Jenn Leikensohn's Posts (119)

The San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants have created some fan-friendly spots at their ballpark, AT&T Park. Located beyond the outfield wall, the Portwalk offers sweeping views of San Francisco Bay and a peek at the game. Fans are encouraged to take in an inning or two and then give way to others. McCovey Point and China Basin Park, directly across from AT&T Park, yields dramatic vistas, picnic areas and even a small baseball diamond. A statue of Willie McCovey, perhaps the most beloved Giant of all, anchors the northeastern portion of the park. A 570-foot-long seat wall features historic markers representing every Giants team from 1958 through 1999.

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Even on vacation, kids sometimes just want to play. So why not take a play break in one of San Francisco’s playgrounds?

While Golden Gate Park’s cherished Children’s Playground, the first children’s playground in a public park in America, is currently being renovated to comply with ADA requirements, there are several other playgrounds within the park: Fulton Playground, J.F. Kennedy Drive at Ninth Avenue; Panhandle Playground, between Oak and Fell streets; and Mother’s Meadow, Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive near 19th Avenue.

Other neighborhood playgrounds include the Chinese Recreation Center located at Washington and Mason streets, Portsmouth Square at Kearny and Clay streets, North Beach Playground at Lombard and Mason streets, Mountain Lake at Lake and Ninth avenue, the Rooftop at Moscone Center at Fourth and Howard streets, and Nob Hill’s Huntington Park at California and Taylor streets, and Balboa Park, Ocean and San Jose avenues.

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San Francisco Museums

San Francisco’s family-oriented museums are free at least one day each month and in many cases, free always for children 12 and under. The Asian Art Museum has created special Target Sundays family programming. The free admission on the first Sunday of each month features storytelling and yoga sessions each month. On Target First Free Sundays during special exhibitions, the museum often presents films and performances related to the cultural background of the artworks on view.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) in Yerba Buena Gardens also has an appealing array of kid-friendly activities. Free the first Tuesday of every month, SFMOMA’s second floor houses the Koret Visitor Information Center which is staffed by friendly educators eager to answer questions and help young artists browse through art books, view a community art gallery and play with Art Cards, a gallery exploration activity.

Located in Golden Gate Park and newly remodeled, the California Academy of Sciences’ “inside-out” design provides a behind-the-scenes look at aquatic life support systems for the Steinhart Aquarium. Visitors can meet biologists who care for more than 5,000 animals, and — if they’re lucky — can even help them feed the fish. Admission is free the third Wednesday of the month.

While there’s some usually pretty serious business going on down below, the rooftop above Moscone Center South on Howard Street is the perfect setting for a lighthearted escape. There’s a playground, carousel, ice skating rink and bowling alley. The western corner is anchored by Zeum, a multimedia arts and technology museum where kids and families can explore creativity through hands-on programs such as clay animation, video production and more. It’s free for tots two and under.

The face of a child, composed of more than 2,000 photographs submitted from individuals around the world, beckons at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) located at Third and Mission streets. MoAD is a collector of stories and through the coupling of art, culture and technology it is telling the story of the African Diaspora. History comes alive with “first person” narratives, storytelling and poetry events, and living history presentations. MoAD is free for children 12 and under.

Located on the same block of Mission Street, the Cartoon Art Museum, the only one of its kind on the West Coast, displays rotating exhibitions of art from comic books, animated movies, magazines, advertisements and newspapers as well as sculpture and video, with works dating from the 1730s to the present. The museum exhibits range from a children’s gallery and caricatures to editorial cartoons, the avant-garde and underground comics. The first Tuesday of every month is “pay what you wish day.”

At its new location along the waterfront at Pier 15, the Exploratorium is a playground for ideas. In the vanguard of the movement of the “museum as an educational center,” the Exploratorium offers hundreds of interactive exhibits in the areas of science, art and human perception. Admission is free on 5 select days each year.

The Wells Fargo History Museum in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District takes visitors back to the Gold Rush era with its displays of gold nuggets, rare artifacts, interactive exhibits and a stagecoach that visitors can hop aboard. Always free.

