While Mexico City may seem to have it all, a break from the hustle and bustle of the city is sometimes necessary. Whether you want to immerse yourself in history or soak up some art, these are some of the best day trips that you can take from Mexico City.
Located about half an hour from the city center, the ancient city of Teotihuacan is the most famous archaeological site near Mexico City. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to pyramids and ruins from the Mesoamerican settlement, including the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. Both of these can be climbed by visitors, and while a straight climb up to the top of each would only take about a quarter of an hour each, do not forget that this site is extremely popular with tourists, meaning that negotiating the queues can often take a couple of hours.
For those looking for a day trip filled with art and culture, then Toluca, which is less than an hour’s drive away from Mexico City, is the destination for you. Toluca is absolutely packed with museums, from the Museo de Bellas Artes to the Centro Cultural Mexiquense, and the entire day could easily be spent browsing through the many museum collections here. In addition to being known for its art and culture, Toluca is also the chorizo capital of Mexico, so be sure to leave enough time for some chorizo tasting too.
Located in Puebla, Cholula is a quiet town that offers unbeatable views of the Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl Mountains, and is one of the most important of colonial towns in Mexico. The architecture that you will find here tends to be the highlight of a visit to Cholula, with vibrant colors all over, and more than 40 different incredible churches to be explored. The beauty of these churches comes from their diverse architectural styles, with everything from Gothic to Neoclassical influences easily seen. Cholula is also home to the Pyramid Tepanapa, which is famous for being the largest pyramid in the world by volume.
Santiago de Queretaro
Santiago de Queretaro is the state capital of Queretaro, and can be reached from Mexico City in just over two and a half hours. Not only is it known for being one of the safest cities in Mexico, but the city’s historic center is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its captivating array of churches, convents and museums all waiting to be discovered. In addition to the culture and architecture, Santiago de Queretaro also has quite the up-and-coming vineyard scene, and is known for producing some truly exquisite fine wines.
While Mexico City itself has so much to offer, it would be a shame to visit the area and not take advantage of all of the incredible day trips that can be had. From the ancient city of Teotihuacan to the colonial town of Choloula, be sure to schedule enough time on your vacation to squeeze a few of these day trips in.
The San Juan area of Puerto Rico is home to numerous beaches, each one boasting their own unique features. From secluded and tranquil to chic and trendy, these are some of the must-visit beaches in and around San Juan.
El Escambron Public Beach
A Blue Flag beach located in the San Juan neighbourhood of Puerta de Tierra, the El Escambron Public Beach is the closest beach to Old San Juan, and its breathtaking views of the city are what makes it so appealing. The west side of the beach boasts views of the El Morro and San Cristobal forts, while from the east side, you will see everything from the Condado skyline to the Ocean Park Beach. Protected by a natural reef, the water here is calm and gentle, making it ideal for families with young children who want to try a spot of snorkelling. For those who find the main section of the beach too crowded, the east side of Tercer Milenio Park, which is easily within walking distance, features a more secluded and tranquil section of beach.
Condado Beach is known for being one of the trendiest in the city, and is lined with glitzy beach-front hotels and casinos, making this the go-to beach for all of the guests that are staying there. Compared to other Caribbean beaches, Condado Beach feels more like a beach that you would find in Miami, and, with its wide array of bars and restaurants, is a great spot from which to indulge in some people watching. This is also a great beach for trying out some watersports, all of which can be booked from the hotels that are on the beach.
Ocean Park Beach
Ocean Park Beach is a beautiful wide beach that is lined with palm and sea grape trees, and is a great spot for locals and tourists to mix. The crowd here consists mostly of young professionals and singles, and, without the high rise resorts that line many of San Juan’s other beaches, the focus here is placed on beach-related activities, from swimming to kite surfing to paddle tennis. The vibe here is casual and laid back, making it the perfect beach for those who are seeking relaxation.
