Travel stories, tips and suggestions for travel in North America

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6 Things To Do At Casino Rama Resort Beyond Gaming!

Though Casino Rama Resort offers an extensive gambling floor with over 2500 slot machines, including some of the latest technology, 100 table games and a room dedicated to poker, there’s a whole lot more to do beyond the casino once you are there. In fact, there’s an entire property offering many things to do whether you’re there for the day, a weekend or longer. “Casino” may be the first word in the name but the “resort” component shouldn’t be overlooked and after staying at Casino Rama Resort on two separate occasions and visiting the property for day trips several additional times, we’ve seen what a fantastic entertainment destination it is for visitors.

What To Do At Casino Rama Resort If You Aren’t Gambling

Please gamble responsibly. If you think you, or someone you know, may need help with a gambling problem, please visit the Responsible Gaming Council Site for more information & to find help if you are in Canada. In the USA? Visit the site for the National Council on Problem Gambling

With a location not far from the Toronto area, it’s definitely a fantastic option for a getaway or day trip, whether you’re headed to the casino area or not. To give you a better idea of all there is to do at Casino Rama off of the gambling floor, we’ve put together 6 things to do there that make it a destination in itself and a resort you’ll be excited to visit!

1. Watch A Show

Casino Rama Stage Entertainment Centre

There’s nothing that showcases Casino Rama Resort as an entertainment destination more than the 5000-seat entertainment centre where world-famous comedians, musicians and performers grace the stage. Whether you’re staying at the resort or just dropping in for a performance, watching a show is a great way to enjoy your time at Rama.

In fact, it’s an experience all on it’s own and we’ve had the chance to see several shows there between the two of us. From comedy acts by Russell Peters and Whoopi Goldberg to concerts by various artists from around the world, we’ve seen some incredible shows on their stage. What is especially great is that no matter where your seats are, you’ll find you have a fantastic view.

It’s definitely one of the parts of the resort that makes it stand out and is a huge draw when visiting the hotel, the casino and the area.

2. Enjoy Delicious Food

St Germain's Casino Rama Meal

With eight dining options, you definitely won’t be going hungry and each restaurant offers a different atmosphere and fare. It’s here that you can explore the culinary side of the resort and enjoy some truly great cuisine.

There’s St. Germain’s a steakhouse with absolutely phenomenal service and delicious, beautifully plated meal. They have superb cuts of meat, a variety of seafood and a dessert menu by an award winning pastry chef. It’s one of our favourites and we know we will always find a dining experience to remember.

There are also a variety of options for more casual dining like Simcoe Yard House, a sports bar and restaurant where we love to eat whenever we’re at Casino Rama. Their Ultimate Hot Dog – a half yard in size – is a fun and tasty meal to try. The Weir’s restaurant and Cedar are alternately open and also offer casual dining and a many menu options. For us, we tend to head to The Weir’s for breakfast and Cedar for a late night snack.

From the Noodle Bar to The Willow, serving Chinese cuisine, the Firestarter Lounge by the lobby to the Couchiching Court buffet, you’ll definitely not go hungry nor will you run out of options or variety.

The best part of it all? The food is exceptional at all of the restaurants so you really can’t go wrong with your choices!

3. Have A Spa Day

Casino Rama Spa

Casino Rama Resort has an entire oasis for anyone looking to get away and get pampered for a day… or longer! Their Balance in Life Spa offers massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and other treatments and it’s a great place for a little relaxation.

We both recently enjoyed a massage and can honestly say it was one of the best we’ve had. Though we went individually, there are packages for couples as well and we may just be looking into those the next time we go!

The other great thing is that even if you aren’t a hotel guest, spa guests have access to the pool and amenities and as you’ll see below, they’re pretty fantastic on their own!

4. Enjoy The Pool & Amenities

Casino Rama Pool

For guests of the hotel, there are additional amenities that are available. The pool area has long been a highlight for those we’ve talked to who have stayed at Casino Rama Resort. Their indoor salt water pool and hot tub are a draw for those looking to unwind during the day or get a few gentle laps in while feeling the incredible effects of the salt water on their skin. We especially love the patio connecting the pool to the outdoors. When the weather is nice, it’s a great place to go to dry off and enjoy some sun.

The eucalyptus steam room is also an amazing amenity and a great place to start before a spa session or after a workout in their adult-only fitness room.

It’s really a great space to spend some time while at the resort and a definite attraction for those who want to book a room and stay at the hotel.

5. Relax In Your Spacious Room

Casino Rama Hotel Room

The rooms at Casino Rama Resort are a destination on their own. They offer an inviting and spacious sanctuary with comfortable beds and a great sitting area with a large screen TV. It really is a fantastic place to relax and unwind, get cozy and spend some time.

The gas fireplace is a great touch in the cooler months and can add to the romance of the room if you’re there with a special someone.

No matter what you’re at Casino Rama for, you’ll want to spend some time in the room – ordering in room service, enjoying a bath in the Jacuzzi tub, watching some TV in the living space, and you may not want to leave at all!

