Autumn sometimes gets lost in the seasonal shuffle. It doesn’t tempt with beach vacations like summer or tantalize with snow-filled winter holidays, so it can be easy to discount it as the subdued time surrounding Thanksgiving.
But we’ve discovered places around the globe that describe the span between September and December a little differently. They see champagne sunsets and cashmere trails, fishing trips and off-roading expeditions — and they want you to be a part of it all. From Miami to Munich, these are the destinations embracing the calendar not just for its foliage and football but for its festivals and outdoor fun, too.
Go Nordic Walking
Witness fall’s colors with scenic Nordic walking tours through Zurich’s Adlisberg forest with The Dolder Grand. The sport uses ski-like poles for a low-impact workout that engages 90 percent of your muscles.
Play Golf on the Strip
Being considered one of the finest golf courses along the Vegas Strip would be enough for most resorts. But “fine” has never been Wynn Las Vegas’ game. Instead, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star treasure is introducing a newly redesigned, 130-acre layout (new water features, elevation changes and freshly planted flora) on October 11.
Explore the UAE
Journey through Dubai and Abu Dhabi with the help of Four Seasons. The trip includes a two-hour spa treatment at Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, a personal shopping experience with Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Finance Centre and a VIP Louvre Abu Dhabi tour with Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, along with stays at all three hotels.
See the Grand Canyon
Trek to the famous national park for its centennial. To celebrate the milestone, Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, a Phoenix resort steeped in the local Gila River Indian Community’s culture, offers up to 15 percent off.
Dine with Star Chefs
Partake in cooking demonstrations, oceanfront dinners and wine tastings at the exclusive Culinary Getaway (Oct. 10-13) from Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve and decorated chef José Andrés. You’ll join notable toques like Ludo Lefebvre, Tyler Florence and Lorena Garcia at the Puerto Rico hotel.
Catch a Game in Style
Some college football pundits insist the Pac-12 conference is destined for another ho-hum season. Don’t tell that to the Stanford Cardinal, a squad that hopes to prove its mettle in upcoming home tilts versus Oregon (Sept. 21), Washington (Oct. 5) and UCLA (Oct. 17). After the games, sprint a few hundred yards over to The Clement Hotel, a stay with all-star accommodations (spacious suites) and amenities (all-inclusive meals, rooftop pool deck).
Try a Tennessee Tipple
Uncle Nearest Whiskey, a label honoring Nearest Green, the African American master distiller who taught Jack Daniel the tools of the trade, is opening its first distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee, on September 14. With its historical significance and unique onsite experiences, the hour-drive from Nashville will prove more than worth it. When you return to the city, toast to the day over an Old Fashioned at Five-Star The Hermitage Hotel’s Oak Bar.
Search for Squid
In the Amalfi Coast, Casa Angelina will send you on a nighttime boat excursion for some of the world’s best squid fishing. Bring your catch back to the hotel to learn how to make the traditional totani e patate (“squid and potatoes”)
Fly a Kite in Beijing
It’s believed that kites originated in China thousands of years ago. Let The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street’s concierge plan a visit to Three Stones Kite Company to buy a handmade creation and then point you to places like Tiananmen Square to let it fly.
Show Your Support
The best way to help the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian is to travel there. Nassau properties like The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas remain relatively unscathed and continue to welcome visitors. In fact, the colonial-inspired escape recently unveiled a menu of artisan cocktails (try the Old Nassau Rum Fashioned) featuring local J.A.B botanical spirits. Grab a tipple and feel good knowing that your tourism dollars are helping the destination rebuild.
Hit the Road in a Rolls-Royce
No stranger to opulence, Five-Star The Peninsula Beverly Hills is putting things into another gear with its Peninsula Academy Road Trip, a program that allows you to drive a Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV up the Pacific Coast Highway, through a vineyard and onto Pismo Beach. Once you pry yourself away from the steering wheel, hop on a private plane for a one-way flight back to L.A.
