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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Saturate Your Summer!

Let’s start with a blatantly obvious statement: summer is really hot. The word itself evokes images of men and women in bathing suits, lounging on a sandy beach or poolside, while children run around and playfully shout in the shallow waters. Aquatic-based activities – whether they are beach trips, days spent at the pool, water-park excursions, etc. – go as hand-in-hand with summer as the changing of the leaves do to fall. To help you maximize your summer vacation, we have listed the five best water-themed vacations and trip ideas around the United States and Canada.

 

 

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach is one of the most popular tourist beaches in the country, providing an endless supply of summer fun: in addition to the vast amount of activities on the beach, which include swimming and surfing, there are opportunities for kayaking, golfing, and biking. The beach itself is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest stretch of pleasure beach in the world. Stroll down to the three-mile boardwalk, which is constantly packed with entertainment from live music to cafes, as well as being lined with hotels and resorts, so that you will never be without a place to stay.

Virginia Beach

 

Disney World Water Parks (Typhoon Lagoon/Blizzard Beach), Orlando, Florida

The Disney World Parks and Resorts in Orlando are already extremely popular destinations for families, but the summer months are an especially great time to visit what has become one of the most beloved tourist destinations in the world. Disney World has two themed water-parks on its grounds: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Each park has its own background story: the first is designed like a bay that has just been hit by a tropical storm; the second is modeled after a ski resort, with the added twist that all the snow is melting. Plummet down one of the parks’ steep, exhilarating slides, or merely sit back, relax, and float away down the lazy river.

Typhoon Lagoon

 

Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California

A go-to shooting location for any film or television show that needs a shot of a Los Angeles beach, the beach at Venice has a mile-long boardwalk that serves as a cross-section of local culture. Street artists and performers dot the boardwalk, ready to amaze. Murals stretch across the facades of buildings. The public, outdoor basketball courts are where many professional players honed their skills before they entered the NBA. Then, when you’ve had your fill of the beach, you can explore the interior streets of Venice to find even more entertainment and shopping opportunities.

Venice Beach

 

Whale Watching, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Okay – the summer tends to be all about the beaches. Just about everyone wants to kick back on the sand and in the sun, taking some time to cool off in the water. But the beach is not for everyone; some people find sand annoying, don’t like the crowds, etc. If you’re one of these types, but still desire a perfect vacation (and who doesn’t need that?) centered on aquatic activities, book a trip to Vancouver, BC, and hop on a whale watching tour, which will sail you out onto the cool waters of the northeast Pacific Ocean, where you can relax while you look out across the sea to try to spot one of these massive, beautiful creatures.

Vancouver

 

Mississippi River Cruise, Memphis, Tennessee

The Mighty Mississippi – the largest river in the United States and a region brought to life by Mark Twain, one of America’s greatest men of letters, in his classic novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, this immense body of water stretches from northern Minnesota all the way south through the American heartland before draining into the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. Memphis, TN, sits right on the banks of this iconic river, and visitors during the summer should consider taking a cruise in a classic-style riverboat, much like the one that Twain himself worked on. From Memphis, you can cruise to many of the other cities located on the Mississippi, such as St. Louis and New Orleans.

Mississippi River

 

 

Buses to any of these cities, and more, are available for low prices at GotoBus.com. Don’t forget, there are also further discounts available if you decide to book you bus tickets and hotel stay together – but book soon or else the summer will fly by you.

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Top American St. Patrick’s Day Parades

Green Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a day celebrated throughout the world both by those of Irish descent and those who just want to have a good time. Look for the masses of green as March 17 approaches and we guarantee you will find the biggest hotspots around!

If you’re looking to go out and about this St. Patty’s, there’s nothing better than attending a parade! GotoBus is here to provide the trip ideas and information as well as transportation: in addition to letting you know the top parade spots across the U.S., we’ve also included the latest weather reports from The Weather Channel to help on the planning.

 

Boston, Massachusetts

Sunday, March 16, 1:00pm: Between spectators and those watching on television, this parade is seen by nearly one million people every year. The parade starts by West Broadway and Dorchester Avenue in South Boston– known as “Southie” to locals- and loops around the city. For the best map of the parade route, click here.

  • This parade is considered one of the largest in the country, and this year marks its 113th year.
  • Sunday’s weather is predicted to reach 37 degrees with wind gusts at 13 mph, so bring a coat, but don’t bundle up too much.

Chicago, Illinois

Saturday, March 15, 12:00pm: This year’s parade starts on Balbo and Columbus. For a map of the parade, view their parade website.

