• 7 Best Things to do in Telluride, Colorado (with Photos)

    Very much a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, the tiny town of Telluride is set in a scenic spot amidst the soaring San Juan Mountains. Originally founded as a mining town in the 1870s, it is now widely recognized as a year-round resort. Fun things to do in Telluride include some great hiking in the summer months and skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

    Located in the southwest corner of Colorado, Telluride lies in a beautiful box canyon with majestic mountains, verdant forests and sparkling waterfalls all around it. While most people come for its incredible scenery and wealth of outdoor activities, the town itself has a charming feel to it with the whole of its center being preserved as a National Historic Landmark District.

    7. Bear Creek Falls

    Bear Creek Falls© dreamstime

    Set just to the south of town is the breathtaking Bear Creek Falls which is hidden away in a rugged and narrow canyon of the same name. Due to its scenic splendor and the wonderful wilderness all around, the falls are a very popular place to visit and photograph.

    From South Pine Street in Telluride, it takes around an hour to hike to the cascades which lie along the North Fork Skykomish River. On the way, you can enjoy some magnificent mountain scenery and pass through pretty groves of pines and aspens with the round-trip stretching just over eight kilometers in length.

    Once you arrive, you can bask in beautiful views of the eight meter-high waterfall coursing its way down the craggy cliff face with lush vegetation, forests and mountains lying all around. While it can get crowded, the picturesque path and falls are popular for a reason with cyclists and horseback riders also using the trail.

    6. Mountain Village

    Mountain Village© dreamstime

    Originally developed as a world-class ski resort, Mountain Village is now a town in its own right with countless shops and restaurants lying alongside cosy cabins and hotels. Well worth visiting for its scenic setting and superb snowsports, it is tucked away in the soaring San Juan Mountains, just a fifteen-minute drive to the southwest of Telluride.

    Founded in 1987, the quaint European-style town has a lovely laidback atmosphere and lies nestled in a vast valley with verdant forests and mountains all around. As such, it makes for a fantastic base from which to go hiking in summer or enjoy some skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.

    A wonderful way to reach Mountain Village is to take a free gondola ride over the lofty San Sophia Ridge from the center of Telluride. Besides being a quick and easy way to get around, the gondola offers up spectacular views over both the towns and the majestic mountains around them.

    5. Telluride Historical Museum

    Telluride Historical Museumflickr/Jonas Forth

    Located in what was once a miner’s hospital is the terrific Telluride Historical Museum which lies just a short stroll from Main Street. Full of interesting artifacts and informative displays, the small museum offers up a fascinating look into the history, culture and heritage of the town and region.

    Since being founded in 1966, its collection has expanded considerably and now includes everything from artworks and archaeological findings to historic images and instruments. While some exhibits look at Telluride’s mining past, others instead focus on the Ute Native Peoples who have inhabited the surrounding mountains and valleys for millennia. One of its main sights is the wonderfully well-preserved Telluride Blanket which was weaved centuries ago by Ancestral Puebloan peoples.

    As well as learning all about the area’s gold-mining days and its development into a world-class ski resort, visitors can also try their hand at prospecting for gold and gems out back.

    4. Bridal Veil Falls

    Bridal Veil Falls© dreamstime

    Another of the region’s most stunning sights is Bridal Veil Falls which courses its way dramatically over the side of a steep cliff. The tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado, it lies just fifteen minutes’ drive to the east of Telluride at the end of a big box canyon.

    In total, the two-pronged waterfall towers a staggering 111 meters in height with its white jets of water standing out delightfully against the dark rock and lush trees poking above the top of the cliff. Perched precariously near its precipitous edge, you can also spy an historic power plant which only adds to the picture-perfect scene.

    Besides taking fabulous photos of the falls, visitors can hike, cycle and even four-wheel drive their way to the top of the cliff which offers up phenomenal views over its surroundings. In winter, hardy adventurers often attempt to climb the falls when they have frozen over, and the ice reaches right to the top of the canyon.

    3. Main Street

    Main Street© dreamstime

    Despite its small size, Telluride really is a treat to explore with the whole town center having been designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1961. Centered on its Main Street are a colorful collection of Victorian-era houses and buildings with countless boutiques and restaurants also lining the route.

    As well as ambling along the street and taking in all its well-preserved late boom-town architecture, visitors can also stop off at its cosy cafes or booming local businesses. What were once saloons and gambling parlours back in the days when the town was a mining camp are now instead home to art galleries and gourmet restaurants.

    Only adding to the charm of the small-town mountain community are the majestic peaks themselves that rise up on all sides of Telluride and make it such a picturesque place to visit. The heart of life in town, Main Street really is the main place to head if you want to shop, dine or take in the ambience.

    2. Go Hiking

    Go Hiking© dreamstime

    As the town is surrounded by so much stupendous scenery and nature, Telluride is a great place to go hiking with lots of tantalizing trails to be found nearby. While the winter months are dedicated to skiing and snowboarding, in summer both locals and tourists alike head off to explore the region’s vast valleys and marvelous mountains on foot.

    In total, Telluride has more than thirty trails for visitors to enjoy which range from quick, easy and accessible to multi-day hiking trips. While some are quite strenuous and steep and are situated a bit further away, others such as the trail to Bear Creek Falls start right in the center of town.

    Among its most popular trails are those of Bridal Veil Falls and Jud Wiebe with almost all its pretty paths taking you past wildflowers and waterfalls, lakes and mountains. Telluride’s hiking season runs from May to October with the rest of the year being spent on skiing.

    1. Go Skiing

    Go Skiing© dreamstime

    While mining was the town’s only industry for close to a hundred years, since its first ski lift opened in the ‘70s, Telluride has become almost synonymous with skiing. This is because it now boasts a ski resort up in the San Juan Mountains that has almost 150 snow-coated slopes for you to shoot down.

    Since opening in 1972, the Telluride Ski Resort has expanded considerably and now spans several mountains with nineteen lifts servicing its plethora of powdery pistes. These cater to beginners and experts alike with its runs having a total vertical drop of 1,349 meters. In addition, the ski resort now has numerous terrain parks and bowls for guests to try out which are dotted with lots of fun features and challenging jumps, rails and boxes.

    While Telluride is renowned for having some of the steepest and toughest terrain to ski anywhere in the world, it also has a ski school where beginners can start learning how to ski.

  • 12 Best Things to do in Edmonton (with Photos)

    The northernmost metropolitan area on the continent, Edmonton can be found straddling the banks of the beautiful North Saskatchewan River in the centre of Alberta. The sprawling capital city of the province has something for everyone to enjoy. It boasts not only the largest mega mall and urban parkland system in North America but Canada’s largest living history museum too.

    While spectacular scenery, nature and wildlife is never far away, the city also has a thriving arts and culture scene to explore with some great tourist attractions and museums to visit alongside a packed schedule of festivals and cultural events. In addition to these things to do in Edmonton, the city also acts as an important educational and governmental hub for the region and is known as the ‘Gateway to the North’. This is because many people stop by the city on the way to either Alberta’s oil sands projects or the glacier-dotted Jasper National Park.

    12. Alberta Aviation Museum

    Alberta Aviation Museum© dreamstime

    Located just a short drive to the north of downtown is the excellent Alberta Aviation Museum which is home to a huge collection of civilian and military aircraft. Set on the site of the former Edmonton City Centre Airport, it is housed in the humongous Hangar 14 with interesting artifacts and exhibits wherever you look.

    Founded in 1993, the museum offers up a fascinating look into the evolution of flight in Edmonton and Alberta with bush planes and bombers on show alongside jet fighters and supersonic interceptor aircraft. In total, it has more than forty planes to peruse with informative displays and guided tours teaching you everything there is to know about its many models and the historic ‘double-double’ World War II-era hangar in which they are housed.

    11. Royal Alberta Museum

    Royal Alberta Museum© dreamstime

    One of the biggest and best museums in Canada, the Royal Alberta Museum occupies a state-of-the-art modern building right in the center of the city. Here you’ll not only find gorgeous galleries and impressive installations but over two million objects and specimens that shed a light on the history, nature and culture of the province.

    First opened in 1967, it was bestowed royal patronage in 2005 following Queen Elizabeth’s visit in Alberta’s centennial year. While some sections focus on the sciences, others look at human history with everything from aboriginal artifacts and archaeological findings to art and even live animals being on display. With hands-on exhibits to try out and the world’s largest collection of insects to check out, the massive museum really is one of Edmonton’s must-see attractions.

    10. Art Gallery of Alberta

    Art Gallery of Alberta© dreamstime

    Set just a stone’s throw away from the museum is another of the city’s main attractions – the exquisite Art Gallery of Alberta. Opened all the way back in 1924, it has over 6,000 astonishing artworks for you to enjoy with its main emphasis being on art produced either in Alberta or western Canada.

    One of the most important collections of visual art in the country, the museum displays a plethora of fantastic photos, prints and paintings with historical works lying next to modern and contemporary pieces. Just as arresting as the art itself is the beautiful building in which it housed. This is because it boasts a very distinctive design with swirling shapes to be spied, alongside hard angles and edges that represent various geographical features of Edmonton.

    9. High Level Bridge Streetcar

    High Level Bridge Streetcar© dreamstime

    A wonderful way to see the city is to hop on the historic High Level Bridge Streetcar which winds its way between Jasper Plaza and Old Strathcona. Stretching three kilometers in length, the vintage streetcar service crosses over the North Saskatchewan River and offers up some fabulous views of the city and river valley.

    While streetcars were introduced to Edmonton in 1908, this seasonal service only began offering rides on its heritage trams in 1980. Since then, it has become a very popular attraction thanks to its direct route to downtown, the breathtaking views from the High Level Bridge and the old-time look and feel of its streetcars. As such, it is well worth going for a ride over the river if you are in town between May and October.

    8. TELUS World of Science

    TELUS World of Science© dreamstime

    As interesting and educational as it is entertaining, TELUS World of Science can be found just ten minutes’ drive to the northwest of the city center. Located in a corner of Coronation Park, the state-of-the-art science center has countless interactive exhibits to explore with a splendid science stage, IMAX theater and planetarium also on offer.

    Since being founded in 1984, the museum has delighted generations of locals and tourists alike with its array of hands-on activities and expansive galleries. While some areas focus on the sciences and space, others look at the earth, Alberta and environment. The center’s aim is to instill an interest in science and technology and encourage visitors to experiment and explore the world all around them.

    7. Whyte Avenue

    Whyte Avenueflickr/Janusz Sliwinski

    One of the trendiest neighborhoods in town, Whyte Avenue lies at the heart of Old Strathcona in south-central Edmonton. Besides boasting a thriving arts and cultural scene, the long strip is lined by handsome historic buildings and has lots of unique boutiques and local restaurants for you to try.

