Are you familiar with any of these places? Discover New Worlds This Columbus Day Weekend!
Discover new worlds this Columbus Day Weekend! Every October, cities across the U.S. celebrate Columbus Day in honor of the famous explorer who kicked off the European Age of Exploration in the Renaissance when he sailed from Spain to the Caribbean, establishing a connection between the Americas and Europe. There’s even a catchy rhyme about Columbus’s journey that most of you probably learned in school at a young age: “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” This year, Columbus Day falls on Monday, October 12th, providing many people across the country with a well-deserved day off, making it a popular getaway weekend.
Did you know that Columbus’s “discovery” was an accident? He wasn’t trying to find the Americas like most people think; he was actually trying to find a faster route to India. Nowadays, mistakes like that could lead to disastrous vacations, throwing your whole travel plans in the loop. Imagine if you were trying to go to New York, but ended up in Seattle? Thanks to modern GPS technology, you don’t have to worry about making a mistake like that. All you have to do is pick a destination, purchase tickets, and board the bus to set off on your very own exploration! On GotoBus, you’ll be able to find routes to cities all across the U.S.A. (and get there in a fraction of the time it took for Columbus to find the New World). Below, we’ve included some tips for what to do in cities around the country this Columbus Day Weekend.
The North End of Boston is the city’s traditionally Italian neighborhood, and since Columbus was originally from Italy, his achievements are a significant source of pride for Italian-Americans. Columbus Park in the North End holds a Fall Festival every year on Columbus Day to commemorate both the explorer and the new season. This family-friendly event kicks off with a kids parade, followed by a special ceremony at the statue of Christopher Columbus. The rest of the day includes games and entertainment, including local performers, storytellers to get your imaginations running wild and even magicians! Given the park’s location between the North End and Faneuil Hall, you’ll be a short walk from some of the best food in the city, so be sure to bring your appetite!
New York City
While Columbus’s Italian origins are very important to Italian-Americans, his journey to the New World was actually sponsored by the crown of Spain. Because of that, there are many Hispanic-Americans who also celebrate this holiday. In New York City on Sunday, October 11th (the day before Columbus Day), you can see the vibrantly colorful Hispanic Day Parade, which has been held since 1985. The parade marches (and dances) down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue between 44th and 72nd Streets. It features Hispanic communities from across all of the city’s 5 boroughs coming together to showcase various floats they’ve designed, play in marching bands, and dance around in bright costumes that are influenced by the folk traditions of each Latin community represented, whether it is Puerto Rican, Mexican, Dominican, Colombian, Argentine, or one of the many other proud Hispanic nationalities with communities in NYC. The event attracts about 10,000 participants and over one million spectators every year, making for a livelier alternative to the city’s annual Columbus Day Parade. Come out and celebrate Hispanic solidarity!
On October 10th and 11th, head over to Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th and 14th Streets to take part in the Taste of D.C. festival, an absolute must for any foodies out there. Over 70 of the city’s most popular restaurants, food trucks, and other eateries will have stations set up for your dining pleasure, including a Beer Garden and Wine Walk for adults and a Family Zone for kids. On Columbus Day itself, visit the Christopher Columbus statue outside of Union Station to see the annual wreath-laying ceremony. Even the Italian and Spanish embassies get involved.
Columbus Day is a much more important holiday on the East Coast than in other parts of the country. This includes Los Angeles, which doesn’t really have any notable celebrations. The advantage to this is that you won’t have to worry about any overcrowded sightseeing in the LA area. Theme parks, like Disneyland, will get a little busier because of the day off, but if you want to stick to the city itself, you can take your time and won’t feel overwhelmed. It’s also a great weekend find some discount shopping deals at some of the local outlet centers.
In San Francisco, there is an annual Italian Heritage Parade. Though this is one of the few Columbus Day Weekend celebrations in the city, it is still a great deal of fun. In fact, it is the oldest Italian-American pride parade in the country, first held in 1868. During the parade, spectators will see all kinds of floats from community groups, businesses, school clubs, and more. There will be open-air dining and food specials from some of the city’s best Italian restaurants. This year, it is scheduled for 12:30pm on Sunday, October 11th, making its route from Fisherman’s Wharf to North Beach.
The Windy City will host its 63rd annual Columbus Day Parade on October 12th. The celebration begins at 9am with a Catholic mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the base of the Columbus statue in Arrigo Park. Then, at 12:30pm, the parade kicks off, traveling down State Street between Wacker and Van Buren. Though Chicago’s Italian community shows up strong, all ethnicities are invited to join. It features over 150 groups of bands, floats, and other kinds of marchers. Also happening in Chicago on Columbus Day weekend is the Midnight Circus, which is a series of circus-style performances held in various parks around the city. “See You Soon, Smith Park” will happen on the 10th and 11th in – you guessed it – Smith Park, scheduled for 2pm and 5pm on both dates. The Midnight Circus is comprised of young, energetic performers who seek to make an intimate, dramatic circus experience that invites audience participation. Though not a big name event, it is a hidden gem in this city that should not be missed!
It looks like there are plenty of cities and events waiting to be explored by someone like you this Columbus Day weekend! Visit GotoBus.com for bus tickets to any of the above cities and more, including hotel bookings, providing you with one convenient location for all your travel booking needs.