Top Local Experiences around Los Angeles for Summer

By , July 2, 2015 8:36 am

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Los Angeles or have been living in L.A. long enough to become jaded, there are a few misconceptions that we frequently encounter about the city. To start, there’s much more to do here than shop on Rodeo Drive and get start-struck along Hollywood Boulevard!

And the city itself is only the beginning to really get to know the vibe of southern California. Nearby areas of Pasadena, Palm Springs, Newport Beach, and many others are definitely worth exploration too. Here are a few of our favorite local experiences around Los Angeles for summer to enjoy the sunshine in unique and inspiring ways.

Farmers Market Tour

Head to Old Pasadena to experience the colorful streets and fun food traditions on a Farmers Market Tour. Some of the tour stops include an authentic Mexican tortas cafe, a rare Nepalese-Tibetan restaurant, an exquisite chocolate shop, and a handmade soap kitchen. West 3rd Street is a wonderful place to spend a day checking out cafes, restaurant bookstores, and tea shops. This tour lasts about 3.5 hours and starts on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 am and Thursday evenings at 5:30 pm.

Photo credit: k lachshand via Flickr

Photo credit: k lachshand via Flickr

Deep-Sea Fishing Cruise

Newport Beach offers a wonderful full-day Deep-Sea Fishing Cruise that travels into yellowtail and white sea bass territory to try your luck. And even if the fish aren’t biting right away, you’ll enjoy some of the most beautiful natural scenery around L.A. on a peaceful boat ride. Expect to spend about 10 hours on this experience, which sets off on weekends between 6:30 am and 7:00 am.

“Amazing Race” Scavenger Hunt

If you’ve ever watched the TV show, “Amazing Race,” and thought, “Hey, I could do that!” this experience is for you! Our Amazing Race-style Scavenger Hunt is a great way to see the sights of the city with a fun goal to keep you focused, observant, and enjoying a one-of-a-kind visit. It’s a great option for groups of friends, solo travelers, and even L.A. locals who want to experience new things in their city. Scavenger hunts begin on weekends at 11:00 and last about 5 hours.

Santa Ynez Mountain Tour

The nearby area of Santa Barbara has lots to offer for travelers who want a little outdoorsy time in their L.A. vacation. Take a Santa Ynez Mountain Tour to see the rugged backcountry of this beautiful region in a custom Jeep. You’ll get opportunities to hike and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Ynez Valley, Channel Islands, and Lake Cachuma. The tour lasts about 3 hours and operates year-around.

Clay Shooting Clinic

Who says that southern Californians don’t know how to shoot? Head over to San Fernando for a Clay Shooting Clinic that’s great for all skill levels. Clinics take place in the morning and include up to 250 rounds of ammunition over 4 hours. If you’ve ever been curious to try shooting a gun for the first time, do it the safe way and hire an experienced professional to teach you the basics.

Photo credit: big-ashb via Flickr

Photo credit: big-ashb via Flickr

San Andreas Fault Adventure

Maybe you’ve seen the new movie out in theaters, “San Andreas,” and are now curious to see what the real fault looks like. If so, check out our San Andreas Fault Adventure to learn all about earthquakes and the surrounding desert and native habitats. You can hike around the area, explore a Native American village, or even pan for gold. This experience takes place in Indio, California and lasts about 3 hours.

Top Vegas Adventure Experiences That Don’t Involve Gambling

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By , June 17, 2015 1:10 pm

Las Vegas is known as the gambling capital of the world, but what if poker and blackjack aren’t your style and you’d rather keep a tight grip on your hard-earned cash?

Fortunately, there are tons of exciting things to do in Vegas that have nothing to do with sitting inside a casino. Here are some of our favorite Vegas adventure experiences with special deals from FunSherpa.