The one-of-a-kind San Francisco Cable Car Museum deserves special attention. In the historic Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse, the site where the cable system has operated since 1907, visitors can view the actual cable winding machinery as it reels 11 miles of steel at a steady pace of nine-and-a-half miles per hour. Antique cable cars are also on display, including the first one dating from 1873. Always free. It only takes $5 to ride a cable car, the only moving national historic landmark in America, to the museum via the Powell-Hyde or Powell-Mason lines.

Just as the cable car is the United States’ only mobile national landmark, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in Fisherman’s Wharf is its only floating National Park. Home to the world’s largest collection of historic ships, it includes the 1886 square rigger Balclutha, an 1890 ferryboat Eureka and the steam tug Hercules. Admission to board the ships is $5, under age 17 free; strolling the pier is free. Scheduled events and activities include sea chantey sing-a-longs, birding, tours of the Eureka engine room and crabbin’ “how tos” off Municipal Pier. An enormous Fresnel lens, once used in the Farallon Island lighthouse, marks the entrance of the nearby Visitor Center at the corner of Hyde and Jefferson streets in the 1907 Haslett Warehouse building. Uniformed rangers staff the information desk or one can just simply sail through the fun and interactive panels and displays to learn more about San Francisco’s colorful and diverse maritime heritage.

A project of the San Francisco Fire Department Historical Society, the San Francisco Fire Department Museum displays a collection of vintage equipment including hose tenders and steamers; photographs and memorabilia, especially from the dozens of volunteer fire companies. Always free.

Snuggled up against Potrero Hill, the San Francisco Center for the Book offers free Family Bookmaking Days in addition to exhibits celebrating the book arts. Kids learn the intricacies of pop-ups, accordion folds and discover even a CD case has literary inclinations.

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Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is an oasis for outdoor enthusiasts and one full day is barely enough to explore its 1,017 acres encompassing free-to-the-public meadows, lakes, rose gardens, an arboretum, a rhododendron dell, music concourse, a children’s playground, a buffalo paddock and the tallest artificial waterfall in the West. Nominal admission fees are charged at the Japanese Tea Garden (free from 9 to 10 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday), the Conservatory of Flowers and the beautifully restored carousel in the Children’s Playground (currently being renovated, carousel hours of operation may vary; call 415-812-2725 to confirm). The first Tuesday of each month admission charges are banished at the de Young Museum (see “Museums”). The new design offers twice the exhibition space of the old building and gives the public access to a third of the museum free of charge day in and day out. The third Wednesday of the month is free for all comers at the new California Academy of Sciences. On Sundays and holidays, the park is free of cars on Kennedy Drive from 19th Avenue to Stanyan, when bicyclists and in-line skaters bring their own “vehicles” or rent from a nearby shop or stand.

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49-Mile Scenic Drive

49-Mile Scenic Drive The famous 49-Mile Scenic Drive through San Francisco is dotted with 49 renowned places, such as Civic Center, Chinatown, Twin Peaks, Lake Merced, Mission Dolores, Fisherman’s Wharf and Fort Mason Center. For a break from the road, savor a picnic lunch at Marina Green and watch the weekend yacht races, windsurfing and sail boating. Be sure to look up, too. Master kite flyers practice their craft here with centipede and delta style kites. When summer comes around, Sigmund Stern Grove is the place to go for free concerts. Performers are always top notch and include the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet. Maps outlining the drive are available at the SFCVB Visitor Information Center, 900 Market St. (lower level, Hallidie Plaza at Market and Powell streets, where the Powell Street cable cars turn around).

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Locals know the best way to discover the heart of San Francisco is to take a stroll through her unique neighborhoods. While self-guided walking tours are easy, ambling with the experts can be even more fun. San Francisco’s historical and architectural highlights, tall tales, and gold rush lore unfold at your feet thanks to narrated San Francisco City Guides walking tours. Most walks take one to two hours and reservations are not needed, except for groups of eight or more.

