The Amy & Willie Holiday Show (December)

What would Christmas be without Christmas music? Another annual holiday classic in Honolulu, Hawaii is the Amy & Willie Holiday Show. If you visit Hawaii in December this is a good show to watch.

Enjoy all your favorite holiday songs, redone Hawaiian style. Amy Hanaiali’i and Willie K. are beloved musicians on the islands and this Christmas concert is the perfect way for family and friends to get into the spirit. Good for visitors of all ages.

Countdown to Christmas (December)

Counting down to Christmas isn’t just for kids! The Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu makes the days leading up to Christmas all the more fun.

Throughout the year, the center highlights the cultural heritage of Polynesia, but from December 9th to December 22nd, they offer the Thirteen Days of Polynesia.

This holiday-inspired event showcases Christmas canoe rides, live music, snow days, and lots of fun activities for kids. This is great for families, couples, and singles. The only downside is that this event is not free, but it is worth it. Plus, the center offers packages.

See the stars at Mauna Kea (December, January, and February)

On the Big Island of Hawaii, there is a stargazing program that will make a fun stop for any traveler, whether as a family, couple, or on your own.

Several times a week local volunteer astronomers set up telescopes outside of the station for visitors to use. This might not be offered during COVID times.

Mauna Kea star gazing in Hawaii is one of the best winter activities

Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on the island, so it offers a unique vantage point from which to gaze at the stars. Dress warmly because at this elevation, it can get chilly – you might even see some snow on the mountain’s peak.

The best part of this attraction is that it is free. So enjoy!

Mele Kalikimaka Marketplace (December)

Christmas markets are fun and festive events that are the perfect way to celebrate the season. Hawaii has its own market in Honolulu that you should visit. The Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian for Merry Christmas) Marketplace is held in the Neal Blaisdell Expo Hall downtown.

This is a great place to visit, especially for families (entry is $4-5, but children 12 and under are free).

You’ll find tons of holiday treats and sweets, pop-up stores to shop in, kid-friendly activities, plus lots more. Perfect for picking up some last-minute holiday gifts.

Watch a Surf Competition (December)

Hawaii in winter is home to some of the biggest waves around.

Oahu’s north shore is famous for these record-breaking swells, so if you are on the island between November and December, then check out one of the largest surfing contests in the world.

Surfing in Hawaii in winter

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is held at Sunset Beach and is a beautiful locale for a relaxing day in the Hawaii sun.

Make a day of it by packing some beach gear (bathing suit optional since only the pros are allowed in the water) and a picnic (or grab a bite at a local place). Get here early to snag a good spot. 

If you’re in Maui, the Pe’ahi Challenge is also going on. This is known as one of the scariest surfing competitions because these waves can reach up to 60 feet high! Definitely unforgettable.

Christmas Night at Queen Emma Summer Palace (December)

This is a great spot for history lovers who would love to explore old Hawaii while visiting for the holidays. The Hulihe’e Palace Event is held in Queen Emma Summer Palace on Oahu, which is a historical building dating back to the time of the Hawaiian monarchy.

While visiting, you can take a tour that will give you a chance to see the interior, as well as the carefully preserved original furniture. Everything is decorated for the season, and the trees, piano music, and lights are very festive.

The event runs throughout December. You can purchase tickets, or if you have the Go Oahu Card, they are included.

Banyan Tree Lighting (December)

Speaking of Maui, the city of Lahaina will be featuring its annual holiday tree lighting, which won’t be the pine you are used to.

Banyan Tree Lighting in Hawaii in December

Here they have a banyan tree, which came from India and is now common throughout the island.

Children love them for the shade they provide and the strong vines that they can swing on. But during December, you can enjoy them for their festive lights, along with hula dancing and relaxing Hawaiian music. 

See the Nutcracker (December)

It’s true, you can probably see the famous Nutcracker ballet in any city in America, maybe even the world, at this time of year.

But Ballet Hawaii offers a beautiful performance, set to the music performed by the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.

There are also members of the New York City Ballet that perform. Hawaii is known for its laid-back island style, but this holiday tradition is a nice change of pace.