6. Explore Rama First Nation Culture

Rama First Nations Casino Rama

Throughout the resort, you’ll notice architectural and artistic designs that illustrate Rama First Nation culture and history. There’s a lot to see and we’ve learned a lot by delving deeper into what the art and symbols mean and represent. Even the names of some of the resort’s features – like St. Germain’s – hold significance to the Rama First Nation peoples.

You can also stop into one of the shops and browse arts and crafts, gifts and clothing linked to Rama First Nation and beyond.

 

Casino Rama Resort really is an entertainment destination on its own and it only takes a short time there to realize there’s a whole lot to do and that there’s a reason why it’s called “The Great Indoors” – while they have a state-of-the-art casino floor that’s sure to impress, there’s a whole resort to explore and enjoy!

 

A huge thanks to SJ Consulting for the invitation & to Casino Rama Resort for hosting us. As always, all opinions are, and always will be, our own!

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A Guide To Visiting Brooklyn

Brooklyn Travel Guide

brooklyn bridgeImage via Flickr by Spiros Vathis

The distinct culture, deep-rooted history and magnetic energy of Brooklyn make it one of the most beloved and revered destinations in America. Celebrated around the world for its big-city excitement and unique brand of authenticity, this buzzing New York City borough–the city’s most populous–constantly attracts visitors from around the globe, and you’ll find amazing hotels in Brooklyn to fit your travel needs.

Things to See in Brooklyn

You should have no problem finding things to do in Brooklyn, an iconic destination that has inspired many of the world’s most famous citizens. As soon as you cross the East River on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, you’ll immediately know you’ve arrived in one of the world’s great cultural epicenters. This National Historic Landmark connects Brooklyn to Manhattan, and has been heralded in film, television and literature for generations. Visit the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park for great Manhattan skyline views, public art installations, athletic fields and playgrounds for children and adults alike, and even a restored 1920s-era merry-go-round called “Jane’s Carousel.” For local history, see the four-story Brooklyn Historical Society building, where you can peruse archives of photography, newspapers and a large library of research from borough’s past. Other museums and family-friendly places to put on your must-see list include Prospect Park Zoo, New York Transit Museum, Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and the Coney Island Cyclone historic wooden roller coaster.

Ride an East River Ferry to get off your feet for awhile and see the city from the water. Or, head to Brighton Beach for a day in the sun and the chance to walk along the picturesque boardwalk. Nearby, Russian restaurants and bakeries serve up delicacies you’ll savor to the last bite. More delicious eats can be found on Smith Street, a hotspot for foodies and grumbling stomachs across the city.

Coney Island is another beach destination you won’t want to miss; it’s the widest beach in the area and boasts amusement rides and entertainment that will bring smiles to the young and the young at heart. Hear the soaring chorus of voices at the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle. Stroll the rolling hills of Green-Wood Cemetery, where you’ll find monuments and tombstones of a surprising number of famous figures.

For a full day of outdoor and cultural activity, head to Prospect Park where the Zoo, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens all offer great ways to spend a few hours. The Brooklyn Museum is the second largest in New York and features artifacts that stretch from ancient Egyptians to modern day, while the Transit Museum, housed in a 1930’s subway station, has interesting displays all its own.

Brooklyn is also a hotspot for new residents of New York City. The neighborhood of Williamsburg has attracted an impressive array of new restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining, and varying in cultural diversity. There are also many bars, lounges and performance venues where you can make unique discoveries to make your visit unforgettable.

Find the Best Hotels in Brooklyn

Your choices for Brooklyn Hotels range from rooms between culturally rich and trending neighborhoods to business-friendly establishments that put you close to downtown Manhattan, and many of the area’s central locations for business and government. You can expect around-the-clock amenities and services at many Brooklyn hotels, including 24-hour restaurants and room service, as well as all-day business center access.

Where To Stay in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Heights, the area’s oldest neighborhood, and downtown Brooklyn are usually preferred locations for business travelers looking to stay near Manhattan. Diverse neighborhoods like Fort Greene offer amazing architecture, reputable cafes, arts, entertainment and cultural experiences that put New York City’s reputation as a cultural melting pot on display.

The neighborhoods of Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights both offer boutiques and cafes, while Cobble Hill is worth walking through for the houses and neighborhood buzz alone. Williamsburg is the city’s creative hub, home to some of the best restaurants and most talented live entertainment. The nightlife here needs no introduction and party-goers won’t have to look far to find a cold drink and a bumping bass line.

How to Get to Brooklyn

The New York City metropolitan area is served by three key airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.  JFK, at just 11 miles distance, is the closest airport to Brooklyn. It offers convenient service to Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg and Bushwick via Air Train, with less than an hour of travel time. LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is 16 miles away from central Brooklyn. Taxi or private transportation services are advised to and from LaGuardia, as there is no direct public transportation into Brooklyn. Newark Liberty is 21 miles from Brooklyn, with arrival times usually within an hour using the Air Train, then the Path train or NJ Transit to either Penn Station, the World Trade Center or Manhattan’s 33rd Street. Another option is the Airport Express Bus which goes to subway-connected Manhattan locations like Grand Central Station, Bryant Park and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

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Amazing Picturesque Spots in Salt Lake City

Skiing is one of Salt Lake City’s main tourist draws. Beyond the slopes and snowy peaks, however, there’s an abundance of scenic spots that you should experience no matter your reason for visiting. If you’re planning a trip to the city, find yourself a hotel near the major attractions of Salt Lake City and go outside to explore the cultural, historic, and natural sites of the area.

