Beer, sausages, and general German revelry: Oktoberfest is an annual folk festival that has expanded from its origins in Munich to local celebrations around the world. Officially, this year’s festival takes place September 22nd-October 7th, but don’t worry! You haven’t missed it; in many places, the party lasts through October. So grab your steins and your lederhosen—here are 7 Oktoberfest celebrations in the U.S. that are still going.
Boston, Massachusetts: Samuel Adams Octoberfest
Beantown loves its beer, and Oktoberfest is as good a reason as any to celebrate its most famous brew: the Sam Adams brewery will host their very own celebration on Friday, October 27th. The event includes a variety of original Sam Adams beers to sample, tons of food vendors, live music, and an inflatable slide. Tickets are $45 on Eventbrite, and the event is strictly 21+.
San Juan Islands, Washington: San Juan Island Brewing Co.
This local favorite brewery is bringing Oktoberfest to San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor on October 13th. The all-day celebration features delicious German food, live music, a costume contest, games, and of course—plenty of beer to go around! They’ll be featuring up to 12 styles of their handcrafted ales and lagers. Admission is free. For more information, see visitsanjuans.com.
This raucous Vegas institution is modeled after Germany’s oldest beer hall and is essentially a year-round Oktoberfest, with traditional Bavarian food, authentic German beer, and live music. There’s something going on just about every night here, so check out their calendar for specific events (including celebrity keg tappings!).
The tiny town of Leavenworth leans all the way in to kitsch: the entire thing is modeled after a classic Bavarian village, so naturally, Oktoberfest is when they really shine. The 2018 Leavenworth Oktoberfest will take place over three weekends (October 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20), with four venues dedicated to live entertainment, food, and beer. Tickets are $10 for Fridays and $20 for Saturdays, and free for children under 12.
This year, over a quarter of a million people are expected to attend the 39th Annual Nashville Oktoberfest, a 3-day festival (October 11th-14th) spanning 10 city blocks of Nashville’s historic Germantown. This celebration is pretty epic: in addition to seemingly endless beer and food vendors, there’s a 5k Bier Run, an Annual Parade, a Dachshund Derby, and so much more. Admission is free, but if you’re really committed, there are VIP tickets available for $119 (single day) or $169 (3-day pass).
Tempeh Beach Park, Arizona: Four Peaks Brewing Co.
The Four Peaks Oktoberfest in Tempeh Beach Park has been going strong for 46 years, and it’s no wonder: the festival is massive and has everything from separate adults’ and kids’ carnivals to polka dancing, kickball tournaments, and, you guessed it, more dachshund races. There are different events on each day of the festival (October 12th, 13th, and 14th); admission is free, but entrance to the carnivals will cost you $30.
This sleepy mountain town in North Georgia is another Bavarian-themed village that celebrates all things German year-round, and its annual Oktoberfest celebration is not to be missed. The all-ages event includes live German music, food and beer, and tons of dancing—waltzes, polkas, chicken dances, and more. It runs every weekend in September, and then daily through October 28th; admission is $8 Monday-Friday, $10 on Saturday, and free on Sunday.
In celebration of National Coffee Day September 29, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most buzzworthy and best coffee shops across the U.S.—and we couldn’t have done it without help from our Moon authors, who weighed in with their favorite local spots. From prime people-watching to unforgettable cups of joe, check out what makes their chosen hangouts so special, and which cafes are guaranteed to pep up your next trip.
Nashville, TN: Barista Parlor
Recommended by Margaret Littman
For those who see coffee as an art form, look no further than Barista Parlor (519 Gallatin Ave B, 615-712-9766; Mon.-Fri. 6am-6pm, Sat.-Sun. 7am-6pm). This trendy Nashville spot comes highly recommended by Moon author Margaret Littman. “When I send friends to Barista Parlor for the first time, I suggest they think of it as performance art that happens to be about coffee, rather than a place to grab a caffeine fix,” she says. “Be prepared to wait as your drink is crafted: espresso from a handmade Slayer machine, coffee from Chemex drip, pour-overs served with an almost balletic motion. While you wait for your beverage, use your iPhone to look at Isle of Printing’s ship mural on the back wall of this renovated auto shop; it is designed to look less pixelated through a camera lens. The folks behind Barista also have locations in Germantown, Marathon Village, The Gulch, and in the Noelle downtown. While they all have essentially the same aesthetic, there’s something particularly immersive about the East Nashville location.”
Portland, OR: Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Recommended by Hollyanna McCollom
Portlanders take their coffee pretty seriously, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters (128 SW 3rd Ave., 503-295-6144; 6am- 7pm Mon.-Fri., 7am-7pm Sat.-Sun.) is at the top of the list for most java hounds. The beans at Stumptown are meticulously selected, sorted, roasted, and brewed so that you get the distinct flavor, sweetness, and complexity of the bean. Founded in 1999, Stumptown used to be a small coffee roaster on Division Street, named for the city’s logging industry. Recent years have seen cafés and roasteries open in Seattle, New York, and California. The 3rd Avenue space was the first Stumptown in the downtown area and epitomizes the chain’s rustic aesthetic with exposed brick walls and wood counters, plus taps for their cold brew. Sit at the wall of magazines and stools where you can watch the baristas work.
