Top US Cities to Visit for the Holidays 2014

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What is the top U.S. city for holiday attractions? This was a question posed to me by a long-time Smart Destinations customer. Easy, right? Not so fast. Without question, New York City is a magical place to be during the most wonderful time of the year. However, after doing some research and asking some of our tour partners, I discovered there are other cities that rank right up alongside the City That Never Sleeps in terms of top-notch U.S. holiday attractions. Here are a couple of other great places to be over the upcoming holidays – and the special events they're holding in 2014. Orlando Beautiful, warm weather and endless attractions... how could you go wrong? Spending the holidays in Florida isn't for everyone, and may even seem counterintuitive, particularly to those who prefer … [Read more...]

New Years Eve San Francisco

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Ring in the New Year the ultimate way in the City by the Bay! San Francisco offers a bevy of options to celebrate the coming of 2014 in style. There’s something for everyone! ‘Tis the Season for Science | California Academy of Sciences Celebrate the winter season in style at the California Academy of Sciences! With a full roster of holiday activities, meet Santa Claude (the alligator santa), learn about African penguins, explore the adaptations that equip reindeer with their amazing migration abilities, enjoy a holiday performance by the Creative Arts Charter School, and so much more! It’s an enjoyable and educational way to spend your last day of 2013. And the best part? Admission is included with your Go San Francisco Card! New Year’s Eve Celebration | Six Flags … [Read more...]

Miami New Years Eve

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Ring in the New Year in one of the most hip, vibrant cities in the US! Miami packs the heat with dozens of appealing New Years Eve festivities to welcome 2014. Fill your day with exhilarating attractions, and cap of 2013 with a vivacious celebration – achievable on any budget! For the Day: Spend the day discovering Miami. With the Go Miami Card, you can visit any of the 35 included attractions at one low price. Fill your day with a visit to the Miami Seaquarium, take a spectacular tour of “Millionaire’s Row’ and Miami’s most notable landmarks on the Island Queen Cruise, get wild with the world’s rarest and most incredible animals at Zoo Miami, and so much more! Jungle Island is hosting a special ‘Winter Wonder Island’ holiday-themed set of events for the entire … [Read more...]

‘Tis the Season at California Academy of Sciences

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The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is equipped with all the makings for a most festive winter season celebration at 'Tis the Season for Science! An educational and exhilarating experience for the whole family, and included in your Go San Francisco card, a visit to this 412,000 square foot green museum is a must-see! Interactive Reindeer Discovery Explore the extraordinary traits that enable reindeer to stay warm and survive in harsh conditions, observe their behavioral patterns for finding food, attracting mates, and traveling father each year than any other land mammal. You’ll have the opportunity to feel the unique insulating properties of reindeer fur, see the world through a reindeers eyes in an ultraviolet light simulator, control the growth of reindeer antlers, … [Read more...]

Top San Francisco Holiday Attractions

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Cross over the Golden Gate Bridge into a world of holiday cheer! The City by the Bay is equipped for the holiday – featuring a bounty of attractions, festivities, and dazzling displays. Wondering where to find the holiday hot spots this season? Six Flags Holiday in the Park Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s magical winter wonderland awaits! You’ll experience holiday thrills, delicious treats, and spectacular entertainment. Take a relaxing stroll through the sweet canopy of larger than life candy canes, lollipops, and other sugary treats. Witness the comedic rants of of E. Ben Geezer Puppet Show as he taunts and teases spectators and ridicules the holiday festivities. Visit the cookie decorating room, experience the 65-foot tree lighting ceremony (hosted nightly), and end your day … [Read more...]

Orlando Holiday Lights

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A warm-weather winter may seem unconventional to some, but it is certainly not overrated. Image you and your family enjoying the holidays among palm trees and swimming pools, visiting the top attractions in sunny style – sans the heavy winter jacket! Orlando offers a bounty of mesmerizing holiday light displays to provide you with all the seasonal charm, without the seasonal weather. So where should you go to experience the optimal holiday lights? SeaWorld To see a real dazzling display this holiday, head over to SeaWorld Orlando! You’ll see soaring fountains, twinkling lights, and festive fireworks choreographed to the tune of some of your favorite holiday songs. The park offers a bevy of seasonal performances: O Wondrous Night – the story of Christmas told with over 30 … [Read more...]

Hosting for the Holidays

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Having a full home over the holidays is wonderful – time together with friends and family you haven’t seen in a while and a great chance to catch up on what you’ve missed. Sometimes, though, we need a little break from spending all the time at home – after all, there is a limit to how much you can eat or how much football you can watch. Why not pick up a few attraction passes to entertain your loved ones? Get one for yourself and join them in their explorations, or use them as gifts to get them out of your hair for a little “me time.” Holiday season often means rare time off work – so take advantage of the break by making the most of your time together. Treat your guests to a tour of your favorite attractions, or check out something new and exciting. Our special collection … [Read more...]

Los Angeles Holiday Lights

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With winter months averaging in the balmy 70-degree range, the holiday months in Los Angeles offer an alternative to the typical image of pine trees and snow-covered hills. But don’t underestimate the power of holiday cheer in cohesion with the power of the sun’s rays – Californians know how to celebrate the holidays in style! Imagine strings of lights hugging warmly around exotic palm trees, the sun setting as you stroll down the jovially-adorned Santa Monica Pier, and the delightfully illuminated houses rivaling the gleam of the Hollywood sign above – a Los Angeles holiday is one you will never forget! So where can you see the most vibrant L.A. holiday light displays? Rodeo Drive:  While you may have passed this famous shopping street on the Hollywood Movie Star Homes … [Read more...]

San Francisco Holiday Lights

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The City by the Bay is decking the halls! As winter draws nearer, revel in the delights of San Francisco’s holiday cheer coming to life. From Fishermen’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge, expect to see elaborate displays of wreaths, garlands, and holiday lights to strike lasting memories in the minds of you and your family! Here are some of our recommendations for the best holiday lights in San Francisco: Picardy Drive: A short drive outside of the city, Picardy Drive consists of charming 1920s-era houses with endearing turrets, arched windows, and peaked roofs. The houses themselves are a spectacle – but they’re especially enchanting when adorned with strings of lights and décor! Some homeowners embrace the jovial spirit more than others, so take a drive along Picardy from 55th … [Read more...]

Holiday Lights in Chicago

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Holiday lights have long been a Chicago tradition, with each year’s efforts clearly attempting to outdo the displays from years prior. This year, experience the celebration of Chicago’s 100th Annual Christmas Tree lighting – an event highly anticipated event for locals and tourists alike!  Chicago’s Annual Tree Lighting: The free event welcomes attendees of all ages – making it a sensational event for the entire family to enjoy. And best of all? The celebration is free! The festivities begin at 5 pm on Tuesday, November 26th at Daley Plaza. Expect to see stunning holiday displays, along with esteemed live performances. Ideally located near the Chicago Theatre Marquee Tour, Sky Deck Chicago, and a stop on the South Side Tour by Gray Line, do not pass up the opportunity to … [Read more...]