Author Archives: Two Scots Abroad

Fall Travel Destinations

Autumn Leaves

Whether you are looking for a leaf-peeping road trip or things to do this autumn, our fall travel guides are full of foliage and Halloween treats!


Queens View in Scotland


Michigan Tahquamenon falls with fall leaves on trees

Look The Part

You might also be interested in some of our recommended travel gear which includes items that keep you dry, safe and comfortable from head to toe.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! We use True Traveller, which is a company for Europeans. Many others use World Nomads.

You can read our comparison guide here.

12 Best Tours in Dubai: Desert Safaris, Abu Dhabi + Line Skips

Old Dubai boat, skyline

On vacation and looking to build your itinerary with the best tours in Dubai, or are you short on time and need quick tips during a stopover?

This guide details exciting Dubai excursions for every budget including time-saving skip the line tickets, thrilling desert tours and an Abu Dubai day trip.

You may also like: how to spend 1-3 days in Dubai, where to stay in Dubai, and how to dress in Dubai.

Dubai Tours for Every Budget

1. Burj Khalifa Levels 124 & 125 Observation Decks ‘At the Top’ $$

The first attraction a tourist needs to see in order to believe that they’re in Dubai is the Burj Khalifa.

Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world which stands proudly in the middle of Downtown Dubai, right beside The Dubai Mall.

It is approximately 828m tall and can be seen from almost any part of the city. Tourists who are brave enough to go ‘At the Top’ will be rewarded with breath-taking 360-degree views of the entire city.

The main observation decks are located on levels 124 and 125 and if you’re willing to pay more, you can even go all the way up to level 148. This experience isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Just picture yourself being on top of the world while every other building in the city looks like it’s a center for ants. The best time to visit the top is around 5-6pm.

That’s when you’ll enjoy the beautiful sun setting over the Arabian sea as all the city lights start to come alive.

Even though you can purchase ‘At the Top’ tickets in the lobby, it’s much better to book them online in advance to choose the perfect time slot before it gets sold out.

You can then pick up tickets at ‘Will Call’ as soon as you arrive.

Try to get there early because the lines can be intense, especially for those who have booked the sunset slots.

You won’t get bored while waiting because, through interactive displays, you’ll get a very rich history lesson about the architecture of the building.

You’ll also get to hear a lot of fun facts.

Did you know that the weight of all the concrete used to construct the Burj Khalifa is equivalent of 100,000 elephants?

As soon as it’s your turn to go to the top, get ready to experience the fastest elevator ride in the world. When those elevator doors open and your heart barely stops pounding, you’ll be greeted by the staff with a warm smile saying those delightful words, “Enjoy the view.”

You might even see Tom Cruise scaling the building again on a top-secret mission.

You can easily get to Burj Khalifa by metro, but it’s a very long walk just to exit the station alone! Taxis are inexpensive in Dubai so it’s better to just hop into one.

Make sure that your driver takes you through Sheikh Zayed Road. That way, you will see the futuristic stretch of the Dubai skyline along the way, especially Emirates Towers, where Star Trek was filmed.

This will surely build up a lot more excitement as you finally approach the Burj Khalifa. 

  • Pros: Jump the line, choose a specific time
  • Cons: Audio tours additional fee
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
Burj Khalifa Dubai Skyline

2. Evening Desert Safari Dubai $$-$$$

A desert safari is one of the best tours in Dubai. Once upon a time, Dubai was nothing but a vast and empty desert.

That’s why it’s worth going back in time to experience where it all began and treating yourself to a delicious Dubai desert dinner, underneath the stars.

There are many tour companies that provide competitive rates for a standard desert safari with BBQ dinner.

In order to choose the right desert safari company in Dubai, make sure to read some online reviews from previous customers.

You can book your own four-wheel drive if you’re traveling together in a group or share one with other tourists to make some new friends.

A standard evening desert safari begins around 3-4pm, which gives you plenty of time for other activities in the morning. A very spacious and comfortable air-conditioned land cruiser will pick you up from your hotel.

After an hour’s drive, you’ll briefly stop at an old service station with souvenir shops, for a chance to stretch your legs while your driver removes air from the tires.

The friendly shopkeepers will offer to sell you a ‘Ghutra,’ which is a traditional Arabic headscarf worn by local Bedouins to protect against dust and sandstorms. It also helps keep your head cool on hot days and it’s fun to watch how skilfully they tie it for you.

A stop there only lasts 20 minutes and then it’s time to go bashing through the Lehbab desert dunes.

Dune bashing in Dubai is such an exhilarating experience and can even be a little scary for some people. You’ll be safely strapped inside a 4×4 Land Cruiser as your driver expertly speeds you up and down the giant sand dunes.

You’ll see lots of great views of the desert but get ready for some serious butterflies in your stomach! Your driver might also be adventurous enough to tilt the cruiser over the edge of a massive dune to make you feel as though you’re about to fall.

Dune bashing is such a thrilling rollercoaster experience in the desert, and you’ll love every moment of the adrenaline rush. One member of our group was extremely nervous, but our driver’s great sense of humor really helped put everyone at ease.

The drivers are friendly and knowledgeable, feel free to ask them any questions and they’ll be happy to engage with you.

Don’t worry about not getting good photos from inside the cruiser, your driver will stop at a beautiful spot for a photo op with the magnificent sunset in the background.

Most Dubai desert dinner tours start early afternoon and last approximately 5-7 hours. They also provide full transport, so you don’t have to worry about hitching a ride in the middle of the desert.

There are many different desert tours in Dubai for all the popular activities that you’d like to experience.

  • Pros: Sunset, BBQ, dune bashing
  • Cons: No camel experience
  • Duration: 6-7 hours
Desert Safari Dune Bashing Tour 4WD on san

3. Red Dune Safari with Sandboarding and BBQ $$

Instead of just stopping for a sunset photo op, with this tour, you’ll also get to hop on a board and go surfing down the sand dunes.

It’s great fun to have a race with all your friends and having a good laugh whenever someone falls on the sand.

Because the sand is very soft, sandboarding is a very safe and fun activity even for children.

There will also be a great opportunity to experience riding a camel. It’s a short ride, but still great for a few photos.

After building up a strong appetite on the dunes, you’ll be taken to a private oasis called Lahbab camp to have an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner. You’ll be seated around a large stage area and enjoy various musical shows such as belly dancing.

The buffet options are plentiful consisting of bread, rice, salads, Arabic meats, and sweets.

Be sure to try the typical Arabic sweet called ‘Luqaimat.’ It’s like a warm and soft deep-fried marshmallow that just melts in your mouth.

You’ll want 50 of them for sure!

You’ll also get unlimited coffee, tea, water, juices, and soft drinks. Alcoholic drinks aren’t free but it’s still worth splurging a little on a cold beer in the desert.

There’s a separate area where everyone can gather around and smoke some delicious shisha.

You can either have your own shisha or share one with two different pipes. Unfortunately, all the free shishas are the same flavor so if you want to try different ones, you’ll have to pay extra for it.

You can also get a temporary henna tattoo from a professional artist and pose with a real falcon. Make sure to get the henna done after dinner because it takes a while to dry and peel off. After all, the best way to experience true Arabic cuisine is by eating with your hands!

  • Pros: Same as above tours + camel experience
  • Cons: Charges for additional options
  • Duration: 4-7 hours

4. Bike the Red Dunes, Sandboard and BBQ with Shows $$

This safari tour has most of the activities (minus dune bashing).

Instead of a 4×4 cruiser, you can fulfill your need for speed by riding your own quad bike for 45 minutes through the desert.

You’ll get all the safety tips on the day, so don’t worry if you’re not an experienced rider.

