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Archive for the ‘Illinois’ Category

Oct
28

Halloween is approaching and spookiness is in the air, so we thought we’d bring you some of the country’s most notorious haunted hotels to consider for your next trip. Why settle for a plain old hotel stay when you could add apparitions, strange noises in the night, locking and unlocking doors, and more to the experience?

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans - Image credit: Flickr

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans - Image credit: Flickr

Check out these haunted spots from the Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend, WA to the land of voodoo and witchcraft itself, New Orleans, LA, and find the spot that’s right for your next journey!

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Oct
25

Every year, Frommer’s releases their must-do travel list, and it’s always sure to include at least a few eyebrow-raisers. Beirut, Lebanon? You might not know that it’s a sophisticated coastal city bustling with energy. Kansas City, MO? The world-class Kauffmann Center for the Performing Arts just opened, attracting some of the biggest names in dance and music.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Photo credit: Flickr

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Photo credit: Flickr

Check out the full list here for some other surprising – and not so surprising – travel ideas.

Jul
01

Fourth of July really snuck up on me this year, as it seems to do every year. If you’re in the same boat as me (read: have no idea what to do for the holiday), here is a list of great events and fireworks displays going on in some major U.S. cities.

Photo: ** Maurice **

Photo: ** Maurice **

San Francisco

Fourth of July Waterfront Celebration
Head down to the touristy, but always fun, Pier 39 for a day of clam chowder in bread bowls, free live music (80s hits and soft rock), street performers and, of course, the city’s annual fireworks display. You can’t really beat watching fireworks over the San Francisco Bay.

For more information, visit www.pier39.com/Events/events.htm.

Las Vegas
For the more adult crowd, hotels and casinos galore will be featuring fireworks displays, from Caesars Palace to the Las Vegas Hilton to Mandalay Bay and many others, as you can easily imagine. Parties are also abundant and many feature celebrity hosts, DJs or performers.

For more information, visit www.vegas.com/july4th/.

Los Angeles

July 4th Fireworks Spectacular
Have a star-studded Fourth of July at the Hollywood Bowl. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket and watch LA’s largest fireworks displays. Add in performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, special guest Vince Gill and more, and you’ll have a rockin’ Fourth of July celebration.

For more information, visit www.hollywoodbowl.com.

Seattle
Beer fanatics be aware, July 2 to July 4 is the Seattle International Beer Fest! With approximately 130 different beers from 15 counties, Beer Fest is a great place to spend the earlier hours of Fourth of July. By nightfall, you’ll be warm and content watching the fireworks over Lake Union.

For more information on Lake Union’s fireworks display, visit http://family4th.org/.

Chicago
Head down to the Windy City’s Navy Pier to check out three simultaneous fireworks shows. In addition to downtown, the fireworks will also be visable from the north and sides of Chicago.

For more information, visit www.navypier.com/things2do/fireworks.html

Washington D.C.

The National Independence Day Parade

For those looking to really connect with the true meaning of Independence Day, The National Independence Day Parade is a great event to attend. The annual event takes place at 11:45 a.m. on Constitution Avenue, from 7th to 17th, and includes invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams, VIP’s, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants.

For more information, visit www.july4thparade.com

New York City
Macy’s Annual Fourth of July Fireworks

Head to the Hudson River for the nation’s largest fireworks display—Macy’s Annual Fourth of July Fireworks. More than 40,000 fireworks shells at a rate of 1,500 per minute will quell any pyrotechnic lover’s desire to see elaborate and beautiful explosions in the sky.

For more information, visit www.nyctourist.com/macys_fireworks.htm.


Boston

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular dates back 37 years and continues to be one of the most beloved Fourth of July celebrations in the United States. Featured guests include Toby Keith, Craig Ferguson, Keith Lockhart and more. So head down to Charles River on the 3rd and the 4th to enjoy the concerts and the amazing fireworks display.

For more information, visit www.july4th.org/.

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Jun
29

Happy Fourth of July and congrats to Gina L. from New Orleans, our newest winner of Trip of the Week and recipient of a Frommer’s day by day guide to Italy.

Gina built this trip to Chicago on TravelMuse to enjoy with her fiancé. Her mother is meeting them for the last few days to celebrate her birthday on the ninth. There are definitely some great dining spots on this itinerary—you two must be foodies.

mp and gi(2)

Trip of the Week winner Gina and her fiancé

Why are you taking this Trip?

We are taking this trip because Michael has a conference, we love to travel and vacation, and we just got engaged!

What are you most excited about seeing/doing?

Being from New Orleans, we are complete foodies, so we are excited to go to one of the few other places in the United States that has lots of food choices. This will be my first time to Chicago. We love the arts, culture and city life. I am excited to see Millennium Park and really want to embrace Chicago culture and do things the way a local would do them.

Any other interesting facts/ considerations about the trip?

I’m hoping that it’s not as humid as it is here in New Orleans. It will also be nice to get away from the sadness of the oil spill.

Have fun in Chicago and congrats on your engagement!

*****

Tell us about your Trips and you could be featured in Trip of the Week–win one of the new Frommer’s Day by Day Guide Books and be entered to win a FREE, luxury Trip for 2 to Waikiki!

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May
25

Congratulations,  Carrie, Montara, Calif. Our first winner of Trip of the Week and recipient of a Frommer’s day by day guide to Hawaii.

Carrie and her daughter are about to embark on a trip from Chicago to California and recently built out this fantastic Road Trip together on TravelMuse!


Trip Chicago to California

I asked Carrie a few questions about her upcoming trip:

Why are you taking this trip?

My 19-year-old daughter has been less than enthusiastic about the prospect of getting her driver’s license. This is in no small part because my car is difficult to learn on since it has a standard transmission. When my aunt decided that she wasn’t going to use her car anymore, we jumped on the opportunity to buy it. Not only does her car have an automatic transmission, but it’s only $1,000. The catch? She lives in Chicago and we are in California. With a cry of, “Road trip!” we decided to fly one way to Chicago and then see as many sights as we could, both big and small, as we drove the newly acquired car back to our home in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

What are you most excited about seeing/doing on your trip?

Although we’ll be going to some big attractions — Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons — I’m most excited about visiting the campy roadside attractions like the SPAM museum (the canned meat, not the electronic junk mail) in Austin, Minn.; the Potato Expo, Blackfoot in Idaho (motto: We give taters to Out-of-Staters); and the almost indescribable Thunder Mountain Park in Imlay, Nev. My daughter has a great sense of humor so I know that these offbeat attractions will be the foundation inside jokes and for stories that we tell and retell.

Any other interesting facts you care to share?

Normally, I’d plan a road trip that allowed for more spontaneity — stopping when we were tired and finding cheap motels along the way. But we are working with some firm deadlines. The day before we leave my daughter is taking her last final exam and has to move out of her college dorm. The day after we arrive home, my daughter is flying to Armenia where she will spend six weeks doing a summer program at an archeological dig site.  The upside about having this trip very planned is that we will be able to do things that require reservations, such as going white water rafting in the Grand Tetons and taking a Segway Tour in Chicago. The downside is that not only are we spending only one day in places that most people spend a week visiting, but we will be feeling the pressure of racing against the clock since we must make it home in time for her to make her flight the next day!

Wishing you safe and happy travels, Carrie!

*****

Tell us about your Trips and you could be featured in Trip of the Week–win one of the new Frommer’s Day by Day Guide Books and be entered to win a FREE, luxury Trip for 2 to Waikiki!

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