With the weather getting warmer and the dreamy days of summer fast approaching, you and your closest friends are likely beginning to feel the travel itch. Who can blame you? After a long, seemingly endless winter, everyone starts to feel a little stir crazy.
From the frigid Midwest (still recovering from its record-breaking polar vortex this past winter) to the swampy backwoods of Louisiana, we’ve got you covered with all of the best affordable and exciting weekend getaways, both close to home and far away.
The Windy City has a lot more to offer than deep dish pizza, like its stunning architecture and eccentric, hipster neighbourhoods with ultra-trendy shopping opportunities. The Art Institute of Chicago, located downtown near the leafy Millennium Park, is one of the oldest and largest museums in the United States, renowned for its unique Thorne miniature rooms exhibit.
If you and your friends are the adventurous types, you can easily take a small side trip and locate some cute little towns in the Chicagoland area. Approximately 30 miles from downtown Chicago lies the adorable village of Lincolnshire. Sign your friends up for a spontaneous class together to wind down after a weekend of bar-hopping in the Loop at the dance center in Lincolnshire, IL.
Contrary to popular belief, the capital city of the Mitten is not actually Detroit. Though the city known for automobiles and Motown is certainly the most populous in the state of Michigan, the capital is actually Lansing, where history abounds and educational opportunities are around every turn.
The Impression 5 Science Center is fun for kids and adults alike, while the Potter Park Zoo is known for its array of exotic endangered species, including the golden lion tamarin. History buffs will appreciate the extensive collection of classic Oldsmobile vehicles on display at the R.E. Ols Transportation Museum, which plays homage to the state of Michigan’s rich Rust Belt heritage.
Don’t worry if none of these things sounds like your idea of a good time. If you’re less scientific and more athletic, Lansing is a great place to catch a game or hit the trails. You can easily schedule a sports event in Lansing, MI into your weekend excursion, or clock some steps on your Fitbit at the stunning Hawk Island Park at sundown.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Crawfish, ATVing, and the French Quarter come to mind when many people think of the deep south. However, there is more to Louisiana than New Orleans and Duck Dynasty, and a day trip to the ultra-hip city of Baton Rouge will quickly put you in the summer vibe.
Between the variety of riverfront parks, museums, and breweries, you’ll find plenty of activities to make your girlfriends’ getaway the most exciting you’ve ever had.
Of course, no one does food and live music better than a Cajun, and you can find plenty of both in the greater Baton Rouge area. Try authentic Cajun seafood in Gonzales, LA, a small town just south of city limits.
For those travelers with a bit of a wild side, there are plenty of unique boutique hotels to check into on the outskirts of the hipster paradise known as Portland, such as the site for shore eyes at the Mill Casino in Coos Bay, OR.
If you’re not a fan of the Pacific Northwest weather, you can keep the rainy blues at bay with a shopping spree. It isn’t difficult to find a women’s clothing store in Portland, OR. They’re around just about every corner, as are breweries, restaurants, and bookstores like the famous Powell’s. Hit up a local liquor store, head back to your hotel room, and get cozy.