Archive for the ‘Urban Endeavors’ Category


Every year, Frommer’s releases their must-do travel list, and it’s always sure to include at least a few eyebrow-raisers. Beirut, Lebanon? You might not know that it’s a sophisticated coastal city bustling with energy. Kansas City, MO? The world-class Kauffmann Center for the Performing Arts just opened, attracting some of the biggest names in dance and music.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Photo credit: Flickr

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Photo credit: Flickr

Check out the full list here for some other surprising – and not so surprising – travel ideas.


Boardwalk Empire Vintage Subway Cars in NYC

This weekend is the season premiere of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, the 1920’s gangster show set in Atlantic City, New Jersey. To kick off the premiere, the New York City MTA has converted some subways into fully-functioning 1920’s-era trains, from the subway cars themselves, to the maps, and even the advertisements displayed.

Boardwalk Empire Vintage NYC Subway

Photo: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid @

If you’re in NYC anytime in September, see if you can catch one of these cool-looking trains on the 2/3 line for a truly transporting experience!

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Trip Photos: Central Park

Few things are more representative of New York City than Central Park. Created in 1857 by Fredrick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, Central Park is located in the heart of Manhattan. From carriage rides to picnics and jogging  to open air concerts, the park is enjoyed in a variety of ways. What is your favorite way to enjoy Central Park? Personally, I like finding the perfect hot dog and eating it while I people watch.

Central Park. Photo: Brian Struble

Central Park. Photo: Brian Struble

Plan your trip to New York City 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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A Guide to Dublin in Honor of St. Patrick’s Day

There is a lot more to Ireland than just St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness, corned beef, leprechauns and pots of gold. Plan a trip to Ireland’s bustling capital city, Dublin, where you can explore all the facets of Irish culture. From outdoor adventures to literary pub crawls and everything in between, Dublin will enchant the whole family.

The River Liffey. Photo: fazen

The River Liffey. Photo: fazen

Getting Your Bearings
The River Liffey runs through Dublin, dividing the north and south of the city. The south is historically the wealthier area of town, and it contains some of Dublin’s most famous sights. Lounge in St. Stephen’s Green and wander up and down Grafton Street, but don’t overlook the area just north of the river. This part of Dublin includes the General Post Office, the grand and imposing Customs House and one of Dublin’s newest landmarks, the Spire of Dublin.

Historic Dublin
Get acclimated to the city and its history by taking a 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour. This will take you throughout the city center, exploring landmarks that played a role in the 1916 Easter Rising. Another fascinating (yet gruesome), historic spot is the Kilmainham Gaol, where those captured in the Easter Rising were held and some were executed.

Dublin Museums
Dublin boasts many fine museums and galleries, including the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art. All three of these attractions are a wonderful, and best of all, they’re free!

Dublin Outdoors
The east of Ireland enjoys some of the country’s best weather, making Dublin a great place to enjoy Ireland’s outdoors. St. Stephen’s Green is a lovely park in the middle of the city.

Irish Castles

While Ireland no longer has royalty, it still has some breathtaking castles. In the city, you will find Dublin Castle, the former seat of British-appointed rulers. Dublin’s suburbs have some beautiful castles as well: The Dalky Castle & Heritage Center is worth a visit, as is the Malahide Castle.

Tour the Guinness St. James' Gate Brewery. Photo: Pierre Phaneuf

Tour the Guinness St. James' Gate Brewery. Photo: Pierre Phaneuf

Brew Tours
The Guinness Storehouse is a great place to start. The Storehouse, often mistakenly called the Guinness Brewery, is located behind the iconic St. James Gate, just west of the city center. Once inside this modern attraction, the self-guided tour teaches you about the history of Ireland’s most famous drink, from how it’s made to its groundbreaking advertising history. If you fancy something a bit stronger, take a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery.


Catching a play is a great way to sample some Irish culture. If you are in the city in late September and early October, don’t miss the Dublin Theatre Festival, one of Europe’s oldest theater festivals. If your stay in Dublin doesn’t coincide with these dates, check out the Abbey Theatre. This renowned theater features classic Irish and international plays and is an obvious destination for drama aficionados.

