When getting away from the stresses of your everyday life, a city like Austin, Texas, might not be first on your mind. It should be, though. There are plenty of great places here that will help you unwind and relax.
Zilker Botanical Garden
One of the best places in Austin to relax is the Zilker Botanical Garden. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy peaceful gardens, the Green Garden (where local designers showcase plants native to the area), and the Taniguchi Oriental Garden. There are ponds covered in lily pads and the serene sounds of waterfalls. You’ll also find the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, located right where actual dinosaur tracks were found in 1992.
While Zilker Park is well-known for its ACL Music Festival and its incredible light show during the holiday season, it’s also a great place to relax. If you want to lay down in the grass and read a book or set up a blanket and have a picnic lunch, this park is the best place to go. The main field in the park also offers an incredible view of the city skyline while you relax surrounded by nature.
Viva Day Spa
The Viva Day Spa was voted the “Best Spa” by Austin Monthly Magazine several years in a row. If you are looking to relax, this is the place. Their spa packages include various massages where you can melt away for a few hours. This is a very upscale day spa that offers pedicures, manicures, facials, and some med spa services.
The Greenbelt starts at Zilker Park. It offers almost 8 miles of trails on 809 acres of land. There are plenty of ways to relax here, from sitting near the water to going for a jog to climbing the cliffs. You’ll have plenty of natural beauty around you to help you unwind.
Barton Springs Pool
Barton Springs Pool boasts 68-degree water year-round. It’s refreshing and can be shocking at first, but it is often just the thing you need if you’re in Austin in the middle of summer. When you arrive here, you’ll see plenty of others with the same goal in mind, relaxation. A quick look around will show you people doing yoga, drawing, or reading. Bringing your furry friend with you? Check out Barking Springs. It’s adjacent to Barton Springs, but it’s a pooch-friendly swimming hole that allows you and your four-legged companion to relax together.
McKinney Falls is a great place to go if you need to get away from it all, and it allows you to get in a bit of a workout at the same time. Here, you’ll find hiking, biking, swimming areas, and places to go fishing. If you need more than just a few hours of getting away from the stresses of everyday life, you can even camp out here.
Mayfield Park opened up to the public in 1971, after the original owners passed away. Now, it’s a nature preserve complete with peacocks wandering around freely. In addition to these beautiful birds, you’ll also find ponds and flowers, giving you an incredible place to relax.
For some, relaxing can’t be done without a good cup of coffee. If this sounds like your kind of way to relax, check out Mozart’s Coffee. The delightful coffee place is located right on a lake, giving you a great view. It’s also lit up with light streamers at night. Sure, college finals time can get a little busy, but if you hit it at just the right time, you’ll have peace, quiet, delicious coffee, and a delectable treat.
Sometimes you need to get away from it all. You work a busy schedule, essential tasks bombard you, and you don’t have any time to relax before you have to get up and do it all over again. So, Austin might not seem like it, but this city has a lot to offer in the way of relaxation. No matter if you’re looking to get away for a weekend, a week, or longer, this city has you covered. You won’t regret having traveled here.
The Best Dog-Friendly Attractions in Portland, Oregon
With a green focus and an animal-loving attitude, a superband many fantastic pooch-welcoming bars and restaurants, Portland is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the USA. Check out our top dog-friendly attractions…
1 Sellwood Riverfront Park
With a 1.5-acre off-leash area that extends to the river, this is a great place to bring your dog, especially if yours loves to run and play with other dogs. You’ll need to put your dog back on the leash to use the connecting paths that take you through the forest, parks, and neighborhood areas, but there are plenty of places to enjoy sniffing around. Make sure you bring your poop bags and drinking water for your dog. The park provides picnic tables where you can rest after your walk.
2 Wildwood Trail, Forest Park
This wilderness area is situated at NW Germantown Road for serious hikers and canines of a high fitness level. Its 30-mile hike takes a couple of days to get around comfortably. It would help if you considered getting a map of Forest Park to find the best way to get around the trails, as some are more challenging than others. You’ll need to keep your dog on a leash the whole time, and you’ll have to bring your water and poop bags as these are not provided.
3 Portland Saturday Market
If you and your pup are the socializing kinds, then the open-air arts and crafts Saturday Market and Farmers Market at 2 SW Naito Parkway is the place to be. You’ll have to keep your dog on the leash while browsing for delicious baked goods, meats, and cheeses, but dogs are made welcome with plenty of drinking water stations and lots of shady spots when the weather gets too hot.