Just make sure that you choose a reputable Dubai tour guide for this safari.

This is very important because some use very old quad bikes and a tourist was hospitalized

That was a very rare case but it’s still wise to do some research when you’re booking any Dubai safari tours.

  • Pros: Quads for thrill seekers
  • Cons: No dune bashing
  • Duration: 6 hours

6. Morning Safari with Quad Bikes and Sandboarding

This Dubai desert safari tour is like the ones in the evening, but you’ll have to wake up early for it. It’s much shorter for just 4-5 hours and is perfect for those who don’t want to spend an entire day in the desert.

You can go dune bashing, camel riding, quad biking, sandboarding, and enjoy a picnic at Jumeirah Beach after you’re done. Pro: Shorter, great for those on stopovers Con:  Duration: 4-5 hours

7. Overnight Dubai Desert Safari Trip $$

In case you can’t get enough of a desert safari in Dubai, why not stay longer and camp overnight with this tour?

The desert is very quiet and peaceful at night.

You’ll get a lot more privacy because most tourists leave right after the evening tour.

There are many fun activities to do at night, and the desert is the best place to look at stars since there’s no light pollution.

Each person gets their own tent with sleeping bags, cushions and mattresses so you don’t have to bring any camping equipment with you at all.

Some light snacks and drinks are also provided through the night.

It’s a great way to sit around a fire and meet new people. A local guide will be there to tell you all about the history of Dubai.

Some older guides have very interesting stories about what it was like to live in the desert before the city of Dubai was built.

Then you’ll get to watch the most beautiful sunrise when you wake up in the morning.

You’ll get to enjoy a traditional Arabic breakfast before your drive back to the city.

They don’t do any dune bashing on the way back from the desert because everyone’s full from breakfast.

An overnight desert safari in Dubai is extremely safe.

The guides work hard to make sure that everyone can sleep peacefully. You can leave your belongings in the tent and no one will steal anything.

There are shared male and female bathrooms in the campsite which are very clean. Click here to find out more.

  • Pros: Less touristy, stargazing 
  • Cons: Expensive
  • Duration: 24 hours

» » Read the full guide to Dubai’s safari tours here

Woman walking in white dress in Dubai desert

8. Abu Dhabi Full-Day Sightseeing Tour from Dubai $$

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and well worth a visit for at least a day.

It’s only a 90-minute drive from Dubai and there’s barely any traffic on the way via Sheikh Zayed Road.

You can catch a public bus to Abu Dhabi.

Tickets are very cheap at 25 AED from Al Ghubaiba bus station but when you arrive at Abu Dhabi central station,  you’ll need a taxi to get around. 

Alternatively, you can prearrange a trip with a popular tour company who arrange all transportation from Dubai and back.

Tours are also great at managing time because there’s a fair bit to see in Abu Dhabi.

Things to do in Abu Dhabi 

The most iconic tourist attraction is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It’s one of the largest mosques in the world and has an open-door policy for all non-Muslims.

You will be utterly captivated by the impressive architectural styles which represent different Muslim civilizations.

Women are required to wear an Abaya at the mosque. There’s no reason to bring your own because they let you borrow one in different sizes for free.

Everyone must also take their shoes off and walk barefoot. Don’t forget to bring a pair of sunglasses because the bright white building is blinding on a very sunny day.

After the Mosque, you can check out Yas Island and Ferrari World.

Yas Island is famous for hosting many concerts. You can even rent a sports car and race laps around at Yas Marina Circuit where Formula One is held each year.

Ferrari World has some rides, a museum and plenty of merchandise for sale. It does get slightly boring unless you’re really a hardcore Ferrari fan.

It’s worth trying out the fastest rollercoaster in the world but if you’re not into rollercoasters or Ferraris then it’s not worth the high price.

Some tours do a photo stop at Ferrari world so you can have a quick pose to say you were there.

If you’re a Fast and Furious fan, then you’ll want to see Etihad Towers and Emirates Palace.

Even if you’re not a fan of the franchise, it’s still worth seeing anyway.

Emirates Palace is breathtakingly grand and perfect to walk around to take some incredible photos. If you want a unique souvenir, you can purchase some gold from the UAE’s first ‘Gold ATM’ which is on the ground floor.

Make sure you leave some time to walk down to the Corniche Beach and dip your feet in the water.

  • Pros: All transport included, highlights visited
  • Cons: Limited by tour itinerary
  • Duration: 8-9 hours
Abu Dhabi Skyline, trees, buildings, water fountain

9. Dubai Helicopter Flight from The Palm to The Burj Khalifa $$$

There’s always a lot of traffic on the streets of Dubai, so the fastest way to do a Dubai day tour is by flying in the air.

Experience all the tours of Dubai in a much shorter time with a complete aerial view.

With a helicopter tour of Dubai, you’ll get to see the entire magnificent shape of the Palm Islands and the crystal blue water surrounding it.

You’ll also get to see the World Islands in case you feel like fantasizing about which private island you’d like to save up for.

The helicopter will also circle close to the Burj Al Arab which is the only 7* hotel in the entire world.

You’ll get to see the helipad that Tiger Woods shot a golf ball from. This is an expensive experience but worth doing at least once in your life.

Make sure to get a window seat if you want to take a lot of photos and videos without having to lean across another passenger.

It’s also important to book a helicopter tour at the start of your holiday in Dubai because the weather can be unpredictable.

If there’s a sandstorm, your flight will get postponed due to poor visibility. So, it’s better to give yourself plenty of time to reschedule the tour rather than canceling it.

  • Pros: Bird’s eye view
  • Cons: Expensive
  • Duration: 12-25 mins
Dubai Helicopter Ride Tour

10. Dubai Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour 24, 48 or 72 Hours $

For a relaxing Dubai day trip, the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour is the best experience.

When the weather is nice, it’s a lot of fun to sit on the top deck and wave to all the other cars passing by.

The lower deck is fully air-conditioned so you can still do the bus tour during the summer months.

The bus stops at all the major landmarks so you can get down explore as much as you like. Reserve and download your instant ticket.

  • Pros: Multi-stops for sightseeing, audio guide
  • Cons: Traffic impacts on duration
View of skyscrapers in Downtown Dubai - the UAE

11. Dubai Speedboat Tour: Marina, Atlantis, Palm & Burj Al Arab $

A speedboat tour is one of the best day activities in Dubai and takes you up close to the Palm Islands.

You’ll enjoy the sea breeze and the great views of the Dubai Marina. Your speedboat driver will make you feel very special throughout the trip and even take photos for you.

On the weekends, you might also see some of the luxury yachts that belong to members of the royal family. 

  • Pros: Fun tour, up close to the Palms
  • Cons: Weather dependent, can be windy 
Palm Islands Dubai

12. Dubai Fountain Show and Burj Lake Ride by Traditional Boat $

After your visit ‘At the Top,’ you should go back to Dubai Mall and walk down from the Apple store escalator and exit through the swiveling doors.

You’ll see the majestic Burj Khalifa standing proudly to your right and this is where you can catch the famous musical fountains that come on every 30 minutes.

It’s very tricky to capture the building’s entire length in photos, so you might see a lot of people squatting down to the ground while trying to take pictures.

And before you know it, you’ll suddenly hear a blast of music and a loud gush of water thundering towards the sky.

Make sure you have your camera ready to record the free show!

The best time to see the free fountain show is after sundown to enjoy all the lights.

You can see it from the bridge between Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar or reserve an outdoor table at any of the restaurants facing the fountain. 

The fountain area gets extremely crowded, so there’s a new floating platform which is much closer to the water and you’ll get a much better view.

