Back in February, I wrote about 10 fun ways to experience DC, with ideas to help you see the city from a different perspective. The nation's capital offers so many opportunities to explore food, art and culture throughout the city, not to mention all the free Smithsonian museums and historic monuments. Even though I’ve spent a lot of time in DC over the years, I’m always excited when I discover a new place to see or activity that I haven’t tried yet. Several weeks ago, my daughter and I went on a food and street art adventure, visiting a few neighborhoods that we previously hadn't spent much time in. Here’s what we discovered, along with a few unique tour ideas for the next time you are visiting DC.
If you have ever traveled to New York City, you know it really is a city that never sleeps. Over the last ten years, I’ve been there on numerous occasions, including a family trip, mother/daughter weekends and even as a chaperone on a high school trip. Usually we have at least one big activity planned, like a Broadway show, a shopping spree or a quest for pizza. But with so many activities to choose from, the thought of spending a few days in this vibrant city can be overwhelming. Here are 20 ideas to add to your NYC bucket list, from iconic sites to local foods, including several that are free or low cost. A few of these are still on my list waiting to be checked off later this year.
When you visit Washington, DC, you'll find plenty of advice about what to see, where to eat and how to get around. Of course, there are all the wonderful monuments and memorials on the National Mall, along with the amazing (and free) Smithsonian museums. But after living in the DC suburbs for many years, we’ve found that there are also many other cool things to do around town. Check out this list of 10 favorites for your next visit. I still have one or two to check off my list when the weather gets warmer!
Over the past few months, I’ve been making an effort to get out and explore close to home, so this past weekend, I decided it was time to visit the U.S. Botanic Garden. Did you know that it was George Washington’s vision over 200 years ago that led to Congress establishing the Garden in 1802, making it one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America? And what better time to visit than during December, when this living plant museum is all decked out for the season.
It’s that time of year again, when the weather starts to turn colder, colored lights are twinkling and the sound of holiday music begins to fill the radio. What better way to celebrate the season then to stroll through an outdoor market while sipping mulled cider or hot chocolate. Luckily there are plenty of festive outdoor markets on the east coast, including several that are modeled after the famous Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany. I think these markets are the perfect place to find unique gifts and handmade items for holiday shopping, and it’s a great alternative to fighting the crowds at your local shopping mall! Here are some popular markets to add to your list for 2016.
*This is an updated version of the 3 East Coast Holiday Markets to Visit in 2015, originally posted November, 2015
Why do you travel? There are so many ways people answer this question - to relax with family and friends, to enjoy the beauty of nature and the outdoors, or to eat local food and experience how other people live in small towns and big cities. Discovering local favorites is a big reason for me, like finding the best food in town or learning a tidbit of little known history. Whether we are hitting the road for a day trip, weekend getaway or longer family vacation, I’ve found that I’m seeking out organized tours more and more. My family and I have enjoyed over half a dozen organized tours in recent years. Among other things, we’ve learned about history in Philadelphia, ghosts in Key West, architecture in Chicago and pizza in Brooklyn. My growing appreciation for letting someone else lead the way stems from a number of things, as outlined below. But it wasn’t always this way. My family can attest that I’ve been known on more than one occasion to play the role of tour guide the first day in a new city, like when we visited San Francisco or Seattle. Or the time in Los Angeles when I knew it would be cheaper to grab a map of the stars and drive aimlessly around Hollywood trying to glimpse behind the gates. But was it really time well spent? How do you know if you should book a tour or try the “do-it-yourself” method? To help, I’ve put together a short list of benefits and drawbacks to consider, along with some tips that might come in handy in the future.
Who doesn’t love a good day trip? Life often gets busy, and sometimes you need a change of scenery to recharge. Recently on a beautiful fall day, my husband and I ventured to Harpers Ferry with two dogs for a hike and lunch, and were reminded how refreshing a day trip can be. Luckily in the DC area it’s easy to escape, with many options that are just a short drive away. Here are 5 of my favorite places for a quick escape, each with something unique to offer.
New York City attracts visitors from all over the world, who come to see the magic of Broadway, the bright lights of Times Square, iconic tourist attractions and world class food and shopping. It has become a summer weekend getaway favorite for our teenagers, especially since we live close enough to drive. This summer we went with a special mission - to venture out of the city and explore nearby Brooklyn. And what better way to do that than with a pizza tour, specifically A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour. So many reasons you should try this tour, starting with the convenient pickup and drop off location in Manhattan. Read on to see why I think it’s the best, and if you still aren’t convinced, check out the hundreds of reviews on Trip Advisor!
How would you spend 24 hours in Chicago? Most people would say it depends on the season. I recently had the chance to visit on my way to a family wedding in nearby Indiana, and with sunny skies and perfect temperatures, had an amazing day in the city. What’s not to love about Chicago in the summer? In our case, it was a girls trip, and my daughter, sister and I had enough time to enjoy deep dish pizza, the skyline reflected in “the Bean,” and spectacular views from several unique vantage points. Follow along as I recap 24 hours in Chicago through pictures.
So many things to do - it’s a tough decision to have to make when you visit Philadelphia. I’ve written several posts about Philly, but every time I go, I discover something new to share. Visitors to the city are overwhelmed just trying to cover some of the popular sites like Independence Hall and Reading Terminal Market. Summer brings plenty of outdoor activities like street festivals, outdoor music and movies, and more, in addition to all the amazing tourist attractions. But once you knock off the top 3 or 4 things on your list, consider one of these 5 unique attractions which you definitely won’t find anywhere else.
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