The Chicago ‘L’ system has long been the way tourists and locals alike have travelled miles across the city, whether it be to Wrigley Field or downtown for work. Since 1999, there’s also been another use for the elevated tracks: as a way to learn about Chicago’s rich history. Chicago-L.org hosts tours via the ‘L’ tracks through various institutions, including the Chicago History Museum and the Chicago Architecture Foundation. No matter what the tour or what ‘L’ line your guide will take you on, each tour offers tidbits of history and architecture lessons as you ride the city’s public transportation system. While tour fares typically aren’t expensive (usually around $11-$16, and that includes the ‘L’ pass), be prepared to walk.
In a high-powered city like Washington, DC , political and corporate careers are not everyone’s cup of tea. The Kallinis sisters risked their life savings and gave up their corporate jobs in fashion and finance just to follow their dream of opening a bakery together. This city’s very first “cupcakery” opened on Valentine’s Day in 2008, became an overnight sensation, and ignited the exploding cupcake trend in Washington.
With a newer and bigger shop location, GC’s clear glass windows and refreshing white and pink décor marks the magic factory of moist, fluffy and absolutely the most adorable cupcakes. Fans and followers form the legendary cupcake queue on the corner of 33rd and M street daily just to get a taste. Taking a bite out of these designer cupcakes simply may not be enough, so make sure to check out the cupcake family’s drama on DC CUPCAKES on TLC.
Insider Tip: Secret flavor of the day is announced via twitter (http://twitter.com/gtowncupcake) daily – order the cupcake by the name and it’s free for the first 100 customers!
St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2011 – March 12, 2011 at noon: Chicago has a rich Irish background, and it comes to the forefront on St. Patrick’s Day. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the largest in the city, and held every year the Saturday before the holiday.
Experience the sights, lights and beauty of the DC holiday season on a moonlight tour of monuments. On-board you’ll see some of the city’s most popular monuments such as the Capitol Building, the White House, the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. The trolley makes 2 stops at the Lincoln Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this truly magnificent city as you join the professional tour guides for entertaining anecdotes and historical information along with a sprinkling of bewitching ghost stories of the spirits that haunt our nations capitol.
Exploring a new city can be overwhelming. Fortunately, sites like ours can help give you the inside tips for Philly hotspots. However, sometimes it is nice to have someone take you by the hand to help you really experience the city. Philadelphia Urban Adventures provides a knowledgeable fun team that offers a variety of tours. Every vacation deserves a few beers, so what not learn something along the way? The Philly On Tap Tour, run by Philadelphia Urban Adventures, takes you to the city’s most unique, friendly, and eclectic watering holes. The tour runs from 5pm-7pm, providing an unforgettable happy hour. Enjoy staple Philadelphia beers; learn about local breweries and the history behind popular drinking establishments in the city. You’ll quickly find out why Philadelphia is one of America’s best beer cities, and be ready in time for a night out on the town! Visit www.philadelphiaurbanadventures.com to book your tour!
Insiders Tip: Tours are unavailable on Sundays and Mondays, so keep that in mind when planning your next Philadelphia trip!
Don’t let the cold of the windy city keep you indoors. Instead have some outdoor fun with the Chicago park district’s polar adventure days on Dec 11, Jan 22 and Feb 26th on Northerly Island. The free series has live music, ice sculpture artists, a team of live polar huskies, birds of prey, hot cocoa and more. If there’s snow even better- join in the free snow shoe activities around the island.
For a little bit of Christmas charm that feels like you’ve stumbled into a small European village among Chicago’s big city, visit the Christkindlmarket in Daley plaza. At this German-American festival with handmade items you can cross some things off your gift list while sipping mulled wine out of a boot-shaped mug. Indulge in sweet treats like candied nuts and strudel. Be sure to check out the view of the Picasso sculpture and the city’s Christmas tree.
Lesley Abravanel knows her way around Miami and then some…comes with the territory. What does she do? What doesn’t she do. She’s the Miami Herald’s long running gossip/nightlife columnist/blogger (with column titles like Velvet Underground and Scene in the Tropics), editor of the food/drink blog Miami Eater, Miami listings editor for Black Book and author of guidebooks Frommer’s Florida and Frommer’s South Florida.
It’s no wonder Lesley is the perfect person to provide insider tips and faves about the city she knows so well.
What do you love about your city in the summer/fall?
What I truly love about summer and fall is as soon as summer is over, regardless of the temperature, natives tend to whip out the Uggs, the thigh high boots and the ski caps. It could be 100 degrees with a heat index of 120, but if it’s October, it’s boots and hats all the way.
What are some of your favorite neighborhoods? For eating? Museums? Nightspots?
