Best of Portland | Portland, Oregon

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In Portland, Oregon, you’ll find a little bit of everything. The city is dotted with lively urban areas and serene wooded parks, ensuring that whether you want to browse boutiques or spend the day hiking, there’s always something to do. Their exciting and constantly evolving food scene means that every meal you eat will be something special. Portland’s unofficial slogan is “Keep Portland Weird,” a feeling you’ll understand as you begin to experience the uniqueness of the city.

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Inn @ Northrup Station

The Inn @ Northrup Station, located in northwest Portland, is a visually stunning hotel decorated with bright colors, retro décor, and local art. Stay in a suite complete with a kitchen as well as a private deck or patio perfect for kicking back at the end of the day. You’ll also want to catch their fun events – movie night Mondays, wine down Wednesdays, hop-py hour Thursdays, and sundae Sundays will add a little excitement to your stay. Indulge in the Just the Two of Us package, a romantic assortment of local wine and chocolates, embossed glasses, and a spa set.

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Forest Park

With over 5,000 acres of bright green foliage, it’s hard to believe that Forest Park is just minutes from the city. Choose one of their many trails and head out for a hike – we like the Ridge Trail, which provides a mix of natural and urban scenery. You’ll start out within the park and hike down to St. John’s Bridge, one of Portland’s most iconic features. Walk across St. John’s to check out Cathedral Park, a beautiful area underneath the bridge’s east side, before hiking back up into Forest Park.

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Pine State Biscuits

The melt-in-your-mouth biscuit sandwiches at Pine State Biscuits make the perfect post-hike meal. The well-known Portland eatery, which has been serving their perfectly crafted biscuits for just over a decade, was created by three southerners and has multiple locations across the city. Try the Chatfield, a stack of fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and apple butter between two biscuits. If you still have room, go for their seasonal pop tart – right now it’s blueberry cheesecake, featuring goat cheese and a lemon glaze.

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Washington Park

Like Forest Park, Washington Park is a beautiful wooded area in Portland. Spend a day exploring all of the attractions inside Washington Park. Visit the Portland Japanese Garden, a 12-acre collection of 8 different garden spaces created to inspire serenity and tranquility. Next, see why Portland is called the City of Roses at the International Rose Test Garden, which is full of different types of roses in every color imaginable. You’ll also find the Hoyt Arboretum, a “living museum” of over 6,000 trees with over 12 miles of trails that you can meander through. If you still have time, Washington Park is also home to the Oregon Zoo, an archery range, the Portland Children’s Museum, and more.

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Blue Star Donuts

Though many visitors in Portland head straight for Voodoo Doughnut, we recommend trying out Blue Star Donuts instead. Their donuts are crafted with a handmade dough that takes 18 hours to make. The dense and moist Buttermilk Old Fashioned is perfect for purists, while the more adventurous will like their unique flavor combinations such as the Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk, a sweet and savory explosion of flavor.

Summer Fun | Island Palms Hotel & Marina | San Diego, California

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Beautiful scenery, unparalleled dining, and fast-paced nightlife make San Diego a good choice for a romantic getaway. Here are our picks for what to enjoy with your special someone in America’s Finest City.

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Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina

With multiple pools, tennis courts, complimentary bike rentals, massage services, and a private marina, the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina has everything you need for a fantastic summer vacation in San Diego. Island Palms is located right along the coast of Shelter Island, which means you’re just steps away from a number of exciting activities on the water! It’s also close to other great areas like Point Loma, downtown San Diego, and the Gaslamp Quarter. Book a romantic getaway with the Simple Pleasures Package, which includes water view accommodations, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and breakfast in bed.

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Blue Wave Bar & Grill

Indulge in California coastal cuisine at the Blue Wave Bar & Grill. Choose a table inside their elegant dining room, or relax outside on the deck overlooking the pool and marina. Grab a homemade quiche or breakfast burrito to start off your day, or enjoy fresh fish for dinner – we love the Seared Scallops, served with shellfish risotto, grilled asparagus tapenade, and parmesan cheese. You can get specially priced craft beer, cocktails, wines, and appetizers (like chowder fries and salmon tacos!) at their Island Time happy hour, every day from 4-7 pm. You won’t go hungry.

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Sunset Cliffs

Between Ocean Beach and Point Loma you’ll find Sunset Cliffs, an area that’s exactly what it sounds like – a stretch of coastline with plunging cliffs that looks especially beautiful during sunset. Sunset Cliffs is only about a 10-minute drive from Shelter Island, so it’s perfect for a quick outing. Go for a walk or jog right along the cliffs, or pack some snacks for a romantic sunset picnic.

