The pandemic has decimated urban tourism as Americans have fled populated areas when they want to travel to spread to rural and wilderness areas where social distancing is becoming easier.
With business travel all but suspended, city hotels and tourism organizations have made a press on the court to attract mostly locals and nearby vacationers with basic rates and additional perks. Such campaigns to persuade visitors within driving distances have shown signs of success. In downtown Los Angeles, the Hotel Figueroa reported an occupancy rate of nearly 80 percent over a weekend, mainly due to the 26 percent expansion of the contract to California residents. In Austin, Texas, the Fairmont Austin filled up to 70 percent on a few weekends with a "Texas Strong" offer starting at $ 150 per night including parking and $ 25 credit. As of July, about three-quarters of weekend guests at Pendry San Diego, where prices start at $ 295, have come from within 300 miles.
Staying – especially staying in a hotel rather than at home – may be practical, but is hardly spontaneous these days. More than ever, you need to plan important staycation activities. When space is limited, most museums, tours, and restaurants require prior reservations.
If you live near any of the following six cities and have decided against traveling further afield, here are some tips on how to become a local tourist. This will save you some money – and maybe your city's tourism industry too.
PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS The city is currently limiting indoor eating to 40 percent. Due to the rise in local infections, eating indoors will be banned and the number of gatherings will be limited to 25 people from October 30th. Bars may only be operated outdoors. Dining and standing tables are limited to six people. In hotels, a daily cleaning service is possible on request. Face covering is required in both indoor and outdoor public areas.
ACCOMMODATION OFFERS The new ornate 21c Museum Hotel Chicago just off Michigan Avenue offers 30 percent off $ 120 through December 1st. Guests have unlimited access to the hotel's art galleries. Nearby is the Chicago Peninsula, where the glass-enclosed pool offers a view of the skyline. After a 39 percent discount, the second night is $ 525 per night. The second breakfast includes a daily breakfast, $ 50 hotel credit, and other perks through December. Further offers can be found on the offers page of the tourist office.
THINGS TO DO The blockbuster impressionist show "Monet and Chicago" runs through January 18 at the Art Institute of Chicago, which is now limited to 25 percent capacity (reservation required, from 25 US dollars). At the same time, the Garfield Park Conservatory planted "The Flowers of Monet" under its high glass roofs by October 31 (US $ 5). The 90-minute architectural river cruise with the knowledgeable faculty at the Chicago Architecture Center is a boon (from $ 46 through November 15). Or take a tour of the city's gangster past or architectural landmarks with Free Tours By Foot. Explore the downtown Riverwalk on foot or bike the 18-mile Lakefront Trail (divvy bike shares start at $ 3 for 30 minutes).
EAT As winter approaches, many Chicago restaurants are finding ways to continue serving al fresco, from tent decks (Mon Ami Gabi) to rooftop heaters and fire pits (Aba). Restaurants such as Publican and Duck Duck Goat use igloos and greenhouses built in the Fulton Market neighborhood.
HOLIDAY AFFAIRS Holiday celebrations also take place outdoors. Starting November 12th, Art on theMART, a digital projection on the 2.5 hectare facade of a building formerly known as the Merchandise Mart, will project “The Nutcracker” by the Joffrey Ballet (free of charge). ZooLights, which illuminate the Lincoln Park Zoo, run November 21 through January 3 (tickets $ 5).
PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS In Los Angeles County, face masks are required in public, including beaches. Restaurants, breweries and wineries may only be served outdoors. Museums remain closed. Shopping centers are busy at 25 percent. Hotels can be at full capacity, but social distancing measures include limiting elevator occupancy to four or fewer.
ACCOMMODATION OFFERS The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles has a progressive offer that starts at 20 percent off for one night from $ 149 and up to 30 percent off for three or more nights including coffee and pastries. Shutters on the Beach rooms in Santa Monica cost approximately $ 495. If you stay for four nights, the price per night drops by 20 percent to around 400 US dollars. Discover Los Angeles has a list of hotel deals that are valid through the end of the year.
THINGS TO DO Museums may be closed, but beaches, parks, and trails are all open as Los Angeles encompasses the great outdoors. Take a walking tour of Griffith Park to the iconic Hollywood sign (free) or take a guided stroll through Koreatown or Hollywood with DTLA Walking Tours ($ 25). Exhibitions at La Brea Tar Pits are closed, but visitors can visit the grounds and watch the paleontologists dig up Ice Age fossils (season tickets required, from $ 6). Next door, take a selfie in front of the Urban Light installation of 202 antique cast iron street lights in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. While traffic is relatively low, see Los Angeles' vibrant outdoor art scene, including the new murals, dedicated to Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Enjoy the six-hour “L.A. in a day ”32-mile bike tour with Bikes and Hikes L.A. ($ 162, including bikes).
