Fun Things to Do in St. Louis

When one thinks of St. Louis, MO. you automatically think of the Gateway Arch. It is quite a neat piece of architecture. For a fee you can take a ride all the way to the top. If you get claustrophobic you may want to re think going up. It is a pretty tight space so I have been told. I didn’t go up when I was there pretty much for that reason. If heights and tight spaces don’t bother you then you will probably love it! It is definitely a Kodak moment though when you see it.

It is always fun to catch a Cardinals game when you are in St. Louis. Even if the Cardinals aren’t your favorite team it is still a fun experience for the whole family. Their field is pretty new and very nice.

Another fun option for the baseball fan in your family is the Sluggers Museum. That is a cool place! You get to see how bats are made and they have life size statues of players and announcers and even a small scale field. They even have batting cages. They have nice gift shop and you can purchase personalized bats while you are there.

Other fun activities for the kids (and adults too) is their laser tag and miniature golf center. St. Louis has a Six Flags and a water park. They have a beautiful botanical garden a fun science center too. St. Louis has a wonderful zoo as well. We went there on vacation a few years ago and we were not disappointed. The best part is the zoo is absolutely FREE!

The World Aquarium is definitely a must see when you are in St. Louis. You can see sharks, stingrays and all sorts of reptiles and fish from all around the world. The World Aquarium is a little bit pricey but worth it if you love sea creatures and marine life.

While you are in St. Louis you can visit the theater, lots of choices of different museums and even a symphony orchestra. There will never be a dull moment when you vacation in St. Louis! For a FREE visitor’s guide click HERE

St. Louis is a great vacation spot to take the kids. There is so much to see and so many things your kids will want to do. The best part is there is many things you can do for absolutely free! Who can beat that! As I mentioned earlier the zoo is free, but so is the Science Center, The St. Louis Art Museum, The Missouri History Museum, The new Citygarden, a place of pretty fountains and wading pools. The kids will love this place! The Municipal Opera also is free as is the World Bird Sanctuary. You better plan about a week long vacation to get it all covered!

A place you will not want to miss is Grant Farms. This is another FREE attraction, BUT parking will set you back around $11.00. You will see tons of great animals from all over the world. You will find the beautiful Clydesdale horses here.

So what are you waiting for? Get to planning your fun St. Louis vacation today!

Weekend Getaway Guide for Downtown San Diego

Whether you’re in San Diego for a conference during the day or vacationing, spending a week or just a weekend in San Diego offers individuals and families a huge selection of entertainment, culture, and delicious foods. When I travel to San Diego, I enjoy staying downtown. Beyond the typical amusement parks, beaches, museums, and historical sites of the city, here are a few hidden gems nestled in the downtown area that you don’t want to miss on your next trip.

Where to Stay

The US Grant
326 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101
619-232-3121

This Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel is unique inside and out in the heart of downtown San Diego. The standard rooms are small but quaint with old world charm. Just walking up to the hotel in the evening makes one feel that they are in for a special treat without the snobbery. The exterior gives one a sense of royalty as the architecture is highlighted with a golden hue. The staff was knowledgeable as well as detail-oriented and approachable.

The US Grant is conveniently located within walking distance to the Westfield Horton Plaza. This hotel has the basic amenities, but you’ll want to venture out to enjoy the wonderful cultural delicacies nearby the Plaza and the NBC Building at 225 Broadway, located in the Horton Plaza district.

Where to Shop, Dine and Work Out

Westfield Horton Plaza
324 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
619-239-8180

This is an interesting mall; some might call it an eclectic use of architecture and design. If you only have a few days in San Diego or a week for a convention, you’ll never need to go further than the Westfield Horton Plaza to meet all of your needs. Don’t go if you’re in a hurry, as the maze of escalators and levels may leave you dumbfounded. I saw this as part of its charm.

The Westfield has many options for your pleasure. Fast food or fine dining, over a hundred stores to shop on multi levels, exercise at 24 Hour Fitness Sport, movies at the Cinema Times, space to hold special events, and my favorite find, the San Diego Repertory Theater.

