Take a Tech-Savvy Road Trip
The future is now! People have been saying that for a long time—at least since the fifties—but now it’s really true. All sorts of technological innovations that were once just material for science fiction are now day-to-day realities. Remember Dick Tracy’s super futuristic video-chat wristwatch? We could totally have that now. We just don’t like wearing watches on our wrists anymore. But smartphones do everything Tracy’s watch did and more. Have you heard of the remote-controlled, cyborg-insect surveillance drones? If cyborgs aren’t futuristic, I don’t know what is. One could even make the argument that we are easing into being cyborgs of a sort, since we are becoming dependent on technology for absolutely everything we do. Who needs science fiction anymore? Science fact is just as boundary pushing now.
MIT Museum: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Much of our gee-whiz technology can be traced back to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). So you can bet they have the coolest tech museum around. It was at MIT that research into artificial intelligence (AI) really got its start—in 1959. The school is still all about AI and robotics. Its largest laboratory is the one dedicated to AI. The exhibition Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT at the MIT Museum opens up the results of decades of research to the public and makes it understandable to them. You’ll get an inside view of the cutting edge of robotics and see that all those apocalyptic robot attack movies miss the mark. The robots at MIT are forces for good. There are robots that perform surgery (reducing the invasiveness of surgical procedures), robotic legs (giving amputees the opportunity to be mobile like never before), and robots that know how to obey social cues in order not to be culturally offensive.
The Tech Museum of Innovation: San Jose, California
Appropriately enough, the Tech Museum of Innovation is in California’s Silicon Valley, the region that gave birth to the personal computer—which is responsible for the character of our technological age. In the Tech Silicon Valley Innovation Gallery, visitors get to explore how the technological innovations of the Valley are reconceptualizing our world. We live in a world where fusion is more possible than ever before, and it’s largely because of the minds of the Valley. The program Reface typifies the inclination toward fusion in the Valley. This computer program allows you to fuse disparate images into one. Have you ever wanted to see what a kid who has your eyes and your significant other’s mouth might look like? Then give Reface a whirl. Do you want to make a musical composition without putting in the time it takes to learn a traditional instrument? Then give the program known as Reactable a try. Just by moving cubes into unique positions, you can collaboratively create a composition with anyone else using the program. This software allows non-musicians located anywhere in the world to socially connect through musical composition. You can make a new song as you make a new friend. Now that’s music to my ears!
When your tech-filled day is through, you’ll probably want to take it easy with your family away from the hustle and bustle—but not somewhere that you’ll be cut off from technology. That’s why Extended Stay Hotels is perfect. You get the comfiest of on-the-road retreats, plus free Wi-Fi.
Rocking with The Rolling Stones This Spring
This une, The Rolling Stones, the road warriors of rock-n-roll, celebrate their fiftieth anniversary with a tour of the country that gave them much of their musical inspiration—the USA. They’re bringing their legendary riffs and struts from coast to coast—starting out in Los Angeles and ending up in Boston. The Stones still bring the no-frills true rock-n-roll. And you can tell they have a good time doing it. Mick still struts around like a male Tina Turner, and Keith still seems to get high on his own playing. The old songs, like “Street Fighting Man” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” don’t sound old at all when they play them. And the band, despite grey hair and wrinkles, doesn’t seem old, either. That fountain-of-youth effect is contagious. Everybody in a Stones audience feels young and a bit rebellious.
The Rolling Stones at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Cleveland, Ohio
If any band deserves a full-blown exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s the mighty Rolling Stones, keepers of the rock-n-roll flame for many a year. The exhibition Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction gives you the inside story—the tales of excess and success. This will be a very special exhibit. It’s a shock, but the Hall of Fame has never mounted a Stones exhibition before. The band that introduced the United States to its own blues and rock-n-roll continues to be so vital that they haven’t seemed ready for a museum exhibit. But now that the band has been around for fifty years, this landmark must be memorialized. The two-floor exhibit chronicles every important stage of the band—the early days living hand to mouth playing R&B clubs in England, the years of breakthrough singles and records, and the blow-out years of stadium tours. 50 Years of Satisfaction is guaranteed to make the Stones a lot of new fans. A whole new generation can discover some of rock’s founding fathers through this interactive, child-friendly show.
