Columbus Day Celebrations on the East Coast

Mayflower

Compared to other holidays, Columbus Day is somewhat low-key. Many people use the long weekend to travel with their families, allowing for a nice break in the middle of fall. Most major cities around the country host a parade to honor Christopher Columbus, who in 1492, discovered what we now know as America. What exciting news will you bring back from your travels? Below, we have described the Columbus Day celebrations going on at some of the most-visited cities in the country, along with other events happening over the course of the weekend.

New York City

New York City’s annual parade gets far less coverage than the much larger St. Patrick’s Day Parade or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and though there are no balloons depicting beloved cartoon characters, this parade is a fun way to experience the city without having to deal with excessive chaos. It begins with a 9:30am mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, before the parade ends at 11:30, marching down the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 44th and 72nd Streets. The parade ends near Central Park, which always provides fun exploration opportunity. If you head to the Flatiron District, bring your kids to the four day grand opening of the brand new Lego Store location. They will be hosting fun activities here all weekend, like building a 20-foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty.

New York City Columbus Day Parade

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. does not host a parade on Columbus Day, but it does host a special ceremony each year at the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain, located in Union Station Plaza. Representatives from the embassies of Spain and Italy, as well as members of the public, lay wreathes at the base of the statue in his honor. Members from local chapters of the Knights of Columbus are always in attendance, while many other organizations, such as the US Army and Navy, have also taken part in the past. The statue itself is worth examining for its symbolism. Standing in front of the depiction of Columbus himself is a winged-figure, a depiction of “Discovery,” while two men, an old one and a Native American, are positioned on either side, representing the “old world” and the “new world.” If you’re around DC for Columbus Day weekend, be sure to catch this ceremony. On the 11th and 12th, you should also stop by the Taste of DC, a street festival that takes up five blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue, offering local eateries a chance to showcase some of their best-tasting dishes, which lasts from noon to 7pm both days.

Christopher Columbus Fountain - Washington, D.C.

Boston

For those of you heading to Boston this Columbus Day, the North End hosts the liveliest events. Though Columbus sailed for Spain, he was originally born in Genoa, Italy. Because of this, Columbus Day in this country often serves the dual-role of being an Italian-American pride day. Boston’s annual parade runs through the heart of the North End, the city’s historically Italian neighborhood, ending in the appropriately named Christopher Columbus Park, where there will live music, games, and other activities, like a storyteller, magician, and juggler to entertain children. Once the parade is over, head down any one of the narrow streets of the North End to explore one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of the city, where you will find some of the best restaurants around.

North End, Boston

Wherever you wish to go this Columbus Day weekend, GotoBus is always ready to help you get there! Visit GotoBus.com to find out more information regarding schedules and rates.

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Unique Labor Day Weekend Ideas

Beach sunset

Labor Day Weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, making it the last chance for many to take advantage of the weather and their time off from work or school. But the traditional vacation itinerary of jetting off to a private, secluded island to drink cocktails on the beach is a little cliche, not to mention out of the average traveler’s budget. There are all sorts of unique events around the country on Labor Day Weekend, and GotoBus.com offers affordable rates to get you wherever you wish to go. Below, we’ve listed some one-of-a-kind cultural events in a few of our favorite cities:

  

Boston, Massachusetts

International Bacon Day (August 31st)

*Sizzle*. Is that the sound of the summer sun burning your skin? No! It’s the sound of succulent strips of bacon cooking on a skillet. International Bacon Day, observed annually on the Saturday before Labor Day, was first established in 2000 by residents of nearby Bedford, MA. While there is no official events commemorating the most delicious holiday, why not take a trip to Boston, the largest city near Bacon Day’s birthplace, and partake in some bacon-filled dishes at any number of the city’s excellent restaurants or food trucks?

Boston Arts Festival

This annual festival, held in Christopher Columbus Park, showcases the best of local visual and performance art. Artists set up kiosks to sell their work, while some kind of performance is always happening. Previous festivals have held exhibits on glassblowing, wood carving, painting, and much more. Many artists also hold workshops on these techniques, allowing visitors to participate and learn firsthand the skills required to, for instance, blow glass. On the second night, the festival is concluded with an impressive fireworks display over Boston Harbor. More information is available on the city of Boston’s website.

