Reasons to Do Solo Female Travel in a Camper Van

Solo female travel in a camper van

REASONS TO DO SOLO FEMALE TRAVEL IN A CAMPER VAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best places to visit in the Dolomites

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

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

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

Why I want to travel in a camper van

Spontaneity and Freedom

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

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

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

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

Weggis_ hidden gem

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

With hotels, this can be tricky.

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

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

Costs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cooking

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

Cooking in a camper van

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

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

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

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

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

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

Views

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, hope to see you soon! Stay safe.

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

Categories USA

BEST THINGS TO DO IN DALLAS IN 3 DAYS

Best things to do in Dallas in 3 days, Texas

WHAT TO DO IN DALLAS IN 3 DAYS

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

Dallas is famous for a lot of things – Tex-Mex and football are the first to come to mind.

But this city is known for a lot more than that. Located in the northeast corner of the state of Texas, Dallas is a cultural and commercial hub in the southern part of the US.

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

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

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

BEST TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR DALLAS ITINERARY

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

Dallas, Texas Skyline with Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge one of the best places to visit in 3 days

How to Get to Dallas

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

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

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

Weather in Dallas

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

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

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

What to Pack for a Dallas Trip 

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

Where to Stay in Dallas 

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

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

How to Get Around Dallas

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

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

Travel Tips For Your 3 Days in Dallas

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

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

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

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

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

BEST THINGS TO DO IN DALLAS IN 3 DAYS

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

Day 1 in Dallas

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

White Rock Lake Park

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

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

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

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

George W. Bush Presidential Center

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

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

Highland Park Village

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

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

Klyde Warren Park

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

Klyde Warren Park, Downtown Dallas, Texas

It has tons of free activities, a playground for kids, and food trucks that are there to provide a variety of local cuisines. It’s a fun environment and very popular among locals and tourists alike. It’s also very close to the next stop on this 3-day Dallas itinerary.

Dallas Museum of Art

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

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

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

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

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

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

Day 2 in Dallas

So, this is your itinerary for your 2. day in Dallas.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

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

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

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

Swiss Avenue

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

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

Texas Discovery Gardens

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

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

Old City Park / Heritage Village

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

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

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

Deep Ellum

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

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

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

Day 3 in Dallas

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

Dallas County Courthouse / Old Red Museum

It’s the last day of this 3 days in Dallas itinerary and our first stop is the Old Red Museum / Dallas County Courthouse.

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

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

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

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

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

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

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

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

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

Reunion Tower

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

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

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

AT&T Stadium

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

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

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

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

Sundance Square

Our last stop on this Dallas itinerary will be Sundance Square.

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

Categories USA

3-Day Miami Itinerary

3-day Miami Itinerary

HOW TO SPEND 3 DAYS IN MIAMI

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

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

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

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

South Beach in Miami, Florida_
@shutterstock

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 3-DAY MIAMI ITINERARY

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

How to Get to Miami 

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

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

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

Weather in Miami

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

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

What to Pack for Your Miami Itinerary

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

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

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

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

Where to Stay in Miami for 3 Days

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

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

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

How to Get Around Miami in 3 Days

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

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

More Travel Tips For 3 Days in Miami

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A PERFECT MIAMI 3-DAY ITINERARY

Here is how to spend 3 days in Miami….

Day 1 in Miami

For day 1 let’s start with this place.

Little Havana

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

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

History Miami Museum

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

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

Gesu Church

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

Gesu Catholic Church located in Miami Downtown, shutterstock
@shutterstock

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

Bayside Marketplace

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

View of the Miami Bayside Marketplace.
@shutterstock

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

Wynwood Walls

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

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

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

Miami Children’s Museum

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

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

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

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

Explore Downtown

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

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

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

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

Day 2 in Miami 

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

Stiltsville

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

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

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

Cape Florida Lighthouse

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

Famous lighthouse at Cape Florida in the south end of Key Biscayne , Miami_
@shutterstock

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

Crandon Park

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

Beautiful Crandon Park Beach located in Key Biscayne in Miami._
@shutterstock

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

Hobie Beach

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

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

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

South Beach

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

South Beach, Miami Beach. Florida._
@shutterstock

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

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

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

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

Day 3 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
@shutterstock

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

Venetian Pool

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

Coral Gables Venetian Pool in Miami - Florida.
@shutterstock

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

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

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

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

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

Coral Castle

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

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

Everglades

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

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

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

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

Day Trip: Key West 

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

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

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

CONCLUSION: HOW TO CREATE A PERFECT MIAMI ITINERARY

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

Categories USA

3-Day Washington D.C. Itinerary

3-day Washington D.C. itinerary

BEST THINGS TO DO IN 3 DAYS IN WASHINGTON D.C.

