America is loaded with iconic landmarks, thrilling theme parks, zoos, aquariums, national parks, and so much more. You’ve come to the right place to discover the best of the US:
Orlando, FL- Millions of families flock to the theme park capital of the world each year. The Universal Orlando Resort has two theme parks, three on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex. Did you know that Cypress Gardens closed in late 2009 to be tranformed into a brand new themepark? That’s right, Legoland Florida, which is currently scheduled to open in the fall of 2011. The fifth Legoland in the world will be the world’s biggest Legoland once completed. A Legoland park in Carlsbad, California, which opened back in 1999, is the only Legoland park currently located in the US. But what about Disney World, are they getting a new land? No, but you could almost say that after you here about the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom Theme Park! Fantasyland is currently undergoing a major expansion which is scheduled to open in 2013, although 2 other phases will open in 2012. This expansion/ makeover for the park will actually take over Toontown Fair. But some of your favorite attractions in this land will be moved to different parts of the park. Experience Disney’s classic films like never before. Disney is creating all new attractions to add this beloved land, which is already the parks signature land, the place we dream of visiting! Dumbo the Flying Elephant will get it’s own new mini land with the addition of a second attraction, you’ll be able to ride a new Little Mermaid ride, Under the Sea with Ariel, a mini Beauty and the Beast Land, a Cinderella attraction, a Sleeping Beauty attraction and Tinker Bell’s Pixie Hollow. Visit the Orlando page to learn more.
Las Vegas, NV- Many people have a hard time understanding why I consider Vegas as the second best city in the country (after Orlando). But few of these people have been in recent years to see how it has become a world class destination for the entire family. They are known for their lavish, highly themed hotels, many of which feature their own attractions, gambling, giant pools, gourmet restaurants, shopping, broadway-style shows and much more. Vegas is full of exciting attractions, many of which are surprisingly free like the world renowned Fountains of Bellagio, Sirens of TI, to the Lion Habitat at MGM Grand. Other attractions range from an indoor themepark to a tropical dolphin habitat. Most are within walking distance of each other as well (no rental car nessesary). CityCenter is hottest, newest attraction in town, built at a total cost of approximately $11 billion, which opened in December 2009. Vegas has it all! Visit the Las Vegas page to learn more.
New York City, NY- The largest city in the United States has many world renowned historic landmarks including the Statue of Liberty and The Empire State Building. Step into the heart of the action in Times Square, full of many great restaurants, hotels, and attractions. A great place for lodging because so much is within walking distance. Be sure to catch a broadway show. Visit the hundreds of museums. Come in the summer to get warmer weather, in November to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or for New Year’s Eve at Times Square. Snow or sun, consider which part of the year you would rather visit. The Big Apple Begins has never been better so start planning you next vacation today!
Los Angeles, CA- From seeing the stars to taking a walk on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or taking a short trip out of LA to the many nearby theme parks, water parks, Aquariums and zoos in southern California, SoCal is sure to entertain you! Visit some of the most popular theme parks in the country including Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, Universal Studios Hollywood, Seaworld San Diego, Legoland California, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm. Speaking of theme parks, have you heard the latest about the $1.1 billion makeover/ expansion that Disney’s California Adventure is currently undergoing? All of the construction began in 2008 and is to be completed in 2012. Considering that the park was built for $600 million and is getting a makover that is nearly double that amount, you can expect some MAJOR attractions and a brand new land, Carsland. Carsland will have three attractions and span 12 acres. The first, Radiator Springs Racers, will be an E-Ticket attraction using the technology of Epcot’s Test Track. It will be among the most expensive rides ever built at an estimated US$200 million! The other two attractions will be smaller, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, a tea-cup like attraction, and Luigi’s Roamin’ Tires, which looks like 1960s Tomorrowland “Flying Saucers” ride. The park makeover will include a new Little Mermaid themed ride, a complete makeover and retheme to the park entrance area, a night time water show (similar to Fantasmic), a Paradise Pier makeover (which has already been completed) and so much more! Or see the sights and smell of Hollywood at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Kodak Theater, Madame Tussauds Hollywood, the Hollywood Museum, and The Hollywood Sign. See your favorite TV show taped live, putting you right in front of the stars of your favorite show for FREE. Visit the Los Angeles page to learn more.
