Sight Seeing In America- Hot Dogs And Pizza

Any attempt to really come to appreciate the amazing sightseeing that is possible in America would have to include stops in some of the country’s truly great cities. For some reason when we think of outstanding cities of America, we tend to drift to the coasts. And to be sure from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle to the west to New York, Boston and Washington to the east, there are some amazing American cities on those two coasts.

But to neglect the Midwest entirely and not include some of the great cities in the center of the country would leave out some of the most amazing experiences you might have on your sightseeing tour. In fact, of all the Midwest cities, Chicago Illinois can give any city on the coasts a run for their money.

But Chicago is very much its own kind of place, unlike even the urban cities of the east coast. Chicago has its own lore, perpetuated by movies and television just as much as LA or New York. But the thing to remember about that kind of lore is that the movies didn’t invent that kind of excitement. It was already very much a part of Chicago and film makers just like making that part of their movies.

When we think about Chicago, it is easy to think of the great food there. The famous “Chicago Style Hot Dog” or “Chicago Pizza” has become such a renowned taste treat that it is imitated often, but never repeated. That is because a big part of the great tastes of Chicago comes from actually BEING in Chicago when you eat these delicious meals. So if you include Chicago in your sightseeing plans, you may want to put the diet on hold for a few days so you don’t miss some tastes that can only be had there.

But there is so much more to see and enjoy in a big international city like Chicago. Of course if you are a baseball fan, to catch a Cubs game in season is an experience of a lifetime. In addition to that experience, Chicago has many world class things to see and do not the least of which is an art museum that can stand its own next to the great museums of New York or Washington.

But if you put in a full day of sightseeing all around Chicago, you might need to rest up because the Chicago night life is not to be missed. The music of this great city is world renowned. The famous movie “The Blues Brothers” is based on the wonderful diversity of Jazz music that grew up in the Chicago music scene. In fact, in the world of Jazz aficionados, Chicago is put right up there with New Orleans as one of the great spawning grounds of the uniquely American music of Jazz.

And while we are on the subject of entertainment, there is a little improvisational comedy group called “Second City” that has made its home in Chicago for some fifty years. Second City can boast some of the biggest stars in comedy that got their comedic training in Chicago. In fact, to a large extent the Saturday Night Live troupe drew and continues to draw extensively from the talent developed in Second City. Some of the alumni include John Belushi, Billy Chrystal, Dan Ackroyd, John Candy, Eugene Levy and many, many more.

Chicago is very much a melting pot of great American culture. From the architecture to the food to the museums to the jazz and comedy, there are few cities in the country, even in the world that can give you as great a sightseeing experience as the great city of Chicago, Illinois.

Sight Seeing in America- The World in One Country

Some have said that if you want to enjoy all of the pleasures and excitement of visiting every foreign port all around the world, just vacation in America because we have it all. And to be sure, you can literally experience almost any part of the world right here in the heart of the United States of America.

It makes sense that the cultures of dozens if not hundreds of countries have been recreated beautifully in the borders of The United States. After all, this country was comprised almost entirely of immigrants from every country across the globe. And as each new immigrant group made their home here in America, they found their countrymen so they could live near each other, if for no other reason than to hear their nature tongues spoken. And within those communities, the cultures of “the old country” were beautifully reproduced to make those immigrants get over a little of their homesickness for the familiar and for home.

The beautiful thing about life in America is that the different ethnic groups are not stingy about keeping others from other cultures from learning of their customs, tasting their foods, enjoying their music and really getting a good exposure to a culture that they would otherwise have to travel around the world to see. So in one country, often in one city and often within city blocks of one another, you can experience cultures as diverse and different from each other as night is from day.

In places that would seem unlikely, you can discover entire populations of Germans, the Polish, Bavarians and other ethnic groups from central Europe. And without much coaxing, they love to share their delightful foods, music and dance with you as well. So even if you are as English as tea or hail from far away Spain, Africa or the Middle East, you can take an evening, eat a bratwurst, enjoy a stout beer and for a little while, you too are just as German as anyone at that party.

