Archive for the ‘Washington’ Category


Top 10 Haunted Hotels in the US

Halloween is approaching and spookiness is in the air, so we thought we’d bring you some of the country’s most notorious haunted hotels to consider for your next trip. Why settle for a plain old hotel stay when you could add apparitions, strange noises in the night, locking and unlocking doors, and more to the experience?

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans - Image credit: Flickr

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans - Image credit: Flickr

Check out these haunted spots from the Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend, WA to the land of voodoo and witchcraft itself, New Orleans, LA, and find the spot that’s right for your next journey!

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Fourth of July really snuck up on me this year, as it seems to do every year. If you’re in the same boat as me (read: have no idea what to do for the holiday), here is a list of great events and fireworks displays going on in some major U.S. cities.

Photo: ** Maurice **

Photo: ** Maurice **

San Francisco

Fourth of July Waterfront Celebration
Head down to the touristy, but always fun, Pier 39 for a day of clam chowder in bread bowls, free live music (80s hits and soft rock), street performers and, of course, the city’s annual fireworks display. You can’t really beat watching fireworks over the San Francisco Bay.

For more information, visit

Las Vegas
For the more adult crowd, hotels and casinos galore will be featuring fireworks displays, from Caesars Palace to the Las Vegas Hilton to Mandalay Bay and many others, as you can easily imagine. Parties are also abundant and many feature celebrity hosts, DJs or performers.

For more information, visit

Los Angeles

July 4th Fireworks Spectacular
Have a star-studded Fourth of July at the Hollywood Bowl. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket and watch LA’s largest fireworks displays. Add in performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, special guest Vince Gill and more, and you’ll have a rockin’ Fourth of July celebration.

For more information, visit

Beer fanatics be aware, July 2 to July 4 is the Seattle International Beer Fest! With approximately 130 different beers from 15 counties, Beer Fest is a great place to spend the earlier hours of Fourth of July. By nightfall, you’ll be warm and content watching the fireworks over Lake Union.

For more information on Lake Union’s fireworks display, visit

Head down to the Windy City’s Navy Pier to check out three simultaneous fireworks shows. In addition to downtown, the fireworks will also be visable from the north and sides of Chicago.

For more information, visit

Washington D.C.

The National Independence Day Parade

For those looking to really connect with the true meaning of Independence Day, The National Independence Day Parade is a great event to attend. The annual event takes place at 11:45 a.m. on Constitution Avenue, from 7th to 17th, and includes invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams, VIP’s, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants.

For more information, visit

New York City
Macy’s Annual Fourth of July Fireworks

Head to the Hudson River for the nation’s largest fireworks display—Macy’s Annual Fourth of July Fireworks. More than 40,000 fireworks shells at a rate of 1,500 per minute will quell any pyrotechnic lover’s desire to see elaborate and beautiful explosions in the sky.

For more information, visit


Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular dates back 37 years and continues to be one of the most beloved Fourth of July celebrations in the United States. Featured guests include Toby Keith, Craig Ferguson, Keith Lockhart and more. So head down to Charles River on the 3rd and the 4th to enjoy the concerts and the amazing fireworks display.

For more information, visit


Ah Seattle—the incessant rain, the grunge music, the great coffee. Many things comes to mind when thinking of the Emerald City, but nothing quite captures its essence like the Space Needle. Here’s a great photograph recently shared by James Phelps with our TravelMuse Flickr group that caught our attention.
The Seattle skyline is exceptionally impressive at night. Photo: James Marvin Phelps.

The Seattle skyline is exceptionally impressive at night. Photo: James Marvin Phelps.

Plan your trip to Seattle on TravelMuse.

Want to share your recent Trip photos and have them featured on TravelMusings? Add your photos to our TravelMuse Flickr group or TravelMuse Facebook page, and we’ll publish our favorites.

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College Visit Guide: Seattle

If you have prospective college students in your family, consider utilizing your next family vacation to check out universities. There are first-rate colleges and universities in virtually every corner of the United States, so you can work some college visits into your vacation itinerary or, even better, plan your vacation according to where you’re college applicant is interested in applying.

This post we’ll explore colleges in Seattle, but stay tuned in the coming weeks for insider looks at college towns across the United States:

Washington University. Photo: eyspahn

Washington University. Photo: eyspahn

There is a multitude of colleges and universities within the city radius: University of Washington, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Cornish College of the Arts, Gage Academy of Art, as well as a plethora of local community colleges.

Capitol Hill: the Art Student

For the aspiring student artist, explore the Capitol Hill area, which boasts Seattle University, the Gage Academy of Art and Cornish College of the Arts. Exploring the Hill on foot is demanding, since it’s quite hilly.

