Where To Travel This Winter: US

Winter is steadily approaching and as it nears, I get the craving for traveling to a warmer or unusual place where I can take some time for myself. Whether it be indulging in some much needed r&r or doing something adventurous, there are many places within the continental United States.

phoenix arizona jennifer reichelt

Phoenix, Arizona. Winter is the perfect time to head to Phoenix since the summers are almost too much to bare. However, in the winter months, the city becomes the perfect destination for lounging around the pool or hitting the golf course. While you’re there, consider taking a walk around the Desert Botanical Gardens or driving to see the Grand Canyon.

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New Orleans, Louisiana. Looking to warm up during the holidays but want someplace a little less scenic and a bit more culturally rich? The Big Easy has culture and history for days, weeks even. Full of holiday activities and amazing eats, we all know you’re getting a cappuccino in a café in the French Quarter. But, think about visiting Audubon Zoo or spend a few afternoons picnicking on the lawns of City Park.

santa fe new mexico jennifer reichelt

Santa Fe, New Mexico. If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, Santa Fe is a great destination to wet your eclectic appetite. The city is full of fun sites and local flare. At the same time, its super close to ski slopes on the mountains just outside of the city. While visiting, make sure you visit the Palace of the Governors and Canyon Road, located just blocks away from each other in downtown Santa Fe.

las vegas nevada jennnifer reichelt

Las Vegas, Nevada. You might be thinking that this destination is not ideal for catching up on me time. However, Vegas is all about indulgence and luxury. The city’s main attractions are all of its amazing hotels and casinos. Whether it be the extravagant Bellagio or the lavish Venetian, each has their own restaurants, attractions, shopping, spas, and poolsides.

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San Francisco, California. The Golden Gate City really has it all. With temperatures seldom below 50, even in winter, San Fran boasts a mighty list of interesting things to do and places to see. Catch the freshest sea food at the Fisherman’s Wharf, walk from museum to memorial to beach at the Golden Gate Park, or hop on a ferry to grab a historical site of Alcatraz Island.

What not-so-far away destination are you planning on utilizing this winter?

The Forbidden City

I’ve always wanted to travel to China. The Chinese culture is so vast and beautiful. Their attention to detail is one of the most attractive things about their culture’s art and style. I’d love to go to the musuem within the Forbidden City and see the jewels of the royal family!

Here is a video of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

Turning Japanese

Jennifer Reichelt

Tokyo is the capital city of Japan and houses 13.35 million people. The thing that sets the city apart from the rest of the world is that it mixes ultramodern and traditional Japanese culture – also because it is situated on an island that looks like a dragon. You’ll find top-to-bottom neon-lit skyscrapers next to temples and cherry trees.

While traveling to Japan  itself is an adventure for the non-Japanese speaker and for people who love to people-watch, there are some amazing things to do while you visit. Here is a list of things to see, places to visit, and activities to do in Tokyo:

Meiji Shinto Shrine.
Known for its vast surrounding forests and opulent gate, the Shinto shrine is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.

Tokyo SkyTree.
Even though this may be one of the most touristy things to do in Tokyo, it is definitely well worth it! You get a jaw-dropping view of the vast city of Tokyo from all angles.

Imperial Palace of Tokyo.
The palace is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan and includes plenty of large parks in the surrounding areas, as well as a museum of the Imperial Family history.

Harajuku.
Harajuku is a district in Shibuya, Tokyo, that is known as the center of Japanese youth culture and fashion. There are so many things to do in Harajuku, including shopping and dining from many independent boutiques and cafes. A great place for people watching!

Tokyo DisneySea.
This park is located at the Tokyo Disney resort in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, which is just outside of Tokyo city. The park opened in 2001 and attracts about 15 million visitors per year. It is the fourth most visited theme park in the world. The park hit 10 million visitors within 300 days of opening!

The Great Buddha.
Located in Kamakura, Tokyo, The Great Buddha is a must-see if you’re traveling to Tokyo. The Buddha stands on the grounds of Kotokuin Temple and is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in all of Japan. The statue was cast in 1252 and is still standing!

Tokyo is a great place to get some culture-shock as many people like to call it, but it’s also a wonderful spot to explore and go on plenty of adventures.

Travel to Guatemala

Jennifer Reichelt

Fall is a great time to visit the South American country of Guatemala. The dining scene in Antigua, the capital of Guatemala, is constantly changing. Antigua is a 16th-century colonial city which serves as a perfect base for exploring the entire country of Guatemala.

Antigua is a UNESCO World Heritage site with great dining. What more can a girl ask for?

Try Angeline, a full fine dining experience in Guatemala.

A few other main attractions to get you excited:

– Pacaya Volcano. You can climb it and see a pool of lava!
– Boat around on Lake Atitlán.
– Check out the villages in the mountain for some real culture.
– Visit the ancient Mayan city of Tikal.

The colder months are best to visit Guatemala because November to April is their dry season! You’ll constantly be greeted by blue skies, warm weather, and smiling faces.

Iceland: The Land of Fire & Ice

Jennifer Reichelt City Deputy

Iceland is one of the only places on the earth that is not completely engulfed by a metropolis or major pollution. Iceland stays true to it’s roots by preserving the natural beauty that remains.

There are many different geographical regions of Iceland that offers slightly different aspects of culture and landscape. The entire island features a rugged landscape, stunning nature views, and creative people.

A little about Iceland; It houses the largest glacier in Europe and part of the world’s most active volcanoes. Long summer days can reach up to 24 hours of sunshine as short winter days can only show a few hours of sunlight. Iceland is actually one of the youngest masses of land not he planet as it was formed around 25 million years ago.

Iceland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe, as it was the last to be settled by emigrants from Scandinavia and Britain.

Even though Iceland is the country of extreme contrasts, it is a safe place to visit. The crime rate is extremely low, however, natural hazard precautions need to be taken!

Here is a place I am very excited to visit: the Geothermal Pools in Reykjavik!

Introducing Ecuador

Jennifer Reichelt

Ecuador boasts the best of South American culture, beauty, and people. Ecuador is an adventurous country full of ancient forests, wildlife, scenery, and the Andes Mountains.

Ecuador also has plenty of cultural cities such as Quito or Cuenca, where there are various markets, native and handmade items, beautiful beaches and colonial towns.

What I’ve heard from others is that the best part of Ecuador are the Ecuadorians. They prove to be kindhearted, proud, and generous, also excited to have visitors show intrigue in their beautiful country.

The best city to visit is Cuenca. Cuenca is an absolutely beautiful, laid-back, colonial city that has great weather and cleaner streets than Quito.

Cuenca’s historic center is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The city is the center for many native crafts such as ceramics, jewelry,and the Panama hat.

The interesting thing about Ecuador is that three cultures have left their mark on the city of Cuenca, ending with the settlement of the Spanish in the early 1500s. The Inca had a city called Tomebamba, which the Spanish overtook and used pieces to build their own city. The first civilization to settle in Cuenca was the Canari people who had a city called Quanpondelig.