The days are getting shorter, and fall is right around the corner—so you know you have to squeeze in one last trip before the summer is officially over. And you know it has to be 420-friendly. We’ve lined up the best late-summer marijuana destinations for you to make the right call before the autumn colors burst.
Colorado was the first state to sell legal, adult-use weed. The Mile High City is still one of the top destinations this time of year, thanks in no small part to its mild, dry, and mostly predictable climate.
And while it’s still illegal to consume cannabis in public places and no hotels allow it (yet), 2022 marks the year the first cannabis consumption lounges opened. Check out Black-owned Tetra Lounge in the trendy RiNo neighborhood or The Coffee Joint near Lincoln Park. You need to bring your weed because neither is licensed to sell cannabis on-premises.
Denver is also home to a booming, creative restaurant scene that could see you enjoying high-end cuisine on the rooftop of a former mortuary or chowing down on vegan corn dogs at a divey bar next door to a rowdy rock venue. Those spots are right along the city’s famous Green Mile, where you can choose from 18 dispensaries over a two-mile stretch.
In late summer, Chicago starts to mellow out after being hot and sticky for months. It’s also the calm before the frigid winter that earns the “Windy City” its nickname. Chicago launched legal adult-use cannabis sales two years ago. It has a somewhat established dispensary scene and is the home base for many multistate operators and multinational cannabis corporations due to its central U.S. location and proximity to federally legal Canada.
Just in time for the 2022 420 holiday, a consumption lounge opened inside a dispensary run by Chicago-based giant Green Thumb Industries in the northern suburb of Mundelein.
Some of the more popular Chicago spots like The Bean and Superdawg Drive-In seem custom-made for stoned tourists. Don’t miss the T-Rex and famous artworks recreated using Legos at “The Art of the Brick” exhibit at the Museum of Science + Industry Chicago that runs through Sept. 5.
For a different kind of culture, hit up the Pilsen neighborhood, which Forbes named one of “The 12 Coolest Neighborhoods Around the World” in 2018. It’s celebrated for its street art, music venues, boutiques, and award-winning restaurant scene.
Late summer is typically dry and sunny in the notoriously dreary city of Seattle. There’s no better time to hit up the second major U.S. city to legalize the sale of recreational cannabis.
Stock up at LGBTQ-owned Pot Shop Seattle in the Westlake neighborhood, which boasts on its website that it’s “Home of the original Wake & Bake Special”—that’s 10% off all purchases before noon.
And don’t miss The Pink Door—a restaurant with no actual signage. You’ll know you’re at the right place when you see the literal pink door that opens to a critically acclaimed experience of pasta and trapeze shows. And it’s just blocks from the original Starbucks at Pike Place Market.
Just make sure you consume your cannabis before you walk out the door of your private residence or 420-friendly Airbnb, because Seattle does not have any consumption lounges nearby.
If you’re looking for an international destination, take the four-hour drive from recently legal Detroit (or two hours from recently legal Buffalo, New York) to Toronto, the home of superstars Drake and The Weeknd.
Unlike the U.S. cities listed here, you can consume cannabis in public in Toronto. And bonus for some travelers: The legal age of consumption for both alcohol and cannabis is 19 in Canada, where the plant is federally legal.
Hit up some of the 430 (yes, you read that right) cannabis shops in the city, perhaps starting where it all began: The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. The city’s first legal dispensary was built at the site of a former strip club in the West Queen West neighborhood and remains a weed hotspot.
Then check out Canada High Tours. For $50, staff will take you on a “Graffiti Tour & Experience” or “Downtown Mash Up. You’ll meet at urban beach park Sugar Beach, tour the Distillery District’s cobblestoned streets and art galleries, and pass The Esplanade on your way back to the beach.
The friendly hosts will likely have dinner recommendations for you along the way.
New York City (maybe next year)
Adult-use cannabis is finally truly legal in the Empire State. Still, the process of opening up shops is, frankly, something of a mess. But by 2023, you can expect its namesake city to be a premier cannabis destination. Start thinking about which of NYC’s more than 23,000 bars and restaurants you’ll want to hit up when you have the legal munchies.
Book your flight or fill up your tank, and head out for one last summer adventure before it’s too late. Safe travels!