Are you dreaming of escaping your daily routine to experience something fun and different? If you enjoy destinations with a unique character and temperate climate, look no further than these three cities for a memorable fall getaway.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
New Mexico’s largest city has a lot to offer visitors in a compact area. The charming Old Town historic district, anchored by a centuries-old Spanish church, is full of restored adobe buildings housing restaurants, shops, and galleries. Excellent museums include the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science with full-size dinosaur models, and the National Atomic Museum with an interesting but troubling history of nuclear weaponry.
Another must-see museum is the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center which illustrates the lifestyle and traditions of the region’s Native American pueblo tribes. Traditional dances are held on the weekends and Native American artisan crafts are available for purchase.
For nature lovers, the Albuquerque Biological Park (BioPark) includes an aquarium, botanic garden, and zoo. Albuquerque’s temperate climate and low humidity make it perfect for outdoor recreation like hiking, biking, and walking. Do take the Sandia Peak Tramway – the longest single cable span in the U.S – to mountaintop trails and breathtaking sunset views.
Every October, hundreds of hot air balloons paint the desert sky in a riot of color at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The renowned festival lasts eight days and the colorful site brings joy and awe to thousands of fans.
Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin offers every musical genre – not only the two-stepping country you might expect. There’s plenty of rock, dance music, electronica, jazz, and more. Austin’s nightlife seems infinite, but Austinites love the outdoors as much as their music. Zilker Park is a favorite for all kinds of recreation and includes the famed Barton Springs Pool, a naturally spring-fed swimming area. Runners, walkers, and bikers flock to the 10-mile trail along the Colorado River, aka Lady Bird Lake. For all the frenetic activity, Austin has a laid-back, rather eccentric personality. In fact, the community proudly proclaims the unofficial motto, “Keep Austin weird.”
Austin’s food scene is heavily Tex-Mex and barbeque with an ingrained farm-to-table flair. Texas barbeque is typically smoked beef brisket and to find “the best,” you really can’t go wrong by asking a local which is their favorite joint. For high-quality food on a budget, check out Austin’s numerous food trucks.
Austin’s most distinctive attraction is watching thousands of bats emerge from beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk (mid-March to early November). Hundreds of people go every evening – just be sure to keep your mouth closed when looking up!
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville’s moniker, “Asheville: Any Way You Like It” reflects its truly diverse group of residents and visitors. It’s a quaint mountain town nestled between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains and as such is an outdoor adventure seeker’s delight. It has tons of art galleries and eclectic shops making it nirvana to artists, hipsters, and creative souls. Countless restaurants, outdoor cafes, and breweries draw foodies of all flavors. A rich variety of theater, music and dance performances attract culture hounds ranging from local college students to retired couples.
Asheville’s top attraction is undeniably the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, built by George Vanderbilt in the 1890s. You’ll need a full day to tour the exquisite 250-room mansion and explore the splendid gardens, hiking trails in the managed forest, a winery, horse stables, carriage rides, river float trips and a glass conservancy.
Asheville successfully knits together an array of interests and personalities to create its own extraordinary character, one that welcomes visitors of all different stripes.
Albuquerque, Austin, and Asheville are all sensational fall getaways. Contact your Covington vacation advisor soon to plan your trip.