We're excited to watch cities come back to life in new and innovative ways, and we're anxious to explore with fresh eyes and renewed, grateful perspectives. While it's hard to pare down suggestions for any couple-day itinerary, we've picked a mix of traditional must-dos and recent additions in three, rapidly evolving destinations with distinctive personalities.
The rooftop bar at Conrad Washington, DC dazzles with its panoramic city views — Photo courtesy of Conrad Washington, DC
Start out in the nation's capital, where we're continually wowed by the abundance of green spaces in addition to omnipresent access to free culture and history, at sites ranging from the older (National Gallery of Art) to the newer (Black Lives Matter Plaza).
While millennial and Gen Z travelers might be lured to brand-new Selina Union Market (think coworking spaces, accommodation options for a range of budgets, a wellness area and exhibition space for local artists), others might be curious to check into the brand-new Waldorf Astoria that recently landed in Pennsylvania Ave's Old Post Office and Clock Tower, built in 1899.
Conrad Washington, DC offers an accessible approach to contemporary luxury — Photo courtesy of Conrad Washington, DC
Then there's the chic and central Conrad Washington DC with a convenient CityCenterDC address, in a part of downtown that's grown rapidly in recent years. Showcasing a self-proclaimed "art-forward approach to contemporary luxury," this soaring hotel is ideal for those wanting to explore some of Washington's best offerings on foot.
Choose your own daytime itinerary (all of which should start with a caffeinated beverage from La Colombe Coffee Roasters). Pair a mezze-style Zaytinya patio lunch followed by a wander around the National Portrait Gallery across the street, or savor a pleasant stroll west toward the White House and south toward all the treasures lining the National Mall. Check out the hotel's suggestions on unique neighborhoods and cultural findings to discover too.
Sleek Conrad guest rooms and suites offer simple decor and consistent comfort; ask for one with mesmerizing views down grand New York Avenue, a quintessential look at the district's business core. Property highlights include a tucked-away, third-floor terrace, the perfect perch on which to tackle afternoon emails or sip a glass of wine from the restaurant bar, and Summit, a rooftop gathering place for "garden-forward" fare and cocktails, plus some of the city's best panoramic views.
The culinary team at Estuary sources seasonal ingredients from the Chesapeake Bay region — Photo courtesy of Conrad Washington, DC
Back on the third floor, dinnertime at Estuary means easing into the evening with sharable dishes like Old Bay fries, baby kale salad, local oysters, smoked rockfish dip and – the standout – fresh ceviche. Guests can continue exploring the riches of the Chesapeake Bay region, as they dive into mains like the XO bucatini pasta featuring poached lobster, Bobo Farms half chicken and half duck with spring cassoulet. Accompanying cocktails come with playful titles that pay homage to starring ingredients like "Drop the Beet" and "Hey Honey;" there are several non-alcoholic options too.
Consider filling evening hours with the arts at nearby locales — perhaps by catching a game or show at Capital One Arena, an enticing talk at 6th & I, a performance at Studio Theatre, currently in its 41st season, or some live tunes inside Black Cat, a quirky hub for independent music lovers since 1993. Cinema buffs will be delighted to learn about The Alamo Drafthouse D.C. Bryant Street, the newest outpost of this popular cinema-eatery chain.
Denver's Bluebird Theater, built in 1913, is currently operated by AEG Live — Photo courtesy of Evan Semon Photography
A return to "The Mile High City" likely means bluebird skies and outdoor adventures, whether you stick close to the city or venture out onto magnificent mountain trails. Music lovers queue up shows at venues like Bluebird Theater or make the short drive out to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a naturally formed and acoustically-impressive wonder.
According to Billboard Magazine, Red Rocks was the 2021 top-grossing, most attended concert venue of any size, anywhere in the world. Another fun fact: A 2020 study from the National Endowment for the Arts deemed Denver the nation's leader in attendance rate at performing arts events and exhibitions.
Catching a show under the stars at Red Rocks Amphitheatre should be a "must" on every music lover's list — Photo courtesy of VISIT DENVER
Denver also loves its food halls, striking murals enlivening city blocks and, its beer – boasting 70 breweries within city limits and 150-plus in the metro area. In fact, more than 200 unique beers are produced and served every single day.
Settle into your central city digs at brand-new additions like The Slate Denver, located across the street from the Colorado Convention Center, or Thompson Denver hotel, a hip boutique outpost in the heart of "LoDo" (the city’s historic Lower Downtown neighborhood), home to some of the best culinary options around. The Thompson places you within an easy strolling distance to Union Station (where direct trains depart frequently for the airport), plus Coors Field and the buzzworthy eateries and bars of the Dairy Block.
