Category Archives: Destination Details

An Insider’s Guide to Austin, TX

Austin has proved over the years that it’s much more than the state capitol of Texas. Live music plays every day of the week here, so there’s no shortage of opportunities to see your favorite genre of music. There’s plenty to do outdoors, from swimming in a pool made from natural springs to biking around all the trails and parks.

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Image via Flickr

Go Swimming

When the temperature’s hot, the place to be is Barton Springs Pool. The pool is over 3 acres and is filled completely from natural springs close by. With a year round average temperature of 68 degrees F, any day of the year is perfect for taking a dip. The depth ranges from very shallow to 18 feet, so it’s a great place for kids learning to swim for the first time or more advanced swimmers wanting to practice their skills.

Check Out the Bats

A unique and little known fact about Austin is it’s home to the world’s largest urban bat colony. Head to Congress Avenue Bridge to check them out if you’re not spooked easily. If you’re really into bats, make sure to come in August when the Bat Fest takes place. Along with some amazing Texan food and beer, you’ll have the chance to see 1.5 million bats come out when the sun goes down. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Listen to Live Music

Austin is called the live music capitol of the world, and for a good reason. Almost any night of the week will have live concerts available all over the city for your listening pleasure. Not just limited to country music, everything from reggae to jazz to rock can be found at different venues. Bigger concerts like Austin City Limits and SXSW also take place in Austin, so grab tickets if you happen to be in town during one of those events.

Jerod Slay explains why he loves the city so much:

“Austin is loaded with fun things to do for visitors, from touring our beautiful capitol to cooling off in the natural spring pool at Barton Springs, but one of our favorite things about Austin is still the wide variety of live music you can find on any night of the week.”

Walk or Bike Around Town

The sprawling city has trails all around it to stay active on. Lady Bird Lake is a beautiful place to visit during the warmer months to get a walk in and have lunch overlooking the lake. There’s plenty of parks throughout the city to ride your bike on as well. If you’ll be there for awhile, sign up for one of the many races around the area.

Watch a Race

Adventure junkies will love visiting the Circuit of the Americas. Home to the famous Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, races can be seen here year round. Treat yourself by getting a VIP package to a race complete with a tour of the venue and catering service.

 

Marissa Pedersen

Marissa is a freelance writer, travel blogger, and social media marketing manager from Seattle. She runs the travel blog Postcards to Seattle, which captures all her journeys from around the world. She likes to stay active wherever she goes, from kayaking in Italy to snowboarding in the Alps.

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An Insider’s Guide to Tacoma, WA

Seattle gets all the credit in Washington state, but you’re missing out if that’s the only place you visit. Just half an hour south is Tacoma, a city that’s full of activities to do. Treat yourself to a weekend here so you have time to do everything.

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Image via Pixabay

America’s Car Museum

While in Tacoma, don’t miss out on this massive car museum. Antique cars dating back to 1903 line the walls, and everything from muscle cars to hot rods can be found here. You’ll also find old motorcycles and even the “Flintmobile,” a car straight out of “The Flintstones.”

Point Defiance Zoo

The city’s so large that it even managed to fit a zoo in it! See polar bars in the Arctic Tundra and watch sea lions play in the Rocky Shores. Camel rides are even available for kids depending on the weather outdoors.

Cheney Stadium

You don’t have to deal with the traffic of Seattle to see the Mariners play – Tacoma has their own Tacoma Rainiers! This minor league baseball team plays from April to September, and is the perfect way to spend a night out. Buy some popcorn and peanuts, and grab your seat to cheer on the local team.

Local Garth Gasman knows there’s no better way to spend a summer evening than in Tacoma:

“There are a number of things to do and a number of good places to eat in Tacoma.  A summer time favorite of mine has been enjoying a beautiful evening at Cheney Stadium watching the Tacoma Rainiers.  You also can’t go wrong watching the sun set while having dinner on Ruston Way, whether its Harbor Lights, Katie Downs, The Lobster Shop, The Ram, Wild Fin or any of the others restaurants that are right on the water!” 

