Despite the unseasonably warm weather that seems to be common these days (hello, climate change!), the reality is that late September and early October mark the beginning of fall.
The leaves begin to change, pumpkin spice starts popping up everywhere, and we all break out the sweaters. (Or sweater vests, if you work in finance.) And when that crisp autumn breezes starts blowing, it’s only natural to look for a place to get away and take in that autumn air.
Lucky for you, there’s a long weekend coming up: Indigenous People’s Day is right around the corner!
Now, before you say anything, yes — we did once call this holiday “Columbus Day.” These days, however, we’re a little more aware of the fact that Christopher Columbus did some truly horrible things, specifically to the Americas’ native populations. And if you paid attention in U.S History 101, you know he’s far from the only person to do so (Cortés, Pizarro, et. al.). So, to avoid glorifying the atrocities Columbus committed (and of course, to remember the people who suffered those atrocities), the more appropriate designation for this holiday is Indigenous People’s Day.
And sure, the extra day off that comes with Indigenous People’s Day might make you wonder: “Where should I go this weekend?” Here at Wanderu, we have an answer for you. Using our data to track the most popular Indigenous People’s Day destinations from the past few years, we’ve created a list of the top 15 places you should be considering. And as if that wasn’t enough, we also offer the absolute best deals on bus and train travel to get to all these places, no fees attached. Click a region below to get started:
Prefer to look through them all? Scroll down our list, and figure out the best place for you to spend the first long weekend of fall!
While New York’s premier outdoor city for the fall lies a couple of hours south, this Hudson Valley haven is a fantastic place to spend a long weekend. Featuring a lengthy list of lovely state parks, Ithaca is a hidden gem for more outdoorsy types.
If you’re looking for a change of pace, try the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. Sure, you’ve done farmer’s markets before, but never on this scale. The more than 160 local vendors at this bustling waterfront market offer everything a traveler could want: baked goods, craft beer & wine, fruit, cheese and more. Make it a can’t-miss!
The 305 has a different feel to it than the other cities on this list. And in autumn, that feeling is, well, heat. If your primary objective as soon as the temp sinks below 60 is to escape the chilly weather, then look no further.
Miami’s beautiful beach lineup speaks for itself, but the city is also the Cuban food capital of the U.S., so if you’re craving an empanada or arroz con pollo, don’t miss out on Little Havana. And if you’re looking for something a little more trendy, may we suggest Wynwood? The graffiti is spectacular, and even better, it’s free.
The capital of the Constitution State might not jump off the page as a travel destination, but like many spots in the Northeast, its charm is apparent if you only take a minute to look.
For travelers with a taste for the literary, the Mark Twain House and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center offer compelling glimpses into the past, while the Hartford Stage and the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts are the ideal place to catch a performance. And if you’re in the market for an educational experience, an afternoon at the Hartford Science Center will surely satiate your hungry brain.
When you think of the Carolinas, one of the first things that inevitably comes to mind is barbecue. And while we won’t comment on North Carolina barbecue vs South Carolina barbecue, we will recommend you seek out some places in the Queen City where they put the heat to the meat.
Oh, and did we mention Charlotte is one of the highest ranked craft beer cities in the Southeast? Once you’ve had your fill of ribs and suds, walk it off at attractions like the NASCAR Hall of Fame or the Discovery Place Science Museum. And if you’re feeling adventurous, the Carowinds theme park offers some more adrenaline-fueled fun. (We’re talking roller coasters, ya’ll.)
While the town that produced T-Pain probably won’t have you saying “Im n Luv with this greenspace,” we’re sure that destinations like St. Marks Wildlife Refuge and Cascades Park will make you rethink what Panhandle flora and fauna are capable of.
Couple that with the Florida state capitol, and the possibility to see a game at the famed Doak Campbell Stadium, and one thing becomes clear: This Indigenous People’s Day, you can keep your condo in Toronto, your log cabin in Aspen, your mansion in Wis-cahn-sin. We’re headed south to the Sunshine State.
The city on the James River is a 10/10 year-round, but somehow it gets amped up to 11 or 12 in autumn. The summer heat retreats, the leaves begin to change, and places like Libby Hill Park and Forest Hill Park find an all new kind of beauty.
Feeling spooky with Halloween right around the corner? If so, take a trip through the Edgar Allen Poe Museum to get a unique perspective on the life of America’s Gothic literature icon.
Native New Yorkers never hesitate to poke fun at the Garden State, but even they must admit: A three-day weekend in Newark really does make for a relaxing getaway, right in the Big Apple’s backyard.
