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9 Best Places to Go in November

By Mark Ellwood

Sep 22, 2021

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Five-star Atlantis the Palm underwent a renovation just in time to host visitors to the Dubai’s upcoming World Expo.

Courtesy of Atlantis the Palm, Dubai

Five-star Atlantis the Palm underwent a renovation just in time to host visitors to the Dubai’s upcoming World Expo.

Whether you want to dine in St. Bart’s or attend a world’s fair in Dubai, these are our top picks for November travel.

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This November, perhaps more than ever, why not consider jettisoning the turkey-powered family get-together for once and skipping town for a trip? There are countless destinations across the country and the world offering a delicious counterpoint to that perennial meal, whether gourmet food on the Caribbean’s fanciest island or the chance to taste some inventions by real-life Willy Wonka in the Middle East.

Here are the nine best places to travel in November.

Remember when booking that COVID-19 regulations are in place for visitors to many destinations—and can, and do, change regularly.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

November is great for: seeing the world in one place

Consider a trip to the UAE for the World Expo, the first time it’s been held in the Middle East; it runs from October 1, 2021, through March 2022, and will showcase human ingenuity from 191 nations along three themes: opportunity, mobility, and sustainability. Each of these topics will be displayed in a different district—one standout will undeniably be the British firm Bompas & Parr, known for its real-life Willy Wonka creations, in the Sustainability area.

Stay hungry, though, as you can’t leave Dubai without exploring how the world came here long before the Expo opened—via the immigrant-powered restaurants that fill the backstreets of the emirate. Sign up for a tour with Frying Pan Adventures, run by two Dubai-born Indian bloggers—a delicious, and stark, contrast with the luxury construction that those laborers helped build like the Atlantis.

Where to stay

Raffles the Palm Dubai, of the same Raffles group behind the famed Singapore edition, is set to open in October on the Palm Jumeirah. The five-star Atlantis the Palm has just undergone a $100 million, three-year renovation to spiff up its more than 1,500 rooms, part of a sprawling, 114-acre site.

Book now: From $422/night, expedia.com

Guadalajara, Mexico

November is great for: revolutionary-minded bookworms

The International Book Fair in Guadalajara is one of the foremost lit fests in the world, second only to Frankfurt’s fair each October. Its 35th edition kicks off November 27 at the local expo center with more than 430,000 square feet of space to showcase the best in Spanish language literature from around the world—with author appearances, discussions, and readings. Each year a different country is chosen for the spotlight, focusing on the best of its writers; for 2021, that’s Peru.

The fair is an anchor for the Mexican city’s re-emergence as a creative hub: It has long been renowned for visual art thanks to talents like Sergio Bustamante, but there has been a renewed focus on all disciplines in recent years, from ceramics to glassblowing. (Check out the design collective Tributo, for instance, which brings together makers from around Mexico, or one of these spots.)

Arrive a little earlier in the month to relish the celebrations of Revolution Day on November 20—that’s when the country marks the beginning of the struggle that transformed Mexico at the start of the 20th century. Expect a riot of color and energy as the city celebrates, with festivities including a float parade that runs from Agua Azul Park to La Normal Glorieta.

Where to stay

Casa Habita, a boutique hotel in the artsy district of Lafayette, run by the funky Mexico City–based Grupo Habita.

Book now: From $92/night, expedia.com

New York City

November is great for: performance-starved theatergoers

Anyone hoping to make the holidays last as long as they can should beeline to NYC in November, when the festive season begins to unspool. The Radio City Rockettes return to their high-kicking season with a new spectacular starting on November 5, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be back with spectators after its COVID-constrained 2020 edition. Expect the floats to feature a roster of Broadway performers, a staple of the programming that's likely to feel even more welcome this year, after the Great White Way’s lights were dimmed for more than 12 months by the pandemic.

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Shows have returned to most theaters with new protocols— essentially, mandates for masks and vaccinations among attendees (those will be updated periodically, so check recent news here). Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Lyric theater has been remade from a two-day, two-show setup to one self-contained performance—ideal for time-pressed visitors—and new shows for the fall season include the musical adaptation of Mrs. Doubtfire at the Stephen Sondheim and an original musical at the Longacre about the late Princess of Wales, Diana, by the creative team behind Memphis.

Where to stay

The Park Hyatt is a short walk from almost any show.

Book now: From $1,069/night, expedia.com

For more options, check our list of the 34 best hotels in NYC.

Pushkar, India

November is great for: animal lovers and perfume fans

Camels commandeer Pushkar each November for a week, when the desert-bound Rajasthani city draws visitors and animals for one of India’s largest livestock and cultural fairs—always held during the full moon (November 11–18 this year).

Expects thousands of people camped out in tents, surrounded by camels and some Marwari horses for trade. If you’re inspired by the sight, consider picking up a picture or print by British painter Marcus Hodge, who’s been documenting the event since he first became fascinated by India 20 years ago.

The lunar-dependent date of the event is a nod to local legend, when it’s believed that the Hindu pantheon’s gods and goddesses assembled at the local lake on Kartik Purnima, or full moon night, and so consecrated the waters. It made Pushkar one of India’s holiest cities, with one of the few temples to the god Brahma.

While you’re in town, don’t forget to pick up some rosewater, too. Brahma apparently dropped a handful of flowers here, cementing its association with florals, and the Mughals introduced roses more than 400 years ago. They thrive in its climate and are renowned by perfumers worldwide.

Where to stay

The plush grounds of the Dera Masuda hotel are a stark contrast with the scrublands that are the signature of the surrounding countryside.

