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The Big City Awaits… MIA, LAX, NYC or SEA

By Jenna Kelley

“To travel is to live.”

“I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.”

There’s fancy architecture, sunny beaches, celebrities’ handprints on the ground, and even outrageous museums that cannot be seen anywhere else, except in the big city. That’s right! We’re talking about the hot spicy districts of Miami, the glamorous boardwalks of Los Angeles, the beautiful city of Seattle, and the bustling streets of New York City. These four vibrant cities will make you feel so alive, you’ll question if you’ve ever even lived before you visited these upbeat hot spots.

Whether you’re sailing through the beautiful aqua waters or basking in some Vitamin D on the silky sandy shores of South Beach, Miami is definitely a city that entices the eyes that craves beauty. Art, culture, and music are three tings that come to mind when visiting Miami. As an international hub of cultural diversity and world-class offerings, the most luxurious attractions are right before your eyes. As sightseeing was #1 on our list, we hit the sand running and absorbed everything the city has to offer. One place in particular, the Wynwood Art District, a neighborhood that withholds artistic scenery as the art is wrapped around the walls of the buildings and maintains over seventy galleries. The type of art scene around here is funky graffiti murals, eye-popping portraits, and even quotes that are spray painted on the cement blocks of the sidewalk. Bringing out our inner artist and learning the proper technique for creating graffiti was definitely a highlight. I really felt as though I was one with the art after experiencing the Wynwood Walls. (wynwoodartwalk.com)

Mmm…where are all my foodies? Miami has an exquisite taste for delicacies. From café cubano to fresh seafood, and everything in between, make sure to visit the restaurants of South Florida and experience the delicious culinary delights of authentic flavors only to be found in the sunshine sate. To really eat like a local, off the beaten track, get tips from the experts and experience a fabulous array of bites around the city’s historic neighborhoods. Enjoy a culinary tour, like we did, where you can fulfill your wildest gourmet dreams and dine around town in multiple restaurants. (miamiculinarytours.com)

Being in the sunshine state, I can never get enough of the feeling of warm, silky sand running between my toes, as I stared out onto the horizon. The crashing waves with breezy sailboats and grandiose yachts cruising by always mesmerizes me. The landmark hotel, Fontainebleau, didn’t disappoint as it is one of the most well known luxury beach hotels and resorts known to Miami for decades. A room with views that only overlook the bright blue ocean is spectacular. Renting a poolside cabana is truly a treat, and we enjoyed being treated like royalty for the day. As home to one of Miami’s most famous nightlife clubs, LIV, along with fine dining and a fabulous spa to boot, you’ll definitely be living lavishly here. (fontainebleau.com)

Cruising up the eastern coast of the United States, we moved north to another favorite city that is widely known as The Big Apple. With areas such as China Town and Little Italy, New York City is one of the most diverse melting pots in the world. Acquire an Empire State of Mind and as you zoom to the top of the building and peak over the rooftops of this magical city. There’s nothing quite like the streets of New York and wandering around we grabbed a fresh, hot pretzel with some mustard. Gazing up at the beautiful Statue of Liberty, proudly holding her bright burning torch, really made me think of what my relatives went through when they first arrived in the harbor. One of my favorite things to do in this incredible city is to meander aimlessly through Central Park. In the wintertime it’s beautifully covered in a thick layer of pure, white snow, and in the summer everything comes alive with the beautiful grassy plains. There is even a wonderful zoo in the park, just perfect for all ages.

Do not forget that this is the city that never sleeps! In fact, as we took a step into Times Square, we hit the town ready for some shopping, fantastic dining and of course a Broadway show. Broadway tickets are being sold all over the city, and, trust me; a Broadway show in New York is a performance like no other. From musicals to comedy and even dramas, sit back and watch as top-notch vocalists, dancers, and actors entertain, second to none. (broadway.com) Along with the performing arts, tour the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to see works from famous artists, such as Van Gogh or Andy Warhol) or another incredible museum of your choosing. On a more serious note, take a reflective stroll around the 9/11 memorial, which is in place of where the Twin Towers used to be. Seeing your reflection as you read the names on the glossy plaques will really pull at your heartstrings. (911memorial.org)

Brightening the mood, let’s fly to the West side of the country to sunny Los Angeles, the land where stars are born. This city is filled with so much talent, be prepared to be star struck when you least expect it. Walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and casually step on golden stars with celebrities names imprinted on them. I remember taking my picture with stars, such as Julie Andrews and Christina Aguilera. It isn’t the real person, but it’s close enough! Tired of hearing about celebrities? No worries. Take a Segway tour that travels through all different parts of Los Angeles, such as Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and Wilshire Boulevard. This tour really takes a spin on traveling. I waved at those who traveled by bus, and was happy I stepped out of the box and chose the adventurous route. Remember to wear your helmet! On this tour, you might even be able to see the Hollywood sign overlooking L.A. (anothersideoflosangelestours.com) Take a walk down Venice Beach and watch the strikingly chiseled individuals work out along the shore. We took a walk along the boardwalk, watching the bird’s doge in every direction, which led us to a pier with a carnival. Sitting high on the Ferris wheel, I was really able to grasp all of L.A. as it reached the top.

Next stop, we are off to the Pacific Northwest and visit Seattle. Another jaw-dropping city across the country that most people fall in love with Seattle and its surrounding majestic mountains, evergreen forests and water of Puget Sound. Since Seattle is right on the coast, we made sure to visit the famous landmark, Pike’s Place Market. The delicious smell of fresh fish and abundance of shiny, fresh fruit and vegetables had our mouths watering. You can’t miss it when you see the enormous bright red sign hovering the market. (pikeplacemarket.org)

Don’t like needles? No problem! This needle is an architectural one, called The Space Needle. This tall building is structured for individuals to get a birds-eye view of all of Seattle. It is absolutely gorgeous. Another way to view all of Seattle is to hop onto the Seattle Great Wheel. It is a massive Ferris wheel that sits as high as 175 feet above Pier 57. (spaceneedle.com) Also, it is important to be a little studious and visit their famous Central Public Library. The building itself is so uniquely structured; you won’t even want to walk inside. I starred in awe at this landmark for probably about fifteen minutes, until I realized I haven’t even stepped inside the glass building.

These four cities will turn your relaxing vacay into a whirlwind of fun activities. Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle are four hot spots that are not only filled with flashy and glamorous landmarks, but also these trendy cities will excite every ounce of your being. For the first time in your life, you might even discover what it is like to be alive.