2019 is here which means it’s time to make those New Year’s resolutions! We know that between drinking more water and getting more steps into your daily routine that it’s important to have new goals centered on adventure.
If you want to travel more in the New Year, then be specific about where you want to go. We recommend determining when you want to travel, and what you’d like to do when you get there. Tip: planning ahead will help you create a budget, start a travel fund, and let you friends and family know that you’re planning an upcoming trip. Letting others in on your plan will help keep you accountable.
New Year; new bucket list. Start booking flights to complete your 2019 adventures. With Southwest’s low fares and reliable flights, the possibilities are limitless. Need some inspiration? We’ve got you covered with a list of seven Southwest cities to visit and local attractions to check out while you’re there.
1. Travel to bayou city.
Houston has always held a special place in the hearts of Texas-based avgeeks and those that love Southwest Airlines. The bayou city has been a fan favorite as one of Southwest’s original “Texas Triangle” markets when the Company originally started service in 1971.
Nowadays, Southwest has expanded its route map to serve more than 99 destinations across the U.S. and 10 additional countries. Low fares to abroad destinations like Aruba, Belize, Montego Bay, and more can be accessed from Houston Hobby.
The city of Houston is known for more than just being an international gateway and one of the original “Texas Triangle” markets. Houston is known for its space exploration, shopping, traffic, and so much more. We’ve pulled together a few of our favorite local attractions to add to your to-do list the next time you’re stopping through the area.
Children's Museum of Houston
The Children’s Museum of Houston is located in Houston’s Museum District where there’s something different and new to do every day! Packed with 90,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, the Museum offers 14 hands-on galleries with plenty of fun and learning opportunities for the young and young at heart. Exhibits include Kidtropolis, a real-life kidtropolis complete with a skyline, city government, and occupations; Challenge Course, a ropes challenge where physical agility, stamina, and balance are put to the test; and Maker Annex, an area for children to invent, construct, and showcase their creative work.
Biscuit Paint Wall
Looking for an instagrammable moment? Houston’s Biscuit Paint Wall is a popular mural photo destination located in the Montrose area of Houston—it even has its own hashtag #BiscuitPaintWall. Painted by French, Houston-based artist Sebastien “Mr. D” Boileau of Eyeful Design, the Biscuit Paint Wall debuted in 2014. The wall is accessible at all hours and located at 1435 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77006.
Located just 20 miles from downtown Houston, the Kemah Boardwalk offers 60-acres of fun for the entire family from fabulous waterfront restaurants with a variety of different cuisines to amusement rides, shopping, and events.
2. Hike a trail less traveled in the mile high city.
Denver, the capital of Colorado, is known for its park system, weather, and more. The city offers several hiking trails along scenic routes. Whether you are taking a solo trip to take in the beauty of Mills Lake or grabbing your friends to explore Bear Creek Trail, Denver offers a variety of things to see and do. We’ve pulled together a few spots to check out the next time you’re making your way through the mile high city, regardless if you’re a fan of mother nature or not.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Comprised of more than 415 square miles, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country. Its majestic beauty is evidenced by its outdoor recreation, wildlife, and peaks offerings. Open 365 days, 24-hours a day, choose your own adventure any day throughout the year! The weather is known to change quickly and varies by elevation so visitors are encouraged to dress in layers, drink plenty of water, and pack a sense of adventure visiting the largest national park in Colorado.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is known as one of the world’s best concert venues thanks to its amazing acoustics and natural beauty. It’s a 15-mile drive from Denver and a must-see for Colorado residents and tourists alike. While there, you may also have the opportunity to take in a film, hike, dine, or just enjoy the history of this National Historic Landmark.
Denver Biscuit Company
What’s a good getaway without some grub? Denver Biscuit Company (DBC) owners Ashleigh and Drew Shader decided that Denverites deserved a true Southern breakfast when they opened their first DBC location in 2009. Today, they have three locations in Denver, one in Aurora, and one that just opened in Colorado Springs. It doesn’t matter which location you plan to go to as you’ll likely have to wait because the food is just that good. Come hungry with an appetite as the food is massive and delicious. And be sure to save room for their amazing Giant Biscuit Cinnamon Roll—we promise it’s worth every calorie.
