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Six Seattle Parks Activities For Sunny Days

Seattle is known for its rain, but locals know that the best time of year for Seattle is the summer months between July to September. That’s when the weather is at its best, and the sun shines brightly on the Emerald City. On sunny days, locals head out to the local park to take advantage of the sunshine. Here are six Seattle parks activities that you can do on a sunny day.

Fly a kite at Gas Works Park

The best place to fly a kite, and consequently, the best place to catch a view of the city, is on top of Kite Hill at Gas Works Park. The hill, which features a giant sun dial at the top, is man made and was created by the city of Seattle when they turned the former gas plant into a city park.

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Visitors flying a kite at Seattle’s Gas Works Park

 

Play volleyball at Green Lake Park

Green Lake Park is a hub for outdoor sports and activities. With plenty of baseball and softball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and even a putting green, Green Lake Park has virtually everything for everyone. A favorite sunny day past time among locals is to play volleyball. With just a net and a ball, and some enthusiastic teammates, you can have a rousing game of volleyball just about anywhere at the park.

Rent a paddle board at Green Lake Park

If land activities are not your thing, you can also tour Green Lake by boat, to enjoy views of its idyllic waters and lush trees. The Green Lake Boat House offers kayaks, pedal boats, canoes, row boats, and stand up paddle boards for rent. Sailboats are also available for rent through the Boat House.

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Lake Union Park in Seattle

 

Go canoeing at Lake Union

Another boating option is to rent a kayak or canoe and tour Lake Union. There are plenty of companies along the lake that offer kayak and canoe rentals including the Northwest Outdoor Center, Moss Bay, and Agua Verde Paddle Club. However, the best value is to go through the University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center and rent a canoe or rowboat. Hourly rentals for the general public are $9 on weekdays, and $11 on weekends, a fraction of the cost of the other companies.

Hike to the light house at Discovery Park

With over 500 acres of land, Discovery Park is a favorite among locals for hiking within the city. A focal point of the park is the West Point Light House, which has been guiding ships along the Puget Sound since 1881. Visitors love Discovery Park, with its many trails, as it affords them a refuge from the sights and sounds of the city.

Watch boats go by at the Ballard Locks

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, known as the Ballard Locks, are a popular spot for tourists, regardless of whether it’s sunny or rainy. Children and adults alike enjoy watching the engineering marvel of the boats rising and falling through the sheer force of water, as they make their way through the locks. The Ballard Locks connects the salt water of the Puget Sound with the fresh water of Lake Union. During the summer months, visitors can see salmon making their way up the fish ladder as they journey from the sea on to their spawning grounds in the Duwamish River.

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“Salmon Waves” sculpture at Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Seattle

 

Despite being subject to rain nine months out of the year, Seattle is quite a beautiful place to spend a sunny day. With its lush greenery and scenic views of water and mountains, it’s no wonder the locals can’t get enough of the outdoors. On a sunny Seattle day, the best thing to do is to go out into the city and try one of these Seattle parks activities for yourself.

Looking for more travel ideas? Check out the Leaf Canoe App for tips about Seattle and other cities.

 

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Exploring San Francisco by Segway

Along the blue bay lies a glittering, colorful city of San Francisco. Boasting beautiful landmarks, cozy restaurants, and a unique, hilly layout, this destination is one-of-a-kind. Although there are some great options for public transportation, like the iconic streetcars, and plenty of taxis to help get around, it can be a blast to try something new. One great mode that works will with the steep streets and narrow pathways is a Segway. These can be rented through touring companies to be used individually or in an official tour. Either way, seeing San Francisco by Segway is a fun and active way to get a lay of the land!

Looking for even more pit stops to check out in San Francisco? Download the LeafCanoe app for more tips and tricks!

Start by the Water

When many travelers think of San Francisco, they imagine the attraction on the bay. The waterfront and Marina areas are most popular with visitors. Zip through Fisherman’s Wharf to find the large crab sign marking the once pivotal spot for commercial fishing in the city. There’s some wonderful seafood restaurants along the walkway, as well as several museums. Head to the Musee Mecanique to see some interesting and historical coin-operated video game collections. There’s also an array of souvenir stores filled with oddities and items to take home, that welcome you to park the Segway outside.

Visit Alcatraz

You can bring a Segway to Alcatraz, but you can also simply take a ferry and leave it behind for this leg of the trip. Alcatraz was once a working prison that housed infamous crooks such as Al Capone. Tours allow guests to peek inside empty cells and hear past stories of daring escapes and horrible crimes committed.