One thing you’ll notice immediately is the seemingly limitless natural beauty. To help narrow down your choices, here are five of the most picturesque spots to see while in Salt Lake City.

Ensign Peak

Picturesque Spots in Salt Lake City

Image via Flickr by Edgar Zuniga Jr.

If you’re looking for a stunning view of the city, Ensign Peak is the perfect place to go in the foothills by downtown. Though there are a few steep areas, it’s a relatively easy hike in comparison to many of the mountain climbs nearby. Head up for sunset and see the city by daylight and after dark when the city lights brighten the night sky.

Donut Falls

Take an early morning walk and make your way to Donut Falls, a truly unique site. Though the hike is for those of all skill levels, there are more strenuous areas when approaching the falls. The view is breathtaking as the sun and water flow through a donut-like hole overhead in the mountainside. Even if you visit in the winter, you can snowshoe your way there and witness the frozen falls and shimmering snow around it.

Mount Olympus

Probably one of the most recognizable mountains of Salt Lake City is Mount Olympus. While you’ll be able to enjoy the view of the mountain itself from pretty much anywhere in the city, the views from the summit are mind-blowing. The hike to the top is well worth it. Take the steeper parts slowly, and you’ll find the views along the trail to be beautiful and motivating each step of the way.

The Great Salt Lake

The largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, The Great Salt Lake offers some of the most picturesque scenes you’ll find in the area. This large body of water offers island and mountain views, white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and wildlife sightings. Whether you head there in the summer or winter, you’ll find beauty staring back at you. For a truly spectacular sight, stick around for sunset, and watch the vibrant colours of the sky reflected on the lake.

Alpine Loop

From spring to fall, you can find an entire circuit of scenic views along the Alpine Loop. If you take the approximately 45-minute drive around the paved road of the loop, you’ll wind your way around the stunning scenes of mountains, canyons, and forests. Along this route, you’ll get an incredible look at Mount Timpanogos, the Uinta National Forest, and Provo Canyon, as well as many other natural highlights of the area. If you’re there in the fall, the colours of the leaves create a breathtaking sight all on their own.

 

There’s really no missing the beauty of Salt Lake City, no matter your reason for visiting. While you may need to narrow down your list, you’ll want to make your way to as many of these top picturesque spots as possible!

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An Epic Quebec Trip In A Room With Many Views

One room. Transported by helicopters, trains and trucks. One couple. Opening the curtain to the room each day in a new destination, with a new view. Unbelievable? Watch it and believe it:

Exploring Quebec, One View At A Time

This was just part of the journey this couple, Glennis LaRoe and Kip Geddes of New York, took in Quebec as they were transported from location to location in a mobile room. Each time they opened the doors to their room they faced a new and amazing view in the province. From the Chateau Frontenac to the Foresta Lumina to whales in the St. Lawrence River, the sights were epic and just a glimpse of the stunning scenes Quebec has to offer.

While the two of them had no clue where they would stop, or what they would see next, taking the same route while fully aware of what is to come is as much of a breathtaking experience. If you’re planning your own trip to Quebec, you can follow along with their itinerary, or use it to springboard an adventure of your own in the vast, spectacular province that is Quebec.

The Diversity of Experiences in Quebec

What this video highlights the most is the sheer diversity of experiences, attractions, sights and adventures to be found in the province. In just ten days, Glennis and Kip travel through only a portion of Quebec but manage to delve into the culture, witness some of the incredible landscapes and enjoy so much.

Though you can find a fantastic look at the various spectacular views and facets that the couple delved into, along with in depth information, on the QuebecOriginal’s site, here’s a quick look at what Quebec has to offer including a video for each that highlights what the two of them were able to experience as they travelled along in their room with many views.

Outdoor Activities

Quebec is truly a playground of outdoor activity no matter the time of year. Each season offers incredible opportunity to partake in, or witness, a whole host of stunning landscapes and exhilarating recreational activity. In the summer there is cycling, camping, watersports and views aplenty that are equally matched by the wintertime sports and sights that can be found throughout.

Gastronomy

You definitely won’t have a hard time finding good food in Quebec. From traditional Quebecois cuisine to dishes from around the world, the province offers a truly enjoyable gastronomic experience. There’s the classic poutine (as well as the variations that have been created around it), the wines and cheeses, the breads, the meats and game and the international fare all come together to create a culinary landscape to drool over.

Culture

With centuries of history, changing political and religious landscapes and influences from various countries throughout time, it’s no wonder Quebec is teeming with French culture. Through architecture, art, music and literature, you can witness culture around every corner, breathe it in with every step.

Adventure

With so much to do and see it’s no wonder Quebec offers an abundance of adventure and whether you’re into extreme sports or softer experiences, there’s something for pretty much everyone. If jumping out of a plane isn’t for you, ziplining may be the thrill you’re looking for. Hiking, with all the views of the province, can also leave you just as breathless.

