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Free breakfast, iPod docking stations, and coffee makers are nothing compared to some of the whacky hotel amenities we found. From vintage record players to pet psychologists, here are five quirky — and dare we say somewhat outrageous — amenities that can be found at hotel chains across the country.
For a city mostly known for its cheesesteaks, Philadelphia has recently caught up with the nation’s most famous food capitals, offering a range of culinary experiences in its diverse neighborhoods. On a recent trip, we chatted with Kristin Huxta, a Philly native and a communications pro at Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, to get the inside scoop on where the locals wine and dine.
Here are her suggested (and tested) tips for great foodie finds, taking you beyond the popular downtown area into up-and-coming neighborhoods in North and South Philly:
The Kimpton Hotel Group pioneered the boutique hotel concept in the U.S. when it opened its first property in San Francisco in 1981. Since then, its stylish hotels have popped up in 29 cities across the country. And there’s more on the way: Properties will open in Pittsburgh, Austin, Chicago, and even the Cayman Islands, to name a few, within the next two years.
With two hotels welcoming visitors in the “City of Brotherly Love,” we took the opportunity to check in at the Palomar, Kimpton’s first Philadelphia hotel, which which debuted in the Rittenhouse Square area in 2009.
The National Park Service, which turns 98 this August 25, will be celebrating by waiving admission to its parks across the country on its birthday. Tagged as “America’s Best Idea” in a PBS series for its part in preserving our natural landscape, the NPS now protects 84 million acres in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Colleges and universities aren’t just institutions of higher learning. Some of them are itinerary-worth destinations, even for those who haven’t stepped foot into a classroom for a long time, thanks to stunning architecture, fragrant gardens, impressive museums, and great history. Here are 10 schools that get an A+ on all these fronts.
We may have missed National Ice Cream Day (it was on July 20), but National Ice Cream Month continues. Why not celebrate with a couple of scoops of something more adventurous than vanilla? 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:
Summer travel season is upon us … and so are all the airport delays and traffic jams that go along with it. Bypass the pain of summer travel by hopping on a train to your next destination. On Amtrak’s busy Northeast Regional service between Boston and Virginia Beach, you can save 25 percent or more on the lowest available fares when you book 14 days in advance. Plus, children between the ages of two and 12 are eligible for a 50 percent discount. Read more
While Pennsylvania awaits a verdict on the state’s proposed second casino, a recently-added feature at the ever-popular Valley Forge Casino (about 30 minutes northwest of Philadelphia) is making poker chip-wielding travelers around the country take note. Announced early last month, a new “Points for Miles” program offers gamers the chance to redeem casino player points for – get this – airline miles with US Airways.
It’s no secret that Google Maps is a lifesaver if you’re traveling without a car. Generally, this, and similar sites like Hopstop, are incredibly reliable for planning your travel route on public transportation. But what if you want more precise information – like when to leave for the station in order to make the next train, for example, or detailed schedules that tell you how often buses and trains arrive?
This is where locally-based transit apps come in. A whopping 246 public transit systems across the nation make schedule and GPS-generated location data accessible to developers so they can incorporate them into new programs. Here are some of the best free transit apps for iOs and Android that are worth downloading before your next trip… Read more
We’re big fans of museums, wherever we go. And we’d never begrudge an amazing exhibit due support, particularly at smaller institutions that could use the help. But there’s no reason why travelers shouldn’t take advantage of free nights at various museums across the country. And there are more museums that offer suggested, donation-based entry than you might think.
Two notes before jumping into our roundup of free and pay-as-you-wish museum programs: First, this is not a definitive list, though we do plan on updating it regularly. Second, if you’re a Bank of America credit or debit card holder, don’t forget to check out the Museums on Us program. Flash your card (and ID) at 150 museums and cultural institutions across the country and you’ll get in free on Saturday and Sunday during the first full weekend of every month. Read more
Ever used a CityPASS booklet? These bundled tickets for museums and attractions in tourism-heavy cities can save you lots of money – possibly. They claim to offer 50 percent savings on major attractions in 11 North American regions. But what’s included? And are these places that you’d actually want to explore?
The answer isn’t always straightforward, but it boils down to what your interests are and who you’re traveling with. Here, we explain how the CityPASS program works and assess the ticket value for some popular cities. Read more
No matter where you’re traveling, there’s nothing like a long line to put a damper on your vacation. Which is why we were happy to learn about SecurXpress, a reservation system for security lines that’s being tested at Montréal, Canada’s international airport. After passengers submit their flight and contact info online, they receive a text with an arrival time. Then, when they get to the airport, they can head straight to security and skip the line. Not bad. This free service is available for all domestic and select international routes, and each reservation covers up to five travelers.
While it’ll take some time for other airports to adopt the system – clearance rules make it especially tricky for flights in and out of the U.S. – ticketed reservations aimed at slashing wait times aren’t new. Here’s a quick look at similar systems that are helping travelers avoid the wait…
Like it or not, a big part of being a tourist involves waiting in line: at the hotel check-in desk, at the museum entrance, waiting for their tour guide to show up. But when it comes to seeing jaw-dropping views, here’s a more efficient use of your time: instead of one-stop observation decks, why not head to a high-up restaurant for lunch or dinner? You might not consider these traditional tourist attractions, but for the quality of the views (not to mention the meal itself!), these places will have you whipping out your camera in no time: Read more
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to travel more in 2014, this offer from Amtrak may be the perfect fit: You’ll save 25 percent or more on travel from and to major Northeast destinations when booking at least 14 days in advance. Plus, with the unpredictable winter weather, riding the train provides a more reliable and comfortable way to travel this season. Read more
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