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Orlando is so much more than the theme parks at Disney World and Universal. The locals will visit those attractions, along with Gatorland, SeaWorld and others, from time to time, often to take relatives and friends escaping cold winter weather in the North. Here ‘s how to do Orlando like residents who have been here a while.

1. Feature fine arts in your schedule: The people of Orlando have made a commitment to build fine arts into the fabric of the community. The Orlando Ballet, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Opera and the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra all have enthusiastic followings. If classical isn’t your thing, but classic rock, jazz, southern, R&B or hip hop is, venues throughout the area feature the music you love.

2. Stay active: Participatory sports are very popular throughout the area. Locals stay fit by walking, jogging, playing tennis and volleyball, swimming, biking and other healthy pursuits. Bring your workout gear and you’ll fit right in.

3. Frolic at a festival: The area is an eclectic mix of cultures, and that mix is on display in its festivals. They include the Festival of Arts and Humanities in January, Kissimmee Silver Spurs Rodeo in February, the Bach Festival in late February, the GeorgeFest washington’s Birthday Festival, SeaWorld’s BBQ Fest, Harley Davidson Bike Week in March, the Easter Surfing Festival, the Cabaret Festival in April, the Shakespeare Festival, the Latin-themed Fiesta Medina in April, the Orlando International Fringe Festival, the Florida Film Festival, the International Food & Wine Festival in September and the Christmas Tree Lighting Festival in December.

4. Shop stores from budget to upscale: Orlando is a shopper’s haven. The locals enjoy spending a muggy or rainy day cool and dry while checking out the wares at the thousands of local stores. The Mall at Millennia offers upscale stores like Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales. Church Street Station is a quaint group of 40 stores with a Victorian ambiance. Orlando Premium Outlets offer 110 shops and Belz Centre has 160 outlet stores. Mercado is billed as a “world marketplace” with 75 specialty shops. When the weather cooperates, Orlando residents enjoy a stroll through the Pointe Orlando open-air shopping complex with restaurants and entertainment venues.

5. Dance till you drop: If you survive a day of serious shopping, the dance floor will challenge what you’ve got left in the tank. Those who live in Orlando prefer dance clubs like the Independent Bar, Sky Sixty, Eye Spy and Ceviche. Best-rated bars are the Downtown Pour House, Bar BQ Bar, the Vintage Lounge, Bar Louie and the Blue Martini Lounge.

6. Go camping: More than 100 campgrounds are within an hour’s drive of Orlando. You can cut down on hotel and restaurant costs by camping while enjoying the wonderful natural surroundings.

7. Enjoy your favorite spectator sport: The Orlando Magic of the NBA and the Miracles of the WNBA play professional basketball. PGA golfers come to town in March for the Bay Hill Invitational and in October for the Disney Oldsmobile Classic. The Orlando Predators play arena football. The Orlando Rays are a minor league baseball team and the Orlando Seals play minor league hockey. The Central Florida Knights are the local college team.

8. Drown a few golf balls: The Orlando area is loaded with public golf courses with reasonable green’s fees. Just within Orlando you’ll find Hunter’s Creek, MetroWest, Dubsdread, Rosen, Shingle, North Shore and a dozen more. All the courses feature plenty of water hazards, some with alligators, so stock up on cheap balls you won’t mind drowning.

9. Hook a largemouth: Central Florida is big bass fishing country. There are nearly 2,000 freshwater lakes in the area, and many of them are fishing hotbeds. Guides and gear are available for rent. If you don’t fish, take to the water for boating, skiing or tubing.

10. Treat yourself to local eats: Where do locals go for dinner midweek after work of to unwind on the weekend?  You can find cuisine from around the world right here as well as good old Southern specialties. There are 5,000-area restaurants from which to choose. You won’t go wrong at these spots highly rated by Orlando residents: Pho Saigon and Banh Mi Nha Trang  for Vietnamese staples, Pom Pom's Teahouse & Sandwicheria  and the Dandelion Communitea Café for vegan and vegetarian goodies, Kres Chophouse and Texas de Brazil for steaks, Chef Eddie's for soul food, Tony’s for deli sandwiches, Tasty Wok for Chinese, Melissa's Chicken & Waffles for Southern, Sushi Lola’s or Mikado’s for sushi, Sea Thai for Thai and the Oblivion Tap Room for burgers and American fare.