Unique Local Entertainment in Downtown San Diego

San Diego Repertory Theatre
79 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101
619-544-1000

One of my greatest finds during my travels was this little theater at the main entrance to the Westfield Horton Plaza. The Rep is known for its small town theater with Broadway-quality productions. I was interesting in attending a Broadway production a few miles from my hotel. However, after looking at the cost of tickets and cab fair, I thought I would see the local production, and I was not disappointed.

I found that the Rep box office sold discount tickets for the same day production at a huge bargain. Tickets usually range from $29 to $53 with discounts for active military and seniors – call or ask at the box office. Students are only $18. I believe for the same day and the particular show I saw I was able to get the student rate. I won’t entice you to see the show that I saw because it doesn’t seem to be in production anymore. However, with the caliber of talent that was exhibited that night, I will return to see whatever is being performed on my next trip.

A Trip to Florida’s Space Coast

Along the Florida coast, the Atlantic’s rolling waves caress the mind. On a clear night, launches from the Kennedy Space Center illuminate the heavens.

A Saturn V rocket, among the biggest launch vehicles in history, is housed in a walk-through warehouse exhibit at the Space Center. Visitors find the sheer mass and complexity of the rocket daunting. The tangled mess of fuel hoses and pipes is the end result of decades of guidance research. Years of trial and error led to the design, including rockets that either crashed unsuccessfully or blew up on the launch pad. The American research began with the Army in the later 1940’s and early 1950’s in the American Southwest. An early milestone was the 71-mile altitude mark.

The Rocket Garden is a collection of smaller rockets. Visitors can walk though the garden, inspect the rockets, take a look at an actual rocket capsule, and sit in a space capsule facsimile.

Try to avoid spies and have fun. Don’t get to know any Eastern European-types who speak with accents and wear drab clothing and a Cold War-grimace.

Don’t miss the Astronaut Hall of Fame, which includes a well-done Imax Theater. Kids and amateurs will learn much from the exhibits. Many of the early astronauts are chronicled in the museum. One video is an interview with a National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut who believed he saw an Unidentified Flying Object while in space. Such reports don’t usually emanate from such credible sources.

Another exhibit shows the Apollo 13 Mission. Millions of television viewers prayed for the safe return of the astronauts after a disaster left the vessel incapable of a lunar landing. The three astronauts returned miraculously in a truly memorable mission.

The Space Center is located at Exit 215 on I-95. Take SR 50 East to SR 405 East to the Center. Hours are 9am to 6pm. Astronaut Hall of Fame hours are 12pm to 6pm. Admission for the Center and the Hall of Fame is $43. Admission for the Hall of Fame only is $20.

Summer Weekend Travel Suggestion – Cedar Point in Ohio

A family-fun destination for more than 110 years, Cedar Point located in Sandusky, Ohio is preparing to open for yet another fun-filled summer season. The self-described Roller Coaster Capital of the World has big plans for its 2011 season, including plans to open yet another thrill ride. Here are some highlights of the coming season and guides to plan your visit.

The historic amusement park is packed into a natural peninsula jutting out into Lake Erie. The general flow takes a visitor into themed areas, each highlighted by roller coasters and thrill rides. Cedar Point boasts the world’s largest collection of roller coasters, including coasters for all ages and risk tolerances. In 2011, there are 75 rides for family fun.

Cedar Point opens for the season on May 14, 2011. During May, the park operates with abbreviated hours during the week, opening at 10 am and closing at 8 pm. On Fridays and weekends, the park is open 10-10 and after June 2, the park moves to the 10-10 schedule daily. July through mid-August, the park has an 11 pm closing time on Saturday nights and special hours on July 3 for the holiday. As the school year approaches, the park’s hours again shorten and after Labor Day, the park is open on Fridays and weekends only through October. Go here for a complete schedule and see below for information about extended admission times for guests of the hotel properties.

