Grill Out! How to Barbecue Like a Pro in Your Apartment Community

Summer is the time for a grilling party. Check out these great grill tips!

Summer is the time for a grilling party. Check out these great grill tips!

Want to get a rep as the grillmaster with the fastest flip?

Be known as the neighbor with the sassiest sauce?

Find your perfect apartment now!

Learn how to work your apartment community barbecue grill like a pro when you follow these rules of the roast!

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Top 10 Bikeable Cities

bikeable cities

Seattle ranks 7th on the list of Top 10 Bikeable Cities.

If you prefer to get around on two wheels instead of four, check out Walk Score’s list of the top 10 bikeable cities in the United States.

Here is a countdown of the top bikeable cities and a look at why they made the list.

If you’re in the market for an apartment, knowing their Bike Score might help you pick the city where you can live on wheels!

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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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Omaha for Art Lovers

Named after an American Indian Tribe, Omaha means “those going against the wind or current.” Today, the city is home to an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, and bohemian gathering spots. As its name implies, much of Omaha is anything but conventional.

Old Market

Set in an historic neighborhood, locals and visitors flock to Old Market for its unique clothing boutiques, antique stores, art galleries, pubs and entertainment. On the first Friday of every month, artists and art lovers stroll the area’s local galleries thanks to First Fridays – when gallery patrons enjoy free admission and light bites. Old Market also offers more than 30 restaurants and close proximity to Joslyn Art Museum and the Omaha Children’s Museum.

Where: Omaha, NE 68102

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Omaha is also home to a record-breaking structural work of art – the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. As the longest pedestrian bridge to link two states (Nebraska and Iowa), it provides an illuminated arc over the Missouri River for walking and biking enthusiasts, connecting to 150 miles of trails on each side. The cable stay bridge is 3,000 feet long, including the landings, and carries pedestrians 60 feet above the river. At night, LED lights outlining the deck, cables and pylons are visible for miles. The design team also incorporated specific protections for migratory birds and added interactive sculptures to educate visitors about local endangered species.

Where: 705 Riverfront Drive, Omaha, NE 68102

Orpheum Theater

Omaha’s celebrated Orpheum Theater has served as the home of the finest in local and national performing arts for almost a century, including the best of Broadway’s national touring companies. Located in Downtown Omaha, the Orpheum was renovated in 2002 at a cost of $10 million to upgrade the experience of patrons and performers, while also restoring the theater’s ornate splendor. A cornerstone of Omaha’s cultural history, this former vaudeville house was constructed in 1927.

Where: 409 S. 16th St., Omaha, NE 68102

Slowdown

Over the last decade, Omaha’s indie rock music scene and Saddle Creek Records have gained national attention. And many of the area’s well-known bands such as Cursive and The Faint played a gig or two at Slowdown. The venue was featured as the 2007 Esquire Magazine’s Club of the Year, and continues to showcase some of the city’s hottest new punk, hardcore and rock performances.

Where: 729 N. 14th St., Omaha, NE 68102

Illumina

In 2007, Omaha sculptor Matthew Placzek created “Illumina,” a $2 million public art project that now graces the grounds of the Qwest Center Omaha. The installation’s six bronze sculptures – including a 14-foot stilts walker – are reminiscent of an era in which performers were an active part of daily street life and local events. Numerous multicolored spheres are also placed in the arena lobby, adding depth and vibrancy to the sculpture. The entire project consists of more than 2,000 LED lights, 4,000 pounds of bronze, 28,000 pounds of stainless steel and 360 tons of concrete.

Where: Qwest Center, 455 N. 10th St., Omaha, NE 68102

Omaha offers a vibrant arts scene for both locals and visitors. From the city’s diverse art galleries and thriving music venues to its public art installations, Omaha welcomes artists of all walks to America’s heartland.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/emptyclouds

Day Trips from Atlanta to the Coast

day trips from atlanta

Just a five-hour drive from Atlanta, Charleston, SC, is known for its stately mansions, palm trees and delicious low-country food.

Atlanta was founded as a hub of transportation. Railroads linked Atlanta to the port city of Savannah, and helped distribute goods to Chattanooga and points west. Today, Atlanta’s relatively central location within the state provides easy access for travelers or city-dwellers looking to schedule day trips to the northern Appalachian Mountains, or to the picturesque coastal towns to the south and east.

Many coastal destinations can be reached from Atlanta by car on one tank of gas. Here are a few spots that many Atlantans frequent when they’re in search of a convenient day trip and a break from city living.

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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

Frugal Fun in Sacramento

Taking a stroll across the Old Sacramento Bridge at night is a frugal way to enjoy the city.

Looking for some places to have fun on the cheap in Sacramento? This lively city offers plenty of activities that won’t break your budget. Below are just a few ideas to get you started on the road to fun.

