7 Things To Do In Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati might not be known as a major tourist destination, but its location in southern Ohio, close to the border with Kentucky, makes it an interesting salad bowl of cultures. Cincinnati goes by a number of nicknames, including “The Queen City” and “Paris of America”, and it’s practically impossible to experience all that the city has to offer in just one or two days. If you happen to visit Cincinnati soon, here are some must-do activities you could participate in.

1. The city is more known for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, but soccer is fast catching up in terms of popularity. If you’re a soccer fan, watching an FC Cincinnati game at Nippert Stadium has to be at the top of your list. The team only joined Major League Soccer in 2018, but it is the successor of a lower-division team with the same name that has been playing since 2016 and even made an surprise run in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2017. The team is one of the top draws in the country, setting numerous records for attendance.

2. Love it or hate it, but you have to try some Cincinnati chili at least once during your stay. It resembles spaghetti sauce more than it does your usual chili, but it packs some serious heat. The place to go to for Cincinnati chili is Empress, located on Werk Road. Wherever you go, you’ll find chili served on coneys (hot dogs), and you could have it your way – in this case, a three-way is chili and cheese served on spaghetti, a four-way has beans, and a five-way has beans and onions. Still feeling that fire after a full meal? Freshen your breath with a peppermint patty.

3. Feeling thirsty after downing Cincinnati chili on coneys? Hop on a brewery tour bus to get that distinctive Queen City buzz! There are over 30 craft breweries in Cincinnati, each with its own unique character. MadTree, for example, is a hit with the locals (and their dogs), and has a central patio where guests’ furry friends can run around. Moerlein Lager House has a very long history going back to the pre-Prohibition era; their location along Joe Nuxhall Way offers fantastic views of Ohio River.

4. Now that we’re talking about beer, you can make your way to a speakeasy behind a video rental store. The Video Archive looks and feels like a blast from the past, with shelves upon shelves of VHS tapes (we haven’t checked if they still work, though). Ask the clerk which tape to pull to open a secret door. Once you get inside the hidden bar, the real fun begins with an actual bourbon-infused $5 milkshake inspired by Pulp Fiction. Visit the Video Archive on a Saturday evening so you can get to watch some classic movies too.

5. All that beer and bourbon must have left you with a lingering hangover by now. Drag yourself over to Findlay Market, where you can have your fill of fresh, intriguing food made by local artisans. Eckerlin Meats, a local butcher, serves a mean goetta, a meat-and-oat mush that is as much a Cincinnati culinary institution as Cincinnati chili. Grab a Honey Bear latte at Deeper Roots Coffee just a couple of blocks away, and before you know it, your hangover will be long over.

6. Your Cincinnati experience won’t be complete until you go on a riverboat trip. Cincinnati was a major transportation hub, a stopover for boats traversing the waterways between the Deep South and the Midwest, and while air travel has surpassed river boats as the preferred mode of cross-country transportation, riding a classic steamboat is an entirely different experience. Choose between a sightseeing cruise during the day or dining cruises at night with fantastic views of the downtown waterfront.

7. Cincinnati isn’t lacking fun rides. In fact, a 25-minute ride to the outskirts of the city will take you to King’s Island and its fun and thrilling attractions. Get into the Beast,the longest wooden rollercoaster on the planet, or see if you can survive the twists and turns of the Banshee. If you just want to cool down, visit Soak City and its wave pools and slides.

7 Things To Do in San Francisco, CA

San Francisco is the largest city in Northern California. It is also the second-densest city in the U.S., next only to New York City. Frisco, as the locals call the city, has come a long way from its Gold Rush days, when miners descended upon the area in search of gold. Now, the steep, rolling hills of the City By The Bay have become home for one of the most eclectic and diverse mixtures of cultures, languages, advocacies, and cuisines in the world. Here are seven things you absolutely have to do when you visit San Francisco.

1. While the city is known for its origins as a mining town, it actually has great view of the Pacific. The seaside community of Fisherman’s Wharf, located in northern central San Francisco, is still the home of the city’s fishing fleet. Thus, you can expect excellent seafood, including the famed Dungeness crab which is native to the area. The area’s appeal also lies in its numerous shopping centers, such as Pier 39. Watch out for the sea lions at the pier.

