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Arts & Culture
Paris, Rome, and London are all classic first-time Eurotrip destinations. But for savvy or returning travelers, Eastern European cities — think: Prague, Budapest, and Tallinn, among offers — offer just as much beauty and history, but at cheaper prices and in fewer crowds. Although communism clothed much of the area a few decades ago, the region has largely shed that attire and now welcomes travelers with eclectic mixes of medieval architecture and preserved fortresses alongside Soviet era blocks and 21st century designs. With so many nations to discover, here’s where to start:
While vacationers often gravitate toward coastal paradises, America’s heartland is often missed as a vacation — except for those on the Kerouacian road-trip. But Kansas City is ripe for exploration, firstly because it’s a mere three-hour flight from either coast. It’s also one of the cheapest Midwest destinations to fly into — airfare is competitive because no airline has a hub and major claim there. Secondly, KC has tons to offer on countless cultural fronts, from its historic jazz foundation to epic barbecue spots to trendy boutiques galore. If you need proof, consider this: Both Google and Lego love the city enough to use it as fertile testing grounds (Google Fiber and Legoland, respectively). The cherry on top? All of the below adventures will hardly dent your wallet.
Who vacations in Cleveland?
Surely, not enough people. Like many Rust Belt cities, Cleveland’s associated with joblessness, dilapidation, and general unsavoriness. But contrary to these common views, the city’s been slowly transforming into an affordable enclave for the trendy, the foodies, and cost-conscious travelers of all kinds. The Tremont district, for example, is filling up with boutiques and quality restaurants — even Iron Chefs love the famous West Side Market. The next time you have a weekend to spare, here’s what you should include on your Cleveland itinerary:
Looking to plan your next vacation but don’t want to spend a fortune? For an enriching getaway that doesn’t break the bank, Portland’s utopia of sustainability, cycling, good eats, and natural beauty has you covered.
The fortunes of Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, have turned more often than most. With its days as a great shipbuilding center long over, Glasgow spent much of the latter half of the past century struggling to overcome a reputation for poverty and crime. But regeneration has gathered pace over the past few decades, helped along by its hosting of large events; most notably, this year, the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which begin on July 23, as well as the 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards in September.
Whatever your reason for visiting Glasgow, here are the areas to explore.
The Clyde Waterfront
The Clyde Waterfront regeneration project has been spurred along by the promise of the Commonwealth Games. This former shipbuilding stretch of the River Clyde, which once saw the construction of the great Cunard shipping line vessels such as the QE2 and the Royal Yacht Britannia, is now home to Scotland’s new national arena at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center and the newly built Emirates National Indoor Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, named for Scotland’s six-time Olympic cycling champion.
Not all of the development is centered around the Games, however. You will also find the Sir Norman Foster-designed, armadillo-shaped, Clyde Auditorium here, as well as the Riverside Museum, designed by Zaha Hadid and named European Museum of the Year for 2013.
Travelers looking to experience one of France’s medieval towns often head to Chartres or, even further afield, Orleans in the Loire Valley. But for those visiting Paris, there’s a more convenient option that’s just an hour away by train: Provins. Once a center of commerce, this is a prime choice if you’re looking for a picture of rural life and French history while still being able to get back to Paris for an evening out. Read more
From murals to music to roast pork, there’s plenty for the budget-conscious traveler to enjoy in Philadelphia. But in case you’re in town for an extended visit, we encourage you to hop on a train or get behind the wheel for a some nearby exploration. Here are three great day trips under a two-hour drive, whether you love art or history, tapas or beer:
Whether arriving by cruise ship or airplane, few Alaskan visitors stray from the ports around Juneau, the city of Anchorage, or the beautiful Denali National Park. But we have lots of love for the state’s more rugged pocket of Fairbanks, another 100-plus miles beyond Denali. From surprisingly diverse cuisine to truly remote respite, here’s why we think the region inhabited by just 32,000 is worth the distance:
Cruising down the Bosphorus is one of the most popular tourist activities in Istanbul, but most people will pay way too much (50 Turkish lira/$40 or more) to sit on a crowded, privately owned boat for three hours without every really getting the chance to interact with local culture. The public Bosphorus ferries are a bit better, at 25 lira ($20) round-trip, and they’re of locals traveling to the outer areas of the city, but there is an even better option: the Golden Horn. This curved estuary that divides the historic Pera and Sultanahmet neighborhoods stretches over 7 kilometers inland from the Bosphorus, and was in historic times Istanbul’s primary harbor.
Santiago, Chile feels like a new city. With most of its colonial architecture flattened by earthquakes, and mirrored high-rises towering against the snow-covered Andes, it can be tough, at first, to see the more intimate side of this South American city. Here are two neighborhoods chock-full of quaint boutiques, natty coffee houses, a boutique hotel or two, spirited street art, and a genuine sense of place amongst the skyscrapers.
Dubai is a city of superlatives, but Cheapest Vacation Destination is generally not among them. While it might be too much to hope for prices that match South East Asia or even nearby Egypt, the United Arab Emirates doesn’t have to be a budget-buster. If you’re planning to pass through the Emirates soon, keep these tips in mind for ways to save money in Dubai and still have an awesome experience. Read more
It’s always a struggle for culture-enthusiasts in the summer: Go to the park and soak up the sun, or go to the museum for some arts. If that’s an argument you always enter with your travel companion, we have the answer for you. Visiting any of these six sculpture parks in the United States is guaranteed to solve your dilemma. The pictured Storm King Art Center in the lower Hudson Valley of New York state, for example, is a 500-acre landscape of fields, hills, and woodlands that provides the setting for more than 100 large-scale abstract sculptures. More here.
Star-studded Olympic training and gravity-defying air shows, free public transportation and toasty weather without the humidity — Park City sounds like a perfect summer destination, doesn’t it? Still, tourists flock to the resort town in droves during the winter to ski the Rockies and leave by spring. Next time, we suggest lingering a while longer to enjoy the affordable thrills of summer. Here are four ways to enjoy the lively “down” season:
Museums can take years, even decades, of planning. These eight concepts have had a long and sometimes bumpy road on the way to becoming a reality, but we’re already big fans and looking forward to the ribbon-cutting dates. If you’re traveling to these cities in the next couple of years, here are the museums of the future to include on your itinerary:
Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and many others countries speak the English language. But sometimes talking with the locals there can feel as foreign to U.S. travelers as communicating with those in, say, Thailand. To help clear these up, here are a few words that our stateside readers are all familiar with — but that mean something completely different in other English-speaking places around the world.
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