When the summer arrives a lot of us look toward island getaways and destinations near the equator. There’s no exception in North America, where summer sees tourists flocking to Miami, heading down to the Caribbean, visiting both coasts and heading to Hawaii. These priorities make perfect sense. However, there’s also something to be said for heading north when the summer arrives, and enjoying some cities that are colder or less welcoming for much of the rest of the year.
In keeping with that idea, these are a few North American cities to visit during the summer months:
Chicago, Illinois – U.S.
Chicago is perhaps the best major U.S. cities that a lot of tourists, domestic and foreign alike, miss out on. This is somewhat because it’s in the midwest and fairly far from other major cities, but it’s also because Chicago can be bitterly cold for a good chunk of the year. In the summer though the city is delightful. Lake Michigan (which laps up right against the city) is inviting, the famously diverse and impressive architecture is easy to enjoy, and you can spend your days exploring and enjoying all the city has to offer. Additionally, as a piece on the best trips to take in the U.S. put it, Chicago is a hot destination for foodies.
Vancouver, British Columbia – Canada
Vancouver has a legitimate claim as one of the most beautiful cities in North America. And while some travel there in the winter to enjoy nearby ski resorts, it’s more easily enjoyed when the weather warms up. Beaches, parks, gardens, islands, and even the nearby Grouse Mountain are all yours to explore. You’ll want to prioritize the Capilano Suspension Bridge through the roof of a dense, green fir forest, as well as a hike or cable car ride up the mountain. And for the evenings, Vancouver has a well-regarded craft beer scene you can get into.
Boston, Massachusetts – U.S.
Another city that can be a little bit uninviting for parts of the year simply because it’s cold, Boston has a terrific reputation otherwise. Known as a city with a lot of pride, it’s really a place you should try to spend as much time as you can on your vacation so you can get to know the character of the place. It’s a surprisingly walkable city, and in particular many visitors enjoy touring the numerous college campuses, including those of top schools like Boston University, MIT, and Harvard. As for specific activities, a baseball game at the legendary Fenway Park, boating on the Charles River, or stopping by one of the various breweries and beer gardens can always be a good choice.
Montréal, Quebec – Canada
Many won’t venture to Canada until the weather warms up (unless they’re going for skiing or something similar), but if you make the trip during the summer, Montréal is the place to go. It’s a fascinating city comprised of a modern downtown and a famous Old Town that still resembles the French colonial town that grew into Montréal. It’s a great city for eating and drinking, with cuisine ranging from classic French to Asian fusion all over the place. And it also happens to have arguably the most impressive casino on the continent outside of Las Vegas. It’s a big, startling venue on Notre Dame island featuring over 500,000 feet of gaming space, and makes for a fun stop after a long day out exploring the city.
Boulder, Colorado – U.S.
Boulder isn’t actually on the northern end of the continent, but it still applies to this conversation because of its high elevation. It’s a quaint but popular mountain town a little more than an hour outside of Denver among the Colorado mountains. And while, like Vancouver, it will draw tourists looking for winter-specific activities, it’s also delightful in the summer. Numerous hiking trails surround the city, but you can also enjoy yourself simply walking around, ducking into open-air bars and restaurants and enjoying famously friendly locals.
Have you ever been to these places? If not, follow our tips and have lots of fun with these North American cities to visit during the summer! And if you’re planning an All-American road trip across the Northern continent, why not check out this two-week itinerary across the Pacific Northwest!
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