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I am heading to Los Angeles next year and I am undecided about visiting Universal Studios. Has anyone visited the park in California? I know lots of people visit Universal Studios in Florida, I haven't been there myself either. Is it worth the visit? I am a big Harry Potter fan so this is the one thing that really appeals to me! Thanks
Morag@BarrheadTravel posted a post in USAChicago is home to everything you would expect from a large American city: sky-scraping towers, fusion cuisine, impeccable shopping and eclectic nightlife. But the thing that sets it apart from other cities is its beautiful lake-side setting. Along the Chicago-edge of Lake Michigan, you’ll find a plethora of activities – many of which you wouldn’t typically associate with a bustling city. You also have two options for exploring it. You can walk the entire distance along the Lakeside Trail (it’s 18 miles long) or you can hop in a rental car and drive along the Lake Shore Drive and stop off where you want to. There’s also the option of a boat tour! No matter how you choose to explore this scenic part of the city, you need to make sure you stop by these 10 things along Lake Michigan in Chicago. Millennium Park If you’ve seen pictures of a silver bean structure in Chicago – this is where you’ll find it. Millennium Park is also home an outdoor art space, ice skating rink, outdoor theatre, and a 50 feet fountain. The park is also cleaned regularly and has won awards for its accessibility. Beaches The words beach and city don’t typically go together, but in Chicago they do. The city’s beaches typically open for the summer months between May and then close again for winter on Labor Day. Oak Street Beach is one of the most popular, boasting volleyball tournaments, a restaurant, bike rentals and watersports. Lifeguards are also on duty. Lincoln Park Near the northern end of Lake Shore Drive you’ll find Lincoln Park. Clocking in at 1,200 acres, it is home to Lincoln Park Zoo, beaches, a golf course, soccer fields, bird sanctuaries, a nature museum, picnic grounds, boat harbours and a tomb from 1857. One of Chicago’s most renowned restaurants, North Pond, is also located here. Buckingham Park In the middle of Grant Park, you’ll find what many consider to be America’s greatest water fountain. Originally dedicated to Clarence Buckingham, it was designed in a rococo wedding cake style and inspired by the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles. It was also featured in the title sequences of TV shows Married with Children and Crime Story. Navy Pier Navy Pier is perfect for both foodies and history buffs. While these days it is a promenade filled with patio restaurants, theatres, tour boats and land-based rides (including a show-stopping Ferris wheel), it has been – at different times – a port, a warehouse and a University of Illinois campus. Adler Planetarium On Northerly Island, you will find America’s very first planetarium. Dedicated to the study of astronomy and astrophysics, it is home to three full size theatres, extensive space science exhibitions, and the Doane Observatory (the only place in Chicago where the public can see planets, stars, and galaxies up-close). Belmont Harbour Chicago is home to several harbours, but Belmont Harbour is definitely the most scenic (and biggest). Located in the neighbourhood of Lincoln, it is surrounded by parks and the Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Museum of Science and Industry Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry is one of the few buildings still in the city that were built before the city’s 1893 World’s Fair (which many of Chicago’s modern buildings were built for). The museum spans a wide range of themes, but its most notable displays are the Apollo 8 lunar module and a captured German U-boat from WWII. 13 different neighbourhoods The Lakeside Trail is so long that it actually passes through thirteen different neighbourhoods: Edgewater, Uptown, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Old Town, Gold Coast, Streeterville, Loop, South Loop, Bronzeville, Kenwood, Hyde Park and South Shore. A beautiful sunset There’s 59 miles between Chicago and the other side Lake Michigan. With no landmass visible from the city there’s a clean line for the sun to slip behind every night – creating a sunset you would typically associate with a tropical island. Make sure that at least once during your Chicago adventure you head out to edge of the lake for a perfect sundown. What’s your favourite attraction along Chicago’s Lake Michigan Shoreline? Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed your favourite!
If you’re looking to get away in September, you’re in luck. There are very few holiday destinations that don’t impress during the first month of autumn. It’s shoulder season all over the world, with hot temperatures softened by a relaxing breeze and rainy seasons fading out. Plus, it’s the end of the school holidays and most destinations will boast smaller crowds. The places we wouldn’t recommend are few and far between, and it might be quicker for us to list of said destinations. But below we’ve rounded up seven destinations that are not only nice in September – but are probably at their absolute peak. North Asia South Asia is just emerging from its rainy period, but we wouldn’t recommend it quite yet. Japan and the north of China are wonderful in the autumn however. Temperatures in Japan average a high of 26°C in September and a low of 20°C. While Beijing boasts an average high of 26 °C and a low of 14 °C with the rainy season now behind it. New England We’ve all seen those vibrant photos of New England in the fall. While the famous NYC is awesome all year round, it’s in September that we recommend all of its visitors take an extra week to explore the wider state and New England area. Whether it’s exploring Boston’s rich educational institutions, sampling Main’s freshest lobster or driving the scenic Route 112 through northern New Hampshire. Most major cities of Canada and USA Whether it’s Vancouver, Seattle, or Chicago – September is the final stretch of sunny weather for these northern cities. While Canada and the northern USA turn into a winter wonderland with Christmas bells and winter sports – summer lovers need to get in there before September ends. Central and Western Africa September still just manages to include itself in safari season – with Zimbabwe stealing the crown. With warm weather and long days, the watering holes are really popular with animals – especially elephants. Marrakesh Northern Africa is also a traveller’s delight in September, including the cultural city of Marrakesh. It’s still far enough south that summer is definitely still in full swing but the winter breeze is beginning to welcome itself to Morocco’s shores allowing for romantic Arabian nights. Italy If you’re looking for a quick break to the Mediterranean or a cultural city break, Italy is your best bet. Its southern location makes it a warmer choice than most other European cities, but the onset of autumn makes a day exploring the cities of Rome and Milan more comfortable than in the summer heat. Peru Like a few other entries on this list, September is Peru’s shoulder season where the crowds are dying down but the weather is still nice. The slightly cooler weather will lend a hand to active holidaymakers looking to hike the Inca Trail, or climb the rocky stairs of Machu Picchu. The capital city of Lima boasts temperatures somewhere between 17 °C and 21°C and the atmosphere is general dry with little rainfall. Where’s your favourite place to visit in September? Let us know in the comments.