Whether you’re traveling with kids, your significant other, or on your own, this ballet is a great addition to your itinerary while in Honolulu, Oahu.

Local Festivals (January)

Hawaiians are very proud of their culture and heritage. This is apparent by the large number of festivals that go on year-round.

If you are visiting in January, then I suggest stopping at the Iolani Luahine Hula Festival held at the end of the month in Keauhou Bay on the Kona side of Hawaii.

This festival features dance performances, including some amazing hula dancing. Named after a famous and beloved hula dancer, the festival offers a glimpse into Hawaii’s island culture and a chance to see authentic dances that both locals and tourists can enjoy.

Go on the Makapuu Lighthouse Hike (December, January, and February)

With the weather so mild during the winter in Hawaii, why not enjoy a hike? On Oahu, you can enjoy a two-mile hike to the historic Makapuu Lighthouse, which is located at the southernmost tip of the island. 

Makapuu Lighthouse Hike in Hawaii, easy hike in the winter months

Not only is the hike itself quite beautiful, but you will experience some great views and sights. You’ll pass the Halona Blow Hole on your way to the lighthouse, which is famous for sightings of humpback whales as they migrate.

Go Snowboarding (December, January, and February)

I know what you’re thinking — snowboarding in Hawaii? Believe it or not, they do get snow. If you’re visiting the Big Island of Hawaii and have a yearning for some traditional winter sports, then check out Mauna Kea Summit.

This dormant volcano is pretty awesome (I’ve hiked around it, but never gone to the summit), and with its high elevation, it can get as cold as 25ºF in the winter. This results in decent snowfall that you can enjoy during your trip.

TIP: You’ll need to bring your own gear since rentals are not available nearby, and neither are ski lifts.

Diamond Head Hike (December, January, and February)

Another hike that is easier (if you’re not much of a hiker) is the path up to Diamond Head. This one is fun and great for seeing some of the sights of the island, like this historic volcanic crater.


Tickets for both hikes are included in the Go Oahu Card.

Go to the beach (December, January, and February)

Whether you visit Hawaii in December, January or February – the beach is always a good idea in Hawaii.

If there is one thing the islands of Hawaii have a bounty of, it is beaches. But not all beaches are created equal and some are not the white sand variety that makes you want to roll out a towel and dive into the water.


Like the black sand of Hawaii’s southern shores, some are better for pictures than picnics.

But there are still plenty of great spots. On Oahu, you can head over to Lanikai, which offers clear, warm water, sun, and sand. Perfect for a day at the beach.

You can also check out Kualoa Ranch, which is a huge recreational complex with beautiful scenery, a secluded beach, and lots of outdoor fun, like volleyball and kayaking.

Other suggestions are Makena Beach (Maui), Hapuna Beach (Big Island), and Makua Beach (Kauai).

Watch Golf (January)

If golf is your game, then Hawaii is a great place to enjoy it. There are plenty of great golf courses across the islands that offer 18 holes with great scenery. 

But you can also watch golf while visiting Hawaii in the winter. Oahu is home to the Sony Open golf tournament every January. Lasting for about 3-4 days, a portion of the proceeds from the competition are given to charity.

Tickets are available to the public. The event is held at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, and once the event is finished, you can purchase your own tee time if you like.

Go Whale Watching (January and February)

You’re not the only visitor to Hawaii in the winter. This season brings an influx of migrating humpback whales.

Humpback Whale spout in Maui is one of the best things to do in Hawaii in winter

While visiting in January, I took a boat cruise off the coast of the Big Island and was amazed by this magnificent sight.

From January until March, the whales come into the shallower waters close to the islands, so you have a great view of them, whether from a boat or even the shore.

There are dedicated whale watching tours, but you can get lucky on a snorkeling expedition, too (like I did). 

The best spots for whale sightings are Poipu Beach on Kauai, Kohala Coast on the Big Island, and Makapuu Lighthouse on Oahu.

See the Cherry Blossoms (February)

I love cherry blossoms, and if you do too, then I suggest stopping at the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival on the Big Island.

This festival is held in early February, which may come as a surprise, but that is because this is when the cherry trees blossom in Hawaii.