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Gaslamp Quarter

Alonzo Horton arrived in the San Diego Bay in 1867, purchasing land and kicking off the development of the area we now know as downtown San Diego and the Gaslamp Quarter. This year, the Gaslamp Quarter celebrates its 150th anniversary. Learn about San Diego’s past and see historic buildings on a walking tour of this unique area.

Today, the Gaslamp Quarter is San Diego’s premier spot for nightlife. Enjoy a night out on the town by exploring a few of the area’s restaurants, bars, and clubs. Start out at The Tipsy Crow, comprised of three different levels: The Main, a pub-like area, The Nest, a cozy lounge with fireplaces and pool tables, and The Underground, with music and dancing.

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Petco Park

Catch a Padre game at Petco Park while you’re in town! The ballpark, located downtown, is a fun place to explore whether you’re a baseball fan or not. Skip the hot dogs – plenty of local eateries have set up shop in Petco Park, so you can try some of San Diego’s best grub (and beer). Grab a juicy hamburger at Hodad’s, Mexican fare at Carnitas’ Snack Shack and Lucha Libre, or amazing sandwiches at Gaglione Brothers or Board & Brew. You can view the game schedule here.

Summer Fun | Bay Club Hotel and Marina | San Diego, California

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Planning your summer getaway? Head to San Diego, California for beautiful beaches, unique neighborhoods, great dining, and exciting nightlife. Stay in tropical Shelter Island, a serene area that’s close to everything you’ll want to do in San Diego.

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Bay Club Hotel and Marina

The Bay Club Hotel and Marina reflects Shelter Island’s tropical island vibe with beautiful greenery, towering palm trees, and a private marina. From your room, you’ll be able to gaze out on views of the water, marina, Point Loma, and downtown San Diego. With two welcome drinks, tropical fruit and cookies, and free parking, their Aloha Package will give you even more reason to love your stay in San Diego.

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Quarterdeck Restaurant & Bar

Whether you need a hearty breakfast, a homemade cocktail, or a gourmet dinner, the Quarterdeck Restaurant & Bar is the perfect place to relax and indulge. Grab a table on the patio to enjoy a drink and a meal outside in the summer sun. We like their Signature Coconut Shrimp Dinner, jumbo coconut shrimp served with jalapeno orange dressing and homemade peanut sauce. Pair it with a local craft beer or the Windward Cooler cocktail, made with vodka, watermelon pucker, lemon, and cucumber.

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Liberty Station

Liberty Station, formerly a Naval Training Center, is a collection of restaurants, shops, art studios, and the Liberty Public Market. There are a number of fun events lined up for the summer! On the first Friday of each month, you can talk with artists, enjoy performances, and explore museums and galleries as part of Friday Night Liberty. At Taste Liberty Station on June 21st, sample food from Liberty Station eateries and taste sparkling wines in the Bubbly Garden. Liberty Public Market also has live music on Sundays and a farmers market every Thursday.

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USS Midway Museum

One of San Diego’s most popular museums is aboard an aircraft carrier! At the USS Midway Museum you can check out over 60 exhibits, 29 aircraft, and two flight simulators. Chat with the docents you’ll find around the museum, who will talk to you about the Midway as well as share their own stories. Spend some time exploring the exhibits and then grab lunch at their Fantail Café, where you can order dishes from the Midway’s 1945 cookbook.

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SeaWorld

Spend a day at SeaWorld and check out all the exciting new attractions they’ve added for the 2017 season! In addition to informative animal exhibits, entertaining shows, and thrilling rides, you can now enjoy Electric Ocean, a nighttime celebration full of lights and music that simulate an underwater dance club. SeaWorld has decided to forgo its flashy killer whale show and has instead created Orca Encounter, a presentation about orcas with a more educational focus. Kids will love Ocean Explorer, a new interactive realm that gets you even closer to the animals.

Summer Fun | Humphreys Half Moon Inn | San Diego, California

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Wondering where to stay in San Diego? Shelter Island, San Diego’s tropical oasis, manages to feel secluded while still being close to many of the city’s best attractions. Summer in San Diego is full of energy – don’t miss out on these fun activities.

