Things to do in Seattle

Seattle, the West Coast birthplace of the Grunge music scene and the Boeing plane company, is the largest city in the State of Washington, not to be confused with the country’s capital, Washington DC. The city is a splendid mix of cultural venues, quirky attractions and lush green spaces that have led to the city being nicknamed ‘The Emerald City’. Book your car hire in Seattle with easyCar and get to exploring everything that Seattle has to offer.

 

Tourist Traps:

An imposing 184 metres high, The Space Needle, which was constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair, is the tallest building not only in Seattle, but also in the state of Washington. Lifts will propel you up 160 metres at a speed of up to 10 miles per hour, affording you breathtaking views of the downtown Seattle skyline, the lush temperate climate of the nearby Olympic and Cascade Mountain Ranges, plus Elliott Bay. And it’s not just an observation deck at the top, you can also dine in style at the rotating restaurant whilst taking all these views in. We suggest reserving your table now for a romantic sunset dinner!

Car Hire Seattle - The Space Needle in the sunset

For the shopaholics among you, why not mosey around Pike Place Market, one of America’s oldest year-long public farmers’ markets? Attracting more than 10 million visitors annually, the market, which opened in 1907, has two levels. On the lower level, there is a vast array of unique shops and stalls, selling everything from antiques to comics and other collectibles. The upper level plays host to stalls selling produce from local fishmongers, locally sourced fruit and vegetables, as well as artisanal handicrafts. There really is a certain buzz in the air as the vendors toss fish at each other whilst laughing and making jokes, an occurrence that has become just as famous as the market itself. Undoubtedly, there will be something here to tickle your fancy (and maybe your pursestrings).

Having enjoyed Seattle by sky and by land, take in the sights by sea via a trip on the Washington State Ferries, which commute between various points along the Puget Sound inlet. The Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry allows for nice views of Mount Rainer and the Seattle Skyline. Once arrived at Bainbridge Island, take a stroll through Winslow, the island’s quaint downtown area, a sleepy contrast to Seattle’s metropolitan atmosphere.

Car Hire Seattle - Washington State Ferries

 

Arts and Culture:

Seattle’s cultural tradition is every bit as diverse as it is enjoyable. When Seattle’s weather gets a bit too…ahem…mild, a trip to one of Seattle’s assorted museums is definitely on order. Seattle Art Museum houses works and artefacts of all forms, including sculpture and decorative arts, from all parts of the world including Africa, Asia, Oceana and Ancient Greece.

If science and technology is more your thing, then Boeing’s Future of Flight centre and Tour is just for you! The aviation museum, a half hour journey North by car hire Seattle in nearby Mukilteo, offers a tour of Boeing’s production plant, along with a 2600 metre squared gallery with interactive and fixed exhibits. Step into a genuine Boeing 727 cockpit and see how it works, or take a high-octane virtual trip to Egypt in the Innovator flight simulator for an experience that is anything but plane(!)

For a retro escapade that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere, the Seattle Pinball Museum is the perfect spot! Regress to your most innocent days through a series of 50 ever-changing games. Vintage sodas and snacks as well as craft beers and ciders are also sold to complete your nostalgia trip.

 

Sports:

Car Hire Seattle - Safeco Field

Last but not least, get into the Seattle spirit by supporting one of the city’s major league teams at their stadiums, all of which lie a mere 15 minutes’ drive from downtown Seattle. Adjacent to Seattle’s downtown area is CenturyLink Field, home to NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders FC. Alternatively revel in America’s pastime at the nearby Safeco Field and watch a Seattle Mariners baseball game.

Things to do in Chicago

Chicago is the third-largest city in the US with 2.7 million residents, and for reasons that remain relatively unclear it bears the nickname ‘The Windy City’. In any case, with a city that size, the choice of things to do is bound to be overwhelming. Use easyCar to pick your car hire Chicago and you’ll be able to exploit this metropolis for all its worth.

 

Michigan Avenue:

If you don’t visit the following attractions you did not vacation in Chicago right! Perched atop the 94th floor of the John Hancock Centre, the 360° Chicago observatory boasts the fastest elevators in the Western Hemisphere at 20.5 miles per hour and is a perfect place from which to kick off your trip. The excellent vantage point, as its name suggests, offers 360° panoramic views over Chicago’s hustle and bustle from a staggering height of 300 metres. Admire the symphony of skyscrapers that make up Chicago’s imposing skyline, including Wills Tower, whose own Skydeck is much busier. Just a 15 minute drive from downtown Chicago (The Loop), 360° Chicago’s relative emptiness makes for a much nicer time.

Car Hire Chicago - The view of the Chicago Skyline from 360 Chicago Observation Deck

South of the John Hancock Centre on North Michigan Avenue, is the Magnificent Mile which offers a mixture of upmarket department stores and retailers, restaurants and shopping centres. Chicago’s very own answer to Central Park, Millennium Park, which celebrated its 10th birthday last year in 2015, boasts 25 acres of lush scenery and awesome architecture that each month hosts dozens of free art installations, concerts and events. Attractions include Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate sculpture, whose awe-inspiring form seems to be inspired by liquid mercury, Lurie Public Garden, McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink and Park Grill and the Harris Theatre, which has hosted a vast array of local and international performers over the years.