EAT Los Angeles is taking advantage of the weather and has embraced al fresco dining, relocating entire areas to the open air, including Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, home of The Butcher & # 39; s Daughter and Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails, as well as the restaurant-rich Arts District. (Check the California Restaurant Association for updates).
HOLIDAY AFFAIRS Few holiday events have been confirmed, with the exception of the new Elf on the Shelfs Magical Holiday Journey, a one-hour drive-through show that takes place November 6 through January 3 at the Fairplex Events Campus in Pomona (starts at $ 24.95).
PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS Miami-Dade County requires face masks indoors. Indoor and outdoor dining is unlimited as long as facilities keep tables two meters apart. No more than 10 people are allowed to gather and there is a curfew from midnight to 6 a.m. Beaches are open without a face shield as long as visitors maintain a social distance of 6 feet from others outside their households. Cinemas, concert halls and other indoor entertainment venues are limited to a capacity of 50 percent.
ACCOMMODATION OFFERS The bohemian Freehand Miami in South Beach offers a family rate of 30 percent from $ 60 per night with a two night minimum through December 29th. Luxury hotels offer additional amenities. At the InterContinental Miami downtown, room nights start at $ 229 and include access to a beach club on South Beach with lounge chairs, use of bicycles, and early check-in. Visit the Miami Visitors Bureau website for more deals.
THINGS TO DO In addition to beach time, explore the wild side of the area at Biscayne National Park at nearby Homestead. Paddle tours with the Biscayne National Park Institute include kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding in 90-minute to six-hour trips (from $ 39). The expanded Rubell Museum, dedicated to contemporary art and newly relocated to the up and coming Allapattah neighborhood, is less than 25 percent open and shows more than 300 works by 100 influential artists, including Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama and Kehinde Wiley (tickets Nov. U.S. dollar) ). Nearby, wander the mural-filled Wynwood neighborhood, home to the Wynwood Walls (free). Indulge in wild local history on a "scandal" walking tour of South Beach with the nonprofit Miami Design Preservation League ($ 30).
EAT Eating or drinking al fresco in Miami isn't difficult, from the cocktail garden at Casa Florida in Little Havana to the new outdoor dining room, The Doral Yard, on Main Street in the town of Doral west of the airport.
HOLIDAY AFFAIRS Visit the 1920s Deering Estate, a seaside property developed by industrialist Charles Deering to see the vintage Christmas decorations from November 27 to January 8 (admission $ 15).
PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS In New York, face covering is required in public, including on the subways. Hotels have no capacity restrictions on guest rooms, although the number of gatherings is limited to 50 people. Restaurants can be served indoors with a capacity of up to 25 percent. Inside, museums and historical sites are also 25 percent occupied. Broadway and theaters across the city will remain closed.
ACCOMMODATION OFFERS In Midtown, the Dylan Hotel NYC is offering 25 percent off its best rates through year-end using the promo code NYCGO, which often increases rooms in the 1911 former Chemists Club to $ 104. Among the luxury hotels in the neighborhood, the Langham New York offers a package with a 10 percent discount, a credit of 50 USD and free parking (from 495 USD, advance discount). Further hotel offers can be found on the offers page of the visitor's office. A partnership with Mastercard offers $ 25 back to $ 100 spent on hotels, up to $ 100 by year-end.
THINGS TO DO You can return to the capacity-driven Metropolitan Museum of Art. But maybe now is the time to explore the more secluded Met Cloisters, built with elements from medieval European monasteries and dedicated to European medieval art, on 4 acres in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan (timed entry 25 US -Dollar). Take unhindered strolls across the Brooklyn Bridge or along the High Line, the elevated linear park on the west side of Manhattan (free, but timed entry by November 1st is required for the High Line). See the lights of the city at night with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises through October 31st (from $ 27). NYC & Company maintains a useful page that details what is open in the city.
EAT Outdoor dining, a formerly temporary solution to indoor restaurant closings, has been introduced permanently. More than 10,000 restaurants have moved into the open air and many adapt to winter with heat lamps, tents and plastic iglos. In addition, the city's Open Streets: Restaurants program will continue, closing blocks like NoMad Piazza on Broadway between 25th and 31st streets to allow restaurants to expand into the street.
