Tag: Bad Rap Cities

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Five Cities With a Bad Rap: Oakland, 2 Legit 2 Quit

October 23, 2009 at 2:53 PM | by | Comments (2)

Some locales canít seem to shake their less-than-sparkling reputations despite efforts to lock away the skeletons of yesterday. Weíve decided to highlight five of these Bad Rap Cities that are making moves to shed their grimy and gritty images in hopes of becoming more tourist-friendly. Maybe, just maybe, after reading this series you'll be willing to take a chance on them. Enjoy.

Bad Rap City: OaklandWhy Go?
Despite what you may have heard, Oakland isnít a head-to-toe gang-riddled Dodge City. In fact, the word out now is that many parts are super chill and exemplify the real California state-of-mind, more so than high-energy San Francisco, less than 30 minutes away across the bay. True thereís evidence of poverty and homelessness on major streets like Broadway, but youíll find that element in any Big City, U.S.A.

Here, blue and white-collar professionals live side-by-side, with more blending of races than ever before. There have been plenty of renovations in the city, especially in tourist-friendly Jack London Square (JLS) and the Oakland CVBís website is a wealth of info on all thatís new in the city.

Another plus? Itís often cheaper to fly into Oakland than SFO thanks to Southwest and JetBlue (psst..there are rumblings of Ryan Air joining the low-cost carrier mix). Besides, how can you not visit the city that brought us MC Hammer? C'mon, you know you liked him, too.

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Five Cities With a Bad Rap: Naples, Cosa Nostra

Where: Naples, Italy
October 22, 2009 at 2:28 PM | by | Comment (1)

Some locales canít seem to shake their less-than-sparkling reputations despite efforts to lock away the skeletons of yesterday. Weíve decided to highlight five of these Bad Rap Cities that are making moves to shed their grimy and gritty images in hopes of becoming more tourist-friendly. Maybe, just maybe, after reading this series you'll be willing to take a chance on them. Enjoy.

Bad Rap City: Naples

Why Go?
The revitalization projects have seen a vast improvement in the overall vibe, with middle-class neighborhoods like the Vomero cropping up all over the city, but locals insist the media ignores it, preferring instead to continue casting Napoli in a bad light. But there are lots of efforts to clean up Naples' act, literally, from the mayorís tax incentive to pretty up buildings' grim exteriors to the current construction boom designed to expand and improve the underground metro system.

A multimillion-euro project is also underway to revamp the Port of Naples into a sleek cruise ship terminal and shop-filled walkway designed greet and impress the one-million passengers passing through each year. So,if itís been a while since you visited Naples, chances are you wouldnít recognize it now.

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Five Cities With a Bad Rap: Madrid Is 'Muy Bien, Gracias'

Where: Madrid, Spain
October 21, 2009 at 1:47 PM | by | Comments (2)

Some locales canít seem to shake their less-than-sparkling reputations despite efforts to lock away the skeletons of yesterday. Weíve decided to highlight five of these Bad Rap Cities that are making moves to shed their grimy and gritty images in hopes of becoming more tourist-friendly. Maybe, just maybe, after reading this series you'll be willing to take a chance on them. Enjoy.

Bad Rap City: Madrid

Why Go?
Just like Barcelona, Madrid has a rep for being a Thieves Paradise. Many post-trip reviews are peppered with tales of pickpockets roaming the streets in droves, armed with purse-cutting knives. Add to that the declarations that local men are lecherous louts, and female travelers become skittish about visiting alone. But forget the fear mongerers rantings and head to this beautiful city that is chock full of impressive art, delectable cuisine and is a nightowlís dream.

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Five Cities With a Bad Rap: Kingston, Mon

October 20, 2009 at 2:33 PM | by | Comments (2)

Some locales canít seem to shake their less-than-sparkling reputations despite efforts to lock away the skeletons of yesterday. Weíve decided to highlight five of these Bad Rap Cities that are making moves to shed their grimy and gritty images in hopes of becoming more tourist-friendly. Maybe, just maybe, after reading this series you'll be willing to take a chance on them. Enjoy.

Bad Rap City: Kingston, Jamaica

Why Go?
Weíve all seen the "Come to JamaicaĒ ads encouraging folks to experience the sparkling sea and sand with a side of reggae and jerk chicken. But those commercials never shout-out Kingston, the islandís capital. Mention the city thatís a half-million strong and youíre likely to hear a sharp intake of breath followed by mutterings of murder and mayhem. But donít believe all the hype, says Kaci Hamilton, a travel writer and Kingstonian. ďPeople are very hospitable here. You get invited to their homes for dinner, to go sailing or even play golf.Ē

She admits that crime and violence is endemic in certain areas of Kingston(stay clear of the West End), but many parts of the city are safe,surprisingly wealthy and quite beautiful, like tourist-friendly New Kingston.

Smart travelers should employ the same sense they use everywhere they goókeep eyes and ears open and stay clear of dodgy-looking places. For intrepid travelers with a sense of adventure, thereís much to discover here. Oh, and JetBlue begins service from JFK to Kingston on October 31st, with flights starting at $258 roundtrip!

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Five Cities With a Bad Rap: Detroit, The Motor City

October 19, 2009 at 4:36 PM | by | Comments (7)

Some locales canít seem to shake their less-than-sparkling reputations despite efforts to lock away the skeletons of yesterday. Weíve decided to highlight five of these Bad Rap Cities that are making moves to shed their grimy and gritty images in hopes of becoming more tourist-friendly. Maybe, just maybe, after reading this series you'll be willing to take a chance on them. Enjoy.

Bad Rap City: Detroit

Why Go?
Despite the auto industryís depressed state, the Motor City has plenty of bright spots. This is Motown, so soul permeates the streets as well as an admirable air of survival. Even Hollywood has infiltrated the city, filming shows like HBOís "Hung," and making movies like "Red Dawn" and "Gran Torino" on its streets.

People are passionate here, especially when it involves politics and sports, and they donít apologize for their opinions. Yes, Detroit is a bit messy-- one street can sport beautiful new buildings, but a block away lies a condemned property awaiting its fate--either remodel or eternal eyesore.

Those still raising their eyebrows over Detroit are usually older folks still channeling 1967 riot memories or referring to neighborhoods where tourists wouldnít visit anyway unless they were courting trouble. And the tales of government corruption? Meh. Unless you plan on moving there, itís nothing the average visitor would experience. Our advice? Ignore the naysayers and head to Michigan.

After all, a place that counts Aretha Franklin, Madonna and Robert Frost as natives canít be all that bad.

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