Weekly Top 5: Easy-Access Vacation Destinations
Top Five Easy-Access Vacation Destinations
As the summer winds down and our schedules become a little more, well...scheduled, it’s easy to feel the pressures of work and school weighing more heavily upon our shoulders. But just because our calendars are filling up doesn’t mean we can’t find time for a little reprieve from our regular programming. In fact, sometimes getting out of Dodge can be the best remedy -- even a quick weekend-long trip can leave one feeling more creative, less stressed, and overall rejuvenated. Southwest Airlines is currently offering a sale on flights, and each one of the locations we’ve listed below can be accessed via Southwest (well, except for Chattanooga...you should just drive there.) Wanna get away?
Check out our Top 5 Southwest Airlines-Friendly Vacation Destinations:
Spend the weekend in Chattanooga
Take Monday off and explore Kansas City over a three-day weekend
Fill up on food, drink, museums, and architecture spending 4 days in Chicago
Head out west for five days to take in some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the United States in Santa Fe
Unplug, recharge and rejuvenate for a week in beautiful Tulum, Mexico
Psst - Southwest is offering a sale on flights for $69 during September and October if you book before 8/14/18. You might as well go ahead and book yourself a getaway now while the getting’s good!
1. Two Days in Chattanooga
Recommendations from Leslie Valenzuela, our fantastic Graphic Design Intern
Just about an hour and a half away, Chattanooga is a quaint Tennessee town that’s just the right distance from Nashville to feel gone without having gone too far. With abundant hiking nearby in both Grundy Forest and South Cumberland State Park, plenty of delicious spots for eats and drinks, and tons of sights to see, a weekend in Chatt-Town is just the ticket for whatever your heart desires. A two-hour cruise that takes guests across the Tennessee River and also offers a delicious meal, gorgeous view, and live entertainment, the Southern Belle Riverboat Cruise is a great way to relax. Whether you’re on a date with your honey or taking the whole family along, everyone will enjoy it. Don't forget to head to the 3rd deck and check out the Burger Bar — it’s one of Chattanooga's hidden gems and has arguably the best burger in town! If you’re into the outdoors, take a stroll through downtown and enjoy Chattanooga's beautiful buildings and greenery. Coolidge Park, Renaissance Park, and the Riverpark are the places to be. Walking across the Walnut Street Bridge at sunset is also one of my favorite things to do in the evening; I love to watch the sun set on the water while the bridge lights up. And of course don’t forget the major sites that both locals and tourists love: The Tennessee Aquarium, Rock City, Ruby Falls and The Chattanooga Zoo.
2. Three Days in Kansas City
Recommendations from Simone Diamond, our colleague and gal pal
Spending the majority of my childhood growing up in Kansas City, I have quite a few fond memories of this beautiful midwest city, from frolicking across Country Club Plaza with friends to indulging in some classic Kansas City bar-b-que with family. Since my younger years however, it has developed into a hotspot for culture, art, food, and drink... not to mention it’s the home of World Series Champs, the Kansas City Royals! For the full KC experience, be sure to visit the aforementioned Country Club Plaza, Old Westport, or the Crossroads Art District for endless shopping and local eats — all of which host numerous street festivals and events that are worth checking out year-round. Now, you can’t leave without trying the famous KC-style bar-b-que; some of the city’s most popular spots include Arthur Bryant’s and Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. If you’re in the area during baseball season, try to score some tickets to a Royals game— the fan fever for the team throughout the city is contagious! And beer fanatics can’t miss a trip to Boulevard Brewery, where you can do a walking tour or hang out in their spacious new Beer Hall. (My personal fave is the Unfiltered Wheat Beer!) If a trip to KCMO is in your future or if you just like looking at pretty food-focused pics, I highly recommend following KC native and photographer Anna Petrow’s gorgeous Instagram feed @annapetrow — she’s got Kansas City inspo for days!
3. Four Days in Chicago
Recommendations from Jordan Farrell
You know, the beauty of Chicago is that you can really “do it” in any number of days, which makes it great for both an extra-long weekend or even just your average Saturday/Sunday. But, for giggles, let’s give ourselves a little more time in the city I love to love. My very best friend Ashley moved to Chicago over a year ago and it is a bitter-sweet scenario: sure, I miss her, but the extra excuse to visit the Windy City is fine. by. me. My recommendation? Base your trip around when the Nashville Predators are playing the Chicago Blackhawks on their turf. The excitement of the fans in the United Center is electric and it’s a nice change of pace to see the game from the visitor’s seat (FYI - Hawk’s fans are crazy-nice and, though yes they might give you a hard time, it’s all in good fun). Arrive the day before the game and grab a nice dinner at one of my favorite spots - Roister - and then maybe sneak next door for a fancy-pants cocktail at Aviary (you have to check it out at least once!). From there you can end the night with a drink at Bad Hunter or at Ace Hotel’s killer rooftop bar, Waydown, just around the corner. Wake up on game day and hang out in the city awhile — have brunch at Cindy’s Rooftop located inside the Chicago Athletic Association and then stroll to the Art Institute of Chicago just down the street. Don’t miss Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) in Millenium Park, either; it’s a landmark spot and you have to get that IG pic. If it’s cold enough, you could also try your hand at ice skating in the park for a V romantic activity. Try out Publican or Au Cheval before the game and then head to the United Center with your Preds Pride on fleek. With your remaining time there, check out these bars: Lost Lake, Queen Mary, Longman & Eagle, The Violet Hour (The Patterson’s House sister bar!), Lonesome Rose (they have a hidden speakeasy underneath the restaurant). For more dinner spots, hit up High Five Ramen, Avec, or Giant. For brunch, try to make it out to Big Star for killer tacos and a cool vibe or Cafe Marie Jeanne.
