The American West Coast is Ripe for Gastronomical Tourism

Tourists in the United States who are looking for the best cuisine they can taste during their visits should strongly consider staying in the West Coast. According to the 2017 list of Best New Chefs published by Food & Wine Magazine, more than half of the selected chefs are from California, Oregon and Washington.

 

Up until the late 20th century, New York, Miami and New Orleans routinely topped the lists of best chefs; however, that no longer seems to be the case. The West Coast has been quietly dominating the American gastronomical scene, and this is a trend that many tourists are noticing.

 

Some of the best restaurants in the United States are either located in the West Coast or are otherwise managed by West Coast chefs. One such restaurant is Han Oak in Portland, operated by a chef who trained in New York before moving back home to open a Korean eatery that specializes in noodles, dumplings and barbecues.

 

The abundance of fresh produce in California, Oregon and Washington is another reason why local chefs are either returning or choosing to stay in the West Coast. Such is the case of Kismet, a trendy restaurant in Los Angeles that features a Mediterranean menu. It so happens that California’s agriculture offers many of the fresh ingredients needed in Turkish, Greek and Italian recipes, and this is something that chefs can certainly appreciate.

 

Another restaurant attracting many tourists is Californios, located in San Francisco. This restaurant is dedicated to the fusion of Californian and Mexican cuisines, and the result is tastier than Tex-Mex.

 

Chinese Tourists Flock to the West Coast in Search of Nature

Oregon is one of the most pristine tourism destinations in the West Coast of the United States, and this happens to be what many Chinese tourists are looking for these days.

 

Disneyland, Las Vegas and San Francisco are still popular tourism spots for tourists arriving from China, but those who are returning for a second and even third visit are more interested in the sheer natural beauty of Oregon as well as its culinary offerings.

 

According to a recent article published in China Daily, officials in charge of the Oregon Tourism Commission have noticed an emerging trend among Chinese tourists in the sense that they are more attracted to clean water, fresh air, pristine views, fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood cuisine, and craft beers. One of the reasons behind this travel trend is that many cities in China are overly industrialized and have lost their natural beauty.

 

Now that Chinese tourists can be approved for a 10-year travel visa to visit the U.S., tourism officials in Oregon are excited about the opportunity to lure more visitors. At the Active America-China Summit, a tourism industry meeting that took place in Portland in April, attendees noted that the $226 million spent by Chinese tourists in 2016 could be increased with the right marketing approach.

 

The most popular nature attraction for Chinese visitors is the Crater Lake National Park. These tourists are also very interested in visiting craft breweries and catching Portland Trailblazer when teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics visit.

 

Norwegian Airlines Sees Growth in Flights to West Coast

One of the most popular airlines today with consumers is Norwegian Airlines. The airline is well known with consumers for offering comfortable service, in a relatively new airplane cabin, from secondary airports in the United States to destinations all over the world. They offer some year round flight options, but are also known to offer a range of chartered flights to certain destinations are certain times of the year to match demand.

 

While Norwegian Airlines has already offered a range of different flight options, it appears that they are now set to offer a new flight option to customers located in California (http://www.anna.aero/2017/04/03/norwegian-now-links-copenhagen-oakland/). The airline just announced that later this year it will be offering a new long-haul service from Oakland, California directly into Copenhagen. The new flight option will be available all year long, but will only have two direct flights each way per week. Flights will take place on Tuesdays and Saturdays eve week.

 

This will be only the latest flight option to and from Copenhagen offered by the airline. The airline currently has nine additional long-haul options offering directly flights to and from the United States and other key cities across the world. The other long-haul options include Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, Bangkok, and San Juan.

 

Those that are looking to travel to and from Europe from the Bay Area now have a lot of different options. While San Francisco has offered direct flights for years, Oakland has seen a big resurgence due to the airline. Those that want to fly out of the airport to Europe can now get direct flights into a number of different cities including Copenhagen, London, Oslo, and Stockholm. Due to the increased demand for flights into and out of the area, Norwegian Airlines is actively considering other airline and route options as well. At this point, Norwegian Airlines does not face any direct competition for these strategic flights, but there is a good chance that some of the other major airlines around the world will look for ways to compete with the growing and popular airline.