So, if you are wondering what to do in 3 days in Washington, D.C., what to see and where to go, then this 3-day Washington D.C. itinerary will help you plan an exciting trip.

While there are a lot of things on this Washington itinerary, you may find that you can’t fit them all in. For such a small area of the country, Washington, D.C. has a lot going on

Washington, D.C. is the capital of the United States, located between the states of Virginia and Maryland along the Potomac River.

And while it is one of the most famous cities in the US, it is not that high on people’s bucket list as is New York  or Los Angeles for example – however, there is a lot to see.

And politics and government aren’t the only things going on 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

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 3-DAY WASHINGTON D.C. ITINERARY

But before we discuss your 3 days in Washington DC here are some travel tips…

Weather in Washington, D.C.

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

What to Pack for Your 3 Days in Washington, D.C. 

While public transportation is very good here, the best and easiest way to see the sights on this Washington, D.C. itinerary is on foot. So, bring your most comfortable walking shoes.

Where to Stay in Washington, D.C. 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.

For mid-range, I suggest The River Inn, which has a kitchenette, on-site restaurant, and central location. 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.

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 hoofing it is the best way to go.

The Metrorail is the subway system that you will use when you are venturing out of the center of the city. The Metro bus is great for reaching areas that the subway doesn’t go, such as nearby Georgetown. And for a more fun form of transport, try the Old Town Trolley, which offers facts along with a scenic ride though the district.

Taxis and Ubers are, of course, another option, but at a premium price.

More Travel Tips For Your Washington D.C. ITINERARY

Wondering when to plan your 3-day itinerary for Washington, D.C.? Spring and fall have the nicest weather, but that also means the area is much more crowded and expensive. If you’re on a budget, visit in either summer or winter – just plan ahead for the hot and humid summer months and the cold and snowy winter months.

But if you do 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. And in the case of 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) if you want to see the inside of this famous structure. But taking pictures from the street is easy and free, and needs no advance planning.

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 that will get flagged by the security officers.

Washington, D.C. offers free, clean tap water throughout the city, so make sure to bring your own water bottle, so you don’t have to buy any while you’re here. If you take a guided tour, you’ll even get a bottle that you can use just for this purpose.

If you’re planning to use the metro and bus a lot, then consider getting the SmarTrip card, which is refillable. Or, if you prefer, you can also get a one-day unlimited pass for $14.75.

To save money on hotels, look for accommodations in areas like 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.

WHAT TO DO IN 3 DAYS IN WASHINGTON

With only 3 days in Washington DC there is a lot to see.

Day 1 in Washington DC 

Let´s start with the first our of 3 days in Washington D.C.

National Mall

Our first stop on Day 1 is 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 a lot of museums, landmarks, and beautiful water features and plant life to see at this stop, which will take the majority of your day.

Each monument will probably take about an hour. And the museums can take 2 hours or more, depending on how long you spend at each stop.

Lincoln Memorial

Created to honor the 16th president of the US who helped end slavery in the country as well as unite it after the Civil War in the mid-1800s, this monument is one of the most famous in the Mall.

Washington DC - Lincoln Memorial on 3-day Washington itinerary
@shutterstock

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.

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 this Monument.

Washington Monument Washington DC a must see in 3 days
@shutterstock

Built to honor the first US president, George Washington, it stands at just over 555 feet. If you arrive between 9am and 5pm, 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. Park rangers are also on hand to answer questions.

White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the home and workspace of the American President.

The White House in Washinton DC

Stop 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, then explore the various historic rooms and enjoy a guided tour full of information about the rooms, visitors, and art.