4 Portland International Raceway Dog Park
If you’re looking for somewhere you can let your canine stretch their legs, the fenced-off dog park has the best place to go. This is a very well maintained area where the grass is kept short and neat, and garbage is constantly cleared away, so take poop bags with you. Portland International Raceway is the home of drag racing, auto racing, motorcycle racing, and motocross, as well as Cruise-in specials, and all of these are held at various times throughout the year, so why not make a weekend of it and enjoy plenty of thrills, excitement, music, and great food and drink. Remember, though, that your pet must be adequately supervised, on a leash at all times, and must be cleaned up after. Some events do not allow pets, so check before you book.
5 Plum Hill Vineyards
How about this for something a little different? Plum Hill Vineyards, situated between Forest Grove and Gaston, this family-owned concern brews its wines, and not for nothing do they say it’s ‘your dog’s favorite winery’! It has to be one of the very few places where you can enjoy the company of your canine friend and, at the same time sample, some of the delicious wines the Plum Hill Vineyard has to offer. This place is genuinely dog-friendly as well-behaved dogs (and their humans) are allowed into the tasting room and onto the outside patio area. A large fenced dog run right next to the Vineyard where you and your dog can play. Poop bags, water, and treats are thoughtfully provided for you.
6 International Rose Test Garden
If you love to walk around well-tended gardens full to the brim with the sweet aroma of more than 10,000 beautiful roses, other plants, and attractions, then this is well worth a visit. The International Rose Test Garden, the oldest public garden in the US, is pet-friendly and extremely easy to get around on paved paths. You can take one of the free public tours or stroll around at your own pace to enjoy the fountain, statue, and gardens. Why not bring a picnic lunch and sit a while to enjoy the superb view, provided it is a clear day, over the city and Mt Hood in the distance. The garden is open all year round, but you should visit in June to see the roses at their best. There is free admission and a gift shop on-site as well.
7 Sandy River Delta, Thousand Acres Park
Although known to locals as simply Thousand Acres, and located just off I-84, 20 minutes from downtown Portland, this is 1,400 acres of doggy paradise. Consisting of open fields, wetlands, hiking trails, two rivers (the Sandy River and Columbia River), and numerous blackberry bushes, you and your pup can enjoy as much off-leash fun as possible. If your dog loves to swim, run, or just take a stroll at your side, you should come here to appreciate all that the Thousand Acres has to offer. It isn’t solely for dog walkers either – the Park is popular with birders, waterfowl hunters, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. There is one part of the park that you won’t be allowed into; however, as one-third of it is an off-limits wildlife habitat, so be aware of this. The park is open all year round from dawn until dusk, and there is car parking on site. The US Forest Service is responsible for the upkeep and development of the Park and for maintaining the off-leash regulations for doggy visitors. These state that dogs should be kept on a leash in the parking lot and within 100 feet of the Confluence Trail.
8 Hotel Monaco
Canine and human visitors to Portland will need a dog-friendly place to stay, and the Hotel Monaco is one of the best. The hotel welcomes all dogs, whether large or small, pure-breed or mutt. On arrival, you and your pup are greeted by the hotel’s canine, a Golden Retriever, to make you all feel at home. You can order a dog bed, food and water bowls, and mats if you don’t want to take your own. The hotel’s nightly wine reception welcomes guests and their pups, and you’ll be glad to know there are many dog-friendly restaurants nearby.
5 Great Reasons To Visit Miss Liberty
Visiting the Statue of Liberty is easily one of the most popular activities among the 60 million travelers who make their way to New York City annually. 4.5 million tourists per year make their way through Upper New York Harbor to this iconic, towering statue that stands on Liberty Island. That’s more than most other tourist stops in NYC and the USA.
But why is seeing the Statue of Liberty up close and personal so popular?
Five reasons to visit the Statue of Liberty?
1. The Ferry Ride
When you go on the Liberty Cruise to Liberty Island, you will find that the incredible views you catch of the NYC skyline and the gentle breeze off the bay on the way over are an experience in their own right. Just hop on the ferry for free at Battery Park at the tail end of Manhattan, and you’ll be over to Miss Liberty in a matter of minutes: but they are genuinely scenic minutes that you’ll remember for years to come.
2. It’s a Great Deal
Yes, you heard that right. You can take a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty 100%. And you can often set up your tickets while you buy NYC bus tour tickets online. The bus can drop you off at Battery Park, and the boat can take it from there. You will have to pay a small fee to get inside the statue and a little more, plus a months-ahead reservation to get a view from the crown. That can all be done with foresight and a modest expense, but just going to see the statue is free (and the rest is a great deal.)
3. A History Lesson
Learning about the Statue of Liberty’s history is worthwhile for history buffs and everyone else with an ounce of curiosity about the history and the significance of a 151-foot tall piece of copper standing on an equally tall pedestal. On Liberty Island, you can go on an audio or personally guided tour of all things related to the origin and history of this iconic symbol of New York City and American Liberty.
