The Best Places to Travel in November
This is the month when you hear everyone asking, “Where did the year go?” There’s a chill in the air, and the holiday season is fast approaching. If you haven't crossed a trip off your wishlist this year, it’s not too late. In fact, it could be just the right time to take advantage of lower fares and hotel rates (except Thanksgiving week, one of the year’s busiest travel periods).
Consider jetting off to Paris, minus the high-season crowds. Or Rome, when you can get close enough for a coin toss into Trevi Fountain or walk to the top of the Spanish steps. (Just don’t sit on them — that’s no longer permitted.) Even Bangkok, which is nearly always bustling with activity, will prove to be a bit quieter without summer vacationers.
If you’re hoping to enjoy warmer weather before winter, try heading to Florida, where the beach is always a good idea, or to Scottsdale for some desert sun. Spring is arriving in the southern hemisphere, and Sydney is an ideal place for northerners to reverse the seasons temporarily. A wine festival and beachside sculpture exhibit are among the many things to do there.
Houston’s Space Center has garnered attention this year with the 50th anniversary of the first steps on the moon. For one of the most festive places to enjoy Dia de los Muertos on Nov. 2, head to Oaxaca, Mexico, to experience the holiday firsthand — and indulge in delicious Oaxacan cuisine.
An authentic and fun small town festival in a historic locale, Easton, Maryland’s Waterfowl Festival celebrates autumn and raises awareness of conservation. Catch the colorful fall foliage and enjoy oysters and Maryland’s famous blue crabs at their best. Or, journey north to Cape Cod, an appropriate place to ring in Thanksgiving. It's where the Pilgrims first landed, after all.
Whether you stay close to home or travel somewhere far-flung this November, a getaway might just be the perfect way to prepare for the busy season ahead.
A bit different from the West Coast version, Hollywood, Florida, is family-friendly beach town nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. With comfortable temperatures and low humidity, November is a choice month to visit the Sunshine State. You’ll also slip in before the popular tourist and snowbird months, December through April, when hotel and airfare rates are at their highest. Explore the Hollywood Broadwalk, stretching two and a half miles along the Atlantic, lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels, ice cream parlors, and parks. It’s a wonderful place to walk, jog, bike, or just relax and enjoy the views. If your furry friend is along for the trip, check out Hollywood’s Dog Beach or Hollywoof Dog Park, among the city's about half a dozen dog parks. Download the “Ride Circuit” App to catch a free ride on the electric Sun Shuttle to the downtown area. You’ll arrive in a vibrant, artsy neighborhood with buildings adorned by more than 20 oversized murals created by local, national, and international artists. Take a self-guided tour of the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project with a map provided by the organization. Arts Park, a 10-acre circle with a playground and splash pad, is a fun stop for kids, with movies and food trucks on some nights. The Seminole Hardrock Hotel and Casino will be opening on Oct. 24 to much fanfare. In addition to over 600 luxury guest rooms located in a structure resembling back-to-back guitars and jutting 450 feet in the air, the new Hard Rock will feature a private lagoon, spa, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, gaming, and a state-of-the-art entertainment venue. Renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli will light up the stage on Nov. 7, and Sting will appear on November 9. Nearby, the 34th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival will take place from Nov. 1-17.
Among the many reasons to visit Houston in November is the mild weather, with temperatures in the low 70s and even cooler nights. Film fans will want to be there for the Houston Cinema Arts Festival from Nov. 14-18, a multi-venue festival that includes narrative and documentary features, exhibitions, panel discussions, multimedia performances, and workshops. Space Center Houston is the city’s most popular attraction, especially since this year marks the 50th anniversary since the first steps on the moon. History, entertainment, and hands-on experiences make Space Center a fun and educational experience. Folk art enthusiasts can head to unique spots like the Beer Can House, Smither Park, Art Car Museum, and The Orange Show. The National Museum of Funeral History, which always fascinates with exhibits that are more interesting than morbid, will offer a special display on the Latin customs surrounding Dia de los Muertos. Observed annually on Nov. 1-2, festivities at the historic Dow School in the heart of Houston will include music, dance, theater, altars, traditional foods, and Latin American arts and crafts. Houston’s food is an attraction in itself, with Oaxacan dishes at Xochi, Southern cuisine at Lucille’s, Gulf Coast seafood at Reef, and Spanish food at MAD (for Madrid), with its dazzling atmosphere and creative tapas. There are a slew of hotels to choose from in Houston, too. For luxury, comfort, and exceptional service, try The Post Oak at Uptown Houston. The pet-friendly hotel offers an excellent spa, several dining venues, and a helipad in case you want to take the shortest route from the airport.
