dimanche 4 février 2018

What to do while on a short stay city trip?

It's never easy selecting the landmarks, venues and activities that we'll choose to experience when we are in a vibrant city for two or three days only

 The important thing is, of course, knowing what there is to see and to do, but most important, are these things relevant doing or seeing to get the most out of the trip? Will these things give us an exact and unique look of the essence of the town? What's the essence of the town? I'd say it is understanding the city, how it works, how it lives and how its inhabitants live every day. Ok, you can visit Paris going up the Eiffel tower and shopping expensive luxury products in fancy stores but will you really have lived and felt Paris or will you more likely have experienced the touristy, cliché trip of Paris? That's more likely what you'll have done, surrounding yourself of other tourists starving for selfies in front of the Mona-Lisa or the Montmartre hill. We think getting the most out of a short city trip is experiencing life like locals without of course passing through cultural and historic landmarks.

 Within those few articles we are presenting you activities that we think will get you to really know what Paris is like, what Tokyo, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Helsinki, New York, Roma, Atlanta,Casablanca, Tel Aviv, Cardiff, Sydney, Melbourne and many more cities are like. Thanks to the unique experience we offer in these towns, our team of locals got to successfully pull out the vibe, the essence of their city, the one idea, memory they'd like you to have about it. 

In order to really know a city there are three main things we have to know :

1. The identity of the city, its culture and traditions, its history and why it is what it is.

2. What makes the city : its plans, architecture and monuments.

3. What gives life to the city : its inhabitants.

 Any passionate, well trained tour guide would take care of leaving you sure that you've acquired all that knowledge, but let's say it, travelling is also something fun and we don't want you to believe you have to pass an exam at the end of your trip!
This is the reason why Big City Chase created those scavenger hunts based on enigmas, so that you have fun while learning all of these sometimes boring things.
In this blog, of course we invite you to sign up to one of our chases across the city you're visiting but we also try (without spoiling our enigmas and chases itineraries) to give you a list of interesting places to go and things to do to successfully get to feel and know the city you're visiting.

Here is how we organized the blog :

1. You select the city you're visiting
2. We give you a link to the city map so that you can nagigate easily through Google map and understanding how the city is built.
3. We give you a list of "MUST" "NOT TO MISS" landmarks and monuments.
4. Our local representative wrote a short resume about how in his opinion a perfect leisure day should be spent in that city.

So you get all the options for you, either you chooseto go from not to miss to not to miss landmarks or you spend a relax leisure day as suggested by our local representative or you register to a scavenger hunt through our app on the Google Play store or the Apple Appstore to discover the city and its secrets having fun.
Or if you prefer getting to know a city by getting to know its inhabitants register to a challenge cup through our app. 

Whatever your way of travelling is, whatevr you like to do or see, we selected the best ways for you to fully enjoy those new horizons. So go ahead and enjoy our articles about all these vibrant cities across the globe...

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What to do in Albuquerque - Things to see and places to go in Albuquerque while on a short trip

Here are, according us and our local team, the things to do and see to Albuquerque in order to get the real vibe, real essence of the city.  

 Get Albuquerque offline audio guide >

1. Of course you could do all of the following or just register to our cultural scavenger hunt!

2. Take a look at this map of the city to have a real idea on how it is built and organized.

3. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

 Albuquerque's high desert environment makes for one of the best spots in the world for hot air ballooning. Every October sees hundreds of balloons and tens of thousands of people coming to the city for the International Balloon Fiesta. For over a week, the cold morning skies fill with hot-air balloons from all over the world. Sunset finds the balloons inflated again for evening "balloon glows", where the burners are fired into the stationary envelopes to make them shine against the dark sky. Balloon rides and scores of other events round out the celebration. The balloons can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.