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Humphreys Half Moon Inn

Humphreys Half Moon Inn is located on Shelter Island, where lush landscaping and a tropical vibe provide a relaxing atmosphere perfect for a getaway. You’ll never run out of things to do at this waterfront hotel. Grab cocktails from the poolside bar and spend an afternoon lounging at the pool, take a jog along the water, play some ping pong, or explore the island by bike. Humphreys’ Enchanted Evening Package has everything you’ll need for a romantic night. You’ll enjoy a gourmet dinner with a view of the water, chilled champagne with souvenir monogrammed glasses, chocolate covered strawberries, and breakfast for two.

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Good Eats & Live Music

Humphreys isn’t just a hotel – it’s also home to fine dining and exciting entertainment. Humphreys Restaurant offers Southern California cuisine and floor to ceiling marina views. Start off with one of their craft cocktails like the Wildfire, made with hibiscus infused mescal, curacao, raspberry, habanero, agave, lime, and smoked sea salt. For dinner, both the asparagus and Maine lobster risotto dishes are a perfect mix of comfort food and fresh flavors. After your meal, retire to the Backstage Live lounge and listen to live music while you sip drinks or hit the dance floor. Humphreys also holds outdoor concerts right on the bay. Check their concert schedule to see if your favorite artist will be performing while you’re in town!

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Balboa Park

Balboa Park’s world-class museums, gardens, and cultural institutions make it one of San Diego’s greatest gems year-round, but it’s particularly fun during the summer. Visit on a Friday to experience Balboa Park After Dark, a special summer program in which select museums stay open late and offer discounts on admission. You can also check out Food Truck Friday, where you’ll find a collection of food trucks in the park from 4 to 8 pm. Grab a plate or two to enjoy while you stroll through the park.

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Coronado

Like Shelter Island, Coronado has a unique island feel all its own. On one side, dive into the ocean and spread out on the sand on the pristine Coronado Beach. The other side has the Coronado Ferry Landing, a collection of shops and eateries, and a gorgeous view of downtown San Diego. During the summer, Coronado puts on a series of outdoor concerts on Sundays at Spreckels Park. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy live music and dancing in the mild summer air.

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Old Town

Old Town is called the “birthplace of California” because it was the first permanent Spanish settlement in the state in 1769. No trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to this vibrant area that celebrates Spanish and Mexican culture as well as San Diego’s past. Grab some Mexican food, browse unique handmade goods, and walk through historic buildings that will give you an idea of what San Diego looked like hundreds of years ago. You can also visit Heritage Park to see a collection of beautiful restored Victorian homes, or tour the Whaley House, one of the most famous haunted houses in the country.

Easy Weekend Trips | Pismo Beach, California

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Next time you’re looking for a quick getaway, head to the coastal town of Pismo Beach. The quaint town’s fine dining and picturesque beaches and coves make it ideal for a romantic weekend away any time of the year.

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Inn at the Cove

Inn at the Cove isn’t your average beachfront hotel. It sits right on top of a cove, giving guests unmatched views of the water from private balconies and patios. You can relax in the heated pool that overlooks the ocean, play tennis on their clay courts, or check out nearby Pismo Beach attractions. For a romantic getaway, book their No Brainer Romance Package. It has everything you need – oceanfront accommodations, rose petals, sparkling wine, chocolate truffles, and a late 2pm check out.

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Ventana Grill

Because Ventana Grill overlooks the ocean, it’s the perfect place to catch a sunset while enjoying dinner. Start out with one of their craft cocktails, like the Ventana View, a mix of raspberry vodka, orange liqueur, muddled berries, lime juice, and soda water. Their dinner menu is full of fresh fish dishes and California cuisine. Try the Pipián Sea Bass, which is crusted with pumpkin seeds and served with pipián verde, spinach, tequila-soaked apricots, and roasted pepitas.

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Shell Beach

Explore Shell Beach, a collection of nine parks and beaches up and down the coast of Pismo Beach. Unlike the larger Pismo State Beach, these areas are smaller and more intimate. Many have grassy areas on top of the cliffs, dropping down into beautiful beaches and tide pools. One of the best is Margo Dodd Park, where you can eat a picnic lunch while admiring the ocean view and then walk down to the beach to explore caves and snorkel.

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See the Sand Dunes

Just south of Pismo beach are the massive sand dunes at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. For a fun way to discover the dunes, rent ATVs and spend an afternoon driving through the rippling sand. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the desert, even though you’re right on the coast.