The heat of summer is in the rearview mirror, meaning autumn has arrived in the Sonoran Desert with perfect temperatures in the mid-70s and sunny, clear skies. Golfers will be glad to know the area’s courses are more than ready to be played on after their seasonal reseeding. It’s a good time to be outdoors, and in Scottsdale, the McDowell Mountain Sonoran Preserve is the ideal spot, with more than 30,500 acres to explore on foot, bike, or horseback. Not far from there, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West offers guided tours of the architect’s winter home, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Historic Landmark. On Nov. 2-3, the AZCentral Wine & Food Experience will showcase the local culinary scene, and guests can sample signature dishes from more than 30 restaurants. Cooking demonstrations, seminars, chef meet-and-greets, and tastings will round out the event. Later in the month, ArtFest of Scottsdale, in the Civic Center Plaza, will be held Nov. 23-24, with live music, food, activities, and an extensive display of local art. Old Town Scottsdale is an inviting look at the town’s western past. Restaurants, well-preserved vintage storefronts, wooden sidewalks, and handcrafted items make Old Town an enjoyable place to stroll in the afternoon or evening. Mid-century modern architecture and contemporary vibes make the Hotel Valley Ho a fun place to stay. You can dine at its newly revamped restaurant, Zuzu. In nearby Paradise Valley, Mountain Shadows resort offers a par-3 short course and luxurious accommodations. About an hour away, rustic and luxurious Castle Hot Springs reopens in October after forty years and extensive renovations to the historic property.
Most people dream about Paris in springtime, but it's late autumn when crowd-free streets work their magic. The Paris Photo Show, an international photographic art fair with both historic and contemporary exhibits, will be held from Nov. 7-10 at the Grand Palais. Moving from art to sports, the Rolex Paris Masters men’s tennis tournament begins on Oct. 28, with the semi-finals and finals on Nov. 2-3. And on to wine and the annual Beaujolais Nouveau celebration on the third Thursday of the month, Nov. 21, a day of parties, fireworks, and music recognizing the new wine’s release. November is also the perfect time to visit the Louvre without the usual high-season crowds. Spot favorites like the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and other artworks featured in Beyoncé’s music videos and part of a specially created self-guided tour. Visit the Picasso Museum, Musee D’Orsay, Versailles, the Eiffel Tower and other well-loved Paris destinations conveniently free of long waits. Even in Disneyland Paris, you might find shorter lines, and you can catch the end of Halloween celebrations if you arrive by Nov. 3, or the Christmas decorations, shows, and parades beginning on Nov. 9. The window displays at Galeries Lafayette will be dressed for the season, and the Champs-Élysées will wear its holiday finery starting mid-month. Stay nearby at the newly renovated Hotel Barriere Le Fouquet and relax in their indoor pool — heated to 88 degrees — surrounded by soft lights.
