Remember those perfectly planned week-long breaks in paradise you got every March or April while you were in college? Unfortunately, after leaving college, a week’s worth of vacation days is harder to come by, but that doesn’t mean you’re not in dire need of a break—especially at the end of these long winter months! We all need a little escape, but when you can’t get away for longer than a weekend, it may be time for a “staycation” or a little getaway in your own city. Here are some ideas for getting away from the monotony of daily life for a day or two this spring!
1. Take a bike tour
Though the incessant snow makes this hard to believe, March and April will finally bring sunny weekends. Take advantage of these days and explore your town or city on a bike! If you’re looking for a whole weekend trip, BikeTours.com provides to tools for finding a local guided bike tour for two nights or longer. The guided tours take you from one location to another with accommodations and routes included.
If you’d rather stick closer to home and sleep in your own bed, see if your city has a bike sharing system. This is great if you don’t have your own bike because you can rent a bike from a station and return it to any other station in the city. Biking allows you to see your surroundings from a new perspective, one you might not necessarily see in a car or on the subway. Break out those cute tennis shoes, stop for a picnic in the park and make sure to wear a helmet!
2. Visit a local museum
Whether you live in the suburbs or in a big city, chances are you can find some type of museum within a day’s travel. Maybe it’s an art museum or maybe it explores local history, but a rainy Saturday spent at a museum can make you feel cultured, educated, and like you’ve been transported to different time and place. Look for some of the smaller, lesser-known museums or historic site rather than a traditional museum for something a little different. Make a day of it by mulling over what you’ve seen over coffee at a café, or if it’s sunny, grab an ice cream afterwards. You’re bound to feel inspired by what you’ve seen!
3. Tour a winery or brewery
If you like to imbibe from time to time, try finding a local brewery or winery to visit.
Breweries often have a fun, laid back atmosphere that could be the perfect escape from day-to-day life. Craft brewing is booming and according to CraftBeer.com, the average American lives within 10 miles of a craft brewery. Many breweries offer free tours that include tastings and offer food on-site or from a food truck. Tour the brewery, stick around for a pint or two, and wow your friends with your new knowledge of beer!
If you’re looking for a more refined experience, see if there are any wineries in your area. Babak Motamedi, co-founder of online winery guide Kazzit, explains that each winery offers something different: tastings, tours, cave tours, and more, but Kazzit can help you find the right winery for you. Referencing California, which boasts more than 4,000 wineries, Motamedi asks of finding the right tour, “How do you even begin?” Kazzit is the guide to “where the wine grows” and provides you with wineries in your area and the tools to plan your tasting or tour! Find a tour that will fit in your timeline, your budget, and whatever you’re looking for from a day in the vineyards.
4. Explore a new neighborhood
Whether you’re living somewhere you’ve lived all your life or you’ve moved somewhere new, chances are you’re a stone’s throw from somewhere you haven’t explored yet. Look at a map, find a neighborhood or area you haven’t been to and make a day of exploring. Shop local boutiques, have lunch at café, wander through the local park, and enjoy experiencing some place new! Anna Kelsey, a 2014 graduate of Boston University, says, “I like to spend time exploring new neighborhoods now that I live in the city as a non student…I like getting a feel of the different neighborhoods and what their personalities are.” If you have the time and resources for a longer trip, explore a city in driving distance. From Boston, Anna says, “Downtown Burlington [Vermont] is super charming and fun weekend trip to take.”
5. Get outside
As those sunny spring days start approaching, look for an outdoor activity in your area. Maybe you’re near the water and can go kayaking or sign up for a sailing class. Take advantage of the nicer (re: not snowy!) weather and get outside for a day and get moving! Go for a hike; go horseback riding; go fishing: just get outside!
Nikki Snyder, another 2014 graduate of Boston University, is currently living and working in Boston. She says she loves to escape the city every once in awhile. “Though I love living and working in a city, the endless concrete and brick can make me feel really claustrophobic.” A short ways away from Boston, Nikki likes to visit the White Mountains in New Hampshire where she hikes and fills her lungs with fresh air: “To forget all of the stresses of work, of city life, of rent and laundry and instead channel all of my energy into each inclined step is incredibly refreshing. For me, hiking is almost meditative.” Her weekend trips to the woods allow her to find herself and take on the next week. “Crisp air, awesome views, sweating and not caring about my appearance, the outdoors always re-center me so I can return to Boston, rested and ready to kick a** on Monday!” she says.
6. Celebrate spring at a festival
Fall has apple picking; spring has blooming flowers. There’s nothing quite like seeing the colors of freshly bloomed flowers after long gray winters. Look for a local flower show to brighten your weekend and get you looking forward to sunnier months. If you like history, try Virginia’s Historic Garden Week where you can see beautiful historic homes and their blooming gardens or mingle with Southern Belles at the North Carolina Azalea Festival. The tulip fields at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington state rival those in the Netherlands or if purple’s your favorite color, hit the Rochester Lilac Festival, just to name a few. Of course, if you’re in DC, there’s always the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
7. Host a themed dinner
If all else fails, bring the world to you. Invite your friends over for a dinner or small party with an exotic theme. Turn your apartment into a tiki hut and host a Hawaiian luau; make tapas and sangria for a trip to Spain; “visit” an Italian village and serve pasta, prosciutto and prosecco; or answer London Calling with gin and tonics in wellies and a fascinator. Prepare authentic food, decorate your digs, and dress the part! Not only will the party allow you and your friends to escape without actually leaving, planning and preparing for the party will give you something to think about and anticipate.
8. Find a cheap hotel and get away for the weekend
Grab your bestie, your SO, or a sibling and split a hotel for the weekend. Many hotels offer last minute deals to fill their empty rooms. Kayak.com offers an easy way to finding those deals, well under $100 (or even $50!) a night in tons of popular locations across the country. Pick a location and find a good deal. Go out for a nice meal, get in a little shopping, and get a good night’s rest in a comfortable hotel bed, even if it’s in your very own city. You’re bound to feel refreshed for the coming week!
Whether you have a day or a whole weekend, doing something different is bound to make you feel rejuvenated after a long week in the office. These ideas get you outside and away from normal day-to-day activities to give you that extra boost after the past few months of endless snow. And what you’ll remember from those spring breaks in college is that post-SB, summer is just around the corner!