Celebrate World Meteorological Day on March 23 by spending some time with your head in the clouds. Eat dinner on the Eiffel Tower, take a hot air balloon ride over Albuquerque’s picturesque downtown, or explore the science behind clouds and tornadoes at Boston’s Museum of Science. Whether your ideal afternoon in the clouds means adventure or total relaxation, we’ve got you covered. You’re sure to feel refreshed and buoyant after you’ve spent a few hours doing your thing in the clouds.
Parasail in Waikiki
Under the expert instruction of your captain, lift off of your boat and parasail through the puffy clouds over the beautiful beaches of Waikiki. With the wind and salty breeze in your hair and face, you’re sure to feel one with the sky. Relax and enjoy the clear blue water stretching beneath you. Whether you choose to parasail solo or with your best buddy, your 10 minutes in the air just might be the peak of your vacation.
Climb the world’s tallest skyscrapers
Chicago’s Willis Tower features one of the most spectacular views from 1,353 feet (412 meters) above the Windy City. Ascend to the Skydeck in an elevator and take in a beautiful view of Lake Michigan from the second-tallest building in the US. If you’re feeling brave, step out onto The Ledge and look straight down through the glass floor to street level. For towering thrills outside the U.S. check out the view from the ‘megatall’ Burj Khalifa or the Shanghai Tower, two of the world’s tallest buildings, each standing over 2,000 feet (609 meters) high. Local Expert Tip: Check the weather ahead of time to ensure your perfect amount of cloudiness.
Eat dinner with your head in the clouds
Paris has great food and wine, but its most under-appreciated treasure might be its gorgeous cloud formations. When you dine at the 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant, you can enjoy all three at the same time. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just treating yourself, dining above the City of Lights is sure to leave you on cloud 9. For another ethereal dining experience, glide over the glittering lights of Singapore in your own private cable car as you feast on a gourmet 4-course meal. If you prefer your paradise a little closer to the ground, spend the day at Cloud 9, Fiji’s floating restaurant and bar. After all, what’s paradise without swimming, snorkeling, and wood-fired pizza?
Tour the Grand Canyon by helicopter
Take to the clouds with a guided helicopter tour and get to know the Grand Canyon on a higher level. You’ll see more than just the clouds as you swoop around the vast Grand Canyon to explore the colorful reddish layers of geological history. Soar over Kaibab National Forest’s ponderosa pines and the powerful Rio Grande River as it cuts through the canyon walls. If you want a more adrenaline-fueled experience, try skydiving over the deepest of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.
Take a hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque
Leave your worries on the ground, climb into a hot air balloon, and play in the clouds. You’ll witness the sun peek over the Sandia Mountains, bathing its golden peaks in reddish sunlight, as you float high above the slumbering city of Albuquerque. View the specialty balloons take off over the Rio Grande from your rarefied perch with your best friends or romantic partner. If you’re hooked on hot air balloons, visit Albuquerque in October for the International Balloon Fiesta. Observe hundreds of balloons take off at once, and catch the nighttime launches accompanied by a fireworks show.
Watch the Seattle Storm & Omaha Storm Chasers
Besides offering gorgeous cloudscapes to rival even Paris, Seattle boasts a superb meteorologically themed basketball team. See the Seattle Storm, 3-time WNBA champions, roll in and drench rivals Phoenix Mercury at the Alaska Airlines Arena or the Angel of the Winds Arena. If you prefer baseball for your weather-inspired sports, check out the Omaha Storm Chasers, a minor league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Be sure to bring your rain gear and hang onto your hat!
Tour New Zealand, “Land of the Long White Cloud”
New Zealand is called Aotearoa in the Maori language, which translates to “the land of the long white cloud.” Walk among the ancient kauri trees in Auckland’s rainforest, admire Maori carvings, and enjoy a kiwi-style picnic on the ruggedly beautiful cloudscape. You can also explore the glassy blue waters of Rotoroa Island, a short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, or taste your way through the wineries and olive grove of Waiheke Island.
Explore weather science at your local museum
Head to Boston’s world-famous Museum of Science to learn about stratocumulus clouds and how turbines generate energy from wind. Kids will particularly enjoy the hands-on experiments at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry. Or travel to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry to learn about terrifying and fascinating weather phenomena like tornadoes and avalanches through exhibits like “Tornado Alley” and “Science Storms.” Local Expert Tip: Save money on multiple museums with a CityPASS.
Treat yourself at the spa
If your perfect day in the clouds has more to do with puffy white towels than cumulonimbus formations, then book a spa treatment for yourself with a view. Consider indulging in a warm coconut oil massage at Fiji’s Bebe Spa and absorbing a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. For a truly cloud-like spa treatment, enjoy the soothing, condensation-like effects of a steam room and eucalyptus oils.
Enjoy cloud art in Houston & Chicago
Start your cloud quest at the reflective Cloud Column sculpture outside Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Artist Anish Kapoor made both Houston’s Cloud Column and Chicago’s Cloud Gate (known locally as ‘The Bean’), and both massive reflective art pieces are worth a visit. See more cloud art, like Tokujin Yoshioka’s Prismatic Cloud installation, in Houston’s One Allen Center skyscraper or in the Saga Prefectural Art Museum in Saga, Japan. For the ultimate experience combining clouds and art, check out Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde’s exhibits. Smilde makes clouds in unusual locations and photographs their short, beautiful lives.
If you want to check out cloud activities near you, then consider becoming a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society.
Daniel Palmer contributed to this post.