Spring has officially sprung and I’ve been able to enjoy travels throughout the US! Over the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring states across the southern US, the Midwest, and the west coast. I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to explore these areas, especially during the spring season. Spring is a unique time to travel as it brings better weather, more activities, and fresh beginnings. Throughout my travels I’ve rounded up 3 of the best US cities to visit in the spring – read more for alllll my thoughts!
Having previously visited Chicago in the fall, I was excited to be back exploring Chicagoland for a week and many of the surrounding suburbs. I totally lucked out with the weather, as we got a blast of heat during the week I was there! It’s always a bonus to take advantage of the warmer weather during the spring season, plus all sorts of new activities opening up – which makes for a very exciting time!
I always forget just how green some of the Chicago suburbs are, and I’m reminded of the amount of parks they have when I visit. Spring is the perfect time to enjoy the many parks nearby! One area I’d recommend is the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve, located in an absolutely gorgeous area right along Lake Michigan. They have a variety of hiking trails with views of the lake, and you have the option to hike down to the beaches themselves to check it out. Unfortunately it’s not recommended to swim there, but it was still nice to be close to the lakefront.
Forest Park is another great option that I believe does allow swimming and feels more like a typical sand beach, with lots of activities for the entire family. They also have a wonderful covered picnic area, where I truly enjoyed eating my lunch! Gallery Park in Glenview is another great option for enjoying some greenery, water views, and some trails to explore. I also explored downtown West Chicago with the train station and a couple of the different parks nearby. And of course, no trip to Chicago is complete without some eats! I definitely went for some deep dish pizza at Giordano’s. Getting in a visit to some US classics like Trader Joes and Target doesn’t hurt either 😋
I also had the opportunity to visit the state of Wisconsin for the first time, more specifically in the Milwaukee area, and it was great. Again, I lucked out with a sunny and warm day! I road-tripped from the Chicago area to the Milwaukee area and got to enjoy more gorgeous parks nearby, especially along the shores of Lake Michigan. In particular, the Shorewood and Whitefish Bay area was gorgeous. The small towns themselves are very quaint and filled with cute shops, the houses nearby are enormous and look like entire estates all to themselves, and the location right along Lake Michigan doesn’t hurt either.
Heading towards downtown Milwaukee is an entirely different ball game – Bradford Beach right on Lake Michigan is a very popular option for folks to visit. When I swung by on a Friday afternoon, the beach was absolutely packed! Closer towards downtown, the Milwaukee Public Market is a fun option, filled with local vendors, gifts, and more. I picked up some great local spices and goodies, and they have options to enjoy outdoor seating when the weather is nicer – you can’t resist enjoying a beer out on a sun-drenched patio!
One more fun option I want to mention – which isn’t necessarily for spring as it can be visited year-round but can be a fun option if you are road-tripping between Illinois and Wisconsin as I was – is the Mars Cheese Castle. When I first heard about it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought perhaps it was a castle built entirely out of cheese! Not the case – rather, it’s a castle filled with cheese options, all sourced from Wisconsin itself. I couldn’t resist having a grilled cheese sandwich and purchasing some cheese curds for the road. It’s definitely a unique option to stop by, and a great choice to stretch your legs out in the sunshine as they have lots of space to do so at this pit stop.
My last city to explore was Spokane, Washington for a few days for a conference. Though I’ve visited in the past, it’s been quite a few years since I’d been back, and I was excited to explore it again. However, getting there was a TREK. For some reason, I faced a bunch of major delays leaving from Chicago, which caused me to miss my connecting flight. Thankfully, I was put on standby for another flight leaving later that day, and was able to make it on – but those 7 hours of waiting at the airport in-between really put me through the ringer! Needless to say, I was VERY happy to finally arrive in Spokane and check in to my insanely gorgeous hotel.
After a great night’s sleep, I got to wake up to the most gorgeous view from my hotel overlooking the Spokane River and park. I explored nearby, and found the cutest cafe/store where I got some amazing coffee. Then I jumped right in to the conference and enjoyed a day of sessions, and in the evening, I got to attend a reception at a local bar. The drinks and appies served were amazing, many of which featured huckleberry’s – apparently a favourite fruit for Spokane!
Our second day was jam-packed! A mixture of conference sessions, presenting for my first time at a conference, coffee and delicious food. In the evening, we had a large group social that featured live music and a dance floor, which was a TON of fun! I had a blast connecting with colleagues and dancing the night away.
On our last day in Spokane, we had some food and conference sessions, and before I knew it I was heading to the airport. If I thought getting to Spokane was a challenge, I had no idea what I was in for trying to get back to Toronto! Long story short, it was a bit of a nightmare of weather and missed connections, which wound up with me getting stuck overnight in Denver. Thankfully, I did get re-booked and it all worked out in the end, I made it back to Toronto safe and sound!
All in all, my visit in Spokane was a JOURNEY and I’m not sure if I’ll be travelling through Denver again any time soon…. but I did find the area I stayed in Spokane to be lovely, filled with cute shops and cafes. The weather was a bit more brisk than the other cities I visited, but it was a welcome break for me. If I had to compare Spokane with my previous visit to Seattle, I’d definitely still visit Seattle for more of a city vibe – but Spokane still has its perks too!
Depending on where you are travelling from and what you’re looking for, any of these 3 cities is a great option to explore this spring! Here’s my recommendations:
- Chicago: a great choice for suburban variety, parks, deep dish ‘za and sports.
- Milwaukee: the outskirts have more of a charming, lakefront small-town vibe, while downtown is more vibrant with unique shopping options, like the market.
- Spokane: a great option if you’re into cafes, books, antique shops, and hole-in-the-wall local spots to explore.
Whatever you’re looking for this spring, I’m sure you’ll find it in one of these three cities! If you wind up taking a trip, make sure to tag me in your adventures 🙂