Nothing captures the true flavor of a city like its food. Can you really travel to Memphis without eating BBQ, or Key West and not have Key Lime Pie? To me, spending time with a local expert on a food tour is one the best ways to truly learn about the rich cultural heritage of a place. Not only do you come to understand how foods become regional favorites, it’s also an opportunity to learn about history and local traditions. Best of all, you enjoy a sampling of foods that take you to the roots of a city, while socializing with fellow travelers. I’ve reached out to family travel bloggers in the USA to round up some of their favorite experiences.
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.
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.
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.
Recently I had the chance to spend a long weekend in beautiful, southern California. It was a whirlwind trip for a family wedding, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Spending a few days in the warm California sun after shoveling mounds of snow during the January blizzard was the perfect family getaway. Unlike most of our trips, we had no big plans, other than to enjoy the wedding with family, walk on the sand and watch the sunset. It’s these same type of laid back activities that I always find myself coming back to whenever I visit. So here are my 6 favorite free (or really cheap) things to do in southern California.
Everyone loves to start the New Year with a resolution, so this year I decided mine would be to work harder to keep in touch with extended family. When I saw that the weather was looking perfect the first weekend in January, my daughter and I decided to make a quick road trip to visit my 94 year old aunt, who lives outside of Philadelphia. It was also a great excuse to continue our search for the best cheesesteak in Philly!
If you are in the DC area and are looking for something to do, why not head west for the day or evening to nearby Loudoun County. Depending on the time of day, in just a bit over an hour you can be driving on scenic country roads and visiting quaint small towns. You’ll find a mix of outdoor activities along with unique shopping and plenty of places for a picnic. Here are 5 ways you can enjoy this slice of countryside, including some of our favorite family activities.
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