There is something magnetic about cities. There’s the kinetic buzz of the crowds, the intoxicating scent of street food and cafes, and the bombastic, endearing sound of traffic, sirens and percussive stereo basses. Whether you’re looking for a weekend of pampering or excitement, these eclectic cities offer a delicious blend of both for a weekend getaway that’ll leave you wondering why you didn’t do this sooner.

A Whirlwind Weekend in Chicago

It’s not difficult to believe Chicago invented skyscrapers when you witness front-row views of these steely world-famous giants from your Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park suite. The country’s third largest city, Chicago is a dream destination for epicureans, skilled shoppers, sports fans, music lovers and history buffs. Lucky Fairmont guests are surrounded by The Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s Lake Shore, the city’s renowned theater district and dynamic West Loop dining. 

It’s easy to take a full day to savor upscale shopping from the city’s more than 450 world-class designers. Afterward, dine on Michelin-star dishes at Boka. Ready for a more active day? Rent a bike and cruise the 28 miles of lakefront before kicking back on the beach, catching a game (take your pick from the Bears, Cubs, White Sox or Bulls) and enjoying a bite to eat at Al’s Italian beef or a local craft beer at Columbus Tap.

Take a trip down memory lane at the nostalgic Lake House, a culinary summer-centric experience that includes Fish Fry Fridays and Sunday Craft Cocktails. Whether you’re looking for a weekend that’s chill, upscale or somewhere in between, Chicago has everything you need for the ultimate midwest getaway.

A Weekend State of Mind in NYC

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more trendsetting, enterprising and avant-garde concrete jungle than New York City. Begin your Big Apple adventure at The Plaza, the iconic luxury hotel that’s hosted everyone from kings to stars for more than a century. Inside you’ll find The Champagne Bar. By day, enjoy the hotel’s signature eggs benedict and a specialty coffee, and by night, indulge in bubbles, caviar and views of Fifth Avenue.

With Broadway, The Met, MoMA and about 145 other museums,  it’s no surprise New York City is a mecca for the arts. Experience the city’s more experimental side at Artechouse, an immersive arts, science and technology exhibit. Experience the city’s indulgent side and pamper yourself with a luxurious facial or massage at  Guerlain Spa. When you emerge glowing and with a voracious appetite, the city caters to your every culinary whim. The unending sea of restaurants means you can eat in a different place each day for nearly 23 years and never go to the same place twice. We recommend East Village’s hottest new spot, SAINT. After dinner, catch a Broadway show, take a tour of the catacombs in the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral or simply head downstairs to SAINT’s candlelit speakeasy for a nightcap.

Lights, Camera, (and Lots of) Action in LA

Millions of visitors flock to the City of Angels each year, thanks to idyllic, year-round weather, its illustrious cinematic history and the glitz and glam of the rich and famous. If you dream of your own big break, plan a weekend escape here. 

Your opening scene begins on your private hotel terrace at Fairmont Century Plaza sipping coffee as you enjoy panoramic views of the city. Not sure what type of day you want? You could spend the day hiking Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon Park trails, or the more adventurous might learn to hang ten in Venice Beach. For the romantics, consider wandering the book-lined maze of The Last Bookstore or eating your way through the city with a taco tour.

Dive right into LA’s legendary pool culture at Century Plaza’s private rooftop pool and Pool Bar. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset as you listen to live music over a cold brew or cocktail. Once the sun goes down, nosh on oysters, cheese plates and steak frites in the magnolia tree-lined courtyard of Lumière. Then head to 1642 for an evening of live jazz.

Explore the Multicultural Mecca of Toronto

Canada’s largest metropolis is Toronto, a business hub and multicultural epicenter known for its arts, food, nature and nightlife. For a cosmopolitan weekend getaway, staying at Fairmont Royal York means you’re within walking distance of the city’s most popular attractions. Fuel up for the day with warm, homemade breakfast pastries and coffee from REIGN’s bakery or luxuriate over their Sunday brunch with a Yuzu breakfast martini and house-smoked trout benny.

If communing with nature is high on your list, spend the late morning or early afternoon biking or kayaking around Toronto Island. For a more leisurely approach, plan to stroll through Kew Gardens and Bluffer’s Park. If you’ve come to Toronto for the food, grab poutine at Smoke’s Poutinerie or the life-changing peameal bacon sandwich at Carousel Bakery in the world-famous St. Lawrence Market. A tasting tour at Steam Whistle Brewery awaits after your market visit.

For an afternoon of unexpected delights, plan to visit the bohemian, graffiti-clad neighborhood of Kensington Market for vintage finds, delicious hole-in-the-wall joints and art vendors, or explore the posh neighborhood of Yorkville to search out chic shops, upscale dining and Victorian-era estates.

An international hub also means a host of options for international cuisine, from Portuguese to Pakistani. Have dim sum in Chinatown, Korean barbecue, pasta in Little Italy and gyros in Greektown. Cap it all off at The Library Bar, a swanky cocktail den where you can order a birdbath martini before trying the beurre blanc-drizzled roasted halibut.

Wine, Dine and Sunshine in Vancouver 

Vancouver is the perfect amalgamation of urban bustle and postcard-worthy wilderness. Ethnic diversity, plenty of sunshine and green spaces have earned it the title of one of the most liveable cities in the world. “The Castle in the City,” Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, is the ideal choice when you want a central location. Start your day with bellinis and the french toast brunch at Notch8 and you’ll feel like breakfast royalty.

The cobblestone streets of Gastown, the city’s oldest neighborhood, will entice you with their charming shops. For a more peaceful day, there’s walking or cycling along the Seawall. If the water calls to you, head to English Bay Beach or make a splash at Fairmont Waterfront’s 50-foot heated rooftop pool and hot tub. Don’t forget to visit the hotel’s 2,100-square-foot terrace to observe the hive of honeybees and the herb, fruit and vegetable garden used to craft the signature dishes at the hotel’s Arc Restaurant.

No matter how many times you do it, a whale watching tour or a visit to Capilano Suspension Bridge is always a memorable afternoon. In search of more me-time for yourself? The tranquil oasis of Fairmont Pacific Rim’s award-winning Willow Stream Spa is the ideal choice. You’ll emerge renewed and ready for Champagne and locally sourced delicacies such as black pepper crusted salmon at Botanist.