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Leslie Bates′s Wishlist
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Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA, USA
Some find this narrow, neon-lit French Quarter street appealing, others appalling. But it’s worth a stroll either way. It’s as if all the sins of mankind and then some were rounded up and corralled here—tawdry strip shows, cheap...
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800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
Café Du Monde is always open; it’s the clientele that changes—from visiting families and local pensioners early in the morning, to couples in the evening, to Bourbon Street refugees looking for coffee and ballast in the...
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734 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA
You don't need to work hard to explore New Orleans' diverse architecture. Take a walk around the French Quarter and you'll see Creole cottages and pre-Civil War townhouses with wrought-iron balconies. Hop on a street car and take in the antebellum...
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6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
Audubon Park sits on the site of a former sugar plantation—the only plantation in the city that wasn’t subsequently developed for homes or businesses. It’s about 25 minutes via streetcar from downtown, but feels a world apart,...
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700 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
A National Historic Landmark that has also been named one of America’s Great Public Spaces, Jackson Square is the historic heart of New Orleans. Under the French, it went by the name the Place d’Armes and it wasn’t until the...
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209 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
Lunch is the time to visit Galatoire's—a sight and scene for all senses. Well-respected locals come to dine and celebrate, and the joie de vivre (especially on a Friday afternoon) is unparalleled.
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718 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a visit to Pat O'Briens for a Hurricane. The story goes that in the 1940s, because it was difficult to import scotch during WWII, bar owners were forced to buy large amounts of rum and the...
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726 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
Preservation Hall occupies a worn Creole town house that was originally built as a home in the early 19th century, and that had evolved into an art gallery and performance space by 1961. (It was founded by a man of philanthropic bent who fretted...
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1433 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
There are three old streetcar lines that run in New Orleans. We enjoyed a ride down St. Charles, the oldest of the lines. The trains were beautifully worn originals and gave us a glance at the front of many beautiful old homes. There were also a...
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1332 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
The Garden District was developed in the middle 19th century, and is where the mercantile elite built their in-town estates. Unlike the narrow parcels of the French Quarter or surrounding neighborhoods, house lots here were divided up with just...
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Gates Pass, Arizona 85745, USA
Residents and visitors alike drive out to the western edge of Tucson on most evenings. The area averages 350 sunny days a year, so viewing the sunset is almost always a possibility. Summer evenings are predictably hot, but you're in for a...
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Catalina Hwy, Arizona, USA
Downpours are isolated but intense during a Tucson summer. The mid- to late-summer "monsoon" in the Desert Southwest of the U.S. can be the most uncomfortable time to visit, if you're only considering the thermometer. So often, though, the vast...
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34631 N Tom Darlington Dr Suite 101, Scottsdale, AZ 85262, USA
Bringing together the elements of feng shui, a Zen-like ambience, and its Sonoran Desert environs, Spa at the Boulders is a 33,000-square-foot escape where you can easily spend an entire day. Besides the 24 treatment rooms and a running list...
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North Rim, AZ 86052, USA
If you know your flight path is going to go over the Grand Canyon, get a window seat. Even from thirty-some-thousand feet above, the chasms within chasms stretch on to the horizon...
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2250 W State Rte 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
Arizona Helicopter Tours aka best 12 minutes ever! Friendly staff and amazing views. Sedona is so beautiful and should not be overlooked when going to see the Grand Canyon which is a 3 hour drive north. The helicopter rides here are priced very...
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Page, AZ 86040, USA
I saw this place in so many photos before but when I got there and saw it in person it was such an overwhelming experience. Getting there is easy. You take the Interstate 89 South from Page and after 7 minutes you get to the parking lot. The road...
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Lake Powell, United States
My uncle and I stood with my tripod on the lakeshore behind our houseboat, trying desperately to capture the massive red rock wall before us. It was one of my first lessons in night photography, and it wasn't going great: there just wasn't enough...
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Antelope Canyon has been on my "must see" list for a very long time so you can imagine my excitement when I got there. I love how the lighting and shadows made the most interesting palette of colors hug the sexy curves of the canyon. The land...
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1185 Airport Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336, USA
Escaping the lower elevation heat of a southern Arizona summer, my wife and I headed up to the mile-high red-rock country around Sedona. This was the view from our hotel: red rocks all around... Sky Ranch Lodge is perched on the summit of...
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Supai, AZ 86435, USA
There’s a reason this is one of the most iconic spots along the Grand Canyon. Located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation and hidden deep within a 20-mile round-trip hike, Havasu Falls’ sparkling turquoise waters are a popular...
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Aspen Mountain, Colorado 81611, USA
In both the summer and winter, if you only have a day you must take a ride up the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain. The gondola cabs are all windows allowing for fantastic views as you travel 3,627 feet to the top. Once you get up...
