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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.
Welcome to bustling San Jose, where Silicon Valley meets Spanish history and modern edifices sit alongside meticulously restored 19th-century buildings. Such is the contrast of this city, rich in tradition and, thanks to hi-tech industry, just plain rich. Five-star hotels and fine restaurants line the streets of the restored downtown area, and the cultural scene is thriving with museums, theatre and art to rival any world-class hub. Don't miss the Tech Museum of Innovation, an exploration of Silicon Valley and its impact on the area. History buffs will relish the old mansions and can delve into the city's past at the History Museum of San Jose. Save time for a round of golf or the locals' other favourite pastime, sipping coffee and people-watching at a crowded cafe.
If you're into wine-tasting, a weekend in Santa Rosa is sure to be satisfying. But this region of magnificent redwoods, rolling hills and ocean vistas has a great mix of other pastimes as well. Located right in the centre of the Sonoma County wine region, Santa Rosa is home to several world-class vineyards with rich histories and beautiful surroundings. In June and July the Matanzas Creek Winery offers visitors a chance to enjoy its aromatic fields of lavender, but its Estate Gardens and spectacular scenery attract tourists all year round. If golf is your passion, grab your clubs and spend a relaxing afternoon at Fountaingrove or one of the other popular courses. Young and old alike will delight in the Charles M. Schulz Museum, which chronicles the evolution and history of Snoopy and the "Peanuts" gang. With wine or without, a trip to Santa Rosa is one you'll never forget.
Vines, wines and the people who love them are central to the economy of Napa Valley. Other treats for the taste buds are in store, too, in the form of local olive oils, tomatoes, cheeses and mustard. The other senses are catered for with a vibrant visual arts scene. Hire a car or book a taxi or limousine to travel safely between sights. The Napa Valley Wine Train offers an unusual way to experience the views and vintages. A relaxing array of spas and mud baths and the Old Faithful geyser are attractions in Calistoga.
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.
Beautiful Northern California has many fabulous destinations, and the town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County is at the top of the list. Small town charm, beautiful landscapes and outstanding weather are just a few of the trademark qualities that make Healdsburg so popular. Healdsburg combines five-star cuisine, rolling hills and world-acclaimed wine growing appellations for an experience you will never forget. If you love the vibrant outdoors and colorful festivals, you will love Healdsburg. In April, you can help harvest roses and distill them into fragrant rose oil and rosewater as part of the Classic Perfume Rose Harvest & Distillation Tours. An annual sea food dinner at the Healdsburg Fire Department is also in April. From February to June, enjoy the "Russian River Good Old Days" exhibit at the Healdsburg Museum. And on the first Friday of the month, Williamson Wines sponsors an Epicurean Dinner at the Dry Creek Kitchen at Hotel Healdsburg.
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.)
As North America’s northernmost large metropolis, Edmonton is a fascinating study in contrasts — a vibrant urban centre in the heart of the wilderness. It’s a city that’s never been afraid to do things a little differently, as visitors discover through close encounters with free-roaming bison, a shopping mall that spans more than 48 city blocks, and a dynamic arts and culture scene that embraces more than 40 annual festivals, including the continent’s biggest and wildest Fringe Theatre Festival.
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.
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.