2. The Golden Gate Bridge will always be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about San Francisco. While it is no longer the longest suspension bridge in the world, no other bridge can claim to be the icon of an entire city, maybe an entire state. The bridge is equipped with a bikeable walkway that is 1.7 miles long. On a clear day, you could take in magnificent views of the city and the bay, while colder weather brings a thick fog that envelopes the bases of the bridge. Either way, no other bridge could come close to the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge.

3. The Golden Gate Bridge can be seen from a variety of sites, including the Golden Gate Park and the Presidio. The latter is a former military base that overlooks the bridge and the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. While there is not much to see in the Presidio itself except for the six-inch gun and the concrete fortifications, Star Trek Fans will recognize the Presidio as the location of Starfleet Academy and Starfleet Headquarters.

4. Alamo Square is a residential neighborhood in central San Francisco. The area stands on a hill that offers grand views of downtown San Francisco, including the Transamerica Pyramid. However, the area is associated more with the Seven Sisters, a row of seven Victorian houses located beside the district park. Victorian houses, also known as “Painted Ladies” are scattered across San Francisco, but the Seven Sisters of Alamo Square are distinct because of their near-identical architecture and the backdrop of downtown San Francisco behind them.

5. There are a variety of ways to get around San Francisco, including the BART Subway or the Muni Metro, but there is nothing quite like the San Francisco Cable Car system. Only three routes remain of the original 23: the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason lines and the California Street Line.Riding the cable car, the last remaining manually-operated streetcar system in the world, is an experience in itself. Each July, Union Square is the site of a cable car bell-ringing contest between the crews that operate the different cars.

6. The F Market heritage streetcar has its terminus at 17th and Castro. The surrounding area, known as The Castro District, is one of the largest LGBT cultural centers in the world. Pioneering gay activist Harvey Milk opened the Castro Camera store at 575 Castro Street and the store became a rallying point for all sorts of people who were trying to gain acceptance. While the camera store is no more, the district still maintains a distinctive LGBT flavor, with rainbow flags flying from poles and crosswalks painted in rainbow colors.

7. There are four different Chinatowns in San Francisco. However, when you ask for directions to theChinatown”, locals will immediately point you in the direction of Grant Avenue and Stockton Street. The area reminds one of Hong Kong and its fish markets, restaurants, and stores, and one could watch ethnic Chinese doing T’ai Chi and playing Chinese chess in Portsmouth Square. It is, without any doubt, the largest and most important Chinese enclave outside of Asia, attracting more visitors to San Francisco than the Golden Gate Bridge.

7 Questions To Ponder Before You Book A Tour To USA

There is no wonder why many travelers want to tour around the entire country of the United States. A UK-based travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveller, conducted a survey among its readers and America was voted in seventh place as one of the Best Countries in the World to Visit.

Before you book your flight to your first-ever USA trip, it is best to know more about the country’s common but rarely discussed topics like custom and practices. We’ve jotted down seven questions and answers you should take note before you proceed with your USA tour.

1.  How much should I tip?

Gratuity is a common etiquette in America. First time travelers should know that tip-giving is always expected in the service sector, and it usually varies depending on what services received. For example, the customary tip for waitstaff at a table service restaurant, or a cab driver, will be around 10% to 20% of the bill, before tax. Bartenders may be tipped per drink or after running a tab around almost the same rate.

You may opt to give higher tips if you’re delighted with a pleasing service and lower it should the service fall badly. In some rare occasions where there is an extremely poor service provided, gratuity may be abandoned.

2. Why is my bill more expensive that the price shown?

If dining and shopping around the America are included in your itinerary, take note that prices reflected on the menu and price tags are not the only values you’ll be paying for. We’re warning you of the taxes. Tax rates may vary depending on the product and food type. They are usually not included to what’s on the menu and price tag, so it is best to know beforehand how much tax you’re expecting to pay to avoid overspending.

3. Is it real that food portions in America are bigger than the average?

YES. Heavy-eaters can rejoice by this fact. A 2015-published article by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explains that food portions have almost tripled across many restaurants in America over the course of 20 years. However, note that food servings and portions still vary depending on what state you’re in.

If you’re more of a modest eater and cannot munch all the food you are served, you may always opt to have the rest of your unconsumed food packed and ready for take-away.

4. Is striking a conversation with a total stranger a good idea?

Americans are generally friendly compared to citizens in other countries, and they won’t hesitate to have some small talk even if it is with a person whom they don’t personally know. So, it won’t be a bad idea to strike a conversation with them. In fact, some may initiate a chatter. Getting to know a few local people might give you keys to low-key but great places around the area!