Museum of Glass

Prepare to be amazed as you gawk at all the beautiful handmade glass work. Almost anything can be found here, from glass bowls to the ceilings you’ll walk underneath. You can even watch the experts carefully perform their work in the Hot Shop during your visit. Make sure to buy a souvenir in the gift shop before you leave to take home your own glass blown item.

Washington State History Museum

Learn where Washington’s roots started at this informative museum in Tacoma. There’s so much to absorb here that at least a full day is recommended. Walk through artifacts from the Native American culture and civilization, and continue through important periods such as industrialization and women’s suffrage. An interactive history lab learning center allows visitors to see how our ancestors used maps and periodicals to navigate through the state as they were exploring it. You can even climb aboard a model railroad to pretend you’re back in time.

Marissa Pedersen

Marissa is a freelance writer, travel blogger, and social media marketing manager from Seattle. She runs the travel blog Postcards to Seattle, which captures all her journeys from around the world. She likes to stay active wherever she goes, from kayaking in Italy to snowboarding in the Alps.

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An Insider’s Guide to Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia is a city full of history and delicious cuisine. Places like the Liberty Bell and LOVE Park are within walking distance of the city center, and there’s plenty city parks to sit at to rest when you’re tired. The city is also known for its wide-variety of craft beer, and of course, cheesesteaks. With so much to do and eat, it’ll be hard to get bored.

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Image via Pixabay

Visit LOVE Park

If this park sounds familiar, it’s probably due to its controversial past with skateboarding. Hundreds of skaters enjoyed skating here until 1995, when the city deemed it illegal. After people still didn’t listen, the city put up barricades and had guards watching it at all times. While it’s long been abandoned, you can still see the site of the original LOVE park. The LOVE sign is now in the city center in front of a fountain.

See the City From Above

For an amazing 360 degree view of Philadelphia, head to One Liberty Observation. There’s interactive maps showing you where and what you’re looking at. You’ll see the suburbs of the city, and even the state of New Jersey just off in the distance.  Don’t forget to take a selfie with the giant head of Ben Franklin while you’re up there.

Try a Cheesesteak

When in Philly, you have to try at least one cheesesteak. Where to go for the best one is highly controversial depending on who you ask though. Some of the most highly recommended ones come from Shank’s Original, Geno’s Steaks, and Tony Luke’s. Wherever you go, you won’t be disappointed.

Cheesesteak isn’t the only food that the city’s known for though. Ted Kaplan elaborates:

“Philadelphia is a great place if you love food. Our city is known for its eclectic and wide ranging foodie options, everything from a Philly cheesesteak, through fine dining options throughout the town. A favorite gem is a French-Moroccan inspired brunch place called Cafe La Maude, in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. If you check it out you need to try the the Parisian Za – you wont be disappointed!”

Liberty Bell

One of the most commonly known attractions, the Liberty Bell resides in a small museum. It explains how the bell came to be and all the history around it. If the line is too long, you can still view it by going to the side of the building, where it can be seen day or night. Admission is free.

Hang Out in the Beer Gardens

The city is overflowing with places to drink beer, and many of these restaurants have beer gardens to sit in during the hot summer months. While there’s plenty of places to choose from, there’s unique ones like Independence Beer Garden, which is actually in a garden. It’s also right across the street from the Liberty Bell – you can’t get a better location than that!

Marissa Pedersen

Marissa is a freelance writer, travel blogger, and social media marketing manager from Seattle. She runs the travel blog Postcards to Seattle, which captures all her journeys from around the world. She likes to stay active wherever she goes, from kayaking in Italy to snowboarding in the Alps.

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An Insider’s Guide to Michigan

Michigan is bursting with activities to do, from being outdoors to spending a rainy day inside. During the summer, take advantage of all the lakes in the state and head to the beach. When the brutal winter comes, you can spend your time inside admiring art.