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Aspen, CO 81611, USA
The mountain nights in Aspen are unlike any other; the air is clean and crisp and the stars are amazingly bright. I would like to think it is because you are closer to the stars but I am sure it is just because there are fewer lights to obstruct...
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1280 Ute Ave, Aspen, CO 81611, USA
I wouldn’t recommend doing the Ute Trail hike on your first day in Aspen, especially if you come from sea level, but it is definitely a must see. Known as one of the harder hikes in Aspen, it is short but sweet. You traverse up the side of Aspen...
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315 E Dean St, Aspen, CO 81611, USA
Remede spa is hands down the best spa in town. Make sure you get there with ample time before your appointment (and don't forget a bathing suit) so you can enjoy all the amenities—the pool and massaging waterfalls in particular. Let the...
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168 Luckie St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
If you're short on time in Atlanta, now there's a way for you to see most of the sights in a matter of minutes. SkyView, the city's newest attraction, is a Ferris wheel that soars 20 stories above the ground. You can park at any of the lots...
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2131 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746, USA
Texas summers are hot! When the heat hits, the people of Austin flock to the Barton Springs Pool to cool off and chill out. The $8 summer entrance fee (for nonresidents) buys you a whole day of fun. Get your hand stamped for reentry if...
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3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703, USA
There is nothing like a Texas sunset. One of my favorite places to catch the sunset is at the Hula Hut on Lake Austin Blvd, a spot that has a deck that overlooks the lake and the dam. The restaurant provides the perfect vista for the sunset while...
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5300 N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78730, USA
Okay, so I've never seen someone actually pull off the "hang ten" maneuver (when the surfer walks to the front of the board and hangs all ten toes over the nose of the board) while wake surfing, but surfing is still a popular pastime on Lake ...
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6550 Comanche Trail, Austin, TX 78732, USA
Seriously, almost every night, you can enjoy a perfect sunset here. This is one money-maker, an enormous restaurant on a hilltop overlooking Lake Travis, outside Austin. The Oasis. The drinks are cold, and there's lots of room; the drinks are...
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1175A Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA 02116, USA
As the sun sets, it's a special moment to find yourself walking along Memorial Drive on the Charles River bike path. Running next to the banks of the Charles River, this pathway winds along the north edge of the city proper. There are great views...
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Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA, USA
When people bring out their folding adirondack chairs and fishing rods to the Charles River Esplanade, you know it’s spring, finally. And then you see rows and rows of cherry blossom trees that line up the river, and wish it was always springtime...
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Beacon Hill, Boston, MA, USA
April's first sunset, as viewed from Beacon Hill. Of all the cities I have lived in, Boston has the finest sunsets. The colors are brilliant and the light bounces off the brownstones in most unexpected ways. So when you are in Boston, find out...
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50, 800 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199, USA
Boston is a big city, yet it is possible to see all of the famous sights in one hour at one place: the Skywalk Observatory, inside the Prudential center. As a local, I go there often to see how the city and the view changes—spring's vivid color,...
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165 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111, USA
When you've been called "the best coffee in the world" by the likes of NPR and the NY Times, you've got the bar set pretty high. Thinking Cup does justice to those beans, and is a really great spot to get your morning or afternoon fix. Their cafe...
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Charleston, SC, USA
When it comes to the Angel Oak’s age, estimates range wildly from 300 to 2,000 years. What everyone can agree on, however, is the tree’s immense beauty—its sprawling canopy shades 17,000 square feet of ground, its trunk measures...
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Charleston, SC 29401, USA
Charleston's Waterfront Park has a great path along the river, ample benches both stationary and swinging, and fountains that are open for kids to splash around.
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2 Murray Blvd, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
White Point Garden is located on Charleston's Battery, and it's surrounded by beautiful grand mansions. There are sweeping views of Charleston Harbor, and ample trees to hang a packable hammock and relax for awhile. The historic park is a good...
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Chicago, IL 60601, USA
Visitors take their best Chicago photographs in front of the iconic Millennium Park sculpture called Cloud Gate (known colloquially as the Bean, for its shape). Conceived by British artist Anish Kapoor and constructed from 168 stainless steel...
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233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, USA
Willis Tower—originally known as the Sears Tower—was the world's tallest building for 23 years until it was unseated in 1996 by the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The 110-story skyscraper is still mighty impressive. Its "bundled...
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1521 S Linn White Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
Many people who visit the U.S. immediately think of New York as the quintessential American city. But they are missing out. Chicago is a world-class city with so much to offer. From shopping on Michigan Avenue to renowned chefs/dining to the Bean...
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The transit systems for most big cities run underground, but Chicago’s elevated train runs largely above ground, and its railway around the downtown area gave it the nickname “The Loop.” I wish I could have seen the first version of the L, a steam...
