Best Places to Visit in the Fall | Hostelling International USA

Our Best Fall Travel Destinations

The fall season brings some of the year's best weather, scenery, and events to destinations all over the U.S., from big cities, to small towns and national parks. Whether you're backpacking, traveling solo or with friends, or looking for a family getaway, we've got the perfect fall travel destination for you.

1. New York City, NY

A bridge in Central Park New York in the fall

Smart travelers head to NYC in Fall, while the air is the perfect temperature for walking and the holiday crowd has yet to flock in. While you're in the Big Apple, join HI New York City hostel for a variety of walking tours, including a guest favorite to the famous Central Park to see the changing leaves.

2. Richmond, VA

The Richmond skyline in fall from the Lee Bridge

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year in Virginia, and traveling throughout its capital during this season can reveal an abundance of color. Located directly on U.S. Bike Route #1 and the East Coast Greenway, HI Richmond hostel is an ideal stop for competitive and leisure cyclists alike. Nature lovers will revel in the hostel’s proximity to hiking trails, kayaking, outdoor adventures and state and national parks during this season.

3. Boston, MA

A view of Boston in the fall from Boston Public Garden

Fall is a dream in Boston because the weather is just right after the oppressive summer heat, and the city trees are the loveliest shades of bright and fiery autumn. Stay at HI Boston hostel and take a stroll to the Boston Public Garden where you can admire the colorful elm trees and take in the scenery from a swan boat on the lagoon. Check out our guide to fall in Boston here.

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4. Madison, WI

a tree lined street in Madison Wisconsin in the fall

This friendly Midwest town is infused with trees revealing rapidly changing leaves, and glacial lakes, bicycle paths, and parks are all connected to your experience in Wisconsin’s capital city. Enjoy a quintessential American Fall experience by attending a Big 10 football game not far from HI Madison hostel’s downtown location. Check out our guide to fall in Madison here.

5. San Francisco, CA

biking down lombard street in san francisco

Any local will tell you fall is the best time of the year to visit San Francisco: the famously foggy summer weather clears up from September through November, making for gloriously sunny days and clear views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. Autumn also brings out some of the city's favorite free music festivals, street fairs, and cultural events. Best of all, tourist crowds are thinner this time of year, so you can get out and enjoy the best of the city alongside the locals and spend less time waiting in line for visitor must-dos like cable car rides and Alcatraz tours. Check out our guide to San Francisco in the fall here.

6. Sacramento, CA

A view of HI Sacramento hostel surrounded by fall trees

California’s capital city is nicknamed the City of Trees, with elms, sycamores, and oaks taking up almost a quarter of the streets and suburbs. So you can imagine what the fall is like as all those leaves change colors. Walk to the Capitol Building or to downtown restaurants and bars, all just blocks from HI Sacramento, and you’ll get to experience the colorful canopy.

7. Chicago, IL

the bean in chicago in the fall

Cool, crisp air; fiery orange foliage; and a festive vibe make fall an ideal time to visit Chicago. Browse the city's traditional German holiday market, enjoy one of the country's best Oktoberfest celebrations, or get up early to capture the perfect photo of the Bean surrounded by fall leaves. Check out our guide to fall in Chicago.

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A foggy stretch of Highway 1 in California

3 Mini Road Trips to Take This Fall

If you’re planning a trip to HI USA hostels in some of our big cities this fall, why not add on a mini road trip to an underrated destination nearby? Gather some friends (bonus points if they’re new ones you made at a hostel), and treat yourselves to a road trip adventure.