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Let’s Play Ball: A Tourist’s Guide to Visiting Chicago’s Historic Wrigley Field

April 28, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Built in 1914, Wrigley Field is a pilgrimage site for many baseball fans, even if they aren’t rooting for the home team. The second oldest ballpark in the Major Leagues is a type of baseball museum, where attending a game is not only a part of baseball tradition but also Chicago tradition. As Wrigley Field gears up to celebrate 100 years young in 2014, travelers should take the opportunity to visit this slice of baseball history. And while the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, Wrigley Field is still a winner in most travelers’ eyes after a visit. Before you scoop up tickets or head to Chicago’s oldest ballpark though, here are a few points to consider.

 Take a Tour

If the Cubs aren’t in town on your visit or you don’t want to pay to go to a game, you can take a tour instead. Behind-the-scenes tours of the legendary ballpark are offered on both game days and non-game days. Visitors have the chance to learn about the park’s 100 years of history. On non-game days, tours take attendees into the Press Box, bleachers, Cubs and visitor’s clubhouses, the Cubs dugout and onto the field. If you are touring on game day, you will see less, namely only the bleachers, indoor batting cage and the field. Tours of Wrigley Field last 75 to 90 minutes. Tickets cost $25 but are free for children under 2 years old.

Select Your Seats Wisely

As Wrigley Field is an old ballpark, it has its fair share of quirks when it comes to seating that a visitor might not know when purchasing tickets. You might see tickets advertised as having a limited view. In essence, there are a number of seats in the ballpark obstructed by structural poles. Ticket prices will also fluctuate depending on how the Cubs are doing and who they are playing. In order to score the best seat in the house on your visit, you can consult WrigleyFieldSeating.com. The website provides a fine resource to help you select your seat. Photos are supplied of every section so that you know what your seat will look like. Sometimes the cheaper seats might have a better view than lower level perches. Before you finalize your ticket purchase, it is best to dig around and learn about your section to make sure your view will be clear.

Save Your Paycheck and Ride to Wrigley

Parking in Chicago is chaotic and costly. Parking in Chicago around Wrigley Field on game day is as maddening as the Cubs record. Even if you have your own set of wheels while in Chicago, you might want to leave your car back at your hotel. It is best to take public transportation to avoid the mess and money you’ll pay to park around Wrigley Field. The Red Line will take you right to Wrigley Field if you get off at the Addison stop.

 Wrigley Field Food Isn’t Cheap

Travelers looking to save on their visit to Wrigley might select less expensive seats or ride the L to the game instead. However, your budget will quickly fly like homeruns cruising out of the park when your stomach starts grumbling and thirst presents. Like most ballparks, eating and drinking at Wrigley will cost you. Beers can be around $8 and sodas can cost around $5. For a basic hotdog, you might pay just under $10. You can bring your own unopened water and sodas to the game if you want to avoid paying a premium price for that Pepsi.

After experiencing Wrigley Field, you can head back to your Extended Stay America suite for your own 7th inning stretch. Suites provide a mini-oasis from the Windy City with flat-screen TVs and comfortable beds. 

5 US Locations to Hop to for Easter

April 17, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Easter season is a popular time to travel in the United States. With many schools on spring break, families take advantage of time off to spend the holiday away from home. If you are traveling for Easter, you can hop on over to any of these locations for egg hunts, Easter masses, Easter bonnet contests and a parade or two.

 1.      New Orleans, Louisiana

Just like most holidays on the calendar, New Orleans fashions quite the celebration for Easter. The city features not just one parade but three in honor of Easter Sunday. The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade is one of largest, spanning from Antoine’s Restaurant to the St. Louis Cathedral. Along with plenty of floats and giveaways, there is also a reward handed out for the best Easter bonnet. In addition to the city’s many Easter parades, New Orleans features a number of activities for kids, too. An egg hunt of 15,000 eggs is held in City Park. There is also a child-oriented Easter event onboard the paddlewheel steamboat Creole Queen on the Mississippi River.

 2.      Washington D.C.

If you are in the mood to hunt for eggs this Easter, there are a number of famous egg hunts around the U.S., beginning in the nation’s capital. The White House Easter Egg Roll has been a tradition since 1878. President Rutherford B. Hayes invited children to come play on the White House lawn after Congressmen banned them from playing on Capitol grounds. Now, after 135 years, the event features live music, cooking stations, storytelling and an egg roll.

