Vacations are freaking fantastic. Whether it’s a trek to a hidden beach covered in pristine white sands or a few days in your apartment recharging your batteries (no, we will not call it a “staycation”), time spent away from the daily grind is priceless.
Cannabis can also be freaking fantastic, when used wisely. Combining the two is a no-brainer.
The legalization of recreational cannabis is still relatively new, so the weed-travel industry is baby fresh. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t hotels begging for your patronage with vaporizer gift bags and ultra-modern decor or well-organized tours that will ferry you between notable cannabis locales and dispensaries. There are, in certain states. In others, a weed vacay still means finding accommodations and exploring the area’s cannabis culture on your own. Both can be tons of fun.
The list below is a sampling of cities in that make for a stoney holiday. They each offer something that the others don’t, so you can make them fit your needs. Wanna get back to nature? Done. Wanna spend all night in a club? Done. Consider our food and lodging recommendations a starting point and hit up Google to plan a full itinerary. Or hop in the car and wing it. Either way, a few days spent getting high in a rad city that won’t haul you downtown or ticket you for your vice of choice is a luxury that a lot of people don’t have.
Los Angeles, California
California came out swinging as the first to legalize cannabis for medical use in 1996 and then stalled for some time on the recreational front. Everyone seemed to have a medical card for a hot minute in the late 90s and 2000s. Now, the huge state functions as one of the top destinations for weed enthusiasts and general travelers alike.
We’ve mentioned The Standard, Hollywood as the first hotel with a dispensary in the past, and it’s a genuinely wonderful option for a 420-friendly vacay. But we also think Hicksville Pines Bud & Breakfast is awesome. It’s the first of its kind in the state, and cannabis is cool in all public areas, community vaporizers are provided (so no need to pack paraphernalia), and you can even smoke in room 420. Plus, the décor is wild.
If you want to keep your high going all day long, consider Alchemy Lounge and/or Hitman Coffee Shop, which both require membership (but you can get a day pass). They are amazing creative centers that encourage guests to use cannabis while hanging out and enjoying an espresso and some cool company. These places don’t sell herb (though they do rent rigs), so stop by one of the many local dispensaries before heading out.
As the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use, Colorado has a bit of a jump on the rest of the country. Denver is cool af out of the gate, but its growing cannabis hospitality industry makes it a premier destination for a weed vacation. Before we even get to a place to stay, we want to firmly encourage you to take advantage of services like Loopr, a mobile cannabis lounge, and High End Transportation, a minority- and female-owned weed transportation company. They are worth it.
When it comes to lodgings, you have to get in on the bud and breakfast culture that was born in Denver. If you’re feeling, stay at The Adagio — a Victorian home in a historic neighborhood and the first hotel of its kind. But if you really prefer a standard option, try the 420 Tours inclusion package at the 16th Street Mall Hotel, which offers a complimentary vaporizer rental, Uber/Lyft coupons for first-time riders, dispensary coupons, and local cannabis lifestyle magazines.
There is a ton of great food in Denver, but we love a theme, so we think you should consider one of the city’s brews and bud tours. And, if you want to really give in to the munchies and freaking devour everything in sight, get thee to Ian’s Pizza and order the mac n’ cheese, burrito, or loaded baked potato pizza.
Seattle is known as The Emerald City not because it bears any relationship to the Wizard of Oz, but because the verdant Pacific Northwest in which it is nestled is breathtakingly green (which I guess you can take as a weed pun as well as a landscape fact). Between the city’s natural beauty, exciting activities, and tons of dispensaries, Seattle is a no-brainer when it comes to picking a weed-friendly destination.
You have some accommodations options, but all of them will have you smoking outside. We like the vibe at Bed, Baked, and Beyond, a renovated 1903 Victorian mansion that encourages you to toke up on the porch, at the picnic table next to the firepit, and in the potting shed turned covered smoking area. It’s a guest house, so the hosts live there as well, and they provide a continental breakfast. We also want to mention Innthrall (damn, Seattle loves a pun), a kinky b&b with toys and furniture and play spaces for exploring all things erotic. They have created a curtained, heated patio for cannabis use, and it is a treat.
Of course, Seattle also has a vibrant, progressive foodie scene and the restaurants that make it are a solid visit on a vacation. But if you get super high and just want to fill your face with tasty yums in a place no one will judge your heavy-lidded, pink eyes, you gotta go to Beth’s Café, a 24-hour diner. You can mow through a 12-egg omelet and one of the best milkshakes of your life. If you are less couchlocked stoner and more healthy, hiking cannabis enthusiast, hit up Betsutenjin for some dreamy, creamy ramen. It’s not a place where diners are meant to linger, so get in, slurp down some noodles and pork bone broth, and head out for new adventures.