3. Read a good book ... on a beach.
Fort Lauderdale is the perfect place to plop down on a towel, feel soft sand between your toes, and read whatever book is on your must-read list. The city, located on Florida’s southeastern coast, boasts beautiful beaches and boating canals. If you find yourself in “Laudy”, here are a couple quintessential things to do. And if you’re looking for even more ideas, check out some hidden gems from Southwest Employees who live and work in the area too.
Located 15 minutes from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a once empty warehouse district is now thriving as FATVillage. FAT (Flagler + Arts + Technology) Village is downtown Fort Lauderdale's creative enclave home to art galleries, artist studios, and businesses. This new downtown hotspot is helping to sustain an artist community through its integration with artists and designers. The four block district also hosts an ArtWalk the last Saturday of every month (besides December) from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. showcasing new art exhibits, local artisans, a variety of food, and more.
Nicknamed the “millionaires’ mile,” Hillsboro Beach is officially known as the Town of Hillsboro Beach. The beachfront town is also home to the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse located on the north side of Hillsboro Inlet. The light marks the northern limit of the Florida Reef, an underwater coral formation on the lower east coast of the state.
Wilton Creamery is an upscale boutique ice cream shop located in the heart of Wilton Manors offering seasonal and rotating flavors—plus options for vegans and dogs. The four-year-old shop offers ice cream nachos, served with cinnamon chips and a variety of toppings. As their menu says, it may just make you question your lifetime of dessert choices!
4. Jet off to the "Hollywood of the South."
Discover what makes Atlanta a truly unique Southern city more than just being located in the Peach State and known as the state location with the most feature films produced. The city of Atlanta played an important role during the civil rights movement and today is also known as having one of the world’s busiest airports by passenger traffic. Make the most of your trip to Georgia by checking out a few can’t-miss Atlanta experiences.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park
Visit this family-friendly and free historic site to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In total, the historical site encompasses almost 35 acres and includes buildings such as his childhood home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and "I Have a Dream" World Peace Rose Garden. Note: Dr. King’s Birth Home Tours are free, but limited to 15 people and filled on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the tour. It’s recommended to visit early in the week (or Sunday morning) and early in the day to secure your spot. Annual events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January typically draw large crowds.
Georgia Aquarium is most known as home to more animals than any other aquarium. Located in downtown Atlanta, this aquarium has more than 10 million gallons of water for tens of thousands of animals. The largest exhibit holds more than six millions gallons of water and is home to four whale shakers, four manta rays, and other beautiful sea life. We recommend arriving early to beat the crowds and taking advantage of their Behind the Seas tour to get an exclusive look at their galleries and habitats. Tours are only $15 and run every half hour starting at 10:30 a.m.
Ponce City Market
Breathing new life into the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co., building, Ponce City Market is Atlanta’s premiere mixed-use development. At the heart of Ponce City Market is the marketplace itself which offers the most popular places to gather, eat, shop, and play. The rooftop—skyline park—is another main attraction which boasts a mini golf course, boardwalk-style games, and gorgeous views of the city. Admission to enter the roof and tower is $10 per person for adults and kids (over 12), $7 kids (12 and under), or free (kids under 3) and includes a wristband good for the entire day.
5. Take in the historic sites at our nation's capital.
Bordering Maryland and Virginia sits Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital and home to monuments, iconic museums, and eclectic neighborhoods. Thanks to convenient public transportation, spend a day or weekend getaway to explore all that one of the most visited cities in the world has to offer. See below to check out a few things to do while you’re here.
A popular and lively residential neighborhood, Dupont Circle is thriving with its dining and nightlife. The neighborhood encompasses bistros, bookstores, galleries, and is a gathering place thanks a unique fountain in the center of a traffic circle. Dupont Circle is located in the “Old City” of Washington, D.C. and its architecture includes many rowhouses primarily built before 1900. The area offers a little something for everyone and has been a vital DC community since the late 19th century, and continues to be a hot spot for residents and visitors of all ages.