 In addition to the White House Easter Egg Roll, travelers can also visit some of the nation’s most famous churches during this holy week. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is known for its architecture, sacred art and history. It is the largest Roman Catholic Church in North America. The basilica features several masses on Easter Sunday and throughout Holy Week. The National Cathedral is also worth a visit for Easter services. If you can’t score a pass, you can attend the Easter Day Organ Recital, which is open to the public.

 3.      Copper Mountain Resort, Colorado

A more offbeat egg hunt has those 12 and older searching a mountain instead of your basic lawn. Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado boasts the largest Easter Egg Hunt in the state. About 50,000 eggs are hidden at Center Village at Copper Mountain Resort. However, the event that tends to draw the most attention is the big kid mountain hunt. One hundred eggs are hidden with prizes like ski passes and summer activity passes. Travelers at Copper Mountain for Easter will also find Easter brunches, photo opportunities with the Easter bunny and several Easter services.

 4.      Crown Point, Indiana

If you can’t get an invite from the President to the White House for Easter, there are plenty of other egg hunts and rolls around the country. Living Hope Church in Merrilville, Indiana hosts one of the largest egg hunts. Located at the Lake County Fairgrounds in nearby Crown Point, the Easter EGGstravaganza features 100,000 plastic eggs. The event is free for children up to 11 years old and features prizes such as iPods and bikes. Crown Point is roughly one hour from downtown Chicago.

 5.      San Francisco, California

The City by the Bay features plenty of Easter cheer, specifically for its Union Street Spring Celebration and Easter Parade. The event celebrates San Francisco’s diversity with a number of activities for the whole family. Union Street’s best restaurants are also present at the event. Known as the “Biggest Little Parade in San Francisco,” the Union Street Spring Celebration and Easter Parade is complete with rides, floats and even an Easter Bonnet contest.

 After hunting for Easter eggs from the mountains of Colorado to the White House Lawn, you will need a bit of down time back at your hotel. Extended Stay America suites provide guests with roomy suites to relax and unwind. 

4 Family Friendly Attractions in Atlanta

April 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The southern metropolis of Atlanta needs no introduction. Its endless skyline proves it is large and in charge. In such a cosmopolitan area, families might think they are better suited to head to smaller cities for more family friendly attractions. However, Atlanta welcomes the whole family with a wealth of attractions for children, ones that even adults will appreciate. From expansive aquarium exhibits to soft drink heaven, you can take your family to these four attractions while in town.

World of Coca-Cola

Situated beside the Georgia Aquarium at Pemberton Place in downtown Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola provides an in-depth look at the world’s most well-known soft drink. The fizzy soft drink first made its appearance in Atlanta in 1886 and has been quenching thirsts ever since. Admission provides a look at plenty of Coca-Cola memorabilia exhibits and even an art gallery. World of Coca-Cola also features a Taste It! beverage lounge where you can sample more than 100 flavors made by Coca-Cola from all around the world. Tickets costs $16 for those over 13 years old, $12 for those 3 to 12 years old, and admission is free for future coke-lovers two years and under.

The Georgia Aquarium

While you are in the area, you can also take the family to the Georgia Aquarium. The aquarium is one of the world’s largest with more animals than any other aquarium and more than 10 million gallons of water. Families can roam through more than 60 exhibits. In particular, the Ocean Voyager exhibit allows you to see whale sharks and manta rays in the largest viewing window in North America. General admission for adults costs $35.95 while a child’s ticket runs at $29.95. The Georgia Aquarium is located in downtown Atlanta.

 Center for Puppetry Arts

Set up in Midtown Atlanta, the Center for Puppetry Arts has been a fixture in town since 1978. The cultural destination shows off the spectacle and magic of puppetry to all ages. Year round performances are held on site. If you can’t make it to a show, you can visit the museum where you can admire puppets from around the world. Among the most celebrated are several Jim Henson creations.

 Stone Mountain State Park

If the family is ready to get out and experience Atlanta’s great outdoors, Stone Mountain State Park is your destination. The park boasts the largest high relief sculpture in the world, known as the Confederate Memorial Carving. The distinctive landmark is best seen from the ground, but you can also ride the Skyride Cable Car to the top and appreciate the views of Atlanta and the Appalachian Mountains. In addition to the Stone Mountain monument, you can explore the recreational area, encompassing 3,200 acres of lakes and parkland. Some highlights on site include the Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad and the Discovering Stone Mountain Museum. The park is often lauded as one of the best places to take a family because of the family friendly activities on site.

 Atlanta has a wealth of family activities to keep everyone in your group occupied. When the family needs to retire for the evening, Extended Stay America suites prove ideal for families looking to relax as they would at home.