No summer is complete without a getaway. Take a romantic trip with your sweetie, head somewhere solo, or take the kids on an adventure they’ll never forget. The cities on our list fit the bill for summer fun that won’t cost a fortune to get to. Depending on your travel dates, you’ll spend less than $200 on a round-trip flight out of DIA.
Kansas City, MO
Best city for: Music lovers, foodies, history buffs, frugal travelers
Music or BBQ enthusiast? Then put “The City of Fountains”, a.k.a. Kansas City, on your list for this summer. Take advantage of the affordable hotel options and head out for a cheap getaway. Plan your trip near the first Friday of the month to experience KC’s “First Friday” event. Think street music, food truck eats, art galleries, and vendors. If history’s more your thing, head to the National World War I Museum and Memorial. And definitely swing by Arthur Bryant’s for legendary BBQ dishes.
Best city for: Foodies, history buffs, families, solo travelers
Round-trip tickets from Denver to Chicago this summer sit below $200. If you haven’t been to the Windy City, now’s the time to go. Whether you want to see a Cubs game at historic Wrigley Field, step out onto the Willis Tower Skydeck, or picnic at Montrose Beach, there’s never-ending summer fun in Chicago. Spend a hot afternoon at Millennium Park and stick around ‘til evening for free concerts in the park on Mondays and Thursdays. If you want to see the whole city for cheap, grab an unlimited 1-day CTA pass for $10 and ride the “L,” Chicago’s transit system.
Salt Lake City, UT
Best city for: Outdoor enthusiasts, adventurous travelers
Salt Lake City is a go-to city for outdoor adventures. Pack your hiking boots and head to Big Cottonwood Canyon. Look up your family’s history in the world’s largest genealogy library (it’s free) or spend the day at the Natural History Museum of Utah for $15 or less/person. Of course, we couldn’t list SLC without mentioning Temple Square. Walk through 35 acres of beautiful gardens, architecture, and art.
San Francisco, CA
Best city for: Adventurous travelers, culture lovers
San Francisco has something for everyone, whether you want to explore the coastline, dip into hippie shops of the Haight, or see the city by streetcar. Swing by the Golden Gate Bridge for the classic photo op. Then, explore the Ferry Building Marketplace for eats, sights, and the sun. For history buffs and families alike, take a boat ride over to Alcatraz. Finish your day with a walk down Lombard Street for an expansive view of San Francisco, then walk down the “crooked” street filled with flowers and Victorian mansions.
Las Vegas, NV
Best city for: Adrenaline junkies, solo travelers, couples
Las Vegas in the summer might not be at the top of your list, but it’s a fun destination for adventurous travelers and couples alike. No jaunt to Las Vegas is complete without gambling. If you play the slots, swing through the casino at Bellagio. If you don’t want to lose money, just walk the strip for free entertainment. Thrill seeker? Try indoor skydiving (yep, it’s a thing.) And if you’re sick of the city, check out the nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for hiking.
Best city for: Families, outdoor enthusiasts, window shoppers, coffee fanatics
No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to Pike Place Market. Peruse the unique shops and vendors. Head up to the Space Needle’s observation deck for an ice cream and beautiful views of the city, Puget Sound, and Mt. Rainier. Spend an afternoon at the Olympic Sculpture Park. If you need to beat the heat, check out the Museum of Pop Culture. And be sure to check if there’s a Mariners game scheduled at Safeco Field.
Best city for: Foodies, book lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, gardeners
Ah, Portland, the city of roses, coffee, craft beer, and vegan/vegetarian fare. Beat the heat at Powell’s City of Books on Burnside, the largest new/used bookstore in the world. Meander through the International Rose Test Garden and finish your day with a donut from Voodoo Donuts. If you visit during the weekend, check out the Portland Saturday Market (it happens on Sunday, too) for food carts, unique jewelry, and wares. When you’re done, stroll along the waterfront. If you want to get out of the city, adventure into the Columbia Gorge. Summer is berry season and there are countless farms in the Fruit Loop to pick your own.
Best city for: Music lovers, history buffs, families
Memphis is the birthplace of the blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll. If it’s your first time in town, Elvis Presley’s house, Graceland, is a must-see. For a powerful educational experience, take the family to The Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. died. It now houses the National Civil Rights Museum. Explore Beale Street — also known as the Home of the Blues. Pro tip: go early in the day with the kids to beat the crowds.
Best city for: Families
If you’re traveling with the kids, Walt Disney World is a no-brainer for your Orlando itinerary. And while it’s worth the trip just for that, Orlando offers up much more than amusement park rides. Check out the Harry P Leu Gardens, Madame Tussauds Orlando Wax Museum, and the Orlando Science Center.
Best city for: Solo travelers, families, couples, history buffs
Summer in Austin is perfect for exploring. It’ll be hot, so cool yourself off in Barton Springs Pool — a pool that’s fed by underground springs and part of the massive Zilker Metropolitan Park. Take the kids to Thinkery for science and play. It’s part of the Austin Children’s Museum, but don’t worry — they host adult nights, too. Check the calendar to see if there’s one while you’re in town. Enjoy a drink at the iconic Driskill hotel bar and explore the State Capitol building that spans 22 acres of grounds.
As you plan your quick summer getaway, don’t forget about airport parking before you hit the skies. At ParkDIA, we offer affordable airport parking and quick shuttle rides to and from DIA. Reserve your parking spot today.