Pine Grove Beach
Located near the airport at the end of Isla Verde, Pine Grove Beach is crescent shaped, with soft white sand and calm blue waters. The west side of the beach features a long sandbar, which means the water here is completely sheltered, and quite shallow a long way out, making it perfect for swimming, while the east side is where you will find perfectly formed waves that are never too big, making it ideal for surfing and boogie boarding. While there are no public facilities here, it is only a short walk to the Isla Verde district, where you will find everything from restaurants to shops.
While many may consider San Juan to be more of a historic and cultural destination to visit, there is no denying the spectacular nature of the beaches that you will find here. Whether you are seeking a beach to people watch and enjoy a few cocktails, or would prefer to get active in the water, San Juan is guaranteed to have just the beach for you.
The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is the site at which gold was first discovered by James. W Marshall in 1848, triggering the California Gold Rush. For those who are interested in the state’s famous Gold Rush history, a tour of the park will definitely be an extremely rewarding experience.
The Gold Discovery Museum
The Gold Discovery Museum should definitely be one of your first stops when visiting the park for the first time, as this is the ideal place from which to learn more about the Gold Rush. The exhibits here are mostly Gold Rush-themed, with everything from original mining equipment to horse-drawn vehicles.
Panning for Gold
One of the most popular activities at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is panning for gold, which visitors can try their hand at the American River. Lessons on how to pan for gold are held at the museum, while gold pans can also be purchased from there, or also from the park’s Bekeart’s Gun Shop, which sells a variety of old-fashioned trade goods.
Gold Discovery Tours
A relatively new addition to the park, the Gold Discovery Tours are guided walking tours that are held at least twice a day. From learning about the events that led up to the initial discovery of gold, to hearing about how it all impacted the town of Coloma, this is a tour that all Gold Rush enthusiasts should sign up for.
Living History Days
Every second Saturday of the month is Living History Day at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, with several fascinating living history activities and events. From rope making to candle dipping to Dutch oven cooking to traditional games, this is an event that guarantees to be plenty of fun for the entire family.
The American River Nature Center
In addition to being home to some of the most important historic sites in the state, the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is also a haven for nature and wildlife, and the American River Nature Center is the best place to learn more about this. Some of the exhibits here include murals of wildlife, animal mounts, and even a few small live animals.
There are a number of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed in the park, with the most popular being hiking along the many nature trails that criss-cross their way around the park grounds, leading to scenic picnic spots. White water rafting is also a hit here, which is no surprise considering the fact that the American River is known for being the very best in the country for rafting, with rapids that are perfect for beginners and families.
The Californian Gold Rush was an extremely significant time in history, and had a huge impact on the way in which the state subsequently progressed. From learning about the history of the Gold Rush, to trying your hand at panning for gold in the American River, there is no denying that the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is the very best place to learn more about how gold has influenced California.
Sacramento is packed with history and heritage, and there are over 50 fascinating historical landmarks scattered throughout the region. From a reconstruction of the very first Californiatheatre built in California, to the culture-filled Crocker Art Museum, these are some of Sacramento’s must-visit historical landmarks if you only have a short amount of time to spare.
The Eagle Theatre
The Eagle Theatre was California’s very first dedicated theatre building, and was originally constructed in 1849. However, just three months after opening, it was sadly destroyed by a devastating flood. Nevertheless, the theatre was reconstructed in 1974, and while its interior may now be home to docents of the California Railroad Museum, the exterior of the theatre is still a beautiful example of architecture from that time period.
Crocker Art Museum
The Crocker Art Museum is a historic institution in Sacramento, having been built in 1870. While it used to be home to a private art collection, the building, as well as its contents, were donated to the City of Sacramento in 1884. Today, the museum has grown since then, and is now three times its original size, containing everything from classic masterpieces to rare postmodern art.