It’s called the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk, and tickets for the are only 25 AED per person.

You can also go on a 30-minute traditional Abra cruise and get even closer to the fountain. Don’t forget to pick up physical tickets beforehand because the Abra driver won’t accept any e-tickets.

It’s a very heartwarming experience to watch the beautiful dancing fountain up close, especially when Andrea Bocelli’s ‘Time to say goodbye’ comes on.

You might get sprayed with water the closer you get to the fountain, especially if it’s windy. It helps to carry a small hand towel in your purse.

Dubai Fountain Show at night, birds eye view

13. Dubai 5-Hour Tour with a Professional Photographer Guide $$

This is one of the best tours in Dubai because it allows people to live in the moment.

Now you can truly enjoy being a tourist and the photographer will take all your candid shots for you.

You won’t have to deal with blurry selfies anymore because you’ll get professional high-quality shots to show off on social media.

Don’t forget to use #MyDubai when you upload photos on Instagram. The best photos get displayed on the Burj Al Arab! Check out the best rates here

  • Pros: Feel like a celeb while seeing the sights
  • Cons: Quite a long day if not used to being a model!
  • Duration: 5 hours
Dubai Fountain Show at night, birds eye view

Final Words

Dubai can be expensive but there’s always something for everyone. 

Since there’s so much to do and see in Dubai, you should plan your stay for at least 3 days.

This will give you the best chance to visit all the landmarks, learn the history and take a few of the best Dubai tours. 

Oh, and make sure you don’t forget to eat delicious shawarmas from a local cafeteria and grab a saffron tea from Filli.

Pin to your Dubai board for future planning

Dubai day tours, Dubai day trips, Dubai, Dubai United Arab Emirates, Dubai Travel, Dubai Things to do, Dubai Vacation, Dubai itinerary, best things to do in Dubai, Dubai travel tips, how to plan your Dubai itinerary, How to visit Dubai on a budget, Cheap Dubai tips, Dubai luxury, Dubai safari desert, Dubai desert

About the Author

Shipra is a digital marketer who was born and brought up in Dubai and has lived here for over 30 years. Thanks to all her friends who constantly keep visiting from abroad, she has been on a desert safari 25 times.

Read next: Where to stay in Dubai (best districts and hotels). 

29 Things to Do in New Orleans in Fall: Spooky tours, Festivals & Halloween

Historic gravestones at Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans

Visiting New Orleans in fall is always a great idea as the temperatures become milder at around 70℉ or 60℉ in October and November.

Located at the base of the Mississippi River, the city is one of the oldest in the United States and is filled with a rich history.

It has a unique blend of French, Spanish, and African-American influences, making it a distinct place to experience during the autumn months.

Nicknamed The Big Easy and the Crescent City, it is known for many things, including extravagant Mardi Gras celebrations, Voodoo, delicious Creole and Cajun cuisine, and the birth of Jazz.

The following list will explore things to do in New Orleans during the fall season, including outdoor activities, indoor attractions, food, and festivals.

You can even find unique things to do in NOLA during your visit.

Top New Orleans Activities to Do and See in Fall

Here are our top picks for activities to enjoy in the fall.

New Orleans also made it to our list of the best places to visit in November in USA for its food, drinks and fun.

Visit the Garden District For History and Decorations

The Garden District is one of the most beautiful places in New Orleans in October.

The streets are filled with beautiful twisting old oak trees and intricately crafted mansions.

The Garden District also contains the historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. 

See all the Garden District has to offer and even enter an old mansion with a half-day tour

It is also where the St. Charles Avenue mansions go all out for Hallowe’en decorations!

You’ve maybe seen The Skeleton House (6000 St Charles Ave) on social media, so now you can see it in real life!

Also, The Buckner Mansion (1410 Jackson Ave) was featured in the hit TV show American Horror Story.

See City Park’s Fall Garden Festival

City Park (1 Palm Dr.)  is a huge, beautiful park that has existed since 1850.

It’s one of the largest parks in the US and features bridges, ancient oak trees covered in Spanish moss, and water features.

The 1,300-acre park includes attractions like the New Orleans Botanic Garden, the New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden, Golf, Carousel Gardens, Storyland, and a Train Garden. 

During the fall season, the annual Fall Garden Festival is held at the park’s New Orleans Garden, featuring plant and garden exhibits, children’s activities as well as and educational programs for gardeners of all levels.

Pathway with oak trees covered in Spanish moss in City Park, New Orleans

A Spooky Cemetery Tour

Touring an old cemetery is the perfect fall in New Orleans activity. 

New Orleans cemeteries have been around since the late 1700s, and now, there are 42 cemeteries in the New Orleans area. 

Some of the oldest cemeteries include St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 (425 Basin St) and Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 (1427 Washington Ave). 

Many famous people are buried within the old cemeteries like in St. Louis, including Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. 

The oldest cemeteries in the city can only be seen through a guided led tour.

Take a 2-hour night haunted city tour to see all the best spots. 

Historic gravestones at Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans

Museum of Death New Orleans

Located in the French Quarter, the Museum of Death (227 Dauphine St) features exhibitions with body bags, coffins, and skulls, as well as crime and morgue scene photography.

Its Theater of Death of plays true crime stories.

Watch a Scary Movie

If Bourbon Street at 1 am isn’t scary enough for you, catch the latest release or a vintage horror movie at one of the New Orleans theaters.

Check out the Prytania Theatre (5339 Prytania St) for a classic movie house located in the Garden District.

Pumpkin Picking

Pick the perfect pumpkin at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School’s Pumpkin Patch.

Pumpkins line the building for picking and there is also some Hallowe’en decor around the building.

Mississippi History Cruise

Fall in Louisiana can be seen comfortably from a steamboat or paddle wheeler. 

These are two iconic, authentic types of boats that made trade and travel on the Mississippi a possibility. 

Now, take a tour through history aboard the Creole Queen and see some major sights like the French Quarter, St. Louis Cathedral, and the steamboat houses of the Holy Cross neighborhood during autumn.

Steamboat Natchez New Orleans_

Ghosts, Vampires, & Voodoo French Quarter Tour

This 2-hour walking tour takes you through the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter while a local guide tells you stories about vampires, voodoo, and witchcraft.

This is also an excellent opportunity to learn about the rich history of New Orleans’ most famous streets and to visit the neighborhood’s haunted sites like the LaLaurie Mansion (138 Royal St).

Frenchmen New Orleans_

Stay in a Haunted Hotel

Hotel Monteleone is known as New Orlean’s haunted hotel!

It has a door in the restaurant which opens every night, even though it is locked!

The elevator is known to stop at the wrong floor, and some guests have seen ghosts of kids playing.

Would you dare?

Book your room here.

Hotel Monteleone sign against blue sky inNew Orleans_

New Orleans Museum of Art Fall Schedule

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) (1 Collins Diboll Cir) was founded in 1879 and is the oldest public art museum in the United States. 

NOMA’s collection consists of over 40,000 pieces spanning 5,000 years, and the exhibits change frequently, so check out what’s on during the autumn schedule.

It also consists of an outdoor sculpture garden which is a lovely walk during fall.

Wednesdays are free entry days which is great if you are on a budget!

Try a king croissant at the cafe for an indulgent fall treat.

Mardi Gras World

Although not fall-specific, it is worth visiting Mardi Gras World (1380 Port of New Orleans Pl) to see what New Orlean’s biggest celebration is all about.

Here you will find out more about the location where the floats for Mardi Gras parades are built and decorated.

Guests can tour the 300,000-square feet warehouse and see the entire creation process, plus learn about Mardi Gras’ history.

