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Jonathan Thompson

Jonathan Thompson

Time Out Contributor

Jonathon Thompson is an award-winning travel writer currently based in Dallas. He is an expert in US travel and has contributed to pieces on San Diego, Houston, Portland and Seattle, and has written for The Times, the Telegraph, CN Traveler and the Wall Street Journal. 

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Articles (10)

The best things to do in San Diego right this minute

The best things to do in San Diego right this minute

San Diego is much more than Los Angeles' super chill cousin to the south. This multicultural city has an international border and some of the world's best beaches. There's also incredible culture and world-class museums, amusement parks, a strong military footprint, authentic Mexican food, and more than 150 craft breweries. You'll love the laid-back surfer vibe here. San Diego's year-round temperate climate is a big draw for visitors since they can usually count on the weather being an optimal 72 degrees and sunny. There are major events like San Diego Comic-Con, San Diego Beer Week, and several marathons and triathlons that draw folks to America's Finest City. While here, don't miss attractions like Balboa Park, the world-renowned zoo, farmers markets, and water activities like whale watching, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding. San Diego's 70 miles of coastline are made up of charming beach towns with diverse offerings. But one thing is consistent throughout the county: the beautiful landscape.  Here we've compiled the very best things to do in San Diego right now. If you're here with the family, there are also plenty of things to do with kids.  RECOMMENDED:🍽️ The best restaurants in San Diego🏨 The best San Diego hotels🍹 The best bars in San Diego🏘️ The best Airbnbs in San Diego

The best things to do in Houston right now

The best things to do in Houston right now

Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, and it celebrates its melting pot reputation while staying true to its Texan roots. That means that yes, everything is bigger here, but you’ll also be met with small-town warmth and hospitality. Whether stepping into quirky museums or stepping it up to award-winning, fine dining restaurants, you’ll get the same, downhome Texan welcome Houston is known for. With 25 distinct neighborhoods, each with its own personality, you could spend a year exploring and still not see everything Houston has to offer. So take our advice and check out the best things to do in Houston on your journey through Space City (more on that below!). This guide was updated by Houston-based writer Rebecca Deurlein. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.  RECOMMENDED:  🍴The best restaurants in Houston🏠The best Houston Airbnbs🇺🇸The best hotels in Houston

The 17 best things to do in Portland right now

The 17 best things to do in Portland right now

Portland is a fun, quirky little city, known for its super fun attractions and its innovative art scene. There’s plenty to see and do here, from music festivals to bike rides, and its ever-growing popularity lends itself to trendy craft breweries, food trucks and fabulous restaurants.  You might be visiting for Portland Rose Festival, for Chinese New Year or for the Winter Lights, but on either side, there’s a whole load of activities to fill your trip. Whether you like the sound of a whiskey library or a botanical garden, our list of the best things to do in Portland will see you through.  RECOMMENDED:🍽️ The best restaurants in Portland🏘️ The best Airbnbs in Portland🍔 The best food trucks in Portland🍻 The best breweries in Portland🍩 The best doughnuts in Portland

The best things to do in Seattle right now

The best things to do in Seattle right now

The Emerald City may not be known for fantastic weather year-round, but that’s part of the charm! There’s nothing like strolling Pike Place on a drizzly day with a cup of coffee in hand (some of the best in the world). Or enjoy a day of museum-hopping followed by a wine tasting on the Eastside and an amazing seafood dinner. And honestly, don’t let the wet weather deter you. Bring your rain gear (but leave the umbrella at home; we don’t use those out here), get out, and explore like the locals do! If you do happen to visit during the spectacular summers or again, don’t mind a bit of rain, there are plenty of outdoor spaces to enjoy. Take in city views at Gas Works, sunbathe at Alki Beach, or escape the hustle and bustle with a day trip to Bainbridge Island. Seattle will surely delight, no matter what kind of trip you’re looking for. From parks to attractions and landmarks, these are the best things to do in Seattle. This guide was updated by Seattle-based writer Sydney Baker. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.  RECOMMENDED:🍽️ The best restaurants in Seattle🍷 The best bars in Seattle☕ The best coffee in Seattle🍻 The best breweries in Seattle 🥑 Where to eat the best brunch in Seattle