Old Sacramento State Historic Park
The Old Sacramento State Historic Park is home to Sacramento’s historic roots, and contains a variety of heritage landmarks. Not only is this the site of several early Gold Rush structures, but it was once also home to the California Supreme Court, and you will find many buildings here that date all the way back to the 1850’s. Old Sacramento itself is a National Historic Landmark, and boasts many claims to fame, with one of the most important being that it used to be the western end of the line for the Pony Express, which was the first transcontinental railroad in the world.
The Governor’s Mansion can be found in the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park, and was originally built in 1878. Since then, it has served as the residence for thirteen of California’s Governors, and its regal extravagance definitely
needs to be seen in order to be appreciated. From the European décor features within to the exotic plants in the expansive grounds outside, including a swimming pool that was built in 1959, this is a historical landmark well worth touring.
State Indian Museum
The State Indian Museum was built just over 50 years ago, and was the very first museum in California solely dedicated to Indian cultures. The collection in this museum is truly extraordinary, with artefacts from over 100 of California’s Native American tribes, and there are plenty of interactive exhibits too, from trying your hand at pounding acorns into meal to learning about the elders who are still fighting today to keep their culture alive.
Sacramento is a great destination from which you can learn so much about California’s history. From the range of art at the Crocker Art Museum to the multiple historic sites in Old Sacramento, the area is simply packed with history and culture, and is always a joy to explore.
Sacramento is a city of traditional and modern contrasts, making it the perfect setting for love and romance. From sugary-sweet restaurants to an old-fashioned drive-in, these are some of the most romantic things to do in Sacramento.
West Wind Sacramento
Old-fashioned drive-in movie theatres are a rarity these days, but the West Wind Sacramento is still standing, maintaining its old school charm. This retro theatre screens the very latest releases, using FM radio to pipe the sound into individual cars, enabling you to snuggle up with your sweetie and enjoy a simple, but truly romantic, pleasure.
The Melting Pot of Sacramento
The Melting Pot of Sacramento is a dining experience perfectly suited to couples, as it is so interactive. The restaurant claims to have perfected the Art of Fondue, making use of several different fondue cooking styles to produce a range of unique dishes. From juicy strawberries dipped in dark chocolate to freshly baked breads dipped in melted artisan cheese, there is no denying the romance that can be created at The Melting Pot.
Sizzling Sirens Burlesque Academy
Otherwise known as the House of Sizzle, the Sizzling Sirens Burlesque Academy has been hosting live shows all over Sacramento for over eight years now, becoming quite the institution. The shows feature a tantalizing mix of dance, theatre, satire and sketch, or, if you really want to ignite the passion, take your loved one and try out one of the burlesque classes that the academy holds.
Old Sacramento State Historic Park
There are so many charming activities to be found at the Old Sacramento State Historic Park, meaning that you can easily turn a visit here into an entire day of romance. Horse-drawn carriages are available to take you around the park, as are beautifully restored historic riverboats. The Delta King is a historic sternwheel riverboat that can be found moored here, and is home to a hotel, theatre and restaurant, all of which offer gorgeous views. Once the sun sets, head to the Sacramento River for a leisurely stroll along the river walk, of which there are 28 acres to explore, and indulge in some star gazing.
A dinner cruise along the bay, while the sun is setting, is the perfect way to end the day, with the glittering skyline of the city sparkling behind you. Whether you opt for a cruise with live entertainment and a dance floor, or one that serves up craft cocktails on the deck, this is a great way to spend some unforgettable quality time with your loved one.
While Napa and Sonoma may be known for producing some of the finest wine in the world, Sacramento is actually home to nine wineries and tasting rooms. For couples who enjoy their wine, exploring Sacramento’s vineyards, and indulging in tastings at each, will definitely be a fun way to spend the day.
There are so many romantic things to do in Sacramento, making it the perfect destination for couples to visit together. From lush vineyards and boozy wine tastings to horse drawn carriage rides through the wilderness, these are just a few of the romantic activities that you will find here.
Located in East Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Garden is home to 66 acres of incredible natural beauty, with its finely manicured displays making it a nationally recognized garden. For those who have not visited the Dallas Arboretum in a while, here are a few new highlights that you can expect to see.