HOLIDAY AFFAIRS Macy & # 39; s Thanksgiving Day Parade will televise a spectacle from Herald Square and warn personal viewers. However, the Bronx Zoo plans to hold its Christmas lights from November 20 through January 10 (tickets $ 34.95). The LuminoCity Festival light installation on Randalls Island plans to return with timed entry, temperature checks and hand sanitizing stations from November 27 to January 10 (tickets $ 38).
PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS In Phoenix, indoor eating is limited to 50 percent. Events are limited to 50 people. Hotel pools are open. Face-covering is required indoors throughout Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.
ACCOMMODATION OFFERS In the run-up to the holidays, there are offers in the many resorts in the city. Through February 25, the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is offering midweek rates starting at $ 279, including $ 100 resort credit, free golf for up to four golfers, and 50 percent off pool cabana reservations. The Phoenician luxury resort in neighboring Scottsdale has rates of $ 279 through January 31, a year-over-year savings of 35 percent. A family outing package offers a second connecting room with a 25 percent discount.
THINGS TO DO Take advantage of the cooler fall temperatures to hike in and around Phoenix, from an easy stroll through the red sandstone formations of Papago Park to a challenging hike on top of the city's landmark, Camelback Mountain (free). Stay outdoors to see the cacti and succulents at the Desert Botanical Garden (timed tickets $ 24.95), or mask yourself and check out the extensive collections of Native American art at the Heard Museum, where capacity is about 33 percent (15 USD) is limited. Among the nightlife options, there are several drive-in theaters around town and the theater at the Museum of Musical Instruments, which recently opened with half-capacity concerts for 60- to 75-minute shows (tickets start at $ 23.50). From October through December, the Royal Palms Resort & Spa has live music and outdoor movie screenings with socially detached seating on the lawn (free).
EAT The weather in Phoenix invites you to dine al fresco – especially in winter – with offers ranging from the urban, farm-to-table-refined ocotillo to the suburban lons in the Hermosa Inn, surrounding guests in desert blossoms and mud walls.
HOLIDAY AFFAIRS This year, ZooLights visitors to the Phoenix Zoo can view the lighted grounds on foot ($ 20) or on cruise nights ($ 60 per car) from November 7th through January 31st. The event production company World of Illumination will stage the mile-long drive-through light and music show "Rockin 'Christmas" in the suburb of Glendale from November 6th to January 3rd and "Arctic Adventure" in nearby Tempe from November 10th to 3rd. January (from 29 USD each).
PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS King County, home of Seattle, is in Phase 2 of Washington State's four-step reopening plan, which limits restaurants to under 50 percent capacity and tables to a maximum of six guests. Libraries, museums and cinemas are busy at 25 percent. People in public and common spaces, indoors or outdoors, must wear masks. In response to the high profile social justice protests this summer, Visit Seattle created a safety website.
ACCOMMODATION OFFERS Downtown Thompson Seattle, overlooking Pike Place Market, has a Weekender Deal with parking and $ 25 breakfast credit (from $ 209). Seattle's Fairmont Olympic Hotel, where the pool is closed but the gym is open with private peloton and yoga rooms available upon reservation, has an overnight stay for the whole family that is based on the pet fee (usually 50 USD) and includes breakfast and parking (from 249 USD).
THINGS TO DO The temperate weather, with or without drizzle, makes it a seasonless attraction to explore the region's lush coastlines, waterways, and mountains. The nonprofit Washington Trails Association lists hundreds of hiking trails in close proximity to the city, from the 1.5 mile city route in the Washington Park Arboretum to the eight mile circular hike on Mount Si, 30 miles east of the city, at an altitude of 3,150 Foot . Stay on foot to see the outdoor art in the 9-acre Olympic Sculpture Park, with works by Richard Serra and Louise Bourgeois (free). Rent a hybrid bike from Pedal Anywhere (starting at $ 30 per day) to explore the northern parts of Seattle via the 20-mile Burke-Gilman Trail. Enjoy the extra leeway with the Chihuly Garden and Glass ($ 32) glass sculpture installation.
EAT Temporary permits for al fresco dining on the sidewalk and roadside were recently extended to October 31, 2021. The landmark Pike Place Market has set up pop-up terraces and seating for its restaurants.
HOLIDAY AFFAIRS WildLanterns at Woodland Park Zoo, featuring lanterns shaped like grizzly bears, snow leopards, and more, run from November 13th to January 17th (timed tickets $ 28.95).