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Broken Bow

A population of 4,000 call quaint, quiet Broken Bow, Oklahoma home. This McCurtain County gem is nestled in the Southeast corner of the state, in the foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains. It is a wonderful place to raise children, start a business, or visit for a week-long stay or a quick weekend jaunt. A nature lover’s dream, Broken Bow Lake and Beavers Bend State Park offer acres of national forest land, clear running rivers, and woodland animals. A year-round popular destination, Broken Bow sparkles in the winter and is a place to have an adventure in the great outdoors spring through fall. Before we dive into the list of things to do in Broken Bow, let’s learn a bit about the history of this area.

Beaver's Bend Lake in Broken Bow Oklahoma.

Beaver’s Bend Lake in Broken Bow Oklahoma.

History of Broken Bow

The history of Broken Bow begins in earnest with the Choctaw Indians, weary from their journey along the “Trail of Tears”, settled here. They noticed the clean waters and wooded forests and knew they could make Broken Bow a home. They originally called it “Con-Chito” and built a village in what is now downtown. Their influence is felt throughout the town and McCurtain County as a whole, as they lived here for 75 years.

The beauty of the area as well as the abundance of harvestable forests also appealed to the pioneer lumbermen, Herman and Fred Dierks of the Choctaw Lumber Company. These men from Broken Bow, Nebraska, purchased the land in 1911 and named the community after their old home. The original town, consisting of 230 acres, was platted soon thereafter and the Dierks sawmill was one of the largest in the US.

The Dierks family built up the area in fact with many generous donations (like land, hospitals, schools, and more) and pioneered the way for other small mills to start up in the area. The manufacturing industry continued to grow in the area, bringing jobs and settlers – all the while growing the town into what it is today.

Broken Bow is beautiful no matter the season, with plenty of things to do.

The top things to do in Broken Bow

From trail hiking to horseback riding to a slew of delicious eateries – there is plenty to see and do in Broken Bow, OK.

Explore the great outdoors in Broken Bow

Beavers Bend State Park

If you and your family love outdoor activities and getting in touch with nature, you can find everything – everything! – in Beavers Bend State Park. Canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, paddleboats and mini golf are just a few of the activities you’ll find in the area. It is one of Oklahoma’s most popular areas for tourists and locals alike, with good reason. The winding roads provide beautiful vistas of pine forests. Tennis, volleyball, picnic areas, hundreds of miles of hiking trails and a massive, crystal-clear lake (see Broken Bow Lake below) are all accessible within the park. There is even a grocery store, restaurant, gift shop, and an amphitheater within the limits. Bring ALL the family members along, because leashed pets are welcome here.

Broken Bow Lake

Nine miles northeast of Broken Bow you’ll find one of the best attractions in McCurtain County – Broken Bow Lake. It is incredibly scenic and its close proximity to Beavers Bend State Park makes the entire area a must-visit. There are hiking trails, fishing spots, boating, canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving, and plenty of places to relax. This lake has 180 miles of shoreline and you’d be shocked that it is often missed, tucked away in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. It is the ideal depth for smallmouth bass fishing and the number of small islands in the area make for funs tops on a canoe or boat.

Glover River

This unspoiled river runs through most of McCurtain County and is totally untamed, meaning no dams block its course. It is a bit remote and difficult to navigate for kayakers and canoers, but it is popular all the same. It starts its trek in the southwest corner of the Kiamichi Mountains, parallels Hwy 259 until it flows into the Little River, and turns off to the east. When the river is low, rocks, logs, and low falls make for a difficult float, and when the river is up, the journey is very dangerous.

Mountain Fork River

You’ll want to settle down in the lower portion of this river which offers twelve miles of year-round trout fishing, not to mention extra fishing space at its tributaries from the Broken Bow dam downstream to US-70 bridge. Those who don’t fish love to canoe, kayak, or gently float down the river in an inner tube during the warm weather months. There are about five miles of the Lower Mountain Fork River within Beavers Bend State Park, where boat access is unlimited.

River Man Trail Horseback Rides

Authentic Western horseback riding from trail bosses who have a combined 40 years of experience. Explore the Ouachita Mountains and cross creeks with this company (a BBQ lunch is included) and you’ll be glad you did.Whether taking a short or long ride, Riverman Trail Rides provides the perfect setting for bird watchers, wildlife photographers and nature enthusiasts of all kinds. Day rides are available as well as overnight primitive rides. There are 14 horses to choose from and reservations can be made all year round.

Little River National Wildlife Refuge

An excellent location for observation, photography, fishing, and more – the Little River National Wildlife Refuge offers over 15,000 acres of creeks, sloughs, oxbow lakes, and dynamic wetland forests. The wildlife is diverse and abundant here with thriving species of white-tailed deer, raccoons, swamp rabbits, and Alligators.

Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area

This is best area for hunting in Broken Bow. The Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area covers 203,180 acres. By purchasing a Land Access Fee permit (available at all hunting and fishing license vendors) the public can enter this private space. Game species of interest include quail, deer, turkey and waterfowl. Three walk-in only turkey hunting areas offer hunters an opportunity to hunt free from disturbance off the main road. Fishing opportunities exist for sunfish, bass and channel catfish in small ponds and the Glover River, which bisects the Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area.

Red Slough Wildlife Management Area

If you want to see alligators on your trip to Broken Bow – come to the Red Slough Wildlife Management Area. It is probably due to the 5800 acres of marshes, wetlands, lakes, and forests.  Their prime season for activity is March through October. The Red Slough Wildlife Management Area is the only documented breeding area for the American Alligator in Oklahoma, with about one nest found each year. It is also a popular place to view more traditional animals and birds, including some rare birds and thousands of ducks that migrate here. Birders have likened this area to the gulf coast habitats of Florida and Louisiana, due to the frequency of sightings and the exoticness of species. There is hunting permitted here, but also a waterfowl refuge area.

Lakeview Lodge Trail

A four mile trail comprised of three loops of various distances, the Lakeview Lodge Trail is an easy hike or mountain bike ride for all skill levels. Perfect for a daytime outing, hikers will enjoy these easy to follow trails for their beautiful pine trees and varied terrain. The trail is meant to be followed in a clockwise direction.

Cedar Greek Golf Course

Here’s what you’ll find at Cedar Creek: 18-holes of supreme golf course surrounded by acres of gorgeous, pristine woodlands. The holes themselves were carved out of the wilds, so you’ll feel as if you’re playing golf while strolling through the woods. In fact, Golf Digest Magazine gave Cedar Creek Golf Course a 4 ½ Star rating out of 5 Stars. You’ll have a view of Broken Bow Lake as you play along the narrow pine-rimmed fairways, and the par 72 course has a pro shop with club rentals and a driving range.

Learn about Broken Bow through its museums

Forest Heritage Center Museum

The forests are extremely important to Broken Bow and McCurtain County and the Forest Heritage Center Museum showcases that fact through a series of 14 large dioramas painted by famous Smokey Bear artist Harry Rossoll. There are historic photographs illustrating the logging industry in Broken Bow as well as a mascot who encourages planting trees.

Peter Toth’s sculpture collection is renowned around the country and the “Trail of Tears” series is no different. All of his monuments are his own concept of the North American Indian and bear many similarities, except for certain characteristics, which pertain to the Indians of that region, such as feathers, headbands, or other decorations.

Gardner Mansion & Museum

Beavers Bend Wildlife Museum

You’ll find more wildlife habitat dioramas at the Beavers Bend Wildlife Museum – located inside the state park – with information about native animals such as feeding habits. Experience the animals with all five senses – as you can literally “hear” them racing through the woods or feel the soft fur. Visitors learn about local animals like elk, wolves, and fish, but there is also an “Out of Africa” exhibiting showcasing zebras, elephants, antelope, and more species from the continent, including many plants. Tours are available every hour, as well as customized tours for school and church groups. For self-guided tours, headsets that explain each scene are available at the front.

Get your drink on

Fish Tales Winery and Vineyard

A winery created by a couple who loves fly fishing and fine vintages. See the wooden tasting room where the most delicious Muscadine wines are served.

Beaver’s Bend Brewery

Craft beer at its finest brought to you by three owners with 35 years of experience. BBB features both year-round and seasonal brews; Hoppin’ Howlapeno Ale, Red Slough Amber, blonde ale, Fleucy Creek Pale Ale, Front Porch Peach Ale and fall pumpkin seasonal ale.

Dining in Broken Bow

When you’re hungry, there are a handful of tremendous places to stop in and eat a perfect meal to re-energize and keep enjoying the area’s attractions. Here are four that are extremely high-rated on TripAdvisor in Broken Bow:

Grateful Head Pizza Oven & Tap Room

A perfect spot for a cold pint and a gourmet pie set in the gorgeous Ouachita Mountains near Broken Bow Lake. Kids will love the free Wifi and adults enjoy the live music on the weekends in the beer garden.

Steven’s Gap Restaurant

Down home, piping hot, hearty, authentic country cooking would be the most accurate way to describe Steven’s Gap Restaurant. Near Beavers Bend State Park, this restaurant is the ideal place to recharge your batteries after a long day of hiking with generous portions and a genial atmosphere. Have a cup of hot coffee at breakfast, or stop in for lunch or dinner and enjoy sandwiches, burgers, chicken fridge steak, their famous catfish meal, and even homemade pie.

Abendigo’s Grill & Patio

“Gorgeous”, “elegant”, “remote” are three words that are often used to describe the look and location of Abendigo’s Grill & Patio. You’ll find one of the best all around dining establishments in McCurtain County here, made even better by the addition of an outdoor patio that has live music from spring through fall. Come for the excellent service and a relaxed atmosphere, and be sure to stay for the juicy steak and savory appetizers.

Adam & Eve’s

Adam & Eve’s has it all, but you’ll want to come straight here in the morning for coffee. Get your buzz on before a long day of outdoor adventures with all of the delicious flavors offered here like white chocolate mocha, salted caramel, pumpkin, Irish cream, peppermint, and many more. Open seven days a week, this coffee house also does triple duty as an eatery and general store, with muffins, sandwiches and ice cream or frappes available among other goodies.

See what major events bring visitors and energy to Broken Bow

See what major events bring visitors and energy to Broken Bow

Annual Broken Bow Events

There are a handful of events each year in Broken Bow that are deemed “must attend” for both locals and tourists. You would be smart to travel to the area during these fun, family-friendly festivals.

June

  • Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest at Beavers Bend State Park 

During the third weekend in June the city of Broken Bow comes alive with the Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest at Beavers Bend State Park. The festival looks to embrace the spirit and heritage of the forest, as well as the beauty, culture, and industry in Kiamichi Country. There are traditional forestry contests like double buck sawing, jack-n-jill crosscut, ax throwing and more. A “Bull of the Woods” winner is selected from the men and women participating. The festival also features an art show, fiddle contest, Miss Choctaw Owa-Chito pageant, and live music throughout. There is plenty for children to do during the festival, so bring the whole family.

September

  • Masters of Wood Art Exhibit at the Forest Heritage Center

Artists from various woodturning clubs compete in this two-day event for the title of “Master” woodturner. You can watch as artists use chunks of wood into art, and those who come to the museum up to a month after the competition will be able to be awed by the incredible works created by this group of skilled craftsmen.

November

  • Beavers Bend Folk Festival & Craft Show at Beavers Bend State Park

One of the biggest annual events in Broken Bow, the three-day Beavers Bend Folk Festival & Craft show features turn-of-the-century crafts and demonstrations, folk music, a barnyard petting zoo and more. There are many hands-on demonstrations throughout the festival with nearly 70 vendors showcasing vintage crafting skills like candlemaking, herbalists, soapmaking, quilting, blacksmithing, and more. The all star folk ensembles playing set the mood with the twang of banjos and the hum of fiddles. Snack on kettle corn, tacos, kabobs, corn dogs, funnel cakes, apple cider and much more. For the kids, there will be live storytelling, hay rides, and puppet shows. The fall timing allows Broken Bow to showcase beautiful foliage to visitors. Attendance and parking are free.

Ready to plan your visit to Broken Bow? Start browsing the amazing cabin rentals from FlipKey.

At first thought, Paris might seem like a destination just for history buffs looking to delve into European history, fashionistas seeking a sneak peak at the latest trends or couples searching for romance. While the City of Lights does cater to these types of travelers, it is also known for being a magnificent spot for those planning a trip full of award-winning food and mouthwatering treats.

In particular, pastry shops and bakeries are popular spots for foodies on vacation in this world-renowned city. Since there are countless places to indulge your sweet tooth here, we’ve narrowed it down to a short list of the best cake bakeries in Paris. Use these as a guide for planning your itinerary going from one bakery to the next because your diet can go out the window while on vacation in Paris.

