Vacationers love New York City, Orlando

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senior travel talkFall is the peak season for apples, so it’s fitting that the Big Apple leads a new survey of where Americans will be traveling during the remainder of 2015.

New York City has catapulted to the top of this fall’s domestic vacation destinations, according to Travel Leaders Group. It jumped from number four last year to narrowly beat out Orlando for this year’s number-one spot. Rounding out the top 10 are Maui, Las Vegas, Alaska cruises, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Americans will be on the move this fall. More than 87 percent of the 1,152 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline agents polled in the fall travel trends survey say that their bookings for 2015 are the same or higher than during the same period in 2014, and 63 percent report higher bookings.

New York City provides tourists with a wealth of cultural offerings in the fall. Broadway will be brimming with new shows. The Metropolitan Opera, American Ballet Theatre and New York Philharmonic start their seasons. Among the nycmust-see events: the Museum of Modern Art will display sculptures by Pablo Picasso in the first exhibit of its kind in the United States in nearly half a century.

It’s also a city for walkers, and the mild weather is perfect for wandering around Central Park; checking out the latest fashions in stores along Fifth Avenue and SoHo; and taking in the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge or from the innovative High Line Park that stretches from the Meatpacking District to the edge of Hell’s Kitchen.

Then there’s the flurry of holiday-oriented treasures to be found from Thanksgiving on. Beginning Nov. 23, Radio City Music Hall will once again host the famous Rockettes for the annual Christmas spectacular. Practically across the street, you’ll find the Rockefeller Center Holiday Tree. If you’d like to lace up a pair of skates, the Rockefeller Center ice rink opens in mid-October.

Number-two Orlando always has so much to offer. Disney World beckons epicurean aficionados to its International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot through Nov. 16. There’ll be wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and dining events.

Travelers to Maui can take advantage of the shoulder season, when hotel rates are lower and the crowds thin out. The beaches on Hawaii’s second-largest island are among the best in the world for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and sunbathing. To check out the island’s stunning scenery, take a drive along the Hana Highway on the East Coast.

Las Vegas, with its casinos and big-name entertainment, offers plenty to do year-round. This fall’s headliners include Elton John, Madonna and Diana Ross. The acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil offers eight shows from which to choose. One of the city’s newest attractions is the Grand Bazaar Shops, with stores, restaurants and a nightly light show.

Fans of “The Simpsons” will want to make Universal Studios Hollywood part of their Los Angeles vacation. They can go on a Simpsons ride and tour the sights of downtown Springfield. The season’s biggest cultural event is the opening of The Broad, a contemporary art museum built by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad as a home for their collection of nearly 2,000 works.

For help planning a vacation this fall, contact your travel agent.

Lucie Giguere is an agent and office manager of Travel Leaders/Travel Advisors International at 204 Front St. in Lincoln. Contact her at (401) 725-1234 or lucie@taitrips.com.

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