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Las Vegas, in Nevada’s Mojave Desert, is a resort city famed for its vibrant nightlife, centered around 24-hour casinos and other entertainment options. Its main street and focal point is the Strip, just over 4 miles long. This boulevard is home to themed hotels with elaborate displays such as fountains synchronized to music as well as replicas of an Egyptian pyramid, the Venetian Grand Canal, and the Eiffel Tower.
The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated activities. It is a top three destination in the United States for business conventions and a global leader in the hospitality industry, claiming more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world. Today, Las Vegas annually ranks as one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations. The city’s tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for literature, films, television programs, and music videos.
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Originally, a bawdy “wild west” mountain town and logging center, Williams, Arizona is now a quaint mountain settlement where shoppers peruse 19th century storefronts and listen for the nostalgic sound of the train whistle from the historic depot of the Grand Canyon Railway at the center of town. Surrounding the town are canyons and mountains whose breathtaking beauty is impossible to imagine unless seen first hand; and then, once seen, impossible to forget.
Williams is nestled at the base of the Bill Williams Mountain, in the Kaibab National Forest, off interstate 40, just 30 minutes west of Flagstaff. Route 66 runs through the center of town, looking much the same as it did in the 1960s. Spring flowers and fall colors decorate the roadsides of famous Route 66, once known as America’s Main Street, which served as a national thoroughfare from Chicago to Santa Monica for Dust Bowl migrants, World War II troops, and millions of travelers heading West. Visitors enjoy the ambiance of those days in soda fountains, restaurants, vintage shops, and motels that line the historic road.
The climate in Williams is temperate. The low winter temperature average is 23 degrees, and the summer high average is 80 degrees. Williams is known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon”, and offers the shortest path to the Grand Canyon from Interstate 40 (only 59 miles).
The Grand Canyon Railroad provides daily trips to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Walnut Canyon and Wupatki National Monuments are an hour away; sites of several 12th-century Indian ruins are nearby; Sunset Crater, the remains of a once-active volcano; and the San Francisco Peaks, the highest elevation in Arizona, all are within a short drive of Williams.
Williams has four beautiful lakes with excellent fishing and an abundance of outdoor activities: Cataract Lake, Kaibab Lake, Dogtown Lake and White Horse Lake. The Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area is the site of the second largest canyon in Arizona. Visitors can enjoy the most scenic point of the canyon at an overlook just minutes away from Williams. Kaibab National Forest surrounding Williams has seasonal hunting for deer, elk, mountain lions and bear. The popular Williams ski area provides excellent downhill skiing, sledding and nearby cross-country ski trails.
Helicopter and airplane tours are available as are ground tours featuring around-the-rim bus trips, jeep tours and safaris, and even in-park mule rides which provide an up-close Grand Canyon adventure experience. There are many hiking opportunities to explore this Natural Wonder of the World. There are also tours of the Colorado River that give the opportunity to experience, as did explorer John Wesley Powell, the incredible view of the Grand Canyon from the bottom up.
Williams is close to Flagstaff, Sedona, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and other Northern Arizona tourist attractions. It is the ideal destination for a nostalgic trip back in time and as a gateway to the wonders of Grand Canyon and to outdoor adventure on a grand scale.
Home of Arizona State University and Sky Harbor Airport, Tempe is located in the southern part of the Phoenix metropolitan area and is bordered by Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa and Chandler.
Tempe is the state’s seventh largest city. Access to Tempe is easy from just about any direction via the Loop 101, 202, US 60, I-10 and the Hohokam Expressway. The City of Tempe, Arizona offers more than 330 days a year of sunshine to its residents and visitors, and annual rainfall amounts to only 7.36 inches a year.
The first stop for many is legendary Arizona Mills, the vast indoor shopping mall with an emphasis on tasteful decoration, reasonable prices, and top quality merchandise. One of the main hang-out and night-life spots is nearby Mill Avenue, but there are a number of other places in the surrounding area that contribute to a memorable visit to the area.
In 1865, the U.S. Army arrived at the eastern end of the Salt River Valley and established Fort McDowell. More pioneers arrived, including Wickenburg entrepreneur Jack Swilling, who directed the renovation of the Hohokam canals, and Charles Trumbull Hayden, who built a flour mill and began a ferry service across the Salt River.
“Hayden’s Ferry,” as the city was called then, was also the name of the only vehicle across the Rio Salado. The town grew slowly and was renamed the City of “Tempe” Arizona (Tem-PEE) by an English traveler who compared the area to the beautiful Vale of Tempe in Greece.
In 1886, the Arizona Territorial Normal School welcomed its first class of 31 students in the building known today as Old Main on Arizona State University’s campus.
