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Top tips for city breaks

Q We are going to Chicago for four nights and New York for five nights mid-May. What are your top five suggestions of things to do in each city? Ideally, we would like to take in a show on Broadway and visit the Meatpacking District.

A Chicago's attractions are the Art Institute, the second largest museum in the US (the Desperate Housewives painting, American Gothic, is there), the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium.

The two high-rise buildings are also worth a visit – the Hancock Tower, with its view over the lake, and the Willis Tower, which is the tallest building in the US.

The Chicago Citypass ($94) is worth getting as it saves money on entrance fees. Walk the lakeshore and the Millennium Park, as well. Stay at the Drake for the best location and a real feel of Chicago's culture – the most American of American cities.

New York looks after itself. Put on your walking shoes and stroll the High Line north to south. A linear, raised park on what was an old railway line, it offers fabulous views of the Hudson river and Lower Manhattan.

The exit to the High Line is right at the Meatpacking District – a place bursting with culinary delights and late-night fun. Here you'll find the Chelsea Market, where you can mingle with the locals for lunch in what was the original Oreo biscuit factory. The museum of the Moving Image in Astoria gives a great perspective on how TV programmes and films are made.

Stop at Grand Central Terminal. She is 100 years old this year and the architecture is beautiful. See nycgo.com for more ideas.

Go to Brooklyn. Prospect Park, designed by the same people who designed Central Park, is a gem. The Botanic Gardens are worth a visit, as is the Brooklyn Museum. Some great 'one-off' restaurants and shops are in and around Park Slope.

As regards Broadway Shows, the Tony award-winning Once, spectacular Les Mis and upbeat Jersey Boys are three of the best.

Q We are travelling to Cyprus in April. Should we cancel?

A Definitely not. You will lose the money you have already paid – and even with the new bailout it is still best not to be relying on plastic right now.

The Department of Foreign Affairs are advising people, sensibly, to bring cash.

The retail banking system has frozen. Credit cards are being turned down. Merchants don't know what might happen to money into their bank accounts. Fewer people than might have been are affected, as Cyprus does not have direct flights from Ireland until May 26.

Send your travel questions to ecorry@independent.ie


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