Crab cakes, culture and friendly folks await you in Charm City. Stroll along the Inner Harbor and hop a water taxi to Fell’s Point, where you’ll find murals dedicated to one-time resident Billie Holiday. For brunch, head to Teavolve for red velvet pancakes or pick up Prettier Girl Cocoa cupcakes at Kora Lee’s Gourmet Dessert Café . Visit the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and at suppertime, share cocktails and seafood at The Urban Oyster.
Where to stay: Book one of the 18 French chateau-inspired rooms at The Ivy Hotel, owned by philanthropists Eddie and Sylvia Brown. A private car will scoop you from the train station and upon check-in, you’ll be greeted with champagne. Afternoon tea and breakfast are included in the room rate, as well as two movies, gourmet snacks and beverages. On a budget, go to the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore.
The City of Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love is perfect for romantic walks and views of its famous murals. At Love Park in JFK Plaza, snap a selfie in front of the LOVE sculpture. Grab a table at Aksum Cafe, a BYOB Mediterranean food spot with North African and Middle Eastern accents. You’ll enjoy nouveau Southern cooking and a live Sunday jazz brunch buffet at Warmdaddy’s.
Where to stay: A restored Victorian in quiet University City, Akwaaba Philadelphia is a bed and breakfast with an Afrocentric flair. Owners Glenn Pogue and Monique Greenwood have designed each guest room and suite as an homage to Philly soul legends like Jill Scott, Patti LaBelle and Teddy Pendergrass. The innkeepers lovingly serve a home-cooked breakfast and afternoon snack. Or if you’re near Logan Square, get a room at The Logan Philadelphia, a Hilton hotel with locally curated art on display and a rooftop bar with a gorgeous view of the city.
North Fork, Long Island, New York
Dotted with charming towns, Long Island’s North Fork is a low-key alternative to the see-and-be-seen scene in the Hamptons. Area attractions include wine tastings, lavender farms, antiquing, bike riding and kayaking.
Where to stay: At Quintessentials Bed & Breakfast and Spa, owner Sylvia Daley spoils guests with Jamaican coffee, fresh fruits, muffins, Mediterranean salads and afternoon sweets. Enjoy them on the garden deck and gaze at the fall foliage. Also great for the visiting couple: Hotel Indigo Long Island – East End.
Virginia is for lovers. Kick off your day with a breakfast burrito at Brewer’s Café and a Boss latte at the Urban Hang Suite. Peruse the vintage racks at Rumors Boutique, co-owned by Marshe Wyche and check out the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. For date night, head to Mama J’s for down-home grub or Spoonbread Bistro for French-inspired Southern cuisine.
Where to stay: Near Virginia Commonwealth University, the Graduate Richmond hotel has tennis-themed décor honoring hometown hero Arthur Ashe. Share a light bite in the lobby café and canoodle over a cocktail at the rooftop bar. Another option is the Omni Richmond Hotel.
Fall temps in Hotlanta average in the 70s, perfect for a picnic in Piedmont Park with sandwiches from Le Petit Marché and flavored popcorn and peanut brittle from Miss D’s New Orleans Style Candy. In the evening, wine and dine at Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours, known for signature drinks, fried green tomatoes and fried chicken. Or enjoy live entertainment, crispy crawfish tails and freshwater rock shrimp at Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint.
Where to stay: Built in 1890 by African American architect Alexander Hamilton Jr., The Hamilton Howell House Bed and Breakfast was renovated in 1985. A short walk from the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, it features three beautiful bedrooms — the W.E.B. Dubois, the Elizabeth Catlett and the Maya Angelou — plus a John Coltrane suite. Or stay downtown at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
There’s no place like Vegas. Where else can you see an Egyptian pyramid, the Eiffel Tower and ride a gondola all in the same day? For breakfast, eat like a local at Mr. Mamas or Gritz Cafe. Later, splurge on a heart chakra-balancing treatment at the Spa at Palms or a couples massage Canyon Ranch Spa + Fitness, and savor a gourmet lunch buffet at the Paris or Bellagio resorts. In the evening, take in a comedy, magic or burlesque show, then relish a candlelit dinner with stunning views of the shimmering Strip at the revolving Top of the World at the STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod or the 64th floor Rivea at Delano Las Vegas. If the spirit moves you, you can elope or renew your vows.
Where to stay: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas at the sleek Cosmopolitan resort in the heart of the Strip with renowned restaurants like Beauty & Essex, STK and Momofuku. For a non-gaming, all-suites hotel, book the boutique Vdara Hotel & Spa at CityCenter Las Vegas, the Strip’s sprawling urban complex.
Enjoy the laid-back Cali vibe. Pick up a fresh bouquet at Esscents of Flowers, take a DJ lesson at Fingersnaps across the bay in San Francisco and practice your asanas at Anasa Yoga. For brunch or dinner, follow the foodies to Top Chef contestant Tanya Holland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen for new style down-home cooking and Souley Vegan, where Tamearra Dyson puts a vegan spin on Louisiana-style comfort food.
Where to stay: Get a room with a view of the San Francisco Bay at the Waterfront Hotel located in festive Jack London Square with plenty of dining, fitness and entertainment options or relax at the urban-chic Oakland Marriott City Center.
Before “the hawk” descends on the Chi, shop along Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, take a brisk walk through Millennium Park and catch your reflection in the “Bean,” and visit a world-class museum like the Art Institute of Chicago or the DuSable Museum of African American History. For lunch, share a small deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria and for dinner pull up a chair at Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods.
Where to stay: The art-filled theWit is centrally located in the Loop, steps from theaters, retailers and restaurants. To experience Chicago’s South side, head to Sophy Hyde Park in the diverse, collegiate neighborhood where the Obamas once lived.
Affordable Autumn Getaways for Couples
Fall for each other and these romantic city retreats, great for touring, exploring and boo-loving.