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Image via Flickr

Spend the Day on Belle Isle

Located in Detroit, the island is almost 1000 acres, which means it’s full of things to do. See animals in the aquarium or pay a visit to the Nature Zoo. If you prefer to be indoors, head to the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, a botanical garden and greenhouse on the island. You can even swim if you need to cool off from the summer heat.

Head to the Beach

Bordering Lake Michigan makes for easy beach access without leaving the state. Pere Marquette Park Beach is one of three certified “clean” beaches in the Great Lakes so you don’t have to worry about being able to swim in the water. Volleyball courts are all over the sandy beaches, making it a popular sport in the summer.

Visit the Henry Ford Museum

Learn about the history of Michigan and the important people who made the state what it is today. Unique artifacts call this museum home, such as the bus Rosa Parks sat down on and Lincoln’s rocker, the chair from the theater he used on that fatal day. Exhibits are constantly rotating, so there’s always something new to see during each visit.

Explore Tahquamenon Falls State Park

Located in the upper peninsula of Michigan, it’s the state’s second largest state park. With almost 50,000 acres of land, there’s 40 miles of walkable trails to go hiking.  There’s also 13 lakes, so take a dip to cool off in between discovering the two waterfalls. Canoeing and fishing are also popular activities in the warmer months.

Admire the Arts

Art lovers will enjoy spending the day in the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum. In addition to the regular art exhibits, special exhibitions are always changing to mix things up. They also offer Friday night concerts, weekend movies, and Sunday afternoon lectures. Many people say it’s hard to see everything in just one visit, so plan on several days if you have the time.

Locals also love living in Michigan for many reasons. Charles M. Kronzek states his love for the state below:

“Living in Mid Michigan gives me easy access to hundreds or wonderful destinations with most being within a one hour drive. From Lansing, I can drive east and be in Detroit in about an hour. I’ll pass dozen of lakes and tourist destinations.

I can drive west and be in Grand Rapids in an hour of be on the beach on Lake Michigan is just over an hour. I can drive north and be in a casino or an indoor water park in an hour. Driving south for an hour takes me to Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan football stadium or the Arts Fair. Staying right at home in Lansing gives me full access to Michigan State University, their planetarium, a wonderful art museum, botanical gardens, General Motors and touring Broadway shows.”

Marissa Pedersen

Marissa is a freelance writer, travel blogger, and social media marketing manager from Seattle. She runs the travel blog Postcards to Seattle, which captures all her journeys from around the world. She likes to stay active wherever she goes, from kayaking in Italy to snowboarding in the Alps.

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An Insider’s Guide to Visiting Richardson, TX

Dallas may steal the spotlight when it comes to cities, but make sure you don’t overlook Richardson when visiting Texas. The city is full of activities to do, from spending a day in the park to trying out different food trucks at a park dedicated to them. Add these items to your itinerary next time you’re in the area!

park

Image via Flickr by Manish S.

Check Out the Visual Arts Building

The University of Texas hosts this community-based art exhibit, where art displays are donated by a wide variety of artists. Lectures by guest speakers are given regularly, and guest artists sometimes make an appearance. It’s a great way to spend a day indoors that’s just too hot outside, and afterwards you can sign up for a tour of the entire campus.

Richardson Farmers Market

All your exploring will build up an appetite, so there’s no better place to stop than the farmers market. You’ll ge the chance to meet the local vendors and try their food. There’s a huge variety available to purchase, including jams, pickles, and locally grown mushrooms.

Take a Stroll Through Breckinridge Park

If you want to relax in the city, this park is the place to come. There’s over four miles of walking or running trails available, making it the perfect way to spend your lunch break. Many people choose to make a day of it and bring a picnic with their families as well. You can even fish in  one of the lakes in the park.

