Best US Vacations for Creative Inspiration

A unique rock formation near Ryan Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, California at sunset.

Every once in a while creative ruts or just plain ruts happen. That means it's time to shake things up a bit and get out of town! A nearby weekend getaway or vacation destination can inspire creativity. Whether your thing is music, art, nature, or food, we have you covered on 7 kickass destinations right here in the US that are sure to have you feeling the inspiration long after you return home!

1. NYC: The Epicentre of Art and Culture

Whatever you’re into, New York City has it, and then some. There is truly no city like it on earth. From Fine Art to Fashion, Mixology to Street Food, Art House Films to Broadway Blockbusters; New York has it all. NYCgo has a great list of top can’t-miss attractions, but there are so many specialized sources online to help plan your trip and find whatever creative inspiration you’re looking for. One of our favorite places to go is MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). We also love wandering deep into Chinatown for dumplings and tea. Besides all the amazing things there are to do and experience in the Big Apple, there’s nothing like the feeling you get by walking down the street and being part of the crazy, beautiful, wild world that is “The City”.

2. Sedona, AZ: Healing Energy

For those seeking natural beauty mixed with a little bit of magic, look no further than Sedona, AZ. Sites like AllTrips can help you easily plan unbelievably stunning hikes like the one pictured above, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to recharging in Sedona. The city and its surrounding area is most famous for its energy vortexes that are said to bring positivity and spiritual healing to those who visit. Ohmmm…

3. Nashville, TN: So Much More Than Country

Nashville is affectionately known as “a drinking town with a music problem”, or so says this guide to Nashville from Travel and Leisure. Music lovers the world over have long considered Nashville a music mecca, but in the last few years especially Nashville has seen a huge boom in the culture department! You can of course still visit the ever-inspiring staples like the Grand Ol’ Opry, The Country Music Hall of Fame, and the infamous Bluebird Cafe. But there are also tons of hip, new music venues that play so much more than just country music. We love The Basement and Mercy Lounge for music, The 404 Kitchen for an inspiring meal and Pinewood Social for a hipster country club vibe! An influx of a younger population has also led to a boom in upscale shopping boutiques, a thriving and diverse nightlife, and tons of world-class restaurants. Nashville is not to be missed for music lovers, or anyone who wants a good ol’ kick in the creative pants!

4. Joshua Tree: Sound Baths and Stargazing

Sunset magazine’s Joshua Tree 101 is an excellent guide to the historic desert park and the surrounding town. A surreal natural landscape just a few hours from Los Angeles, Joshua Tree has long been a destination for those seeking an alternative escape. Musicians and artists have been going to the Mojave desert for creative inspiration for decades. You can get a taste of the area’s rich music history at Papi and Harriet’s or The Joshua Tree Inn. But the real star of Joshua tree is the park. Being out in the middle of the desert means zero light pollution at night which makes for incredible, almost otherworldly star gazing. If you really want to experience the full funky-ness of Joshua tree, don’t miss the sound baths at the “Integratron”. Peace, love, and harmony, Baby.

5. San Francisco: Urban Bohemia

San Francisco has a long been a place that infuses modern experiences and the city’s bohemian history. Everywhere you look there are stunning Victorian homes painted in easter egg colors that harken back to a bygone era. But then you turn the corner and are greeted by the spectacular bridges and the ultra-modern cityscape built by the ever-booming tech-start up crowd in SoMa (South of Market). Turn another corner and see a psychedelic street mural of Janis Joplin smoking a joint with Jimi Hendrix. San Francisco is an incredible mix of old and new; with a history that includes the 1960’s civil rights movement, legendary rock movements (Grateful Dead anyone?), and the snobbiest taste buds this side of the Mississippi. SF is the ultimate destination for those seeking creative juice flow. Some of our favorite spots for inspiration include the Botanical Gardens and Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, Mezzanine for music, Foreign Cinema for an atmospheric dinner experience and Craftsman and Wolves for delish fancy coffee. For a guide on doing San Francisco in a weekend, check out this article from The Blonde Abroad.

6. New Orleans: Magic on the Bayou

Ooo, Darlin’! New Orleans is a magical city that simply oozes history and charm. In the heart of the south, “N’awlins” has a distinctly European feeling. Moseying around the historic French Quarter you’ll feel like you’re in, well, France! The other inescapable influence in this city is Jazz. Everywhere you turn someone is playing a song, filled to the brim with soul. Whether it’s voo doo magic that pulls you, or the southern gothic bayou charm, any creative will love a trip to ‘The Big Easy’. Get a feel for this mystical city with this fantastic guide to New Orleans from Vogue.

7. Denver, CO: Badass Brews and Rocky Mountain Views

There’s something for everyone in Denver; unparalleled beauty of the Rocky Mountains (and all the outdoor adventures that come with it!), one of the world’s top beer and brewery scenes, plus a cultural boom in the arts have all met in one city that is now one of the fastest growing cities in America today. Whether you’re looking to re-charge in the great outdoors or hoping for more urban inspiration, Denver has it all. It’s also one of the most affordable places to visit! Check out this guide from Thrillist to get you started on all the free things to do in Denver.