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Pismo Beach Farmers Market

Get a taste of local Pismo Beach offerings at the Pismo Beach Farmers Market, which happens every Wednesday at 3pm. Browse homemade crafts and goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, novelty foods, and more. Make sure you come hungry, because you’ll want to sample foods while you’re there. Try artisan cheeses like Cabernet Cheddar from Vintage Cheese Company and look out for California Spun, where you can indulge in gourmet, organic cotton candy in flavors like Merlot and Banana Split.

Finding California’s Redwoods | Northern California

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Redwoods are some of the most impressive trees in the world – they can live up to 2,000 years and reach heights of over 350 feet! Northern California offers a chance to see these magnificent trees as well as miles of beautiful coastline.

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Victorian Inn

Located between Redwood National and State Parks and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, the Victorian Inn is the perfect place to call home while you’re seeing the redwoods. Built in 1890, the hotel retains its Victorian style inside and out. Their elegant yet quaint rooms are the ideal setting for a romantic getaway. Book the “Suite” Romance Package and enjoy a two night stay in a King second floor room or suite, fresh flowers, chilled champagne and truffles, breakfast each morning, and a $125 voucher for the VI Restaurant.

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Avenue of the Giants & Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Head south to the Avenue of the Giants, a 32-mile stretch of Highway 101 with incredible views of the redwoods. It’s one of Northern California’s best scenic drives. Drive your car through the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree, marvel at the 950+ year-old Immortal Tree, and see the Tree House, a house that’s partially built in a redwood. Avenue of the Giants runs through Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which has campsites, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and swimming.

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Loleta Cheese Factory

On your way up to Redwood National and State Parks, stop in the small town of Loleta to visit the Loleta Cheese Factory. They produce artisan cheeses with all-natural ingredients, and are especially known for their flavored Cheddar and Jack varieties. At the factory, you can take a tour to learn about cheese making and taste samples. Be sure to stop at their Grilled Cheese Bar, which offers gourmet grilled cheeses ranging from savory to sweet. Grab one and enjoy a picnic in their onsite garden.

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Eureka

Continue north on Highway 101, which hugs the coast and offers amazing views. Stop at Eureka, a Victorian-era coastal city with plenty of activities to fill an afternoon. Explore the Sequoia Park Zoo, or visit Old Town Eureka and stroll through antique shops, cafes, and coffee shops. Make sure you see the Carson Mansion, a stunning three-story, eighteen-room Victorian home built in the 1880s. It isn’t open to the public, but you can snap some photos of the impressive exterior and take a virtual tour online.

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Redwood National and State Parks

See redwoods more than 350 feet tall and up to 2,000 years old at Redwood National and State Parks. The 130,000-acre area encompasses Redwood National Park, established in 1968, and three state parks (Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast State Park, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park) established in the 1920s. Take a hike through their 170-mile trail system to see the trees up close.

Kick off 2017 in Borrego Springs | Borrego Springs, California

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Start the New Year feeling relaxed, recharged, and ready to take on 2017! After the stresses of the holiday season, take some time to get away from it all with a romantic spa trip to the desert. Borrego Springs is a beautiful desert town with equal opportunities for relaxation and adventure.

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La Casa del Zorro

For nearly a century, La Casa del Zorro has been a stylish desert destination. The 42-acre resort encompasses comfortable accommodations, beautiful grounds, and fun amenities including tennis courts, pools, a fitness center, a yoga studio, and a spa. La Casa del Zorro offers the perfect relaxing New Year’s vacation. With The Relaxing Romantic package, you’ll stay with your special someone in a couple’s room with rose petals and a candle lit atmosphere. Together, you’ll experience a 25-minute Hydro Bath, an 80-minute Wise Well-Being Massage with foot reflexology, a glass of wine each, and chocolate covered strawberries.

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Font’s Point

See amazing geological formations from Font’s Point in the Borrego Badlands. Nicknamed California’s Grand Canyon, it was carved out by water millions of years ago. Today, Font’s Point offers sweeping vistas of sandstone formations in a beautiful desert landscape. You reach Font’s point by driving, but it’s recommended for 4WD vehicles only. If you’d rather not drive yourself, you can take a Jeep tour.

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Go Golfing

Borrego Springs features a few amazing golf courses that are perfect for an afternoon outdoors. La Casa Del Zorro partners with the Rams Hill Golf Club and the Borrego Springs Resort Golf Club, offering free transportation to and from both courses. Rams Hill’s course was designed by Tom Fazio and has lakes, streams, waterfalls, and amazing views of the surrounding mountains. Borrego Springs Resort’s 18-hole course features beautiful lakes and palm trees, and is good for golfers of any level.