The Beatles at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Cleveland, Ohio
The Beatles vs. Stones debate is an old and hoary one. But it is revived anew with each new generation of rock fans. While you’re at the Hall of Fame checking out the Stones exhibit, pay the permanent Beatles exhibit a visit and rekindle this old, beloved debate. This is hands-down the best Beatles exhibit in the world. As the Hall of Fame is on very good terms with Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and the estate of George Harrison, they were able to secure a great many original artifacts. You will see many of the Beatles’ legendary clothes. From the mop-top days to the Sgt. Pepper days, the Beatles were almost as well known for the clothes they wore and the styles they started as for the music they played. There are, of course, also loads of audio and visual aspects of this exhibit, which are fun and educational for the old and the young.
After your rock-n-roll experience, you’ll be ready to kick back like rock stars do backstage. The perfect hotel for this is an Extended Stay Hotel, where every convenience of home is provided for you.
Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World!
In one wonderful respect, the United States is becoming much more European. The summertime music festival, a mainstay of European culture for quite some time, is spreading across the US. There are now a bunch of festivals where you can see your favorite bands under an open sky. Seeing a concert in a hall is great for powerful acoustics and light shows, but it’s not so great for hanging out. Outdoor festivals are perfect for both—seeing music and spending quality time connecting with your friends. Because you feel a greater connection with the crowd, you feel a greater connection with the musicians, too. And since the musicians have a ton of fellow performers to hang out with, they feel more connected, as well. An outdoor festival is conducive to overall community in ways that a concert at an indoor venue can never be.
The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival: Manchester, Tennessee
This festival is imbued the spirit of the 1960s and the sounds of now. In fact, the spirit of the ‘60s at Bonnaroo is even better than it was in the actual ‘60s. Stephen Stills, who famously left the Woodstock Festival in 1969 after playing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, in order to jet off to the Dick Cavett Show and talk about how great the festival was, declared from the Bonnaroo stage in 2011, in between Buffalo Springfield songs, that had Woodstock ’69 been as good as Bonnaroo ’11, he would have blown off the Cavett Show and stayed for the whole festival. Every year, the folks at Bonnaroo improve on an already great thing. This year’s festival, which takes place from June 13th-16th, features a startling line-up of legends who are as relevant now as they ever were: Paul McCartney, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Swans among them. There is also, of course, a whole slew of innovative contemporary acts: Mumford and Sons, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Matt & Kim among them. Then there’s the comedy stage, where you can laugh like a rock star to the jokes of David Cross, Bob Saget, Eric Andre, and others.
Lollapalooza: Chicago, Illinois
During the ‘90s, Lollapalooza brought indie music to the people in a manic, sometimes carnival-esque roadshow. Started by Perry Farrell in 1991 as an epic, rolling swansong for his band Jane’s Addiction, the festival introduced many teenagers to such essential ‘90s acts as Pavement, Beck, and Nine Inch Nails. Just like the people in those bands and their fans, the Lollapalooza festival has grown up. Like many grown-ups, Lollapalooza has settled down. No longer going from town to town to spread its rock-n-roll fairy dust, Lollapalooza now calls the city of Chicago home—taking place in spacious, green Grant Park, which commands a great view of Chi-Town’s skyline. Despite being older and settled, Lollapalooza is as hip as ever—if a little less hyperactive than it was in its younger years. This year’s festival features mope-core legends The Cure, Afro-pop influenced songsters Vampire Weekend, and full-on rockers Band of Horses. And since this is a late-starting festival, you can explore Chicago during the daytime. Rock on!