Boston, MA: George Howell Coffee
Recommended by Cameron Sperance
This coffeehouse’s namesake founder was known locally for an earlier string of java joints that he eventually sold to Starbucks. He returned with his current coffee iteration with a focus on fair prices, direct sourcing, and regional offerings. The downtown branch of George Howell Coffee (505 Washington St., 857-957-0217; daily 6:30am-6:30pm) is located in the Godfrey Hotel and features pastries and cozy seating where visitors can unwind with their lattes.
Savannah, GA: Foxy Loxy Cafe
Recommended by Jim Morekis
From tacos and Tex-Mex to kolaches and craft brews, Foxy Loxy Cafe (1919 Bull St., 912-401-0543; Mon.-Sat. 7am-11pm, Sun. 8am-6pm) has a lot to offer—including some of the best coffee in town. According to Moon author Jim Morekis, “Foxy Loxy Cafe is Savannah’s favorite coffeeshop, set in a charming historic building in the heart of the Victorian District. The vibe is cozy and the coffee basically perfect, whether it’s a latte or a cold brew. They have a wide range of tasty menu items as well as craft beer options. Sweet treats are fresh-baked by local artisans. Enjoy your time inside, upstairs, or in the spacious, sheltered courtyard area out back, which hosts acoustic performances and open mics.”
Chicago, IL: Ipsento Coffee
Recommended by Rebecca Holland
This hip café is serious about coffee. The owners source their beans from world-class coffee farms that highlight each region. The owners of Ipsento (2035 N. Western Ave., 773-904-8177; 6am-6pm Mon.-Fri., 7am-6pm Sat.-Sun.) want you to care about coffee too, so they offer classes, which you can register for online. Sip coffee from the bar or purchase beans to go. For coffee with a side of booze, look for a small drink menu at the bar.
Los Angeles, CA: Intelligentsia
Recommended by Halli Jastaran Faulkner Intelligentsia in Silver Lake (3922 Sunset Blvd., 323-663-6173; Sun.-Wed. 6am-8pm, Thurs.-Sat. 6am-10pm) feels like the epicenter of L.A. hipster culture. Order a pour-over coffee, sit at the counter, and pretend to read your tablet while watching the constant parade of fashionable twentysomethings. There are a handful of Intelligentsia locations across the United States, and this one is particularly great. Each latte, espresso, and cup of tea is brewed to order, and its pastries are perfectly decadent. But what makes this east-side hangout special is its setting. At pretty much any time of day, people are posted up at Intelligentsia, sipping brews on the large patio, reading scripts at the counter, and catching up with old friends in line for a drink. Intelligentsia clearly takes pride not only in its coffee, but in the fact that it has created a Silver Lake community space for more than 10 years.
Washington, DC: Compass Coffee
Recommended by Samantha Sault
If you haven’t found your perfect cup, try this local chain founded by two former Marines who developed an easy-to-decipher matrix with nine bean blends organized by flavor profile and roast darkness. Compass Coffee (1535 7th St. NW, 202-838-3139; 6am-8pm daily) brews single-origin roasts, espresso drinks, and nitro cold brew, too. This growing chain has many locations citywide, including one in Chinatown (650 F St. NW).
Monterey, CA: Café Lumiere
Recommended by Stuart Thornton
For a taste of local life in coastal California, check out Café Lumiere (365 Calle Principal, 831-920-2451; Sun.-Thurs. 7am-8pm, Fri.-Sat. 7am-9pm)—Moon author Stuart Thornton is a regular. “Most mornings that you walk into downtown Monterey’s Café Lumiere, there will be a long table occupied by a group of older Italian American fishermen sipping espressos and boisterously talking about current fishing conditions, politics, and sports,” he says.
“It’s easy to crack a smile while eavesdropping on these guys as they switch between speaking English and animated outbursts of Italian. I’m sure they come to Café Lumiere for the same reasons I do, including great, locally roasted Acme Coffee, superb baked goods, and warm service from the baristas. One practical reason that I love Café Lumiere is that they also have a lot of outlets for powering up your devices. Anyway, it’s safe to say that I wrote large sections of my Moon Travel Guides here. So, if you see a guy hunched over a MacBook while furiously typing away in Café Lumiere, that could be me. Feel free to come over and say hello.”
Charleston, SC: Kudu Coffee
Recommended by Jim Morekis
One of the best java joints in Charleston is Kudu Coffee (4 Vanderhorst St., 843-853-7186; Mon.-Sat. 6:30am-7pm, Sun. 9am-6pm). A kudu is an African antelope, and the African theme extends to the beans, which all have an African pedigree. Poetry readings and occasional live music add to the mix, and a lot of green-friendly, left-of-center community activism goes on here as well. Spend the afternoon with a book in their lovely courtyard.
For the past three years, fourth graders have benefitted from Every Kid in a Park, a program that provides free passes to the national parks and all federal recreation lands. “There’s a whole generation of kids who don’t get into the woods,” says Jon Jarvis, former Director of the National Park Service during the Obama administration and current Executive Director of the Berkeley Institute for Parks, People and Biodiversity. “They live in urban areas, their parents have no experience in the woods, or they can’t afford to visit the parks.”
But the Every Kid in a Park program is not guaranteed for future fourth graders. The Department of the Interior must renew it each year, making it subject to political whims. Luckily, Congress could pass the Every Kid Outdoors Act, which would give it more permanence.