Mardi Gras mask with colorful beads and accessories

Visit the Shops of the Colonnade

The Shops of the Colonnade (1008 N Peters St), also called The French Market, is a huge market of various sellers that spans six blocks.

It was originally a Native American trading outpost that existed before European colonization. 

The vendors sell beautiful handmade goods such as jewelry, clothing, and artwork.

There is also live music and great food to enjoy in this vibrant marketplace.  

The French Market puts on events, so check out its fall calendar for more.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum (514 Chartres St) is a unique museum focused on medical history. 

It is located at the site of the first licensed apothecary shop and exhibits old cures that existed in the 19th century. 

Today, the museum houses over 1,500 items, including antique medical equipment, rare books, and historical photographs.

A spooky thing to do in New Orleans this fall!

Pub Crawl

If you’re looking for things to do in New Orleans in October, a pub crawl with all the best locations might be your most memorable night out. 

In New Orleans, many older buildings that are also bars are supposedly haunted. 

So, why not check it out for yourself and enjoy a cold drink while you’re at it? 

Things to do in New Orleans I Bourbon Street Hand Grenades

National WWII Museum 

The New Orleans National World War II Museum (945 Magazine Street) is a museum dedicated to preserving the history of the American people during World War II. 

The museum was established in 2000 and has striking exterior architecture. 

See the history for yourself throughout the museum’s over 200,000 square feet area.

Magazine Street For Seasonal Shopping & Food

Magazine Street is packed full of cafes and vintage stores, so plan lunch and a shop for seasonal souvenirs or, dare I say it, start your Christmas shopping after a visit to the museum!

NOLA has a variety of restaurants that lean into the farm-to-fork mantra for their menus, for example, the ‘made-from-scratch’ Le Petite Grocery (4238 Magazine St).

While we don’t tend to promote chain cafes, there is a Starbucks on Magainze Street for those needing their pumpkin spice latte hit.

It is also where the Greetings From NOLA street art mural is located at 2014 Magazine St.

See a Saints Game

Fall marks the start of the Saints season, with games scheduled from September to December at the huge Mercedes Benz Superdome.

See what the hype is all about, and enjoy a game this fall.

Coffee & Beignets

Coffee and beignets are the perfect duos on a cooler New Orleans in November. 

A New Orleans staple, Cafe Du Monde (848 Decatur St.) supplies both and has been known for it since 1862.

Chicory coffee has a unique flavor that contrasts nicely with the sweetness of a powdered sugar-covered beignet.

Sit in the outdoor cafe and enjoy your hot beverage and sweet treat while you take in the scenery. 

Cafe Du Monde sign at New Orleans_

Enjoy Gumbo 

National Gumbo Day is October 12th and is best celebrated in New Orleans. 

Gumbo is a traditional Cajun stew that originated in the French-speaking region of Louisiana. 

It is a thick soup that contains seafood, meat, vegetables, and seasonings and consists of a roux (a paste of flour and fat) base seasoned with spices and stock. 

Other variations may use tomatoes, okra, peppers, or even chicken.

You can head to the Gumbo Shop (630 Saint Peter St) to taste their award-winning okra gumbo.

Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch Buffet

The Court of the Two Sisters (613 Royal St.) Jazz Brunch Buffet is a renowned restaurant that offers a wide variety of dishes, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. 

The menu includes items like poached eggs, omelets, pancakes, waffles, crepes, French toast, biscuits and gravy, grits, salads, sandwiches, burgers, seafood, pasta, steak, ribs, chicken, pork chops, and much more. 

There is also a full bar where guests can enjoy speciality drinks and cocktails. 

Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are served at the restaurant. 

The Court of the Two Sisters has daily jazz brunches that are the perfect activity if you’re spending autumn in New Orleans.

Eat Oysters

Delicious Gulf oysters are enjoyed year-round in New Orleans.

However, they’re especially bountiful starting from September since this is when the oyster season arrives.

Prices are also lower around this time since there is a higher supply.

Visit one of New Orleans’ many oyster houses or bars to partake. 

Oceana Grill at Conti St and Mambo’s at Bourbon Street is among the most popular spots.

New Orleans Fall Festivals and Events

This list will explore New Orleans fall events you can look forward to on your next trip.

Planning to stick around until winter? New Orleans is one of the warm places to visit in USA in December, with lots of fun and festive things to do.

Krewe of Boo

Krewe of Boo is a fun parade for both children and adults alike and has been thrilling crowds with its spooky floats for more than a decade.

Founded in 2007, the event became New Orleans’ official Halloween parade.

Riders in the Krewe of Boo parade will throw various items to onlookers as they go by, like candies, toys, and other collectable items.

The parade usually starts at Elysian Fields Avenue.

Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival

The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is a wonderful free event to hear great music in New Orleans during the fall.

You’ll also have access to the best BBQ vendors while you experience the genres of jazz and blues up close and personal. 

It is held in October at Lafayette Square Park (602 St. Charles Ave).

This is also a great opportunity to explore the park’s historic 150-year-old location.

New Orleans also made it to our USA bucket list for its jazz music.

New Orleans Film Festival

The New Orleans Film Festival is a huge event celebrating amazing filmmakers.

It is cited by the New Orleans Film Society to attract 30,000 people, 500+ filmmakers, and 240 films each year.

The event has been occurring annually since 1989 and is Oscar-qualifying. 

Enjoy movies and partake in some parties throughout the festival. 

Oak Street Po-Boy Festival

New Orleans is known for its Po-Boy (Poor Boy) sandwich. 

It is a delicious sandwich served on french bread and filled with your choice of meat, usually roast beef, fried shrimp, or even oysters.

Then, they’re piled high with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. 

Try all the different styles of this mouth-watering delight from over 30 vendors at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival.

There’s also great live music and shopping to enjoy and you learn about the history behind the sandwich.

Po Boys bread roll stuffed with meat in New Orleans

Big Easy Halloween Half Marathon & 5K

Pretend you’re running for your life from a haunted house with ghouls and zombies at your tail, then use all of that adrenaline to run the New Orleans half marathon or 5k!

The race course is set up along the stunning New Orleans Lakefront, just 6.2 miles from the French Quarter!  

Sign up here.


Experience Germany in New Orleans at a big Oktoberfest celebration.

Partake in the great German food, drinks, and activities while immersing yourself in the culture.

There are also children’s activities like arts and crafts and games. 

Oktoberfest couple with beer

Autumn Activities Fall Foliage Near New Orleans

If you have access to a car, head out on a leaf-peeping road trip from New Orleans this fall.

You may also like our guide to the best places to visit in October in USA.

Natchez Trace Parkway

Also known as the Old Natchez Trace, the Natchez Trace Parkway takes drivers through three states, Natchez, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Nashville, during this 444 miles route.

Track the fall foliage reports to see when the best time to visit is.

Check out our guide to Nashville in the fall next.

Kisatchie National Forest

Kisatchie National Forest is Louisiana’s only National Forest.

Located 190 miles from New Orleans, this recreational area boasts 604,000 acres for hiking, biking, camping, and fishing.

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide helped you plan for a fun fall getaway in New Orleans. 

Share your favorite thing about fall in New Orleans in the comments below- we’d love to hear it!

Free Chicago 3-Day Itinerary: How to Spend a Weekend in Chicago

Chicago River Boat Tour

Looking for a free Chicago 3-day itinerary to plan the perfect trip to the Windy City?

Chicago has everything you could want from a city – striking buildings, tons of entertainment options, diverse cuisines that will make your taste buds sing, and so much history and culture in terms of art and technology.

