Lounging on a paddleboard during the summer in Seattle.

City Guide

The Top 10 Best Places to Visit in the Summer in the U.S.

By Bri Hand | May 24, 2022

We have great news—”summering” in a new city is a lifestyle no longer reserved for just the rich and the famous! Remote workers across the country are taking advantage of their newfound flexibility to spend their treasured summer months somewhere new.

Whether you want to delight in days lounging on a patio, hiking mountain trails, or enjoying activities on the water, here are our recommendations for the top 10 places to visit in the summer in the USA, including:

  1. Boston
  2. Denver
  3. Seattle
  4. Chicago
  5. San Francisco
  6. Portland
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Atlanta
  9. Austin
  10. San Diego

Let’s get started!

1. Boston, Massachusetts

Person lounges on a dock on the Charles River Esplanade in Boston, Massachusetts

Winters in Boston may be the stuff of nightmares, but the summer season rewards patient locals with sunny weather, warm temperatures, and plenty of opportunities to take advantage of both. So-called “Patio SZN” is in full swing as soon as thermometers reach 60 degrees, with outdoor spaces open for drinking, dining, and catching up with friends who’ve emerged from their annual hibernation.

Be sure to pay a visit to Fenway Park to catch a Red Sox game, and be on the lookout for the many outdoor concerts that happen throughout the city, from the popular Boston Calling festival to the Cambridge Dance Party in the streets of Central Square.

Boston also offers opportunities to get out on the water, whether you want to take a boat tour on Boston Harbor, rent a paddleboard from Paddle Boston to spend a day floating on the Charles River, or simply admire the ocean waves from a commuter ferry to nearby Salem or Provincetown on Cape Cod.

Thinking about adding Boston to your summer travel bucket list? Check out our blog post, “Our Top 5 Reasons to Call Boston Home This Summer.”

2. Denver, Colorado

Woman hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park in Denver, Colorado.

As a high-altitude city set below the mountains, Denver is a great place to spend the summer if you want to explore the great outdoors. Take a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, or the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park for spectacular views and thrilling hiking trails that will help you get in touch with nature. The aptly named “Garden of the Gods” in nearby Colorado Springs is also a must-see.

If you’d rather stay in the city limits, be sure to check out the Denver ZooCheesman Park, and the Denver Botanical Garden, where you could spend days exploring flowers and plants from all around the world.

For those who want a taste of the great outdoors without leaving the comfort of Denver, Forest Room 5 is the perfect compromise. With a patio decorated to look like a campsite—complete with tree stump seats and fire pits—this bar offers a rustic vibe that can’t be beat.

3. Seattle, Washington

Man and his dog pose on the beach in Seattle, Washington, during the summer.

Seattle might be synonymous with wetter weather, but it makes up for it when the sun decides to make an appearance! Soak up the rare rays and snap some shots of the Seattle skyline from one of the city’s popular rooftop bars, including MBarThe Nest, and The Mountaineering Club.

Rent a single, double, or even triple kayak from the Northwest Outdoor Center on Lake Union and spend a beautiful afternoon paddling by the houseboats and Gas Works Park. You can even kayak on Puget Sound by renting from Ballard Kayak out of Shilsole Bay. While the water might be a bit choppy, the views are worth the potentially rough ride!

The best thing about Seattle is that you’re never far from the mountains, so you can always day-trip to spots like Mount Rainier National ParkOlympic National ParkNorth Cascades National Park, and Mount Saint Helens National Park.

4. Chicago, Illinois

Man sails his boat on Lake Michigan in Chicago.

Similar to Boston, Chicago is bursting with life after a long winter. Locals enjoy temperatures in the high 70s and 80s throughout the season on patios, rooftops, beaches, and parks. The city’s location along the Colorado River and Lake Michigan means it’s easy to hit the waves. We recommend taking a water taxi, boat tour, or kayak along the Colorado River at least once to admire the gorgeous views of the city’s renowned architecture.

Millennium Park hosts a series of free events over the summer, including multiple outdoor concerts, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Millennium Park Summer Film Series, and Millennium Park Summer Workouts every Saturday from May through September.

Foodies love the city’s street fairs and festivals, such as Taste of Chicago, the Chicago Food Truck Festival, and the Chicago Taco & Tequila Fest. Afterward, swing by one of the city’s many farmers’ markets for fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, and more.

5. San Francisco, California

Woman poses in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.

If staying cool is a must, San Francisco is the place to be. Karl, the city’s aptly named fog, generally keeps the city in the low 70s, making for a temperate spot to spend the season, with very little rainfall.

There’s no shortage of festivals and street fairs in the Bay Area, such as Outside Lands music festival in Golden Gate Park, the Fillmore Jazz Festival, the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair, and the North Beach Festival. Locals also recommend attending a Giants Game at the waterfront Oracle Park, which serves up great baseball and bay views all in one.