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875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Watch the Chicago city lights come up as the sun goes down at the the Signature Lounge. While the Observatory on the 97th floor is a popular spot, you'll have an even more memorable experience lounging, cocktail in hand, overlooking the same...
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1230 W Greenleaf Ave, Chicago, IL 60626, USA
For the most relaxing beach experience, travel a short distance north on Lakeshore Drive and you will find idyllic beaches that you can have almost all to yourself. Here you'll feel free to play, exercise or take a romantic stroll away from the...
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Chicago, IL 60626, USA
Pick up your morning coffee at one of the many local coffee shops, and walk to Rogers Beach (known by locals as Lighthouse Beach). The sunrise over Lake Michigan is stunning! Locals fish off the lighthouse pier in the early morning semi-darkness....
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Avon, CO, USA
Rock climbing. Ice climbing. Desert camping. Backcountry skiing. Pretty much anything you dream up Apex Mountain School can put together. They operate throughout the Rockies and into southern Utah.
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Pearl St, Boulder, CO, USA
I love living in Boulder because you can always head downtown and catch a show. Seen here: the "Zip Code Guy" does his thing, wow-ing locals and tourists alike with his inside geography skills. The Pearl Street pedestrian mall is filled with...
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18300 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465, USA
Just outside of downtown Denver, Red Rocks Amphitheater is the only naturally-occurring acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. Since it first opened in 1941, it has been home to iconic music performances, from opera to rock. The stage is...
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Hanauma Bay, Hawaii 96825, USA
Hawaii's waters boast an exciting wealth of biodiversity, accessible with a swimsuit and a snorkel. The rocky shores of Richardson Beach on the Big Island are a favorite jumping-off point for humans and sea turtles alike, while the island’s...
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Waikīkī Beach, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Keep an eye out on the beach and you just may catch an amazing show of Hawaiian culture and teamwork, as friends and families compete in outrigger canoe races on Waikiki beach.
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Pearl Harbor, HI 96701, USA
Every December 7 at Pearl Harbor, there is a memorial to those who died in the awful attacks that day in 1941. Survivors gather here, though fewer every year remain alive. Oil still rises from where the USS Arizona lies in the harbor. The horrific...
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49-560 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA
Why would a local visit a tourist attraction? Because Kualoa is a beautiful escape and a place to appreciate Hawaiian culture. Building sprees that began in the early 1900s spread across Hawaii with no concern for desecrating places of cultural...
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915 Maunawili Rd, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
Visible from anywhere in Kailua-Kaneohe are the three peaks of Mount Olomana. The majestic peaks are named after a mythical Hawaiian warrior and offers more than spectacular views from all angles. To reach your destination from Honolulu you take...
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Maunawili, HI 96734, USA
Eons of running water are responsible for Hawaii’s escarpments and canyons. After a rainfall, innocuous streams, pools, and waterfalls can swell to impressive sizes. For an easy hike, walk along the Maunawili Falls trail on Oahu to glimpse the...
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37 Manoa Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
One of the shortest and usually easiest hikes on Oahu is on the Manoa Falls Trail. The trailhead is easy to find, with the Rainbow's End Snack Shop nearby. The trail can be a little treacherous in wet weather. The muddy path becomes quite slick. A...
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1185 Kaluanui Rd, Honolulu, HI 96825, USA
Escape the hubbub of Honolulu and stretch your legs on this 4.4-mile, moderate, out-and-back path. Somewhat steep, this serious glute workout attracts a lot of trail runners, especially on the weekends. The hike begins among rocks and small...
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2801-N2 Lā-'ī Rd, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
Waikiki and the North Shore get most of the attention on the island of Oahu, and for good reason. Oahu is the surfing capital of the world and has something to offer every skill level, but hiking on the island of Oahu is one of its best-kept...
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Ka‘Iwa Ridge, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
Starting a day with a hike on the Lanikai Pillbox Trail is a popular way to get out of Honolulu for a magnificent morning sight. Although the view is beautiful any time of day, most people prefer to visit the pillboxes (bunkers constructed during...
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Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
If there is one geological formation that represents the island of Oahu, and perhaps the entire state of Hawaii, it is Diamond Head. This crater, formed about 300,000 years ago, prominently sits right next to Waikiki and makes its way into many...
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Makapuu Lighthouse Rd, Hawaii Kai, HI, USA
For some reason (beyond jetlag), I wake up very early in Hawaii. Perhaps it's the promise of early morning view like this one, after a pretty simple hike.
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Pali Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
This used to be the old highway to get from the leeward to the windward side of the island. It was literally built into the side of a mountain and was barely hanging on. It’s now been replaced with a proper 4 lane highway complete with a tunnel,...
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423 Kaumakani St, Honolulu, HI 96825, USA
Have you been here? Tell us about it below!
