Oklahoma City Tour – A Quick Guide for Outdoor Lovers

Bricktown, Oklahoma city

Oklahoma City has become a flourishing tourist destination, gradually leaving behind its culture of energy explorations and the cowboy lifestyle. From adventure lovers to leisure seekers, the city has something for all types of travel buffs. Check out some of the top outdoor recreation activities that you must include in your Oklahoma City itinerary.

Adventure Sports

whitewater rafting, OKC River Rapids

Image via Flickr by allisonmeier

If you love water and adventure, get ready for an adrenaline rush in Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District. This amusement park is ready to test your strength and courage with a range of exciting outdoor activities, such as walking on the sky trail some 80 feet above the ground, zip-lining across the Oklahoma River, and slipping down the country’s tallest high-speed slide.

OKC River Rapids lets you experience the thrill of whitewater rafting right in the heart of the city. With the use of advanced engineering and technology, this state-of-the-art rafting center is designed to serve both extreme sports lovers and vacationers. Kids can have their share of fun at Youth Zone, which boasts the scaled-down versions of the sky trail, zip line, waterslides, and bungee jumping platform.

Waterfront Activities

Lake Overholser, kayaking in oklahoma city

Image via Flickr by FreeWine

With a Riversport Pass, you can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboating in the river or on Lake Overholser. Water taxis are a relaxing way of exploring downtown Oklahoma City too. Take in the liveliness of Bricktown as you float along the canals connecting the neighborhoods of downtown Oklahoma City. With half a dozen lakes and reservoirs open for angling, visitors can enjoy boating and fishing anytime in Oklahoma City. However, a permit is required for boating in the city waters.

Outdoor Escapes

flamingos, oklahoma city zoo

Image via Flickr by nodigio

Discover the wild side of the city at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. This 119-acre forest is designed to recreate the natural habitats of Asia and Africa, with big cats, gorillas, elephants, and more. The zoo also has scenic nature trails, butterfly gardens, picnic areas, and food courts. Lake Draper, a short drive from downtown, offers rustic campsites where you can pitch tents under the canopy of trees and go fishing and sailing around at the lake.

Leisure and Fun

spray ground, oklahoma city

Image via Flickr by JenX 67

Oklahoma City is situated in a subtropical climate zone. However, there are many fun ways to beat the heat outdoors. Make a splash and chill out at any of the community pools located in the city. The family aquatic centers feature spray grounds, wading and swimming pools, waterslides, and much more. In addition to the aquatic activities, White Water Bay also has extensive entertainment options, including shopping, dining, and movie shows.

Heritage Sights and Landmarks

overholser mansion, oklahoma city tour

Image via Flickr by rutlo

Oklahoma City has a rich past. If you want to delve deeper into the city’s heritage, you cannot miss historical landmarks like the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Bricktown, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Overholser Mansion.

Many of these outdoor attractions are conveniently accessible from the centrally located hotels in Oklahoma City. With so many things to do in Oklahoma City, it is important that you choose your accommodation wisely. While late spring and early summer is the best time to visit Oklahoma City, you may get better hotel deals in the fall.

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Traveling in Seattle: The Welcoming City

downtown seattle, seattle travel guide

From high-tech aviation centers to exquisite art museums, Seattle has diverse attractions. The city’s lively markets, historic neighborhoods, and beautiful parks are ideal for walking and cycling tours.

If you want to travel like a local in the Emerald City, follow this Seattle travel guide. Here are some of Seattle’s top highlights.

Downtown Seattle

space needle, seattle

Image via Flickr by arcalexx

Pioneer Square, the Central Public Library, and the Seattle Art Museum are clustered around the downtown area. The library is an architectural masterpiece built with thousands of glass panes joined by steel frames. Seattle’s iconic attraction, the Space Needle, is also a short drive from downtown.

The historic district of Pioneer Square offers a great environment for travel photography. Lined with shops selling anything from fresh fish and vegetables to clothing and accessories, the lively streets of Pike Place Market and the International District are best explored on foot. Step into one of the many eateries in this area and satisfy your taste buds with Asian or American delicacies.

