Tips for Visiting Amazing Tampa, Florida

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Tampa, the third largest city in Florida, is cozily located on the shores of Tampa Bay. According to one version, the city got its name from the Indian word “tampa,” which meant “fiery sticks” – “lightning” to the Indians. Indeed, this natural phenomenon occurs here very often during summer storms.

Tampa, Florida, USA

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Tampa has its own international airport along with the largest sea port in Florida. Lowry Park Zoo is in town with a large aviary where birds live in a natural habitat; there are also places here where visitors can pet the animals and even feed them.

The reptile exhibit and terrarium are especially popular, too. While touring Tampa, you can ride on a very old tram that rolled the city’s streets about 50 years ago. Incidentally, several main servers of Wikipedia are located in Tampa, and one of the four Salvador Dali museums of the world is here – this one known eponymously.

The oldest district of Tampa is called Ybor City; it once had a large diaspora of Hispanics and was famous for its cigar factories – which produced some of the best cigars outside of Latin America.

Now the district is a tourist resort area, and there are a lot of museums dedicated to the city’s history. Among them is an excellent cigar museum where you can trace the complete history and process of making the one-time best cigars in all of Florida – possibly of the whole U.S.

Tampa, Florida, USA downtown city skyline over the Hillsborough Riv

Photo: stock.adobe.com

Another favorite spot is “Adventure Island” water park. On this 30-acre territory there are all kinds of water slides and activities. If you love adrenaline rushes, there are several high-speed slides – one a 25-meter plunge named “Water Typhoon.”

For kids, there is an entertainment paradise called “Splash Attack.” This place has plenty of carousels, swings, water slides, and other exciting rides.

Tampa is a fun city. The Gasparilla Pirate Festival, the most anticipated of the year, takes place at the end of January. According to legend, a pirate named José Gaspare (Gasparilla) once sailed in the waters of Tampa Bay.

This event was organized in honor of his brave and grandiose adventures. In 2015, the parade was the third largest in the United States, and the celebration had a $23 million impact on Tampa’s economy.

One of the largest architectural/engineering sites here is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge: at a length of nearly 7 kilometers, it is one of the longest continuous bridge spans in the Western Hemisphere. It connects St. Petersburg (yes, there is a city in the USA named St. Petersburg) with Terra Ceia on the southern shore of Tampa Bay.

This bridge was opened in 1987 to replace an old one of the same name, which collapsed in 1980 when a freighter collided with a support column.

Tampa, Florida, USA

Photo: stock.adobe.com

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge looks fantastic from any angle. Its pylons are painted yellow, a symbol of sunlight – since Florida is called the “Sunshine State.” At night, the pylons are backlit in gold, emphasizing their graceful shape.

The bridge connects the main resorts along the Gulf Coast of Florida and is a spectacular sight from both land and sea.

Because of the excellent climate, this nice sunny town attracts a large number of tourists every year. If you get tired of wandering and sightseeing, you can just loll on the white sand beach and enjoy the emerald waters of Tampa Bay.

A Perfect Fall Weekend In Hayes Valley, San Francisco

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San Francisco skyline

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Today, a walk around San Francisco’s Hayes Valley is bound to lead to a sidewalk café, a hidden coffee shop, or a buzzing new pop-up restaurant. The neighborhood is beloved by discerning city dwellers who come here to shop and sup, while visitors who make it to Hayes often look like they’ve just stumbled in on a secret.

In the phoenix that is Hayes Valley, atmospheric hangouts and hip boutiques rose from the ashes of the destructive 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The quake damaged a 40-foot-tall section of the Central Freeway above Hayes Valley, which, at the time, skewed far more seedy than trendy. After the bridge languished amid a city-planning tug-of-war, it was torn down in 2003, freeing up space for redevelopment and paving the way for one of SF’s most beguiling neighborhoods, a centrally located stretch north of the Mission District and west of SoMa that just keeps getting better. Visitors can’t walk a block without encountering a “Now Open” sign beckoning them into a new space.

“Hayes has a small-town feel in the middle of the city,” says Charles Bililies, the restaurateur behind Souvla, a chic, Hayes Valley Greek space with a cult following. “When I was planning Souvla, I looked at many neighborhoods [before choosing Hayes]; I even moved here nine months before Souvla opened in 2014.”

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Cocktails on Hayes Street.