Classic French cakes

It’s nearly impossible to turn down the offer of a slice of freshly baked cake, especially one of the French variety. Whether you prefer light and fluffy cakes or dense and chocolaty sweets, the appeal of such desserts is undeniable. Below are some of the classics that you can find at many of the best cake bakeries in Paris.

Madeleine cakes freshly baked and topped with powdered sugar are commonly found at the best cake bakeries in Paris.

Madeleine cakes freshly baked and topped with powdered sugar.

Baba au rhum: The small yeast cake is soaked in liquor, typically rum, and is made in individual servings. The batter is made from eggs, milk and butter, and the rich cakes are sometimes filled with pastry cream or whipped cream.

Charlotte: A charlotte cake is a trifle-style cake that can be served hot or cold. It is prepared by lining a mold with lady fingers, brioche or some other form of cake and then filling it with custard or fruit puree. There are many different ways to make a charlotte so be sure to try several different kinds when visiting the best cake bakeries in Paris.

Kouglof: This French dessert comes from the Alsace region of eastern France. It is a large ring-shaped marble cake. What makes this form of Bundt cake different is that most enjoy it in the morning or with coffee, so it’s easy to find at local coffee shops as well as many of the best cake bakeries in Paris.

Madeleine cake: It’s a dainty sponge cake that comes formed with shell-shaped depressions. Madeleine cakes originated in the Lorraine region of France and the genoise cake batter used gives each cake its light texture. Toppings of jam, coconut, cherry glacé or powdered sugar complete the Madeleine cake.

Moelleux au Chocolat: Often referred to as chocolate fondant, molten chocolate cake, or chocolate lava cake, moelleux au chocolate is as decadent as it sounds. Part flour-less chocolate cake, part soufflé, this type of cake has a warm, chocolate center that oozes with each bite.

Best cake bakeries in Paris

From dainty sweet petits-fours to extravagant made-to-order cakes, the best cake bakeries in Paris have many treats that are sure to delight your palate. At each of the places on our list, the bakers treat cake making as an art using only the finest ingredients for each masterpiece. Try something from each of these bakeries and you’ll see why these places are undeniably the best.

People wait in line to enter the famous Angelina tearoom located on Rue de Rivoli in Paris, France.

People wait in line to enter the famous Angelina tearoom located on Rue de Rivoli in Paris, France.

Angelina

Although Angelina is first known as a tearoom where the likes of Coco Chanel and Proust mingled, this classic spot deserves to be recognized as one of the best cake bakeries in Paris, too. It is celebrating more than a century as one of Paris’s most sophisticated and elite places to indulge in tea and sweet petits-fours (miniature sweet treats). The Choc Africain on the menu is made from pure black African origin chocolates and the cake’s smooth, aromatic taste mimic’s Angelina’s famous African hot chocolate. Each baked good is based on the classics of French pastry making and utilizes seasonal ingredients to elevate each dessert. Angelina can also transform sweet petits-fours to be displayed as elaborate cakes, and you can order one for a special occasion.

Café Pouchkine

Café Pouchkine hails from Moscow, Russia, but it has come to be known as one of the best cake bakeries in Paris where locals and visitors alike can treat themselves. The elaborate window displays of mouthwatering cakes at each location will be enough to whet your appetite and prompt you to go inside. The menu features desserts that have both Russian and French influences, are both salty and sweet, and all of which are dramatically decorated with bold colors and lavish edible decorations. Visit the Saint-Germain-Des-Prés location where there is a tea room and restaurant, so you can take your time savoring the bakeries gourmet desserts. Take an assortment of macarons and eclairs to go, so you have something to snack on later.

The French and Russian-inspired Cafe Pouchkine is located on Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris, France.

The French and Russian-inspired Cafe Pouchkine is located on Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris, France.

Carl Marletti

Baking runs in the family for Carl Marletti. His grandfather owned a bakery, and this childhood exposure to the industry helped feed his desire to obtain a vocational diploma in Pastry, Chocolate and Sugar Candies. He has a need to satisfy every customer that walks through the doors of the Carl Marletti bakery, which is evident with each bite of his delicious baked goods. The bakery is located in the heart of the 5th arrondissement, an area that many Parisians call “de bouche” or “gourmet.” Carl Marletti is known for its classic mille-feuille, which consists of razor-thin pieces of stacked puff pastry with cream filling separating each layer. You can also enjoy a heavenly slice of cake here or have a cake for a special occasion catered by this top bakery in Paris.

Des Gâteaux et du Pain

With one half of this bakery featuring freshly baked loaves of bread and the other half offering exquisite cakes, Des Gâteaux et du Pain is one of the best cake bakeries in Paris and a must-visit on vacation here. The sinfully good combination of bread and cake draws customers morning and evening each day. Pâtissiers Claire Damon is constantly reworking each of her cake recipes to near perfection, so every mouthful of dessert is a new taste sensation. Because the sweets on the menu are all bite size, there’s no need to feel guilty about sampling several of this bakery’s succulent creations.

A happy baker places sweet treats in the case at one of the best cake bakeries in Paris.

A happy baker places sweet treats in the case at one of the best cake bakeries in Paris.

La Pâtisserie des Rêves

La Pâtisserie des Rêves has become one of the best cake bakeries in Paris by continually revisiting traditional favorites, such as vanilla mille-fleuille and Paris-Brest cakes, to make them even more delicious and truly gourmet treats. Exquisite cakes are imagined and created by Philippe Conticini, one of the bakery’s talented pastry chefs, while co-founder Thierry Teyssier helps create the impeccable setting that lures so many through its doors. At La Pâtisserie des Rêves the aim is that every bite of cake or pastry will create a lasting memory or offer a link to a fond childhood (or adult) experience. Every baked good at La Pâtisserie des Rêves tells a story and transports the customer through time.

Pierre Hermé Paris

Pierre Hermé, the namesake for this Parisian bakery, is a master of pastry-making and his renowned bakeries have quickly expanded internationally in the past decade. With “pleasure as his only guide,” Pierre Hermé constantly challenges traditional flavors in an effort to produce some of the tastiest sweets in the world. He has also thrown some of the more traditional baking techniques out the window, instead preferring to revolutionize the pastry-making industry. At Pierre Hermé Paris, sugar is used as salt in an effort to heighten flavors in each cake and the relatively simple decor makes a statement in its own right. Order a pound cake, inspired by Hermé’s childhood, for a delicious cake that oftentimes has flavorful surprises inside.

The best cake bakeries in Paris offer a variety of sweet petits-fours, or bite-size desserts, for sampling.

The best cake bakeries in Paris offer a variety of sweet petits-fours, or bite-size desserts, for sampling.

Sugarplum Cake Shop

Sugarplum Cake Shop opened its doors in the spring of 2010 and has quickly climbed the ranks of the best cake bakeries in Paris. Located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, this bakery is known for its unique cake designs and its traditional North American recipes used to make award-winning cakes daily. The team here bakes with only the finest ingredients and often uses its signature Swiss meringue buttercream frosting to hold each of the cake tiers together. The finished product is always a spectacular edible work of art. Call the bakery to order a cake for a special occasion, or make yourself comfortable in the cozy coffee shop within Sugarplum to nibble on a slice of its famous carrot cake.

The list of must-visit tourist attractions in Los Angeles is as impressive as the staggering number of travelers that visit this California hot spot each year. With 45 million visitors annually, all vying to see the same attractions in the city, it can be difficult to know where to begin your list of things to see and do here. As a starting point, we’ve put together a list of the top tourist attractions in Los Angeles that deserve the hype…because no one wants to spend their vacation waiting in seemingly endless lines at places they were told they just had to visit. From stargazing and art observing to celebrity chasing and concert going, our list has an attraction that will satisfy even the pickiest of vacationers.

Consider booking a FlipKey vacation rental near the top places on your list so you can spend more time enjoying Los Angeles than sitting in traffic.

Top tourist attractions in Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory

An aerial view of Griffith Observatory situated on Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA.

An aerial view of Griffith Observatory situated on Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA.

Situated 1,134 feet above sea level, the Griffith Observatory boasts picturesque views of its surrounding cityscape from nearly every angle. In addition to the skyline views, this is the best place to see the iconic Hollywood Sign nestled in the hills. Get a glimpse into outer space by looking through the observatory’s powerful telescopes or let your imagination run wild as you explore each of the incredible exhibits here. The Wilder Hall of the Eye is a popular exhibit that illustrates the nature and progress of humans’ observation and exploration of the sky. The free admission, awe-inspiring planetarium shows and state-of-the-art technology all contribute to the Griffith Observatory’s status as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Los Angeles.

What to know before you arrive: Visitors don’t even need to enter  the Griffith Observatory to start observing the exhibits. The building’s stunning exterior offers a variety of exhibits, including the Solar System Lawn Model, Sunset and Moonset Radial Lines, as well as features that fuel the imagination and draw the eye in different directions.

Griffith Park

The Griffith Park trails can be seen from above at sunset at this Los Angeles tourist attraction.

The Griffith Park trails can be seen from above at sunset at this Los Angeles tourist attraction.

Griffith Park is sprawled out across 4,310 acres of land, making it roughly five times the size of New York City’s Central Park. It was gifted to Los Angeles by mining mogul Griffith J Griffith and has grown to include other popular Los Angeles tourist attractions, such as the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, the historic Greek Theatre and the Griffith Observatory. There is a wealth of activities available for visitors that want to spend time outside at Griffith Park. Schedule a tee time at one of the four golf courses within the park for day on the links, or opt to explore as much of the 53-miles of hiking trails as possible. Griffith Park also has specially marked trails for horseback riding and a bicycle rental facility for those just looking for a quick tour of the park.

What to know before you arrive: Griffith Park is a wilderness area, so don’t veer too far away from the designated paths. Hikers should be prepared for chance encounters with wild quail, foxes, deer, coyotes and even a rattlesnake.

Hollywood Bowl

The view of the Los Angeles skyline and the Hollywood Bowl during a performance at night is shown.

The view of the Los Angeles skyline and the Hollywood Bowl during a performance at night is shown.

Located in Los Angeles’s Hollywood neighborhood, the Hollywood Bowl is a legendary outdoor venue that has been drawing visitors since 1922. It’s the largest natural outdoor amphitheater in the country, and it’s band shell shape makes it one of the more unique tourist attractions in Los Angeles. During the summer, the Hollywood Bowl is the seasonal home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic as well as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. The concert schedule includes performances that range from classical and jazz to kid-friendly shows and lively festivals.

What to know before you arrive: You can bring your own food and drink or buy it there. Depending on the show, you can eat your meal at your seats or sit at one of the 14 picnic areas throughout the grounds. There are also a number of food options available for purchase that range from gourmet restaurants to casual fare.

In-N-Out Burger

Two of the most popular menu items at In-N-Out Burger, the "Double-Double" hamburger and the "Animal Style" french fries are pictured.

Two of the most popular menu items at In-N-Out Burger, the “Double-Double” hamburger and the “Animal Style” french fries are pictured.

You might be thinking that In-N-Out Burger is just a restaurant chain and that it shouldn’t be on a list of top tourist attractions in Los Angeles. But, it’s so much more than just a fast food joint. In-N-Out Burger has been serving up delectable hamburgers and cheeseburgers to loyal patrons since 1948. At In-N-Out Burger, every meal is cooked to order, and, with the use of only quality ingredients and its mouthwatering spread, you can’t go wrong with any of the menu items. One of the best things about this tourist attraction in Los Angeles is that you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your car to enjoy this iconic California hot spot.

What to know before you arrive: Look up the secret menu online before pulling up to the drive-thru to order. If you’re hungry, try the 4×4 – four beef patties, lettuce, tomato, spread, four slices of American cheese and onions on a freshly baked bun – or, if you’re a vegetarian, get the grilled cheese.

J. Paul Getty Museum

Visitors in the garden terrace of the Getty Center come to this tourist attraction in Los Angeles to admire its art collection, architecture and gardens.

Visitors in the garden terrace of the Getty Center come to this tourist attraction in Los Angeles to admire its art collection, architecture and gardens.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, or the Getty for short, is comprised of two Los Angeles campuses: the Getty Center and the Getty Villa. Both are home to an impressive collection of art and they are one of many free tourist attractions in Los Angeles.

Situated atop a hill in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking the city, the Getty Center draws over one million visitors to its 24-acre campus annually. It consists of stunning architecture, beautiful gardens and breathtaking views of the city that everyone can enjoy. Explore its museum, which features a permanent collection of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. In particular, find pre-20th century paintings, incredible photographs, as well as many decorative arts arranged by era and artist’s nationality. Outdoors, the grounds are home to large, contemporary and modern outdoor sculptures, unique design elements, such as tree-lined walkways and perfectly-placed open spaces, and elaborate gardens for the public’s enjoyment.

