Touring Major Cities

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With fall just around the corner you might be thinking of doing some vacationing since the summer crowds have pretty much dissipated and the climate is cooling off all over the country making it a wonderful time to get out and go.

In this space we often discuss seeing interesting scenery in the various parts of the United States, but we also have great cities filled with fascinating experiences.

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Let's start with New York City. So much to do here you could spend many days taking in all the sights. I usually recommend using a tour company because they know where to go, what to see and they do the driving and parking.

Some of the don't-miss sights in New York include the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Circle Line Cruise around the island, watching TV shows being taped, seeing two or three Broadway shows, a tour of Radio City Music Hall and so on.

NYC is one of the best walking cities anywhere so you want to stay in a hotel located in mid-Manhattan making it convenient to walk in various directions including strolling through Central Park. There are more than 5,000 restaurants in the city and you'll enjoy an array of different tastes with each meal. At least once visit a New York deli for chopped liver sandwiches with cole slaw and a pickle. Forget the calories and just enjoy.

Your hotel tour desk will recommend shows, sights and tour companies and can do the bookings for you. One company offers hop-on hop-off busses around Manhattan so you can do your own thing. A Web site for you to check out is www. citysightsny.com.

While you are in the East, a visit to the nation's capital is a must. Here you'll want to stay right in the middle of Washington, D.C. so you can walk around the city and at the same time have the convenience of a tour desk that can book you tours for the various sightseeing you wish to take in. Forget trying to park in this city, take a tour bus.

I once lived in the suburbs of D.C. in northern Virginia and when visitors came to see the sights I drove to the Washington railway station, parked the car and we took tours by Greyline. They did all the work and my guests saw the sights with ease.

Don't miss the monuments and memorials, some of the 52 museums which are part of the Smithsonian Institute, the government buildings, Fords Theatre where Lincoln was shot, and the small home across the street from the theatre where he was taken and later died.

Close by is President Washington's beloved home, Mount Vernon, facing the Potomac River where you can tour the grounds of our first president.

You'll also want to visit Arlington National Cemetery where many great Americans have been laid to rest.

Closer to home is the great city of Los Angeles. With the traffic situation in Southern California, I would strongly suggest taking tours in this area also. There is much to see and do of varying interest. You'll want to take in Beverly Hills seeing the movie stars' homes, tour Universal Studios, visit Hollywood, perhaps watch some of the TV shows being produced, tour Long Beach with the Queen Mary, spend a day at Disneyland, and the ladies will want to do shopping in some of the great stores. The guys can take in a ball game or horse race.

The dining in L.A. is endless with a fine selection of ethnic food along with prime rib at Lawry's and great steaks at some of the best steak houses in the world.

The beaches here are fantastic. Try those in Santa Monica.

If you go by automobile, drive up old Highway One to perhaps Santa Barbara for a day. Great vistas and fascinating stops along the way. Then head on up the coast to the city by the bay, San Francisco.

Here is the diamond of the west coast. This is every tourist's favorite. The bridges, the parks, the dining opportunities, museums, theater, boat rides on the bay, Alcatraz, and tours of the surrounding areas which would include Monterey, Muir Woods, and farther out is the wine country and Yosemite.

All of these cities and surrounding areas are of great interest, try them, they won't bite and you'll come home with great memories of your experiences.

You might remember that I was to have spent a week on a luxury train known as the GrandLuxe Express touring four Northwest National Parks.

Two days before we were to have flown to Seattle to board the train, I received a call from the company informing me that they were going out of business and the train would no longer be operating. I hope that one day when the economy picks up the train will again operate so that we can experience luxury on the rails.

I plan soon to write about train travel in America. Stay tuned.

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