A short walk south of the Hill off Broadway Street, you’ll find Seattle University. The campus is a green enclave that climbs south towards First Hill and descends east towards 12th Street. Opposite SU, the Gage Academy of Art is on the north side of the Hill where Broadway crosses 10th Street. The historic Gage Academy building has one of the most spectacular views of the city—a spread including Lake Union, Queen Anne Hill, the downtown skyline and the Olympic Mountain range.

If your journeys north and south haven’t totally fatigued you, stroll down to Cornish College of the Arts. The Cornish campus is on the invisible border of lower west Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle. Perfectly located, Cornish is luckily just a leap from many artistic ventures. Music fans will delight in the Experience Music Project, just a 10-minute walk from campus. Another artistic wonder, the downtown branch of the Seattle Public Library, is a sculptural masterpiece that would be a shame to miss.

Dining in Capitol Hill/Downtown:

  • Coastal Kitchen—Northwestern food with a rotating menu that explores different Regions of the world. 429 15th Avenue East, tel. 206-322-1145.
  • Dahlia Lounge—Tom Douglas’ renowned restaurant serving comfort food with a Northwestern twist. 2001 Fourth Avenue, tel. 206-682-4142.

U-District: the Student Athlete

The University of Washington (UW), located in the Montlake and University area, offers something for everyone. The school hugs Lake Washington and peers out towards the North Cascade range. The Montlake Cut, the link between Lake Washington and Puget Sound (Portage Bay), is famous, while “The Ave.” is an infamous party zone. Student athletes and outdoor enthusiasts can take pleasure in the trails that reach over the Cut and converge at the Washington Park Arboretum.

Dining in the U-District:

  • Café Solstice—Fantastic coffee, pastries, sandwiches and a favorite place to study. 4116 University Way NE, tel. 206-675-0850.

Queen Anne Hill: Traditionalists

Seattle Pacific University
sits at the base of Queen Anne Hill. The campus is extraordinary with sprawling lawns and tree canopies. SPU offers several different degree choices and is definitely a place to check out both because of its academic credibility as well as its location. Spend the day at the river trail across the street from the school and then cool off in the shade of a large maple on campus.

Dining in Queen Anne Hill:

  • 5 Spot—All kinds of omelets to choose from for breakfast; salads, sandwiches, and burgers for lunch and dinner; great place to grab late-night food as well, since the Spot is open until midnight! 1502 Queen Anne Ave N 98109, tel. 206-285-SPOT.
  • Tup Tim Thai—A great place for tasty, mid-day Phad Thai! 118 W Mercer St 98119, tel. 206-281-8833.

Where to Stay

Seattle has several terrific hotels. Here are three that are family friendly:

Fairmont Olympic Hotel

411 University Street, tel. 206-621-1700.

Sheraton Seattle Hotel

1400 Sixth Avenue, tel. 206-621-9000.

Inn at the Market
86 Pine Street, tel. 206-443-3600.

Plan your Seattle vacation on TravelMuse.

Adapted from “College Visit Guide: Seattle” by Ray Rogers.

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You won’t be sleepless in Seattle when you stay at the Hyatt at Olive 8. The Hyatt will be the Emerald City’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified hotel when it opens on Jan. 30, 2009.

The eco-hotel’s green features include automatic room lighting (which turns on and off as guests enter and exit), Bricor water-reducing showerheads and dual-flush toilets. Other eco-highlights include the use of non-toxic housecleaning products, equipping the property with energy-saving fluorescent and LED lighting, using low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, providing a 100 percent non-smoking environment, and enforcing a comprehensive recycling and composting program.

The 350-room Hyatt also features luxurious amenities such as super-comfy pillow-top Hyatt Grand Beds™, 37-inch flat screen HDTVs, iPod docking stations, Wi-Fi and iHome stereo systems.

In addition, the Hyatt will be home to one of the largest green roof gardens in downtown Seattle.

Eco Spa and Restaurant

The Hyatt’s Elaia spa will feature organic and natural skincare products and treatments. The spa has 12 treatment suites and a 65-foot lap pool and whirlpool featuring a saltwater purification system that eliminates the need for chlorine. Guests can also enjoy the 2,400 sq. ft. Stay Fit@Hyatt fitness center, open 24 hours a day, and on-site yoga.

Urbane Restaurant and Bar will use ingredients from regional farmers from across Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Urbane will serve beer and wine produced exclusively by Washington and Oregon breweries and wineries.

Rates start at $209 per night based on double occupancy. For more information, go to