Cedar Point can be manageable within a day if you plan properly. First, early arrival is necessary (see below for early admission options for those staying in the hotel properties). Second, plan for all weather conditions. The park is located almost within the lake. Weather can be cool and breezy at times and can change rapidly. It is not unusual for the lake area to be up to 10 degrees cooler than inland cities like Columbus. Early in May and June, the lake is also quite cool keeping the air moving across the lake cooled. Third, plan to stay as late as possible at the park. Many visitors are day-visitors meaning they drive in and out on the same day. They tend to arrive later and leave earlier than those staying at nearby hotels or in the hotel properties. If you come as a family including young children who will want to ride the kiddie rides, it will take away time from the thrill rides, so do not be disappointed that in your case, the park is probably too much for a single day. Finally, if you are a die-hard thrill ride enthusiast, be prepared to wait in lines. Drink a lot of water, avoid the alcohol, and be prepared to be in the sun and heat for extended periods. Sunscreen is also a must and reapply frequently. Many underestimate the nearby lake’s influence on the sun you will receive while moving about the park.

Cedar Point dates to 1870 when local businessman Louis Zistel answered the community’s need for amusement activities along the peninsula’s shoreline. He opened a beer garden, bathhouse, and dance floor, setting the stage for 140 years of fun at Lake Erie. In 1892, Switchback Railway was opened. The 25 foot high, 10 mph train was the park’s first roller coaster. This set the stage for what would become a destination for thrill seekers for the next 110+ years! Today, Cedar Point is owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio. Cedar Fair Entertainment Company owns 11 amusement parks and 6 water parks throughout the US and Canada.

In 2010, Cedar Point unveiled Shoot the Rapids, its third water ride. It is located on Frontier Trail. In 2011, the amusement park is scheduled to open WindSeeker, a 30-story tall swing ride. The 2-person swings provide riders a spectacular view of the park area, the lake and its shoreline and the beach area.

There are also high-energy music shows, encounters with characters from the classic Peanuts comic strip, and the Hot Summer Nights family nighttime show. Many of the shows will help shield you from the daytime sun and will provide shade or air conditioning. Visit here for more information and be sure to get a daily schedule of events as you enter the park.

The park also provides a number of food choices from its well-known restaurants to themed sports spots to a one-price buffet. There are also picnic options. Visit here for more information.

Cedar Point has sister-parks located adjacent to the amusement park. Soak City is an 18-acre water park requiring separate admission. There are 14 body, raft, and tube rides and a wave pool with a half million gallons of water. Perfect for a hot afternoon. Challenge Park provides four additional activities. There is mini golf, Skyscraper, Skycoaster, and Challenge Racing. Challenge Park also has separate fees depending on the activity you select.

Cedar Point is accessed via daily admission tickets that can be purchased at the gate or online in advance. Travel agencies and agents like AAA are also ticket sellers and may offer discounts. Daily admission is $46.99 for individuals 48″ or taller. Junior and Senior rates are $21.00 applicable to admissions of persons under 48″ tall or 62 years of age or older. There are military discounts. The onsite purchase price is $36.99 with proper ID. A number of nearby companies use a day at Cedar Point as a fun activity for its employees and their families. There are group ticket rates. In addition, there are online promotions offered periodically and special pre-season and post-season deals and events. Season passes are also available. For more admission information, go here.

Staying at one of the affiliated hotel properties will get you admission discounts and additional admission privileges, such as early entry – an opportunity to get ahead of the long lines for the most popular roller coasters. The hotels include the historic Hotel Breakers opened in 1905, Sandcastle Suites, Lighthouse Point, Camper Village, Breakers Express, and Castaway Bay. The variety of hotel options gives families a number of price points in order to make your visit to Cedar Point a weekend getaway opportunity. And a visit to Cedar Point can be easily combined with a second day at Soak City and/or Challenge Park as well as a visit to the nearby Lake Erie shoreline and the nearby islands. Each hotel is located within minutes of Cedar Point. Visit here for more information about the Cedar Point hotel properties.

Cedar Point is located on the shores of Lake Erie. The park is located on a peninsula and is about 60 miles west of Cleveland, 62 miles east of Toledo and about 115 miles from Detroit and 120 miles from Columbus. Access can be gained via the Ohio Turnpike, flights into Cleveland Hopkins Airport, Greyhound bus or by train. Visit here for more travel information and directions.