 

Scenic Train Rides on the West Coast

Desperation motivated my first train ride. My car had broken down in Stockton, California and I had just a few hours to get to work in San Jose. 75 miles never seemed so far. Ruling out the bus (too slow) and a taxi (too expensive) I found my way to the A.C.E. train station. A commuter train, the Altamont Corridor Express runs daily from Stockton to San Jose and back. Boarding with the low expectation of a boring ride, I was instead treated to a gorgeous scenic journey through pasture lands and lush canyons. And I could relax with my coffee and actually enjoy the scenery. The short trip opened my eyes to train travel. The following are two of my favorite west coast train rides.

 

Amtrak’s Coast Starlight

 

The Coast Starlight makes an epic 35-hour trip from Los Angeles to Seattle, winding its way through some of the most picturesque parts of California, Oregon and Washington states. The train boasts an observation car with floor to ceiling windows and comfortable, outward facing, chairs to take in the grandeur. The route parallels the California coast before heading inland through rolling hills and vineyards. Although a portion of the journey occurs overnight, you can still witness many amazing lakes and waterways including Lake Shasta, the Columbia River, the Willamette River, Puget Sound and more. Amtrak also permits you to get on and off the train as often as you like, allowing for an extended tour if desired.

 

 Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

 

The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad offers a charming 90-minute trip on board a steam-powered locomotive. This small, tourist train offers a fully open car, a covered car and a fully enclosed and restored passenger car. You can even ride in the engine car for a small additional fee. The train ride is family friendly and allows dogs in the open car. The views of Tillamook Bay are unsurpassed and the surrounding marshlands also offer unforgettable views. The most popular train ride goes between the towns of Rockaway Beach and Garibaldi, with a brief 30-minute layover.

Travel to the Real Life La La Land

The city of Los Angeles features prominently in the film that came so close to winning an Oscar for Best Picture. In La La Land, famous scenes of the freeways make a dazzling appearance, as well as many other landmarks in the city. For those who find themselves yearning for a trip to Los Angeles, there is so much to do in the “City of Stars”.

First, many people like to start with the traditional haunts of the movie stars. Those who love the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood will want to check out all of the celebrities’ stars on Hollywood Boulevard. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is where the footprints and handprints of the famous are displayed, making it easy to see how one’s hands measure up to stars like Marilyn Monroe. Charlie Chaplin fans can take a walk down to his favorite restaurant, which is called Musso & Frank’s and is still in business and serving essentially the same menu today.

For those who appreciate a good view, there’s nothing quite like the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). Hop onto this majestic road and catch a glimpse of the dazzling, pristine Pacific Ocean right beside you. While you’re at it, you can stop at some of the most famous Malibu haunts of all time. Duke’s and Moonshadows are particularly well-known restaurants. If you stay on the PCH long enough, you can drive north all the way to Santa Barbara. This sleepy beach town is known for its picturesque views and stunning beauty.

Although many travelers fly into LAX when they choose to visit Los Angeles, the Burbank Airport is another excellent option. Central to most landmarks in the city—and without the massive amounts of traffic—it is also known as the Bob Hope Airport. Regardless of where you land, you’re bound to love La La Land.

LA Will House George Lucas’ Art Museum

After a long search for a home, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art has found one: Los Angeles. In earlier rounds, some cities, notably Chicago, actively turned down the proposal. In the final round, which also included San Francisco, organizers chose Los Angeles since the museum would impact the area more positively than it would have in the proposed area in San Francisco.

 

The label “narrative art” reflects the nature of Lucas’ collection, which focuses on items that tell a story. Without a doubt, Star Wars memorabilia and artwork will feature strongly in the museum. But the collection will extend to everything from comic book art and Mad magazine covers to paintings and photographs from over the centuries. The museum’s curators will attempt to blur the boundaries between highbrow and lowbrow art.

 

The museum will represent an estimated investment of $1.5 billion, which will include the construction costs, the artwork, and an endowment. Lucas is paying for the museum on his own, which made it an attractive offer for many cities. The Los Angeles Exposition Park eventually won out, possibly in part because it already houses three other major museums.

