America's City Getaways
If you're lucky enough to have saved up a bunch of vacation days (or are willing to redefine "sick day"), you can spend your time off abroad or touring a national park. If not, don't worry- there are plenty of sweet spots to discover without leaving your home town.
From Milwaukee's stunning waterfront to Minneapolis' waterfalls, here are nine urban escapes around the country that will make you forget you ever wanted to take a cruise in the Caribbean.
Pictured: The Rainbow Falls in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis
If you want to see a waterfall but don't feel like driving up to Niagara, Minneapolis has got you covered. The biggest city in the Land of 10,000 Lakes is home to the 53' Minnehaha Falls, the centerpiece of the 193 acre Minnehaha Park.
It's also just a few steps from the Sea Salt Eatery, where you unwind after a hike with fresh seafood and a cold beer.
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Shaped much like Central Park, Golden Gate Park runs more than three miles from end to end, bordered by the Pacific Ocean on its western edge and Stanyan St to the east. 20% bigger than its New York brother, it features a Conservatory of Flowers, a fine arts museum, a Japanese tea garden, and Stow Lake (pictured).
It even has a bison paddock, two windmills and a botanical garden.
Falls Park on the Reedy, Greenville, South Carolina
Compared to behemoths like Central Park and Golden Gate Park, Greenville's Falls Park on the Reedy is tiny, covering just 32 acres. But as far as sights go, it's hard to beat. The centerpiece is the Liberty Bridge, a 345' pedestrian bridge that crosses above the 28' foot Reedy Falls.
St Louis Cemetery # 1, New Orleans
The first of three cemeteries that bear the same name was established in 1789, near the French Quarter. Because New Orleans floods so easily, its residents have long been put to rest in above ground tombs.
The result is a cemetery that looks more like a faux city, with streets running between buildings that house the dead. If you're curious about St Louis' ghostly history, there's a cemetery voodoo tour. Or, you can just spend some time wandering the eerily quiet place.
Encanto Park, Phoenix
For Arizonans looking to escape the desert heat, Encanto Park is the perfect place. Covering 222 acres in downtown Phoenix, the park includes a lagoon, a boat house, a swimming pool and the Enchanted Island amusement park.
It's also a great place to fish for rainbow trout, largemouth bass, catfish, tilapia and carp.
Inwood, New York City
Inwood occupies the northern tip of Manhattan, but you'll never believe you're still in New York's central borough. It starts around 200th St, and about half of its area is dedicated to Inwood Hill Park, one of the city's only non-landscaped green spaces.
Once known as Tubby Hook Hill, Inwood is where Peter Minuit famously bought Manhattan for $24 in 1626. The hillside caves along the Hudson River were once used by the Wiechquaesgeck tribe as a summer camp, where they fished and harvested shellfish.
Walking along the shore of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, you would never guess the city's industrial, beer-soaked history. Festival grounds, the Discovery World science museum, parks and beaches all make the waterfront a wonderful place to spend an afternoon, or a week.
The crown jewel of the area is the Milwaukee Art Museum's famous, $125 million wing, designed by Santiago Calatrava. At noon every day, the building's wings open and close.
Forsyth Park, Savannah
Savannah, Georgia is one of the prettiest cities in the country, so it follows that its Forsyth Park would be a beauty as well. The 30 acre public park was created in the 1840s and features a Fragrant Garden, surrounded by wells on three sides to contain the aromas of roses and other flowers.
It also features a Confederate Memorial Statue and a fountain that's dyed green every year for St Patrick's Day.
Canal Park, Duluth, Minnesota
Canal Park is something of a misnomer, it's actually a waterfront industrial district that's been transformed into a tourist and cultural center. Duluth sits on the western edge of Lake Superior and was once a manufacturing and shipping powerhouse- at the end of the 19th century, it was home to more millionaires per capita than any city in the world.
The end of the iron ore boom in the 1950s led to Duluth's wealth and population decline, but Canal Park is a sign of the city's rebirth. It hosts the annual Bayfront Blues Festival and is home to cafes, hotels, a 4.2 mile lakewalk and a terrific view of the nearly one of a kind Aerial Lift Bridge.
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