When you think about autumnal activities, leaf peeping, back-to-school shopping and football watching probably come to mind. But what if we told you that there was much more to fall than the foliage and the NFL? Look around the globe right now and you’ll see places having outdoor dining festivals and elaborate indoor events. Some destinations even insist on having more fun near the water.
The 19 cities listed here don’t all feature sandy shores, of course. But be it the mountains or a metropolis, every city has two important things in common: a busy calendar and breathtaking accommodations for a fall getaway.
It’s hard to top New England when it comes to fall foliage. Surrounded by 3,000 acres of nature preserve, Grace Mayflower Inn & Spa is only 10 minutes from Mt. Tom State Park and Lake Waramaug. But you needn’t leave the grounds of the Four-Star hotel to find awe-inspiring scenery; the 30-room boutique property sits on 58 acres of gardens and woodlands.
To really immerse yourself in nature, the Four-Star Grace Mayflower Spa offers forest bathing. No actual bath is involved; the Japanese practice simply teaches you to take in the forest atmosphere through all of your senses. It supposedly helps lower blood pressure and stress levels.
Bernardsville, New Jersey
The Northern New Jersey landscape comes alive in the fall. Take in the colorful golds and ambers from your posh porch at The Bernards Inn, a Forbes Travel Guide Recommended property sitting 40 miles from New York City. On September 22, however, swap the hiking boots for a pair of dress shoes as you take part in Roll With Your Heart, a wonderful evening of casino gaming and hors d’oeuvre nibbling to benefit the charitable Heartworks organization.
We love Villas of Grand Cypress for its golf (45 Jack Nicklaus-approved holes), but if you’re planning a vacation with the little ones over the next few months, the resort’s theme park packages may be the best move. The deal combines a suite stay with tickets to SeaWorld, Legoland or the Disney parks (the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival sounds delicious in September and October) and uncontrollable grinning from the kids and spouse.
This West Chicago suburb may not have the bright lights of the big city, but when it comes to hosting vino gatherings (Naperville Wine Festival, August 24 to 25), having cultural celebrations (Lighting the Way, October 13) and being the home of high-end accommodations (Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotel Arista), the town shines a lot stronger than you’d think.
Fall can get a little toasty in Manila. Luckily for Philippines visitors, Solaire Resort & Casino has plenty of air-conditioned distractions — the Five-Star Sky Tower, the Las Vegas-rivaling casino floor, the 14,000-square-foot spa — for those seeking a reprieve from 90-degree afternoons. As if that weren’t enough, the hot musical Mamma Mia! plays the Theatre at Solaire from September 29 through October 21.
If you’re not familiar with the Line Friends global phenomenon, get acquainted with the cuddly crew at Studio City’s “Line Friends World Tour Macau 2018” travel-themed exhibit (through September 2).
Once you and your kiddos say bye to Brown, Sally and the rest of the animated gang, sample some of the massive resort’s 30 onsite restaurants and relax at the white-sand beach before retiring to your contemporary suite in the Five-Star Star Tower.
Al Riwaq Gallery’s “Driven By German Design” (October 3 to January 14) is an elaborate celebration of automobiles, fashion and architecture influenced by the European nation over the past 60 years. For an appreciation of true Arabic luxuriousness, make the 15-minute drive from the exhibit to Four Seasons Hotel Doha, a 232-room masterpiece filled with 10 dining options, a world-class spa and an exceptional art collection.
New York City
Soak up the last of the season’s patio weather atop Four-Star Archer Hotel New York. Perched on the 22nd floor, Spyglass rooftop bar is a picture-perfect spot to sip on cool cocktails (a Manhattan would be apropos) with Central Park’s changing leaves and the Big Apple’s spectacular skyline as your backdrop. But with rooms equipped with subway-tiled bathrooms, specially made bedframes and a well-stocked minibar, the views aren’t shabby from inside, either.
Another must-visit Midtown destination is The Kimberly Hotel. In addition to classic accommodations, The Kimberly boasts Manhattan’s only rooftop bar with a retractable glass ceiling and a heated floor, so you can pretend it’s summer just a little longer.
Come see what’s new at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, where a property-wide renovation is debuting just in time for fall travel. On September 3, the Naples hotel will unveil a façade facelift and a redesigned spa, while its rejuvenated Gumbo Limbo beachfront restaurant will welcome you back with sundowners and ocean views on November 4.