People from all over the world enjoy visiting Chicago because it is laid back compared to the bustle of New York or Los Angeles. It also has a free lakeside, ideal for resting between sightseeing stops!

The following can also be used as a weekend in Chicago itinerary for those arriving Friday and leaving Monday.

There are so many options; feel free to pick and choose the activities that best suit your travel style.

You may also like our guides to free things to do in Chicago, unique activities, Chicago in fall, and Chicago at Christmas.

Free 3-Day Chicago Travel Itinerary

Day 1 in Chicago: Morning – Riverwalk + The Bean

Hotel check-ins in Chicago are usually around 3-4pm, but many of them offer earlier check-ins depending on room availability, or you can leave your luggage with them and go for a stroll. 

The first step of your itinerary should be a casual walk along the river.

This is known as the Riverwalk, where you have a winding path near the water, passing by several restaurants and cafés. 

Chicago River Boat Tour

If you have not had breakfast yet, there are many options to choose from.

Although you might be dying to try the deep-dish pizza, you should save that for lunch after you are famished from all the sightseeing. 

A deep dish is a Chicago-style pizza in Chicago, which is very heavy and should only be consumed as a main meal rather than a snack.

For breakfast, you can try a traditional Chicago hot dog.

This would be with mustard, chopped white onions, and a sweet pickle.

The toppings are mouthwatering and will leave you satisfied until later in the day. 

Deep Dish Chicago Pizza

A casual stroll at Riverwalk should take about an hour or two, depending on your pace and whether you stop for breakfast.

There are also steps on the way where you might see many people sitting to enjoy the view. 

This is the perfect place to drink a takeaway coffee and rest your feet before walking some more. If you go up these steps, you can find small bridges connecting the streets. 

These bridges are the perfect spot for a photo op with the skyline and water in the background.

Don’t forget that Chicago is called “The Windy City,” and this is for a very good reason.

Depending on the day you visit, it can be very windy, and you should always hold onto any hats and wear appropriate clothing. 

During winter, Chicago does have thick inches of snow, and then you will need proper boots, jackets, and gloves. 

Find more winter activities in the city featured our guide to Illinois in winter.

Chicago panoramic view in the winter. Woman in red coat.

There will be signs along the way telling you where the tourist attractions are.

You should look for one that says, “Cloud Gate” or “Millennium Park” which is part of the Chicago Loop/Central Business District. 

This is where the shiny bean is.

The bean is also one of the free things to do in Chicago, which makes the spot popular with crowds.  

The bean is a Cloud Gate sculpture that was unveiled at the opening of Millennium Park back in 2004.

It has now become the most famous symbol of Chicago, photographed by every tourist because of its unique reflectiveness. 

When you enter Millennium Park from the main street, you will see a memorial fountain that is also beautiful to take photos of.

This is because the skyline is directly behind it. You get a bit of the city and the park together in this shot. 

Then you should turn right and follow the signs or just see where everybody else is walking to.

Pretty soon, you will notice the giant shiny ball in the center surrounded by even more buildings.

The reflection of the skyline on the bean is incredible, and you can enjoy doing poses while seeing your own on the bean. 

The Chicago Bean is curved, so on the outside, you just see your own reflection and all the people and buildings around you.

Hopefully, it is not that crowded in the morning, but on weekends, things can get a little crazy. 

When you step inside the bean under the curve, you can get a good laugh by seeing a very distorted reflection of you and your friends because it feels like a magic mirror experience at a carnival. 

Cloud Gate silver Chicago Bean with reflections of skyline and skyscrapers behind it

After this area, you should walk around the rest of Millennium Park because it is gorgeous and serene.

You will see beautiful flowers along the way and an incredible concert theatre where they often have live opera shows.

Some small bridges and walkways are also shiny like the bean. 

Millennium Park is massive, and you can pass by the Art Institute of Chicago, which is right by the Crown Fountain.

Visiting the institute will take time, and you can do this on day two.

In the meantime, continue walking through Millennium Park until you reach Grant Park, where the Buckingham Fountain is. 

This is an ample open space with the most beautiful fountain to take photos.

This is also the same place where they host the famous Lollapalooza music festival every year. 

Lion statue at Art Institute of Chicago

Afternoon – Willis Tower + Pizza

After the bean Chicago sightseeing experience, you deserve a drink and should visit a bar and restaurant called Cindy’s.

For this, you will have to walk back to the bean and exit the park next to it. Across the street, you should see the restaurant right next to Shake Shack and Panera Bread. 

Cindy’s has an incredible rooftop bar that you take the elevator up to.

It is free to enter, but there might be a crowd of people waiting for the elevator.

Depending on how early it is in the afternoon, there might not be too many people there if you are lucky. 

When you hit the top floor, the lift doors open directly into a bar.

This is where you order a drink first and then make your way across the restaurant to the balcony to enjoy an outdoor rooftop view. 

They have a lot of drink deals for cocktails, but their coffee is recommended. 

Watch the tourists surrounding the bean below while you refuel with caffeine or sugar!

After your drink at Cindy’s, it is time to visit Willis Tower, which is the largest building in Chicago. 

You can try walking there as it only takes twenty minutes.

All you need to do is exit Cindy’s on street level, walk to the right, and take the first right again.

Then it is a straight road walk all the way to Willis Tower. 

If you do not feel like walking that much, you can always get an Uber or Lyft.

These are very cheap in Chicago, especially if you are willing to carpool with others. You can choose Uber Pool or Lyft Line on the apps and spend only five or ten dollars for a short trip. 

Along the way, you will also see a lot of souvenir shops if you feel like stopping by.

When you arrive at Willis Tower, there will be signs telling you what floor the observation deck is on.

This is also called “Skydeck Chicago,” and it is a must-do in Chicago. It is always better to buy tickets online, Willis Tower Skydeck and The Ledge Experience, so you can plan ahead and skip the line. 

There is not much to see in the lobby area, so you can go straight through to the security checks before entering the lift.

This will save you a lot of time because the lines in the lobby can take over an hour, and then there are more lines when you reach the top floor because this is one of the best places to visit in Chicago.

Willis Tower is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and at approximately 1300 feet, you can step into a suspended glass box that surrounds you with 360-degree views of the entire city. 

You will be on the 103rd floor, so hopefully, you are not afraid of heights because it is daunting stepping into that glass box since you see all the streets and buildings below your feet.

It can trigger a little Vertigo, so you should be careful.

There are two glass boxes on the ledge, so you can choose any of them because they both face the same side of the city.

There will be a couple of security guards to monitor how long each person takes in the box. 

When you first step into one, the security guard will advise you to pose and look up at their camera.

This is for the souvenir photo that you can later buy from the gift shops. 

You do not have to spend any money and can take your own photos. Be ready with your poses because the guards only allow you to stay there for a couple of minutes maximum, depending on the crowd. 

If there are not too many people in the line, you can get a little more time in the glass box to take photos.

You should check out #ChicagoSkydeck on Instagram to get some ideas on how to pose, mainly because you have such limited time to do it and need to be ready. 

The security guards might take photos for you, but it is not their job, so do not feel bad if they refuse. It is always better to ask a friend or somebody else in line to take your pictures.

If you successfully get a stranger to take yours, it is common courtesy to offer to take their photos as well. 

After the glass box Chicago activity, you can visit the gift shop to buy some souvenirs or view your professional photo on the screens. There will be a staff member there who will print out your picture and give three copies of it in a souvenir folder that says, “On the Ledge.”

If you decide to purchase, you will get one large photo and two smaller ones, which is great to share with other members of your group. 

When you are done with Willis Tower, you might feel hungry, and now it is time for the infamous deep-dish pizza in Chicago. 

