Denver is the best jumping off point to…


Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport

 

Denver can be a fun city to hang out in, but it doesn’t have to be your final destination.  After a layover in Denver (which can be a destination itself), there are plenty of places to fly off to.

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

 

COU → SFO

San Francisco, the city we have to thank for fortune cookies, bendy straws, jeans and Irish coffee, is also one of the top 50 most visited cities in the world. Stop by one the Wonders of the Modern World, the Golden Gate Bridge, which is the longest suspension bridge in the world. A trip to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without visiting and taking a tour of Alcatraz, a prison that was deemed impossible to escape. Rumor has it that while Al Capone was held there, he played banjo in a prison band called The Rock Islanders.  San Francisco is also home to the only National Historical Monument that can move, its famous cable cars.  Take a ride in one, and stop by Chinatown, the largest Chinese community outside of Asia.  Although San Francisco isn’t really known for its beaches, it does have Baker Beach, which some say is the most beautiful in all of California.

 

 

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

 

COU → LAX

Los Angeles, thankfully shortened from the orginial name of “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora Riena de los Angeles sobre el Rio Pociuncula,” is home to over 90 stage theaters and 300 museums. There is never a shortage of things to do while in LA, but a few of the highlights include Universal Studios and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.  Rodeo Drive, right in the heart of Beverly Hills, has some of the best and most luxurious shopping in the world. Los Angeles also has a wide variety of museums, including the California Science Center and Griffith Observatory. If you’re wanting to hang out by the water, check out Venice Beach or the Santa Monica Pier. And, of course, you can’t miss one of LA’s biggest attractions, Disneyland, nicknamed “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

 

 

 

Sea World in San Diego California

Sea World in San Diego California

 

COU → SAN

San Diego, best known for its naval bases and role in aviation development, is a popular tourist destination.  One of the largest collections of sea vessels in the nation is held at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The first baby panda born in the Western Hemisphere since 1990, Hua Mei, was born in the San Diego Zoo, where you can visit her and the cafe that is named after her.  See the aquatic animals and SeaWorld, where you can watch the orcas play all day.  Go for a hike that ends up on cliffs overlooking the ocean at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, or skip the hike and just go for a swim at La Jolla Beach.

 

 

International Balloon Fiesta

International Balloon Fiesta

COU → ABQ

Albuquerque, nicknamed “The Land of Enchantment,” is actually the Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World, so going for a ride is a must-do while you’re there.  If you’re in town during the first week of October, stop by the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest balloon festival in the world. Albuquerque is a city rich in Native American history and crafts, so check out the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center or the Turquoise Museum. Beautiful, natural geography is also a huge plus, so hike through the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park or ride in the longest tram in the world up to the top of the Sandia Peak.

 

 

Downtown Seattle Washington

Downtown Seattle Washington

 

COU → SEA

Seattle, the birthplace of America’s favorite coffee, Starbucks, makes for a great vacation spot. Check out the Pike Place Market, one of the country’s largest farmers’ and fish markets and the location of the original Starbucks. Another must-see in Seattle is the Space Needle.  The building, built for the World’s Fair in 1962, was originally sketched out on a napkin by the architect.  Seattle is also home to the Museum of Pop Culture, which has exhibits on music, film and video games, as well as a very large sculpture made out of guitars.  Seattle is also the city for dog lovers, as there are 140 thousand living within city limits (which is a lot, considering there are only 93 thousand children).

 

 

Portland Oregon

Portland Oregon

 

COU → PDX

Portland, home to the world’s largest continual chocolate waterfall, is known for being an innovative and creative city.  While you’re there, stop by the Pearl District, which is the perfect destination for great food, shopping, and arts and culture. The Pittock Mansion, once belonging to one of Portland’s most prestigious families, is open for tours and has a great view of the city. If you were a fan of the game Oregon Trail growing up, check out the Oregon Historical Society Museum, which has exhibits all about the history of the area.