Spring Break for Empty Nesters

Being an empty nester gives you a great opportunity to see the country and the world.

Being an empty nester gives you a great opportunity to see the country and the world.

You’ve finally got the kids out of the apartment and living independently. But what do you do now that you don’t have to plan vacations around school schedules or research kid-friendly destinations?

Taking vacations without the kids can be an adjustment. Follow our tips below to plan a great trip and have a good time even though your little birds have left the nest.

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Things to Do With Your Children in San Francisco

San Francisco is an amazing city, with lots to see and do. But what are some great places to go if you have children? Below are some of the best places in San Francisco for kids.

Musee Mecanique

Located on Pier 45 at the foot of Taylor Street in Fisherman’s Wharf, Musee Mecanique is one of the world’s largest privately owned collections of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and arcade games. Every game is still in its original working condition, and you can play them! Admission is free every day.

Where: Pier 45, Shed A, San Francisco, CA 94133

CuriOdyssey

Formerly called Coyote Point, CuriOdyssey in nearby San Mateo is a place where kids can connect with the Earth and learn about the nearly 100 animals onsite—from golden eagles to rubber boas. They hold numerous activities throughout the year, and even host birthday parties. Find out more at www.curiodyssey.org.

Where: 1651 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo, CA 94401

San Francisco Zoo

What child doesn’t love animals? Spend the day viewing hundreds of animals from all over the world. For hours and admission fees, visit www.sfzoo.org.

Where: 1 Zoo Road, San Francisco, CA 94132

Go for a Cable Car Ride

San Francisco is famous for its cable cars, and even if you’ve lived in the city your whole life, your children will still get a kick out of taking a trip on a national landmark.

Where: Visit www.sfcablecar.com for route information.

Chinatown

Have fun and learn a little about Chinese culture at the same time. Tour the many little shops, watch fortune cookies being made, or check out the amazing, colorful kites at the Chinatown Kite Shop.

Where: Grant Ave. and Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94101

Pier 39

Near Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 offers several attractions that will interest little ones. Children can ride the double-decker Venetian carousel, view several free performances on the stage at the end of the pier, and watch sea lions sunning themselves in the small marina beside the pier. There’s also the Aquarium of the Bay (www.aquariumofthebay.com), a unique underwater attraction featuring 300 feet of tunnels where you can view over 20,000 marine animals from San Francisco Bay and other nearby waters.

Where: The Embarcadero and Beach St., San Francisco, CA 94133

These are just a few of the many wonderful things you can do with your children in San Francisco. With a little research and creativity, you can find enough things to do in this amazing city to keep your kids busy every day of the year.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/jasantiso

Experience Arts and Culture in Long Island City, New York

In Long Island City, art can be found in unique spots, like sculpture parks on the side of buildings.

Located just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan and the Upper East Side, the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City (LIC) is known for its waterfront parks and thriving arts community. From a growing community of artists to an outdoor sculpture park, Long Island City is rich in arts and culture, which is a change from the overwhelmingly industrial epicenter LIC once was.  If you’re from New York or are just visiting, head over to the westside of Queens to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and experience the arts and culture of Long Island City. Here’s our list of the top five must-see places.

5Pointz
This outdoor art exhibit is considered to be the world’s first “graffiti Mecca.” The 200,000-square-foot building houses artists’ studios, and it has been legally painted on by a number of graffiti artists. As 5Pointz is known as the epicenter of the graffiti scene, it has created a united culture of aerosol artists from across the world.  If you’re taking the 7 train in, look out for 5 Pointz around the Court House Square station. The building is open to the public for tours, and while there, you can bump into prominent artists, musicians, DJs, rappers and dancers, as well as filmmakers and photographers.
Where: 45-46 Davis St., Long Island City, NY 11101

MoMA PS1
One of the largest and oldest institutions in the United States, MoMA PS1 is located in Long Island City and is dedicated solely to contemporary art. It is an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, and the PS1 in its name comes from the former public school in which the museum is housed. The museum is used mostly for an exhibition space, rather than a collecting institution. If you’re heading to the area around the summer, be sure to check out the Warm Up summer music series. For families, enroll your children in the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program, an annual series of competitions that allows aspiring architects the opportunity to build projects designed around MoMA PS1’s facility.
Where: 22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, NY 11101

Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park has come a long way since its days as an abandoned riverside landfill. It was transformed into an open studio and exhibition space for artists, as well as a neighborhood park for locals. Today, the park is dedicated to providing artists an area to create and exhibit large-scale sculpture and multimedia installations. To see the artwork for yourself, visit the sculpture park at any time from 10 a.m. until sunset. Admission is free.
Where: 32-01 Vernon Blvd. at Broadway, Long Island City, NY 11106

Gantry Plaza State Park
Take advantage of Long Island City’s views of Manhattan at Gantry Plaza State Park, a waterfront park on the East River. The 12-acre park offers picnic tables, a playground, fishing pier, playing fields and a waterfront promenade. Take a stroll along one of the park’s four piers or through the park’s gardens and mist fountain for a relaxing afternoon. Worried about having to leave Fido at home? No worries, as Gantry Plaza allows leashed dogs in the garden area near the South Gantry.
Where: 4-09 47th Road, Long Island City, NY 11101

Hunters Point Neighborhood
When visiting Hunters Point, you’ll notice the East River waterfront, as well as the gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline. This neighborhood is the first stop on the #7 subway when entering Queens. A few musts in Hunters Point include MoMA PS1 and 5Pointz, but if you’re looking for a great meal, head over to Lounge 47 (47-10 Vernon Blvd., Long Island, NY 11101), which is a laid-back bar and restaurant featuring vintage ‘70s décor, as well as a great backyard garden. Another thing you’ll notice when visiting Hunters Point are the 19th-centure brownstones that line 45th Avenue between 21st and 23rd Streets.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto/SeanPavonePhoto

Top 10 Roadside Attractions in the United States

Carhenge, located near Alliance, NE, is a replica of Stonehenge made with old cars.