In Church Row Park, you will find cherry trees that are sixty years old or more blossoming at this time of year. It’s truly a gorgeous sight and the perfect way to spend a winter day in Hawaii.

The festival is fun for families and couples alike, as well as solo travelers – anyone who enjoys stunning displays of nature and beautiful flowers.


I hope this post has helped you find the best things to do and see while visiting Hawaii in winter.

This is the perfect season to spend on the islands and there is lots to experience on each one. Full of festivals, beaches, outdoor sports, and fun, winter in Hawaii will be a trip to remember.


Check out the 10-Hawaii itinerary

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

Create An Epic 3-Day Chicago Itinerary

Best things to do in Chicago in 3 days, itinerary


If you are looking for the best things to do in 3 days in Chicago, where to go & what to see, this 3-day Chicago itinerary is here to help you. Get all the tips you will need for an epic trip to Chicago.

Chicago – one of the US’s largest cities – is full of interesting architecture and art, skyscrapers, parks, and even beaches. This city is a great place to visit for families, couples, and solo travelers who want to see what the “Windy City” offers.

Though it might not be as famous as New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, it surely is one of the most exciting cities in the US, with many beautiful places to visit and things to do.

The post was written by Rebecca

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This 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.


But first, here are some travel tips for your 3-day trip to Chicago to make your stay smoother.

How to Get to Chicago 

  • If you fly into Chicago, you will most likely come in via O’Hare International Airport, the busiest and third largest airport in the US. You might also come to Chicago Midway International Airport.
  • Once you arrive at the airport, you can either take a taxi or Uber to your hotel (costs about $30-40) or take the Blue Line.
  • The Blue Line ‘L’ Train leaves out of Terminals 1, 2, and 3 (follow the signs) and will take you from the airport to downtown in about 45 minutes. It costs about $5 ($2.50 if you are coming from Midway Airport). 
  • If you are driving, you can take Interstate 90 whether you are coming from the south or north.

Weather in Chicago

  • Chicago has nice summers but cold winters.
  • Summer temperatures are between 70ºF and 82ºF, while winter temperatures are between 22ºF and 32ºF.
  • The rainy season runs from June to August, and you will see the most snow in February.
  • Summer is the best time to visit for outdoor activities, like beaches, rooftop bars, etc., but keep in mind the humidity is about 70% so it will probably feel a bit sticky. 
  • It is also one of the great spring and fall destinations to visit in the US.

What to Pack for a Your 3-Day Chicago Itinerary

  • Chicago weather is a little erratic, so the best way to dress is in layers.
  • This is also called the Windy City because the wind off Lake Michigan is common. 
  • Make sure you pack a jacket with your shorts and t-shirts for a summer trip because storms can come in quickly and drop the temps dramatically. 
  • For winter, pack a warm jacket, gloves, scarves, and boots. You might want to bring thermals to keep you warm under your clothes.
  • And always bring comfortable walking shoes because you will probably do a lot of that here.

Where to Stay for 3 Days in Chicago 

Here are some places that are good options for your 3-day stay in Chicago.

  • For a luxury option, try The Peninsula Chicago Hotel, which provides great amenities, comfort, and location. Check out rates here.
  • For a mid-range option, I would suggest the Kinzie Hotel. It’s close to the Magnificent Mile (which is Chicago’s premier commercial district) and offers a continental breakfast. Here you can find the rates.
  • For budget accommodation, check out the Gateway Inn located in the Loop. It has nice clean rooms and isn’t far from some popular landmarks. Check out room rates here.

Chicago in 3 Days – How to Get Around


  • The best way to get around Chicago is to use public transportation.
  • The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses and trains are fast, cheap, and reliable. The trains are called the “L” because some of them are elevated (although some are underground, too). 
  • Download the Transit app. If you’re using public transportation, this is an easy way to track routes and timetables for trains and buses. It even tells you when your stop is approaching so you don’t miss it.
  • There’s also a free trolley that runs about every 30-45 minutes, but it can get pretty crowded, and you may have to wait for one that is empty enough for you to get on.
  • Even when using public transportation, you might still experience some delays, so keep that in mind as you plan your days.
  • Get a CTA pass. If you plan to spend 3 days in Chicago and see multiple landmarks and take public transportation throughout the city, you will save yourself time and money by getting the pass. A 3-day pass costs $20 for unlimited rides over 72 hours.


