Destination New Orleans: Experience Southern hospitality

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A former French colony, New Orleans, often referred to as ‘The Big Easy’, is a truly unique city, not just in the United States but across the world. With a proud cross-cultural and multilingual tradition, this one-of-a-kind city situated alongside the great Mississippi river is a growing tourist destination, welcoming close to 18 million visitors in 2017.

Marketing itself as a state of opportunity, Louisiana offers a business environment built for success, combining an extensive collection of competitive advantages, including customized workforce training, low business operating costs, and robust infrastructure. As a major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the Gulf Coast region.

Founded in 2004, the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce helps members build mutually beneficial partnerships within the city, and currently boasts around 1,300 members. This focus on business has helped Louisiana rank among the top ten business climates in the nation across three independent sources.

The recently revamped New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center plays a major role in the success of the city’s business events. The center is the sixth largest convention facility in the United States, boasting over a million square feet of exhibit space, and regularly ranks in the country’s top ten facilities holding the most annual conventions and tradeshows.

In New Orleans, both business and culture are abounding. Steeped in a proud musical tradition, there is never a night in New Orleans where one can’t see the finest jazz and blues musicians lighting up a stage, along with a host of other performances that give a real flavor of the city’s historic music and arts scene.

If one is lucky enough to visit the city in carnival season, then the Mardi Gras celebrations across New Orleans are less of a ‘must see’ and more of a ‘cannot miss’. For two weeks in February or March, the city is transformed into a cornucopia of celebration, hosting parades, balls and many more vibrant community events that get the streets dancing and singing.

Stay Alfred New Orleans
New Orleans has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most culturally rich destinations

Those visiting outside carnival season are still in for a treat. The French Quarter is the city’s historic heart, famous for its vibrant, around-the-clock nightlife, and colorful buildings resplendent with cast-iron balconies. The center of activity is famous Bourbon Street, packed with such crowd-pleasers as jazz clubs, Cajun restaurants and rowdy cocktail bars.

Head down to the Toulouse Street Wharf and one can see the city differently by taking a ride on New Orleans’ only steamboat, the Steamboat Natchez. This two-hour cruise from the heart of the French Quarter will take you around the beautiful crescent of the lower Mississippi River, with food, cocktails and wine available on board to help you float in style.

A short walk further south, in the CBD, is the National WWII Museum. Designated by the U.S. Congress as the nation’s official National WWII Museum in 2003, it offers a range of fascinating special exhibits and events, as well as museum tours across its six-acre campus, interactive features, oral histories, and personal vignettes.

A visit to Louisiana wouldn’t be complete without exploring the New Orleans plantations, which provide insight into some of America’s most interesting and tragic stories. The history of slavery in the state, and the nation, is not always comfortable to learn about, but these tours give a fascinating glimpse into both the opulence and exploitation of plantation life.

New Orleans has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most culturally rich destinations, and the sense of excitement and joy that permeates this great city is infectious.

Stay Alfred New Orleans

Our accommodation provider of choice when staying in New Orleans is Stay Alfred, offering short or long-term stays right in the downtown core. Find out more at

Destination Dallas: Everything’s bigger in Texas

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There’s a well-known saying in the United States regarding the nation’s second largest state, declaring that “everything is bigger in Texas.” Located in the huge Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, the city of Dallas is the most populous city in the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country. It’s fair to say that big is what Dallas does best.

The city’s location in the middle of the United States makes it ideally placed for travel to and from other US cities, coast to coast, as well as offering significant global appeal, with Dallas Fort-Worth being one of only a dozen or so airports in the world offering service to over 200 international locations.

Over the years, the region has hosted the headquarters for a diverse range of firms, with household names such as ExxonMobil, American Airlines, Toyota, and Dr Pepper all calling the region home. The Dallas Fort-Worth area boasts 22 Fortune 500 company headquarters and 42 headquarters from Fortune 1000 companies.

Global business is welcomed in Dallas. Situated in the heart of downtown, the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas is one of the nation’s largest convention centers, with over a million people passing through its doors each year to attend major national and international conventions, meetings, concerts, and much more.

In nearby Fort Worth, north of the downtown core, are the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. These 98-acres of land contain a former livestock market and celebrate the area’s long tradition as part of the cattle industry. The Stockyards are now used primarily for shopping and entertainment, promoting the image of Fort Worth as America’s Cowtown.