It’s fall foliage season in the south, a good time to visit this small town on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay. Founded in 1790, Easton offers historic buildings, a vibrant art scene, and a warm atmosphere that puts it in the running for one of America’s best small towns. A statue of Frederick Douglass stands at its courtroom entrance, portraying the abolitionist and statesman delivering his “Self-Made Men” speech there in 1878. Easton is known for the annual Waterfowl Festival, marking the start of the season with four days of celebration that include a wildlife art show, the World Championship Goose Calling Contest, retriever demonstrations, and kids’ activities like decoy painting and fishing. Held this year on Nov. 8-11, the festival attracts thousands of visitors and has raised nearly $6 million for wildlife and habitat conservation, education, and research. Seafood fans will appreciate that fall is oyster season, and mid-November is the time when the biggest and heaviest Maryland Blue Crabs are harvested. Boating on the Chesapeake Bay, driving tree-lined roads, and strolling through town would complete a pleasant visit to the area. The vintage Avalon Theater hosts popular music, theater, and more in a restored Art Deco building. Dine at Bas Rouge for elegant European style cuisine or find fresh seafood at many of the casual spots nearby. About 70 miles southeast of Baltimore across Chesapeake Bay, Easton offers a variety of historic bed and breakfasts, inns, restaurants, and entertainment.
Ancient ruins, incredible art, vibrant streets, delectable food, and last but not least, romance, are some of the many reasons to visit Rome any time of year. Cool, crisp, sunny days abound in November with the possibility of an occasional rain shower. Dress in stylish layers, bring a jacket, comfortable shoes, and your travel umbrella, and you’ll be set. The tourist population declines considerably in November, but activities abound. The month begins with the celebration of All Saints Day, a national and religious holiday. A 10K race called La Corsa del Santi takes runners through Rome and provides an excuse for eating a little extra pasta. Artichoke season begins in late November, so look for Carciofi alla Romana and pasta favorites like Rigatoni Carbonara, Bucatini Amatriciana, and Cacio e Pepe. The Rome Jazz Festival runs all month with performers from around the world, continuing the festival’s 40 years of success. Romaeuropa continues through November with music, theater, dance, circus, and art performances in various locations. Attend an opera at Teatro dell'Opera, conveniently located near the must-see Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Legend says that a coin thrown over your shoulder and into the fountain will ensure a return to Rome one day. (Throw a second coin if you’re seeking love and a third for wedding bells.) An organized or self-guided walking tour is a wonderful way to see the spectacular piazzas, medieval churches, historical landmarks, and abundant art that this spectacular capital city of Italy has to offer. Lodging ranges from modest to extravagant and from vintage to modern. Consider a stay at The Grand House, which offers both a luxury hotel and a home rental service.
Take advantage of lower prices this month when springtime temperatures and lighter tourist crowds make it a good time to visit. The city’s best known symbol, the Sydney Opera House, hosts performances of ballet, opera, theater, dance, music, comedy, and children’s shows as well as tours that can include backstage views and dinner at the venue’s restaurants. At the famed Bondi Beach, the annual Sculpture by the Sea will take place from Oct. 24-Nov. 10. As the world’s largest free public sculpture exhibit, the event features 100 sculptures from Australian and international artists set along the coastal walk between Bondi and Tamarama Beach. Away from the beach and into the city, explore the Newtown neighborhood for its extensive displays of colorful, creative street art and murals. The outdoor art gallery is perfect for a stroll, a bite to eat, and if you’re there on Nov. 10, you’ll be in the midst of the annual festival celebrating this unique community. Wine lovers might want to arrive early in the month for the Nov. 1-3 festival on Clark Island in Sydney Harbour for tastings, entertainment, food, and seminars. Take advantage of longer days and comfortable weather to explore some of Sydney’s many parks, starting with Royal National Park, one of the oldest in the world. Beaches, rainforest, wildlife, walking trails, and picnic areas make this a fascinating place to visit for a day or a longer camping adventure. Enjoy views of the city from its highest point with a visit to the Sydney Tower. If you miss a chance to dive the Great Barrier Reef, you can still experience its marine life at Sydney’s aquarium, with extensive displays of underwater creatures and interactive exhibits.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
November is a fitting time to visit Cape Cod, especially to stay around and celebrate Thanksgiving. It was at the Cape’s northern tip in Provincetown that the Mayflower first landed on Nov. 11, 1620, bringing the Pilgrims to the so-called New World. The event is remembered annually with the lighting of the Pilgrim Monument, which will happen this year on Nov. 27. More than 3,000 lights will shine on the monument until Jan. 6, 2020. In keeping with this theme, be sure to visit the Provincetown Museum to see the Pilgrim exhibit, complete with a diorama of the signing of the Mayflower Compact, the first governing document of the new Plymouth settlement. In the town of Dennis, the Field of Honor event held Nov. 8-11 honors the military, veterans, first responders, and personal heroes with a display of more than 350 American flags. On Thanksgiving Day, the annual Chatham Turkey Trot begins at 8 a.m., giving participants in the 5K Fun Run a chance to enjoy picturesque scenery before the feast later in the day. The Sandwich Glass Museum hosts the Glassblowers’ Christmas starting Nov. 15 with delicate ornaments and other artistic displays and demonstrations. The crisp, cool weather and decorations will get visitors into the holiday spirit as the month goes on. A stay at the Chatham Bars Inn will add to the effect when their main lobby turns into a winter wonderland overnight on Thanksgiving. Guests will awaken to a gingerbread village, Santa’s workshop, and decorated Christmas trees.
