United States of America
San Francisco is a major city in California, the centerpiece of the Bay Area, well-known for its liberal community, hilly terrain, Victorian architecture, scenic beauty, summer fog, and great ethnic and cultural diversity. These are only a few of the aspects of the city that make San Francisco one of the most visited cities in the world.
Chinatown-North Beach in San Francisco combines two adjoining neighbors, both of whom are among the city's most popular immigrant neighborhoods. Culturally and aesthetically, they could not be more different yet their streets mesh seamlessly together.
Civic Center-Tenderloin is an area of Downtown San Francisco. As the name implies, the Civic Center is the primary center of government within the city and many important civic institutions are housed here. Aside from its official duties, it also moonlights as a cultural center with many fine museums, theaters, opera houses, and symphony halls located here.
Fisherman's Wharf is San Francisco's most popular destination among travelers, with circa 12 million visitors flocking here each year. For over a century its historic waterfront was the hub of the city's fishing fleet and is still famous for the depth and variety of its harvest, as well as for having some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. Today, it's also renowned for its numerous tourist attractions such as museums, souvenir stores, historical buildings and piers, and scenic vistas over the Bay.
The Golden Gate area is in the northern section of San Francisco. It is made up of two National Historic Landmarks — The Presidio and Fort Mason — as well as several upscale neighborhoods including Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow, and the Marina District. It has some of the most beautiful scenery and intact natural environments in the city.
Yosemite National Park is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, and biological diversity. The 750,000-acre, 1,200 square-mile park contains thousands of lakes and ponds, 1600 miles of streams, 800 miles of hiking trails, and 350 miles of roads.
At Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom, you can learn how tough it is to be a bug, dig for dinosaur bones, challenge the mysterious Himalayan yeti, and view hundreds of live animals in authentic settings.
At Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney, you can design your own T-shirt or marvel at the biggest Disney store in the world; enjoy the fine cuisine of Wolfgang Puck or eat amongst the dinosaurs; visit a virtual-reality theme park or see incredible acrobatic feats; and in general just get away from the Disney parks for a while.
At Walt Disney World's Epcot, you can visit Mexico, France, and China, all in the same afternoon; survive crash tests in an experimental car; soar over California with the wind in your hair; and learn all about human achievement and international cooperation.
At Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios, you can help destroy the Death Star, take a wild limousine ride through Los Angeles, get shrunk to the size of a gnat, and learn all about the behind-the-scenes process of creating films and animation.
Anacostia is the popular name for the huge swathe of Washington, D.C. consisting of the many neighborhoods East of the River. Its heart, in the small, historic neighborhood of Anacostia, is immediately across the Frederick Douglass Bridge from the newly built Nationals Ballpark.
Georgetown is a neighborhood in Washington, D.C. to the south of Woodley Park and west of Dupont Circle across Rock Creek Park. It is a major center of tourism in the capital for its high-end shopping and dining, quaint 18th century rowhouses on cobblestone streets, rowdy collegiate nightlife, waterfront harbor, and Georgetown University.
The National Mall is a National Park and the monumental green space at the heart of the city, the heart of the national psyche, and the heart of civic America. It stretches two miles just south of the White House, from the U.S. Capitol Building in the east to the Lincoln Memorial and Potomac River on the west. The park is home to the Smithsonian, a huge collection of the nation's best (and free) museums, as well as most the country's most famous memorials and monuments. It is the number one destination for visitors in the city, and one of the biggest destinations in the country.
Shaw is a neighborhood in Washington, D.C. just east of Dupont Circle and south of Adams Morgan, but with a history and culture rooted firmly to the D.C.'s African-American history that could not be mistaken for those other neighborhoods. In recent years it has rapidly become one of the most diverse sections of the city, with everyone moving in for the live jazz and high-end nightclubs on U St and 14th, and for the marvelous food, including the amazing Little Ethiopia strip.
Ann Arbor is a picturesque city surrounding the University of Michigan. It has a strong bent toward the arts, and an attractive and pedestrian-friendly downtown. Visitors enjoy the city's wonderful sidewalk cafe dining, unique shops, lots of bookstores, and abundant cultural opportunities.
Chicago is the home of the blues and the truth of jazz, the heart of comedy and the idea of the skyscraper. Here, the age of railroads found its center, and airplanes followed suit. Butcher of hogs and believer in progress, it is one of the world's great cities, and yet the metropolitan luxuries of theater, shopping, and fine dining have barely put a dent in real Midwestern friendliness. It's a city with a swagger, but without the surliness or even the fake smiles found in other cities of its size.
Bridgeport-Chinatown is the South Side of Chicago at its most dynamic, as the old South Side Irish neighborhood of the Daleys increasingly blends with the old Chinese immigrant community to the north. Enormous cathedrals now stand next to Buddhist temples, and Old Style washes down lo mein. If you are a visitor, though, you only need to keep in mind two things: Chinese food and baseball.
Bronzeville, the Black Metropolis, is a mecca of African-American History on Chicago's South Side, just miles south of downtown. Gwendolyn Brooks published poetry in the Chicago Defender, Andrew Rube Foster created Negro League Baseball, and Louis Armstrong kept his trumpet singing at the Sunset Cafe to keep Al Capone off his back. Long in disrepair, the neighborhood is coming back, with new residents refurbishing historic homes, and with new dining and nightlife scenes beginning to take root.