The 20 best things to do in Dallas

The 20 best things to do in Dallas

There’s a lot of cowboy culture in Dallas, but that’s not all the city has going for it. The best things to do in Dallas range from brilliant museum exhibits to wacky attractions, with an ever-expanding culinary scene to match.  Come for the cowboys, for the TV series, and to learn about one of the most significant assassinations in US history, and stay for the unforgettable street food, world-class sports, and fabulous green spaces. Here are the best things to do in Dallas right now.  RECOMMENDED:🥩 The best restaurants in Dallas🍹 The best bars in Dallas🏘️ The best Airbnbs in Dallas🏨 The best hotels in Dallas This guide was updated by Alex Temblador, a writer based in Texas. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

Les 20 millors coses per fer a Orlando

Les 20 millors coses per fer a Orlando

Tots sabem que Orlando ofereix grans oportunitats quan es tracta de parcs temàtics i parcs d'atraccions, però les millors coses que fer a la ciutat inclouen molt més que passar l'estona amb Mickey i recórrer el cel a 150 quilòmetres per hora. La ciutat ofereix aventures increïbles a l'aire lliure per a esperits indòmits: vols lluitar contra un cocodril? Podràs, si és el que vol. I els millors xefs del món també passen per aquí, com el Iron Xef Masaharu Morimoto, que serveix un dels millors sushis dels Estats Units. La nostra llista de les millors coses que fer a Orlando inclou les millors botigues, parcs per fer pícnics i una vibrant escena cultural. I també hi ha moltes coses per fer amb els nens a Orlando... què més es pot demanar? Has fet alguna cosa en aquesta llista i t'ha encantat? Comparteix-ho amb l'etiqueta #TimeOutDoList i etiqueta @TimeOutEverywhere. També pots trobar més informació sobre com Time Out selecciona les millors coses per a fer a tot el món.  

The best restaurants in Dallas

The best restaurants in Dallas

After many years of having a reputation solely for lots and lots of seriously good barbecue food, Dallas has finally broken through the noise. Now, people have caught on to the many and varied diverse food offerings in the city, so you can indulge in something different after that all-important barbecue.  And it’s not just casual eateries here; there’s plenty of glamorous fine dining spots too. Fancy seafood crudo at an iconic Italian restaurant, a dark choc espresso martini at a hotel bar or sampling afternoon tea at a French bistro? Or maybe you want tacos and grits for lunch, or you’re simply here for good classic steak or brisket done right. Whatever you’ve been dying to try, Dallas has you covered. Here are the best restaurants in Dallas right now.  RECOMMENDED:📍 The best things to do in Dallas🍹 The best bars in Dallas🏘️ The best Airbnbs in Dallas🏨 The best hotels in Dallas

What to do in Holly, Austin's coolest neighborhood

What to do in Holly, Austin's coolest neighborhood

What's the deal with Holly?  Tucked away in central east Austin, Holly sits in a perfect pocket between teeming East 7th Street to the north, residential Govalle to the east, and serene Lady Bird Lake to the south. To the west, the bright lights of downtown (particularly ‘Dirty Sixth’ and Rainey streets) are an easy walk or bike ride away, but those in the know don’t bother now – because Holly has some of the best nightlife in Austin. Most of Holly’s streets are wide, treelined and adorned with single-story wooden houses, but don’t let that fool you: this is the coolest spot in Austin right now, with young professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs flocking here to buy homes, as well as let their hair down on a nightly basis. There has been disquiet at the speed with which Holly has gone from being a part of town that many would avoid to Austin’s new hotspot. But if Holly is striding towards a more upscale future, it’s doing it in dirty jeans and battered cowboy boots. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the 50 coolest neighbourhoods in the world If you only do one thing... Photograph: Forrest Preece Stroll down to Lady Bird Lake on the Colorado River to soak up the sun and admire the view, while hordes of Austinites stream past you on bikes, skateboards and paddleboards. Soak up the sun The best spot for people-watching is the leafy Edward Rendon Sr. Park on the riverfront, where you’ll also find public BBQ grills for cooking out as well as basketball courts and an open-air swimming

