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Oakland, in the hub of the Bay Area, is both historic and modern. Visitors will find a little bit of everything in this diverse metropolis, from the picturesque waterfront to expansive hills. Explore Oakland's growing arts, entertainment and food scene or enjoy recreational opportunities like hiking, sailing and biking. Root for one of the three professional sports teams or take a tour of a historic landmark. The city is easily accessible through Oakland International Airport, train, automobile, BART, bus and ferry.
The counter-culture, flower power centre of the 60s, bohemian Berkeley has evolved into a culinary and cultural travel scene. Shift into low gear and people-watch along quirky Telegraph Avenue while checking out the bookstores and cafes. After strolling through the UC Berkeley campus, the Berkeley Rose Garden and the Downtown Arts District, head into the hills for an outdoor adventure in Tilden Park or cruise down to the waterfront park, where the San Francisco skyline sparkles across the bay.
A mere 45-minute drive from San Francisco lies Half Moon Bay, an idyllic enclave and truly the perfect place to spend some time away from the big city. Horseback ride along a scenic beach, play golf on a spectacular course overlooking the ocean or browse through the numerous shops and art galleries in the historic section. If you decide to stay, as many do, treat yourself to a delicious dinner at any of the town's fine restaurants. Then check into an enchanting bed and breakfast, a charming inn or boutique hotel. Your Half Moon Bay experience will not be soon forgotten.
In Sonoma, you can go wine-tasting… or cheese-tasting… or olive oil-tasting… or just let the chefs of the area’s renowned restaurants put everything together for you. Then burn off some of that good food and wine by hiking or biking through redwood forests.
Here’s your day in Calistoga: Yoga. Massage. Spa lunch. Hike. Wine-tasting. Facial. Mud bath. Gourmet dinner (with more wine). Dip in a mineral pool. Does it get more relaxing than a spa town built around natural springs in the middle of wine country? We don't think so.
The quintessential California beach town of Santa Cruz! It was here that surfing was first brought to the mainland by Hawaiian royalty. Home to the legendary Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined downtown area, and the historic Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, which stretches out a half-mile into the waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Other highlights include UC Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, and nearby redwood forests.
California's capital city is often overlooked by tourists seeking out better known destinations in other corners of the state. Look again: Sacramento offers a range of exciting, educational and historic attractions sure to entertain all. Families will want to check out the cheetahs, jaguars and crocodiles at the Zoo while political buffs should head to the state Capitol, which features a park and museum on California history, or the Governor's Mansion. Anyone with an interest in trains will enjoy the Railroad Museum's massive collection of antique locomotives. Everyone will enjoy the restaurants and shops of historic Old Sacramento on the city's lovely waterfront.
Is there any possible way Las Vegas could not be on our "best nightlife" list? The only way we could possibly omit it is on a technicality—since you can do pretty much anything 24/7 in Vegas, it might be wrong to call it "nightlife."
What happens when a "gassy" Englishman rows into town feeling thirsty? A pub is born. And from that a city—in this case Vancouver. Though the pubs are plentiful, food and drink aren’t the only things to take in during your trip. In its 150 years, Vancouver has grown into a cosmopolitan city nestled in the great outdoors. Enjoy the snow-capped mountains, waterfront forests, cityside beaches, Olympic history and the world’s highest suspension bridge. Hipsters welcome. (Don’t worry, they don’t bite.)
New Orleans is full of life—but with a laid-back energy that sets it apart from other cities. You’ll wanna soak it all in: impromptu jazz performances up and down Frenchmen Street, the ding of the St. Charles Streetcar, moss-draped trees in the famous Garden District…even its gothic, above-ground cemeteries. (The city’s said to be one of the most haunted in America.) For some, NOLA will always be all about Bourbon Street, but for travellers looking to take it slow, the city’s distinct blend of cultures—including Creole and Cajun—means there’s tons to see, explore, and yes, eat.
We've heard Toronto described as "New York City run by the Swiss," and it's true—you can find world-class theatre, shopping and restaurants here, but the sidewalks are clean and the people are friendly. The best place to start is literally at the top—the CN Tower, the tallest freestanding structure in the Western Hemisphere.
We won't lie: Niagara Falls is uber-touristy. There are wax museums and a Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, and if it's a fast-food chain, you can probably find it here. But even the most jaded hipster shouldn't pass up a chance to visit this town, because the Falls themselves are spectacular.
From the Magic Kingdom to magical spa treatments, Orlando sparkles with the promise of adventure. Spend a day exploring the world-famous Disney theme parks or screaming your head off on a Universal Studios roller coaster. For a less adrenaline-pumping afternoon, enjoy the quiet natural beauty of the Harry P. Leu Gardens or enjoy a seaweed scrub at a luxury day spa. Savor fresh and local ingredients at one of Orlando’s James Beard-nominated restaurants.
Ottawa is a compact, clean, cleverly planned centre of culture and politics. And it's an ideal choice for a weekend getaway. Start downtown at the architecturally stunning National Gallery of Canada, and don't miss the Canadian Nature Museum and the National Aviation Museum. Rideau Canal offers boating in the summer and ice-skating in the winter. Gatineau Park attracts cyclists and walkers, while Byward Market blends old and new Ottawa.
Montreal, c’est si bon! This French-speaking city is considered the cultural capital of Canada, and is a cosmopolitan celebration of Québécois style. A horse-drawn carriage ride around the cobblestone streets and grand buildings of Vieux-Montréal will give you a taste of European flavour. The Basilique Notre-Dame is a confection of stained glass, and the Plateau Mont-Royal district will delight you with its quaint boutiques and cafés. Dig in to a massive plate of poutine to fuel up for a tour of the epic Olympic Park.
The first time you go to New York, go ahead and be a sight-seer—everyone should visit the Statue of Liberty, the Met, Times Square, etc. But on a return trip, pick a neighbourhood and go deep. You’ll find hole-in-the-wall bars, great delis, quirky shops… exploring the non-touristy side of New York is an incredibly rewarding experience for a traveller.