Lake Union

lake union seattle

Image via Flickr by osiristhe

When in Seattle, set aside a day for watersports and adventure at Lake Union. Kayaking or standup paddleboarding at the lake lets you experience the sights and sounds of Seattle from a different viewpoint.

In addition, don’t miss the Ride the Ducks of Seattle tours. The “duck” is actually an amphibious craft that floats along the lake and water inlets and wheels around the streets of downtown Seattle.

If you’re ready to spend more, seaplanes can fly you over the city and Puget Sound. You’ll enjoy the thrill of flying in a seaplane and the bird’s-eye views of Lake Union, Ballard Locks, downtown Seattle, and the Olympic Mountains.

Waterfront Seattle

waterfront seattle, elliott bay

Image via Flickr by SisterPrice

The Seattle waterfront boasts parks, pathways, and boating piers, and the Elliott Bay Seawall connects downtown Seattle with the marina. Home to several souvenir shops and seafood joints, the waterfront is a place to relax and enjoy water excursions along Puget Sound.

Located at Pier 59, the Seattle Aquarium is a wonderful world of colorful fish, coral, and a variety of marine animals from the Pacific. Don’t miss Seattle Great Wheel, a giant Ferris wheel featuring climate-controlled gondolas with glass flooring to ensure exciting rides year-round.

Woodinville Wine Country

woodinville, seattle, winery, vineyard

Image via Flickr by dherrera_96

A short drive from downtown Seattle, Woodinville is home to several wineries where visitors can take guided tours and taste local wines. Find yourself immersed in the rustic greenery, soaking in the views of mountains and vineyards, and go biking along the nature trails. Guided wine tasting tours often include award-winning delicacies served with fine wines. You can extend your Woodinville experience by staying overnight, as there are hotel rooms available to fit every budget.

Woodland Park Zoo

The zoo is home to exotic wildlife from Africa, Australasia, and North America, including the Northwest, Canada, and Alaska. It’s the only place in Seattle where you can meet gorillas, watch giraffe families grazing, or spot a snow leopard relaxing with its cubs. The zoo is divided into different climatic zones ranging from tropical rainforest to coastal desert to create natural habitats for its residents.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. From watching ballet performances at the theater to harbor cruising on Elliott Bay, there are many more things you can do in Seattle to make your vacation an unforgettable one.

Explore and Experience the City of Squares – Cambridge

Frank Gehry building MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts

The name “Cambridge” evokes a mixed feeling of curiosity and reverence. As the mecca of knowledge, culture, and education, Cambridge welcomes visitors with a liberal atmosphere, scenic beauty, and an array of museums. If you believe in experiential traveling, explore Cambridge at your own pace.

Harvard University Walking Tour for History Buffs

Harvard University Walking Tour

Image via Flickr by 6SN7

A guided walking tour of the Harvard University campus can give you a detailed picture of this prestigious institution and the lifestyle of its students. Start your tour from the historic Harvard Yard, explore Harvard Square, which is the cultural and commercial heart of Cambridge, and then stop at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. If you want to catch up with the vibe of the city, Harvard Square is the place with bookstores, restaurants, coffee shops, street performances, and live theater.

Cambridge Bicycle Tour for Outdoor Lovers

Known as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the USA, Cambridge is best explored by bike. Take a leisurely ride along the tree-lined avenues and explore the cultural districts at your own pace. Harvard Square, Central Square, and Kendall Square are some of the most appealing places in the city. Ride along the beautiful cycling pathways by the Charles River and enjoy the views all around. The cycling tours end at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

MIT and Harvard Art Museum for Art Enthusiasts

MIT, Cambridge, MA

Image via Flickr by ^ Johnny

MIT is located on the bank of the Charles River. The landscaped campus is dotted with amazing architecture and sculptures that are worth visiting. You can book a private group tour of the MIT campus. The tours, guided by MIT students and staff, are designed to give visitors deeper insight into the institution and its research and innovation.