Feast in South Florida
There’s a lot to love about South Beach Seafood Week: a cocktail-pairing dinner (Oct. 23); a lavish seafood spread with 20 pop-up cafés (Oct. 26); and its location just two miles from your The Miami Beach EDITION room. Ironically though, the event we’re most looking forward to, a silent disco aboard the all-new Celebrity Edge, an experience in the festival’s VIP Village, has nothing to do with food.
Get Jazzed Up for Kansas City
Jazz lovers appreciate Forbes Travel Guide Recommended The Raphael Hotel for its monthly entertainment calendar (Lonnie McFadden Trio, the Mengel Brothers Duo). That it’s almost within earshot of Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, a world-class facility welcoming The Kingdom Choir (Oct. 1), Boyz II Men (Oct. 2) and the Indigo Girls (Nov. 19) soon, doesn’t hurt.
Marvel at New England Mansions
If you think the old naval station that composes Gurney’s Newport Resort and Marina is something to see (and, trust us, it is), just wait until you take one of the coastal Rhode Island city’s mansion tours. A few hours walking around Rosecliff or The Breakers (both close for the season on Oct. 14) will leave you in awe.
Take to the Seas in T&C
Though Turks and Caicos’ only heated saltwater pool could be enough reason to stay on property this coming season, Four-Star Seven Stars Resort and Spa provides so many water pursuits — everything from three-hour sunset cruises to snorkeling near the world’s third-largest coral reef — that you can’t help but go with the flow.
Cozy Up to Cashmere
You may love your cashmere scarves, but until you’ve witnessed how they’re made, you may not fully appreciate the craftsmanship behind them. On The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel’s Cashmere, Tartan & Tweed Trail, textiles expert Kitty MacKenzie will be by your side as you’re chauffeured an hour south of Edinburgh for private tours of the 1797-established Johnstons of Elgin and some of Scotland’s other prized mills.
Take an Instagram Tour of Marina Bay
Singapore’s striking Marina Bay ranks as one of the world’s most Instagram-worthy destinations. Mandarin Oriental, Singapore will give you a curated area map and selfie stick, and an influencer will offer tips to help you nail the perfect shot.
Embark on a Treasure Hunt
Solve a series of puzzles at Rosewood London for a chance to win an upgraded suite stay, an in-suite dinner with a mixologist and band, massages and more starting in November. Clarendon Games helped devise the Room Hunt challenges, some of which are experiential.
Up Your Golf Game
Hone your skills at The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel’s immersive three-day golf school in Charlotte. The certified LPGA and PGA instructors will help advanced beginners and beyond on everything from short game skills to handling trouble shots.
Drink in D.C.’s Beer Gardens
Munich isn’t the only place with beer gardens. D.C. boasts its own scene with spots like Wunder Garten and Dacha Beer Garden serving top-notch brews and a great vibe. For a more upscale sampling, Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. does private beer tastings.
Take Mexico to the Extreme
Velas Resorts is recognizing the woman who can do everything with its Alpha Female Adventure Getaways. From power hikes through the Sierra Madres (Grand Velas Los Cabos) to tequila tastings with a side of crickets (Casa Velas Puerto Vallarta) to diving expeditions with bull sharks (Grand Velas Riviera Maya), thrill-seeking besties need apply.
Sample the Arts in Virginia
“Edward Hopper and the American Hotel” is an exceptional look at the 20th-century artist’s take on hospitality settings showing at Richmond’s Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Oct. 26-Feb. 23). It makes sense then that The Jefferson Hotel, one of the state’s only Five-Star properties, would offer an overnight package to help you to fully enjoy the expansive exhibition.
Do Oktoberfest the Right Way
Thanks to Mandarin Oriental, Munich’s Celebrate Oktoberfest package, you can commemorate the world’s largest beer festival (Sept. 21-Oct. 6) in style. In addition to Five-Star accommodations, you’ll receive Bavarian treats at arrival, a vintage bus ride to the big event and special access to the iconic Schützen-Festzelt tent.
