Obama vs. Romney: Travel Showdown

As Obama and Romney near the election countdown, it’s time to answer the question: Who can lay claim to the better travel destinations? Let the debate begin with our city vs. city showdown.

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Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore (Keystone, SD)

Mount Rushmore (Keystone, SD)

You can't get more presidential than Mount Rushmore. This national memorial in South Dakota features the heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

State Capitol Rotunda (Denver, CO)

State Capitol Rotunda (Denver, CO)

The rotunda of the state capitol building in Denver features portraits of all the US presidents. 960 1280

Photo Phiend, flickr  

Greenbrier Resort (White Sulpher Springs, WV)

Greenbrier Resort (White Sulpher Springs, WV)

The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia has played host to 26 US presidents. The last president to stay at the resort during his presidency was Dwight Eisenhower. 960 1280

Bobak Ha'Eri, Wikimedia Commons  

Mount Vernon (Mt. Vernon, VA)

Mount Vernon (Mt. Vernon, VA)

'Visitors watch as "America's smallest parade" takes place at historic Mount Vernon, Virginia near Washington, D.C., February 20, 2006. The U.S. is celebrating President's Day with parades and pageantry throughout the country. REUTERS/Mannie Garcia' 960 1280

© Mannie Garcia / Reuters, JPEGTOII2/MED  

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (Springfield, IL)

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (Springfield, IL)

Visitors look at a depiction of President Abraham Lincoln meeting with his cabinet, while touring the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, IL. 960 1280

Reuters  

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (Washington, DC)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (Washington, DC)

President Clinton touches the statue of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's dog, Fala, as he and first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, view the FDR Memorial. The memorial places Roosevelt, the country's 32nd president, alongside giants of US history, Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson with monuments in the heart of the capital. 960 1280

Reuters  

Harry S. Truman's Farmhouse Sitting Room (Independence, MO)

Harry S. Truman's Farmhouse Sitting Room (Independence, MO)

This humble sitting room is from the farmhouse of President Harry S. Truman, located in Independence, MO. 960 1280

National Park Service  

Dwight D. Eisenhower Childhood Home (Denison,TX)

Dwight D. Eisenhower Childhood Home (Denison,TX)

Dwight D. Eisenhower, born in this house in Denison, TX, rose from modest roots to become Supreme Commander of all Allied forces during World War II and US president from 1953 to 1961. 960 1280

Jim Bowen through the Flickr Creative Commons License  

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum (Simi Valley, CA)

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum (Simi Valley, CA)

Nancy Reagan touches the grave marker of her husband, Ronald Reagan, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CA, on June 5, 2005, the one-year anniversary of his death. 960 1280

Pool/Getty Images  

Monticello (Charlottesville, VA)

Monticello (Charlottesville, VA)

Monticello, near Charlottesville, VA, was designed by Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Adams Tomb (Quincy, MA)

Adams Tomb (Quincy, MA)

The tomb of John Adams (left), second president of the US, is located at the same site as his son, John Quincy Adams (right), sixth president of the US, and their wives, at the United First Parish Church in Quincy, MA. 960 1280

Daderot, via Wikimedia Commons  

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (Boston, MA)

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (Boston, MA)

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, dedicated in 1979, is located on Columbia Point in Boston, MA. The building is the official repository for the original papers and correspondence of the Kennedy Administration. 960 1280

Reuters  

Montpelier (Orange, VA)

Montpelier (Orange, VA)

Montpelier, located near Orange, VA, was a large tobacco plantation and estate of the prominent Madison family of Virginia planters, including James Madison, fourth president of the United States.
960 1280

Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images  

George H.W. Bush Library (College Station, TX)

George H.W. Bush Library (College Station, TX)

Four US presidents pose inside the George H.W. Bush Library in College Station, TX, on November 6, 1997. Shown (L-R) are Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford. 960 1280

REUTERS/Win McNamee  

William J. Clinton Presidential Library (Little Rock, AR)

William J. Clinton Presidential Library (Little Rock, AR)

Exhibit area featuring an exact replica of the Oval Office in the White House at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, AR, November 17, 2004. 960 1280

Reuters  

Missouri Botanical Garden - St. Louis
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis

Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis

From its summer music fest to its holiday flower and train shows, the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis hosts many annual events. But the garden easily stands on its own, with 79 acres of beautiful displays that include a 14-acre Japanese garden, garden founder Henry Shaw's original 1850 estate home, and one of the world's largest collections of rare and endangered orchids. 960 1280

Missouri Botanical Garden  

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA

Southern charm abounds at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. Its stunning classical domed conservatory houses an orchid collection, as well as an annual butterfly exhibit (Memorial Day weekend through mid-October). A giant accessible tree house is part of the garden’s interactive children’s area. And in the winter, the garden dazzles with an annual display of more than half a million lights. 960 1280

Don Williamson Photography  

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Columbus, OH

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Columbus, OH

Large greenhouses make visiting Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, OH, easy year-round. The conservatory houses more than 400 species of plants in environments that include desert and rain-forest habitats. Seasonal displays of blooms, from colorful bulbs to varieties of conifers and grasses, span the outdoor gardens. There is also a unique glassblowing pavilion for demos and classes. 960 1280

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens  

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

You’ll quickly dispel any notion of a lifeless and colorless desert landscape when visiting the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. With a distinct mission of focusing solely on desert plants, the garden’s 145 acres showcase more than 50,000 plants, including a unique collection of cacti. The garden is great to explore year-round, but spring is especially popular for the annual butterfly exhibit and wildflower blooms. 960 1280

Desert Botanical Garden  

ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden, Albuquerque, NM

ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden, Albuquerque, NM

Located in Albuquerque, NM, on the banks of the Rio Grande, the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden has 36 acres of gardens to explore along more than 1 1/2 miles of paths. Two popular exhibits are the Japanese garden, which was designed by noted landscape architect Toru Tanaka, and the children’s garden, which is guarded by a 14-foot topiary dragon. The BioPark also includes a zoo and aquarium. 960 1280

ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden  

United States Botanic Garden, Washington, DC

United States Botanic Garden, Washington, DC

One of the oldest botanical gardens in North America, the United States Botanic Garden was established by Congress in 1820. Located adjacent to the Capitol, this small garden packs a big punch. A conservatory and 2 outdoor areas display a collection of some 65,000 plants, including rare finds such as ferns that date nearly as far back as the garden’s founding. Like at the nearby Smithsonian museums, admission is free. 960 1280

United States Botanic Garden  

San Francisco Botanical Garden, San Francisco

San Francisco Botanical Garden, San Francisco

It’s all about the San Francisco Botanical Garden's magnolias from mid-January through March. During this time, nearly 100 rare magnolias erupt in vibrant pink and white flowers. If you miss the magnolias, you can still feast your eyes on a towering redwood grove and rare cloud forest plants. The garden is located in Golden Gate Park, which is also home to a Japanese garden and flower conservatory. 960 1280

FarOutFlora, flickr   

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta

Take a 600-foot-long canopy walk among the branches of oaks, hickories and poplars while looking down on native azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas, perennials and bulbs. That’s just one of the fantastic ways to experience the Atlanta Botanical Garden. There is also an orchid center, which has the largest collection of orchid species on permanent display in the US; a garden pond filled with aquatic plants; and a children’s garden with fountains, sculptures and fun exhibits on botany and ecology. 960 1280

Deborah Dimond, flickr  

New York Botanical Garden, New York City

New York Botanical Garden, New York City

You’ll find this 250-acre oasis in the middle of the Big Apple. The New York Botanical Garden's historic, Victorian-style glass house provides a world tour of 11 distinct plant habitats, including a tropical rain forest and desert environments of the Americas and Africa. Two of the garden’s major events are its spring orchid exhibit and its winter train show. 960 1280

Lorraine Boogich/ iStock/ Getty Images  

Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago

Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago

Spanning 26 gardens and 4 natural areas, the Chicago Botanic Garden draws about a million people annually. At nearly 400 acres, it is one of the largest botanical gardens in the US. And its collection of 185 bonsai is one of the best public displays of the miniature masterpieces, with works by bonsai master Susumu Nakamura. Considered a living museum, the garden also does groundbreaking plant conservation research. 960 1280

Dawn Demaske/ iStock/ Getty Images  

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, FL

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, FL

Southern Florida’s climate makes for year-round growing at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden near Miami. Among its gems are rare exotic fruit species, including mangosteens, cacao and vanilla orchids. The 83-acre garden also has a butterfly conservatory that showcases almost 3,000 exotic butterflies. Visitors can watch them hatch and be released into the conservatory. 960 1280