Bangkok is exciting year round, but it's especially comfortable in November with temperatures in the 80s. The spectacular Grand Palace, a complex of buildings set on about 53 acres, must be seen. Its unique architecture, temples, government buildings, gardens, and courtyards are among Bangkok’s most popular attractions. The Chao Phraya River flows through the city, providing an excellent way to avoid traffic and see the sights. Book a sightseeing cruise or take the public ferry service that makes stops throughout the city, including at the Grand Palace. Bustling nightlife, markets, and streets are entertaining, but when it’s time to relax and seek out a natural setting, Bangkok has a place for that, too. Lumpini Park, in the midst of the city’s commercial district, offers gardens, a lake, paddle boats, concerts, and fresh air. Once you’re rejuvenated, you’ll be ready to visit Chinatown for shopping, food, temples, or simply taking in the busy streets and alleys. On the subject of food, Bangkok’s street food is a huge part of the city experience, and the flavors, spices, vendors, and ingredients will last in your memory long after you've devoured everything. Watch a traditional Thai puppet show and marvel at the style, dress, and grace of the puppets — and the superior skill of the puppeteers. The Jim Thompson House offers guided tours of the art collection of an American businessman who founded Thai Silk Company and promoted Thailand’s silk industry. Stay at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok for its incredible luxury. Banyan Tree Bangkok, with its 61st floor rooftop lounge, boasts one of the best views of the city.
Oaxaca de Juarez, usually referred to as Oaxaca, is the capital of the state of Oaxaca in southwestern Mexico. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the city is home to colonial architecture, Baroque churches and cathedrals, art galleries, colorful markets, and cafes. The Zocalo or city center is a good place to begin exploring or to find a relaxing spot to rest in the shade. Learn about the history and culture of the area with a visit to the Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca, housed in a building that was formerly a convent. Nearby, the Ethnobotanical Garden displays indigenous plants and ancient vegetation discovered by archaeologists. Oaxaca is one of Mexico’s most exciting food destinations, with unique tastes from both street vendors and upscale restaurants. Oaxaca is known for mole, or rich complex sauces made with ingredients that may include nuts, seeds, garlic, onions, cinnamon, cumin, cilantro, chiles, tomatoes, or chocolate. It's usually served over meats along with rice. Mescal, a distilled beverage made from agave, is mostly made in Oaxaca, and visitors can tour local distilleries. The atmosphere is always festive in Oaxaca, but for a fascinating cultural experience, the time to go is the end of October and beginning of November for the events of Dia de Los Muertos. Celebrated from Oct. 31-Nov. 2, it's a holiday not to be confused with Halloween, when locals believe the spirits of departed loved ones visit the living. Families create altars and decorate with flowers, candy, photos, and favorite things for the returning spirits to enjoy. Visitors are welcome in the festive atmosphere, a blend of solemn and celebratory, religious and secular.