Chicago Skyline

Following S Franklin Street to your right, you should see Giordano’s restaurant.

This is an Italian chain of restaurants that are famous for their deep-dish pizzas. 

Deep dish pizza is a Chicago-style pizza that is thick and baked in a pan.

It is layered with cheese and other fillings, such as meat and vegetables.

There is a ton of tomato sauce in between the layers, and the crust is usually around three inches tall. 

This buttery crust gets fried thanks to the delicious oil in the pan, and the pizza looks very bulky rather than flatbread.

It was invented at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago back in 1943, so this pizza has a lot of history. 

It is impossible to eat a slice by hand, so you should use cutlery and prepare for a lot of stringy cheese to ooze from every bite.

It is very challenging to eat an entire pizza alone, and you should plan to share with a partner or group of friends. 

Giordano’s might only have a 12-inch as their “Smallest,” but it is not small at all, and you might start suffering from being too full after just two slices.

Never make the mistake of ordering an appetizer beforehand, no matter how persistent your waiter is. 

Eating a deep-dish Chicago for the first time is a religious experience, and you should savor every mouthful.

The pizza does not look appetizing in photos, but it will still make you drool whenever you reflect on your memories of being in Chicago. 

After such a hearty lunch, you might want to return to your hotel to complete the check-in process.

By now, it should be around 4pm, and your room might be ready.

Grab a quick shower and stretch out on a comfortable bed while digesting all that food after seeing a lot for one day in Chicago. 

Deep Dish Chicago Pizza

Evening – Bar Hopping

When you are done getting a little bit of rest, head back out to any of the numerous bars in Chicago for some fun. 

One of the best bars to visit is “Nacional 27” for their incredible Latin parties every night. This is on the north side of the river and takes twenty minutes to walk from Willis Tower. 

They have an in-house DJ who really knows how to bring the house down, and you should try their mojito specials, where each glass is as big as a person’s head.

The mojitos are delicious, and you will want to have a dozen of them while dancing the night away. 

Nacional 27 also has some great Latin American-themed food; in case you are hungry again and want to grab a quick dinner with drinks. 

Bars in Chicago close around 2am, so you should have plenty of time to have a lot of fun before tucking into your hotel for a good night’s sleep because you have already seen a lot of Chicago in a day.

If you were only spending 1 day in Chicago, there would be more pressure to fit a lot of sites on your Chicago itinerary, but you should space things out to try and relax a little. 

Fall colors at Lincoln Park with Chicago skyline

Day 2 in Chicago: 360 Views, River Cruise & Live Music

Unless you are severely hungover, it is time for more sightseeing and touring around Chicago. You should wake up early for another big day. 

Morning – 360 Chicago (John Hancock Observatory)

You can either have breakfast at your hotel or go to any of the cafés and restaurants along the river again. 

However, most hotels include breakfast in the price, so you should get your money’s worth by spoiling yourself at the buffet before stretching those legs again for a long day. 

The first stop on your Chicago trip planner should be the 360-degree Chicago Observation Deck experience at the John Hancock Observatory. 

The John Hancock Observatory is open every day from 9am to 11pm, with the final group allowed in at 10:30pm, and it is located at North Michigan Avenue. 

With the pass mentioned above, you can skip the line at the ticket booth altogether and head straight for the elevator for just $22, which is usually around $25 on-site, without the ability to get through lines faster. 

The elevator will speed you up to the 94th floor in just forty seconds, where the observation deck above the Windy City is.

Unlike Skydeck, you will get to see a lot of beautiful lake views and more skyscrapers.

From such a high floor, you can also see 4 neighboring states, which is incredible because you are over a thousand feet in the sky. 

If you are an adrenaline junkie, you should try upgrading your pass to include TILT, which the highest thrill ride that will change the way you see Chicago, and it lets you tilt out over the city from the 94th floor.

It extends out over the entire skyline and the Magnificent Mile.

You just have to step against a glass enclosure and put your hands on the window, and it tilts outwards, giving you a massive adrenaline rush as though you are going to fall. 

There is a very fancy restaurant up a flight of stairs to visit for a drink or some food before heading back down. You can also go there to use the bathrooms without having to spend any money.

Don’t miss the toilets on the 96th floor… 

On the ground floor, you can see the Chicago Multimedia Exhibit with high-definition interactive touch screens to learn about the sights from different angles.

The exhibit will teach you everything about the city’s history, culture, scenery, and architecture, and you can listen in many languages. 

The most exciting exhibit is “Michigan Pete,” which pays tribute to Evald Peterson, who was the construction inspector for John Hancock Building.

He captured all his personal experiences in a journal, bringing this building’s architectural journey to life. You can hear all about the challenges of the building’s construction through his words and pictures. 

Reserve your skip-the-line ticket here.

If you’ve had your fill of touristy activities, check out our guide to unique things to do in Chicago too.

Views of Chicago buildings and lakefront from Illinois

Afternoon – River Cruise

After completing the John Hancock building tour, it is time for a trip on the river so you can see the entire Riverwalk without having to go on foot. 

The Chicago River Architecture Cruise: Skip-The-Ticket-Office is the most popular Chicago attraction pass if you want to relax on the river while sightseeing. 

This is a seventy-five-minute tour departing from Navy Pier, where you can see a lot of hidden architectural wonders along the way and some of the most renowned landmarks.

There will be a guide on board to provide live narration, and you should expect to see around forty structures, especially under some historical bridges. 

Chicago River Boat Tour

You will be cruising along all three branches of the Chicago River while getting a lot of information about the forty landmark buildings.

Some of these will be Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower, Willis Tower, Trump Tower, Marina City, and many more. 

Unlike day one in Chicago, you will get to relax and enjoy an insightful trip. This is also better than the Chicago water taxi because it is long and full of great information about this city’s history. 

When the cruise returns to Navy Pier, you should take a casual stroll and ride the giant Ferris Wheel or grab some lunch from any of the local restaurants.

There are many options for seafood, especially crab and oysters. 

After lunch, you should try to visit a couple of museums in Chicago on free days.

The museums are usually free on Tuesdays from 12:30pm to 9pm.

Some of the best ones to visit are The Museum of Science and Industry, Alder Planetarium Chicago, The Field Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, DuSable Museum of African American History, and the Art Institute next to Cloud Gate. 

Check out our guide to free things to do in Chicago for more.

If you enjoy nature, you should visit the Chicago Botanical Garden in Glencoe.

This is a wonderfully photogenic spot for all Instagram-addicted travelers.

In the evening, when the sun goes down, the entire garden comes alive with colorful lights.

You can see an exciting waterfall of dancing lights and whole mile-long pathways with arches covered in wondrous fairy lights with a choir of singing trees. 

Tribune Tower Chicago

Evening – Live Music + Bars

Chicago has a very young vibe, and people love going to bars and enjoying live music with some food and drinks. This is also one of the best ways to unwind after spending 2 days in Chicago. 

This time, you should visit Social Twenty-Five or Smartbar. Both have excellent live music with a stage in the middle and very affordable drinks. They are also open between 2am-4am in case you like to stay out later than usual. 

After the performance of some local live bands, a DJ takes over, and you can enjoy some great electronic music with popular hits. People are very friendly in Chicago, so do not be surprised if you randomly meet some locals to have a conversation. 

They are very helpful and can give you more tips on what to see in Chicago in one day to wrap up the end of your trip.

Evening Alternative – See a Show

There are several places where performances occur in the city, but the most famous is The Chicago Theatre, aka Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre.

This landmark is located on North State Street in the Loop area and was built in the 1920s.

