Top Bucket List Destinations

Sunny sands, lofty peaks, cool cities on the other side of the country or the world—travel deserves a top spot in your life


With so many exciting destinations at home and abroad, it's hard to narrow down your travel bucket list. Here are a few top destinations that should make the final cut.

San Francisco

The City by the Bay is a dream bucket list destination. With its blue bay on two sides, and the Pacific Ocean to the west, San Francisco's unique landscape wins your heart. The city's charm is its distinct neighborhoods—Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, the Mission District and the Castro—that make it friendly and manageable. You'll want to do justice to the city's big attractions, too. Stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge, eat chowder from a sourdough bread bowl at Fisherman's Wharf and take a tour of Alcatraz Island. One way to see more: rent bikes in Golden Gate Park and pedal down to Ocean Beach.


Fashion, food and the city's je-ne-sais-quoi charm call many to Paris' fabled streets. The city is a center of European commerce, but it feels more like a village—the French still close their shops on Sundays, buy their food at outdoor markets and stroll hand-in-hand down the banks of the River Seine. Parisians hated much of the iconic architecture here before they adored it, and that includes the famous Eiffel Tower, the ultra-modern art museum Centre Georges Pompidou and the glass pyramids near the Louvre Museum. You'll want to see them all, so add Paris to your travel bucket list. Take a Bateaux Mouches—an open excursion boat that circles the Seine—and get on and off at the hot spots.


A visit to Montreal, in Québec, Canada, feels like a trip to the other side of the world—it definitely deserves a spot on your bucket list of places to visit. On an island in the Saint Lawrence River, Montreal is a delightful mishmash of neighborhoods like Vieux-Montréal, its gorgeous French Colonial heart, with its narrow, cobblestone streets that circle stately Notre-Dame Cathedral. The city is ancient, engaging and French-speaking, but that's not all Montreal has to offer. This is a creative city with a cutting-edge arts scene. You'll find over 200 theater and dance companies and some 90 festivals, including the famous Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. And in your rush to experience its old-Europe flavor, don't miss modern icons like the Stade Olympique and Habitat 67.


People in Portland, Oregon, are happy to be there, and you'll feel that vibe as soon as you arrive. With snowcapped Mount Hood in the distance, Portland—one of America's greenest and most bike-friendly cities—sits on the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers. It offers expansive parks like 400-acre Washington Park—large enough to include formal Japanese Gardens and a zoo—and the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, great for jogging, biking or just strolling along the riverfront. The city hosts a lively art scene, with excellent museums like the Portland Art Museum, with its extensive Native American art collection. Don't miss the food-truck scene for delightful takeout edibles from spicy Thai to Basque tapas.


When you think of visiting Spain, think of Barcelona. This is a city for the ages. Its Gothic Quarter has cobblestone streets, 14th-century cathedrals and columns that have been on the planet some 2,000-plus years. You'll find fabulous art by the likes of Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. Catalan's own Antoni Gaudí spent much of his creative life here, building don't-miss city icons like the dreamlike Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Barcelona dips its toes into the deep blue Mediterranean, and its sun-drenched urban beaches rank among the best in the world. And you'll be very glad to be here at mealtime—this exciting city is famed for its Catalan cuisine, top-notch tapas and excellent wines.



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