Stroll through the haunts of the original 49ers — the 1849ers — on the "Gold Rush City" tour. Learn the story of the Golden Gate Bridge or meander among the murals of the Mission to experience vivid artwork-covered walls. Kids will enjoy the Fire Department Museum Tour, where they can take a look at San Francisco’s first fire truck and other relics as well as listen to stories of fires gone by. Tours are also offered through the Ferry Building, North Beach, Chinatown, Market Street, the Palace of Fine Arts, Japantown and more. Contact City Guides, 415-557-4266, to discuss which tours are most appropriate for toddlers, school-age kids or teens.

Tours of San Francisco’s majestic City Hall are also offered Monday-Friday at 10 am, noon and 2 pm. Designed by architects Arthur Brown, Jr. and John Bakewell, Jr., it is regarded by many as one of the finest examples of municipal Beaux Arts architecture in the world. Sign up for tours at the information desk on the first floor.

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Yerba Buena Gardens Festival: A splendid array of 100 events unfolds from May through October in The Esplanade of Yerba Buena Gardens, Fourth and Mission streets. Opera, performance art, international music concerts, dance performances, children’s programs, theatre, visual arts, puppet shows, cultural festivals, special events, classical and jazz concerts — hardly a day passes without something scheduled. This hothouse of culture also includes the annual San Francisco Theater Festival in July, puppetry and storytelling, and an annual Halloween costume parade.

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The San Francisco Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo is Northern California’s largest zoological park with more than 225 species of animals in naturalistic settings. Highlights include the African Savanna, Lemur Forest, Meerkats and Prairie Dogs, the Feline Conservation Center, Otter River, Eagle Island, Gorilla World, Penguin Island, Sumatran tigers, African wart hog exhibit and Koala Crossing. The Children’s Zoo gives young folks the thrill of feeding and petting their favorite barnyard animals, and if little legs are starting to weary, the Little Puffer Zoo Train ($4) makes regular circuits of the grounds. The zoo is free on the first Wednesday of every month for San Francisco residents.

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Visitors expecting bikinis and suntan oil will rarely find them at Northern California beaches. The weather and water here are much cooler than in Southern California. They are, nevertheless, blessed with San Francisco’s views and the Pacific’s rolling waves. Due to dangerous undertow, swimming and wading at these beaches are strongly discouraged.

Ocean Beach along the western edge of the city features four miles of sandy shoreline waiting to be explored. At the north end of the beach, the historic Cliff House sits high above the shore and is a spectacular viewpoint for observing the powerful Pacific. Nearby is the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Visitor Center, stocked with informational pamphlets and maps. Check here for the latest policy on small bonfires, no more than three feet in diameter, which are currently permitted between Lincoln Avenue and Fulton Street; regulations are also posted on

The historic Beach Chalet also houses a visitor center for Golden Gate Park on the first level. Windmills bracket this span of the Great Highway. A four-mile walk down the Ocean Beach Esplanade or a short drive south on the scenic Great Highway leads to Fort Funston. From the wooden observation deck built into the hillside, daring hang-gliders can be seen soaring over the cliffs and ocean.

Tucked away behind the million-dollar homes of the Seacliff district is China Beach. The beach is accessible from Seacliff and 28th Avenue, near El Camino del Mar. A game of Frisbee, volleyball or smash-ball is a great way to warm up on this sandy playground.

Baker Beach stretches along the western shore of the Presidio below Lincoln Boulevard. Hikers and sunbathers here are treated to beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands from the ocean side of the peninsula. A word of advice to parents — nude sunbathing is popular at the northern end of the beach as one gets closer to the bridge.

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Across the Golden Gate Bridge to the north, a series of fortifications, some dating to the Civil War era, can be found at Fort Baker and the Marin Headlands. Dating back to the 1870s, the brick-built Battery Cavallo is a protected refuge for the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly. Other gun batteries built to replace the old brick-made fortifications, include Battery Spencer, constructed in the 1890s with concrete. Both can be explored without restrictions.

The top of Battery construction Number 129, located on Conzelman Road, is the best place for unobstructed 360-degree views of the San Francisco Bay, the City and the Golden Gate Bridge. Its tunnels and walls, designed to house cannons measuring 16 inches in diameter, are just the right size for children to crawl through. On Hawk Hill, Wednesdays are “for the birds,” especially in the autumn when some 20,000 to 40,000 hawks, falcons, eagles and other birds migrate south.

