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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.
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!
If you're looking for a getaway that's fun for the whole family and easy on your pocket, look no further than Raleigh. With more than 20 free attractions, this stately and energetic capital city offers an affordable way to enjoy history, culture and the good old outdoors. Spend the day hopping between the three state museums of art, history and natural sciences: all offer free admission. Visitors are free to wander around the grounds of the State Capitol, where they can also observe the legislative process. Stroll past the graves of Civil War generals at a historic cemetery or meander along cobblestone streets of City Market. Shop for the greenest broccoli, reddest apples and tastiest homemade treats around at the State Farmers Market. With over 150 parks, lakes and green ways in Raleigh alone, there is ample opportunity to enjoy golf, biking, swimming, boating and other outdoor adventures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The name "Chattanooga" comes from the Creek Indian word for "rock coming to a point." This refers to Lookout Mountain, one of the city's major attractions. Here visitors can explore extraordinary rock formations, see a roaring enclosed waterfall and travel by train to the top of the mountain for truly awesome vistas. Back down on the ground, don't miss the world's largest freshwater aquarium, the Tennessee Aquarium. History enthusiasts will love the city's museums dedicated to Civil War, Native American and 20th-century history. More than anything, Chattanooga is a scenic city, full of natural wonders waiting to be explored by foot, car, bike or train.