Morning Maverick Horseback Ride with Breakfast 

Vegas might not feel like the Wild West when you’re walking down the strip, but Nevada has some amazing canyons that’ll take you back to the cowboy era. In the Morning Maverick Horseback Ride with Breakfast experience, you’ll spend a day on a working ranch after fueling up on a traditional cowboy breakfast and venturing out on a scenic horseback ride. The outing lasts about five hours, and you’re best advised to book your trip at least a couple weeks in advance.

Photo credit: Total due via Flickr

Photo credit: Total due via Flickr

Red Rock Canyon Hummer Adventure

Another great way to explore the Vegas area in the outdoors is on a Red Rock Canyon Hummer Adventure. Climb into a H2 Hummer to go off-roading and explore the desert in a unique and intense way. Your guide will pick you up right at your hotel door to reach the canyon, passing by the Spring Mountains, the village of Blue Diamond, and the Bonnie Springs Ranch. You can sit back and enjoy the three-hour ride as your guide points out desert wildlife and plants that somehow exist in this harsh climate. Book this experience any time of the year between 9 am and 2 pm.

Black Canyon River Rafting

There’s another canyon worth exploring in the Vegas area, and the most fun way to see it is on a Black Canyon River Rafting trip. This is a breathtaking journey that travels down the Colorado River, with views of the Hoover Dam, high rock walls, and lots of wildlife. All rafts have been certified with Coast Guard-approved equipment and a box lunch is provided. This experience lasts about eight hours and operates year around. You might get wet, but that’s just part of the fun!

Nellis Dunes Buggy Tour

The Nellis Dunes area is a unique and mysterious place that’s very accessible from Vegas. Our Nellis Dune Buggy Tour will take you across sand dunes and dry river beds to experience the desert in an exhilarating way. This 3-4 hour tour runs from May through August starting at 7 am and every day throughout the year starting at 9 am.

Photo credit: heather_mcnabb via Flickr

Photo credit: heather_mcnabb via Flickr

Hidden Valley and Primm Extreme Dirt Bike

If you’ve ever watched the X-Games and wondered what it would be like to ride a dirt bike, then this adventure is for you! The Hidden Valley and Primm Extreme Dirt Bike adventure takes you through rugged mountain and desert terrain through the McCullough Mountain Range, by Hidden Valley National Monument, and by Roach Dry Lake. You’ll ride between 20 and 50 miles, depending on the group size and skill levels.

See? There’s much more to the Las Vegas area than just gambling, so channel your spirit for adventure and head for the great outdoors!

Summer in Chi Town: Don’t Miss Out on These Experiences!

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By , June 3, 2015 11:00 am

With brutally cold winters that seem to last a little longer each year, Chicago is a city that lives for its beautiful summer season. So now that summer is here (finally!) why not try something new to soak up the sun and make the most of it?

Chicago Jet Boat Experience

One of the best ways to see Chicago is from the water, so kick back and feel the wind in your hair on a Chicago Jet Boat Experience. This is a half-hour tour that combines an adventurous ride with the beautiful view of Lake Michigan and the sprawling Chicago skyline. The boat leaves from Navy Pier, and the captain will tell you all about the city’s landmarks, architecture, and hot spots. Jet boats run daily between 11 am and 7 pm, May through October.

Photo credit: acuestareig via Flickr

Photo credit: acuestareig via Flickr

Introduction to Kayaking

To get a little more active on the water, take our Introduction to Kayaking class with the experienced guides of Kayak Chicago. This is a beginner-friendly class that’ll teach you everything you need to know about paddling, boat types, proper gear, safety techniques, and rescue strategies. This expereince lasts about four hours and runs on Saturdays and Sundays from June through September.

Sailing 101 Chicago

Another great water activity to try in Chicago is sailing! Our Sailing 101 Chicago class is beginner-friendly, yet challenging and comprehensive. To complete the course, you’ll need to take four sessions, and each lesson last four hours. So this is a great experience for locals living in the city! Sessions run daily between April and September.

