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Hotel Deals for Studio City
El Royale Hotel Near Universal Studios Hollywood
CA, USA
Mar 21 - Mar 21, 2019
per night from
$ 422
$ 185.68

When flirting with the idea of a long weekend getaway, it helps to think beyond the obvious. Big cities such as New York, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco, while undeniably popular, present an overwhelming amount of options that can turn a getaway into an exhausting sprint (and they’re overcrowded). As an alternative, we’ve assembled seven US cities that are a bit more manageable, as well as original. They’re all destinations worth getting to know, and easily done when you only have three or four days to spare.

RELATED: These are America’s most underrated food cities

Snake River Valley

Boise, ID

There’s way more to Idaho than potatoes. Its state capital has evolved into an epicenter of youthful hipster cool, despite residing in one of the country’s most conservative states. Downtown Boise is home to an eclectic collection of farm-to-fork restaurants, and artistic inspiration abounds in the form of shops, galleries and street murals. (Be sure to check out Freak Alley Gallery, a free outdoor art installation spanning numerous alleys, featuring up-and-coming creative minds.) Boise is also a great springboard to activities in the Snake River Valley such as wine and brewery tours, as well as pretty much every outdoor adventure you can imagine, from rafting to hiking to climbing to biking.

Milwaukee, WI

If cheese and beer are your thing, consider Milwaukee your Mecca. Go beer tasting on a river cruise that strings together popular brewery tours along the Milwaukee River, before heading over to Milwaukee Public Market to explore the artisan purveyors of delicious cheeses and other local delicacies. Motorcycle enthusiasts will want to make a pilgrimage to the Harley-Davidson Museum, and art lovers cannot miss the award-winning Milwaukee Art Museum, which is a masterpiece in architecture evoking the famed Sydney Opera House. (The masterpieces found inside are equally amazing.) From there, it’s a short walk to the lakefront park where the wildly popular Milwaukee Summerfest is held each summer. It’s the world’s largest music festival, held over two weekends—and worth timing a visit around, especially if your favorite band is playing.

Whale watching in Monterey

Monterey, CA

It’s easy to sink into this laid-back seaside community 120 miles south of San Francisco. Home to the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium, which can easily claim an entire day, this upscale town is surrounded by epic nature trails and parks that hug the ocean. Point Lobos State Reserve is popular for whale watching and sea lion spotting. After ogling the multimillion-dollar estates along 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach, be sure to visit the picturesque wineries and farm stands (including Earthbound Farm) in the neighboring communities of Carmel and Carmel-by-the-Sea. You can then return to Monterey for more wine tastings by the sea.

ALSO: Collect your CheapCash when you book, then use it instantly on a hotel!

Branson, MO

This family-friendly town in the middle of the Ozarks has a ton to offer, if you’re cool with Christian values and gratuitous displays of American patriotism. Branson boasts more theater seats than Broadway, so you’ll never be without live entertainment options. Venues such as Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater and Yakov Smirnoff Theater host a variety of performances. The Titanic Museum, a standout amidst the kitschy attractions of Highway 76, is an incredibly thoughtful museum detailing the history of the doomed ship and its passengers, even if its exterior—a replica of the ship hitting that fateful iceberg—is somewhat questionable. The real star-power of Branson, however, resides in its outdoor bounty: the Ozarks. Be sure to head to Table Rock Lake for boating, fishing and water sports galore.

Pittsburgh, PA

The City of Bridges, once better known for its decaying steel mills, is once again a vibrant metropolis, thanks in large part to tech startups (including giants like Google and Facebook) that have set up headquarters along its riverbanks, inspiring a cosmopolitan rebirth. Get your cultural fix with a visit to the Andy Warhol Museum and Mattress Factory before roaming trendy neighborhoods like Shadyside, Upper Lawrenceville or South Side, which boast eclectic shops and innovative eateries pegged to an emerging craft brewery scene. For awe-inspiring views of the city, ride the 130-year-old Duquesne or Monongahela Inclines up to Mt. Washington.

Oklahoma City, OK

Route 66 passes through Oklahoma City, and travelers tend to linger longer than anticipated because this Midwestern oasis offers much more than folksy friendliness. (Although that certainly is a big selling point.) Head to the Bricktown River Walk for minor league baseball games, and a thriving entertainment and nightlife district, where on a Saturday night you’ll find a sea of cowboy hats. For a real giddy-up into cowboy culture, visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. It’s one of the most comprehensive collections of Western art, history and memorabilia in the world. The museum even has an entire room devoted to barbed wire!

Asheville, NC

Tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a setting that inspires true R&R. You’ll feel it in your lungs, as soon as you breathe in the fresh mountain air. Start by visiting the Biltmore Estate, the French chateau-inspired home of George Vanderbilt, a mogul of the Gilded Age. It’s America’s largest home, residing on an 8,000-acre estate with majestic mountain views. (We recommend taking the carriage ride around the grounds.) Stroll downtown Asheville, home to a thriving culinary scene and bohemian artistic community. The River Arts District (RAD), a massive warehouse-turned-art destination, features more than 180 talented artists forging one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Make time to experience the artistry of Mother Nature by touring a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic drive slicing through the highest elevations of the Southern Appalachians, and perhaps hiking some of its mountain trails.

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