For those of us with an expired passport (or without the funds to use it to it’s full potential) there are plenty of local spots to hit up if you need a little culture and travel fix.  Here are a few ideas for those of you who need to travel local, but like to think global.

Solvang, CA

With a population of just under 6,000, this city in the Santa Barbara County is a taste of Denmark right in California. The architecture of the facades and buildings reflect traditional (and storybook) half-timbered Danish style. Visitors fall in love with the Danish Windmills—you can spot one right on Main Street—the horse-drawn replica of a 19th-century Danish streetcar, and the restaurants and pastry shops that serve Danish cuisine, like aebleskier, a donut meets panckae.

Plus, for the kids (or the kid in all of us) the Hans Christian Anderson Museum, dedicated to the author’s life and works—including many illustrated first editions.

Little Havana, Miami, FL

As of 2010 Little Havana was home to the largest concentration of Hispanics in Miami, with a large Cuban population, and is considered a center of social and cultural activity in Miami.

As part of the Carnaval Miami celebration, Little Havana hosts its annual Calle Ocho street festival.  It’s a free street carnival type festival (with over one million visitors) where different ethnic communities wear colors and flags representing their heritage. Fun fact: in 1988 Calle Ocho earned entry in the Guinness Book of World Records with the world’s longest conga line. Sounds like a party.

Little Italy, The Bronx, NY

Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack deemed Little Italy—or the Belmont Section of the Bronx—the perfect escape from Manhattan. Referred to as “the real Little Italy of it considers itself the best place for bread, pasta, meat, pastries, and the only place to buy Italian sausage.  Seems to keep up with the Italian tradition of good eats.

Basque Block, Boise, ID

In the heart of downtown Boise, there is the so-named Basque Block, where the 99-year old historic Anduiza sits. It has an indoor pelota court, where you can play Basque handball. Down the street is the Basque Museum and Cultural Center and there is plenty of traditional food for the adventurous palate.


-Arianna Schioldager


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