Dreaming of a beach vacation? Seeking an adventurous experience? On the hunt for the perfect plate? June has plenty in store for you.
For the Northern Hemisphere, June marks the official start to summer (with the summer solstice kicking things off on June 21, 2019, but unofficial summer starting at the beginning of the month in many places). It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy sunny days lounging on a beach, picnicking at a park, or perusing an arts district on foot. Here are 10 places to jump-start your travel plans for June.
June is good for: history hunters, art lovers
Shanghai—China’s original capital of cool—is packed with museums, luxury boutiques, restaurants for every budget, hidden cocktail bars, and a rich history visible in its varied architecture. Go early in June, when the weather is hot, but not as sweltering as July and August. Plus, on June 7, 2019, head to Suzhou Creek where you’ll get to witness festivities for the annual Dragon Boat Festival, which was inscribed in UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage 10 years ago; it features dragon boat racing and a lot of zongzi (sticky rice dumplings).
Apart from the festival, check out Shanghai’s varied art scene, which has museums and galleries spread across the city. If you like antiquities, start at the Shanghai Museum in People’s Square. Although it might seem a bit dated and dusty, admission is free and it’s worth a stop for anyone keen on porcelain, jade, and bronze pieces, traditional landscape paintings, and calligraphy.
Also in People’s Square is the Shanghai History Museum, its 1,100 artifacts about the city displayed throughout a handsome neoclassical building. Nearby is the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), featuring art by mostly Chinese artists, plus temporary shows by star-power artists like Yayoi Kusama.
June is good for: beach bums, anyone who wants a second shot at Carnival
Just over two hours by air from New York, Bermuda is conveniently close, but a world apart from the United States in terms of culture (decidedly British) and attitude (island friendly). Yes, technically June is the start of hurricane (and tourist) season in Bermuda. But hear us out. In June, it’s ultimate beach town weather, the island’s location means hurricane risk is minimal compared to other island destinations in the region, and on the third weekend of the month, you can experience National Heroes weekend.
The holiday honors Bermudians who have made positive contributions to the country. Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, it’s a fast-growing summer party. Think Carnival, but in Bermuda: You can dance to soca music until dawn, watch some of the best steel pan musicians play, and nosh on local fare.
If you’re tuckered out from the fete (or missed that weekend altogether), head to the beach for relaxation. Clear seas and healthy coral reefs make Bermuda a great diving destination, and numerous dive sites right off the island’s signature pink-sand beaches mean you don’t need to charter a boat. Church Bay and Tobacco Bay are two of the best areas to spot fish. At Church Bay, you’ll discover a reef close to shore with plenty of colorful parrotfish to keep you company. Tobacco Bay’s shallow and calm waters make it especially appealing for families with kids—plus, there are lots of angelfish, blue tangs, and spiny lobsters.
June is good for: street fair fans, art scenesters
If you weren’t already planning travel to Germany in 2019 because of the exciting Bauhaus centenary, here are a few more reasons to visit its capital. June brings idyllic summer weather (highs in the 60s and 70s), perfect for enjoying the many parks and outdoor festivals. Catch the Carnival of Cultures, a giant street party highlighting art, music, and food from around the globe from June 7–10, 2019; the Staatsoper für alle (“State Opera for All”), a free open-air classical music concert held at the Bebelplatz on June 16, 2019; or the Berliner Volksfestsommer, a folk festival (also free) featuring rides, performances, and fireworks, starting on June 21, 2019, the first day of summer, and running until July 14.
If all that culture isn’t enough for you, you could spend more time marveling at the city’s expansive art scene. The pinnacle of exhibition spaces is Museum Island, an ensemble of five galleries recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The palatial Bode Museum lures with medieval sculpture, while 19th-century European romantic paintings take center stage at Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), and ancient Roman and Greek art rules the Altes Museum (Old Museum).
At the Neues Museum (New Museum), the undisputed showstopper is the 3,500-year-old (yet eternally gorgeous) bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti, although the monumental Babylonian Ishtar Gate at the adjacent Pergamon Museum also elicits “oohs” and “aahs.” For something more contemporary, swing by Urban Nation, dedicated to street art, which has partnered with artists like Christian Böhmer. For the most cutting-edge works, though, book months ahead for a tour of the Sammlung Boros, a private collection moodily ensconced in an upcycled WWII bunker.