Here’s where to start your exploration of Hayes Valley:

Where to Eat and Drink

For about a six-block stretch, Hayes Valley is a bastion of global culinary ambition, where restaurants (much like residents) live in historic homes and new condo developments clustered on or around Hayes Street, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. Dining out is a globe-spinning exercise: Go Greek at Souvla, get your schnitzel fix at the Bavarian Suppenküche, dive into Italian comfort food at recently opened a Mano, dabble with French fare at slick Monsieur Benjamin, or stay local with elevated California prix fixe at Nightbird.

souvla hayes valley
Souvla in Hayes Valley.

A couple of blocks east at Cala, a modern restaurant in a former sound studio with skylights, a fiddle-leaf fig tree, and a wall of kangaroo vines, chef Gabriela Cámara brings the flavors that helped her grow a following in Mexico City to a vast seafood-focused menu. After dinner, trip it to the tropics with a stop at Smuggler’s Cove, a tiki bar tucked behind a nondescript door, where bartenders whip up rum-centric concoctions such as the Millionaire Cocktail (No. 1) – rum, sloe gin, lime, house-made grenadine, and apricot liqueur. If umbrella drinks aren’t your thing, there’s Biergarten, where picnic tables let locals flirt with collective alfresco-drinking fantasies, but the staff doling out blankets acknowledges the reality of San Francisco’s frequent fog and chill.

smuggler's cove hayes valley
Smuggler’s Cove in Hayes Valley.

Where To Shop 

Fiercely protective of its village vibe, Hayes Valley has developed a shopping district that’s practically free of chain stores. Instead, a welcoming array of shops bring a strong eye for style and appealing offerings to the neighborhood. While the selection is wide ranging – from sake boutique True Sake to the Mexican folk-art talismans of Polanco – clothing, home decor, shoes, and sweets are the mainstays here.

Begin your spree at vintage-focused Ver Unica, one of the original Hayes Valley stores, where you’ll likely run into owner Cindy Spade, a muse with Joni Mitchell cheekbones and effortlessly inspiring personal style. Impossibly hip Acrimony stocks cool-girl and -guy pieces, while Welcome Stranger is solely dedicated to the sharp-dressed man. The contemporary design collective Minimal and artisan-focused Maker & Moss are like candy stores for designophiles, but when it’s time to satisfy a literal sweet tooth, head to Miette for cupcakes, cookies, and tarts; and Chantal Guillon for macarons.

maker moss hayes valley
Maker & Moss in Hayes Valley.

See & Do 

San Francisco possesses plenty of landmarks (hello, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz), but mostly due to its size, Hayes trades monuments for cozy public spaces. At Patricia’s Green park, created after the freeway was torn down, locals commandeer tables for meetups and chess matches, dogs carouse on the lovely lawn, and street fairs and public art make frequent appearances. Adjacent is Proxy, an ever-evolving open-air space that throws alfresco movie nights and block parties, and hosts coffee, ice cream, and beer pop-ups. Just around the corner is the sophisticated SFJazz Center, where, at sleek new restaurant B-Side, charred chive blossoms, hominy posole, and piquant cocktails play like crowd-pleasing openers to the night’s jazz-heavyweight headliner.

For larger-scale sightseeing, head to the neighboring Civic Center, home to the War Memorial Opera House (where the city’s opera and ballet companies split stage time), the San Francisco Symphony, and Herbst Theatre. A 15-minute stroll west leads to Alamo Square Park, bordered on the east by the Painted Ladies (aka Postcard Row), seven pastel-hued sister houses made famous by the opening credits of Full House, now one of the city’s most photographed scenes. Instagram-op scored, return to Hayes Valley to soak in the village scene – a glass of rosé in hand.

Advisor Tip

“Before dinner, grab a glass of wine at Hotel Biron, a secret wine bar tucked away on a dark alley off Market Street – trust me!” – Courtney Regan, Virtuoso advisor, San Francisco

Where To Sleep

Ever since it survived the city’s 1906 earthquake, the Fairmont San Francisco on Nob Hill has been a classic SF institution, with its marble-wrapped lobby and 592 sumptuous guest rooms. Don’t miss a visit to the Tonga Room – the 72-year-old holdover from the tropical-tinged days of Hawaii-mania is one of the country’s original tiki bars, complete with dangerous drinks, pupu platters, and waiters in festive shirts.

The Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel houses one of the city’s most breathtaking spaces, The Garden Court dining room and atrium, where Saturday afternoon tea is a San Francisco rite of passage. Beyond the restaurant, 556 revamped rooms feature 11-foot ceilings and marble baths, and swimmers can log laps beneath a glass dome in the indoor pool.

Downtown’s Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, a quick walk from Union Square, feels more like an urban residence than a big-city hotel, with 277 modern rooms, coastal fare at MKT Restaurant – Bar, and complimentary guest access to the adjacent Equinox Sports Club.