  • The tradition of River Dyeing has been occurring for over 40 years. According to the parade site, the coloring of the Chicago River starts at 10:00am and “can be best viewed from the East side of the bridge at Columbus Drive or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive. This is a new location due to construction taking place this year.”
  • Saturday’s Chicago forecast appears to be partly cloudy with a high of 38 degrees, some wind, and a 10% chance of rain. Truly, we are finally headed into spring.

New York, New York

Monday, March 17, 11:00am: Approximately 250,000 march in the parade in front of an estimated crowd of 1 million. The parade route goes down 5th Avenue, starting at 44th Street and ending at 79th Street. If you cannot attend and wish to watch on TV, turn to NBC Channel 4 in New York or watch the live stream here.

  • Considered the oldest parade in the country, the NYC parade started in 1762. 2014 marks its 252nd year.
  • Monday’s weather is expected to hover around 32 degrees, with wind and a chance of rain. Stay warm and dry!

Savannah, Georgia

Monday, March 17, 10:15am: Line up along the parade route or find bleacher seating to participate in the fun! For maps of the routes and how to find the bleachers, please visit the official parade website.

  • This year is the 190th anniversary of this parade.
  • With a 30% chance of rain Monday and wind gusts around 18 mph, the weather forecast is not looking too promising. Bundle up and bring your umbrellas- we guarantee everyone will still be celebrating!

Scranton, Pennsylvania

Saturday, March 15, 11:45am: This parade has around 12,000 participants, and starts on Wyoming Avenue and Mulberry Street. For a map of the parade route, visit their website.

  • Celebrating its 52nd year, the Scranton St. Patrick’s Parade started in 1962.
  • Saturday’s weather is predicted to be partly cloudy and reach a “springy” 49 degrees. This parade is looking to be the warmest of the bunch!

 

Whether you’re Irish or not, strap on your green clothing and accessories and join in on the fun. For transportation to any of these fun cities, book your bus tickets today on GotoBus.com!

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Fun February Events

Traveling

February is the last hurrah of winter, and most people are starting to get a little stir-crazy. But never fear! February still offers many activities, outdoor and otherwise, for the enterprising traveller. As always, we here at GotoBus are here to distill the events in major US cities down to their essence for your benefit. Below, check out our picks for top big-market events and activities in the shortest month of the year:

New York City

  • NYC Restaurant Week is a bit of a misnomer- this culinary celebration actually occurs over a few weeks from February 17 through March 7. Check out the official site or Facebook page for full details and a list of the nearly-300 participating restaurants. You can get a 3-course lunch for $25 or a 3-course dinner for $38 at participating eateries. Saturdays are not included in this price, and Sundays are optional. Don’t forget that beverages, tips, and taxes are not included.
  • The ever-popular Rink at Bryant Park’s Winter Village has free skating until March 2! Whether you’re an old pro or have never donned skates before, this is a perfect family (or date!) activity. The rink is open Sunday through Thursday, 8:00am to10:00pm; plus Friday and Saturday, 8:00am to12:00am.
  • The New York City Police Museum is featuring a special exhibit showcasing testimonials and artifacts having to do with the NYPD response on 9/11. With a suggested donation for admission of $5, this is a unique chance to celebrate the heroism and appreciate the commitment of those who protected us on that fateful day.

Boston

  • The Boston Wine Expo on February 15 and 16 at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center is the perfect event for those over the age of 21. There will be over 185 wineries from around the world, 2 celebrity chef stages, and local Boston restaurants and food vendors with booths. Admission ($75 if you purchase on the 14th or before) includes a Boston Wine Expo souvenir glass, a complete guide with all the wine vendors and facts about the expo, access to the wine samples, complimentary food, and the chance to view live cooking demonstrations.
  • What better a way to celebrate President’s Day than to head to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum to honor Boston’s very own former president? In addition to having a large amount of Kennedy family memorabilia archived there, they also have the world’s largest archive dedicated to of Ernest Hemingway.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts down by Northeastern University hosts the Cogan Family Foundation Vacation Week Adventures during February winter break. Check this link for the latest on planned activities. They run from 10:00am to 4:00pm on weekdays (except Wednesday, which will run until 8:00pm). There is FREE admission for kids all week, but children must be accompanied by an adult.

Washington D.C.

