Top 10 Low-Cost Activities for an Extended Stay in Orlando
Orlando lives, breathes and sleeps for amusement. However, that amusement can often come at a premium price. If you want to stay longer, you have to avoid the expensive theme park admission fees and seek out more budget-friendly activities. Here are 10 low-cost attractions to try in Orlando.
1. Lake Eola Park
Right in the heart of downtown Orlando, families can explore 43 acres at Lake Eola Park. The lake is the main attraction of this free activity in Orlando and is accented by a mile-long sidewalk that follows its shoreline. Also located within the park is the Lake Eola Fountain that comes to life every night in a colorful, choreographed show great for all ages.
2. Orlando Museum of Art
Museums in Orlando can be neglected due to all of the theme parks, but the affordability and rich collection at the Orlando Museum of Art shouldn’t be passed up. The museum boasts American and African art as well as ancient art of the Americas. There are also two discovery centers for kids to enjoy with plenty of interactive activities. Tickets cost $8 for adults, $5 for children aged 4 to 17 and free for those age 3 and younger.
3. Harry P. Leu Gardens
Located in the downtown area, the Harry P. Leu Gardens lend families a budget-friendly place to stroll. The 50-acre gardens feature over 40 different plant collections, making it a botanical oasis. Children will especially delight in the butterfly garden and Florida’s largest rose garden. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $3 for children and free for those age 4 and younger. If you really want to save, you can come on the first Monday of each month when the admission price is waived.
4. Downtown Disney Marketplace
Disney’s own shopping boulevard, Downtown Disney Marketplace is lined with shops, restaurants and activities the whole family can enjoy. The site features the world’s largest Disney store and the Lego Imagination Center where you can see massive Lego creations.
5. Orlando Brewing Company
Parents or travelers over 21 years old should pay a visit to the Orlando Brewing Company. Labeled as Florida’s original organic beer, this brewery sweetens the deal with free brewery tours. There is also free live entertainment to enjoy on the weekends. Check the calendar for details on your visiting dates.
6. Fort Christmas Historical Museum and Park
For the family that wants to step back in time, a visit to Fort Christmas is in order. Located just 20 miles east of Orlando in a town called Christmas, the site contains a replica of Fort Christmas complete with seven restored pioneer homes. Families can learn about pioneer life through demonstrations and displays.
7. Scenic Boat Tour in Winter Park
If you don’t want to shell out the price of a theme park to go on a bit of a ride, you can head just 10 minutes from downtown Orlando to Winter Park. The neighboring community offers a Scenic Boat Tour through the lakes and canals of the area. The boat tour presents the opportunity to see large cranes, alligators and lush flora and fauna on an hour-long ride. Adult tickets are $12, tickets for children run at $6 and for those under 2, admission is free.
8. The Town of Celebration
If the Disney World ticket price has you spooked, you can still see a very Disney-like world in the town of Celebration. With its historic themed architecture, Celebration looks as though it fell straight from the imagination of Walt Disney. It’s obvious the town is the mastermind of The Walt Disney Company.
9. Cornell Fine Arts Museum
One of the oldest and most prestigious art collections in Florida can be found at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum in Winter Park. The museum boasts more than 5,000 objects ranging from antiquity to more contemporary art. If you want to show your kids a Picasso or a Matisse, this is the spot. Admission is free throughout 2014.
10. Disney’s Boardwalk
When most travelers think “Orlando vacation,” Disney often comes to mind. You don’t have to hand over a small mortgage to experience the magical world after all. Families can take a stroll along Disney’s Boardwalk without giving up a dime. The recreated 1930s Atlantic coastal village features a quarter-mile boardwalk with plenty of street musicians, performers and people-watching to enjoy.
Saving money in Orlando can still be exhausting. To rest up for the night parents and children can appreciate the Extended Stay America suites with their separate bedrooms to make all parties happy. Extended Stay Orlando allows families and travelers to relax in between all of the merriment and amusement in town.
Get Down to Business: NYC’s Best Bars and Restaurants for Corporate Travelers
In New York City, most business deals aren’t ironed out in the office or the boardroom but rather over drinks at the latest cocktail bar or in the company of a juicy steak. Business and New York go hand in hand, making it a popular stop for business travelers. If you are traveling to New York City on business, be sure to check out these bars and restaurants for prime spots to sip on cocktails and satisfy that post-meeting hunger.
Roof Garden and Martini Bar
Located on top of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Roof Garden and Martini Bar makes for a good spot to grab early drinks, all while appreciating a nice view of the city. The rooftop bar features views of the Chrysler Building and Central Park. Due to its artistic location, there are always rotating art exhibits to appreciate. The Roof Garden and Martini Bar is not for the late-working crowd as the bar closes by 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Business travelers in New York don’t have to go to the standard neighborhood sticky stools kind of bar. In New York, it is possible to travel back in time while ironing out the details of that meeting from earlier in the day. The Flatiron Lounge is one of those bars. Designed with a 1920s speakeasy style, the bar features unique cocktail creations along with classic concoctions from another time. Drinks bear names like the Doppelgänger, Devil Went Down to Georgia and Curious George. Of course, classics like the gimlet and martini are always on the menu. If you have trouble choosing a cocktail, you can also sample three with a set theme by ordering one of the Flatiron Lounge’s flights. The Flatiron Lounge even features an original bar from 1927, soft-playing jazz music and plenty of art deco details.
