These travel destinations may seem run-of-the-mill or to some, feeling like tourist traps. Everyone knows the main things to do, see and eat in these popular locations—but what about local favorites and hidden gems? Have you ever wondered where the locals go, and what they do for fun? Below, we’ll uncover some amazing off-the-beaten-path activities and ways to truly experience the city as one of its own.
Most tourists know that they can’t miss out on Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben, but where should they be going? If you want to escape the city crowds and take in some international cuisine, try St. Katharine Docks. One of the best kept secrets in central London, this vibrant marina is home to not only yachts, but also cafes, unique shops, and a delicious international food market.
For architecture fans, the Rolling Bridge is a sight to see. Outside of Paddington Underground station, the Rolling Bridge curls in on itself to make way for oncoming boats and then unfurls to allow pedestrians to cross. It’s an interesting thing to see, especially considering there aren’t many bridges like this in the world.
Bright lights, glitz, and glamour are a taste of what this city has to offer— but getting a true feel for New York’s cultural, artistic, and historical significance requires a hop off the beaten path. First stop—Brooklyn’s Botanic Garden, where the lush landscape will make you forget you’re in one of the busiest cities in the world. The official tourism site for New York City recommends that park visitors take in the Japanese Garden area in particular.
The High Line is about as secret as any site can be that’s located in the heart of Manhattan. Built upon an abandoned, above-ground railway track stretching from the city’s Meatpacking District to Chelsea, the High Line offers a unique view of the urban landscape both below and above it.
Orlando’s major theme parks—Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, and Legoland Florida—have put this central Florida city on the map. But there’s more to see and do in Orlando and its many surrounding cities than ride roller coasters or visit the beach. The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is less than an hour away, and is the site of numerous space launches. KSC pays homage to space travel with its incomparable collection of of authentic rockets, interactive programs, and history. Not to mention the chance to meet real astronauts!
Where else would have a theme park dedicated to gators other than the “Alligator Capital of the World’? This 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve is home to thousands of alligators and crocodiles, an aviary, petting zoo and breeding marsh with an observation tower.
You’ve been to the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, and Vatican City. While they were beautiful and historic, there are tons of lesser-known sights and neighboring cities to discover. Chiesa di Santa Prassede is a small, easy-to-miss church. From the outside it may not seem like much, but once inside you understand the appeal. The 9th-century apse designs are beautiful and the dazzling Byzantine mosaics are not to be missed.
If you prefer modern art, MACRO or Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, is a must-see. The modern art exhibitions are impressive, only rivaled by the building itself. Its glossy steel-and-glass finish is drastically different from the original design of the building as a former Peroni beer plant.
We know what you’re thinking—spring breakers and college students gone wild. While that might be true for some parts of Cancun, there is plenty more to see and do once you leave the seashore. If you’re looking for adventure, cruise out into the Gulf of Mexico for a chance to snorkel with 30-foot-long whale sharks. The once-in-a-lifetime experience features scenic boat rides to heavy whale activity areas.
For those looking for something a little more low key, there are plenty of authentic tours available that explore Mayan villages, the jungle, ancient ruins, and archaeological tours to Chichen Itza and surrounding areas. These tours even include options for adding on ziplining, canoeing, or rappelling into underground grottos. Adventure and excitement are everywhere in Mexico.
When you think of Las Vegas, immediately what comes to the mind of most are the endless amounts of casinos, bright lights of the Vegas strip, over-the-top shows, and the all you can eat, delicious buffets. But there is so much more to do once you leave the strip. If you’re interested in seeing one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is a mere few hours away. Not interested in going that far? Red Rock Canyon is closer and offers great hiking trails, not to mention the desert and scenery.
Did you know that the Hoover Dam is only an hour away? There are daily guided tours of the dam as well as an on-site museum. After taking in the history and views from the dam, head down to Lake Mead, the lake the Hoover Dam built for an assortment of water activities, a perfect way to cool off from the desert heat. Best of all, it’s a family-friendly area.
You may have been to one or more of these destinations in the past, but we’re sure you’ll agree that after reading this, you want to go again and experience the city in a whole new way. Search our terrific last minute travel deals and start planning your next getaway now!