Sip Magnums in Macau
Carrying 17,000 labels, Grand Lisboa Hotel impresses with its wine collection. Through December, taste some of the best pours as the Macau hotel pairs magnums with dishes at its top restaurants, including Robuchon au Dôme and The Eight.
Tour a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Glide through UNESCO World Heritage Site West Lake on a boat ride with Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake. Afterward, go on a limousine tour of the city and attend a Chinese tea ceremony, both also courtesy of the hotel.
Encounter Earthly Artistic Delights
The exhibit “Wynn – Garden of Earthly Delights” debuted as part of Art Macao, the city’s first big arts event. Inspired by Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, the show features modern and contemporary works through Oct. 6. Stay at the all-suite Encore Macau, which wows with its bold red and gold décor.
Attend a Show in Chicago
It doesn’t matter if you’re hungry for a thorough art show (Expo Chicago, Sept.19-22) or a quick bite (Chicago Gourmet, Sept. 24-29), the Windy City is where you’ll want to be this autumn. And because of its great location and whatever-you-might-need service culture, Four-Star Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago is where you’ll want to be when it’s time to recharge after all of the walking.
Fawn over Lake Placid’s Foliage
There’s fall foliage season and then there’s the explosion of rich reds, bold oranges and brilliant golds found in the Adirondacks. Bask in nature’s plentiful palette this September and October during a stay at Whiteface Lodge, a Four-Star beauty that’s enveloped in Northern white cedars, black spruces and red pines.
Savor a Shanghainese Delicacy
Fall is hairy crab season in Shanghai, where the rare culinary delight becomes a menu staple for two brief months. Check into Four-Star Wanda Reign on the Bund to savor the specialty alongside skyline vistas and Shanghainese art.
Celebrate Like a Local
There’s no better time to visit Taipei than during Double Tenth Day, Taiwan’s October 10 national holiday. After catching the presidential palace parade and pyrotechnics display, rest your head at Four-Star Taipei Marriott Hotel, where stunning downtown views come standard.
Explore More of Moab
With cooler temperatures and thinner crowds, fall is a great time to horseback ride, canyoneer (canyon exploring) or mountain bike through Moab, Utah’s red rocks. The desert adventures are all available at Sorrel River Ranch Resort.
Drive Through the Desert
Cruise through Western Colorado with Gateway Canyons Resort’s Driven Experience. Rent a rugged Jeep Wrangler or a sleek Bentley for a leaf-peeping adventure through the canyons — the state’s golden aspens are particularly picturesque.
Whale Watch on the Cape
September and October are prime time for whale watching in Cape Cod. Opt for an excursion or charter your own boat at Wequassett Resort and Golf Club before returning to the Five-Star property for a seafood feast at Four-Star Twenty-Eight Atlantic.
Leaf-Peep in Osaka
For impressive leaf-peeping photos, visit Osaka Castle Park, where the greenspace’s namesake structure will be perfectly framed by golden gingko foliage come fall. Afterward, head for Imperial Hotel, Osaka to toast the autumn-hued sunset at The Rainbow Lounge.
Become a Chocolatier
Learn the secrets of Swiss sweets during a tour of Geneva chocolate maker Stettler’s workshop. Craft confections like caramel salted butter and a classic chocolate bar before heading back to Four-Star Hotel President Wilson, A Luxury Collection Hotel for a cozy sugar crash.
Linger in Italian Luxury
Live the high life in Italy this autumn with the One Trip, Two Destinations offer from Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Milan. Spend two nights in the country’s fashion capital followed by two evenings at Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como with plenty of culinary delights in between.
Cruise Qatar’s Dunes
Head for the desert for a dune-bashing adventure in Doha. The local pastime involves careening through the sands in a 4×4 vehicle at high speeds for a unique heart-pumping thrill. Cool off with a swim in W Doha Hotel & Residences’ mosaic-tiled pool.
