The Best U.S. Cities For a Romantic Urban Honeymoon
Honeymoon planning usually leads to thoughts of balmy beaches and exotic locales, with newlyweds looking forward to decompressing after the hectic preparations, parties, and wedding festivities.
But are sun and sand the only ways to get a little rest and relaxation? Do umbrella-adorned cocktails and sunburned shoulders lead to honeymoon happiness? We think not.
What about a getaway to a city with romantic restaurants, luxurious hotels, exciting entertainment, and no sand in your sheets? Here are a few ideas to consider.
San Francisco, California
Breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay and city can be yours in a guestroom or suite at the Loews Regency in the Financial District, a luxe hotel that occupies the top 11 floors of a 48-story building. Enjoy a visit to the on-site spa or a dip in your guestroom soaking tub. Or, at the St. Regis, you can swim in their infinity pool while taking in those city views.
End your day with a romantic sunset cruise or dinner at Sutro’s at the Cliff House, a historic ocean view restaurant. For something fun and different, visit the California Academy of Sciences on a Thursday evening for music, cocktails, and cafés among exhibits that might feature space or rainforests.
Sophisticated Chicago has many luxury hotels to choose from, including the Waldorf Astoria with its intimate boutique feel. The Trump International on the Chicago River, a modern glass tower with gorgeous views, has an indoor pool, spa, and luxurious limestone bath. Or, choose the Fairmont Millennium Park and splurge on the candlelight couples massage with champagne and an infinity soaking tub.
Then, enjoy more Chicago views from the Skydeck at the Willis Tower, the John Hancock Observatory, or lakefront Grant Park. Dinner at Le Colonial, offering French-Vietnamese food in an “escapist paradise” recalling 1920s French Colonial Southeast Asia, would be a romantic ending to your day. Watch lively Rush Street from the elegant terrace of Le Colonial’s two-story vintage row house.
New York City
The all-suite Conrad Hotel in lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City, with its spectacular atrium and stunning artwork, offers Hudson River and city lights views. Enjoy the specialty Prosecco and ice pop cocktail at their seasonal rooftop bar, Loopy Doopy, and watch the boats on the Hudson or gaze at the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
The unique Library Hotel, in its midtown location near Bryant Park, Grand Central Terminal, and the New York Public Library, bases its ten floors on the Dewey Decimal System, in keeping with the library theme. Their Erotica Package, which includes Veuve Clicquot champagne, red roses, Belgian chocolates, an illustrated Kama Sutra guide and more, would be a fitting splurge for honeymooners.
For a romantic dinner, visit One if by Land, Two if by Sea for fine American cuisine in a restored colonial carriage house, or try the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park with its outdoor patio on the lake.
The modern, luxurious Miami Beach Edition hotel gives you the option of city or ocean views in a guestroom, suite, or private bungalow. Top-level bungalows include a roof deck and private plunge pool – a perfect choice for honeymooners. In the hotel, acclaimed restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Matador Terrace serves Latin and Caribbean food amid lush greenery and climbing bougainvillea, with ocean and poolside views.
A waterside location and stunning views on Brickell Key make the five-star Mandarin Oriental another option for a wonderful honeymoon escape. Indulge in a “Couples Time Ritual” in their waterfront VIP Spa Suite with tailor-made programs to meet your needs and desires.
Enjoy a visit to the Miami Design District for creative neighborhood art, shopping, cocktails, and dining.
New Orleans, Louisiana
In the heart of the French Quarter, the historic Hotel Monteleone is perfect for a honeymoon stay. Nearby Jackson Square, Bourbon Street, and the Riverwalk provide convenient entertainment, dining, music, and fun, and the famous revolving Carousel Bar is a great place to start without even leaving your hotel.
You won’t want to miss the breathtaking views from its rooftop heated pool or the popular Criollo Restaurant, where the beignets are reportedly even better than those from Café du Monde – but we suggest you try both and decide for yourself.