Here’s how the program works: Every Kid in a Park provides a free park pass to fourth graders. But it’s not just a giveaway—kids have to earn the pass. In classrooms, it’s often in tandem with environmental education and history already in curriculums. Once earned, their pass admits the fourth graders and their families free to the national parks and all federal recreation lands during that school year. For classes that need financial assistance to get to the parks, the National Park Foundation provides the dollars to cover transportation. Even if a classroom doesn’t participate, any fourth grader can go online to earn his or her pass.
Thanks to this program, many young kids are hiking their first trails, learning to spy wildlife, and soaking up natural and human history. Some children from urban areas have smelled cedar trees for the first time in their lives. One fourth grader from Hawaii got so jazzed that he started a nonprofit to support the national parks. Every Kid in a Park gives them these experiences.
[pullquote align=right]“A lot of good science is out there about the benefits of getting kids involved early on in hiking, biking, and kayaking outdoors. Those become lifetime sports,” Jarvis points out.[/pullquote]Every Kid in a Park broadens other children’s programs, too. It extended Michelle Obama’s efforts to get young people moving to be healthy. It also added more educational contact for popular Junior Ranger Programs on federal recreation lands. “The Junior Ranger programs capture kids after they get to the park,” explains Jarvis. “This program gives kids, their families, and their classrooms incentive to get to the park.” And that’s an important distinction. Kids and their parents adore the Junior Ranger Programs, but many kids don’t even get the chance to earn a Junior Ranger badge because they can’t get to the parks.
Originally, the dream for Every Kid in a Park considered all grades. But that was unwieldy, Jarvis notes, so the program limits participation to fourth graders. Yet, if Every Kid in a Park continues for a dozen years, it achieves the same goal—all kids will participate for one year. “In 12 years, we would get every kid across the country,” says Jarvis.
Capturing America’s youngsters is only one of the reasons the program needs to continue. Every Kid in a Park seeks to plant the seed for a lifetime of outdoor activity. Sadly, team sports often create avid later-in-life spectators but not physically active adults. “A lot of good science is out there about the benefits of getting kids involved early on in hiking, biking, and kayaking outdoors. Those become lifetime sports,” Jarvis points out.
Besides the personal benefits of health, exercise, mental well-being, and connections with nature, Jarvis adds something else that Every Kid in a Park produces—pride. Many fourth graders take pride in being the one to gain the family’s admittance into the parks. Some, like one rural Idaho student, have taken on the task of choosing the park and planning the family summer trip there. What better way to build self-esteem than to be the key to a family outing?
After a shaky start to Every Kid in a Park’s renewal this year, the program has been reinstated for this year’s fourth graders. But it’s time to make it more permanent, so future third graders can look forward to their upcoming year to get their park pass.
What can you do? Drop a note to your congressional delegation to pass the Every Kid Outdoors Act. Exposing the next generation to national parks is one of the best ways to support our public lands.
To contact your congressional delegation, go here.
Don’t get us wrong—Nashville is incredible, and Vegas holds a special place in our hearts. Both cities are must-visit destinations. That being said, they’re easily two of the most popular cities in the country for bachelor and bachelorette parties. It’s time we admit it: bach parties aren’t one-size-fits-all. So if you’re looking for something a little different (and a little less crowded!) check out these 9 celebration-ready destinations for your bachelorette trip.
Savannah is the perfect mix of rowdy, sophisticated, and low-key, with a healthy dose of old-fashioned Southern hospitality. Whether you’re strolling the charming downtown streets or enjoying the sea breeze and a cocktail on Tybee Island, a sense of fun permeates this entire town. The extremely liberal to-go cup laws don’t hurt, either.
Seattle hardly deserves the dreary stereotype it’s so often given. From cutting-edge cuisine to a nationally-recognized cocktail culture and a thriving music scene (it’s not just grunge anymore!), Seattle is a rollicking good time. Bonus: If you’ve got some outdoorsy folks in your group, take advantage of the fresh air with a day trip to Mount Rainier or Bainbridge Island.
Montréal is a great city for indulging in food, culture, and libations. No matter what you’re up for—a quiet night sipping scotch or hitting the clubs until the wee hours of the morning—Montréal’s got you covered. Word of advice: unless you’re an 18-year-old out-of-towner, avoid the nightclubs of rue Crescent (though if you are, party on). Instead, migrate farther east to St-Laurent or the lower part of rue St-Denis for a more authentic Montréal experience.
Austin is one of the South’s most stylish and quirky cities, making it ideal for a celebratory group getaway. Enjoy a lively night on the town, catch a live band, and sip your way through everything from margarita cantinas to raucous saloons. For a more lowkey day, fill up on brunch downtown, then head to Barton Springs to cool off from that Texas heat.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The landscape of Santa Fe is so magical and inspiring, you and your party may feel like you’ve stepped into another world. This city is wonderful if you’re looking for something a little off-the-beaten-path: you’ll find fascinating history and culture, endless opportunities for outdoor adventure (rafting! hiking! hot air ballooning!), a vibrant arts scene, and absolutely scrumptious Southwestern food.