But if you haven’t set anything up in advance (as I mentioned earlier in this post), then grab some pictures and let’s check out the next destination in the area.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

This 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 best art museums in the district and one of the best things to do in Washington, D.C. in 3 days.

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

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.

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 free jazz concerts being performed, and if it’s winter, then the fountain in the garden is turned into an ice rink. So, whatever season it is, this is a fun stop for families and couples, as well as solo travelers, 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. We’ll be seeing a few more on Day 2, but for tonight, enjoy dinner and drinks at one of the many restaurants that surround the National Mall.

Day 2 in Washington D.C. 

We’ll start day 2 just outside of the city center, among some natural scenery.

Wheaton Regional Park

Today, we’ll enjoy some natural beauty at Wheaton Regional Park. You’ll need to take both the bus and the metro to reach it, but it’s worth the travel time.

This gorgeous park and recreation area is actually located in Maryland. You’ll find hiking and walking trails, a miniature train and carousel, and a playground if you’re traveling with kids. This is especially great if you are visiting in the summer. 

After a relaxing morning amongst the greenery, head back to the city center to see the sixth largest cathedral in the world.

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
@shutterstock

Massive in size, it 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 even 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

This castle is actually the home of the Smithsonian Visitors Center and is a must for any Washington D.C. itinerary.

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

International Spy Museum

Just a 5-minute walk will bring you to this incredibly fun stop – the International Spy Museum. For any spy buff, this is the place you want 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. Great for families with older children, couples, and solo travelers.

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
@shutterstock

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, but you might also want to consider taking a paddle boat out and seeing the blooms from a different perspective. 

If you’re visiting in the winter or late summer, then you can still have a good time here. Take a walk along the water and visit the three monuments that are 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 lots of upscale shopping and dining options, you’ll have plenty to do here. Because of the proximity of Georgetown University, 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’s lots to do on the last day of this Washington, D.C. itinerary.

Day 3 in Washington D.C.

For our last day in Washington, D.C., let’s explore a few more favorites of both 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. The columns were built in 1828, and after many decades, were moved from around the Capitol Building to the Arboretum. 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 to stop to eat your fill of local cuisine, buy souvenirs, and just explore 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, D.C. itinerary for 3 days (about 25 minutes by train).

Library of Congress

This is the largest library in the world and sits near the Capitol Building. It is also the research center of the US Congress, so it gets a lot of use.

Library of Congress in Washington, Sean Pavone, Shutterstock.com
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. Then, walk over to the Capitol Building.

United States Capitol

This building is where Congress meets to debate and vote on laws.

United States Capitol- Washington DC to see in 3 days
@shutterstock

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. 

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. But either way, this stop is well worth the time and effort.

United States Botanical Garden

Five minutes away on foot, you’ll find yourself at the US Botanical Gardens which is another great place to add to your Washington D.C. itinerary.

Washington DC historical Bartholdi Fountain and United States Botanic Garden Conservatory
@shutterstock

This Washington, D.C. landmark is a lovely place to spend some time. 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.

National Harbor and Capital Wheel

Your last destination is National Harbor, which is actually across the state line, in Maryland. Public transportation will take about an hour from the Botanical Garden, or you can take a taxi and arrive in 15 minutes.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS – WASHINGTON DC ITINERARY

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

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

7-Day California Itinerary

How to spend 7 days in California

HOW TO SPEND 7 DAYS IN CALIFORNIA

Are you planning your 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, but there are a lot of other fun and exciting things to do here as well  – it gets a bit problematic as the state of California is very large which will not allow you to see a lot in 7 days in California.

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 and 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.

Los Angeles, California, USA downtown cityscape at sunset_
@shutterstock

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

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 7-DAY CALIFORNIA ITINERARY

First, here are my travel tips for a California 7-day itinerary to some of the best destinations.

How to Get to California

When I visited California, I started in San Francisco. I flew into San Francisco International Airport, but you could also arrive via Oakland International Airport. I then took a Megabus to Los Angeles (you can also fly into Los Angeles International Airport, among others). 

This was cheap and all right (and I prefer buses over flying) but scenery was kind of boring. At the beginning it was exciting but there is a lot of….nothing in between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Road tripping would probably be more fun (though also more expensive and so environmentally friendly).