When the rocking-out day is done, nothing is more satisfying than laying your head on a comfy pillow and calling it a night. The perfect place to unwind and recharge is a hotel with the feel of home but none of the chores—like an Extended Stay Hotel.
I Love Los Angeles!
When most people think of Los Angeles, they think of the things that Woody Allen focuses on in his film Annie Hall—the weather and the stars. But LA has so much more going for it than that. Which is not to discount the weather and the stars—or Annie Hall. The weather is consistently comfy, just to Goldilocks’ liking—rarely too hot or too cold. And if you find it thrilling to see famous people doing regular-people stuff, LA is the place for you. You might see Ashton Kutcher buying a cucumber or Miley Cyrus rocking out to her iPod. But the stuff to do in the City of Angels doesn’t stop there. Not by a long shot!
Hermosa Beach is the best place in the country for singles, according to Money magazine. So if you’re looking for love, or you’re just looking to soak up some rays on a beach that is not packed with families, this is the place for you. There is a classic beach-boy/beach-girl vibe here. There are enough shaggy surfers and fun-loving volleyball players to make it feel like you’re hanging out in a Saved By the Bell episode. Indeed, hanging out in Hermosa Beach, you begin to feel like you’re in a TV show. As on a lot of TV shows, many people seem like they don’t have jobs. Despite the fact that a lot of Hermosa Beach residents have high-pressure finance careers, they seem to be living the good life without a care in the world. That’s how powerful the laid-back vibe is here.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, is a space that is stunning both inside and out. Outside, the building looks, in typical Gehry fashion, like something you’d see on the horizon in a dream. Inside, the Yasuhisa Toyota-designed acoustics are truly cathedral-like. Angelinos hope and pray that when their favorite musicians come through town, they play this venue, because it is here that musicians can realize their full live potential. Just as Walt Disney was a perfectionist about the look and sound of his animated films (famously drawing far more frames than his competitors or experimenting with stereophonic sound not long after the invention of talkies), there is an obvious perfectionism about the Walt Disney Concert Hall—which was built with money donated by Lillian Disney, Walt’s wife. The young and exciting music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, will be conducting a program of Tchaikovsky and Carl Nielsen, played by the much-praised pianist Lang Lang.
LA Loves Food!
If you’re looking for great food at a casual LA restaurant, I recommend Food. Their no-nonsense name is indicative of the seriousness with which they take their craft. If you’re looking for upscale dining, look no further than Patina—the last word in fine French dining in LA. Conveniently located in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Patina offers the finest wines, cheeses, chocolates, meats, vegetables, fruit, and caviar in Los Angeles. It is appropriate that the restaurant is in the building where the Philharmonic plays, as its plates are simply symphonic.
At the end of your wonderful LA day, you’ll be ready to kick back. I recommend a hotel with everything you’ll need on-site (like a kitchen and laundry), so you won’t have to run out for anything.
Take a Tasty Vacation for National Hamburger Month
May is National Hamburger Month. What a tasty idea! The hamburger, while it may have originated in Germany, like the hot dog (or frankfurter), is as American as apple pie. We eat hamburgers on every occasion and in many forms. They charm kids in their Happy Meals, and they are a welcome reward to adults for a hard day’s work. The burger has the unique distinction of being both extremely efficient and extremely satisfying. You don’t need silverware to eat one, or even a plate; and they can be eaten very quickly. Eating a great burger can make you feel like you just spent the day at a beach resort being pampered. You get that kind of endorphin rush. A great burger experience that nearly all Americans have shared is the fast-food burger experience.