Portland is brimming with bach-ready activities: go brewery-hopping or hop on a brew bike, play blacklight miniature golf, try an escape room, take a group crafting class—there’s a lot of variety in this notoriously funky city. Combine it with plenty of renowned restaurants and a genuinely fun-loving nightlife scene, and you’ve got a great getaway ahead of you.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
Sunshine, surf, and Southern charm: if a beachy vibe is more your thing, look no further than OBX. Rent an oceanfront house with your whole crew, then spend your days lounging by the waves, walking along the dunes, and grilling in the backyard, or get your adrenaline on and try surfing, hang gliding, or kayaking. Either way, toast your glasses to a day well spent as the sun sets over the ocean.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
There’s really nothing like a New England summer, so if you’re planning your bachelorette trip for the warmer months, the Cape is another great beach option with a slightly different kind of charm. The shores are stunning, the locals are lovely, and the lobster rolls and cold beers just keep coming. Swim in the ocean or go whale watching, shop the adorable boutiques, enjoy a fabulous brunch, and take the ferry to Nantucket Island for a day—where you’ll find plenty of summery cocktails to sip.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada or California
If your style is more snowshoes or hiking boots than stilettos, Tahoe might just be your perfect pre-wedding destination. If you’re headed there in the winter, rent a cabin, explore charming mountain towns like Truckee, hit the slopes, and enjoy a well-deserved après-ski by the fire. In the warmer months, go hiking in the mountains, kayak on the lake, take a yoga class by the water, or kick back with a cold one at an al fresco restaurant.
No doubt about it: the U.S. is a stunningly diverse country, with a wealth of cities to explore and landscapes to see. But beyond the photo-ops and bucket-list sights, we believe the best thing about the U.S. is the abundance of experiences. From river rafting to salsa dancing, here are our choices for the top 15 experiences in the United States.
Hike among the redwoods in California. Gaze up at these incredible trees along the Avenue of the Giants, in the Redwood National and State Parks, throughout Sequoia National Park, or in Muir Woods.
Move to the beat of Music City. Nashville’s music scene is legendary: sway to the strums of a local singer-songwriter, toe-tap at a rowdy honky-tonk, or belt out country classics at a karaoke joint.
Camp in Nevada’s otherworldly landscapes. Choose the Black Rock Desert, Cathedral Gorge, Pyramid Lake, the Lunar Cuesta—or all of the above.
Walk the National Mall in Washington DC, where you’ll witness beautiful, moving, and iconic monuments to the nation’s history and heroes.
Tame the wild and scenic Snake River on a river rafting adventure in Grand Teton National Park.
Experience cowboy culture in Texas. Hear the distinctive clip-clop of longhorn hooves on Fort Worth’s brick streets, watch a genuine cowboy herd cattle at the iconic King Ranch, or cheer on the bull riders, barrel racers, and bareback riders at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo.
Feast on Maine lobster. Whether you’re dining on reinvented lobster rolls or picnicking on a pier, these crustaceans are quintessential New England.
Take a scenic drive on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, which boasts the gorgeous bluffs of Cape Flattery, haunting mists of Ruby Beach, and miles of sea stacks, tide pools, and rock-lounging seals.
Marvel at the geological wonderland that is Yellowstone, which houses more than 60% of the world’s geysers and hot springs. Check out the rainbow of colors at Grand Prismatic Spring, or the powerful eruptions at Old Faithful.
The ideal way to experience the California coast is to hit the road. Following this legendary road trip will take you through California’s bustling cosmopolitan cities, small beach towns, redwood forests, and sandy beaches.
[pullquote align=”right”]You can switch back and forth between the two routes depending on your pace and your interests. Highway 1 is generally more scenic; U.S. 101 is usually faster.[/pullquote]For the most part, you’ll cover this stunning 850 miles by following the legendary Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) and U.S. 101. You can switch back and forth between the two routes depending on your pace and your interests. Highway 1 is generally more scenic; U.S. 101 is usually faster. A few diversions onto other routes are necessary to cover the entire coast (for example, you’ll be driving I-5 between San Diego and Los Angeles).
The day-by-day routes below begin in Southern California, but you can just as easily start in Central or Northern California, or reverse the route (from driving north to driving south) if that works better for you. Combine all three itineraries to make a 16-day tour of the coast. If you’re pressed for time, choose just one or two of the itineraries.
Easygoing San Diego is a great place to start any vacation. Upon arrival, orient yourself by driving to the top of Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial, a small mountain that has views of the entire city. After that, head down to La Jolla Cove to go kayaking or snorkeling; or just lie on the beach.
In the afternoon, visit Balboa Park, where you’ll spend most of your time at the San Diego Zoo. End your day with a craft beer at one of San Diego’s many breweries, like the giant Stone Brewing Co., followed by a meal in the Gaslamp Quarter. Try the historic Grant Grill or the nearby Café Chloe.
The fastest way to reach the North County beach towns of Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside is to take I-5 north out of San Diego. Or, to cruise along the coast, opt for North Coast Highway 101 (also called Camino del Mar, San Elijo Boulevard, and Carlsbad Boulevard as it travels from Torrey Pines State Beach to Oceanside). Make sure to stop for a surf or a swim since the ocean temperatures cool as you head up the coast.
Continue north on I-5 to visit Huntington Beach before turning off towards Long Beach for a paranormal ship walk on The Queen Mary, an ocean liner that is now home to restaurants, a hotel, shops, and a museum. If you are daring enough, book a room for the night in the haunted ship.