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).

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

What to Pack for One Week in California

The climate in California is different in the north and the south, so 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.

Where to Stay in California For 7 Days

You will find some hotel recommendations for each city on this 7 days in California itinerary below. So, for each city you will find a luxury, mid-range and budget place to stay.

How to Get Around California

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. But 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
@shutterstock

Another great way to get around SF is the cable cars, which are a tourist attraction themselves. Also, hop-on and hop-off buses, which I love, include some tours and entries.

In LA, you can get around using the buses and metro, or you can rent a car. It’s very spread out here and so while you can get nearly everywhere by public transportation, it sometimes takes a long time. But you can also walk places, like when you are in downtown.

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 Days in california

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 but this is when I left a place – when it feels not safe, just leave.

Just be careful and keep you 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.

If you do rent a car, California is well-known for its traffic and also 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.

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.

So, here are the best things to do in California in 7 days.

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 (and of course also in California).

San Francisco - the most beautiful city in the USA @shutterstock
@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 which took quite some time) you have to plan in some time for travel time as well.

Best view of San Francisco_
@shutterstock

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 that is perfectly located (close to Union Square) and has all the amenities and facilities you can expect from a luxury hotel.

I stayed in a hostel near Union Square, which I actually really, really liked and which has been the best hostel I have stayed at. Check out the gorgeous hostel – given it is a hostel, prices are quite high though.

Los Angeles – 3 Days

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

Santa Monica pier at Sunset one of the best places to visit in LA in 3 days
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LA itself was not my favorite place – but 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, and so it is a must for any California itinerary.

Los Angeles - Echo Park a must-see in LA
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Hollywood, California a must-do in 3 days
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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 LA that you can check out here

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

For a luxury hotel, you can’t beat the Hotel Bel Air, which 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 that has 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 not really recommend it due to the proximity to LA). It’s a very pretty trip as you spend some time traveling along the coast. SO, make sure to add San Diego to your California itinerary.

Drone view of the Children's Pool in La Jolla San Diego is one of the best things to do in 1 days in San Diego
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San Diego is a beautiful city and I liked the vibe but compared to LA and San Francisco I found less 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
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Mission Beach Sunset and View of Downtown, San Diego California, USA
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Where to Go in San Diego (1 day)
  • Explore Balboa Park
  • Take the ferry to Coronado
  • 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 in La Jolla, which has great ocean views.

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

For a mid-range hotel, try the San Diego Marriot Gaslamp Quarter in the downtown area, which has a good location, or the Hotel La Jolla, which has pretty balcony views.

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

Extra: More Places to Visit in California

If you want to skip any of these places and take a day trip during your 7-day California itinerary, then here is my suggestion:

California Day Trip – Big Sur

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

If you take State Route 1, then you should also see a lot of 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.

CONCLUSION: ONE WEEK IN CALIFORNIA ITINERARY

Hopefully this 7-day California itinerary has shown you the best things to do and places to see while you are here. You can divide the days up as you like, but with only one week in California, this is how I would do it.

I did stay a bit longer and created my itinerary a bit differently back then. However, I hope, you will have fun 7 days in California using my itinerary.

Stay safe and have fun!

Safe Travels, Arzo

Categories USA

3-Day Philadelphia Itinerary

Love Park with Fountain and Philadelphia City Hall in the background for Philadelphia itinerary

BEST THINGS TO DO IN 3 DAYS IN PHILADELPHIA

If you are wondering about your 3-day Philadelphia itinerary then this post if for you as we talk about the 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 historic 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 are planning a 3-day Philadelphia itinerary, then I’ll share what to do and where to go while visiting the “City of Brotherly Love.”

The post was written by Rebecca

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 3-DAY PHILADELPHIA ITINERARY

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 which mean 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

Weather in Philadelphia is warm and a little rainy (also humid) in the summer, with July temperatures usually ranging from 72ºF to 89ºF. Fall and spring are not as wet and also more mild, so this would be the best time to visit.

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 Philadelphia Itinerary

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 (wool or down are great choices) 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, which is in walking distance of the city center, offers amenities like a tea room and spa, and is a favorite for couples.