 

Paintball

If you are looking for some extreme outdoor fun, paintball might be just the thing to unwind. Sacramento hosts several paintball facilities where you can hide behind castle ramparts, slither through culvert-style pipes, and use sniper trails to sneak up on your enemies. Check out Santa Clara Paintball (six locations), Davis Paintball and Midway Paintball. These facilities are reasonably priced and perfect for an afternoon of cheap fun.

Music and Theater

If your tastes run more to the artistic side of life, you’ll love Sacramento’s many theaters and concert venues. The Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom (www.sutterstreettheatre.com) offers regular plays and other productions. The Sacramento Theater Company (www.sactheatre.org) is one of the oldest and largest arts institutions in the area, and offers more than 300 performances a year. If you’re a student or a senior, ask the box office about discounted tickets.

In the spring and summer, many area parks host small, free concert events, where people can listen to everything from classical to rock. Some parks will even host free movie nights.

Tour Old Sacramento

Old Sacramento is an historic area and park on the banks of the Sacramento River. This 28-acre town is straight out of California’s Gold Rush days, complete with wooden sidewalks, horse-drawn carriages, and historic buildings constructed in the 1800s.

Old Sacramento has many free attractions, including the Wells Fargo History Museum, and a replica of an 1800s one-room schoolhouse.

Go for a Walk

Sacramento is beautiful in fair weather, and there are plenty of interesting sites that won’t cost you a dime to see. Pick up a free copy of the Sacramento Visitors’ Guide at the Old Sacramento Visitors Center. There is a whole section entitled “Walking Tours of Sacramento.”

Sacramento is a wonderful, historic, vibrant city with great weather and a lot to offer, even if you’re on a tight budget. So try out some of these ideas and, while you’re out, look for even more frugal fun in Sacramento.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/slobo

Best Places to Snorkel in Southern California

best places to snorkel in southern california

If you’re looking to take advantage of that last blast of summer, check out these snorkeling spots in Southern California.

With the current heat wave in Southern California, temperatures are soaring over 100 degrees and it seems that summer will never come to an end. Rather than stay inside in the air conditioning, embrace the heat by getting outdoors and into the water. Here are our favorite spots to go snorkeling in Southern California.

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is one of the few places in Southern California that is protected from the surf, making it a calm and picturesque place to snorkel. The spot does have a few drawbacks. Since La Jolla is a big tourist draw, parking can be hard to come by, and the cove is often filled with swimmers and kayakers. Use caution, as waters can be deep close to shore, and make sure to pack a wet suit just in case. But once you get past the caveats, La Jolla Cove is a great place to see aquatic wildlife like seals, sea lions and a wide variety of colorful fish.

Where: 1100 Coast Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92037

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Best Miniature Golf Courses in Houston

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun before winter arrives, check out these mini golf courses in Houston.

Summer may be over, but there are still a few weeks of pleasant weather left to spend outdoors before cold winds start to blow. Why not call some friends and hit the links? We’re talking miniature golf—a game for kids of all ages. And if you haven’t played lately, you may not know how much the game has changed. Forget the windmills and try navigating your way through a 3-D jungle! The following miniature golf courses in Houston are rated highly by both locals and tourists.

Mountasia

This lush, green outdoor course is a favorite for Houston’s families. Putt your way around rolling hills, water features and a mysterious cave. In addition to miniature golf, Mountasia also offers go-karts, bumper boats, batting cages and an arcade where gung-ho gamers can win tickets for prizes. Be kind to the kiddies—you just might be sharing the green with the next young Einstein. Young patrons who present a good report card or proof of perfect attendance are rewarded with extra prize tokens. Way to earn an A+, Mountasia!

Where: 17190 State Highway 249, Houston, TX 77064

Zuma Fun Center

For your putting pleasure in North Houston, visit Zuma Fun Center. The mini golf course is fun forkids, but also challenges experienced players with simulated sand traps. Admission options include day tickets, monthly passes and yearly passes. Families can choose to play miniature golf only, or upgrade their tickets to add unlimited access to the go-kart track, bumper boats, batting cages and game room. Zuma Fun Center also offers free prize tokens to students with good report cards. Enjoy a selection of burgers and fries, pizza or nachos to nosh on after a day of fun.

Where: 180 West Rankin Road, Houston TX 77090

Shankz Black Light Miniature Golf

Two things make Shankz Miniature Golf unique: an indoor 18 hole course and the award-winning black light art along the way. Reviewers of this Houston hot spot consistently give Shankz high scores for its fun, one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Glowing dinosaurs, pirate ships and jungle animals will greet putt-putt players in a colorful array of greens, blues and pinks. You can even play wearing 3-D glasses that seem to make the floor and animals move. The facility hosts large groups for birthday parties or team celebrations, and a snack bar is available in the lobby. Groups can also try out a glowing nerf ball air cannon game called “Ballaster.”

Where: The Woodlands College Park Plaza, 3091 College Park Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77384

Don’t miss out on all the fun that Houston’s best miniature golf courses and amusement parks have to offer. Discover a new hobby or an old favorite pastime with reasonable putt-putt prices that won’t leave you “in the hole.”

Photo credit: iStockphoto/youngvet

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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