P.S. - I always stay with Ashley, but if you’re looking for accommodations then stay at the Freehand Hotel. You can get bunk bed rooms for a great girls trip / guys trip as well as your standard king / queen beds. Perk of the day: there’s a badass tiki bar on the bottom level called Broken Shaker.
4. Five to Six Days in Santa Fe
Recommendations from Maddie Teren
I recently got back from a girls trip in Santa Fe, New Mexico — my first time! — and just three days since landing in Nashville, I’m already plotting my return. Although the air is thin in Santa Fe (it has an elevation of about 7200 ft!) the landscape itself was enough to keep me gasping for breath: from the orange adobe buildings that bespeckle the entire city to the rolling green mountain ridges that cast the most stunning backdrop, to both the crystal blue skies and the bright fiery sunsets, I couldn’t stop myself from taking photos. But there’s lots more to do out there than gaze and marvel. Santa Fe has some fantastic shopping: from vintage clothing, to turquoise jewelry, to southwestern style artwork and artisanal goods, I spent a pretty penny in Santa Fe — and don’t regret a cent. Santa Fe Vintage has an unbelievable showroom 15 minutes outside of town (open by appointment only) as well as a smaller “outpost” in downtown Santa Fe; it’s right down the street from another home run spot, Double Take. (Pro tip: If you go, ask for Miles - he’ll help you pick a hat.) Want some eats or drinks? Posas’s Restaurant has incredible tamales and an out-of-this world frito pie - plus, they deliver if you want to stay at the house and relax for the night! Coyote Cantina is a lively rooftop restaurant with a fantastic menu of margaritas (the Norteño, made with hatch chili infused tequila, was my favorite) and a killer chili cheeseburger. Iconik Coffee Roasters will help get you going in the mornings, and Santa Fe Brewing Co can help wind you down as you watch the sun set (we loved the pilsner). Other must-do activities: hike the Atalaya Trail, pamper yourself at Ten Thousand Waves Spa, visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and be sure to check out the immersive art experience at Meow Wolf — it’s out of this world.
PS - I should tell you that Southwest actually flies into Albuquerque...not directly into Santa Fe. But I'm pretty sure nobody flies into Santa Fe...and it's only an hour drive or less from ABQ...and it's a beautiful drive...and you're going to want a rental car anyway. So. It's way worth it.
5. One Whole Week (!) in Tulum, Mexico
Recommendations from Tara Tocco
If you find yourself with a solid week to get away, I highly recommend you throw a bathing suit and a book in your bag and head to Tulum, Mexico as fast as you can — and you can since it’s a short flight to Cancun from BNA. Just make sure to pre-arrange transportation to drive you to Tulum when you land, which is about 90 minutes from the airport. When choosing a place to stay, you basically have two options: 1) stay at a resort off the main highway, Hwy 307, which will be further from the beach strip and a little more remote, or 2) stay closer to or even on the beach strip, which is a bit more lively and populated. We stayed further away from the strip at Habitas, a hip “glamping” resort in which each tent is outfitted with a (completely private) amazing outdoor shower. If shopping is your thing, Tulum’s beach strip has lots of great shops selling jewelry, pottery, and other beautifully curated items. If you’re more of an adventurer, check out the ancient Mayan ruins or go for a swim in some of Tulum’s famous sinkholes and underwater caves, called cenotes. Tulum is also full of yoga and meditation classes, so if you need some you-time to get centered and press reset, you’re covered. Plus, there’s plenty of healthy juices and fresh fare that’ll do the body good. On the flip side, if you want to enjoy some cocktails or cervezas, that is neither frowned upon nor difficult to find! Tulum is home to some fantastic eateries, from the esteemed Hartwood on the beach strip, to the local taco shop El Camello Jr which is tucked in the middle of town. Delicious options abound! And don’t forget: this is Mexico. If you just need to nap on the beach, just find a hammock or a lounge chair and get yourself comfy. Things move slowly in Tulum so it will all be right there when you wake up!