McDonald’s First Store Museum: Des Plaines, Illinois
In 1955, Ray Kroc opened a little restaurant called McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. This was not the very first McDonald’s. That distinction belongs to a long-gone hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California, opened by the McDonald brothers, Dick and Mac, in 1940. It’s not even the oldest McDonald’s still open for business. That McDonald’s is in Downey, California—and I will tell you about it shortly. The McDonald’s First Store Museum is a re-creation (as the original restaurant was demolished in 1984) of the first McDonald’s to open after Kroc, who took the company global and made it what it is today, took over. McDonald’s represented a streamlining of the popular drive-in restaurant theme when it opened. The difference at a McDonald’s was that you carried your food to your car yourself, and you got it much faster. This waiter-less form of fast-food restaurant thrived, and the traditional drive-in faded away. The McDonald’s First Store Museum has the original sign, adorned with the “Speedee” mascot, which represented the company’s game-changing assembly-line process of food preparation. All the original food-prep tools are inside, tended to by mannequins wearing 1955 uniforms. If you find yourself hungry after checking out the museum (a definite possibility), just head across the street to an operating McDonald’s and enjoy a burger or two—or three or four.
Downey, California’s, McDonald’s looks just like the First Store Museum from the outside, except it’s a still-operating McDonald’s. The reason for the old-time look at this location is that this restaurant was a rebel of sorts. It did not affiliate with the mother corporation until 1990, by which time it had already established its retro identity. It has been said that the burgers at this location just taste better and more authentic. And I don’t doubt it. True to tradition, they only serve burgers, fries, shakes, and sodas here.
Kansas Museum of History (Fast Food Exhibit): Topeka, Kansas
Kansas is responsible for a fair amount of hamburger history. The very first chain to specialize in this wonderful food, White Castle, began in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921. The fast-food ball got rolling with White Castle (which had uniform restaurants and cooking methods 20 years before McDonald’s was the dream of the McDonald brothers). You’ll learn quite a lot at this exhibit about Kansas’ outsized role in the fast-food revolution and work up quite an appetite.
After investigating the hamburger (and eating one or two, of course!) and the interesting history of fast food in the US, you’ll be ready to experience another modern innovation—the convenient, amenity-rich, inexpensive hotel. The best example of this American innovation is Extended Stay Hotels.
Philadelphia Is an All-American City
Philadelphia is foundational for our country. It was a center of learning and progress before the Revolution—largely because of the efforts of Benjamin Franklin, who founded the country’s first lending library and fire department in Philadelphia, as well as societies for the promotion of civic and intellectual virtues. There is a staggering amount of history and culture in Philadelphia—a city whose grid layout provided the blueprint for a number of other great American cities. Its historical charms, though plentiful, are not its only features. You can really feel the love in Philadelphia. There is a lot of hometown pride, and Philadelphians love to show their city off to visitors. It is not for nothing that Philadelphia translates to “the city of brotherly love.”
Philadelphia is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation, with a sizable African American community. Forty-three percent of the residents of the city are black. Philly has a long history of vibrant black culture—particularly music. From John Coltrane and Sun Ra to the Philly soul of the 1970s through the Philly neo-soul of the ‘90s and 2000s and the city’s vibrant hip-hop scene spearheaded by The Roots, Philadelphia has contributed to black music as much as any American city. Come See About Me: The Mary Wilson Supremes Collection is an exhibition that concerns the importance of African American music in American culture at large. Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes, has curated this exhibit—making it a very personal exploration of a very public phenomenon. Somewhat like the film The Runaways (which was about the band The Runaways and about the coming of age of a member of that band, Cherie Currie), this exhibit chronicles both the rise of The Supremes (notable for hits like “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “You Can’t Hurry Love”) and Wilson’s coming into her own. Through The Supremes’ clothing (which is stunning), photographs, 1960s news articles, and obscure film footage, the story unfolds with the grace of a top-notch biopic.
You’ve got to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the “Rocky Steps”—the iconic steps that Rocky Balboa runs up in Rocky, the song “Gonna Fly Now” seemingly impelling him. The metal likeness of Rocky that was featured at the top of the steps in Rocky III, to symbolize the fact that Rocky was no longer an underdog, is now located at their bottom (perhaps symbolizing the fact that Rocky will forever be our underdog hero). After you pose for a photo with the brazen Rocky and run up the stairs singing “Gonna Fly Now” to yourself, it’s worth checking out the museum.
