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Las Vegas, Nevada really is a remarkable accomplishment if you think about it. This fabulous vacation location was literally created from nothing right out of the middle of the desert. But it has become such a notorious place whose reputation for fun and excitement is legendary.
To say it isnt a historic site would be a mistake. Many of our great cultural icons had important times in Las Vegas. And some really great movies were filmed with Las Vegas as their backdrop. Consider the exciting song we used for the title of this article, Viva Las Vegas. Elvis Presley, one of the great figures of pop culture, loved this town and extolled the excitement that could be found there in song. Many other great movie and music stars made Las Vegas the site of some of their greatest performances. One such striking entertainment moment was when Frank Sinatra and hit rat pack made the wonderful movie Oceans Eleven in Last Vegas, a movie that has spawned a whole series of movies in modern times staring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and a host of other big stars.
To say that big stars are commonplace in Las Vegas would be an understatement. And if we are looking for great sites to see, the availability of shows by some of the brightest and the best of Hollywood, Rock and Roll and Broadway are all available in Las Vegas. For very reasonable prices, you can take time away from your whirlwind schedule of fun and excitement to see some of the best performances you will ever see right there in the casinos along the Las Vegas strip.
Las Vegas has also become synonymous with fast living and adult type entertainment. Its an outstanding location for a honeymoon or that little get away with your spouse where you might want to enjoy some grown up entertainment without the little ones along. Dont feel guilty as you pack the kids off to grandmas house and you treat you and your wife to a few fun filled days of casino action, luxurious rooms, great food and a nightlife that cannot be beat. This is the kind of grown up excitement that Las Vegas is known for and you deserve the fun you will have in this town that some have called in jest, Sin City.
This is not to say that your stay in Las Vegas wont be fun or that you have to leave the kids home. There is plenty to do even if it is just lounging around the pool and relaxing in the Jacuzzi. The casinos know that many of us want our families to enjoy vacation as much as we do so there is plenty for the kids to do and things you can do as a family together. Some of the shows like the amazing animal and circus acts can amaze and entertain young and old alike.
You can also take a day and get a tour of this wonderful town and some of the surrounding attractions. The desert itself can be of great interest to the kids and maybe mom and dad too if you have never visited this kind of natural setting. There are plenty of tours to surrounding sites but one of the most enjoyable is a tour of the Hoover Dam not far from town. You can see one of the wonders of modern engineering in how this dam is used to create energy and control the mighty Colorado River.
Las Vegas is just one of so many great sightseeing and vacation sites that are available in this country of such rich diversity. If the adults enjoy some gambling, the casinos offer many games and entertaining diversions to give you that fun. And it isnt true that you will always lose or come out of there a pauper. It is entirely possible to have great fun at the tables of Las Vegas and still have your vacation travel budget in good shape. And who knows, you might win a round of Black Jack and be able to treat the family to a steak dinner from your winnings.
Sometimes a wonderful sightseeing destination gets eclipsed by its neighbors. That is certainly true of the beautiful state of New Mexico. With big and bold Texas to the east and the well traveled Colorado to the north, many people overlook New Mexico as not only having the best of both of those locations but a very unique culture all its own.
New Mexico is a state of many geographies. You can find mountains that you can drive to the top of and enjoy snow in the middle of summer. But there are desert locations virtually adjacent to those locations that give you the tremendous diversity of setting that a desert state is capable of. So a driving tour of New Mexico can be a delightful and fulfilling trip full of surprises and new experiences.
The pueblos of the Indian tribes that make their homes in New Mexico tell a story of an ancient people who lived in a manner unlike anything you have ever seen. You can actually visit active pueblos where Indian families continue to live their native lives in the purity of their ancestors even though they are surrounded by the modern world. This is both fascinating and an outstanding educational experience for the children because where else can you experience first hand a culture completely unlike our own but thriving right here inside the borders of the United States?
The big cities of New Mexico are full of interesting sites that reflect the unique culture and history of this state. You will find it tempting to spend your tourist dollars at the many shops that sell unique crafts that use the local gems and the Indian art styles of New Mexico. You will be able to appreciate how so many have been charmed by that Sante Fe Style of art and cuisine. Perhaps as you get a good exposure to how this architecture and artistic style came into being you will recognize the decorating style in restaurants or other public places in your own town. It is truly addictive and you will come away a convert as so many have in their trips to New Mexico.