    As the street caters to all tastes and interests, it is a very popular place to head and attracts a diverse crowd from all walks of life. This only adds to its lively atmosphere while its art galleries and music shops all contribute to its creative vibe. On top of having some great nightlife, Whyte Avenue also hosts a number of cultural events and festivals over the course of the year as well as the weekly Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market.

    6. North Saskatchewan River Valley

    North Saskatchewan River Valley© dreamstime

    When in Edmonton, no visit can ever be complete without exploring the North Saskatchewan River Valley – the largest and longest expanse of urban parkland in North America. Effectively cutting the city in half, its plethora of interconnected parks, paths and playing fields line both banks of the river and have a wealth of stupendous scenery and outdoor activities for people to enjoy.

    In total, its gorgeous green spaces come in at a staggering twenty-two times the size of New York’s Central Park. While some of its parks are full of amenities and are home to such sights as the Valley Zoo and Muttart Conservatory, others protect untouched wilderness and wildlife. Due to their scenic splendor, the parks are a very popular place to go hiking and cycling.

    5. Muttart Conservatory

    Muttart Conservatory© dreamstime

    Just across the river from Downtown Edmonton you’ll find one of the city’s most famous landmarks – the magnificent Muttart Conservatory. The collection of four pyramid-shaped glass buildings is actually home to a beautiful botanical garden with each greenhouse representing a particular biome from around the world.

    Rising up out of the river valley, the distinctive pyramids lie amidst a pretty park and public garden and were designed by Peter Hemingway. Opened in 1976, the conservatory now houses hundreds of species of plants with wildflowers from Alberta to be found alongside tropical and temperate shrubs and trees from as far away as Asia and Australia. A picturesque and peaceful place to amble about, it also has an excellent on-site restaurant and gift shop to stop by.

    4. Elk Island National Park

    Elk Island National Park© dreamstime

    As it is home to so many incredible animals and so much stunning scenery, Elk Island National Park is sure to delight both nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Lying just half an hour’s drive to the east of Edmonton, it encompasses everything from woods to wetlands and acts as an important wildlife haven.

    Since being founded in 1913, the national park has played a prominent role in the protection of the Plains bison. As well as huge herds of the hoofed animals, Elk Island is also known for being home to both the largest and smallest land mammals in North America – the wood bison and pygmy shrew. In addition, it has some tantalising trails to explore with camping, kayaking and playing golf being particularly popular pastimes.

    3. Alberta Legislature Building

    Alberta Legislature Building© dreamstime

    Perched atop of a promontory overlooking the North Saskatchewan River Valley is the important and impressive Alberta Legislature Building. The seat of the province’s government, it boasts some beautiful Beaux-Arts architecture and lies amidst lots of lovely leafy grounds which are dotted with both memorials and statues.

    Affectionately known as ‘the Ledge’ to locals, the large landmark was completed in 1913 with its iconic dome presiding over a pretty portico propped up by massive columns. As well as learning all about its history and architecture at its visitors’ center, you can also take tours around its marble and mahogany-clad interior. The imposing yet undoubtedly attractive building can be found just a short stroll to the south of the city center.

    2. Fort Edmonton Park

    Fort Edmonton Park© dreamstime

    Another of the city’s main attractions to lie alongside the North Saskatchewan River is the fantastic Fort Edmonton Park which is located just fifteen minutes’ drive to the southwest of the center. The largest living history museum in the country, its well-preserved buildings and costumed re-enactors offer up a fascinating look at various eras of Edmonton’s history.

    As well as a reconstructed riverside fort and trading post belonging to the Hudson’s Bay Company, there are also streets from different epochs to stroll along lined by historic buildings. Dotted about are informative displays on everything from the fur trade era to the early pioneers and Edmonton’s development as a provincial capital. To get around the sprawling site, visitors can take lovely rides in horse-drawn carriages or heritage streetcars.

    1. West Edmonton Mall

     West Edmonton Mall© dreamstime

    As it is the largest shopping mall in North America, West Edmonton Mall really is not to be missed out on. Besides being home to a staggering array of shops and services, its colossal confines have lots of exciting attractions for you to check out with innumerable restaurants and cafes also on offer.

    In total, over 800 stores can be found in the enormous shopping center with fun themed streets such as Europa Boulevard and Chinatown to explore. The mall also boasts Galaxyland – a humongous indoor amusement park – and the wild and wet World Waterpark. To top it all off, there is also everything from mini-golf courses and a petting zoo to numerous movie theaters and an ice-skating rink to try out.

  • 12 Best Things to Do in Victoria, BC (with Map & Photos)

    Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is set right at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Thanks to its mild climate and wealth of things to do in Victoria, it is a very popular tourist destination with both Canadians and international travelers alike.

    As it boasts an abundance of parks and lovely green spaces, Victoria is fittingly known as the ‘Garden City’. While it certainly has a charming coastline and beaches to explore, as well as a scenic waterfront, the city is also dotted with interesting museums and historic tourist attractions with some attractive architecture on show.

    With whale watching tours, sightseeing cruises and ferry rides also on offer, lively yet laidback Victoria is well worth visiting if you have the chance.

    12. Abkhazi Garden

    Abkhazi Garden© dreamstime

    A very peaceful and picturesque place, Abkhazi Garden is set just a short drive to the southeast of downtown Victoria. Here you’ll find an exquisite heritage house, as well as lovely grounds and gardens to wander around.

    The property is named for the Prince and Princess Abkhazi who lived here and began creating the landscaped garden with all its diverse fauna and fabulous vistas in 1946.

    In addition to ambling peacefully about its paths and taking in all the natural beauty, visitors can enjoy tasty treats in the teahouse. Due to its scenic nature, Abkhazi Garden hosts weddings and private events during the year.

    11. Chinatown

    Chinatown© dreamstime

    The oldest Chinatown in Canada, this vibrant part of Victoria with all of its bustling businesses and busy restaurants, is located in the heart of the city. As well as having countless shops to browse and dozens of delicious dishes to try, the area also boasts attractive architecture and was designated a National Historic Site in 1995.

    Following the discovery of gold in Fraser Canyon in 1858, thousands of miners, many of them Chinese, migrated from California to British Columbia and set up home. Initially just a collection of wooden huts, Victoria’s Chinatown is now dotted with such sights, as the ornate Gate of Harmonious Interest and Tam Kung Temple, as well as the narrow and atmospheric Fan Tan Alley.

    10. Victoria Bug Zoo

    Victoria Bug Zoo© dreamstime

    Just a short stroll from Chinatown is one of the city’s most unusual, yet oddly alluring, attractions; the Victoria Bug Zoo. Packed into its two rooms are around fifty fascinating species with exhibits and knowledgeable tour guides on hand to teach you all about its insects.

    Since opening its doors in 1997 the mini zoo has educated and amazed people in equal measure with its wonderful world of bugs. As well as walking sticks and praying mantises, it has leafcutter ants, tarantulas, and glow-in-the-dark scorpions. Each insect or arachnid is more impressive than the last!

    Besides teaching you everything there is to know about insects, the zoo’s enthusiastic guides often take beetles and bugs out of their tanks so you can get a closer look.

    9. Goldstream Provincial Park

    Goldstream Provincial Park© dreamstime

    Just twenty minutes’ drive to the northwest of town is the Goldstream Provincial Park, which is sure to delight both nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The park has huge swathes of temperate rainforest and tantalizing hiking trails, with beautiful scenery and nature wherever you look.

    Founded in 1958, the picturesque park and its diverse landscapes are dotted with thick cedars and fir trees which conceal some spellbinding sights. These include epic views from atop the lofty Mount Finlayson and gushing Niagara Falls (not the world-famous one).

    The park is mostly known, however, for the annual fall salmon runs in the Goldstream River and the numerous bald eagles that swoop down to catch them.

    8. Fisherman’s Wharf

    Fisherman's Wharf© dreamstime

    Located around the corner from the city’s Inner Harbour is colorful Fisherman’s Wharf, which is the perfect place to grab some seafood or buy some souvenirs. Food kiosks and unique boutiques line the wharf, while float homes and fishing boats bob about offshore. Ferries and sightseeing tours also depart from its docks.

    Built in 1948 to accommodate commercial fishing vessels, the wharf has a very lively feel to it with something going on all the time. As fishermen unload their catches, harbor seals and herons can be spied along the waterfront while the music of street performers rings in the air.

    Alongside shopping and sampling fresh seafood, you can also rent kayaks here and arrange whale watching tours.

    7. Victoria Whale Watching

    Victoria Whale Watching© dreamstime

    Whales live and feed in the straits and seas that surround Victoria, so no trip to the city is complete without taking a whale watching tour. Many companies run excursions from the Inner Harbour, with April to October considered to be the best time of year to see them up close and personal.

    From the decks of comfy catamarans and open Zodiac-style boats, you can spy pods of whales either feeding or migrating through the Georgia Strait. In addition to orcas and grey whales, are humpback and minke, with seals and sea lions also swimming about.

    Adding to the awe-inspiring experience are the knowledgeable crew members who teach you about these majestic marine mammals.

    6. Craigdarroch Castle

    Craigdarroch Castle© dreamstime

    Perched atop a hill overlooking downtown is the massive Victorian-era mansion of Craigdarroch Castle, which exhibits some of the most attractive architecture in the area. Built back in 1890 for a wealthy coal baron, it is now protected as part of a museum with tours taking you around the National Historic Site.

    Looking every bit like a fairytale castle, the well-preserved property boasts turrets and stained-glass windows, as well as wrap-around porches and balconies. Inside elegant halls and suites are decorated with lavish furnishings and period pieces.

    Particularly known for its intricate woodwork, the mansion has 39 rooms to explore with informative displays highlighting the history of the castle and the Dunsmuir family who lived here.

    5. Beacon Hill Park

    Beacon Hill Park© dreamstime

    Just south of the city center, Beacon Hill Park sprawls over a huge area and has countless landscapes, views, and outdoor activities to enjoy. While pockets of woodland can be found here and there, much of the park consists of landscaped gardens with stupendous coastal scenery and shoreline on show.

    Since being established in 1882, the picturesque park has been a firm favourite with both locals and tourists alike due to its excellent amenities and delightful nature. Besides ponds and flower-filled fields, you can find playgrounds, picnic areas, and playing fields with a petting zoo and water park also on offer.

    Additionally, it has one of the world’s tallest totem poles to check out and fantastic views from its prominent hilltop.