Chicago Shopping Tour: Bucktown and Wicker Park

If you’re more in the mood for a little retail therapy, why not let a shopping expert help you focus and guide you through the city’s trendiest shopping district? Our Chicago Shopping Tour: Bucktown and Wicker Park experience will take you to unique boutiques and introduce you to fashion trends and the creations of top designers. You’ll meet your guide and fellow shoppers at a cafe and then head out to receive VIP treatment and the guidance of a personal shopping stylist. The experience lasts about two hours and starts at 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Devil’s Lake Day Rock Climb

If you’re willing to venture outside of the city to explore the surrounding area a bit, check out our Devil’s Lake Day Rock Climb experience in southern Wisconsin. This is an ideal climbing destination for beginner climbers, and experienced guides will provide you with all the gear you need. The day begins around 9:00 am and runs until about 4:00 pm. There are more than 2,000 climbing routes here along the picturesque cliffs that overlook Devil’s Lake – perfect for taking a summertime dip after a day of climbing!

Photo credit: stewie811 via Flickr

Photo credit: stewie811 via Flickr

These are a few of the other summer-centric attractions that are must-dos in the city of Chicago:

  • Lollapalooza
  • Cubs game at Wrigley Field
  • Sox game at US Cellular Field
  • North Avenue Beach
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Chicago Air & Water Show
  • Navy Pier Fireworks

For a list of Chicago’s exciting 2015 festivals, take a look at TimeOut’s 2015 Summer Festival Guide and browse through FunSherpa’s Chicago experiences to find one that’ll make your summer unforgettable!

Best Memorial Day Celebrations across America

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By , May 20, 2015 10:13 am

Memorial Day is a time to remember brave American soldiers who lost their lives in active military service and renew a sense of national patriotism from coast to coast. And for many people, it’s also a well-deserved day off work and the unofficial start to summer!

Tens of millions of Americans travel during Memorial Day weekend to head to the beach, join a barbecue in the park, or attend a festive celebration with family and friends. So if you’re planning to hit the road this year, these are some of the best Memorial Day celebrations to check out in the U.S.

Washington, D.C.

Perhaps the most obvious choice for a Memorial Day celebration is Washington, D.C., but year after year, the nation’s capital doesn’t disappoint! D.C. has been hosting the huge National Memorial Day Parade since 2005, and there are events to attend at Arlington National Cemetery too. This is also the weekend when the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle rally takes place, and you can catch free concerts near the iconic monuments and in parks around the city.

Photo credit: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

Photo credit: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

St. Louis, Missouri

The Midwest is known for its strong patriotic roots, and St. Louis is a great travel destination for Memorial Day this year. The four-day Assumption Greek Festival takes place over Memorial Day, as well as St. Louis Ribfest, Shakespeare in the Park, the Compton Heights Concert Band Performance, and the Gypsy Caravan flea market.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is another great Midwestern city to spend Memorial Day because street festivals are going strong and it might even be warm enough to lounge on the beach along Lake Michigan! Chicago’s Memorial Day parade steps off at noon and goes down State Street after a wreath laying ceremony at Daley Plaza. You won’t want to miss the Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest that weekend either, which is full of local bands, food, drinks, and street vendors.

Boston, Massachusetts

Memorial Day is a big deal in Boston, a city that’s full of history and American culture at all times of the year. One of the most patriotic places to visit here is the Massachusetts Military Heroes Garden of Flags, a place where thousands of American flags are placed in Boston Common. If you get into town a few days early, try to catch a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park. The team plays home games on May 22, 23, and 24.

Photo credit: mgstanton via Flickr

Photo credit: mgstanton via Flickr

Charleston, South Carolina

For a dose of Southern hospitality with your patriotism, head to Charleston, South Carolina. A group of freed slaves celebrated one of the nation’s first Memorial Day celebrations here in 1865 after the Civil War ended. Charleston is known for its romantic horse-drawn carriages, southern cuisine, and historical attractions. Don’t miss the Spoleto Festival, which goes on a couple weeks and features all kinds of music at Charleston’s best venues.

