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Boasting mountains, sea, culture, art and so much more, many cities claim to have it all, but few can back it up like Vancouver. Famously livable, just visiting this highrise city – surrounded by staggering natural beauty – is a thrill. Offering all of the creature comforts of an ultra-modern, worldly metropolis – even downtown has a hint of mountain-freshness to its air – and part of Vancouver’s appeal is how easily you can swap the skyscrapers for whale-filled oceans and mountain-punctured skies. View less
Head up to the Vancouver Lookout Tower for the ultimate 360-degree views of the city glistening, amid the beautiful embrace of the beckoning wilderness beyond. But what to see first? Art lovers might choose the Vancouver Art Gallery or the Contemporary Art Gallery. Nature lovers might rush for the ferry to visit Vancouver Island – where they can encounter grizzly bears, whales and orcas. Culture vultures, on the other hand, will probably head for the sights and sounds of Canada’s biggest Chinatown. From steaming dim sum for lunch to Chinese apothecaries offering herbs to soothe any illness, it’s all here thanks to the migrant workers of the 19th century. The one-of-a-kind treasure of Stanley Park brings wild wonder and natural beauty to this cosmopolitan city’s doorstep, and the pine-tree clad park offers isolated trails and amazing views. Wander the Seawall that encircles it – a 20-mile coastal path, full of joggers, whizzing skaters and wandering couples. Grab a bike and cycle between Coal Harbour and Kitsilano Beach. You can top up your tan on the shore, as you soak in the glorious views of the mountains and cityscape from the sands.
Rainier is a quaint little town nestled on the southern shore of the Columbia River with only about 2000 people living there year round. It was founded in 1851 by Charles E. Fox, the town’s first postman and named Eminence, then renamed Fox’s Landing. It was further changed to its current name Rainier in 1852 in recognition of nearby Mt Rainier, and was incorporated in 1881. Mt.
The largest city in Maine, Portland was founded in 1632 on the Casco Bay Peninsula. It quickly prospered through shipbuilding and the export of inland pines, which made excellent masts. A long line of wooden wharves stretched along the seafront, with the merchants’ houses on the hillside above.
Located on the Columbia River, near the Pacific Ocean, Astoria is a pretty American West Coast port that is part bohemian, part all-American. At just three hours from Seattle (and six from British Columbia), Astoria enjoys the hipster cool of San Francisco, while maintaining small town appeal. Beachwise think miles of secluded beaches, sand dunes, crashing waves, lighthouses and towering forests. The extremely picturesque port revels in its new found status as being the place for Millennials to put down roots.
Thus, organic coffee shops (with ultra-fast Wi-Fi) sit side by side Victorian antique shops that have been in families for generations, giving the whole town a multi-generational, modern feeling. The town itself is quaint – as the oldest Euro-settlement on the north Pacific Coast (it was established in 1811 and named after John Jacob Astor, founder of the American fur industry. It is also the first American settlement west of the Rockies), it has kept a lot of its turn of the century houses which overlook the mighty Columbia River. Lewis and Clark made the port their home during the early 1800s, setting up camp in Fort Clapsot, and despite the duo having to return home the way they came, the area has remained an integral part of their expedition. A replica of the seven-room fort built by members of the expedition in the National Park is a great way of gaining a deeper understanding of the trials that the team endured, with talented rangers and re-enactors on-hand to answer any questions.
San Francisco’s bounty overflows. Everywhere you look, every place you go, there’s something to see or something interesting to do. The “City by the Bay” combines a splendid setting with cultural and historical elements, making San Francisco one of the finest and most beloved cities in the world.
Visitors to San Francisco find themselves faced with very difficult decisions – what to see and do first. There are so many possibilities that its virtually impossible to see and do everything in one visit. The city itself is relatively small; many of the areas of interest are in close proximity of each other. From downtown to Chinatown and from North Beach to Fisherman’s Wharf, there are numerous historical monuments, modern buildings, Victorian masterpieces, museums, parks, gardens and ethnic neighborhoods. Its no wonder that San Francisco captures the heart of all who visit.
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