Gear Up for Grand Prix Season Singapore
Get revved up for the Singapore Grand Prix excitement (Sept. 13-22) with the Formula 1 race, the four precinct parties and other events. Pan Pacific Singapore has a special Singapore Night Race offer that will give you track-facing accommodations.
Grab a Gourmet Getaway
Prepare for the meals of your life at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi’s second annual Culinary Stars (Oct. 6-13). Eighteen renowned chefs will collaborate on foodie events, including a dinner in which each course focuses on a different spice and is paired with spice wines, and a showdown where chefs go head-to-head in a cook-off.
Ride Horses Amid the Leaves
Pennsylvania’s rural woodlands are bursting with colors in the autumn. Meander among the trees with a horseback riding excursion at The Lodge at Glendorn. The rides run through late fall.
Soar Above Punta Cana
Take your Caribbean vacation to new heights with Four-Star Eden Roc Cap Cana’s curated aerial excursions. Explore historic Santo Domingo, visit isolated Bahia de las Aguilas beach or discover El Salto del Limón waterfall, all with the luxe Dominican Republic retreat as your home base.
See the Sunset in Cape Cod
Cozy up with the Cape Romance package at quaint Four-Star Chatham Inn this fall. Sip champagne during a private sunset cruise, followed by a five-course feast and a post-dinner soak in your oversized tub back at the boutique hotel.
Get a Taste of History
Pop into the newly opened 1881 Napa Wine History Museum & Tasting Salon to sip on NorCal cabernets while browsing a collection of winemaking artifacts and antiques. Continue your vino visit with a wine peel facial at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Napa River Inn.
Attend Food Festivals in the English Countryside
Retreat to the English countryside for fall festivals like Pub in the Park St Albans (Sept. 13-15), St Albans Food and Drink Festival (Sept. 25-Oct. 7) and George Street Gin & Jazz (Oct. 4). Walk off those calories among bucolic Sopwell House’s 12 verdant acres.
Stargaze in Rome
See the stars (Ian McKellen, Bill Murray, Wes Anderson) shine in the Eternal City during the 14th Rome Film Fest (Oct. 17-27). Enjoy A-list digs between screenings at chic Five-Star Portrait Roma—Lungarno Collection.
Go Gaga in Vegas
If you’ve had your fill of illusionists and ’90s pop stars, you may like who Park MGM’s Park Theater has headlining. Nine-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga takes up residency (various dates from October through May 2020) at the venue with two shows, the electric Enigma and more restrained Jazz & Piano. With Four-Star Vdara Hotel & Spa only a short walk from the stage, you can wail “I’ll Never Love Again” without worrying about how you’ll get home.
Learn the Ancient Sport of Kings
There’s a reason nature enthusiasts who stop by Southern Vermont’s Woodstock Inn & Resort for its prime leaf-peeping opportunities say the place has gone to the birds. New to the Four-Star property, the Introductory Falconry Package grants you a 45-minute session with a trained hawk, breakfast for two and elegant accommodations.
Hike and Bike Through Boulder
Take advantage of fall’s cooling weather and hit the 200 miles of hiking and biking trails around Boulder, Colorado. Afterward, treat your muscles to a CBD-enhanced massage at downtown’s Four-Star St Julien Hotel & Spa.
Prep for the Holidays
Fine-tune your culinary skills ahead of the holidays with half-day cooking classes at Yosemite’s Four-Star Château du Sureau. Learn to brine a turkey or plate hors d’oeuvres before spending the afternoon strolling the estate’s whimsical nine-acre grounds.
Toast to a Bali Sunset
Savor Bali’s sun-streaked skies with Five-Star The Villas at AYANA Resort, BALI’s Rock Bar VIP Villa package. Get priority access to the popular Rock Bar, which sits on rocks against the coast. Take in the up-close ocean view with a complimentary sundowner.