4. Albuquerque Museum of Art and History

This impressive institution offers visitors an in-depth look into Albuquerque's past. Located at the edge of Old Town, this museum hosts a spectacular collection of cultural items from the past 400 years. It is a place where the visitor not only gains a better understanding of Albuquerque's history but about European settlement in the entire southwest. Displaying suits of Spanish armor, historic woodcarvings and even art of the likes of Georgia O'Keeffe, the museum also hosts traveling and temporary exhibits. Get Google maps directions>

5. Old Town


Site of the original Spanish settlement, Old Town was shaped for centuries by both the Spanish and Mexican cultures as well as the Native Americans of the area. Centered on the large plaza, Albuquerque's Old Town retains a relaxing and charming Southwestern feel characterized by giant old cottonwood trees, cobblestone streets and adobe structures. Old Town is full tourist-friendly attractions like art galleries, souvenir shops, little museums and restaurants. It's the perfect place for an afternoon stroll and casual sightseeing.
Get Google maps directions>

6. Albuquerque Biological Park


 Not far from Old Town, the new Bio Park is home to the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanical Gardens and the Rio Grande Zoo. With its expansion and upgrades of the past decade, the zoo has become a premiere destination hosting hundreds of species (many endangered) and one very awesome playground. The aquarium is perfect for the kids interested in sharks, while the botanical garden is a lush environment to discover butterflies and other insects. This is an excellent place for an all-day family outing. Get Google maps directions>

7. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center


 For thousands of years, the numerous cultures of the Pueblo people called this area (now New Mexico) home. While dozens of pueblos disappeared with the coming of the Spanish, many remain vibrant. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, located 2 mi north of Old Town, celebrates these living cultures and histories with an outstanding museum as well as cultural events, lectures, workshops and tours. Be sure to make time to attend at least one of the traditional dances.
Get Google maps directions>

8. KiMo Theatre


One of Albuquerque's best-known architectural landmarks, the KiMo Theatre was originally built in 1927. The somewhat gaudy Pueblo-Revival-Art Deco Style incorporates adobe architectural styles with the linear motifs and recessed spandrels more typical of classic Art Deco. Paintings and images of Native American cultures abound. Through the 1970s the theatre fell into neglect and was barely saved from the wrecking ball. A renovation completed in 2000 has allowed the theater to again become one of the city's premier venues. Oh, and it is reputed to be haunted!

Get Google maps directions>

9. Paseo del Bosque 


Albuquerque isn't just a big city. It also hosts one of the most important environmental corridors in the Southwestern United States. Tracing the forested Rio Grande for 16 mi right through the center of town, the Paseo is a perfect walking and biking path. The route offers a break from the city as well as some great wildlife-viewing opportunities. The trail can be accessed via multiple points along the river. Get Google maps directions>

10. Rio Grande Nature Center State Park


 The Rio Grande Nature Center State Park is located on the east bank of the Rio Grande at Candelaria Road in Albuquerque. Exhibits introduce the ecology, geology, and history of the Rio Grande Valley. It also offers a small hiking trail, access to Paseo del Bosque and a blind for great aquatic bird watching. Get Google maps directions>

11. Church of San Felipe de Neri

 One of the anchors of Old Town, this large 300-year-old Catholic church features a rectory, convent, school, museum and some impressive historic religious artifacts. It is simply one of the most beautiful and peaceful buildings in the entire state.
  Get Google maps directions>

12.  Sandia Peak Tramway

While not as high as the Colorado Rockies, the Sandia Mountains framing the skyline to the east are no shrinking violets. At 10,378 ft the rugged summit of the range offers a superb view of sprawling Albuquerque. The tramway offers a rather stunning ride along a 3 mi suspended cable from the eastern edge of the city to the summit. You can literally see hundreds for miles around. Several restaurants, ski slopes and wilderness hiking trails greet the sightseeing visitor.