Most people don’t know that Oregon was the first state in the nation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis in 1973. From 1999 to 2005, the ratio of residents using pot in the state outpaced the general populace by 32-45 percent. Oregon loves it some cannabis, and though the state has a number of gorgeous areas to visit, Portland with its quirks is a can’t miss travel spot.
It’s probably an obvious pick to suggest you take advantage of the 420 package at Jupiter Hotel because it was the first cannabis-friendly hotel deal in the state, and it has gotten a lot of press. But honestly, it remains a solid set-up for a visit. The hotel is in a great location for walking to bars, restaurants, and shopping. It’s a funky (yet well-maintained) midcentury marvel. And, you get a munchie kit, a vape pen, a t-shirt, and coupons to local dispensaries. All you need is to buy some weed, and you are set.
There’s no rule saying that you have to hit a food truck when you visit Portland, but with over 500 operating, you are really missing out if you don’t. The most famous one is probably Nong’s Khao Man Gai, where they serve signature chicken and rice that people line up to get their hands on. You also have the option of seeing a show and grabbing a bite at the Jupiter’s Doug Fir Lounge, which is world renowned. And, if you are thinking a doughnut sounds great when you are stoned, forget about VooDoo. They are so ten years ago. Right now, the Portland chain doing the most is Blue Star.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is fun no matter how you slice it. It is, after all, America’s Playground. But with the legalization of recreational cannabis sales in Nevada in 2017, the fun-meter is dialed to 11.
There are a fair number of Las Vegas hotels that will accommodate cannabis use, but we think travel should be fun and exciting and there is no reason to visit Vegas and book a cookie cutter room. That’s why we love Clairbnb, the bed and breakfast brainchild of 2011 Playmate of the Year and former headliner at The Stratosphere, Clair Sinclair. This weed-friendly space blocks from Fremont Street in downtown is too cool. Every room is themed and meticulously designed. From the Swingin’ 70s Suite to the Vintage Glitz Suite, you will be impressed. Plus, any pictures you take while you are there will be fire because they all look like movie sets.
Alright, you are gonna hit the strip for sure, and if you have killer munchies, chances are you will head into the first buffet you see and get your goddamn money’s worth. But if you want to set a mood and embrace an old-school Vegas treasure (not to mention pretend you are Robert De Niro or Sharon Stone in Casino or anyone in Showgirls), you have to hit The Peppermill. The service is friendly, the food is decent (breakfast all day, yo), and the drinks are creative. But it’s the neon lights and the straight up nostalgia that make it awesome. Be sure to spend some time in the Fireside Lounge while you are there. A few pics of you lounging near the famed fire pit that sits over water will make your vacation shots complete.
Anchorage can be a year-round destination if a subarctic winter climate and near total absence of sun doesn’t scare you, but we would recommend taking your vacation during warmer months when the area is truly a natural wonder to behold.
There are some accommodations in the area that will look the other way if you vape while staying as a guest, but we prefer to stay places that are totally down with cannabis culture, which is why we can’t get enough of this weed-friendly treehouse on Airbnb. Now, it is 35 minutes outside of Anchorage, which will cut into your time to explore the city and get super high. But the benefit of the distance is that you get to stay in the wilderness. Black bears come to the door occasionally and the whole deal. This is real nature. Plus, it’s a treehouse you are going to be stoned in. That’s living the dream. (If you’d rather stay in the city be discrete and you should be fine.)
As cannabis was made legal by a ballot initiative in 2014, the state has had time to develop their weed scene a fair bit but it’s still illegal to smoke pot outdoors and the city hasn’t provided safe indoor spaces to do it since shutting down the city’s last remaining cannabis club. If you go to Anchorage for a weed-friendly trip, the laws of Alaska pretty much mean you are going to have fun at some dispensaries and get high at your lodgings while enjoying a really cool city. While you are there, be sure to score a pie from Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria, a local institution and the maker of a mac n’ cheese pizza with reindeer sausage, as well as the Shrimp Fiesta pizza. Be prepared to wait because everybody loves this place.
For a few years, Massachusetts wasn’t getting many tourists looking to explore the state’s weed culture because though it was legal to possess, sales didn’t become legal until July 1, 2018. This put people in the difficult position of having to choose between the risk of getting popped traveling with cannabis or trying to find it once they arrived. That should be changing soon, although it remains an issue.