The historic Cedar Point remains a family fun destination on the shores of Lake Erie. The amusement park opens soon for the summer season. Make your plans to visit the Roller Coaster Capital of the World.

What to See in Eureka Springs Arkansas

If you plan to visit Eureka Springs, Arkansas, you shouldn’t miss Historic Downtown and the Ghost Tour at the Crescent Hotel.

Take good walking shoes for your tour of Historic Downtown, included in the National Register of Historic Places, because you’ll want to see everything. There are over 20 art galleries, a wide variety of gift shops (one with bunnies on staff!), and plenty of restaurants to stop in when you need to rest and refuel, all in an exquisitely preserved Victorian setting.

The galleries and shops offer a stunning variety — original paintings, framed and unframed prints, sculpture, pottery, handmade jewelry — something to fit every taste and budget. Even better, the owners are friendly and knowledgeable. After an initial greeting and offer of help, they will leave you to browse in peace, but are happy to answer questions and chat about the artists, the artwork, and Eureka Springs in general if you like.

All that shopping may make you hungry. If the weather is nice, consider lunch at the Balcony Bar and Restaurant at the Basin Park Hotel. The Balcony overlooks Spring Street, so you can continue to observe the downtown hustle and bustle and perhaps decide which shops to visit next.

Another excellent choice would be DeVito’s on Center Street. Featured in Bon Appetit, Southern Living, and the New York Times, DeVito’s serves Italian dishes made fresh from family recipes and trout dishes made with fish from the family’s nearby trout farm.

After lunch, you’ll probably have plenty left to see downtown, but if your feet are getting tired, save time to relax and recharge a bit for the evening. After dinner, get thee to the Crescent Hotel for the Ghost Tour. And don’t forget your camera! Featured on Sci-Fi Channel’s series Ghost Hunters, this is the real deal. During the tour, you’ll learn the haunted history of the hotel, see the video clip from Ghost Hunters, and get advice on where and when to take pictures for the best chance of having a few surprises show up.

The Crescent acquired its first ghost, Michael, during the building’s construction. The young man fell to his death into what is now room 218. Many of the other ghosts seem to date from the Crescent’s years a cancer hospital. Norman Baker, who presented himself as a doctor despite no medical training whatsoever, claimed to be able to cure cancer. Unfortunately his patients found ineffective treatment, horrible experiments, and painful deaths.

Many people have reported seeing nurses in the Crescent, sometimes pushing a patient on a gurney.In addition to sightings, guest frequently report happenings such as trouble opening the door to their room or possessions being moved.

Tour Guides recommend not deleting any of the pictures you take during the tour until you’ve looked at them on your computer screen. Look carefully for orbs and faces, particularly in mirrors.

Enjoy your time in Eureka Springs, and don’t forget those walking shoes.

Florida Travel: A Day Trip to Downtown St. Petersburg

Hop, skip or walk from one museum to another in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. The city is full of cultural treasures including dozens of art galleries and numerous museums.
If you can only afford to spend a day, head to the waterfront to tour the new Dali Museum, be wowed by the Chihuly Collection, enjoy a leisurely lunch, and shop in unique boutiques while experiencing the casual-chic vibe of St. Petersburg.

 

Visit the Dali Museum During a Day Trip to St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg is a celebration of Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali. Housing 96 oil paintings and more than 2,000 other pieces of art, this is the largest collection of Dali’s work outside of Spain. The new museum opened in January 2011 and its most striking feature is the building’s Glass Enigma, a large glass sculpture made from more than 900 glass panels framed in steel and wraps around the building. Inside the museum, look up the spiral staircase to see how the Glass Enigma looks like an eye.

The best way to tour the Dali Museum is with a docent who will explain a few pieces of the artist’s sometimes complicated work as well as provide history about the museum and man behind the art. Tours are included in the admission price and are offered hourly on the half-hour.