The Harvard Art Museums comprise three museums — the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum — and four research centers. With their extensive collection of modern, classical, and ancient works of art from across the globe, the Harvard Art Museums are well worth your time in Cambridge.

Charles River Cruising for Leisure Seekers

Charles River, cambridge

Image via Flickr by Leslee_atFlickr

The riverfront is landscaped with old trees, gardens, and walking trails. Take a stroll along the riverbank while soaking in the view of Boston skyline on the other side of the river. Go for a boat trip or go kayaking to add more fun to your leisure vacation in Cambridge. Charles River boat tours cover the city’s historical landmarks. As the boat sails along, enjoy the views of the twin cities, Cambridge and Boston, and watch as the sun sets beyond the urban landscape.

Mount Auburn Cemetery for Nature Lovers

Mt Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA

Image via Flickr by BostonPhotoSphere

Known to be America’s first landscaped cemetery, Mount Auburn Cemetery is also a wildlife sanctuary. With rolling fields dotted with ancient trees, ponds, and shrubs, this peaceful place is a haven for bird watchers. Fall is the best time to visit Cambridge if you want to experience its scenic beauty. This is also the time when the cemetery looks most appealing with colored foliage and verdant nature.

Walking and biking are, perhaps, the best ways to explore this city of squares. Hence, you should choose your hotel carefully. Centrally located hotels near Lesley University are within walking distance of many of the popular attractions. From rooms for $70 a night to luxurious four-star properties, there are accommodations to fit every budget.

St. Louis in One Day

Nestled on the bank of the Mississippi River in Missouri, St. Louis is known as the Gateway to the West. After Washington, D.C., the city ranks second in terms of free tourist attractions. There are a lot of things to see in St. Louis. However, if you are short on time to explore the city, below are your options.

Gateway Arch and Mississippi Riverfront

gateway arch, st louis

Image via Flickr by Arch_Sam

The Gateway Arch is one of the most visited tourist attractions in St. Louis. The iconic stainless steel structure symbolizes the progress of St. Louis from an 18th-century European settlement to a modern metropolis. The 630-foot arch is built on the riverfront, dotted with gardens and tree-lined walkways. The area also provides access to a riverboat cruise, a popular mode of sightseeing in St. Louis.

Entry is free for children, while adults must pay a small fee. You can also buy a ticket to ride up to the observation area at the top of the arch for a 360-degree view of the city.

Museum of Westward Expansion and Old Courthouse

old courthouse, st louis, sightseeing

Image via Flickr by Missouri Division of Tourism

Only two blocks from the Arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion exhibits artifacts depicting the westward expansion of America and the stories of brave pioneers on the American frontier.

The Old Courthouse is located opposite the museum. The impressive traditional building was not only a house of justice in old times but also a commercial center in St. Louis. It witnessed many historic trials and verdicts that revolutionized American society. Entry is free for both places.

City Museum

city museum, st louis, sightseeing

Image via Flickr by Texas Tongs

St. Louis City Museum is a must-see, especially if you’re traveling with kids. This museum boasts an interior designed with repurposed architectural elements, making it a unique place. With activities like a walk through the Enchanted Cave, a five-story slide down the Shoe Shaft, or a crawl through a shark tank, City Museum promises to thrill and surprise.

City Garden

city garden, st louis

Image via Flickr by henskechristine 

St. Louis City Garden offers a refreshing escape in the heart of the bustling downtown. The garden is dotted with fountains and modern sculptures, keeping with the vibe of this progressive city.

The Waterfall Fountain has a pool, where you can take a splash in the water, sit on the rocks, or simply stroll around and see the sculptures depicting modern art. The park is open to visitors throughout the year, and entry is free.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, church, st louis

Image via Flickr by plunkettb

Find a piece of Rome as you step into the premises of Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. This Roman Catholic church is located in the Central West End area, a short drive from downtown.

Admire the splendor of the Romanesque architecture from the outside and marvel at the beautiful Byzantine and Italian mosaics inside. The church houses a museum in the basement. A docent-led tour can give you deeper insight into the history and architecture of the church.

