I need to plan an "awesome" and "magical" trip! Help!


Hi everyone! I’m trying to plan a birthday trip for me & my favorite human. Dates are 8/21-8/27 (somewhat flexible–can add or subtract days on either end, but has to include that weekend). The only rules are:
-must be in the continental US
-no sleeping outside
-heat is okay, but we’re trying to avoid swamp-level humidity
-looking to spend the time in one place (maybe two), not road tripping
-it needs to be amazing!

The country is huge and there are so many places to see! Help! Suggestions I’ve had so far are the City Museum in St. Louis and Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, which both look like good options, but I have no idea where to even start looking for other ideas. We’re nerdy and a bit artsy and looking for something that’s not just a cookie-cutter tourist trip. Quirky is good, slightly macabre is okay as long as it’s not gory. Suggestions?


To dos in St. Louis:

  • The City Museum is it’s all cracked it’s up to be. Go!
  • The arch is actually a really really interesting place to visit, you actually get to travel through it in a little elevator. Go!
  • Pappy’s Smokehouse is delicious!
  • You can also eat alligator sausage cheesecake at Broadway Oyster Bar.
  • A St. Louis Cardinals game at their retro-style downtown ballpark.
  • Budweiser Brewery is the largest and oldest brewery site, but quite commercial
  • Hotel Ignacio offers free bike rentals for guests staying there
  • Of course, all that AO lists on “The Atlas” for St. Louis

If you’re going to Santa Fe, the AO trip there is sold out, but we hope to repeat it next year!


To add to the Saint Louis list
there’s the stuff in Forest Park :
the Zoo and its free to get into but it cost to use it’s parking lot (parking in Forest Park is free)
The St Louis Art museum free except for the special exhibit
The Science Center is free.
The Jewel Box, built in 1936 is an art deco greenhouse, it has nearly 7,500 square feet (700 m2) of display space and is 55 feet (17 m) high. It free to go into assuming no one has rented it out.

There’s The Hill (the Italian district) :
Good place to go for Italian food
Charlie Gitto’s
Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas

The Delmar Loop (generally just known as the Loop) :
On the sidewalk is the St Louis walk of fame
Blueberry Hill restaurant
Fitz’s Bottling Company

Also the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site (a little bit away from other notable things but not much)

There’s also tour boat rides on the river.

Also if in St. Louis worth trying is st. Louis style pizza it’s from Imo’s but Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas on the hill in my opinion makes them better.


Ashville North Carolina, beautiful landscape, great southern food, wonderful arts and culture scene, modestly priced. National parks in the area have good trails and nice waterfalls. August will be warm but it cools at night. For a bit quirky and nerdy.;the area has a lot of mineral wealth. There are pay to dig mines, that one can find rubies, saphires, tourmaline,rutilite etc. Search for North Carolina and goelogy. . North Carolina Gemstones: ruby, sapphire, emeralds and gold
Macabre is a bit harder; the trail of tears passes through the area. There are the Brown Mountain lights a bit further away, outside of Morganton. Brown Mountain Lights - Wikipedia
One note on St. Louis, it does have a lot to offer, but as a native Missourian; it will be hot and steamy. It is common to have temperatures above 100, and humidity above 70%.


Following because I’m headed to St. Louis in September for a wedding and these are great suggestions. City Museum, the arch, and the Jewel Box are definitely on my to-do list.
@larissa Alligator Sausage Cheesecake??? I am both terrified and impressed.
Also there were some good Santa Fe recommendations in this thread…

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If I were expecting “amazing” I would look no further than San Francisco. With lovely Sausalito across the ferry-crossed bay, San Francisco has it all = from opera and museums and shopping to every imaginable kind of food (Chinatown included!) and drink (from wines to the Home of Irish Coffee). A beautiful and “amazing” city!


So excited to help with this request!

  1. New Mexico is TRULY the land of enchantment. Meow Wolf is absolutely worth seeing, but so is the entire state. There are so many breathtaking things to experience (and EAT), I don’t even know where to begin. Taos and Santa Fe are some faves. I would be happy to connect you with the guide who designed our Santa Fe trip. She is lovely and I’m sure would be happy to help. Shoot me an email at Rachel.Bouton@atlasobscura.com and I’ll introduce you!

  2. Keeping it in the west, Crestone, Colorado is an experience that you’ll never forget for sure. Just google it to get a feel for this incredible little hippy town full of mystical traditions, alien landing sites, and soothing natural hot springs. It’s also near the Great Sand Dunes, which are really wonderful.

  3. Curve ball coming! Oklahoma City is worth checking out! Make your way to the Womb, eat some fried chicken at Eischen’s Bar, and check out the super bonkers gift shop at the Round Barn on Route 66.

I could literally go on and on and on about all the amazing places in the US. Have an amazing trip with your favorite human friend!

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Also worth checking out in St Louis is The Missouri Botanical Gardenhttps://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org though this one cost $14.00 for anyone 13 and older or $6.00 if you are a resident of St. Louis city or county.

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Key West! Quirky B&Bs, very eclectic with a really diverse crowd. August is the off season so some deals there. Visit the “Little White House” where Truman spent his time in FL, the amazing Hemingway house and gardens/museum with the 6-toed cats roaming everywhere, Audubon gardens, conch train ride is an inexpensive way to get around or rickshaws. Of course, lovely beaches and snorkeling/diving opportunities (if you like that stuff). Funky bars with music and unique restaurants, artsy galleries and shops. You can either drive down through the keys (stop an Key Largo, etc) which is a gorgeous drive or fly into Ft Myers and take the ferry over (bar on board - all you need). It will be warm but because you’re on an island, there’s a constant sea breeze. Tiki bar at sunset, key lime pie - nothing better! If you like funky and different, Key West is an excellent place to visit.


Fly in and out of Las Vegas and spend a few nights there. Then take the short road trip east to the Grand Canyon then on to Antelope Canyons, then Zion and Bryce National Parks. It will be the some of the most interesting scenery that you will ever see. You can spend as long or short a time on the mini road trip. I live just outside of Vegas and take friends on that loop. We spend one night around Page AZ or Kenab Utah.


Love the antelope canyons
Just remember you have to book a tour.
Also you can pick between Upper vs Lower Antelope Canyon

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You can just walk up and get on a truck now. They have built a couple of buildings for tours also.