June is good for: outdoor adventurers
Bozeman, Montana, is one of the fastest growing communities in the United States. Set in a grassland valley between three mountain ranges, the “Bozone” makes an awesome base camp for outdoor adventuring and exploration in the northern Rocky Mountains. Weather in June is warm—prime time for hiking and kayaking.
Rafting trips travel down three main waterways near Bozeman: the Yellowstone, Gallatin, and Madison rivers. The longest undammed river in the lower 48, the Yellowstone River east of Bozeman is a great choice for family travelers or first-time rafters who want a manageable half- or full-day outing. For more action-packed rapids, bound down the Gallatin River through the rock-walled Gallatin Canyon, the uber-scenic southern passage from Bozeman to Yellowstone National Park.
Prefer to stay dry? Take a hike. With its picture-perfect setting surrounded by craggy mountains and its proximity to Yellowstone (a 90-minute drive) and even Glacier National Park (a five-hour drive), Bozeman delivers a full range of trail experiences.
But if you’re looking for local favorites, hit the Drinking Horse Mountain Trail, a two-mile figure-eight loop with minimal elevation gain that moseys past willows and rocky outcroppings, a short drive north of town. Sweet views of the Absaroka and Gallatin ranges await atop the 5,550-foot peak. Shorter but steeper, the Sypes Canyon Trail is a bit more challenging and feeds into longer through-hiking trails. Or, south of town, photographers will want to follow the paved path to Palisade Falls where an 80-foot waterfall cascades down amid basalt columns.
June is good for: Shakespeare fans, jazzophiles
Montreal is the free-spirited, cosmopolitan heart of French-speaking Canada, a sprawling metropolis with a vibrant arts and cultural scene, a distinctive mix of historic architecture, late-night clubbing, and great vintage shopping. The city has truly perfected its joie de vivre, especially during the summer when there’s a different open-air festival rocking out the streets every week.
Discover French Canadian culture on Quebec’s official holiday, La Fête Nationale, with a huge show, parades, and more, from June 23–24, 2019. Another favorite is the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. It’s gigantic (the Guinness Book of World Records cited it as the world’s largest jazz festival) and hosts around 500 concerts, with thousands of musicians from dozens of countries. The 40th iteration in 2019 strikes its first chord starting June 27 and runs for 10 days.
And don’t forget a quintessential summer night activity: Shakespeare in the Park. The Repercussion Theatre Company puts on free summer plays at venues across the city, all written by the Bard, except with eclectic and modern production twists (imagine Julius Caesar, but with live drumming and an all-female cast).
June is good for: oenophiles
Lisbon is coming to terms with its newfound christening as the continent’s current capital of cool by tastemakers and hipsters the world over. In June, sunshine and warm days abound, ideal for strolling the cobblestoned streets or taking a day trip to Alentejo or Porto to experience the country’s vinho (Douro Valley has the world’s oldest demarcated wine region).
Portugal’s wine scene is inexpensive and phenomenally good, and in Lisbon, it seems like there’s a wine bar on every corner. Top spots include Wine Bar do Castelo, where over 150 Portuguese wines by the glass are served in the shadow of Lisbon’s iconic São Jorge Castle. Or reserve well in advance for BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto, where owner Rui Rossa peddles exquisite boutique wines from lesser-known producers, all paired with artisanal cheese and charcuterie plates.
Fans of porto (the fortified wine, not the city or the football team) will definitely want to check out Solar do Vinho do Porto, which makes up for its stodgy ambience inside an 18th-century mansion with an epic inventory of port—it stocks over 180 labels. Elsewhere, imbibe within the centuries-old vaults of Lisbon’s famed aqueduct at Chafariz do Vinho or in an atmospheric pharmacy at the aptly named Old Pharmacy—either way, the popping of corks is a Lisbon soundtrack second only to fado.
June is good for: wellness seekers
The Indonesian island of Bali incites wanderlust. While tourist crowds have increased exponentially to this land of beautiful beaches, emerald rice paddies, and volcanoes, it still is one that truly lives up to the hype. Visit in June: If you go early in the month, you can enjoy some remaining shoulder season prices, and the weather is good all month.
No matter what time of the year you go, you can experience the holistic approach to wellness that is ingrained in Balinese life. The island is a major destination for visitors in search of world-class spas and retreats, ranging from all-women yoga and meditation getaways to spas devoted to ancient Balinese healing traditions. The one island treatment not to miss is a classic Balinese massage, a deep tissue affair that incorporates stretching, reflexology, and acupressure.