A growth spurt over the past twenty years has resulted in the development of industrial parks and planned communities in all directions. Arizona State University’s main campus, adjacent to downtown Tempe, educates students from all 50 states and more than 120 countries. ASU is known as leading Research institution. The presence of its enthusiastic faculty and students has contributed to the success of the numerous local theaters, galleries, and cultural centers in Tempe. The ASU campus even houses the State Arboretum that is open to the public. The Law Library (said to be second only to Harvard’s ) is designed to look like an open book. Gammage Auditorium is well known as Frank Lloyd Wright’s last public structure design.
Over the past two decades, Tempe has been a top choice for visitors seeking Arizona vacations. The downtown area has been made pedestrian friendly. Shady brick sidewalks, turn of the century buildings, historic landmarks, a wide variety of restaurants and popular night spots, ASU, “A” mountain and Tempe Town Lake all make downtown Tempe a place recognized for its for dining, shopping, sightseeing, and nightlife.
Families enjoy the Tempe Beach Park Splash Playground and the pedal boats on Tempe Town Lake. Visitors can see a Broadway show, visit a fine art museum, explore hiking and biking trails. It’s all there and so conveniently located! Just about everything in Tempe can be found in a one mile radius. The only decisions to be made are what to see and do first and how soon it will be possible to return to this lively and thoroughly enjoyable city.
Glittering like a jewel under the bright Southwestern sun, the dazzling surroundings and the eight months of nearly perfect weather in Phoenix have drawn people to this fascinating Arizona city.
It is easy to understand why Phoenix was chosen as the capital of Arizona, Phoenix is an ideal travel destination. It is known for its warm temperatures and low humidity. Lying on flat desert and surrounded by mountains and green irrigated fields, it is a resort, convention, and government center as well as a thriving industrial area.
By day, the sun fairly sparkles, and as evening nears the sunsets splash purple and blazing orange across the vast horizon. It is because of these wondrous sights that Phoenix’s metro area is called the Valley of the Sun. This once sleepy agricultural town is now increasingly active and constantly expanding.
Residents have no qualms about driving 200 miles for a picnic or a swim, and visitors should be prepared to follow their example by securing a rental car in order to get around. There is so much to see and do that you will want to explore in all directions. The highway system is easy to understand and to follow. Even if you don’t venture beyond the downtown area, you will find a surprising energy and level of activity amid the buildings at Van Buren and Third streets in the newly restored and renovated Copper Square area. If you have not visited downtown Phoenix for awhile, the winning combination of quality restaurants, museums, shops, and nightclubs will surely exceed your expectations.
The area’s awesome beauty, from the top of nearby South Mountain to the distinctive Camelback Mountain, eclipses any manmade building. As you stroll through the desert you will be surprised by the abundance of blooming vegetation, and moved by the grandeur of rolling hills that are criss-crossed by hiking trails.
The sun shines all day; the nights are pleasantly cool. There are so many activities and attractions to enjoy while visiting Phoenix. As a vacation spot it pleases both the sophisticated traveler and the casual vacationer.
Santa Monica Beach symbolizes Southern California Beach lifestyle. Located near the cultural heart of Los Angeles, Santa Monica offers virtually any attraction a visitor could want when visiting southern California. If there is only time to choose one beach in the Los Angeles area during your visit, it should definitely be Santa Monica Beach.
The Santa Monica Pier, located at the end of Colorado Street, is the focal point of the beach area. The wide, sandy beach extends for about a mile north and south of the pier. Pacific Park, an amusement park located on the pier, is anchored by a 9-story solar powered Ferris wheel. Thrill seekers might also enjoy the 5-story roller coaster. Hey, what’s not to like about a beachfront amusement park reminiscent of those that lined the coast in the old days. Romantics and little ones will enjoy the Santa Monica Carousel (as seen in the Hollywood classic The Sting.) Underneath the pier is the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, a beach level aquarium with exhibits the whole family will enjoy.
By Southern California standards, this is a top-notch beach. The large sandy area between the water and the bicycle path is great for sunbathing, people watching, tossing a ball or simply lying in the soft, warm sand. An offshore breakwater was installed to keep the surf gentle, great for kids but not so good for surfers looking for the best waves. The fun includes swimming, body boarding and just splashing in the water. The kids will enjoy the play area located near the pier. For a little extra exercise while enjoying the sights, running through the beach is a paved bicycle and walking path that extends for miles to the south. No doubt, most people have seen this path: it stars in countless movies and in TV shows such asThree’s Company. Visitors will see a variety of non-motorized transportation on this trail. Bicycle and Rollerblade rental shops are plentiful.