Jump on I-405 to save some time and drive about 30 miles north, exiting toward Venice Beach. Park your vehicle and take a stroll along the Venice Boardwalk to take in the local wildlife that includes bodybuilders, street performers, and alternative-culture types. Without getting back on the highway, take the local roads paralleling the beach 10 minutes north to Santa Monica. Enjoy the amusement park rides of the Santa Monica Pier or just take a break on Santa Monica Beach. For dinner, get a taste of the Caribbean at Santa Monica’s casual but popular Cha Cha Chicken or backtrack to Venice for a hearty Italian meal at C&O Trattoria.
Consider heading inland for a day of culture (and pop culture). For aesthetic stimulation, visit the world-famous Getty Center or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Less rigorous on the mind is a walk down the star-studded Hollywood Walk of Fame and a stop at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, where you can find the handprints of your favorite movie stars. End the day in downtown Los Angeles with tacos from B.S. Taqueria followed by a cocktail with city views at The Upstairs Bar, the rooftop space atop the Ace Hotel.
Take the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) out of Santa Monica west as it heads away from sprawling Los Angeles and into Malibu. Stop at Malibu’s Surfrider Beach to watch the surfers compete for its famously peeling waves (or catch one yourself). After a morning outdoors, feed your mind with ancient art at The Getty Villa in Malibu. (Admission is free, but you’ll need to reserve a ticket in advance.) Finish the day by watching the sun slide into the Pacific from the outdoor deck of Neptune’s Net while enjoying fresh seafood.
If you want to spend more time in the Los Angeles area, you can easily fill a couple of days enjoying Disneyland Resort.
Central California Coast Road Trip in 6 Days
Santa Barbara and the Central Coast
Wake up early and drive north on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. Thirty-five miles from Malibu, at Oxnard, merge onto U.S. 101. Head north on U.S. 101 to Ventura and take the exit toward Ventura Harbor, where you can catch a boat out to Channel Islands National Park for a day of hiking, snorkeling, or kayaking on Santa Cruz Island or Anacapa Island. (Make boat reservations in advance.) Return to Ventura and eat dinner at one of its seafood restaurants, such as Lure Fish House or Spencer Makenzie’s Fish Company. Or have an Italian meal and cocktail at hip Café Fiore.
Take U.S. 101 north a half hour (28 miles) to Santa Barbara. Get a history fix at the Santa Barbara Mission, which might be the most beautiful of the 21 Spanish missions in California. Then taste some of Santa Barbara’s wines on the Urban Wine Trail, comprising six tasting rooms on lower State Street, or head north for a day at palm-lined Refugio State Beach, 20 miles west of Santa Barbara on U.S. 101.
If your schedule is flexible, you might consider another full day in Santa Barbara, another day of wine-tasting in the nearby Santa Maria Valley, or a day on the Gaviota Coast. Whatever you do, stop at Santa Barbara’s State Street for a fine meal or cocktail at a restaurant like the local favorite Opal. Or head off State Street for superb Mexican food at La Super-Rica Taqueria.
Drive 1.75 hours (92 miles) north of Santa Barbara on U.S. 101 to San Luis Obispo’s Madonna Inn, where you can take in its kitschy decor during a restroom and stretch-the-legs break.
Outdoor enthusiasts will want to head off the highway and go west on Los Osos Valley Road just 20 minutes (12 miles) to Montana de Oro State Park, one of the state’s best coastal parks. Picnic at Spooner’s Cove or hike to the top of 1,347-foot-high Valencia Peak. Then head back to U.S. 101 North, but be sure to turn onto Highway 1 north to take in sunset over Morro Rock, known as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.”
Another option is to drive an hour north (44 miles) to opulent Hearst Castle. Tours of this “ranch” built for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst offer insight into the lifestyle of the rich and infamous. However you spend your day, end it with a meal in one of the Central Coast’s unassuming beach towns: Morro Bay, Cayucos or Cambria.
Head north on Highway 1 for what might be the most scenic day of driving on your whole trip. The two-lane highway here winds along the mountains of Big Sur with plentiful views of the ocean. From Cambria to the heart of Big Sur is 75 miles, but the scenery, winding roadway, and frequent road construction can make the drive last well over two hours. Be sure to make multiple stops to take in the scenery at places like Salmon Creek Falls, Sand Dollar Beach, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Or opt for a comfy cabin by the river at Glen Oaks Big Sur or a rustic room at the charming Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn.
Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz
Continue up Highway 1 for 45 minutes (less than 30 miles) through the northern section of Big Sur to the Monterey Peninsula. Take a walk in Carmel’s Point Lobos State Reserve or head to scenic Carmel Beach. Then drive a few miles north into Monterey to spend the afternoon at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Dine on fresh seafood at Pacific Grove’s Passionfish, The Sandbar & Grill in Monterey, The Poke Lab in Monterey, or Phil’s Fish Market up Highway 1 in Moss Landing.
If you want to spend another day in this area, wander the galleries in Carmel-by-the-Sea, golf at Pebble Beach, or head inland to Carmel Valley for wine tasting.
Getting to Santa Cruz is an easy 50-minute drive (44 miles) up Highway 1 from the Monterey Peninsula. The eclectic beach city is an ideal place for recreation whether you are surfing, stand up paddleboarding, or hiking redwood-filled Forest of Nisene Marks State Park or the coastal bluffs of Wilder Ranch State Park. Refuel with a healthy snack at The Picnic Basket before ending the day with thrill rides at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
If your adrenaline is still racing from the Boardwalk rides, calm down with a drink at Red Restaurant & Bar or The Crepe Place.