 

For Kip & Glennis, this trip in the room with many views was a once-in-a-lifetime experience but for the rest of us, it offers a glimpse into a province that has everything any traveller or tourist could want and gives us all a small taste… not enough to quench our thirst but enough to leave us hungering for more and anxious to get out and plan our own adventure to la belle province: the beautiful province of Quebec.

 

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5 Perfect Weekend Destinations in The USA

One of the toughest things about being an adult is living by a work schedule. But just because you have limited vacation days doesn’t mean you can’t use the occasional weekend to get out of town, unwind, have a great time and come back to your work life refreshed.

To get you inspired for your next weekend trip, here are five cities across the United States that you might visit, along with activities you could do to get the most out of your two-day adventure.

Enjoy Short Weekend Travels at These 5 Locations

You probably won’t be able to do everything listed for each city over the course of two days, but the ideas provided should help you get started on planning a kickass weekend trip.

San Francisco

san francisco

San Francisco isn’t a small town. Whether you’re drawn to historical sites, beautiful natural scenery or just some really good wine, this is the place to spend your weekend trip. Here are a few ideas to get you started on the planning:

  • Set up a picnic by San Francisco Bay — and enjoy a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Tour Alcatraz Island
  • Explore Muir Woods and marvel at the breathtaking giant redwoods
  • Go wine tasting — California is home to a lot of amazing wineries
  • See giant sequoias, the Yosemite Falls and other natural wonders at Yosemite National Park
  • Watch the amazing street performers of the city

Since San Francisco is such a large city, you’ll want to plan your vacation geographically. That is, if you’re interested in activities that take place on either side of the Golden Gate Bridge, you don’t want to keep driving back and forth across it. Not only is the bridge about 1.7 miles long, but it also has a toll that you won’t want to pay repeatedly if possible.

St. Louis

St. Louis is a large but modest, hard-working city. Manufacturing is vital to the city’s economy, and so it offers a lot of unique sites — and some really good beer. Here’s how to take advantage of your weekend trip:

  • See the St. Louis Arch — inside and out
  • Enjoy a tour of St. Louis’s fine breweries — the Anheuser-Busch Brewery being the most well-known
  • Watch a Cardinals baseball game or a Blues hockey match
  • Spend a long afternoon touring the St. Louis Zoo
  • Explore the city’s unique structures, like the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the City Museum or the Missouri Botanical Garden

If a sports event is on your bucket list in St. Louis, make sure to plan ahead. Pick a weekend with a home game you’d like to see, then structure the rest of your trip around the scheduled event.

Panama City

panama city florida

To many, Panama City isn’t as glamorous as some of the other locations on this list. But it has a quaint, small city charm to it. Not to mention the greatest attraction of all — the beach!

On that front, here are a few ways you can get the most out of a sunny two-day trip to Panama City:

  • Take a boat trip out to Shell Island
  • Play sand volleyball, beach soccer or simply beach bumming
  • Go snorkeling or, if you’re certified, SCUBA diving
  • Try every water sport the calm water has to offer — paddle boarding, windsurfing, parasailing, water skiing and/or whatever else appeals to your adventurous side

Of course, even Panama City has its rainy days, and if your trip happens to fall on a less-than-ideal weekend weather-wise, you can still have a great time exploring the city’s other attractions. For instance, you can:

  • Visit the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum
  • Walk around the Pier Park shopping district
  • Assert your wit at a local escape room
  • Sit in at a dueling piano bar

No matter what time of year you visit, Panama City always has fun activities to offer. But to really get the most out of your trip, try to pick a nice, warm, sunny weekend!

Washington, D.C.

As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. is of course going to have its own unique set of attractions. If you’re a history buff, this is definitely a worthwhile weekend destination. Here are a few things you could do there:

  • Visit the most iconic U.S. government buildings — the Capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court and the Lincoln Memorial
  • See a performance at the Kennedy Center
  • Tour amazing museums, like the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History
  • Explore the Smithsonian Institute Building
  • Walk through D.C.’s areas of interest, like the Tidal Basin, the National Mall and Georgetown

Since D.C. is so large, and since it’s rated as the U.S.’s number one most stressful city to drive in, the best way to get the most out of your trip is to put aside the anxiety of fighting the traffic and let a bus tour guide handle the details for you.

After all, the local professionals know their history, which sites to visit and how best to get around the city. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the incredible sites the capital has to offer.

Yellowstone National Park

yellowstone national park

Most of Yellowstone National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming, but it does bleed into Montana and Idaho as well. That gives you a lot of site-seeing options to choose from. At the park itself, you can do this and much more:

  • Watch Old Faithful and other park geysers erupt
  • Look in awe at colorful hot springs and Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon
  • Wander through the park’s versatile landscape of mountain, forest and lakes to witness wildlife activity
  • Camp on park grounds overnight

Outside the park — depending on which states’ attractions appeal to you most — you can:

If you’re an avid outdoors-person, you could easily spend the whole weekend at Yellowstone National Park. If, on the other hand, you want to see more of the surrounding area as well, it may be wise to spend one day at the park and another day exploring elsewhere.