The newly renovated Windsor Court Hotel continues its historically elegant hospitality in the business district, minutes from the French Quarter. The rooftop pool and deck offer spectacular skyline views and year-round swimming, plus cocktails and a poolside menu.
On the banks of Lady Bird Lake, the downtown Four Seasons Hotel offers lake or city views from guestrooms and suites. Or, for a view of the past with contemporary updates, the historic Hotel Driskill is convenient to the lake and the Sixth Street music scene.
Live music is everywhere in Austin, with over 250 venues and the well-known Austin City Limits Music Festival rolling into town every October. For a bit of activity, take a bike ride around Lady Bird Lake or a stroll through the quaint Austin Zoo. Enjoy fine dining at Jeffrey’s, a quiet neighborhood spot in a renovated old home. Café Josie, casual fine dining in a restored carriage house, offers “The Experience,” an all-you-can-eat prix-fixe tasting menu.
The boutique River Inn of Harbor Town overlooking the Mississippi near downtown Memphis combines historic architectural touches with old-fashioned Southern hospitality. Complimentary breakfasts in the fine dining restaurant and truffles with port wine for turn-down service are welcome amenities. There’s a penthouse suite with a wet bar, luxury bath, and river view.
You’ll naturally visit Graceland while in Memphis, but for serious Elvis fans, there’s the Guesthouse at Graceland Hotel, just steps away from The King’s former home. Reflecting Elvis’s style and featuring specialty suites designed by Priscilla Presley, this hotel includes entertainment as well as a shuttle to Beale Street, home of blues, soul, and rock ‘n roll music venues.
Enjoy Mississippi River sunsets on a romantic evening riverboat cruise or tour downtown Memphis in a horse-drawn carriage. Great restaurant choices include Folk’s Folly for exceptional steaks and Catherine & Mary’s for Tuscan and Sicilian cooking with local ingredients.
You can enjoy all the amenities of a luxury resort without leaving downtown Atlanta when you stay at the St. Regis in Buckhead. After a delicious room service breakfast, adjourn to the “Pool Piazza” and grab a lounge chair or set up in a poolside cabana.
Another option is the Artmore Hotel near the Midtown Arts District, a historic building with contemporary updates and a “That’s Amore” package that includes champagne, roses, and breakfast.
When you venture out of your hotel, check out the iconic Coca Cola Tour or explore the historic Swan House and see how high society lived in the 1930s. For a romantic dinner along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, visit Canoe and enjoy a stroll through their gardens to end your evening. Or dine with a view of Atlanta’s skyline at Nikolai’s Roof, an elegant French-Russian restaurant on the 30th floor of the Hilton Atlanta.
The waterfront Boston Harbor Hotel would be a perfect place to begin your honeymoon with spectacular views of either the city skyline or harbor. This newly renovated luxury hotel offers optional suites, a spa, fitness center, pool, and marina. Nearby attractions include the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, New England Aquarium, and Italian North End.
History lovers will enjoy walking the Freedom Trail and exploring the city’s role in the Revolutionary War. And what could be more romantic than a harbor cruise at sunset? Well, perhaps dinner at Mistral, where the décor and cuisine will transport you to Provence with its French pottery, arched windows, and seasonal ingredients. Take advantage of the restaurant’s complimentary car service for transportation within Boston.
Charleston, South Carolina
For old world charm in this gorgeous Southern city, you might consider the Belmond Charleston Place hotel, located in the heart of the downtown historic district. A rooftop heated saltwater infinity pool, modern fitness center, and several dining options including the award-winning Charleston Grill with nightly jazz entertainment make this a great choice.
Another option is the boutique style Grand Bohemian Hotel, with city views from its rooftop French restaurant and pub-style bar. For a unique experience, the hotel offers educational wine blending classes where you will taste different varietals and create a custom blend of your own. The perfect souvenir will be a bottle with your very own label.
Take a horse-drawn carriage tour to absorb some Civil War history while viewing Charleston’s antebellum mansions, churches, and gardens.
