A working traveler’s vacation time is precious. We all have massive bucket lists and a handful of vacation days to check them off. So visiting a place twice? It must be pretty special. Speaking from experience, here are five spots so spectacular, I just had to go back. So I did.
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Table of Contents
1. Dresden, Germany
My first visit with Dresden was short-lived. It was on the way back to Prague from a post-Berlin weekend extravaganza. I probably spent about five hours walking around the city center. I was utterly enchanted. When a free weekend opened up, I hopped the bus to spend a proper full day in this gorgeous city.
Part of the appeal was the season. It was early December and the Christmas markets were in full swing. Image all these sweet little shops and holiday decor set against Dresden’s gorgeous old world facade. It was stunning and well worth the second trip.
2. Chicago, Illinois
I’ve been to Chicago a thousand times (not really, several is a better guesstimation) and it only gets better. As a kid, I could spend all day at Navy Pier, ending with dinner at McDonald’s. Now, I love the wide variety of incredible museums and all the delicious food my stomach can hold.
If I lived there, I’d be a regular at the Art Institute and gain 20 pounds eating hot dog after hot dog. I’d also at least try and audition for Second City.
3. Venice, Italy
There isn’t a city like Venice on earth, so it made sense that I was just itching to go back. My first trip there was pretty much perfect. We’d taken the 3.5 hour train from Rome to spend the day there for my 23rd birthday (which also happened to be my golden birthday). I remember walking out of the train station, seeing the city for the first time, and stopping in my tracks. It was incredible. One day just wasn’t enough to take it all in.
So, one year later for my 24th birthday, I made the same trek back, planning to spend several days in the city. It was even more amazing than I remembered. That vacation also gave me ample time to explore outside of Venice, to Murano and Burano, see fantastic art museums and enjoy some of the best food I’ve ever had. Honestly? I wouldn’t mind a third trip.
4. Des Moines, Iowa
I will sing Des Moines’s praises till I die. This city is such an underrated gem! I originally came to Des Moines expecting nothing, and was absolutely blown away. I was only there to see a show, and ended up never wanting to leave.
Returning, I was able to explore more of what the city had to offer. There are so many fabulous sites and museums… that are closed most of the week. I hadn’t planned for this my first time there, since I didn’t expect I was gonna love the city so much. My second time there I was much more strategic, and had an awesome time as a result.
I also stand by my statement that Zombie Burger’s cheese curds are the best cheese curds I’ve ever had. Sorry, Culver’s. Nothing personal.
5. Kona, Hawaii
Before y’all criticize the quality of this photo, please keep in mind that this was taken in the pre-smart phone era. I had a flip phone. I did my best.
I trekked through the Big Island twice. My conclusion? Nothing about it is overrated. Everything from the Thurston lava tubes, black sand beaches, reefs, waterfalls and volcanoes all took my breath away. This is an island with a lot to offer.
Someday, I’d like to return and do it all again. Of course, with my smart phone so I can properly capture Kona’s beauty.
Honorable mention: Paris
Y’all, I was this close to getting a second time in Paris. Granted, it would’ve been brief (one of those 18 hour layover flights en route home). Still, a whole day in Paris? Bliss. I could make it count.
But then the flight schedule changed and I ended up with a 2 hour layover in Frankfurt. Which, if you’re curious, is like… just enough time to refill your water bottle and maybe pee before boarding your connecting flight. Sigh. Paris, we’ll meet again someday.
Any places so fabulous you just had to visit again? Name them in the comments!