Northern California Coast Road Trip in 5 Days
Wake up early for a drive on Highway 1 from Santa Cruz less than two hours (80 miles) to San Francisco. In the city, spend a few hours in the thought-provoking San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and have a creative snack at the museum’s In Situ; their menu features popular items from around the world. As the sun goes down, make sure to head out for dinner, whether it’s seafood at the Tadich Grill, modern Thai food at Lers Ros, or pizza at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. If you still have energy, make sure to check out some of San Francisco’s vibrant nightlife or a concert at a venue like the Great American Music Hall.
Head out on the San Francisco Bay to take a fascinating tour of the island prison Alcatraz (advanced booking is strongly recommended). Or secure passage on a ferry to Angel Island, which has hiking trails that offer up some of the finest views of the city.
In the afternoon, shop the used clothing stores of Haight-Ashbury or the department stores of Union Square. Or browse the books at City Lights in North Beach.
You’ll quickly fall in love with San Francisco; you can easily extend your romance to three or four days if you have the time.
The North Coast
Your journey north begins with a drive on U.S. 101 over San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge. After five miles turn off U.S. 101 to Highway 1 at Mill Valley. On the slow, over-four-hour drive up the coast (around 160 miles), make time to stop at places like the tiny but unique Sea Ranch Chapel, which is just feet off Highway 1, and take a hike on the stunning cliffside trails in the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit of the California Coastal National Monument.
End the day in the community of Mendocino with a view of the sunset at Mendocino Headlands State Park or a pint at the lively Patterson’s Pub or at the one-of-a-kind dive bar Dick’s Place.
Drive Highway 1 north of Fort Bragg until the road turns inland to connect with U.S. 101 after about an hour of driving. Opt for the Avenue of the Giants, a 31-mile drive through redwoods by the Eel River. Even though it’s only 31 miles, the drive could take a few hours if you decide to get out of your car and ponder the trees.
Get back on U.S. 101 North and head an hour north (60 miles) to Eureka. Stop to wander the city’s Old Town and Waterfront. Taste some of the delicious oysters at the Humboldt Bay Provisions.
Continue on U.S. 101 another 10 minutes or so to charming Arcata. Wander through the redwoods of the Arcata Community Forest before sundown. Dine at one of the restaurants surrounding the lively Arcata Plaza. Follow it with a craft beer at Dead Reckoning Tavern.
Start your morning with a tasty crepe from Arcata’s Renata’s Creperie and Espresso before hitting U.S. 101 North on your final day. About 20 minutes north (15 miles), exit to the scenic coastal city of Trinidad. Have your camera handy for photos of Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, Trinidad Head and Trinidad State Beach.
Another half hour up U.S. 101 (26 miles), turn onto Newton B. Drury Scenic Drive to explore Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. If you have the energy, drive out Davison Road to Gold Bluffs Beach, where Roosevelt elk roam the sands, and continue on the dirt drive to hike the one-mile round-trip Fern Canyon Trail, which passes through a steep canyon draped in bright green ferns.
Head back out to U.S. 101 to drive the 45 minutes (38 miles) to Crescent City, where you can get a hotel room and a full night’s sleep.
I would best describe myself as an artist with insatiable wanderlust. I visited 30 countries by my 30th birthday, filling up sketchbooks as I bounced from place to place. Most of these trips were done on my own. I found that art has a magical way of bringing people closer together and breaking language barriers (a Parisian once asked me out on a date by doodling the Eiffel Tower), and for me, it’s the best way to bridge my present experiences and my imagination.
Full disclosure: I lived in New York City in my early 20s and have visited countless times since. Yet the city is still a mystery to me. While I have my regular haunts (yes, after 10 years some are still there!), the true joy of NYC is still exploration.
As a visitor (whether it’s your first time or not), the city can be overwhelming in its options. The Moon New York Walks book thoughtfully breaks down the city into six walks, with enough options for food, coffee breaks, museums, historical sites, shopping, and even more food to fill your day.
I chose Walk 2 through NoLita, SoHo, the West Village, and the High Line for nostalgic reasons. This was a neighborhood I frequented often for food, shopping, and dancing, and I wanted to see how it had changed (and also because I noticed the book suggested stopping at Magnolia’s, which I did visit, of course, because BANANA PUDDING. But I’m getting ahead of myself…).
First stop: breakfast! I skipped ahead to The Butcher’s Daughter (19 Kenmare Street, stop 8) to get settled, eat, and do my first NYC sketch. I had a delicious kale Caesar salad-something light, because I knew I had to save room for dessert later.
I looped back around and strolled down Elizabeth Street to explore the various shops. It was around the holidays so there were several pop-up shops that weren’t listed in the book, including The 5th, an adorable pop-up from Australia. They were making free Australian cappuccinos and coffees, yum!
Thomas Sires (243 Elizabeth Street, stop 3) had an eclectic collection of clothes, toys, and accessories. It’s so well curated, you’ll want to take the time to explore every corner of the shop.
Just next door is Le Labo (233 Elizabeth Street, stop 4), part scientific laboratory, part vintage boutique, that mixes customizable fragrances right in front of your eyes.
I took a shortcut to McNally Jackson Books, and serendipitously stumbled upon Concrete Collaborative (211 Mott Street), a shop where, you guessed it, everything’s concrete! I fell in love with the minimalist concrete planters.