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Waialua, HI 96791, USA
Ancient Hawaiians believed their souls would leap into the spirit world from this lava shoreline on the western tip of Oahu. These days, people jump off here in gliders instead, soaking up views of the Waiʻanae coast to the south, Mokuleʻia to the...
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Round Top Dr, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
My favorite part about living in Hawaii is the view from where I live. I am tremendously blessed to have the spectacular 'perch' that I do looking over Diamondhead, Waikiki, Honolulu, and past the airport to Ko'olina. If you are looking to see...
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1835 W Alabama St, Houston, TX 77005, USA
Move over, Willy Wonka—there’s another candy shop that’s making everyone’s sweet tooth tingle. The smell of chocolate wafts through the store, greeting you as soon as you walk in the door. Once inside, you’ll find...
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I was born and raised in Houston and yet, despite The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo being one of Houston's few truly iconic events, I only went for the first time in my life a couple of years ago. It's definitely a sight to behold. I am not...
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3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
Visiting the Strip? Save time for its spas. One of my favorites: Qua, at Caesars Palace. The Roman baths make you feel like you've left Las Vegas behind, and the snow room is worth a (quick -- it's cold!) stop. Then the treatments are out of this...
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3355 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
We had the fabulous opportunity to spend a week at the Venetian and here are my findings. I loved it the minute I got out of the taxi. It has an opulent front entrance, with a massive ceiling adorned with frescoes. Inside you are greeted with more...
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Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Yeah Baby! The Strip might get all the attention, but if you want the real Vegas the only place to go is Fremont St. With its enclosed light show of a ceiling, freak show of people watching, and rock 'n' roll show of live entertainers you could be...
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3752 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
This property is now the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas. 

With a level of service that the huge hotels cannot come close to, the 392-room Mandarin Oriental is one of the rare, non-casino luxury hotels that provide an almost residence-like respite...
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Going-to-the-Sun Rd, Montana, USA
They don't call Glacier National Park the Switzerland of the U.S. for nothing. "Going to the sun" road, which goes through the park and reaches more than 9,000 ft at some point provides many vistas and some adrenaline for the driver.
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7485 Virgelle Ferry Rd N, Loma, MT 59460, USA
The Missouri River Canoe Company is one of Montana's most well-respected outfitters, and it arranges solo and guided river expeditions that can last a day, a week, or all summer long for those really keen on engrossing themselves in the West. The...
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890 Buttermilk Creek Rd, West Yellowstone, MT 59758, USA
Few luxury experiences can top glamping in Montana. Sleeping out under the stars in the most spectacular tent you've ever seen as water rips along the river at your back, wolves howl in the distance, and open country surrounds you is one of those...
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63960 Gallatin Rd, Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730, USA
An exciting way to get outdoors and enjoy the rugged Montana scenery is from your raft seat on a wild and raging river. Montana Whitewater Raft Company offers trips down the Yellowstone, Gallatin and Madison Rivers; each river offering different...
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1196 Voie Camillien-Houde, Montréal, QC H3H 1A1, Canada
Not unlike the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Empire State Building in NYC, the Mont Royal acts as a natural landmark for orientation-challenged travelers. The "mountain" (some would call it a big hill) overlooks the entire city and offers...
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Lachine Canal, Montreal, QC, Canada
The trend of urban kayaking has not escaped Montreal. Living on an island, Montrealers appreciate new ways to get out of the city—in this case via the beautiful and serene Lachine canal, just a stone's throw from the core of downtown. Head to H2O...
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Avenue Laurier Est & Rue de Mentana, Montréal, QC H2J, Canada
If you only have a day in the city, go to Mont-Royal park for the views. But if you have more time, I strongly suggest you also visit Laurier Park, just a stone throw's from Laurier metro station. It's the park Montrealers enjoy the most. Mature...
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Mount Rainier, Washington 98304, USA
Skyline Trail at Mt. Rainier National Park in August — wildflowers, beautiful scenery, moderate hiking conditions
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1428 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
Taking just the 'right' wrong turn on a visit to Pike Place Market can land you in Post Alley, where spearmint, wild cherry, and tropical punch bubble gum drizzles down the window panes and grape, peppermint, and lemon ice gum-cicles form from...
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1301 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
Built in 2012, the 175-foot-tall Seattle Great Wheel is the newest, and most romantic, addition to Seattle’s waterfront skyline. (As you might imagine, the first midair marriage proposal happened almost immediately.) Rain or shine, you can take a...
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400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109, USA
This "U.F.O. saucer on a stick" is an atomic age baby, dating back to the 1962 World's Fair. If you're lucky enough to catch the city's iconic symbol on a sunny day, take the 41-second elevator ride to the observation deck and behold the sweeping...