Walkable Cities Make For Fun, Hassle-Free Trips

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Travel Expert Amy Graff Highlights Best U.S. Cities to See by Foot and Public Transportation

Cut costs on your next vacation by visiting destinations that are easy and fun to explore by boat, foot or public transit

Imagine taking a vacation, during your next vacation, from high gas prices, traffic congestion and the need to circle for parking. Amy Graff, who pens content for the travel blog http://www.OntheGoWithAmy.com, says there are a number of vacation-worthy destinations where travelers can forgo the rental car fees and high prices at the pump for an adventure by foot.

"Cut costs on your next vacation by visiting destinations that are easy and fun to explore by boat, foot or public transit," said Amy. "Fall is the perfect season for visiting many of America's best cities, and there's no better or more scenic way to explore them than by foot."

Amy offers the following tips when planning a visit to a walkable destination:

1)    Do your homework: Visit the city's public transportation Web site in advance and print out any maps or guides to help you find your way.
2)    Let loose: Walkable destinations provide tons of freedom so use this to your advantage! Stroll down a particularly charming street on a whim or check out a local hideaway that you see along your walk. Making your own way allows you to see new sites that you have might otherwise missed in a car.
3)    Keep those coins: It's best to have a good stock of small bills and coins when planning to take public transit as most systems accept exact change only. Or, consider buying a transit pass. You can usually find information on these by visiting the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site.

Amy offers up the following cities as great walkable destinations:

Boston: Small, safe neighborhoods and an effective public transportation system have deemed Boston the friendliest walking city in the country. A march along the Freedom Trail will guide you--follow the red line--around the city's historical sites, including Paul Revere's House and the USS Constitution. You'll also want to take a jaunt along the waterfront, starting at the North End Parks and making your way to the Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park. Burnt out on walking? Take the "T" train throughout the city or rent a bike and cruise through Stony Brook Reservation, an actual forest in the city.

Chicago: Walking is a great way to take in the Windy City but it's not always practical when visiting distant neighborhoods and on harsh winter days or hot, muggy afternoons. In these situations, the public transportation system can get you anywhere. Hop on board one of the free trolleys, traveling between Navy Pier and the Grand/State "El" train station on the Red Line, and between Michigan Avenue and the Museum Campus, which is the site of the Field Museum of Natural History and the Shedd Aquarium. Also, you can easily ride the El, the elevated train running throughout town; the best bet for sightseers is the brown line, which runs around the downtown Loop and then north through residential neighborhoods. For a great "walker-friendly" hotel, the Best Western River North Hotel, conveniently located just minutes from Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue/Magnificent Mile shopping, Sears Tower and Wrigley Field. As an added bonus, Walk Score, which promotes walkable communities, gives this hotel a score of 95 - a walker's paradise!

San Antonio: The three miles of river that winds through the heart of San Antonio is known as the River Walk. Visitors love this stretch as it's lined with cafés, boutiques, narrow walkways, shady parks and stone bridges. You can easily spend your days wandering up and down the river and hopping on a barge or in a gondola if your feet tire. A perfect spot to stay is the Best Western Sunset Suites Riverwalk, centrally located in St. Paul Square near the San Antonio Zoo and Riverwalk. A short trot from the River Walk, you'll find The Alamo; the Tower of the Americas - a 750-foot-tall tower built for HemisFair '68; and Blue Star Arts Complex, a historic warehouse filled with art studios and galleries.

San Francisco: Don't let the steep hills scare you. The city by the bay is compact at only 49 square miles and very easy to get around. You'll want to hike up the Filbert Steps on Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower, stroll along Crissy Field to take in views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and, of course, ride the cable car - try to avoid the crowds and hop on the California Street line running between the financial district and Nob Hill. More things to do: Hop on the ferry to Angel Island; walk the Lands End trail from the Cliff House to the Legion of Honor; cruise along the waterfront on the F Line train, and ride the Bart train to the Mission District where you'll find a plethora of restaurants dishing up fresh California cuisine.

ABOUT ONTHEGOWITHAMY.COM
OnTheGoWithAmy.com was created to celebrate the joys of travel and everything that goes with it - from flat tires and screaming children in the backseat to an amazing view of the New York skyline at the top the Empire State Building. Seasoned travel expert and journalist Amy Graff takes readers on the road with her husband and two children, her girlfriends and sometimes alone. Amy posts stories, pictures and videos from her family adventures, as well as helpful and unique tips she's picked up after traveling the world with her family.

ABOUT AMY GRAFF
With more than a dozen years of experience as a travel editor and writer, Amy most recently served as a senior editor at VIA, a travel magazine that reaches more than three million members of the American Automobile Association. Prior, she was a contributor to Bay Area regional lifestyle magazines including Diablo and San Francisco. In addition to serving as a contributing columnist for Best Western, Amy writes for Sunset Custom Publishing and serves as the community manager for the San Francisco Chronicle's new parenting site, Bay Area Moms, for which she writes The Mommy Files blog.

ABOUT BEST WESTERN INTERNATIONAL
Best Western International is THE WORLD'S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN®, providing marketing, reservations and operational support to over 4,000* independently owned and operated member hotels in 80* countries and territories worldwide. An industry pioneer since 1946, Best Western has grown into an iconic brand that hosts 400,000* worldwide guests each night. Best Western's diverse property portfolio, its greatest strength, stems from a business model designed to give owners maximum flexibility to address market-specific needs. Equally committed to the business and leisure traveler, Best Western recently embarked on a five-year mission to lead the hotel industry in customer care. Since 2004, Best Western has served as the Official Hotel of NASCAR®. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit http://www.bestwestern.com.

*Numbers are approximate and can fluctuate.

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