Ah, McNally Jackson Books (52 Prince Street, stop 10). It’s no Strand Bookstore in terms of quantity (what is?), but it wins in ambiance and has a fantastic selection of books. I sat in the café, took out my sketchbook, and gazed up at the ceiling of floating books.
I headed to Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleecker Street, stop 27), the sweets shop made famous by Sex and the City and SNL’s Digital Short. Personal opinion, though: skip the cupcakes. It’s all about the banana pudding.
At this point I was chasing the sun and its warmth (December in New York, brrr!), and high-tailed it to one of my favorite places in Manhattan, the High Line. A park perched above the city streets and built on the former viaduct section of the New York Central Railroad, the High Line perfectly encompasses New York City: a little bit of old and new, with a diversity of locals and tourists adventuring about. What I love is that you can see the rail tracks between the plants and benches (some of them even roll!).
My favorite section is the gallery over 17th St. and 10th Ave., with a theatre-like window overlooking the street. Since the park’s opening, I’ve lost hours sitting here, observing the chaos down below, and savoring a rare moment of quiet in New York City.
A road trip from Nashville to New Orleans is a musical treat of a trip. Its roots and melodies are as long and deep as the roots of the trees along the Natchez Trace. Blues, country, jazz, Americana, African slave songs, and more can trace some of their development—if not their origins—to time on these roadways.
Here are 15 select albums, from historic to contemporary, with connections to these routes for you to listen to on your road trip to better understand this region of America. They’re arranged (loosely) from north to south; you can follow along to this soundtrack with the road trip itineraries in Moon Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip.
“Sweet Home Alabama,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s best-known song, name checks Muscle Shoals and its signature musicians known as Swampers, and explains some of the history of the Yellowhammer state. While the song certainly has a controversial history (and Lynyrd Skynyrd are actually from Florida, not Alabama), there’s no denying it’s a bedrock of the South and Southern music.
13. Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Civil War Songs of the South” and “Civil War Songs of the North”
The country crooner revisits traditional Civil War songs that were likely sung along the Natchez Trace.
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Rebirth” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” src=”https://moon.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/rebirth.jpg” alt=”Rebirth Brass Band album We Come to Party”]
Traditional New Orleans jazz is combined with hip hop and funk on this album.
[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Shorty” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” src=”https://moon.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/tromboneshorty.jpg” alt=”Trombone Shorty album Say That to Say This”]
In major cities around the world, street food is one of those commodities that never really goes out of style. There’s something universal and irresistible about a warm plate of carbs and meat after a night on the town or a full day of walking the city—preferably handheld and bought for under $10 from a sidewalk vendor with a long line of hungry fans.
Variations of these late-night delicacies exist from New York’s bustling avenues, to the canals of Amsterdam, to Rome’s cobblestone piazzas. In many ways, iconic street eats are an integral part of visiting a new city. Beyond the appealingly low price tag, these dishes are highly valued for the glimpse they offer into a city’s history, culture, and authentic local flavor.
For cheap, portable eats in Paris, look no further than your local crêperie. Street stands and holes-in-the-wall abound in just about every neighborhood, and generally offer both sweet and savory crêpes. Classic sweet-tooth options include Nutella and banana, or sugar, lemon, and cinnamon; a savory favorite is ham and cheese (traditionally emmental). For a little extra something, ask them to throw an egg on there, too. You won’t regret it.
To find a great crêperie in the neighborhood you’re exploring, pick up a copy of Moon Paris Walks.
Countless cultures have influenced New York street food, but the 24-hour diner—while not technically a “street food”—is an enduring classic for cheap and filling late-night grub. Old school spots like the Skylight Diner in Hell’s Kitchen, Scotty’s Diner in Murray Hill, and Kellogg’s Diner in Williamsburg serve the standards (burgers, breakfast, etc.) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Another perennial favorite is Veselka: a no-frills, 24-hour Ukrainian restaurant (conveniently located near the bustling nightlife of the East Village) with some of the best pierogis around. And if all else fails, round a few corners until you stumble across a halal cart or dollar pizza joint—it might not be the highest rated slice in town, but your taste buds won’t care.
Unsurprisingly, pizza to-go is a decidedly different affair in Rome—though it’s still a popular late-night option. To satisfy after-dark cravings, Romans grab their pizza al taglio (“by the cut”): baked in rectangular batches, sliced into squares, and sold by the kilogram for an easy, tasty, grab-and-go meal. The option to purchase by weight gives you the glorious ability to sample more than one flavor. Go for a classic margherita or pizza bianca (focaccia with a generous dose of olive oil and sea salt), then throw in a more adventurous slice—maybe prosciutto with eggplant and cheese, or (a personal favorite) thinly sliced potatoes with rosemary. Delizioso.
Thick, crispy, and piping hot: in Amsterdam, cheap street food = fries. You’ll find these delicious bundles of starchy perfection all over the city. Locals usually dip theirs in either plain or flavored mayonnaise (house-made is always best), but most vendors have a ton of interesting dipping options, from curry and ketchup to applesauce. They’re typically served in paper cones, making them especially easy to carry around—and, added bonus, they’ll keep your hands warm during the colder months. Grab a beer to wash it all down, and you’ll be warmed right up.
The currywurst: a strange and polarizing mashup that was born out of post-war Berlin, this dish spread from its origins as a working-class street food to become one of the city’s most defining culinary markers. Sausage served with ketchup and a healthy sprinkle of curry power may raise some eyebrows at first, but the currywurst is ubiquitous and well-loved. You’ll find slight variations in presentation depending on what side of the city you’re on and which vendor you choose, but most will come with a side of fries and—most importantly—a low price tag.
