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Top Cities for Family Vacations
It’s easy to think of great places to visit without your kids. But where are the best places to go for a fun-filled vacation with your children or grandchildren?
ABC City Guides for Kids, a Philadelphia-based publisher of travel guides for children, has named seven cities as its top U.S. family destinations. Here’s a list of the cities, with activity recommendations from ABC City Guides for Kids.
1. Denver. Take a free tour of the U.S. Mint, and stop by Hammond’s Candies for some sweet treats. Visit kid-friendly 16th Street, and then head to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, an outdoor concert venue and a popular spot for hiking, biking and picnics. For burgers and a billiards lesson, visit Wynkoop Brewing Company. Then catch a Colorado Rockies baseball game at Coors Field.
2. Lancaster, Pa. Central Market and Barnstormers baseball are pure Lancaster. Kitchen Kettle Village’s Annual Rhubarb Festival occurs in May. Kids under 10 will love the Hands-On-House Children’s Museum and the Dutch Wonderland family amusement park. In nearby Lititz, eat Wilbur Buds (which pre-date Hershey’s Kisses) at the Wilbur Chocolate Company, and pretzels from the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery.
3. San Antonio, Texas. Book the family suite at the Hotel Indigo Riverwalk. See the IMAX Alamo show; then visit the real thing. Check out the world’s largest cowboy boots at the North Star Mall. Bring your appetites to Lulu’s Bakery and Cafe, which features Texas-sized portions of great-tasting home cooking, including a 3-pound cinnamon bun. Other great food options: La Gloria at the Pearl Brewery Complex and the gourmet food trucks at The Boardwalk on Bulverde.
4. St. Louis. Ride in a pod 630 feet to the top of the Gateway Arch. Visit Forest Park, which features a zoo, museums and a science center and is a great spot for a variety of recreational activities. While you’re at the park, picnic at Turtle Playground, where kids can climb on sculpted turtles. The Hill neighborhood offers top-notch Italian restaurants and bakeries, and Ted Drewes serves custard so thick that it’s handed to you upside down.
5. Miami. Visit Monkey Jungle and the Coral Castle Museum on the Historic Redland Tropical Trail. Enjoy Big Pink restaurant in South Beach before heading to the beach. The Westin Colonnade in Coral Gables is close to the Ortanique restaurant and the Venetian Pool, an 820,000-gallon pool fed by cool spring water and featuring two waterfalls, coral caves and grottoes. (Children younger than 3 are not admitted to the pool.)
6. Nashville Enjoy the music and fried pickles at the Wildhorse Saloon. Visit the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Tour Cheekwood, a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum, and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, which features the finest visual art from local, state and regional artists, as well as major U.S. and international exhibitions. Savor the biscuits at the Loveless Café and the pancakes at the Pancake Pantry.
7. Orlando, Fla. If you’re looking for activities beyond those at the big-name attractions, consider Gatorland, a 110-acre alligator theme park and wildlife preserve, and the offbeat alternatives of International Drive, including WonderWorks, Wet ’n Wild and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Loch Haven Park features first-class cultural attractions, and Downtown Disney offers multiple dining options.