Published in Orlando

1. Tee it up: Phoenix is home to hundreds of great golf courses. Green fairways and putting surfaces are surrounding by native grasses, cacti, sand and rocks. There are courses for players at all handicap levels. Some of the favorite public courses are Ravens, Villa De Paz, Maryvale Muni, Papago and Lookout Mountain. The area is home to almost 200 championship courses for the big hitters. If golf isn’t your thing, the climate of the Valley offers opportunities for all kinds of sports. Local residents enjoy tennis, swimming, horseback riding and much more.

2. Get away from it all: The desert offers solitude and a break from the grind. Make sure you have plenty of water, great maps and quality hiking shoes before you take to one of the many trails into the hills around the city. If you want to go a bit faster, rent a mountain bike or bring your own. Best hiking/biking areas include Camelback Mountain, Shawn Butte, Deem Hills East and West, the Mormon Trail, Thunderbird H-2 and Tom’s Thumb.

3. Root, root, root for the home team: Phoenix is a great sports town. The area is home to teams in all major sports, and tickets can be had for most games. Here’s a roster of the local teams.

  • Football: The Arizona Cardinals (NFL) and the Rattlers (Arena)
  • Baseball: The Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Basketball: The Phoenix Suns (men’s) and the Phoenix Mercury (women’s)
  • Hockey: The Phoenix Coyotes

In addition, exhibition baseball is big in the area during February and March, with 12 major league team’s doing their spring training in the Cactus League. NASCAR, Formula One, WTA, PGA and LPGA events are also held at area venues each year.

4. Go hunting with your camera: Photography is popular here because of the many natural subjects – mountains, cacti, wildlife, permanent and migratory birds, amazing cloud formations – and many architectural points of interest including historic Old West buildings, cemeteries and mines.

5. Wet your whistle: It’s dry and dusty in the Valley of the Sun. Favorite local watering holes reflect an eclectic mix of styles from Old West to sports to hip. The best include Draw 10 Bar & Grill, Seamus McCaffrey’s, Roscoe’s Sports Bar, Kobalt, the Jade Bar, Suede, MercBar, Kazimierz World Wine Bar, the Lost Leaf and the Switch Restaurant and Wine Bar.

6. Peruse the native plants: The Desert Botanical Garden is a 50-acre garden in Papago Park. It is home to 10,000 desert plants native to the area. Locals enjoy the peaceful setting and the blooms of more than 1,800 varieties of cacti.

7. Take in a performance: The performing arts community is thriving, in part due to the young population of the area. Your opportunities include the Phoenix Center Youth Theater, CityJazz Dance, the Phoenix Children’s Chorus the Little Theater and the Centre Dance Ensemble. The local Symphony Orchestra and Opera also have their share of enthusiasts.

8. Indulge your appetite: A day of golf, hiking or sightseeing will make anyone hungry. Phoenix offers a wide variety of fantastic food spots. For French food, the Vincent Market Bistro is the top choice. Soul food is king at Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles. Gallo Blanco Café and Carolina’s serve up some of the best Mexican dishes. The Italian sandwiches and pizza at Pane Bianco are very tasty. The Green New American is unsurpassed for vegan and vegetarian delights. Dick’s Hideaway serves up American and Tex-Mex favorites.

9. Celebrate local traditions: Many happenings throughout the year pay homage to the area’s history. These include the Heard Museum Guild Annual Indian Fair and Market in March, the Desert Botanical Garden’s Cactus and Succulent Show in April, Cinco de Mayo in May and the Arizona State Fair in September and October. Other festivals include St. Patrick’s Day, the Way Out West Oktoberfest and the APS Fiesta of Light parade in December. The annual New Year’s Day Fiesta Bowl features a pageant of bands and a parade in addition to the college football game.