With more local breweries than any other city in the world, Portland is the place to be for the craft beer-loving couple. And you can sample something new each day at the Hotel Lucia, a hip boutique hotel with daily complimentary tastings in its art-filled lobby.
For waterfront luxury just south of downtown, consider the Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel combining its natural setting with convenient access to all that’s lively and fun in Portland. Walk, bike, or cruise on a Segway to explore the city with its microbreweries, distilleries, cafés, coffee shops, and food trucks. Or take a short ride to the Willamette Valley wine country to sample some of their award-winning Pinot Noirs.
For a special dinner, visit Paley’s Place, offering Pacific Northwest bistro cuisine with an extensive selection of Oregon Pinot Noir in an inviting Victorian home.
The Hotel Monaco, across the street from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, is decorated with antiques from around the world. Its cozy Red Owl Tavern has an old-world feel, while the Stratus Rooftop Lounge, eleven stories above the city, offers a vibrant modern atmosphere. Another hotel, the Palomar near popular Rittenhouse Square, will lend you a bicycle to explore the city and a yoga mat to get warmed up in your room.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, chartered in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition, should be on your honeymoon itinerary, if only to run up the steps a la Rocky and snap a photo with his statue.
Enjoy a candlelight dinner in the wine cellar at Bistro Romano, with a rose petal-covered, private table for two and complimentary Limoncello. For fun, check out Parks on Tap, Philadelphia’s traveling beer garden, with fresh food, beer on tap, wine, snacks, comfortable chairs, hammocks, and entertainment.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Not exactly your typical urban environment, but situated in the high desert at 7,000 feet above sea level, Santa Fe is the country’s oldest state capital. The Inn of the Five Graces, in the heart of a historic neighborhood, is romantic and secluded, elegant and comfortable, sensual and exotic – in other words, a perfect honeymoon spot. Across Old Santa Fe Trail from the oldest church in the United States, San Miguel Mission, the Inn provides breakfast in your suite, dining room, or shade-covered courtyard, and rooms with wood burning fireplaces, deep soaking tubs, and lavish mosaic tile baths.
Browse the shops, markets, art galleries, museums, and restaurants in town or explore the area’s rich culture and history with day trips to ancient cliff dwellings and pueblos. Near Santa Fe Plaza downtown, Sazon offers contemporary and traditional Mexican dishes with the chef’s signature mole. Another popular dining choice is Geronimo, serving American food in an adobe home originally built in 1756.
With views of Elliott Bay and Puget Sound from your room, you’ll be pleased with your choice of the Four Seasons for your honeymoon trip to Seattle. Located downtown just minutes away from the popular Pike Place Market, the hotel has a rooftop infinity pool and a spa offering the “Pacific Duet” massage in their Couples Suite. The upscale Goldfinch Tavern serves Northwest cuisine with special attention to seafood and other local ingredients.
Another hotel choice is the rustic, waterfront Edgewater with knotty pine furniture, cozy river-rock fireplaces, and the feel of a mountain lodge in the midst of downtown Seattle.
For a fine dining experience, make a reservation at Canlis, an elegant restaurant set in a mid-century modern house with lake and mountain views. And remember to dress up, even though you’re in casual Seattle — for gentlemen, that means sport coat or suit.
You might get some funny looks when you tell friends you’re heading to Minneapolis for your honeymoon, but it’s a seriously entertaining city with plush hotels and exceptional restaurants. Take the Hotel Ivy and the newly renovated penthouse atop its historic Ivy Tower. You’ll have spectacular views from your private rooftop balcony as you enjoy your complimentary Dom Perignon champagne and pre-ordered chocolate-covered strawberries or artisan cheeses.
Minneapolis, bisected by the Mississippi River and home to the “Chain of Lakes,” has gorgeous water-enhanced views, bike trails, walking paths, parks, and picnic areas. Indulge your appetite at the elegant Capital Grille, specializing in dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood, and world-class wines in the heart of the Hennepin Theatre District. When you arrive home relaxed, refreshed, and content, your friends will be seeking your advice for their own Minneapolis visit.