Another classic option is the döner kebab, which is arguably the more popular street food in Berlin. Originally a Turkish sandwich of thinly sliced rotisserie meat and salad wrapped in pita or flatbread, variations of the kebab exist throughout Europe, with Berlin generally considered the European version’s “home base.” You can typically choose between lamb, chicken, and beef, though vegetarian options are steadily on the rise. Be sure to order yours piled high with veggies and doused in hot sauce.
We’ve made it easy for you to find great restaurants by neighborhood in Moon Berlin Walks.
When your stomach starts to growl in Barcelona (and perhaps you’ve had your fill of tapas for the day), you’re going to want to get your hands on some churros con chocolate. This popular pairing can be found all over the city, and will satisfy a sweet tooth like nothing else. The European chocolate is more like a hot chocolate/pudding hybrid: thick, intensely chocolatey, and perfect for dipping crispy, fried-to-perfection churros into. Plenty of cafés will have the mouthwatering duo on their menu, but if you’re really on the go, check out Comaxurros: alongside a brick-and-mortar spot, the popular churrería has a food truck that makes its way around the city.
When it comes to street food in London, you’re in luck: the cheap-eats and food trucks movements are huge here, so the choices in this melting pot run the gamut from bagels and banh mi to tacos and fried chicken. At the risk of a never-ending list, here are a few beloved food truck favorites: Mother Clucker for fried chicken, Bao for juicy pork buns, Rōla Wala for “twisted Indian street food,” and You Doughnut for adorable handmade donut and ice cream sundaes (yes, you read that correctly).
What do Ralph Waldo Emerson and Robert Parker have in common? They both lived and worked in New England, and whether they sought the serenity of Walden Pond or roamed the tough streets of Boston, this region informs their work. Add in greats such as Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sylvia Plath, and Atul Gawande, and you’ll get a glimpse of the range of authors who call this area home.
There’s a reason New England—and particularly Greater Boston—continues to be a literary hotspot, more than three centuries after Anne Bradstreet penned her poems in what is now Cambridge. While groups like Grub Street and the Writers’ Room offer groups, classes, and support, and the Boston Literary District kicks off the annual Boston Book Fest with its fun Lit Hub pub crawl (Oct 26 this year), those of us who live by the pen know that what makes Boston’s literary heart beat are its independent bookstores. While chains—or online giants like Amazon—dominate elsewhere, the indie bookstore scene is alive and well here, creating an environment where readers and writers of all types thrive. Pop into some of these Boston bookstores, or check out Indiebound for a complete listing of indie bookstores in the Greater Boston area.
In Cambridge, home of Harvard University as well as Mistress Bradstreet, two quite different indies rule. Although it’s not affiliated with the university, Harvard Bookstore has held sway across the street from Harvard Yard since 1932. The sprawling bookstore features new fiction and nonfiction upstairs and a huge basement of remainders and used books below. Store best sellers and staff picks get their own displays, and one entire wall of featured titles are on sale at 20% off during their month in the spotlight. And if the book you seek is a rare or out-of-print tome, look to Paige M. Guttenberg, the store’s print-on-demand “book robot” (which also does a handy job with self-published works).
Right up Mass. Ave, Porter Square Books–winner of Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” for 2017–adds a café to the mix, along with a popular fiction section (vital to crime fiction authors like me!) that’s second to none, which means readers can enjoy a ginger lemonade as they browse the latest whodunit or NPR pick. Both shops have regular and varied reading series, as well as frequent buyer programs that reward readers.
Further west, brand new Belmont Books is the newest addition to the local indie list, filling a void left seven years ago when the beloved Charlesbank Books closed. Featuring weekly events and cozy children’s area, Belmont Books looks to become a community center. Head a bit further out, and you’ll find the Concord Bookshop, which has been serving Thoreau’s hometown since its founding in 1940. The knowledgeable staff, which includes former librarians and educators as well as writers, offer great staff picks.
Across the river, Brookline Booksmith holds sway. Since 1961, this huge and well curated store—winner of the Improper Bostonian’s 2017 Best Bookstore award—has a fun collection of toys, housewares, and gifts, as well as volumes old and new. Booksmith’s busy event series not only hosts touring authors but also reading groups, like the Small Press Book Club and YA Fierce Reads events. In 2010, Booksmith’s sister store in Wellesley spun off under new owners as Wellesley Books, and has added a special focus on local authors to its own fine collection and reading series.
Downtown Boston, meanwhile, has its own book culture, and discerning readers often head to trendy Newbury Street for the quirky Trident Bookseller and Café. With its roots in counterculture, Trident is the place for works on astrology and alternative health, as well as healthy treats in its upstairs café. The multi-level store also boasts both a great selection of literary journals as well.
Meanwhile, out in Newton, the beloved New England Mobile Book Fair has finally lived up to the “mobile” part of its name, moving from its longtime location earlier this fall to a new spot down the street. For several months, the fate of the store—known for its warehouse-like shelves and books filed by publisher—was in doubt until a suitable new space was found. Although the move required some culling in the cavernous store, the hearty reception local readers (and authors) have given the new space (at 4,400 SF considerably smaller than the previous 32,000 SF store) demonstrates the strong relationship yet another indie bookstore has to the community.