Want to get a rep as the grillmaster with the fastest flip?
Be known as the neighbor with the sassiest sauce?
Learn how to work your apartment community barbecue grill like a pro when you follow these rules of the roast!
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Soon after Atlanta was founded, it quickly became 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.
Travel time from Atlanta: Four hours
The Atlantic coast lies only a few hours by freeway from the Georgia’s capital. Prior to Atlanta’s founding, Savannah was the capital of the state. Today, Savannah is still home to Georgia’s earliest history and stately southern mansions, but also offers eclectic shopping, fine dining and colorful nightlife. Discover local furniture and fashion designers along Broughton Street, or unique gifts for friends and family at the Savannah Bee Company or The Paris Market. Dining options range from casual comfort food to upscale cuisine options like Local 11 Ten Food & Wine with its chic rooftop lounge. Top off your night in Savannah with a walk along River Street or enjoy a live rock band and the city’s best vodka gimlet at The Jinx.
If you’re visiting Savannah for more than a night, cross the bridge to Tybee Island for a closer coastal experience. Enjoy a jog on the beach, try out a new water sport, or relax and explore the beach shops and boardwalk. Many local restaurants serve fresh fish, and be sure to keep an eye out for Gerald’s Pig and Shrimp – a funky food truck that serves homemade limeade and the tastiest lunch on the island!
Travel time from Atlanta: Five hours
Drive north of Atlanta to explore another coastal town along the Atlantic – Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston played a major role in American history, but it’s also a sought-after destination for art and architecture enthusiasts. Named America’s most mannerly city, Charleston welcomes its visitors with friendly locals and a leisurely atmosphere.
Discover the city in style with a carriage tour, find out about Charleston’s connection to pirates on a walking tour, or head straight for its pristine beaches. Stay the night at one of Charleston’s charming bed and breakfasts, or head another 20 miles to the Kiawah Island Resort for a truly luxurious coastal experience. Whether spending time in Charleston or on Kiawah, visitors can relax on the beaches or enjoy a variety of water sports.
Set among Charleston’s beautifully-preserved Victorian architecture are art galleries and award-winning dining options. At McCrady’s, Chef Sean Brock serves the best new southern cuisine in the Southeast, yet the restaurant’s location at a registered historic landmark and the pre-prohibition cocktail menu proves that this evolving city is right at home with its past.
Travel time from Atlanta: Six hours
From Atlanta, a day trip to Destin, Florida will bring visitors to entirely new coastline – the Gulf of Mexico. Also known as the Emerald Coast, this area is home to sparkling white beaches, challenging golf courses, and world-famous fishing. Make the most of your time on the coast with parasailing, dolphin-watching, or a stand up paddle board lesson.
Destin is also a popular destination for weddings and romantic weekends. Contrasted with the popular spring break mecca of Panama City just an hour away, Destin’s pace is slower and more relaxing. Travel to Destin to enjoy all of the natural beauty that the Gulf Coast offers, with the bonus of “creature comforts” like spas and fine dining nearby.
Traveling from Atlanta to the coast is fast and easy, and takes less than a day to find yourself a world away!
Photo credit: iStockphoto/Ron_Thomas
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
A medium sized semi-secluded beach close to downtown Laguna Beach, Diver’s Cove is great for beginning snorkelers and scuba divers since there is plant and sea life only 10 feet from the shore. Access to the cove can be found at Cliff Drive in Heisler Park, although once you park, you’ll want to walk up the beach a few blocks to find the best place to snorkel. You’ll see large sea stars, sea urchins, rockfish, sandbass, perch and eelgrass. The park also sports great bathroom facilities and nice overlooks if you want to take a break from playing in the water.
Where: Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Catalina Island is a small, rocky island off the coast of Southern California, and has become a popular beach destination. If you’re in Avalon, the main town on the island, you can take a two-minute walk to one of the best spots for snorkelers, Lover’s Cove and Pebbly Beach. A protected marine sanctuary for decades, Lover’s Cove has been voted “World’s Healthiest Marine Environment” by Scuba Diving Magazine, as it is home to hundreds of fish and invertebrates.
Where: 400 Pebbly Beach Road, Avalon, CA 90704
The Channel Islands National Marine Park is a large national park that consists of five of the eight Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California, and is home to some of the best snorkeling in the world. Scorpion Beach on Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the Channel Islands, features one of the largest sea caves in the world, which provides a ton of exploration opportunities for intermediate to advanced snorkelers. If you’re still a beginner, don’t worry; the beach provides easy access to beautiful wildlife and natural kelp forests.