4. The Rest of the Island
Besides the statue herself, Liberty Island also offers a sculpture garden, the Statue of Liberty Museum Store, the Crown Cafe (not located in the crown), and an impressive view of old glory at Flagpole Plaza. The photo-ops abound, and there is enough to keep you occupied for hours on this island of freedom.
5. The Island Next Door
It’s easy to get over from Liberty Island to Ellis Island, which is very close by. You ride there directly and on the same ferry, still for free. The immigration museum on Ellis Island tells how many decades of immigrants flooded into the US through the Ellis Island immigration station. Sometimes that history is a cause for pride. Other times there was discrimination, but anyone interested in how we became this “melting pot” should take the time to visit Ellis, along with Miss Liberty.
The Best Way to Stay in LoDo Denver
The Mile High City welcomes all comers with open arms. Denver is a unique city, not just because it is located exactly one mile above sea level. No, Denver is special because of the amount of fun it contains in one neighborhood. Meet Denver’s Lower Downtown, colloquially referred to as LoDo.
LoDo is the most popular neighborhood in Denver, thanks to its incredible location. A stay in LoDo puts you within easy walking distance of Denver’s Contemporary Museum of Art, the historic Larimer Square, and the always impressive Coors Field. We don’t feel any pressure to sell you on this because LoDo Denver speaks for itself. However, we want to point you in the right direction when it comes to picking a place to stay in LoDo, as that is a much less discussed point. There are a nearly infinite number of areas for you to stay in, but today we’re going to compare and contrast two of the most popular venues: hotels and vacation rentals. Let’s begin, shall we?
Travel Apartments in Denver
Travel apartments are vacation rentals that don’t have to be used by people on vacation. Travel apartments let people visiting a new city stay in their private residence. Rather than sharing space with in-laws or strangers, you can stay in travel apartments, which give you your freedom while in LoDo. Each travel apartment comes with a private washer and dryer and a fully functional kitchen. Let’s examine some of the other benefits.
- Privacy. As mentioned, your travel apartment will be yours and yours alone. There is no housekeeping to worry about, no noisy neighbors; this is your home during your stay in LoDo.
- Amenities. And even more amenities. In addition to your private kitchen and laundry room, you get a spacious, well-lit, upscale apartment to live in. Take your pick from any travel apartments in Denver linked above because each will have a sleek design and comfortable layout. There are more small amenities than we have room to enumerate, so we’ll let you discover those for yourself.
- Location. Every travel apartment is located in the ideal spot for vacationers in a new city. Pick any one of the LoDo travel apartments, and you’ll be within walking distance of the best attractions, restaurants, and bars in Mile High City.
Now let’s look at some of the disadvantages.
- You’ll need to book in advance. If just reading this article has convinced you to book a stay in Denver right now, it’s possible there won’t be a traveling apartment available for you. Make sure to reserve your spot in advance.
- You’ll have a specified leave date. Like the first issue, you can’t just purchase another week’s stay at the end of your trip because someone else may have reserved the space. Be sure to book yourself a long enough stay the first time!
- You’re unlikely to get that native influence. Privacy is great, but talking to Denver natives gives you a fresh perspective on the city. You’ll need to make a point of going out and meeting some locals during your downtime!
Hotels In Denver
You know what a hotel is, right? Okay, cool. Here are the pros and cons of hotel living in LoDo Denver.
- Availability. Hotels are everywhere, with a vast range of pricing options. No matter what corner of Denver you wanted to stay in, you could find a hotel there. Moreover, it’s easy to find one that fits your budget with that many options.
- Helpers. You have someone to clean your sheets and a concierge to answer questions any time of the night or day. If there’s a place to stay where you can order food straight to your room besides hotels, we haven’t found it.
- Noise. Hotels are loud. Nothing to be done about it. When you’ve got people living above, below, and to the left and right, things are bound to get a little noisy. All you can do is hope that the kids don’t start crying…
- Unreliable advertising. Hotels all seem eager to advertise their tranquil oasis of a pool area. They are sorting out which pools will fry your hair with hyper-chlorination.
- No privacy. Between housekeeping, your four sets of neighbors, and that one guy from the next room over drunkenly swiping his crucial card at your door, it can be hard to find space that’s yours and yours alone.
So, what’s the right way to stay in LoDo Denver? Hotel or travel apartment? Ultimately, the choice is yours and yours alone. Of course, if you hate being indoors, maybe glamping in Denver would be more your speed? No matter what you choose, you’ll have the time of your life flying high in LoDo Denver.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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