    4. Butchart Gardens

    Butchart Gardens© dreamstime

    One of the most popular places to visit in Victoria, the Butchart Gardens are a twenty-minute drive north of the city in a very serene and secluded spot. Located in what was once a limestone quarry, the gardens have lots of flowers and plants, pools and fountains to explore; all carefully placed and planted to please the eye.

    Now a National Historic Site, the sprawling gardens were begun in 1904 by Jennie Butchart as a passion project. They have since grown to include Italian and Japanese gardens, as well as statues and pavilions.

    The striking Sunken Garden is one of its standout sights. In total, it is home to 900 kinds of plants ranging from tulips and daffodils to roses and chrysanthemums.

    3. Parliament Buildings

    Parliament Buildings© dreamstime

    Dominating the south side of the city’s Inner Harbour is the spectacular set of structures that make up the seat of British Columbia’s government. Besides their important function, the Parliament Buildings are also very impressive with exquisite domes, turrets, and facades rising above the surrounding grounds and waterfront.

    Built in the 1890s, they exhibit an array of architectural styles with Renaissance and Romanesque elements, as well as beautiful Neo-baroque features. On tours of the buildings, visitors can learn all about their history and that of the legislative assembly and province.

    While its lofty blue dome is its undoubted highlight, the Parliament Buildings look best in the evening when the facade is magically lit up with thousands of little lights.

    2. Royal BC Museum

    Royal BC Museum© dreamstime

    Another of the city’s main tourist attractions is the Royal BC Museum which offers a fascinating look into the history, culture and nature of British Columbia. Set just a stone’s throw from Chinatown, it has many artifacts and exhibits to peruse that are related to the region.

    Since being founded in 1886, its colossal collection has grown and now includes over seven million objects and specimens. While some dioramas and displays focus on the animals and ecosystems of British Columbia, other sections look at the traditions and heritage of the First Nations peoples.

    With so much human and natural history to explore, the Royal BC Museum is not to be missed when in town.

    1. Inner Harbour

    Inner Harbour© dreamstime

    Home to many, if not most of Victoria’s major sights, the Inner Harbour is lined by beautiful buildings and green spaces, with fishing boats and floating homes bobbing about the bay. As well as its wonderful waterfront, there are also attractive historic streets to wander along with countless cafes and restaurants dotted about.

    While the Parliament Buildings and Edwardian-style Empress Hotel dominate the harbour, other attractions, such as Miniature World and the Maritime Museum, also lie nearby.

    Thanks to its innumerable street artists and entertainers, the area has a very lively feel with concerts, festivals, and cultural events held in the summer months. People also take whale watching tours from its docks and watch floatplanes take off from the harbor’s airport.

  • 12 Best Things to Do in Winnipeg (with Photos)

    The capital, and largest city of Manitoba, Winnipeg is set at the spot where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet, almost slap bang in the center of North America. Named after nearby Lake Winnipeg, it has many interesting tourist attractions to check out since its history and culture have been influenced by having both Aboriginal and European roots.

    Known as the ‘Gateway to the West’, the city acts as an important cultural, economic, and transport hub and has thriving arts and dining scenes for visitors to delve into. Other things to do in Winnipeg include visiting several world-class museums and galleries, and some well-preserved historic sites and neighborhoods.

    With pretty parks, gardens and, of course, the impressive Canadian Museum for Human Rights also on offer, Winnipeg is certainly well worth visiting if you have the chance.

    12. Saint Boniface Cathedral

    Saint Boniface Cathedral© dreamstime

    An incredible building, Saint Boniface Cathedral can be found in the city center, facing across the Red River. While the original basilica burnt down in a fire in 1968, its remaining walls and historic white-stone facade were later incorporated into the design of the new church.

    This combination of old and new makes for a striking sight with the modern cathedral being built onto the back of the old one. The undoubted highlight, however, is its fantastic French Romanesque facade which stands out delightfully against the park that lies around it.

    Here too, you’ll find the cathedral’s cemetery which is dotted with the graves of the region’s early settlers and influential figures. The adjacent Saint Boniface Museum is also well worth stopping by.

    11. Leo Mol Sculpture Garden

    Leo Mol Sculpture Gardenflickr/David Stanley

    A very popular place to visit, the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden lies just fifteen minutes’ drive southwest of the city center, within Assiniboine Park. In total, it displays over 300 astounding artworks by the renowned Leo Mol with bronze and ceramic sculptures to be found alongside drawings and paintings.

    As it combines artistic beauty with a splendid natural setting, the garden is a treat to wander around; its picturesque plant beds, paths and ponds are dotted with superb sculptures. It also contains the Leo Mol Gallery which exhibits some beautiful bronze pieces and moulds of major works.

    Due to its popularity and an ever-increasing collection of artworks, the garden has expanded twice since opening in 1992.

    10. Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site

    Lower Fort Garry National Historic Siteflickr/Robert Linsdell

    Located half an hour’s drive northeast of Winnipeg, on the banks of the Red River, is the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site. The only stone fort still standing from fur-trading days, it offers an interesting look into the lives of the trappers and traders who once lived here.

    Since being built in 1830 by the Hudson’s Bay Company, the well-preserved fort and its buildings have housed everything, from a penitentiary and mental hospital to a country club. Nowadays, the National Historic Site, instead, welcomes tourists to explore its historic buildings which are furnished with period pieces, and it has hands-on activities for visitors to try out.
    There are costumed reenactors on-site to highlight what life would have been like in the mid-nineteenth century and answer questions.

    9. Winnipeg Art Gallery

    Winnipeg Art Gallery© dreamstime

    The first gallery to be founded in Western Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery was opened in 1912. Since then, it has delighted countless generations with its huge collection of over 25,000 artworks by Canadian, Inuit, and international artists.

    Set a short distance to the southwest of the center, the art museum occupies a late-modernist style building that features sharp angular shapes and is clad in Tyndall stone. Its galleries are full of paintings, photos, and decorative arts by artists such as Wolfgang Katzheimer and Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald.

    The museum is particularly known for boasting the world’s largest collection of Inuit art and displays lots of their captivating carvings, textiles, and prints.

    8. Manitoba Legislative Building

    Manitoba Legislative Building© dreamstime

    One of the most beautiful buildings in the city, the Manitoba Legislative Building can be found to the south of the center, facing the banks of the Assiniboine River. Completed in 1920, it has exquisite neoclassical, Beaux-Arts-style architecture, and is surrounded by landscaped lawns and leafy gardens.

    The seat of the province’s government also sports a grand facade with Ionic columns and porticos topped by a colossal cupola. This holds up one of the city’s standout symbols, the glittering Golden Boy statue which represents the prosperity and entrepreneurial spirit of Manitoba.

    The building itself is covered in carvings and statues with secret numerical codes as well as Freemason symbols, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and numerous Roman gods.

    7. Assiniboine Park Zoo

    Assiniboine Park Zoo© dreamstime

    Lying at the western end of Assiniboine Park is the excellent zoo of the same name. The zoo sprawls over a huge area and has an incredible array of animals to check out. While the main focus is North American wildlife, its spacious enclosures house over 200 different species from all around the globe.

    Since being established in 1904, the zoo has expanded and now also has educational exhibits such as Animals of Asia, Toucan Ridge, and Stingray Beach. These are home to everything, from American bison and Canadian lynx to Bengal tigers, snow leopards, and red pandas.

    The zoo is particularly known for its polar bear exhibit which sees the incredible creatures, and other Arctic animals, roam about various habitats that represent northern Manitoba.

    6. Royal Canadian Mint

    Royal Canadian Mint© dreamstime

    Set on the southeastern edge of the city is the Royal Canadian Mint which remarkably produces, not only all of Canada’s circulation coins but coinage for countless other countries too. On tours around the state-of-the-art site, visitors can see how the money is manufactured and learn about the history of coins and currency in its on-site museum.

    Opened in 1976, the Winnipeg facility occupies a striking triangular-shaped building that rises dramatically above the lakes and green spaces around it. Since taking over from the original Royal Mint in Ottawa, it has produced over 60 billion coins for more than 75 countries around the world.

    Besides seeing its production line in process, you can peruse interactive displays on the facility and buy shiny souvenirs in its gift shop.

    5. Forks Market

    Forks Market© dreamstime

    Home to a staggering array of stands and stalls, the Forks Market can be found at the spot where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet. Part of the Forks National Historic Site, it lies within two historic horse stables joined together by a courtyard full of dining tables, and is lined by numerous shops and restaurants.

    As well as being a very popular place to eat out, the market has over 50 shops that sell everything from fresh produce and ethnic foods to souvenirs, artisanal jewellery, and baked goods. It also has a six-storey viewing platform that looks out over the rivers, and informative displays on the history of the market and The Forks Historic Site.

    4. Manitoba Museum

    Manitoba Museum© dreamstime

    Offering a fascinating look into the history, culture, and nature of the province is the marvelous Manitoba Museum which is north of downtown Winnipeg. Its collection of over 2.6 million artifacts and specimens takes visitors on a whirlwind journey through the ages with interesting and interactive exhibits wherever you look.

    Founded in 1965, the massive museum has numerous galleries to explore which look at the province’s people, flora and fauna, and landscapes. Besides fossils and archaeological findings, there is also a recreated fur trading post and the famous replica of the Nonsuch – a seventeenth-century sailing ship – to check out. It also boasts a superb Science Gallery and Planetarium.

    3. Forks National Historic Site

    Forks National Historic Site© dreamstime

    One of the city’s top tourist attractions, the vibrant Forks National Historic Site is so named because of its scenic setting at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. Here you’ll not only find a bustling market and museums but historic buildings, a port, and a park with countless cultural events and festivals taking place during the year.

    Inhabited by Aboriginal groups as early as 6,000 years ago, the Forks was designated a National Historic Site in 1974 to preserve the area’s history. Besides informative exhibits on its past, visitors can explore age-old buildings and museums to learn more about the site, city, and Manitoba. It also has pretty outdoor spaces and a riverwalk to enjoy, as well as splendid shops and restaurants.

    2. Assiniboine Park

    Assiniboine Park© dreamstime

    Covering a huge swathe of western Winnipeg is the picturesque Assiniboine Park which offers numerous outdoor recreational opportunities. Besides playgrounds, picnic areas, and playing fields, it is also home to a beautiful botanical garden and animal-filled zoo, as well as many other attractions.

    Named for the Assiniboine people, the park opened in 1909 and is located next to both the river and vast forest of the same name. Its lovely gardens have scenic paths and flower beds for you to wander past with hundreds of astounding artworks dotting the grounds of the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.

    On top of all the nature, there is also a fantastic pavilion and theater to stop by; both of which put on shows, concerts, and festivals.

