When summer packs its bags, and the days of fun in the sun are over, that doesn’t mean we globetrotters are happy to sit at home twiddling our thumbs waiting for the holiday season to kick in.
Autumn is a fantastic time for short city breaks: The high season is over, you can avoid the crowds, and save a buck or two.
With that in mind, here are our 10 picks for cities that are breathtaking in the fall.
As a city, Boston seems resigned to play second fiddle to its bigger, brasher, more Big-Apple-y cousin 200 miles to the southwest.
Yet come the fall, Boston begins to punch above its weight, enchanting visitors with a fiery display of autumnal splendor spread out over 2,300 acres of parkland.
Boston is home to thousands of trees, many over a century old. As the leaves turn, the city becomes an increasingly charming place, and serves as a spectacular gateway to New England’s celebrated fall foliage.
2. Liverpool, England
Situated in England’s industrial north, Liverpool isn’t necessarily a place that springs to mind when one thinks of beautiful cities.
But while the north end of town still struggles with its post-industrial malaise, the south side (long ago home to the city’s wealthy merchants and aristocrats) plays host to a surprising number of green spaces and grand boulevards.
For a truly sublime experience, take an autumnal constitutional along the broad, tree-lined avenues of the Sefton Park area as the afternoon sunshine pours though the kaleidoscopic canopy of orange, red and brown.
The best time of year to visit Montreal is undoubtedly the fall, when you can marvel at the architectural magnificence of this most Gallic of cities amid the earthy hues of autumn.
Plus you can do all of the typically fun Canadian stuff: taking in a game of ice hockey, drowning your pancakes in maple syrup, stuffing your face with poutine and grabbing a hot cup of joe at Tim Hortons.
And, as a bonus, it'll be too early to worry about your fingers dropping off from frostbite. Huzzah!
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4. Kyoto, Japan
While Japan is often thought of as a place to visit when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, centrally located Kyoto is the perfect setting for an autumn getaway.
The capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, Kyoto can be beautiful and poetic when you explore its ancient monuments and temples — many of which are located in woodland — amid the changing and dying leaves.
Visit the famous moss temple of Saihō-ji in late autumn and marvel at the fall colors contrasted against the lush green banks of moss.
5. Frankfurt, Germany
Home to the fourth busiest airport in Europe and well on its way to becoming something of a financial powerhouse, Frankfurt has a central business district fairly typical of German cities: robust, utilitarian and, well, not very pretty.
However, it does have a saving grace: trees. Lots and lots of trees.
Half the city’s urban area consists of open green spaces, so in the fall there are plenty of crunchy leaves to stomp through on your way to and from the enchanting Altstadt (old town). Yay!
The capital of the Netherlands can be a weird place. With its tall, narrow houses (a glorious hodgepodge of Gothic, Renaissance and baroque styles), cobbled streets, canals and old stone bridges, Amsterdam should be utterly charming.
But the city's seedier side tends to detract from that charm. So if you’re thinking of going for something other than what might tactfully be considered "immoral activities," I’d recommend hitting Amsterdam in the fall.
An evening stroll around town in the autumn is less likely to be interrupted by mobs of rowdy teenagers asking for directions to the nearest "coffee shop."
7. Glasgow, Scotland
If the only things you associate with Glasgow are deep-fried Mars bars and inebriated men in kilts, you’ve probably never been to Glasgow.
An incredibly attractive city at the best of times, in the fall it benefits from its status as one of the greenest (in terms of urban space) and therefore — yay! — leafiest cities in the U.K.
Kelvingrove Park in the west end of the city is particularly glorious at this time of year, even when the weather isn’t playing ball. You can always hide from rain in the park’s magnificent art gallery and museum, Scotland’s most visited free attraction.
Considering much of the architecture of Russia's capital consists of concrete carbuncles from the communist era, it's not a place that can compete with the perennial beauty of, say, Paris or Rome.
So, it may come as some surprise to learn that Moscow has one of the highest proportions of green space of any capital city in the world.
With over 50% of Moscow’s land set aside for parks and nature, the fall is a splendid time to drop by for a little pirozhki. And, a trip up the Volga River when the sun is low in the autumn sky comes warmly recommended.
9. Portland, Oregon
"Keep Portland Weird" is the unofficial motto of Oregon’s biggest city, and the impressive multitude of freaks and geeks certainly helps make a visit memorable any time of the year.
But for my money I’d go in September or October to enjoy the glorious shades of autumn while wandering around Forest Park, not far from the banks of the mighty Willamette River.
At more than 5,000 acres it is one of the largest urban green spaces in the U.S. and, as its name suggests, it's packed full of trees. To give you some idea of scale, New York’s Central Park is a "mere" 840 acres.
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10. Baku, Azerbaijan
Nestled on the banks of the mighty Caspian Sea, the capital of Azerbaijan is a bit of a hidden gem at the best of times, and as summer segues into fall it’s a wonderful place to be.
Take the funky old Baku Funicular through the trees to Upland Park for some incredible views of the city and its iconic Flame Towers trio of skyscrapers.
Then, in the spectacular afternoon light, go explore the lush Central Botanical Garden and Dendrology Institute, established in the 1930s by the USSR’s Academy of Sciences.