Domestic travel has historically served as something of a rite of passage for the majority of Americans. Over the years, a long list of destinations, including Alaska, Hawaii, the Rockies, Puerto Rico, and other strange locales inside the American terrain, have all been crossed off. Domestic travel has recently evolved into something more, serving as a lifeline during a pandemic, a reminder of how much fun it can be to start planning your trip at home, and a phenomenon that has permanently changed many towns and cities across the nation.
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Anchorage serves as the base camp for exploring Alaska’s immense wilderness. It is wedged between a chilly sea and the majestic Chugach Mountains. For a quick stopover before cruises or trips on the Alaska Railroad, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023, many visitors from the lower 48 fly here. However, the city is also a refuge for outdoor enthusiasts in and of itself. From August to April, northern lights flicker, salmon churn in Ship Creek in the center of town, and moose occasionally appear along the city’s 100-mile trail system. The first Northern spa in Alaska, the adults-only City’s local Nordic Spa opened its doors in September, making Anchorage Alaska’s most accessible health destination by combining all that outdoors with an equal amount of pampering.
Los Angeles’s Arts District
Los Angeles can be difficult to maneuver because of its sprawl. But the downtown Arts District is worth a visit if you’re seeking avant-garde eateries, breweries, designers, artists, cafes, and pubs. The Arts District, which was once hidden by vineyards, orange groves, railroads, and factories, got its moniker in the 1970s when artists moved there to take advantage of the area’s empty buildings after leaving the region’s more costly Venice and Hollywood neighborhoods. It fluctuated over the years, but in the last ten years, it has come back as a center for creativity. Even though the neighborhood isn’t totally walkable (sprawl doesn’t stop locally), vibrant areas are only a few minutes away from one another by automobile. In July 2022, the iconic Sixth Street Viaduct reopened following a six-year, $588 million reconstruction.
With its attractive Victorian main street, the astounding number of organic farms and orchards (known as the Bayfield “fruit loop”), and easy access to Apostle Islands National Park, Bayfield has long been a popular destination for tired city dwellers from Minneapolis and Chicago. The small town is seeing a renaissance, however, thanks to a surge in enterprises, a brand-new wellness resort, and a new generation of business owners who are bringing the town’s old structures back to life. One of the original builders of Minneapolis’ Hewing Hotel will debut at St. James Social in the summer of 2023. The 140-year-old structure, which was formerly the St. James Hotel’s home, is undergoing a complete renovation featuring a sizable lobby bar with huge banquettes, eight beautifully appointed guest rooms, and a lake-view rooftop bar.
Boston’s lively, historic neighborhoods’ small businesses were particularly severely affected during the epidemic, but a recent flurry of new eateries, shops, and hotels reopening shows that the city is back—and stronger than ever. Enjoy a chicken parmesan sandwich at the new Parm, one of the red-sauce joint’s first locations outside of New York City, or indulge in coastal Italian cuisine and natural wines at Faccia a Faccia, refined seafood shack favorites at Little Whale, or all of these dishes in the charming Back Bay neighborhood. The opening of the incredibly beautiful multi-level independent bookshop, Beacon Hill Books & Cafe, in the nearby Beacon Hill neighborhood has caused a stir among both residents and tourists. The children’s area of the bookstore is furnished with a toy train that chews overhead.
California’s Central Coast
The Central Coast has been on our radar for a time now. It’s a mosaic of relaxed seaside villages, redwood forests with trails winding through them, and vineyards that make exceptional Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. But suddenly, it seems that the area’s less well-known tourist attractions are living cooler second lives. Cowboy communities like Los Alamos and Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley ride the same alluring rumor waves that Joshua Tree did ten years ago (known, but not too known). With its assortment of creative tasting rooms like Future Perfect Wines, which is decked with disco balls, casually elegant eateries like seafood tavern Bar Le Côte, and new lodging, most notably the Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, the valley has emerged as the hippest new escape for Angelinos.