The Dallas Arboretum Food and Wine Festival
This March sees the very first edition of the Dallas Arboretum Food and Wine Festival, and was created in conjunction with the Food and Herb Garden that is set to open this fall. The festival aims to demonstrate the connections between nature, food and gardens, with the cuisine focussing on five main categories; American Bistro, Mediterranean, Pan Asian, South American and Desserts from Around the World. Award-winning chefs will be present to create these dishes, and the evening will be rounded up with a special concert on the lawn, while watching the sun set over White Rock Lake. While VIP tickets are now sold out, general tickets are still available, so be sure to purchase yours soon, especially since Dallas is known for being quite the foodie destination, and tickets for events such as these are always extremely popular.
The largest floral festival in the Southwest, and frequently named as being the very best spring floral festival in the United States, Dallas Blooms features over half a million painstakingly planted stunning spring blooms, and is held from the 25th of February to the 9th of April. Each weekend during this period, the festival will highlight a different theme relating to the 1960’s, incorporating everything from music and television to fashion and fads, and offering up plenty of interactive activities that guests can really get involved in, such as flower wreath making and henna tattoos. There are also several activities aimed at children, making this an event that the whole family can attend. The festival culminates at the end of April, when the garden’s collection of 3000 azaleas emit their fiery blooms.
Cool Thursdays Spring/Summer Concert Series
Beginning on the 23rd of March and running until the end of October, the Cool Thursday Spring/Summer Concert Series is held in the evenings on the outdoor Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn. These musical events are always extremely popular, with guests gathering on the lawn on picnic blankets, and the Arboretum also has an indoor hall to move the event to in case of bad weather. While you can easily purchase tickets to individual concerts, the subscription tickets are quite beneficial, as they grant you access to all of the events, and will ensure that you can still attend any concerts that have been sold out.
The Dallas Arboretum is open throughout the year, and provides a new rotating display every three months, ensuring that there are new flowers and colors to experience each time you visit. The arboretum is a world-class facility that attracts just under a million visitors each year, and is definitely a must-visit for any nature lovers in Dallas.
Considered to be one of the top foodie cities in America, the culinary offerings that you will find in Dallas are deliciously diverse. The best way to taste your way around the city, while ensuring that you have not missed out on any key spots, is by signing up for a Dallas restaurant tour, each of which showcase some of the finest eateries in town.
Texas Bar-B-Q Tour
Barbecue is a quintessential part of Texas, making the Texas Bar-B-Q Tour a must for any visitors who want to experience the finest of Texas barbecue. This tour stops at three award-winning barbecue restaurants in Dallas, where you will be able to sample the signature barbecue dish of each, as well as have a question and answer session with the pitmaster. From ribs to smoked brisket to sausages, you will definitely end this tour with a full stomach, as well as new knowledge on the art of traditional Texas barbecue.
West Village Restaurant Hop
The West Village Restaurant Hop lasts for between two and a half to three hours, and provides you with an insider’s view into the hottest restaurants in the trendy, affluent West Village district. In order to maximize the time spent inside each restaurant, the eateries chosen are located quite nearby to each other, meaning that minimal walking is involved. For those who want an expanded version of this tour, the Uptown Restaurant Tour can be chosen instead, and this features a dessert tasting as well.
Bacon Nirvana Tour
The Bacon Nirvana Tour is only held a few times a year, with the next tour on the 25th of March. This is a tour that every bacon lover needs to go on at least once in their lifetime, as it features this ingredient in so many mouth-watering forms. From bacon-infused Bloody Marys to the classic BLT from one of the finest chefs in town to bacon peanut butter donuts, this is a tour that will definitely give you a whole new appreciation for bacon.