Try Out Different Food Trucks

Food trucks are all the rage these days, and Richardson is no exception to this. Head to the food truck park to indulge in everything from lobster rolls to snow cones. Local Christopher Migliaccio explains why he loves coming here so much:

“In my town of Richardson, my family and I really enjoy going to the Richardson Food Truck Park.  Everytime we go to this outdoor venue, there is a variety of delicious food to choose from and there is always different food trucks there each time we go there.  The one constant establishment at the Food Truck Park is the Interurban Bar which serves a very refreshing Bishop Cider Nectar.  It is a great stop for the family. ” 

Catch a Show

The Eisemann Center for Performing Arts is a fun place to go for couples and families alike. See different performances including beautiful ballet shows or special Fourth of July orchestra shows. Events happen year round, so there’s always something to see at the center.

Marissa Pedersen

Marissa is a freelance writer, travel blogger, and social media marketing manager from Seattle. She runs the travel blog Postcards to Seattle, which captures all her journeys from around the world. She likes to stay active wherever she goes, from kayaking in Italy to snowboarding in the Alps.

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JetBlue weekend getaways from Long Beach

Sometimes, you just want to get out of town for a couple of days.  And with JetBlue’s affordable, nonstop flights from Long Beach, you can jump on a plane after work on Friday and be sipping a cold drink in another state by the time the summer sun sets.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

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Airplane by Tracy Hunter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Long Beach to Seattle: 2h 38m

Escape the heat and jet off to the beautiful Emerald City, surrounded by mountains and resting on the shores of Puget Sound.  Summers here are known to be sunny and pleasantly warm, usually in the 70s and 80s during the day.  Start by exploring Seattle’s fun and unique neighborhoods, each one with a different feel.  Wander through the Fremont market, roast marshmallows over a sunset campfire on the beach at Golden Gardens Park, or sip a cold beer at one of the dozens of craft breweries.

Long Beach to Vegas: 1h 8m

Skip the long desert drive and jump on a short flight to Sin City for a weekend away. Though the nightclub and live music scene is world-famous, you might not know that Las Vegas is also an extremely popular destination for sports competitions and conferences.  For those who can manage a weekday getaway, many hotels are half price, and you can find nonstop JetBlue flights for as low as $49.   

Long Beach to Portland: 2h 11m

If you’re looking for some great outdoor concert series, but would rather not spend hours sweating under the blazing sun, try Portland.  The cooler climate is the perfect host for dozens of concerts and festivals in and around the city.  As a bonus, most have an abundance of craft brews available, which the city is famous for.  If that’s not your scene, take a stroll around the famous Pearl District, or rent a bike to explore the Rose City’s beautiful neighborhoods.   

Long Beach to Austin: 2h 52m

If you’re a museum or music buff, Austin is a fun weekend destination.  People flock from all over the world for the famous Austin City Limits and SXSW music festivals here, as well as the nightly live music scene up and down 6th avenue.  History lovers will want to spend hours exploring Austin’s museums, including the Mexican American Cultural Center, the Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum, among others.  Not sure where to start?  See what the locals recommend in Austin.

Martha Burwell

Hola, Bonjour, Sabaidee! Having traveled the world, Martha Burwell is a writer and consultant based in Seattle who loves sharing stories about places she’s been. But her heart will always be in the Pacific Northwest, where she explores the nearby mountains on foot, by mountain bike, and by snowboard. Martha regularly writes for www.StreetAdvisor.com, and also consults on gender equity via www.MarthaBurwell.com and blogs about intersectional gender equity at www.EqualiSea.org.

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5 Thanksgiving Day Parades Worth Seeing in Person

 

Since 1863, when President Lincoln proclaimed it a federal holiday, Thanksgiving has marked the official beginning of the holiday season. Many traditions have developed around the day over the decades from the standard turkey dinner with family, food drives to help the underserved, and of course, football. The day is also known for the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, held annually since 1924 and televised on NBC since 1952. While New York City’s parade may be the most famous, we rounded up five other favorites from across the United States!

