Summer Fridays are so close we can taste them–and we’d hate to leave you unprepared. Here are five itineraries for jetting out of town for the best long weekend, ever. And here’s the best news: these flights will only take about an hour of your time (OK, plus TSA time). Bon voyage!
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
Yes, KC has gold-standard barbecue. But there’s a lot more to explore–and eat–in the “City of Fountains.” Head to Port Fonda to try tamale pie and incredible guacamole from a Topolobampo alum. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art reps artists like Claude Monet and John Singer Sargent. And The Raphael Hotel, built in the 1920s, just oozes old-world charm. (Plus, it’s within walking distance from tons of shops.)
Estimated Flying time from Chicago: One Hour
At the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry, you can catch incredible concerts and peep costumes worn by Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline. (Bow down.) Cute boutiques, including Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James, line 12th Avenue South. (Don’t forget to snap a keepsake photo against the store’s “Pretty as a Picture ”mural.) Pinewood Social is a hipsters’ playground, with everything from a coffee bar to a vintage-inspired bowling alley and an airstream-trailer bar by the pool.
Estimated Flying time from Chicago: One hour
Who knew? The restaurant and bar scene is blowing up here, and Chicago foodies are flocking over for a weekend of bites. Stay at Le Meridien Hotel downtown, and start your #eeeeeats crawl at its on-site restaurant, Spoke & Steele. (Get the charcuterie.) It’s not a visit to Indy without checking out the Indy 500–Blake Shelton’s even playing there this weekend. And, you can’t leave town without having a perfect omelet with hash browns at Waffle House. Don’t mind if we do.
Estimated Flying time from Chicago: 32 minutes
21c Museum Hotel has an excellent modern art collection–and more than 75 types of bourbon at its on-site lounge, Bourbon and Main. (When in Kentucky.) For the best tacos in town, grab a seat at the funky El Mundo. The stately Brown Hotel pours a mean Mint Julep and lays claim to the invention of the Brown Hot Sandwich. On a lazy Sunday, stroll Frankfort Avenue and pick up some designer duds at The Peacock Boutique, which stocks labels like Notte by Marchesa and Dannijo.
Estimated Flying time from Chicago: 50 minutes
TBH, we’d hop a flight to Toronto just to try a cocktail at BarChef. Thompson Toronto has a rooftop bar with great city views–and an infinity pool–and the Gladstone Hotel is a hip, artsy place to post up. The Bata Shoe Museum’s current exhibition (running through October 2017) explores the fascinating history of men in heels; hit up the TIFF Bell Lightbox to watch international films. Pro tip: Porter Airlines, which offers direct flights from Midway, has free food and drinks–and its staffers wear adorable retro uniforms.
Estimated Flying time from Chicago: 1 hour 22 minutes