The entire downtown area is great for shopping including the Third Street Promenade, an open-air pedestrian street. The Promenade epitomizes Southern California lifestyle with an eclectic mix of people, shops, restaurants and galleries. Be sure to bring a camera and a pen, as several Hollywood notables have been known to frequent the area.
At the southern end of Santa Monica Beach is the renowned “Muscle Beach”. Remember those “Beach Movies” of bygone days? They featured reels of copper toned hard bodies flexing rippled muscles on the beach. Well, they built those bodies right here at Muscle Beach. Visitors will find an outdoor workout venue with gymnastic and balance equipment and an exhibition area for “flexing”. Muscle Beach has been around since 1930, but was newly restored in 2000.
Santa Monica is privileged to experience ideal weather and climate year round. With the humidity rarely over 55% and a gentle breeze from the nearby Pacific Ocean, the city offers its visitors an ideal climate. Fall and spring usher in many festival and events. Sun, fun, excitement, tranquility, muscles and more! Santa Monica is a vacationer’s paradise.
Oakland’s landscape is a picturesque mix of lovely hillside neighborhoods; exciting and diverse architecture; a bustling waterfront; two shimmering lakes; 19 miles of shoreline along the San Francisco Bay; unparalleled Bay views; and more parks and open space per capita than any other city in the Bay Area. Everyone loves the year round vacation weather with temperatures in the gentle 50’s and 60’s in the winter and spring, and 70’s throughout summer and fall.
A city on the move, Oakland has emerged as a major economic force in the region. Long a center for international trade, the Port of Oakland is one of the nation’s busiest container ports in the Bay Area. The Oakland International Airport is served by many major domestic and international airlines.
The arts are alive in Oakland as well. The city has one of the largest visual and performing arts communities on the West Coast, and the arts are celebrated on every level; from acclaimed symphony and ballet to museums, galleries, and small arts organizations. The Old Oakland district includes many of the finest examples of Victorian commercial architecture on the West Coast. Oakland’s population boomed after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and the Broadway Historic District showcases a range of architectural treasures constructed between 1900-1949. Bold new buildings now shine in Oakland’s modern skyline.
There is definitely no shortage of things to see and do, and there is weather to match. Visitors can explore the universe at The Chabot Space and Science Center. The Center houses one of the largest public telescopes in the United States, a 230-seat planetarium, and the large-screen Tien MegaDome Theater. Every child’s fantasy comes true at Children’s Fairyland. Here young children can enjoy the enchanting, three-dimensional fantasy world where popular nursery rhymes come to life, set in picturesque Lakeside Park.
Speaking of Lakeside Park, this large saltwater lake, one of the largest in the country, and the adjoining 122-acre park is home to wildlife, formal gardens, and a children’s amusement park. All of these draw scores of walkers, joggers, bikers, rowers, sailors, and windsurfers, year round. For a little romance, visitors can experience Gondola Servizio where they glide across Lake Merritt in a beautiful Venetian craft accompanied by a serenading gondolier.
Of course, everyone needs a chance to relax, shop and enjoy a good meal. A wonderful place for this is in Oakland is at Jack London Square. This busy site at the water’s edge has dining, entertainment, shopping, and more than a few spots for daydreaming. Take a ferry ride, stroll the scenic boardwalk, catch a movie, or just rest and refresh at a sunny sidewalk café. For a little history in a nostalgic setting, the historic Grand Lake Theatre is a must see. A mainstay of the community since its construction in 1926, this first-run movie theater is graced with a colorful, lighted marquee and a sweeping staircase in the main hall. Look for the ornately decorated walls, brass chandeliers, and faux opera boxes. Prior to curtain on Friday and Saturday nights, an organist serenades the audience on a Wurlitzer. Rent a sailboat on Lake Merritt, stroll along the waterfront, explore the fantastic Oakland Museum: These are all great reasons to spend fog-free days exploring one of California’s largest and most ethnically diverse cities.
Oakland has near perfect weather to enjoy all of the spectacular offerings of the city. “Sunny California” applies to Oakland’s climate. With the sun shining an average of 95% of the time in the summer, it’s the time to experience the numerous outdoor activities available. The fall offers a chance to view Nature in transition. With the temperature dropping only slightly from the summer, visitors can enjoy the out of doors day or night. Winters are mild with the average temperature around 55 F. Snow is almost never seen, except in the higher elevations and then only briefly. Spring brings an abundance of sunshine, warmer temperatures and very low humidity. It’s an ideal time for a relaxing stroll in one of the areas many excellent parks.
History, events, great entertainment, sports, scenery and an ideal climate in which to experience it all, Oakland, the City by the Bay, has it.