Make Your Weekends Count

Adulting has its stresses, but it’s important not to take life too seriously. Your work and your responsibilities are important, but they shouldn’t consume your entire life.

So take a breather. Plan the occasional weekend out of town, and leave your adult life behind when you go.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


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Things To Do In Toronto In The Winter

There’s something electric about the city of Toronto that makes it a perfect place to spark a little romance. With an unending list of activities, events and experiences, it’s a city that is always bursting with activity and excitement, no matter the time of year. It’s probably this infectious enthusiasm of the city that makes it an environment perfect for all couples, whether they’ve just met or have been together for years.

Sure, warmer seasons may seem like the best time to get out and explore a city as a couple but in Toronto the winter is actually chock full of opportunities to have fun, get active or even cozy up together. You may not be aware of it, but you don’t have to look far to find those opportunities. All it takes is for you to put on your coat, throw on your hat and gloves, grab your special someone and get those winter boots out into the city!

5 Date Ideas For Some Winter Fun in Toronto

In case you need some help planning, here are some great things to do in Toronto in the winter that also make for great date ideas in the city for any couple, whether you’re looking for a day of art, nature or recreation!

Enjoy Winter Festivals in the Distillery DistrictDistillery District Light Festival Toronto

One great thing about Toronto is the steady stream of festivals that take place and the winter weather only brings more unique events to the city, especially The Distillery District. It’s one area in Toronto that never fails to offer enjoyment during colder weather.

If you’re looking to plan your date before the New Year, a visit here will see you walking through Toronto’s Christmas Market. As you stroll the cobblestone streets, you’ll see the classic wooden huts reminiscent of the European Christmas markets it is based on. Decorations and activities, food and drinks and shops along the way to duck into and escape the cold will also line your way.

After the New Year, you’ll want to plan your date night around the Toronto Light Festival an exhibit of light art throughout the Distillery District that will illuminate the city at night and blends art, colour, light, movement and architecture. It’s a unique place for a date night and will offer something special on an evening out in Toronto.

Adventure To The Islands

The Toronto islands are probably one of the last places most people think of when planning a date in the winter but that only means they’re missing out! True, it’s not the tourist hub of the warmer months but what it doesn’t offer by way of tourist comforts, it delivers in privacy and charm along with some unique winter activities.

You can easily spend an entire day on Ward’s island, skating on the water if the weather is right, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing… or even all three! After some time in the snow you can find your way indoors to warm up and enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants that are open year-round like The Rectory Café. If you really want to kick up the romance, booking a night at a B&B and heading out to enjoy the view of the Toronto skyline together at night would make the evening complete.

With regular ferries to Ward’s Island, you’ll be able to come and go as you please and plan your date around whatever schedule you want.

Take A Winter Walk Hand-In-Handgraffiti alley toronto

Embrace the romance of the outdoors by taking a secluded walk through one of the city’s parks or trails as you hold hands and have some quiet conversation. Some of the more public areas, like Riverdale Park, still offer some quiet trails but will also give you the option of enjoying winter activities like tobogganing. It’s also one of the best spots for a view of the city line so an improvised picnic outdoors, with hot chocolate or coffee, while sitting on a bench could really up the romance factor.

A winter walk in an urban landscape, like Graffiti Alley, is also a great date idea. Stroll down the alley surrounded by stunning and colourful street art before heading to one of the area’s many cafes and restaurants where you can continue the conversation and exchange hand holding for some playful under-the-table footsies!

Find Outdoor Adventure Together At The Winter Village

If recreation and adventure is more your style, heading to the Evergreen Brick Works Winter Village may be your idea of a perfect winter date in Toronto.  A free skating rink, nature trails that you can take by foot or experience while fat biking (yes, it’s a real thing!) and campfires await any couple looking to spend the day enjoying winter activities. There are over 40 acres of outdoor space to enjoy and embrace nature while having fun and looking out for some winter wildlife.

The great thing about the Winter Village is that you can combine the day of outdoor fun with some culinary treasures at the Street Food Market. Local food trucks and restaurants can be found dishing out some amazing eats and demonstrating why the city is considered a gastronomic powerhouse. After a day of activity together, winding down with some delicious food is a perfect ending to a date at The Winter Village.

Explore The Art Scene Outside & In!toronto cityscape and street art

It’s no secret that Toronto is home to some spectacular art galleries and museums but before you go inside to escape the cold and warm up on indoor displays of art and culture at places like the Art Gallery of Ontario or the Royal Ontario Museum, take a look at the winter art installations that are making the city vibrant even in the winter season.

Though the Waterfront and Lakeshore areas are prime spots for couples to flock to in the warmer weather, these areas turn into creative masterpieces in the winter worthy of a visit during any romantic outing. Make a plan to walk together to each of the five incredible outdoor art displays part of Ice Breakers. Spread out along the waterfront, you’ll pass by interactive designs meant to inspire and add to the beauty of the already spectacular area.

