Come find out why New Yorkers are proud of their city

New York Most people think that New Yorkers are rude, brash and hate dealing with tourists.  In reality, most New Yorkers are just as friendly as people in other metropolitan cities are and most are eager to lending a helping hand to tourists exploring their beautiful city.  New Yorkers have a lot to be proud of when it comes to big cities.  New York City is famous for its architecture, finance, shopping, arts, food, fashion and museums. Of course, its unique blend of cultures that makes it the ultimate “melting pot” of America. One of the most wonderful ways to spend a morning or afternoon is strolling through various ethnic areas of the city to experience the variety of cultures.  The Big Apple prides itself on having the best of the latest and greatest of everything Americans love.  From shopping on Fifth Avenue to fine dining, award winning Broadway shows and cutting-edge art and fashion, New York has more to see than any other city in America.

Getting around New York City is not as difficult as you may imagine.  NYC has a fantastic transit system with buses and subways that are easily accessible from all major tourist spots.  You can easily get from Times Square to the Museum of Modern Art and back to Broadway for a show without breaking a sweat.

Nevertheless, if you find yourself running late, you can easily grab a cab to make up some time.  Speaking of Times Square, make time to wait in line at the half-price ticket booth at Times Square to save money on that Broadway show you have been dying to see.  While there, grab a snack at one of the street vendors. Look for the ones with “Vendy Awards” posted for the most delicious treats.

Because there is so much to do and to see when visiting New York City, you can never take it all in during one visit.  Some people plan a trip to NYC for a specific reason such as a shopping weekend, to catch a few Broadway shows or to take in the most popular tourist attractions.  If you are visiting NYC for the first time and want to get a feel for what the city has to offer then we suggest you make time to do the following things when vacationing in the Big Apple.

  • Visit Ground Zero – The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is dedicated to the individuals who lost their lives on that tragic fall day and in the days after the attack.  It is a beautiful and solemn experience to stand where the Twin Towers stood and pay tribute to those we lost and to those who lost their lives trying to save as many people as they could.
  • Take a stroll through Central Park – You cannot visit NYC without visiting Manhattan and Central Park.  Other attractions located nearby are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History.  You can cut through the park to visit these if you have the time after enjoying a great meal, visiting the zoo and strolling through the park enjoying the sights and sounds of one of the most popular places in NYC.
  • Go to the top of Rockefeller Center – Whether it is watching the “Today” show or taking a spin on the ice rink, it is worth the effort to see this iconic New York City landmark.  The view of the New York City skyline from the Observation Deck is unforgettable.  The Radio City Music Hall is right here too!

There are just so many things to do and see in New York City that we could never list them all here. We have not even mentioned Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty.  The best advice we can give before visiting the Big Apple – - do your homework.  Request a copy of the city’s tourist guide and spend a few afternoon researching travel books in the library or bookstore.  You will be glad you did when you arrive with a well-planned itinerary!

San Diego, California – - a city with something for everyone

San DiegoSan Diego just might be the perfect city in America for vacationers.  It does not matter if you are newlyweds, a couple looking for a sunny beach, a family with a bunch of kids or a retired couple looking for a place to relax, San Diego has something for you.  Perfect year-round temperatures, 70 miles of pristine beaches along the Pacific Ocean and attractions that entertain and thrill, the city truly does have it all when it comes to vacation spots in the United States.

In fact, San Diego is one of the top family destinations because of its three main attractions: SeaWorld, LEGOLAND and the San Diego Zoo.  Kids of all ages (and by that I mean adults too) love the thrill of seeing a killer whale soar through the air or acrobats ride dolphins in a show that puts Broadway to shame at San Diego’s SeaWorld.  Spend the day getting up close and personal watching playful sea otters and dapper penguins in a fantastic, magical oceanic theme park.  Take the trip onto “dry land” with a day at the San Diego Zoo.  Ride the double-decker bus through this beautiful park that is home to over 4,000 exotic and rare animals.  Then stroll through exhibits like Hippo Beach and the Polar Bear Express to get an up-close glimpse into the lives of these amazing animals.  Catch the exciting shows and dine at one of the many restaurants located throughout the park.  San Diego is not just for families though.  Adults will enjoy fine dining opportunities at world-class restaurants in Del Mar, shop at some of the trendiest fashion spots in La Jolla and party all night thanks to the clubs and bars along the beaches and in the historic Gaslamp Quarter of the city.