Chicago, IL- Great parks, food, museums, architecture and nightlife come together to form a slightly less hectic version of NYC. See the top two tallest buildings in the United States, which include the world famous, 108-story Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and the 98-story Trump International Hotel and Tower, which opened in 2009. Attractions include Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, and the oldest free zoo in the country, Lincoln Park Zoo. Be sure to get a bird’s eye view of the city from atop the Willis Tower, at Skydeck Chicago, or at the John Hancock Observatory. You can save 50% off your visit to the windy city with the Chicago CityPASS.
Washington, DC- The capital of the USA is one of the most important cities to the modern world. Numerous museums, monuments and public parks are a large part of the tourist scene to be found in this historical metropolis. These include the White House, the US Capitol Building, The nearly 20 Smithsonian Museums, The Holocaust museum, Arlington National Cemetery, and the National Zoo, many of which are free. It’s only an hour drive to Baltimore, 2.5 hour drive to Williamsburg and a four-hour drive to New York City
San Diego, CA- A mild climate, two of the best zoos in the world: San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park, numerous top notch museums, and an ideal location near many world-class theme parks such as SeaWorld, Legoland and only a few hours away from LA and Disneyland puts San Diego at number seven on this list. Stay at Hotel del Coronado for the ultimate experience.
Atlanta, GA- See whale sharks, dolphins, beluga whales, e to the largest aquarium in the world, The World of Coke. Outside of the central citty you will find one of a kind stone Mountain and don’t miss the pandas at the ever popular Zoo Atlanta.
Houston, TX- Largest city in Texas, fourth largest city in the USA, star of the lone-star state, Houston needs to be on everyone’s bucket list. Space Center Houston is perhaps the most popular attraction in town, which comes at no surprise because there’s nothing else like it in the world. The Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH), The Downtown Aquarium and Menil Collection are other must-sees on our list. Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, one of the best water parks in the nation, is located one hour outside of Houston. Located just 3 hours from San Antonio and nearly 4 hours to Dallas. “Space City“ is well worth a visit, so what are you waiting for cowboy?
Boston, MA- Historic charm is plentiful but high rises aren’t so much, in this large city. Stroll down a cobble stone street, take in the history and admire the beauty. Be sure to take a walk around Harvard University, the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Freedom Trail, and the nation‘s oldest botanical garden, Boston Public Garden. Located 4 hours outside of NYC.
Miami, FL- Southern Florida is packed with wonderful, world class attractions. Miami is home to Lolita the killer whale, dolphins, sea lions and and 100 other species of sea life, endangered Florida manatees and sea turtles and so much more at the Miami Seaquarium. Visit the Miami MetroZoo, one of the top zoos in the nation. At 740 acres, you could spend the entire day discovering all 400 species and 1,200 animals including Lowland Gorillas, Orangutans, chimpanzees, African Elephants, otters, Meerkats, Tigers, jaguars, river otters, koalas, and girafees. Take a ride on the carousel or even a camel! Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was completed in 1916 and remains as one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s the former winter estate of agricultural industrialist James Deering (1859-1925). This 180 acre, North Italian sixteenth-century style mansion is a must see. In 1994 it was designated a National Historic Landmark. Miami visitors also have the Everglades right at their finger tips (about 35 miles), the Florida Keys nearby, and Orlando at a driving distance of under 4 hours (about 235 miles). The Everglades are are a true natural gem, covering 1,506,539 acres, making it the third largest national park in the contiguous 48 states. Explore 1.5 million acres of swamps, saw-grass prairies and sub-tropical jungles. View 14 rare and endangered species, including the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther and the West Indian Manatee. Head to Key West, the furthest key from Miami. Drive across the 7 mile bridge to approch a tropical paradise like no other. You can take a cruise, drive or fly in to Key Wests very own airport, Key West International Airport. The small city of key west is a heaven to it’s residents and visitors due to its distinctive form of architecture offering a select color palete and 18th century charm makes a walk through this city unlike any other. Where else can you get the big city feel and the small city charm? Take it slow at the beach or visit the attractions like the Key West Aquarium and the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory. Visit the Miami page to learn more.
San Francisco, CA- A six hour drive from LA brings the sight of the iconic Golden Gate bridge, ’Friscos most famous landmark, which offers spectacular views of the bay and city skyline. Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-see. Put on your tennis shoes to go for a windy, walk of a life time. Be sure to squeeze a boat ride over to historical Alcatraz island (a.k.a. “the rock”) into your schedule, to learn about this one of a kind military post that later became a prison. Residents rave about the weather that‘s never too hot or too cold
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