You might also meet people who might seem to express lack of interest in having some conversation, so if you’re feeling this kind of a hint, might as well drop it but do not be discouraged to meet new people.

5. Should I rent a car or go around using public transportation?

The answer to this question will boil down depending on the city or state you’ll be in. Some areas can be best enjoyed by driving a rented car to go around from place to place. There are some cities that are best to travel around using the public transportation such as trains, buses, and cabs.

A combination of both may also be done as well for the sake of practicality. You may take your rented car around the state to go over some places, bring it back to the return location, and ride a train or a bus to travel to another state.

6. Help! I am driving, and a cop pulls me over. Should I get out of the car?

First-off, if you opt to go around places by renting a car, you should never drive under the influence of alcohol. Of course, you should also be aware and follow all the traffic rules in America. Tourists may unknowingly violate some traffic rules, but that’s no excuse to get away with a violation.

Oblige immediately if you ever experience this and you see a police vehicle tailing you and signaling you to pull over. DO NOT leave the vehicle. The best thing to do is to pull the driver’s window down, place your hands on the wheel, and kindly wait for the cop to come over to you. Make sure to converse in a calm manner and let the police officer know that you’re a tourist. Should you’ve been proven to have violated some traffic law, kindly ask for the nearest place to pay the fine.

7. Are there tourist traps in America, too?

Unfortunately, America also has several tourist traps just like many tourist-luring countries around the globe. Thus, it is best to talk with someone local in the area, so you may ask some tips on what places would be worth it to see.

Tourist traps are usually surrounded with food stands that sell measly food at a hefty cost. Famous attractions may also be full of cons that will try and rip you off by selling fake tickets. Be wary of these and other similar deals that may ruin your trip!

Now that you’ve learned more about the US of A, you may now live your dream of touring around the country like a local. Be sure to enjoy every part of the journey and share them all to us!

7 Ways To Plan A Trip Without Breaking A Sweat

Proper planning and advance preparations are one of the keys to ensure successful and memorable travels. The lengthier the trip will take, the more time one needs to plan and to prepare ahead of time. To some people, planning a trip can be an awful and taxing experience especially if more people is involved or if it’s their first time to do it.

Planning shouldn’t be intimidating and stressful. In fact, this should be a thrilling moment to personalize one’s journey. So today, we present to you seven ways to plan your trip without the need to break a sweat.

1. Plan weeks (or even months!) before.

Planning in advance allows you to have more room for changes. You are guaranteed more room for personalization and alterations with your desired destinations. One major difference of planning ahead of time is that you will not be under time pressure as long as you don’t procrastinate planning.

You have more choices since you’re more relaxed if you plan weeks, or even months, in advance. You also have a chance to snag the best and cheapest deals for your travel! You may plan with some broad ideas first and get more specific as you near your travel date.

2. Do a thorough research and ask around for ideas from experienced travelers.

Incorporate some series of detailed researches about the place you want to visit. You may also ask around people you know who’ve been to the place aside from the internet. Tourist destinations shouldn’t be the only subject of your research. As you delve into the specifics of your general plan, you will know what things you should want to know more about in advance.

Do not skip the research about the specific requirements of the country you’ll fly to. For example, countries have a different requirement regarding passport expiration. The Schengen states, for instance, require tourist passports to be valid at least three months beyond your period of intended stay.

3. Show your plan to someone and solicit for opinions and suggestions.

Do not be afraid of letting some people know about your plan. It would be better if you ask the ones you know who have recently traveled around the place you’re going. Their opinions and suggestions might introduce you to some new ideas and perspectives. You might also learn some new information that only some people know! As always, you are always free not to incorporate all or some of the suggestions you are given.

Moreover, having someone else know your plan will give you some peace of mind. During emergency situations, like unexpected extended stays, you can be sure that there will be someone who will lookout for your safety.

4. Make a to-do checklist.

Creating a to-do checklist will be helpful once you’re well-informed about the things you need to prepare for your travel. You can sort them out according to their urgency and group them based on their estimate due date.

For example, you may create several categories for things you need done in X number of months or weeks ahead and breakdown the things into the specifics such as booking or making reservations for your flight tickets, accommodations, passport application or renewal, or buying thing you will need.

5. Book reservations in a timely manner.

The idea of planning in advance is to ensure that your travel will go as smooth as possible when you go from Point A to Point B. Thus, booking your reservations and buying your tickets in the same manner will save you a lot of hassle. This idea is on point especially if you’re planning to go to a place at a time when it is expecting many tourists to gather, like during festivals and other events.