Winter Stations will also grace the city’s waterfront areas as lifeguard stands will be used to create temporary installations as part of an international design competition. Take some time to explore the brilliant work of artists, designers and architects as you walk along the waterfront with its own stunning views.

For some indoor winter date ideas in Toronto, check out our article on SeeTorontoNow.com: How Locals Do Date Night in Toronto: Winter Edition.

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A Selfie Tour Of Quebec City In The Winter

Quebec City has become one of our favourite cities in the world and it seems that no matter what season you visit, there is so much to do and see. Even in the winter, the city is alive with activity and with so much to do and see, and we found ourselves spending much of our days and nights simply walking the streets, visiting the various attractions and taking in as much culture and history as we could.

It was during our attempts to document our time in the city that we realized something was missing from all the videos and photos we were taking – us! So, flipping our LCD screen of our Fuji X-A3 180 degrees, we began a self-guided tour of Quebec City taking photos of the two of us in some of our favourite places around the city.

Whether you’re looking to explore the city or are just looking to see it from the comfort of your own computer screen, we’ve put together a selfie tour of Quebec City in the winter to give you a glimpse of just some of the amazing things around the city… and an even bigger glimpse of our smiling faces!

You may want to take note of the places you’ll want to see. To help, we’ve provided direction for how to find your way to each of these spots!

Exploring The City

There may have been snow on the ground but we grabbed our hats and gloves, zipped up our coats and set off to explore the city – what we found were views and streets beautiful enough to warm us up all on their own!

We loved the parliament building in Quebec City and you can catch a glimpse of it in the background!

These steps behind us are called L’Escalier Casse-Cou or Breakneck Steps and can be found in the Petit Champlain neighbourhood. This happens to be the oldest staircase in Quebec City and, as you can tell by their steepness, have probably earned their name!

Dufferin Terrace is an area of Old Quebec that we love to stop at every chance we get. The view is spectacular and there is so much history surrounding the area. This statue of Samuel de Champlain is just an example of what you’ll find there. It’s a pretty spectacular place to place a monument to the father, or founder, of the city itself!

It’s impossible to tour the city and not want to stop at one of the most iconic of buildings. You don’t have to be familiar with the city to recognize the Chateau Frontenac, arguably one of the most photographed hotels in the world. Opened in 1893, it’s also a National Historic Site in Canada and a fully operational hotel… we couldn’t miss the chance to snap a photo of us with this landmark.

Or two photos… there are great views of the Chateau Frontenac from all over!

Look past those baby blues of ours to the beautiful building behind us – Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral. It holds huge historic and religious significance for the city, the province and the country and since it’s over 350 years old, it only makes sense that it has a prominent place in the landmarks of Quebec City and is a National Historic Site of Canada as well as a World Heritage Site.

Even city hall is beautiful! The City Hall of Quebec City, or the Hotel de ville de Quebec, is a National Historic Site of Canada. Inaugurated in 1896, it is built in the heart of the Old City and it a pretty landmark to see.

Of the gates you can go through to enter the Old City of Quebec, the Porte Saint-Jean is perhaps our favourite! As part of the Ramparts of Quebec City, which are the only remaining fortified city walls in North America (not including Mexico), it is a gateway to history in the city and this one also leads to Place D’Youville, a public square that also has an outdoor skating rink in the winter!

Finding Amazing Views

One of our favourite views can be found by the Plains of Abraham and La Citadelle de Quebec, two other amazing places to spend time in Quebec City. It’s here at the Terrasse Pierre-Dugua-de Mons, where you’ll find one of the best lookouts in the city. We stayed for quite some time taking it all in and even got a chance to see ice kayakers practice for the big race that happens each winter!

Like we said, it’s not hard to find amazing views of the Chateau Frontenac and though photos can never do a beautiful view justice, this is a great spot to look up at the Old City. Find your way down to the lower part of the city and to Rue Dalhousie, near Quai Chouinard.

We mentioned that we keep finding our way to Terrace Dufferin, multiple times whenever we are in the city and here is just one part of the view. It’s a stunning look over the water and surrounded by the beautiful buildings and lively activity of this area in the Old City.

Then there are those times that we just wander and stumble upon some amazing views as we do. The city is chalk full of scenic spots – from nature to architecture, history to urban settings – it’s a pretty fantastic place to witness no matter what the season happens to be!

Enjoying Winter Activities

About 20 minutes north of Quebec City sits a winter wonderland called the Village Vacances Valcartier, or the Valcartier Vacation Village. With a whole resort available, you can find a whole assortment of winter activities – like tubing and ice skating, as well as the famous Ice Hotel itself. To warm up from the cold, you can enter the hotel complex, head to your own room, one of the restaurants or the tropical indoor waterpark!

Though the entire region around Quebec City offers unlimited options for winter activities, you don’t really have to go far to find some fun in the ice and snow. From outdoor skating rinks, to snowshoeing across the city, Carnaval festivities and so much more, you’ll be surrounded by things to do and ways to warm up outside. We especially love the Nordik Village, or Village Nordik du Port de Quebec, located in the Louise Basin that offers skating, sliding AND ice fishing! The indoor Old Port Market that is right on site also offers fresh food and hot drinks as well as artisanal goods. Best of all, if you catch trout while ice fishing, you can bring it in to be cooked and served at a small extra cost!