  • If you decide to rent a car, keep in mind that parking is expensive and hard to come by.
  • Traffic is pretty bad here, so make sure that you give yourself enough time to get places. 


  • If you want to get around via sightseeing buses in Chicago, check out this option.
  • In general, these sightseeing bus tours are a great way to experience a city in a short amount of time.
  • You can hop off at many stations and explore it on your own path and then continue your bus ride.
Chicago city downtown urban skyline

More Travel Tips For Your 3-Day Chicago

  • Chicago is set up in a grid, which makes it easier to navigate than other cities. State Street and Madison Street meet in the Loop center in the middle of the grid, and street numbers fan out from there, going north/south and east/west. Keep this in mind when you are trying to figure out your routes. Also, every 8 blocks equals about a mile.
  • Tipping is a normal practice in Chicago, as in any American city, but a little higher than most. The standard is 20% of the bill. If you are getting drinks, then leave $1 per drink.
  • If you are going to smaller venues or street festivals, make sure you’ve got the cash. Not all of them take credit cards, so cash is necessary at these places.
  • Being a large metropolitan city means higher security. Expect to get your bags searched at larger venues, and sometimes large bags are not permitted at all. Check the website of the places, to avoid being turned away at the door if they don’t have lockers for you to use. Or travel light when you’re sightseeing.
  • Chicago, like any city, has its good and bad neighborhoods. Use caution or avoid the sketchier areas and always keep an eye on your belongings. This is a safe city when you use common sense.


Let´s get started with your 3-day Chicago itinerary.


For our first day in Chicago, we will start with a bus tour. But not just any bus tour… 

The Untouchables Tour

The Untouchables tour celebrates Chicago’s infamous gangster past, and I highly suggest adding this tour to your Chicago itinerary.

This exciting 2-hour tour covers all the famed locations and gives an account of Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s, including well-known mobsters like Al Capone. Check out tours here.

  • When the tour is over, head over to Chicago Riverwalk to stretch your legs and take in the sights.
  • It should take about 10 minutes by train.

Chicago Riverwalk

Located along the Chicago River, you can kayak here in the warmer months or take a bike ride.

Northern Chicago River Riverwalk on North Branch Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois

There are also plenty of restaurants, benches for relaxing, and museums, like the Chicago River Museum. This is a good spot to stop for lunch or even enjoy a picnic if you get your food to go, and it is a must-see place in Chicago.

  • Plan in about 2 hours for this spot before heading to the next destination.
  • This is about a 15-minute train ride north.

875 North Michigan Avenue / 360 Chicago Observation Deck

Located in the city center in the touristy Magnificent Mile, 875 North Michigan Avenue is the address of a supertall skyscraper that offers amazing views over Chicago.

City skyline from 360 Chicago observation deck. is one of the best things to see in 3 days

At 1,128 feet tall and 100 stories, this building’s upper floors put you in a unique perspective. Head up to the 94th floor for the 360 Chicago Observation Deck to enjoy the panoramic scenery.

You’ll be able to see many of the city’s neighborhoods, as well as Lake Michigan. If you feel like a thrill, then try Tilt – a moving platform that literally tilts you out over the street from the 94th floor! For the less adventurous, there is a very nice bar and café that you can stop at.

  • This will take about an hour or so.
  • Let´s continue with this Chicago itinerary – take the train over to Navy Pier (about 15 minutes) or walk there (about 20 minutes). 

Navy Pier

This 3,300-foot-long Navy Pier juts out onto Lake Michigan and provides many entertaining options for the last stop of your day. 

Navy Pier and skyline is a must on any 3-day Chicago itinerary

You may want to stop at the Chicago Children’s Museum for some kid-centered fun if you have kids. Or, if you feel like some exercise, rent a bike and explore on two wheels. 

Another fun thing to do is take a lake cruise – there are an architecture cruise and a classic lake tour that you can choose from. There are also dinner cruises if you prefer. Most last about 2 hours.

