11 Tourist Traps that Are Actually Worth Visiting - United Hub
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11 tourist traps that are actually worth visiting

By The Hub team, November 23, 2016

You travel to see the world, not to wait in three-hour lines to make it to the top of an overpriced observatory deck. That said, certain proverbial “tourist traps" are totally worth the time, money and proximity to sweaty, disgruntled teen tours. Here are 11 of them.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon

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The Grand Canyon (Arizona)

You could visit the Grand Canyon 100 times and always walk away feeling completely awestruck. While the South Rim draws almost 90 percent of tourists for its breathtaking vistas, and it shouldn't be missed, you can escape the crowds by also venturing to the North Rim's less frequented trails.

Statue of Liberty, New York

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Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty (New York)

Look, New Yorkers--we'll forgive you for avoiding the overpriced Empire State Building observation deck. But a trip to Ellis Island and Liberty Island is a must. The place is full of history, and you can even scan the books and try to find your family name among the 12 million immigrants who passed through from 1892 to 1954.

Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo

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Tsukiji Fish Market (Tokyo)

We're always wary of places deemed the “number-one, must-see spot" in any given city. But Japan's largest fish market is 100 percent worth it. Go at 5 a.m. to see the live bluefin tuna auctions, where the best-looking, biggest fish sell for unthinkable prices. Before you leave, make sure to grab a traditional sushi breakfast.

The White House in Washington D.C.

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The White House (Washington, D.C.)

OK, it might sound obvious, but no trip to the nation's capital is complete without a visit to what is possibly the most important political site in America. Arranging a self-guided tour through the White House takes a little effort (in fact, you have to submit a request through your congressman). But the experience is well worth the extra legwork, and hey, how many people can say they went to the president's house?

Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

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Anne Frank House (Amsterdam)

If you're going to do just one educational activity in Amsterdam, let it be a visit to the secret annex where the Frank family hid during WWII. The exhibits, videos and commentary are exceptionally well done, and you can even skip the massive lines by buying your tickets in advance.

Sacre Coeur/Montmartre in Paris

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Sacré Coeur/Montmartre (Paris)

Perched atop Montmartre hill on the fringes of the city, Sacré Coeur basilica offers one of the most postcard-perfect, panoramic views of Paris. Climb about 200 winding stairs to the dome, and see the 21 arrondissements sprawl out before you.

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro

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Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro)

Watching over Rio from the top of Corcovado Mountain, Christ the Redeemer stands 125 feet tall with arms wide open. Getting to the iconic sculpture is an adventure on its own--pick a clear day to take the scenic tram ride 700 meters above sea level, through the lush Tijuca rainforest to the top of the mountain.

Alcatraz in San Francisco

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Alcatraz (San Francisco)

Alcatraz is one of the rare attractions that both locals and tourists can enjoy. The ferry ride over, offering sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and mainland San Francisco, is impressive all on its own.But the real reason to go is to see the prison where Al "Scarface" Capone and Robert Stroud (the so-called Birdman of Alcatraz) once served time.

Angkor Wat in Cambodia

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Angkor Wat (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

Cambodia's most iconic temple, Angkor Wat, is sacred in both Hinduism and Buddhism. But religion aside, this relic of the 9th- to 15th-century Khmer Empire is one of the most incredible architectural accomplishments of ancient times. You could spend an entire day exploring the moats, towers, forests and intricate details that surround it.

The Great Wall of China

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The Great Wall of China (Beijing)

Sure, you'll be walking with thousands of sweaty people on any given day, but there's a reason why the Great Wall is one of the world's most visited destinations. The 5,500-mile granite, brick and stone wall was built mostly by hand, with some portions dating back to 770 B.C. Head to the restored section at Mutianyu (about 45 miles outside of central Beijing) for a less crowded experience.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

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The Blue Lagoon (Iceland)

Don't go expecting your own personal hot tub, but the Blue Lagoon--a 40-minute drive from downtown Reykjavík--is pretty incredible. The geothermal pool, set on a lava field, is bubbling with rich minerals believed to help a variety of skin ailments. Even durling Icelandic winter when the days are cold, dark and short, the teal, thermal water feels like dream and illuminates the otherworldly landscape.

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Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

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