Experiencing Carnaval

One of the most anticipated festivals of the year in Quebec is Carnaval and it doesn’t take long while in the city to see why. The energy and excitement are contagious, the festivities and celebrations are thrilling and the city is alive with people having fun almost everywhere you look.

From ice castles to human foosball, maple taffy to caribou (a traditional Quebecois beverage), you’ll find something for everyone and enjoy all the winter has to offer – as you can see below, we definitely enjoyed ourselves!

The king of Carnaval is Bonhomme, and you’ll see him represented throughout the city – if you don’t get a chance to see him in person! We found him everywhere!


Chasing Down Ice Sculptures

Though a part of the Carnaval festivities, the ice sculptures are a force of their own. Spread throughout the city, taking on a variety of shapes, sizes and designs, we went on a walk to see all the ones that were completed, as well as watch as some were being made!

Chowing Down On Food

Quebec City has an amazing culinary scene and our stomachs took full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy it. From churros at the Old Port Market after ice fishing, to an amazing traditional Quebecois meal at La Buche in the old city (now one of our favourite restaurants), we enjoyed drool-worthy fare wherever we went!

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Explore Outside Disney and Discover Orlando

Most people who visit Orlando make a beeline for Walt Disney World. While it’s a great place to spend a vacation, it won’t give you much insight into the city of Orlando itself. You’ll find that spending some time outside the kingdom of Mickey ears and beloved cartoon characters can be just as magical. It may even offer you exactly what you’re looking for in a vacation.

Since there are lots of choices for great IHG hotels near downtown Orlando, finding accommodations throughout the city won’t be a hard task. What will be difficult is narrowing down exactly what to do in a city filled with sights, sounds, food, and excitement. Here are some suggestions to help you see the real Orlando outside of Disney World.

Experience the City

orlando florida parkImage via Flickr by Joe Shlabotnik

There is so much to do in Orlando with something for almost anyone. A ride on the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye will give you incredible views of the city with a bird’s-eye view of beautiful landscapes and landmarks.

Since any visit to Florida introduces thoughts of alligators, it would only make sense to check out Gatorland. Not only will you get to see the creatures up close, but you can also ride the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line over the marshes and habitats where they live!

You may not head to the Magic Kingdom, but you can cap off your trip with the Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour. Here, you can surround yourself with sweet goodness as you learn about the process of making chocolate.

Enjoy the Outdoors

Orlando is home to many natural landscapes and plenty of outdoor activities. Even in the heart of the city, you’ll find beautiful sights like Lake Eola Park. It’s a beautiful place to take a walk, watch swans swim by, or jump on a paddleboat and have some fun. You may want to try to get there on a Sunday, when the Orlando Farmers Market sells local produce, baked goods, and artwork.

If you’re looking for something more private, you can head to Harry P. Leu Gardens. Here, you can spend time walking along the winding paths of the 50 acres of gardens surrounded by flowers and plants from around the world.

A trip to Orlando wouldn’t be complete without exploring the outdoors. If you want to get a good look at all the natural beauty of the area, a hot air balloon ride would definitely give you a unique outdoor experience.

Embrace the Food Culture

Orlando has been building its reputation as a culinary destination. With so many great restaurants to choose from, it’s easy to see why. One of the more memorable restaurants is the Red Mug Diner. Great for any meal and open 24 hours a day, this spot offers some tasty classic Southern comfort foods, like fried chicken and waffles, along with regular diner fare.

Food and art often have blurred lines, and dining at Café Tu Tu Tango offers the experience of both. You’ll find some delicious small plates to share as local artists paint and display their works while you dine.

Another restaurant that’s worth fitting into your schedule is Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar. The Florida location is great for a late-night meal before you lose yourself in Orlando nightlife.

 

Planning a trip to Orlando allows you to explore a city full of wonderful attractions, natural beauty, and incredible food. You don’t need to venture to Walt Disney World to capture excitement and adventure, but you’ll probably want to book another trip to the city since you’ll find that one trip to Orlando only scratches the surface.

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Finding Adventure While Exploring Arlington, Texas

Arlington might not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of visiting Texas, but with its growing popularity, it’s a city that you should know. However long of a visit you’re planning, there are fantastic IHG hotels near Six Flags Over Texas and other Arlington attractions, along with plenty to see and do.

You can explore Arlington through a large variety of experiences, but one of the most exciting ways to get to know the city is through a bit of adventure. If you’re looking for some fun in Arlington, Texas, here are some of the city’s most adventurous attractions.

Adrenaline Rush At Six Flags

six flags over texasImage via Flickr by Clintus McGintus

Arlington is home to both Six Flags Over Texas, the first of the Six Flags theme parks, and Six Flags Hurricane Park, one of a group of water parks. The rides and slides offer adrenaline and exhilaration, while the shows and restaurants boast plenty of entertainment. Combined, the parks have everything you’ll need for a thrilling time and some fun in the city.