 
New York, New York

Labor Day Carnival

New York’s major Labor Day celebration – a.k.a. the West Indian-American Carnival – is an annual festival in Brooklyn that attracts anywhere between one to three million participants each year. The main event is the parade, in which groups representative of the numerous Caribbean Islands (Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, etc.) march down the Eastern Parkway, adorned with splendid, vibrant clothing of their native land. The parade is only part of the overall carnival, with various musical and artistic performances rounding out the bill. You can find the entire schedule for the carnival here.

NYC Unicycle Festival

This has got to be one of the more interesting themes for a festival. Each year on Governor’s Island, participants and spectators gather for two days full of one-wheeled fun. There are races and other competitions, world-famous cyclists giving exhibitions of their tricks, and games of basketball and hockey played entirely on unicycles. While you don’t need to know how to ride a unicycle to enjoy the festival, you will not find a better place to learn how. Find out all you need to know and more about the NYC UniFest from its official website.
 
San Francisco, California

Colorfest

A special feature for Summer 2014 at San Francisco’s Exploratorium, an incredible museum whose goal is to “explain how the world works,” Colorfest is a collection of exhibits that all deal with how the human eye interacts with color. With over thirty exhibits, including laser demonstrations, an examination of color in the Mayan world, and a lecture on color in chemistry, there is no shortage of information to interest you. Colorfest is an excellent opportunity for people of all ages to learn more about a topic that we generally do not think about too often.

  

Labor Day Weekend is swiftly approaching, so you do not want to miss your chance to experience something new and different. Book tickets through GotoBus.com to find your perfect price and get on your way!

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Make Your July 4th POP!

July 4 fireworks

While many American holidays come packaged with visions of barbecues and beers with family and friends, only the Fourth of July brings to mind so clearly one word: FIREWORKS. Around the country, towns and cities will be lighting up the night sky with those festive explosives we all know and love.

In celebration of America’s birthday and the explosive fun that comes along with it, we’ve taken inventory of the firework shows in some of the largest US cities.

 

 

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular – Boston, Massachusetts

This unique fireworks/classical music extravaganza is broadcast nationwide and has featured performances by those such as Neil Diamond and Martina McBride. This year, the show over the Charles River gets underway at 8:30pm and runs until 11:00pm. Get to the Esplanade early for a good seat, or just watch from afar in your favorite cozy spot on the river! Check out this video from last year’s spectacle:

 

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Live from the Brooklyn Bridge – New York, New York

Now in its 38th year, Macy’s annual explosive celebration is everything you’d expect a New York City party to be: big, loud, and bright! This star-studded event is hosted by Nick Cannon, and features performances by Enrique Iglesias, Lionel Richie, and Ariana Grande. The event is free to attend, with more than two miles of public viewing space along the Hudson cleared specially for the event. Things kick off at 8:00pm, though it’s recommended to arrive as early as possible for the best views.

 

Fireworks at the Navy Pier – Chicago, Illinois

Weirdly, the city of Chicago doesn’t have an official Independence Day display. Fortunately for those in the Windy City and surrounding areas, the Navy Pier has picked up the slack and now hosts an annual show (in addition to smaller fireworks shows throughout the summer). The big event starts at 9:30pm. For a unique twist on the experience, guests may want to look into taking one of the many fireworks cruises offered for a chance to see the fireworks from the water while enjoying a drink or even dinner!

 

Americafest at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, California

Southern California’s biggest celebration takes place in Pasadena, CA, about 20 minutes outside central Los Angeles. For nearly a century, the Rose Bowl has hosted an Independence Day party like no other. This year, festivities get started at 2:00pm and run through 9:30pm. There will be motorcycle stunt shows, live musical performances, and, of course, the biggest fireworks show in SoCal. Tickets to the event start at about $17 per person for general admission.

 

Fun on the Fourth at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada

From the top of the tower at the Stratosphere, visitors to Las Vegas will be able to see both the hotel’s own show as well as any other fireworks shows that might be going on in Vegas. Things open up at 6:00pm, and the celebrations also feature a concert and pool party (admission for the pool party is 21+). Admission to the Tower for the show is $10 for those staying at the hotel and $28 for non-hotel-guests.

 

 

If you’re looking to get to one of the big bangs this holiday, remember to book your transportation with GotoBus.com! But book soon, as seats for this popular travel weekend are filling up quickly.

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Father’s Day is This Weekend!

Father's Day

Summer is here, and among all of the other wonderful things that means, it also signifies the coming of Father’s Day! In honor of dads everywhere (and the kids who love them), we here at GotoBus have compiled some great budget-friendly gift ideas for Dad, including some of our favorite dad-centric treats!