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Kesling’s Kitchen

You’ll find Kesling’s Kitchen in the Borrego Art Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides classes, demonstrations, and events for the community. The restaurant serves gourmet wood fired pizzas, as well as sandwiches, paninis, and salads. They also have rotating craft beers and wines on tap! Try a local brew and the Blue Canard pizza, topped with scallions, shredded duck confit, blue cheese, and figs. Take home one of their homemade desserts for later.

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Bighorn Fudge Co.

Bighorn Fudge Co., also known as The Fudge Factory, has sold more than 100,000 pounds of fudge since it first opened. They craft their fudge with rich butter and cream, offering flavors that range from traditional milk chocolate to the more adventurous Spicy Mexican Chocolate, Jalapeno Chocolate Swirl, and Jelly Donut. Stop by and take home a souvenir piece of fudge. You can also purchase their fudge online.

Holiday Celebrations in Austin | Austin, Texas

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Austin, Texas is widely known for its incredible music scene and delicious food, but it’s also a great city to visit during the holidays. Austin goes all out with events and activities that reflect the city’s unique vibe. See an elaborate light show at a local coffee shop, be dazzled by over 2 million lights in Zilker Park, and get the ultimate Texas experience at a boutique hotel.

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Lone Star Court

Decorated in a retro-chic style and featuring outdoor fire pits, live music, a restaurant and bar, an onsite food truck court, and furnished porches, Lone Star Court provides an authentic Austin experience. Relax and enjoy Austin with the Kick Your Boots Off Package, which includes complimentary breakfast, 2 food vouchers and 2 drink vouchers for their onsite restaurant the Water Trough, and a Lone Star Court goody bag full of Texas snacks, soft drinks, and long necks.

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Mexic-Arte Museum

The Mexic-Arte Museum showcases Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art, prints, masks, and books. Stop by and check out their current exhibitions for an enriching cultural experience. Now through January 29, 2017, see “Icons and Symbols of the Borderland,” presenting art inspired by the U.S./Mexican Border. In addition, “Nacimientos: Traditional Nativity Scenes from Mexico,” featuring handmade nativity scenes, is perfect for the Christmas season. Admission to the museum is free in December and every Sunday.

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Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill serves excellent comfort foods and a wide selection of moonshine in a cozy, laidback atmosphere. Try the Green Chile Macaroni, with grilled chicken, corn bisque, and bacon gratin, and follow it up with their Signature Skillet Apple Pie topped with salted caramel ice cream. Pair your meal with some moonshine – we like the Midnight Moon Strawberry.

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Mozart’s

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters & Bakery is your one-stop shop for great coffee and Christmas spirit. From late November to early January, the coffee shop has a Holiday Light Show, a 12-minute light show set to music that they play every night on the hour. Enjoy the show with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, and choose a dessert (or a few) from a their selection of cupcakes, cannoli, fruit tarts, and cheesecakes.

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Austin Trail of Lights

Zilker Park is a beautiful 351-acre metropolitan park in the middle of Austin. It’s used for everything from music festivals to outdoor activities like running, biking, and swimming. During the holidays, it’s home to the Austin Trail of Lights, an Austin tradition for over 50 years. The event includes more than 40 displays using over 2 million lights, a huge selection of food from local restaurants, and a Ferris wheel and carousel. The 2016 Trail of Lights runs from December 10 – 23.

Holiday Celebrations in San Francisco | San Francisco, California

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With a 60-foot tree in Ghirardelli Square, ice skating at Embarcadero Center, and a giant gingerbread house at the Fairmont, San Francisco proves it’s one of the best cities to visit during the holidays. This December, enjoy a romantic winter getaway and experience San Francisco’s amazing holiday activities and cultural hubs.

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Fairmont San Francisco

Stay at the Fairmont San Francisco and see the impressive holiday decorations the hotel has been known for since 1907. They have a champagne bar, a 23-foot Christmas tree, and a giant two-story gingerbread house made with thousands of gingerbread bricks, gallons of frosting, and hundreds of pounds of candy. The hotel also offers a special Gingerbread Holiday Tea with a selection of sweets and pastries. Enjoy a romantic holiday getaway with the Love Is In The Air Package, which includes a one night stay, free parking, and your choice of a champagne buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant or breakfast and mimosas in bed.