The exhibit The Art of Golf is timely and unique. Timed to coincide with the U.S. Open, which takes place in Ardmore, Pennsylvania this year, this exhibition can only benefit from the excitement over the return of Tiger Woods to the top of the game. The central work of art in the exhibition is Charles Lees’ painting The Golfers, which depicts the sport as it was played in the mid-nineteenth century in Scotland (which is the land of the sport’s birth and development).
After a day soaking up all of Philadelphia’s cultural and historical wonders, you’ll likely be ready to indulge in some family time. The ideal place for that is an Extended Stay Hotel—where every suite has, free of charge, a kitchen, a flatscreen TV, and Wi-Fi.
Nashville, Tennessee: The Country Music Capital of the World
Country music is music of the world now. What started out as the favorite sounds of rural Southerners is now loved the globe over. No matter how far and wide country music roams, though, its heart will always live in Nashville, Tennessee. Country music’s 1927 birth (nicknamed its “big bang”)—the first recording sessions for both Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family—took place in Bristol, Tennessee, 300 miles west of Nashville (and there is a museum being built there to commemorate country’s very early years). While country music was not born in Nashville, it most certainly did grow up and learn the facts of life there. Just as aspiring actors go to Hollywood, aspiring country musicians go to Nashville. It is the heartbeat and lodestar of American country music.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
This is not just your average, moldy museum. It’s the living record of a music that is very much alive and kicking (in its cowboy boots). There is currently an exciting exhibit on Patsy Cline’s brief but quite popular and influential career called Patsy Cline: Crazy for Loving You. Rocketing to fame on the strength of now-legendary recordings like “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy,” Patsy Cline was a glamorous country star who had it all—gracefully balancing the fast-paced world of recording and touring with married life and motherhood. This exhibit takes you into Cline’s world through her letters, her clothes, photographs of her, and—of course—her amazing songs.
Another exhibit not to be passed by is The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country. In the 1950s and ‘60s, a vibrant country music scene sprung up in California’s Central Valley—the result of the influx of migrants from Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas during the Dust Bowl years. The Bakersfield country sound was raw and propulsive—akin to the music of Johnny Cash and the “outlaw” country sound of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. This exhibit tells the story of how Merle Haggard and Buck Owens turned their lives around with music. Haggard’s troubled youth ended in a stretch in San Quentin Prison. While in prison, he saw Johnny Cash perform, and he made a pledge to turn his life around. Buck Owens grew up in a poor sharecropping family but determined that he would not stay poor long. Jumping into the Bakersfield country scene in 1951, he quickly achieved success—first as a session guitarist then as a solo artist.
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is the most venerable, legendary country venue in the country. The weekly radio shows that were broadcast from the venue starting all the way back in the late ‘20s documented the beginnings and evolution of country music. Everybody who’s anybody in country music history has played at the Opry—Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Brad Paisley, and on and on and on.
After your day deep in the heart of country music is through, you’ll likely want to head back to a casual, comfortable hotel where you can discuss the day’s events. At Extended Stay Hotels, you get a world-class suite with kitchen, flatscreen TV, Wi-Fi, and a grab-and-go breakfast all for an affordable price.
Watch World-Class Comedians Flex Their Funny Bones During National Comedy Month
April is many things to many people. It’s the most literary month of the year. It figures prominently in two canonical works—The Canterbury Tales’ prologue and T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” It’s the most romantic month in the calendar—the month when new love is most likely to bloom. It’s also, according to Larry Wilde, the funniest month. Wilde celebrated the first National Humor Month thirty-seven years ago this April. Launched in our country’s bicentennial year, National Humor Month celebrates the psychological and physical salubriousness of humor. And April is a month when you need all the health-promoting jokes you can get. Because of tax season, April can also be the most stressful month. Let’s take to the road and check out all the April fools who are performing during National Humor Month.