6. Double-check your plan, to-do’s and checklists.

Do not forget to look at your plan, to-do’s and other checklists from time to time. This will allow you to spot undone tasks and rearrange, according to your liking, some things on them. It will also help you keep track of your accomplishments.

Make sure to have crossed almost all the things off your list days before your departure. At this point, it may also be a good idea to confirm all the bookings and reservations made earlier.

7. Stick to the plan but don’t be afraid to wing it (when the need arises!).

Some things might not go according to your plan but know that it’s okay and it happens all the time. Do not be disappointed especially for the things you have no control over. If this happens, remember that your plan is just your guide, and you can always wing it. Always wear a positive mindset and enjoy every moment as they happen.

Your next vacation is now set to be perfect now that you know the planning essentials. Treat your plan as a guide and be always open to changes along your journey, especially if you think it’s a good one. Make the most out of it and enjoy your travel!

7 Amazing Reasons To Visit Atlanta

Atlanta might be a surprising travel destination this summer. After all, it’s nowhere near a beach and is located in the deep South.

However, summer is actually the Georgia capital’s peak season, despite the humidity that gives the city its nickname, “Hotlanta”. Here are seven things to do in Atlanta that might actually make you want to visit too.

1. Downtown Atlanta is known for its skyline that boasts the iconic Peachtree Center. The best views of the downtown can be enjoyed while riding the SkyView Ferris wheel, which stands 20 stories high. With 42 fully-enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas, you’re guaranteed a good view all the time, with your safety assured and your back dry. Centennial Park, where the SkyView stands, isn’t a bad looking place either.

2. The Centennial Olympic Park celebrated its 20th anniversary recently, and the festivities aren’t stopping any time soon. The park, which consists of over 21 acres of greenery dotted with exhibit halls, ballrooms, fountains, and water features, is a popular gathering place for Atlanta residents and tourists. This September, the Park will host the 10th One Musicfest, which will be headlined by legendary acts such as the Wu-Tang Clan, Usher, DMX, and Pharrell Williams.

3. If your idea of a romantic evening is watching a movie under the stars, the Starlight Drive-In Theater  might be a great place to bring your date. Since 1949, the Starlight has been loved by moviegoers for showing double features. During summer, the place becomes a bit rowdier due to the Rock and Roll Monster Bash, but alcohol is strictly prohibited on the premises.

4. As the converging point of different railroads, it is no surprise that Atlanta has become the culinary capital of the South. Restaurants such as Chik-fil-A and Waffle House are now household names. Other restaurants, such as Flip Burger Boutique, are also starting to gain recognition for upscale dining, even being featured on TV shows, and many Atlanta chefs have appeared in Top Chef and Chopped. Buford Highway, on the other hand, is the place to visit for international cuisine.

5. Rising 825 feet over the surrounding area, Stone Mountain is the most visited destination in Georgia. It is easily recognizable because of its unusual pink color, which is a result of the mountain being created when magma seeped through the earth’s crust. The summit of Stone Mountain is composed of bare rock and pools, and is home to several unusual species, such as fairy shrimp. One can see as far as the Appalachian Mountains on a clear day. Despite the controversy surrounding the site, Stone Mountain is still a natural wonder.

6. It isn’t surprising that a humid city such as Atlanta is also known as the birthplace of one of the world’s most-loved drinks, and The World of Coca-Cola is an interactive tribute to the drink that put Atlanta on the map. The museum features a multi-sensory theater, the smallest Coca-Cola bottling line in the world, and a working 19th-century soda fountain. Visitors can also try samples of over 100 different kinds and flavors of Coca-Cola products, such as Sparletta Sparberry, an African variety that tastes like raspberry cream soda; Inca Kola, a Peruvian favorite; and Fanta Melon Frosty, which is popular in Thailand.

7. Atlanta is known as the Hollywood of the South. The city is the shooting location for many popular films and series, including The Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, Stranger Things, and Avengers: Endgame. The last one has just become the highest-grossing film of all time. With a variety of locations, from mountains to beaches to cityscapes, the state of Georgia can stand in for any kind of movie scenery. Atlanta Movie Tours offers guided tours to die-hard fans who make the trip to the place where their favorite movies were made.

7 Things To Do In Dallas Fort Worth, Texas

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is a great example of that!

