I need a vacation - but where?
September 26, 2012 9:07 PM   Subscribe

I need a vacation, but question is, where should I go? This Missouri 20-something is looking for trip suggestions in the western US for the week of October 22nd.

The year is coming towards an end and I have a bunch of unused vacation days. I’m hoping MeFi might be able to offer some inspiration. My dates are somewhat flexible, but projects at work are making this look like the best week to get away. I’m 26, single and traveling alone, and looking to fly somewhere in the US for 3-5 days. I’m in central Missouri, so I can fly from St. Louis or Kansas City. My most recent travels were to New York City this summer and a business trip to Boston a little less than a year ago. Loved both of those experiences. I am thinking somewhere west might be in order. Been to Denver a few times in the last couple of years and probably don’t need to go back again so soon. A few interests:

1) I prefer urban areas where I can walk. Not at all opposed to renting a car, but someplace with a vibrant central city is a must.
2) I like to avoid mainstream touristy things, but can go for museums, landmarks, and interesting cultural experiences.
3) Closely related – I like to see what the locals like to enjoy and what makes the city a good place to live, not necessarily just why you visit.
4) BEER! Huge craft beer enthusiast that will be incorporating that into any trip.

So, considering the weather (expecting to deal with plenty of cold and dreary in Missouri this winter), where should I look to head? And why? I have thought about Austin, San Francisco, Seattle or maybe Portland. I’m hoping to find some inspiration.
posted by PhillC to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your interest in beer makes me think that Portland is your best bet. Vibrant city, celebration of indie/non-mainstream and lots and lots of beer. Can't go wrong there.

Alternatively San Francisco. While not known specifically for beer I've had plenty of really delicious beer there and it hits lots of your requirements too. I really don't think you can go wrong with either of these two.

I think Seattle and Austin are great for what they are but I think San Fran and Portland are more what you're looking for.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:19 PM on September 26, 2012

You should go to Portland. Your question is basically a description of why people like to visit Portland.
posted by purpleclover at 9:42 PM on September 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I asked a similar question this spring and Portland would be my first choice, followed by San Diego, depending on how walkable the city is.

Make sure to visit Chicago (3Floyds/Goose Island/Hopleaf) and Michigan (Founders/Bells) when the weather thaws!
posted by Giggilituffin at 9:45 PM on September 26, 2012

Fort Collins, CO? Full disclaimer, I'm both a resident and gushing fanboy. It's not "urban" exactly, but very walkable and if you stay in or near Old Town (The Armstrong is an expensive but fun option) it puts you in walking distance of many awesome bars and restaurants featuring local and national craft beers. Also:

- O'Dell Brewing
- Fort Collins Brewery
- Equinox
- Coopersmiths
- Pateros Creek
- Funkwerks
- New Belgium

There's the Bike Library and a couple businesses run shuttle buses around to the various breweries.

October 20th this year is the Old Town Zombie Crawl, which is a lot of fun.

PM me if you'd like more detail. I could talk about this town for hours.
posted by Perthuz at 5:50 AM on September 27, 2012

If you can travel the following week, Halloween in New Orleans is quite a show, and much more of a "locals" scene than Mardi Gras. It's still warm in October; very walkable, easy public transit & cheap cabs. Several beer pubs - the best is The Bulldog on Magazine St- and at least two smallish local brands,Abita and NOLA. NOLA is brewed right in the city. Museums, landmarks and cultural experiences a-plenty. And the food!
posted by Ardea alba at 6:06 AM on September 27, 2012

I just got back from San Francisco last week.

Can't recommend it enough. Lots to see and do, both regular tourist and off the beaten path. Great food at all price points and the weather is amazing right now.

Don't discount the obvious touristy stuff. Coit Tower and Alcatraz really are worth seeing. If you go to Alcatraz, you do need to reserve in advance.

There are also whale watching tours (if you're into that sort of thing.)

Super Shuttle to and from SFO is $17, or you can take BART into the city. Lots of public transport from there.

I also consistantly recommend the Nob Hill Motor Inn for a nice, clean place to stay, in a good, walkable neighborhood.

The CitiPass will give you 7 days on public transporation and entry into museums and other attractions for only $69! All of the attractions are well worth doing, the Aquarium, Calif Academy of Sciences, DeYoung or Exploratorium, and you can change your Blue and Gold Cruise for Alcatraz.

No matter what you decide, have a great trip!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:23 AM on September 27, 2012

One more for Portland- my sister was there over the summer and loved it. I've been dying to go based on what she said. She was alone and didn't have a car and she was fine. They also have really great donuts at Voodoo.
posted by the twistinside at 6:51 PM on September 28, 2012

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