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1. Philadelphia, PA

Founded in 1920, the 1.4-mile 6ABC Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia is actually the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country. Like others, it features the usual balloons, floats, and marching bands, but Philadelphia’s holiday celebration is best known for its live performances and celebrities. (This year, members of the World Cup-winning U.S. Women’s Soccer Team will be in attendance.) This year’s parade is particularly family-friendly, featuring performers from Disney on Ice’s Frozen (yes, that includes Anna and Elsa). Be sure to explore the official website and check out a map of the best places to watch from. Those wishing to stay close to the action should try the Hyatt at the Belluevue Hotel or the Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel, both of which are well-priced and conveniently located along the parade route.

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2. Detroit, MI

Like the Macy’s Parade in New York City, Detroit’s annual America’s Thanksgiving Parade was founded in 1924 and has been delighting residents and visitors ever since. The parade precedes the annual football game by the Lions (who host the Philadelphia Eagles this year) and features balloons, floats, and the unique Big Head Corps: walking bobbleheads dressed in costumes of animals, clowns, and celebrities. Spectators can even stroll the parade route themselves prior to the main event at the annual Turkey Trot. Visitors to the Motor City should consider a stay at the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit or the Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront, both of which are located in the heart of downtown, just steps from the parade route.

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3Houston, TX

Travelers hoping to spend Turkey Day in a warmer locale should look to Houston’s H-E-B Holiday Parade, now in its 66th year. Marching bands, cheerleaders, and elaborate floats are met by 200,000 spectators for a raucous and lively celebration. Spectator access along the parade route is free, although those wishing to can purchase tickets to sit in the grandstands (feel free to bring lawn chairs and blankets to settle in). Santa Claus is scheduled to make an appearance this year, so this parade is a great option for families. Book a room at the Hyatt Regency Houston or the Hilton Americas – Houston for conveniently-located, competitively-priced comfort.

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4. Chicago, IL

One of only three Thanksgiving parades in the U.S. to be nationally broadcast, Chicago’s McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade is now in its 81st year. The 2015 parade will feature marching bands from all over Illinois, elaborate equestrian performances, and a show by Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. Those planning to visit the Windy City for the extravaganza should try staying in the Silversmith Hotel or the Hilton Garden Inn, conveniently located in the heart of downtown Chicago.

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5. Plymouth, MA

Want as authentic a Thanksgiving experience as it gets? Go back to where it all began in Plymouth. Known as America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade, the town’s festivities actually take place the weekend before the holiday. The parade starts at the waterfront and features historical set pieces based on a chronological history of the United States: the colonial period, the Revolutionary Way, the Civil War, Western pioneers, automatives from the 20th and 21st centuries, and a closing float featuring Santa Claus. Musicians include bugle and drum corps, with multiple ceremonies honoring the Pilgrims and Native Americans who celebrated the very first Thanksgiving in 1621. Visitors should stay right on the waterfront, near the action, at the Hilton Garden Inn Plymouth or the Radisson Hotel Plymouth, both competitively priced and comfortably luxurious.

 

 

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The Best Airports for Coffee Lovers (and Must-Try Cafes!)

Traveling is exhausting, and there’s nothing more frustrating than paying too much for a mediocre cup of coffee at the airport. Here’s some insurance against that scenario: a guide to the best airport coffee in the world.

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Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

O’Hare is the busiest airport in the world by the number of takeoffs and landings, and there are a correspondingly large number of fantastic coffee shops at the disposal of travelers. The best of the best are Metropolis Coffee and Kofe by Intelligentsia, both located in Terminal 5. Metropolis does their own roasting with a focus on their espresso, which is complex and beguiling. Kofe features brews by Intelligentsia, a local favorite, and also offers a selection of snacks and baked goods.

As a bonus, Argo Tea has three locations in the airport in Terminals 2 and 3, and features a calm atmosphere as well as a wide selection of black, green, white, and herbals teas.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

Philadelphia PHL’s Guava & Java, located in Concourse B, features coffee roasted by the local experts La Colombe, and is known for their single-origin blends. They also serve innovative smoothies and juices such as the Mixed Berry Tea Infusion.