The Getty Villa is located along the Malibu coast, and it is the original site of J. Paul Getty’s art collection. Today, this location serves as an educational center and a museum that houses an astounding collection of nearly 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan relics and works of art.

What to know before you arrive: The collection of art is spread out across two separate campuses. The Getty Villa requires that tickets be reserved in advance, so no walk-ins are permitted. At the Getty Center, visitors must park at a garage at the bottom of the hill and then take a cable-pulled hovertrain funicular to the Getty Center. Arrive early in order to avoid lines; or, better yet, take public transportation to this Los Angeles attraction and avoid the $15 parking fee.

La Brea Tar Pits & Museum

People visiting the La Brea Tar Pits museum in the Hancock Park neighborhood come and go on a sunny day.

People visiting the La Brea Tar Pits museum in the Hancock Park neighborhood come and go on a sunny day.

Known as one of the world’s most famous fossil localities, the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum showcases the best fossils, plants and animals that have been discovered there. The museum takes visitors back in time to the Ice Age with displays of fossilized skeletons of sabre-toothed cats, mammoths and more. The Fossil Lab gives a behind-the-scenes look at the process of cleaning and studying the cornucopia of fossils that continue to be unearthed. More than three million Ice Age specimens can be found inside the museum, while Hancock Park outside the museum has life-size replicas of extinct mammals that once grew and roamed in the Los Angeles area. The tar pits found at this tourist attraction in Los Angeles are still bubbling today and are still an active excavation site today.

What to know before you arrive: Don’t expect to find any dinosaur fossils here. Los Angeles was actually under water during the time of the dinosaurs, so you’ll find only Ice Age fossils.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The "Urban Light" installation by Chris Burden attracts visitors from all over the country to this tourist attraction in Los Angeles.

The “Urban Light” installation by Chris Burden attracts visitors from all over the country to this tourist attraction in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, LACMA for short, displays a massive collection of approximately 130,000 objects dating from ancient times to the present. The museum’s focal point is its landmark installation, Urban Light, which was created by Chris Burden and runs along Wilshire Boulevard. The installation features 202 restored cast iron antique street lamps, many of which used to line the streets of Southern California. Inside, visitors will find incredible collections of Asian art, Islamic art, Latin American art and more. Admission costs only $15 for adults and children 17 and under can explore for free. Make a stop at this museum of international stature for an educational afternoon during your vacation.

What to know before you arrive: LACMA has a free mobile app that can be accessed using the museum’s free wifi. The app provides commentary about select works of art throughout the exhibits.

The Original Farmers Market

The historic land market and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Los Angeles first opened in July 1934.

The historic Los Angeles landmark and tourist attraction first opened in July 1934.

With Los Angeles’s year-round sunny weather, farmers markets are a way of life in this city and the Original Farmers Market is one of the best of its kind. It attracts crowds of locals and restaurant suppliers in addition to the out-of-towners. The Original Farmers Market has more than 100 gourmet grocers, food stalls, shops and restaurants, making it a fun place to lose track of time strolling around. From fresh produce and expertly butchered meats to perfectly brewed coffee and gourmet foods, there’s something to satisfy every taste and interest here. Snag a mouthwatering croissant or indulge your sweet tooth with a homemade ice cream cone as you explore the market. This historic plaza is both a well-known California landmark and one of the top tourist attractions in Los Angeles.

What to know before you arrive: The Original Farmers Market is adjacent to The Grove, so save yourself a trip and make sure to hit both of these popular tourist attractions in Los Angeles in one trip.

Santa Monica Pier

Locals and visitors alike have fun spending the afternoon at the Santa Monica Pier, a famous Los Angeles tourist attraction.

Locals and visitors alike have fun spending the afternoon at the Santa Monica Pier, a famous Los Angeles tourist attraction.

Santa Monica Pier is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Los Angeles. With its red and yellow solar-powered Ferris wheel and famous roller-coaster, the Pier has withstood the test of time welcoming visitors for more than 100 years. Crowd-pleasing entertainment can be found at every turn and comes in the form of amusements at Pacific Park, talented street performers, a trapeze school, an aquarium, lots of shops and more. During the day, marvel at the historic carousel and take in the lively sights and sounds at the Santa Monica Pier. As the sun begins to set, grab some cotton candy and admire the gorgeous views of surrounding Malibu and the South Bay. The Santa Monica Pier is one of the unique tourist attractions in Los Angeles that exudes a vibrant energy drawing both tourists and locals alike.

What to know before you arrive: Make your way below the carousel to see the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Since it’s out of sight, it’s easy to miss this attraction, but the hands-on exhibits and marine education center are worth going out of your way for.

Staples Center

Fans arrive at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles, during a home game of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Fans arrive at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles, during a home game of the Los Angeles Lakers.

If you’re planning to visit Los Angeles some time between late-October and mid-April, make sure to catch a Lakers game at the Staples Center. Going to a game here basically guarantees you the celebrity sighting of your trip because A-listers are always in attendance at Lakers games. The arena itself is an impressive site to behold and is home to a total of four professional sports franchises: the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Spark. When this downtown attraction isn’t welcoming sports teams and jersey-clad fans, the Staples Center plays host to concerts and other high-profile events.

What to know before you arrive: Make sure to plan ahead and purchase tickets in advance. Tickets can be hard to come by and prices often skyrocket closer to the date of the event.

Mexico City is a sprawling metropolis with over 20 million residents and one heck of a traffic pattern. It is dynamic, fun, fascinating, and a growing tourist destination, as well as top vacation rental spot. Centuries of history can be felt and seen by walking through the crowded streets. You’ll also find friendly locals, five-star restaurants, and an agreeable climate. This city is a feast for all five senses – as wonderful, vibrant colors and smells come bursting out of every restaurant, building, and park. You’ll gape at murals, tour museums, and be awed by the ancient statues and monuments, giving honor and remembrance to times gone by. It is the cultural, government and financial center of the county, too.

Many attractions are located within certain areas of the city, and there are some particular day trips you may be interested in taking during your vacation here. The traffic in Mexico City is legendary for its complexity, so consider using the modern subway system or walking. You’ll be able to tour colonial architecture, see massive skyscrapers—not to mention spend the day lounging in the 13 acre Zocalo (town square) that now stands where Montezuma’s palace once was. You’ll find the best shopping and walking tours on Paseo de la Reforma, the city’s main thoroughfare.

With clearly so much to do and see on your trip, what are the best areas to stay in Mexico City? There are many neighborhoods and suburbs, as well as the bustling downtown district that could make a suitable place to bunk up for your next vacation. Choosing a vacation rental in Mexico City is easy on FlipKey too, so be sure to browse our inventory after reading about the possible places to stay.

Read below for information on the best places to stay in Mexico City

Read below for information on the best places to stay in Mexico City

Best Areas To Stay In Mexico City

Centro Historico

The churches along the Zocalo make Centro Historico one of the best areas to stay in Mexico City

The churches along the Zocalo make Centro Historico one of the best areas to stay in Mexico City

The heart of the city that is the heart of the country, Centro Historico is the business, banking, and history hub of the area. The aforementioned zocalo along with popular La Alameda Park form the border of the Centro Historico. In 2013 the neighborhood received a major facelift with renovations for the zocalo and restoration and conservation of more than 18 buildings. You’ll see police on horseback wearing traditional garb who are also quite knowledgeable of the area. It is built directly on top of the destroyed capital of the Aztecs and the ancient history is showcased and felt throughout. There are public buildings, the partially unearthed ruins of the Great Temple of the Aztec’s, and numerous museums. There are shops and restaurants here (Avenida Madero has some great ones) as well as a buzzing nightlife scene set against the backdrop of the same historic buildings and cobblestone streets. You’ll find easy public transit connections from Centro Historico to some of the other neighborhoods on our list.

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Chapultepec Park

Stone furniture in Chapultepec Park, Mexico City

Stone furniture in Chapultepec Park, Mexico City

The largest green area in Mexico City and a popular residential area, Chapultepec Park can be found west of Zona Rosa (see below). It was dedicated as a park back in the 15th century by an Aztec ruler, and some of the finest vacation rentals are in this area on the aptly named Campos Eliseos. The main drag is Avenida Presidente Masaryk with shopping, nightlife, museums, and more. It is an extremely exclusive area for living and playing – and you’ll have an incredible proximity to Mexican culture here. Head over to the National Anthropological Museum for the ancient forests and archaeological treasures housed within. Some people visit Mexico City solely to see this museum.

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Polanco

Cars and pedestrians pass by the Museo Soumaya in the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City.

Cars and pedestrians pass by the Museo Soumaya in the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City.

Neighboring the park and at the end of Paseo de Reforma, you’ll find upscale, posh, and exclusive Polanco. It is the diplomatic area of Mexico City and with that comes a very international, educated, and successful population. Authentic Mexican dishes and desserts are served from a number of great little cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants. The area is clean and safe, with friendly, affluent locals who are engaging and helpful. You’ll absolutely want to book a reservation and casual dress is oftentimes discouraged. The architecture is wonderful, and be sure to visit the Museum of Modern Art if you stay here.

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Condesa

Art Deco building in Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City

Art Deco building in Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City

The bohemian vibe of certain neighborhoods in Mexico City continues while staying in Condesa. Hip cafes, bars, offbeat shops, and eclectic art galleries line the streets here. You’ll love an afternoon stroll along the spacious sidewalks of Avenida Insurgentes (one of the city’s main arteries) where you’ll find plenty of palm-fringed esplanades, peaceful parks, and art deco inspired vacation rentals. A progressive, stylistic, and health conscious area, Condesa would be a fantastic choice for your stay in Mexico City.

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Roma

Classic Building in the Colonia Roma, Mexico City, on a beautiful sunny morning.

Classic Building in the Colonia Roma, Mexico City, on a beautiful sunny morning.

If you are looking for a fun, outgoing time here in Mexico City you’ll love to stay in Roma, the nearest neighborhood to Condesa. Here you can also engage with the local population in a clean, friendly environment without the issue of people coming up to you selling trinkets or the smog from endless traffic. You’ll find old, beautiful architecture here and a laid back vibe. The carefree attitude probably stems from the area being a favorite of young professionals and students. You can chill on a patio with a drink in hand or dance the night away at a club.

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Coyoacán

Facade detail of old colonial baroque church (La Conchita Chapel) in Coyoacan, Mexico City.

Facade detail of old colonial baroque church (La Conchita Chapel) in Coyoacan, Mexico City.

Five miles from the city center, this Colonial-era suburb has a gorgeous town square and cobblestone streets, ready for you to explore. Lined with old mansions, and several of the city’s best museums, Coyoacan was the home of famed artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (and visitors can tour their famous homes “Casa Azul” or “Museo Casa Estudio”.) A bohemian feel lends itself well to this area, complete with a shabby chic public market on Sundays. It is easily accessible via bus or metro from downtown Mexico City. In the northwest corner of Coyoacan is Colonial del Carmen, the artistic and intellectual center of the city since the 1920s. Untouched by modern progress, this area of activism feels as authentic as the day it was settled. It was only recently brought into the city officially, as it was independent for a long time, and that passion and lust for higher learning and understanding is still felt.

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San Angel

Old houses along a cobblestone street in the old neighborhood of San Angel in south of Mexico City.

Old houses along a cobblestone street in the old neighborhood of San Angel in south of Mexico City.

Neighbor to Coyocan, San Angel also has narrow streets, colorful plazas, and Colonial mansions to view. It was once a getaway for Spanish nobles, but has long since become a part of the city’s fabric. It is incredibly beautiful to behold, full of color and action, especially the Bazar del Sabado (Saturday Bazaar) at Plaza San Jacinto where antique treasures and arts and crafts are sold. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby to enjoy a lazy day out on a patio sipping tequila. For two famous baroque pieces visit the Iglesia San Jacinto, a 16th century church with a baroque altar, or the baroque fountain made of broken porcelain at the Casa del Risco.

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Santa Fe

New, modern, and beautiful, this neighborhood five miles west of downtown includes high-tech and international companies as well as banks, a University, and a large shopping mall. It is fraught with young professionals and you can feel the energy of the area in its booming restaurant and nightlife scene.

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Xochimilco

Colorful boats on the canals of Xochimilco

Colorful boats on the canals of Xochimilco

Although it is a bit far from downtown (15 miles south) it is noted for its famed canals and gorgeous Floating Gardens, both a must-see in Mexico City. With a population of 300,000 the brick streets can become heavy with traffic during rush hour, but the large number of locals leaves Xochimilco feeling extremely authentic. The historically significant churches are a marvel to tour, and there are restaurants and shopping at the edge of the canal. Plus, you’ll love visiting the town market specializing in rugs, ethnic clothing, and brightly decorated pottery. If there’s a festival happening in the city, chances are it will be hosted in Xochomilco, which hosts over 400 annually! The largest festival is a celebration of Niñopa, a figure of the Christ Child that is believed to possess miraculous powers. The week before Easter is the Feria de la Flor Más Bella del Ejido, a flower fair when the most beautiful girl with Indian features and costume is selected.