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Sears Fine Food

Located in Union Square, Sears Fine Food has maintained its old-school charm and atmosphere since 1938. They specialize in breakfast, which is served until 3:00 pm. Order their famous18 Swedish Pancakes, silver dollar pancakes served with fresh whipped butter, syrup, and lingonberries. The dish is so well loved that they sell bags of the pancake mix in their e-store.

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Embarcadero Center

Embarcadero Center is a four-block section of downtown San Francisco with shopping, dining, entertainment, and public art. Small gathering spaces, lovely gardens, and a collection of art and sculptures make the center perfect for a weekend outing. Through January 8th, 2017, Embarcadero Center is home to a large outdoor ice rink. Spend an afternoon skating and then warm up with a drink from Paramo Coffee.

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SoMa StrEat Food Park

SoMa StrEat Food Park describes itself as a “culinary carnival and urban playground.” The park has everything you need for a fun night out – beer, wine, carnival games, and rotating food trucks like the Kabob Trolley, which serves delicious Middle Eastern foods with an American twist. They also host events, including Trivia Night every Tuesday and an All-You-Can-Eat Crab Feast on Sunday, December 18th.

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Japantown

Experience Japanese culture in San Francisco Japantown, one of only three Japantowns in the country. Try authentic foods and browse specialty shops. You can also take the San Francisco Japantown History Walk, a self-guided tour that illuminates the area’s fascinating history. 16 signs throughout Japantown teach visitors about the arrival of the Japanese in San Francisco in the 1860s, the internment of the Japanese during World War II, and the creation of the Japan Center in the 1960s. On December 17th, check out the Kimochi Silver Bells: Arts & Crafts and Food Faire, where you can try Asian and Pacific Islander foods and pick up some last minute gifts.

Holiday Celebrations in San Diego | San Diego, California

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Visit San Diego this winter! America’s finest city has plenty of events that will get you into the holiday spirit. Stay in one of the city’s most historic hotels and take part in fun holiday activities throughout La Jolla, Point Loma, Liberty Station, and the San Diego bayfront. It’ll be an unforgettable holiday getaway.

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La Valencia

The pink, Spanish-style exterior of La Valencia has become an iconic San Diego image. The luxury hotel is located in the midst of La Jolla’s upscale shops and restaurants, near La Jolla Cove and the area’s beautiful cliffs. Nicknamed “The Pink Lady,” La Valencia opened in December 1926 and is celebrating her 90th birthday this month with a glamorous Gatsby-style bash on December 15th. To celebrate, the hotel is offering a Hot Pink at 90 Celebration Experience package. Stay for two nights and receive a commemorative hot pink gift, a bottle of pink sparkling wine, two 90th birthday craft cocktails, and free parking.

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Birch Aquarium

See more than 5,000 fish at La Jolla’s Birch Aquarium. Throughout December they present “Seas ‘n’ Greetings,” transforming the aquarium into a winter wonderland with live holiday music, face painting, and Scuba Santa making appearances in the fish tanks. At night, “Holiday Night Lights” shows off bioluminescent fish and features living touch pools of glowing animals. The aquarium also offers Tidepooling Adventures during the winter. Join a naturalist on a trip to a nearby tide pool, where you’ll learn about tide pools and the creatures that call them home.

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Liberty Station

Point Loma’s Liberty Station is one of San Diego’s fastest growing neighborhoods. It’s home to restaurants, art studios, and the new Liberty Public Market, a permanent marketplace selling delicious foods, beer and wine, fresh flowers, and more. Saturday, December 10th is Liberty Station’s Holiday Block Party. Restaurants will be giving away samples, art studios will be displaying work and doing demonstrations, and Liberty Public Market will have a DIY terrarium bar and cookie decorating station. The free event lasts from 4:30 to 7:30 pm.

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Outdoor Ice Skating

New to Liberty Station this year is outdoor ice rink Fantasy on Ice. Dress warmly, dig out your scarves and mittens, and hit the ice for an afternoon of skating. The rink has kid-friendly Family Sessions during the day as well as Night Sessions featuring upbeat music for adults. Proceeds from the ice rink benefit Rady Children’s Hospital.

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San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights has been a local tradition for 45 years. On December 11th and 18th, the bay is lit up by a procession of about 80 boats decorated with impressive displays of holiday lights. This year’s theme is “It Began with a Roar,” a celebration of the San Diego Zoo’s 2016 Centennial. The parade starts at Shelter Island and passes Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, and the Coronado Ferry Landing. For advice on parking and the best spots to watch the parade, visit their website.