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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Festivals, Outdoor Adventures and the Boutique Hotels in Austin, Texas

lady bird lake, austin, texas

Austin, the “Live Music Capital of the World”, bustles with music, art, film festivals, Formula One racing, and a series of events throughout the year. The city’s numerous parks, lakes, and nature trails offer excellent opportunity for biking, hiking, swimming, and boating. However, autumn and spring are the two seasons when tourists rush into the city. If you’re planning a vacation in Austin during the festive seasons, book your hotel early. Here’s a list of popular hotels in Austin, Texas, to help you choose the best accommodation.

Texas Capitol Building, Austin, Austin hotels

Image via Flickr by StuSeeger

Hilton Austin Airport for Business and Leisure

Only two minutes from the airport, the Hilton Austin Airport ensures easy access to the downtown area with frequent shuttle service from the hotel. The hotel is also close to Austin’s famous Formula One circuit. Sound-proof rooms with luxurious king-sized beds, spacious bathrooms, and a range of modern amenities guarantee a comfortable living experience at Hilton Austin Airport. The guest rooms have Wi-Fi, work desks, and cable TVs. Suites come with other features like boardrooms and exercise rooms. An outdoor pool along with hot tubs and a lounge café are also there for recreation. If you’re traveling with your family, check out family packages and special offers on breakfast and Wi-Fi access to save on your stay at the hotel.

Crowne Plaza Austin to Enjoy the Outdoors

Tucked away in a suburban neighborhood on North IH35, Crowne Plaza Austin promises a quiet stay as well as quick access to the downtown hub and the University of Texas at Austin. Elegantly designed guest rooms come with flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi, work desks, separate living spaces with sofas and coffee tables, and luxurious bathrooms. The hotel offers dedicated Quiet Zone rooms that keep out all the noises and help ensure good night’s sleep. A range of outdoor recreational amenities on site can keep you busy all day. Outdoor activities nearby include hiking, biking, horseback riding, and tennis.

ladybird lake, Austin, texas, Austin hotels

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Hampton Inn & Suites Austin – Downtown/Convention Center

A contemporary hotel in downtown Austin, Hampton Inn & Suites Austin – Downtown/Convention Center is only a short walk from the entertainment center and nightlife of Sixth Street. Due to its central location, the hotel serves as a convenient base for exploring the city. The rooms and suites are equipped with modern amenities, including large writing desks with ergonomic chairs, lap desks, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Free breakfast, a fitness center, and a rooftop pool will keep you energized. Amenities like laundry service, valet parking, and multi-lingual staff add to your comfort and convenience.

downtown Austin, Texas, hotels in Austin

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Habitat Suites for an Organic Living Experience

If vacationing is your sole intention to visit Austin, Habitat Suites is the place for you. Surrounded by lush vegetation in a North Central Austin neighborhood, Habitat Suites is like an oasis in the city. Experience eco-friendly living in a hotel that offers non-smoking, hypoallergenic rooms, uses solar energy to generate electricity, and serves organic food without compromising taste and quality. Luxurious rooms with private patios and a range of complimentary amenities (including free breakfast, on-site parking, and your choice of wines and beverages in the evening) can make your holidays special at this eco-conscious boutique hotel.

Explore Virginia’s Historic Attractions and Stay at Some of the Best Boutique Hotels

Virginia wine country tour, Virginia hotels

With expansive farmland, rivers, and mountains, Virginia offers scenic landscapes and ample opportunities for outdoor fun. As one of the oldest English settlements in America, places like Alexandria, Georgetown, and Charlottesville exude a touch of colonial charm. Explore the historic districts and beautiful wine country, and enjoy your stay at some of the best boutique hotels in Virginia.

Hilton Alexandria Old Town – Stay in One Hotel, Explore Two Cities

Nestled in the historic Old Town district in Alexandria, Hilton Alexandria Old Town is only two minutes from the Washington Metro King Street station. Not only can you access Alexandria’s historic attractions from here, but you can also take a quick trip to Washington, D.C.

The hotel offers stylish accommodation with a range of world-class amenities. Rooms come with luxurious king beds, armchairs with ottomans, televisions, and work desks with ergonomic chairs. The hotel also has a meeting space with state-of-the-art technology. If you want to unwind, hit the lounge or the bar, or visit the fitness center to continue with your fitness regime.

Christ Church, Alexandra, Virginia, hotels in Alexandria

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Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge, Arlington – A Value for Money Hotel

With an array of well-appointed rooms, a convenient location, and kid-friendly policies, the Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge offers great value for your money in Arlington. Located near the DC metro area, the hotel offers quick access to the city’s historic attractions, such as Georgetown, the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian Institution museums, and the National Mall.

The hotel’s spacious rooms feature sleeper sofas, roll-away beds, writing desks, and flat-screen TVs with cable channels. Kids up to 19 years old can stay for free when sharing rooms with their parents. Cribs and extra bedding are provided on demand. Kitchen amenities include a mini fridge and a coffee maker.

Omni Charlottesville Hotel – Immerse Yourself in Luxury

Only 20 minutes from Charlottesville Airport, the Omni Charlottesville Hotel offers swanky accommodations in vibrant downtown Charlottesville. A short walk from the historic pedestrian mall, this hotel allows quick access to the University of Virginia and the city’s premier shopping malls and entertainment hubs.

Luxurious guest rooms come with plush beds with down pillows, TVs with movie options, work desks, and complimentary newspapers. Enjoy the views of Blue Ridge Mountains from your room, relax in the lush green atrium, or chill out in the pool. Fitness kits are available in the rooms, and the hotel also has a fully equipped fitness center.

Virginia wine country tour, Virginia hotels

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Linden Row Inn, Richmond – A Blend of History and Modernity

Built in the 19th-century Greek Revival architectural style, Linden Row Inn is a three-star boutique hotel in the heart of Richmond. The hotel’s Victorian interior is accented with antique furniture, but you can expect plenty of modern amenities, too. In the guest rooms you’ll find TVs with premium satellite channels, writing desks, complimentary high-speed internet connectivity, coffee makers, and luxurious spa-style bathrooms. A business center, valet parking, local shuttle service, and laundry and dry cleaning facilities further add to your convenience at this classic hotel.

Richmond, virginia

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Omni Richmond Hotel – Experience the Warmth of Southern Hospitality

Located in the Shockoe Slip district in downtown Richmond, the Omni Richmond Hotel awaits with warm hospitality and upscale accommodations. The hotel’s non-smoking guest rooms are tastefully decorated with luxurious furnishings and fine linens. You’ll find plush beds with down pillows, work desks with power outlets, large flat-panel TVs with a LodgeNet system for on-demand movies, and coffee makers. With innovative programs for kids, pet-friendly policies, and amenities like a heated indoor pool and fine dining restaurants, the Omni Richmond Hotel promises a great stay.