Where: Channel Islands National Marine Park, 1901 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, CA 93001
Photo credit: iStockphoto/EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER
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.
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
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
Driving along Route 66, you’re bound to come by a number of strange sights. This one in Catoosa, Okla., a grinning Blue Whale measuring 80 feet long, was built in the 1970s as an anniversary gift from one man to his wife. The large, refurbished statue sits in a pond dotted by picnic tables, where weary travelers can stop and enjoy a picnic before hitting the road.
Where: Route 66, Catoosa, OK 74015
If you can’t afford a trip across the pond to see the actual Stonehenge, this wacky roadside attraction in the Cornhusker State might just do. Set on a 10-acre plot in Alliance, Neb., Carhenge was created by artist Jim Reinders in 1987 as an arrangement of 38 automobiles painted slate gray and placed in a formation that recalls the famous ruin in England. The cheeky attraction was placed at number two on TripAdvisor’s list of the wackiest attractions in America in 2009.
Where: Alliance, NE
The Oregon Vortex
Off the scenic I-5 highway in Oregon sits one of the weirdest attractions in the country. Open to the public since 1930, this nondescript shack in the woods is claimed to be a whirlpool of force. Round items appear to roll uphill instead of down, objects in the room seem to defy gravity, hanging at abnormal angles and visitors shrink and grow with every step. Paranormal activity, or just an optical illusion? You be the judge.
Where: 4303 Left Fork Sardine Creek Road, Gold Hill, OR 97525
Dinosaur Kingdom Park
Often described as Jurassic Park meets the Civil War, Dinosaur Kingdom Park is the alternative history project of artist Mark Cline, who tells the story of a group of Union soldiers who discover a lost valley of dinosaurs in Virginia through his fiberglass creations. Hint: the story doesn’t end well.
Where: 4942 S. Lee Highway, Natural Bridge, VA 24578
Hole N” The Rock
Utah resident Albert Christensen wasn’t content to build just any home; he hand-carved the house of his dreams out of a natural sandstone cliff face in the 1940s and called it Hole N” The Rock. Taking 12 years to complete, what exists now is a 5,000-square-foot home with 14 furnished rooms, packed full of antique tools, quirky knick-knacks and Christensen’s bizarre taxidermy collection. There’s even an exotic petting zoo on the grounds.
Where: 11037 S. Highway 191, Moab, UT 84532
Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue
Located not far from Route 65 outside Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains, Ga., this monument to the 39th President of the United States has much loftier origins. First built in 1976 by members of the Indiana Democratic Party to commemorate Carter’s journey through the state, the 13-foot-tall grinning peanut pays homage to his early career as a peanut farmer. A reckless driver crashed into the statue in 2000, but it has since been restored to its former glory.
Where: Highway 45 N., Plains, GA 31780
Jolly Green Giant
At the midpoint of I-90 in Minnesota, the 55-foot Jolly Green Giant welcomes visitors to Blue Earth. This statue commemorates the town’s link to the Green Giant Company, which got its start here and was formerly called the Blue Earth Canning Company. Once you grow tired of craning your neck upward, there’s a comfortable park surrounding the statue where you can take a load off and relax in the shade and grassy space, as well as a rest area.
Where: 1130 Giant Dr., Blue Earth, MN 56013
Chances are you’ve never seen anything like the Paper House. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a house made entirely of paper. In 1922, engineer Ellis F. Stenman began work on a summer home using newspapers as insulation when he had the bright idea to make the entire house out of paper, holding it together with glue and covering it with heavy layers of varnish to protect it from the elements. The framework of the house and floor are made of wood, and the roof is shingled. He eventually even made paper furniture for the house. Now, his great-niece operates the house as a tourist attraction.
Where: 52 Pigeon Hill St., Rockport, MA 01966
If you’re driving along Arizona’s desert I-10 highway, you’ll see billboards asking you “What is The Thing?” If unanswered questions haunt you in your sleep, pull off exit 322 to check out this site, one of the cheesiest roadside attractions in the United States. Although it probably doesn’t live up to the hype, the good thing is that it will only cost you a dollar to walk through a freaky door, follow the yellow footprints on the floor and reveal the Mystery of the Desert.
Where: 2631 N. Johnson Road, Dragoon, AZ
Photo credit: iStockphoto/tbd