Dali Museum
One Dali Blvd.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tel: 727-823-3767
www.thedali.org

Be Wowed at the Chihuly Collection Presented by Morean Arts Center
Vibrant colored glass crafted into slim cones, globes, and peculiar shapes in the Chihuly Collection will amaze visitors. Located less than a mile north of the Dali Museum, the Chihuly Collection opened in July 2010. This is the only permanent installation in the world dedicated to renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. In addition to traditional displays of artwork, some of it hangs from the ceiling or carefully placed overhead. Pieces in the Collection include Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier, a striking piece composed of what looks like fire engine red icicles, and Float Boat, a wooden rowboat filled with glass floats of varying colors and sizes.

The Chihuly Collection is best experienced on a docent led tour. Time permitting, add a visit to the Hot Shop for demonstrations by local glass artists. Or, create your own piece of glass art by indulging in the Hot Shop Personal Glass Experience.

The Chihuly Collection
400 Beach Dr.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tel: 727-896-4527
www.chihulycollectionstpete.com

Eat at The Garden Restaurant for Lunch
St. Petersburg is home to delicious dining options. I enjoyed lunch at The Garden Restaurant, the city’s oldest restaurant. The restaurant is located in the old Detroit Hotel, has a relaxed atmosphere and hotspot for jazz. Dining is available indoors or outside in a courtyard. The menu is extensive and I enjoyed a tasty grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich.

The Garden Restaurant
217 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tel: 727-896-3800
www.thegardendtsp.com

Room for Dessert? Enjoy Gelato from Paciugo
St. Petersburg’s waterfront has a European with galleries, parks, and outdoor dining. Taste a bit of Italy with gelato from Paciugo. Traditional flavors are available along with the not so usual as strawberry balsamic vinegar, limoncello and violet.

Paciugo
300 Beach Dr., Ste. 120
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tel: 727-209-0298
www.paciugo.com

Located about a 90-minute drive west of Orlando and less than 30 minutes from Tampa, a day trip to St. Petersburg is worth the drive. The variety of museums, galleries and boutiques makes it an attractive destination to visit often.

A Guide to Sightseeing in Budapest

One of Europe’s most popular travel destinations, Budapest is experiencing a renaissance after decades behind the Iron Curtain. Internet hotspots abound in this city filled with culture and cafes on every corner. One of the first areas a tourist should visit is Vaci Utca, one of the most popular shopping streets in the city. It is pedestrian-traffic only, making it a tourist mecca. Restaurants, bars, and shops mingle amongst the ever-present carts peddling souvenirs and postcards. There are a number of currency-exchange booths on this street. Vaci Utca runs into Vorosmarty Ter (Square), a famous square in the city. It is home to a number of cafes, most famous is the Gerbeaud kavehaz, famous for their pastries and decor since 1858.

From Vorosmarty Ter, head to Szent Istvan Ter and the St. Stephen’s Basilica. It is Hungary’s largest church and home to the preserved right hand of King Stephen I, Hungary’s first Christian king. The area surrounding the church is a pedestrian-only square. Next stop: Heroes’ Square, bordering Varosliget (City Park). Heroes’ Square is home to a monument honoring Hungary’s greatest leaders, in statue form. Behind the square one can see the architecturally-significant Vajdahunyad Castle, built in honor of the millenial exhibition in 1896. It combines multiple architectural styles and houses the Agricultural Museum. Directly outside the castle sits a statue of King Bela IV’s anonymous scribe, to whom credit is due for knowledge about medieval Hungarian life.

Walking through Varosliget, it is difficult to miss the yellow domes signifying your arrival at the Szechenyi Baths, one of my favorite spots in Budapest. If you are visiting the city, be sure to carve out some time in Budapest’s world-famous baths. The thermal waters of the city have healing benefits. The Szechenyi boasts three outdoor pools that can be used year-round, as the thermal waters never get cold. One can play chess on one of the floating chessboards, or get a deep-tissue massage on a wintry day. The baths cost from 700-2000 forints, but are well worth it.

