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Did You Know? New York City

 

CentralPark82-600x489In the photo above, you’re looking at Central Park. Those shacks occupy what is now the Great Lawn. The 35-acre Lower Reservoir was filled in to create the Lawn, but plans stalled during the height of the Great Depression, and people who lost their homes created a shanty town here (also known as a “Hooverville,” after the president widely blamed for the Depression).

The Great Lawn today:

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Things to do in New York City

Dig This: Playing with Power in Vegas

What's the most power you've ever had at your fingertips? A day at Dig This in Las Vegas will surely top the list: you can actually operate bulldozers and excavators yourself, shifting...

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Did You Know? Philadelphia

Eniac

The world’s first fully functional computer was the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), invented at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon its completion in 1946, the massive machine weighed over 30 tons, and it burned through several of its vacuum tubes each day, resulting in lots of downtime. And it didn’t even have Minesweeper, so be grateful for the computer you have today!

Things to do in Philadelphia

4 Pairs of Famous Streets with the Same Name

The USA is a creative country, but creativity has limits! We’ve had to reuse names here and there. Let’s take a trip through America and compare a few of these sister streets that share names.

Canal Street

In Manhattan, Canal Street is a broad thoroughfare that divides SoHo from Little Italy. It’s infamous as a marketplace full of street vendors selling DVDs and “designer” merchandise of, shall we say, questionable provenance. Bring cash!

There’s also a famous Canal Street in New Orleans, itself a boundary street that separates the French Quarter from the Central Business District. Streetcar tracks run through the center of the street, providing a public transportation route between City Park and the Mississippi River.

Embarcadero

Little-heard on the East Coast, this name meaning “wharf” in Spanish is an important part of some California cities. In San Francisco, it runs along the waterfront of Telegraph Hill and South Beach.

In San Diego, the Embarcadero is the area along the harbor where some noteworthy nautical sights can be seen. The ships in the collection of the Maritime Museum of San Diego are docked here, including the majestic Star of India, and the long-serving USS Midway is currently serving out its retirement here as a museum ship.

Ocean Drive

To some, Ocean Drive will forever be the stretch of Miami Beach that is packed with buildings made in the Art Deco architectural style. Tours of the area are popular among architectural buffs, and the nightlife and shopping found there are a brilliant bonus!

In New Jersey, Ocean Drive has a different meaning: it’s a chain of smaller roads that run along the coast from Cape May up to Atlantic City. Crossing over several bridges along the way, this is a drive with pleasant seaside views aplenty.

Market Street

Philadelphia‘s Market Street is awash in history: Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence here, and the street was also home to Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and John Adams. Go for the history, stay for the shopping mall and convention center!

Market Street in San Francisco is a wide artery that stretches from Twin Peaks to the waterfront. It used to be swimming with cable cars; today, faux streetcars above and a subway line below keep it a humming and vital part of the city’s everyday life.

Four Hotels Worth a Visit (Even If You Can’t Afford to Stay There!)

Seeing a city’s notable buildings is often at the top of a tourist’s list: the skyscrapers, the museums, the galleries… And yet, even when they’re just as famous as any other building, hotels are often forgotten on the itinerary. It doesn’t matter if a room there is too posh for your pocketbook: most great hotels offer other experiences that are easier on the wallet, but still let you soak in the grand surroundings.

1. Chicago: The Drake

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The prime lakeside location of the Drake ensures great views, but when you enter the Palm Court for high tea, you won’t care to look anywhere but the interior. The all-white décor is elegance itself, and on Wednesdays through Sundays there’s live harp music to add another layer of atmosphere.

More things to do in Chicago

2. New York: The Plaza

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Gatsby and company could afford to rent a room at the Plaza and drink the afternoon away. Maybe you can’t, but you could probably treat yourself to a $23 cocktail at its Champagne Bar. It’s the Plaza, after all – go a little nuts!

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3. San Francisco: The Fairmont

This historic Nob Hill hotel boasts a stately exterior and lobby, but inside awaits a bold contrast in style: the Tonga Room is a Polynesian-themed bar and restaurant that skirts the line between kitsch and class, and it exemplifies the post-World War II tiki craze.

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4. Miami: Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Decadence, Miami-style, is a big reason why this hotel has been featured in several films like Goldfinger and Scarface. After lingering in the lobby, go for an Italian dinner at Scarpetta, which was famous among local gourmands even before chef Nina Compton became a finalist on Top Chef.

More things to do in Miami

Did You Know? Boston

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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is the site of the largest art theft in history. It happened on March 18, 1990: two thieves posing as police officers stole 12 paintings worth a total of $500 million, including works by Rembrandt and Degas. The case remains unsolved to this day.

Things to do in Boston

“What Is There To Do Around Here?” Here’s Your Answer!

There are always new things to do, and we love finding them for you! Here are some of our favorite new activities around the USA!

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Did You Know? Charleston

440px-Henrietta_De_Beaulieu_Dering_Johnston_-_Henriette_Charlotte_Chastaigner_(Mrs._Nathaniel_Broughton)_-_Google_Art_Project

The earliest female artist in America, that we know of, was Henrietta Johnston. The daughter of French Huguenots, she lived in London and Ireland before settling in Charleston in the early 1700s with her husband, who was appointed rector of a church there. She used pastels to create striking portraits, several of which survive in local museums, and her remains rest in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.

Things to do in Charleston

Did You Know? Washington, D.C.

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When you visit Arlington National Cemetery (actually located in Virginia, not D.C.) you’re getting more history than you bargained for: the grounds were once the estate of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and it was chosen as the site of the cemetery in part to make sure that he could never return home after the war.

Things to do in Washington, D.C.

Walking Tours with Personality in Boston and San Francisco!

When it comes to walking tours, an excellent guide is just as important as the city he’s showing you! We’ve found a couple of the nation’s most shining personalities in tourism to share with you today. Pay a visit and experience a tour with charisma to spare!

Boston, MA: Politically Incorrect North End Tour

This isn’t just any food tour. Your guide, Anthony Gesualdi, is a lifelong resident and an opinionated former restaurateur. This, plus his pride in his Italian heritage, makes him an especially qualified guide to Boston’s Little Italy, and he’s not afraid to tell you what he really thinks of the restaurants in the neighborhood. Are you ready to get real?

San Francisco, CA: SK Morton’s Lousy San Francisco Walking Tour

The hilarious SK Morton is at work on a book called I Left My Heart In San Francisco and All I Got Was This Lousy Rash, and he brings the same information and offbeat sense of humor to his walking history tours of the City by the Bay. From Downtown to Chinatown and beyond, SK is your go-to guy for a laugh and some local knowledge.

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