Get Google maps directions>


13. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

 Likewise located near Old Town as well as near the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, this institution focuses on the ancient geologic history of the area. Though displaying several life-size dinosaur skeletons and a few other items that will wow children, this museum is not particularly kid-oriented. Still, be sure to check out the IMAX and planetarium schedule for some pretty thrilling showings that the whole family will enjoy. Get Google maps directions>

14. Petroglyph National Monument

 Albuquerque is full of history, but here is where you'll find the really old stuff. Located on the western edge of the city, this 7,236-acre national monument is home to nearly 25,000 ancient images hewed into the volcanic rock by some of the continent's earliest inhabitants. This is an outdoor museum, and most of the images are accessed via numerous hiking trails. The visitor's center offers excellent interpretive exhibits along with a wide-range of educational programs.
  Get Google maps directions>

15. Explora! Science Center and Children's Museum

Described as "part science center, part children's museum, part free-choice school, part grandma's attic, part grandpa's garage, part laboratory, part neighborhood full of interesting people, and part of many people's lives….", Explora is a hands-on science center with many facets. Exhibits are created specifically to get visitors to make their own scientific discoveries. Explora also hosts numerous camps and events designed around science, education and fun. Get Google maps directions>


16. University of New Mexico

The sprawling forested campus of the University of New Mexico (UNM) is like one massive park located right in the center of the city. The state's flagship institution, UNM is a public research university founded in 1889. Famed architect John Gaw Meem designed many of the buildings on the central campus, which has a unique southwestern feel. Eight of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.  Get Google maps directions>

  Adam is our Albuquerque local representative, we asked her what an ideal day of leisure in Albuquerque could look like, what would she suggest doing from early morning to late at night.
Here is what he suggests.Don't hesitate to contact Adam on Twitter @bigcitychase #Albuquerque #questionforAdam if you have questions for her, we may publish your conversation in this blog if he thinks it might be useful to other Albuquerque visitors.

  Adam for Big City Chase Albuquerque : 

"Hi, my name is Adam, I'm 29 and lived all my life here in Albuquerque, I'm a football coach and a DJ at night so I will be able to guide you through this city as much for great daytime activities then for the nightlife. Here is the leisure day I suggest so that you can enjoy the most your trip in Albuquerque :
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What to do in Amsterdam - Things to see and places to go in Amsterdam while on a short trip

Here are, according us and our local team, the things to do and see in Amsterdam in order to get the real vibe, real essence of the city.

 Get Amsterdam offline audio guide >

1. Of course you could do all of the following or just register to our cultural scavenger hunt!

2. Take a look at this map of the city to have a real idea on how it is built and organized.

3. Visit the Rijksmuseum

One of Amsterdam's most popular attractions - and certainly its most important art repository - the Rijksmuseum was founded in 1809 to house the country's huge collection of rare art and antiquities. The museum's impressive collection includes some seven million works of art, among them more than 5,000 important paintings spread across 250 rooms of this sprawling building. In addition to its paintings, the Rijksmuseum boasts a well-stocked library of more than 35,000 books and manuscripts, as well as numerous fascinating displays dealing with the development of art and culture in the Netherlands. Of special note are its collections of traditional handicrafts, medieval sculpture, and modern art styles. A variety of themed English language guided tours are available. For a special experience, try the fun art history canal cruise taking in many of the sites represented in the Rijksmuseum's collections.   Get Google maps directions>

4. The Van Gogh Museum

Widely regarded as one of the world's most important art galleries (it's also the second most visited museum in the Netherlands), it opened to great acclaim in 1973 and houses the world's largest collection of Van Gogh paintings. All told, more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters from Van Gogh are included in the collection, as well as numerous works and related materials from his contemporaries.  Get Google maps directions>

5. The Rembrandt House Museum

Rembrandt, along with his wife Saskia, spent the happiest (and most successful) years of his life in the house on the Jodenbreestraat, now home to the Rembrandt House Museum. It was here, in the Jewish Quarter, that he found models for his Biblical themes, and where he painted the sights from his many outings along the canals. Rembrandt lived here for 20 years, and the house has been furnished in 17th-century style with numerous etchings and personal objects.
  Get Google maps directions>

6. The Anne Frank Museum

 On the Prinsengracht, the Anne Frank Museum is dedicated to the all-too-short life of one of the world's best-known Holocaust victims. In the actual home in which Anne's family hid for much of WWII - it was here that Anne wrote the diary that became an international bestseller after the war, just a few years after her death at age 15 (she died just two months before the war ended). Much of the home has been kept as it was during Anne's time, and it serves as a poignant monument to a tragic period of history.  Get Google maps directions>