The largest inland metropolitan area in the U.S., with a population of more than 7,500,000 people, the region is one of the most diverse in the south, with a large Hispanic and African American presence.

Dallas itself is one of the most vibrant cities in the country, and there’s someone for everyone, from fine dining to history to sports.

1. Dallas is known for its professional sports teams, and while the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and MLB’s Texas Rangers are wildly popular, the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys franchise is the sporting face of the city. The Cowboys haven’t won the Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXX, but they have had 33 playoff appearances since 1966. The Cowboys are known as “America’s Team” and play their home games at the 80,000-seater AT&T Stadium located in nearby Arlington. It is said that the stadium, including one of the world’s largest high-definition video screens, uses more energy than the African country of Liberia.

2. The city has over 406 public parks sitting on 21,000 acres of parkland. However, only one, Klyde Warren Park, can claim to be built over an operational freeway. It is located in the heart of uptown Dallas and connects the city’s Arts District with other parts of the city. The 5.2-acre facility is home to a performance pavilion, jogging trails, dog parks, and a children’s playground. It also hosts events such as swing nights, Zumba classes, and outdoor movie screenings.

3. If you are an aviation buff, the Vintage Flying Museum might be of interest to you. The museum, located in Fort Worth, pays tribute to America’s pioneering role in heavier-than-air flight and contains vintage aircraft of every size, from the single-seater Flea Triplane to the World War II-era B-29 Superfortress “Fifi”. The Vintage Flying Museum also throws a Big Band Hangar Dance every September, the proceeds of which go to the maintenance of the museum’s aircraft collection.

4. Standing 561 feet above street level, the Reunion Tower is one of the tallest buildings in Dallas and might be considered a symbol of the city and the metroplex as a whole. The globe at the top of the tower is lit by 259 LED fixtures and changes color depending on the occasion; for example, for St. Patrick’s Day, the globe goes green, while it is illuminated in red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July. Just below the globe lies a rotating restaurant run by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, featuring some of the finest Asian cuisine in the Southwest.

5. If you’re in Dallas to shop, Highland Park Village is the place to be seen in. The place was America’s first self-contained shopping center and still maintains its upscale character. Among the designer brands that have taken up residence at Highland Park Village are Hermes, Alexander McQueen, Chanel, and Christian Louboutin. The culinary scene isn’t too shoddy, either, with Dallas institutions Café Pacific and Fachini among the center’s mainstays.

6. Are you looking for a book? Half Price Books would probably have it. After all, their motto is “We buy and sell anything printed or recorded except yesterday’s newspaper”. The flagship store, located along E Northwest Highway, contains miles upon miles of bookshelves bearing used books, music, and movies. The clearance section also features children’s books at $1 apiece.

7. If you’re looking for timeless entertainment, Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament places you right in the middle of the action. Feast yourselves on a sumptuous royal banquet while watching knights engaging in a battle of skills, with the winner taking the hand of the princess! Of course, the banquet isn’t exactly medieval fare, and the knights are character actors, but the action is fast and the plot is fun anyway. All in all, Medieval Times is good clean fun for the entire family.

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7 Travel Hacks To Carry Out Your Airport Trip Faster

Airports are our gateway to destinations where we dream of having some incredible and memorable time-offs.

Without them, we won’t be able to fly out to wonderful places all around the globe. But with all the nerve-wracking hustles and bustles going on inside airports, we are frequently confronted by thoughts suggesting that airports might be the reincarnation of the underworld.

Good news is that we can control certain things to make our journey through airports less insufferable, or enjoyable even. Today, we are sharing seven travel hacks to carry out your airports trip faster than before.

Hack #1: Wear the bare minimum.

Dress as simply and as comfortable as you can when going through airports. You can still incorporate some personal touches and fashion statements forasmuch as you avoid clothing items that have metal zippers and metal buttons. By doing so, you may be able to shorten the time you will spend on security lines.

You can mix and match different outfits depending on your taste. Some clothing types to consider are basketball shorts, t-shirts, normal trousers without any belt, jackets, jumpers, hoodies, and even shawls.

Hack #2: Maximize your Ziploc bags.

According to TSA, you may put liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in your carry-on bag provided that they’re in 3.4 ounces (100 ml) containers. The containers should all fit in a quart-sized resealable bag such as a Ziploc bag. Any containers that exceed the 3.4 ounces limit should be packed in your checked baggage.