 

Darth Vader and Son
This adorable comic book by Jeffery Brown asks the question, “What if “Luke, I am your father” was just a stern admonishment from an annoyed dad?” The adorable illustrations take a unique look at what is means to be a dad to a small child. Perfect for the Star-Wars-Obsessed dad in your life! Here is it on Amazon.

Custom-Made Photobooks
It’s a classic, but for a reason- collecting photos of you and dad out and about is the perfect way to remember how important he is to you. For those who use iOS, Apple offers an easy way to take the pictures you already have and turn them into a professionally-printed photobook! Just select the ones you want to include and the iPeople do the rest.

Shaving and Grooming Goodies
Everyone likes to be well-groomed! If your dad is into nice shaving gear, some new tools or accessories could be the way to go. Here’s a great collection of the best budget-friendly electric razors. If your dad is more of a manual-shaving-type, check out this fancy sharpener! Top things off with some nice cologne.

Dad Is Fat
Jim Gaffigan isn’t for everyone, but his hilarious book lends itself perfectly to Father’s Day! The comic with a unique delivery and penchant for food explores life as the father of five young children in his first book, which has spent 17 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. This hilarious and heartfelt book is perfect for a dad with a sense of humor.

Ties!
Whose dad DOESN’T have a ridiculous collection of novelty neckties? Fun, unique, and personalized ties are a quirky way to show you know Dad. ThinkGeek has prints for everything from binary code to Harry Potter, while the aptly-named Necktie Shop adds cartoon characters, astrology signs, and more into the mix. Maybe your dad has always wanted to glow in the dark. If it exists, it has been put on a tie.

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and remember: if you need help getting from one location to another, don’t forget to check out GotoBus.com to book your bus tickets. Surprise the big man with a trip home for the holiday!

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Affordable Gift Ideas for Mom

Mother's Day

 

This year, Mother’s Day falls on May 11. Though you shouldn’t need an excuse to spoil mom, here are some ideas we’ve come up with to show your appreciation on a budget!

 

Bake Her Something

Here is a wonderful recipe for saltine cracker toffee that happens to be a staff favorite at GotoBus:

Ingredients:

– 40 unsalted saltines

– 1 cup salted butter

– 1 cup packed brown sugar

– 2 cups milk chocolate or semi sweet chocolate chips

– 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Line saltine crackers in a single layer on the cookie sheet.

2. In a small pot combine sugar and butter and bring to a boil. Once mixture is at a boil, continue boiling for 3 minutes. Mixture should be a deep caramel color. Immediately pour over saltines and spread to cover crackers completely.

3. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes. It will get all bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let sit a couple of minutes to melt.

4. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts if desired. Cool completely and break into pieces. It may help to melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for about 1 minute before spreading.

Note: You should either use salted butter or salted saltines but not both.

 

Make a Coupon Book

Here’s where you can get really creative. Make her a book filled with coupons of your choosing. Some that we suggest are helping out with specific chores around the house, cooking her favorite meal, letting her pick a movie for family movie night, or even a coupon of her choice! For a family movie night, we also suggest making a “basket” filled with Mom’s favorites: her favorite candy, a bottle of wine, and some chocolates or other snacks. You get the idea!

 

Set Up a Digital Picture Frame

Instead of the “traditional” picture frame, digital picture frames allow you to put together a digital collection of your favorite pictures! One of the best features of this amazing gift is that you can change the pictures as many times as you want.

 

Take Her on a Special Family Outing

What mother doesn’t want to spend time with her family? Pick an activity that she loves, and make it “her” day. Does she love the ocean? Head to your city’s local aquarium. Maybe she wants to check out an art exhibit, or head to another type of museum. We recommend checking out your local newspaper’s event section- they will have the latest on what is going on in your city.

 

Make a Scrapbook

If you’re feeling especially crafty, you can even make mom a scrapbook! You can go to a craft supply store to help you out, but many items can be gathered very easily. Have some pictures from a fun family night out at a restaurant? Arrange the pictures and even use pieces of the restaurant’s take-out menu to add flair to the page. If this is an activity you would rather do with your mother, why don’t you gather all the materials, and you can make it together? She will love the quality time!

 

 

Looking for more suggestions to help make this Mother’s Day the best? Check out Pinterest! If you need help getting from one location to another, don’t forget to check out GotoBus.com to book your bus tickets. Surprise her with a trip home!

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

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It’s Wintertime in the City!

