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10 Best Places to Go in November

By AFAR Editors

08.12.19

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Singapore, with its tropical climate and dynamic city life, is a sweet spot for November.

Photo by Lana May/Shutterstock.com

Singapore, with its tropical climate and dynamic city life, is a sweet spot for November.

Whether you want to dine in Singapore or swim in the Sea of Cortez, these are our top picks for November travel.

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November in the United States means a barrage of post-Halloween candy sales, the beginning of holiday shopping season, and a veritable feast on Thanksgiving Day. But November doesn’t look the same everywhere. Whether you want to taste the street foods of Singapore or bask in the sunshine of the Mexican Riviera, here are 10 of the best places to travel in November.

Flamenco is a dance and music form native to the region of Andalusia.

Seville

November is great for: culture vultures

Shoulder season brings pleasant temperatures, some rain showers, few crowds, and low lodging rates to the capital of Andalusia in southern Spain. Admire the works of baroque masters like Murillo or Zurbarán at the Museum of Fine Arts or see what today’s visual artists are dreaming up at the Centro Andaluz de Arts Comtemporáneo. During the 26th annual Mes de Danza festival, watch international contemporary dancers perform in places like the 18th-century Maestranza and on the streets through the first week of November, or snag tickets for a show at the flamenco museum. Cinephiles gather for screenings of the latest films by up-and-coming directors from November 8 to 16, 2019, for the Seville European Film Festival. Tired of taking in all the culture? Wind down on an evening sherry and tapas tasting tour that takes gourmands to iconic local bars, including the oldest one in the city—open since 1670. —Sara Button

Visit Grand Canyon National Park in fall for incredible autumn light—and to celebrate the park.

Arizona

November is great for: creatives, desert addicts

Newcomers to the Grand Canyon State will be delighted by the mild temperatures and myriad things to do both outdoors and in during an Arizona fall. If travelers head south to Tucson early in November, they can catch the All Souls Procession Weekend (November 2–3, 2019), which began 30 years ago as a single performance piece by a local artist to memorialize her father and has transformed into an annual arts procession attracting more than 150,000 participants and attendees a year. The main event culminates in a parade and the burning of a giant urn holding wishes and offerings for those who have died. When the crowds have cleared the parade route on Monday, visitors can check out the quirky shops along Fourth Avenue and peruse the wares at Mercado San Agustin. Don’t forget to stop for a bacon-wrapped Sonoran hot dog loaded with pinto beans, diced onions, tomatoes, and more at El Güero Canelo on your way out of town. 

For an elegant city break, book a stay further north at the historic Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. U.S. presidents and celebrities—like frequent guest Marilyn Monroe—have stayed at the resort, and architecture fans will get a kick out of the art deco details; Frank Lloyd Wright was a consulting architect for a time. A special 90th anniversary tea service featuring popular tea from across the decades adds grandeur to the afternoon, and a weekly Tequila Sunrise toast in the Wright Bar where bartender Gene Sulit created the cocktail is complimentary ($14 for nonguests).

Finally, November is also a good time to take a trip to Grand Canyon National Park. The hordes of summer tourists have left, the through-hikers haven’t snapped up all the backpacking permits, and though the weather is starting to cool, the South Rim is open and temperatures inside the canyon are still wonderful. —Sara Button

Escape gray drabness with a trip to Phuket, Thailand.

Phuket, Thailand

November is great for: aquaphiles

The charms of Phuket, Thailand’s largest and most developed island, don’t get lost on anyone. There’s something for everyone among the brightly lit night markets and bustling beach roads packed with every kind of restaurant and resort imaginable (including a brand new InterContinental Phuket Resort, opening in September). It’s also Thailand’s premier hub for snorkeling and scuba diving, and the best conditions start in November, when the seas are calmer. It’s as easy as renting fins, a mask, and a snorkel from a beach shop, but lots of hotels also have them on hand.

Even popular beaches such as Patong, Karon, and Kata have their share of coral reefs, but snorkelers favor Ao Sane, a rocky southwestern beach—it’s not as well-traveled so expect a low-key vibe with lots of room for marine exploration. At Paradise Beach, strong swimmers will need to swim out over 300 feet from shore, but they are rewarded with a coral reef. Off the southeastern coast is Racha Yai island, where rugged reefs and boat wrecks promise subterranean wonder. There are also plentiful dive shops and sites along Chalong Bay.

Chartering your own boat is another great way to get a feel for the underwater landscape. Navigate to the little islands of Coral Island, Khai Island, the Phi Phi Islands, or the scenic Ao Phang Nga and Sirinat National Parks. Once you’ve dropped anchor in the perfect location, you can jump off deck for a swim, snorkel, scuba dive, or even try your hand at deep sea fishing. —AFAR Editors

Observatories at the summit of Mauna Kea mountain

The Big Island, Hawaii

November is great for: beach bums and hiking hounds

November on the Big Island of Hawaii is just the ticket for relaxing before a busy holiday season. As with any Hawaiian island, this one is a beachgoer’s dream, with unique spots to sunbathe and float (including one of only two green sand beaches in the United States, Papakolea beach). Visitors can night-snorkel with manta rays, surf Kailua-Kona hot spots, and try ancient Polynesian healing traditions, such as a lomi-lomi massage and volcanic mud wraps, at spas.

