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As it gets colder, travelers are beginning to think about ski destinations. And while Denver, Colorado might be on many people’s lists, they should also consider it for shoulder season cycling. There are plenty of trail options for bicyclists and you don’t have to go too far outside the city to find them. Scattered in the Front Range (where you’ll find Denver and Boulder) and in nearby Breckenridge (about an hour and a half west of Denver) are prime trails where bikers can get their thrills.
Shannon Galpin, 2013 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and an avid cyclist. In 2009, she became the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan, a country where the culture doesn’t allow women to ride bikes. Galpin lives in Breckenridge and we’ve asked her to share her five favorite trail rides in Breckenridge and the Front Range. All can be reached by bike from the nearest town and are equally accessible to hikers. Read more
Your winter travel plans may not be on your mind yet, but here’s some incentive to start thinking about (and booking) them now: amazing flight deals. From Reykjavik to Oslo, Copenhagen, and more, you can fly round-trip this winter from multiple U.S. cities (New York, Denver, D.C., and others) on Icelandair from $546. As unappealing as cold weather might sound right now, these hot (well…so to speak) European destinations should give you something to look forward to this winter. Check out some of our favorite destinations and deals below. Read more
When was the last time you flew somewhere just to check out the airport? If the answer is ‘never,’ then a new trend sweeping the U.S. might make you reconsider. From Denver to Long Beach to San Antonio, more and more airports are trading out old, generic food courts for diverse, high-quality offerings that reflect the local flavor. Creating partnerships with major concession operators, these ‘hyper-local’ vendors are combating the anonymous airport experience by providing a unique sense of place – not to mention an excellent meal – before and after passengers board the plane.
When Denver International Airport realized last year that many of the leases for its food and beverage outlets were set to expire, officials seized a unique opportunity to overhaul 75% of its concessions. Explains DIA’s Chief Commercial Officer John Ackerman: “We’re bringing in a new blend of local Denver brands and concepts that will completely transform the character of the airport.”
Indeed, in the past six months, a dozen or so new restaurants have opened, including an outpost of the Denver-based Elway’s Steakhouse. With several locations in Denver and another one in Vail, the popular airport eatery (which is owned by former NFL star John Elway) gets so busy on weekends, there is often a wait list to get inside. On top of that, there’s the upcoming Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs, which began life as a hot dog stand in downtown Denver, and Udi’s Cafe and Bar, whose line of gluten-free treats was recently acquired by Smart Balance.
A similar thing is happening at San Diego International Airport, where 71 new restaurants and shops are expected to open between now and early 2014 – including the city’s first in-terminal spa. In June, SDIA debuted Craft Brews on 30th Street, a restaurant and bar inspired by San Diego’s lively 30th Street Corridor, and which features a range of seasonal and year-round beer selections from local breweries like Ballast Point, Coronado Brewing Co., Green Flash and Left Coast.
Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, the trend is manifesting itself in sleek new concourses, ice cream shops, and Mexican street food eateries. Read more
Arriving to a new city can be disorienting. With most of our energy exerted on deciphering the public transportation system and finding a decent place to eat, we end up forfeiting the other, more rewarding aspects of urban travel: exploring lesser-known neighborhoods, learning local history, and zeroing in on key cultural happenings.
Local blogs can be of immense help when it comes to quickly finding out what’s happening in a new city – and what’s worth your time. Unlike travel guides, which limit themselves to hotel and restaurant reviews, maps, and at-a-glance neighborhood descriptions, blogs offer curated, useful information on a particular aspect of the city, updated on a regular basis by locals in the know.
Here are a few top-notch online sources that will turn you into an expert the next-time you find yourself in… Read more
Summer is the perfect time to pop the top on an ice cold beer. But, not just any beer will do. Warm weather lends itself to lighter, crisper brews, and these nine offerings fit the bill as some of the best summer beers. Enjoy at home, or better yet, include a brewery tour on your summer vacation itinerary. Read more
Much like Salt Lake City, which we covered last week, Denver can be downright chilly this time of year. But, for those looking to get a little more wear out of that winter coat, it can be an excellent time to see some of Colorado’s beauty before (or after) a day of meetings. In an effort to get you outside the boardroom and into the wilds of The Mile High City, we’re offering up three restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings. Read more
With spring break right around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan your next adventure. Even upscale hotels are offering great rates for March and April travel, so you can stay at those luxe hotels you used to think you couldn’t afford, even during this prime travel period. From a boutique hotel in Denver to a brand-new 5-star resort in Goa, you can treat yourself to a spring break without breaking the bank. Read more
The Republican National Convention is under way in Tampa, Florida (with a watchful eye on Hurricane Isaac). Next week, Democrats will descend on Charlotte, North Carolina for their quadrennial festivities. When it’s all over, the two host cities will join a fairly short list of places that have welcomed the two major political parties. We decided to take a look at that list and see which cities have hosted the most national conventions, what presidential history has been left behind, and what kinds of attractions continue to make those destinations such fantastic vacation spots.
There are some surprises in our Top 10 National Conventional Host Cities. Denver hosted its only two conventions 100 years apart. Cincinnati had its number called to host the parties three different times (granted, all between 1856 and 1880). The Democrats didn’t hold a convention in the South after the Civil War until 1928′s affair in Houston.