A midrange 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 Philadelphia

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.

The best way to get around in Philadelphia is by public transportation or on foot. You can use taxis and Ubers if necessary, but that will be rare.

Instead, use the subways or the PHLASH bus, which are cheap, run on-time, and take you to all the attractions you’ll want to see. 

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.

More Travel Tips for Your 3 Days in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is known for a few food items, like their Philly Cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. But, venture out for some other great culinary delights – like the restaurant Vedge, which is completely vegan, but has lots of creative offerings. So, explore the Philly food scene while you’re here.

The Philly PHLASH 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 10am-6pm during summer and the holidays. Oh, and these buses are bright purple, so they’re easy to spot.

You might also want to look into the Philadelphia Pass and SEPTA’s Independence Pass, which will not only get you discounted transportation, but also cheaper admission tickets at various attractions.

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, there are some areas that 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.

THINGS TO DO IN PHILADElPHIA IN 3 DAYS

So, here are fun things to do in 3 days in Philadelphia.

Day 1: 

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, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania must see in 3 days
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At over 9,200 acres, this 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, just button up!)

After an hour or two, take an Uber/taxi or drive to the Please Touch Museum (I will rarely recommend driving, but in this case, it will save a lot of time over public transportation). It should only take 5-10 minutes.

Please Touch Museum

Despite its weird name, this 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.

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
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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.

Tip: If you go on the first Sunday of the month or on a Wednesday between 5pm and 845pm, entry is free.

Our next stop is just a 15-minute walk from the museum. Make sure to grab some lunch before heading out.

Eastern State Penitentiary

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

Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia
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Now, it is closed and used for tours, as well as being 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, and then you can stop for a snack and some music in The Yard, or head to our next stop. 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 really interesting 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
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The 72 stone steps that lead up to its front door have become iconic because of a scene in the movie Rocky in which Sylvestor Stallone runs up the steps. Tourists love copying the scene and have the 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.

Spruce Street Harbor Park (SummerFall) OR Blue Cross Riverrink Winterfest (WinterSpring)

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

If you visit Philadelphia in the summer or fall, visit the 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.

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.

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, this area and park are in one of the most expensive parts of Philadelphia.

Buildings at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia one of the best things to do in 3 days
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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, which 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
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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, which is the highest open-air deck in the city at 548 feet. Enjoy the amazing views before heading to our next stop, 5 minutes away on foot.

Reading Terminal Market

This 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
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Fresh produce, local cheeses, 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 before going to our next destination on this itinerary. It’s about 10 minutes by bus or on foot.

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
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Take some selfies with the iconic statues before wandering the newly redesigned green area and see the water feature that was added. 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, about 15 minutes away by bus.

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

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

Philadelphia´s Magic Gardens
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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! 

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).

One Liberty Observation Deck

Known as “Philly From the Top,” this observation deck gives some fantastic views of the Philadelphia skyline.

View from the top of One Liberty Observation Deck
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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 the beautiful sunset from a whole new perspective. And if it’s after dark, the twinkling lights of the city are also breathtaking. 

Enjoy the views as you cap off Day 2 on this 3-day itinerary.

Day 3: 

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 in Philadelphia in 2 days.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA at the Liberty Bell
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The lines aren’t usually that long first thing in the morning (about 30 minutes), so 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 there.

Independence Hall

If you’re wondering where to go in Philadelphia in 3 days, you can’t skip Independence Hall.

Independence Hall National Historic Park Philadelphia Pennsylvania with sunset
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It played a very important part in the history of America, as the place where the Founding Fathers gathered in 1776 and signed the Declaration of Independence – leading to the Revolutionary War and the birth of the nation.

It was also the place where the US Constitution was put together, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pick up a free ticket (they have set times) and take 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 stand, 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 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
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That’s where the tour comes in. Take one of the Mural Tours, which vary in theme, to 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 take about 90 minutes to 2 hours.

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 boathouse that were created in the mid-19th century.

Boathouse Row in Philadelphia as the famous historical landmark
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It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city and definitely worth a stop during your 3 days in Philadelphia. 