Balloons

Thanksgiving and the rest of the winter holiday season are on our doorstep, and for those who revel in winter festivities, there is no destination like New York City! So for those headed to the Northeast in the coming months, we’ve compiled a list of awesome and fun things to do and see with family and friends. Remember to book your bus to New York as far in advance as possible, as seats sell out quickly, and shows are booked early!

Here are our picks for the best of NYC’s famous winter attractions:

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: November 28, 9:00am

Now in its 87th year, this spectacular parade is viewed by nearly 50 million people at home and in the streets annually. A staple of the holiday season, its famous balloons have served as plot devices on both Seinfeld and Friends. New balloon additions this year include Finn and Jake from Adventure Time as well as a special 75th-Anniversary Wizard of Oz balloon that is more than three stories high and has 90 handlers. This year’s floats include the new Dreidel balloon-vehicle as well as a Cirque du Soleil performance float and the classic “Big Apple” collection of New York landmarks. The NYPD Marching Band, among others, will be providing music. As always, the parade will end with Santa riding down the road and ushering in the Christmas season. If you want to go see the parade in person, you will need to get into the city well before the 9:00am start time to secure a spot on the sidewalk.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular: November 8 – December 30

If you grew up anywhere near New York City, you’ve probably seen this world-famous show multiple times. It began in 1933 and has since become a staple of the NYC holiday season. It features more than 140 performers and includes live animals, but its most well-known act is the Rockettes dance troupe and their renown kickline. The perfect treat for wide-eyed children, this show tells the story of Santa’s journey around the world on Christmas Eve. Tickets for November performances are as low as $39 a head, but the closer the show date is to December 25 itself, the more expensive tickets get, so starting your holiday a little early could be both a fun and cost-effective way to spend a weekend in the city.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

It’s been featured everywhere from Futurama to Serendipity and is at the heart of one of New York’s most famous landmarks. The ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center is a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike and offers a one-of-a-kind winter experience. Admission to the rink is $15 for children under the age of 11 and seniors and $27 for adults plus $12 per person if renting skates (though guests are more than welcome to bring their own). Special rates are available by reservation for groups of 15 or more. This is a favorite winter-date activity as well!

The 2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting: December 4, 7:00pm

This star-studded event completes the ambiance of holiday fervor that settles over New York City during December. The lighting of the tree has been a yearly event since 1933 and is broadcast nationwide. The tree is selected very carefully, and in the past has come from as far away as Ottawa (although usually it is from somewhere in the American Northeast). The tree averages just over 70 feet, and is covered in more than five miles of lights. The star at the top is nine-and-a-half feet in diameter and weighs in at just over a quarter-ton. Like most events in New York, those who wish to attend should arrive well before the official start time if they hope to get a good seat for the ceremony itself.

So bundle up and enjoy the cheer! The most wonderful time of the year is on the doorstep, and New York is ready to celebrate.

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History and Exploration on Veterans’ Day

Veterans Day Thank You to our Veterans and Troops

History and Exploration on Veterans’ Day

This coming Monday, November 11, is Veterans’ Day in the US. This special day of remembrance is of great importance for people from New York to Seattle and everywhere in between. Originally established to honor Americans who served in World War I, Veterans’ Day now honors veterans of all wars for their patriotism and willingness to serve in the military and sacrifice for our country.

National memorials and other historic locations across the country are putting on shows and ceremonies on this special day, and all national parks are free to enter for everyone the entire weekend! Best of all, if you’re a history buff with the travel bug, GotoBus can help you get there, with Washington DC bus tickets at affordable prices.

Following are some of our picks for inspiring events in the DC area:

  • Arlington National Cemetery is home to the main event in Washington, DC. At 11:00am, there will be a ceremony at the Memorial Amphitheater. The ceremony is free, but guests are advised to arrive very early, as the theater fills up quickly. At 1:00pm, a ringing ceremony will be held at the Freedom Bell outside the welcome center.
  • The American Freedom Festival will be held at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA on November 10 at 7:30pm. This concert features Lynyrd Skynyrd as the headliner, and proceeds will go toward helping the families of those in the armed forces. Tickets range in price from $25.80 to $104.50 after fees and are available online.
  • Most of the major war memorials in DC will be having wreath-laying ceremonies on Monday, but the Vietnam Women’s Memorial is putting on a special presentation: From 9:00am to noon, and again from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, Vietnam veterans as well as current soldiers will be sharing stories about what it is like to have war directly touch your life.
  • At 11:00am on Monday, Mount Vernon will host a small concert by a veteran’s barbershop quartet that is free of charge and open to the public. At 2:00pm, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at George Washington’s grave. All veterans and active-duty personnel are admitted free all day, and civilians can attend the wreath-laying with regular admittance to Mount Vernon.
  • At noon on Monday at the Navy Memorial in DC, authors David Zimmerman and John Gresham will present the book Uncommon Valor: The Medal of Honor and The Six Warriors Who Earned it in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of an ongoing lecture series about authors of military works.
  • The home of the first major battle of the American Revolution, Manassas, VA, will be hosting a Veterans’ Day Parade on Saturday starting at 11:00am. It is the largest parade in the DC area, and features military bands, vehicles, and marching members of the local veterans’ organizations.
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Last-Minute Halloween Fun