Bridgetown Comedy Festival: Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon, burst onto the national scene in the last few years as an important comedy town because of the popular sketch comedy show Portlandia. And the town has a comedy festival befitting its new prominence. The Bridgetown Comedy Festival, taking place from April 18th-21st, has been producing edgy comedy line-ups since 2008. The festival is all about pushing the envelope (which is what good comedy is about—an envelope sitting in one place is not a very funny thing), and this year’s line-up in no exception. Fresh and very funny comedian/musician Reggie Watts promises to be one of this year’s highlights. None other than Conan O’Brien picked Watts to be his opener on his Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television tour. Watts has been showered with praise by Rolling Stone, Spin, and GQ—all deserved. He manages a fusion of highbrow humor, lowbrow humor, and music—like a hip-hop combination of Lenny Bruce and Steve Martin. Another boundary-crossing comic you don’t want to miss is Dana Gould—a largely unheralded comic who has influenced well-known performers like Patton Oswalt and Janeane Garofalo. His bits, which eschew punch lines for anecdotes with funny asides, are quite foundational for the contemporary comedy scene.
Moontower Comedy and Oddity Fest: Austin, Texas
The Moontower Comedy and Oddity Fest, taking place from April 24th-27th, is just as crazy as the Bridgetown Comedy Festival. In addition to Moontower’s oddball performers, though, there are a number of mainstream acts for fans of more traditional comedy. Dana Carvey, who won our hearts in his role as Garth in the Wayne’s World movies, is a headliner this year. For impersonations of US presidents, Carvey is really peerless. There’s no more traditional form of American comedy than pillorying our national political leaders. A true comic patriot and gadfly, Carvey will doubtless bring the high and mighty down to Earth with his act. For a crazier comedy set, I recommend checking out Janeane Garofalo and Brian Posehn’s (of The Sarah Silverman Program) tag-team standup. It’s no accident that this performance is scheduled for midnight. Appropriate to the witching hour, this set will be very cutting-edge and iconoclastic.
After a laughter-filled day, nothing feels better than resting your weary funny bones. The perfect place to take a load off is an Extended Stay Hotel. It’s just like home, but better. Every room comes with a kitchen, a TV, free Wi-Fi, and—last but not least—maid service.
Phoenix Is a Great Museum Town!
I’m just guessing that if I conducted a survey and asked people what comes to mind when they think of Phoenix, Arizona, lots of folks would tell me that they associate the city with stuff like nightlife, sports, and desert hikes. It’s true that Phoenix has all of that in spades. It’s a great town for eating, drinking, and dancing, for watching and playing sports, and for experiencing the arid wonders of the Sonoran Desert. What I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t hear in response to my survey question is that Phoenix and world-class museums go together. People generally don’t find out what a great museum town Phoenix is till they are drawn there by other extracurriculars.
The Musical Instrument Museum pays tribute to the long and venerable history of the musical instrument craft, as well as the new and exciting history of pop stardom. In the museum’s five geographical galleries, the visitor can travel the globe via the world’s instruments and music. Hear Chinese music played on a variety of stringed instruments, and see the instruments (one of which is quite similar to the guitar). Hear the music of West Africa, and marvel at its similarities to American blues. These exhibits are not all about difference and exoticism. The discerning listener will notice similarities between different music of the world.
The Artist Gallery is all about our modern-day mania for musical superstars. The newest exhibit is dedicated to Taylor Swift, a superstar who became a superstar by singing about how big a fan she is of another superstar—Tim McGraw. Her exhibit features the guitar and boots she wore in the “Tim McGraw” video, as well as her handwritten lyrics for the song. Also featured in the Artist Gallery is the piano that John Lennon composed “Imagine” on. Here’s a surprise: It’s not the iconic white grand piano made by Steinway you’re imagining right now. Lennon actually wrote “Imagine” on a much humbler, more workaday instrument than the one featured in the song’s video—still a Steinway, but a brown upright model rather than the majestic white grand piano. You’ll learn quite a lot at the Musical Instrument Museum, but you won’t realize you are—since you’ll be having so much fun.