Peter Luger Steakhouse
Nothing quite says “business trip to New York” like a good, old-fashioned steakhouse dinner. Arguably the best in a city swimming with steakhouses, Peter Luger Steakhouse has certainly been around for a long time. Established in 1887, the steakhouse is often rated the number one steakhouse in the city. At Peter Luger, it is all about the quality of the meat, carefully selected by members of the family visiting wholesale markets. The classic and to-the-point menu will appeal to those serious meat lovers and anyone looking to get right down to business. Peter Luger boasts two locations, one in Brooklyn and another in Great Neck.
With a name like Employees Only, business travelers can expect to find a nice restaurant and bar for drinks or dinner. Located in the West Village, Employees Only has somewhat of a 1920s theme as well, but places more importance on creating Golden Age cocktails and meals. Under a pressed tin ceiling, you can come for classic cocktails like a Manhattan, Pisco Sour or a Pimm’s Cup. If your stomach is grumbling after a day at the office and you are looking for places to eat in New York, you can grab a dinner menu and find oysters, a caviar board and items like a Porterhouse Pork Chop and Seared Rib-Eye. Employees Only also has a special late night menu in case your meeting ran through dinner time.
After imbibing and feasting at some of New York City’s best bars for business travelers, you can head in for the night at your Extended Stay America suite. Should you need to send some work emails or stay connected with the office, you can utilize the free Wi-Fi right in your room.
Perfect Getaways to Treat Your Dad this Summer
Summer is the perfect time to plan some quality one-on-one time with dad, though deciding on an activity can sometimes be challenging. From the music-loving dad to the outdoorsy father, here are a few getaway ideas for every type of dad.
West Coast Golf Excursions and Ballpark Tours for the Athletic Dad
If your dad loves to play golf every weekend, most likely he won’t turn down a golfing getaway. While there are several renowned golf courses across the country, two of the highest rated by Golf Digest are on the West Coast: Bandon Dunes in Oregon and Pebble Beach in Southern California. Bandon Dunes Golf Course will appeal to the dad who likes a challenge, as the course is surrounded by coastal trees and an uneven terrain. Pebble Beach needs no introduction as its history includes some of the biggest tournaments in the U.S. Besides these two great golf locations, the West Coast houses plenty of golf courses from California to Oregon with idyllic seaside views.
If your dad isn’t a golfer but can appreciate America’s pastime, a trip to a ballpark he hasn’t seen just might be a home-run gift. Ballparks like Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston are standouts for their age and history, lending ideal spots to buy dad some peanuts and cracker jacks.
National Park Hopping for the Outdoorsy Dad
Many dads would prefer to get out of the city for a getaway. There is perhaps no better activity for the outdoorsy dad than taking him to one of the many National Parks in the United States. Some are better known than others, and even put dad within reach of civilization if he wants it. Yosemite National Park is certainly one of the most visited, with its giant granite rock formations hovering over the Merced River. There is no better photograph than the Grand Canyon glowing in oranges, purples and reds at sunset. And Rocky Mountain National Park is truly hard to top, especially with Longs Peak in its confines.
Music to His Ears in Nashville
Those with fathers who love country music have it easy when selecting a getaway. Nashville is nicknamed Music City for a reason. There are a number of places where dad can take in some of country music’s best performers across Nashville, from places that rock on Printer’s Alley to the historic Ryman Auditorium to up-and-comers at the Blue Bird Café. Nashville also boasts several museums and attractions dedicated to music such as the Johnny Cash Museum, with the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts in the world, and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Spend a cool evening at a live music venue, then head back to Extended Stay America for a comfy end to your evening.
With hotels ideally located across the nation, dad will surely appreciate Extended Stay America’s spacious suites and appealing amenities as a home base to create some lasting memories this summer.
10 Best Road Trip Pit Stops from Seattle to San Francisco
Some road trips in the U.S. are iconic for their scenery, culture and history. The trip from Seattle down to San Francisco is one of those road journeys. From Seattle’s grunge, sandy beaches, redwood forests, quirky roadside attractions to San Francisco’s Golden Gate, the ride down the western coast is one where you will need to make several pit stops.
Seattle might be under a rain cloud most of the year, but it makes for a good starting point for launching a West Coast road trip. With its many museums, coffee shops, towering Space Needle and naturally gifted positioning, Seattle is far from gloomy despite its weather.
2. Mount Rainier National Park
From Seattle, carloads should detour southeast to Mount Rainier National Park. The star of the park is Mount Rainier, measuring 14,410 feet above sea level. Surrounding the most glaciated peak in the continental U.S. are wildlife and ancient forests, perfect for a picnic pit stop.