Stroll along Kelly Drive as the sun sets, or for a more broad view, take a walk on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

When night falls, this is an especially beautiful 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.

ENJOY YOUR 3 DAYS IN PHILADELPHIA ITINERARY

This 3-day Philadelphia itinerary should have answered the question of where to go and what to do in 3 days in Philadelphia. I hope that you will find it helpful as you 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 vacationing 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

Best Things to do in 3 Days in Boston

best things to do in Boston in 3 days

A Fun 3-Day Boston Itinerary

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

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

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

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

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

The post was written by Rebecca

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 3 DAYS IN BOSTON

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

How to Get to Boston 

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

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

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

Boston, best cities to visit in spring
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Weather in Boston

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

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

What to Pack for a Your 3 Days in Boston

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

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

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

Where to Stay 3 Days in Boston 

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

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

How to Get Around Boston for 3 Days

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

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

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

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

More Travel Tips For Your 3-Day Boston Itinerary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT TO DO IN 3 DAYS IN BOSTON

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

Day 1 in Chicago

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

Boston Common

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

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

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

Freedom Trail

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

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

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

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

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

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

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

Faneuil Hall Marketplace a must on a 3-day Boston itinerary
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Faneuil Hall is an indoor/outdoor mall and eatery. Besides the North and South Markets, the other famous building is Quincy Market (and a favorite among locals and tourists).

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

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

Old North Church 

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

Old North Church in Boston, visiting is one of the best things to do in 3 days
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This is an interesting stop for families, couples, or solo travelers.

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

Esplanade

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

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

Skywalk Observatory

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

Skywalk Observatory is one of the best places to visit in Boston in 3 days
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Located in the Prudential Tower, you can also learn a little bit more about Boston’s history by taking the audio tour that is available. Or just come for the views.

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

Day 2 in Boston

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

Boston Public Garden 

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

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

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

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

The Mapparium

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

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

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

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

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

Fenway Park Tour

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

Fenway Park in Boston is a must on Boston 3 days itinerary
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This baseball stadium is the oldest in the country, and relatively small, but has hosted numerous baseball, soccer, and hockey games, as well as religious and political rallies.

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

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

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

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

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

Museum of Fine Arts Boston is a top in 3 days in Boston
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But, your ticket does allow for a free re-entry within 10 days of your first, so if you can’t get enough on Day 2, you can come back tomorrow. 

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

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

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

Wally’s Café Jazz Club

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

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

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

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

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

Day 3 in Boston

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

The Lawn on D

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

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

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

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

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

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

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is one of the best places to go in 3 days
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This is a fun stop, with interactive exhibits, actors playing out the scene, and even the chance to throw some tea overboard yourself. There’s a café and gift shop as well on this restored ship that you can check out when you’re done. This stop takes about 1-2 hours.

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

Beacon Hill

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

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

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

The Boston Children’s Museum 

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

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

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

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

Harborwalk

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

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

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

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

MORE THINGS TO ADD TO YOUR BOSTON ITINERARY

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

CONCLUSION: HOW TO SPEND 3 DAYS IN BOSTON

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

About the Author:

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

Safe Travels, Arzo

Categories USA

3-Day Chicago Itinerary

Best things to do in Chicago in 3 days, itinerary

BEST 3-DAY CHICAGO ITINERARY

If you are looking for the best things to do in 3 days in Chicago, where to go and what to see, then I hope this 3-day Chicago itinerary will help.

Chicago – one of the largest cities in the US – it is full of interesting architecture and art, skyscrapers, parks, and even beaches. This city is a great place to visit for families and couples, as well as solo travelers that want to see what the “Windy City” has to offer.

Though it might not be as famous as New York or Los Angeles, 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 which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 3 DAYS IN CHICAGO

But first, here are some travel tips to make your stay smoother.

How to Get to Chicago 

If you are flying into Chicago, you will most likely come in via O’Hare International Airport, which is the busiest and third largest airport in the country. You might also come into Chicago Midway International Airport.

If you are driving, you can take Interstate 90 whether you are coming from the south or north.

Once you arrive at the airport, you can either take a taxi or Uber to your hotel (costs about $30-40), or you can take the Blue Line.