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Zona Rosa

Independence Monument in Mexico City

Independence Monument in Mexico City

West of Centro, hugging the Paseo de Reforma, Zona Rosa (the “pink zone”) used to be the city’s most exclusive neighborhood. The modern charms overlaid on the traditional Mexican architecture makes for an interesting pairing. There are businesses, street vendors, and all kinds of people milling about in this area – as well as Torre Mayor, one of Latin America’s tallest buildings. There are jewelry stores, silver shops, casual restaurants, bars, clubs, and more. Many of the streets here are pedestrian-only so you’ll enjoy walking around, tasting ice cream, sitting at a cafe, or shopping. It is vibrant and full of energy, and the most gay-friendly area. A few blocks away you’ll find Mexico City’s unofficial symbol, the golden angel state of Monumento a la Independencia.

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San Francisco Bay Area

Perhaps you’ve explored San Francisco, sampling the mouthwatering Ghirardelli chocolate, snapping a photo behind bars at Alcatraz, winding down Lombard Street or enjoying any other countless activities. But, have you ever crossed the glorious Golden Gate Bridge to see what lies on the other side of the bay? Or, have you climbed aboard a commuter rail train and traveled south down the San Francisco Peninsula to the high-tech towns that have given birth to successful companies, such as Facebook and Google? Like San Francisco itself, the surrounding suburbs are diverse and offer something different for travelers seeking a place to stay outside the city.

We’ve compiled a list of San Francisco suburbs that you can discover during a short trip out of the city. You’ll quickly find that these destinations are just as travel-worthy as San Francisco itself, and that places like Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Sausalito, provide the perfect compromise between quiet rural living and the excitement of an urban environment.

Public Transportation to San Francisco Suburbs

The Caltrain rail service provides an easy way for visitors to get around the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Caltrain rail service provides an easy way for visitors to get around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Part of what makes the San Francisco suburbs on our list so appealing is that they are easy to reach via public transportation. The Bay Area Rapid Transit system, often abbreviated as BART, is the primary transit operator in the Bay Area. Its extensive train network links San Francisco with the suburbs just south of the city as well as those on the East Bay. An estimated 126 million passengers utilize BART each year, and it is considered the fifth-busiest heavy rail rapid transit system in the United States. Caltrain offers another convenient commuter rail line into San Francisco from the suburbs on the San Francisco Peninsula. In addition to an abundance of train options, there are also ferries, bus lines and many major highways that make getting to and from the suburbs of San Francisco a cinch.

Top San Francisco Suburbs

Alameda

With a mandatory speed limit of only 25 miles per hour and its peaceful island setting, Alameda is a welcome reprieve from the busy streets of San Francisco. Start your vacation early by taking the ferry on a scenic ride from Oakland to the island, or take the Posey Tube underwater to access this San Francisco suburb. The shoreline is one of the main attractions in Alameda, so make plans to walk from Crab Cove to Crown Memorial State Beach. The nature walks along the Bay shoreline are family-friendly and fun to explore on a sunny afternoon. For history buffs, the USS Hornet offers a great exhibit about this famous World War II aircraft carrier, and the Alameda Museum is a unique attraction dedicated to the preservation of the town’s local history. Rent a cozy beach home or stay in a beautiful Victorian (Alameda’s known for them!) and bask in the peace and quiet that Alameda offers its visitors.

Lowest rental rate: $98/night

Atherton

Atherton is known for its luxurious mansions and exquisite homes just thirty miles south of San Francisco. With only six square miles of tree-lined roads and picturesque streets, it is one of the safest San Francisco suburbs in the Bay Area. Part of its appeal is that you can visit this town and simply relax. Book a spacious vacation rental in Atherton with an immaculate master suite, magnificent grounds that include a tennis court or swimming pool, a gourmet kitchen and more. If you make it out of the house for a bit, enjoy spending time at the 22-acre garden setting of Holbrook-Palmer Park, where the kids can climb all over the playground while adults stroll along the walking paths.

Lowest rental rate: $151/night

Brentwood

Cherry picking is a popular activity for visitors in Brentwood, CA.

Cherry picking is a popular activity for visitors in Brentwood, CA.

With a pleasant year-round climate, a stunningly beautiful landscape and many superb rentals to choose from, Brentwood is an obvious choice when planning a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. Unlike other San Francisco suburbs that are closer to the city, agriculture remains important to Brentwood’s local economy. Plan your visit for Spring or Summer to enjoy picking fresh cherries, peaches, strawberries and more at a nearby farm, such as Papini Family Orchards and Farm. If you simply want to relax, plant yourself by the gazebo at Hannah Nicole Vineyards & Winery for a picnic and beautiful views. Other things to do when vacationing in Brentwood include playing a round of gold at Brentwood Country Club, hiking the Round Valley Regional Preserve and indulging in a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants downtown.

Lowest rental rate: $749/night

Daly City

Daly City is nicknamed the “Gateway to the Peninsula” because of its enviable location on the Pacific Ocean just minutes away from San Francisco Bay. It is situated immediately south of San Francisco and major highways, commuter rail stops and bus lines conveniently link this suburb to the big city. Thornton Beach State Park is a great place to spend an afternoon at the beach surrounded by incredible ocean views. Pack a picnic and bring your pets to enjoy this uncrowded slice of suburbia. Another must-do in Daly City is to take advantage of being in the suburbs by attending a rodeo show at the Cow Palace. This indoor arena was formerly the home of the Golden State Warriors, but today it hosts diverse events that you can’t normally find in urban settings. You’ll find the best of both worlds here with its convenient access to San Francisco and it’s small town activities.

Lowest rental rate: $128/night

Menlo Park

The Victorian-styled Menlo Park train station offers access to neighboring cities.

The Victorian-styled Menlo Park train station offers access to neighboring cities.

About 30 miles south of San Francisco sits the town of Menlo Park. It is one of the many charming San Francisco suburbs in the area, and it is a wonderful destination for families looking for a quieter setting than the city offers. Designated a Tree City USA community because it has more than 10,000 trees scattered throughout the area and with its location on the San Francisco Bay, Menlo Park is a great place to enjoy the outdoors. Soak up some sun and devour a picnic surrounded by native Oak and Bay trees at Flood Park. There are also softball fields, tennis courts and more for active family member to utilize. For those that prefer shopping to sports, Downtown Menlo Park has a thriving dining and shopping area that visitors can explore. Other interesting facts about Menlo Park are that the historic El Camino Real intersects the town, and it is where the headquarters for Facebook is located.

Lowest rental rate: $81/night

Mountain View

Situated at the southern end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the heart of Silicon Valley, Mountain View is one of the larger suburbs of San Francisco. The Caltrain commuter rail system runs through the town making it easy for visitors and locals alike to travel to and from San Francisco. For those that plan to spend most of their vacation in Mountain View, the downtown area has a plethora of cafes and eateries as well as many specialty shops to browse at. Grab breakfast at Scratch in the morning then explore the Computer History Museum to learn about the roots of the Internet and play a game of Spacewar. Enjoy the fresh air by strolling along Stevens Creek Trail, or if you’re in town on a Sunday, walk around the first-rate Farmer’s Market in Mountain View where you’ll find everything from seasonal vegetables and flowers to fresh coffee and breads. With more than 1,000 acres of park and wildlife areas as well as a thriving performing arts community, this San Francisco suburb has many diverse offerings.

Lowest rental rate: $98/night

Palo Alto

A portion of Stanford University's renowned campus is located in Palo Alto, CA.

A portion of Stanford University’s renowned campus is located in Palo Alto, CA.

If you’re familiar with the prestigious Stanford University or you have an interest in following the technology industry, then the chances are that you’ve heard of Palo Alto. Because of the town’s unique blend of business, education and residential areas, it is a hot spot for visitors of every interest. From sophisticated works of art on display at the Cantor Arts Center and classic films screened at the Stanford Theatre to scenic paths through the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve and the entertaining Junior Museum & Zoo, you can find it all in Palo Alto. If you feel like heading to downtown San Francisco for an evening, it’s just over a thirty minute drive to the city. There’s also a train that will take you right to San Francisco Station.

Lowest rental rate: $45/night

San Mateo

Situated within the high-tech enclave of California’s Silicon Valley, San Mateo is less than a thirty minute drive from downtown San Francisco. Because it is one of the larger suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is a lot to do here. If you’re looking for a break from exploring nearby San Francisco’s bustling neighborhoods, take some time to reflect in this San Francisco suburb’s Japanese garden. The San Mateo Japanese Garden is free and offers a quiet respite within Central Park. Coyote Point Recreation Area is another popular place to spend time and is known for its ideal location for sailing and windsurfing. Because the commuter rail service is easily accessible in San Mateo, this suburb of San Francisco is a perfect choice to rent a home in if you’re looking to stay just outside the city.

Lowest rental rate: $93/night

Sausalito

Sausalito, California with fog coming rolling in along San Francisco Bay.

Sausalito, California with fog coming rolling in along San Francisco Bay.

Directly across the bay from San Francisco, Sausalito is an upscale oasis in northern California. It’s largely bound by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which offers an abundance of hiking trails, places to picnic, historic structures to see and more. Walk along the Sausalito Boardwalk where there are many eclectic shops and restaurants or head to Battery Spencer, a lookout spot that is less crowded than Vista Point. Although Sausalito is known for its million-dollar homes with breathtaking views, booking a rental in this San Francisco suburb will have you feeling like a millionaire for a few days. Unlike some other San Francisco suburbs, Sausalito can be reached very easily by car, rail and ferry making it a great vacation destination.

Lowest rental rate: $110/night

Vallejo

Travelers can get to Vallejo in about 35 minutes via car or they can head to this suburb of San Francisco via ferry. The San Francisco Bay Ferry departs from the Ferry Building and takes about 60 minutes to chug through the waters of the bay. Vallejo’s waterfront location plays a role in its economy as this town has become an important harbor for commercial shipping, ferry transportation and the military. During your visit, tour the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, which was the first United States Navy base on the Pacific Ocean. Today it is a California Historical Landmark and an interesting place to learn a bit about naval war history. Afternoons in Vallejo can be spent shopping for fresh produce at the farmers market or experiencing the fun of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

Lowest rental rate: $45/night

Country Band Onstage

Austin, Texas has been steadily growing as a top vacation rental destination for travelers, and with good reason. The food, the locals, the weather, and especially the live music are major draws. Music lovers can spend an entire month hopping from venue to venue, seeing famous bands or ones who are about to vault to stardom. Austin has more than 250 live music venues, with tens of annual music festivals and events to plan a trip around. Plus, you’ll never know when a street-side jam session might break out. No matter what music you like (though if it is country, you’re in the right place) you’ll find a location and band to suit your tastes. We’ve created a list of the top Austin music venues to see on your next visit. Although it can be a bit subjective to choose the best ones, these choices below are known for having raucous crowds, the hottest bands, fantastic locations, ideal sight lines to the stage, rich history, and acoustics that are unparalleled. Many are found in the city’s Warehouse District, but others are spread throughout the entire area. It is the “Live Music Capital of the World” after all!

Top Austin Music Venues

The White Horse (500 Comal Street)

A honky tonk on the east side of Austin, The White Horse hosts live music, dancing, and quite an impressive taco menu seven days per week. It attracts all different types – from older couples to young singles to square dancing country fans. It attracts such an eclectic crowd because the music being performed is varied – from country, Cajun, bluegrass, and more. Established bands, newcomers, and the favorite house bands play all week long at this dark, super fun venue. No matter who is on the bright red stage, the dance floor is always rockin’, so get ready to work up a sweat. If you’re looking to improve your moves, sign up for a dance class here. Cheap beers, friendly bartenders, livestock running around (sometimes) and just a general jovial atmosphere make The White Horse one of the top music venues in Austin.

Sahara Lounge (1413 Webberville Road)

Sahara Lounge has been around for a long time, under the guise of many names, but always with the same passion for live music and for a great night out in Austin. The owners are from Austin, Houston, Nigeria and all over – so you can understand why the acts they book are international as well. Indoors, the area is spacious and looks like your classic Texas juke joint, while outdoors, the slightly worn building does not let on what a raucous party is happening inside. It is another east side gem that offers live music nightly, from rock to punk to blues to country. Sip a Lone Star beer, eat some BBQ, chill on the new back patio, and play some pool while you’re at it. Be sure to stop in for one of the more unique Austin evenings at Africa Night!

