City Tours With a Twist
Sure, you love your car – but maybe it deserves some R & R, just like you do. Leave it in the parking garage at the hotel, and take advantage of the futuristic, whimsical and earth-friendly touring options found in CityPASS locales. You can sign up for a Segway tour and zip through town on your self-balancing, battery-powered personal transportation device, or climb aboard a “Duck” modeled after the World War II amphibious vehicles for a guided land and sea adventure. If you prefer a self-powered mode of travel, bike tours let you get around without straining your wallet or the environment.
If you believe the song by the Missing Persons, you don’t want to get caught walking in L.A. On a Segway tour of this ultra-chic town, you can enjoy a ground-level experience without the embarrassment of missing wheels. On the Hollywood route with Another Side of Los Angeles Tours, you'll cruise along Sunset Boulevard on a human transporter at a cool 6 to 12 miles per hour, giving you plenty of time to star gaze.
Though big-city Houston isn’t exactly known for its outdoor recreation opportunities, Houston Segway Tours makes the most of nearby open space to provide rejuvenating respite from this city of 4 million people. In Harris County northwest of downtown, you can take a two-wheeled “hike” on the nature trails of Burroughs Park. A different trip takes you to nearby Galveston Island, where you can roll along the seawall and ogle historic mansions at sunset.
On the west coast, San Francisco Electric Tour Company’s newest Segway route invites experienced riders to conquer ultra-steep Russian Hill and challenge themselves on Lombard, the world’s most crooked street. But if extreme scooting doesn’t suit you, you can check out the more-level-but-still-thrilling tours of the waterfront and Golden Gate Park instead.
Any city with a big body of water probably has some type of amphibious landing craft tour. These boat/bus hybrids, affectionately dubbed “ducks,” are modeled after the WW II landing craft used to storm beaches. The modern interpretations navigate crowded streets in wacky style but also cruise the waterways, giving passengers an alternative view of the cityscape. Boston Duck Tours depart from three of Boston's top attractions: Museum of Science, Prudential Center and the New England Aquarium, passing points of interest such as the State House, Bunker Hill and Boston Common before splashing into the Charles River. The narrated tours last for 60 to 80 minutes, with about 20 minutes on the water.
Ride the Ducks Philadelphia tours start across from the Liberty Bell and pass by significant landmarks from early U.S. history, including Independence Hall, Betsy Ross’s house, Ben Franklin’s grave and the Philadelphia Mint. This 70-minute excursion finishes with a cruise on the Delaware River, in keeping with George Washington’s famous crossing. This is a great way to see Philadelphia.
Across the country, Ride the Ducks Seattle tours explore the waterfront, Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square before wheeling right into Lake Union for an afternoon party afloat. Coast Guard-certified captains also pass an unofficial hilarity screening, keeping guests entertained with their spirited discourse on Seattle history.
No need to worry whether you’ll return from this three-hour tour. Gilligan is nowhere to be seen on the guided Heart of the City Tour with Bicycle Tours of Atlanta. But you will explore 10 miles of Atlanta’s historic neighborhoods on a trek highlighting events in the city’s return to glory following the Civil War. The Progressive Dinner Tour offers a more modern look at Atlanta through the city’s varied cuisine. Better yet, you can indulge your taste buds with a five-course meal and work off the extra calories all in one package. Each pre-scheduled trip includes stops at two restaurants, and the inclusive price covers bike and helmet rentals, food, wine and restaurant tips.
In the Windy City, you’ll want to keep the breeze behind you and use it to your advantage. You can bike along the famed Lake Shore Drive on an 8-mile tour of Chicago’s Lake Michigan waterfront with Bike and Roll Chicago. Or cruise past some of Barack Obama’s favorite Chicago spots, including his home and the site of his first kiss with Michelle, on the Presidential Tour of Historic Hyde Park & Kenwood.
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