7. The West Church

 Amsterdam's West Church (Westerkerk), famous as the location of the wedding of former Queen Beatrix in 1966, is the most popular church in the city. Completed in 1630, this Renaissance church is unusual due to its many internal and external Gothic features. Its 85-meter tower, popularly known as "Langer Jan" (tall John), is the highest in the city, and on the tip of its spire is a large replica of the emperor's crown, placed there in memory of Emperor Maximilian of Austria who, in 1489, was cured of illness in Amsterdam and gave the city his protection and the right to include his crown in its coat of arms. Inside the tower, a carillon proclaims the hours, its hammer weighing an impressive 200 kilograms, while the largest of its 48 bells weighs some three-and-a-quarter tons. Other highlights include a fine organ dating from 1622, along with an interesting marble column placed there in 1906 in memory of Rembrandt, who was buried outside the church (he was later reinterred inside the church).  Get Google maps directions>

8. The Royal Palace

 Formerly the Town Hall, the Royal Palace serves as the King's residence when he's in the city. Its construction was a monumental task when started in 1648 and required the sinking of 13,659 piles to support the mammoth structure. Based upon the architecture of ancient Rome, the exterior is strictly classical, while the interior is magnificently furnished, its apartments decorated with a wealth of reliefs, ornamentation, marble sculptures, and friezes, along with ceiling-paintings by Ferdinand Bol and Govert Flinck, pupils of Rembrandt. Other highlights include one of the finest furniture collections in the world; the City Treasurer's room with its marble fireplace and ceiling paintings by Cornelius Holsteyn; and the Hall of the Aldermen, also containing paintings by Bol and Flinck. The largest and most important room is the Council Hall, sumptuously decorated and one of the most beautiful staterooms in Europe. Get Google maps directions>

9. The Begijnhof

This stunning old corner of Amsterdam simply begs to be strolled. Although most of the old homes are occupied, the tiny lanes and pathways around them provide public access, so don't be shy to explore. You'll be rewarded with views of well-kept green lawns - the courtyards - surrounded by some of the oldest houses in Amsterdam, including its only remaining wooden house from the 14th century. Originally occupied by a commune of pious Catholic women (begijnen), the area's small chapel (still open for services) saw the last of these women buried here in 1971.
  Get Google maps directions>

10.The Old Church

The Old Church (Oude Kerk), built in 1306 and the first hall church in North Holland, became the model for many other churches in the region. Numerous additions were built over the centuries, such as the large side chapels from the early 1500s. Also dating from this period is a portal leading to the Iron Chapel, where documents showing the city's privileges, including the freedom from tolls granted in 1275, were kept locked behind an iron door. The tower was added in the 16th century and has a carillon from 1658 that's considered one of the finest in the country (it also offers great views over the city). The interior of the church has features dating from before the Reformation, including three magnificent windows from 1555 from the Dutch High Renaissance, and finely-carved wooden choir stalls. After exploring this beautiful historical building, take a two-minute stroll across the bridge to Zeedijk, one of Amsterdam's oldest streets. Many houses along here lean at an angle from the vertical, and the 15th-century house at No. 1 is thought to be the oldest surviving building in the city. 
Get Google maps directions>

11. The harbor

The Port of Amsterdam, almost 19 kilometers from the open sea on a former bay named the IJ, is unaffected by tidal activity and remains a busy harbor. From here, regular passenger and freight services head up the Rhine to cities such as Dusseldorf, Koblenz, and Basel. The port installations were built in 1872 in conjunction with the construction of the North Sea Canal, the objective being to restore the former importance of the capital city, which was being overtaken by Rotterdam. It's well worth spending a pleasant hour or two joining a cruise around the harbor and canals, especially in the evening when the houses and bridges are illuminated. Be sure to include a visit to the National Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum) in a former naval storehouse on the Oosterdok and home to an impressive collection of model ships, globes, navigation instruments, and paintings. Another nearby attraction is Science Center Nemo, a first-rate science museum housed in a stunning piece of architecture that juts over the port area like the hull of a large ship. To cross to the opposite bank of the IJ to the north of Amsterdam by car, you can drive through the IJ Tunnel from the city center.
Get Google maps directions>