The food of New Mexico is as unique as the people and the art. The first time you enjoy Wavos Chorizo for breakfast you will find your eyes watering as the hot Mexican style cooking wakes up your mouth with spices that take your taste buds by surprise. But dont be surprised when the next day you want a fresh batch along with recipes on how to prepare these taste treats for yourself.
To the north of Sante fe and Albuquerque are the majestic mountains of New Mexico. It is a closely guarded secret that these mountains offer just as many opportunities for camping, hiking and even skiing as their cousins to the north but the crowds are not nearly as numerous and the prices not as out of control. A driving tour of those mountains perhaps even with a stop to enjoy some lodging in those hills will be as refreshing as any mountain top vacation you have had anywhere in the country.
New Mexico is a beautiful land full of history and culture. Yes, you can head south to Los Alamos and see the location where the early tests of the Atomic Bomb were conducted. This may be both an educational and sobering visit in light of the effects of that research on mankind. But it is an important part of both American and world history that you will enjoy exposing yourself and your family to while in the area. But be careful not to ask them about Area 51, that mythological holding area for alien space craft that is supposedly kept somewhere in southern New Mexico. That inquiry might not be popular in Los Alamos.
In all, your trip to New Mexico can give you a chance to climb mountains, meet a unique and fascinating Native American people, enjoy, and buy, some terrific art works and enjoy one of the most beautiful states in the nation. Be sure to step out on your patio of your hotel at sunset, as New Mexico is well known for having some of the most beautiful sunsets in the country. As you watch that breath taking sight you will be able to reflect on the amazing diversity and beauty of America as it is reflected in this, one of its most beautiful states.
Any attempt to really come to appreciate the amazing sightseeing that is possible in America would have to include stops in some of the countrys truly great cities. For some reason when we think of outstanding cities of America, we tend to drift to the coasts. And to be sure from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle to the west to New York, Boston and Washington to the east, there are some amazing American cities on those two coasts.
But to neglect the Midwest entirely and not include some of the great cities in the center of the country would leave out some of the most amazing experiences you might have on your sightseeing tour. In fact, of all the Midwest cities, Chicago Illinois can give any city on the coasts a run for their money.
But Chicago is very much its own kind of place, unlike even the urban cities of the east coast. Chicago has its own lore, perpetuated by movies and television just as much as LA or New York. But the thing to remember about that kind of lore is that the movies didnt invent that kind of excitement. It was already very much a part of Chicago and film makers just like making that part of their movies.
When we think about Chicago, it is easy to think of the great food there. The famous Chicago Style Hot Dog or Chicago Pizza has become such a renowned taste treat that it is imitated often, but never repeated. That is because a big part of the great tastes of Chicago comes from actually BEING in Chicago when you eat these delicious meals. So if you include Chicago in your sightseeing plans, you may want to put the diet on hold for a few days so you dont miss some tastes that can only be had there.
But there is so much more to see and enjoy in a big international city like Chicago. Of course if you are a baseball fan, to catch a Cubs game in season is an experience of a lifetime. In addition to that experience, Chicago has many world class things to see and do not the least of which is an art museum that can stand its own next to the great museums of New York or Washington.
But if you put in a full day of sightseeing all around Chicago, you might need to rest up because the Chicago night life is not to be missed. The music of this great city is world renowned. The famous movie The Blues Brothers is based on the wonderful diversity of Jazz music that grew up in the Chicago music scene. In fact, in the world of Jazz aficionados, Chicago is put right up there with New Orleans as one of the great spawning grounds of the uniquely American music of Jazz.
And while we are on the subject of entertainment, there is a little improvisational comedy group called Second City that has made its home in Chicago for some fifty years. Second City can boast some of the biggest stars in comedy that got their comedic training in Chicago. In fact, to a large extent the Saturday Night Live troupe drew and continues to draw extensively from the talent developed in Second City. Some of the alumni include John Belushi, Billy Chrystal, Dan Ackroyd, John Candy, Eugene Levy and many, many more.
Chicago is very much a melting pot of great American culture. From the architecture to the food to the museums to the jazz and comedy, there are few cities in the country, even in the world that can give you as great a sightseeing experience as the great city of Chicago, Illinois.