The American melting pot surfaced a trait that seems to be common in most if not all of the ethnic populations around that world. And that is a very basic hospitality, openness to outsiders and excitement to share their cultural richness with anyone who wishes to join in. And the natural American trait of friendliness and hospitality to strangers assures that if you want to experience the world in one country, you can easily do that in this great country.

In many cities in our country, you can take an evening and seemingly leave this world behind and lounge in the exotic atmospheres of ancient china, Thailand, Persia or Tibet. The foods of these countries will delight your mouth and give your taste buds some exciting new adventures as well. And the ambiance and music that the natives who create these worlds for us transport us to their home lands just as magically as one of those special effects movies from Hollywood. So be sure to take the time to listen to the music, enjoy the dancing and really soak up the culture and atmosphere of the country of origin as you savor the delicacies of their foods as well.

When you go to traveling across America, be sure you take notice of areas of the country that have particularly strong communities from around the world. These local outposts of far away lands are usually excited to share with you their native customs. You may even walk out of that Pakistani area of Pittsburgh decked out in robes and a native headwear that you will enjoy lounging around in at home, remembering the many great experiences you had when you set out to enjoy the world in one country.

Sight Seeing in America- The Big Apple

No catalog of the great sight seeing locations around America could ever be complete without mention of one of the most exciting cities in the world to visit and enjoy, the one they call The Big Apple. New York City has been called The City that Never Sleeps but you will be the one that does not want to sleep once you get there so you can take advantage of every moment in this amazing city to see and do more.

For many people, the mere mention of the words “New York City” is synonymous with one thing and that is Broadway. This relatively small section of the city contains some of the finest and well known theaters in the world. The shows that make it big on Broadway commonly become national and international sensations as well. The stars that stand out in big shows on The Great White Way very often go on to big success in the movies and television work. The Tony Awards, Broadway’s version of The Academy Awards garner so much attention that they are shown nationally and watched eagerly by millions all around America and the world.

Not many know, however, that great theater is available all over New York, not just on Broadway. The term “Off Broadway” refers to theatrical productions being shown in other very popular parts of the city such as Soho or Greenwich Village. Greenwich Village or “The Village” as locals call it, is one of the most eclectic and exciting areas of town for the tourist to explore. The history of this part of New York includes its famous residents including some of the most renounced figures in the theater, writing, political theory, poets, artists and even political figures. If you take a tour of Greenwich Village, you will find that almost every building there had a famous resident at one time or another.

But no tour of New York City is complete without spending some time in the famed Central Park. As you stroll the famous walkways of this delightful green space right in the middle of New York, you will recognize locations that were used in dozens of movies that were filmed right here in Central Park. This park emphasizes one of the truly great things about New York that makes it distinctive from so many international cities. And that is that New York is a city that is best experienced on foot. Using taxies, busses and the subway you can move from section of town to another. But make sure you put your shoe leather to the sidewalks of New York to genuinely get a feel for the heart and soul of the city.

In addition to the most exciting theater in the world, New York boasts some of the finest museums in the world as well. So along with the may other great sights you will want to see in New York including the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station, be sure to allow plenty of time for the world class museums that dot the city through out the area they call “Midtown”. Just off of Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the premier museum in the city, Housing great art form every era of art history you can in the same building see a pharaohs tomb, dresses worn by all the first ladies of our history or stirring modern art by Warhol or Pollack.

But that one great museum is not the end of great art available in New York. Other great museums such as the Guggenheim, the Whitney, The Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Natural History are not only famous but they will astound you as you take them in on your whirlwind visit to The Big Apple.

There is so much to see, hear and taste in New York that you will want to schedule many return visits. But even though it is one of America’s biggest cities, New York has a charm and an intimacy that seem to reach out to its residents and visitors alike and create a bond with you once you open your heart to this wonderful town. That is why a great mayor of this town once said, “We are all New Yorkers”. After your visit there, we think you will count yourself in as a citizen from far away of this exciting place called The Big Apple.