The city has its fair share of fun things to do during the summer, but you’re never too far away from the day trip of your dreams. Spend the afternoon sampling Merlot in nearby Napa or Sonoma, marvel at the rugged coastline of Big Sur, or admire the houseboats of Sausalito, and the trees of Muir Woods just across the Golden Gate Bridge.

6. Portland, Oregon

A young man leans on a rock as he stares out into the sunset by the lake at Rooster Rock State Park outside of Portland, Oregon.

Portland is another comfortable summer destination, with temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s. This city’s outdoorsy reputation is put on full display this time of year, with enough free outdoor concerts, farmers’ markets, and festivals to fill your calendar.

This milder weather also makes for the perfect backdrop to get active outside, whether you want to go on a hike, explore the area’s many swimming holes and waterfalls, or even go berry picking. Portland is close to multiple campgrounds, such as Barton Park or Oxbow Regional Park, but if roughing it isn’t your thing, you can also go glamping!

Just be sure to leave enough room in your suitcase for a pool float to participate in the annual Big Float event, in which thousands of people swim and float in the Willamette River.

7. Washington, D.C.

Man running along the path in front of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

One of the hotter summer destinations on this list, Washington, D.C. experiences temperatures in the high 80s from June through August. Fortunately, the nation’s capital doesn’t leave locals hanging for ways to cool down.

On particularly hot days, take advantage of free admission to Smithsonian museums to surround yourself with art and artifacts (and, more importantly, air conditioning). You can also rent a kayak or paddleboard in Georgetown, or take a boat cruise or a paddleboat on the Potomac River.

D.C. offers endless opportunities for exploration, whether you want to learn more about the country’s history, admire the gorgeous homes of Georgetown, or wander around one of the city’s many markets. You may even stumble upon a festival or block party along the way!

Of course, one of the biggest benefits of living here this time of year is the chance to experience the city’s annual Independence Day celebration and fireworks display at the National Mall. Check that one off your bucket list!

8. Atlanta, Georgia

Family splashes around in fountain during the summer in Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta is a great place to spend your summer. Make sure to take some time to explore the Atlanta BeltLine, an outdoor space comprising 22 miles of unused railroad tracks around the city. Take a leisurely stroll to admire the many art installations along your path, or pick up the pace with a thrilling electric scooter ride. You can even participate in one of the BeltLine’s many fitness classes—if you can stand the heat—and reward yourself after with a game of cornhole and giant Jenga at the nearby New Realm Brewery.

Another popular summer destination is the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which houses a stunning display of plants and flowers that will make your Instagram stories bloom. Be sure to stop by the 25-foot Earth Goddess sculpture—she has to be seen to be believed!

Also check out Ponce City Market, a hotspot for shopping and dining beloved by locals and tourists alike. Admire the city skyline and sip on a signature Frozen Lemonade from The Roof, before playing some Skee-Ball and mini-golf at Skyline Park.

9. Austin, Texas

Kayakers and paddleboarders on Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas, during the summer.

While temperatures simmer in the upper 90s here, Austin has plenty of outdoor activities that will keep you cool and content.

Spend the day kayaking, paddle-boarding, or canoeing on Lady Bird Lake, or take a dip in the popular Barton Springs Pool, which is 68 degrees all year round. If you like to pair your dips with stunning city views, venture up to the South Congress Hotel’s rooftop pool and bar, where you can relax poolside and enjoy 25% off bottles of rose, every day. Yes, that’s right. Every. Single. Day.

In the mood for a little summertime adventure? Take a tour of Austin’s many murals, then cool off with an “Invader Pimm” cocktail at Aba, a popular Mediterranean restaurant on South Congress.

10. San Diego, California

Man releases a lantern into the sky in San Diego, California.

Okay, okay, we know—San Diego is pretty well known for being a delightful place to live all year round. But summer is no exception in this SoCal locale, with temperatures averaging in the high 70s. Plus, the sun sets later this time of year, which means you’ll have plenty of time after work to lounge on the beach and watch the phenomenal West Coast sunset over the Pacific. Locals agree—it really never gets old.

San Diego is known for its laid-back surfer vibes, but even surfing novices can get in on the fun. You can still be an enthralled spectator at the various surf tournaments held in San Diego this time of year. Better yet, be sure to catch the Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition in August. Your camera roll will thank you.

The city also hosts a series of can’t-miss outdoor events, such as the July 4th Boat Parade in Mission Bay, concerts at the Rady Hatch Shell at Jacobs Park, and Humphry’s Concerts by the bay. Additionally, you can spend the night watching a movie under the stars at one of San Diego’s many drive-in movie theaters, movie screenings in the park, or at the Rooftop Cinema Club at the top of the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

Looking to spend the summer somewhere new?

If you’re ready to pack up your things and kick-start the summer of your dreams in a new city, you’re going to need a place to live! Landing offers fully furnished apartments in over 375 cities throughout the U.S., all with flexible leases that let you live life on your terms—whether you want to stay all summer or never want to leave again. Browse our apartments today, and learn more about what a Landing membership can do for you!

About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.