Carhenge, located near Alliance, NE, is a replica of Stonehenge made with old cars.

If you’ve ever done a road trip, you know that one of the best parts is the quirky, cheesy and always unexpected tourist attractions you might come across. From giant statues to unique houses, here is our list of the top 10 roadside attractions in the United States.

Henry’s Ra66it Ranch

If you’ve been traveling the long and lonely road along Route 66 and are in need of some companionship, stop by Henry’s Ra66it Ranch. Just look for the signs exclaiming “Hare It Is!” Owned by Rich and Linda Henry, the pair of Route 66 enthusiasts opened this cuddly roadside attraction after noticing the lack of official Route 66 visitor’s centers. As for the rabbits, well, the old adage rings true, as the couple’s daughter got a pair of rabbits and didn’t anticipate the resulting population boom. In any case, these days the ranch holds hundreds of rabbits, as well as a fiberglass jackrabbit that’s perfect for photo-opps and a graveyard complete with tiny tombstones for the ranch’s former residents.

Where: 1107 Historic Old Route 66, Staunton, IL 62088

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Most Unique Neighborhoods in Atlanta

unique neighborhoods in atlanta

Home to the High Museum of Art and the Woodruff Arts Center, Midtown is one of Atlanta’s most attractive neighborhoods.

As the capital of the southern state of Georgia and the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States, Atlanta is a vibrant and diverse city, booming with commerce, a strong economy, arts and cultural activities and world class dining and shopping destinations. Most Atlanta residents know that it’s really a city comprised of many different neighborhoods, each with its own distinct flavor and personality.

With nearly 250 neighborhoods officially defined by the city, it would be impossible to describe each and every one in detail, but needless to say there are several in the city worth noting. Here is our list of the most interesting neighborhoods in Atlanta that every visitor or resident should check out at some point.

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Study the Art of Seattle Student Living

There's plenty to do if you're a college student in Seattle.

There’s plenty to do if you’re a college student in Seattle.

Whether you’re cheering on the Huskies at the University of Washington, studying art at Seattle University or attending one of the other 25 colleges in the Seattle area, it is important to find the right place to live and participate in activities that won’t put a hole in your wallet. To get you started, here are a few neighborhoods to check out and a few activities to consider while living on a college budget in Seattle.

Neighborhoods to Call Home
With a metropolitan area defined as Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Seattle expands for nearly 5,900 square miles. Finding an apartment in the right neighborhood for college might seem difficult, but with a little research and knowledge, you’ll be able to find a place to call home soon. Here are a few neighborhoods to consider.

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Must-See Destinations in Downtown Durham

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is home to the local minor league baseball team, as fans of the movie "Bull Durham" are well aware.

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park is home to the local minor league baseball team, as fans of the movie “Bull Durham” are well aware.

As the fifth-largest city in the state of North Carolina and the 85th-largest in the United States, Durham is a vibrant, fast-growing Southern city. Whether you’re new to the “Bull City” or are a long-time resident, check out this list of some of the must-see destinations near downtown Durham.

For Fine Arts Fanatics: North Carolina Central University Art Museum
Why: An important teaching resource and cultural attraction near downtown apartments in Durham, the NCCU Art Museum contains one of the most prominent collections of works by African-American artists, as well as featuring five special exhibits a year that have included lithographs by Nelson Mandela and photographs by leading civil rights-era photojournalist Alex Rivera.
Where: 1801 Fayetteville St., Durham, NC 27707

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Scale the Heights of Fun in Downtown Denver

downtown denver

If you’re looking for art, history, sports and unlimited recreation, downtown Denver is the place for you.

Denver, also known as the Mile-High City, has plenty of attractions and sights to see for visitors and residents.

Whether you live in one of the downtown apartments in Denver or in the suburbs, a quick walk or a short drive to downtown Denver will give you plenty to see and do.

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Top 5 Free Things to Do in Downtown Portland

free things to do in downtown portland

The Pioneer Courthouse and its surrounding square is a popular free attraction in downtown Portland.

As the most populous city in Oregon, Portland is the crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest, with enough arts, culture, recreation, shopping and dining options to keep someone busy for a lifetime.

The only problem is, with this many things to do, it can become a strain on the wallet. Not to worry. There are a ton of great activities to keep you entertained near downtown apartments in Portland without breaking the bank.

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Best of San Francisco

best of san francisco

The Mission district is one of San Francisco’s most interesting neighborhoods.

San Francisco’s sprawling location, picture-perfect scenery and delightful year-round climate make it a major tourist hotspot.

This city by the water has it all – a vibrant arts and culture scene, fun annual events and festivals, world-class restaurants featuring every cuisine imaginable, unique boutiques and storefronts, professional and amateur sports, access to great educational and learning facilities and so much more.

For a taste of some of the best things San Francisco has to offer, check out the list below.

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