2013-11-21 12.07.17Venture up the Hill

From there, it’s time for a snack. The Ghirardelli Square is a perfect place to have a bite to eat and stroll through various shops. This was named after the iconic chocolate company, which still produces sweets today in the city. Have an ice cream smothered in signature chocolate sauce located inside the clock tower building. There are also a few steakhouses and a winery located in the square.

Try New Neighborhoods

While people often stick to the waterfront when exploring San Francisco, it’d be a shame to miss out on all the other great spots throughout the various neighborhoods. For instance, The Mission is an up and coming district full of breweries, Latin restaurants, and pretty parks. Have a drink at the Southern Pacific Brewing Company at the trendy outdoor patio, then catch a show at the small, intimate theater called Marsh.

Have a blast in the sprawling city of San Francisco, a perfect destination for any West Coast adventure.

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Top 8 places to see on Boston’s Freedom Trail

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Top 8 places to see on Boston’s Freedom Trail

History and the city of Boston go hand-in-hand. With a place so steeped in the past, it has found a beautiful way to blend together modern accomplishments with those accomplished by the country’s forefathers. Any traveler journeying to Boston should not overlook the historical landmarks this destination takes pride in and protects.

One of the easiest ways to explore Boston’s history is a walk along the famous Freedom Trail. There are 2 and a half miles of red brick marked along the streets of the city that highlight some of the coolest homes, state houses, statues and even spooky cemeteries worth visiting.

How about even more ideas for exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail than the ones below? Sign up for the list to gain exclusive access to the LeafCanoe app. See the great itineraries locals and travelers have posted of their adventures!

Paul Revere House

The midnight ride of Paul Revere is said to have staved off British devastation during the American Revolution. He rode through the night warning locals of an impending battle. Nowadays, travelers can visit his original homestead, built in 1680, which has been converted into a museum.

Bunker Hill Monument

Standing tall at one of Boston’s highest points, this honors those who lost their lives during the Revolutionary War. It looks like the Washington Memorial with a tall base and pointy top, standing more than 220 feet tall. If feeling adventurous, all 300 steps can be climbed for a sweeping view of the skyline.

Faneuil Hall

Not many shopping malls can claim to have been around for more than two and a half centuries. Faneuil Hall is one of the busiest parts of Boston, with hordes of visitors shopping, dining and enjoying the gaggle of street performers. The area has both indoor and outdoor spaces for a range of activities, shows and fun. It looks prettiest around the holidays when a formal tree lighting ceremony takes pace every year.

Massachusetts State House

When it’s time to see some bling, make a stop on the Freedom Trail at the state house. Topped with a massive gold dome gilded in 23 karat gold, the building is an iconic part of the city. Tours are given on the regular by professional guided to help with its history, dating back to 1798.

Old North Church

This is the oldest church in the city that still stands and has a lively congregation. Legedn has it this was a stop on Paul Revere’s Ride and where he got his famous lantern lit. The Episcopal church stand in the middle of the North End, which is a fun hub also known as Boston’s Little Italy.

Granary Burial Ground

A city so full of old wars and history is bound to have a few ghost stories. Take a look at this burial ground that was created in 1660 to house locals after their untimely deaths. More than 5,000 people are laid to rest in this spot, many who fought in the Revolutionary War. Relatives of Ben Franklin are buried in the graveyard too.

USS Constitution

Away from the hubbub of downtown, the USS Constitution is an impressive tall masted ship docked in Boston Harbor. It was once used by the United States Navy and was built in the late 1700s. To this day the ship is the oldest in the official Navy fleet still afloat and is manned by 60 sailors on a given day.

Boston Common

After a day exploring Boston’s finest historical sites, having a rest at this sprawling, green park is a perfect way to end the day. As the world’s oldest city park, established in 1634, it still reigns today as a great meeting place for sports enthusiasts, theater lovers and skaters on the cheery Frog Pond. Over time, the space has been used as a meeting ground for revolution and change, even through modern history. For instance, Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II both gave speeches on the Common.

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Lunchtime in Boston

It’s the middle of the day, and it’s time to eat. If traveling through the great city of Boston, you might be saving fancy establishments for dinner to empty out your wallet. But what if you still want to explore some culinary delights in the city and not break the bank? We have four great places to grab a tasty bite throughout Boston.

