With crisp fall weather and ever-enchanting foliage ready to turn, October is one of the best months of the year to travel. The back-to-school excitement has not yet worn off, and cultural events, festivals and the promise of a fresh new harvest season draw travelers to destinations across the world. From leaf-peeping in Jackson Hole to wine tasting in Tuscany, these are the trips to take this month.
Classic European Capitals
The summer crowds have dissipated, but the weather is still mild, which makes October a lovely time to visit Europe’s most popular capitals.
This fall, Paris‘s Left Bank is in the midst of a renaissance, and curious travelers should visit to see the neighborhood’s exciting new additions. Chief among these is Hotel Lutetia, a beloved institution once frequented by the likes of Hemingway and Picasso that has been lovingly restored to its original splendor. Along with a recent flurry of ambitious restaurant openings on the south side of the Seine, it is helping to reinvent the area as a nouvelle foodie destination. The latest offerings include Beaupassage, a Saint-Germain-des-Prés gourmet food court; and La Felicità, a refurbished 1920s shipping depot with multiple restaurants, including an American-style burger shack.
A city that is constantly celebrating the new, London comes alive in October with shows, exhibitions and restaurant openings. For foodies, this season’s slate of trending venues is particularly impressive; it includes a stylish Indian barbecue spot and several big-name debuts in Mayfair (see our full list of new restaurants). As for special events, the Frieze London art fair showcases work from 160 galleries and more than 1,000 emerging and well-known artists at Regent’s Park, from October 4-7. London Cocktail Week is on from October 1 -7, allowing participants to try £6 specialty cocktails at hundreds of London’s best bars, plus a pop-up ‘cocktail village’ event. Two hotels have debuted this year: L’Oscar in Holborn, in a former church with Arts and Crafts details, the first London property to be designed by Jacques Garcia (of La Reserve Paris); and Russell Square’s opulent Principal Hotel.
World-class barbecue, live music, delightful scenery and irresistible southern charm continue to lure travelers south. With the possibility of balmy fall weather (and even the opportunity to swim), two of our favorite cities are at the top of our list.
This hip college town has been, according to Forbes, one of the world’s fastest growing cities for three years and counting. And while the self-proclaimed music capital of the world still has plenty of top-notch barbecue joints, rockabilly venues and excellent vintage stores, recent openings have put Austin on the map as a world-class food and music mecca. Visitors can enjoy a sophisticated lunch of lobster rolls and caviar at the chic Clark’s Oyster Bar along with quintessential Austin pursuits such as shopping for cowboy boots at one of boutiques on South Congress Avenue (SoCo) or catching live music at the Continental Club or C-Boys Heart and Soul. Fall is a lovely time to visit, with weather consisting of sun and mid-70-degree temperatures, and special events, including University of Texas football games and Austin City Limits.
In Savannah, historic antebellum architecture and a lovely coastal atmosphere are now complemented by renowned galleries, lively restaurants and stylish hotels. Several new eateries are offering innovative twists on farm-to-fork Southern cuisine (a favorite is Husk, led by James Beard Award–winning chef Sean Brock). The American Prohibition Museum debuted late last year, and its speakeasy has been earning attention for its authentic Jazz Age cocktails. And the new Perry Lane Hotel celebrates the city’s roots and culture in its eclectic decor. In October, the weather is warm but comfortable in the high-70s to low-80s, so you can still spend your afternoons at the beach (Tybee Island is close to the city, and Hilton Head in South Carolina is less than an hour away) and your evenings sipping chilled cocktails on the rooftop or dining al fresco.
There is something about the fall that stirs the cultural explorer in all of us, whether travelers’ ideas of urban exploration involve museum-hopping or finding the best handmade tacos in the market.
Filled with color, warmth and spirit, Mexico City is especially lovely in October, when 70-degree temperatures and sunny weather are ideal for perusing the capital’s many outdoor markets. Art lovers will be especially charmed by the city, which was named the World Design Capital this year for good reason: the hub for contemporary innovation has an abundance of world-class art museums and artistic institutions. (Favorites include the pre-hispanic Anahuacalli Museum, the Casa Luis Barragán, the home and studio of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and the Museo Jumex.) Beyond museum- and gallery- hopping, travelers enjoy their pick of some of the world’s finest culinary institutions, such as Quintonil, Pujol and Rosetta.
There’s never been a better time to visit Helsinki, with its cutting-edge Design District, chic shopping, vibrant food scene and island fortress UNESCO site. Ideal for an October getaway (before temperatures dip below freezing for the winter), Europe’s northernmost capital is equally well known for its distinctive blend of Western modernism and traditional Eastern European architecture as for its iconic designers, such as Alvar Aalto, Marimekko, Artek and Arabia. Add an impressive roster of high-design hotels—including Hotel Lilla Roberts, with its Art Deco-inspired interiors and Hotel St. George, which has a bakery on-site—and top restaurants serving innovative Nordic cuisine, and Helsinki’s ‘moment’ shows no sign of stopping.
Vintage Classics: Best Wine Regions
Foodies and oenophiles alike celebrate October and the festive harvest season, when some of the most scenic destinations flourish with the planting of next year’s crop. In these regions, travelers can enjoy the freshest fare just steps from where it was grown and partake in harvest season activities, including cooking classes, truffle hunting and olive oil tastings.
We love Tuscany for its ever-enchanting countryside populated by vineyards and magical towns, and many argue the best vino in the world. At Castiglion Del Bosco, an Indagare-adored property for its exquisite sense of place, guests can take advantage of special experiences centered around the grape harvest. Activities include hands-on classes from wine experts and gourmet picnics featuring the property’s well-known Brunello di Montalcino.
Long called the “Sleeping Beauty” of France, Bordeaux is a beautiful city in the southwestern region of the country that tops wine-lovers bucket lists. Days here are spent touring the cathedral-filled history city center, wine tasting at countryside vineyards, savoring meals at authentic French bistros an taking day trips to the Atlantic coast flanked by dramatic dunes.
Leaf-peepers, outdoor enthusiasts and foodies should head west this October, where a Wild West cowboy town and cultural mecca are upping the ante.
One could argue there is never a bad time to visit Jackson Hole, as the low-key alternative to Aspen or Park City offers pretty scenery and activities for visitors year-round. But as summer crowds depart and ski season has not yet revved up, October brings gorgeous foliage and crisp autumnal whether, meaning outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing and horseback riding are all the more scenic. Plus, the town (which is otherwise described as rustic and understated) has an excellent hotel scene. In addition to luxury legends the Four Seasons and Amangani, two cool new entries have emerged as trendy competitors: the Anvil, a motel turned hip retreat (imagine an Ace Hotel in the Wild West) and Caldera House, a collection of alpine-style condominiums. And Jackson has recently added more flight routes and an extensive network of bike paths, giving travelers all the more reason to soak up Wyoming this fall.
There is no shortage of restaurants, activities and cultural happenings to entertain visitors in the ever-evolving City of Angels. This fall, we are especially excited about the dozens of new restaurants popping up on the food scene: Momofuku’s Majordomo, the first L.A outpost of David Chang’s Momofuku brand, one of the city’s biggest openings of 2018; Felix, whose tonnarelli cacio e pepe was named “Best Pasta of the Year” by Bon Appétit; and The Broken Shaker at the Freehand Hotel, a youthful rooftop bar that is already a veritable L.A. hotspot. And for an afternoon of snack sampling, head to Smorgasburg, an outpost of Brooklyn’s famous food market, where innovative takes on traditional street food make for a delicious (and Instagrammable) afternoon.