BY KELLY LACK
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANGELA DECENZO

Published: 08/09/2017

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Most Popular US Tourist Cities

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America – a majestic country which annually attracts millions of tourists.

There are so many diverse attractions in the United States that life will seem too short to explore them. From sunny coasts to modern cities, America has it all to attract foreigners. However, once you’ve decided to come here, you should choose the specific destinations that will suit you perfectly

Here is our list of the most popular tourist destinations in USA:

Skyline of Miami, Florida, USA at Brickell Key and Miami River.

Photo: depositphtos.com

  1. MIAMI – the city for perfect beach recreation.

When we say Miami, we are talking about Miami Beach – one of the most luxurious resort areas in the world. Here you can see mansions of some of the world’s richest business people and celebrities. Miami is a paradise with 16 kilometers of white-sand coastline, turquoise waters, and rows of palm trees stretching along the ocean.

In Miami, everything is designed for tourists. This place is famous all over the world for its wonderful hotels and resorts with high-end service. Here you can enjoy some of the busiest nightlife in the country; numerous bars, clubs and restaurants will demonstrate their luxury service. Life in Miami seems like an endless festival. Miami has it all to win the hearts of visitors.

San Francisco skyline and Bay Bridge at sunset, California

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  1. SAN-FRANCISCO – the most liberal city in the USA

The level of life in San Francisco is high – and so are the prices! The base of the economy here is tourism: the city holds fifth place in the USA for the quantity of international guests coming here every year; it is also considered one of the ten best cities in the world. Remarkably, a little more than 100 years ago, it was almost completely demolished as a result of a devastating earthquake.

San Francisco is different, and this quality is seen in everything: population, cuisine, design, architecture, mentality and even clothing. The streets of San-Francisco are full of diverse people: poor and rich, hippies and minorities of alternative sexual orientations (which represent 15% of the population).

The main attractions are its famous hills (San Francisco has more than 50 overlook sites) and cable cars, Chinatown with its exotic shops, and Golden Gate Park – which is even bigger than Central Park in New York City.

Yellow taxi in a Black and White New York

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  1. NEW YORK – the city of possibilities

New York is the unofficial capital of the USA, or its second capital. It is not only one of the biggest cities in the world, but also its economic and cultural center.

The main attractions here are Broadway theaters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, famous Times Square, Central Park (the most visited one in United States), and, of course, the Statue of Liberty. New York is divided into five boroughs (each of which is a separate county of New York State): The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. More than 50 million tourists come to New York EVERY YEAR. Moreover, New York is a fashion capital and a veritable paradise for “fashionistas” and all those who love clothing and famous brands.

Los Angeles, California, USA downtown cityscape.

Photo: depositphtos.com

  1. LOS ANGELES – the entertainment city

Los Angeles, or so-called LA, is a huge center of entertainment. The city is quite young, which is why it doesn’t have world famous architectural monuments, but it has a highly developed cinema industry, and you can easily happen upon famous celebrities on LA’s beaches. Millions of tourists come to LA to see what the “American dream” looks like. Here you should visit beloved Disneyland, get a suntan on Malibu or Long Beach, and see a major attraction – Universal Studios.

YYZ Travel Group, TICO:#04332359. 7851 Dufferin Street, Suite 100. Thornhill, Ontario L4J 3M4.
Published: 24/07/2017

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OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN THE DC AREA

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It would be fair to say that DC isn’t exactly known for having an abundance of outdoor activities.  The majority of people I know consider it “outdoorsy” to enjoy cocktails on a yacht on the Georgetown waterfront.  But there are actually quite a few places to get outside and be active within driving distance of DC.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Shenandoah National Park: Shenandoah is my favorite place to get outside in the area.  If I’m feeling tired or my ankle is bothering me, I can drive along Skyline Drive and stop to take photos.  If I want to get a good workout, I can spend the day hiking Old Rag.  If I want an easy hike with a good view, I can hike Hawksbill.  Shenandoah offers so much to do and it’s only an hour and a half from DC.

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2. Great Falls, Maryland: Great Falls Maryland is a great place to hike.  You can challenge yourself with the Billy Goat Trail, or take it easy and enjoy the view of the falls from the overlook.

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3. Great Falls, Virginia: The Virginia side of Great Falls is one of the best outdoor rock climbing locations in the DC area.

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4. Annapolis Rocks: Want one of those epic standing-on-a-rock photos with an unbeatable view and an easy hike?  Head to Annapolis Rocks, Maryland.  And if you’re into rock climbing, do some sport climbing too.