South Mountain Reservation and Branch Brook Park offer visitors the opportunity for outdoor fun, and Jersey’s local fare will leave you delightfully surprised. Whether you call it pork roll or Taylor ham, New Jersey’s breakfast sandwich culture is the stuff of local legend. While we’re partial to Huryk’s Deli on Albert Street, quality breakfast sandwich spots are a dime a dozen in Brick City.
While Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver get most of the attention when discussing Canadian destinations, the country’s capital might just be the best place in all of the Great White North for a long weekend.
Home to Canada’s National Gallery, the Canadian Parliament Hill and the Canadian Museum of Nature, O-Town is dense with delights. There are also more unique attractions, like Notre Dame Basilica (a beautiful cathedral akin to the kind you’ll find in Europe), the Royal Canadian Mint and ByWard Market. All in all, “Silicon Valley North” ensures that you can’t find the Ottawa experience just anywhere.
Perhaps it’s not as rich with Revolutionary history as nearby Philly, but the capital of the Keystone state has a flavor all its own.
Attractions include the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum, the Pride of the Susquehanna riverboat, and the Cathedral of St. Patrick. But never fear, U.S. History buffs: Harrisburg still packs a blast from the past, with the National Civil War Museum, Fort Hunter Mansion and Pennsylvania’s state capitol building.
While the Bayou City’s most famous exports may be Beyoncé and Travis Scott, there are loads of awesome activities to do in Houston. For example, are you familiar with Houston’s Cockrell Butterfly Center? The crown jewel of Houston’s Museum of Natural Science offers visitors the opportunity to see some one of the world’s best collections of butterfly species, putting a unique twist on the “colors of fall.”
And if that’s not enough, there’s always the Houston Space Center, a place that’ll leave you saying “Houston, we have a great time.”
While Windy City winters are legendary for their brutality, Chicago’s fall months are exceedingly pleasant. (Don’t believe us? Visit these sights in our full Chicago guide to prove it.
Millennium Park, any time of year is beautiful. But Millenium Park in fall, when amber leaves are reflected in the chrome exterior of The Bean, is another experience entirely. A walk along the Magnificent Mile with a crisp fall breeze blowing is — err — magnificent. And if you’ve had your fill of fall fun, Chicago’s world-renowned aquarium and museum lineup are just a short CTA ride away.
While Detroit has certainly seen its ups and downs over the past few decades, we can assure you that today the Motor City is a hot travel ticket that should be at the top of your list.
From the Motown Museum to the Heidelberg Project, Detroit has a rich and resilient history that’s truly unmatched by any other city. And with a picturesque riverfront, the bustling Eastern Market, and an incredibly affordable local beer scene, Detroit offers all the staples of the nation’s best cities at a fraction of the cost.
Elephant in the room here: Unfortunately, Ron Swanson’s favorite steakhouse did close down. Even so, Indianapolis is still literally one of the best cities to visit this fall. Even if you don’t see the appeal of stock car racing, we’d recommend a stop at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With a capacity of 400,000, the brickyard is the largest professional sports venue in the world. (Yes, you read that right.)
If you prefer some slower speed fun (200 MPH gets exhausting real quick), take a walk along Indy’s Central Canal. And for an attraction especially important on Indigenous People’s Day, visit the Eiteljorg Museum. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of modern Native American art, it’s truly a can’t-miss.
Most people associate fall foliage with the East Coast, but Seattle quietly brings some of the best outdoor fun for seasonal travelers. Boasting one of the best Parkscores in the entire United States, Seattle’s impressive assortment of national parks shines most in the autumn.
Sure, SoCal feels like a laundry list of sunny warm-weather destinations. But if you want West Coast relaxation without the hustle and bustle of Rodeo Drive, Anaheim is the place for you.
Of course, while Disneyland stands out for good reason (trust us, waiting in those long lines is much more tolerable in the cooler fall weather), you might want to try Oak Canyon Nature Center for a different kind of park-going experience. There are myriad tours out there that’ll show you celebrity homes, but how about some whale watching to change the pace of your sight seeing? Whatever you’re looking to do in the OC (shoutout to Adam Brody), one visit to Anaheim will make you real glad you said “California, here we come!”
To compile this list, we looked at the most popular Indigenous People’s Day destinations on Wanderu over the past few years. No matter which one you pick, we’re sure you’ll wind up having a great time there.
And if the destinations we’ve suggested aren’t quite your speed, you can use the Explore by Wanderu tool to generate a list of cost-efficient bus and train destinations based on your current location, ideal destination and budget.
If you want to explore on the go, download the Wanderu app! Get the best bus and train deals on the go, no matter where you are — and no matter where you’re going, we hope you have a terrific time getting there.