Le Bus Cafe is another local option at the airport, also serving La Colombe coffee as well as excellent breads, pastries, and sandwiches. It’s the perfect place to stop for a great cuppa as well as a great meal: offerings such as the Thai turkey salad or the Chili Roasted Chicken sandwich are far better than average airport fare.

Portland International Airport (PDX)

There are two places in Portland that offer coffee by the excellent Stumptown Coffee Roasters, based in Portland but now nationally famous. Travellers in a rush should stop by Flying Elephants, which offers a variety of to-go meals, but those with a little extra time should be sure to visit Country Cat, where they specialize in Southern-style cooking with local ingredients. Try the eggs benedict on a biscuit and a glorious Bloody Mary for the best pre-flight meal in Portland.

A word of warning: beware of Coffee People, a former airport favorite. It was sold to Starbucks in 2006 and the coffee hasn’t been the same since.

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Copenhagen Airport (CPH) and Keflavik Airport (KEF)

Copenhagen’s and Keflavik’s spots on this list is secured by the presence of a single exceptional coffee shop in each airport, Joe and the Juice, an outpost of the local cafe. It was named the best airport coffee shop in the world in 2014 by the Airport Food and Beverage Awards, and makes an excellent cup of coffee as well as intriguing coffee drinks like the ginger latte. The hip and buzzing atmosphere of the cafe is supplemented by daily live music. They’re committed to healthy eating, and the juices, smoothies, and sandwiches are optimized for taste and nutritional content. Joe and the Juice rocks, end of story.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

San Francisco’s airport has coffee shops for every traveller’s needs. Those looking for an exceptional fair trade brew should head to the locally-based Equator Coffees and Teas in Terminal 2. Frequent flyers who need something a little stronger than a standard coffee will appreciate the famous Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe. For a bite to eat as well as a great cup, check out Klein’s Deli and Coffee Bar in Terminals 1 and 3. Their sandwiches are delicious and generously sized and the cookies make a great in-flight snack.

Bonus: Cafe Versailles at Miami International Airport (MIA)

Anyone flying to or from Miami should make time for a stop at Cafe Versailles, especially those in need of a caffeine boost. Cuban coffee is the specialty here, a dark roast espresso sweetened with demerara sugar as it brews. It packs a serious punch. The Cuban sandwiches and pastelitos are also fantastic.

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5 Fictional Destinations You Can Actually Visit

There’s something magical about seeing the real life setting of a beloved fictional world. These destinations draw travelers to places they might not otherwise go for the pleasantly jarring sensation of finding Tatooine in Tunisia or Narnia in Norway. Here are five of our favorite places that serve as intersections of invention and reality, mixing the familiar with the surprising.

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Mdina, Malta: King’s Landing (Game of Thrones)

Westeros may be fictional, but Game of Thrones fans know the series films everywhere from Iceland to Croatia to recreate locations from the books. The medieval walled city of Mdina in Malta acts as King’s Landing in the show, and travelers may recognize the Mdina Gate as the entrance to the fictional capital. Mdina’s dusky stone buildings and mix of Norman and Baroque architecture lend it a mysterious and mythic quality that translates perfectly into the show. It’s known as the “Silent City:” No cars are allowed within the city walls, and only about 300 people live inside.

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Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

Since Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908, children and adults have made the pilgrimage to Canada’s lovely Prince Edward Island, where the book is set. The Green Gables farmhouse that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s classic books still stands in Cavendish (named Avonlea in the books) and can be visited year round. Even Mindy Kaling is desperate to see where Anne grew up. In a recent interview with the LA Times, she said, “The other book world I would like to live in is Anne of Green Gables. Living on Prince Edward Island would be so badass.”