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden  

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Dallas

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Dallas

Dallas is known as the city that does it big, and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden doesn’t hold back. Its spring flower fest is the largest in the Southwest, featuring more than 500,000 blooms, and in the fall, the garden becomes a pumpkin village, with over 50,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The 8-acre children’s area includes more than 150 interactive games and a 20-foot-high waterfall. 960 1280

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden  

Tour de France’s 100th
Tour de France’s 100th

Tour de France’s 100th

Cycling’s premier annual event marks its 100th anniversary in 2013. The very first Tour de France comprised a 5-stage race, beginning in Paris and stopping in Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes before returning to Paris. Today, the race typically spans 21 days and a total of 2,000 miles; 2013’s Tour de France will start in Corsica, in the city of Porto-Vecchio, and finish at dusk in Paris. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Grand Central’s 100th

Grand Central’s 100th

This megadaddy of rail travel turns 100 in 2013. Spanning 48 acres, the grand Beaux-Arts-designed terminal has risen and fallen (it went into bankruptcy in 1970 and even faced potential demolition), and risen again. Today, the hub is the world’s sixth most visited tourist attraction, according to a Travel + Leisure survey. 960 1280

Katie Hards   

Groundhog Day at 20

Groundhog Day at 20

Thank the 1993 Bill Murray flick for catapulting this furry little guy onto the national scene. 2013 marks the American comedy-turned-classic’s 20th anniversary. Celebrate with a trip to the central Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney, where thousands have gathered each year since 1886 to await Punxsutawney Phil’s end-of-winter predictions. According to records dating back to 1887, Phil’s been accurate 39% of the time. 960 1280

Getty Images  

125 Years of Nat Geo

125 Years of Nat Geo

Many leaders have had the National Geographic Society to thank for kindling their imagination in exploring the world around them. Among them was America’s 36th president LBJ -- he once said, “My mother brought me up by putting the Bible in my right hand and the National Geographic magazine in my left.” 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Amsterdam’s Big Year

Amsterdam’s Big Year

Amsterdam sees an epic year of milestones ahead: In 2013, Amsterdam marks the 175th birthday of the Artis Royal Zoo, the nation's most famous zoo, which houses 900 species of animals. The Dutch capital is also celebrating the 400th anniversary of its famed Canal Ring, which has given Amsterdam the moniker, "Venice of the North." 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Hitchcock’s The Birds 50th

Hitchcock’s The Birds 50th

One day, without warning, this idyllic coastal town in Sonoma County, CA, was attacked by … the birds! Who can ever look at birds the same way after watching Hitchcock’s suspense-horror classic, which turns 50 in 2013. Mark the occasion with a visit to Bodega Bay, and keep a watchful eye on the sky -- you just never know. 960 1280

iStock  

Harley-Davidson at 110

Harley-Davidson at 110

The freedom of the open road, the need for speed -- this journey began 110 years ago in Milwaukee. In 1903, the granddaddy of American motorcycle manufacturers got its start in a small machine shop, where a 23-year-old engineering genius William Sylvester Harley toiled away. Harley worked on a “motor-cycle” with childhood friend Arthur Davidson; the rest is bad-ass history. 960 1280

iStock  

The Drive-In Turns 70

The Drive-In Turns 70

This icon of American pop culture became official 70 years ago, when a chemical company magnate was granted a patent for his invention: an outdoor theater. From humble beginnings (the first drive-in opened in Pennsauken Township, NJ), the drive-in movie theater peaked in popularity from the late 1950s to early 1960s. You can relive the glory days at retro drive-ins like Sandell Theater in Clarendon, TX. 960 1280

Orange County Archives, flickr  

Lamborghini at 50

Lamborghini at 50

You are what you drive. Who’d want to admit that -- unless, of course, you’re driving this motor-sportin’ beaut. Fifty years ago, the Italian luxury sports car manufacturer got its start in the northern Italian town of Sant'Agata Bolognese. In May 2013, the automaker celebrates by hosting a 700-mile road trip through northern and central Italy. Andiamo! 960 1280