Elephant Room (315 Congress Avenue)

For a wonderful, classic jazz night make your way to the speakeasy-style Elephant Room. You can’t miss the knee-height neon sign on Congress Avenue, beckoning you down to the underground club. For a city without much jazz, Elephant Room more than makes up for that in spades. The brick interior and low lighting makes for an intimate setting. Sit up front to really feel part of the action. It is constantly winning “Best Jazz Bar” in Austin (seven years in a row now) and has jazz performances seven nights per week. The weekday sets are free with weekends having a small cover charge. Elephant Room has the cozy atmosphere you’re looking for in Austin that you won’t find aboveground.

Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon (5434 Burnet Road)

How can a place well known for its Sunday bingo be one of the best music venues in Austin? It starts with Ginny, the octogenarian owner who has been as welcoming as the city itself for past two decades. It also starts with a chicken coop over a pool table, but that’s another story for another time. This tiny, steeple-topped bar in North Austin hosts live music often, with classic country artist Dale Watson as a returning performer. Regulars like to sip on their Lone Star outside, away from the crowds but still within earshot of the music.

The Continental Club (1313A South Congress Avenue)

The colorful entrance of the popular Continental Club, famous for hosting reknowned musical performers, located on South Congress Avenue near downtown.

The colorful entrance of the popular Continental Club, famous for hosting reknowned musical performers, located on South Congress Avenue near downtown.

The famed Continental Club on Congress Avenue is probably a familiar name to most – this was one of the original rock-music clubs in Austin. The Continental Club has had quite an interesting history, as a supper club in the late 50s, a burlesque house in the 60s, and a haven to alt rockers in the 70s. This hot spot hosts the best local talent and secret shows for national bands in the entire city. Now, the hottest country and swing bands in the city come by to play for lively, dancing crowds on the main floor. Upstairs, in what’s known as the Gallery, viewers have a cozier experience listening to jazz where it feels more like a gathering of friends in a living room. Come by seven nights a week for your taste of blues, rock, country, swing and more.

Parish (214 East 6th Street)

If you’re looking for a night out and live music unlike any other in Austin, you should come to Parish. On famed 6th Street, Parish’s packed club hosts oddballs and rising stars for unforgettable sets of music. The intimate atmosphere (only 450 capacity) started the careers of Spoon, Shakey Graves, and many more. Music legends like Pete Townshend and Thom Yorke have performed here, as well as newcomers like Alt-J. Indie, EDM, hip hop, funk, and many other genres get their due at Parish. They also have comedy shows and other live events here.

Saxon Pub (1320 South Lamar Boulevard)

Fans of all ages flock to the Saxon Pub when they visit Austin as this music haven presents a mix of roots rock and country – and has been since 1990 (that’s over 22,000 performances!). One of Austin’s top choices for live music, there are weekday happy hour shows, weekend matinees, and late night performances too. The chill atmosphere feels like playing for a group of friends at a house party, say many musicians. Films have been set here, as well as countless live recordings. Celebrity sightings are the norm, rather than the exception at Saxon Pub.

Moody Theater (310 Willie Nelson Boulevard)

The Moody Theater is acoustically perfect, probably why so many famous acts have been through here over the years – and why Austin City Limits Live, the music television showcase chooses to host and film its episodes here. Tickets can get pricey, so if you’re looking to save some cash this won’t be your choice, but if you decide to splurge then you’re in for a treat. 2750 people can find a seat here, with wonderful sight lines and 12 bars all around. More than 100 annual shows are held here including visits from Lionel Richie, Rob Thomas, and Jill Scott.

Mohawk (912 Red River Street)

Travelers and locals love this medium-sized venue on Red River Street. It is one of the only in the city that has both indoor and outdoor stages. They have everything from rap to heavy metal, and even a BYO vinyl record night. Mohawk really branches out with drunken spelling bees and wrestling, but their bread and butter is of course, live music. Listeners love the layout where you can stand on a number of terraces and enjoy the music without feeling too crowded.

Cactus Cafe (2247 Guadalupe Street)

At the University of Texas, the Cactus Cafe is an easy-to-miss venue that really sneaks up on you. It is inside the Texas Union building on Guadalupe Street and the talent that plays there is unbelievable. Stop in to see up-and-comers before they hit it big, people like The Dixie Chicks, Lyle Lovett, and Ani DeFranco have all graced the stage here. During the day it is a great place for coffee, snacks, and pizza – but it transforms at night into one of the top Austin music venues.

Hole in the Wall (2538 Guadalupe Street)

A little ways down Guadalupe Street you’ll find arguably the best college bar in Austin, Hole in the Wall is what the name suggests. It has been around since the mid-70s offers “cheap music, fast drinks, live women” as per the sign outside. Stevie Ray Vaughn and Lucinda Williams have played here, so it definitely books top talent. It also has an arcade inside so it is a heck of a lot of fun for all ages. It has maintained its salt-of-the-earth feel while so many other venues have updated and/or flamed out over the years. Have a blast here any night of the week until 2am, but just be wary of the college students also looking for a wild time.

Beerland (711 Red River)

Their website claims “Beer, music, liquor, beer, music. Not necessarily in that order.” If that sounds like a blast to you then Beerland is your place. It is a former furniture barn turned rowdy venue, in Austin’s Red River music district. Garage bands, punk, metal, and more have played here for over 10 years. Snag as many cheap beers as you can carry and enjoy the noisiest, wildest experience in Austin. Mostly local bands with some touring acts mixed in, the music here is always loud and full of energy. They also have karaoke on Mondays, arcade games, and an outdoor patio.

The Carousel Lounge (1110 East 52nd Street)

If you’re looking for something truly wacky on your trip to Austin, don’t miss The Carousel Lounge. The out-of-the-way location and bizarre circus theme (complete with elephants and lion tamer murals) might be jarring at first, but it is a one-of-a-kind place to party and listen to music in Austin. The single story building is noticeable right away with the circus motif painted outside as well with acrobats and tigers adorn the walls. The craziest part (no, we haven’t got to it yet) is the massive pink papier mache elephant that looms over the stage. Don’t miss the actual carousel behind the bar, too!

Emo’s (2015 East Riverside Drive)

A rough-around-the-edges, high energy, punk rock venue, Emo’s has been at the top of its game for years. This 1,700 capacity hall has welcomed past performers like Smashing Pumpkins and Beck, and you can hear the hard rock tones blasting through the walls most nights of the week. The club books a mix of up-and-coming bands and major touring acts which you can watch on two stages and an outdoor patio. If you’re into music that is underground and all-out high energy, Emo’s has it.

Cedar Street Courtyard (208 West Fourth Street)

An open-air, tree-lined sunken grassy area placed between two buildings, Cedar Street Courtyard is the most laid-back venue on our list. With inventive cocktails, delicious tapas, and nightly live music you’ll really dig the vibe on Cedar Street. An intimate setting for music, bands range from jazz groups with a full horn section to celebrated artists to a wide array of cover bands. It is a major stop during SXSW and has hosted some of the most famous acts of all time. The VIP Veranda offers a perfect bird’s eye view of the action.

Boston, Massachusetts is a hard-working American city full of history, charm, and fun. From famed Fenway Park to the most visited tourist spot in the city, Faneuil Hall, there are endless things to do and places to see on a visit. Some attractions will take you into the old world Italian charm of the North End, while others will find you walking around the cobblestone-lined streets of Beacon Hill. This sprawling but close knit city has many neighborhoods each with its own style, personality, and locals. To truly know the city you have to know the top Boston neighborhoods to visit. You should make a point to stop in to some of the most incredible areas on your next trip. Here’s a bit about what makes each Boston neighborhood so very special:

Top Boston Neighborhoods

Allston/Brighton

A diverse and flourishing area of Northwest Boston, Allston/Brighton (two separate neighborhoods that are almost always lumped together due to their proximity and populous) are home to tree-lined streets with triple decker houses and plenty of eateries. Speaking of, Commonwealth, Brighton, and Harvard Avenues feature hip bars and unique ethnic restaurants, creating hubs of activity throughout the community, with many live music venues. In the southwest corner of the neighborhood, The Chestnut Hill Reservoir features a popular shoreline walking trail. Business is booming too: St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Boston College, WGBH, and the New Balance all have offices here. Take the green line subway/above ground street car here.

Commonwealth Avenue with typical brownstone row houses in the Back Bay area of Boston.

Commonwealth Avenue with typical brownstone row houses in the Back Bay area of Boston.

Back Bay

What a rise to fame for this once-stagnant pool of water that now holds some of the best real estate, restaurants, and attractions in Boston. Victorian brownstones line the streets here with many celebrities calling one home – like Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen, for example. Framed by the Charles River and Public Garden, Back Bay is home to those aforementioned expensive apartments, but also the best shopping in the city. On Newbury Street, you’ll find high end retailers galore – and on a beautiful summer day it seems most of Boston makes its way down this famous street to pick up a nice piece of clothing. Over on parallel Boylston Street you’ll find a more down-to-Earth attitude and plenty of bars and restaurants to watch the game (there’s definitely one on). Boylston Street is also where you’ll find the Prudential Center (an indoor shopping mall) or Copley Square (an outdoor park). You might notice this is the only area of the city created in a grid pattern, like most modern cities, while the rest of Boston was laid out in an unorganized fashion. The cross streets take the names Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, Hereford, Ipswich, and Jersey – all alphabetical – so you can easily find out where you are. See the gorgeous architecture at the Boston Public Library. Back Bay is also home to the finish line of the world-renowned Boston Marathon. Stroll the Esplanade and see the Hatch Shell where many concerts play or visit Northeastern University’s campus. With many T stops available it won’t be hard to get there and move around.

Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, MA.

Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, MA.

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill is likely Boston’s best known neighborhood – home to the city’s elite during the Revolutionary Era. The beautiful brick homes, complete with porticos and columns, are a marvel all on their own. You’ll also find the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill with its famed gold dome – take a tour to learn about Boston and Massachusetts history. The narrow cobblestone streets define this famous neighborhood and the Boston Common, Public Garden, Esplanade, and Hatch Shell are all adjacent to it. Charles Street is Beacon Hill’s main commercial area. Eclectic boutiques, antique stores, and restaurants serve the neighborhood and Beacon Hill’s frequent tourists.

Boston Neighborhood

Charlestown

Charlestown is home to the Bunker Hill Monument – and hundreds of years of history. Old Ironsides (aka USS Constitution), the famous war ship, is located here. The Charlestown Navy Yard, now a historic park, was once a thriving shipyard responsible for creating and repairing many of the vessels used by the U.S. Navy. Enjoy the views of the city from this side of the harbor, and walk around to experience the history of this old Boston neighborhood. Grab a pint at historic Warren Tavern, where many revolutionary heroes drank too, or see the gorgeous views of Boston from Pier 6 on the waterfront.

Boston's Chinatown is the third largest Chinese neighborhood in the country.

Boston’s Chinatown is the third largest Chinese neighborhood in the country.

Chinatown

The hub for Boston’s Chinese community, Chinatown is located next to the Leather District on the southern edge of Downtown. Chinatown’s dense mix of shops, restaurants, and housing in historic buildings creates an ever-bustling neighborhood with easy access to Downtown and the Theater District. Stop in to Chinatown Park to relax after exploring, it has bamboo and calming waters. Get here by taking the Red Line to South Station or the Orange Line to Chinatown. You’ll know you’re close by seeing the massive gate across Beach Street (pictured above).

Faneuil Hall in Boston during Christmas.

Faneuil Hall in Boston during Christmas.

Downtown

Downtown you’ll find the financial district with all its sky scrapers and plenty of shopping and eating in the Downtown Crossing area on Washington Street. The Downtown area is also home to City Hall (rated world’s ugliest building!) and the aforementioned Faneuil Hall which includes Quincy Market where you can eat and shop your afternoon away. Theaters, restaurants, cafes, and miles of waterfront are always within easy walking distance – plus the Rose Kennedy Greenway which boasts miles of park space. Stop into Boston Common for a picnic, stroll, some lemonade, or for the people watching.

A brick walkway in East Boston's Pier's Park invites you to stroll past the lush green grass and bright flowers to the black wrought-iron railing by the waterfront. Gaze out across the Boston Harbor to see sailboats gliding by or the numerous buildings of all sizes in downtown Boston. With the clear blue sky, lights are not needed, but decorative street lamps are ready for nightfall.

A brick walkway in East Boston’s Pier’s Park invites you to stroll past the lush green grass and bright flowers to the black wrought-iron railing by the waterfront.