12. The New Church & the National Monument

The New Church (Nieuwe Kerk), the official coronation church of Dutch monarchs since 1814, lies in the heart of Amsterdam next to the Royal Palace in Dam Square ("The Dam"). This historic square was built around 1270 to separate the Amstel from the IJ and gave the city its name. Today, the square and the church are used for public functions such as antique fairs and art exhibitions. Regular organ concerts also take place in this 15th-century church. A striking feature is its magnificent pulpit from 1649, a marvel of Baroque wood carving decorated with the four evangelists and figures symbolizing Faith, Hope, Charity, Justice, and Prudence. The church also has an organ from 1670, an exceptionally beautiful choir screen cast in bronze, and fine choir stalls. Also of interest are the tombs of famous Dutchmen including PC Hooft and Nicolaes Tulp, and the Baroque tomb of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter who died in 1679. The stained glass windows are beautiful; one of them dates from 1650 and depicts the granting of the city's coat of arms by William IV, while the Queen's Window from 1898 commemorates the coronation of Queen Wilhelmina.

On the opposite side of The Dam, the National Monument, a 22-meter-high obelisk, was erected here after the Second World War as a memorial for its victims and a symbol of Liberation. It was designed by J. J. P. Oud and decorated with sculptures by J. W. Rädeler symbolizing, among other things, War (four male figures), Peace (woman and child), and Resistance (two men with howling dogs). Embedded in the obelisk are urns containing earth from the 11 provinces, and a 12th urn contains earth from the cemetery of honor in Indonesia. The monument was dedicated by Queen Juliana on 4 May 1956, the national day of remembrance. Every year on this date, wreaths are laid here and a two-minute silence is observed throughout the Netherlands. During other times, the monument is a place where young people from all over the world meet.  Get Google maps directions>

Karina is our Amsterdam local representative, we asked her what an ideal day of leisure in Amsterdam could look like, what would she'd suggest doing from early morning to late at night?
Here is what she suggests. Don't hesitate to contact Karina on Twitter @bigcitychase #Amsterdam #questionforKarina if you have questions for her, we may publish your conversation in this blog if she thinks it might be useful to other Amsterdam visitors.

Karina from Amsterdam for Big City Chase Amsterdam : 

"Hello, Ik ben Karina (meaning I am Karina in Dutch), I lived all my life here in the Netherlands even though I was raised in Rotterdam. I moved to Amsterdam a few years ago for work and here is where I'd go to spend a great leisure day in Amsterdam :  
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What to do in Atlanta - Things to see and places to go in Atlanta while on a short trip

Here are, according to us and our local team, the things to do and see in Atlanta in order to get the real vibe, real essence of the city.

 Get Atlanta offline audio guide >

1. Of course you could do all of the following or just register to our cultural scavenger hunt!

2. Take a look at this map of the city to have a real idea on how it is built and organized.

3. Feel and live history in Sweet Auburn neighborhood and visit Martin Luther King Jr,'s birth house and his former church.

4. Go jogging or just walking through the Centennial Olympic park.

5. Be part of Atlanta's real everyday life by doing some shopping at the Atlantic Station in Midtown.



6. Then for late lunch, grab a burger or sandwich and go eat in the Piedmont Park while enjoying a relaxing moment in this green area in the middle of that vibrant city.


7. Get deeper into Atlanta's history by driving through Buckhead, the residential neighborhood where you'll enjoy watching these beautiful victorian houses and manors.


8. While being in Buckhead, you absolutely must stop by the Atlanta History Center.


9. Enjoy a dinner with locals in Midtown.


10. At night, go partying in Virginia Highland, a neighborhood with a great student vibe that anyone can enjoy.

11. Of course our scavenger hunt will take you to secret and hidden places from the city that you will get you great memories from Atlanta.

Greg is our Atlanta local representative, we asked him what an ideal day of leisure in Atlanta could look like, what would he suggest to do from early morning to late at night?
Here is what he suggests.Don't hesitate to contact Greg on Twitter @bigcitychase #Atlanta #questionforGreg if you have questions for him, we may publish your conversation in this blog if he thinks it might be useful to other Atlanta visitors.