Chicago Theatre

Day 3 in Chicago: Neighborhood Hopping or Day Trips

Now that you have already seen most of the popular Chicago in 2 days, you might want to try something different.

  • Check out the Pilsen neighborhood at the Lower West Side for the Chicago Arts District in East Pilsen, the National Museum of Mexican Art at Harrison Park and the Mana Contemporary Gallery. It is also known for its street art murals and Mexican food
  • Tan at one of Chicago beaches, such as the most popular, North Avenue 
  • Bar hop, vintage shop or catch a gig at the hip Wicker Park Chicago
  • Enjoy a jazz or blues show at River North
  • Have a lazy afternoon at I|O Godfrey rooftop. In winter, there are igloos!
  • If visiting during the sports season, catch a game at Soldier Field (American football) or Wrigley Field (baseball).
  • Hike the Starved Rock, which has 14 moderate trails ranging from 1.7 to 26.8 miles
  • Visit Ernest Hemmingway’s home in Oak Park
  • Shop ’til you drop at Magnificant Mile
  • See the Botanics at Garfield Park Conservatory
  • Visit the Standing Lincoln in Lincoln Park and dine in a snug at Gej’as Cafe, which serves fondue! 

What about a day trip from Chicago like visiting Michigan for some beautiful scenery?

For this, renting a car will be best.

Otherwise, you can use the greyhound Chicago service or Megabus Chicago. 

The only downside is that these buses or the Chicago Amtrak have strict schedules, and you must plan carefully.

Whereas driving on your own is much more fun and comfortable with a GPS. 

With your own car, you can drive part of the famous route 66, which starts in Chicago. 

There are several amusement parks in Illinois that can be reached from Chicago, such as Niles Park District Oasis Water Park, Donley’s Wild West Town and Magic Waters.

Abraham Lincoln Chicago Standing Lincoln Park

Plan a Trip to Chicago Tips

Getting to Chicago

Arriving from overseas at O’Hare International Airport is a little overwhelming. Mainly because of how long it takes to clear customs. 

On a busy day, you might have to wait to use one of their computer systems and print out an entry card after typing in your passport details.

Then the line for an interview with immigration officers can take another hour or more, depending on how many people there are before you.

At least your luggage will already be on the belt after all that waiting, so you can finally rush out of there when you clear customs. 

By the time you exit the Arrivals terminal, you will realize that O’Hare is a minimum of thirty minutes away from Downtown Chicago, and this could easily stretch into an hour’s journey if you arrive when there is a lot of traffic. 

Taxis from the airport can be costly because of how far you must travel.

But do not worry, there are plenty of shuttle buses with counters at the airport where you can buy tickets, and this is the best way of getting to the city without burning a hole in your wallet on your first day. 

You will be driving on highways most of the time, so you will not get to see any scenic views or anything apart from advertisement billboards and a lot of traffic.

However, the moment you get closer to Chicago, you will see the beautiful skyline, and that is when the excitement of being in Illinois kicks in. 

Getting Around Chicago

During your 3-day trip to Chicago, you will want to make the best use of your time.

Luckily, it is really easy to navigate downtown Chicago; like Vancouver in Canada, it uses a grid system.

Downtown is divided by Madison Street (North and South), and State Street splits up East and West.

There is an extensive transport system for those who prefer not to walk and/or want to squeeze more in. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) runs the train and bus system in the city. You can pay with cash for single trips or invest in a reloadable Ventra Transit Card or Unlimited Ride Pass for multi-use savings.

The ‘L’ train covers 144 rail stations, and two of the links operate 24 hours a day.

The Blue Line links the airport (O’Hare) to downtown, and the Red Link hooks up the North and the South.

Some of the buses also run 24 hours a day. You need the exact change for buses.

Chicago Accommodation

The best but most expensive area to stay in Chicago is Downtown.

Even though hotels in downtown Chicago are more expensive than apartments in other neighborhoods, you will save a lot of money by walking around rather than catching a Train, Uber or Lyft all the time.

You will also have a lot of flexibility instead of planning your entire trip around train schedules. 

Everything you need to see in Chicago is in downtown. You can access everything on foot and see a lot of beautiful flowers that cover every pavement. 

Downtown Chicago Hotels

  • Chicago Moxy: Modern chain hotel at a great price. Cool vibe, nice atmosphere.
  • River Hotel: 4-star boutique hotel. Excellent price, fitness suite access.

Downtown Chicago Hotels

Chicago Beach with USA Flag

Chicago FAQ

Here are some of the most asked questions about spending 3 days in Chicago.

How Windy is Chicago? 

The wind in Chicago can exceed an average speed of 10.3 miles per hour.

However, it is not the windiest city. Boston has winds of up to 12.4 miles per hour.

In Chicago, you will experience some high winds between the tall buildings and near the lake. It is not unbearable, and you can still enjoy sightseeing without looking for shelter with every gust. 

Does It Get Very Cold in Winter? 

Yes, Chicago is Winterfell in real life.

Temperatures during winter can reach minus thirty degrees Farenheight.

This should not deter you from visiting because seeing the entire city covered by a thick blanket of snow is a marvelous sight.

The entire river freezes, too, so you might want to bring some ice skates.

Read our guide to Chicago in winter for more.

How Many Days to Spend in Chicago? 

You should aim to spend three days in Chicago if you do not want to rush everywhere and want a relaxing holiday.

This will also give you plenty of time to include a day trip to any of the neighboring states that have the most beautiful scenery if you enjoy hiking. 

What Is the Best Time to Visit Chicago? 

The best time to visit Chicago is between June – September.

This is when the weather ranges from warm to hot.

Hotels and flights might not be cheap around this time, but you will feel less pain from high winds by avoiding sightseeing in winter. 

Is Chicago Dangerous for Tourists? 

Even though Chicago has a global reputation as a crime capital, it is very safe for tourists.

There are some trickier neighborhoods outside downtown, but you can always feel relaxed in all the touristy spots, even at nighttime.

Will I Gain Weight from Eating Deep-Dish Pizza in Chicago?

Yes, but you are on holiday and should not be so focused on dieting because that is what reality is for when you return home after spending the best 3 days in Chicago. 

Going to Chicago? Save to your Chicago travel board

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Final Words

There is something in Chicago for every kind of tourist. You can either go on historical tours, photogenic tours for social media, or party the nights away at the trendiest bars.

Chicago is also slightly more affordable than New York City and Boston.

To cut costs, you can try eating many meals outside the typical tourist hotspots. 

The best part about Chicago is the skyline, and there are several rooftop spots around the city where you can enjoy being on top of the world with a delicious cocktail.

Unlike New York and Los Angeles, which are confined to the East and West coasts, Chicago is in the Midwest, and you can easily travel to any of the surrounding states. 

Chicago feels comfortable and relaxing to visit, unlike the chaos you experience in New York City.

It is like Boston in that sense, but the pizzas in Boston will never come close to the mighty Chicago deep-dish. 

Tell us how you plan your 3 perfect days in Chicago in the comments.

Author’s Note: 

Shipra has visited the city very recently and hopes to help you have the best 3 days in Chicago. She made the mistake of ordering a “Small” 12-inch deep-dish pizza at Giordano’s and has vowed only to eat it with a group of famished friends the next time. She also returned a few kilos heavier but still glances at her shiny bean fridge magnet souvenir with so much joy remembering the good times. 

23 Fun Things to Do in Nashville in Fall 

Downtown skyline of Nashville, Tennessee

Fall colors, welcomed cooler temps and of course, heaps of music to fill your ears with! This guide reveals the best things to do in Nashville in fall.

Whether you are looking for fall getaway ideas or date night recommendations, we share popular Nashville attractions and lesser-known local haunts.