East Boston

East Boston is where you’ll find Logan Airport,  you probably flew over and drove by it on your way to your vacation rental. It is an up-and-coming neighborhood in the city and one that deserves a visit for its beautiful waterfront parks and for world-famous Santarpio’s Pizza, arguably the best slice in the city. Belle Isle Marsh Reservation and Constitution Beach offer recreational opportunities to residents, and striking views of the Boston skyline can be had from Piers Park. Maverick Square and Central Square are the main commercial areas with shops and restaurants. A short trip on the Blue Line will get you here.

Night view of Fenway Park and the House of Blues along Landsdowne Street in the Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood.

Night view of Fenway Park and the House of Blues along Landsdowne Street in the Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood.

Fenway/Kenmore

The star of the Fenway/Kenmore area is of course the appropriately named Fenway Park. Surrounding the baseball stadium are dozens of bars, restaurants, night clubs on Landsdowne Street, and shops to buy souvenirs. Those going to a game on their visit to Boston will have plenty to do in this area. This is also a neighborhood teeming with colleges and universities to see – Simmons, Wentworth, Emmanuel, Wheelock, and many others. Some of the finest medical institutions in the world can be found here, too. On Huntington Avenue you’ll find Symphony Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Huntington Theater, and New England Conservatory.

Cobbled North Square in the city's oldest residential community known as the city's Little Italy for its Italian American population.

Cobbled North Square in the city’s oldest residential community known as the city’s Little Italy for its Italian American population.

North End

The North End, also known as “Little Italy”, has all the old world charm you’re looking for. Surrounded on two sides by the Boston Harbor, the North End has been settled since the 1630’s but primarily was Irish or Italian immigrants. Since the “Big Dig” project connected this colorful neighborhood to downtown Boston, it has seen a massive increase in tourism, residents, and industry. There are more restaurants here than any other part of the city, with most of them specializing in Italian. So if you’re looking for pasta or a chicken parm, come to dinner here. During the late summer, the neighborhood hosts a feast each weekend for a patron saint with carnival games, live music, and food. The area features several prominent Revolutionary War-era historical sites, including Paul Revere’s House, the Old North Church, and Copp’s Buring Ground. Hanover and Salem streets are the main drags but you’ll find plenty of wonders on any side street you venture down.

South Boston also known as Southie is a densely populated neighborhood of Boston known for narrow three deckers, rowhouses and strong Irish Catholic traditions. South Boston is also known for its strong working class irish heritage, irish pubs and St. Patrick's Day Parade, the nation's longest-running public parade.

South Boston is a densely populated neighborhood of Boston known for narrow three deckers, rowhouses and strong Irish Catholic traditions.

South Boston

Southie is a fast growing neighborhood in Boston with an incredible number of young professionals flocking to its streets for the bars, restaurants, and beaches. Long known for its Irish heritage, the neighborhood has seen a renaissance the past decade with businesses flocking in to establish themselves in this bustling area. With more bars per square mile than any other place in New England you won’t go thirsty here. On a beautiful day you should soak up the sun on L Street Beach or walk around Castle Island and enjoy the views of the city. Get to Southie by walking from Downtown (about 30 mins) or take the Red Line T to Broadway or Andrew station.

South End

The gorgeous South End of Boston (not to be confused with Southie above) has seen a resurgence in the past few decades, first as a gay community, and now as a major hot spot for residents and tourists alike. You’ll love strolling along the Victorian homes and stopping in the various small parks including the Southwest Corridor Path built over the Orange Line. Visit the South End to shop at SOWA, the largest open air market in the area where artisans sell their finest items. The main streets in the South End include Columbus Avenue, Tremont and Washington Street. These streets now host an incredible number of restaurants, cafes, and theaters.

Boston Massachusetts General Hospital and West End Skyline at night.

Boston Massachusetts General Hospital and West End Skyline at night.

West End

North of Beacon Hill you’ll find the West End of Boston. This is where the famed Boston Garden resides, as well as a bustling bar and restaurant scene supporting the fans. The world renowned Mass General Hospital is in the West End. High rises and apartments are cropping up, as well as a major redevelopment projection happening that will shape the neighborhood for the better during the decade to come. The neighborhood is within easy walking distance of the Esplanade and Hatch Shell, Downtown, Beacon Hill, and the City of Cambridge.

Times Square in New York City, NY.

Dining in New York City can be whatever you want it to be. A casual stop at your favorite neighborhood watering hole, a quick to-go sausage from a stand, a pre-made sandwich from a bodega, or a white tablecloth and fine champagne accompanying four impeccable courses. It all depends on your budget, spare time, and appetites.

Maybe a restaurant that appeals to your taste of adventure? If you’re tired of the same old, same old—there are plenty of unique New York City restaurants that more than deserve your business and will leave you in awe. Whether you’re hoping to taste something completely wild, or enjoy a normal meal but in an abnormal atmosphere, New York City will never let you down.

And better yet, if you’re visiting the Big Apple to try one of these unique restaurants, consider staying in a FlipKey rental. A downtown loft, luxe condo, or something in the ‘burbs, perhaps? You’ll have the perfect home base to explore all of these stellar eateries—and everything else New York City offers. The value of a FlipKey rental—more living space, full kitchen, laundry—means you can spend your savings on truly treating yourself during your stay.

Bon appetite!

Dirt Candy (86 Allen Street)

Dirt Candy proves that veggies can be the star of any meal, and not just a side show. The Lower East Side healthy hub is headed by Chef Amanda Cohen who believes in the power of vegetables to not only provide a nutritious meal, but a delicious one too. Try the broccoli dogs for a twist on the traditional food item, but also dip into the kale matzo ball soup, or onion chocolate tarts, both of which are well heralded. The corn boil, curried cauliflower, and eggplant are all fan favorites, too. The plating and decor are up to the task of matching the beauty of the dishes.

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The Black Ant (60 2nd Avenue)

For an interesting twist on classic Mexican, head over to The Black Ant in the East Village. You’ll feel like you’re on a hidden camera or reality show as they serve you dishes like grasshopper-crusted shrimp and black ant guacamole. These unique entrees and appetizers incorporate our insect friends to add a spice of life (and a hint of protein) to the usual Mexican fare. Come for the insect-based protein, but stay for the incredible agave-infused cocktails. The new wave of NYC Mexican, and a totally wild food experience, starts here.

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Butcher Paper Dinners at Brooklyn Grange (37-18 Northern Boulevard, Long Island City)

Eating fresh food on a rooftop with 50 of your closest friends while looking at the Manhattan skyline... what could be better?

Eating fresh food on a rooftop with 50 of your closest friends while looking at the Manhattan skyline… what could be better? (Image via BrooklynGrangeFarm.com)

Instead of farm to table, try rooftop to table at Butcher Paper Dinners at Brooklyn Grange. The urban rooftop farm in Long Island City hosts Sunday afternoon events during the summer for those looking to indulge in the freshest of meals. This private rooftop provides breathtaking views of New York City and a never-ending aroma of fresh produce. The rotating menu is consistently inventive and the setting is around a massive, fifty foot reclaimed oak communal table. The table is amongst a bed of vegetables on the rooftop and it is covered in butcher paper (hence the name). The dishes play with the farm’s fresh, seasonal produce and a rotating lineup of the city’s most innovative chefs prepare the meal. No two meals are ever alike and they usually hit the summer favorites like crab boils, pig roasts, and ribs. No food is wasted, all trash is composted, and the seating set up creates a friendly, festive atmosphere.

Important to note: The Grange isn’t a restaurant, per-se, but a working farm that hosts occasional events. And these dinners sell out, so make sure to check their website for availability and grab tickets in advance!

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Riviera Sundays at Lavo (39 E 48th Street)

An Italian restaurant and nightclub combine for one unforgettable party on Sunday's at Lavo. (Image via Yelp.com)

An Italian restaurant and nightclub combine for one unforgettable party on Sunday’s at Lavo. (Image via Yelp.com)

Be ready to call in sick on Monday because Sunday nights at Lavo is one massive party. A delicious Italian dinner plus a rocking nightclub atmosphere is what Riviera Sundays are all about. Inspired by the Italian Riviera of the 1950s, where movie stars and rock stars and musicians all partied together in trendy restaurants. The owner wanted diners to experience his delicious signature dishes while having magicians, ballerinas, stilt-walkers, and jugglers perform. Every Sunday is a different theme to keep the party exciting. The DJs match the music and sounds to the theme while guests party the night away. Go ahead and dance on the tables!

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Camaje Bistro’s Dinner in the Dark (85 Macdougal Street)

Excite four of your senses during “Dinner in the Dark”, a twice-monthly event held at Camaje Bistro on Macdougal Street. Well the dining room is lit, you just won’t be able to notice. Guests are blindfolded and fed a romantic round of courses and wine where heightened smell and taste senses allow for more appreciative consumption. You’ll love guessing what’s for dinner as the menu is not revealed until the end of the night for the final “a-ha” moment. There’s also live music to stimulate the ears!

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La Caverna (122-124 Rivington Street)

A lounge/restaurant/club hybrid, La Caverna’s cave atmosphere (no, really) will cause you to lose your cell service, but makes up for that with plenty of positives. The dim lighting leads to a perfect date atmosphere for a couple looking to sample small plates, an extensive drink list, and plenty of hookah to smoke. There’s also a huge dance floor for working off the meal afterward.

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Famous Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse (157 Chrystie Street)

Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse is one massive Jewish party on the Lower East Side. You can order all of the Jewish delicacies here like steak, chopped liver, broiled tenderloins in various cuts, and kasha varnishes among many others. Bottles of vodka sitting in ice blocks adorn every table and the crowd becomes raucous when the DJ starts playing. You’ll sing along to classic Billy Joel hits or you’ll get on your table and dance the hora with your neighbors. The bar mitzvah atmosphere goes all night, and you’ll love the classic touches like seltzer spouting from vintage glass bottles. You’ll be leaving there full, drunk, and looking to book a trip to the old country as soon as possible.

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Jekyll and Hyde Club (91 7th Avenue S)

For a truly unique dining experience you’ll want to take your family to the world famous Jekyll and Hyde Club on 7th Ave. This restaurant is filled with spooky decor and sounds, as well as table-side entertainment like Frankenstein, a mummy, and mad scientists. Encounter bizarre characters such as Claw the Gargoyle, Tobias the Werewolf, Dreadmina the Vampire or a genuine Egyptian mummy. The food menu is another adventure — The menu offers 62 distinct dishes including Create-Your-Own-Monster burgers, and The Mummy (sirloin bandaged in your choice of cheese). The walls of Jekyll and Hyde are filled with the souvenirs and trophies of Dr. Jekyll’s bizarre exploits and those of his wacky world traveling friends. Their histories are summarized on plaques throughout the club.

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Shopsins NYC (120 Essex St)

Almost 900 items on one menu – is Shopsins serious? You better believe it. This odd Essex Market eatery has almost as many rules as food choices. For example, parties with more than four people are not allowed in the restaurant, no two people at the same table can order the same thing, you are not allowed to use your phone and you cannot request the menu before you sit down. You’ll pore over the endless menu offering things like ‘slutty cakes’ and ‘high school sandwich’ and 56 different kinds of soups.  The shop keep has a reputation about town, so just don’t waste his time, but the food is more than worth it! Plus the best kind of entertainment is always free, right?

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Ninja New York (25 Hudson St)

You’re sitting there enjoying your food when SWIFF! a ninja star flys right by your ear. Your adrenaline is pumping while you’re eating at Tribeca’s own Ninja New York, a restaurant known for the rolling, tumbling, and riotous performances that come alongside the traditional Japanese cuisine. The waiters are dressed like ninjas and perform nunchuck tricks and ninja assassin moves from seemingly out of nowhere. Keep your eyes peeled for the ninja magician during dessert. This windowless space was created to depict a traditional ninja village of the feudal days, with individual rooms laid out like a maze. There are clever contraptions set up throughout for hiding and sneaking around. Diners can choose from various three or four-course menus or simply order a la carte.

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Queen of the Night at Diamond Horseshoe (235 W 46th Street)

An entertainer performs during dinner at a New York City restaurant.

(Image via YouTube.com)

Forget whatever you know about dinner theatre, Queen of the Night at the Paramount Hotel’s Diamond Horseshoe is so much more. From acrobatics to a gently groping waitstaff, this place will keep you both entertained and stimulated. Diners are immersed in a participatory fusion of theater, cuisine and nightlife, with plenty of magic and fashion thrown in. Queen of the Night is circus meets diner show, with artists, actors, musicians and cooks both performing and preparing lavish dishes. With three levels of tickets you can choose how close you want to be to the action, and how a grand a time you’re willing to have.

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Tatiana (3152 Brighton 6th St, Brooklyn)

The experience within Tatiana in Brooklyn is as if Studio 54, Las Vegas, + Bourbon Street combined to form one incredible place to eat and party.

