Weekender: New Orleans, LA
In New Orleans, it’s all Southern soul, music and impeccable eats. It’s also 10 years after Hurricane Katrina — now’s a good time to see what’s what.
Stay | The Lookout Inn
NOLA has some of the most gorgeous historic neighborhoods in the country, and no spot mixes charming real estate and refined digs better than the Lookout Inn. Those looking beyond the French Quarter take note: it’s located in the Bywater — easily one of the city’s most happenin’ districts. Every room is themed. You might just want to rent the whole house.
833 Poland Ave. (map)
Eat | Meauxbar
Recently revamped with a new team and chef, Meauxbar is the place to sample French grub in an intimate bistro setting. Small plates are king. Escargot in bone is a must-try. After dinner, check out R Bar for your late-night carousing.
942 N. Rampart St. (map)
Play | The Civic Theatre
Once the spot to see live music in New Orleans — the century-old Civic Theatre just got a facelift and it’s everything you want when visiting the Big Easy: a blend of preservation and modern touches. Check out a show, or just pass through for a glimpse at a cross-section of NOLA’s musical history.
510 O Keefe Ave. (map)
Weekender: Denver, CO
What’s good in Denver? Mountains. Wilderness. Outdoor charm. Yet all the advantages of a vibrant urban city. Plus: did we say mountains? Wilderness? You need that.
Stay | Hotel Teatro
The gold standard in Denver boutique accoms, Hotel Teatro is centrally located and provides a good basecamp to explore the city and beyond. And you have The Nickel right on-site — Rocky Mountain comfort food at its finest.
1100 14th St. (map)
Eat | Linger
Located in the Highlands area in an old mortuary, Linger lives up to its name. Small plates and cocktails are absolutely on point and the patio upstairs provides one of the best views in Denver.
2030 W. 30th Ave. (map)
Play | Garden of the Gods Daytrip
Just 70 miles south of Denver, perhaps the prettiest trails in all the land. Take the Ute Trail. Little effort, big rewards. Relaxed hiking. Picturesque trails. The place to get your (red) rocks off. Get an early start.
Garden of the Gods Nature Center (map)
Overnighter: Grand Rapids, MI
Art, beer and good style: Grand Rapids is easy to get to and deserves some Midwestern brotherly love. It’s got a lot going for it — a point you’ll only realize once you’re there.
Stay | CityFlatsHotel
Charming rooms. Eco-friendly amenities. A stones throw away from the Grand Rapids Art Museum. CityFlats makes it easy.
83 Monroe Center St. (map)
Eat | Brewery Vivant
Housed in an old funeral chapel lies one of Grand Rapid’s crowning destinations. On tap at Brewery Vivant: Belgian-inspired brews, with favorites including the Triomphe and Farmhand. Pair it with some Belgian frites.
925 Cherry St. SE (map)
Play | Nueve
Don’t sleep on Grand Rapids’ claim as the Midwest’s mid-century modern mecca (Herman Miller is headquartered here). You’ll find the goods over on Century Ave. Locals call it "Antique Row". Nueve is a mid-century furniture shop within a larger shop. True vintage. Make both your first stop.
445 Century Ave. SW (map)
Overnighter: The Mississippi Palisades
A close drive? Hikeable? Memorable run-ins with the townies in Savanna? Yes. 2,500 acres of soaring rock canyons and Mississippi backwaters? All the yeses. Make it your summer camping trip.
Stay | Mississippi Palisades State Park
Pitch your tent on the blufflands of the Palisades. It’s a rather large and modern campground, but worth it considering the proximity to the views and hiking.
Savanna, IL (map)
Play | Hike the Sentinel and Sunset Trails
Easily hikeable from home base. About five miles of trails you can do in one day. Your reward: the highest vantage point in Illinois. Ya better climb it. Bring a camera.
Eat | Heirloom Market & Cafe
You’re packing the camp stove, right? Before you head out, pitstop in Thomson, Illinois and hit up this market for all your fresh meat and produce needs.
2200 IL-84 (map)