10. Cool off in cool shops: When it’s 100+ outside, strolling through shops that are cool in all the right ways is huge with the locals. You might start your search for the best shopping experience at the Arizona Center downtown, Biltmore Fashion Park, or the Tower Plaza Mall. In cooler weather, the open-air Town & Country Shopping Center is a winner. Dotted around the city are lots of very cool specialty shops featuring the creations of local craftsmen and artisans.

Published in Phoenix

It would be easy to fill our list with 10 different beaches since there are so many gorgeous stretches of sand. However, folks enjoy doing other things too. Here are the top ways residents of the Crossroads of the Pacific spend their free time.

1. Relax on the beach: You can’t spend any time in Honolulu without sinking your feet in the sand. The top beaches according to the locals are Kaimana Beach, Diamond Head Beach Park, Kahala Beach, Ala Moana Beach Park, Waikiki Beach, Point Panic Beach and Lanikai Beach. 

2. Get into the water: Some visitors to Oahu will simply want to read a book on the beach and watch the amazing blue waves roll in. Others will only be satisfied with the whole experience. You can surf, windsurf, kayak, scuba dive or fish. Outfitters in abundance will set you up with equipment and lessons.

3. Combine hiking with spectacular vistas: The terrain of the area offers hikes for those at all ability levels. They get you up above the city, beach and water where the views are nothing short of breathtaking. You can bike your way to the top of some trails, and horseback riding is available too. To gain elevation more quickly, consider hang gliding, parasailing or a helicopter tour.

4. Enjoy Pacific cuisine: Honolulu offers a wide array of fabulous eateries. Adventurous foodies will want to sample Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai foods. Highly rated local favorites are Helena’s Hawaiian Food in Kalihi, Rainbow Drive-in in Kaimuki, Marukame Udon in Waikiki, Sushi Sasabune, Me’s Korean BBQ in Waikiki, Pho To-Chau Vietnamese Restaurant in Chinatown, Tatsuo’s in Kalihi, Sweet Home Café (Taiwanese) in Mo’ili’ili, Ahi & Vegetable downtown and Eggs'n Things.

5. Smell the orchids and hundreds of other native flowers: While you can do this almost anywhere in Honolulu, the city’s gardens afford the best opportunity to appreciate the native species. The best gardens are the Foster Botanical Garden, Ho'omaluhia, Lili'uokalani, Koko Crater, Queen Kapiolani Hibiscus Garden and Wahiawa.

6. Browse and buy in Ala Moana: This outdoor shopping area is one of the largest in the world. Locals love to spend a lazy afternoon or Saturday morning strolling among the shops and stalls looking for little treasures. More than 240 stores make up the bazaar. Food and entertainment are also a part of what Ala Moana has to offer. Fort Street downtown has also been made into a walking mall.

7. Be festive: Many think of life in Hawaii as one long festival, and in some ways, it is. A long list of festivals dot the calendar. Chinese New Year in January/February brings the Narcissus Festival with lion dances and fireworks. The Cherry Blossom Festival lasts more than a month in late winter. Other popular festivals are the Honolulu Festival in March celebrating ethnic harmony, the Hawaii Invitational International Music Festival in April, the Pan Pacific-Matsuri Festival in June celebrating Hawaiian and Japanese culture, the Hawaii International Jazz Festival in July, the Aloha Festival in September and the International Film Festival in December.

8. Cheer for college sports: There are no major professional sports in HI, so the locals support their college teams. The U. of Hawaii plays football, basketball, softball, soccer, tennis and many more sports. The football team is very competitive year in and year out and has sent many players to the NFL.

9. Head from the beach to the bar: Locals like to unwind from a relaxing day at the beach by chilling out in a local club. That’s how laid back things are in paradise. Good choices include Brasserie du Vin with its French flare, Mai Tai Bar known as a party palace, Indigo where the professionals gather after work and stylish Uncle Bo’s with its hip clientele.