Car Hire Chicago - Cloud Gate, designed by sculptor Anish Kapoor, within Millennium Park with the Chicago skyline in the background

 

For the Culture Vultures:

Chicago’s cultural offerings are not only numerous but also diverse. In terms of museums,  history buffs can visit the Chicago History Museum for permanent exhibits detailing Chicago’s local history. Next, unleash your inner art critic at the Art Institute of Chicago, which houses over 300,000 works and relics from every epoch and all over the world. Finally, for an experience that is out of this world, revel in Chicago’s strong performing arts tradition at the Briar Street Theatre, home of the wonderfully weird and wacky Blue Man Group. Expect a quirky combination of dance, music, drumming, comedy and light shows; it’s a right hoot!

Car Hire Chicago - The entrance of the Art Institute Chicago

 

For Sports Enthusiasts:

Not solely a cultural hub in the United States, Chicago plays host to some of America’s most iconic sports teams and a taking your car hire Chicago to one of these games is just the ticket for those wanting to participate in an authentic American pastime. United Center is home of the world-renowned Chicago Bulls, if basketball is your thing, as well as the Chicago Blackhawks ice hockey team, who took the National Hockey League championship last year in 2015. Fancy a game of baseball instead? Take a drive to either Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, or the Chicago White Sox’s U.S Cellular Field; it’s time to pick a side in a rivalry that is as old as time itself. Alternatively, for the all-American adventure, head to Soldier Field, home of Chicago Bears American football team. Slash your journey times to these stadiums by up to two-thirds with your car rental Chicago with easyCar now. 

Car Hire Chicago - Wrigley Field, Home of Chicago Cubs and

Things to do in Las Vegas

Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. The landmark sign says it and it isn’t wrong! Vegas is ritzy, glitzy and a whole lot more besides, but it came from humble origins… As a former cowboy town, the city was founded on natural springs by ranchers and railroad workers who probably little suspected the explosion in gambling that was to occur in the 1960s! With the rise of the mega casino in the 1980s, the desert metropolis took on a new face as millions of tourists from all over the world were drawn to the neon glow of the city. Don’t let Vegas’ wild reputation blind you to its other charms though. There is plenty of other attractions that draw the crowds that will dazzle you. Check out all that there is to see in Vegas with a hire car from easyCar.

 

Nature (Inside and Out)

Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

If you enter into the city’s casino hotels, be ready for an overwhelming sensory overload – they are decadent, theatrical and garish (and that’s just the simple ones)! The supreme example of Vegas hotel decoration is Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Updated every season by a team of over a hundred horticulturalists and gardeners (plus engineers and lighting experts), the arcadia is filled with intricate displays of flowering plants, shrubs, ivy and ornamental features. In December, it is Christmas themed, in January, Chinese New Year themed, and in the Spring, Summer and Autumn they let their creativity run wild! Another nature spot on the strip is the Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat. The hotel’s garden is filled by the pink long-legged birds that gave the hotel its name, along with other birds, fish and turtles.

Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat

After the harsh desert landscape of the strip, Floyd Lamb State Park comes as a pleasant and green relief. A twenty mile drive from the city’s hub, the grassy lawns and winding paths amongst well stocked ponds make the perfect spot for a bit of peace and relaxation. This former ranch has had a varied past, with dinosaurs frequenting the springs prehistoric times and prospectors hunting for treasure during the gold rush. If the transition from arid land to lush vegetation fascinates you, stop by Springs Preserve. It was here that Las Vegas life first began and you can learn all about the city’s history. There are 1910s railroad worker’s cottages to tour, hiking trails to follow and botanic gardens to amble in.

 

Unusual CollectionsNeon Museum

The collections in Las Vegas are anything but dry and stuffy – there are no mouldy old tomes here! One of the must-see exhibits is the Neon Museum, where the history of the city’s strip is told through the evolution of its illuminated signage. The gambling district  is know for its frequent building booms where hotels and casinos are often knocked down to be replaced by newer, shiner successors, so the museum serves an important purpose in recording the city’s past. For the ultimate experience, take a tour of the boneyard (the outdoor portion of the museum) at sunset when the restored neon signs glow against a fiery backdrop. Whilst you’re ticking off some of the Las Vegas collections, be sure to see the Titanic Artefact Exhibition (that houses pieces rescued from the North Atlantic including a 1900 bottle of champagne and part of the ship’s hull) and the Auto Collections at Caesars (that showcases classic and exotic cars).

 

Food

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
You might be surprised to learn that along with its casinos, Las Vegas is also renowned for its food. The city’s restaurants have a veritable galaxy of Michelin-stars! From awesome burger joints and great street food to exquisite fine dining, Las Vegas has every kind of food you could possibly image. Visit L’Atelier Joël Robuchon, the home of the ‘French chef of the century’ to see your entire meal prepared before your eyes in their open plan kitchen. At Sage,  they prove the excellence of simple farm-grown food, beautifully served. Eat in the contemporary, dimly lit interior amongst murals painted by famous artists. The Picasso restaurant goes one better with original Picasso paintings, served up alongside flawlessly presented food and with beautifully matched wine from their extensive cellars. Tired of the fancy fare? Wander down the strip to Pink’s Hot Dogs for some sausages in buns with some wacky toppings. If you like to customise your dinner, stop by Burger Bar to build your own burger step-by-step.

 

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