A short Metro ride later, you can find yourself on the streets of the Castle District, home to Buda Castle and Matyas Templom(Matthias Church). The district is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is accessible by foot or shuttle bus, as no cars are allowed. There is a mixture of architectural styles in this area, all of which are breathtaking to view. The Buda Castle is home to a number of museums. The Ludwig Museum, located in the Castle, is a must-see. It houses a vast modern art collection. Matyas Templom is one of the city’s most popular tourist sights. King Matthias was married twice in the church during his reign as ruler of Hungary in the 15th century.

To the left of Castle Hill is Gellert Hegy (Gellert Hill), almost 800 feet above the Danube River. Named in honor of Bishop Gellert, who became a martyr after pagan worshippers killed him by rolling him down the hill in a barrel, the hill is home to a large statue of him. Also on the hill is the Citadel, built by the Austrian Army in 1849, and a small church inside the caves of the hill.

A boat ride down the Danube is something to experience while visiting the city. Many floating restaurants and nightclubs also call the banks of the Danube home. The Dunakorzo is a promenade on the Pest side of the river that is perfect for a lovely afternoon stroll. Budapest is a city that is coming into the 21st century without letting go of its rich, storied history.

The Unique Experience of Visiting Venice Italy

Venice is a city in north east Italy known for its canals and its role in the Renaissance. Many a tourist has taken a ride in a gondola and visited San Marco Square with its famous cathedral. Venice is also famous for its richly ornate Venetian glass.

Venice is a city where most people traverse the city either by walking or by the many canals and water ways. Instead of your regular buses on city streets, Venice has motorized water buses. The routes are well known by the locals and it is the main mode of transportation. However, the gondolas are still a favorite of tourists. They are not meant to be a replacement for the water buses but more like a carriage ride on the water. They are richly furnished with crushed velvet seats and Persian rugs. They are also used for weddings, funerals and other kinds of ceremonies. There is a smaller but less known Sandolo which can also have a singing driver. There are 177 canals that the water buses or the gondolas can take you through connecting 117 islands through the area.

The Basilica di San Marco was the personal chapel for the Doges for most of its history but in it became what is known as the Cathedral of Venice. This Cathedral is ornate, Gothic and spectacular. It attracts many tourists throughout the year. It is adorned with Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic art and it sports many details from antiquity to the middle ages. Once inside it is hard to miss the gilded mosaics which span 8000 square meters of the vault and copulas.

The floor of San Marco is equally impressive. It is from the 12th century and is a mosaic of marble in animal designs and geometric patterns. A red medallion on the floor inside the main door marks a holy spot. It is where in 1177 the Doge arranged the reconciliation between Barbarossa, who was the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope.

The altar piece is the Pala d’Oro (Pall of Gold) and is a long panel of gold adorned with jewels. It was commissioned in 976 and added onto over time to create its current ornate beauty. It is Byzantine in origin. It is rumored that Napoleon stole some of its jewels but as an tourists can see he left plenty behind.

This cathedral is probably the most fantastic of cathedrals second only to the Vatican in all of Europe.

Another attraction when visiting Venice is actually a place called Murano where the famed Venetian glass is made. This art of glass blowing actually came from the middle east and the far east. Venice had been trading with these areas of the world for centuries and thus had “picked” up this art of glass blowing. The art form made its way to Murano due to the risk of fire. That way the main island of Venice was not put at risk from all the hot furnaces that had to be employed in making the glass. In modern times these factories/museums are not far from the beaten path and are a definite “must see” when visiting Venice.

Venice is a unique city that attracts many tourists not only for its canals and different mode of transportation but also for its formidable role in the Renaissance. A visit to Venice is not complete without touring the Basilica di San Marco and making a side trip to Murano to capture a picture or two of the famous glass blowers of Venetian Glass.

Rainy Day Activities in London UK

If you’ve planned a trip to London, you should prepare yourself for the fact that at some point during your stay, you will inevitably experience rain. Don’t let the weather keep you from seeing and experiencing all that London has to offer. These four activities are ideal for London travel when the weather is gloomy and uncooperative.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in London is an ideal choice for a rainy day outing. The museum is located right off of the tube, so you won’t have to spend much time walking around outside in the rain. There’s a full-day’s worth of activity for children and adults alike, including (my favorites) the dinosaur exhibit, a hands-on bug exploration room, and a large cafeteria to eat a meal. The museum can be crowded, so arrive early and don’t be surprised if there’s a bit of a line to get in. However, once you’re in, there’s usually plenty of room to walk about and explore all that the museum has to offer.