A flashlight and serious play clothes are strongly recommended for exploring the tunnels and walkways of these fortifications.

This is also a good time to head to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, a hands-all-over-the-place museum for children and families housed in a complex of historic buildings beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Permanent exhibits include a life-sized shipwreck, a fishing boat that can be boarded, simulated tide pool and a tot spot.

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The Presidio

The Presidio was once the most important military post on the West Coast. Over the span of 200 years, three flags flew over the base — Spanish, Mexican and American.

The Presidio’s 1,491 acres of prime real estate next to the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay have some of the best views in town. And there’s so much more to experience, including miles of hiking trails; signed bike routes; hidden picnic sites with lavish backdrops of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands and Pacific Ocean; eucalyptus and cypress groves; cannons dating from the late 1700s; a pet cemetery; abandoned barracks where Indian fighters once slept; and guided walking tours through historic military ruins, artillery batteries and the National Cemetery. A 20-page guide to the two-mile Ecology Trail highlights the Presidio’s oldest redwood trees and Inspiration Point and includes pages for children to journal their own experiences. Guides are also available for the Mountain Lake Park area.

Rangers with the National Park Service also lead free tours at Fort Point, a four-tiered brick and granite fortress built between 1853 and 1861, tucked under the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The reclaimed wetlands and grassy knolls of Crissy Field, located along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay not far from the Exploratorium, offer picnic tables, walking paths, viewing areas and an energetic schedule of family-friendly activities in the Crissy Field Center. Using the ocean as a classroom is the province of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary visitor center, which guides groups through more than 1,200 miles of open ocean surrounding the Farallon Islands off the Golden Gate.

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Impressions of the Nutcracker

The San Ramon Valley Dance Academy proudly presents its annual holiday production, "Impressions of the Nutcracker," at the Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center each year.

The beloved holiday story of the Nutcracker comes to life on the stage with stunning costumes, professional staging and talented dancers from our own San Ramon Valley area. Come see the stars of tomorrow as they share their talent and love for dance in this fast paced, multi-dance style production.  In just over one hour, you will follow Clara on her magical journey through the Land of Snow to the Land of the Sweets with her enchanted Nutcracker Prince.  Each performance is followed by a visit from Santa Claus himself and a chance to meet the performers.  Impressions of the Nutcracker is truly a holiday treat for the whole family!

Located at Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center, 10550 Albion Rd. San Ramon, CA

Admission: Adults: $22 Children 12 and under and Seniors: $19

Tickets are available by calling (925)978-ARTS or going to San Ramon Valley Dance Academy.

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Each December, Downtown Livermore

Each year the Downtown Livermore Holiday Sights & Sounds Parade features local marching bands, music, light displays, and of course SANTA CLAUS!!! Tree lighting follows parade.

NOTE: Float entries ONLY. No walking entries will be accepted. All entries must be lighted or have holiday music incorporated into the design.

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Chances are you have more in common with Fresno than you might think. Namely, some great food you've eaten originated from this bread basket of the world. Fresno County is the No. 1 agricultural county in the nation. You can't avoid the scenic rows of grapes, cotton, and other farm products that dot this region. There are other outdoor gems to be discovered in and around Fresno as well. Nearby you can enjoy many majestic lakes, rivers, foothills, and mountain ranges. Many of these are famous parks, including Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia national parks. Each of these parks is accessible in less than a 90-minute drive from Fresno. Not only are these great stops simply for their scenic value, but also because they offer a broad assortment of outdoor recreational activities from which to choose, including snow skiing, water sports, horseback riding, camping, hiking, and rock climbing. Back in the city, you'll find all the amenities of a major metropolitan city. Fine hotels, restaurants (more than 600 eateries in all), and entertainment abound in Fresno. Don't miss a chance to visit Fresno's Chinatown, complete with authentic food, shopping, and culture. Speaking of shopping, make sure you visit Kingsburg Swedish Village and enjoy brightly colored architecture, horses, more than 30 restaurants, gift shops and other features in this historic place. Families will want to make sure they spend some time at the Discovery Center Museum of Science and Natural History, which features hands-on activities, Native American exhibits, a cactus garden, worm farms, and more. The Chaffee Zoo is always a hit and make sure you check out the modern art at the Fresno Art Museum.

