Fall vacations are great. Now that the crowds are gone, it's the perfect time to check out a new urban scene.
You had a relaxing summer. You got a tan and roasted marshmallows. Now it's time to head for a city where the movies and music are fresh, the restaurants are celebrating the harvest, and that unmistakable urban energy is back from vacation. Here are five big cities worth visiting this fall.
Hawaii's metropolitan center is buzzing with hotel renovations. The newly remodeled Outrigger Waikiki, just steps from the ocean, has earned rave reviews for its decor and aloha-spirit service. Bringing the kids? Northwest of Waikiki, visit the Bishop Museum's new Science Adventure Center with its walk-in replica of an erupting volcano. Another reason to go: The Aloha Festivals (www.alohafestivals.com) take over the streets throughout September, which means outdoor festivities, floats, ethnic foods, and a lot of hula. Don't miss the Floral Parade on September 17.
In the "Live Music Capital of the World," you can get a megadose of noteworthy sounds at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, September 23 to 25. This year's lineup includes Coldplay, Wilco, and some 100 other bands. A three-day pass costs $105, but you can save $15 by booking a ticket-hotel package through the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau (800- 926-2282, www.austintexas.org). Other must-dos: Get a taste of the region's fall bounty at the new Whole Foods Market World Headquarters; in the evening, watch 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge (through the end of October).
The 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth is January 17, 2006, so there's electricity in the air as his adopted hometown gears up to celebrate the founding father's life. Visit www.visitphilly.com to find out about events and exhibits beginning this fall. Fuel up at any—or all—of the city's three 2005 James Beard Foundation Award–winning restaurants: Vetri, Striped Bass, and White Dog Cafe. There's more to Philly cuisine than cheesesteak.
At Oktoberfest in Old Heidelberg Park, running the three weekends after Labor Day, you'll find the highest concentration of lederhosen this side of Munich. Even if you don't have a taste for Spanferkel (spit-roasted pig), you should visit the art museum's Quadracci Pavilion (www.mam.org). Zurich-based architect Santiago Calatrava's first U.S. building features a giant, winglike, movable sunshade. Then visit Milwaukee's other new source of architectural pride, Miller Park, home of the Brewers. While the baseball stadium might not be as visually mind-boggling as the art museum, it does feature sausage races in the middle of the sixth inning.
Illustration by William Duke
This article was first published in September 2005. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.