Summer Travel Guide: Five Cities From New York to Los Angeles – The Wall Street Journal

If the idea of escaping to the wilderness during the pandemic didn’t appeal, here’s some good news: America’s cities will be teeming again this summer.

Urban centers that emptied out during lockdown are going all out to welcome visitors. Once eerily abandoned streets are blocked off and filled with art and entertainment. Museums, amusement parks, sports arenas and even some theaters are open. Restaurants are firmly holding on to spots once reserved for parked cars.

In response to the pandemic, cities have transformed their landscapes with new attractions, such as outdoor performance spaces and extra bike lanes. They also are adding food trucks, often clustered together with some seats.

“It’s a very exciting time,” says Chris Heywood, executive vice president of global communications at NYC & Company, the city’s marketing arm. “You can feel the energy grow. It’s accelerating much quicker than anyone anticipated.”

Hotel occupancy in urban areas has risen significantly in recent months, up from about a third of rooms filled in January to more than half in preliminary forecasts for May, according to global hospitality data and analytics company STR.