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5 Best U.S. Vacation Destinations For Couples To Explore In 2019

5 Best US Vacations For Couples 2019
Love, Self

Because #yolo, people, #yolo.

Jettin' across the Atlantic or Pacific to parts unknown certainly has its appeal (just ask the late and great Anthony Bourdain) but to discount destinations within our own borders would be to a disservice to America, the beautiful, America, the vast, America, the plenty ... of places to go. And since January is the prime month of daydreaming and goal-setting about what the year ahead may bring, it's high time to highlight a few of our favorite U.S. cities that are certainly worth a visit if you haven't been. (And if you have? Great! They're certainly worth another trip.) So request those vacation days now and get to planning. 5 American cities to check off your list in 2019 — happy wandering! 

1. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Why? Art. Adobe. Chocolate. Culture. Margaritas. A+ cuisine. Need we say more? It’s a magical, less-traversed Southwest destination for couples who enjoy weaving their way through world-class art galleries, noshing on New Mexican flavors at one of Santa Fe's more than 200+ restaurants, or simply catching their breath and enjoying the peaceful vibes — be it in the plaza square or at one of the city’s many decadent spas. Plus: 300 sunny days a year! Which means: chances of perfect weather while you visit ‘The City Different’ — as it’s lovingly called — are very high.

Where to stay: La Fonda on The Plaza. The only luxury hotel situated directly on Santa Fe’s historic plaza — and the oldest hotel corner in America (the first inn was established at that site in 1607!) — La Fonda is an art and history lover’s dream. The hotel offers free docent-led tours of their vast art collection and each hotel room features different, unique works by the best Pueblo and Native American artists in the country.

What to do: 

1. Indulge in a Japanese private soaking tub at Ten Thousand Waves Spa. Hint: Go at sunset, so you enjoy the temperate waters while the sun winds down. Romance and relaxation at its finest. 

2. Spend hours meandering down Canyon Road, peeking into Santa Fe's myriad art galleries. Once your feet (or eyes!) get tired, stop by The Teahouse for scones and tea for an quick energy boost.

3. Make your brain a little crazy at Meow Wolf, an art installation meets interactive exhibit meets — actually nevermind, we can’t even try to explain the bizarreness that is Meow Wolf. Just trust us and show up with an open mind.

4. Sip on margaritas (salt on the rim, please!) on the Santa Fe Margarita Trail: a tasty way to explore the adobe city while trying out new, experimental variations on the tequila drink.

5. Indulge your sweet tooth at Cacao Santa Fe. If you’ve ever wanted to know the fascinating history of chocolate or take a blind taste-test of chocolates from around the world, Cacoa Santa Fe is the place. These people are passionate about their chocolate and after you’ve graduated from their intro to chocolate class, you will be, too.


2. Savannah, Georgia

Why? It’s southern. It’s charming. It’s southern charm. Bonus: The dramatic, drooping Southern Oak trees and 22 (!!!) different Savannah squares provide an almost movie-set backdrop to any romantic endeavor.

Where to stay? Olde Harbour InnQuaint and charming, just like the city itself. Plus, you're right on the river, so prime steamboat views and walking distance to the best pralines you've ever put in your mouth at Savannah Candy Kitchen (you can watch them being made in the window).

What to do:

1. Chow on delectable Southern cuisine by candlelight at the Olde Pink House, an old Colonial mansion-turned-restaurant full of history. (Ask for the private dining room in the vault!) It’s recommended by everyone, everywhere for a reason: it’s that good.

2. Read the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and then head to the historic Mercer-Williams House for a tour of where it all went down IRL. (PS: The famous 'bird girl' featured on the cover of the book can be seen at Savannah's Telfair Museum of Art.)

3. Indulge in Southern comfort food at Mrs. Wilkes: fried chicken, cornbread dressing, black-eyed peas, gumbo, etc — all served family-style! The crowds start lining up first thing in the morning, and it’s first-come, first-serve, so get there early.

4. Spook yourself out by taking one of Savannah’s many nighttime ghost tours or amble through Bonaventure Cemetery, where the gravestones and Spanish moss don’t quit.

5. Savannah is home to Savannah College of Art & Design as well as the SCAD Museum of Art, which features both international artists as well as emerging artists from their wildly talented student population. Both are worth a visit if you’re into contemporary art.


3. Waco, Texas

Why? While the popularity of HGTV's Fixer Upper has certainly transformed this city into a destination for Chip and Joanna super-fans, Waco is much more than a reality show backdrop.

Where to stay? Ditch the hotels and stay a bit outside of town. We recommend Green Acres. Why? Two words: Texas sunsets.

What to do:

1. Eat a taco … out of a truck. Taco trucks, y'all. They’re everywhere and they’re insaaaaaanely good. For the adventurous eaters in the group, try the Terminator and be full for a week.

