Tag Archives: cities that surprise

Cities That Surprise: Lyon, France

Lyon, France is often referred to as “Little Paris,” but after spending a few days there last month, I would like to propose some other potential nicknames that more accurately capture the character of this city, and its relationship to Paris:

  • “Kinder, gentler, cheaper Paris”
  • “Paris for beginners”
  • “Paris without the suffocating pee smell”

And yes, Lyon City Managers, if you’re reading this, you are welcome to use any of those as Lyon’s official new slogan. As much as I adore Paris (and I do, oh, I do!), Lyon might be my new favorite French city. At the end of our stay, while packing up to head back to Paris, I found myself asking my boyfriend Nick if we “really had to leave,” which sounds ridiculous, because going to Paris is never a bad thing, but it just goes to show how great Lyon really is. It can make you complain about going to PARIS. That’s impressive, isn’t it?

Here are a few of the things that made Lyon so surprisingly wonderful, and why I’m dying to go back! Keep reading »

Cities That Surprise: Las Cruces, New Mexico

Cities That Surprise: Las Cruces, New Mexico

“Cities That Surprise” highlights places across America that defied or exceeded our expectations, for whatever reason. Today, Carrie Murphy explains why Las Cruces, New Mexico, should be on your radar!

The southern New Mexico city of Las Cruces is usually a quick stopover for people traveling east or west on I-10. That’s a pity. From the highway, you can’t experience any of the awesome stuff that makes Las Cruces the awesomely quirky place it is. Although northern New Mexico — especially Santa Fe and Taos — gets most of the tourist dollars from travelers hoping for a Southwestern experience, I promise you southern NM is worth a visit that’s longer than it takes to fill up your gas tank and inhale some truck stop food. Keep reading »

Cities That Surprise: Madison, Wisconsin

Cities That Surprise: Madison, Wisconsin

“Cities That Surprise” highlights places across America that defied or exceeded our expectations, for whatever reason. Today, Rebecca Vipond Brink tells us why Madison, Wisconsin, is not to be missed!

For a lot of people from Chicago, the place to go for a quick, chill weekend vacation either is Galena (home of fudge shoppes, historical reenactments, and antique stores) or Lake Geneva (great beach, some sailing, OK shopping). However, if you’re not frumpy or if you’re weird (hello) I have to suggest Wisconsin’s great alternative: Its capital, Madison. Keep reading »

Cities That Surprise: Astoria, Oregon

Cities That Surprise: Astoria, Oregon

Astoria, Oregon, sits at the mouth of the Columbia River, smack dab between Oregon and Washington, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. Judging by location alone, you’d think Astoria would fit the mold of a classic beach town, but if you go there expecting a plethora of pastel ice cream shops and “Life Is Good” t-shirts, well, you’re going to be surprised. Astoria is much different than the other tourist traps that dot the coast. So different, in fact, that it’s often referred to as “Little San Francisco.”

Astoria is home to many of the things people love about Portland (great coffee, microbreweries, artsy culture), combined with a few coastal town perks you can’t get in the city (salty sea air, clam chowder, shockingly aggressive seagulls). And if that wasn’t enough of a reason to visit, “The Goonies” and “Kindergarten Cop” were filmed there. Packed your bags yet? It’s about an hour’s drive from Portland, and here’s what to do once you get there (besides the truffle shuffle, which is a given): Keep reading »

Cities That Surprise: Sedona, Arizona

Travel Guide: Sedona, Arizona

Disclaimer: if you’re averse to anything considered “New Age,” Sedona may not be the right vacation spot for you. Strike that, everyone should go there.

I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, which is about a 2 hour drive to Sedona. Scottsdale is about as artificial as you can get when it comes to cities, which is why Sedona, one of the country’s spiritual hotspots, seems like an escape to another universe. If you’re New Age phobic, you should still go there; just avoid the crystal shops, the vortex solstice prayer circles and vegan, raw food eateries, and focus on hiking the too-good-to-be-true red rock trails instead. Whether you’re a believer in the mysterious or not, I’m confident you’ll leave Sedona with a feeling of peace and well-being. Here are some of the things I did on my most recent pilgrimage to this spiritual city… Keep reading »

Cities That Surprise: Rochester, New York

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Cities That Surprise: Rochester, NY

“Cities That Surprise” highlights places across America that defied or exceeded our expectations, for whatever reason. Today, Allison Sass tells us why under all that snow, Rochester, New York is a hidden gem!

After graduating college, I spent two years living and working in Rochester, NY, a city best known for its now-bankrupt Kodak national headquarters, horrible winters, and being one of the three cities in the U.S. that’s actually cloudier than Seattle. Want to visit yet?? Keep reading »

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