Firstly, New York, this is America’s most vibrant and exciting city and should be on everyone’s list of “must sees”. The 12 skyscraper studded miles of Manhattan Island are home to one of the most vivacious and intoxicating cities in the world. A global capital of finance, fashion and food. New York is truly the city that never sleeps – there is too much to do to waste time snoozing – a bustling hub of activity where culture and diversity fill the air and which is affectionately known as the ‘Big Apple’.
It weaves its magical spell on even the most hardened traveller when you catch that first jaw-dropping glimpse of the glittering Manhattan skyline as you cross the Hudson River. Nothing can prepare you for your first bite of the ‘Big Apple’, you hit the ground running in this fast paced city. New York is iconic and incomparable, images conjured up of what you have seen in thousands of movies will not fail to entrance you. It sparkles with world famous icons and landmarks such as Times Square, Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Centre and Broadway but beyond this tourist area lies a diverse and enchanting city full of museums, unique restaurants, funky bars and local culture. This is where fashions are started, cuisines are born, trends are set and fame is made.
An exhilarating mix of ultra modern chic and cutting edge culture, New York offers a bewitching kaleidoscope of cityscapes – from the dazzling lights of Broadway to the eclectic boutiques of Greenwich Village to the colourful markets of Chinatown. It fizzles with excitement whether sampling the blues clubs of Harlem or the rooftop cocktail bars of the Meatpacking district, admiring modern art at the Guggenheim or window shopping on Fifth Avenue, your first taste of the Big Apple is unlikely to be your last.
Shopping is BIG in New York. The main areas are in Midtown Manhattan at 5th Avenue and 34th Street for the city’s famous department stores – Bloomingdales, Saks and Macy’s – “the worlds largest store”. The renovated Grand Central Station on 42nd Street is well worth a visit and boasts a shopping area with a craft market and a food court which is great for a lunchtime snack with a favourite being The Oyster Bar. (Outside of the city Woodbury Common offers a wide range of discount stores and Canal Street is a treasure trove of handbags, sunglasses and watches).
The Upper West Side, is bordered by Central Park – a haven of peach and tranquillity – and is an easy walking distance form Midtown Manhattan. Stroll through the park or take one of the many tours, a carriage ride, rent a bike or walk and explore the park at your leisure. The Upper West Side is also home to the Lincoln Center, the centre of performing arts and culture for the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera. The American Museum of Natural History is also a must on your list of ‘to do’s’. While the Upper East Side is home to world class cultural institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Lower Manhattan – where New York began, is now a blend of old colonial churches and gleaming skyscrapers and is where you will find the 9/11 memorial, a poignant reminder of one of America’s greatest tragedies. The most popular areas for dining are Little Italy and Chinatown, where you will find wall to wall restaurants and on Saturday nights the atmosphere is bustling and vibrant. Greenwich Village boasts a collection of New York’s finest jazz clubs, outdoor cafes, comedy clubs and street musicians and is hugely popular for night time entertainment. Soho and Tribeca are also well known for their nightlife.
Other areas well worth a visit include Union Square which must be the hottest/shopping/eating/hangout zone in the city, often overlooked by visitors and the Theatre District, no trip to New York would be complete without seeing a show on Broadway.
New York is the city of iconic landmarks from the famed Empire State Building, internationally recognized as the symbol of New York, to the Art Deco skyscraper of the Chrysler Building and the Statue of Liberty standing proud and tall in New York’s Harbour not forgetting the Carnegie Hall one of the most famous music venues in the world.
Getting around is easy once you know how the street system works, it is one of the easiest cities to find your way around both by foot but also using buses and taxis as well as the famous New York subway. Water taxies, ferries, cruises, bikes and even helicopters are also great ways to get around to see this great city.
But, the best way to see New York is by taking the lift 102 floors up the Empire State Building, where you can enjoy magnificent views of Manhattan and the surrounding neighbourhoods. Or take a helicopter ride at sunset over the city and watch Times Square come alive at night from the air.
- Statue of Liberty – 1
- Central Park – 2
- Times Square -3
- Empire State Building – 4
- Shopping on Fifth Avenue – 5
- Rockefeller Center – 6
- High Line Park – 7
- Grand Central Station – 8
Our second city is LasVegas – there is nowhere else on earth quite like it – the entertainment capital of the World. Famous for its spectacular shows, dazzling casinos and supersize resort hotels – some like mini cities – so much so that you can travel to New York, Egypt, Paris, Rome and Venice in a day, stroll through the streets of ancient Rome, relax in lush Polynesian gardens, ride gondolas on the Grand Canal or walk in the path of the ancient Egyptians and marvel at the scale and theatrical complexity of this ever changing city.