The Centennial Wheel is another must-stop on any 3-day Chicago itinerary. If you haven’t gotten your fill of rides and views, then try this 200-foot Ferris wheel that offers 360-degree views. Each ride lasts about 12-15 minutes.

End the night with dinner on the pier at one of its many lakeside restaurants, some even with rooftop decks (perfect for a warm summer’s night).

  • Navy Pier should take about 3-4 hours, depending on what you choose to do.
  • Then, head back to the hotel for a busy Day 2.


Today, we are going to be doing a bit more city-wide traveling. But let’s start this Chicago itinerary for day 2 at one of the nicest parks in the city. So, head there after breakfast.

Millennial Park

Located in downtown Chicago, Millennial Park is full of things to do.

Crown Fountain in Millennial Park top place to see in 3 days
The Bean is a must for any Chicago itinerary
Pic: f11photo /

In the morning, I advise stopping at Lurie Garden for a bit of nature amid the urban environment. This garden is actually 2.5 acres, so there’s plenty to experience with its assortment of plants and flowers. 

This park also sports some interesting sculptures, like “the Bean,” a rock climbing wall, an open-air pavilion where you can catch live shows in good weather, and restaurants. This is a lot of fun for families, couples, and/or solo travelers who want to spend some time enjoying the outdoors in the middle of a metropolis.

  • While you could easily spend all day here, I would suggest keeping it to 3 hours so that you can see some more great attractions during your 3 days in Chicago.
  • Grab the train from the park to Buckingham Fountain (about 10 minutes away).

Buckingham Fountain

The beautiful Buckingham Fountain is one of the largest in the world. It was built in 1927 and inspired by one at the Palace of Versailles.

Buckingham fountain and Chicago itinerary

The wedding cake tiers of cascading water are beautiful and will make a great souvenir photo to bring home (or post on Instagram). 

  • Located in Grant Park, you can enjoy a stroll and relax in the sunshine for an hour before moving on to the next stop.
  • The Art Institute of Chicago is just a five-minute walk across Grant Park.

The Art Institute of Chicago

If you enjoy art, then take an hour or two to explore the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the country’s largest and oldest art museums.

Art Institute of Chicago on a 3-day itinerary for Chicago

Popular among visitors and locals, there are lots of exhibits to look over. And if you are visiting in the winter, this will be a beautiful place to warm up from the snowy chill.

  • But if you are not a huge art lover, then you can skip this stop (and the $25 ticket fee) and head to our next Chicago landmark.
  • The train ride should only take about 10 minutes (15 if you walk).

Skydeck Chicago

The building was originally called the Sears Tower but is now Willis Towers.

Willis Tower Skydeck fun activity in 3 days

And up on the 103rd floor, you will find an amazing observation deck. As high up as it is, and with a 360-degree view, you can actually see four different states from this vantage point. 

If you happen to wait until later in the afternoon, you will be rewarded with a really spectacular sunset from here. 

  • Depending on lines (you can get a Fast Pass if you want to skip them), you will probably be here a little over an hour.
  • Then, grab the train for a half-hour trek north of the downtown area.
  • Check out ticket prices for the Skydeck here.

North Avenue Beach

If you are visiting in the summer, this is a great place to stop. Favored by Chicagoans, you can enjoy some sand and sun, maybe even a swim or some water sports, during your afternoon here. 

Chicago downtown skyline

This is also a great place to grab a bite to eat, with casual eateries along the beach. There are stores if you want to do a little souvenir shopping while you’re here, too.

  • Plan for about 2 hours at this spot. Then, let’s head to a Chicago historical landmark that’s also a lot of fun.
  • The train will get you there in about half an hour.

Wrigley Field

There’s nothing more American than baseball, and Chicago takes their baseball seriously.

Wrigley Field in Chicago a must see place

Wrigley Field was built in 1914 and is home to the Chicago Cubs. Restaurants, bars, and stores surround the field, so there’s something for even those who aren’t baseball fans. 

If you are curious about what a Major League park looks like on the inside, you can take a 60-90-minute guided tour and check out the dugouts where the players hang out the bleachers and more. This is a fun visit for adults and children alike.

  • This whole stop takes less than 2 hours.
  • Now, we are onto our last stop of the night, but only for the adults (sorry, kids). Take the train about 10 minutes north.

