Listed City Guide - O
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Ohio

Cleveland Travel Guide

Founded in 1796, Cleveland became an industrial town with the opening of the Erie-Ohio Canal that linked the Ohio River to Lake Erie, and the city’s vast iron and coal supplies made it one of the most important steel and shipbuilding centres in the country, a sprawling mass of oil refineries, mills and warehouses along the shores of Lake Erie.

Industrial success poured money into the city and wealthy tycoons built the downtown area that today has outgrown its ‘steel town’ image and is a bustling place, a city of green parklands and lively neighbourhoods with a vibrant atmosphere. Once the heavily-polluted victim of much mockery, its industrial character has moved beyond the city limits and the downtown warehouses and factories now house trendy clubs and restaurants, while museums, and sporting and cultural events attract many visitors to the city.

Located on the southern shore of Lake Erie at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, Cleveland has a growing cultural presence that has been enhanced by newly added attractions such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the enormous Great Lakes Science Center and six-storey OMNIMAX Theatre, and the professional sports arenas and stadiums of the Gateway District that host major sporting events as well as live entertainment.

These are welcome additions to a city already boasting a world-class orchestra, a celebrated art museum, lively theatre district and the restored lakefront area. Neighbourhoods buzz with restaurants and shops, and the Flats, once the industrial heart of the city occupying both banks of the Cuyahoga River, is now the booming entertainment and nightlife district of Cleveland. The historic Warehouse District is downtown’s oldest commercial quarter and is a national Historic Landmark with over 70 fine examples of Victorian architecture. Once housing merchants’ and manufacturers’ goods, the old warehouses are now home to music clubs, galleries and trendy dining spots.

Some miles out of the city centre are two theme parks with some of the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster rides at the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, and the Six Flags Worlds of Adventure in Aurora.

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma City Travel Guide

Oklahoma City, the state capital, has an incredibly rich history, and one that visitors will encounter in many, if not all, of the sites throughout the state.

Today Oklahoma City stretches across more than 600 square miles (965 square km) and is one of the country’s major perpetrators of urban sprawl. In recent years, however, the city has been working to reinvent itself, focusing on downtown revitalization with great success. Most attractions of interest to tourists are located in the inner city districts, beginning with Bricktown, which is bounded by one of the country’s premier minor-league ballparks, home of the RedHawks. Once a clump of old warehouses, Bricktown is now a vibrant collection of trendy condos, shops, restaurants, bars and clubs situated along a picturesque canal. Here visitors can satisfy their every craving for hardy American fare like steak and barbecue ribs.

The Paseo Arts District, built in the 1920s, also boasts a few upmarket cafés and cocktail lounges, though its galleries and studios are the main draw. Other attractions include Stockyards City, right downtown, the largest stocker/feeder cattle market in the world, where visitors can watch live auctions, shop for authentic Western attire and sample stick-to-your-ribs food. Oklahoma City also has plenty of fun attractions for children and families too. Its parks system is one of the most extensive in the country, and its three nearby lakes are lovely spots for camping, fishing and watersports.

Oklahoma City is known as the ‘Horse Show Capital of the World’, and the city’s many equestrian events as well as its multiple museums make for enjoyable family outings. Oklahoma has been said to inspire nostalgia, and its capital city is no exception. Watching the weekend regattas at Lake Hefner in the summer, and ice-skating in the winter under Christmas lights at Bricktown’s outdoor rink, are memories families will not soon forget.

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Oregon

Portland Oregon Travel Guide

The city of Portland, situated at the navigable head point of the Willamette River, was the major port on the American Pacific northwest coast during most of the 19th century. Although not the capital of Oregon, it is the largest city in the state and its commercial centre straddles the Willamette River with neatly planned city blocks.

Portland is today recognised as a fun city for tourists, essentially designed for outdoor living with miles of wilderness trails, woods and waterways within the city limits, all set against the backdrop of the Mount Hood glacier, with its well-loved ski resorts less than an hour away.

The city is known for its stunning gardens, particularly the International Rose Test Garden where many thousands of rose bushes from around the world thrive and bloom. Roses form the centre of the city’s Rose Festival in June, just one of the many unique events that fill Portland’s annual calendar. The other most popular event is the Oregon Brewers Festival, held annually in July, which celebrates the dozens of local micro-breweries, vineyards and distilleries in heady style.

A further attraction of Portland is its superb cuisine and exceptional dining opportunities. The region is renowned for its seafood, berries, pears, hazelnuts, wild game and fresh vegetables, which are all put to good use by some inspired local chefs.

All things considered it is not surprising that Portland is rated as an ideal place for modern travellers to stop and smell the roses.

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OMAN

Muscat Travel Guide

Muscat is the capital and largest city in Oman, but tourists will find that the mundane activity of the busy modern capital is easily forgotten among the exotic delights of bustling markets, cannon-guarded forts, ornate palaces and the historic city harbour. The once important maritime city underwent a resurgence in the 1970s, when the Sultan Qaboos bin Said began to develop museums, mosques, palaces, and to restore relics of Muscat’s history.

Muscat is made up of three cities grown together: the original walled city of Muscat (home to the royal palaces), the former fishing village of Matrah with its maze-like souq, and the commercial and diplomatic area of Ruwi. These areas, along with other districts further from the city centre, each have their own distinct personalities and attractions.

Although Muscat is a popular destination for sightseeing tours, many of the attractions are primarily regular fixtures of Omani life. The mosques are important religious sites, the ancient forts are still operated by the military and the sultan’s palace is the seat of Oman’s government. While this gives visitors an authentic experience, tourists can find playing second fiddle a little inconvenient.

The beauty of the city, especially near the harbour, is what makes Muscat so alluring. The smooth curved stone architecture is a transition from the rocky landscape to the inviting water of the harbour. Many new buildings have continued with classic Arabic architecture, further protecting the city’s legacy from the ravages of the modern world. Muscat is one of the safest, most cosmpolitan and open-minded city in the entire Gulf Region, and is fast becoming a Middle East tourism hotspot.

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