Destination: Top Ten U.S. Cities For Vacations

Destination: Top Ten U.S. Cities For Vacations
The Best Cities To Visit And The Must-See Things To Do


When you travel, you get more than just a vacation. You want great destinations that offer excitement and bargains. Plus great stories to tell about your trip.

Big cities offer the best bargains, because there are more options available for budget-saving hotels and restaurants. And you can check with the local tourist information offices about tours around town that are offering discounts.

When choosing what to do and see, go for the iconic symbol of the city.

1. Let’s start in Los Angeles, which is my home base. What makes it a great vacation for all ages is “the Hollywood experience” you can have.   From Santa Monica and Malibu, to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and the famous footprints at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, it is a great place to act like a “star.”

If there is one must-see thing to do in L.A., it’s Universal Studios Hollywood. It offers everything the folks back home want to see. You get to take the tram tour of the studio’s backlot and see how movie magic is really made. You go behind-the-scenes and get a glimpse of your favorite movies and TV shows. And at the Universal tour center there are lots of attractions and entertainment to give you a day you’ll be talking about forever.

2. I love New York. Yes, the Big Apple is another obvious choice because of Broadway, museums, great restaurants, shopping, high energy and everything else that make it the greatest city in the world. The must-see is everything! Go for a stroll in Central Park. Have a plate of spaghetti in

Little Italy. Catch a ride on the Staten Island Ferry– believe it or not, it’s still free, and it will give you the best view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

3. It’s Vegas, baby! Las Vegas is everything you imagine, but the best bargains are just off the famous Strip, or in the downtown area. The must-see is the downtown’s illuminated Fremont Street experience. It’s a free light show that’s a big “Wow.”

4. San Francisco, the city by the bay is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. Everywhere you look it’s like stepping into a picture postcard. It has the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, the world famous cable cars, and much more to make memories. The must-see is a tour of Alcatraz. You’ve just got to go once in your lifetime.

5. Seattle is called the Emerald City, just like Oz. A guided tour of Seattle should include Pike Place Market the local shopping center where you can visit the first Starbucks that started the whole coffee café craze.

A trip to the Space Needle gives you a wonderful bird’s eye view of the city, but for a more spectacular sight, take a harbor cruise. That would rate my top must-see.

6. New Orleans is still a great place to visit. But the tip here is to use a local guide to show you the sights and sounds of the town known as The Big Easy. Visit the French Quarter, including Jackson Square and Pirate’s Alley. Even after Hurricane Katrina, there are still stately mansions to see around the historic Garden District.

The must-see there would be having lunch or dinner on a riverboat cruise along the mighty Mississippi River.


7. Washington, D.C., difficult to get around, but a variety of guided tours will take you to the major sights: the White House and Capitol Hill, Arlington National Cemetery, a visit to the Smithsonian Institute and other prominent monuments and museums. But the must-see should be the Vietnam, Korean and World War II Memorials. You’ll never forget the emotions you feel.

8. Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love and the birthplace of our nation, makes history come alive with sightseeing around town. So naturally, the major attractions you must-see are right across the street from each other– the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

9. Chicago, the “Windy City” is one of America’s most popular cities. For dinner there’s the famous Rush Street, or fine places along Michigan Avenue, it’s a shopper’s paradise. What else to do? Visit the many museums, or cruise along the Chicago River and lakefront. Must-see? Taking a ride to the top of the Sears Tower for a breathtaking view.


10. Boston, “Bean Town,” is another great city loaded with impressive historic sites. The landmarks include Boston Common, Old State House, and the Old North Church, where Paul Revere got his signal to gallop into history. The must-see there was a stroll through Quincy Market, where tourists and locals can share their travel stories.

Remember, don’t be too cool to be a tourist. The destination is what you make it. Make it memorable!

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.