Most of the island’s luxury hotels have on-site spas, but some of the best places to get a treatment are stand-alone spas dedicated to a few treatments. About 20 minutes southwest in Seminyak, Jari Menari (the name means “dancing fingers”) is a long-standing favorite spa devoted to Balinese massage with open-air treatment rooms. Also in Seminyak, Prana Spa offers one of the largest spa spaces on the island, incorporating Middle Eastern and Indian influences into its design and treatments.
June is good for: beer drinkers
Manchester is England’s capital of the north and has been gaining ground as one of the country’s most dynamic cities for years. It’s shaking off its industrial roots to yield an exciting and sophisticated arts scene while still staying true to its heritage with down-to-earth, no-fuss culture. Weather is good in June (think highs in the 60s), and on the 23rd, you can attend the parade and other performances on Manchester Day with locals and visitors alike. (Alternately, make it earlier in the month to see the Spice Girls perform at Manchester Arena on June 1.)
Although Manchester is changing, one thing that has stayed the same is how much locals enjoy a night out on the town, and June is an ideal time to check out the exploding microbrewery scene. Keep your eyes peeled for June dates of the Summer Beer Thing, a three-day beer festival that launched in summer 2018; it’s hosted by local microbrewery favorites Cloudwater, Port Street, and The Pilcrow.
And don’t miss Cloudwater Barrel Store Tap Room, one of England’s most revered microbreweries (and voted the world’s second-best brewery by the popular beer site RateBeer). Established in 2014, the warehouse space, set under vast arches, is an atmospheric spot to throw back a few, with its Double IPAs leading the accolades. Or head for a traditional pub experience at Lass O’Gowrie, a Victorian classic that brews its own beer in the basement. It’s a favorite with everyone, from students to office workers to pensioners.
June is good for: architecture aficionados, music maniacs
The largest city in Michigan is welcoming loads of creative and entrepreneurial types who have moved in, attracted to its can-do spirit (and inexpensive real estate). Detroit is now hopping with cafés and galleries and offers a sweet bike share program. June is one of the city’s loveliest months for weather (sunny, with highs in the 70s), perfect for gaping at the incredible collection of art deco buildings and enjoying outdoor concerts and festivals. The River Days festival with music, games, and other events that supports the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy will tentatively take place the fourth weekend in June, and the annual Motor City Pride festival will feature multiple stages of entertainment on June 9–10, 2019 (admission is $5 for people over 12 years old).
The music legacy in Detroit is as inescapable as the towering skyscrapers. Motown’s soul sound, the Stooges’s punk rock, Eminem’s rap, the White Stripes’s garage rock—all of it has come out of Detroit’s fertile music scene. The Motown Museum occupies the house where Berry Gordy began Motown Records and where the careers of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and many other big names started. Walk the halls where Diana Ross sashayed and see Studio A, where Motown’s most famous names recorded their first hits.
For live music fans, there are plenty of local clubs. The candlelit, art deco ambience at Cliff Bell’s (open since 1935) attracts a diverse young crowd for jazz. And at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, everyone from Miles Davis to Thelonious Monk to Nina Simone has let loose on the small stage.
June is great for: foodies
Visitors to Moscow are often pleasantly surprised by its trendy shopping, world-class art institutions, and excellent fine dining. In June, the city’s usually chilly temperatures rise to the pleasant 60s and low 70s, with the sun setting around 9 p.m. From June 27–30 in 2019, check out the Taste of Moscow, a three-day festival that brings together chefs and foodies to celebrate cuisine from Russia and beyond. Participants can sample signature dishes, watch cooking demonstrations and master classes, and eat to their hearts’ content.
Otherwise, get to know the Russian capital through its evolving food scene. Café Pushkin is the top choice for the Russian elite, known for its pre-Revolutionary decor, long vodka list, and views over leafy Tverskoy Boulevard. The superb menu focuses on classic Russian and French dishes, and the restaurant is housed in a former nobleman’s home. For five-star dining in an early 20th-century atmosphere, head to Savva in the Metropol Hotel, where the excellent fish-focused menu (with many Russian and Scandinavian influences) is served alongside views of the Kremlin and the famous Bolshoi Theatre.
Sophistication rules at CDL, set in an elegant 19th-century mansion where heads of state and celebrities often dine on classic Russian cuisine. And this being Russia, you have to try caviar, which you can do at elegant restaurant Beluga. It offers caviar tastings and has an awesome view of Red Square, too.