From Isolation to Revival; The Rebirth of Urban Vibes
The best time to travel is upon us! If you’re looking to take a summer vacation from the many hours you’ve spent isolating, you’re not alone. The number of daily travelers passing through TSA checkpoints has gone up from just a few months ago. That’s an understandable trend.
Thanks to major progress with COVID-19, many cities are reopening allowing life to return to business a usual. These phased reopenings will make taking a summer vacation much more rewarding. Previously closed cultural attractions and venues will now be open. If you’re thinking about joining the masses and packing a bag, I have five US cities for your travel shortlist. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solo traveler, taking a family outing, planning an overdue girls trip, or a baecation. I’ve included something here for everyone. One quick note before you pack up, be sure to check the CDC guidelines for safe traveling in the US.
Washington, DC began reopening on May 21, 2021. The reopening marked changes to restrictions at many public places and cultural attractions. Museums that were closed such as the ever-popular Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History will reopen once again making the National Mall a great place to explore cultural and historic sites. The National Mall boasts ten free Smithsonian museums within a one-mile radius allowing for days worth of thrills for all ages.
The city of Washington, DC has a variety of both indoor and outdoor attractions to suit your unique summer vacation needs. If you’re looking for an eclectic neighborhood vibe, you can check out places like Union Market or Capitol Hill’s Eastern Market. Both markets feature unique art and shopping experiences. Union Market also has a large rooftop restaurant where you can dine outdoors in the fresh air. Another option would be to head to the culturally diverse Adams Morgan neighborhood. The area holds an eclectic dining scene that reflects its culture. To calmly reconnect with nature, you can stroll around the US National Arboretum or retreat to Rock Creek Park.
New York, NY
New York City city is bouncing back from COVID-19 with flare. The city is a diner’s playground having countless restaurants serving lots of different flavors. Its residents are not only taking dining waterside, but also have added cocktail and dining service afloat. Several boat bars have popped up allowing diners to sip, dine, and cruise in the socially distant comfort of the outdoor air. A dining method that started as a way to cope with the pandemic has become a trendy new genre of their dining scene.
If you prefer a swankier atmosphere, there are plenty of sky-high spots to sip on a cocktail while taking in breathtaking views. Resident New Yorkers take dining out seriously. Therefore, no matter what your dining desire is their world-class dining scene is sure to please your tastebuds. Additionally, New York City’s bi-annual restaurant week will return July 19 through August 15. The event features amazing multi-course meals at a fixed price throughout the five boroughs at over 380 locations. For foodies, it’s an ideal summer vacation scenario.
Los Angeles, CA
The city of Los Angeles has been taking major steps towards reopening. This makes the city a great bet for a summer vacation. If you’re looking to soak in the sunshine during your vacation, there are plenty of posh pools for you. These lavish spots will allow you to catch some rays with a cocktail in hand while also taking in awesome views. As a resident of the City of Angels, I always recommend the city’s favorite hotel pool The Hollywood Roosevelt. Its chill lounge vibes offer the perfect sunny drink-and-eat scenario. For a more thorough list of pool options, check out this article by The Los Angeles Times.
If you prefer sand beneath your feet, you can head to the always lively Venice Beach. It’s a beach that is also famous for its neighboring boardwalk. For those seeking a more laid-back atmosphere, there’s Paradise Cove Beach. This beach is known for being one of the most relaxing spots in Malibu.
For a different perspective on the city’s skyline, head to centrally located Griffith Park. Here you will find a 4,000-plus-acre rugged park with grounds that are both hikable and driver-friendly. A hiking alternative is Runyon Canyon Park which offers a slightly more challenging ascent. The summit of Runyon Canyon Park provides an amazing scenic view of Hollywood.
Summertime is the best time to benefit from what Chicago has to offer. It is known as a “City in a Garden”. It is laid out with broad open spaces including 26 miles of public lakefront for enjoyment. It’s a walking and biking-friendly city with bicycle rentals available to everyone. You can even take that rented bike for a cruise along the lakefront path.
The city has easy-to-reach attractions including the Museum Campus, Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile. Plus there’s an endless number of guided tour options such as architecture tours or guided boat tours that run along the Chicago River. The Museum Campus holds The Field Museum of Natural History, The Shedd Aquarium, and The Adler Planetarium within just a few short blocks. The downtown area also is home to The Art Institute of Chicago which has one of the largest impressionist painting collections in the world. For those who prefer modern art, there’s also The Museum of Contemporary Art. The modern art museum features what it describes as new and unexpected works. If you’re up for wandering out of the city’s downtown district, The Museum of Science and Industry is the city’s huge technology-based museum. The tech museum’s delightful interactive exhibits are fitting for almost all ages.
The city is also bringing back many of its cultural events for 2021. These events include the Taste of Chicago-To-Go, Old Town Art Fair, Printers Row Lit Fest, Chicago SummerDance, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and Chinatown Summer Fair. If you enjoy live music, you will love the experience of attending a classical outdoor concert at the Pritzker Pavillion. The pavilion hosts free orchestra performances as part of the Grant Park Music Festival every summer. You’re welcome to picnic on the pavilion’s lawn during these concerts. You also have the option to simply sit in the fixed seats towards the front of the pavilion. The Pritzker Pavillion itself is note-worthy because it was designed by world-famous architect Frank Gehry. It sits in the central downtown area with the downtown skyline just steps away.
Many often think of Orlando as a place for family travel. While that’s still true, things have changed over the years. Orlando has added a growing number of attractions for adults. For example, Walt Disney World has added five spots where guests can enjoy alcoholic drinks. While Epcot now hosts their International Flower & Garden Festival and Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Let’s not also forget that Star Wars also has a strong presence at Hollywood Studios. The park features Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and three Star Wars attractions. If theme parks are not your style there are still other options. The Wheel at ICON Park is not your everyday ferris wheel. At 400 feet the observation wheel is the tallest on the east coast. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is another must-see if your a space exploration buff.
If you’re traveling with your family, Orlando is surely going to be a hit. Kid-friendly Orlando holds the record of being the theme park capital of the world. Walt Disney World alone has four theme parks and two water parks. There’s also Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, and LEGOland. This year is predicted to be a big year for the Disney theme parks with the addition of all-new attractions and offerings. Disney delayed the opening of some attractions last year due to the pandemic. The attractions that were delayed because of COVID-19 are now expected to open this year.
Ready to Bounce Back
Fasten your seatbelt for take-off on a vacation and let the good times roll. With the country finally beginning to put the pandemic in the past, there’s going to be plenty to explore should you choose to take a summer vacation in 2021. Most museums and attractions nationwide will reopen if they have not opened already. Annual events like New York City’s Restaurant Week and Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival will be operating closer to 2019 fashion. The reopening in Los Angeles and Washington, DC will offer plenty of opportunities to stroll, hike, or relax basking in the sun. Orlando is ready to welcome you with new attractions and open arms. We’re heading back towards the reality that we once knew so seize the opportunity and don’t keep your feet on the ground.