Nashville’s fall temperatures start to decrease from the high 80s in September through to the 50s in November so pack accordingly.

This city is one of the most popular bachelorette party locations in the US!

Fun Nashville in Fall Activities and Attractions

Printer’s Alley

Printers Alley is located at the heart of Music Row in downtown Nashville. 

This area is home to hundreds of printing businesses including printers, graphic designers, publishers, and book bindery shops. 

It is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about printing and publishing and walking beautiful older streets is one of the best things to do in Nashville in the fall.

Music Row is a historic district located southwest of downtown Nashville.

Statue of man playing piano Music Row Nashville

Bluebird Cafe

Bluebird Cafe (4104 Hillsboro Pike) is a restaurant and live music venue that was founded in 1980. 

The cafe is known for its intimate atmosphere, delicious Southern cuisine, and talented musicians.

Sit and enjoy locally crafted beer as you watch the bustle around you. 

See A Game of Football at Nissan Stadium

Nissan Stadium (One Centennial Square) is home to the Tennessee Titans NFL football team. 

This stadium opened in 1999 and holds approximately 70,000 fans. 

Seeing a football game is the perfect fall date idea in Nashville. 

View from sky of Nissan Stadium Nashville Tennessee

Cheekwood Botanical Garden

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens (1200 Forrest Park Dr) is home to more than 10,000 species of plants representing nearly 6,000 genera and 400 families.

It was founded in 1891 and looks especially gorgeous with colors gracing the trees when you visit Nashville in fall. 

Ryman Auditorium

The Ryman Auditorium (116 5th Ave N) was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and opened in 1909. 

The auditorium seats 2,500 people. 

It is best known for being the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1925 until 1970.

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Experience the ‘Soul of Nashville’ interactive video experience and then explore the venue at your own pace as you soak up the music history.

Learn How to Line Dance

Line dancing is a true honky-tonk experience. 

It is also one of the top fall things to do in Nashville because it is easily done inside when it is cool outside.

The city is home to a wide variety of line dancing styles, from country to swing to hip hop. 

This 1-hour country line dancing lesson includes all the guidance and easy-to-follow routines to become a master of line dancing. 

You’ll also be able to take home a keepsake video to relive the day. 

Once you’ve perfected your line dancing you’ll be ready for the Broadway bar dancefloors!

Country band playing instruments

Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour

The Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour offer visitors to Nashville a unique opportunity to experience the city from a different perspective.

Visitors can hop on and off at any stop along the route to enjoy a variety of attractions including the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium, the Parthenon, the Hermitage, and many others.

Nashville Tennessee in October is best seen from an Old Town Trolley. 

Visit the Parthenon

The Parthenon (2500 West End Ave) is a Greek temple designed by architect I.M. Pei and completed in 1967. 

The building is considered to be one of the finest examples of modern architecture. 

Centennial Park

Centennial Park (2500 West End Ave) is located at the heart of downtown Nashville. 

This park is home to many events throughout the year including concerts, festivals, and even weddings but is a great stop in Nashville in fall. 

There are several different paths through this beautiful park. 

One path leads to the Tennessee River where you can enjoy a relaxing walk along the riverbank. 

Another path leads to the Centennial Garden where you can admire the flowers and trees. 

A third path leads to the Centenary College campus where you can visit the historic buildings.

Trolley by The Parthenon Nashville

Gaylord Hotel Drinks

Feel zen among the shrubbery of the famous Gaylord Opry Hotel’s (Opryland Dr) Victorian garden.

The hotel first opened in the 1970s to support the Grand Ole Opry and is now a popular drinks spot.

Diners relax at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel Nashville

National Museum of African American Music

This National Museum of African American Music (510 Broadway) showcases the musical genres inspired, created, or influenced by African-Americans. 

Visit the interactive National Museum of African American Music and learn about the historical achievements and cultural impact of African American music.

Lane Motor Museum

The Lane Motor Museum (702 Murfreesboro Pike) was founded in 1969 by John Lane and his wife, Bettye. 

They were both avid car collectors and enthusiasts. 

Their collection included cars from the 1920s through the 1960s. 

The museum opened its doors to the public in 1970 and began offering tours of their collection.

Country Music Hall of Fame Museum

The Country Music Hall of Fame Museum (711 Broadway Avenue) was established in 1967. 

The museum features exhibits dedicated to country music history and culture. 

There are many famous musicians who were born in this city including Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Charlie Rich, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, and many others.

Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry (2804 Opryland Dr) is the world’s longest-running radio show, broadcast since 1925. 

The Opry is home to some of the biggest names in country music including George Jones, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff, and many others.

The Johnny Cash Museum & Cafe

The Johnny Cash Museum (119 3rd Ave S) was founded in 1993 and is located at 726 Broadway Street in downtown Nashville. 

The museum features exhibits dedicated to the life and career of country music legend Johnny Cash. 

There are several galleries featuring photographs, personal items, and memorabilia from his life. 

Visitors can also enjoy listening stations where they can hear recordings of Cash performing live.

If you want to enjoy some good old-fashioned southern hospitality, then head over to the cafe.

The menu consists of traditional American fare, but the speciality is homemade desserts.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park (600 James Robertson Pkwy) is located at the intersection of I-440 and Murfreesboro Pike.

This state park was established in 1976 as a result of the bicentennial celebration of the United States.

Radnor Lake

Radnor Lake is a small lake located in the heart of Nashville. 

It is surrounded by many parks and green spaces, making it a great place to relax and unwind after a long day of exploration. 

In the fall, the gorgeous color of changing leaves looks especially pretty mirrored on this lake. 

Nashville Fall Festivals

Fun fall festivals for all the family featuring food, history, and music.

Nashville also features in our guide to the best places to visit in the US in April for its cherry blossom festival.

Tennessee History Festival

The Tennessee History Festival is a two-day event held annually at the State Capitol Building. 

This festival celebrates the history of Tennessee and its residents. 

The first annual Tennessee History Festival was held in October of 2013.


Everyone’s heard of Oktoberfest, but not everyone has experienced Nashville’s. 

Nashville’s Oktoberfest has been called the “most authentic Oktoberfest in America” by Business Insider and is one of the best experiences in Nashville in October. 

Enjoy Live music, local breweries, arts and crafts, a Dachshund Derby, a Brat Eating Contest, Masskrugstemmen, great good, and a 5k Bier Run. 

Nashville Whiskey Festival

The Nashville Whiskey Festival is a great opportunity to meet some of the best whiskey makers in the world. 

This event takes place at the end of October and is held at the beautiful Music City Center. 

There are two days where attendees can enjoy tastings from top distilleries around the globe. 

Attendees can also take advantage of educational seminars and tours.

Nashville Film Festival

The Nashville Film Festival is a great place to meet filmmakers from around the world. 

There are many events throughout the festival including panels, workshops, networking opportunities, and parties. 

This is a great opportunity to network with industry professionals and learn more about filmmaking.

Fall Family Fun Festival

The Nashville Fall Family Fun Festival is a great time to visit the city and enjoy a Nashville corn maze, pumpkin farm, and more. 

There are many fun activities and events happening throughout the fall season. 

This event is held at Centennial Park and is one of the best Nashville fall events for families.

Americana Music Festival

The Americana Music Festival takes place annually at the end of September in downtown. 

This festival celebrates the roots of country music and features some of the best musicians from around the world. 

The Americana Music Festival is held at the Ryman Auditorium, which was once home to the Grand Ole Opry. 

The Ryman is now a state-of-the-art concert venue that holds up to 18,000 people.

Which Nashville fall activity is your favorite? Tell us in the comments.