It’s summertime, and travel is on every bucket list. While overseas trips offer exotic charm, you can always find adventure and delight across the USA. Here’s a roundup of the latest hotspots, transporting you from one edge of the nation to the other and back again.
The Many Facets of San Francisco
It will surprise no one to find San Francisco at the top of the hotspot list. Often considered the most beautiful city in the nation, the City by the Bay is a many-splendored thing with a vibrant art scene and easily navigable neighborhoods. You’ll also discover exceptional restaurants, oodles of outdoor concerts and parks of unsurpassed natural beauty.
San Francisco is a city with almost unlimited attractions. Start by visiting the modern Presidio Tunnel Tops park with its extraordinary views of the Golden Gate Bridge, then explore diverse neighborhoods along the 17-mile Crosstown Trail. You can hear free performances by big-name bands all summer long at the Stern Grove Festival or schedule your travel around Hardly Strictly Bluegrass or Outer Lands in Golden Gate Park. It’s also fun to ride bikes down the oceanside Great Highway, closed to cars on weekends.
With all these options, the only easy decision during your trip is selecting where to stay. Fairmont San Francisco, a grand and elegant city landmark, is the number one choice. It’s centrally located atop Nob Hill, offering panoramic views, top-notch Fairmont service and locally-sourced California Coastal-inspired fare at Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar.
If you prefer a less-urban area, check out Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel. Just 13 miles from San Francisco, The hotel was built in 1915 on 22 landscaped acres in the Berkeley Hills. It’s home to a renowned full-service spa, devoted to holistic health, as well as 10 lighted tennis courts, three outdoor saline pools and excellent restaurants. Many of the 276 luxury guest rooms and suites offer stunning views of the San Francisco Bay and skyline.
San Diego’s calling cards are beaches, boardwalks and balmy weather. If Las Vegas is Sin City, San Diego is Sun City, and a trip to this happy coastal metropolis is nothing short of wonderful. It’s an easier vacation destination than LA with lighter traffic and a more laid-back vibe.
San Diegans love their city. If you hit the big attractions like the San Diego Zoo, you’ll find as many residents as out-of-towners. A day in 1,200-acre Balboa Park is a quintessential San Diego experience, so pick your pleasure, hiking a few trails and visiting a museum or two. The Comic-Con Museum is a recent addition to this park, and the San Diego Museum of Art is a classic. Wrap up your visit with a drink at the Japanese Friendship Garden. If you’re keen on a more active adventure, head to the Torrey Pines Gliderport to enjoy an introduction to paragliding.
At day’s end, relax and recover from all the excitement at tranquil Fairmont Grand Del Mar, a golf resort and spa that looks like an old-world Mediterranean-style estate. The 400-acre grounds reside in stunning Los Peñasquitos Canyon, a coastal canyon a few miles from the Pacific, and the private Grand Golf Club at Grand Del Mar, a course designed by Tom Fazio, challenges your accuracy with dramatic elevation changes and creative bunker placements. Guest rooms feature expansive bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, and balconies that overlook the immaculate gardens and vast greens.
Boston: America’s Backstory
The Massachusetts capital is almost as far as you can get from the west coast while remaining in the continental USA. But it has enough star power to represent the entire east coast on any hotspot list. A foodie’s dream, Boston hosts a number of cutting-edge restaurants clustered in neighborhoods like Back Bay, the North End and Downtown. Additionally, its harbor setting is spectacular, and the town has a wealth of history, museums and unabashed character.
Boston is among the oldest cities in the nation, with architectural styles that extend from the 17th century to the present. Exploring on foot is one of the best ways to tour its distinct neighborhoods. Don’t miss the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, which connects to important historical sites such as the Paul Revere House and Bunker Hill Monument. The city’s many parks are also delightful, from the Boston Common (the nation’s first park) to the Esplanade, a long, narrow green space and popular picnic spot set along the Charles River’s south bank.
In the heart of the Back Bay neighborhood, Fairmont Copley Plaza, with its elegant, Old World splendor, stately rooms and first-class service, has been a Boston icon since its gala opening in 1912. The “Grand Dame of Boston” also hosts one of the city’s hottest dining destinations, the OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, named Boston’s “Best Hotel Bar” by Boston Common magazine in 2022 for its imaginative farm-to-table menu.
Coolest City in the Pacific Northwest
While the rest of the country swelters under the summer sun, Seattle’s refreshing climate proves a major attraction. But the city has numerous other enchantments that will win your heart. There’s the soaring Space Needle with its revolving glass floor and 360-degree views, the 500-plus-acre Discovery Park, and lively Pike Place Market, with its enormous variety of vendors. Be sure to pop into the downtown Seattle Art Museum, “guarded” by the 48-foot Hammering Man sculpture.
Make time for a ferry trip to Bainbridge Island. The 35-minute journey provides unforgettable views of Puget Sound and the Seattle skyline. Or, if you prefer urban biking, pedal the paved Burke-Gilman Trail through the city and along Lake Washington.
Fairmont Olympic Hotel is the perfect spot to stay, whether you’re visiting for fun or business. Sitting in the center of the “Emerald City,” the hotel first opened its doors in 1924. Today, it offers the same magnificent architecture and rich character as it did a century ago, combined with sophisticated guest rooms, lavish suites and innovative culinary experiences at The George, an elegant, brasserie-inspired dining space, and one of Seattle’s most highly-rated oyster bars, Shuckers.