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Petra, Jordan: Canyon of the Crescent Moon (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

It’s hard to imagine a more imposingly beautiful filming location for a grail quest than the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. Although Petra was carved into sandstone 2,000 years ago, it only came to the attention of the Western world in 1812 when Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt disguised himself in Bedouin costume to sneak into the site. The Treasury, Al-Khazneh, was most famously used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and is still open for visitors.

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Angel Falls in Venezuela: Paradise Falls (Up)

Paradise Falls is the central destination Pixar’s Up. Carl’s beloved Ellie never gets to see it herself, but with the help of about 10,000 balloons, Carl and Russell manage to make the trip. Its real life counterpart is Angel Falls in Venezuela, part of the Auyantepui mountain in Canaima National Park. At a height of over 3,000 feet, it’s the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world. The hike to see the falls from the top can be a multi-day journey, but the stunning view is worth the trek.

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Matamata, New Zealand: Hobbiton (The Lord of the Rings)

Perhaps the most famous fictional travel destination is the Hobbiton set of Peter Jackson’s adaptations of The Lord of the Rings. Nestled in the countryside surrounding Matamata in New Zealand, the set features over 30 hobbit dwellings as well as a mill and a double-arched stone bridge. After The Hobbit movies finished filming, the houses were left fully furnished for visitors. Truly devoted fans can even enjoy Second Breakfast at the nearby Shire’s Rest Cafe.

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Great Food to Eat When Visiting Chicago (That Aren’t Pizza)

Chicago may be synonymous with “deep dish,” but there’s more to this city than thick crusts and mounds of cheese. In addition to striking architecture and gorgeous sunsets, the Windy City boasts a smorgasbord of good eats.

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1. Chicago-style Hot Dog

What cheesesteaks are to Philly, the Chicago-style hot dog is to the Windy City. The best versions start with a Vienna Beef Natural Casing dog, lay it down in a steamed poppy-seed bun, and top it with yellow mustard, diced white onion, relish, thin tomato wedges, a layer of crunchy dill pickles, and a couple of sport peppers. You’ll be able to find them all over the city, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the choices, head to Jimmy’s Red Hots near Humboldt Park. Or go to Allium (located in Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel) for an upscale take on the classic dog.

2. Vegetarian Diner Food

The Chicago Diner has earned a national reputation for its classic diner fare with a twist: All of the dishes are vegan or vegetarian. Even the most dedicated carnivores will find something to like here, where the menu sports a Radical Reuben (in which seitan replaces corned beef), vegan milkshakes, and truffle mushroom lentil loaf. The restaurant offers locations in both Halstead and Logan Square.

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3. Paczkis

Chicagoans line up for hours on Paczki Day each year, when dozens of vendors around the city sell the hole-less Polish donuts to signal the arrival of Lent. Order them filled with jams, creams, or chocolate, or keep it simple and stick with an iced or powdered sugar variety. Consult this map to find where to score yours.  

4. The Jibarito

Reportedly invented in Chicago, this Puerto Rican dish consists of a sandwich made with fried green plantains instead of bread. The plantains cradle meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a garlic-flavored mayonnaise. Enjoy one at Borinquen in Humboldt Park—the home of the original jibarito.

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5. Saganaki

Another dish that has its origin story in Chicago, saganaki consists of breaded or floured cheese that’s fried and served piping hot. Find it all over GreekTown.

6. Charcuterie

Chicago is well known for its butcher shops and high-quality meat (Perhaps that’s why the Italian beef sandwich is another Chicagoan favorite). Carl Sandburg even declared Chicago the “hog butcher for the world” in a poem about the city. Whether you’re looking for fresh-cut ribs, cured sausages, or heritage breeds, Chicago’s butchers have you covered. Popular shops include The Butcher and Larder (in West Town), Publican Quality Meats (in West Loop), and Paulina Meat Market (in Lakeview).

From carnivorous meals to fried cheese, donuts, and vegan fare, don’t miss a delicious bite on your next trip to Chicago. If by some unlikely chance you’re not satisfied, you can always order a pizza upon arriving back home.