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Holiday Musts: Do, See, Eat!

Posted: December 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Living in the City | Tags: Travel | 4 Comments »

Because it’s a super busy time for everyone (understatement of the year!) and I’ve got bags to pack (and dishes to wash), I have teamed up with some of my fellow bloggers to offer you an amazing list of things to Do, See and Eat in our home towns!

So, if you happen to be traveling to one of these fine cities this holiday season, be sure to check out our tips!

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Via  The Slacker Mom

A Day in the Life of an Elf

Like most cities, Minneapolis has lots of fun things to do around the holidays. For my family, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without our annual Sunday morning stop at the downtown Macys to see the Christmas display at the 8th floor Auditorium. You and the kids can walk through “A Day in the Life of an Elf” and then hop over and sit on Santa’s lap before you travel up the elevators to the 12th floor for lunch! Admission is Free and the display runs during store hours through 12-30.

For those in town a little earlier, the Holidazzle Parade through downtown Minneapolis is not to be missed. Admission is free; the parade runs every Thursday-Sunday through 12-18.

My absolute favorite holiday tradition is seeing A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater. A Christmas Carol runs daily through 12-30, check the website for availability and ticket prices.

For the ladies (and girls!) who need a break from the hustle and bustle of shopping and decorating, Brit’s Pub has Holiday Tea ($24.95) on weekends through 12-18, complete with carolers on the 10th and 17th. Brit’s also has High Tea ($16.95/ $9.95 for kids) Monday-Saturday every week. Please give 24 hours advance notice for tea.

San Antonio, Texas
Via The Adventures of My Family of 8

I am new to the area, well, moved here just over three years ago, but since San Antonio is so large, I still consider myself a newbie! I am still getting used to the warmer weather (I moved from the NE) but the thing I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about San Antonio is that there is SO MUCH to do, especially around the holidays! If you are traveling to San Antonio this Holiday Season, of course you can check out the Holiday Shows at Sea World and Six Flags, but I also suggest checking out the following fun places:

Universityof Incarnate Word is amazing; with thousands of beautiful and colorful lights lighting the trees through the University – it is definably a MUST SEE!
We took the kids and they were all in awe!

The San Antonio River Walk – is another MUST SEE! San Antonio prides itself on the wonderful River Walk filled with many restaurants, bars, and events. Even
better, during the holidays, they light the way with 1.4 MILLION lights! WOW!

Santa’s Ranch – Santa’s Ranch is a bit of a drive from San Antonio, but well worth it. It is a beautifully organized and put together drive through light show,
featuring scenes children and adults of all ages love to see!

Now, you can’t visit San Antonio without noticing the HUGE AMOUNT of restaurants we offer! Some of the best ones, that I highly recommend are:

El Chaparrel
– You can’t come to San Antonio without indulging on some wonderful Mexican food, which is why I recommend El Chaparrel! Not only will you be delighted by the yummy food, but the wonderful environment will make you smile.

The County Line
– Another wonderful thing about San Antonio is the BBQ, YUMMY! One of the BEST places to get some mouthwatering platters is at The County Line! Not only are their beef, brisket, ribs, sausage, and chicken amazing, but their breads just
melt in your mouth!

San Antonio is definitely a wonderful place to celebrate the holidays with friends and family… I wish you all a very happy and safe Holiday Season!

Boston, Massachusetts
Via I Am A Couponer

I was born and raised in Boston and anyone who doesn’t live in a cold weather climate always questions why I would want to stay in Massachusetts.  I won’t deny that it is cold in the winter but Boston is full of culture, entertainment, and history all year round!  So if you are going to make your way to the Boston-area make sure that you check out these sites!

Regardless of the weather make sure to stop by Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  This historic site in the heart of Boston features 35 food stalls, 49 shops, 44 kiosks, 18 full service restaurants and a comedy club.   There are often live performers and entertainment as well as events such as the Candyland Tournament or tree lighting ceremony. Not only is this a great spot to bring the whole family for a day but it is also a perfect spot to start your day and then headout to see the rest that Boston has to offer.

Faneuil Hall is within 5 minutes walking distance to the New England Aquarium, The Old State House, The Children’s Museum and Paul Revere’s house. Further away but still within a reasonable distance are Fenway Park (home of the Red Sox), The Boston Public Garden, and the Museum of Fine Arts. The adultscan plan to come back to Faneuil Hall in the evening for dinner, drinks and dancing!

