Traveling on vacation this summer? Don’t forget that many of our stores are around the corner from some of your favorite summer destinations!
While I’m never one to turn down a relaxing vacation of any kind, those who know me best know that I’m a city girl at heart. My favorite vacations are spent pounding the pavement, absorbing the culture of a city by shopping, eating, visiting museums and people-watching. I have a very particular method of city-vacation planning — I do my homework and research, making maps of places that I want to check out ahead of time. Then, when I finally get to my city of choice, I tend to just let things happen, occasionally consulting my map. Most of my favorite vacation memories stem from unplanned moments! The places I don’t get to become must-sees for my next visit.
When I’m putting together my map, I seek out the nearest Whole Foods Market
Not only is it a good place to hang out or grab a bite when I need a break from walking, because our stores carry local products, it’s also a good place to find specialty food souvenirs from several regional vendors in one place. Take a look at our store list
to find stores in the city you’re visiting.
Portland is well known for its fantastic public transportation systems. One way to see it for yourself is to follow the 4T trail
, a self-guided tour that lets you explore all around the city by train, trail, tram and trolley. To stay in the city and on your feet, try booking some themed group walking tours
that vary in topic from the supernatural to the subcultural—there’s even a “Roses Gone Wild!” tour that takes you to the International Rose Test Garden
. To taste your way through Portland’s delicious neighborhoods, join Forktown Food Tours
to visit different eateries and try favorites like craft-brewed beers, carrot whoopie pies, chickpea French fries and crispy waffle sandwiches. For 31 years, the Portland Festival Symphony
has presented live classical music in public parks around Portland. To join in on the music (concerts take place on weekends from July to September), bring a blanket and a picnic and join Portlanders in celebrating the best of their city!
Local Whole Foods Markets: Laurelhurst
Also known as “Charm City” or “B’more,” Baltimore is a great city to visit when you’re seeking a quirky, fun city experience. Filmmaker and immaculate ‘stache-wearer John Waters proudly calls Baltimore his hometown and you can see a life-like statue of his muse, Divine, among other innovative works of art in the American Visionary Art Museum
To see more statues (this time, made of wax), check out Baltimore’s first wax museum, The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum
a museum that highlights historical and contemporary personalities of African ancestry. The National Museum of Dentistry
offers a different spin on history—and you can chomp on fun facts, too. Did you know that George Washington’s teeth weren’t actually made out of wood? On weekends, relax after a big day of exploring the city by watching a movie on a big screen at Bengies Drive-In Theatre
Local Whole Foods Markets: Mount Washington
, Harbor East
Minneapolis has experienced an art boom, thanks to some generous public and private grants. Some great results of this boom are the 2005 Herzog and de Meuron expansion of the internationally acclaimed Walker Art Center
and the stunning Minneapolis Central Library
designed by César Pelli, located at the north end of Nicollet Mall
(The 11-block shopping, dining and entertainment area was the second downtown pedestrian mall in the country.) To visit what some call “the mall of malls” and a “city within a city,” allow at least a day to explore the Mall of America
which even includes a wedding chapel! Minneapolis residents love their outdoor activities too—check out the local scenery along the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway
a 51-mile trail divided into seven byway districts that is considered to be the premier urban scenic byway in the country.
Local Whole Foods Market: Minneapolis
New York City
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of visiting New York City. No matter if you travel there every 2 days or every 2 years, one guarantee is that it will have changed since your last trip. Of course, it’s always good to know that some things, like the Statue of Liberty
(Standing proudly since 1886!) and the Empire State Building
will always be there to greet you. While you can always shop ‘til you drop, there are also opportunities for quiet escapes. Take walking tours of Central Park
or explore the High Line
an elevated park growing from an old freight line located on the west side of Manhattan. If it’s an art sanctuary you seek, visit some of New York’s justifiably renowned art museums like the Guggenheim
, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
, The Museum of Modern Art
and its contemporary art space (and my personal favorite), MoMA PS1
Local Whole Foods Markets: Tribeca
, Union Square
, Columbus Circle
, Upper West Side
Los Angeles is a fabulous mix of old Hollywood, new showbiz, beach scenes and trend-setting style as only Californians can do. For a trip back to old Hollywood, take a tour of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
or join walking tours
of Art Deco architecture, bustling downtown or the historic theatre and commercial districts. If you love shopping, try stopping by The Grove
, cruising down Melrose Avenue or perhaps even Rodeo Drive, budget allowing! Visit Little Tokyo
for shopping with some new (or perhaps familiar) cultural experiences. On the art beat? Take the tram up to The Getty
or schedule some time for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
. And of course, don’t forget the beach
Local Whole Foods Markets: Brentwood
, West Los Angeles
What are your favorite spots in these cities? Let us know so we can add them to our maps!