An architect acquaintance in Ireland recently returned from a family vacation in Florida. They spent three weeks between Orlando and Clearwater and even experienced a Space-X launch – an opportunity that isn’t available in Ireland and made a number of his friends envious.
Being a fellow architect, he asked for recommendations about where to visit in the States on their next visit. And I thought I was helpful. Right up to that moment my husband mentioned I recommended a couple of places where you might not want to go with small children.
As a gay man and an architect, I take both into consideration when visiting a new place. Naturally. But I guess I should step back and think about what really has interested me about each locale.
For example, to me (and James), New Orleans is a great place to visit. Between the French Quarter, the Marigny, and the Garden District, the architecture experience is incredible. Not to mention the history of the city, the art galleries, and the restaurants. Plus you can always step outside of NOLA and take a few of the plantation tours.
What’s not to love?
I believe that would be Bourbon Street.
While we have grown accustomed to NOLA and whatever might be happening on Bourbon Street, every year we are shocked to see the same thing. Adults with very underaged children casually strolling down Bourbon Street. And not only during the day. Numerous times we’ve seen young couples pushing strollers at 10 pm up to the holy line of demarcation (St. Ann – where the gay part of Bourbon begins), look around for a second, and turn to go back down the street.
Maybe not the best environment to be recommending to people with small children.
Which made me go back and look at my list and consider what might and might not be considered family friendly.
Washington, DC – that seems safe. And who wouldn’t want to see Julia Childs’ kitchen at the Smithsonian? Unless of course there’s a protest rally happening on the Mall.
San Francisco – there’s the Golden Gate Bridge. Ghirardelli. Fisherman’s Wharf. Of course, we stayed up by the Castro. So maybe skip giving them any hotel recommendations.
Las Vegas – the world’s biggest amusement park. As James pointed out, plenty of activities for the kids. Except for the casinos. And the strip shows. And the guys handing out the escort cards on the street.
So maybe I need to put a little more thought into it the next time someone asks me for recommendations on where to visit.
Or maybe It would be easier to just give them a list and tell them:
“Here’s where not to go.”