Daily Mail

These snippets are from a series of guides for the Daily Mail's web site, www.thisistravel.co.uk. Each piece is 7,000-9,000 words long, detailing tourist destinations, history, culture, cuisine and travel tips.


Miami’s come a long way, baby – but, as locals say, the melting pot is in danger of melting down. It’s home to the USA’s largest street party, but immigrants flood into this city and live in squalid conditions, many unable to speak English. Art Deco style blooms alongside animal sacrifice, drug smugglers drift by beaches covered with sunburnt families. Underneath that clubland veneer, things still disappear in the Everglades.

This volatile city – dancing on the divide between Latina and Americana – promises neon and nightlife, beaches and bionic bodies, rum and rumba. Miami’s a town without a blueprint, a new frontier. Watch your wallet, and yourself, and have a wild time. See Miami guide


Not all California food is macrobiotic rabbit fodder, thrice blessed by a pagan priestess. In fact, a very foodie cultures thrives on the "Left" Coast. And fusion cooking – otherwise known as California cuisine – has converted the world to multicultural flavouring and fresh ingredients (www.californiacuisine.cc).

Breakfast (following mandatory yoga and jogging) ranges from bagels to hazel-nut waffles. Fry-ups are a fading memory, replaced with egg-and-avocado tortillas, whole-grain breads, yoghurt and – wait for it – granola. Wash it all down with a triple-shot tall semi-skim cappuccino with almond and dry foam or a fresh-squeezed, vitamin-enhanced super-juice. See California guide


Chicago is a mythic American city, the blues-singing blue collar of the nation. Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sandburg called it "a tall bold slugger set vivid against the soft little cities." And he wasn’t wrong.

The capital of the Midwest stands tall on the tail-end of Lake Michigan in Illinois. It’s a brash town, despite goofy nicknames: the Second City, the Windy City and City of the Big Shoulders. Chicago rises above its foul slaughterhouses, corrupt politicians, gangsters and (formerly) sewage-filled river.

America’s third-largest city is the cradle of jazz and blues; home to world-class museums, arts and symphony; nurturer of literary talent from Upton Sinclair to David Mamet and Nobel-prize laureates Saul Bellow and Ernest Hemingway. See Chicago guide

San Francisco

San Francisco remains America’s most liberal city, where sex workshops count for college credit. Freewheeling and funky, it’s the birthplace of blue jeans, mountain bikes and topless waitressing. Yet the city isn’t all whimsy: the United Nations, Visa, Access and Bank of America also began by the Bay.

As celebrated columnist Herb Caen wrote: "Greetings and welcome to San Francisco, city of the world, worlds within a city ... Marvel at our giddy combination of Kookville and High Kultur, busyness and booziness, millionaires stepping daintily over passed-out winos, hot-pantzed ladies of the night throwing themselves at your passing car. Enjoy yourselves, but don’t stay too long. Parking is such street sorrow." See San Francisco guide


The word majestic is over-used – but inescapable – in the Rocky Mountains. Three thousand miles of snow-capped peaks do that to a person’s vocabulary. Teddy Roosevelt even called it "scenery that bankrupts the English language".

Add geysers, glaciers, grizzly bears, buffalo, ghost towns, hot springs, prime ski slopes ... and most folks are left plumb speechless. And that’s just fine, because strong and silent works in the Wild West. How you ski – or climb or ride or hike – counts more than mere words. See Rockies guide


Battle of the theme parks
Feature: The Walt Disney World Resort, the mouse-king of Florida tourism, is losing ground to Universal Entertainment.

Greece 2004: beyond the Olympics
Feature: Many families are hesitant to plunge into the crowded, smoggy capital at peak season. They want a taste of Greek glamour – without eating the whole souvlaki. The solution couldn’t be more pleasant: head to the islands. After all, the nation boasts 227 options (and that’s just the inhabited ones).

Olympic Challenges
Feature: Athens has embraced the Olympic motto –- "swifter, higher, stronger" – as the city prepares for the 2004 Summer Games. It may also have added "dearer"...

Other guides include New England and Boston.

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