Make sure you check out my ‘leaf’, naming even more great places to nosh throughout the city on the LeafCanoe app! Filled with photos and tips, it’s the perfect way to map out meals while on the road.

Anna’s Taqueria

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There’s burritos, then there’s Anna’s. These hotspots for real authentic Mexican fast food are scattered throughout the city, but all offer the best burritos, quesadillas and tacos around. They have fresh vegetables and perfectly spiced meats to stuff them all. Pair these hearty lunch items with one of their signature Mexican drinks, such as the Horchata, similar to a sweet almond milk.

Shake Shack

Originally a famous chain in New York City, Boston has now welcomed a few restaurants of its own. The interior is much classier than other burger joints and the ingredients used are fresh. Although a little more costly then the golden arches, it’s well worth a few more dollars for their signature crinkly fries, burgers and a ‘concrete’. These milkshakes are so thick they need a spoon, thus the namesake. Choose one mixed with red velvet cake or a lobster tail pastry made in the nearby North End.

Figaro’s

It’s a standard sandwich shop with a delicious twist. Everything is made to order and massive, satisfying the cravings of those working in the financial district and tourist alike. Most of their hot subs, rollups and deli delights are named after famous Italians. Take with you the steak and cheese “Al Capone” or the imported prosciutto “Pavarotti”.

Pho Pasteur

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It can be a hit or miss when wandering through the Chinatown neighborhood, but many of these places offer hot, quick lunches for affordable prices. This place borders the Theater district, but is easily found on Washington Street. There pho bowls range in size, but a small is plenty fo even a large lunch. Fill it with beef, chicken or a mix of tasty items, smothered in flavorful broth and noodles. They have great chicken wings or shrimp cakes to start as well, fried up crispy.

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Dine out without breaking the bank in Hell’s Kitchen

Once a rough and tumble quarter full of Irish immigrants and hot dog carts, Hell’s Kitchen is now a fashionable Midtown neighborhood that boasts some of the best eateries on the isle of Manhattan. Its proximity to the theater district and the famed Actors Studio has long made Hell’s Kitchen a haven for the artistically minded, and now that the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has made its home there, the area is even more of a hot spot for Manhattanites and tourists alike. But, you can’t drain your wallet every time you want a night out in the city, so here is a list of some of the best inexpensive (and fun) restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen that could please even the fussiest foodie.

Empanada Mama

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While Empanada Mama on 9th Ave has a full menu, including entrees, salads, and desserts, you really need to try some of their famous empanadas. With over 40 flavors to choose from, you will be able to satisfy your appetite for something savory with the Caribbean-style pork filled Brasil empanada, something spicy with the Spicy Chicken Empanada, and something sweet with the American as apple pie USA empanada. Allergies? Fear not, empanadas come in both wheat and corn flour. Picky eaters? There is a plain old burger on the menu too. All empanadas are priced between $2 and $3 each, which will leave you plenty of cash to try one of their delicious drinks too!

Stecchino

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 Stecchino’s is known for its Italian-style burgers. While you can grab an entree here, the best bang for your buck is one of the burger plates which range between $12.50 and $14.50. These burgers range from the adventurous, The Butchers Block pork and black truffle burger, to the aristocratic, Caesar’s Palazzo with shredded romaine and Caesar dressing. Each plate comes with a generous helping of the familiar and the unexpected, and every burger satisfies. IF by some chance you are still hungry after dinner, you can always top things off with a traditional cannoli for dessert.

Merilu Pizza Al Metro

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Pizza is always the perfect choice, whether you are dining with a large group or a small one, and New York always knows how to do pizza right. At Merilu’s you can go for a plain NY Pie for as little as $12 or a Prosciutto di Param Pizza for $23, or grab one of their delicious salads or homemade Italian dishes to satisfy your appetite. The folks at Merilu’s have a huge menu for you to choose from, and even offer gluten free options, because no one should have to live without pizza. You can round off the night with some Classic Nutella.

 

 

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Top 4 unique workout routines in NYC

Even on vacation, travelers who are always on the move will be looking for somewhere to burn off their energy. In New York, a concrete jungle full of tasty cuisine, hot nightclubs and attractions to explore, it can be easy to throw out your usual fitness routine. However, locals know that there are countless places to work out that are way beyond the realms of treadmills and aerobics. Here are some fun spots to meet others while burning calories in Manhattan.