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5. Sugarloaf Mountain: I’ve been going to Sugarloaf since I was young.  It’s not too far from DC and there are really great views.  If you like wine, head to one of the local wineries after you hike.

6. Shenandoah Rocks / Nelson Rocks: Want to climb?  Drive to West Virginia.  Check out Shenandoah Rocks for sport climbing or Nelson Rocks for a via ferrata climb.

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7. Blue Ridge Mountains near Roanoke: It’s a 3.5 hour drive from DC, but Roanoke is a nature lover’s paradise.  It has without a doubt some of the best hiking in the area, like the beautiful McAfee Knob.

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Published: 06/07/2017

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Five Things to Do in Niagara Falls

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Thousands of tourists from all over the world come to Niagara Falls every year to admire its beauty and crystal waters. The place is captivating and moves people to visit over and over. Municipal Niagara Falls is divided in two by the international border between the United States and Canada. The Canadian side is in the Province of Ontario, and the American side is in the State of New York. Besides the gorgeous waterfall, shimmering blue river, and amazing natural landscape – there are plenty of activities that tourists and guests of Niagara Falls can partake in to enjoy their holiday.

Water rushes over the edge of the Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls, Canada

Photo: depositphotos.com

What to Do in Niagara Falls

First of all, we suggest that you visit Niagara Falls Observation Tower. The view from the top is impeccable: you can appreciate the picturesque waterfalls and boats on the river, watch people strolling along the beautiful Canadian side and observe traffic on Rainbow Bridge carrying vehicles and pedestrians across the border between two countries.

You can also revel in a boat ride on Maid of the Mist – where you will not only get amazing views, but also feel the “vibe” and power, hear the thundering roar, and soak in the spray of the mighty Niagara Falls! There are evening and daytime boat tours for you to take in the beauty of the Falls from water level and to feel like you’re part of the nature.

After the scenic overlook and great boat ride, you can take a special tour called “Cave of the Winds” that happens at the foot of Bridal Veil Falls (Blue Mountains). It is a 40-minute guided educational walking tour for families and those who are not experienced cave explorers. A longer 90-minute tour gives more detailed information, including mysterious ghost stories and folklore legends as well as the history of the cave and waterfall.

Niagara Falls, USA - September 24, 2016: Ferry Maid of the Mist in the Niagara River against American waterfall. Niagara Falls.

Photo: depositphotos.com

There is also the delightfully quaint Niagara Scenic Trolley, which consist of an excursion on a
fun-to-ride bus that takes you around to the most interesting and exciting sites of the park.

Last on our must-visit list is Goat Island, one of the few accessible points on the Niagara River.

As a bonus: if you stay till nightfall, you will see the Falls beautifully illuminated by lights whose colors constantly change. This wonderful spectacle shines brightly over the entire surrounding area. For a fee, you will be given the chance to change the colors of the waterfall the way you like. Isn’t that amazing?

Publishes: 04/07/17

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Sip and Sail Promotion is Back!

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Receive a free all-inclusive beverage package and enjoy beautiful shores of California!

Exciting places and unbelievable scenery can be found close to home. Princess Cruises offers relaxing 7- to 10-day California Coastal cruises that visit famed wine country regions and dynamic cities like San Francisco and for the first time, Monterey. There are also shorter Getaway Cruises that are a far better value than a land-based beach resort vacation.

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FREE All-Inclusive Beverage Package when booking a balcony or above
Plus, FREE Unlimited Soda & More Package for additional guests in your stateroom††
And through July 5 only: FREE Specialty Dining for all when booking a mini-suite or suite‡‡

Book California Coast Cruises

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*Please note that prices are listed per person, non-air cruise-only and based on double occupancy. Third and Fourth guest fares apply to the 3rd and 4th guests booked in the same stateroom as the First and Second guests. Launch Fares are offering fares and may not have been in effect for the past 90 days or resulted in actual sales in all categories. Intermediate discounts may have been taken and fares may remain at discounted levels after this promotion. Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses are subject to change and Princess reserves the right to collect any increases in effect at the time of sailing even if the fare has already been paid in full. Prices are subject to change based on availability. Stateroom views are considered unobstructed unless noted otherwise. Photos, floor plan diagrams, and amenities represent typical arrangements and may vary by ship. Obstructions do not include certain nautical items like handrails, dividers or ship hardware. For balcony staterooms, the view is determined from the perspective of the balcony railing. Prices shown in USD. Please review Passage Contract for Cancellation Policy.

Florida Awaits Your Arrival!

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*To view the terms and conditions applicable to the product, please click on the link.

Published: 21/06/2017

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