This city of bright lights is a must for all grown ups, it is an adult playground, a glittering man-made jewel which sits in the middle of the desert is, quite simply, amazing and offers non-stop fun to all who seek it.
Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing cities in North America attracting more and more visitors each year all eager to discover what’s new in the ever expanding casino and entertainment scene and to explore the latest glitzy, amazing resort hotels which seem to continually appear. At the heart of the action and home to the biggest and showiest is the famous Las Vegas Boulevard or ‘The Strip’, stretching from the Downtown/Fremont area in the north to the Mandalay Bay in the south, offering 24 hour action.
But nothing screams Las Vegas like the extravagant fountain display that happens outside the Bellagio Hotel every day. It is a compelling and compulsive free attraction as every 15-30 minutes the 8.5 acre lake is filled with an explosion of water from over 1,200 nozzles shooting water up to 460 ft in the air, illuminated by 4,500 lights and timed perfectly to popular music tracks – it is difficult to drag yourself away. But when you do you will find other free attractions such as Treasure Island’s Sirens & Pirates and Mirage’s erupting volcano.
You don’t need a car in Las Vegas but most hotels have valet parking and it is certainly useful to have a car for getting out and about. However, there are taxis galore and the best way to get up and down the Strip is to use the monorail system with stops at all the major hotels.
In the evening the Strip springs to life and you will understand why it is called “Sin City”! What can you say about the nightlife in a city which never sleeps where, apart from the casinos – as this is America’s gambling capital and every major hotel has its own casino – you will have the choice of so many shows that you can’t possibly take them all in. These are spectacular shows to suit all tastes include long running favourites such as the Blue Man Group, and various Cirque du Soleil shows including the Beatles LOVE at the Mirage or their production of Zarkana – the newest show to find its home on The Strip. Whilst famous stars are often in residence on extended runs or in concert, these sell out quickly so we’d advise to book before you go.
Nightclubs on the Strip don’t wake up until midnight giving you time to fit in dinner and a show before moving on. Restaurants are in abundance with a wide variety of choice from all-you-can eat buffets found in most hotels to some of the finest restaurants in the US with Celebrity Chef Restaurants around every corner.
For an adrenalin rush, twist and dive on some of the world’s most spectacular roller coasters and if you are feeling brave then try one of the ‘thrill’ rides on the top of the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino or join a helicopter trip and view the mega resorts of the Strip from the air.
Or if relaxation is more your scene then spoil yourself in one of the acclaimed Spas with the ultimate in indulgence and rejuvenation such as ESPA at Vdara, a sensuous spa sanctuary that spotlights natural treatments and well being in an intimate environment.
There is also some fantastic shopping with both outlets and designer stores. The Fashion Show Mall as been re-designed to give the appearance of walking through a fashion magazine and has all the big name department stores – definitely one for the ladies! Try the Miracle Mile shopping oasis at Planet Hollywood Resort, with its 170 speciality shops, or the Grand Canal Shops at the Venetian. You can also head for the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace or find internationally famous designers at The Shops at Crystals for some of the finest retail therapy in the world.
Las Vegas is also a major gateway to south west America’s finest national parks and a flight-seeing excursion to the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam is highly recommended. Or take a 4WD jeep ride into the desert and see the stark beauty of the Nevada landscape such as a scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon in the Mojave Desert.
Whatever your interests Las Vegas guarantees a spectacular holiday and if nuptials are on the horizon – where else can you get married by Elvis? – and don’t forget what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!!
- ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign – 1
- Bellagio Fountains – 2
- The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace – 3
- Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas – 4
- Statue of Liberty at New York-New York – 5
- Gondola rides at the Venetian Las Vegas – 6
- The light show at Fremont Street – 7
If you would like to experience these fabulous cities then our Travel Partner, Funway, has just the most amazing offer, see below but be quick as the offer ends soon.
Tailor Made Travel can fulfill your dreams and aspirations – for further details and information of these and all other offers and holidays available from our Travel Partner, Funway, please contact us.
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