Ben_in_london, flickr  

David Livingstone's 200th

David Livingstone's 200th

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Why, indeed it is: 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the famed Scottish explorer’s birth. At the age of 27, the young missionary headed for Africa. Fascinated by the continent’s beauty, he went on to spend 30 years in places such as modern-day Botswana and Zambia. In the end, his one regret was that he hadn’t spent enough time with his children. Honor the great doctor’s legacy; take the kids on safari. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Elvis’ Aloha from Hawaii 40th

Elvis’ Aloha from Hawaii 40th

We’re caught in a trap, I can’t walk out … and why would you want to? Not when the setting is the beautiful Aloha State. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the King’s live concert from the capital city of Honolulu. Celebrate Elvis’ love of all things Hawaiian with your own journey to his favorite spots, like Hanauma Bay, featured in his films Blue Hawaii and Paradise, Hawaiian Style. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Emancipation Proclamation's 150th

Emancipation Proclamation's 150th

With a stroke of the pen, Abraham Lincoln opened the door to the eradication of America’s greatest evil. The end of slavery would not come with the simple signing of this executive order on Jan. 1, 1863, but it did make abolition an official goal of the Civil War. Revisit that chapter in the exhibit “Changing America,” at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History through Sept. 15, 2013. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Gettysburg at 150

Gettysburg at 150

“Four score and 7 years ago …” The passion of Abraham Lincoln’s words, all 272 of them, gave meaning to what history would record as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Relive this pivotal moment in US history with a trip to this stretch of southern Pennsylvania, during the 150th anniversary year of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

I Have a Dream Turns 50

I Have a Dream Turns 50

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; stand in the exact spot where MLK delivered his speech at the Lincoln Memorial. 2013 sees other big civil rights anniversaries, including the 100th birthday of the “first lady of civil rights” Rosa Parks and the 50th anniversary of protests in Birmingham, AL, that triggered a national dialogue about the need for civil rights for African-American citizens. 960 1280

Getty Images  

West Virginia's 150th

West Virginia's 150th

The Mountain State marks its 150th anniversary in 2013. In June 1863, at the height of the Civil War, an expanse of land in the Appalachian Mountain range broke away from the state of Virginia, becoming the only state to form by seceding from the Confederacy. Among West Virginia’s must-see sites is the New River Gorge, a 3,030-foot-long steel arch bridge near Fayetteville, WV. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Photos

In 1963, nearly 300,000 protestors headed to the nation's capital for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which was a step in the right direction for passing the Civil Rights Act of1964. 960 1280

Library of Congress  

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his memorable 'I Have a Dream' speech at this spot on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963. 960 1280

Getty  

On March 30, 1965, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King led protestors in a march from Selma, AL, to the capitol in Montgomery to fight for black voting rights. 960 1280

Getty  

Martin Luther King Jr. slept in Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN, on the night before he was assassinated while standing on the hotel's balcony in 1968. 960 1280

Reuters  

The Lorraine Motel is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum, which chronicles the civil rights movement and provides opportunities to learn more about peace and justice in our world. 960 1280

Reuters  

Visitors pay their respects to Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King at the crypt at the King Center in Atlanta. 960 1280

Reuters  

Martin Luther King Jr. was the pastor at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church & Parsonage in Montgomery, AL, between 1954 and 1960. Today, you can take a tour of the church and parsonage, both National Historic Landmarks. 960 1280

Library of Congress  

Two great civil rights leaders are celebrated at the intersection of Rosa Parks Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Detroit. 960 1280

Reuters  

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati celebrates our country's civil rights heroes from the days of slavery and the Underground Railroad to modern times. 960 1280

Farshid Assassi/Assassi Productions  

In 1955, Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white man. This action rocked the country and sparked another battle in the war for civil rights. Today, the public can step on the bus where it all began at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. 960 1280

Getty  

The Rosa Parks Museum tells the tale of the 'victory ride' and the 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system that happened after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on the bus. 960 1280

Getty  

Rosa Parks passed away in 2005 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit. 960 1280

Getty  

Martin Luther King Jr. preached about nonviolence and peace from the pulpit of the original Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, which was across the street from the new sanctuary on the grounds of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site. 960 1280

  

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

In October 2011, after more than 2 decades of planning, the MLK Memorial opened in Washington, DC. Critics were unhappy with “drum major” quote abbreviation (pictured); the Department of Interior has since announced the quote will be removed. 960 1280

PBS NewsHour, flickr  

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