2. Line-dance at Melody Ranch. It’s the largest dancehall in Central Texas and they take their line-dancing very seriously. If you’re not well-versed in the art of the line-dance (don’t worry, we aren’t, either, watching while sippin' a few beers is just as fun!)

3. Alright, alright, go to Magnolia. Yes, the silos are touristy. Yes, it’s a little expensive. (Pssst: Head to Magnolia warehouse shop for clearance and off-season items that are much cheaper!) But really: the cupcakes are to. die. for. And let’s admit it: Joanna’s design aesthetic is on-point. (If you can’t make it to Waco, just wander around your local Target — they sell Chip & Joanna's line there, too!)

4. Lose your dang shopping mind at Spice VillageImagine a trillion local artist shops all in one place. Alright, that might be a little hyperbolic but this one-of-a-kind mecca really is a shopaholic’s dream. I bought a faux leopard fur coat. In Texas. Because of course I did. 


4. Chicago, Illinois

Why? Alright, I’m a little biased. Chicago’s my hometown. But even if I wasn’t from here, I’d still argue it’s one of the best cities in the country. And for a good reason. The people are nice, the neighborhoods are diverse and plenty, and the summers are literal perfection. (As opposed to metaphorical perfection?) ANYWAY, nobody — and I mean NOBODY — enjoys their summers like Midwesterners. Fight me on that; I dare you.) 

Where to stay? The Ace Hotel. If industrial, modern vibes are your jam, you'll fit right in at the Ace in the West Loop. Plus, it's walking distance to Google, Oprah's former HQ, Restaurant Row on Randolph Street, and Fulton River Market, one of Chicago's trendiest, up-and-coming neighborhoods.

What to do: 

1. Learn how to axe-throw at Bad Axe Throwing. Channel your aggression (just kidding! or am I?) and your best cronies for a night of perfecting your aim. Your personalized axe-throwing coach will teach you the proper technique and safety measures and then it's game-on, playas! Compete with your friends or just with yourself to see justhowclose you can get to the bulls-eye. Warning: It's harder than it looks!

2. Thrift-shop until you drop. Thrift shops are aplenty in Chicago, and they’re gems. For the treasure hunters in the group, try Thrift & Thrive, The Brown Elephant Andersonville or Luxury Garage Sale in Lincoln Park. Or just walk down Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park.

3. Eat a cheeseburger (a double, if you're fancy!) with egg at Au Cheval. And if the line is too long, go to Small Cheval in Bucktown. Don't forget the golden fries.

4. Grab a beach towel, your best pal (or book!), and enjoy the lake. We're known for it, IT'S FREEEEEEEEEE (Oprah voice) and it's beautiful. Lakeshore life > all other life(s). Unless it's winter, in which case...

5. Lean over (literally!) skyscrapers at 360 Chicago at the John Hancock. Yes, it's a little touristy, but the TILT! experience puts you 1,000 feet over the Magnificent Mile. You can't get downward-facing views over the tops of some of the world's tallest buildings like this anywhere else. If you're scared of heights, probably skip this. 


5. Sedona, Arizona

Why? Red-rock buttes. Canyons for days. This is scenic Instagram material at it's finest — but that's not the reason to go. The reason to go is to get off social and get into the zen that is Sedona, Arizona. Just don't forget to bring your walking shoes. And maybe some crystals.

Where to stay? A Sunset Chateau Boutique B&B. If you want panoramic views of Sedona's famous red rocks while sipping your morning coffee (or you just want to find out why Sedona's called the 'most beautiful place on earth' by residents (sure, they might be biased — but they're not wrong), stay here. Bonus: their beautiful flower-lined garden.

What to do? 

1. Off-road with Pink Jeep Tours. Now this open-air adventure is the way to explore all of Sedona's giant red-rock spires and iconic rock formations. Just wait until you descend the 50-foot Devil's Staircase and make sure your seatbelt is FASTENED.

2. Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross. A chapel built directly into the red rocks of Sedona. Incredible feat and sight to behold.

3. Hike. Anywhere. Sedona is home to more trails you'll ever have time for in one visit. (A reason to move there?) Whether you're a novice hiker or you're an Alex Honnold-in-training, there's a hike for your relevant skill level. Here's a handy list to get you started.

4. Ghosting in Jerome! In its heydey, Jerome was a mining town built high up on a hill (you can't miss the giant 'JEROME' sign that still marks the spot); today it's a haven for artists, writers, musicians...and ghosts? It's a spooky place because of its history (don't miss the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town, even if it's a little hokey) or grabbing a burger at the Haunted Hamburger.

5. Sit in a jacuzzi ... and simply take in the true wonderment of the things man had nothing to do with creating. 

Andrea Zimmerman is the editor-at-large at Yourtango. She enjoys reading, traveling, and reading while traveling. She lives in Chicago with her husband and three-legged cat. Follow her @angiecat86 on Instagram.

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