Foods of Texas Walking Tour in Dallas
There are certain foods in Texas that are truly iconic, and the Foods of Texas Walking Tour in Dallas ensures that you are able to try all of the state’s most popular dishes. This three-hour tour begins at Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse in downtown Dallas, where you will be able to try a barbecue slider with the restaurant’s signature sauce. Following on from here are several more stops where you will try everything from a Mexican donut to a spicy chilli to an open-faced pimento sandwich, really acquainting yourself with popular culinary traditions in Texas. In addition to the restaurants you will be visiting, your tour guide will also be sharing snippets of the area’s history with you, so that you learn more about Dallas’ rich heritage.
The culinary scene in Dallas is an energetic and exciting one, and while there may be many new and innovative joints opening up around the city, the old favorites are also still standing strong. Whether you are after traditional Texas smokehouses or elegant, upscale eateries, these tours will definitely leave you feeling satisfied.
The north of Texas is home to the highest concentration of wineries in the state, and, no matter where you may be in the north, you can be sure that you will never be too far away from a vineyard. The best way to explore the many wines and industry traditions that the region has to offer is by exploring it on a day trip, stopping off at some of its finest wineries along the way.
Brushy Creek Vineyards and Winery
Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the experience that comes from tasting one-of-a-kind wines, and this is exactly what you will be able to do at the Brushy Creek Vineyard and Winery. The owner and winemaker is a retired nuclear engineer, and brings a deep knowledge of science and quality principles to the art of growing and wine making, resulting in wines that are as unique as the region itself. There are 36 grape varieties that are experimented with here, and there is always a new and exciting wine in development at this cutting-edge winery.
Lone Oak Winery
While some wineries have quite a no-nonsense ambience about them, the Lone Oak Winery is a group that strives to ignite more of a community spirit, bringing an element of fun into wine making. In addition to offering up winery tours and tastings, the Lone Oak Winery also has a schedule of live music events, and host wine classes too.
Caudalie Crest is a winery with a difference, because, in addition to producing a diverse range of wines from 100% Texas grapes, they also raise Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats, and create cheese that perfectly complements the wines. The entire process, for both the wine and the cheese, is done entirely by hand, from the mixing to the bottling to the labelling, and this personal touch really helps the quality of the wines to remain consistent.
Blue Ostrich Winery and Vineyard
The Blue Ostrich Winery and Vineyard used to be one of the most prominent ostrich breeding and ranching facilities in the southwest in the 80’s and 90’s, but, today, this acreage now contains row upon row of Tempranillo, Cabernet and Viognier grapevines. The portfolio of wines here is deliciously diverse, with everything from award-winning aromatic reds to light and fruity table wines, and there are also still a few ostriches roaming around for visitors to meet.
Grayson Hills Winery
Nestled within 38 acres of rolling hills, and enclosed by native woods, the Grayson Hills Winery is truly a picturesque one, offering spectacular views of North Texas’ rural countryside. The wines here are handcrafted in small batches, making use of their own grapes as well as those from other local vineyards, resulting in a beautifully distinct portfolio of wines.
The wineries of North Texas have won numerous awards, not only for the quality of the wines to come from here, but also the innovation. By touring a few different wineries in one day, you will be able to gain a new appreciation for the art of wine making, and compare the diverse techniques and methods that are used today.
With incredible natural beauty all around, as well as historical elegance and a laid-back charm, Puerto Rico makes for the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. This is an island that simply begs to be explored, and you will no doubt end up creating some unforgettable memories by doing so.
Old San Juan
The historic heart of Puerto Rico, Old San Juan is home to quaint streets and parks, heritage buildings, and the famous El Morro, a Spanish fortress that once protected the city from invaders. While there are plenty of sights to see here, Old San Juan is known for being the salsa capital of the world, so if you are looking for somewhere to try out this passionate dance, there is no better place in the world than here. There are many spots that teach the seductive dance to beginners, but one of the best is the popular Nuyorican Café, who host salsa lessons throughout the week.
