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Get Outta Town 

Or ... How to Travel Without Turning Into a Lame Tourist

Page 3 of 4

Places to avoid

"I try to avoid Times Square because of all the traffic -- both foot traffic and car traffic. It'll drive you crazy if you try to go through there on your way somewhere."

Places you must see

"You must see City Island. It looks like a lost New England fishing village but it's in the Bronx. It's so different from the rest of the Bronx even the accent is a little different. People there act like it's a small town; sometimes waving to strangers they pass on the street. If you think you could never live in New York City, see City Island first. You might mean you could never live in midtown Manhattan. And there are seafood restaurants wall to wall. The best one is called Arties' Steak and Seafood."

YUN BAI'S L.A.

Los Angeles is like an episode of Desperate Housewives. It has gossip, romance, botox, glamour and plenty of ridiculous cliffhangers. Three things you must do when you go to L.A.? Learn to make a "W" with your hand by crossing your two middle fingers together to rep for the westside, rent a car (public transportation will get you nowhere fast), and go to a beach to see real water that isn't a lake, pond, or sprinkler. Try not to get a sunburn as contemporary visual artist Yun Bai shows you the other side of La-La Land:

click to enlarge Artist Yun Bai
  • Artist Yun Bai

Best place to hear live music

"In the Silverlake/Echo Park area, Echo Lounge has good alternative bands for the younger crowd. It's an up-and-coming artsy neighborhood like Brooklyn. It's a bohemian hipster neighborhood; good shopping for the hipster not into designer prices."

Best place for nightlife

"Clubs close around 2:30 a.m. so L.A. is not a friendly city for clubs, but bars are all over. In Hollywood, there will probably be a $20 cover charge, and they might not let you in depending on how you look, kind of like the Studio 54 days. I recommend Star Shoes Bar and Beauty Bar [during the day it's a nail salon at night it's a bar]. The Sky Bar is beautiful. It's shee-shee, poo poo, but you get a beautiful view of the city. Downtown, the Mountain Bar is really cool. It's low- key and they have no cover. Anything Hollywood and to the East will be less pricey. In West L.A., Mickey's is 21 and over. It's free, with hot, fine, steaming guys dancing on bars in minimal clothes. All the dancers there are gay, but it's great for a girls' night or a bachelorette party."

Best place to eat

"Yamato's has really good sushi. Best sushi I've had in my life. Chinatown has Foo-Chow, which is great Chinese. Jackie Chan just filmed Rush Hour 3 there. Look for places that have an "A" rating. They have to post their rating on the window in L.A., so look for that."

Best shopping

"Melrose is fun to walk around and go window shopping. As a tourist, you can't miss what L.A.'s known for: Beverly Hills, Barney's, Saks, Louis Vutton, Marc Jacobs' boutique, Betsey Johnson's Boutique and Rodeo Drive for bling bling. Go to Venice for knick knacks. For cheap stuff, go downtown where you can bargain. Everything's wholesale down there and everything's cheap."

Places to avoid

"Do not go anywhere south of 18th Street; it gets hood and that's all gang. You don't wanna do that. Downtown can also be a little shady at night."

Places you must see

"The Getty Museum is free and it's only $8 for parking. The weather is unbelievable! It gets hot during the day, but it's always cold at night so bring a few longsleeve shirts. You should also see Hollywood, Highlands, the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art, Venice, and Beverly Hills."

TANYA REED'S CHICAGO

click to enlarge CITY OF WINDBREAKERS: Chicago - MARK MONTGOMERY
  • Mark Montgomery
  • CITY OF WINDBREAKERS: Chicago

There's more to Chicago than scoring a ticket to Oprah and hoping this will be the day she gives away a Pontiac to everyone in the audience. Don't sleep -- The City of Wind has arts, architecture, mafia connections and an age-old hot dog/pizza argument with New York City. In Chicago, you can take a train, bus, trolley, ferry or a pair of sneakers to experience the city. Jazz vocalist Tanya Reed tells a few of Chicago's secrets:

Best place to hear live music

"All Grant Park festivals sponsored by Mayor Daley's office, the Choir Academy Charter School of Chicago Annual Concerts, House of Blues, the Negro League Café and HotHouse."

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