The experience within Tatiana in Brooklyn is as if Studio 54, Las Vegas, + Bourbon Street combined to form one incredible place to eat and party. (Image via TatianaRestaurant.com)

This Russian-inspired restaurant in Brighton Beach keeps the vodka flowing before and after the incredible floor show. Performed on Friday and Saturday nights, dozens of dancers leap across the stage bathed in neon lights while acrobats and fire breathers complete feats of wonder. You’d probably forget you even had a plate of chicken Kiev or borscht in front of you if they weren’t so darn delicious. Inside you’ll feel a million miles away from New York, as the show, the company, and the fare are of another place. It’s flashy, it’s fun, and it is one hell of a night.

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Takashi (456 Hudson Street)

Test your limits and your adventurousness at Takashi – a Korean barbecue that serves up some ‘wow’ and a whole lot of ‘WTF’ for your night out in NYC. Stomach, testicles, brain cream (served in a toothpaste tube!) are all parts of a cow available for consumption. Try the liver or the Achilles tendon, a delight for less picky eaters. Diners love the mural of caricatures on the wall that serves as the menu, and it is pretty clear that this all-beef establishment is just that. Later, enjoy the electric grill on your tabletop and cook yourselves some slices of cheek and different cuts of cow tongue. The self-proclaimed “New Meat Mecca” of the West Village delivers on that promise.

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Ellen’s Stardust Diner (1650 Broadway)

You'll catch a tune and one awesome meal at Ellen's Stardust Diner - an NYC staple.

You’ll catch a tune and one awesome meal at Ellen’s Stardust Diner – an NYC staple. (Image via EllensStardustDiner.com)

Ellen’s Stardust Diner is a eating experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen. This 1950’s themed diner is famous for its Broadway worthy singing staff. You will get the Broadway experience for much less, plus a delicious meal – now that’s a unique New York City restaurant! In a city with over 10,000 registered restaurants on TripAdvisor, Ellen’s is in the top 5%, and well deserved as it wows with both the show and the food. They’ve been serving breakfast, lunch and dinner for tour groups and locals alike since 1987 – while making stars out of their staff! Many waiters, waitresses, hostesses, and bussers have gone on to star in stage shows and musicals all over the country. The decor showcases famous art, music, and pop culture from the 1950s and more than likely you’ll hear a rousing rendition of a former or current pop hit.

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Now that you have an outlook at the unique New York City restaurants you have to try, you should listen to your stomach and start planning your trip. Stay in a vacation rental in the city to save money while still having the space, privacy, and amenities you’re used to at home. Happy booking and happy eating!

When you think of volcanoes, you picture a craggy European cliff face or a secluded Hawaiian island. You don’t typically think of the continental United States, or even the western to middle America region. Well there is actually a host of volcanic activity happening in our beloved Wild West, all over Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Before we dive in to the definition of geysers and the best Yellowstone geysers, let’s learn a bit about the park itself.

About Yellowstone

Millions of visitors annually head to the flagship and first national park of the United States, Yellowstone. For those wanting a leisurely trip, the Grand Loop Road is an easy way to see the beauty of this national park, and for those looking for a more active trip, there is a plethora of hiking, biking, swimming, and more. The entire area is 3,500 square miles, an absolute massive expanse of land in Wyoming, with small parts in Montana and Idaho as well. In fact, it is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. This volcanic hot spot features features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers. It’s also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope. There are over 1,100 species of native plants in Yellowstone, too. It is a nature preserve that takes the beauty of the Rocky Mountain region to another level.

Yellowstone is huge, so you’ll need to plan ahead and decide which of the five entrances makes the most sense for your party. Yellowstone’s main roads are the five entrance roads and the Grand Loop road. On the Loop, you’ll find many visitor centers, museums, boardwalks, and scenic side roads. To enter the park, a pass costs $50 for the entire year, or $25 for the day for a private vehicle.

What is a ‘geyser’?

You’ve seen a hot spring, right? If not, imagine a natural, outdoor jacuzzi tub that’s over 150 degrees Fahrenheit and can be found all over the world. The little cousin to the hot spring, but one that announces its presence loudly, is the geyser. It is basically a hot spring without enough ventilation. That boiling water, gas, vapor, and heat is trapped under the Earth (known as a constriction) and needs somewhere to go. Surrounding pressure also increases with depth, similar to the ocean. Once the pressure gets so immense, (WHOOSH!), the hot water bursts from the ground into an amazing column of water. This eruption of water and steam decreases the pressure and heat within the system. The eruption stops when the water reservoir is depleted or when the system cools and the cycle begins again.

Most of the world’s geysers occur in just five countries: 1) the United States, 2) Russia, 3) Chile, 4) New Zealand and 5) Iceland. All of these locations are where there is geologically recent volcanic activity and a source of hot rock below. Most geysers erupt irregularly and infrequently. However, a few are known for regular eruptions (see Old Faithful below).

There are two main types of geysers – cone and fountain. A cone geyser erupts a narrow jet of water, usually through a cone-shape of dirt or clay or silt (also known as silica). The cone acts as sort of a hose, with the tight space creating a great jet of water at the mouth of the geyser. The vents within these massive cones are often very narrow, causing the water to splash and spray as it emerges. Every splash and each eruption adds its own increment of silica, enlarging the cones as the years pass. The cones of many of Yellowstone’s geysers are hundreds of years old.

The second type of geyser is known as a Fountain Geyser. Fountain geysers shoot water in various directions, typically from a pool. A fountain-type geyser has a large opening at the surface that usually fills with water before or during an eruption. Steam bubbles rising through the pool during the eruption cause separate bursts of water that generally spray out in all directions. Fountain type geysers are the most common type of geyser and can range in size from very small to very large. We will be referring to these geysers types as we describe the best Yellowstone geysers below.

There are more geysers in Yellowstone than anywhere else on earth. Old Faithful, certainly the most famous geyser, is joined by numerous others big and small, named and unnamed. Though born of the same water and rock, each is unique and entertaining. So whether you’re stopping in to Yellowstone as part of a massive national parks trip, or you’re looking to make a singular journey to this amazing area, read on to discover what makes the best geysers of Yellowstone so compelling and mesmerizing, and please add them to your list of things to see on site.

Beehive Geyser (Upper Geyser Basin)

Getting wet at Beehive Geyser in Yellowstone

Getting wet at Beehive Geyser in Yellowstone

The aptly named Beehive Geyser is known for its distinctive four-foot-tall cone geyser in the shape of, you guessed it, a beehive. Beehive is one of the most visited and powerful geysers in the park, even though it has a modest cone comparatively to the other geysers in the immediate area. An average eruption lasts about 4 to 5 minutes, shooting water up to 200 feet in the air! The interval for eruptions is anywhere from 8 hours to one full day, so it one of the more unpredictable ones in the park, especially in winter. Beehive has an ‘indicator’ eruption actually, a small spray (about six feet high) that occurs about 20 minutes before the actual one, a few yards away. An eruption begins with occasional splashing, then small surges. These progress into an eruption as the ground rumbles and a narrow, straight fountain of water jets upward. People love visiting this particular geyser not only for its impressive display of power, but due to the geysers straight jet, you can stand closer than any other in the park during an eruption. 

Castle Geyser (Upper Geyser Basin)

Gayser eruption in Castle Geyser in the Yellowstone National Park

Gayser eruption in Castle Geyser in the Yellowstone National Park

Castle Geyser is so named because the water erupts from a cone shaped like the ruins of some medieval fortress. It is very old, estimates saying anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 years, in fact.Over time the cone’s shape changes because of the layers of mineral deposited in successive eruptions. Its 12 foot high cone is quite striking and experts say it would need that many years to form. It erupts between 9 and 11 hours, with a jet of up to 90 feet. There’s 20 minutes of water spray, and then 40 minutes of steam eruption following. The first 10 to 15 minutes of the steam phase is relatively forceful and fairly loud and interesting to hear. A fun fact is this geyser used to be extremely unpredictable, but after an earthquake in 1959, it changed to the constant timing it has now.

Clepsydra Geyser (Lower Geyser Basin)

Steam and colorful blue green water of Clepsydra Geyser

Steam and colorful blue green water of Clepsydra Geyser

Named for an ancient Greek water clock, due to its regularity, the Clepsydra Geyser is in the Lower Geyser Basin of Yellowstone. Shooting 200°F water up to 40 feet, this geyser has been constantly and consistently erupting from four vents since 1959. During the 1800’s it’s intervals were almost exactly 3 minutes. Two types of eruptions characterize Clepsydra. The constant splash-type eruptions from the highest vents send jets of water and steam 10-15 feet in all directions for about three minutes. The more powerful eruptions called “wild phase” activity send steady jets 20-40 feet from all four vents for three to six hours. Clepsydra discharges nearly 675 gallons per minute.

Cliff Geyser (Black Sand Basin)

Cliff Geyser, on the bank of the Iron Creek in the Black Sand Geyser Basin of the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, starts to erupt

Cliff Geyser, on the bank of the Iron Creek in the Black Sand Geyser Basin of the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, starts to erupt

In the Upper Geyser Basin, an area called the Black Sand Basin is where you’ll find the Cliff Geyser – perched on the edge of Iron Spring Creek. It has a cliff-like cone and common, but unpredictable eruptions. This geyser is famed for its unusual spot, right next to a beautiful and serene creek. You’ll know the geyser is about to blow when the crater nearly fills with boiling water. Then, a up to 40 foot high jet of water will emerge.

Echinus Geyser (Norris Geyser Basin)

Colorful Echinus Geyser in Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Colorful Echinus Geyser in Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

If you love the Fourth of July, you’ll love the fireworks-like explosion of the Echinus Geyser. It’s large pool slowly fills with water prior to an eruption. When the eruption begins each burst is different from the others, some reaching heights of 125 feet. After an eruption the basin drains producing a whirlpool and a gurgling which sounds as if the stopper from a bath tub had been pulled. The waters in Echinus Geyser are acidic (verging on a pH of 3.3 to 3.6, on par with orange juice and soda, making it more acidic even than acid rain), which is an extreme rarity in the world of erupting thermal features. The spines surrounding the geyser may have led to its name, as “echinus” refers to a type of sea urchin. It is colored by a light red-brown iron oxide.

Up until 1997 this geyser was a hit in the park, erupting every hour, but it has noticeably slowed in both frequency and size. For the past few years eruptions have been quite rare. The major eruptions were believed to be caused by a secondary water source which has mysteriously vanished. Like other geysers and hot springs, Echinus Geyser can change without warning, and is subject to many unseen changes and forces underground.

Great Fountain Geyser (Lower Geyser Basin)

"Explosion" of the Great Fountaun Geyser at Yellowstone National Park

“Explosion” of the Great Fountaun Geyser at Yellowstone National Park

Great Fountain Geyser is located in the Lower Geyser Basin on the Firehole Lake Drive. It is the only major geyser you can see from the road, and while sitting in your car, so that fact is helpful in bad weather. One of the star’s of the Lower Basin, this fountain-type geyser erupts for almost an hour straight, every 8 to 12 hours. It was one of the first discovered in the park, in the late 19th century. The intricately terraced sinter cone is 150 feet in diameter with a 14×20 foot crater. Eruptions begin about one hour after the crater fills and the first overflow spills onto the terraces. Great Fountain’s maximum height ranges from about 75 feet to over 220 feet. While this pattern of behavior is observed most of the time, there are occasional episodes of so-called “wild-phase” activity during which the eruptions are of greatly extended duration and intervals between eruptions may be as long as three days.

Great Fountain Geyser sits in the middle of one of the prettiest sinter formations in the park. The sinter forms a series of terraced concentric reflecting pools around the geyser. Even if the geyser isn’t erupting, it is worth driving past to see the pools.

Lion Geyser (Upper Geyser Basin)

Lion Geyser in Yellowstone National Park resembles the body and maned head of a reclining lion.

Lion Geyser in Yellowstone National Park resembles the body and maned head of a reclining lion.

The lion geyser is actually part of the Lion Group, a set of four geysers (Lion, Lioness, Big Cub, Little Cub) in the same vicinity and when viewed from the south resembles a body and maned head of a reclining lion. Preceding an eruption is a sudden rush of steam, like the roaring of a lion.

Old Faithful (Upper Geyser Basin)

Old Faithful Geyser erupts on time every single day.

Old Faithful Geyser erupts on time every single day.