Positioning themselves for dominance once the legalization hits, 420 Suites offers fully furnished rentals that are completely weed-friendly. They provide goodie bags at check-in that include hemp and CBD products, as well as things like breath strips and eye drops. Plus, their agents can help guests navigate the tricky cannabis laws of Boston. They provide transportation between the rental unit and the Revolutionary Clinics medical marijuana dispensary in Somerville and will even help you register as a medical marijuana patient. It’s a full-service kind of organization.
Once you find yourself comfortably high in Boston, you have your choice of completely delectable munchies. Word on the street is that you have to try the Shadowless duck fat fries at Shojo. Hand-cut Russets are fried twice in bubbling duck fat, then topped with mapo tofu and a cheese sauce made of kimchi brine, American cheese, and gelatin. Or, hit up Citrus & Salt for some coastal Mexican cuisine that includes an inspired take on elote using Flamin’ Hot Cheeto crumbs.
Fact: Boston is making the food stoners crave.
Auburn and Lewiston, like Boston, are a bit of a conundrum because it will likely be the spring of 2019 before the first recreational retail stores are open and running despite the legalization of recreational cannabis passing a couple years ago. The upside is that when you get your hands on some pot, you can carry it around freely (and in larger amounts than in any other state) and use it in a private location without legal trouble. And that’s more than you can say about the majority of the other states.
Although we think Portland, with its breweries and its lobster rolls, may be the coolest city in Maine, Auburn and its close neighbor across the Androscoggin River, Lewiston, are super underrated. Head inland, let go of your need for lighthouses, and give these historic mill towns a shot. For one thing, Auburn offers you the chance to stay at Maine Greenyards — a boutique cannabis accommodation. The property features a midcentury mansion, and people who choose to stay get homegrown gifts from the garden, eggs from the free-ranging chickens on the property, and access to the owners who keep a cannabis garden and can answer any questions guests may have. Although, sadly, you can’t buy any of the weed they grow, but you can trim it if the season is right and bolster your own cultivation skills.
Pop into Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston for the state’s signature dessert, the whoopie pie. They were actually invented here. Sure, the recipe can be traced back to the Amish in Lancaster County, but it took New Englanders to add marshmallow fluff. And, you have to hit Fuel for a specialty cocktail alongside a rich, seasonal dinner like a tender, braised pork shank with brussels sprouts and sweet potato hash in a red wine and balsamic reduction.
Here we go again. You can possess recreational cannabis legally in Vermont, but cannot yet purchase it. And, this is why cannabis tourism is growing and thriving on the west coast and just has not picked up out east yet. It will, soon enough. In the meantime, there are still a ton of cool cities to visit and nice weed-friendly scenes. Burlington is just such a town with just such a scene.
When it comes to accommodations, we like our stays with some character. That’s why we suggest you opt for an Airbnb stay when you go to Burlington. For a relatively low price, you can stay at the Fresh and Funky apartment downtown. It’s a two-bedroom unit in a classic home that has been painted in a variety of bright hues and filled with unique furniture. Plus, there is a whirlpool tub and a costume closet. You’ll be able to take some great photos here, as well as really enjoy getting high and hanging out.
Though you can’t settle in to a restaurant, brewery, or bar and start vaping away, the Airbnb option puts you walking distance to downtown, so you can totally pre-game. Then, it’s time to have some beer because Vermont has the most craft breweries per capita, and Burlington is no slouch. Start at Fiddlehead, move to Magic Hat, head to Switchback, and wind things up at Citizen Cider. Also, maybe it’s trite, but get all the maple syrup that you can. In addition to downing crepes and pancakes, search for a maple creemee (creemeee is Vermonter for soft serve).
Since 2014, the nation’s capital has allowed people to carry around less than two ounces of weed, but as yet you cannot purchase it, leaving you to rely on kind people who choose to “gift” it to you (which is legal). Or, keep your ear to the ground for cannabis pop-ups, the city’s popular way to get around the law. If you buy a t-shirt and the vendor just happens to like your face and give you some bud, what are you gonna do?
One way to get around asking a bunch of people if they feel like gifting you some pot is to pick a savvy accommodation that includes a free sample. For example, DC CannaStay, a pretty pricey option with over-the-top luxury décor and every amenity you can think of, offers free cannabis strains and infused edibles. It’s sneaky, but it keeps you high and safe from prosecution, and the people running the lodgings get paid. Everyone is happy.
If you want to have a true D.C. experience, you have to DIY a U Street Taco, a fatty delight created by the Washington City Paper. You buy a chili half smoke (a half beef, half pork hot dog smothered in homemade chili) at Ben’s Chili Bowl and take it across the street to Jumbo Pizza, where you purchase a giant slice to cradle your half smoke. Then, you down that beast.