3. Tillamook Cheese Factory
A road trip isn’t quite complete until you have sampled some roadside eats. In Tillamook County in northwestern Oregon, a stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. is practically a requirement. The factory produces 171,000 pounds of cheese a day, supplying plenty of samples as you witness the entire cheese-making process.
4. Oregon’s Covered Bridges
From Portland down to the California border, Oregon roadways wind through many cute and quaint historic covered bridges. Oregon boasts one of the largest collections of covered bridges in the West and throughout the nation. The 1850s tradition lasted through the 1950s and to this day provides travelers with fun photo opportunities sprinkled throughout their drive down the heart of Oregon.
5. Sea Lion Caves
Just 100 miles north of Florence right on the Oregon coast, travelers can make a stop to the Sea Lion Caves, America’s largest sea cave and natural home for wild sea lions. After taking an elevator ride through 200 feet of solid rock you can see these bathing beauties by the hundreds.
6. The Oregon Vortex/House of Mystery
If you can appreciate a quirky roadside attraction, you will want to head to Gold Hill, Oregon. Within the community is a bit of a rarity, the Oregon Vortex/House of Mystery. The home features a number of strange effects such as the illusion of objects rolling uphill. Legend has it that the House of Mystery was born when an office built in 1904 slid from the foundation and rested at a strange angle.
7. Redwood National Park
One of the best stops along the route from Seattle to San Francisco is Redwood National Park. Home to towering trees, the tallest on the planet, the park features trunks stretching more than 300 feet into the misty air. The park also lords over nearly 40 miles of coastline. This is a great stop for those who love nature and gravity-defying wood.
8. Ferndale Victorian Village
The northern California town of Ferndale boasts one of the best-preserved Victorian villages in California. The community is covered in carefully restored buildings that take you back in time. Ferndale’s Main Street has even landed on the National Register of Historic Places.
9. Point Reyes National Seashore
When you plan a road trip, it should always include a little beach time. While it may take you some time to mosey down to Point Reyes National Seashore, drivers are rewarded with endless sand beaches, open grasslands and forested ridges. The national seashore claims over 1,500 species of plants and animals.
10. San Francisco
At the end of the road and through a Golden Gate, you can make your last stop in San Francisco. With award winning museums, cable cars, a tasty foodie scene and StairMaster-like hills around every bend, be warned, you might just end up leaving your heart in San Francisco.
Road trips can be exhausting, so you will want the perfect place to rest up for the night. Extended Stay America suites provide all of the amenities for a restful and relaxing night’s sleep, so you can wake up rested and ready to pound the pavement and explore in the mornings.
San Diego Summer Festivals You Won’t Want To Miss
As California’s second largest city, San Diego hosts a busy calendar throughout the year. In particular, summer seems to bring events and festivals out of the woodwork. From thirst quenching beer festivals to sailing parades, San Diego lends much more than its pleasant climate and 70 miles of beaches as reason to visit. If you are plotting a trip to San Diego this summer, you might want to plan your dates around these summertime events in this southern California city.
San Diego International Beer Festival
San Diego is a haven for craft beer lovers. It is no wonder that the city opens up the summer in style with its San Diego International Beer Festival. A fun and foamy event for beer lovers, you can expect to sample brews from over 200 breweries from all around the world. Over 400 beers are up for tasting at the event. The San Diego International Beer Festival also boasts home brewing demonstrations from expert brew-masters. The 2014 event will take place at the San Diego County Fair from June 20th through June 22nd.
San Diego County Fair
Those with flexible travel plans to San Diego don’t have to worry about missing date-specific summer events. The San Diego County Fair encompasses many events and festivals into one over the span of one month. Held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the San Diego County Fair runs from June 7th through July 6th. The fair features those over-the-top fair food staples, garden shows, animal viewings, carnival rides, concerts, car shows and shopping.
Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show
San Diego puts on quite the show for the Fourth of July. The Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show lives up to its name by being the largest fireworks display in the county. The event features the launching of fireworks from four barges on the beautiful San Diego Bay. There are a number of places to see the show including Shelter Island, Harbor Island, North Embarcadero, the Marina District, Seaport Village/South Embarcadero and the Coronado Ferry Landing. The choreographed display is free for all to admire.
Festival of Sail
If you don’t have Labor Day weekend plans, you might want to head to San Diego for its unique Festival of Sail. The waterfront festival takes place on San Diego Bay at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. It is the largest Tall Ship festival on the west coast. The event includes a Tall Ship Parade, arts and crafts for kids, live entertainment, cannon battles and even mid-day and twilight sails. You can also tour the ships once they dock in San Diego Bay.
After days and nights with the crowds at one of these San Diego summer events and festivals, you will want to rest up and have plenty of space to do so back at your hotel. Extended Stay America offer roomy hotel suites to lend a little slice of home away from home.