Anti-Gravity Aerial Yoga

Have you ever gone to a Circe du Solei show and dreamed of flying through the air like the acrobats? A studio on west 37th street has developed an ‘Anti-gravity” method of yoga that uses similar hammock-like materials to suspend participants in the air. They go through moves typically found in yoga, but defy the elements and work new muscle groups, reliving gravity’s tension and pull. Jump into a class and quickly learn the ropes to have a blast working out.

Indoor rock climbing at Chelsea Piers

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This gigantic indoor rock wall can be found at a big sports complex on the water, complete with ice rink, gold club and spa, to name a few. Have the expert staff teach you climbing basics, then work toward conquering the wall, which offers more than 11,000 square feet of fun to cover.

Try movement mixed with drama

Perhaps you’d like to avoid gym-like setting all together on a trip to New York City. Join other theater goers for a unique and interactive experience at Sleep No More, a Shakespeare play set inside a massive warehouse. This is not a vigorous workout, but it is a way to immerse in a play while walking and running through a live, haunting and theatric environment. Each performance lasts three hours, which is a great amount of time to be on your feet. Follow actors and let them actually lead you by the hand through room to figure out the story.

Simply have a run at Central Park

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The biggest and most iconic green spot in Manhattan is a haven for fitness buffs. Connect with the Central Park runner’s group to stay safe and let them show you the best routes for running. See all the beautiful scenery of this area while energizing your body and getting away from the city for a spell.

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Top small music venues in NYC

Manhattan has some of the most creative and musical residents in the world. People travel from all corners of the globe to make it big as rockstars, on Broadway or anything in between. This gives everyone a chance to showcase their talents and also be witness to some incredible live music in almost every corner of the city. No matter if you are into rock, indie, soul, hip hop or even orchestral, there is a place for you to treat your ears to fantastic entertainment.

Beekman Beer Garden

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Most people do not head to NYC for the beaches, but there is in fact a city man-made shore overlooking the East River that doubles as a music venue. The Beekman has featured acts such as Eric Prydz, Moe., and even George Clinton on the past to patrons hanging out on the sand and in glowing, funky chairs outside. More energetic travelers can enjoy the massive dance space, or challenge a friend to a ping-pong or pool game on the premises. It’s located off of South St.

Gramercy Theater

Live Nation is dominating in ticket sales throughout NYC and the country – so they’ve decided to take creating concert venues into their own hands. The Gramercy Theater was born out of an old movie theater from the 1930s and re-designed to accommodate about 600 music fans at once. Some bands coming up on the calendar include Bassface, Wheatus and Switchfoot.

Living Room

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On Ludlow Street is a little gem that has a great coffee house feel and an intimate setting. Made famous by Norah Jones, the Living Room now features relaxed, singer-songwriter acts throughout the week. Some shows are so laid-back that the singer will make up songs on the spot, so guests can be sure they’re hearing completely original tunes. During the day, kids can even get in on the fun and hear some friendly jingles from famous rockers, like Nada Surf and the Hold Steady.

Jalopy

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Big lights and exciting bands are the draw to most NYC shows, but sometimes locals and travelers also want to get away from it all. Jalopy offers this ambiance on Columbus St. with its curtained stage and charming libations served in mason jars. People who get inspired can stick around for music classes as well, with instruments available to rent in concentrations of mandolin, ukelele, guitar and fiddle.

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Famous New York City Streets

Visitors in Manhattan are almost always gazing upward in wonder at the towering skyscrapers and flashy sights to see. But sometimes the best part of strolling through this incredible city is found right on the street – actually, the streets themselves. Most people, even if they haven’t visited New York City, can name a few, such as 5th Avenue, 42nd Street and Park Street. While travelers might only know these from playing Monopoly, each iconic pathway has a rich history, reputation and beauty to explore.

Wall Street

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Some compare Wall Street alongside other incredible iconic places in the world, including La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain and Abbey Road in the U.K. However, this place in New York is not exactly a tourism hub, but rather is known for being the financial epicenter of one of the most powerful countries across the globe. Its origins date back to the 17th century, when a wall was constructed in the same spot to ward off invaders in the new land.

Broadway

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This street is synonymous with theater and drama but it actually just means a ‘broad’ street in the literal sense. Although travelers can find many venues for shows right on this street, it also stretches for miles through the Bronx and into the rest of the state, ending near Sleepy Hollow.

