Choosing a travel spot--warm in winter, affordable, bike-friendly...more
February 7, 2017 8:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a place to travel that meets a bunch of special snowflake criteria.

Help me decide how to use my miles.
  • Warm(er) in winter, with some sun. At least 50°F for the low. I'm in snow country now, so I'm not going to Montreal in March.
  • Mass transit and/or bike-friendly. A car shouldn't be required to get around.
  • Developed country (sorry, developing countries are out)
  • Not dreadfully expensive. For example, Hawaii would be great, but $$$!
  • No small towns. It doesn't have to be NYC, but I want a place with energy and activity
  • Last but certainly not least, I want somewhere I'll find community, where I could hang out for a few weeks or more and feel welcome. Places like Chattaqua and Esalen are appealing, but their prices make them pretty elite spots.
When traveling alone, I'm not interested in museums or tourist traps, but in making fast friends with locals and other travelers. I'm not interested in heavy drinking nightlife or 3 am club scenes, but I'm not going to bed at 9pm either.
posted by 4midori to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Tucson is a possibility? It's very bike-able, especially in the downtown/university area. If you stayed at an AirBnB or whatever in downtown/University area, other than an uber from the airport you wouldn't need a car to get to shops, cafes, grocery stores, etc. It hits most of your criteria. It is not a big city, but there are definitely a lot of niches for different activities, e.g. arts, activism, hiking, ecology, circus arts, acrobatic yoga... At the park near my house in the university area, every sunday there are people practicing stilt-walking, a drum circle, pick-up ultimate frisbee and soccer, tons of people hanging out with dogs, kids on the playground equipment, people playing guitars and flying kites. It's an incredibly chill place and the weather is FANTASTIC in Feb - April. If you want to talk more about Tucson, memail me.
posted by permiechickie at 8:54 PM on February 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

C h i a n g M a i fits every one of your criteria from December to March.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:54 PM on February 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

What is your standard of "developed" country? Oaxaca, Mexico fits all your criteria - walkable, lots of places and ways to meet people, warm. I believe Mexico is considered developed, though you do have to be careful about the water in Oaxaca.
posted by lunasol at 2:28 AM on February 8, 2017

Best answer: I spent three weeks alone in Santiago, Chile, and it meets all of your requirements. I got around exclusively (and easily) by metro, bus, bike & walking. Even though I don't speak Spanish, I was able to chat with folks (English speaking Chileans, ex-pats, other travellers) and had some great interactions. I 100% felt welcome.
posted by Pineapplicious at 7:26 AM on February 8, 2017

Best answer: I'd second Pineapplicious's recommendation of Santiago. It's lovely, mostly bike friendly, warm during northern hemisphere winters (because it's summer!), reasonably priced, nice people, great food, and people seemed to speak English pretty easily. I went last April and loved it. They have a bike share system, but it's for locals only.


Seville, Spain - an expansive and modern bike network, an excellent bike share system (Sevici) that can be used by locals and visitors alike, awesome food, fairly inexpensive, average lows in January are 42°F.

Not sure what your criteria is for "developing", but Mexico City would also surprisingly fit your criteria. It's not perfectly bike-friendly, though it has a pretty good system of bike lanes that are fine as long as you pay attention to your surroundings. Good bike share system that is a bit weird to get signed up for (has to be done in person) but is great once you get going. Awesome, cheap food and inexpensive accommodations. English is less commonly spoke but good enough. Good metro system. It's also much safer in reality than people would have you believe. Their Sunday shutdowns of Avenida de la Independencia for Ciclovia is awesome. I went in December 2015 and can't wait to go back.
posted by urbanlenny at 10:30 AM on February 8, 2017

Oops, I mean Mexico City closes down Paseo de la Reforma (Avenida de la Independencia is in Buenos Aires!) to automobile traffic for Ciclovia every Sunday.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:27 PM on February 8, 2017

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