Taking a trip for your birthday can be a memorable way to mark the special occasion. Whether traveling alone or with family or friends, it’s fun to kick off another year around the sun by getting to know a new city. Explore some of our favorite places to travel for your birthday, plus discover practical tips for making your trip as easy as possible.
Best places to travel for your birthday
Denver promises a memorable birthday experience, especially for those who are drawn to outdoor adventures. Enjoy a stunning bird’s-eye view of your birthday destination during a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Rocky Mountains. Bike the scenic route on the Cherry Creek Trail, a 40-mile paved path running from downtown Denver through Cherry Creek State Park to small Franktown. For sunset, head to Mount Evans to scale the summit trail. It’s an easy but rewarding hike, with panoramic views of the Rockies and the possibility of wildlife encounters. Adventurous eaters should make a dinner reservation at the Buckhorn Exchange Restaurant, where you can try exotic game, like ostrich, elk and Rocky Mountain oysters.
2. New York City
The City That Never Sleeps is one of the best places to travel for a birthday any time of year. This buzzing cosmopolitan metropolis offers the best of everything, from high-energy concerts to captivating theater performances to world-class restaurants. New York City is affordable for any budget, too. If you’re open to spending a little extra, go all out and stay at a five-star luxury hotel, sip cocktails in a dimly lit speakeasy and treat yourself to an afternoon at the finest spa. If you’re cash-strapped, you can still find plenty of inexpensive activities. Board the Staten Island Ferry for a free trip past the Statue of Liberty, walk the High Line rail trail and score discounted Broadway or off-Broadway tickets at a TKTS booth.
3. Las Vegas
If you’re looking for places to travel for a 21st birthday or even 51st birthday, Las Vegas should be a contender. Feeling lucky? Stop in at the casinos on The Strip or around light-filled Downtown to try your hand at poker, craps, blackjack and many more games. If you’re looking to party, head to a rooftop pool during the day and a lively club at night. Those who want a more low-key experience can head to the Arts District, where you’ll find performance spaces in former warehouses and a number of microbreweries. Beyond the usual Vegas experience, you can take an adventurous day trip to Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park and even the West Rim of the Grand Canyon.
In the mood for travel birthday ideas that are off the beaten path? Consider heading to Anchorage, Alaska, where you can take a day cruise through majestic waters to see incredible glaciers and wildlife, like otters, whales, seals, bears, bald eagles and moose. Taking the train through Alaska offers a unique way to see the countryside in a relaxed, comfortable space. Likewise, a bike tour offers an opportunity to really explore and reach remote areas as you cycle off-road through mountains and alongside rivers.
5. Napa Valley
Napa Valley is a summer birthday idea that lets you enjoy California’s wine country. In addition to tasting your way through some of the country’s best wineries, you can map out your meals at incredible Michelin-starred restaurants. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, including golfing, cycling and hiking. Want to try something a little different for your big day? Drift over the beautiful valley in a hot air balloon. Opt for a sunrise or sunset tour for an even more colorful sight.
6. New Orleans
New Orleans is a vibrant city most known for its jazz scene, Creole cuisine and annual celebrations, like Mardi Gras, the French Quarter Festival and Jazz Fest. Take a walking tour through the historic French Quarter, where you can try a beignet at the famous Café Du Monde, scope out the clubs and bars you’ll go to later on Bourbon Street and appreciate the neighborhood’s unique architecture that blends French, Spanish and Caribbean influences. Treat yourself to a ride aboard Steamboat Natchez to cruise down the mighty Mississippi River with a cocktail in hand and live jazz in the background.
Chicago is a top destination for celebrating special occasions. Spend the day gliding down the Chicago River on an architecture cruise, catching live music in Millennium Park and touring world-class museums, like the Art Institute of Chicago. Satisfy your appetite for that perfect birthday dinner at any of more than 20 Michelin-starred restaurants. And cap off the night with improv at none other than The Second City or a live jazz show at the iconic Green Mill. Squeeze in time for sports if there’s a home game. Catching the Bulls, Cubs, White Sox or Bears in person will be a birthday experience to remember.
Birthday trip tips
The more money you can save on hotels, flights and a rental car, the more you’ll have to splurge on experiences. Treat yourself to more — and ensure a stress-free trip — by following these four tips.
Save money by booking in advance
You’re likely to find good deals when you book in advance. Hotels often slash rates if you book 30 or more days ahead of your trip or stay for at least three or four consecutive nights. Likewise, you can find early bird specials for flights and lower daily rates for rental cars.
Take advantage of credit card rewards
Many credit cards have rewards programs that allow you to redeem points for travel. Check your points to see if you have enough to use toward a hotel or flight, either by transfering to a rewards partner or booking directly through your credit card’s booking platform. Some rewards programs have special hotel partner offers that give you perks like free breakfast, a food and beverage credit, early check in and late check out if you book directly through the program. If you aren’t familiar with what your rewards program offers, poke around its website or call the benefits line to see what they have to offer.
Ask for group discounts
If you’re traveling with a squad of friends or family for your birthday, you might qualify for a group discount for things like group tours and hotel blocks. It’s a great way to save money and ensure there’s enough room for everyone who is coming to celebrate with you.
Find the right car rental
A quality rental car with perks can remove a lot of stress from your birthday trip. Using Avail car sharing, for instance, means your trip is protected by Allstate insurance and includes 24/7 roadside assistance. Plus, there’s no cost to add a second driver or cancel if your birthday plans change at the last minute. Planning a birthday trip is a fun experience regardless of where you’re headed. Getting around town with a rental car gives you flexibility to travel on your own schedule, or explore a bit further off the beaten path.