Happy Halloween From GotoBus

It’s Mischief Night in the U.S., which means the Halloween season is coming to a close. If you’re still looking for something frighteningly fun to do on All Hallow’s Eve, never fear! We at GotoBus are here to help. Here are some awesome festivities in major cities across the country that will be more than suitable for last-minute thrill-seekers:

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, located in the Hollywood area, is a high-intensity scare-fest that is entering its fifth year of running. While not good for young children, adults of all ages will love this elaborate show, which has received accolades in the press. After the hayride itself, guests will be able to enter a dark maze with only a dim lamp to guide them through the shadows. The maze it different each year, so even those who have participated in the past should have a go! | October 30 and 31, 7:00pm – 10:30pm

Washington D.C.: Held at the National Zoo of the Smithsonian Institute, the Night of the Living Zoo is a 21+ event that allows access to the zoo during normally-dark hours. In addition to lights-out animal exploration, guests can enjoy live music, face painting, a costume contest, a pub crawl, and much more! The event is one-night only, and tickets are still available at the time of going to press. | October 30, 6:30pm – 10:00pm

Boston: The under-construction U.S.S. Salem is hosting a carnival in its parking lot in lieu of giving boat tours this Halloween. The main feature of the show will be Dr. Dread’s Ghastly Sideshow and Haunted Exhibition, a sideshow featuring strange and exotic exhibitions. In addition, guests can take a ride on the haunted school bus, a one-of-a-kind experience. This event is geared more toward fun than frights. | October 30 and 31, 7:00pm – 10:00pm

Chicago: The Fear Haunted House at Chicago’s Navy Pier is designed for teens and adults ages 13 and over, and aims to be a thrilling ride through a haunted ship run by a deranged captain. Monsters of all kinds hide behind barred doors, and guests have to figure out exactly what the captain is up to before it’s too late. The walk through the house takes between 15 and 20 minutes, and after guests may want to explore the rest of the Pier’s activities. | October 30 and 31, 7:00pm – 10:00pm

Looking for transportation to the above-mentioned cities? GotoBus helps you find a bus company that gets you there! One way bus transportation starts at $20. For detailed schedules, visit: http://www.gotbus.com/bus-tickets/

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Labor Day Weekend Deals!

Happy Labor Day Weekend – Check Out the End of Summer Deals

Labor Day Weekend Deals!
Philadelphia skyline and Ben Franklin Bridge at dusk, USA

Are you planning on going away for Labor Day Weekend? Don’t forget we have some great deals on bus tickets to bring you to some popular destinations around the country for Labor Day Weekend.

Check out these schedules to travel around the country:

Boston to New York – Starting at $11

Washington DC to New York – Starting at $20

Charlotte to New York – Starting at $59

Orlando to New York – Starting at $90

Los Angeles to Las Vegas – Starting at $25

Los Angeles to San Francisco– Starting at $40

Book your tickets today to enjoy an end of summer getaway! For more information visit http://www.gotobus.com/bus-tickets/

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Get the party started, in San Francisco for the Labor Day Weekend

Are you thinking about where to go for Labor Day Weekend 2013? Do you like to party? Have you thought about visiting San Francisco? If they answer to all of those questions is YES, then you need to check out what is happening in San Francisco this Labor Day Weekend. The construction on the new Bay Bridge has finally been completed and they will hold an enormous celebration both for Labor Day as well as the completion of such a monumental bridge (they will even be closing the bridge for this event).

Bring your dance shoes and empty stomachs; this is one event you don’t want to miss. Book your ticket today to visit San Francisco.

http://www.gotobus.com/los-angeles-to-san-francisco-bus/

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