    1. Canadian Museum for Human Rights

    Canadian Museum for Human Rights© dreamstime

    As important to visit as it is interesting, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights can be found right next to The Forks in the center of the city. It was opened in 2008 to explore the subject of human rights, enhance people’s understanding of them, and encourage respect for others.

    While many of its galleries look at how human rights relate to Canada and its culture, others explore sensitive subjects such as the Holocaust and Holodomor in Ukraine. Through interactive displays, photos, and films that are both engaging and emotional, visitors learn about the evolution of human rights and think about their future.

    Just as striking as the exhibitions, is the incredible contemporary building they are housed in and its Tower of Hope which offers commanding views over the city.

  • 12 Best Things to do in Albuquerque, New Mexico (with Map & Photos)

    Although often overlooked in favor of Santa Fe, the state’s largest city Albuquerque is well worth visiting for its many magnificent museums and attractive Old Town full of historic adobe buildings. Showcasing a delightful mix of Spanish and Native American influences, it has a rich history and heritage to delve into with countless art galleries and cultural tourist attractions to be found around town.

    Located near the center of New Mexico, the sprawling city occupies the Rio Grande Valley with the soaring Sandia Mountains to be spied in the distance. As it lies near to so much stunning scenery, there are many outdoorsy things to do in it Albuquerque with hiking and mountain biking being particularly popular.

    One of the best times to visit is in October when the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta takes place, and the city’s clear blue skies are dotted with hundreds of hot air balloons.

    12. Turquoise Museum

    Turquoise Museumflickr/miguel

    Located just a stone’s throw away from downtown is the superb Turquoise Museum which can teach you all there is to know about the glittering gem. As well as delving into the history of mining and crafting turquoise, it has lots of interesting artwork, jewellery and shiny specimens to peruse – all made out of the colorful gemstone.

    While the museum was opened in 1993, the Lowry family have been involved with and passionate about the precious blue and green mineral for generations. On tours you’ll hear about their history of mining and studying turquoise, how the mineral is manufactured and myths and uses of the gem around the world. It also has a great gift shop where you can buy jewellery and souvenirs.

    11. Casa Rondena Winery

    Casa Rondena Wineryflickr/Britt Reints

    Nestled on the northern outskirts of Albuquerque is the Casa Rondena Winery which has exquisite award-winning wines for you to try in its tasting room. The attractive estate also acts as a hub for the arts in the area, as it hosts a number of cultural events and festivals over the course of the year.

    Founded in 1995 by John Calvin, the family-run winery exhibits some lovely architecture with a terrific Tricentennial bell tower to be found amidst its gorgeous grounds and fertile vineyards. In its tasting room you can sample some of its wonderful wines paired with tasty cheese boards, crackers and chocolates. In addition to the annual Festival de Musica Rodena, the pretty property regularly hosts weddings, concerts and special events.

    10. American International Rattlesnake Museum

    American International Rattlesnake Museum© dreamstime

    A very interesting and educational place to visit, the American International Rattlesnake Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the slippery snakes. As well as snake-related artworks, artifacts and exhibits it also boasts the world’s largest collection of different species of live rattlesnakes.

    Located in Old Town Albuquerque, the small animal conservation museum houses over thirty kinds of rattlesnake, all of which reside within the appropriate recreated natural habitat. Through displays and demonstrations, visitors can learn about each species and hopefully cure any fears or phobias they may have about the cold-blooded creatures. The museum is also home to a Gila monster – the largest lizard in America – and has a gift shop that sells all kinds of snake-themed souvenirs.

    9. Albuquerque Museum

    Albuquerque Museumflickr/City of Albuquerque

    Offering up a fascinating look into the history, culture and heritage of both the city and Southwest is the excellent Albuquerque Museum. Also located in Old Town, its ever-growing collection includes everything from art installations and interactive exhibitions to artifacts and archaeological findings with an outdoor sculpture garden also on offer.

    Since being founded in 1967, the museum has educated countless generations on the history and art of the region. Alongside early maps and conquistador armour you can also find artworks by Georgia O’Keeffe among others and historic wood carvings and weavings by Native American peoples. On top of this, it regularly hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events and operates tours around the historic home of Casa San Ysidro which gives guests a glimpse into Spanish colonial life.

    8. San Felipe de Neri Church

    San Felipe de Neri Church© dreamstime

    Just a minute’s walk from the museum is the stunning San Felipe de Neri Church which lines the north side of the Old Town Plaza. One of the oldest surviving structures in the city, it was built in 1793 during the Spanish colonial period and has remained in continuous use since then.

    Exhibiting a magnificent mix of architectural influences, the centuries-old church sports two twin bell towers that rise up above its thick, earth-colored adobe walls. Inside, its Gothic Revival-style interior decorations such as its wood-carved altar and pulpit, both of which are painted white, give it a more European appearance. The charming church also adjoins an old rectory, convent and school while its small museum displays some gorgeous religious art and artifacts.

    7. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

    New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science© dreamstime

    Set on the eastern edge of Old Town is another of the city’s main sights – the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Through interactive exhibits and dramatic dinosaur-filled displays you’ll explore over twelve billion years of natural history starting with the birth of the universe.

    After learning about these early origins you can then witness the dawn of the dinosaurs, experience the ice age on Earth and see skeletons, fossils and paleontological findings up close. Since opening in 1986, the museum has been a firm favorite with both locals and tourists alike due to its well-presented galleries and hands-on activities. In addition, it is also home to a fantastic Planetarium and a 3D cinema which screens educational yet entertaining films.

    6. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

    Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta© dreamstime

    Every October, thousands of people from around the globe flock to the city to watch and take part in the absolutely incredible Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Over the course of its nine days, more than five hundred hot air balloons rise up slowly into the clear blue sky, making it the largest festival of its kind in the world.

    What began in 1972 with just a few balloons has since turned into Albuquerque’s most famed and photographed event. Seeing the sky full of balloons of different colours, shapes and designs is an amazing experience with the Mass Ascension being its main event. You can also go up in a hot air balloon yourself and bask in beautiful views of the city below and the other balloons around you.

    5. Petroglyph National Monument

    Petroglyph National Monument© dreamstime

    Just to the west of town you can find the phenomenal Petroglyph National Monument which lies on the other side of the Rio Grande. While it boasts lava-scarred landscapes and volcanic cones for you to explore, the sprawling site is mostly known for its captivating collection of carved images which number more than 24,000 in total.

    Remarkably well-preserved for the most part, these fantastic figures, symbols and signs were etched into the volcanic rock by both Ancestral Pueblo peoples and early Spanish settlers. The earliest of them date to around 3,000 years ago with large groupings to be found around Boca Negra Canyon and Piedras Marcadas. In addition, the monument’s many trails take you past some splendid scenery and commanding viewpoints.

    4. ABQ BioPark

    ABQ BioPark© dreamstime

    As it is home to not only an aquarium and botanical gardens but a zoo too, it is no wonder that ABQ BioPark is one of the city’s top attractions. Impressively enough, the largely outdoor environmental museum also encompasses the recreation area of Tingley Beach which has pretty paths, ponds and picnic areas to enjoy.

    After having explored its beautiful botanic garden, which is dotted with desert plants and flowers, you can then head to its excellent aquarium. This again mostly focuses on local species that can be found in the Rio Grande and saltwater marshes of the Gulf of Mexico. The undoubted highlight is the park’s zoo which houses everything from elephants and gorillas to lions and polar bears.

    3. Sandia Peak Tramway

    Sandia Peak Tramway© dreamstime

    Rising up dramatically above both Albuquerque and the Rio Grande Valley are the soaring Sandia Mountains which lie on the northeastern edge of the city. To reach the top of the 3,163-metre-high mounts, visitors can take an unforgettable ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway which is remarkably the longest aerial tram in the Americas.

    From the desert floor, it only takes fifteen minutes to rise to the summit of Sandia Crest with divine views over the Land of Enchantment on offer from both the cable car and mountain peak. At the top, you’ll find souvenir shops, a sky bar and restaurant as well as countless hiking trails. In addition to enjoying some simply spectacular sunsets, superb skiing can be had in the winter months.

    2. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

    Indian Pueblo Cultural Center© dreamstime

    An absolute must-visit when in town, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center preserves and promotes the Pueblo peoples’ rich history, culture, art and traditions. Owned and operated by the nineteen Pueblos of New Mexico, its innumerable exhibitions and events offer up an interesting insight into their past and present.

    Founded in 1976, the cultural center now occupies a state-of-the-art site that lies just a short drive to the north of Old Town. Here you’ll find an art gallery, gift shop and museum which houses exquisite artworks, artifacts and informative exhibits on their history and culture. Besides this, the centre also hosts lots of cultural events, lectures and workshops over the course of the year with its traditional dances and performances being particularly popular.

    1. Old Town

    Old Town© dreamstime

    The most popular place to visit in the city is Old Town Albuquerque which is the original site the Spanish settled in the 1700s. Spanning around ten blocks in total, it boasts several attractive adobe buildings and has lots of interesting historic landmarks and museums to check out.

    Set around its central plaza are countless art galleries and shops selling Southwestern souvenirs and Native American artworks as well as the centuries-old San Felipe de Neri Church. Its cobblestone streets are also home to some great restaurants and bars while talented street performers lend the area a lively atmosphere. In addition, you can also find many of Albuquerque’s main tourist attractions and museums in or around the Old Town.

  • 12 Best Things to Do in Halifax (with Map & Photos)

    The capital of Nova Scotia, the seaside city of Halifax, lies on a huge harbor of the same name and is an important economic and cultural center for Atlantic Canada. This was the first port of call for most European immigrants to the country in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    Stretching three kilometers in length, its waterfront is home to historic wharves and warehouses, markets and museums. Despite its smallish size, there are many things to do in Halifax. Besides delving into the city’s seafaring past, you can also explore the peninsula’s parks and gardens, excellent art galleries and beautiful old buildings. There are also many tourist attractions relating to its rich maritime history and heritage.

    12. Seaport Farmers’ Market

    Seaport Farmers' Market© dreamstime

    Set along the city’s waterfront is the Seaport Farmers’ Market which is, remarkably, the oldest continually operating market of its kind in North America. Founded in 1750, its countless stands and stalls have fish, fresh produce and baked goods to buy with the market open almost every day of the year.

    Over the years, the historic farmers market has been held in many locations. Many of its vast array of vendors moved to the vibrant arts and cultural district of Halifax Seaport in 2011. Here you can sample some local Canadian staples, shop for souvenirs, or stop off for a bite to eat or a coffee at one of its stalls.

    11. Fairview Lawn Cemetery

    Fairview Lawn Cemetery© dreamstime

    Located around ten minutes’ drive to the northwest of the city center is the peaceful and picturesque Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Mostly known for being the final resting place for over a hundred victims of the infamous sinking of the RMS Titanic, its paths take you past rows of sombre graves and memorials and monuments to the maritime tragedy.

