Ideas for a solo trip in North America in early December?
October 14, 2013 1:45 PM   Subscribe

I scheduled a week off from work in early December and am interested in suggestions for solo travel. I'm in Chicago, and I have enough airline miles for a round trip in the US or Canada, and would be looking to go somewhere for 4 or 5 days. I'm not much of a beach person, and I am most comfortable in an urban setting, though I wouldn't be opposed to a day trip for hiking or some sort of outdoorsy stuff. I'm from Chicago so cold weather doesn't phase me. I love museums, architecture, walking tours, casual (but awesome) restaurants, and bars; I would prefer somewhere where I don't have to rent a car to get around. Thanks in advance for the suggestions!
posted by bdk3clash to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
New York or San Francisco would fit your bill.

Tons of funky things to do and great public transportation.

In NY I'd stay at the Aloft in Harlem, or the New York Loft Hostel. because there's a social component to staying there, and you may make some friends to pal around with.

In San Francisco, I like staying at the Nob Hill Motor Inn. Great neighborhood, good bus lines.

Museums, shows, sites, etc.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:49 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Vancouver, BC.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:53 PM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I love museums, architecture, walking tours, casual (but awesome) restaurants, and bars; I would prefer somewhere where I don't have to rent a car

New Orleans!!
posted by DarlingBri at 1:56 PM on October 14, 2013

Seconding Vancouver, BC.

You can also get to Seattle, WA and Portland, OR easily from Vancouver, BC via the Amtrak Cascades train line. All three cities are very easy to get around on with public transportation.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:59 PM on October 14, 2013

Victoria British Columbia would work, as would Vancouver.
posted by Snazzy67 at 1:59 PM on October 14, 2013

Seattle or San Francisco would be my votes. Vancouver BC is also beautiful.
posted by jquinby at 2:01 PM on October 14, 2013

I second New York and San Francisco. I enjoy cities like you do, and I could easily spend a week enjoying either one, even though I've been to both already. If you haven't been to one of them, it would be a perfect pick.

If you've never been to either one, I'd pick New York over SFO.
posted by kdern at 2:06 PM on October 14, 2013

Montreal is quite awesome in all of the categories you list, very walkable, and very do-able for monolingual anglophones.
posted by erlking at 2:17 PM on October 14, 2013

Seattle or Portland? It will be wet then, but probably more drizzle than hard rain, and it'll be warm compared to Chicago. Both cities are fine for car-free siteseeing and have great, casual restaurant scenes. Both could also work for hiking, though you might need a car for that, and you'd have to stay at a pretty low altitude. Seattle has some nice museums, and both cities have lots of interesting, walkable neighborhoods.
posted by lunasol at 2:19 PM on October 14, 2013

I live in San Francisco and it does tick all your boxes.

But I visited New Orleans for the first time last month and it also ticks all your boxes, and it will be warmer, and you should just go to New Orleans is what you should do.
posted by rtha at 2:25 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by mrrisotto at 2:31 PM on October 14, 2013

Quebec City. It is like Europe except not as long a flight.
posted by srboisvert at 2:49 PM on October 14, 2013

San Francisco will also likely have some pretty nice weather, although shorter days. It's often nicer in December than August (okay, maybe a tiny exageration). I've experienced many a 65 degree sunny day in December in SF.
posted by dbmcd at 3:40 PM on October 14, 2013

San Francisco and Montreal would both be awesome. I love New Orleans, but it can be kind of limiting without a car, and I'm not sure it's a place I'd want to travel alone. But if you've never been to New York, go to New York. In my opinion, late fall/early winter is the best time of year.
posted by blackcatcuriouser at 4:30 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you are the kind of person comfortable with showing up at a party where you don't know anyone, go to New Orleans. It's a great city but I think it's best with someone you know and enjoy having fun with.

If you want a more solitary experience, San Francisco or perhaps Santa Fe, NM. (Yes, you'd need to arrange transport from ABQ, but that's not insurmountable, and much of Santa Fe is walkable.)
posted by ambrosia at 5:21 PM on October 14, 2013

Washington DC! (If the Smithsonian museums are open by then). What a gorgeous, cultural, walkable/public trans-able city.

We have stayed in the Virginian Suites in Arlington, (got a great deal through some site, it's a bit worn but has real kitchens and kitchenware, so bring home leftovers from a few meals and now you can heat them up and eat them there)
posted by Anwan at 9:45 PM on October 14, 2013

I absolutely loved Portland, Oregon. Super easy to get around without a car, great food, great drinks, huge variety of things to do.
posted by forkisbetter at 11:19 AM on October 15, 2013

Depending on your airline, Mexico City could be a great option that doesn't require any more frequent flier miles than a US or Canadian destination.

It's very easy to get around regardless of your ability to speak Spanish. There are a ton of things to see and do and eat. Stay at the Red Tree House and the owners will invite you to join them and the other guests for a glass of wine in the evening. It's a great way to meet other travellers if you want to do anything non-solo at some point.
posted by theory at 12:42 PM on October 15, 2013

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