By: Natalie Austin, TWIP
At one time or another, we may have been told to see New York at Christmas, New Orleans at Mardi Gras and Los Angeles for a spring vacation. However, traveling during these times can be tampered with inconvenient travel, plagued with tourists, and void of authentic local experiences. As large cities can be overwhelming, planning your trip can be exhausting, which is why most cities are visited during popular calendar year events. Instead of the obvious times to travel to these cities, Halloween makes for the perfect holiday to experience cities like the locals, while also filling your itinerary with festive events. See why these culturally rich cities are best this October.
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New Orleans is on every traveler’s bucket list for its amazing jazz, unforgettable cuisine and melting pot of cultures. With the chaos of Mardi Gras tourists and scorching heat in the summer, October is the ideal month to experience one of America’s favorite cities. As the second most celebrated holiday, Halloween is a perfect time to get the true New Orleans experience. Regarded, “The Most Haunted City in America,” New Orleans boasts real-life voodoo shops, psychic readings, haunted houses and cemetery and swamp tours. In the French Quarter, many of NOLA’s famous watering holes become “haunted bars,” perfect for grabbing a drink before hitting Krewe of Boo – their annual Halloween parade.
You can also take in local experiences not focused on Halloween. Take a stroll down Frenchmen Street, a trendier spot loved by locals, which offers a four-block stretch of live music, art galleries, restaurant, and bars.
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Los Angeles is a hub for nightlife, cinema, Latin American culture and countless outdoor activities. Despite its popularity during other times in the year, September through November is the best time to visit according to U.S. News. With over 50 ways to celebrate Halloween, October is the perfect time to experience Los Angeles. From October 14-23rd, head to the iconic Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood for the annual Screamfest Horror Film Festival. On October 24th, take in the LA Mexican culture at the Day of the Dead, located at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. You can try authentic Mexican cuisine, visit the cathedral art exhibit and see traditional Mexican alter exhibitions. If you prefer nightlife, spend Halloween in West Hollywood on the iconic Santa Monica Boulevard for the world’s largest Halloween street party. The event features a parade, six stages with live music and quintessential WeHo culture. The event runs from 6 – 11 pm, but is continued by most bars and restaurants located along the boulevard until closing time.
Los Angeles is also home to countless local activities, perfect for fall. As the temperatures are still in the high 70s and 80s, a trip to the Venice Beach Boardwalk can be a perfect addition to your LA itinerary. If you want to go the culture route spend a day at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art or take a tour of Paramount Picture Studios.
Photo courtesy of nyc-arts.org
Although New York is packed with events year-round, October is the perfect month to avoid the typical tourist scene. Spend your Halloween in New York’s charming Greenwich Village, at one of the biggest Halloween parties in the US. Anyone who arrives in costume can walk in the parade alongside giant puppets and over 50 bands and dancing troupes, making the event a local favorite. For an easy day trip, Sleepy Hollow is an hour train ride outside the city, home of the timeless tale of the Headless Horseman. Here you can visit the Dutch Burying Ground; the oldest cemetery in the U.S.
To experience NYC like a true New Yorker, spend your visit exploring some of the best outdoor spots all over the city. Have a picnic at Sheep Meadow in Central Park to catch changing colors or shop some outdoor markets such as the Greenmarket at Union Square or Brooklyn Flea Market.