    In total 121 of the sunken ship’s crew and passengers are interred here with many of the gray granite markers inscribed with their name and date of death. Among the most popular are those of William Denton Cox and The Unknown Child; both of which have interesting and informative plaques on the unfortunate victims.

    10. Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

    Art Gallery of Nova Scotia© dreamstime

    Another of the city’s standout sights is the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, situated a stone’s throw from the waterfront in downtown Halifax. Now located in Dominion Building, the museum was opened in 1908 with further floors to be found in the adjacent Provincial Building.

    While its collection of 18,000 photos, paintings and sculptures mainly focus on local Nova Scotian and Canadian artists, its exhibits also include plenty of works by international artists.

    Its galleries house more than fifty works by the folk artist Maud Lewis, as well as artworks by several First Nations artists. With 2,000 images by photographer Annie Leibovitz on show next to portraits of numerous Nova Scotia notables, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is not to be missed.

    9. Discovery Centre

    Discovery Centre© dreamstime

    Full of incredible exhibits and interactive experiences and activities, the Discovery Centre is sure to educate and entertain both adults and children alike. Since opening in 1990, the science museum has stimulated an interest in science and technology for countless generations of locals and tourists.

    Set next to the Seaport Farmers’ Market, its interactive, hands-on exhibits explore everything from energy and the ocean to space and flight. The state-of-the-art center also has exciting experiments and science shows for visitors to watch which explain and highlight how the world works.

    Also, the fun and family-friendly museum’s on-site cinema shows educational films with discovery days, science lectures, and technology workshops regularly taking place.

    8. Point Pleasant Park

    Point Pleasant Park© dreamstime

    Occupying the southernmost tip of the Halifax Peninsula is Point Pleasant Park which lies just ten minutes’ drive from the city center. Besides boasting some interesting historic sights, it also has great outdoor activities to try and commanding views out over Halifax Harbour.

    Dotted about its scenic and sprawling confines are the Sailor’s Memorial and Prince of Wales Tower, the oldest remaining Martello tower in North America. Once home to numerous batteries, the park now has thirty or so kilometers of trails to hike, run or cycle along amidst its verdant forests.

    During the summer months, it also hosts Shakespeare by the Sea when numerous outdoor plays and productions take place.

    7. Halifax Harbour Ferry

    Halifax Harbour Ferry© dreamstime

    When in town, a great thing to do in Halifax is go for a ride on the Harbour Ferry which is the longest-running ferry service in North America. Since 1752, boats have ferried both passengers and goods across the massive expanse of water, with trips from Halifax to Dartmouth now only taking fifteen minutes.

    From the Halifax Ferry Terminal, visitors can either take a ferry to Alderney Landing or Woodside, both of which are located in Dartmouth. Once powered by horses and then by steam, the fast ferries now whisk you to Dartmouth’s growing arts and dining scenes in no time at all.

    On the way, you can enjoy divine views of Halifax Harbour and snap photos of the city’s scenic shores and skyline.

    6. Halifax Central Library

    Halifax Central Library© dreamstime

    As it boasts some of the most attractive and unique architecture in the city, Halifax Central Library is certainly worth stopping by.

    Since opening in 2014, the library has been a firm favorite with both locals and tourists alike and regularly hosts talks, cultural events and shows. Besides its huge collection of books, it also has art installations and an auditorium on offer alongside cosy cafes and community rooms.

    Said to resemble a stack of books, the distinctive design of the five-story structure has earned lots of plaudits with the interior of the modern building being just as striking. This is because its sun-filled central atrium is crisscrossed by stairways which lead up to a sunroom gallery space and rooftop cafe and terrace.

    5. Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

    Canadian Museum of Immigration© dreamstime

    Situated on the Halifax Waterfront is the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, one of the nation’s most important museums. As over a million immigrants passed through the former ocean liner terminal between 1928 and 1971, it is often compared to Ellis Island in the States.

    Founded in 1999, the museum shows visitors what it was like to immigrate through Pier 21 in the past. As well as exploring the ocean immigration shed’s artifacts and exhibits, there are oral history interviews to listen to and short videos to watch. The museum is also home to a moving memorial and a lovely wall of service, honour and tribute to all those who contributed to Canada as a nation.

    4. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

    Maritime Museum of the Atlantic© dreamstime

    Looking out over Halifax Harbour is the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic which offers a fascinating look into the city’s seafaring heritage and culture. One of the most popular places to visit in town, it has a huge collection of over 30,000 items to explore, with its artifacts and exhibits relating to the sinking of the RMS Titanic being one of its main attractions.

    First opened in 1948, the museum is home to everything, from charts and small crafts to models of ships and the CSS Acadia; a steam-powered survey ship. While some galleries look at the history of sailing or the age of steam, others focus instead on events such as the sinking of the Titanic or the devastating Halifax Explosion of 1917.

    3. Halifax Citadel

    Halifax Citadel© dreamstime

    Set in the center of the city is the star-shaped Halifax Citadel which looms over downtown from atop of its prominent hilltop. Such is its strategic position that four forts have been built in the same spot since 1749 with the current citadel having been completed in 1856.

    Besides wandering around the grounds and fortifications of the National Historic Site, visitors can also stop by its on-site Army Museum. As well as weapons and uniforms, it has interesting exhibits on the fort which was used during the American Revolution, American Civil War, and both World Wars, amongst others. A popular time to visit is at midday when reenactors fire the traditional noon-gun which acts as a reminder of the fort’s role in Halifax’s history.

    2. Halifax Public Gardens

    Halifax Public Gardens© dreamstime

    Just to the southwest of the citadel, you can find the Halifax Public Gardens which were first opened in 1875. One of the finest Victorian-era gardens in North America, its gorgeous grounds have paths and ponds to amble past with flower beds, fountains, and sculptures also dotted about.

    Enclosed within its intricate wrought-iron gate, you can find a huge variety of trees, plants and shrubs with the gardens having been created out of two older pre-existing parks. At its heart lies a beautiful old bandstand which sometimes hosts concerts, ceremonies and celebrations in the summer months. Due to its scenic splendour, the gardens are a very popular place to picnic or take wedding and prom photos.

    1. Waterfront Boardwalk

    Waterfront Boardwalk© dreamstime

    The undoubted highlight of any visit to Halifax is going for a stroll along the Waterfront Boardwalk, home to most of the city’s main sights. The boardwalk stretches three kilometres in total, and as well as historic buildings and heritage vessels, has museums, markets and monuments to visit.

    As it lines the edge of Halifax Harbour and offers some epic views, wandering along the waterfront is certainly one of the best city walks in Canada. Besides all its attractions, there are countless shops and restaurants to visit, with art galleries and studios occupying its wharves and warehouses.

    From the Waterfront Boardwalk you can also take some great ferry rides and boat tours which again highlight the city’s maritime history and heritage.

  • 12 Best Things to do in Ottawa (with Map & Photos)

    Once a humble lumber town, Ottawa was controversially chosen by Queen Victoria to be the capital of Canada all the way back in 1857. Since then, it has grown into the country’s fourth-largest city, and it now has countless world-class museums, tourist attractions and fascinating National Historic Sites to check out.

    Set at the spot where the Ottawa, Rideau, and Gatineau rivers meet, it lies in the southeast of Canada on the border with Quebec. Things to do in Ottawa include visiting important institutions such as the Canadian Parliament and Supreme Court, as well as exploring the city’s beautiful buildings and attractive architecture.

    In addition, plenty of parks and green spaces dot the city while the remarkable Rideau Canal which runs through the heart of the capital offers up some great outdoor activities and sightseeing cruises.

    12. Supreme Court of Canada

    Supreme Court of Canada© dreamstime

    Perched atop of a high bluff overlooking the Ottawa River is the Supreme Court of Canada which lies right next to the city center. The highest court in the country, it was built between 1939 and 1945 with Queen Elizabeth herself actually having laid the first cornerstone.

    Thanks to its outstanding Art Deco architecture and close proximity to Parliament Hill, the court is very popular to visit with tours taking you all around its interior. While the Grand Entrance Hall is certainly its standout sight, it is also interesting to see the courts where trials take place and hear the history of the building. Outside you can find some superb statues of Canadian Greats and snap great photos of the court and its chateau-esque roof.

    11. Rideau Hall

    Rideau Hall© dreamstime

    The official residence of both the Canadian monarch and Governor General of Canada, the stately Rideau Hall can be found just ten minutes’ drive to the north of downtown. In total, the massive mansion has 175 rooms to explore with the fancy residence, and its grounds are open to the public for tours throughout the year.

    Built back in the 1830s with later governors adding ever grander elements, it exhibits some lovely Regency-style architecture with enormous wings lying to either side of its main facade.

    Inside, the humongous Rideau Hall is sumptuously decorated with fine furnishings and period pieces dotting its ballrooms, state rooms and private apartments. Besides learning about the National Historic Site, visitors can enjoy strolling around its gardens which contain lots of uniquely Canadian landscapes.

    10. National War Memorial

    National War Memorial© dreamstime

    The focal point of the capital’s Confederation Square, the National War Memorial lies just a short distance from Parliament Hill and many of the city’s other main sights. Originally erected in 1939 to commemorate the Canadians who died during World War I, the moving memorial has since been rededicated to all Canadians killed in all conflicts both past and future.

    Towering to 21 meters in height, the granite arch is adorned with striking sculptures that represent various branches of the Canadian forces. These bronze figures can be seen emerging from the arch, allegorically passing from war to peace and liberty. Lying at its foot is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and ceremonial sentries who perform the Changing of the Guard each hour.

    9. Royal Canadian Mint

    Royal Canadian Mint© dreamstime

    Just a short stroll to the north of the National War Memorial is the Royal Canadian Mint which, until 1969, manufactured much of the country’s coinage. Nowadays, however, the National Historic Site only produces hand-crafted collector and commemorative coins as well as medals, medallions and gold bullion bars and coins.

    The headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mint now occupy an historic Tudor-Gothic style building that looks very much like a castle as two turrets line its entrance. Visitors can take tours around the facility to see how the coins are designed and produced, learn about the mint’s history and even hold a solid gold bar. In addition, there is also a shop where you can buy gifts and souvenirs of your visit.

    8. Ottawa Locks

    Ottawa Locks© dreamstime

    While 47 in total can be found dotted along the Rideau Canal, it is the steep set of almost step-like locks at its northern end that attract the most attention. Known as the Ottawa Locks, they can be spied in between Chateau Laurier and Parliament Hill with the flight of eight locks making for some fabulous photos.

