New Orleans, Louisiana
You missed Mardi Gras, which is just fine, because the best time of year to indulge in NOLA’s culture is during the jazz fest. If your refund is burning a hole in your pocket, get to this city now: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is April 22 to May 1. Notable 2016 headliners include Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, and Steely Dan. You’ll come across plenty of food booths slinging festival fare with the expected Southern twists: Po’ Boys, muffalettas, crawfish etouffee. But, for a real taste of the city, head over to Magazine Street, where you’ll stumble upon the best up-and-coming restaurants. Ask for a table in the courtyard at Basin Seafood and Spirits, which takes a modern and lighter approach in preparing traditional Southern classics. Experience oysters like you never have: charbroiled with parmesan and pecorino romano garlic butter.
How to blow $3,120 in New Orleans: Stay at Windsor Court — a luxe Euro-inspired hotel with a rooftop pool and a running club that leads city tours — for five nights. Even with the bed-and-breakfast upgrade, you’ll still have cash left over for debauchery in the city and tickets to the jazz festival. Single-day tickets to the festival are $75 at the gate.