  • Celebrate George Washington’s 282nd birthday at Mount Vernon. The wreath-laying ceremony will take place at 10:00am. There will also be special music and military performances on the Bowling Green.
  • The Juilliard School has some upcoming stage performances: On February 18, students will play Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 1 and Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 1. On the 19th, there is an organ showcase. Attend these performances free at the Kennedy Center or view them online.
  • Attend a play this month! “Richard III” will be at the Folder Elizabethan Theatre through March 9th. With tickets starting at only $30, this is the perfect activity for those looking to broaden their artistic horizons.

California

  • The Concert for Heroes, a benefit for The Seal NSW Family Foundation, is taking place at Belly Up Solana Beach in San Diego on February 18. Doors open at 7:00pm, and you can buy tickets for $15 in advance or $17 at the door. The show is 21+. For a complete list of those performing, please visit the event site.
  • Love flowers? Love music? The Pacific Orchid Exposition in San Francisco, which runs from February 20 to February 23, is the place for you. This year’s theme is “Orchids and All That Jazz,” combining orchids with the classical feel of traditional jazz music. General admission tickets start at just $13.
  • Running through March 16, Cirque du Soleil’s Totem is a must-see in Santa Monica! Described as “a fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind,” tickets and showtimes vary, so be sure to check out their site for the latest information.

Nationwide

  • Across the country, there is FREE admission to all National Parks from February 15 through 17 for Presidents’ Day Weekend! Get out and explore the amazing historical sites our country has to offer.
  • Still not satisfied? Never fear: there are so many things to do wherever you may be. We recommend signing up for Meetup as a way to connect with nearby folks with similar interests who also want to get out and do things.
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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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San Francisco Deluxe City Tour and Bay Cruise

Happy Independence Day! Where did you enjoy the holiday this year? Many of our customers traveled to the scenic West Coast and we wanted to share some of their photos from the San Francisco Deluxe City Tour and Bay Cruise.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the tour bus.

Relax and enjoy nature at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

View all of San Francisco from the summit at Twin Peaks.

Watch the harbor seals sun themselves at Pier 39.

See Alcatraz Island, also known as “The Rock,” as you cruise throughout the harbor.

The bay cruise takes you directly under the Golden Gate Bridge for phenomenal photo ops!

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New York One Day Tours

Short on time and cash in the city? We can help you still have fun! If you want to stay in NYC try the Amazing New York City 1-Day Tour $25 which will show you the top 21 most famous attractions in the Big Apple or a Circle Line Cruise $31 where you can enjoy magnificent views of the skyline.

If you’ve had enough of the concrete jungle and just need to get away, take a local tour like the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets 1-Day Tour $42 and shop away. Another option is a quick escape to our nation’s capital on the NY to Washington DC 1-Day Tour $149 or a more relaxed trip on the NY to Philadelphia Amish Country 1-Day Tour $149.

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New Killarney Ireland Tours

GotoBus has just added a new European travel destination: Killarney, Ireland! Check out these top 3 tours.

1. Gap of Dunloe Day Tour: See the Gap of Dunloe which is a magnificent defile running four miles between the McGillycuddy Reeks and the Purple mountain group. This tour includes complimentary pick up service, round trip transportation by bus/boat, and tour guide.$41

2. Dingle Peninsula Tour: The Dingle Peninsula stretches out into the Atlantic ocean, is the most northerly of the mountainous promontories which forms the indented coast of South-west Ireland. It is particularly notable in its scenery of the mountain and coast and is of interest on account of its antiquities. Includes complimentary pick up service, round trip transportation, and tour guide.$34

3. Ring of Kerry Day Tour: Ireland’s most spectacular mountain road the Ring of Kerry is situated in the south west corner of Ireland. Over the centuries it has been the inspiration of poets and writers because of its magnificent coastal scenery and rugged countryside. $27

Dia duit Ireland!

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Niagara Falls – Maid of Mist opened April 10

We know that the Maid of the Mist boat ride is one of the most exciting parts of a Niagara Falls Tour and are happy to announce that it reopened this past weekend on April 10! Touring the falls is super easy and affordable with our packages. One of our most popular tours is the 2-Day New York to Niagara Falls and Corning Tour which includes a one night hotel stay, a professional guide, and round trip transportation via coach. If you are not interested in the Corning Glass Museum we also have Niagara Falls packages that include other popular sites like 1000 Islands tours, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and some even go into Canada. These tour packages start at only $108 and have departures from most major cities on the East Coast.

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Australia Sightseeing Tours – NEW!

GotoBus has just released 45 new Australia tours in Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney! Be sure to schedule some time to snuggle a koala, take a city tour, or watch a penguin parade on your next trip “Down Under”.

All Australia sightseeing options and itineraries can be found online. Be sure to check back soon as new tours are added daily!

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