Of course, the beaches are the biggest tourist attraction in San Diego with Mission Beach being the most popular.  Mission Beach is located in northwestern San Diego in Mission Bay Park. This two-mile stretch of pristine beach has it all – sugary-white sand, great waves, a thriving boardwalk, great food and an amusement park.  On any given day, you will see families playing in the surf, bikini-clad sunbathers dotting the sand, surfers trying to catch that perfect wave and bicyclists and inline skaters making their way down the boardwalk.  Belmont Park, located on the northern end of the beach, has an awesome rollercoaster along with other amusement rides that the kids will love.  The beach is open every day and there is no entry fee.

Another popular tourist spot is Balboa Park.  It is home to the San Diego Zoo; however, there are lots of other things to do in this beautiful park.  You can see a show at the Old Globe Theatre or the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater or visit the San Diego Model Railroad Museum and the San Diego Air and Space Museum.  Even if you just want to relax and enjoy a peaceful picnic, Balboa Park is a wonderful spot to sit back and watch the world go by for a few tranquil hours. There are as many places in San Diego to relax and rest as there are to enjoy great entertainment and cuisine.  If you are planning a trip to San Diego, I would highly suggest requesting a planning guide from the city’s tourism office now so that you have plenty of time to get to know this wonderful west coast city.


Visiting the most haunted city in America – - Savannah, GA

Welcome to the most haunted city in America.  Savannah, GA has held that title for quite some time and for very good reason – it is also known as the city that was built on its dead.  However, Savannah is not only known as a ghost town.  It is a thriving port city famous for its rich history, arts, culture and cuisine.  Vacationing in Savannah is definitely going to entice all of your senses.  From touring historical homes to walking along the riverside to taking in a ghost tour after finishing a gourmet meal, your Savannah vacation is one that you will never forget.

Along with about 120 passengers, General James Oglethorpe landed his ship on a bluff along the Savannah River in February 1733 and promptly named the 13th American Colony after King George II, Georgia, and Savannah became its first city.  Oglethorpe laid out the city in a series of grids that provided wide-open streets and shady squares that still exist in Savannah today.  Savannah flourished and survived the American Revolution and was even spared Atlanta’s fate as Sherman chose not to burn Savannah but to give her as a “gift” to President Lincoln.  However, Savannah saw her share of sorrow but today stands as one of the largest historic landmarks in the United States.

Visitors to Savannah are can tour many historic buildings that were saved and restored including The Pirates’ House (1754) mentioned in the book “Treasure Island” and The Old Pink House (1789) the site of Georgia’s First Bank.  Girl Scouts from across the country come to tour the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts.  You can tour The First African Baptist Church (1788) and The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (1876), one of the largest Roman Catholic churches in the south. Savannah is so rich with history that it is impossible to list all of the famous people, events, monuments and buildings that are open for tours in the city. Savannah is also known for its arts and sciences.  The Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences in Charleston has many exhibits on display.  The building, original built in 1812 as a mansion, was one of the first public museums in the South. Today, Savannah’s history is entwined with is elegance and beauty.  You can walk along the city’s squares among ornate ironwork, moss covered trees, beautiful architecture and exquisite fountains.

The best way to see Savannah is to take one of its many tours.  Tours cover everything from the city’s cuisine, art, history and haunted past and are a great way to get to know the area and discover what attractions you want to see more of during your visit.   If this is your first trip to Savannah, you should begin with the MLK Visitor Information Center. They have a fantastic museum that gives tourists an excellent feel for the area, its history and attractions.  You can also get information about the Savannah’s best restaurants, attractions and accommodations.

Best things to do when visiting the Grand Canyon

Grand CanyonThere are no words to describe the breathtaking beauty and majesty that is the Grand Canyon.  The only way to experience the Grand Canyon is to stand upon the edge of this massive precipice and experience the grandeur for yourself.  Only then can you truly understand this amazing natural wonder. Almost five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year to see the one-mile deep rock formations.  Most visitors view the canyons from the South Rim by taking the free shuttle buses or driving at their pace along the Hermit Road and Desert View Drive to historic Grand Canyon Village.  The South Rim is easily accessible and is open all year making it the most popular choice for visitors to the Grand Canyon.  About 10% of visitors brave the North Rim, which is located about 220 miles from the South Rim and is only open from mid-May through mid-October each year.  The Inner Canyon consists of everything below the rim and it is seen mostly by adventurists who enjoy hiking, river rafting or wish to travel by mule.