    Completed in 1831, the small series of locks really are an astonishing engineering achievement as they connect the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa River 24 meters below. Despite lying in the heart of town, the Ottawa Locks are set in a serene spot amidst leafy parks, hills and historic buildings. As such, many people enjoy walks here and take photos of boats rising up and down the lock system.

    7. Notre Dame Basilica

    Notre Dame Basilica© dreamstime

    Both the oldest and largest church in Ottawa, Notre Dame Basilica was built in 1841 and boasts two towering twin spires which can be seen from both the city center and Parliament Hill not far away. While its neoclassical exterior looks quite austere, its inside is a feast for the eyes with elaborate carvings and magnificent stained-glass windows wherever you look.

    Now preserved as a National Historic Site, the cathedral’s exquisite interior is home to hundreds of sculptures of religious figures with the carvings in its choir being particularly impressive. Besides this, it also has a huge pipe organ on show while glittering stars dot its colorful ceiling. During the summer, visitors can take tours of the basilica and learn about its fine features and interesting past.

    6. Canada Aviation and Space Museum

    Canada Aviation and Space Museum© dreamstime

    Lying just fifteen minutes’ drive to the northeast of the city center is the Canada Aviation and Space Museum which is home to a huge collection of artifacts and aircraft. Through its extensive exhibits you can learn all about the history and evolution of aviation in Canada and the country’s significant achievements in space.

    Established in 1964 on Rockcliffe Airport, a former military base, the museum’s humongous hangar houses over 130 civilian and military aircraft. Besides seaplanes and the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s Canadarm, it also has lots of vintage bushplanes from the 1920s to ‘40s on show. Besides exploring the museum’s interactive exhibits, visitors can try out its flight simulator or even book a sightseeing flight over Ottawa in the summer.

    5. Canadian Museum of Nature

    Canadian Museum of Nature© dreamstime

    Boasting one of the best natural history collections in the world is the Canadian Museum of Nature which remarkably houses more than fifteen million specimens. Set just a short stroll to the south of the center, its interesting artifacts and exhibits explore over four billion years of the Earth’s history.

    Originally founded in 1856 in Montreal, the massive museum now occupies a fine Tudor-Gothic Revival-style building which itself is a National Historic Site. Inside you can find everything from dioramas and displays on mammals and minerals to dinosaur fossils and the full skeleton of a huge blue whale. In addition to all its galleries on geology and exhibitions on Canada’s landscapes and wildlife, the museum also showcases some artwork and films relating to natural history.

    4. Canadian War Museum

    Canadian War Museum© dreamstime

    Set not far from downtown on the banks of the Ottawa River is the Canadian War Museum which serves as both a museum and memorial to the country’s military past. Inside its strikingly modern building are lots of excellent exhibits to explore which shine a light on Canada’s contributions to World War I and II and many other battles beside.

    Opened in 1942, its collection of over three million items includes everything from uniforms and weapons to tanks, planes and even a replica of a WWI trench. Accompanying them are informative displays, photos and short clips of film. The museum also has a moving Memorial Hall for visitors to stop by and a Regeneration Hall which fittingly looks out over Peace Tower.

    3. National Gallery of Canada

    National Gallery of Canada© dreamstime

    One of the largest art museums in North America, the National Gallery of Canada can be found on the banks of the Ottawa River overlooking Parliament Hill. While its captivating collection is a treat to peruse, the gorgeous glass building in which it is housed already makes for a spellbinding sight as it is designed to look like a cathedral.

    Inside, the architectural marvel is just as impressive as its galleries are packed with fabulous photos, paintings and sculptures by Canadian and international artists. Alongside renowned names such as da Vinci, Michelangelo and Picasso you can also find exquisite artworks by the indigenous peoples of Canada. One of its most famous works is the striking spider sculpture Maman which lies just in front of its entrance.

    2. Rideau Canal

    Rideau Hall© dreamstime

    Running right through the center of the city is the remarkable Rideau Canal which connects Ottawa to Lake Ontario some 200 kilometers away. One of the capital’s standout sights, it is lined by pretty paths to walk, run or cycle along with sightseeing cruises in the summer and ice skating in the winter when the water freezes being particularly popular.

    Now primarily used for pleasure boating, the charming canal was actually built between 1826 and 1832 to secure supply and communications routes in the case of war with the United States. The National Historic Site has lots of picturesque parks, lakes and towns for people to stop off at along the way as well as the spectacular Ottawa Locks to check out in town.

    1. Parliament Hill

    Parliament Hill© dreamstime

    The city’s main attraction for most visitors, the phenomenal Parliament Hill can be found right in the heart of downtown, overlooking the Ottawa River. Perched atop of a rocky outcrop, its complex of gorgeous Gothic Revival style buildings is home to the Parliament of Canada which is the seat of the country’s government.

    Built between 1859 and 1927, the Parliament Buildings exhibit some astounding architecture with the prominent Peace Tower rising up high above its Center Block. Besides basking in breath-taking views of the capital from its observation deck, you can also take tours of the House of Commons and its grounds which are dotted with statues and memorials. Many people also enjoy watching its Changing of the Guard ceremony which takes places daily in the summer.

  • 11 Best Things to Do in Burlington, VT (with Map & Photos)

    Nestled in the northwest corner of Vermont is the vibrant city of Burlington which lies on the scenic shores of Lake Champlain. Despite its small size, there are several interesting and entertaining activities and things to do in Burlington; from breweries and Ben & Jerry’s to museums and markets.

    Thanks to its sizable student population, the city has a lively feel to it and a thriving arts and culture scene. Interesting architecture and historic tourist attractions can also be found while the state’s endless farms and fields, and the lake’s islands, are never far away.

    The largest city in Vermont, Burlington is well worth checking out if you have the chance. Fall is a particularly popular time of year to visit for the colorful foliage.

    11. University of Vermont

    University of Vermont© dreamstime

    Sprawled over a huge part of the city center is the hilltop campus of the University of Vermont. One of the oldest and most prestigious institutes of higher education in the States. Founded in 1791, it has attractive architecture to check out, as well as a museum and highly thought of theater.

    While wandering around its grounds you’ll come across beautiful old buildings, such as the Old Mill, Williams Hall, and the Billings Memorial Library; all built over a hundred years’ ago.

    Visitors can also stop by the fantastic Fleming Museum of Art or watch a production at the Royall Tyler Theater.

    10. Shelburne Farms

    Shelburne Farms© dreamstime

    Situated to the southwest of the city, the enormous agricultural estate of Shelburne Farms is set in a scenic spot on the shores of Lake Champlain. Once the property of the Webbs – wealthy relatives and descendants of the Vanderbilts – the working farm now educates people on how the land can be used environmentally, economically, and in a culturally sustainable manner.

    Popular with both locals and tourists alike, the large estate has farmland and woodlands for you to explore as well as a shoreline to stroll along. An important example of a Gilded Age farm it has many historic buildings dotted about and was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2001.

    With inns, a restaurant and a children’s farmyard also on offer, Shelburne Farms makes for a family-friendly day out.

    9. Magic Hat Brewery

    Magic Hat Breweryflickr/Doug Kerr

    Situated between Shelburne Farms and the city center is the magnificent Magic Hat Brewery. One of the most bizarre places to grab a beer in Burlington. Widely credited with having helped turn Americans onto craft beer, the microbrewery was founded in 1994.

    Located in an abandoned factory on an industrial park, it has an enticing ‘Artifactory’ tour around its eclectic and artistic interior which showcases how its beers are produced.

    Besides beer brewing, you can also shop for souvenirs and sample some of its lagers and experimental IPAs, all of which have whacky names. A popular choice is its aromatic, not quite pale flagship brew, #9.

    8. ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

    ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain© dreamstime

    On Burlington’s waterfront is the ECHO Leahy Center which is home to exhibits and aquaria on the ecosystems of Lake Champlain. An innovative science and nature museum, it was established in 2003 to instill a sense of wonder in nature and scientific discovery.

    Through its amazing exhibitions, you’ll learn about the history of the lake and all its amphibians and invertebrates, reptiles, and fish. Visitors can also try out its hands-on discovery centre, enjoy panoramic views over the lake and watch educational nature films at its on-site cinema.

    7. Shelburne Museum

    Shelburne Museum© dreamstime

    Set next to Shelburne Farms is this museum of the same name which impressively boasts the largest collection of Americana in the States. Founded in 1947 by Electra Havemeyer Webb, its captivating collection consists of over 150,000 items with prints and paintings, folk art and furniture, and even architecture on display.

    The sprawling site also has thirty-nine beautiful old historic buildings, including a sawmill, school, and railway station. It also has the Ticonderoga steamship to check out which used to plough the waves of Lake Champlain.

    With so much of New England’s fascinating history and heritage showcased, the Shelburne Museum is certainly well worth visiting if you have the chance.

    6. Burlington Farmers Market

    Burlington Farmers Marketflickr/CSM

    Every Saturday morning in summer, thousands of people descend upon the Burlington Farmers Market to buy and sell their wares. From May to October, the market is set up in the central City Hall Park. For the rest of the year, its rows of stalls occupy the University of Vermont’s Davis Center.

    Founded in 1980, the market has been very popular with both locals and tourists alike and almost everything for sale is produced by Vermont farmers. While wandering around you’ll see colorful fruit and vegetables sold alongside baked goods, cheeses, and crafts.

    The market is a great place to sample some local produce, buy some souvenirs or simply stop off for a coffee and enjoy the atmosphere.

    5. Lake Champlain Ferries

    Lake Champlain Ferries© dreamstime

    Making up much of the Vermont – New York state border is Lake Champlain which also crosses over into a small part of Canada in the north. Dotted about its reflective waters are idyllic islands and charming lakeside communities with ferries running regularly from Burlington’s King Street Dock.

    Impressively enough, Lake Champlain Ferries has operated since 1826 with its cruises popular with both locals and tourists. Some people set off across the lake to Port Kent in New York, while others head to Grand Isle which has superb scenery and outdoor activities to enjoy.

    The company also runs some great sightseeing cruises where you can learn about the history of the lake and surrounding area as you take in the beautiful views from its bows.

    4. Waterfront

    Waterfront© dreamstime

    Just a short stroll from Burlington’s bustling downtown area is its waterfront which looks out over the scenic shores of Lake Champlain. While both the Echo Leahy Center and Perkins Pier can be found here, most of the lakeside is taken up by a park and promenade.

    Besides ambling along the waterfront and enjoying fabulous views over the lake, visitors can walk, cycle or picnic among the park’s gardens and colorful flower beds. While its scenery can be enjoyed at any time, during the summer Waterfront Park also hosts concerts and cultural events.