Which city has hosted the most conventions? Which president was the “second-most hated man in Miami” (according to those in Little Havana)? And what can you do now in all of those cities to enjoy a great vacation? All of the answers are waiting for you here.
Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer – and with it, the beckoning of warmer weather and the great outdoors – and in the upcoming months, there’s a slew of ways to do just that at national parks across the country. Since there are parks in four U.S. territories and every state except Delaware, chances are there’s one within easy distance for you, and entry fees are usually no more than $20 per car.
Here, some of the best offerings guaranteed to inspire you to lace up the hiking boots and get outside. Some highlights: a full moon hike this weekend and the fourth annual National Get Outdoors Day on June 9, which comes with free entry into many popular parks, including Grand Canyon National Park and state parks across the country.
If thinking of Denver doesn’t bring to mind exclusive museum exhibits and collections, along with architecturally stunning buildings to house them, we don’t blame you – it wouldn’t have been our first thought, either. But when we took a look at the stunning exhibits coming to the Denver Art Museum and the newly opened Clyfford Still Museum we had to reconsider. This year, Denver should be on any art (or fashion) fan’s radar. From exclusive-to-Denver exhibits at the Denver Art Museum to 94 percent of Clyfford Still’s body of work, Denver is transforming itself into a must-visit cultural hub.
For more than 700 years, Christmas markets have been an annual event in German city squares. The tradition started with 15th-century farmers selling goods in the weeks leading up to December 25. More vendors joined as the markets gained popularity, and now a typical German Christmas market also includes booths selling traditional European food and drink and a variety of ornaments, crafts, and toys. Markets have become an annual event in German cities both big and small, and larger cities like Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne even have several markets each. Christkindlemarkets across Germany welcome millions of visitors each year, and many of those visitors come from neighboring areas and countries. For example, only about 50 percent of the visitors to the Munich Christkindlemarket actually live in Munich.
The popularity of these markets has expanded to other countries. Several British cities host German markets, and there are even markets in Osaka and Sapporo, Japan. The markets in North America offer different varieties of traditional European food and gifts. But no matter what market you visit, expect to see plenty of steaming mugs of glühwein (mulled spiced wine).
See the holiday windows in New York City, the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C., shop on Newbury Street in Boston, or ski down snow-capped mountains in Denver. Looking to escape the cold instead? Soak up the sun on beaches in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa or Long Beach, or enjoy family fun at the Disney World parks in Orlando.
Sample One-Way Fares this December:
• Las Vegas–Long Beach: $34
• Boston–New York City: $41
• Boston–Washington, D.C.: $46
• San Francisco–Long Beach: $59
• New York City–Washington, D.C.: $64
• Washington, D.C.–Orlando: $72
• Washington, D.C.–Fort Lauderdale: $75
• New York City–Orlando: $92
• Portland–Long Beach: $99
• New York City–Fort Lauderdale: $99
• Boston–Denver: $104
• Orlando–Austin: $112
• Boston–Orlando: $114
• Tampa–New York City: $114
• Austin–Boston: $134
* Travel is valid on select dates in December. All prices listed above were valid at the time of publication. Restrictions, taxes and fees apply.
THE VALUE: Pay as little as $34 on this holiday season airfare from Jet Blue!
THE CATCH: These rates apply to one-way travel only, before taxes and other fees.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.jetblue.com to book these flights.
When Labor Day passes, those of us with school-age kids observe a moment of silence to mourn the end of family vacationing until the winter holidays roll around. For those of us who don’t yet have or no longer have children in school, the passing of Labor Day means the time for a family vacation is now.
“Fall’s most reliable and notable trend is the drop in prices post Labor Day,” says Genevieve Shaw Brown, editorial director at Travelocity. “It’s a more affordable time for a family to take a vacation than the summer months.” For families and other bargain-hunting travelers, it’s a shoulder season “when prices are lower, crowds are fewer, and the weather is still agreeable,” she says.
Already at the helm of several of the Mile High City’s top restaurants (Mizuna, www.mizunadenver.com; Luca, www.lucadenver.com), chef Frank Bonanno recently added a trio of new spots to his repertoire: Lou’s Food Bar (www.lousfoodbar.com), an eatery serving French-American comfort food, Green Russell, a speakeasy, and Wednesday’s Pie (www.wednesdayspie.com), a pie shop open just one day a week. Juggling seven varied venues doesn’t leave Bonanno with time for much else, but he shares some tips on how a visitor can experience his city like a local.
Must-sees: First time visitors to Denver should definitely check out Larimer Square (www.larimersquare.com). It offers a bevy of great, unusual shops (such as Posh and Violet, www.violetstores.com) and a collection of restaurants with solid, interesting menus. It’s near all the theaters and events downtown and it’s just a really cool, beautiful historic block.
I got an early look at the summer forecast that Bing Travel (www.bing.com/travel) is releasing tomorrow and the bad news likely won’t shock deal seekers: Overall, hotel rates and airfares will be higher than they were last summer.
Expect summer domestic airfares to claw skyward by about 15 percent per round-trip ticket, averaging $561, up from about $485 last year. Likewise, the study reveals that round-trip overseas airfares will average $1,250, up from about $1,100 the same time last summer.
That said, Bing’s summer travel forecast yields some good news, too, for destinations that happen to be quite family friendly.
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