prochasson frederic / ShutterstockHike the Inca Trail, Eat Pizza, & Chill with Painted Ladies: Your Must-See Travel Guide for May Hannah Winsten May 2, 2016 Adventure Travel, Arts & History, Food & Drink, Interests, Photography, Trending Stories It’s May, folks! And we all have a TON to be excited about this month. Not only is May the unofficial start to summer in the Northwestern hemisphere—Memorial Day is upon us, people!—but it’s also the start of shoulder season! That’s the sweet spot in between awful weather (think blizzards in New York, monsoons in Thailand), and giant tourist crowds when all the kiddos get released from school. So, basically, now is the best time to see the sites at lower prices and with smaller crowds, all while enjoying perfect weather. Does it get any better than that? NOPE. Where should you go to take advantage of the awesomeness that is shoulder season this May? Easy. Here are five of the top spots to hit this month—you can thank us when you get back. 1.) If You’re Outdoorsy and You Know It Kelsey Green / Shutterstock If you love to hike, camp, and generally be outside, there is no better place to hit this month than Peru. May marks the start of Peru’s dry season, so the weather is absolutely perfect for seeing the South American country’s ancient ruins. There’s no shortage of things to do in Peru—exploring the Amazon, taking in the beauty of cosmopolitan cities like Lima and Cusco, or checking out the super freaky Nazca Lines—but hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu is a must. It’ll take you about four days to hike the trail, and we recommend you go as part of a guided tour, but there is absolutely no better time to see the Incan Lost City. Plus, you’ll get to practice your Spanish. Adios! 2.) If You Just Can’t Get Enough History or The Hunger Games Hannah Winsten The so-called Capital of the South is just lovely this time of year, bless its heart, and it’s got a ton of cool things to do. For history buffs, head on over to Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home. You’ll have to book a guided tour ahead of time, so get there early. While you’re waiting for your tour to start, explore the neighborhood—the official MLK memorial is right around the corner, and many of the other houses nearby are historical, complete with accompanying plaques to tell their stories. Art and movie lovers should check out Swan House, a historical old mansion, and the set for President Snow’s home in the blockbuster hit, The Hunger Games. If you prefer a scene that’s a little less Hollywood, check out Cabbage Town. The neighborhood is known for its colorful houses and incredible street art. Atlanta’s really cool, y’all. 3.) If Books and Pizza Are Your Two Favorite Things Iakov Kalinin / Shutterstock If you’re looking for summer weather with a hefty side of culture, Rome is calling your name. Summer time is (nearly) in full swing along the Mediterranean in May, meaning you can check out the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican, and more, all while basking in the glorious South European sun. Perfect. Even better, Rome hosts the International Literature Festival each year in May—so bookworms, rejoice! Being able to speak Italian is a major advantage when nerding out about literature in Rome, but happily, it’s not a requirement. Who really needs to understand what’s being said when the words sound so pretty anyway, am I right? Worst case scenario, just eat a whole lot of pizza and gelato. When in Rome, you really can’t go wrong. 4.) If You’re Really Excited About the Full House Reboot prochasson frederic / Shutterstock May marks the beginning of San Francisco’s dry season, meaning you won’t encounter as much rain—or mist—as you might earlier in the year. Plus, temperatures are very moderate—think a light sweater, if that!—so you won’t be enduring summertime sweat any sooner than you have to. Awesome! Start your trip with a climb up Coit Tower, where you can get the best view of the city, the bay, and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Often obscured by mist, the dryness of May will (hopefully) give you the gift of an unobstructed view from the top of this historical tower. From there, check out Fisherman’s Wharf, the Haight, and of course, Delores Park. Where else can you see the Painted Ladies, made famous by their cameo in Full House? For dinner, head over to Chinatown. The Shanghai dumplings are to die for (although, admittedly, they might be better in actual Shanghai). We guarantee that you’ll leave your heart in San Francisco. 5.) If You Can’t Stop Ordering Chinese Food on Seamless Sean Pavone / Shutterstock The Chinese New Year isn’t the only opportune time to visit this gorgeous city. Pack your summer clothes and get ready for an epic Shanghai adventure. Start out at The Bund, Shanghai’s picturesque waterfront, where you’ll get all the classic skyline photo opportunities. Say cheese! From there, you can explore Zhujiajiao, an ancient water town that’s been called the “Venice of China,” before you head over to the Jade Buddha Temple, one of Shanghai’s most popular and revered landmarks. When you’ve had your fill of traditional site seeing, swing by Yuyuan Garden, the city’s most beloved green space. The park dates back to the 16th century, and features tons of beautiful statues, ornate bridges, and colorful pagodas. Need more convincing to jet off to Shanghai? If nothing else, you can let us know if the Shanghai dumplings are, in fact, better than the ones in San Francisco. Enquiring minds want to know. Zai jian! May is a pretty sweet month to be traveling. In fact, I’m surprised you made it all the way through this post without sprinting out to your nearest airport! WILL POWER, people. You have it. Where are you headed this month? Let us know in the comments!