Discovered in 1870 by the Washburn Expedition, Old Faithful geyser was named for its frequent eruptions — which number more than a million since Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in 1872. It is not the tallest or the largest geyser, but it is the most popular in the entire world. Why? Its regularity and high frequency of eruptions. Old Faithful erupts with such regularity because it is not connected to any other thermal feature in the park. The prediction of when Old Faithful will erupt is dependent on the length of the previous eruption, but a safe bet is between one hour to two hours, with the average being 75 minutes.The rangers say that 90% of their predictions are within +/- 10 minutes. Eruptions last a maximum of five minutes, and water sprays up to 140 feet and spews up to 8400 gallons. The water heats at about 200 degrees, with the steam heating at a whopping 350 degrees! The geyser erupts 20 times per day, so you don’t have to wait long to see the show. Viewers see the geyser from the boardwalk sitting about 300 feet away. Here’s a fun fact: Old Faithful, upon being discovered, was used by the explorers as a washing machine! The clothes erupted washed and unharmed (unless it was wool, those were ripped to shreds). The historic Old Faithful Inn (1903–04) is one of the country’s great national park lodges; Old Faithful Lodge (1918–28) and other vintage buildings are also in the vicinity. In 2010 Yellowstone park officials opened the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. The facility provides park visitors with an opportunity to learn more about the geology, hydrothermal properties, and scientific study of Old Faithful and other hydrothermal features in the park.

Riverside Geyser (Upper Geyser Basin)

Riverside Geyser Rainbow at Yellowstone National Park

A rainbow can be seen in the water erupted into the air by the Riverside Geyser at Yellowstone National Park. The geyser is located on the Firehole River, a short hike from Old Faithful Geyser

The Riverside Geyser, next to the Firehole River at the base of a wooded hill, often forms a rainbow after erupting, as in the picture above, due to its strategic location and angle. A picturesque, cone type geyser that blows approximately every six hours for twenty minutes and reaches jet heights of 75 feet with a steam phase following. The geyser formation looks like a chair and has two vents on either side, but it erupts only from the lower vent. Visitors can watch the eruption from the other side of Firehole River.

Steamboat Geyser (Norris Geyser Basin)

Steamboat Geyser, in Yellowstone National Park's Norris Geyser Basin - the world's tallest currently-active geyser.

Steamboat Geyser, in Yellowstone National Park’s Norris Geyser Basin – the world’s tallest currently-active geyser.

We won’t bury the lede – Steamboat Geyser has only erupted fewer than ten times in the last twenty years. What makes it remarkable is when it DOES erupt, the stream reaches heights of almost 400 feet in the air! Plus, it sounds like a massive steam engine during the explosion, so it was named for a steamboat. It is the tallest active geyser in the world. In Yellowstone National Park’s recorded history, only two other geysers have exceeded Steamboat in size: Excelsior Geyser in Midway Geyser Basin and Sapphire Pool in Biscuit Basin.

White Dome (Lower Geyser Basin)

The White Dome Geyser erupting in Yellowstone National Park

The White Dome Geyser erupting in Yellowstone National Park

White Dome is a very old geyser as its 20 foot high cone suggests. Eruptions occur thru a 4 inch wide vent and reaches heights of 30 feet. It erupts quite regularly, at around 15 minutes. The name is descriptive of the white-colored deposits found in the area. The sinter cone, built upon an older hot spring mound, is 20 feet high. It may not be around forever as continued internal deposits may seal it up. Although not has heralded as its neighbor, the Great Fountain Geyser (see above) many millions of visitors are wowed by its performance as they wait for the Great Fountain Geyser to erupt.

Now that you have an outlook at the best Yellowstone geysers, please consult the official Yellowstone National Park website to plan your trip properly to ensure you hit all the ones we’ve listed. Also, stay in a vacation rental nearby in order to save money while still having the space, privacy, and amenities you’re used to at home.

Looking for a mountain getaway, but need some travel inspiration to get you started? Whether you’re looking to conquer epic ski slopes or hike through a variety of terrains, we’ve compiled a list of five incredible places to vacation in the mountains that are sure to satisfy your fresh air cravings any time of year.

While Smoky Mountain retreats, Gatlinburg mountain getaways, and vacations in the mountains of Colorado are always safe, these five trip ideas will get you out of your vacation comfort zone. These mountain getaway spots are all over the world, bursting with natural beauty, and they are sure to leave you breathless (not just because of the altitude). Click on each location below to find the perfect cabin rental, ski chalet, or ski-in/ski-out condo to make your mountain retreat complete.

Teton Village, Wyoming

Overflow from the Snake River reflects the autumn colors of cottonwood trees and the Grand Teton Range, WY

A river reflects the autumn colors of cottonwood trees and the Grand Teton Range in Wyoming.

Teton Village, Wyoming surrounds the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and beckons to outdoor-enthusiasts and adventurers all year long. It is a convenient 12-mile drive from nearby Jackson, and the 100-foot tall clock tower that sits in the heart of the village makes this vacation spot easily identifiable for those headed to the hills. The Swiss-style Teton Village, nicknamed “the Vil,” gives visitors the feeling of being transported to Europe, and bursts with things to do. From après-ski bars to cozy coffee shops, live music and more, the Vil has everything you’ll need during your mountain getaway in Wyoming.

During the wintertime, both beginner and expert skiers gravitate to this mountain getaway destination for its dramatic slopes and the largest vertical rise in America at 4,139 feet. Shush down Rendezvous and Apres Vous Mountains on skis and let your lungs fill with fresh mountain air. Warm up with a drink at the Mangy Moose Restaurant and Saloon with its funky decor, or sit by the fireplace at your Teton Village rental. Ditch the downhill slopes and change things up on your second day by taking advantage of 17 kilometers of groomed cross country ski track and snowshoeing trails at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. After a couple days of outdoor action, give your legs a rest and indulge yourself with a luxurious spa treatment at Sena Spa at the Teton Club.

The Jackson Hole Aerial Tram climbs from the base of Teton Village to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain, and is an ideal activity to do once the snow has melted. There are numerous hiking trails that lead down the mountain, or vacationers looking for an adrenaline rush can choose to paraglide to the bottom. Other activities for a warm weather mountain retreat include horseback riding, mountain biking, and taking a wildlife tour with Wild Things of Wyoming.

Whistler, British Columbia

Snowy slopes in Whistler, British Columbia beckon to skiers of all levels.

Snowy slopes in Whistler, British Columbia beckon to skiers of all levels.

Located just north of Vancouver in British Columbia, Whistler has been consistently voted a top ski destination in North America and it attracts more than two million travelers each year. Whatever season you choose to visit during, you’ll always be met with unspoiled wilderness, wide open spaces, and endless opportunities for adventure. For your Whistler mountain getaway, choose from cozy cabin rentals with convenient access to the slopes or pick from a variety of places in the heart of this resort town to be near the action.

Colder months bring copious amounts of snow, which create the perfect setting for alpine skiing, snowboarding and other winter activities. Expert skiers and adventure-seekers will want to try a heli-skiing experience with Coast Range Heli Adventures. This tour company takes small groups out through back-country powder for skiing adventures unlike any other. If you’re visiting during the low season when the weather is warmer, try heli-biking, heli-fishing, or even hold a heli-wedding. Give your legs a rest from skiing one day and explore the Whistler Sliding Centre. Time your trip to catch a seasonal competition here or hop into a 4-person bobsled and try out the sport for yourself.

Even if there’s no snow on the ground, Whistler has plenty of activities to choose from that will make your mountain getaway unforgettable. Walk around the pedestrian-only village and stroll along the variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries. Grab a map and ride the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola for easy access to alpine hiking trails on both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Once home to the Olympics, Whistler’s Olympic Park also has activities to enjoy, even in the summer.

Queenstown, New Zealand

Paraglider soaring above Queenstown, New Zealand

A paraglider soars above Queenstown, New Zealand with the mountains in the background.

While many first think of skiing and snowboarding when mountain getaways are mentioned, snow isn’t necessary to make Queenstown a heavenly and hilly retreat. While the area experiences four distinct seasons, most activities are available year-round due to the relatively mild climate. When visiting, keep in mind that summertime falls at the beginning of the year during January and February when temperatures are at their hottest and typically top out around 85-degrees Fahrenheit. Winter takes place from June through August. Expect cooler temperatures and snow-capped mountains that transform Queenstown into a skier’s paradise during this time of year.

Visit during the summer months to take advantage of long, sunny days. The sun typically rises at 5 a.m. and doesn’t set until 10 p.m., so you can fit in lots of activities outdoors. Reach the “Basket of Dreams” at the peak of Queenstown Hill after a challenging 1-2 hour hike. You won’t be disappointed by the breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables, and other mountains from the top. Another great hiking spot is Ben Lomond Walkway, or let Ultimate Hikes take you on a multi-day adventure through rainforests, remote alpine passes, and past towering mountain peaks. With such a stunning backdrop, Queenstown is also the place to let go of your inhibitions and try something new like hang gliding or bungee jumping. SkyTrek Tandem Hang Gliding  & Paragliding offer the excitement of a new experience high above ground with the comfort of an expert along with you.

Queenstown is at its busiest during the winter season when mountains like Coronet Peak and The Remarkables Ski Area open up for snow sports. At both ski resorts you’ll find trails and terrain for every level of skiers, and the stunning slopes will surely make your Queenstown mountain getaway a memorable one. Wintertime tours with Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopter will leave you speechless. Although much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed here, you don’t have to be a Hobbit to visit this city and experience its surreal beauty any time of year.

Chamonix, France

Ski chalets are nestled at the base of Mont-Blanc in Chamonix, France.

Ski chalets are nestled at the base of Mont-Blanc in Chamonix, France.

One of Europe’s oldest ski areas, Chamonix is the perfect place to escape to for a luxury mountain getaway in France. Rent a chalet here at the base of Mont-Blanc to make your retreat to the French Alps extra special. You’ll find endless opportunities to enjoy nature from ski adventures to cable car rides while on your mountain retreat. Chamonix is also not from from other European destinations, which makes side trips to parts of France, Switzerland, and Italy possible.

Chamonix played host to the first Winter Olympic in 1924 and has been regaling visitors with historic mountain charm ever since. Grab your skis and hit the slopes at Mont-Blanc, Western Europe’s tallest mountain. The mountains of Aiguille  du Midi and Les Grands Motets tower nearby and hold their own as fantastic ski areas as well. Confident skiers can enjoy a range of snow activities, including guided off-piste skiing and heli-skiing, with Chamonix Sport Adventure, while beginners might want to stick to lessons at the Tinderbox Ski School.

Cable cars take visitors up the mountain year-round for breathtaking panoramic views of the scenic landscape. The Telecabine Panoramique Mont-Blanc takes visitors from the Aguille du Midi over the valley to Helbronner point in Italy and has spectacular photo ops. If you prefer to be on land rather than in the air, spend a day hiking Glacier des Bossons. The hike itself is long (8-9 hours), but you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views and amazing scenery. At the end of the day, enjoy great cheeses and fresh bread from Le Refuge Payot in the comfort of your mountain retreat or devour a good ole fashioned burger at Poco Loco Chamonix. When you return home from your vacation in Chamonix, both your appetite for fresh mountain air and exquisite French foods will be sated.

Stowe, Vermont

Aerial view of fall foliage including the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont.

Aerial view of fall foliage including the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont.

Whether you’re a sporting enthusiast, love being pampered, or simply have a soft spot for quintessential New England charm, Stowe, Vermont has something for everyone. Stowe boasts big-time ski resorts during the winter, colorful foliage during autumn, and lots of quaint covered bridges and outdoor recreation that make it a natural choice for a classic mountain getaway. Fly into Montpelier or Burlington and then make the short drive to your picture-perfect Stowe cabin rental. With your mountain retreat secured, you’ll have easy access to awesome local restaurants like Cafe on Main and Bistro at Ten Acres and a wealth of things to do in the surrounding mountains.

Widely known as a fantastic ski destination, Stowe offers lifts and trails for skiers and snowboarders of every level. Bundle up and take the chairlift to the summit of Mount Mansfield or Spruce Peak. Ski or snowboard down the hill before ending at the mountain lodge for après-ski drinks and food. Both mountains are part of Stowe Mountain Resort and have family-friendly activities, so everyone can have fun on a Vermont mountain getaway. If the weather’s not cooperating, check out the Vermont Ski Museum or take a detour to the Ben & Jerry Factory for a guided tour and some ice cream samples.

Visit during March when the days are longer and warmer to participate in the maple sugaring process at the Trapp Family Lodge. The Maple Sugar Tour is a 1-mile hike around the property and visitors can help collect buckets of sap while learning about the process. At the end, everyone can enjoy a tasty maple treat. Other activities worth saving for warm weather include golfing at the Stowe Country Club, hiking the trails of Smuggler’s Notch State Park, and strolling along the Stowe Recreation Path. Stowe is an all-season destination, so you can getaway to the mountains in Vermont any time of year.