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Kilkenny is over 400 years old, but it sure doesn’t show its age. Yes, it's an awe-inspiring throng of medieval cathedrals, castles, abbeys and other massive stone buildings, but Kilkenny loves to party. An endless stream of arts festivals celebrating theater, comedy, bluegrass and dance is constantly pumping the city with new life, toe-tapping energy and international flavor.
Don your most comfortable shoes for Killarney, where town trails offer history lessons and country walks traverse Ireland's first national park: 26,000 acres of woodlands, sandstone mountains and low-lying lakes. In the town centre, Killarney House and Gardens provide a break for urban explorers. Renowned Muckross House, with its 15th-century abbey ruins and massive yew tree, is just outside the town. If your feet wear out, take in Killarney National Park's legendary scenery from a boat trip from Ross Castle.
Plan to cross many bridges when in Cork. Ireland's third-largest city began life as an island and now spans both banks of the River Lee, with watery channels running beneath some of its main thoroughfares. The best way to experience this hilly southern seaport is on foot, following the signposted walking tour past St. Finn Barre's Cathedral and the riverside quadrangle of University College up the hill to red and white Shandon Church. Along the way, you'll meet plenty of the city's talkative residents.
You've probably heard that Guinness tastes better in Dublin (fresh from the factory), but what you may not know is that Dublin is a perfect destination for the whole family. No, we're not suggesting you let the kiddies drink a pint. Instead, take them to the Dublin Zoo, to feed the ducks in Stephen's Green or on a picnic in Phoenix Park. Scholars enjoy walking in the literary footsteps of such writers as Yeats and Joyce, while discerning shoppers have their pick of designer boutiques.
<p>Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, has become an increasingly popular place to visit in recent years, with a warm Mediterranean climate in spite of its place facing the Atlantic Ocean. Full of bleached white limestone buildings and intimate alleyways, Lisbon's mix of traditional architecture and contemporary culture makes it the perfect place for a family holiday. </p><div>Things to do in Lisbon </div><p>As Portugal's capital, there is a lot to see and do in Lisbon. Even exploring the city centre will take a few days out of a family holiday as there is no real central district, although Praça do Comércio is a good central place to start, in Baxia, or Rossio, the city's main square which has a sort of Trafalgar Square feel to it. Or you might try climbing up the Cristo Rei, a huge statue of Christ with spectacular views across the whole city. The Castelo de São Jorge also offers great views and isn't quite such a steep climb. A short tram ride to the west of Lisbon will also bring you to Belem, where you can explore attractions like the Belem Tower and the Belem Cultural Centre, which features a fantastic art collection including works by Dali, Picasso, Warhol and Magritte. In downtown Lisbon, you'll also want to visit the Gulbenkian, which has to be Portugal's answer to the British Museum full of fascinating cultural artifacts and with some superb gardens in the grounds. It's possible to have a fascinating educational family holiday in Lisbon, and there are also plenty of great beaches to work on your tan. </p>
One of the most historic cities in America, Philadelphia is an ideal place to spend a weekend - preferably a long one. Be sure to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. Both are part of Independence National Historic Park. Philadelphia also boasts some outstanding art museums, including the Rodin Museum. The Franklin Institute Science Museum is one of many area attractions honoring the life and work of Benjamin Franklin, the city's most famous ambassador. After digesting all of that history, be sure you save room for a classic Philly cheese steak sandwich.
One of Canada's best-kept secrets, Toronto is on par with New York City, San Francisco and Chicago when it comes to cultural attractions and urban activities. The best place to start is at the top, and in this city there's no mistaking where that is. The landmark CN Tower is the tallest structure in the world and also an important telecommunications hub. Take the lift to the top for a breathtaking view of the city and its surrounding areas. Right next door at the SkyDome you can see a Blue Jays baseball game or just walk around the massive stadium. Visit the Royal Ontario Museum, the largest in Canada, with fascinating archeology and natural-history exhibits, and the Art Gallery of Ontario, with a fine collection of European and Canadian works. Don't miss the funky stores and ethnic restaurants on Queen Street West, or the elegant boutiques and fine eateries of Yorkville. Also head down to Harbourfront, a complex of unique shops and restaurants right on beautiful Lake Ontario. From Harbourfront you can hop on a ferry to the Toronto Islands for a picnic and outdoor recreation. Toronto is an especially great destination for families as most attractions are child-friendly. Plus, it is an incredibly clean, safe and easy city to get around either on foot or by public transport.
Once seen as the domain of cowboys and oilmen, today the mile-high metropolis is a cosmopolitan mix of natural beauty and world-class hotels, entertainment and attractions. The Denver Art Museum houses one of the finest collections of American Indian art in the world. The city is also the official home of four national teams: the Broncos, Nuggets, Rockies and Avalanche, meaning every season is sports season. Even with all the big-town glitz, Denver has managed to maintain its earthiness. Outdoor recreation is still a major draw. With 205 parks in the city and 20,000 acres of parks in the nearby mountains, there's ample opportunity for hiking, mountain biking, mountain climbing and more -- families visiting Denver won't know where to begin. The Zoo, the Children's Museum and the Botanic Gardens offer hours of entertainment. Or visit the United States Mint for a free tour. To prove that Denver really is "The Mile High City", head to the State Capitol. There's a spot on the west steps of the building that is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level.