If you can spare a couple more of Ziploc bags, you can use them to pack and organize other small items in your carry-on bag to make your turn at the checkpoint faster. To give you an idea, you can put items such as your keys, wallet, coin purses, or loose change.

Hack #3: Familiarize yourself with the airport’s layout.

Before you book your tickets, perform a quick research about the layout of the airports you’ll be flying in to. Familiarize yourself to the terminal locations, especially if the airport is a big one, and try to know what air carrier fly out from those terminals. This hack lets you know where you need to go and lets you move in a purpose. Once you book your tickets, you’ll know the shortest way to the correct terminal without the need stall on your way just to ask questions.

Hack #4: Sign-up for a TSA PreCheck.

If you frequently fly domestically, save yourself a lot of time and stress by signing up with TSA’s PreCheck program. Once you get approved, you are now entitled for the expedited security screening at several U. S. airports, not to mention that you no longer need to remove your belt, lightweight jackets, or shoes!

If you’re more of a frequent out-of-the-country traveler, then you may opt to sign-up with Global Entry. It comes with TSA PreCheck and it eliminates the stress you might get out of customs line after your return to America from your international trip!

Hack #5: Join the lounge.

If your flight is still hours away, there is no better way than to burn those waiting hours in the lounge. Joining the lounge can be comfy and it offer many perks such as good food, drinks, and free Wi-Fi. The lounge also has more decent seats and restrooms. Additionally, it makes a good place to receive real time updates on your flight.

If you’re a frequent flyer, consider paying an annual fee for all year-round access. If not, check if the lounge at your airport offers a day-pass. If the lounge doesn’t offer a day-pass, consider hanging around near the facility so you get to use at least their good Wi-Fi connection.

Hack #6: Save the airline’s phone number and follow their social media accounts.

While this hack might be obvious, some people still forget to do it. Pre-loading your airline’s phone number might save you a ton amount of time when your flight gets cancelled. In case of flight cancelations, expect a stampede rushing for the help desk. It will still be a good idea to wait in line and ring the airline’s phone number at the same time. Calling while waiting in line ensures you get helped as soon as possible. You may also connect with them through social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) if you fail to connect with a live person though their phone.

Hack #7: Be polite and considerate.

Courteousness and consideration should be normal behaviors unless when a person is really pissed off because of certain stress-inducing events. As much as possible, avoid being rude to the people you interact with in airports since being polite pay more often than not. Negative reactions might only worsen and lengthen your stay at the airport. When asking for questions and special requests, try to be as kind as possible and give them a smile.

We can say that airports are the Alpha and the Omega of each of our travels and having a busted start and end point after our travel wouldn’t be so much fun. At least, now that you’re familiar with these seven travel hacks, you will have more control of how your trips through the airports can go. Enjoy!

7 Reasons To Have A Vacation In Baltimore

Baltimore might be a long way from its old, glorious heyday.

While most people see the city as just another stop on the train line from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, its numerous neighborhoods are home to a dizzying variety of cultures, thanks to its former status as the second leading port of entry for immigrants.

The city has since shifted over to a service-based economy, and is constantly reinventing itself. In fact, Baltimore is an underrated vacation destination.

Here are seven reasons you should visit Charm City.

1. Baltimore is the second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic region, and the local cuisine features a lot of seafood. The local markets, including Cross Street Market and Belvedere Square Market, are great places to slurp some oysters and down some crab cakes. Feeling a little adventurous? Order some raccoon or muskrat at Faidley’s at Lexington Market.

2. The beer scene in “Balamer” is more than just Natty Bo (although you have to admit it’s pretty good beer).  Fells Point is the day drinking center of the city, with dozens of pubs. Choose from among 100 beers on tap at Max’s Taphouse, which has been in operation for more than 30 years. Max’s was ranked 22nd in RateBeer’s “Top Beer Destinations in the World” list and is still recognized as a top beer bar in the country. Quite a long way from the times when the old Max’s on Broadway hosted the likes of the Smashing Pumpkins and Hunter S. Thompson, although you could still partake in some karaoke on Friday nights.

3. A visit to the National Aquarium should be on your list of must-dos when you’re in the city. The aquarium is home to over 600 species of fish, marine mammals, reptiles, and birds, including blacktip reef sharks; Calypso, a 500-pound green sea turtle; golden lion tamarins; and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. While the National Aquarium is almost always packed, the best times to visit are before 11 AM and after 3 PM. Visit after 5 PM on Fridays and pay just half the price of admission.