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Last year’s eruption of Kīlauea transformed the island—and travel to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park plummeted by 45 percent. But the park has been open since fall of 2018, and roads and trails are being continually repaired so travelers can witness how the landscape has changed. (Note: There are no longer any active lava flows to see.) Detailed updates about openings are available on the National Park Service website and at the visitor center. The park has plenty of hiking trails, including the arduous (but epic) summit of Mauna Loa that stands more than 13,000 feet above sea level. —AFAR Editors

Travelers have been going to Egypt to see its famous archaeological ruins for centuries.

Cairo

November is great for: archaeology enthusiasts

Cairo is a living monument for history lovers. In November the heat drops to a comfortable level, and winter tourism season hasn’t yet begun. Start at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (also called the Egyptian Museum or the Museum of Cairo), which houses one of the world’s top collections of ancient artifacts and provides a great overview of the country’s dynamic past.

Housed in a pink-hued building in Central Cairo since 1902, the impressive, 100,000-piece-strong archive of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities features everything from the contents of King Tutankhamun’s tomb to an array of mummies, jewelry, pottery, and tools of ancient Egyptian daily life.

In Old Cairo, the Babylon Fortress is a Roman-era defensive enclosure that now houses the Coptic Museum, several churches, and a convent, and it is an excellent way to start your archaeological explorations.

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Most iconic, of course, is the Pyramid Complex at Giza, a suburb set about eight miles from the city center, in the flats of the Western Desert. The vast complex is home to several notable sites, including the three peaks that form the signature Great Pyramids, the massive Great Sphinx sculpture, and the tomb of Queen Khentkaus I, one of the few female rulers to have her own burial complex. In addition to top-level photo ops, visitors can examine the pyramids up close and even enter some of the smaller structures.

About 15 miles south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile River, explore the ruins of  ancient Memphis, the capital of the Old Kingdom and considered the world’s first imperial city. —AFAR Editors

Buenos Aires by night

Buenos Aires

November is great for: hepcats, dancing queens

Known for introducing tango into the world, Buenos Aires also offers modern art museums, vibrant street murals, some of the most beautiful theaters in South America, and a late-night club scene that only ends when the sun rises.

Almost any day of the week throughout the calendar year, there’s some sort of festival happening in Buenos Aires, whether it be music, food, culture, or art. In November, jazz musicians from around the world convene in the cosmopolitan capital for the Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival (2019 dates have yet to be confirmed). If jazz isn’t your style, check out Buenos Aires Celebra (Buenos Aires Celebrates). On weekends, the festival shuts down traffic on the eastern side of Avenida de Mayo, taking over a section of the boulevard for different events dedicated to a nationality or cultural group—think Irish step dancing, Spanish paella, or Bolivian music, depending on that month’s theme.

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For a local tango experience, skip the tourist-oriented tango shows and find a milonga, or tango club, held at different venues around town nearly every evening. At a milonga like La Catedral or  El Beso, you can watch real-life dancers of all ages—some in fishnets and stiletto heels, others in jeans—practice their craft. Rojo Tango, the seductive tango show at the Faena Hotel, is excellent, so long as you don’t mind the high price tag.

If you’re looking to learn, La Catedral offers group classes for beginners. Otherwise, pay a nominal entrance fee, order a coffee or a glass of wine, and watch the action on the dance floor. Just remember: If you’re asked to dance, it’s only polite to accept, whether or not you know what you’re doing. —AFAR Editors

You can’t go wrong by booking an autumnal trip to the Big Apple.

New York City

November is great for: performance junkies

NYC’s November weather may demand scarves, hats, and jackets, but it’s worth donning all of the above to stroll through the city admiring the lavish shop window dressings changing for the holiday. Besides, some of the best the city has to offer in November is indoors: at the theater.

The neon lights most definitely shine bright on Broadway—and on off-Broadway, and off-off-Broadway, too. What’s the difference? Location and the number of seats, basically. Going to the theater is a New York City rite of passage, and so is hitting the TKTS Discount Booths at Times Square for discounted same-day tickets to hot shows. (Note that the Brooklyn and South Street Seaport locations are less crowded.)

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In November, catch the fall production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal starring Tom Hiddleston through December 8 or the American premiere of Florian Zeller’s The Height of the Storm, which will run from September 10 through November 17.

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And even though Hamilton is in its fourth year, fans of the hit musical can dive even deeper into the history with a Hamilton in New York private tour with Context Travel. On the three-hour tour, a historian will lead participants from the southern tip of Manhattan to City Hall Park, stopping along the way at places such as Fraunces Tavern, where the Sons of Liberty once gathered, and Trinity Church, where Hamilton and his wife are buried.