Sight Seeing in America- Touching Three Oceans

Traveling the width and length of this great country can certainly excite a person to want to try to take in every sight and every unique experience that is possible in this vast and diverse land. It is a fine ambition if you set it as your goal early in your family life to achieve one of the fun objectives that many try to accomplish before they end their traveling days. Some of the missions people set out on are truly amazing. But you have to know that even if they don’t succeed in these quests, they are going to have fun trying.

Many families make it a goal to have a picture of the family with their feet standing on every one of the fifty states of the union. Now, this is an ambitious objective to be sure and one that may take years to accomplish. But as your children get a big kick out of each new photo you take that adds to the count, you will be developing a wonderful travelogue of a lifetime of seeing the best America has to offer. And you can get some help in some places where you can hit more than one state at a time. In the southwest, there is a location called The Four Corners where the four states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah all come to a point in one exact spot. By putting your feet in two states and your hands in two others, you can get four of your states checked off with one stop.

Another terrific way to document a lifetime of sightseeing is stickers or patches. Most of gift shops in the fine sights all around the country will sell you a bumper sticker for your car, a patch for your coat or some other memento to have as a remembrance of your visit to see that great sight. So as you travel, if you pick up a similar item at each fun stop along the way, that can make quite an impressive display on a suitcase or a tapestry of patches from the great sights all around the country.

America is gifted to be home to some of the finest bodies of the water in the world. For many, a visit to one ocean is the dream of a lifetime. But another variation on the theme of great sightseeing missions is to touch all of the oceans of the country in one year. It’s quite a quest to get over to California, Oregon or Washington to touch the Pacific, across the expansive homeland to touch the Atlantic in Florida, Maine or Massachusetts and then back on another long trek to put your hand in the warm waters of the gulf coast. If you can accomplish this ambitious quest, you indeed have some serious bragging rights to show off. So make sure you take dated pictures in case someone doubts that it can be done.

It is never too late in life to make it your goal to see all you can see of this wonderful country we call home. Many who work hard all their lives enjoy the fruit of their labors by purchasing a mobile home and setting out to spend the night in as many of the great national parks of the country as they can. This is a country who has taken great care to preserve vast sections of our wilderness in national parks. So it is quite an undertaking to sleep in every one of them. As you travel on your vacations, you may meet some of these intrepid travelers who may quite literally have no other home than their mobile home.

However, you plan to document your travels in the great country, you will be doing so to pay honor to the fact that you got to celebrate all of the greatness of our wonderful country. And the greatest thing about these quests is that even if you succeed in your chosen goal, you will never tire of seeing this great land and celebrating what is great about being able to say, “I am an American”.

Sight Seeing in America- Camping Coast-to-Coast

The American continent is such a vast landscape of every imaginable terrain and climate. In the same country, you can walk in a tropical rain forest, play on a Caribbean beach, hike in a mountain range or fish on a tranquil lake. And if you enjoy camping, you know that nothing compares to the sense of intimacy and “becoming one with nature” with the experience of pitching a tent and sleeping nestled in nature’s arms.

One of the hardest things about living in a country of such great diversity, with so much to offer in term of sightseeing and of such great size is how do you take it all in and really enjoy everything to see and experience? Many have taken on the challenge of a cross country journey to scratch that itch. There is nothing like traveling by car from one coast to the other to give you a deep appreciation of the magnificence God has put into the American landscape.

But to really make that cross country trip an adventure that will stay with you forever, you might consider planning such a trip and combining it with those well developed camping skills you have developed. By “camping across America”, you can enjoy that same sense of getting close to nature but broaden your experience by camping at different state parks from Washington to Florida or New Jersey to California or whatever route works best for you.

Of course, such an adventure will take plenty of planning. For starters, you should carefully map out your route so you know from night to night where the next camping location exactly is. The great thing about the National Parks System is that you can virtually visit any campsite in the country using the internet and view the locations of the campsites and even make your reservations on the computer so you know you have a campsite waiting for you at every stop along the way.

