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Gold and silver may have been behind the hordes that flocked in the 1800s, but liquid gold - Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons and Pinot Noirs - is behind the modern migration. This dream destination for wine lovers has an abundance of fine restaurants and inns. Horse posts have been replaced by bike racks, and pedal power is a great way to explore.
Vines, wines and the people who love them are central to the economy of Napa Valley. Other treats for taste buds are in store, too, in the form of local olive oils, tomatoes, cheeses and mustard. The other senses are catered for with a vibrant visual arts scene. Rent a car or book a taxi or limousine to get between sights safely. The Napa Valley Wine Train offers an unusual way to experience the views and vintages. A relaxing array of spas and mud baths and the Old Faithful geyser are attractions in Calistoga.
If you're into wine-tasting, a weekend in Santa Rosa is certain to be satisfying. But this region of magnificent redwoods, rolling hills and ocean vistas has a great mix of other fun pastimes as well. Located right in the center of the Sonoma County wine region, Santa Rosa is home to several vineyards with world-class wines, rich histories and beautiful surroundings. The Matanzas Creek Winery offers June and July visitors a chance to enjoy its aromatic fields of blooming lavender, but its Estate Gardens and spectacular scenery are tourist draws year-round. If golf is your passion, grab your clubs and spend a relaxing afternoon at Fountaingrove or one of the other popular courses. Young and old alike will delight in the Charles M. Schulz Museum, which chronicles the evolution and history of Snoopy and the "Peanuts" gang. With wine or without, a trip to Santa Rosa is one you'll never forget.
Sausalito is just a ferry ride across the bay and offers unique tours, attractions such as “Bay Model” and “Bay Area Discovery Museum,” enchanting boutique shops, art studios and galleries and a wide selection of restaurants, outdoor cafes and bistros, many with stunning views back across the bay to the city.
The counter-culture, flower power center of the 60s, bohemian Berkeley has evolved into a culinary and cultural travel scene. Shift into low gear and people-watch along quirky Telegraph Avenue while checking out the bookstores and cafes. After strolling through the UC Berkeley campus, the Berkeley Rose Garden and the Downtown Arts District, head into the hills for an outdoor adventure in Tilden Park or cruise down to the waterfront park, where the San Francisco skyline sparkles across the bay.
Oakland, in the hub of the Bay Area, is both historic and modern. Visitors will find a little bit of everything in this diverse metropolis, from the picturesque waterfront to expansive hills. Explore Oakland's growing arts, entertainment and food scene or enjoy recreational opportunities like hiking, sailing and biking. Root for one of the three professional sports teams or take a tour of a historic landmark. The city is easily accessible through Oakland International Airport, train, automobile, BART, bus and ferry.
Every neighborhood in San Francisco has its own personality, from the hippie chic of the Upper Haight to the hipster grit of the Mission. The Marina district boasts trendy bistros and postcard-perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge, while Noe Valley offers quaint and quiet boutiques. Wave hello to the sea lions at Pier 39, and sample local cheese and charcuterie at the Ferry Building. Sit in on a yoga session in Dolores Park or marvel at the Dutch Windmill across from Ocean Beach.
California's capital city is often overlooked by tourists seeking out better known destinations in other corners of the state. Look again: Sacramento offers a range of exciting, educational and historic attractions sure to entertain all. Families will want to check out the cheetahs, jaguars and crocodiles at the Zoo while political buffs should head to the state Capitol, which features a park and museum on California history, or the Governor's Mansion. Anyone with an interest in trains will enjoy the Railroad Museum's massive collection of antique locomotives. Everyone will enjoy the restaurants and shops of historic Old Sacramento on the city's lovely waterfront.
Welcome to bustling San Jose, where Silicon Valley meets Spanish history and modern edifices sit alongside meticulously restored 19th-century buildings. Such is the contrast of this city rich in tradition and, thanks to the tech industry, just plain rich. Five star-hotels and fine restaurants line the streets of the restored downtown area, and the cultural scene is thriving with museums, theater and art to rival any world-class hub. Don't miss the Tech Museum of Innovation, an exploration of Silicon Valley and its impact on the area. History buffs will relish the old mansions and can delve into the city's past at the History Museum of San Jose. Save time for a round of golf or the locals' other favorite pastime, sipping coffee and people-watching at a crowded cafe.