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Dallas Fort-Worth is one of only a dozen or so airports in the world offering service to over 200 international locations

When visiting Dallas, you won’t to miss out on sampling the region’s famous cuisine. The taste for great BBQ permeates the city, with restaurants such as the Lockhart Smokehouse on West Davis Street offering an authentic Texan BBQ experience. Equally sought after are the city’s unique Tex-Mex dishes, which can be sampled at Herrera’s Cafe on Sylvan Ave.

Heading into the Dallas Arts District will quickly quench any thirst for the city’s artistic culture. The Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Garden and the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center are all located here, in an area offering music, performances, exhibits and tours, along with a wide selection of dining and shopping venues.

As far as sports are concerned, Dallas doesn’t disappoint. Home of the world famous Dallas Cowboys, the AT&T stadium in Arlington is the fourth largest in the NFL, offering an exciting match-day experience. If soccer is your thing, then MLS team Dallas FC is located in nearby Frisco, at the Toyota Stadium.

Dallas is most famous for the mystery surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. In downtown Dealey Plaza, the Sixth Floor Museum is extremely popular, hosting special exhibits that explore the impact of this historic event. Whether or not you believe in the conspiracy theories, the museum is a fascinating place to spend an hour or two.

While here you simply must take a closer look at its incredible skyline. The historic Reunion Tower is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, and its 470-foot-high GeO-Deck offers 360-degree panoramic views that will take your breath away. With a selection of dining, cocktails and private parties also on offer, the view is just the start.

Whether you are staying for a day, or a week, or even a month, Dallas promises to provide you with plenty of big experiences.

Stay Alfred Dallas

Our accommodation provider of choice when staying in Dallas is Stay Alfred, offering short or long-term stays right in the downtown core. Find out more at

Destination Chicago: Winter in the Windy City

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As the third most populous city in the United States, Chicago is an international hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. Known around the world as The Windy City, Chicago is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of the area’s five Great Lakes.

Chicago’s O’Hare airport is one of the busiest in the world, offering non-stop flights to 218 destinations in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. The Windy City is also known as the railroad capital of the US, with more than 1,300 trains carrying freight and passengers going in and out of the city each day.

Chicago boasts one of the world’s largest and most diversified economies, and is a key national player in a variety of sectors. Employing in excess of four million people, and generating an annual Gross Regional Product of over $609 billion, the city is home to more than 400 major corporate headquarters, 36 of which are in the Fortune 500.

The city’s McCormick Place Convention Center on the shores of Lake Michigan is the biggest of its kind in the United States. Comprised of four state-of-the-art buildings, the center offers 2.6 million square feet of exhibit halls, as well as two four-star hotels, the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and the Marriott Marquis Chicago.

In 2012, the city’s Mayor launched a new tourism organization called Choose Chicago, with the aim of restructuring all tourism sales and marketing activities under a single agency with clear objectives. In 2018, Chicago tourism saw an all-time high of over 57 million visitors, making it second only to New York City as the most-visited city in the nation.

Chicago is well known for the architectural boom that rose out of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, helping usher in the skyscraper era. The city’s Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower, is the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The tower’s skydeck on the 103rd floor is open to the public, providing spectacular views that span four states.

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The Chicago Blackhawks, one of the original six NHL teams, play at Chicago’s United Center

A highlight of any Chicago visit is a boat tour down the river. Wendella boats is Chicago’s original architecture tour, offering a range of distinctive narrated tours, all focused on the city’s rich architectural heritage and history, including a lake and river tour, sunset cruise, and summer fireworks tour.

The range of exciting tours around Chicago doesn’t stop there. Head to East Pearson Street in the city’s Magnificent Mile district and board the Chicago Crime Tours bus to escape into Chicago’s underworld on a crime and mob tour, exploring the lives of criminals such as Al Capone and John Dillinger, and visiting historic landmarks like the Biograph Theatre.

Sports are something of a big deal in Chicago. In the North Side community area of Lakeview is world-famous Wrigley Field, home to the Chicago Cubs and the second oldest baseball park in the Major Leagues. The city also homes the Cubs’ fierce rivals, Chicago White Sox, who play in southern area of Park Boulevard at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Equally important in the city’s sporting calendar is ice hockey, which sees the Chicago Blackhawks, one of the original six NHL teams, play at nearby United Center. The arena is also home to basketball team Chicago Bulls, which enjoyed a period of sustained success in the 1990s with world-famous players such as Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.

Chicago has long been at the forefront of American economic, cultural and political history, with a standing as one of the most dominant Midwest metropolises.

Stay Alfred Chicago

Our accommodation provider of choice when staying in Chicago is Stay Alfred, offering short or long-term stays right in the downtown core. Find out more at