Leisurely Day at River Legacy Park

When you visit River Legacy Park, you’ll find a quieter sort of adventure. Here, 1,300 acres of nature offer hiking and biking trails as well as green space for outdoor activities and picnics. It’s a favorite place for locals to enjoy the day, and it’s a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area, whether you want to take it slow or increase your pace.

Urban Adventure With Segway Tours

When you visit Arlington, you’ll notice that it’s a rather large city with its fair share of natural landscapes and green space. One of the best ways to explore it is by signing up for some urban adventure like a Segway tour. You’ll find yourself gliding around to various attractions, seeing the city in a completely new way and at a faster pace.

Sports and Nature on Golf Courses

If there’s one thing that Arlington isn’t lacking, it’s golf courses. You’ll find gorgeous greens across Arlington, and these offer ample space for sports and leisure. With award-winning courses that combine the stunning nature with varying levels of golfing difficulty, you’re sure to find some adventure while you swing away.

Indoor Excitement With Ice Skating

When you visit the Parks Mall at Arlington you’ll find some fun waiting for you right inside. Ice at the Parks is an indoor ice skating rink and just one of the city’s great attractions. You can head over and have some fun before or after you shop or even join in on one of the many year-round events.

Whether you choose adrenaline-pumping excitement on a rollercoaster or some leisure time outdoors at River Legacy Park, Arlington has something for all adventure lovers. From indoors to outdoors, and from city streets to natural landscapes, there are tons of attractions to choose from in the city. All it takes is a bit of an adventurous spirit, and you’ll be sure to have some fun!

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Unique Things to Do in Honolulu You Won’t Want to Miss!

The capital of Hawaii is a mecca for tourists looking to enjoy sun, sand, and outdoor activities. Known for its famous coastal neighbourhood of Waikiki, Honolulu is a popular city on the island of Oahu, with a sprawling cityscape, great food, and stunning beaches. One key to enjoying the perfect blend of attractions and activities in Honolulu is finding the right accommodations. With so many hotels in Honolulu, you’ll want to pick one that gives you great access to the city but also allows opportunities to venture outside of the city.

After you’ve picked where to stay, it’s simply a matter of getting out and exploring. You may think you’re destined to visit Honolulu’s amazing attractions like Waikiki, Hanauma Bay, and Manoa Falls with hordes of other people, but a trip to the city gives you the chance to see and do so much. Here’s a list of five unique things to do in Honolulu if you truly want to get off the beaten path and away from the crowds.

Kukaoo Heiau Ruins: Exploring Ancient History

With its incredibly rich history, Hawaii is no stranger to ruins or artifacts. What makes the relatively unvisited Kukaoo (Kukui) Heiau ruins so unique is that they’re in the middle of an urban area and on the same property the historic Charles Montague Cooke Jr. House. You won’t find the ruins to be large or expansive, but they highlight the historical importance of Manoa Valley and the local people. The Manoa Heritage Center and the Kukaoo Heiau ruins make for a great stop to learn more about ancient life in Honolulu and see some pretty great views.

Corsair Plane Wreck Dive Site: More Than Just Surfing

honolulu hawaiiImage via Flickr by katsuhiro7110

Though Hawaii is synonymous with surfing, you can also see a lot below the surface of the water that surrounds the islands. At the Corsair Plane Wreck Dive Site, you’ll find a Vought F4 aircraft that sank after it experienced engine failure in 1948. The wreck itself is in perfect dive condition, due to the abundance of eel, octopus and puffer fish. Though the area around the wreckage is fairly flat and unencumbered, the site is for more advanced divers who can manage the currents. You’ll probably want to take some time practicing at other dive sites around the island first.

Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market: A Taste of the Island

Restaurants are always a gateway into local cuisine and culture, but you’ll miss a whole culinary world if you stick to the popular places to eat. The Kapiolani Community College (KCC) Farmers Market in Honolulu is a unique foodie destination with locally grown produce and flowers, along with meats and baked goods. It offers a taste of local life in Honolulu and a glimpse of the island’s cuisine.

San Souci Beach: Relaxation Away From the Crowds

Waikiki Beach is one of Honolulu’s most famous beaches, but it’s actually comprised of several sections that together create a long stretch of sand. You’re bound to find crowds in the more popular sections, but when you head to the eastern end, you’ll find a much quieter area. San Souci Beach is relatively peaceful and a good distance away from the tourist activity. The relatively calm waters allow for a variety of water sports and activities and make this the perfect spot to enjoy a unique beach experience in Honolulu.

Makiki Valley Loop Trail: Hiking With Scenic Views

There are many hiking trails around the city, but the Makiki Valley Loop Trail promises a unique experience, as it’s more popular among locals than it is with tourists. The loop itself is made up of three trails with varying levels of difficulty. The surrounding nature and views along the way will more than make up for the more tricky parts, though you’ll need solid hiking shoes, as the area is known to be wet more often than not.

 

Visiting Honolulu doesn’t have to mean that you’ll be stuck in the crowds. Whether your focus is on food, culture, nature, history, or a little of everything, you’ll find many things to do away from the top attractions and throngs of tourists. On land or in water, above or below the surface, all you need to find a different experience in Honolulu is to step outside your hotel room and have a sense of adventure!

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