If you are a lover of authentic Italian food, there is no better place to eat than the North End in Boston.  There are over 86 restaurants featuring the most scrumptious Italian food in the North East.  There are so many amazing restaurants to choose from that you will want to come back to try them all.  If you do check out the North End, make sure to leave some time to walk around and see the building and the streets in the area (Prince St and Hanover St come to mind).

It is such a quaint little sub-section of Boston and the area is rich with culture that it is nice to sit back and take it all in.    There are often Italian feasts and festivals being hosted so be sure to do some research on events being offered
during your visit.  Lastly, make sure to leave some room for a cannoli and hot chocolate at Mike’s Pastry on Hanover Street.  This shop is infamous in Boston and there is always a line out the door to partake in their amazing desserts.

The last recommended spot to check out is actually not in Boston but it is a must see if you have the means to travel about 35 minutes outside of the city.  Patriot Place is located in Foxborough, Massachusetts and is the home to the New England Patriots.  Sitting adjacent to the impressive stadium is an outdoor mall with dining, shopping and entertainment.  Some of the highlights are The Hall at Patriot Place (Football related), 5Wits (Interactive spy themed adventure), Cinema de Lux, Bass Pro Shops and more!

In the winter there is also outdoor ice skating while the stadium looms above.  There is something for everyone at Patriot Place and it is truly a family friendly adventure even if you are not a football fan.

Richmond, Virginia
Via Frugality for Less

If you are going to be near Richmond, VA for the holidays, here are some things worth checking out:

Check out the holiday lights!

The James Center in Downtown Richmond decorates every year with reindeer and Christmas lights on the building.  You will find these between 9th – 12th and Cary Streets.While you are there, enjoy a horse and carriage ride through Downtown (weekends only, please click on “Downtown” for the schedule).~ If you are in other parts of town around Richmond, you may want to check out News Channel 12for a listing of Holiday Homes.  Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has a “Garden Fest” of lights nightly from 5-10pm.

Grab a bite to eat!

If you are heading to Downtown Richmond to check out the lights at The James Center, you may as well grab a bite to eat.  There are TONS of restaurants, too many to cover here but here are a few notable ones:

The Tobacco Company, Sam Miller’s, and Capital Alehouse


Carytown has many boutiques and shops.  Here are some recommended shops to visit:

Carytown Cupcakes, For the Love of Chocolate and Pink

For more on Carytown eating and shopping, visit their site HERE.


Via Utah Coupon Deals

If you are planning on visiting Utah this holiday season, then here is a Visitor’s Guide to help you make the most of your trip!

There are tons of great and fun activities for you to do while you are here! One of the most popular for Utah is Skiing! I personally have never skied before, because I grew up in southern Utah where there wasn’t much snow, and now that I am older, and just haven’t been able to find the “courage” to do it, plus I have four small kids…BUT my brother in law loves to snowboard (he is really good) and I have LOTS of family and friends that really loving skiing. So if
you are visiting, make sure you try to get to one of the ski resorts. There are 9 of them within 50 miles of Salt Lake City: Alta Ski, Brighton, Deer Valley Resort, Park City, Snowbird, Solitude, Sundance, The Canyons, and Wolf Mountain Resort.

Some other fun things to do while you are here are visit Hogle Zoo (and see the Zoo Lights), Red Butte Gardens, This Is The Place Park, Living Planet Aquarium, and the Olympic Oval in Kearns, and the Olympic Museum in Park City. (There are just so many things to list; this is only a small part).

Two more things I have to put, if you are an outdoorsman, are the Waterfowl Hunting and the Ice Fishing! These are both great activities and lots of fun! My husband has spent many hours doing both.  There are three great places to go waterfowl hunting in northern Utah area: The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, The Public Shooting Grounds, and Salt Creek WMA. Two Great places for ice fishing are: Strawberry Reservoir and Echo Reservoir.

While you are here enjoying the activities Utah has to offer, be sure to check out these Historic Landmark locations: Temple Square, Memory Grove, The Eagle Gate, The Great Salt Lake, Festival of Trees at Expo Center, Gardner Village, Christmas Utah (5631 Whispering Pine Circle (5631 South 820 East) Midvale, UT 84047), and Christmas Street (3200 Royalwood Dr Taylorsville, UT 84118).

There are also some really great places to eat here in Salt Lake! Some of the favorites are: Bambara, Melting Pot, Stoneground, Market Street Grill, Squatters Pub Brewery, Red Rock Brewing Company, and Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops.