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Old Clam House

Anyone who has spent time playing soccer on Silver Ave or driving down Bayshore Boulevard or just living around SF knows the Old Clam House's iconic sign and that giant clam sitting on the side of the roof and the fact that it's the oldest restaurant in the same location in SF (again, apologies to Tadich). But more people should know about their incredible clam bake cioppino and the amazing kettle bread they bring out with hot clam juice and their own "Milwaukee steam beer", which our SF-based editor swears by.- Huffington

Uniquely San Francisco, The Old Clam House is the City’s oldest restaurant serving quality seafood and spirits in the same location since 1861. It has survived many city transformations, including the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906.

In 1861 Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States, the dust from the Gold Rush was just beginning to settle, and San Francisco was blossoming as a city. The approximate City population that year was sixty thousand. When it opened in this atmosphere of young America, The Old Clam House was constructed on what was then the waterfront to the south of Islais Creek, just below Bernal Heights.

First named The Oakdale Bar & Clam House, the restaurant at one time was connected to downtown San Francisco by an estimated two miles of plank road. It quickly became a gathering place for the waterfront workers and neighbors settling in the area, during an era when the Bay Area contained a thriving fishing industry.

In 1906, the Great Earthquake and Fire swept toward the Mission District from South Beach, but was contained at 20th Street, sparing The Old Clam House. In fact, much of the Islais Creek marshy estuary was filled by debris from this earthquake and fire. Although the area surrounding The Old Clam House has changed over time, the restaurant remains in its original location.

Today, the bar area consists of the original structure making it San Francisco’s oldest restaurant in the same location since 1861. A fact we cherish.

We warmly welcome you to a unique San Francisco tradition...

San Francisco's oldest restaurant celebrating over 150 years in the same location.

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Top 10 walking tours for globetrotting foodies (Lonely Planet 2013). Same-Day Reservations Available. Everyday at 10am and 2pm. Enjoy some of the best coffee in the city. Taste delicious cappuccinos and learn how the coffee is roasted. Other delicious treats to be sampled on the tour include award-winning chocolates (as well as how it is made), breads baked in 130-year-old ovens, exquisite pastries, local olive oils, a variety of specialty meats, and more. 

All food and drinks are included, on your leisurely flat 7-8 block stroll around North Beach\Little Italy. You will not go away hungry with our food tour's serving sizes.

Explore North Beach/Little Italy's Foods & History
Enjoy the Best Coffee
Learn How Coffee is Roasted
Savor Award Winning Chocolates
Learn How The Chocolates are Made
Enjoy Fresh Baked Breads
See 130-year-old Brick Ovens
Taste Local Olive Oils
Enjoy Local Pizza and Pasta
Savor Exquisite Pastries
Explore the Beat Generation Hangouts
Close to Public Transportation & Affordable Parking

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San Francisco’s Green Festival

Each November, San Francisco’s Green Festival returns to the Fort Mason Center. At Green Festival®, there is something for everyone interested in living a more sustainable and healthier life. Experience the widest selection of products and services to work green, play green and live green – from food, fashion and health, to energy, construction and design. Enjoy vegan and vegetarian cooking demos, educational activities for kids and families, panels featuring inspirational speakers, and live music and entertainment. Shop in our unique marketplace of more than 250 eco-friendly businesses - everything from all-natural body care products and organic clothing to Fair Trade gifts, beautiful home renovations made from renewable resources, plus vegan and vegetarian offerings based on organic, non-GMO or local, artisanal foods.

For the past 13 years, Green Festival has been committed to helping people in America find solutions to make our families and communities healthier – socially, economically and environmentally. Join us at the largest and longest-running sustainability event in the country and celebrate the best in green living.