Las 20 mejores cosas para hacer en Orlando

Las 20 mejores cosas para hacer en Orlando

Todos sabemos que Orlando ofrece grandes oportunidades cuando se trata de parques temáticos y parques de atracciones, pero las mejores cosas que hacer en Orlando incluyen mucho más que pasar el rato con Mickey y recorrer el cielo a 150 kilómetros por hora. La ciudad ofrece increíbles aventuras al aire libre para los espíritus indómitos: ¿quieres luchar contra un cocodrilo? Podrás, si es tu deseo. Y los mejores chefs del mundo también se están pasado por aquí, como el Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, que sirve uno de los mejores sushi de Estados Unidos (en Disney Springs, nada menos). Nuestra lista de las mejores cosas que hacer en Orlando incluye las mejores tiendas, parques para hacer picnics y una vibrante escena cultural. Y también hay muchas cosas que hacer con los niños en Orlando. En serio... ¿qué más se puede pedir? ¿Has hecho algo en esta lista y te ha encantado? Compártelo con el hashtag #TimeOutDoList y etiqueta @TimeOutEverywhere. También, descubre cómo selecciona Time Out las mejores cosas para hacer en todo el mundo.

The 20 best things to do in Detroit

The 20 best things to do in Detroit

The list of the best things to do in Detroit is exhaustive, in all the best ways. Not only does the Motor City ooze history (hello, Motown Record Corporation and Ford Motor Company), but artists, creatives, chefs and the like are busy opening some of the country’s best coffee shops, bars, restaurants and bohemian stores. Detroit is also home to fab art museums, trendy markets, some of the best pizza in America and heaps more cool stuff. Check out our list below of the 20 best things to do in Detroit and start planning your next trip to Michigan's largest city.  Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

Listings and reviews (70)

Frist Art Museum

Frist Art Museum

When it comes to the arts, Nashville isn’t all about the music. Housed in a magnificent Art Deco former post office, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts (919 Broadway, 615-244-3340) showcases everything from photography and sculpture to ancient art. An ambitious exhibitions schedule means new art flows through the museum every six to eight weeks, keeping the installations fresh. All this and not a single guitar or drum kit in sight. 

The Grand Old Opry

The Grand Old Opry

Started in 1925, the Grand Ole Opry is the world’s longest running radio show—credited with making country music famous and establishing Nashville as its home base. Head to the Grand Ole Opry House to catch a live recording of the famous show every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evening, with at least eight performers on each night’s bill. If you’re a particularly big fan, consider the new pre-show VIP Tour, which ends with you on stage as the big red curtain rises for the first performance. (The season at the Opry House runs February-October. The show moves to the Ryman Auditorium November-January). 

Arthur Ross Gallery

Arthur Ross Gallery

3 out of 5 stars

Situated in a gothic Victorian library on the University of Pennsylvania campus, the 2,000-square-foot Arthur Ross Gallery is free and open to the public. Named after the New York investor, philanthropist and Penn graduate who founded it in 1983, the gallery showcases works from Penn’s collection in addition to four major exhibitions each year. The thoughtfully curated shows embrace a variety of cultures and mediums—from photography to painting to sculpture.