Houston, Texas
Via Lisa Carey for the Houston Family Examiner

Whether you are visiting Houston, Texas this year or you are lucky enough to live here, there are several can’t miss holiday happenings that will make and keep your holidays merry and bright. Here are a few of my favorites.

Hot Plays & Performances: The Theater Under the Stars, The Houston Ballet, Christmas Boat Lane Parade, Moody Gardens Festival of Lights, Ice Skating…

Continue reading on Examiner.com Houston Happy Holiday and Christmas events – Houston Family | Examiner.com
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Via Teach Me 2 Save

If you are planning on visiting Ft. Lauderdale, Florida during the Holidays there are plenty of fun things you can do (besides visit our very popular beaches).


Young at Art Children’s Museum – Offers a variety of activities for your

Flamingo Gardens – Offers 60 acres of lush gardens, exotic and native plants.
You can explore native wildlife in the Free-flight Aviary and Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary with exhibits of birds and animals.

A Latte Fun – Offers an amazing indoor playground.

C.B. Smith Park – This 299-acre park offers a water park that includes waterslides and a tube ride, a large campground, a tennis complex, a family golfing center, and much more.

Rapids Water Park – Features 35 water slides, a lazy river, waves and a full day of fun for the entire family.

Holiday Festivities: 

Santa’s Enchanted Forest (Although this is in Miami it is definitely worth mentioning) – Enjoy South Florida’s tallest Christmas tree, over 100 rides, live shows, games, attractions, millions of dazzling lights, hundreds of themed displays, festive Christmas music, and delicious foods from around the world (My personal favorite being Elephant Ears), live entertainment and carnival rides suited for the entire family. There truly is something for everyone!

Skate Las Olas – Enjoy the magic of ice skating at Las Olas Boulevard for a
month-long event under the sun and stars. Children and Adults can “skate” in
their 1,800 square foot outdoor rink on the Lawn at the Riverside Hotel.

Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant – Features familiar Christmas carols, Inspirational contemporary songs, and a musical drama of the nativity and life of Christ performed by hundreds of kids. It also offers a spectacular snow-filled winter wonderland.

Chanukah Winter Wonderland on Las Olas – Enjoy Food, Skating, Rides & Activities such as a bounce house.

Christmas at the Oasis – You can witness a living nativity, go Ice Skating, see Snow in south Florida, listen to Christmas music and much more!

Symphony in Lights – Located in the Village at Gulfstream Park, it is done daily from 6pm-11pm Every hour on the hour.

Drive-Thru Live Nativity – Drive through and see biblical scenes, live animals, Christmas Lights & More. (we did this last year and it was beautiful).

Holiday Fantasy of Lights at Tradewinds Park – The three-mile route includes dozens of static and animated light displays and illuminated trees.


Rainforest Cafe – known as a “Wild Place to Shop and Eat, ” recreates a tropical rain forest and offers delicious food.

Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour – Known as South Florida’s Favorite Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant and is home of the Original Kitchen Sink® and Mile Long All Beef Hot Dog.

Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q

My Dining Favorites: Mexican Food – El Mariachi  Pizza- Tower Pizza  Cuban Food – Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine

***Thank you ladies for compiling this great list of things to do this holiday season!  I can’t wait to visit each of your cities in the future!


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4 Comments on “Holiday Musts: Do, See, Eat!”

  1. 1 Scott said at 11:33 pm on December 18th, 2011:

    MY Christmas usually isn't that busy. I just work, and eat, and wait for it to be over so the mail starts arriving faster again. Glad you're having fun though.
    My recent post Click one of the post titles above to include it at the end of your comment

  2. 2 Erica Wang said at 12:48 am on December 19th, 2011:

    Thank you for the info on Park City, UT. We are planning on going there during the Sundance Film Festival 2012. It will be a lot of skiing, films and red carpet parties

  3. 3 John said at 10:38 am on December 19th, 2011:

    Nice post about San Antonio. This time of the year is truly a great time to go visit the San Antonio Riverwalk! The whole place is filled with Christmas lights and the atmosphere is magic!
    My recent post Dec 16, Kayak Tour to See the Congress St. Bats

  4. 4 Store hours said at 6:53 am on December 20th, 2011:

    Hey what are store hours of Park city? I wanted to publish it it istorehours.com to let other know and shop here.

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