7 Summer Vacation Ideas: The Best Places to Go in July and August
We get it. After this never-ending rainy spring, we’re all eager for a summer of sunshine. Here, our favorite vacation spots to visit this July and August, from Seattle to Singapore.
As if we ever needed an excuse to go to Nashville. This year, Music City has been booming thanks to a handful of hip hotel openings. There’s the 21c Museum Hotel Nashville, which debuted with a 10,500-square-foot contemporary art exhibit, the trendy Thompson (don’t miss its rooftop DJ dance parties and the three restaurants from celeb chef John Besh), and the Sheraton Grand Nashville, which is fresh off a $35 million renovation. If B&Bs are more your style, check into the charming new Germantown Inn, a historic 1870s home turned boutique hotel. Plus, when it’s time for light’s out, you’ll have a front row seat to the solar eclipse on August 21 as Nashville is the largest city in its path.
There’s no better time to go to Montreal than this summer. Not only is Canada turning 150 this year, but the city itself is also celebrating its 375th birthday. The festivities kicked off on May 17 and run all summer long, including events like street fairs, free concerts, public art installations, walking tours and more. For prime skyline views, hike Mont Royal and stroll through its Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park. Then, when hunger strikes, refuel with French bistro fare at L’Express in the swanky Plateau neighborhood before catching up on some rest at the cozy Auberge du Vieux, a waterfront hotel in the cobblestoned Old Port.
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Catskills, New York
As much as New Yorkers love their city, everyone needs a break now and again. Luckily, the Catskills offer a breath of fresh air—literally. Just a 2.5-hour drive from Manhattan, it’s not only a hiker’s heaven, but it’s also home to a redhot food scene, eclectic antique shops, and stylish sleeps scattered throughout the area’s pastoral towns. Taste some of the region’s best at Brushland Eating House, a restaurant with rooms combo that cooks a killer pork schnitzel and hand-rolled pasta, served on gold-rimmed porcelain plates. Too stuffed to leave? Stay at Above Brushland or Behind Brushland, where your rooms look like a page from Country Living. There’s also Graham & Co., a redesigned 1940s motel in Phoenicia and the brainchild of four Brooklyn artists, or Wm Farmer and Sons, which features a lauded farm-to-table restaurant and rooms overlooking Hudson Valley and the Catskills mountains. But our favorite spot is hands-down the North Branch Inn—this 1868 townhouse in western Catskills has a vintage bowling alley and a movie screening room with seats from Radio City Music Hall.
Often overlooked for Berlin or Munich, Hamburg is one of Germany’s hidden gems. Come summertime, locals crowd the banks of the River Elbe and stroll through the Planten un Blomen (Plants and Flowers) park. Culture vultures will especially admire the new Elbphilharmonie music venue. The wave-shaped glass building is a statement to the city’s arts scene, with its three world-class concert halls that host a series of free summer concerts as well as flamenco evenings and more. And while you’re here, you should bed down in the Westin Hamburg’s minimalist suites with floor-to-ceiling windows framing the port city.
Though it gets a reputation for rainy Pacific Northwest weather, July and August in Seattle are nothing but sunshine. Soak up the rays at the top of The Nest, one of the city’s only rooftop bars. Crowning the sleek new Thompson Seattle, this massive al fresco lounge comes with outdoor fire pits, fresh-shucked oysters, plus sweeping views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic mountains. And though they may be touristy, you can’t miss a visit to the iconic Pike Place Market as well as the Chihuly Garden and Glass (don’t forget your camera, this gallery is Instagram gold). Traveling over Labor Day weekend? Make sure to snag tickets to Bumbershoot, a music, arts, and lit festival at Seattle Center. On the lineup: theater performances, film screenings, comedy shows, and live music by Weezer, Lorde, Flume, Kaleo, Lil Yachty and more.
This Nordic nation is marking its centennial in 2017, and it’s really going all out. Throughout the year, the country is hosting free opera and ballet performances, a light festival, as well as figure skating and ski championships. But the real trophy here is Hossa, Finland’s 40th national park, which will be inaugurated in June. With 27,000 acres of pine forests and crystal-clear lakes, plus 55 miles of trails, it’s an outdoors enthusiast’s dream. Take advantage of the free activities on the designated “Nature Days” (June 17 and August 26, in the summer), as well as FinnAir’s stopover program, which lets you stay in Helsinki for up to five days during a trip to/from eastern Europe.
In the late summer, you can have Singapore to yourself as most travelers come earlier in the year. This means no lines to get in the high-end shops, award-winning restaurants and buzzy bars around this bustling metro. And when you’re ready to retire for the evening, you’re in luck. Hip hotels have been opening left and right, marking a massive boom in Singapore’s tourism. We’re particularly partial to the new Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong and M Social Singapore. The former is the first Hotel Indigo outpost in the city and is an eye-catcher thanks to its colorful interior design (picture: patterned bathroom tiles, bright fabrics, and murals of Singapore street scenes by local artist Don Low). Meanwhile, M Social is nothing to sniff at either. After all, Philippe Starck is behind this contemporary property in Robertson Quay. Expect futuristic nods like LED-screen walls in the lobby, and even its own Relay Robot butler, which delivers towels, toiletries and more to your door.