This partially man-made reservoir is a focal point of the National Cherry Blossom Festival held each spring. Initially created to provide recreational space, the Tidal Basin is located between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel. Visitors are drawn to the area because of its beauty, especially during the cherry blossom season. Each year, people flock from all across the national to welcome spring and take in the beauty of more than 3,000 cherry trees. Take a stroll along the Tidal Basin and enjoy the breathtaking views of the trees and the city's most iconic landmarks.
The Lincoln Memorial is an essential part of any Washington, D.C. visit. This iconic landmark is a tribute to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and was built to heal division caused by the Civil War. The Memorial is located on the National Mall, towers over the Reflecting Pool, and is an easy walk from other nearby monuments. Although the Memorial is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, it’s recommended to visit early in the morning or after dark when the Memorial is less crowded.
6. Eat some good Texas BBQ.
Howdy, and welcome to Texas! Austin, the state capital of Texas, is an incredible place to live, work, and play. The city is known for its many parks and lakes, culture and contemporary life, and live-music scene. There’s always something to see or do! Austin also offers amazing BBQ—get ready for some mouthwatering brisket. We’ve pulled together a few places to visit that solidify why this city has been named the No. 1 place to live in the United States for 2017 and 2018 by U.S. News & World Report.
This lunch-only BBQ spot is open at 11 a.m. six days a week (closed on Mondays). However, the line for brisket, pulled pork, and other smoked meats is known to start at 6:30 a.m. every morning without fail—with waits up to four hours or more—and lasts until the food runs out. Aaron Franklin started his joint in 2009 in a small trailer before opening a brick and mortar location in 2011. Today, Aaron has received countless accolades thanks to his incredible brisket and is known as one of the most influential pitmasters in the United States.
Barton Springs Pool
Often referred to as one of Austin’s crowned jewels, Barton Springs is a three acre outdoor swimming pool filled entirely with water from nearby natural springs. The Springs, located within Austin’s Zilker Park, are a popular venue and ideal for year-round swimming as they have an average temperature of 68-70 degrees. This iconic swimming hole is always at or near the top of lists of things to do in Austin so it’s no surprise that it attracts a diverse crowd of visitors every year.
Built in 1915, Paramount Theatre is Austin’s original performing arts venue. The Theatre hosts more than 200,000 audience members each year, 250+ performances a year, screens more than 100 movies, and hosts multiple iconic festivals in Austin throughout the year including SXSW and the Austin Film Festival. With its historic architecture, the Paramount remains the best venue in town to take in a classic movie, show, or concert.
7. Catch some thrills on a roller coaster at the theme park capital of the world.
We all know Disney has no age limit. Ride Thunder Mountain in Orlando and get ready for a lot of magic. Orlando, home to more than a dozen theme parks, is one of the world’s most visited family destinations. The city of Orlando offers many other activities for those looking to explore all of this, and much more.
Orlando Brewing Company
Orlando Brewing Company is Orlando’s only certified organic brewery and an oasis for local and beer-loving travelers alike. The micro-brewery features more than 24 brews on tap, free tours, and outdoor live music. Free brewery tours are offered from Monday to Saturday at 6 p.m. on a first come, first served basis. Note: there are no tours on the 30th of each month or special occasions like Oktoberfest. They also have a variety of other free events, from concerts to yoga sessions.
Disney Springs is a bigger and better version of the entertainment district once known as Downtown Disney. This favorite free local attraction in Orlando includes outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment. The area is also known for live musical performances and free family activities. Self-parking in most lots and parking garages is complimentary. Take in the sights and sounds on a fun date night or make it an outing for the entire family.
East End Market
A trendy neighborhood market and food hub, East End Market offers a vast array of artisanal vendors from pasta makers to coffee roasters. The two-story structure houses dozens of merchants, a large event space, test kitchen, offices, retail, and more. Inspired by Central Florida’s local farmers and food artisans, there’s something for everyone here to enjoy. Guests can sit outside in a community space, take in live music, or hang out at the picnic tables and enjoy a treat.
Wanderlust is a staple of the traveling community—we hope Southwest’s low fares and route map inspire you to explore more this year!