    With cafes and ice cream stands dotted about and boat trips departing nearby, Burlington’s waterfront is one of the best places to spend time in the city.

    3. Church Street Marketplace

    Church Street Marketplace© dreamstime

    The heart and soul of life in the city, Church Street Marketplace is chock full of fun things to see and do. Set over four blocks of Burlington’s downtown are around a hundred restaurants and shops with an outdoor pedestrian area.

    Established in 1980, its popularity has grown year-on-year with countless open-air cafes and chain stores found next to local art galleries, boutiques and, of course, Ben & Jerry’s. Besides all its booming businesses, the area also has interesting architecture and historic sights for you to check out, while its street performers add to its ambience.

    2. Ben & Jerry’s

    Ben & Jerry'sflickr/Shannon McGee

    When in town an absolute must is stopping off for a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s, the iconic ice cream company is synonymous with both the state and the city. Founded in Burlington in 1978, the world-conquering brand has a colorful scoop shop in Church Street Marketplace, as well as a fun factory you can take tours around at Waterbury.

    At its corner shop, you can lick, sip and slurp on some of its signature cups, cones and sundaes with plenty of flavors to try out. Besides cool classics, such as Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Phish Food, there are also warm waffle cones and hot fudge sundaes to enjoy.

    Although it lies a half-hour drive to the southeast of the city, the Ben & Jerry’s factory is worth visiting for its film on the origins of the ice cream empire and the ice cream you can sample in the scoop shop.

    1. Island Line Trail

    Island Line Trailflickr/Fred Murphy

    One of the most picturesque places to visit in Burlington, the idyllic Island Line Trail takes you past breathtaking scenery and viewpoints. It stretches 23 kilometers and runs from Oakledge Park to South Hero on Grand Isle, passing through Burlington’s Waterfront Park.

    The flat, paved path follows the route of the old Island Line railroad which used to run along the shores of Lake Champlain. Nowadays, however, the trail is used by walkers, joggers and cyclists who can gaze out over the lake and see beaches, lighthouses, sailboats, and sunsets as they go.

    While all the scenery certainly is spellbinding, the undoubted highlight is crossing the Colchester Causeway which connects South Hero to the mainland. Reaching almost five kilometers in length, the narrow trail is a pleasure to walk along as the lake shimmers around you on all sides.

  • 12 Best Things to do in Bar Harbor (with Map & Photos)

    A very popular place to visit, particularly in the sunny summer months, the lively seaside town of Bar Harbor can be found on the northeast coast of Maine’s magnificent Mount Desert Island. As it lies just a stone’s throw from Acadia National Park, many people use the town as a base from which to explore its wonderful wilderness with lots of excellent outdoor activities also being on offer.

    Despite its small size, the charming town is packed with lots of great shops and restaurants with pretty parks and interesting historic tourist attractions also dotted about. Only adding to its allure is its scenic setting on the shores of Frenchman Bay, with boat tours around its waters and whale watching trips being an absolute best things to do in Bar Harbor.

    With so much dramatic coastal scenery nearby and tons of terrific trails, nature spots and islands to explore, Bar Harbor really is one of the best places to stay if you want to make the most of your visit to Maine.

    12. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

    Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse© dreamstime

    Set just half an hour’s drive to the southwest of the seaside town is the brilliant Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse which looks out over the wild waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Perched atop of a craggy cliff, the lighthouse and its gleaming white tower make for some fabulous photos due to the dramatic coastal scenery all around it.

    Located within Acadia National Park, it lies at the entrance to both Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay with the historic Head Light having been built all the way back in 1858. Now the private residence of a local Coast Guard member, the National Historic Landmark is one of the most popular places in the park thanks to its fetching features and phenomenal panoramas over the ocean and islands.

    11. Agamont Park

    Agamont Park© dreamstime

    One of the most popular, peaceful and picturesque places to visit in town is the attractive Agamont Park which can be found at the northern end of Bar Harbor’s Main Street. From atop of its grassy knoll you can enjoy breathtaking views out over Frenchman Bay and all the boats and islands that dot its shimmering surface.

    Situated on the former site of Agamont Hotel which burned down in 1888, the small urban park has some pretty paths and benches for visitors to make use of with a wonderful water fountain lying at one of its entrances.

    Most people however visit for its divine views with the prominent hilltop also looking out over the bustling Town Pier. From here you can stroll along the scenic and serene Shore Path which takes you along the town’s captivating coastline.

    10. Atlantic Brewing Company

    Atlantic Brewing Companyflickr/duluoz cats

    Lying just fifteen minutes’ drive to the west of town is the Atlantic Brewing Company which is one of the best places to enjoy a freshly pulled pint or ale or IPA in the area. After having outgrown its former facilities, the brewery moved to its current charming countryside location – a nineteenth century Maine farmstead – in 1998.

    Visitors can take tours around the brewery to see how small-scale beer production works in practice as well as sampling some batches of beer in its taproom. Its gorgeous grounds are also home to the Mainely Meat BBQ which serves up lots of sizzling treats. Due to its success and popularity, the brewery has also opened another location in Midtown which serves bar bites and its signature beers.

    9. Village Green Park

    Village Green Park© dreamstime

    Set right in the centre of Bar Harbor is the verdant Village Green Park which has lots of pleasant paths and impressive historic landmarks to check out. Once the site of the Grand Central Hotel, it was turned into a public park in 1899 when the antiquated old building was torn down.

    Nowadays visitors to the park can find a beautiful bandstand, an antique Italian fountain and a cast iron clock alongside many other landmarks; all of which are at least a century old.

    Besides this, it also has some fantastic flowerbeds and lovingly landscaped lawns to wander around with booming bars and cafes lining its edges. As it also hosts lots of open-air concerts and festivals, Village Green Park is certainly well worth checking out when in town.

    8. Park Loop Road

    Park Loop Road© dreamstime

    Winding its way around the east side of Mount Desert Island is the phenomenal Park Loop Road which takes you to and through some of Acadia National Park’s most scenic spots. Stretching for 43 kilometers in total, the scenic route is a delight to drive along with spectacular scenery, landscapes and nature wherever you look.

    Starting just outside Bar Harbor, the one-way road meanders its way through vast forests and past lovely lakes and ponds before taking you to the top of Cadillac Mountain. It then snakes along the island’s craggy coastline and cliffs with lots of incredible viewpoints and natural wonders to stop off at along the way.

    Its many highlights include the thrilling Thunder Hole which lies just off its southern shore, the gorgeous Jordan Pond and the saltwater swimming area of Sand Beach.

    7. Abbe Museum

    Abbe Museum© dreamstime

    A very interesting and educational place to visit, the excellent Abbe Museum offers up a fascinating look into the rich history and culture of Maine’s Native American people, the Wabanaki. Through its astounding array of artifacts, ethnographic exhibitions and archaeological findings you can learn all about their heritage and traditions which span thousands upon thousands of years.

    Set right in the center of town, the museum is located in a splendid Sieur de Monts building and was first opened all the way back in 1928. In its colossal collection you can find everything from hooks and harpoons to baskets, blankets and beadwork with its main exhibition – People of the First Light – highlighting how the Wabanaki survived and thrived in the area.

    As well as hosting lots of cultural events and workshops, the museum has a smaller second site for you to visit in the national park.

    6. Downtown

    Downtown© dreamstime

    Despite its small size, Downtown Bar Harbor has lots for you to see and do with a wealth of great bars and restaurants to be found alongside pretty parks and a wonderful waterfront. Here too, you’ll find lots of tour operators with many offering boat trips, kayaking and rock-climbing tours, as well as epic whale watching excursions.

    With so much going on, you are almost certain to spend quite a bit of time in Downtown with its charming, colourful streets being packed with cosy cafes, souvenir shops and ice cream stands. In addition to this, there are lots of B&Bs and rental homes for you to choose from with Bar Harbor being particularly busy in the sunny summer months and fall foliage season.

    5. Ocean Trail

    Ocean Trail© dreamstime

    Taking you all the way from Sand Beach to Otter Point is the awe-inspiring Ocean Trail which is one of the prettiest and most popular paths to hike along in the whole of Acadia National Park. Very easy to access, the terrific trail lies fifteen minutes’ drive to the south of town and stretches just over three kilometers in total with lots of dramatic coastal scenery and viewpoints to enjoy on the way.

    Hugging the rough, rugged and rocky coast, the path meanders its way past such stunning sights as the famous Thunder Hole and the majestic Monument Cove. While lush forests lie to one side, the other looks out over the wild waters of the Atlantic which pound the idyllic isle’s jagged rocks and craggy coastal cliffs.

    Beside basking in the beauty of the Maine coastline, you can also stop off to go swimming at Sand Beach or snap photo after photo of the incredible Otter Cliff.

    4. Land Bridge to Bar Island

    Land Bridge to Bar Island© dreamstime

    As it only appears at low tide, strolling across the Land Bridge to Bar Island really is one of the most amazing and unforgettable things to do when in Bar Harbor. The rest of the time the isolated island and its tantalizing hiking trails are separated from the town and Mount Desert Island by the waters of Frenchman Bay.

    When the tide goes out however, a wide strip of sand, gravel and mud emerges which visitors can hike, cycle and even drive across. Besides enjoying the unique experience, Bar Island itself is well worth visiting for its pretty paths, verdant forests and delightful views. You do need to be a bit wary though of the time if you don’t want to be stuck on the uninhabited isle and have to call a water taxi.

    3. Bar Harbor Boat Tours

    Bar Harbor Boat Tours© dreamstime

    With so much stupendous coastal scenery, wilderness and wildlife lying nearby, no visit to Bar Harbor is complete without taking one of its brilliant boat tours. While some take you to see the historic lighthouses that dot Frenchman Bay and the captivating cliffs of Acadia National Park, others instead head off in search of seals, puffins and whales.

    As sightseeing cruises around the surrounding waters are so popular, there are now lots of tours to choose from that cater to all kinds of interests. Besides the aforementioned examples, you can also take a family-friendly fishing trip, a seafood safari where you sample different delicacies as you sail or even a photo-themed tour to sunset spots.

    With lots of idyllic islands dotted about and fabulous views over the Maine coastline wherever you go, taking a boat tour really is one of the best things to do when in the seaside town.

    2. Shore Path

    Shore Path© dreamstime

    Another of the most popular things to do in Bar Harbor is to stroll along the scenic and serene Shore Path which winds its way along the side of Frenchman Bay. A firm favorite among both locals and tourists alike, the picturesque path stretches just over two kilometers in total and takes you past lots of lovely scenery and viewpoints.