The Grand Canyon is a great vacation destination because it has so much to do for everyone from couples to families and adventurists to those who wish to experience the Grand Canyon in a much more relaxed way.  Below are our best choices of Grand Canyon activities – - there is something for everyone from first-time visitors to those returning again to experience the wonder that is the Grand Canyon.

  • Grand Canyon Railway – The Grand Canyon Railway transports passengers back in time to the early 1900s with strolling musicians, cowboys and even train robbers all while taking a journey through the most magnificent forest scenes imaginable.  The train departs from Williams and takes riders through the canyon to the South Rim.
  • Guided bus tours – If you want more information rather than show, a guided bus tour is the option for you.  Relax in a well-appointed motor coach as your guide gives you a fascinating history lesson about the Grand Canyon.  Along the way, you will stop at various scenic viewpoints to see the Grand Canyon at its very best.
  • Mule trips – The famous mule trips are a delight for adults and children.  You can choose a full-day or overnight mule ride depending on how much of the Grand Canyon you want to experience.  Overnight guests stay at the Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon (we highly recommend the overnight experience).  It is one of the best ways to experience the Grand Canyon.
  • River rafting – If you love riding white-water rapids, you can conquer the Colorado River with a Grand Canyon river rafting adventure.  The multi-day excursions give participants some of the best views of the canyons with exciting rides on the rapids and hikes through breathtaking scenery.
  • Helicopter Tours – Get a bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon from high above as you sore above the rim and dip below to get an up-close view of the rock formations that took millions of years to form.  It is a wonderful opportunity to see the Grand Canyon in a way that very few experience.

There are so many things to do and see at the Grand Canyon that there is no way to list them all here.  From hiking, camping, biking and even cross-country skiing, there is something for everyone to enjoy on a Grand Canyon Vacation.

Los Angeles – Something for Everyone

Los Angeles is one of those places that offer something for just about everyone.  It’s a sprawling metropolis tucked in between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains.  Its near-perfect climate, wide range of cultural experiences, hundreds of attractions, and abundant outdoor activities make it a magnet for millions of visitors every year.

The city is the second-largest in the United States, and as such it offers plenty of the usual urban attractions, including famous museums, theaters and art galleries, fine dining establishments, a large number of professional sporting events, and plenty of interesting (and sometimes unique) shopping venues.

Shopping opportunities range in scope and type from the world-renowned Original Farmer’s Market to the sophistication of the exclusive boutiques lining Hollywood’s Rodeo Drive.  You’ll enjoy each of your meals in the city’s restaurants and cafés, whether you’re craving traditional American food or outstanding Mexican, Thai, Korean, Chinese, French, Italian or Asian fusion cuisine.

There’s also no shortage of professional sporting events, no matter when you’re in town.  Professional sports teams based in the Los Angeles area include Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Mighty Ducks, the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, and Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy.  Horseracing takes place at several area tracks, including Santa Anita Park, Hollywood Park, and Los Alamitos Race Course.  There’s even a professional roller derby team.

The city is terrific for people-watching, too.  Because the film and television industries have such a strong and pervasive presence, you probably have a better chance of spotting entertainment celebrities in and around Los Angeles than anywhere else in the world.  Bus tours routinely take tourists past the homes of TV and movie stars, but it’s also possible to catch glimpses of celebrities going about their business on the city’s streets and in its shops and restaurants.

And, because the ocean and mountains are so close, it’s also hard to imagine a place where you can find a greater scope of outdoor activities.  Whether you’re in the mood to hike in the nearby hills, try your hand at surfing, sailing or deep-sea fishing, go rollerblading, or simply take a stroll along one of the many beaches, Los Angeles is the perfect place.

Los Angeles is alive with sights and activities of all types.  It’s a melting pot of different ethnic groups, a creative, energetic place where multiple cultures mingle and visitors are entertained indoors and out.  It’s one of those places that offer something for just about everyone – because it has it all.