4 Muslim-Friendly Vacation Ideas in the United States
According to TikTok, the best time to book airplane tickets is from after Labor Day to October 1. Also according to TikTok, there are so many cities and towns to book airplane tickets to right here in the US, great spots with history, sightseeing, shopping, great food and a lot of vacation potential. Additionally, with lots of Halal food offerings and masjids, many of these vacation spots are great for Muslims to travel to.
You can find large Muslim populations in the strangest little pockets of America. Toledo, Ohio. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is actually home to a large Lebanese, Somali and Syrian Muslim community as well as America's oldest still-standing masjid.
This increase of Muslims seemingly everywhere in America has gone hand in hand with the rapid increase of masjids and halal food options, turning more and more great US travel destinations into Muslim-friendly ones.
Below, find four great places for Muslims to travel to right here in the US for your next vacation or—depending on where you live—quick weekend getaway.
1) Dearborn, Michigan
Some call it the Middle East of America. Home to the largest Muslim population in the US, dozens of Arab restaurants, bakeries and stores and even a mayor named Abdullah, Dearborn, Michigan is a true anomaly.
Store signs are in both Arabic and English and the local school district offers Halal options for its many Muslim students. The Dearborn Muslim population is mostly made up of Arabs from Lebanon and Yemen. Many Arabs say walking around Dearborn feels eerily similar to walking around their home countries. Anthony Bourdain could have made a great episode about this place.
Dearborn has a lot of great sights to see. Visit the Arab-American National Museum to learn about the history of Arabs in America. Or visit the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, to learn about American inventors. Explore the 982 acres of beautiful Bell Isle Park and check out their aquarium. Take a few hours to admire the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. An hour away from Dearborn is the ferries to get to Makinac Island. Only a 30 minute ferry ride, Makinac Island is a leisurely little oasis with great dining, quaint shops, beautiful views and 70 miles of hiking trails.
Because of its large Muslim population, Dearborn is the place to go for Halal cuisine. Taystee's Burgers and Zo's Good Burger rival each other for the title of best Halal burger place. Try some Arab food at Malek al Kabob or Thai food at Sukho Thai. You cannot miss Shatila Bakery, which is famous for its authentic and delicious Arab desserts, especially their baklava and knafeh, and is almost always packed. Qahwah House serves authentic Yemeni coffee and great pastries.
2) Dallas, Texas
The person who coined the phrase "Everything is Bigger in Texas" was probably not talking about the amount of masjids and prolific Muslim speakers based there. But the phrase is relevant here. In Dallas alone you can find the Valley Ranch Islamic Center (Omar Suleiman & Yaser Birjas), the Qalam Institute & Seminary (AbdelRahman Murphy & Abdul Nasir Jangda), the Bayyinah Institute (Nouman Ali Khan) and the East Plano Islamic Center (Yasir Qadhi). Locals call the last masjid "the EPIC Masjid" by the way.
There is quite a lot to do in Dallas. Go masjid hopping and try to catch some lectures and maybe the Jummah Khutbah from some great scholars (before the rest of us see it on YouTube). Climb the Reunion Tower for a birds-eye view of the city. Visit the Forth Worth Zoo or the Dallas World Aquarium. Shop at the Dallas Farmers Market to check out artisanal food vendors and locally grown produce. Marvel at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Take walks at Dragon Park & Lakeside Park. Explore the Bishop Arts District's many boutiques and eateries. Shop at Highland Park Village & Legacy West.
There is also quite a lot of Halal to eat in Dallas. Braseo is a Brazillian steakhouse with a partially Halal menu. Ricky's serves halal Nashville Hot Chicken. Noodle Wave is a halal Thai spot. Go to Ramalla Bakery for Knafeh. Try Halal Texan Barbeque at 2Taste Barbecue and Halal. Check out this link to find even more Halal food places in Dallas.
3) Washington, DC
Washington, D.C. is filled with history and, because of the large Muslim population, a lot of Halal food options. You can spend a day or two visiting all of the major tour spots: The United States Capitol, Capitol Hill, National Mall, White House, Washington Monument. Visit the Smithsonian Castle & its gardens for some great Instagram pictures, and if you want more, check out the Tudor Place Historic House & Garden.
If you come in the spring, do not miss all of the cherry blossom trees blooming near the Tidal Basin. There are lots of museums to visit in D.C. as well: National Museum of African American History & Culture, the National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of Natural History are some great options.
The Georgetown Historic District is also a must-see. D.C.'s oldest neighborhood, it is filled with cobblestone streets, great shopping and great desserts (Georgetown Cupcakes, anyone?) You can also walk Georgetown University's idyllic campus. Another place to visit is the Diyanet Center of America, a beautiful Ottoman-style masjid an hour away from DC.
Every culture seems to be represented in D.C's Halal food scene. Kazan Restaurant serves Turkish food and an orange baklava. Busboys and Poets is a chain that uses Halal chicken for its famous fried chicken. Afghan Kabob House is another D.C. mainstay. Sakina Halal Restuarant serves Pakistani food. SKWR is a fast food place that is basically the Arab version of Chipotle. Try Uyghur cuisine at Dolan. Simpy Banh Mi is a Vietnamese restaurant that has Halal chicken and beef. For a more upscale option, check out La Vie, a waterfront eatery that has Halal options on their menu.
4) San Francisco, California
One of the United States' biggest populations of Muslims can be found in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2013, there were 250,000 Muslims living in San Francisco. According to this Bay Area Muslim Study, this group of 250,000 is highly diverse: 30% are South Asian, 23% are Arabs, 17% are Afghans, 9% are African American, 7% are Asian/Pacific Islanders, 6% are white and 2% are Iranian. 30 minutes away from San Francisco is the first accredited Muslim college, Zaytuna College, cofounded by scholar Hamza Yusuf.
This West Coast city offers a lots of sightseeing. Here you can marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge, ride a cable car, and visit the painted ladies (pictured above). In San Francisco you can explore the largest Chinatown in the US as well as the country's largest Afghan enclave, "Little Kabul." The oldest Japanese garden in the US is also in San Francisco. Called the Japanese Tea Garden, it can be found in Golden Gate Park. Nature lovers can take a ferry to Angel Island State Park. Coastal grandmother wannabes can take in gorgeous Pacific Ocean views by driving the 17-Mile Drive route. Foodies can eat their way through the Ferry Building Marketplace, a gourmet food emporium and farmers market.
Speaking of food, particularly Halal food, San Francisco is chock-full of it. If you love Afghan food, do not miss De Afghanan Kabob House, one of the most well-known Afghan restaurants in California. For Iraqi cuisine, try Biet Rima. For brunch, check out Cracked and Battered which has a mostly Halal menu. At Pakwan, you can find Pakistani cuisine and at Halal Dastarkhan, the first Uzbek restaurant in San Francisco. Try Turkish barbeque at Mangal Turkish Grill and halal Mexican food at El Halal Amigos.
What is on your travel bucket list? Let us know in the comments below! Need modest outfits for your next vacation? Shop our modest fashion boutique at lakiamarket.com for a large range of hijabi-friendly tops, bottoms, dresses, abayas and more!