Green Mill

This lounge plays jazz and blues into the late night and is the perfect way to cap off your night.

The ambiance will remind you of the 1930s and 1940s, and you’ll love the energy here. Fair warning, though, there is a cover charge, and the bar only takes cash. So, plan and visit an ATM before stopping here for your nightcap.


For the last day of this 3-day itinerary in Chicago, we will start with a tour.

Chicago Trolley Tour

While we have definitely touched on many of Chicago’s best landmarks, it would be impossible to do see them all in 3 days. But the Chicago Trolley tour is a great way to see a few more spots before you leave. 

Chicago Trolley at Chicago downtown best tips for 3 days

This hop-on hop-off trolley will take you throughout different city areas, from the Magnificent Mile to the Chicago Theater to the Water Tower. And if you are visiting during the holidays, there are also holiday light tours, which are a lot of fun at night.

  • Depending on how much you hop off, this tour takes about 2 hours.
  • When you’re done, we have a few more stops of our own. 

Lakefront Trail

After sitting on the trolley, you may welcome the chance to walk, bike, or jog down this beautiful coastal pathway. It’s a trendy spot for enjoying the water and fresh air, as well as some outdoor activities, and so I think it should be on your 3-day Chicago itinerary.

Michigan Lakefront Trail in Chicago city, Illinois, USA

You’ll pass a lot of the city’s landmarks as you stroll along the path, but probably not all of it since it’s 19 miles long, and it is your last day!

  • Enjoy the views for an hour. 
  • And then let’s head to our next destination.

Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is perfect for the space lover in you. The oldest one in the world, you can see exhibits and projections of the stars in a dome-shaped night sky.

Adler Planetarium in Chicago what to do in Chicago in 3 days
  • You will probably spend about 2 hours here.
  • Our next stop is 30 minutes away by train.

The Garden of the Phoenix

This Japanese-style garden – the Garden of the Phoenix – is located on Jackson Park’s Wooded Island.


It’s a lovely place to slow down after a busy morning and afternoon seeing the sights of this bustling city. If you visit in May, you are in for a treat as the cherry blossom trees will be in bloom by then. The waterfall and footbridges are also favorite things to see.

  • You may spend an hour or two here.
  • When you are ready, let’s head to the last location of this itinerary. The train ride should take about 20 minutes.

Promontory Point

This is our last stop on your Chicago itinerary. Plan to arrive in time to watch the sunset from Promontory Point Park.

I’d suggest getting dinner to go and picnicking here, where you can enjoy the city skyline as it reflects the setting sun and the changing colors of the sky.

Located in Burnham Park, it is a man-made peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan. You’ll get great views of the city and the lake from here. This is a perfect spot to say goodbye to Chicago.


I hope this 3-day Chicago itinerary will help you plan your own trip to Windy City. Whether you visit as a solo traveler, a family, a couple, or with friends – Chicago in 3 days will allow you to enjoy some of the best sights and have a great time.

Chicago surely is one of the best places to visit in the US and always worth a trip.

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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The royal palace of Oslo on a sunny winter day


Be brave, don’t let the cold weather stop you, and book that trip to Oslo, the capital of Norway! It’s one of the best places to visit in winter. The city might be sometimes considered dull – but in winter, it actually can be quite lovely! I definitely recommend visiting Oslo in winter. If you are wondering about what to do and see, then this post is for you.

The winter months run from December to the end of February, this is also when you can expect the largest amount of snow to fall. 

The Christmas decorations light up the city and give it a magical feeling. Oslo offers lots of fun snow activities in the city itself. If you want to take a break from the cold weather and warm up, check out one of the museums. 

Did you know that Oslo is the only other city, outside of Sweden, that hosts the Nobel Prize award? The Nobel Peace Prize award is held in the city in December and you can attend – if you are lucky enough to get a ticket. 

While the city holds a great reputation for the summer season, there are many great things to do during Oslo’s winter as well. This is a guide to the numerous intimate, charming, and enjoyable things to do during winter.

Oslo is the right place for you if you are looking to have a wonderful winter wonderland experience. So, enough praising, let´s dive into the top winter activities in Oslo.