Perhaps the greatest New York City show of all? Every November, massive floats roll along Manhattan’s streets for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. AFAR Editors

Oslo has a number of dreamy skiing spots, like Norefjell.

Oslo

November is great for: snow devotees

After exploring Oslo, it’s easy to understand why it’s recently been one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. This capital offers a thriving cultural scene and friendly locals with an eye toward innovation. Come November, Oslo residents are ready to embrace winter: When snow falls, they bundle up, grab their gear and skis, and head out to enjoy winter sports. A bonus? Train service to ski resorts.

Oslo Winter Park at Tryvann offers 18 slopes (including cross-country skiing trails) and is about 30 minutes via train from the city center. Slopes are lit up until 10 p.m. every day, so it’s not uncommon for locals to hit the slopes for a few hours after work. There also are runs for beginners and kids.

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Farther afield, Varingskollen is almost an hour by train. It’s a smaller resort with only six slopes but boasts a good terrain fun park with rails and jumps popular for boarders. Considered the best ski resort closest to Oslo, Norefjell is another popular spot, 90 minutes from the center of town. With 25 groomed runs, it’s great for families and all levels.

Another fun winter activity is sledding. The city itself has many hills to slide down, but the best spot is at Korketrekkeren (the “corkscrew”), which you can access by public transportation. You can rent sleds, helmets, and goggles on site. The run drops from 836 feet and will take you about 10 minutes from top to bottom. Expect some speed: It’s a blast. —AFAR Editors

Snorkel or just lounge on the sand at Santa Maria Beach by Cabo San Lucas.

Los Cabos, Mexico

November is great for: merfolk in training

Located at the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are two towns that together comprise “Los Cabos,” an eternally popular vacation destination for sun seekers. Los Cabos are both studded with upscale resorts where oversized rooms, fine dining experiences, and exceptional service are de rigueur. In the first half of November, tourism hasn’t gotten to full swing yet and the weather is sunny, making for ideal days to spend at the beach.

In addition to snorkeling and scuba diving, travelers can also book stand-up paddleboarding and surfing lessons. Medano Beach, close to downtown Cabo, is one of the area’s most popular beaches. You’ll find water-skiers, jet -skiers, parasailers, and kayakers heading out to Land’s End—this beach has it all, with plenty of operators close by to get you set up. Los Cabos is also a good place to realize your dream of learning to sail by taking lessons in the Sea of Cortéz. Weeklong liveaboard trips with outfitters like Nautilus Sailing will result in certification to charter and captain sailboats anywhere you go on your next vacation.

If you’ve gotten your fill of sunshine, head to the movies if you’re in town during the Los Cabos International Film Festival (November 13–17, 2019). The annual event, replete with viewings and galas, highlights new films from around the world, including Hollywood awards contenders. —AFAR Editors

Taste some of Singapore’s legendary street food on your next fall trip.

Singapore

November is good for: food lovers

November is shoulder season in the southeast Asian country of Singapore, which has year-round weather that is humid, warm, and—between November and January—a bit rainy. Also consistent? The deliciousness of its food.

It’s not hype; some of Singapore’s best food can be found at the city’s steamy, bustling hawker food centers, as the cast of Crazy Rich Asians can attest. Visitors are pleasantly surprised by the number of choices on hand, most of which are a fusion of Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, and Malaysian cultures. Even some of the city’s hawker stalls have won Michelin Bib Gourmand status, which is awarded to establishments that sell good food at a reasonable price.

For breakfast, start with chwee kueh, a formed rice cake topped with preserved radish and chili sauce. Try oh-luak, which is basically an oyster omelet, or chai tao kway—often called carrot cake (but not the U.S. kind), this dish consists of eggs, preserved radish, and radish cake flour. Another breakfast favorite is nasi lemak (fish and coconut rice cooked with a pandan leaf).

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Chicken Rice (boiled chicken and rice with a ginger and garlic sauce) is well-loved, and one of the best places to sample this dish is Tian Tian Chicken Rice at Maxwell Food Centre, or check out Michelin Bib Gourmand winner Lia Fam’s stall in Chinatown. Other regional favorites include dum briyani (a marinated meat, vegetable, and rice dish) at Tekka Centre in Little India, where this November you can see Deepavali (Diwali) celebrations.

For some only-in-Singapore foods to brave, try the frog porridge at Lion City Frog Porridge—a frog is boiled in porridge then cooked in soy sauce flavored with ginger, dried chili, and spring onions. Also look for barbecued stingray, curried fish head soup, and curry laksa (noodles cooked in coconut milk with bean curd puffs and fish). Fun fact: Singapore imports more than 90 percent of its food.  And if you’re looking for a luxurious place to rest after all this eating, the Raffles Singapore reopened in August after a two-year-long renovation. AFAR Editors

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

>Next: The Sweetest U.S. Small Towns to Visit This Fall

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