The Blue Line ‘L’ Train leaves out of Terminals 1, 2, and 3 (just 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). 

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 can 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.

Make sure you pack a jacket with your shorts and t-shirts for a summer trip because storms can come in quick and drop the temps dramatically. This is also called the Windy City because wind off Lake Michigan is common. 

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 Hotel, which provides great amenities and comfort as well as location.
  • For a mid-range option, I would suggest the Kinzie Hotel. It’s close to the Magnificent Mile and offers a continental breakfast.
  • For a budget accommodation, check out the Gateway Inn located in the Loop, which has nice clean rooms and isn’t far from some of the popular landmarks.

How to Get Around Chicago in 3 Days

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). 

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.

If you decide to rent a car, keep in mind that parking is expensive and hard to come by.

Chicago city downtown urban skyline
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More Travel Tips for Your 3-Day Chicago Itinerary

Get a CTA pass. If you plan to spend 3 days in Chicago and are seeing multiple landmarks and taking 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.

Download the Transit app. If you’re using public transportation, this is an easy way to keep track of routes and timetables for trains and buses. It even tells you when your stop is approaching so you don’t miss it.

Chicago is set up in a grid, which makes it easier to navigate than other cities. Where State Street and Madison Street meet in the center of the Loop is 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.)

Traffic is pretty bad here, so make sure that you give yourself enough time to get places. Even when using public transportation, you will still experience some delays, so just keep that in mind as you plan your days.

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 just leave $1 per drink.

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 you are going to find out so that you aren’t turned away at the door if they don’t have lockers for you to use. Or just travel light when you’re sightseeing.

If you are going to smaller venues or street festivals, make sure you’ve got cash. Not all of them take credit cards, so cash is necessary at these places.

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.

THINGS TO DO IN CHICAGO IN 3 DAYS

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

Day 1 in Chicago

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 a tour to your Chicago itinerary.

This 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. 

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. Check out tours here.

Chicago Riverwalk

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

Northern Chicago River Riverwalk on North Branch Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois
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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 and should be on any Chicago itinerary.

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 center of the city 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
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At 1,128 feet tall and 100 stories, the upper floors of this building put you at 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 in.

This will take about an hour or so. When this Chicago itinerary continues – 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
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If you have kids, you may want to stop at the Chicago Children’s Museum for some kid-centered fun. 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 is 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.

Close out 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.

Day 2 in Chicago

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
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The Bean is a must for any Chicago itinerary
Pic: f11photo /Shutterstock.com

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

Located in Grant Park, you can enjoy a stroll and just relax in the sunshine for an hour before moving on to the next stop, which will be 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 largest and oldest art museums in the country.

Art Institute of Chicago on a 3-day itinerary for Chicago
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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 you about 10 minutes (15 if you walk).

Skydeck Chicago

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

Willis Tower Skydeck fun activity in 3 days
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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 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
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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
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Wrigley Field was built in 1914 and is home to the Chicago Cubs. The field is surrounded by restaurants, bars, and stores, 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.

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 ambience 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 ahead and visit an ATM before stopping here for your nightcap.

Day 3 in Chicago

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

Chicago Trolley Tour

While we have definitely touched on a lot of Chicago’s best landmarks, with a city this size, it would be impossible to do it all in 3 days.

Chicago Trolley at Chicago downtown best tips for 3 days
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But the Chicago Trolley tour is a great way to see a few more spots before you leave town. 

This hop-on hop-off trolley will take you throughout different areas of the city, 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 very popular 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
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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 we only have one more day on this itinerary! 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 here.

Adler Planetarium in Chicago what to do in Chicago in 3 days
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You will probably spend about 2 hours her and 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 and is another place you should visit in 3 days in Chicago.

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

You may spend an hour or two here, but 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 and the – or one of the – last activities on your 3-day 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.

CONCLUSION: WHAT TO DO IN 3 DAYS IN CHICAGO

I hope this 3-day Chicago itinerary will help you plan your own trip to the Windy City. If you were wondering what to do in 3 days in Chicago, this list should help you find the best places for solo travelers, families, and couples to enjoy all that the city has to offer. It 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

Categories USA
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