Hollywood beckons to tourists who long for a brush with Tinseltown glamor. Tour movie studios, slip your hands into the famous prints at the TCL Chinese Theatre, or indulge in a celeb sighting at one of LA’s white-hot nightspots. Spot your favorite star while shopping at The Grove, or forget all about the famous eye candy as you take in the iconic artwork at The Getty Center. For a different type of star-gazing, peek through the telescopes at the Griffith Observatory.
Whether you’re a high roller or a low-key lounger, Las Vegas has something to suit your vacation taste. Sample fare from top chefs and cornucopian buffets, try your luck at one of the world’s premier casinos, or take in a spectacular show. Just wandering the Strip is enough to get your heart pumping. Once you’ve had enough of the razzle-dazzle, wave hello to the toothy sea life at the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef, hike Red Rock Canyon, or visit the Neon Museum, where old signs take on new life.
You may have all heard that everything is bigger in Texas. Well, Dallas does its best to fulfill that promise. You'll find several museums with vast art collections and fascinating specialty museums like The Sixth Floor Museum/Texas School Book Depository, which, though small in size, offers an immense amount of information about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. And of course, visit a local steakhouse for a terrific (and enormous) meal.
Step to the beat of wafting flamenco music as you wander the downtown River Walk before sampling as much chili (San Antonio’s signature dish) as your taste buds will allow. A visit to the Alamo is an absolute must, as is taking in a show at the ornate Majestic Theatre. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is dotted with 18th-century buildings and features, making for an enriching excursion.
Houston hums with an energy and independent spirit all its own. A leading cultural and culinary destination in the South, the city is home to over 11,000 restaurants featuring cuisine from more than 70 countries. The thriving arts scene includes resident opera, ballet, symphony and theater companies. The Museum District houses 19 museums, all within walking distance. Be sure to visit Space Center Houston, where you can visit NASA’s Historic Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center.
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.
New Orleans is full of life—but with a laid-back energy that sets it apart from other cities. You’ll wanna soak it all in: impromptu jazz performances up and down Frenchmen Street, the ding of the St. Charles Streetcar, moss-draped trees in the famous Garden District…even its gothic, above-ground cemeteries. (The city’s said to be one of the most haunted in America.) For some, NOLA will always be all about Bourbon Street, but for travelers looking to take it slow, the city’s distinct blend of cultures—including Creole and Cajun—means there’s tons to see, explore, and yes, eat.
Atlanta has been dubbed everything from the "capital of the new South" and "the next international city" to "the best place to do business." It's also a great place to visit. Fueled by the prosperity of local mega companies like Coca Cola and Holiday Inn, the prestige of hosting the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and the energy of young upwardly mobile types who have migrated to the city in droves - Atlanta is on fire. And this time it's a good thing. From world-class restaurants and a myriad of cultural attractions to a hip nightlife and sporting events galore, the city is cosmopolitan in every sense of the word. But Atlanta has also managed to maintain its historic character. Stop by the Atlanta History Center or visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Site, a moving tribute to an American icon. Browse through the former home of famous author Margaret Mitchell or pop into the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum for details on the life and times of the former president and his family. Whether you choose modern urban endeavors or old southern pleasures, Atlanta will not disappoint.
From the National Mall’s monuments and memorials to vibrant neighborhoods filled with character and charm, DC is a world-class destination featuring breathtaking views, award-winning hotels and hundreds of free things to do. Experience outstanding performing arts at acclaimed theaters, shop in historic Georgetown, hear great live music at legendary venues, enjoy sporting entertainment from six professional franchises and be dazzled by a flourishing dining scene with Michelin-starred restaurants.
Conquering New York in one visit is impossible. Instead, hit the must-sees – the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art – and then explore off the beaten path with visits to The Cloisters or one of the city’s libraries. Indulge in the bohemian shops of the West Village or the fine dining of the Upper West Side. The bustling marketplace inside of Grand Central Station gives you a literal taste of the best the city has to offer.