Since the 1970s, much of North America has rediscovered the joy of having a vibrant downtown. Cities like San Diego and Los Angeles have rebuilt their downtown areas in order to attract tourists in the past decade- and they were preceded by Portland and Seattle a decade earlier. Of course some cities never really lost the inner city connection with tourists and have been showcases for decades.

Whenever they arrived as far as creating a family-friendly entertainment area that is safe and fun, the result has been an influx of tourists coming back from the suburbs and destination resorts to plan some of their vacations in urban areas.

Here are some of the most popular urban destinations for families:View of Inner Harbour of Victoria, Vancouver Island.
Vancouver B.C.: Although Vancouver’s downtown was never really that sleepy, the influx of money that came from Hong Kong being handed back to the Chinese government created a massive amount of investment that fueled its rise to being one of the most sophisticated urban areas on the continent. At the same time, filmmakers built a lively industry that created more exposure for the area. Visitors can enjoy Stanley Park, one of the largest urban parks in existence with ponds, gardens, attractions, and food venues before returning downtown to shop or dine at one of the many world-class shops or restaurants. Families will enjoy skiing at Whistler, only an hour away in the winter, or hiking in the hills around Vancouver in the Summer time. Victoria Island is only a short distance away with its castles and families don’t even have to leave Vancouver’s city limits in order to enjoy horseback riding or a ranch style experience. Hotels are busy downtown, but are offered in all price categories, while for transportation renting a car or bringing your own is still preferable to using public transportation.

High resolution panorama of San Francisco Skyline and Bay Bridge
San Francisco: No matter what time of year you choose to enjoy San Francisco, there is something for everyone. From Fisherman’s wharf to Chinatown to the Market Street district, the city is safe, friendly and can be walked or public transportation can be used. There are a range of tourist attractions that most people visit at least once, yet many families return again and again to take in the cultural activities and visit other parts of the Bay Area to see Alcatraz or Sausalito or Napa Valley. One solid way to get the most out of a Bay Area trip as possible is to go online and visit a travel site like Hipmunk, which features a San Francisco travel tips section that will provide detailed information for any part of your trip.

Downtown Seattle as seen from the Kerry park in the evening

Downtown Seattle as seen from the Kerry park in the evening

Seattle: Seattle is at its best in July or August when the skies clear and people remember why they moved there. But whether it is raining or not, visitors will not be disappointed with the range of entertainment options available because many of them do take place indoors. The Space Needle and the World’s Fair exhibit which can be reached by monorail are exciting for the family as is the International District, which combines a lot of shops and restaurants. Pike Place market is not only famous for i’s fresh salmon and hundreds of shops, it also has a reputation for launching world renowned companies like Starbucks. There is also an extensive public ferry system that allows you to visit islands and other cities in the bay. Hotels are busy and frequently booked downtown, so plan ahead. In the city public transportation is good, but having a rental car is still important.

Taking a vacation to the city has come back in vogue for many American families. Going to places that provide more urban entertainment options than most other cities can end up creating a vacation that all of you will remember.

This article was written and provided by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, the ultimate platform for all your travel needs.

What is your favorite travel destination?

*This blog did receive compensation for this publication.*

Photo Credit: Dollar Photo Club

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