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A rich 300-year history, a thriving arts community and seemingly endless wilderness make this New York capital city on the Hudson River a great weekend getaway. Outdoor enthusiasts come here to ski, hike, canoe and fish; trout and small-mouth bass fishing is among the best in the U.S. Mountains surround the city, and the tapestry of golds and reds on an autumn day is breathtaking. The city is dominated by an elaborate 10-building complex that includes the State Capitol; the New York State Museum, with life-like dioramas such as American Indian life and an Adirondack logging operation; and the oval-shaped Empire State Performing Arts Center, nicknamed "The Egg." History buffs will enjoy the colonial homes, historic churches and museums, and can tour 18th-century mansions, like the Schuyler, a superb example of pre-Revolutionary War architecture. Whether nature or history is your passion, you'll find an abundance of both in this upstate New York gem.
Saratoga Springs is one of those special getaway spots where everything is just, well, pretty close to perfect. The city's lovely tree-lined streets and grand old Victorians, porch swings swaying and gardens brimming with colorful flora bring to mind a gentler era. World-class horse racing, renowned performing arts and natural springs spas, plus 13 golf courses, 10 museums, a historic battlefield, fabulous boutiques, antiques and restaurants mean there is something for everyone. Relax at the Lincoln Mineral Baths, window shop in town and then it's off to the races. Walk everywhere, it's that kind of place. One of the oldest tourist destinations in the United States, Saratoga offers ample accommodation choices in elegant hotels, historic bed and breakfasts or comfortable inns. The only drawback is you may never want to leave.
Home to the University of Binghamton and the birthplace of IBM and the Link Flight Simulator, the city of Binghamton has long been a center of education and industry. The Kopernik Observatory is one of the largest public observatories in the world, running science outreach programs for children of all ages. The Greater Binghamton area also features 9,000 acres of State Forest Land, making it an ideal destination for sports and nature enthusiasts.
Syracuse is a city of hills, valleys, lakes and streams. The city sits on the shore of lakes Onondaga, is within 20 miles of the beautiful Finger Lakes region and 30 miles from Lake Ontario. Syracuse offers big-city amenities with a small-town feel: a symphony orchestra, an opera company, professional sports teams, museums and art galleries. Planning a summer trip? Don't miss the Great New York State Fair at the Empire Expo center. Planning a winter trip? Bundle up - Syracuse is renowned for its snowy winters
One of the most historic cities in America, Philadelphia is an ideal place to spend a weekend - preferably a long one. Be sure to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. Both are part of Independence National Historic Park. Philadelphia also boasts some outstanding art museums, including the Rodin Museum. The Franklin Institute Science Museum is one of many area attractions honoring the life and work of Benjamin Franklin, the city's most famous ambassador. After digesting all of that history, be sure you save room for a classic Philly cheese steak sandwich.
Detroit is an amazing destination for your next weekend getaway. If exploring is your thing, hop on a bike and meet new friends on the Slow Roll bike tour (you’ll find a unique perspective on the city, and the slow pace is perfect for all skill levels). And while you may not think of Detroit as wine country, the newly opened Detroit Vineyards is one of the country’s largest urban wineries, crafting superior wines right in the heart of the city. Grab your glass and make a toast to the weekend!
Hilly Cincinnati boasts a thriving arts scene, major league sports teams, a world-class zoo and aquarium and a revitalized riverfront with shopping, clubs and restaurants. Located on the Ohio River in southwestern Ohio, Cinci claims more than 4,000 restaurants, and more chili restaurants than any other city in the world. Adrenaline-junkies will want to visit the nearby Kentucky Speedway and Paramount's Kings Island, home of the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world.
Dubbed the Queen City, Charlotte reigns over a 300-square-mile (482-square-kilometer) hodgepodge of neighborhoods that spin out from the banks of the Catawba River. From brewery-heavy art districts to historical corridors dripping in charm, consider Charlotte a crowd pleaser.
Each year, horse enthusiasts hoof it to Louisville and Churchill Downs, the legendary home of the Kentucky Derby. In addition to equestrian endeavors and bluegrass roots, Louisville boasts a range of exciting attractions the whole family can enjoy. Stroll through Central Park, in the historic district, to people-watch and get a real feel for the city. Visit other nearby parks for hiking, biking and fossil finding. Baseball fans will love the Louisville Slugger Museum, a celebration of the sport's legends. The museum is easy to spot, just look for the humongous bat that leans against the building.
The windy city is a cornucopia of modern art, fine dining, cutting edge comedy, and die-hard sports fans. Snap a photo of your reflection in the silver Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park before heading to Grant Park to get hit with the refreshing spray of Buckingham Fountain. There are dozens of museums and theater companies in Chicago, so a cultural experience is never hard to find. You’re sure to laugh your head off at the Second City Theater, the professional launch pad of many famous comedians.
Gatlinburg, at the heart of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is an ideal base for a family looking to explore the park's numerous offerings. After you've gone hiking, fishing, rafting or horseback riding, ride an elevator 342 feet to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle for stunning views of the Smokies. There's also an amusement center next door with nifty rides and games.
Greenville, South Carolina, is anchored by what Forbes Magazine calls one of America's Best Downtowns. Featuring a one-of-a-kind "floating" suspension bridge and set against the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville boasts a thriving arts scene, hundreds of restaurants, shops and boutiques, popular annual festivals, numerous historic sites and museums housing significant art collections. Excellent interstate service and a user-friendly international airport make access easy.
From Shoreditch’s swaggering style to Camden’s punky vibe and chic Portobello Road, London is many worlds in one. The city’s energy means that no two days are the same. Explore royal or historic sites, tick off landmarks from your bucket list, eat and drink in exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants, enjoy a pint in a traditional pub, or get lost down winding cobbled streets and see what you stumble across – when it comes to London, the possibilities are endless.
This city, full of colorful homes, canals and bridges, is one of Europe's most picturesque capitals. Must-sees on any visitor's itinerary include the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and the world's only floating flower market. Rent a bike and join thousands of locals navigating Amsterdam's labyrinthine streets, or just take in the sights on foot. For an unusual and memorable alternative to hotels, consider staying in a houseboat.