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Top 10 Destinations To Stand Tall In The U.S. This Year

April 15, 2019

The year is young. And you only have one life to live. So let’s resolve to do 2019 in style. With the warm, meaty center of the calendar on the horizon, the time is now to start stacking your  itinerary with some incredible destinations to stand tall this year. From the offbeat to the more mainstream, we’ve complied a unique list of travel recommendations you simply won’t find anywhere else.


Take good notes and start getting amped.


  1. Yampah Spa & Vapor Caves—Glenwood Springs, Colorado:A great getaway spot for two. Or perhaps, even better, a party of one needing time and space for inward reflection and an unparalleled detox. Located underground in one of Colorado’s most historic outlaw towns, the caves draw from the nearby Yampah spring and emit a therapeutic, mineral-dense steam that the indigenous Ute Indians used for numerous healing and ritualistic purposes. A true anomaly in our hunk of the planet, the Yampah caves are one of just a few such marvels in North America.


  1. The Dresden—Los Angeles:This venerable restaurant and lounge is a classic staple of LA’s Los Feliz neighborhood and was featured at length in the hit 1996 indie “Swingers” starring Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau about a pack of struggling young actors tomcatting around town.


  1. Newtown Dream Dog Park—Johns Creek, Georgia:It’s Disneyland for dogs. And if Spot, Ruffles or (insert thoughtful dog name here) is truly your best friend, you’ll need to prove it to the canine gods by “going for a walk!” at the nation’s top-rated dog park—Georgia! Who knew?! Located 27.5 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, Newtown Dream is a doggy delirium of bridges, tunnels and hoops atop a manicured and power-washed expanse of artificial turf. The park originated in 2011 after a local benefactor won $500,000 from Beneful’s inaugural Dream Dog Park Contest. Difficult to say how much of the winnings were consumed by the clever red fire-hydrant sprinkler pod, but damned if it wasn’t worth every penny.


  1. Jerry’s Apartment at Colossal Clusterfest—Downtown San Francisco:That’s Seinfeld—Jerry Seinfeld. And he likes his Corn Flakes shaken, not stirred. It’s your wildest dream coming true, a feeling that can only be described as “Yada, yada, yada”: This summer Comedy Central’s Colossal Clusterfest (June 21-23, 2019) will stage an immersive replica of Jerry’s famous New York City bachelor pad for festivalgoers dying to break the fourth wall in reverse. Barge through the door Kramer-style, fuss over perceived slights like George, or (gulp) break into the infamous “Elaine dance”—not that there’s anything wrong with that.


  1. Prairie Lights Books—Iowa City:Your poor, digitally-addled brain needs far more than ‘clickbait’ and poorly written emails to flourish. Prairie Lights is a total gem of an indie bookstore in one of the nation’s coolest, and albeit somewhat geographically-isolated college towns. Bookworms in the know routinely make a pilgrimage to Prairie Lights when in the area: including, most famously, President Obama in 2010 after a big policy speech. The (then) leader of the free world reportedly bought several children’s books for his young daughters.


  1. Apple Park Visitors’ Center—Cupertino, California:The stark, raving antithesis of an indie pick like Prairie Lights, the Apple Visitors’ Center at corporate HQ in Silicon Valley is not (repeat: is not) a public gateway into the super-secret main campus next door. While that world is walled-off to all but Apple’s 15,000 on-site personnel, the Visitors’ Center is still, well, there. But credit where its due, the rooftop view of the mothership allows the grandeur of the company to really sink in. Here’s a nutty idea: Maybe take a selfie and post it on social media.


  1. Kentucky Bourbon Trail—(Statewide): Your liver will curse you, but does its input really matter when in Rome? A glorious web of 29 name-brand and micro-distilleries comprise the Bluegrass State’s iconic Bourbon Trail. The majority of the stops are bunched between the 78-mile stretch due south of Louisville and Lexington, making for generally quick trips from station-to-station through the region’s gorgeous rolling hills and horse farms. For those raring to really indulge, the tour offers numerous private and group transportation options.


  1. Dane County Farmers’ Market—Madison, Wisconsin (Capitol Square): A more wholesome, family-friendly day out that will pique parents and children alike. With over 150 “producer-only” local vendors selling a cornucopia of meats, cheeses, flowers, baked good and more, this weekly summertime rite in Madison’s vibrant Capitol Square reigns as the nation’s largest farmers’ market. Plus, the bevvy of arts and crafts vendors, street musicians and nearby shops will safeguard against your kids dying of boredom.


  1. Atera—New York City (Tribeca): We mustn’t generalize (but here we go): Am I crazy, or do the wonderful ladies in our lives have a penchant for laboring over restaurant menus like LSAT prep tomes? Well, for the girlfriend, wife, mother or sister who wants a little bit of everything, there’s Atera—New York City’s top-rated molecular gastronomy restaurant. Prepare for small plates galore created using the world’s most advanced and innovative culinary techniques. The menagerie of flavors and textures should quell her FOMO to a placid simmer.


  1. Fountain of Youth—Lewes, Delware:Or so it says. Probably worth finding out if it’s the real McCoy; although locals will swear it’s just a silly roadside attraction.


So there you have it: 10 sterling recommendations for getting out and about across the fruited plain this year. But go ahead and skip number 10 unless your car breaks down nearby.


Head High, Standards Higher.


--Drew Michael

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