As we ponder our Poker Pilgrimage, we need to decide where our year of travel will take us. We have three basic criteria for places to earn a spot on our journey, a location must either have a poker room (or rooms: Hello Las Vegas!) we want to visit, be a spot that we have never been but would like to go (such as Charleston, SC), or be one of our favorite cities, and thus worthy of a return trip. Today, we thought we would share our five favorite cities and start to pin some way-points on our journey.
Boston is an easy one. We live in the Boston area, and thus this is where our journey will begin. Boston has history, museums, culture, natural beauty, and sports teams galore. For the first time visitor we would recommend the aquarium, the science museum, Faneuil Hall, a walk down the Freedom Trail, a walk along the Charles River, taking in a game (Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox, or Bruins depending on the season), and a visit to any of the many historic and beautiful outlying towns. Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, and numerous New Hampshire cardrooms are within a couple of hours if your poker jones needs to be fed.
Washington DC is next on our list. DC is a beautiful city replete with monuments, museums, an excellent zoo, and of course our seat of government. One of my favorite things about Washington is that many of the attractions (more museums than you can count and the zoo!) are completely free. You could spend days exploring the city without paying a single entrance fee. I dare you to name another city where this is the case. Also, if you lean toward the political, you can plan a visit to Congress or even the White House. Also not to be missed are the amazing Arlington Cemetery and the (sadly expensive) Spy Museum. If your thoughts take a turn toward poker, Maryland Live! is only 45 minutes away and the new MGM National Harbor is just a few minutes drive from the heart of DC.
New Orleans, LA
We love New Orleans so much that we got married there! While we probably wouldn’t pencil New Orleans in for a summer visit, the weather is lovely in the late fall or early spring. So many things make New Orleans one of our favorite cities. We love the food, the music, and the very spirit of the city. While we do our best to avoid the craziness of Bourbon Street, neighboring Chartres and Royal offer a wealth of interesting stores, galleries of local artisans, and cafes. Frenchman Street hosts numerous hardworking musical acts every night of the week. And if you are fortunate enough to be in the city for one of their many parades, the joy of the people is infectious (again, Mardi Gras is perhaps out of our comfort zone, but the St. Patrick’s parade we experienced was a delight). On our most recent visit we went to the new World War II museum and were blown away by the experience. Sadly, Harrah’s Casino in the heart of the city would not make our top five poker destinations, but it is there for those looking for some cash play. There are also riverboat casinos nearby that we have yet to investigate.
San Diego, CA
Over on the Left Coast, we have two favorite cities. First, San Diego has beautiful weather practically year round. It has the ocean, and it has all of the culture that one could wish for. From the museums and beauty of Balboa Park, to the missions and Mexican restaurants of Old Town, San Diego has something for everyone. San Diego also hosts the world famous San Diego Zoo and my favorite, San Diego Safari Park. Nearby you will find the wine-making area of Temecula, and Julian, known for mining and apple pie. It’s even a quick drive to Tijuana, if a visit to Mexico tickles your fancy. San Diego offers a number of poker rooms which we look forward to exploring on our big trip.
While we have never been to San Francisco together, we both list it among our favorite cities. As with the other destinations on our list, San Francisco has a wealth of experiences to offer. Some of our favorites are Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, the Exploratorium, and nearby Sausalito. Visitors must check out Coit Tower and ride the famous trolley cars in order to claim that they have “done” the city. Most will find a visit to Alcatraz worth their while as well. The Bay 101 is the most famous poker room on offer, but several other rooms are in close proximity, making San Francisco a worthy poker stop as well.
So there you have it: these five favorite cities will serve as anchors on our initial intinerary for our Poker Pilgrimage. Now we can start our map!
What are your favorite US Cities? Help us plan our trip!
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