4. Baltimore’s image as a hard-nosed, gritty town will forever be associated the TV series The Wire. Although the series has aired its last episode more than a decade ago, fans of the series flock to Baltimore to trace the steps of Detective Jimmy McNulty.  While there are no formal guided tours inspired by the series, you could visit several Baltimore landmarks that featured heavily in the series, such as Bethel Church, The Block, and Greenmount Cemetery.

5. Baltimore is a regional arts center, and institutions like the Baltimore Museum of Art keep the flames of culture alive in the Mid-Atlantic. Feast your eyes on artworks by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gaugin, Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Cezanne, including the 1897 masterpiece Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry. You don’t have to pay any entrance fees either; since 2006, admission to the museum has been free year-round.

6. If you’re a bibliophile, visit the George Peabody Library located on the Peabody Institute campus. The library holds more than 300,000 books, most of which were published in the 19th century or earlier. That is, of course, you could keep yourself from looking up at the library atrium’s majestic ceiling, which hangs more than 60 feet in the air, or the ornately designed floors, columns, and book shelves. 

7. As a city located on a harbor of Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore has a long and rich seafaring tradition. The Historic Ships in Baltimore, located in the Inner Harbor, contains a collection of museum ships, including a World War II submarine, the sloop-of-war USS Constitution, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, and a long-serving lightship. The Seven Foot Knoll Light, a decommissioned lighthouse, is also part of the exhibit. Sign up for a tour of the museum ships or book an “Overnight Adventure”, complete with meals and an overnight stay in a bunk.

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7 Must-Know Travel Hacks About Chicago

Known as “The Windy City”, there is more to Chicago than just the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Cubs, and the White Sox.

Chicago is the third most-populated city in the U.S. and is the origin of many of the country’s cultural and industrial exports, such as the skyscraper, McDonald’s, Boeing, the deep dish pizza, and The Blues Brothers.

Now getting around Chicago might seem complicated with the streets laid out in a grid but going around the city will let you discover a variety of attractions.

1. John Hancock Center – The John Hancock Center is no longer called by that name; it’s now known as 875 North Michigan Avenue. However, as the fourth-tallest building in Chi-Town, it has a 360-degree view of the surrounding area – a radius of around 80 miles encompassing the city, Chicagoland, and up to four states.

While most tourists go up to the observation deck, visitors are charged $21 for adults and $14 for children. However, going up to the 95th-floor restaurant is free. Of course, you must get a drink, but a cocktail there would be cheaper than the same cocktail at the observation deck.

2. Hyde Park – While the Loop is often considered the cultural heart of Chicago, Hyde Park isn’t a bad place to take in some culture as well. The neighborhood is home to some of the foremost cultural institutions in the city, such as the Museum of Science and Technology. The Robie House, built by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is open for tours on Thursday to Monday. The Oriental Institute Museum, located on the sprawling, magnificent campus of the University of Chicago, contains archaeological finds from the Middle East.

3. Chicago Pedway – Should you drop by Chicago in the middle of winter, you’ll understand why the locals call it “Chiberia” – temperatures could go down to as low as -23°F. However, you could still get around by taking the Chicago pedway, a series of underground walkways that stretches from Maggie Daley Park in the Loop’s east side to the parking facility at the corner of Madison and La Salle streets. The pedway might be a tangled mess, but it’s still the best way to get from Point A to Point B within the Loop.

4. Water Taxis – If you’re in Chicago in the warmer months and have some time to kill, head down to the Navy Pier and take the Shoreline water taxi. The red, white, and blue water taxis take two routes: one going to the Museum Campus area by the lake, another going to Willis Tower (which was known as Sears Tower until fairly recently). Both are equally scenic routes. The Chicago water taxi, on the other hand, is painted yellow and goes from Michigan Avenue to Chinatown, with two of seven stations closed on weekends.

5. Chicago Athletic Association Hotel – If you can’t imagine going through the day without coffee, Chicago has hundreds of coffee shops. However, if you want to visit a place where you can sample some of the best coffee blends from over the country, Fairgrounds at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel offers beans from Chicago, California, Portland, Milwaukee, Nashville, and New York. If you’re not in a hurry, you can enjoy your coffee and a sandwich at Fairgrounds’ patio with a view of Milleninum Park.