Best Spot for Pictures
Checkout out the best part of downtown near the library, art museum, capitol, and city and county building. Here you’ll be able to take fabulous pictures of the capitol and the surrounding area. You’ll also get to see a 21 foot tall big red chair known as “The Yearling”. This fun piece is a must see and provides a great “Kodak Moment”.
Design Philadelphia is marking its sixth year with a city-wide celebration honoring the historic role of design in the region while showcasing the creative innovation yet to come. They will be teaming up with The University of the Arts during the nation’s largest festival of its kind. They aim to celebrate and promote Philadelphia as a design capital and destination.
Nearly 500 artists, professionals and students alike, will be represented in practically every design discipline, including automotive, product and interior design, graphic design, architecture, multi-media and urban planning. Events planned for Design Philadelphia 2010 include exhibitions, lectures, workshops and demonstrations to help shine a light on the city’s design scene and history.
The Fear Haunted House 10/8 – 10/31
Feel the fear at Navy Pier! Crazed clowns, zombies, monsters, vampires and werewolves are no longer complying with the Captain’s commands and the most feared creatures known to man have devised a plan to claw their way to freedom and avenge their capture. Enter if you dare!
Citybuzz Los Angeles blogger Jessica Ingber interviews Stacie Hall
How has the hills changed the way you view your city?
The Hills mainly focuses on Hollywood and the trendy places to go and hang out. Filming in different places really showed me there is a lot to do and see that’s not just clubs and glamour.
Was some of your favorite hang outs filmed on the hills? If so which ones?
The best place we filmed on the Hills was obviously Malibu for the summer. We were so fortunate to spend our days on the sand and have beach parties at night.
What do you love about your city?
I love that Los Angeles has it all. We have the city with cool restaurants and shops and only 20 miles from that is beautiful beaches. There’s not a lot of cities that have so many different things to do with very unique people.
What do you love about your city in the summer/fall?
Los Angeles has some of the most gorgeous weather. I love that everyone is very active riding bikes and going on hikes in the mountains.
What are some of your favorite neighborhoods? For eating? Museums? Nightspots?
I really like Hollywood and West Hollywood. I would highly recommend the Farmers Market for small restaurants that have a lot of character and have been around in Los Angeles the longest. The Griffith park observatory is also great and has great views of the city. My favorite Night spot is Teddy’s located in the Roosevelt hotel that has been around longer than most cubs and always draws a big crowd and is never too trendy.
What is your favorite place to shop in the city?
I really enjoy the flea markets and farmers markets. You can spend your weekends browsing antiques and finding really original stuff. There’s a great place to find fresh fruit and a lot of local business’s at the farmers market near the grove.
What inspires you about your city?
I feel really lucky to be around so much history and old Hollywood glamour. Los Angeles is one of the places people can only dream about going and making there dreams come true.
Do you have an insider tip for tourists visiting your city for the first time?
If you’re a first time visitor I recommend going to check out Hollywood and Highland were the man Chinese theater and the Hollywood stars are.
Are you a regular somewhere? Local hangout?
I like trying new places whenever I can but I cant seem to get away from Venice beach!!! There’s always so much to do there including roller blading and riding bikes.
Do you have a secret spot in the city (to unwind, get away, people watch, read a book, escape) and why?
One of the most peaceful places is the top of Runyon canyon. It’s a short hike up the mountain and has views all the way to the ocean.
The biggest electro party in new york city is girls & boys, the 2000 plus people party that features some of the biggest and most cutting edge names in dance music. Every friday in the grand ballroom at Webster Hall.
Kathy Sidell Trustman, owner of the Metropolitan Club in Chestnut Hill, the MET Bar and Grille in Dedham and Natick and the soon to be opened new MET concept on Newbury Street, recently shared with us her favorite city haunts.
She can often be seen at Neptune Oyster because they feature “excellent, spanking fresh briny oysters and quintessential New England seafood.” Some of her favorite dishes include the lobster roll with butter, “perfectly fried clams with house made tartar and the best oyster cracker ever. Simply heaven.”
When it comes to nightlife, Kathy enjoys lounging at Trina's Starlight Lounge where they have “passionate bartenders making pristine cocktails. I like the lounge vibe without the nightclub noise.”
As a restaurateur, Kathy knows the keys to her success lie in fresh ingredients. Where are her favorite places to shop around town? “Formaggio for cheese, High Rise for bread, Sofra for hummus bar and Flour for ginger cookies,” she said. “Simply the best food shops in the city for an amazing picnic!!”