10. Photograph your favorite subjects: The area is ripe with opportunities for the photographer or artist. We’ve mentioned the flowers, mountains and beaches. Birds are in abundance in the Lyon Arboretum, Kapiolani Park and Sand Island. Historic architecture is found in the Iolani Palace built in 1862 by King Kalahaua, the Kawaiaha'o Church from 1841 and many other buildings more than 150 years old.

Published in Honolulu

The Windy City is a cool locale to call home. If you plan to spend time in Chi-Town, here are the top ten things residents do to embrace all the city offers.

1. Shop the Mile: Rodeo Drive in LA has nothing on the Magnificent Mile. That’s a fact. Visitors to the city hit the Mile in droves, but lots of locals do too. Water Tower Place on N. Michigan offers seven stories of fantastic shops, and not all of them are over-priced tourist traps. Chicago Place has eight floors of stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Ann Taylor and Chiaroscuro. Other faves are the American Girl Place, Bloomingdale’s, Coach, Gucci, Carson Pirie Scott and the original Marshall Field’s.

2. Celebrate: The city has a spectacular calendar of events with dozens of great festivals. Local favorites include the Chicago Blues Festival, the Gospel Music Festival and the Printers Row Book Fair in June, Taste of Chicago in June/July, the Country Music Festival in July, the Chicago Jazz Festival in August/September, the Celtic Festival in September, the International Film Festival in October and the Holiday Sports Festival in December.

3. Take yourself out to the ballgame at Wrigley Field: Seeing a day game at this famous ballpark is a “must” for baseball aficionados. The Wrigley neighborhood has a lot of choice bars and eateries for after the game. The White Sox play on the South Side. The Bears play football and the Fire play soccer at Soldier Field. The Bulls and Blackhawks are your winter options at the United Center.

4. Head from the Cubs to the clubs: Chicago has many great bars and clubs where you can hear local music, sample Chi-Town drink favorites and hob nob with the natives. Jazz bars, cigar bars, sports bars, swanky cocktail lounges and all your favorite drinking establishment genres are right here. Just a few you might want to start with include Red Ivy 1914, Buddy Guy’s Legends, Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, the Pump Room, and Scofflaw.

5. Sample the classic sounds: Classic music means many different things, and Chicago has them all. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the best in the world. The Sinfonietta and the Renovo String Orchestra offer classic diversity. Chicago is also renowned for American classic genres including soul, jazz, gospel, rock, Dixieland and hip-hop. You’ll find venues all over town to suit your taste in classic music.

6. Browse books in the Loop: There are more than 20 bookstores in the Loop featuring everything from new releases to out-of-print treasures. Look for the Greater Loop Book District pamphlet available at the airport and around town to guide you.

7. Stroll Navy Pier: This is a great place to spend an afternoon overlooking Lake Michigan. The 50-acre Pier offers parks, gardens, lots of cool shops, boats and ships of every kind and a pleasing array of restaurants to suit every taste.

8. Take art to heart: The Art Institute of Chicago has a world-class reputation. Locals get yearly passes that allow them to study the permanent collection at their leisure and catch all the short-run exhibits. No matter when you visit, you’ll find a rich blend of artwork representing every period and style. Don’t overlook other galleries such as the Mexican Fine Arts Center and galleries featuring works from Polish, Swedish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese artists.

9. Treat your taste buds to ethnic dishes: Yes, the locals do indulge in Chicago deep dish pizza. But there’s a much wider gastronomic smorgasbord in the Windy City. Ethnic enclaves around town offer authentic food from around the world. For world-class food, scout Mexican villages along 18th Street, the Puerto Rican Paseo Boricua in Humboldt Park, Greektown on South Halsted, Little Italy on Taylor Street, Indian and Pakistani enclaves along Devon Avenue, Vietnamese restaurants on Argyle and Chinatown and Polish Patches and Little Seoul along Lawrence Avenue.