Chatham-South Shore is a district at the heart of Chicago's South Side, home to the real Chicago blues, some mind-blowing BBQ, and the best soul food in town.
Hyde Park is one of Chicago's most famous neighborhoods, most certainly so on the South Side, located along the south lakefront. Having played host to the White City, the University of Chicago, President Obama, the setting for Richard White's Native Son, and a host of eccentric residents from Saul Bellow to Clarence Darrow to Muhammad Ali, this part of town has more than its fair share of Chicago history.
Lakeview-North Center has the lion's share of Chicago nightlife, starting with Wrigleyville, home of the Chicago Cubs and major players in the city's theater and music scenes, and Boystown, one of the largest and most vibrant GLBT communities in the United States. Down the street from both is the Belmont strip, where teen punks flock to shop and show off in the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot.
In Lincoln Park, collegians mix with freshly-minted lawyers and barrel-chested brokers, all come to sing their good fortune in beer gardens on the north side of Chicago, a short walk from miles of beautiful parks and the fabulous Lincoln Park Zoo. Just south is Old Town, a striking collision of rich and poor, and home of Chicago's two most celebrated theaters, Steppenwolf and Second City.
The Loop is the central business district of Chicago, bounded by the Chicago River to the north and west, Harrison St to the south, and Lake Michigan to the east. It contains the tallest members of Chicago's skyline and much of the city's finest architecture, holding within them much of the city's working stiffs; for visitors, it also has the glitzy downtown theater district, and the biggest annual music festivals.
The Near North is the shop-and-awe center of Chicago. It's bounded by North Avenue to the north, the Chicago River to the west and south, and Lake Michigan to the east. With a whirlwind rush of department stores, restaurants, and luxurious hotels, there's no better place to abuse your budget than the Near North and its celebrated Magnificent Mile.
In the Near South Grant Park overflows from downtown Chicago, leading right up to the main attractions on the lakefront: the splendid Museum Campus, with three world-class (and fun!) natural science museums; Soldier Field, home of the NFL's Chicago Bears; and McCormick Place, the city's massive convention center.
North Lincoln is a collection of neighborhoods on the north side of Chicago through which Lincoln Avenue wanders, remembering treasures and curiosities of the last century in Chicago life, moving along, and forgetting them all over again.
Pilsen is a neighborhood on the Lower West Side of Chicago. Murals of Mexican cowboys notwithstanding, Pilsen is a lot like the Wild West: only a few minutes from the Loop by train, this working-class area is thick with riches in art and historic architecture, encircled by developers and speculators in search of the next hot neighborhood, and occupied by a community that's fiercely proud of where they live.
The Southwest Side of Chicago is far off the beaten path. Plenty of visitors know Midway Airport, but never see anything beyond. Truth be told, there isn't a lot to see. But the Southwest Side does hold some interest as the former home to the infamous Union Stock Yards as well as a pretty long list of hidden culinary gems well worth the trek.
Uptown is a scruffy, jazz-inflected neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. Within its boundaries, off to the side of the action, are the residential areas of Sheridan Park and Buena Park, and an exciting Southeast Asian community based around Argyle Street.
Wicker Park is the vanguard of music, nightlife, and fashion in Chicago. This article also includes the sly, enjoyable Ukrainian Village, immediately south, and pieces of the greater West Town area.
Isle Royale National Park is a United States National Park comprised of Isle Royale and the surrounding waters and small islands, a wilderness preserve in northwest Lake Superior. It's easily identified on maps of the Great Lakes: Lake Superior resembles the profile of a snarling wolf; Isle Royale is the eye. Although it's closer to Ontario, Canada, or even Minnesota, USA, it's part of the state of Michigan.
Uptown is the central business district of Charlotte. It is home to most of the city's major institutions, as well as being the historic core. It is also the geographic center of Charlotte, with the center point of the city at the intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets.
Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, is a vibrant, sprawling desert metropolis. Although overshadowed as a tourist destination by Santa Fe, it has a number of great attractions in its own right, with pleasant scenery, colorful history, and a spectacular hot-air balloon fiesta in the fall.
Santa Fe, founded in 1607, is the capital of the state of New Mexico in the United States. With an elevation of 7000 feet, it is not only the United States' oldest state capital but its highest. With a population of about 70,000, it's not the most populous capital, but that's part of its charm. Santa Fe is consistently rated one of the world's top travel destinations for its confluence of scenic beauty, long history (at least by American standards), cultural diversity, and extraordinary concentration of arts, music and fine dining.
Zion National Park is a United States National Park located in the southern Utah regions of Dixie and Canyon Country. The park protects the incredible rock formations and high sandstone cliffs within its boundaries and is a favorite spot for hiking, backpacking, canyoneering and climbing. In fact, Zion has some of the most spectacular trails in the National Park System. Visitors to Zion walk on the canyon floor and look up, rather than looking down from the rim as in many parks. In addition to the magnificent monoliths and cliffs, the park is known for its desert landscape of sandstone canyons, mesas, and high plateaus.
Big Bend National Park is vast, rugged, and one of the least visited national parks in the continental U.S. With three distinct ecosystems, endless views, and powerful landscapes, Big Bend may leave you feeling like you've stumbled onto a well-kept secret.