Some of her most favorite days are spent on Boston Harbor on a boat. “Looking back at the city during magic hour,” she said. “The vantage point of the city as you move further away and the skyline starts to take shape and capture the majesty of the city and its icons like Rowes Wharf and the Clock Tower. Being on the water leaving the bustling city behind puts one's own life in perspective again. A welcomed pause. A deep breath. The sanctity and quiet of the relationship between ocean and land. These moments, this view reminds me of my dad.”
The goal of the Lincoln Center Festival is to bring to audiences something they could not see anywhere else in the world. In a city as culturally crazy as New York, this is a lofty task, but this festival always delivers- and this year is no exception. In 18 days there will be 10 premieres and debuts, and 45 performances from 12 countries in over seven venues across New York City.
The Lincoln Center Festival kicks off with the U.S. premiere of Musashi, a lavish production based on a legendary samurai story. Another highlight includes the works of Edgard Varese by Maestro Alan Gilbert and The New York Philharmonic. This festival is heralded by nearly every New York critic as one of summer’s highlights.
The capital city is the place to be on the 4th of July. Celebrations run all day throughout the city, beginning with activities at the White House Visitor Center early in the morning. Following that, don’t miss the parade of the military and marching bands down Constitution Ave or the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival that features dance performances as well as a large selection of international foods. You won’t want to miss the live concert by the National Symphony Orchestra and several pop artists on the West Lawn of the Capitol building. The performance is followed by a spectacular fireworks show against the city’s skyline that will certainly warm your hearts and inspire patriotic feelings. A busy day of celebrations to commemorate the birth of our nation!
Everyone these days wants a piece of the Obama touch in Chicago. His Hyde Park abode, Table 52 where he Valentine-wine & dined Michelle and of course, Michelle’s favorite boutique, Ikram. Well it’s easy to get a taste of all things Chicago plus Obama with The Obama Bike Tour by Bobby’s Bike Hike Bicycle Tours.
The tour brings riders through Hyde Park & Kenwood (to ooh and ahh over the mansions), includes political commentary with visits at the University of Chicago campus, Museum of Science & Industry, Obama’s current residence, his barbershop, and his b-ball court in Jackson Park.
If politics ain’t your thang, then the Lakefront Neighborhood Tour, City Lights at Night Tour or Kid’s Tour if you have rug rats, will probably suit you all the more.
Seeing as Chi-town was voted the most friendly biking city, you really have no reason not to discover the windy city a la two wheels! Even if you can’t bike to save your life – these tours are rated as “ridiculously easy” and “kindergarten easy!”
With over 100 performances in over a dozen places in the city, it’s safe to say the DC Jazz Festival is taking over the nation’s capital for the first two weeks of June. This is DC’s largest music festival and one of the most highly-anticipated events of the summer. Venues go from famous jazz joints like Georgetown’s Blues Alley to clubs like Tryst. Other events within the festival include the all-day jazz extravaganza- that’s free- at the Lisner Auditorium as well as the Jazz ‘N Families Fun Day and Jazz Under the Stars.
In a city where boutique hotels are emerging like roses from the rubble, it takes much more than a comfy bed for a boutique hotel to stand out. At the Glenn Hotel in downtown Atlanta, they are doing just that with spacious accommodations, complimentary wireless internet access, and the city’s first rooftop bar complete with unlimited views of the Atlanta skyline.
Apart from providing luxurious guest accommodations, the Glenn Hotel is trying to limit their carbon footprint by reducing overall energy usage. The location alone is walking distance from major city landmarks, which makes for great gas savings. The hotel itself is a historic landmark that was going to be demolished until investors chose to turn the eyesore into an eye-catcher.
After a night of Hawks magic at Phillips arena, a tour of the CNN center or even a day at Centennial Park, take a few steps over to the Glenn Hotel for dinner at 30 Tables- the hotel’s “Ode to Atlanta” with delectable southern treats.
Try one of the many packages available, including the Get Luckie package in which your reservation includes a lottery ticket.
Take a boat ride to and a tour through the small island full of rich history. Alcatraz was one of the first US forts on the west coast, an infamous federal penitentiary, and occupied by Native Americans for eighteen months. Alcatraz also has gardens, tide pools, and a view of the city like none other. For a highly entertaining and educational excursion, visit Alcatraz Island.
Soar to new heights in Chicago, an architectural wonderland where you can sing the blues, root for the Bears, shop the Magnificent Mile, dig into a deep dish pizza and finally come to rest at one of Marriott’s magnificent Chicago hotels. A blend of high-powered sports, international commerce and world-renowned culture. And whether you’re doing business in the heart of the Loop or visiting friends miles from the city center, you’ll find that Marriott’s Chicago hotels are designed with you in mind.