A biobay is a rare and fragile ecosystem that is formed by particular microscopic single-cell organisms, and, when these organisms are agitated, they release energy in the form of light, emitting an eerie glow and lighting up anything around them. While Puerto Rico is home to several biobays, the Vieques Biobay is the only one that you can swim in, making this one a must-visit. With this bay being so well-protected from winds and the sea, the bioluminescence here is incredible, and is known for being one of the brightest in the world. Paddling out into the middle of the lagoon with your special someone, surrounded by the glowing water below and the twinkling stars above, will definitely be a memorable experience.
A small island that lies off Puerto Rico’s east coast, Culebra feels as though it is a destination that time has forgotten about. Rather than being packed with glitzy resorts and upscale restaurants, this is an island that is known and loved for its peace and tranquillity, with everything from diamond-dust beaches to world-class reefs for diving and snorkeling. Flamenco Beach definitely warrants a visit, as this beach always manages to end up in top ten lists from around the world, and once you see its soft white sands and intensely blue water, you will understand why.
El Yunque National Rainforest
The El Yunque National Rainforest is considered to be one of Puerto Rico’s most captivating gems, and is the only tropical rainforest in North America. While there is natural beauty all around here, one of the highlights are the many waterfalls that can be seen, and swum in. If you cannot decide which one to check out, head for the La Mina Trail, which takes you up to the La Mina Falls, and has its own dipping pool that is absolutely perfect for a swim.
There is no denying that the island of Puerto Rico is filled with romance, from its idyllic beaches to its history-soaked towns. Whether you spend your time exploring the island’s natural beauty, or learn more about its unique heritage, this is one of the best destinations in the world for a truly romantic getaway.
A state steeped in art and culture, and with miles of beautiful beaches complete with breathtaking sunsets, there is no denying the air of romance that surrounds Florida. For those planning romantic getaways to Florida, here are some of the key spots and activities that you will not want to miss.
The Sea Islands is a chain of barrier islands on Florida’s Atlantic coastline, and Amelia Island is the southernmost of them all. This untouched haven of natural beauty features 13 miles of pristine beaches, one of which is considered to one of Florida’s top ten beaches. There are also two state parks here, the Fort Clinch State Park, which is home to one of the best-preserved forts from the Civil War, and the Amelia Island State Park, which is where you can enjoy a romantic horseback ride on the beach. The perfect way to end your day on the island is with a meal at Salt, a restaurant that makes full use of the island’s ocean and marshes to harvest natural ingredients and create incredible dishes.
Sunset Cruise, Key West
One of the best ways to take in Florida’s legendary sunsets is by being out on the water, and there are sunset cruise operators to be found all over the state. However, many would argue that some of the best views are to be had from Key West, and there are cruise operators here that create quite the unforgettable experience, complete with champagne, craft beers and margaritas. Alternatively, there are many sunset cruises that also incorporate another aspect to the evening, whether this may be dolphin-spotting or onboard casinos, making it easy to find one that perfectly suits you.
Explore the Wilderness
Florida is home to over 160 state parks, and exploring the wilderness with a loved one is a great way to create some one-of-a-kind memories. The John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is home to a secluded beach and plenty of wildlife, while the Blue Spring State Park is where you will find a large number of endangered manatees. If you want to explore the only air-filled caves in Florida that are open to the public, then these can be found at the Florida Caverns State Park, which also offers kayaking, biking and camping.
St. George Island
St. George Island is located just 20 minutes from Apalachicola, which is where 90% of Florida’s oysters come from. Oysters are famous for being an aphrodisiac, meaning that they will always be a welcome addition to any romantic getaway. While there are many places from which you can sample these tasty delights, St. George Island is a tranquil spot away from the noise and the glare of the city, and is the ideal place to spend a romantic evening with your loved one.
Florida is home to so many romantic areas and activities, that no matter where you end up visiting in the state, you are likely to be able to find plenty available. Whether this means horseback riding across a deserted beach, or a sunset cruise complete with cocktails, you will most definitely be leaving Florida with memories that will last a lifetime.