Ballpark Village

ballpark village, st louis, shopping district

Image via Flickr by TexasExplorer98

With great dining, shopping, and nightlife options, Ballpark Village is a popular hangout in St. Louis. Adjacent to Busch Stadium on Clark Avenue, this entertainment district is the place to relax and hang around after a day of sightseeing. An array of retail shops, bars, and music venues is enough to keep you engaged throughout the evening.

For a short trip, it would be wise to choose from the hotels near downtown St. Louis, as many of the free attractions are within walking distance from the downtown hotels. If you have more time to spend in St. Louis, head toward Forest Park, a comprehensive entertainment zone that houses the St. Louis Zoo, Science Center, History Museum — all of which have free admission — and much more.

The Hidden Gems of Charlotte, NC

Charlotte Skyline by James Willamor, Flickr

Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, is a thriving tourist destination. Despite its modern constructions and business centers, Charlotte carefully preserves its green space. The city’s well-maintained network of greenways makes it a haven for bikers and nature lovers.

There are many ways one can explore Charlotte, such as biking, hiking, nature walks, and the Charlotte Trolley Trail. Check out some of the off-the-beaten ways to experience Charlotte’s charm.

Camping at McDowell Nature Preserve

Camping in Charlotte, NC

Image via Flickr by Pickersgill Reef

McDowell Nature Center provides access to the McDowell Nature Preserve, an 1108-acre land area preserving natural communities and indigenous flora and fauna. The preserve is home to several camping areas and waterfront picnic areas. Set up a camp and escape into nature. Go fishing or kayaking at Lake Wylie. The hiking trail through the forest and Piedmont prairie restoration areas offer scenic views as you walk past the gurgling streams, placid lakes and groves of rare plants. McDowell Nature Preserve offers full-service camping, ranging from motorhomes to tents, that you can book online.

Outdoor Activities With Kids at Paw Paw Nature Trail

Butterfly pavilion, paw paw, nature trail, discovery place nature, charlotte

Image via Flickr by That Geek DouG

Close to Uptown — that’s what Charlotte calls its downtown — Paw Paw Nature Trail is one of the hidden gems of Charlotte where you can enjoy nature in a completely different way. Discovery Place Nature offers a range of nature activities at Paw Paw Nature Trail, as you take a trek through a 100-year-old forest land.

Walk among the butterflies at the Butterfly Pavilion. Catch the whiff of forest air and let loose your imagination in building structures with logs and rocks and other natural objects. As you step into the woods, you might see the barred owls watching over you, perched high on the branches. The woodpeckers’ tapping sound intensifies the quiet of the forest. Marvel at the beauty of seasonal wildflowers covering the forest floor. Look down for box turtles under bushes so that you don’t accidentally step on them.

Biking at Freedom Park, McAlpine Creek Park, Other Nature Trails

Freedom park, greenways,, charlotte, nc

Image via Flickr by Grant Baldwin Photography

Only 3 miles from Uptown, Freedom Park offers refreshing greenery in the heart of the city. The park’s tree-lined pathways circling a large pond can be best explored on a bicycle, which you can rent anytime from a Charlotte B-Cycle near the park. The park comes alive with joggers, dog-walkers, kids, and families in the morning and evening, presenting the perfect picture of Charlotte’s love for outdoor recreation and fitness.

McAlpine Creek Park, the oldest greenway in Piedmont, is a bird watchers’ delight. It is connected to Campbell Creek Greenway at Margaret Wallace Road at the northern end. Apart from a range of outdoor recreational amenities, here you may also get to see a variety of wild animals, including otters, beavers, minks, and about 188 species of birds.

Meeting Birds of Prey at Carolina Raptor Center

eagle, hawk, Carolina raptor center, charlotte, nc

Image via Flickr by John W10

About a half-hour drive from Uptown Charlotte, the Carolina Raptor Center lets you meet, learn about and get close to a variety of raptors as you walk down the outdoor trail within the conservation area. The nature preserve is actually a shelter for sick, wounded, and orphaned raptors.  The center hosts a variety of educational activity programs to increase awareness among students. A guided tour of the raptor rehab can help you become a more responsible and active supporter of nature and wildlife conservation.