Any museum town worth its salt has something for the little ones in the family. At the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, kids learn in a hands-on, playful way. Children are encouraged to relate to the exhibits however they would like to. The folks at the Children’s Museum trust that kids’ intuition and curiosity will guide them right. In the Art Studio: Creative Expression exhibit, children learn about the how the art world works by making art. There are “Playologists” and studio assistants who will help your kids have the most rich and fun learning experience they can. In the exhibit Market: Role-Play Paradise, children get to do one of their favorite things: play make-believe. Parents rarely stop to think that children are actually learning quite a lot when they are acting out the roles of grownups and experimenting with social situations. This role-play is in a food market and will exercise your children’s minds and bodies.
After a day experiencing the riches of Phoenix’s museums, you’ll be ready to head back to a hotel that measures up to the museums. There’s only one hotel that is as family-friendly as Phoenix’s museums—Extended Stay Hotels. Every suite has a kitchen, a TV and free Wi-Fi.
City Bike Touring is Fun, Fun, Fun!
Nothing combines action and leisure quite like a bicycle tour around a city. If you want to unhurriedly pedal by the sights, and maybe hop off to smell the flowers, see a landmark, or stop in a café occasionally, you can. And if you want to barrel down the boulevard, feeling the wind rush through your hair, experiencing the city as an invigorating blur, you can do that, too. Biking is quite possibly the perfect way to experience a new city, or to experience an old city in a new way. And it’s as green as you can get!
New York City, New York
The bad old days of fighting your way through taxicabs and buses as a bicyclist on New York City’s streets are over. New York is now one of the most bike-friendly cities around. Bicycling in New York has never been easier or prettier. The bike path through Hudson River Park runs all the way from Battery Place down at Manhattan’s southern end to West 59th St., where it hooks up with Riverside Park South’s lovely bike path. This route is really picture perfect. You’ve got the best of both worlds. On one side is bustling, frenzied, exciting Manhattan, and on the other side is the Hudson River patiently, placidly rolling along, and the tree-lined New Jersey coast.
If you’re looking for a less touristy ride, I suggest cruising north all the way into the Bronx. You’ll find a paved bike path that will take you under the majestic George Washington Bridge and into Inwood Hill Park, New York City’s most untouched natural location and home to its only remaining salt marsh. From there, you head into the Bronx across the Harlem River. If you stay on the bike path till the end, you’ll find yourself in City Island, a charming little village in the very urban borough of the Bronx. It’s the sort of little settlement you’d expect to find on Cape Cod or the end of Long Island. If you’re hungry, and I don’t doubt you will be after such a long ride, I recommend heading to Sammy’s Fish Box—the locals’ favorite joint for seafood. And you can bet these locals know their seafood!
San Francisco, California
There are bike lanes in San Francisco now pretty much clear from the über-hip neighborhood known as the Mission to Ocean Beach, which is in the neighborhood called the Sunset. One of the most fun and useful bike routes in the city is the Wiggle, so called because it wiggles in between San Francisco’s many steep hills between Duboce Triangle and the Panhandle to ensure the cyclist a relatively flat ride. The Duboce Park Café is a great pit stop on this route. There, you can refuel in style. Have a high-calorie meal or a cold lemonade while sitting just across the street from picturesque Duboce Park, which is generally full of folks strolling and sunbathing.
When you’re through with your exerting bike-riding outing, you’ll surely be looking for some relaxation. And nothing’s more relaxing than a hotel with all the charms and amenities of home—like a kitchen and free in-room Wi-Fi. If you treat yourself to the comforts of home while you’re on the road, you’ll wake up with a smile on your face—trust me!