A temperate climate makes this Japanese island a tempting escape when you want to prolong the summer. Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hyakuna Garan stands alone on Okinawa’s southern tip amid serene surroundings, and the adults-only hotel’s 17 accommodations all face the ocean. Even if the weather turns brisk, brave it to visit the houjouan, private rooftop rooms with alfresco baths overlooking the water, a complimentary guest perk.
Before the band’s highly anticipated biopic hits theaters this November, don’t miss the chance to see Queen and Adam Lambert live at Las Vegas’ Park Theater. Complement your September show with a sumptuous stay at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Signature at MGM Grand Las Vegas’ all-suite tower, situated just across the street from the venue.
If you want a more hands-on experience during your next Vegas stay, try one of the master classes on offer this fall at over-the-top Five-Star Wynn Tower Suites. Create flavorful plant-based dishes with celebrity chef Tal Ronnen (September 20), savor a Bourbon Lover’s tasting (September 22) or become a dim sum superstar during a dumpling-making lesson (September 27) at Four-Star Asian-inspired eatery Andrea’s.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s most famous glass artists with the Chihuly Up Close package from Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Seattle (through October). Enjoy a private tour of the Boathouse (Dale Chihuly’s studio), view a glass-blowing demonstration, watch as new installations are brought to life and receive tickets to “Chihuly Garden and Glass,” a long-term exhibition at the base of the Space Needle.
Soak up some extra L.A. glam this fall by taking in “Essentially Marilyn: An Exhibit at the Paley,” a showing dedicated to the life and work of Hollywood’s most famous bombshell on display through September 30. Afterward, check into Five-Star Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, a looker in its own right that’s famous for A-list amenities, Instagram-worthy interiors and VIP treatment.
While in town this season, you also could take a step back in time with a retro-chic stay at Mr. C Beverly Hills. Every Saturday in September, stop by the Four-Star hideaway’s lobby lounge to sip on classic cocktails and listen to the sweet sounds of Rumproller, a multi-piece soul, funk, jazz and R&B band centered around a 1960s-era Hammond B3 organ.
Say hello to autumn with an escape for two to Four-Star Northern Quest Resort & Casino. Book the resort’s Romance Package to enjoy a host of perks: a bouquet of roses; a bottle of wine and two keepsake glasses upon arrival; discounted services at the Four-Star La Rive Spa; and a $75 dining credit to use at Masselow’s or any of the 13 other restaurants that strike your fancy.
Ease into fall with a seafood-focused festival at the charming Edgewater hotel. On September 22, the landmark address will host its third annual Oyster Fest on The Grand Plaza. The free event promises succulent shellfish (alongside other coastal favorites), beer pairings, a prosecco bar and live tunes from local talent Miles Nielson and the Rusted Hearts.
Japan’s capital city explodes in fiery reds, bold golds and vibrant oranges when autumn seeps into the maple and gingko trees. See the foliage up close at The Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo, Autograph Collection, which spreads across five tranquil acres of a former royal garden, complete with a pond, meandering trails and a shrine.
Westerly, Rhode Island
Embrace the great outdoors at nature-loving Weekapaug Inn along Quonochontaug Pond. Venture out with the Four-Star hotel’s resident naturalist, take off on a boat tour, pedal around the scenic area on hybrid bicycles and more. And don’t worry if you forget your seasonal gear; the hotel’s complimentary Hunter Boots Borrowing Closet lends out the brand’s trademark rubber shoes, outerwear and more to adults and children.
Take advantage of cooler temperatures and head out to explore. Let the Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai arrange a one-on-one tour of the old city. Local photographer and historian Gang Feng Wang will lead you through Zhang Garden — where he grew up and now owns a studio — show you traditional shikumen houses and impart professional photo tips so that you can properly capture your half-day adventure.
The Windy City overflows with fall activity. Favorite festivals (celebrity-chef-filled Chicago Gourmet, the Chicago International Film Festival) and new attractions (the designed-for-Instagram Wndr Museum pop-up, architecture hub Chicago Architecture Center, large-scale riverfront lighting installation Art on the Mart) are just a few highlights.
To be in the middle of all of the action, check into The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago. The Four-Star Michigan Avenue hotel provides a stylish respite in its newly renovated rooms with city and lake vistas.