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Fresno Night Life

Mexican dish after a day trip to a national park. If American food is what you crave, then stop in at one of the many fine chain restaurants here, such as Marie Callender's. If it's fast food you want, stop in – or drive through – a world-famous In-N-Out Burger. Sports are a big attraction in Fresno. You'll find plenty of live action at Fresno State University, home of the Division I Bulldogs. Professional sports also abound, with the Fresno Grizzlies, the Triple-A Minor League team of the S.F. Giants, the Central Valley Coyotes Arena Football team, and Fresno Falcons Minor League hockey team all playing in Fresno. If the performing arts are your type of entertainment, Fresno has that covered as well. The cultural center of the city is the 2,300-seat William Saroyan Theater. Here you can enjoy performances by the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Fresno Ballet, as well as many other cultural events. You'll find comedy and drama at the Good Company Players Second Space Theatre. Other diverse performances take place at Roger Rocka's Dinner Theatre, the historic Tower Theatre, and Warnors Theatre. There's also a variety of nightclubs to check out. You'll find a variety of musical styles at night spots including The Atrium Lounge

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The Fresno Veterans Day Parade

The Fresno Veterans Day Parade

The Fresno Veterans Day Parade committee cordially invites you to attend this year's Annual Fresno Veterans Day Parade on November 11th.


To honor the brave men and women who have stepped up and taken the oath to defend our country and our freedom with their lives. We honor those who have served, those who currently serve and inspire future generations to serve.

General Information

Our Veterans Day Parade occurs on November 11th at 11:11 am in front of Fresno City Hall, Fresno, CA. We are currently the largest on the West Coast and broadcast live locally and worldwide via satellite to all of our service men and women on bases around the world! Our goal is to honor all of our service men and women in a huge show of appreciation each year.

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Welcome to Fort Smith Arkansas

Nestled in the Arkansas River Valley, between the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas’s second largest city, Fort Smith, rests gently on the banks of the Arkansas River at the intersection of interstates 40 and 540.

When you visit, you’ll find that Fort Smith’s past is in its future. We uniquely combine the history of the “Old West” with the gentle charm of the antebellum “Old South,” offering travelers of all ages glimpses into its distinctive past through restorations, attractions, museums and festivals that make our history fun and exciting.

When you arrive in Fort Smith, make Miss Laura’s Social Club (the Fort Smith Visitors Center, a former bordello that was the first to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places), your first stop for a warm welcome and plenty of information about our community, our main attractions, or upcoming events. 

The scrappy border town of Fort Smith grew up around the area’s first frontier fort established in 1817 to promote peace between warring Indian tribes of the Osage and Cherokee. Remains of the first fort lie within the Fort Smith National Historic Site perched on a bluff overlooking the Arkansas River. At this site, you can stop and learn about the history of the Trail of Tears and find out about the where the first military outpost was built in 1817. On the grounds nearby is a replica of the famed Fort Smith gallows where 80 men were ordered hanged by Hanging Judge Parker. The famed courtroom of Judge Parker and the fully restored courtroom of Judge Parker are housed in the renovated barracks building, which also houses the Site’s Visitor Center. Visitors can enjoy an interpretation of Native American history in the area and displays highlighting the U.S. Marshals and deputies who rode for Parker to protect the West.

Make your first stop a tour of Miss Laura’s Visitor Center, an old restored brothel listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Then enjoy the five Fort Smith museums, including the Fort Smith Museum of History  , the Fort Smith Trolley Museum, the Clayton House , the Darby House  and the Fort Smith Art Center . Ride an authentic electric trolley, in one of the same cars that transported folks around town at the turn of the century. Take a nostalgic journey on a trolley bus, or discover the beautiful restored homes and buildings lining the streets of the 22-block Belle Grove Historic District , which reflects an architectural span of 130 years.

Have you ever wondered what it was like to see railroads in the 19th century? Now you can experience it first-hand on a vintage train excursion on Fort Smith’s A & M Scenic Railway , which provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the Boston Mountains.

The west end of Garrison Avenue, our main street, is a shopper’s paradise with the discovery of one-of-a-kind antiques and unique crafts. Built in 2006 as a family-friendly “retro” amusement park, “West End Park” is an art deco attraction featuring a vintage carousel and Ferris wheel, along with meals in a genuine antique rail car or concessions from a classic double-decker bus.

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