To find fun things to do in these and lots of other cities around the country, check out FunSherpa’s experience gifts and sort by the city of your choice!

How to Make the Most of Your Trip to the Dallas Area

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By , May 5, 2015 1:13 pm

Dallas is one of the country’s top cities for hosting meetings, conventions, and family-friendly vacations. May is an excellent time to visit Dallas because the temperatures are still comfortable, the flowers are in bloom, the tourist crowds are manageable, and the flight and hotel prices aren’t as high as when Cowboys football season begins.

Other than football, Dallas is known for rodeos, barbecue, and shopping. And there are many other smaller cities and towns worth visiting while you’re in the area. Whether you’re headed to the Lone Star State now or later in the year, here are a few ways to make the most of your trip to Dallas.

Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Anyone intrigued with the history and legacy of John F. Kennedy should visit the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. It’s a permanent exhibit full of films, photos, artifacts, and displays about the investigations into Kennedy’s assassination. The museum is open year-around and includes an audio tour with excerpts of radio broadcasts and testimony about one of the most tragic times in American history.

Photo credit: CameliaTWU via Flickr

Photo credit: CameliaTWU via Flickr

Historic Texas Train Excursion

Another short side trip worth taking from Dallas is the Historic Texas Train Excursion in Rusk. There are several different excursion options available to choose from on steam engine and vintage diesel engine trains. The trains operate between July and March and last about 4.5 hours, which includes an hour layover for lunch.

Dinner at Billy Bob’s Texas Honky Tonk

Head over to Dallas’ sister city, Fort Worth to enjoy a good ole’ fashioned Southern dinner at Billy Bob’s Texas Honky Tonk. This is a family-friendly event that includes a cowboy-style dinner and bull riding on the weekends. Checking out the historic Texas Stockyards is a worthwhile visit that’s also close to downtown Fort Worth. Before or after dinner, you can play arcade games and pool, watch live entertainment, and get your photo taken on the huge stuffed replica bull. Expect to spend between two and four hours at the venue.

Photo credit: Cliff via Flickr

Photo credit: Cliff via Flickr

Group Kiteboarding Lessons

The extreme water sport of kiteboarding isn’t often associated with the state of Texas, but it’s definitely an option if you head over to nearby North Richland Hills. This area is about a 30-40 minute drive west of Dallas. Group kiteboarding lessons will teach thrill-seekers the basics of the sport, including how to fly them in the water, setting up the kite, equipment, and safety procedures. By the end of the  four-hour course, you should feel comfortable steering a kite through the water. Both half-day and full-day lesson options are offered, and lessons are scheduled Monday through Saturday throughout the year.

Sunset Champagne Balloon Flight

Another great place to visit in the Dallas area is McKinney Texas, and that’s where the Sunset Champagne Balloon Flight takes place. There’s no better way to get a bird’s eye view of the vast Texas landscape than on a fun and romantic balloon ride through the sky! This experience lasts about three hours and operates year around in favorable weather conditions.

Springtime in Boston: Top Things to See and Do

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By , April 22, 2015 8:44 am

Spring is a wonderful time to plan a trip to Boston. The flowers are in bloom, baseball games are picking up at Fenway Park, and restaurants and bars are opening up their patios for outdoor seating.

Boston offers locals and visitors a unique blend of old and new, with historical sites, trendy restaurants, and lots of green space to run and play. So if you’re planning a springtime trip to Boston, or just live in the city and are looking for fun things to do, check out these exciting offerings from FunSherpa!

USS Constitution Cruise 

The city of Boston is full of historic landmarks, but one of the most unique is the USS Constitution. We’ll set you up with a 45-minute narrated tour to learn about this famous ship and even check out the Naval Museum. You’ll see other top sites like the Bunker Hill Monument, the Old North Church, and the Boston Tea Party Boat along the tour, which runs between April and November.