 

Architects plan to complete the sleek, contoured building, which is reminiscent of something out of Cloud City, by 2020. In addition to being near the Metro line, it will come equipped with parking spaces for 1,800 vehicles. The galleries will be located on an elevated terrace, leaving room for people to walk below. Construction will begin later this year.

 

 

Legislative Effort in Washington State Seeks to Restore Tourism

Over the last few years, the tourism industry of Washington State has mostly languished. The Evergreen State is not the first choice for prospective visitor who wish to discover the wonders of the West Coast of the United States; most people think of California and Oregon, but Washington is not often mentioned.

 

Legislators who wish to revive the Washington tourism industry are pushing for a new marketing campaign and a revitalized office to tap into this important economic resource. Although Washington is blessed by the strong economic contribution of the Seattle Metropolitan Area, lawmakers believe tourism could add even more revenue that could be directed to smaller communities.

 

Washington House Bill 1123 was recently discussed by the Committee on Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs. If approved, the bill would create a new Washington Tourism Marketing Authority and a plan to attract people traveling to the West Coast over the next few years.

 

The legislative proposal would not impose new taxes. Tourism operators believe that Washington is ripe for discovery. Even without marketing, the tourism industry is the fourth largest sector of the state economy; however, this position could fall if marketing continues to be ignored.

 

Tourism could produce an annual gain of $21 billion to Washington State. The best part of this revenue is that it tends to be evenly distributed among sectors and communities. The new marketing program would ostensibly portray the Evergreen State as a region to be discovered beyond Mount Rainier. The program would include an introduction to Native American reservations where tourists are always welcome.

 

Major Solar Eclipse Expected to Boost Tourism in Oregon

Tourism officials in Oregon are preparing for one of the largest influx of visitors to the state in decades. On August 21st, most of Oregon will darken for two minutes in the middle of the morning as the Moon passes across the Sun.

 

A total eclipse of the Sun has not been witnessed in Oregon for more than 40 years. According to astronomers from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the solar eclipse will be a major boost for regional tourism. Oregon Business, a local publication dedicated to the state enterprise, recently reported that campgrounds are being reserved at a frenzied pace months before this cosmological event.

 

Oregon State Park administrators are preparing for a massive arrival of campers from around the world. In fact, park rangers are hoping to create campgrounds in nature reserves that are normally closed to the public or used by researchers.

 

Amateur astronomers are analyzing weather patterns to figure out the best spots to watch the eclipse. Some hotel operators have explained that rooms have been booked years in advance for this event, and the favorite city thus far has been Salem. For many Oregon hoteliers, seeing this high demand is highly unusual in the month of August.

 

The eclipse will be visible from Ontario all the way to Lincoln City on the Central Oregon coast. The best bet for travelers who have not made reservations yet is to look for vacancies in the eastern portion of the state, closer to the Idaho border.

 

Hot Deals For Flights From West Coast To Europe In 2017

Travelers to the U.S. West Coast can now add a flight to Europe to their vacation for an extremely low rate. How low? Well, if travelers act now, they can buy tickets from L.A. or San Francisco to numerous European destinations for only $69.

 

These $69 flights were announced a few weeks ago by the budget airline WOW Air. Flight destinations include Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Stockholm, and Bristol, England.

 

WOW Air executives said this current deal will only last from January 15th to April 5th, but West Coast travelers might get another opportunity to take advantage of these tickets in the future. WOW Air’s founder, Skúli Mogensen, told reporters he didn’t want to announce this deal as just a temporary sale. Instead, Morgensen sees these $69 tickets as the beginning of a new normal for his company.

 

In addition to the West Coast, WOW Air offers a few $99 fares from Miami and Boston to Iceland. Miami deals will occur from April 25th to May 30th and later from August 31st to October 26th. Boston’s $99 one-way tickets to Reykjavík will go on sale from January 16th to April 3rd.

 

In addition to WOW Air’s $69 ticket announcement, Norwegian Air also announced that it will offer a few $69 tickets from the USA to Europe in 2017. Interested travelers can book a trip from NYC to Edinburgh using Norwegian Air’s services.

 

WOW Air was officially founded in Reykjavík, Iceland, in 2011. This low-cost airline has a fleet of 12 planes and flies to 29 destinations in North America and Europe. A few destinations on Wow Air’s list include Pittsburgh, Lyon, Amsterdam, and Toronto.