Closer Looks at Charlotte Show History, Progress

As a major financial hub in North Carolina, Charlotte has transformed with time. Yet there remain bits of its glorious past in the forms of trolleys (formerly streetcars), Queen Anne style homes, and Colonial Revival architecture in the neighborhoods of Dilworth and Myers Park.

myers park, charlotte, colonial revival architecture

Image via Flickr by UGArdener

Charlotte runs various urban agricultural projects to improve the city’s landscape and develop local food system. Nonprofit organizations are working to convert empty plots into community gardens or productive urban area. The goal is to spread environmental awareness and increase sustainable food production. If you want to try Charlotte’s home-grown food and wine, catch the train (Lynx Light Rail) from Uptown to 7th Street Station for the 7th Street Public Market. It’s a bustling place with local farmers, vendors, vegetable and flower shops, bars, and eateries.

Charlotte is best visited during summer or fall. Whether on a business trip or a vacation, book your stay at any of the hotels near Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. They ensure an easy walk to downtown attractions and entertainment hubs. The city has all sorts of attractions, from art and history museums to motorsports and adventure, to keep you busy on a vacation. Families can enjoy the amusement parks, while outdoor lovers can seek adventure in whitewater rafting, canoeing, or rock climbing at the U.S. National Whitewater Center

Plan a Weekend Trip to Phoenix, Arizona

heard museum, phoenix, arizona

This post is originally posted by Lori on April 1, 2017 on Travel Moments In Time.

Arizona’s capital, Phoenix, is the sixth largest city in the United States. There is plenty to do here, so make sure you plan your weekend trip to Phoenix in advance to make the most of your time. Choose a hotel in Phoenix that’s close to the things you want to visit, and enjoy your trip! To help you better plan your visit, listed below are a few attractions to include on your weekend getaway.

Heard Museum

Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Image via Flickr by Mark B. Schlemmer

Founded in 1929, the Heard Museum is dedicated to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures. It is a perfect museum for both history buffs and art aficionados. Here you will find traditional and contemporary Native American art, including jewelry, textiles, pottery, kachina dolls, and more. The museum organizes many festivals and houses temporary exhibits, so make sure to stay near the Heard Museum and get there early to see as much as possible.

Symphony Hall

The Phoenix Symphony Hall was completed in 1972 and was renovated in 2004. It is home to the Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona Opera, and Ballet Arizona and hosts events from September to May. It’s also a famous events venue for other shows, seminars, and performances. If you don’t have time to take part in an event here but you find yourself booking a hotel in the area, then take a moment to admire its exterior at least.

Orpheum Theater

If you are in downtown Phoenix, then you can’t miss the Orpheum Theater. Completed in 1929, this theater has a complex history and has had many owners through the years. Now it is not only a great place to enjoy a play, but it is also a beautiful building and a fine example of the Spanish Revival style of Spanish Baroque architecture.

Chase Field

Opened in 1998, Chase Field is a multipurpose facility built to accommodate the games of Arizona’s first Major League Baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. The field also hosts football, soccer, and basketball games, too. It is a huge place that’s divided into six levels. It also has a swimming pool. If you stay near Chase Field but you don’t want to watch a game, then you should at least consider a tour of the field.

Papago Park

Papago Park, Desert, Phoenix, Arizona

Image via Flickr by HomeToIndy

Designated a Phoenix Point of Pride, Papago Park is a great place for outdoor lovers. All types of travelers will find something to do here, and you will definitely enjoy the view. The geological formations and desert vegetation will be an interesting discovery. In addition to this, you may want to plan a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden located here. This is a wonderful place to discover desert plants and to enjoy the cactus garden.

Phoenix can be a great destination for a weekend trip. Its attractions, from interesting museums to parks and iconic buildings, make it great for solo travelers, couples, and families. Make an itinerary before your weekend trip to Phoenix to maximize your time here!