    Built all the way back in 1880, the charming coastal trail starts at Agamont Park and the Town Pier before slowly wrapping its way around the craggy coast of the bay. As you amble peacefully along its paved path you’ll pass the tantalizing Town Beach and lots of cosy cottages before reaching some phenomenal viewpoints overlooking Egg Rock and the pretty Porcupine Islands off in the distance.

    1. Acadia National Park

    Acadia National Park© dreamstime

    Boasting everything from enchanting forests and crystal clear lakes to lots of breathtaking coastal scenery and the tallest mountain along the States’ Atlantic seaboard; Acadia National Park really is a treat to explore. As all of its wonderful wilderness lies just a stone’s throw away from Bar Harbor, many people use the town as a base from which to visit all its stunning sights and scenery.

    The only national park in New England, it was founded way back in 1916 with Acadia sprawling over half of Mount Desert Island, part of the Schoodic Peninsula and a number of offshore islands. Besides its incredible scenery, landscapes and nature, the park has lots of outdoor activities such as hiking and kayaking to enjoy with moose and black bears to be spotted from time to time amidst its remote reaches.

    With so much captivating coastline to explore and so many special things to see and do, Acadia National Park is not just one of Bar Harbor’s top sights but one of New England’s too.

  • 12 Best Things to do in Portland, Maine (with Photos)

    Perched on a peninsula that protrudes out into Casco Bay, the small seaside city of Portland has lots to see and do with many of its main tourist attractions relating to its maritime history, heritage and culture. In the Old Port, for instance, you can find lots of wonderful wharfs and warehouses as well as charming cobbled streets that are lined by beautiful old buildings and booming businesses.

    While there are plenty of historical things to do in Portland, Maine, the city’s expansive Arts District is also packed full of excellent art galleries and marvelous museums. Pretty waterfront parks and promenades can also be found lining the peninsula while the incredible Casco Bay Islands and their spellbinding scenery and nature are only ever a short ferry-ride away.

    Lively yet laidback with lots of interesting historic sights and landmarks dotted about, Portland is certainly one of the best places to visit in Maine with many people stopping by during the sunny summer months.

    12. Longfellow House

    Longfellow Houseflickr/Corey Templeton

    Set right in the city center is the lovely Longfellow House which is of great historical and literary importance. As well as being the childhood home of the renowned American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the beautiful brick building is also the oldest on the whole of the Portland peninsula.

    Built all the way back in 1785 by the American Revolutionary War General Peleg Wadsworth, it exhibits lots of attractive architecture with interesting artifacts and period pieces dotting its interior.

    In addition to exploring the historic house and learning about the prominent poet and his influential family, you can also see how culture, styles and taste changed over time in New England. On top of this, the pretty property has a gorgeous Colonial Revival style garden for you to wander around.

    11. Children’s Museum and Theater

    Children's Museum and Theater© dreamstime

    Located right in the heart of Portland’s enthralling Arts District is the exquisite Children’s Museum and Theater which has lots of fun, family-friendly activities and exhibits to check out. Through its hands-on displays and interactive installations, it inspires and instills in adults and children alike a sense of discovery, exploration and imagination through play.

    Opened back in 1976, the magnificent museum merged with the Children’s Theatre in 2008 with the enlarged and enhanced institution set to move to the nearby Thompson’s Point in early 2021. It has absolutely loads of educational and engaging areas to explore with scintillating shows and award-winning outreach programmes also taking place.

    In addition to this, it also has a mini planetarium to enjoy and a captivating Camera Obscura which offers up phenomenal panoramas out over the city.

    10. Eastern Promenade

    Eastern Promenade© dreamstime

    One of the most pleasant and picturesque parts of Portland’s waterfront is its Eastern Promenade which is very easy-to-access and offers up a whole host of excellent outdoor activities. From the pretty public park and historic promenade, you can enjoy stupendous views of Casco Bay and all its shimmering waters, serene shorelines and idyllic islands.

    Due to all its spellbinding scenery and wealth of fantastic views and recreational opportunities, the promenade and park are very popular with both locals and tourists alike. As well as all its plentiful paths, picnic areas, playgrounds and playing fields, Eastern Promenade also encompasses the lovely Loring Memorial Park and Fort Allen Park, both of which have some interesting monuments for you to check out.

    9. Shipyard Brewing Company

    Shipyard Brewing Companyflickr/Raging Wire

    The largest brewer in the whole of the state, the Shipyard Brewing Company has been producing award-winning ales and quality IPAs since 1994. As such, it is one of the best places to stop off for a refreshing beer with its atmospheric tasting room lying just a short distance from downtown.

    Here you can sample sumptuous seasonal and speciality brews with all its English-style ales being produced though a mixture of traditional and innovative approaches. As well as tasting big-bodied beers and aromatic ales, you can also stock up on some of its best brews in its store and enjoy a bite to eat in the bar. In addition to this, you can even take a tour of the brewery to see how firm favorites such as Blue Fish Brut and Old Thumper are produced.

    8. Hadlock Field

    Hadlock Field© dreamstime

    If you’re after an exciting and authentic experience when in town, then you can’t beat going to watch the Portland Sea Dogs play at Hadlock Field. While the baseball team may only play in the Minor League, the old time look and feel of the park, its excellent sight lines and intoxicating atmosphere all make for an unforgettable time.

    Named after a long-time local high school teacher and baseball coach, Hadlock Field was opened in 1994 with very little having been changed since then. In left field you can spy the massive Maine Monster which is modeled on Fenway Park’s Green Monster while above right field there is an area where fans stand the chance of catching a home run. Regularly ranked among the best minor league baseball stadiums, it lies just a short drive to the west of the city center.

    7. Portland Observatory

    Portland Observatory© dreamstime

    Perched atop of Munjoy Hill is the prominent Portland Observatory which looks out over both the city’s wharfs and the open ocean around it. From the maritime tower signals could be sent between ship and shore, greatly easing and accelerating communication, commands and commerce between the two.

    The only surviving tower of its kind in the whole of the States, the octagonal observatory was built in 1807 with a lantern-like cupola lying atop of its 26-metre tall tower.

    Now a National Historic Landmark and museum, it is well-worth visiting for its phenomenal panoramas out over the waves, wharfs and city. On top of this, you can also learn all about its fascinating past and how the tower operators used to signal to far-off ships using flags, telescopes and later on, telephones.

    6. Portland Museum of Art

    Portland Museum of Art© dreamstime

    Lying in the heart of the Arts District is the fabulous Portland Museum of Art which has a colossal collection of amazing artworks for you to enjoy. Both the largest and oldest public art institution in the whole of the state, it was founded all the way back in 1882 with its paintings, photographs and sculptures having delighted countless generations since then.

    Despite the city’s small size, the museum boasts some of the biggest names in art with astounding works by Andy Warhol, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso all being on display. In total, its gorgeous galleries have over 22,000 artworks to peruse over three elegant, interconnected and architecturally and aesthetically pleasing buildings.

    While some parts of the marvelous museum look at European art and culture, others focus on American artists such as Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer.

    5. Allagash Brewery

    Allagash Breweryflickr/Allagash Brewing

    Nestled away just fifteen minutes’ drive to the northwest of the city center is the excellent Allagash Brewery which brews some of the best Belgian-inspired beers in the world. Thanks to its success, a number of other magnificent microbreweries have sprung up in the area with Portland now being renowned and recognized around the country for its brilliant craft beer breweries.

    At the award-winning Allagash Brewery you can take tours around its fantastic facilities to see how its superb stouts, tripels and wheat beers are fermented and bottled. After having learnt all about the production process, you can then sit down in their terrific tasting room and try a freshly pulled pils or buy some signature beers in their shop to take home as gifts.

    4. Victoria Mansion

    Victoria Mansion© dreamstime

    One of the most important and impressive examples of residential architecture in the whole of Maine, the attractive Italianite-style Victoria Mansion can be found right in the center of downtown Portland. Due to its arresting architecture and delightfully decorated interiors, the historic house is a very popular place and provides a portrait of the life of the wealthy in nineteenth-century America.

    Now a National Historic Landmark, the beautiful brownstone building was built way back in 1860 for the hotelier Ruggles Sylvester Morse. As well as exhibiting an exquisite asymmetric design with a four-story tower overlooking a fetching veranda, it also has an incredible interior to explore. Here you’ll find fabulous frescoes, fine furniture and unique fittings lying alongside lots of pretty period pieces and paintings.

    3. Old Port

    Old Port© dreamstime

    Packed full of great bars and restaurants with lovely little local art galleries and theaters also dotted about, the Old Port is certainly the beating heart of the city. Set on the southeast side of the Portland peninsula, it has lots of charming cobbled streets for you to explore as well as lots of wonderful old warehouses and wharfs.

    Thanks to its lively yet laidback feel, the handsome historic district is one of the most popular parts of Portland among both locals tourists alike. Besides all of its brilliant nineteenth-century brick buildings, the area also offers up splendid views out over the ocean with boat trips to the Casco Bay Islands departing from its waterfront.

    With lots of great shopping and dining to be had as well as a vibrant nightlife scene to enjoy, the Old Port is definitely not to be missed when in town.

    2. Casco Bay Islands

    Casco Bay Islands© dreamstime

    Scattered just off the coast of the city are a captivating collection of idyllic islands for you to visit which are home to lots of stupendous scenery, landscapes and nature. While some of the Casco Bay Islands are inaccessible and uninhabited, others have cute cottages or cosy campsites for you to stay at with lots of outstanding outdoor activities being on offer.

    From Portland’s Old Port you can hop on a ferry and find yourself in a scenic, serene and secluded spot in no time at all. While the family-friendly Peaks Island has some great galleries, shops and ice cream stalls to stop off at, Great Diamond has the historic Fort McKinley to visit and picture-perfect rocky shores and lush forests to explore. On top of all the great hiking, cycling and kayaking that can be had, each of the islands has its own look and feel, attractions and things to do.

    1. Portland Head Light

    Portland Head Light© dreamstime

    Lying at the entrance to the colossal Casco Bay and all of its islands is the Portland Head Light which has guided sailors to safety ever since 1791. Impressively the oldest lighthouse in the whole of Maine, it is perched on a rocky outcrop along the rough and rugged Cape Elizabeth coast which is situated just to the south of Portland Harbour.

    As it lies amid such dramatic scenery with the wild waters of the Atlantic pounding its coastal cliffs, the lighthouse and its sparkling white tower make for some fabulous photos. Besides basking in the beauty of the desolate yet delightful spot, visitors can stop by its maritime museum to learn about the history of the lighthouse and its keepers.

    Now a National Historic Landmark, the Portland Head Light is well worth visiting for its spectacular setting and the charming, craggy and quintessential Maine coastline that lies all around it.