Shane Confectionery

Shane Confectionery

4 out of 5 stars

Since brothers Eric and Ryan Berley bought 152-year-old Shane Confectionery in 2010, it’s become one of the sweetest stores in town. The siblings have restored the former Victorian candy emporium to its colorful glory, and use the floors above it to create classic treats like buttercreams in a two-ton 1920 machine. Our recommendations? Their honey lavender caramels. And their brandied cherries. Even their dark-chocolate dipped bacon, which shouldn’t work but does, so well. If you’re still craving more, the siblings also own Franklin Fountain, the retro ice cream parlor two doors down.

Vesper

Vesper

3 out of 5 stars

No, we’re not talking about the only girl James Bond ever loved—in Philadelphia, Vesper is a Prohibition-inspired joint known for great seafood, live music and strong cocktails. Accompany your shaken-not-stirred martini with oysters or the “colossal crab.” And for a 007-style escape, ask the bartender for the password (which changes daily) so you can access the restaurant’s secret speakeasy hidden behind a bookshelf.

Tootsie's World Famous Orchid Lounge

Tootsie's World Famous Orchid Lounge

The bars on Lower Broadway—aka Honky Tonk Highway—pump out live blues, soul, jazz, rock and country until the early hours every morning. Put on your dancing shoes, roll up your sleeves and join the loud, lively throng, bouncing from venue to venue. Do some route planning in advance by checking visitmusiccity.com, or simply start the traditional way—by squeezing into the infamous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and counting how many customers are already dancing on the bar.

Barista Parlor

Barista Parlor

One of the undisputed hotspots of increasingly hip East Nashville, Barista Parlor is situated in a converted auto-repair garage, with a mission statement to “seek the betterment of coffee for all mankind.” Boasting a selection of beans longer than the majority of wine lists, this open, industrial-style coffee shop is decorated with Edison lightbulbs and old motorcycles, with blue bandanas for napkins and a resident DJ. Expect locally sourced cafe-style food (the sausage in buttery biscuit is the stuff of local legend). Do not expect decaf.   

The Parthenon at Centennial Park

The Parthenon at Centennial Park

Before Nashville became Music City, it was known as “the Athens of the South:” a nickname thanks in part to the striking full-size replica of the Parthenon at its heart. Originally built for Tennessee's Centennial Exposition in 1897, the Parthenon was reconstructed permanently in 1931. Today, it’s home to the city’s art collection, but the undisputed star of the show remains the gilded 42 foot sculpture of Athena, which dominates the upper hall and remains the tallest indoor statue in the Western hemisphere.  

RCA Studio B

RCA Studio B

Music Row, a mile southwest of downtown, is the stuff of recording legend. The star at its heart is the Historic RCA Studio B, Nashville's oldest recording studio and home to hits like Roy Orbison's "Only the Lonely," Dolly Parton's "Jolene" and more than 250 Elvis Presley songs.

The Partheno

The Partheno

Before Nashville became Music City, it was known as "the Athens of the South:" a nickname thanks in part to the striking full-size replica of the Parthenon at its heart. Originally built for Tennessee's Centennial Exposition in 1897, the Parthenon was reconstructed permanently in 1931. Today, it's home to the city's art collection, but the undisputed star of the show remains the gilded 42-foot sculpture of Athena, which dominates the upper hall and remains the tallest indoor statue in the Western hemisphere.

General Jackson Riverboat Cruise

General Jackson Riverboat Cruise

Indulge in a Southern-style meal and enjoy live entertainment aboard one of the largest and most famous paddlewheel riverboats in the country, the General Jackson. The four hour cruise down Nashville’s Cumberland River on the 300 foot-long vessel includes a seated dinner, musical production and hotel pick up/drop off with Nashhville Sightseeing Tours. Be sure to snap some pictures: Nashville’s skyline from the river is Instagram gold.

The Patterson House

The Patterson House

If you fancy a cozy book-lined speakeasy with barmen in period costume who take their time with the ice cubes and ginger syrup, then The Patterson House  is the place for you. A wonderfully relaxed way to finish an evening, kick back here in mellow surrounds with a Reverse Tailspin ($14) or Jungle Bird ($13) as you reflect on another lively night in Music City.