This post was most recently updated on August 2nd, 2017

Who doesn’t love a good gaze up at the stars? Whether you’re looking for Pluto, the Big Dipper, or a slew of other spectacular stars, looking up into the night sky is a past time we can all appreciate.

For everyone from seasoned astronomers to the curious masses, there’s no better time to embark on a celestial weekend getaway or take the little ones on an educational trip across the galaxy!

We’ve scoped out seven of the best cities for budding astronomers, so pack your bags — cos it’s time to reach for the stars!

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Every aspiring astronaut has to start somewhere – and your little one’s journey can begin at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. From a two-story replica of the International Space Station to fascinating facts about globular clusters, nebulas, and planets, this is the place to be for a jam-packed introduction to what lies beyond our blue planet. See space for yourself with the Buhl Planetarium’s 16-inch Meade LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. You’ll be able to check out the surface of the moon and a handful of planets as expert stargazers share key details about our universe. You’ll even enjoy a stellar fifth-floor view of downtown Pittsburgh!

Other distinguished spots to stare up at the heavens include the Allegheny Observatory at Riverview Park, which is frequented both by visitors and university astronomical researchers, and the Wagman Observatory, which houses the world-class Manka Memorial telescope and is the site of Star Parties hosted by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh.

Fort Davis, Texas


Grab your cowboy boots, cutoff shorts, and telescopes – yes, you read that right! One of Fort Davis’s biggest attractions is the McDonald Observatory atop Mt. Locke. Not only does this celebrated astronomical research center boast the 362-inch Hobby-Eberly Telescope –one of the largest ever constructed—but the surrounding area gets really dark at night, making it a prime spot to stargaze. Going with your significant other? Share a telescope at one of the observatory’s Star Parties (days vary). Continue your sparkling affair at the serene Davis Mountains State Park, where travelers of every age can lie back and observe the brilliant night sky.

New York City, New York

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In the City That Never Sleeps, it’s no surprise that New Yorkers are fascinated by the night sky and what lays millions of light years away from our watery world. Head over to the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium Space Show: Dark Universe for a stunning introduction to our universe and cosmic expansion. Take all of that newfound knowledge to the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, which regularly meets to geek out over the heavens in parks across the five boroughs.

Los Angeles, California

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Dubbed “Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos,” the Griffith Observatory on top of Mount Hollywood offers stunning views of the cosmos, not to mention the entire city of Los Angeles.  With free telescopes available for public use each evening and expert on-site guides, this observatory is a hotspot for unofficial crash courses in stargazing. Right next to Hollywood Boulevard stands Runyon Canyon Park, a sprawling, 130-acre piece of land that offers Instagram-worthy city views and the opportunity for a post-flight exercise hike. Sure, there’s plenty to see in the stars, but there are also some stunning views here in the City of Angels. Sometimes it pays to be grounded!

Boston, Massachusetts

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Not only is Boston a gorgeous city, but its Museum of Science is also a great place to take the little ones who dream of seeing the stars. When little ones are tucked in for the night, adult explorers can head over to Boston University’s Coit Observatory to try their hand at observing the evening sky with binoculars, telescopes, and the help of on-site experts.

Sure, reserving a hotel room downtown might be nice, but those who don’t mind pulling on their boots and packing their camping gear can hop a ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. Encompassing 12 stunning islands with prime views of both the Boston Harbor and the sky above, it’s an excellent spot to spend the night.

Cocoa, Florida


Astronomy buffs and beginners alike will be star-struck by Florida’s Space Coast in Cocoa. Start your day touring one of Florida’s most beloved attractions, the Kennedy Space Center, which offers visitors a 140,000-acre celebration of the cosmos. Experience a realistic simulation of a space shuttle launch, gaze up at 3D space footage, or take a stroll across a garden teeming with capsules and rockets. After you’ve witnessed what it takes to become a real astronaut, fly over to the Planetarium and Observatory at Eastern Florida State College. Featuring a star theater, public observatory, art gallery, and interactive exhibits, it’s a solid way to end an afternoon with the stars.

Anchorage, Alaska


Alaska seems out of the way – unless you live in Alaska, of course. But this trek is more than worth making! Ever wonder why the sky is blue or Mars is red? Dream of gazing up at the Northern Lights glistening across the Article Circle? Your expedition begins at the Anchorage Museum’s Thomas Planetarium, The Last Frontier’s premier planetarium, where you’ll have the chance to experience this and more. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, catch a bus or train to Denali National Park and Preserve for unforgettable views of the aurora.

Want to be close to nature this summer? Plan your trip to gaze at the stars in a tranquil environment!

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2 Responses

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    Ditta Rachmawati

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    • Hannah Winsten
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About The Author

Diana Denza

Diana is a content writer for CheapOair and OneTravel. She moonlights as a magical girl.