Tate Modern

Located along the river in London, Tate Modern is an art museum specializing in modern and contemporary art. Admission to the museum is free, and it offers a ton for children and adults to see and do. Often, the museum offers hands-on art experiences called “Open Session” for children and their parents. Visit the Interactive Zone for a more up-close and personal look at the museum, or simply walk through the collections and displays for a taste of some modern art.

Kensington Palace

For many travelers, a trip to Kensington Palace tops their list, no matter the weather. Luckily, much of this Royal Palace can be explored rain or shine, making it an ideal destination for a rainy London day. Unfortunately, construction and renovations are currently underway at Kensington Palace until March 2012. However, a modified tour of the palace is still available for visitors, allowing you access to the “Enchanted Palace” in the state apartments. Kensington Palace can be reached via train, bus, or car, which gives travelers options when planning their journey.

Westminster Abbey

Like much of Kensington Palace, you don’t need a sunny day to explore Westminster Abbey. The abbey is open to tourists during the week and on Saturday, not to interfere with Sunday worship. Visit this historic site, where royalty is laid to rest, coronations occur, and most recently, where Prince William (future King of England) was wed to Kate Middleton. No visit to London would be complete without a trip to Westminster Abbey, regardless of the weather.

Don’t let the weather keep you in your hotel room. In fact, many of London’s best sites are feasible in rain or shine.

Things to Do in London: The British Museum

Neighborhood: Bloomsbury
One of the best things I’ve found since moving to London is the British Museum. I’ve visited almost half a dozen times and it still fascinates and delights every single time.It’s situated in Bloomsbury, a convenient walk from several tube stations – Goodge Street, Tottenham Court Road, Holborn, and Russell Square – so you can easily get there no matter which underground line you’re travelling on.

The museum is massive – over 90 rooms – and if you only have a few hours to spend you’ll have to accept that you’ll miss a great deal of it.

Much of the museum’s exhibits focus on the history of Britain, and the British Isles (which is a geographical, rather than political, term which includes Ireland and the Channel Islands), which you might expect given the name of the museum.

Some of the highlights of the museum’s exhibits include:

A mosaic from a church in Dorset. It’s a beautiful composition and is said to be the oldest representation of Jesus Christ’s face in the world.

The Lindow Man, a body of a man found preserved in a bog dating from 2000 years ago.

The Vindolanda Tablets, Roman writing tablets originating from a fort in Hadrian’s Wall. These tablets range from shopping lists to intelligence reports and give a fascinating look into daily life in the Roman Empire.

The Rosetta Stone. One of the most famous pieces of archaeology in the world today, the Rosetta Stone was found by Napoleon’s troops in Egypt and was the key to translating the heiroglyphics found in the Egyptian tombs.

Speaking of which, the Egyptian mummy collection is something else the British Museum is famous for, and for good reason. It’s probably the best collection of Egyptian mummies outside of Egypt.

The collections are so vast and wide-ranging that, whatever your interests, you’re bound to find something to interest you. Sculptures, mummies, drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, Native American totem poles, art from all the great cultures of the world: Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, Mayan, Aztec, Rome, Persia, Africa, Asia…

The bulk of the museum is completely free to explore but there are special exhibitions which cost money. Tickets for these can be bought there and then, or in advance, including through the Internet. Sometimes tickets sell out, so it’s best to book in advance if you can.

The current special exhibition is a collection of sculptures from West Africa, and past exhibitions have included China’s Terracotta Army, ‘Babylon: Myth and Reality’, and ‘Shah Abbas: the Remaking of Iran’.

If you’re in London for any time at all then you really should set aside some time to visit this cultural jewel. The building itself is almost as impressive as many of the exhibits!