Updated November 13, 2013

Study: Best Places to Travel in August

August Vacation: The Top 10 Cities for Events, Good Weather, and Inexpensive Travel Costs
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Looking to make a last-minute trip before the end of summer? There are many cities where August is the best time of year to visit. We've compiled the best major cities in the United States to travel to based on several factors, including:

  • Average mean temperatures in August over the past 10 years. Surveys show people find 72 degrees as the most comfortable temperature, so the closest the city's average is to 72 degrees, the higher it ranked.

  • Cities with early school start dates. The earlier the first day of school in a city, the fewer children will be wandering around the city and making lines longer, spaces more crowded, and, well, noisy.

  • A city's sales tax. The higher an area's sales tax, the more it will cost you to shop while you visit.

  • Average cost to tourists per day for each city.

#1 Best Place to Visit in August: Columbus, OH

Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio

  • Average August Temp: 73
  • School Starting Time: August 21
  • Sales Tax: 6.75%
  • Average Daily Cost for Tourists: $138

Columbus ranks first on the list because of its ideal August weather, which averages 73 degrees. Some students go back as early as late July, while those who follow a more traditional school year start toward the latter half of August. In addition, sales tax is low, and visitors can get by with only $138 per day.

There's also plenty to do in Columbus in August, including:

  • The Ohio State Fair: One of the largest fairs in the United States takes place in Columbus at the beginning of August. It's an 11-day fair with rides, food, and live music.
  • Dublin Irish Festival: In neighboring Columbus suburb Dublin, the beginning of the month features Irish music, clogging, and a 5K race.
  • Columbus Wine Festival: This event features wine and beer tastings, wine seminars, and cooking demonstrations.

#2: Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana

  • Average August Temp: 73
  • School Starting Time: August 5
  • Sales Tax: 7%
  • Average Daily Cost for Tourists: $152

Indianapolis is second on the list because the average August temperature is 73 degrees, schools begin August 5, and the city has a 7% sales tax. A tourist could navigate the city on about $152 a day. Here's what visitors can do in Indianapolis in August:

  • White River Arts & Music Festival: At the tail end of August and into the first couple of days of September, this event includes live music, waterfront exhibitions, and the Indie Arts and Vintage Marketplace where attendees can purchase recycled and upcycled items.
  • Indianapolis Greek Festival: Features Greek cuisine, cooking demonstrations, church tours, and children's activities.
  • Indianapolis Indians: Bring your catcher’s glove, buy some Cracker Jack, and enjoy a minor-league game.

#3: Portland, OR

Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon

  • Average August Temp: 69
  • School Starting Time: September 4
  • Sales Tax: 0%
  • Average Daily Cost for Tourists: $186

Woo-hoo for visitors: Portland has no sales tax. Plus, the city is a comfortable 69 degrees in August, and visitors can get around for $186 a day, a reasonable price for a major metropolitan city. There's also much to do in Portland in August, including:

  • Pickathon Roots Music Festival: The festival features live music at Pendarvis Farm with camping and scenic trails.
  • Portland Zine Symposium: This conference celebrates DIY publishing on Aug. 10-11.
  • The Bite of Oregon: This culinary event benefits the Special Olympics by putting live music, food, beer, and wine tastings all in one place for the second weekend in August.

#4: Cleveland, OH

Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio

  • Average August Temp: 72
  • School Starting Time: August 15
  • Sales Tax: 7.75%
  • Average Daily Cost for Tourists: $157

In August, Cleveland is a perfect 72 degrees, school begins on August 15, and it costs about $157 for tourists each day in the city. Here's what visitors can do in Cleveland in August:

#5: Hartford, CT

Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford, Connecticut

  • Average August Temp: 72.5
  • School Starting Time: August 27
  • Sales Tax: 6.35%
  • Average Daily Cost for Tourists: $160

Although Hartford's schools start late in the month, the weather averages 72.5 degrees, sales tax is only a little more than 6%, and it costs $160 a day for tourists.
Here's what visitors can check out:

#6: Louisville, KY

Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky

  • Average August Temp: 78.5
  • School Starting Time: August 20
  • Sales Tax: 6%
  • Average Daily Cost for Tourists: $123

Though Louisville is on the hotter side at 78 degrees, it is cost-effective to visit with a 6 percent sales tax and an average daily cost of $123. Louisville also makes our top 10 list because of the number of events it has, including:

  • 2013 Ironman: This grueling race is one of the most popular on the Ironman circuit.
  • Distillers tours: Visit one of Louisville's numerous distillers of some of its well-known brands.
  • Louisville Bats: Catch a local baseball game from the minor-league hometown team.

#7: Kansas City, MO

  • Average August Temp: 76.5
  • School Starting Time: August 12
  • Sales Tax: 7.85%
  • Average Daily Cost for Tourists: $160

According to our research, Kansas City is the seventh best place to visit in August. The average temperature will be around 79 degrees during an August visit. Schools start on August 12, so chances are that school will be in session during your trip. Additionally, you can expect to spend only $160 a day for hotel and meals.

In Kansas City, the month starts off with a tax-free weekend from Aug. 3-5. Here are some other reasons to visit (don’t forget to enjoy the city's world-famous barbecue):

#8: Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Average August Temp: 74.5
  • School Starting Time: August 21
  • Sales Tax: 6.5%
  • Average Daily Cost for Tourists: $173

Cincinnati is the third city in Ohio to make the best place to visit in August. Like the other Ohio cities, the weather is comfortable, but it is a bit more costly for tourists to visit, averaging $173 per day. Here's what visitors can expect:

  • Hamilton County Fair: This fair in early August has rides and live acts.
  • Kings Island: August is a great time to visit the “largest amusement and water park in the Midwest” just outside the city. The weather is nice and the crowds aren't as heavy in August.
  • Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens: This zoo is considered one of the best in the country, and August has visitor appreciation days where tickets are half price.

#9: Providence, RI

Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island

  • Average August Temp: 72
  • School Starting Time: August 28
  • Sales Tax: 7%
  • Average Daily Cost for Tourists: $192

The only seaside town on the list is in the smallest state. Providence typically has 72 degree weather in August but costs a bit more because of its proximity to beaches. Other than visiting the coastline, here are some other things to do:

  • Providence Ghost Tours: A visitors favorite, tour goers get spooked by visiting Providence's haunted buildings and homes.
  • WaterFire Providence: On Aug. 10 and Aug. 24, the city is lit up, literally, when over 80 bonfires are set off in the downtown rivers. A local favorite, this event attracts visitors every year.
  • Downtown Providence: Take a walking tour of the city's downtown area, which features shops, dining (don’t miss Federal Hill’s Italian restaurants), historical buildings, and colleges.

#10: Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Average August Temp: 71.5
  • School Starting Time: August 26
  • Sales Tax: 7%
  • Average Daily Cost for Tourists: $196

Pittsburgh rounds out the list because of its comfortable weather and low cost at less than $200 a day for tourists. Pittsburgh visitors can attend:


If you’ve saved up your vacation time but were waffling on where to go, we hope this list makes your choice more clear. Hopefully you will even be able to take advantage of a last-minute travel deal. Keep in mind, we had to eliminate as contenders certain cities that are usually worth visiting. We considered only the largest metropolitan areas and excluded any Florida cities because August is the peak of hurricane season. Texas cities, as well as cities such as Albuquerque, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, didn't make the cut because their temperatures reach 100-degrees plus during August.

Sources used in this study:

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