10. Get tix to the theater: The theatre community is thriving. Outstanding venues include Goodman Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Broadway Playhouse at Water Place Tower and the Gateway Theater. More than 50 theaters put on productions ranging from the serious to the sublime to the satirical.

Published in Chicago

Once you tour Studio City and spend a day at Disneyland, what will you do in LA?  Here are the top ten things residents of the City of Angels do in their free time.

1. Bask on the beach: Just because most of the tans in LA are fake doesn’t mean you have to pay for yours. A beautiful bunch of beaches run the gamut from romantic and out of the way to the place to see and be seen.

2. Go out for drinks: Nightlife is huge in LA. Hotspots come and go, so check with the locals for current favorites. A few hangouts with good longevity include Playhouse Hollywood, Avalon, Boulevard3, La Cita Bar and Elevate Lounge.

3. Catch a local team in action: Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine is a superb baseball venue. The Lakers and Clippers play hoops and the Kings play Hockey at the Staples Center downtown. Those are all tough tickets, but they can be had for a price. Soccer fans should be able to score ducats to watch the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center now known as the Stub Hub Center.

4. Procure local produce and more: The LA area is home to many outstanding farmers markets, none better than the Santa Monica Certified Farmers market. Fresh produce in most months of the year and extras like coffee and pastry shops make for a pleasurable morning. Whichever part of town you’re in, you won’t be far from a great farmers market. Just ask around.

5. Get in a workout with a view: The mountains and ocean combine to produce many climbs worth taking to enjoy the splendiferous vistas. Some of the most popular hikes include the Texas Canyon, Escondido Falls and the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook.

6. Enjoy a hearty dinner: While some in LA eat like birds to stay slim for that next casting call, most residents of the area are quick to indulge in a great meal. Local restaurant favorites include Jar steakhouse, Providence seafood, the Four Sea, Guisados, Sea Harbour Seafood in Rosemead, Kang Ho dong Baekjeong, R & R Soul Food, Dominick’s and the Bay Cities Italian Deli.

7. Ruin a good walk: Mark Twain called golf, “a good walk ruined.” Presumably his handicap was fairly high. If you enjoy smacking the little white ball, the LA area has quite a few nice courses open to the public at reasonable rates.

8. Go for a scenic drive: This means staying off the crowded  Ventura Freeway or the I-405 and sticking to the PCH (no one in LA calls it the Pacific Coast Highway), Palos Verde Drive or North Sepulveda Boulevard.

9. Have coffee and breakfast at a sidewalk café: This one is more about the experience than the specific place. Outdoor cafés dot the city. There’s no better way to greet the day than enjoying great coffee, a tasty breakfast and sunshine while doing a little people watching.

10. Frolic at a Festival: The locals are always ready to celebrate. Popular music festivals include the Ragga Muffin Reggae Festival, the Dog Star Orchestra Festival of Experimental Music, the Cuban Music Festival and the Long Beach Bayou and Mardi Gras Festival. Favorite food and wine festivals are the Laguna Beach A La Carte and Uncorked Festival, Belmont Shore Chocolate Festival and the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival. Top film festivals include the LA Children’s Film Festival, the Italia Film Festival and the FirstGlance Hollywood Film Fest.

Published in Los Angeles

So you’re heading to Boston for a week, and you want to know how Bostonians do the town. This guide will help. Here are the top ten attractions residents of Boston rate as their favorite way to spend time.

1. Say ciao to chow in the North End: Some of the best Italian cuisine west of Naples is whipped up in restaurants in Boston’s oldest neighborhood. Cobblestone streets, historic sites including Paul Revere’s Old North Church and fantastic food are a can’t-miss mix.  For a delicious dinner, seafood at a Back Bay bistro is a close second. Restaurants to consider include 80 Thoreau in Concord, Area Four in Kendall Square, Bistro du Midi in Back Bay, Blue Ginger in Wellesley and East by Northeast in Inman Square.