Oslo Opera House

The opera house is the home of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and is the national opera theatre in Norway. The beautiful piece of architecture is located in the Bjørvika neighborhood of Oslo, which is at the head of the Oslofjord.

During the month of December, they host several holiday-themed performances. One of them being the famous Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet. You can find more information about the performances available and the prices on their website

Shows tend to sell out well in advance, so try to purchase your tickets as soon as you can. Before you leave, don’t forget to take a stroll on the roof of the opera house to get a great view of the city and the harbor. 

Visit the Royal Palace 

The Royal Palace, a pale yellow brick structure surrounded by one of the city’s largest parks, is situated at the top of Karl Johan Gate. It was built in the mid 19th century and is currently used as the official residence of the Norwegian monarch, King Harald V, and his wife, Queen Sonja. 

The royal palace of Oslo on a sunny winter day

Unlike many other palaces, this one is unique in the sense that it is not surrounded by fences, so you can walk right up to the building. During the winter months, the snow gives the palace and park a real winter wonderful feel to it.  

Insider tip: Visit the palace at noon so you can watch the daily changing of the guards at 13:30. 

Visit the Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Ski Jump Tower

Did you know that the Holmenkollen ski jump tower has been hosting ski jump competitions since 1892? It was used for the ski jumping portion for the 1952 Winter Olympic Games.

With a height of 121 meters, the tower is sure to leave an impression on you. You can even make your way to the top of the tower. The views from there are breathtaking. 

Located just outside the city center, go on a pleasant 3-hour Holmenkollen ski jump hiking tour. The walk combines spectacular views of the Oslo fjord with the ski jump tower itself.

At the same location, you can visit the Holmenkollen ski museum, which opened in 1923. It is the oldest museum specializing in skiing in the world.

Aker Brygge Neighborhood 

Situated along the inner harbor by the waterfront, Aker Brygge is a hip and vibrant area. What was previously a shipyard has now become a popular meeting place. 

During the winter months, you might not find a lot of people outside because they are all keeping warm inside. The area offers a wide selection of good restaurants, bars, and shops. 

For the art lovers, be sure to check out the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. The museum opened to the public in 1993 and its collection mainly focused on the American appropriation artists from the 1980s. However, the collection now focuses on the international contemporary art scene. 

Christmas Market 

You can’t visit Oslo in December and not go to a Christmas market. There are several markets located around the city but the main market is Jul I Vinterland. It is located next to Karl Johan Gate. There are various wooden stalls selling different items from food to drinks to beautiful handmade crafts. 

For those looking for something a little more adventurous, take a ride in the large Ferris wheel at the market. Or, you can head over to the ice skating rink. 

Go on this Christmas spirit tour if you want to learn more about Norwegian Christmas traditions and experience the ultimate Christmas market.

Go Snowboarding or Skiing in Oslo Winterpark

Oslo Winterpark is the ideal destination for all snowboarding and ski lovers looking to have some fun. The park offers 18 different slopes and operates 11 lifts. The longest slope is 1.5 km in length and is suitable for beginners to advanced skiers and snowboarders. 

As it gets dark early, typically between 16:00-17:00, during winter in Oslo, you might assume that the winter park closes its slopes early. However, the opposite is true. You can ride the slopes until 22:00 at night. Be sure you don’t leave without having caught one of the famous Oslofjord sunsets from the slopes. 

A visit to the winter park is a must in Oslo’s winter months. The park is easily reachable by car or public transport. You can find all the practical information you need to plan your trip on their website

Closing Thoughts on Things to Do in Oslo During Winter

Whether you enjoy being outside in the chilly air or prefer indoor activities to keep you busy, Oslo has something for everyone during winter. The city has hip cafes, great restaurants, museums, and even a ski resort to keep you entertained. 

For all the Christmas lovers, be sure to add Oslo to your list for places to visit in December. The city center is truly transformed into a magical winter wonderful with all its festive Christmas lights and markets. 

Ready to book your ticket to Oslo but want to add other Norwegian destinations to your trip? Check out this 7-day itinerary in Norway highlighting the must-sees and dos for your trip. 

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