Fall has officially arrived and with that has come expectations and dreams of crisp mornings, changing colors, falling leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes on tap (though to be honest, I believe they are objectively gross #unpopularopinion). However, the reality is that a lot of you probably aren’t experiencing those things where you live just yet. Enter the wanderlust that creeps in and gives you the itch to take a trip somewhere else so you can get your fix.
While New England is most likely the first getaway that comes to mind for it’s early Fall and quintessential charm, below are 6 unexpected Fall trips I recommend. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got “Fall foliage roadtrip” on my bucket list too, but hopefully these ideas inspire you to consider other venues to explore during the season!
1. Kansas City
The reason that people put up with the humid Summers and bitter cold Winters in Kansas City is for the short few weeks of perfection that are Fall in the Midwest. The city is covered in trees that may be sticks in January but are positively lush with reds and yellows and oranges from September into November.
In the past few years, KC has made a name for itself as an up-and-comer. The city is alive with young people who have poured in and brought with them a fun energy that has woken up the area. You might be surprised to find that the city is jam-packed with incredible restaurants, so many unique shops, endless sporting events (and even more endless team pride) and so many touring artists coming through on any given week. (When we lived there, we went to more than a handful of concerts every year and it’s something I have not been able to find in any subsequent place we have lived.)
*I am hoping to get a Kansas City travel guide together in the next few months to pass along what I learned and loved in the years I lived there, but if you have any questions or need recommendations in the mean time, please feel free to email me!*
Grab your passport and head directly north of New England and just over the border to Montreal. This charming city will fulfill your autumnal dreams. We visited last year in November at the tail end of the trees changing; the city was on fire with orange leaves – it was quite the sight.
Spend the morning popping into cafes and storefronts in Old Town, then head over to the Plateau neighborhood noting all the homes with their adorable stairwells and then hike up through the falling leaves to Mont Royal. Arrive early to catch the sunset over the city. It is a popular spot filled with locals and tourists alike all there to take in the view. Pro tip: plan your trip over a weekend that the Montreal Canadiens are in town and end your night at the arena cheering for the habs. Hockey games in the U.S. will never compare again.
If you live somewhere that the cool snap arrived too quickly and you’re wishing for just one more Summer weekend, look no further than my current city: Dallas, Texas! Fall in the South is comparable to what everyone else experiences as Summer. Think 90 degrees and endless sunshine – oh happy days.
Spend your days picnicing at White Rock Lake, checking out the pumpkin village at the Arboretum, eatting your way around town, taking in the sunset with a Moscow Mule on the rooftop at HG Sply Co, and your weekends watching football at a sports bar (Saturdays are reserved for any and all college games, while Sundays are for the Cowboys).
If you’ve got vacation time to blow and don’t mind a transatlantic flight, you simply can’t beat Paris. They say it’s always a good idea and I think this time of year is no exception. While I personally have only ever been in the Spring, year after year I find myself drooling over pictures of Paris in the Fall and promise to myself that one of these days I will make it happen.
You would be hard-pressed to convince me that there could me anything more romantic than walking through the tree-lined gardens in a long wool coat, camera around my neck and crepe in hand. The visual has you thinking, doesn’t it?
5. San Francisco
Known for its Indian Summers, Fall is hands-down the best time to visit the city by the bay. Ideally you will be greeted with plenty of fog in the mornings that burns off to reveal perfect Fall temps of 50 to 70 degrees to be enjoyed while bopping around the city.
If you choose to end your day at a Giants game (which I do highly recommend!) be sure to pack a jacket because nights along the water get chilly. I’m keeping it short, but for many more ideas of how to spend your time eatting and playing in San Francisco, you can check out my full SF travel guide here.
For fresh crisp air that you want to breathe deep, head up to Seattle. As the trees start to change, the combination of the yellow and orange leaves mixed with the dense evergreens, all up against the blue water – it is truly a colorful vision you have to see. September or October are great choices as the temperatures hover in the high fifties and sixties and the rain hasn’t quite picked up yet.
I can’t think of a better place to sip a PSL than the home of Starbucks itself, and to this day I compare every donut I eat to those from General Porpoise (for the record, every. single. one. has fallen short). If you’re looking for a different vantage point, hop on the ferry and take in the view of the city from across the water while wine tasting on Bainbridge Island.
Anywhere you’ve visited in the Fall that you absolutely loved and recommend?