2. Combine Red hots with the Red Sox: Does it get any better than Red Sox baseball and hot dogs at Fenway Park?  If you’re a baseball fan, a game at this iconic park supersedes who wins or loses. What’s a close second for sports nuts? Watching the Celtics play hoops on the parquet floor of the TD Banknorth Garden, known locally as “the Gah’den.”

3. Indulge in sax and violins: The Boston Symphony Orchestra has been consistently rated as a top-five attraction for the locals. Boston is a smart town. The symphony delivers smart music. It’s a perfect match. Go online for ducats the minute you know you’ll be in Beantown because the BSO is a tough ticket. The Boston Pops at Symphony Hall is a very hip alternative. The Boston Lyric Opera Company, Boston Baroque and Opera Boston are great options too.

4. Take a stroll in the Arnold Arboretum: The park is part of the famous “emerald necklace” of Boston. The country’s oldest tree park boasts 265 acres of hardwoods that deliver perfect conditions for a pleasurable ramble from early spring until the last of the colorful leaves fall in autumn.

5. Waste time on the waterfront: Finding the most enjoyable way to pass the time is the whole point when you’re taking a break from the grind, right? The waterfront entices with gorgeous views, excellent eateries, wonderful watering holes and superb shopping. It’s the whole package.

6. Bask in the beauty of Boston Common: Boston’s oldest park has something to offer in every season. Picnic on the broad greens in summer, ice skate on Frog Pond in winter, and enjoy the sounds and smells of nature whenever you set foot in this urban paradise.

7. Trick the kids into learning: The Boston Museum of Science is one of the top hands-on museums in the world. You and the kids will start learning the moment you set foot inside, and you’ll have a great time doing it. It’s the perfect antidote for a rainy day in the Hub. The Boston Children’s Museum is a stout second in this category.

8. Exercise in the Esplande: The Charles River Esplande is a hot spot for bicyclists, bladers and power walkers. The Hatch Shell in the park is the oft-used bandl shell of the Boston Pops.

9. Find something new on Newbury Street: This shopping district has something for everyone from upscale, buttoned-down, Boston business attire to quirky, fun threads for the next great party. Trendy salons blend with shops offering sensible yet sophisticated shoes.

10. Toast the town: Boston has exceptional nightlife, and you’ll find it in full swing in every neighborhood. Local favorites include the Gypsy Bar, Top of the Hub, 6B Lounge, 21st Amendment and Silverstone Bar & Grill. For authentic Irish pubs, you can tip a pint of Guinness or Bass at McGreevy’s, The Black Rose, Kinsale Pub, Eire Pub, Crossroads Pub or many others.

Published in Boston

Most locals have toured the National Mall and spent a few days at the Smithsonian. And those things are well worth doing. But here are the activities Washingtonians love to do as part of their regular routine throughout the year.

1. Attend free festivals and events in every season. Street art fares, free summer concerts and many holiday events are part of the annual festival lineup. Plan your trip to be in DC for the National Cherry Blossom festival or one of dozens more.

2. Say hello to the critters in the National Zoo: Located in gorgeous Rock Creek National Park, the National Zoo is a favorite for families, couples and seniors. Admission is free, and there is always something fun going on including special exhibits and educational programs. More than 400 species live in the zoo.

3. Sample the local cuisine: DC is the home to people from around the world, and that fact is apparent in the diverse range of local eateries. You won’t run out of adventurous dining opportunities if you stay for a month.  Favorites include Queen of Sheba, Sichuan Pavilion, Fasil Ethiopian, Izakaya and Himalayan Heritage.

4. Stroll the C & O Canal walkway: The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal stretches for 184 miles from Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland. It’s a great place to stretch your legs or walk your dog during your visit to the nation’s capital. East Potomac Park is another attractive option. The 300 acres contain hundreds of cherry trees that bloom in early spring.

5. Spend a few bucks at the Eastern Market: The fare ranges from locally-grown produce to baked goods to antiques to junk or treasure depending on your perspective. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

6. Catch a Washington Nationals baseball game: Baseball is back in the nation’s capital, and the locals have embraced the Nats wholeheartedly. College Super Savers, Harris Teeter Tuesdays and Sunday Family Fun packs are just a few of the regular promotions that will cut your costs at the ballpark.

