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Travelers Advantage....


When it comes to winter fun in the United States, it’s hard to beat the incredible variety of big city wonders widely available across the nation. Whether you’re looking for museums, a thriving restaurant scene, or simply some urban action to warm up your winter, big cities beckon for your 2005 vacation buck!


Of course, big cities don’t get much bigger or big-time than the Big Apple, New York City. With more than 70,000 hotel rooms, the “city that never sleeps” has a wide range of great options to do just that. Thanks to high occupancy levels, new hotels, many renovations, and more, the hotel scene in NYC makes it easy to find the right accommodations in the right location--at the right price!

The winter months are ideal times to head to Manhattan and beyond, thanks to Holidays celebrations and events that often last well into the new year. In January 2005, lots of bargains await Big Apple shoppers at world-famous department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and many others. Plus, crowds tend to be less after the Holidays and the residents even warmer than normal to visitors!

A bit to the north, Boston, Massachusetts continues to beckon with five new hotels opened in 2004, a new golf course (Quarry Hills) in Quincy, the 18th Annual Boston Wine Festival (January 14, 2005 and continuing through April), and lots of new cultural exhibitions opening in 2005 (including “Presents for a President and First Lady” at the John F. Kennedy Library Museum). Boston also has a thriving theater scene, with The Opera House’s successful run of  The Lion King being followed in the spring by Phantom of the Opera.


Heading down south, Charleston, South Carolina continues to charm all winter, with a hot restaurant scene unrivaled by cities much larger. Along those lines, The Charleston Museum is presenting “The Bountiful Coast: Foodways of the South Carolina Lowcountry” (through September 12, 2005). In conjunction with the special exhibit, a tasty little tour company called Carolina Food Pros is offering a special tour package that includes a guided tour of the exhibit and a culinary walking tour through historic downtown Charleston. Those in the know will also want to visit Charleston during Spoleto Festival USA 2005 (May 27-June 12).

In Atlanta, wintertime means new “Hotlanta” cultural and shopping offerings. The new Museum of Patriotism is now open, while Barney’s and Nordstrom’s are opening in Phipps Plaza in January.

If your idea of winter wonders includes wonderfully warm weather, then Miami and Miami Beach beckon with South Beach and so much more. The possibilities include: lots of new accommodations possibilities; eclectic cuisine on Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road; shopping ‘til you drop at Bal Harbour Shops (almost 40 years of setting standards and bucking trends); the renovated Miami Seaquarium on Key Biscayne; and, lots of new itineraries and ships taking cruise passengers out of the Port of Miami (be sure to book a warm pre- or post-cruise stay in the Miami area).


The Windy City of Chicago, Illinois heats up in winter with a wide variety of cultural offerings. The place to start is the Chicago Cultural Center, which offers one of the most comprehensive free arts showcases in the country.

Denver, Colorado is a mile-high magnet anytime of year, but winter weather makes it a great pre- or post-ski vacation stop. For those who will be in the city through January 23, 2005, the 98th National Western Stock Show and Rodeo features world-class rodeo and more than 15,000 animals--a world record!

Dallas, Texas--the Big D--is definitely big-time fun. Numerical highlights add up to 66,000 hotel rooms; 6,500 restaurants; 100+ golf courses; 33 shopping malls; seven professional sports teams; and the third busiest airport in the world, offering nearly 2,000 flights daily! One great big reason to go to go to the Big D is Gilley’s Dallas, the city’s newest entertainment hot spot with a 10,000-square-foot hardwood dance floor, a mechanical bull, live music every night, and top country acts on weekends.

Meanwhile, on the California coast, Los Angeles and San Francisco both offer a wide variety of big city pursuits. With more than 800 museums, the diverse culture (and cultures) of Los Angeles continue to provide a wide variety of museums and more. Up in San Francisco, ranked the #1 U.S. destination by Conde Nast Traveler’s readers for the 12th consecutive year, the travel fun starts as soon as you land at San Francisco International Airport--with a flightful exhibit called “Air Hostess: A History of Female Flight Attendants.”

Thus, from east to west, big cities can offer big-time comfort for the wintertime blues and make for some wonderful winter getaways!