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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.
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."
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.
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.
Quebec City may be the only fortified city north of Mexico, but it welcomes visitors with open arms. Explore the Citadel, where you might catch Canadian troops staging a military ceremony. As for food, you could splurge on afternoon tea at the Chateau Frontenac, or do as the locals do and snack on poutine—french fries with gravy and cheese curds.
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.
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.
This canal-laced city is a far cry from its rowdy, party image of the past. Today, following renovation and renewal, upmarket stores and restaurants have replaced fast-food stands and T-shirt shops. But the city's biggest draws are its stretch of gorgeous beaches, great swimming, nearly year-round sunshine and close-to-ideal climate. For great shopping, dining and nightlife, you can't go wrong at Las Olas Riverfront, a waterfront entertainment centre with top-notch clothing and jewellery shops, bars and free entertainment. The city has a host of family-friendly options, such as Everglades Holiday Park and the Museum of Discovery and Science. With the network of canals and waterways, boats are part of the Lauderdale lifestyle, and tourists can get in on the act by hiring a boat or hailing a water taxi. There's a lot to do here, but make sure and spend some quiet time just soaking up the sun or strolling along the beach at dusk.