Literary Dublin

Ireland has a long and proud literary history, and Dublin is its most prolific city. James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker all hail from Ireland’s capital. Fans of Ulysses can retrace Leopold Bloom’s journey through the city, or if you want someone else to do the work for you, join a Literary Pub Crawl to see famous literary sights throughout the city while you enjoy a night out on the town.

Plan a trip to Dublin on TravelMuse, and may the luck of the Irish be with you.

Read More Articles About Dublin on TravelMuse:

Dublin’s Pubs and Grub
Irish Greens: Dublin Outdoor Attractions
Dublin Shopping: Irish Crafts to Guinness Souvenirs
Literary Attractions in Dublin

Post adapted from “Irish Enchantment: Dublin’s Top Attractions” by Candace Driskell.

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Remembering John Hughes and Chicago

I was shocked and saddened by the news yesterday that film director John Hughes had died. Hughes and Chicago are forever linked, as the city and its suburbs serve as the location for many of his films.

I grew up in Chicagoland, as it’s called locally, and was a teenager still when his early films were released. I particularly identified with his underdog characters and their class issues, having come from a blue-collar community, and his portrayals remained pretty honest. Also, how could you not love a guy who created the best soundtracks of the era, with The Psychedelic Furs, The Thompson Twins, Oingo Boingo, Simple Minds, The Vapors, The Divinyls and Yello? New Wave at its finest.



Cast from The Breakfast Club (© 1985 Universal Pictures); John Hughes, circa 1990 (© Paul Natkin/WireImage).

In 1984 I was working at the top movie theater in the city when Hughes was filming The Breakfast Club. Emilio Estevez came in several Sundays in a row to spend his one-day-a-week off watching movies. He was super sweet and always asked what I was studying, since I inevitably had a textbook perched on my lap when he’d buy his tickets. We’d then talk for a few minutes about how filming went that week before he disappeared into the screening room. Each time I see The Breakfast Club on cable I think about our brief chats and, again, how he was such a nice guy.

After Ferris Bueller’s Day Off came out, Chicago officially became Hughes’ town. In honor of the man and the city, here are a few memorable Chicago attractions wonderfully captured in John Hughes’ films.

10. Art Institute of ChicagoFerris Bueller’s Day Off

9. American Airlines terminal at O’Hare International Airport — Home Alone

8. Chicago’s North Shore “Gold Coast” suburbs, including Evanston, Winnetka, Highland Park, Lake Forest and Glencoe, particularly the high schools in the area. Take your pick of just about any of Hughes’ movies, but especially The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

7. Chicago Marina TowersFerris Bueller’s Day Off. The “Corn Husk” towers parking garage attendants took Cameron’s Ferrari on a joy ride.

6. The Braidwood Inn (now the Days Inn Braidwood) — Planes Trains and Automobiles. “They’re not pillows!” scene. (Braidwood is a small town about 50 miles southwest of Chicago.)

5. Field Museum of Natural HistoryShe’s Having a Baby

4. Wrigley FieldFerris Bueller’s Day Off

3. Marshall Field & Company flagship department store (recently renamed Macy’s) in Chicago’s Loop — National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

2. Ben Rose Auto Museum, 370 Beech St., Highland Park — Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Cameron’s home and Ferrari garage. (The house was recently put on the market for $2.3 million.)
1. Chicago Pulaski Day ParadeFerris Bueller’s Day Off

What are some of your favorite Chicagoland John Hughes movie locations?



Beijing in Detail

In addition to the vast array of articles on Beijing and China on our homepage the past 10 days, TravelMuse has added a special Guide to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing supplement. You can click on the link on the homepage, or from here. Learn Olympic factoids while you read about where to eat and what to see while in Beijing.

Tweets on Twitter

All the kids are doing it, so why not TravelMuse?

Not only will I be tracking my travels through the Middle Kingdom here at TravelMusings, but I’ll also be posting snippets of commentary on a regular basis over at Twitter, under the name TravelMuse. We’ve just signed on and need to build up our audience of followers. Come on and tweet with us!

The Sports Connection

One of our Beijing writers, Maggie Rauch, is the founding editor of, a new Web site dedicated to the sports scene in China for English-speakers. She also participated in an ESPN roundtable last week, and you can read the article about what she and other notable journalists had to say about how the Games will impact Beijing at Maggie also is included in a piece in the[ Seattle Times|] about youth sports in China.