Exploring Nature in the Valley of the Sun

phoenix, phoenix skyline, arizona

Spread across the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix Mountain Preserve is home to mountains, valleys, and desert trails, which provide great hiking, biking, and outdoor experiences. While downtown Phoenix is a bustling area with exciting nightlife, restaurants, sports arenas, and art galleries, there are many activities you can enjoy in the Valley of the Sun. Hotels near downtown Phoenix are convenient accommodation options for tourists, as many of the desert trails are directly accessible from central Phoenix.

Desert Botanical Garden – Learn About the Desert

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona

Image via Flickr by RightBrainPhotography

Situated in Papago Park, Desert Botanical Garden exhibits an impressive collection of desert flora. The sprawling garden comprises five thematic trails. The garden hosts various outdoor activity programs to educate visitors about the ecology of the desert.

The Desert Wildflower Trail, which includes Monarch Butterfly Exhibit, is best visited in spring. The Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Trail offers a wider spectrum of desert life by showcasing the lifestyle of the native tribal communities and how they use plants for food, medication, and home construction. In April, the evenings are jazzed up with concerts and ballet performances against the backdrop of stunning desert landscapes.

Phoenix Zoo – Encounter the Wild

monkey, phoenix zoo, monkey village, wildlife

Image via Flickr by mightyb

The Phoenix Zoo, the home to nearly 1,200 animals, is the place to learn about the region’s wildlife. The zoo provides shelter for several endangered species. You can catch a glimpse of them when you trek along the specially designed areas in the zoo, such as the Enchanted Forest and Monkey Village. From feeding giraffes to playing with stingrays, you can join interactive tours or stop by the 4-D theater to keep busy throughout the day.

Camelback Mountain – Hikers’ Haven

Camelback mountain, hiking, sonoran desert, Phoenix, arizona

Image via Flickr by ThreeIfByBike

Only a 20-minute drive from downtown Phoenix, Camelback Mountain awaits adventure seekers with moderate to difficult hiking trails. As you hike or climb its red sandstone cliffs, you’ll come across a variety of animals along the way. Camelback’s highest point offers a 360-degree view of Phoenix.

Although hiking to the top of the mountain is quite challenging and is recommended for advanced hikers only, the view from the top is rewarding. Beginners can try The Praying Monk rock formation for climbing or Cholla Trailhead for hiking.

The Sonoran Desert – Explore Nature

purple cactus, sonoran desert trail, desert flora, phoenix, arizona

Image via Flickr by Ed Suominen

The desert is home to several unique North American species of plants and animals. Monsoon rain twice a year is the secret behind the immense biodiversity of this region. The desert is the playground for jaguars, gila monsters, jackrabbits, and big horn sheep.

From a day-long hike to a multi-day backpacking trip, from camping to rock climbing in the desert, there are options galore for travelers. As you roam around, you’ll come across the native Indian communities that have lived in the desert for thousands of years. Go for a Jeep safari or a hot air balloon ride if you aren’t a hiker.

Grand Canyon and Sedona – Soak In the Views

grand canyon, grand canyon national park, phoenix, arizona

Image via Flickr by ChrisM70

This is a must-see when you are in Phoenix. Arrange day trips to Grand Canyon National Park and explore Arizona’s unique natural wonders, including the Painted Desert and the Little Colorado River Gorge. The road through the desert is lined with giant saguaro cacti that can be 50 feet tall. Stop in the picturesque town of Sedona or at the historic sites of the Navajo Nation. The Jeep will take you up along the Oak Creek Canyon. Soak in the views of the pine forests and San Francisco peak from a height of 6,000 feet.

As you can see, Phoenix has a long list of attractions when it comes to exploring nature. South Mountain Park, North Mountain Preserve, and Shaw Butte are treasure troves of aboriginal flora and fauna. The Valley’s diverse landscapes beckon intrepid travelers for exciting experiences. The best time to visit Phoenix is spring, as cacti are in full bloom. Since November through April is high season here, expect highest rates for hotels and accommodation during this time.