Photo credit: Nathan Lanier via Flickr

Photo credit: Nathan Lanier via Flickr

Boston Jet Boat Ride 

But if you’re looking to get on the water with a little more action and excitement, consider booking a Boston Jet Boat Ride to explore the natural beauty of Boston Harbor. Jet boats reach speeds of 40 miles per hour, providing 40-minutes of fun for the whole family. Enjoy a crisp spring day in Boston with the wind in your hair and upbeat music in your ears. This adventure runs (weather dependent) between May and September.

Boston Freedom Trail Photographic Safari

Boston is an ideal city to begin perfecting your photography skills, and our Boston Freedom Trail Photographic Safari provides a unique combination of a city tour with a professional photography lesson. Your guide will take you to popular tourist attractions and low-key sites that only the locals know about to capture the essence of the city and create memories to last a lifetime. This experience takes you to the Boston Freedom Trail, Boston Common, New State House, Park Church, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House (just to name a few sites) and runs Wednesday through Friday from 1-5 pm.

Boston Ghosts and Gravestones Tour

As with many historic destinations, Boston’s history is steeped in ghost stories and sinister tales from days past. Book a spot on the Boston Ghosts and Gravestones Tour to experience the scarier side of the city…from the safety of a trolley! Picture this: your host is a 17th century grave digger who’s been cursed with eternal damnation and has plenty of stories to tell. You’ll be walking about half of the tour, which runs year-around and lasts about two hours.

Photo credit: Navaneeth KN via Flickr

Photo credit: Navaneeth KN via Flickr

Rock Climbing Introduction in Charlemont

You’ll need to venture just a little outside the Boston city limits to partake in this adventure, but the Rock Climbing Intro in Charlemont experience is definitely worth the short journey. Starting in June, professional rock climbing guides take adventure-seekers out on one and two-day novice rock climbing trips to this beautiful outdoor region. You’ll learn everything from knot tying to belaying, bouldering, climbing techniques, and safety precautions with friendly guidance every step of the way.

 

Spotlight on Atlanta: Top FunSherpa Adventures!

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By , April 8, 2015 9:11 am

The U.S. state of Georgia may be best known for its peaches, pecan pie, and southern hospitality, but it’s also home to the great city of Atlanta – arguably the most cosmopolitan city of the South!

Photo credit: Brett Weinstein via Flickr

Photo credit: Brett Weinstein via Flickr

No spring or summer southbound road trip would be complete without a stay in Atlanta to visit the top-notch museums, Olympic Games site attractions, local park festivals, and culinary masterpieces. With a little something for everyone, it’s a perfect place for romantic getaways, family vacations, and extended stays for retirees. And after a few days exploring the city, outdoors lovers will enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains up north and history buffs and beach bums will love the historic eastern coast.

This week, we put the spotlight on the city of Atlanta to tell you about some of the exciting adventures that FunSherpa offers in this southern city.

Atlanta Electric Car Tour

Sure, there are lots of different tours you can take to learn about the historic city of Atlanta, but one of the more unique ones takes you around by electric car. Lessen your impact on the environment as you get the insider scoop on the city’s history and best places to eat, drink, and hang out. These electric cars seat five passengers and go to off-the-beaten path neighborhoods during a 75-minute guided ride. Tours operate all throughout the year.

Atlanta Zombie Film Locations Tour

Atlanta is quickly becoming one of the hottest new cities in the film industry, due in part to the success of the hit show, The Walking Dead. If you’re a fan of the show or ever wanted to learn how to walk like a zombie, the Atlanta Zombie Film Locations Tour is a must. You can get a tour of the film sites in Coweta County for both The Walking Dead and Zombieland. 

Aquarium Experience

The Georgia Aquarium is one of the best in the entire country, and it’s definitely a treat for animal lovers of all ages. We can hook you up with a deal on the aquarium’s Total Ticket, which gets you admission to all six of the permanent galleries, public exhibits, and shows.

Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr

Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr

Swim with Whale Sharks

But if you’d like to get a little more up-close and personal with the sea life, perhaps a swim with whale sharks experience is more up your alley. Journey with Gentle Giants offers a unique opportunity to swim and dive with whale sharks, manta rays, and other sea creatures. You’ll wear SCUBA dive gear or snorkel gear in the Ocean Voyager exhibit for 30 minutes of swimming. The full experience with instruction lasts about 2.5 hours and is definitely one of the most interesting ways to spend time in Atlanta.

River Kayak Classes

For a more outdoorsy experience, head out to the Chattahoochee River to take a river kayak or river canoe class taught by experienced and certified instructors. These classes are beginner-friendly and operate between May and October to let you appreciate Georgia’s natural beauty.

Glassblowing Classes

Blown glass is a big deal in southern-style art, and while visiting Atlanta, you can learn the tricks of the trade for yourself. Classes teach students basic techniques, like gathering and re-heating, and show you how to create paperweights, glasses, and abstract works of art. The classes last about three hours and generally operate during the summer months.

Top Easter Celebrations to Travel to This Year

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By , March 25, 2015 8:36 am

Easter is a religious holiday, but it’s also a cultural tradition in many places and an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. People who celebrate Easter often have annual traditions and obligations to stick to, but if your schedule is flexible, why not see how the holiday is celebrated in a different place?

These are some of the best places to celebrate Easter this year. And once you pick an Easter destination to travel to, FunSherpa can help you find amazing local things to see, do, and experience!

In the United States

Washington, D.C.

One of the most famous Easter celebrations in America takes place in Washington, D.C. – the White House Easter Egg Roll. Back in 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes began this tradition on the White House lawn and tens of thousands of people come here to participate each year. You can also catch concerts, storytelling events, and live cooking shows during the festivities.

Photo credit: Amanda Hirsch via Flickr

Photo credit: Amanda Hirsch via Flickr

New Orleans, Louisiana

There’s always something exciting going on the French Quarter, and Easter is no exception. The Big Easy hosts a traditional Easter parade here, which features colorful floats, marching bands, and of course plenty of beads! For an even more interesting experience, catch the city’s Gay Easter Parade, which celebrates gay pride as well as Easter and features some amazing costumes.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

For some people, the best thing about Easter is all that candy that comes in the Easter baskets and egg hunts! To satisfy your sweet tooth this Easter, travel to Hershey, Pennsylvania and stay at the Hershey Lodge. You can smell chocolate in the air as soon as you arrive and spend time at the local amusement grounds, Hershey Park. At the lodge, you can attend a non-denominational church service and participate in egg hunts, bingo, and cookie decorating.

Around the World

Seville, Spain

To see one of the most spectacular Easter processions and parades in the entire world, you’ll need to head to Seville, Spain. Thousands of people gather here to watch the decorated floats, bands, and cloaked nazarenos pass through the city streets. The whole city comes to life around Easter, and many of the city’s restaurants, bars, and clubs hold celebrations as well.

Photo credit: Ron Phillips via Flickr

Photo credit: Ron Phillips via Flickr

Rome, Italy

As the official headquarters of the Catholic Church, Rome is another popular travel destination to for Easter. There’s a Medieval-inspired procession that takes place on Good Friday with actors that recite scriptures from the New Testament. The place to be on Easter Day is St. Peter’s Square, where tens of thousands of people gather to watch the Pope give mass.

Virtuous in Argentina

Another great place to celebrate the Easter season is Argentina, where many traditions are practiced throughout Holy Week. On Easter Sunday, Argentinians share eggs and a special Easter cake, Rosca de Pascua, with each other. Other local celebrations include attending mass, hosting large barbecues with friends and family, and participating in treasure hunts organized in the main cities.

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