Thompson Denver boasts a central downtown station, ideal for taking the train to the airport and attending sporting events — Photo courtesy of Thompson Denver
While you may be tempted to simply camp out with a cafe latte in the Thompson's warm lobby filled with art and coffee table books, you'll quickly feel at home in rooms with mountain views, shades of rich browns, dark greens and soothing greys, plus alluring decor touches from wide-plank hardwood floors and woven wool rugs to saddle leather headboards.
In the evening, enjoy a light-streaked happy hour in the corner sunroom of Reynard Social, where highlights include good vibes, good tunes, delicious drinks and standout bites like the crispy curried cauliflower and lemon pepper dry-cured chicken wings. Dinnertime downstairs at Chez Maggy, with Michelin-starred chef Ludo Lefebvre at the helm, is something to be savored at a leisurely pace.
For dreamy views in an inviting, light-filled setting, visit Reynard Social, a sixth-floor lounge — Photo courtesy of Thompson Denver
The internationally celebrated French chef Ludo Lefebvre surprises and delights with market-fresh, French cuisine served in a modern brasserie that melds elegance with whimsy. Feel as though you've been whisked across the ocean as you enjoy nostalgic dishes such as soft baguette and butter, mussels frites, julienne carrot salad, duck breast a l’orange and tenderloin filet with sauce aux poivre. Accompanying beverages from that corner of Europe feel appropriate too; try a Kir Royale or a dazzling wine variety from the French countryside.
Michelin-starred chef Ludo Lefebvre brings culinary magic to Chez Maggy, a friendly French brasserie on the ground level — Photo courtesy of Thompson Denver
On your last night in town, consider leaving on a high note with a sensational Israeli feast enjoyed at Safta, inside the trendy Source Hotel + Market Hall. Located in the River North Art District (or "RiNo"), this eatery with a lively hum and festive air shows off the flavors of Israel, Bulgaria, Yemen, Syria, Morocco, Turkey, Palestine and Greece. Don't miss the wood-roasted mushroom hummus and muhammara served alongside ballooning, hot-from-the-oven pita pockets, pickled market vegetables, harissa-roasted chicken, falafel and more.
The Seattle waterfront recently celebrated the return of its summertime cruise ships and the FRS Clipper's route to Victoria, B.C., plus its winning designation to be one of 16 North American cities hosting FIFA World Cup 2026 matches. Visitors also won't want to miss newer city additions like Climate Pledge Arena, an eco-friendly venue aiming to be "the most progressive, responsible and sustainable arena in the world," and sailings with Seattle's Tall Ship aboard an 85-foot-long traditional gaff-rigged schooner.
Argosy Cruises, another fun way to relish the city's twinkling waterways, has launched a program appropriate for bustling summer months called “First to Board,” which is an upgraded experience with perks like first-pick seating and no queues at the bar. Guests who upgrade also get 15% off drinks during sailings on Argosy Harbor Cruises that push off from the downtown waterfront and 20% off a trip to the Locks Cruise, based out of South Lake Union.
Argosy Cruises prove a perfect way to get out on Seattle's many sparkling waterways — Photo courtesy of Argosy Cruises
While some may check out new urban hotel options like citizenM in South Lake Union, those seeking expansive venues might check into farther-flung spots like Cedarbrook Lodge, located just five minutes from Sea-Tac (with a free airport shuttle available too). Located on a lush 18 acres, this hotel allows you to unwind on property nature trails or a tranquil patio table at Copperleaf Restaurant & Bar.
Sixteen miles from Seattle in the other direction, The Lodge at St. Edward State Park places guests in a beautifully restored former seminary that's tucked away in a gorgeous 326-acre forest on the calming shores of Lake Washington.
Seafood towers enjoyed inside Fairmont Olympic's The George prove a delightful way to celebrate any occasion — Photo courtesy of Fairmont Olympic
Back in the city, soak up Seattle culture at vibrant Pike Place Market or the KEXP Gathering Space by day; in the evenings, catch musical talents at lauded spaces ranging from Showbox to Paramount Theatre. (Nearby, Hyatt At Olive 8's TIDAL+ seafood restaurant now hosts live music every Wednesday during the 4-to-6 p.m. happy hour window.)
For a memorable indulgence, dive into fresh local delicacies at The George, a chic new dining room located inside the recently-refreshed Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Don't miss the salmon belly crudo, diver scallops or – for a true Pacific Northwest experience – the seafood tower stocked with Dungeness and king crab, oysters, prawns, mussels, clams, salmon belly and geoduck.
Smith Tower's Observatory Bar offers sensational Seattle views plus tasty snacks and drinks, like the Sake Spritz — Photo courtesy of Smith Tower
Consider rounding out any Seattle day at the 35th-floor Observatory Bar inside Pioneer Square's historic Smith Tower. Enjoy seasonal cocktails and light bites inside this ornate, art deco and speakeasy-inspired space, as you watch a pastel sun slip below the mountains and the ferries slice across the sparkling bay. Cheers!