Book now: From $45/night, expedia.com

Jabugo, Spain

November is great for: learning to carve ham

Just an hour outside Seville in southern Spain, Jabugo is the tiny town that’s the spiritual home of one of the country’s best-known exports: jamon iberico. Its setting is spectacular, inside the Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche National Park, whose old woodlands, or dehesas, hold the key to the distinctive taste of that ham, specifically the population of holm oaks. Each fall, these trees shed their acorns during the montanera, and the local free-roaming pigs scarf down their fill while wandering around the wide-open spaces.

The foremost jamon producer is undoubtedly Cinco Jotas, and its headquarters here offers tours of its centuries-old curing cellars, where visitors can carve ham under the tutelage of a master carver from the factory. The ham you buy here to take home also supports conservation of that surrounding woodland, which UNESCO has declared a protected biosphere.

Tack on some time in the evocative city of Seville, with its narrow streets and commingled cultural heritage where Moorish architecture and Catholic churches jostle for prominence. Catch a flamenco show in Seville, too; the tradition is believed to have emerged here. Even better, the weather this month hovers in the balmy mid-60s, far less oppressive than the often sweltering summers.

Where to stay

Enjoy indulgences of a different kind at the former nunnery, El Convento, now converted into a boutique hotel, in the nearby town of Aracena.

Book now: From $145/night, expedia.com

Piedmont, Italy

November is great for: picky, deep-pocketed gourmands

They’re often nicknamed white gold, and no wonder, when the slivers of truffle grated over scrambled eggs or pasta can cost more than $1,300 per pound. It’s due in part to their rarity, and there’s no more prized specimen than tartufo bianco d’Alba, which grows in this region for a short burst each fall. (The only other site is a small patch of land in Croatia.)

The locals don’t hold back celebrating the delicacy while it’s in season, and November is prime time: Wineries and inns around the countryside will offer truffle-spiked treats and dinners throughout the month as part of the Alba White Truffles Festival. There’s an ongoing market, suffused with the smell of truffles—enjoy them that way if you can’t quite stretch to spending on one of your own, or watch a cooking demo and hopefully score a sample or two.

Where to stay

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Try La Raia, a 12-room retreat set on more than 440 acres of rolling hills here, with its own biodynamic farm and winery, renowned for producing a superb barbera, one of the region’s signature grapes.

Book now: From $270/night, la-raia.it

Glasgow, Scotland

November is great for: adventurous eco-warriors

From November 1–12, the world’s biggest climate-change conference will take place in Scotland’s second city, a funkier, far more energetic place than historic Edinburgh. COP26 is the most ambitious confab from the United Nations so far, and Glasgow’s embracing its role as host with gusto. It will debut several new local assets inspired by the conference: A new green cycling route takes in independent local businesses and shops like arts specialist Aye-Aye Books and the Glasgow Distillery (hop on a NextBike rideshare to try it out), and an urban park inspired by New York’s beloved Highline will transform a onetime railway bridge. Fittingly, for a city that was once synonymous with shipbuilding, the park is dubbed the Bowline. One of the cranes from those shipyards has even been retained much like an unofficial city mascot—clamber up the Finnieston Crane, and the views from the jib are spectacular.

Just remember, if you do decide to fly over, consider buying a few carbon offsets.

Where to stay

The Victorian wedding cake–like hotel the Grand Central has more than updated its eco-cred, with a full recycling program and emphasis on local supplies.

Book now: From $85/night, expedia.com

Montgomery, Alabama

November is great for: a reminder history isnt over

Three years ago, Montgomery made headlines for its extraordinary new memorials to slavery and racism in America: the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum, both run by the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. The former is a hypnotic, sobering experience, set across six acres, as visitors wander through a forest of abstract slabs hanging like bodies from gibbets, intended to both evoke and memorialize those lost to lynching in the country.

The latter is a more conventional museum, filled with artifacts and documents that unpack the everyday history of slavery. It was previously housed in a smallish site downtown, but this November it will decamp to a new, much larger location; this will allow founder Bryan Stevenson and his team to explore the stories they tell in greater depth. Additional exhibits will include more first-person accounts from slaves, as well as expansion of the space dedicated to events during the Civil Rights era, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Another new exhibit will include soil from the 800 documented lynching sites around America.

Tack on a detour to Old Cloverdale, another neighborhood, for a glimpse of a different side to the Deep South: the onetime home of writers Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, which has now been turned into a museum. This glimpse of life in the hedonistic flapper era forms a stark contrast to the EJI’s efforts.

Where to stay

The building that formerly housed the city’s waterworks will be reborn as the first luxury hotel here in late 2021, the Murphy House.

St. Bart’s

November is great for: hungry (and thirsty) would-be jet-setters

The culinary bona fides of the island have been bolstered since 2013 by the annual Gourmet Festival—canceled last year, it’s now back, running November 10–14. This shindig imports haute cuisine superstars from around the world to bring their Michelin-endorsed expertise to a series of multi-course tasting menus. An 11-strong roster this year includes fusion champion Pierre Gagnaire and French traditionalist Eric Fréchon.

Earlier in the month, you can celebrate one of the Caribbean’s top exports: rum. The first week of November is when St. Bart’s hosts the Caribbean Rum Awards, the fourth year celebrating what happens to sugarcane when it grows up. Pre-pandemic, this boisterous, party-like atmosphere was a welcome foil to the gourmet fest, with rum cocktail competitions, rum-cigar pairings, and of course, an expo where visitors can sample tipples from across the islands.

Where to stay

The 46-room Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa on the northeast coast is among the best resorts in the Caribbean (with a price tag to match the hype. Stay more than 10 nights to shave 15 percent off your bill).

Book now: From $2,082/night, expedia.com

This story was originally published in October 2018; it was updated on August 11, 2019, and September 21, 2021, to include current information.

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