Other preparations fit in with your existing camping discipline including how to prepare for meals, the equipment checklist and emergency preparedness. A camping trip of this scope can take several weeks and you don’t want to rush it because part of the joy of camping coast to coast is getting to know the land at every stop along the way. If you are new to camping, taking a good amount of time to work out your camping skills, your equipment checklist and building your campsite abilities will pay off well when you set off on this kind of great adventure.

A couple other words of advice will pay off well that pertain to being prepared for any contingency. While camping is clearly less expensive than staying in hotels, you should be sure your budget is sound should an emergency arise and you find you need to use hotels or buy new equipment to replace things that get damaged. Always be aware of accommodations nearby should the weather take a turn for the worse. If you are caught in a flood in your campsite half way through your coast to coast adventure, that can throw off the entire trip. So be prepared to make other arrangements in a hurry.

With good preparation and plenty of well rehearsed emergency fall back plans, you can be ready for just about any circumstance that might come up during your big trek across the American continent. But even with those adjustments, you will look back fondly on this great undertaking and the many nights you became close to nature in yet another of the scenic and soul inspiring camping locations across this great land. And don’t be surprised if after you get home, you are already starting to plan your next great outing camping coast to coast.

Sight Seeing in America- Overwhelmed by History

A trip to Boston is like a trip back into the very early founding stages of this great nation. This city, so rich in culture, is one sightseeing stop that you will want to schedule plenty of time to take in. The city is respectful of it’s own historical significance and they proudly offer every opportunity for you to jump into history and the fascinating culture of this diverse east coast community.

The very layout of Boston is a study in history. It is a city that is seemingly impossible to find your way around in. The roads twist and turn, change names and take on new routes as though they have minds of their own. The reason that Boston’s streets are such a maze is that they reflect the days when the city was built around trails to accommodate farmers and merchants. So the roads were not laid out to be logical, they were made to be efficient for a people who lived there two hundred years ago. Today, travel around Boston can be as much fun as it is confusing as you see it as a challenge to try to learn the layout of this complex town.

Unlike many cities that exploit their natural attractions, you can absorb Boston’s rich historical past for free or for the low cost of a shuttle bus ride that will take you around to the sights at your own pace. For starters, you can step out onto the street at many corners in downtown Boston and look down and find what they call “The Freedom Trail”. This is a two and a half mile walk marked clearly in red on the streets below that takes you by some of the great historical locations in the city.

To make your experience with The Freedom Trail more meaningful, pick up one of the many guides and commentaries that you can use to follow along the trail and “re-learn” your history of what happened at each location. It is almost impossible not to get goose bumps as you stand near or inside such historic locations as The Paul Revere House, the location of the Boston Massacre, The Old North Church and many more.

No trip to Boston would be complete without taking some time out of the car to enjoy the out of doors in the huge park in the middle of everything known as the Boston Common. Just as with almost everything in Boston, there is a rich history to this park. It is the oldest public park in the USA. It’s designation as a public park dates back to 1640. Boston Common was originally used by the British as a place where their troops could camp during the Revolutionary War. Today it is the jewel of this great city with the city hall on one side and the Freedom Trail running along the other taking you gracefully to your next location for sightseeing.

There are numerous tour operations that give you from a lot to a little, with the price difference to match, to enhance your ability to appreciate the history of this great town. One of the best is the local shuttle of historic locations. For one low price you can get on and get off of the shuttle all day long, taking your time at the sights you really want to savor and moving along at your own pace. This is the perfect solution to renting a car and it gives you a wider range of things you can see than if you go by foot alone.

Of recent historic note, you may wish to give in to have a brew at that bar where everybody knows your name. The very popular TV show Cheers was based on a historic pub right off of the Boston Common itself. Now you will have to look for it. The name of the pub is not Cheers but The Bull and Finch. But when you see it from the street, you will immediately recognize the outer façade of the pub. It was used for the opening of the show.

Your trip to Boston will leave you with rich memories of this historic city. But more than that, it will fill you with pride and a renewed reverence for the amazing beginnings of this the greatest nation on earth, much of which here occurred right here in Boston, Massachusetts.