7. Hear the National Symphony Orchestra for free at the Kennedy Center: Free concerts each Saturday night feature the NSO, dance troupes, jazz bands, poets or other slices of local culture.

8. Stop to smell the flowers: Beautiful gardens abound in and around the city. The locals prefer the U.S. Botanic Gardens with plants from around the world, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens which are home to native and exotic water lilies and many types of water creatures and River Farm, the home of the American Horticultural Society.

9. Hike or bike in Rock Creek Park: This urban park is loaded with trees, moving water and plenty of room to roam. The park has a great nature center too with lots of programs put on by park rangers. Tennis, fishing, picnicking and horseback riding are other activities available within the park.

10. Take in the nightlife: DC isn’t all about buttoned-up politics and government bureaucracy. Residents of the District like to loosen up at hotspots all over town. You might want to start your search for a great evening at the Habana Village, Blues Alley, DC Improv, 9:30 or the Eighteenth Street Lounge.

Published in Washington D.C.

If you’d like to skip the tourist traps and experience New York City as a local does, these tips will help. Here are the top 10 things residents of Gotham enjoy doing in their free time.

1. Take a date to dinner and a movie in the same venue: You can woof down and watch a movie, just like you do at home, only with better (and pricier) food. The Nitehawk Cinema offers cocktails, snacks and entrees – often inspired by the first-run movie being shown.

2. Listen to great music at venues off the beaten path: Radio City Music Hall is great if you enjoy huge crowds. Smaller venues like the Brooklyn Bowl, Saint Vitus, Brooklyn Rod & Gun and Le Bain feature up-and-coming artists along with surprise visits by well-known bands knocking the rust off before going on tour.

3. Catch a few comedy club sets: The Comedy Cellar or The Creek and the Cave are just a few of the great comedy clubs where big names unexpectedly turn up on stage. Sometimes mid-week shows are when the stars sneak in to try out new material. Comics with recent unexpected visits include Chris Rock, Aziz Ansari and Colin Quinn.

4. Chow down at Smorgasburg Market: This bazaar features foods from local producers who sell their goods from booths and vendor carts.

5. Learn how the locals have lived in NYC-themed museums: Many NYC residents get interested in how their predecessors in the Big Apple lived. Museums like the New York Historical Society, the New York Transit Museum and the City Reliquary will tell you.

6. Elevate to the Top of the Rock: Even New Yorkers like to get perspective now and again. The Empire State building observation deck is always crowded. The Top of the Rock usually isn’t, and that’s why the locals love this observation location.

7. Check out the local bar scene: Residents of the city stay out of bars filled with tourists. If you want to hob nob with the locals at their favorite drinkeries, try spots like The Bell House and the Branded Saloon.

8. Stroll Central Park: While most tourists are running themselves ragged, the locals are chilling in the park as they’ve done for more than 125 years. Walks are free, renting a bike or taking a boat ride will cost you. Brooklyn Bridge Park and Prospect Park are great alternatives.

9. Roam a street fair: Many people who live in NYC have learned to stop hating the street fairs that snarl traffic in their neighborhood and join the fun. You can too at fairs that happen throughout the summer and into the fall. Atlantic Antic in Brooklyn would be a great first choice.

10. Browse books and meet local authors: Bookstores like the Greenlight and the Housing Works Bookstore Café cater to local bibliophiles. Many authors who make their residence in NYC peruse books and give readings of their works.

Published in New York City
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 00:00

Local Guide to Phoenix, Arizona

Founded in 1871, Phoenix is the capital city of Arizona & the 5th largest city in US. The metro area, called The Valley of the Sun, or just “The Valley”, encompasses the cities of Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale and Mesa. A major cultural, economical & political center, Phoenix’s fast paced vitality opens a plethora of activities to its visitors. At over 500 square miles, the city of Phoenix actually exceeds the land area of the Greater Los Angeles area!

Published in Blog