Greg from Atlanta for Big City Chase Atlanta : 

"Hi guys, I was born and raised in Atlanta, moved for grad school and got back here for work a few years ago, and here is the leisure day I suggest so that you can get the most out of Atlanta :

I'd get up early to enjoy sunrise on the skyline. I'd suggest you get to the Jackson street bridge, from there you'll be able to enjoy sunrise on the whole skyline. After that, as it is early morning you may want to get great coffee, as you are in the neighborhood go to Condesa coffee on John Wesley Dobbs Avenue. 

After coffee I would advise you to go for a walk on the Krog street market, buy fresh produce there and enjoy the atmosphere.

And lunch time is approaching, well good for you you're at right place already! Go get yaself a
delicious burger at Fred's meat and bread,  on 99 Krog St.

After that great lunch, I suggest a little walk and some rest in a place surrounded by nature, the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve. Get on a small and easy trail there. inside the park’s 120 acres of green space, a wide trail network explores a tumbling waterfall, a wildlife-filled forest, and trickling springs that feed the park’s many streams. The hilly forest is a retreat from the surrounding city, and home to wildlife including deer, birds, and turtles. The Cascade Springs Trail departs the parking area trailhead view directions.

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What to do in Barcelona - Things to see and places to go in Barcelona while on a short trip

Here are, according to us and our local team, the things to do and see in Barcelona in order to get the real vibe, real essence of the city.

 Get Barcelona offline audio guide >

1. Of course you could do all of the following or just register to our cultural scavenger hunt!

2. Take a look to this map of the city, to have a real idea on how it is built and organized.

3. Absolutely stop by the El Raval neighborhood around mid-day to get a glimpse of a popular neighborhood

 El Raval is Barcelona’s most colorful district, and possibly the most happening. With some of Barcelona’s best bars, top restaurants, and excellent things to see and do, you’ll find much to explore in this tourist center of the city.


4. Choose at least one or two or all of Gaudi's masterpieces to spend some time admiring them while feeling completely out of time, just you facing beauty.

Here's a list of Gaudi's work in Barcelona 

Sagrada Família    


Casa Vicens  


Güell Pavilions


Palau Güell


Casa Calvet




Park Güell


Artigas Gardens


Casa Batlló


Casa Milà


Church of Colònia Güell 


Sagrada Família Schools


5. Have dinner with locals in Eixample


6. Get a glimpse of Barcelona's nightlife in Port Olimpic


   Beatriz  is our Barcelona local representative, we asked her what an ideal day of leisure in Barcelona could look like, what she would suggest doing from early morning to late at night.
Here is what she suggests.Don't hesitate to contact Beatriz on Twitter @bigcitychase #Barcelona #questionforBeatriz if you have questions for her, we may publish your conversation in this blog if she thinks it might be useful to other Barcelona visitors.

  Beatriz from Barcelona for Big City Chase Barcelona : 

"Hola, my name is Beatriz, Im originally from Sevilla and moved to Barcelona when I was 16.
To get the most out of Barcelona, I would of course advise to get all the time needed to admire all of Gaudi's work, but for an ideal leisure day here is what I advise you to do :
First thing in the morning, get to the eixample to have breakfast in a nice coffe shop, then hang ou in that neighborhood for strolling and shopping. Head to El Raval for lunch time especially in those nice and simple restaurants with terrasses around theMacba, you'll see real Barcelonians. Order some tapas and traditional catalonian food in one of those popular restaurants for locals.
After lunch, hit the beach, and get the most out of
Nova Icária's beach between its wonderful sandy spaces, water sports activities  and its shopping center.  After beach time, go and grab a cocktail on one of the great rooftop terrasses bars on 
Passeig de Gràcia,     for dinner, I don"t give you any advice, any neighborhood will be fine, as you know Barcelona is a great city for gastronomy, you can't go wrong if you choose a traditional catalonian or a fusion restaurant. "

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