By their very nature of historical significance, state capitals have always been fascinating destinations to visit. History buffs love to explore government grounds and buildings where legislation occurs, while tourists can spend hours in the museums that are likely to be scattered throughout the city. Here’s a peak at hidden treasures at seven capital cities that are sure to provide an insider’s look at story lines not normally highlighted in tour guides.
Located in the agricultural center of Oregon, Salem is bursting with culinary diversity and scenic mountains. Often overlooked by tourists, the Oregon Symphony Association brings world-class symphonic music to the region, while the Pentacle Theater offers exciting community theater. Bikers and hikers can experience rolling green hills, waterfalls, old-growth forests and wetlands. Cideries are commonplace serving ciders and dessert wines from apple varieties. The area is surrounded by lakes and streams resulting in fabulous fishing for the experienced or novice angler. The Century House B&B, built in 1912, is within walking distance to the Oregon State Capitol, six museums, three city parks, and numerous art galleries.
Oklahoma City, OK
For a truly unique experience, the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory at the Myriad Botanical Gardens is a beautiful oasis that contains waterfalls and 750 varieties of plant species. Watch splendid horses cantor and gallop at one of the numerous horse shows that are held each year. You may even see a real cowboy or two. See the city at your own pace with a Downtown Walking tour that includes such sights as the American Banjo Musuem. These beautiful instruments played an important role in early American musical history. For comfort and convenience, the Ambassador Hotel is located just blocks from the popular tourist areas of Downtown and Bricktown.
St. Paul, MN
This capital city has a unique Mississippi River Valley setting, distinctive neighborhood districts, and a vibrant downtown featuring lovely parks. Begin your day with a hearty breakfast from The Buttered Tin. On weekends visit the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market, where all goods are required to be made or grown locally. In the summer months, Padelford Riverboats travel the mighty Mississippi, where you can spot eagles, egrets and falcons. Back on dry land, Wabasha Street Caves offers a two-hour Gangster Tour to explore the sites of infamous hideouts and gun battles associated with the 1930’s gangsters. The InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront Hotel offers convenient access to the best of the Twin Cities.
The most populous capital among the states, Phoenix indulges visitors with warm weather, sparkling sunshine, and an abundance of outdoor activities. Baseball fans flock to Arizona each April to cheer on their favorite teams during spring training. The storied Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, has introduced a “Baseball Butler” to help navigate the Cactus League by providing insider guidance that includes a stadium guide. The sun-kissed resort offers tailor-made insider itineraries which allow guests to customize their own adventure based on their vacationer profile – excursionist, historian, culturist, foodie and more. From gourmet dining to mountainous excursions, become immersed in Arizona’s premier attractions, including exploring Casa Grande Ruins.
Launched by Intrepid Travel, Urban Adventures offers the “intrepid” style of travel on 458 unique day tours in 126 cities. Eating local seafood is a must in Maryland’s capital where history never tasted so good. Dig into delicious cuisine with the Original Annapolis Seafood Crawl. Along the way, hear naval tales of Chesapeake Bay. Visit the charming (yet sometimes feuding) Annapolis and Eastport, two towns that have shaped American history. Ride in an electric eCruiser and take in sites, panoramic water views, and local neighborhoods that few visitors ever see.
Experience a behind-the-scenes look at the Mile High City with the Taming the RiNo Tour which highlights the transformation of Denver’s lower downtown warehouse district (LoDo) from after-thought to “the spot” for locals. Walk through what was skid row and into River North. Have lunch at an all-locally sourced restaurant built inside a shipping container. Get a close view of RiNo (River North)’s street art and architecture, where artists turn buildings walls into their canvas. Afterwards, the little ones will especially enjoy Lakeside Amusement Park with its trains, merry-go-round, drop tower and bumper cars. Unwind at the luxurious spa at the Oxford Hotel.
Food is serious business in Boise with restaurants serving locally sourced menu items and craft breweries and wine tasting rooms sharing the flavors of Idaho. The Big City Coffee & Cafe is a true Boise gem that specializes in old-fashion treats with a twist. Lovers of the outdoors will find a cornucopia of activities throughout this region known as “Nature’s Backyard.” With towering trees and lush riparian areas, the 25-mile Boise River Greenbelt is one of Boise’s most cherished parks. Comprised of 2,000 miles of trails, the Idaho Birding Trail represents a collection of bird watching hotspots and diverse habitats. Boise Guest House offers boutique housing with an art-infused vibe.