6. Chicago deep dish pizza is the city’s shining culinary legacy. It’s not a snack like most pizzas; it’s a meal in a slice. Most tourists go to the pizza places downtown, such as Gino’s East, Unos and Dues, and Giordano’s. Locals, though, prefer going further afield – the South Side is home to Beggar’s Pizza, Home Run Inn Pizza, and Connie’s Pizza. You could also have an Italian beef sandwich at Al’s Beef downtown or Mr. Beef On Orleans, in the River North neighborhood.

7. Chicago Picasso – Chicago is home to an impressive array of public art, including works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, and Anish Kapoor. The 50-foot tall Chicago Picasso in Daley Plaza is the first piece of public art in the downtown area and was a gift to the city by the eccentric artist. Up to now, there is still an ongoing debate about what the sculpture represents. Possible inspirations include a French model, a baboon, the Egyptian deity Anubis, and an Afghan hound. Whatever it is, though, the Chicago Picasso is a distinctive Chicago landmark, one that has appeared in films such as The Fugitive, The Blues Brothers, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

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7 Reasons To Travel To Denver This Summer

Denver is known as the Mile High City, and indeed, the sky’s the limit when it comes to Denver’s numerous attractions!

From new, exciting food hot spots to outdoor pursuits to literary pilgrimages, there are hundreds of reasons to climb up to the city in the middle of the High Plains.

Here are seven of the best reasons to visit Denver this summer.

1. Rock At Red Rocks Amphitheatre –There will be over 130 concerts in Denver this summer, with the epicenter of the city’s music scene, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, hosting acts as diverse as Dave Chapelle and Jon Stewart, Tenacious D, Colorado natives OneRepublic, Lionel Richie, Peter Frampton, Billie Eilish, My Morning Jacket, and The String Cheese Incident. If you’d rather stretch out and relax as the sun rises, the amphitheatre also hosts Yoga On The Rocks on Saturday mornings until mid-August.

2. Cherry Creek –Denver is known for its very active outdoor lifestyle, and its numerous parks and bike trails in neighborhoods like Cherry Creek are great places for running and hiking. Cherry Creek Reservoir, south of Denver, is the end-point of an 11.2-mile trail that runs south from Confluence Park in Denver’s LoDo district. The reservoir itself has a sandy swimming beach, camping facilities, and boat docks.

3. Denver’s Union Station is a fully-operational train station that features classic Beaux Arts architecture. It serves as the city’s link to California and Illinois through the Amtrak and is the terminus of the various city trains that serve the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area.

However, people now flock to Union Station for the food and drink. The Terminal Bar, built in the center of the station, offers an extensive collection of local beers. Mercantile Dining & Provisions, on the other hand, features local produce, including braised lamb Bolognese served with gnocchi.

4. The Denver Broncos are three seasons removed from winning Super Bowl 50 and wins have been hard to come by in the past two seasons, but that hasn’t stopped the city’s football fans from packing Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The Broncos rank fifth in the NFL in terms of average home game attendance, with more than 76,000 fans filling the stadium on game day. The stadium also has its own unique noise, called the “Mile High Thunder”, caused by fans stamping their feet on the steel floors.

5. Great American Beer Festival – Beer lovers should not miss the Great American Beer Festival, which often takes place in September. Over 600 breweries from all over the U.S. will have 3,000 beers on tap. If you don’t like crowds, perhaps you might want to join the 20-brewery Denver Beer Trail, featuring local breweries, including Coors and Wynkoop. In 2015 alone, 16 breweries opened in the city, which means Denver’s reputation as the craft beer capital of the world isn’t going away any time soon.

6. Larimer Square – Fans of literature will remember Denver as the setting for many of the Beat Generation’s shenanigans. Larimer Square, where Denver native Neal Cassady made his start as a literary legend, is no longer the run-down, bohemian hotspot it was when Jack Kerouac first met him, but landmarks like My Brother’s Bar, where Cassady, Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg used to eat and drink, still retain much of their old charm. In fact, the waiters might tell you that Kerouac himself sat on one of the existing bar stools. By the pay phone lies a letter written by Cassady to a friend, asking the latter to pick up his tab while he was doing his time.

7. Downtown Aquarium –Because of its location at the foothills of the Rockies, you wouldn’t think Denver would have a large aquarium of its own. Yet it does! The Downtown Aquarium is the largest aquarium between Chicago and California. It houses more than 500 species of fish and other aquatic life, including horseshoe crabs, sting rays, desert pupfish, and sea otters. In addition to marine life, the Downtown Aquarium also takes care of endangered Sumatran tigers.

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