Fifth Avenue

Shine up those credit cards and head to 5th to shop all day at some of the hottest boutique and designer stores in the country. Not only should guests pop into Saks Fifth Avenue for some clothes, jewelry or handbags, they can also visit other historic buildings, such as the St. Regis Hotel, the 5th Avenue Theater and the old Vanderbilt residence. More famous landmark on 5th Avenue every New York visitor should see are Rockefeller Center, the New York Public Library and the Empire State Building, to name a few.

Lesser known notable streets

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Although most of Manhattan has streets that are numbered, a few honor names of the past and provide interesting throughways to pass by when exploring. For instance, Utopia Parkway was named after the farmland was once purchased in the area, and Maiden Lane is said to be where women used to do domestic chores when New York was still a new settlement. Quaint restaurants and people watching spots now lines these routes, usually overlooked for larger roads in Manhattan.

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Give NYC theater venues a closer look

The shows inside New York’s theaters are the real draw, but many of these venues are a sight to see alone. Draped in historical significance and beautiful design, theaters that hold Broadway shows, intimate products and even the occasional movie are well worth taking a peek during a trip to Manhattan. Some even have tours specifically for the drama buffs and architectural aficionados.

The Beacon Theater

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See rock and roll at its finest at the Beacon. It’s been the venue for recent Tony Awards and hosts a wide variety of concerts, such as The Allman Brothers and Duran Duran. The marquee shines bright, covered in old style flashbulbs. Some call it the ‘older sister’ to Radio City Music Hall. It has a deep history dating back to the 1920s that began with operas and musicals, especially because it boasts impeccable acoustics.

59E59

The layout of this venue is not the most impressive, but its three different theaters allow for a wonderfully intimate and unique show experience is such a large and chaotic city. Escape the streets and duck into this space, famous for its off-Broadway performances. Each space only holds a hundred or so guests, so they can have a truly immersive experience and connect with the actors. While big, flashy shows are thrilling, many wander to 59E39 for a different kind of performance.

David H. Koch Theater

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Ballet lovers and fans of classic performing arts will want to catch a show at this special area near the Lincoln Center. Since the 1960s, it’s been an iconic figure downtown, with an impressive front façade of white columns and a dramatic fountain area. Inside, note the elegant marble flooring and golf-leaf ceilings – an environment that warrants wearing your Sunday best for one of the spectacular shows on the bill. This is the official venue for the New York City Ballet.

The Ziegfeld

This is the place for flicks in the city that gives movie-goers a sense of the old school viewing pleasures. Covered in stunning red accents, chandeliers and sporting comfy seats, the features are limited and the space is often reserved for special events. Arrive a little early to admire the ambiance and watch the light fall for the film. Find it right on 6th Avenue for a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon escaping reality.

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A journey to the top of the Empire State Building

Travelers know they have really made it to Manhattan when they view it from above at the top of the Empire State Building. While it’s no longer the tallest or most modern around, it holds true to its roots and is well recognized worldwide for being a feat of 20th century design.

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What to Expect

Access is right on 5th avenue and towers over guests that enter through the glittering gold lobby. There are some lines inside and places to buy tickets for the observation deck. Travelers can get authentic souvenirs inside as well, but these can be bought more affordably on the streets too. People from all over the world come here, so it’s most likely you will where dozens of different languages talking excitedly about the experience. There is a security check too, so wear removable jackets and keep belongings to a minimum to streamline the process.

Who Will Love It

Anyone on a first or 50th visit to New York City can’t help but be blown away by the incredible panoramic views offered from the 86th and 102th floor. There are other decks to see the city from, but this is the best by far. It’s centrally located and easy to get to as well. Movie buffs will have a blast remembering countless scenes filmed at this location, including Sleepless in Seattle, Elf, King Kong and Bright Lights, Big City.

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Who Will Be Disappointed

It’s hard to be let down at a place with so much architectural beauty and history. But it can be tough to keep track of children on the observation deck, which can lead to a little stress. Tickets are very overpriced, due to its iconic popularity, so it can cost a family a couple of hundred dollars just to reach the top deck. When on a budget, this might want to be avoided, but the lobby space is free to visit.

Travel Tips

As this is one of the top places to visit in Manhattan, travelers will often have to battle long lines and grumpy staff members. However, after the sun goes down, the lines great diminish and the observation is almost clear. Have kids take a nap and bring everyone straight to the top after 9PM for great nighttime views and less hassle. In addition, buy tickets in advance to avoid lines further and zoom right to the top.

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