09/11/2013 12:17 EDT | Updated 11/11/2013 05:12 EST

Metropolitan Must Sees: 10 Big Cities That Can't be Missed

The summer break may be officially over, but that doesn't mean you can't still get away for a few days. These big cities are all located within North America, making them easy to get to, and jam-packed with enough activities to make the most of your tight time frame!

This summer may have flown by, but don't worry, it's not over yet. There are still a couple of precious weekends left to seize your summer before the first day of autumn on September 22. Whether you're planning on taking a weekend away or an extended trip, why not visit a big city?

Metropolitan cities are packed with excitement and have enough variety to keep every member of the family entertained. Whether it's food, culture, architecture or entertainment -- big cities bring big-time fun! has put together a list of great cities in North America and abroad, so pack those bags, because these cities are sure to excite.

North America's BIG-time, BIG cities:

The summer break may be officially over, but that doesn't mean you can't still get away for a few days. These big cities are all located within North America, making them easy to get to, and jam-packed with enough activities to make the most of your tight time frame!

San Diego, California -- San Diego is a big city with a relaxed oceanfront feel. With so much fun to be had on the water, it's hard to peel yourself away from any of the city's beautiful beaches, including breathtaking La Jolla Cove. Not to be missed though is this city's fantastic arts community and boutique shopping opportunities.

Edmonton, Alberta -- In addition to the famed West Edmonton Mall, packed with 800 shops and services, including rollercoasters, and an indoor beach and wave pool, the city of Edmonton has a lot to discover. Visit Muttart Conservatory and marvel at the beauty of the world's plant life. The Edmonton Valley Zoo is also home to a number of local and exotic animals. You can even escape to the wilderness, right in the heart of downtown Edmonton, with a canoe trip on the North Saskatchewan River.

New York City, New York -- Need we say more? "The Big Apple" is America's most iconic city and for good reason. Broadway, Times Square, Fifth Avenue shopping, and Central Park just scratch the surface of the legendary sites that add to the magic of this historic city.

Toronto, Ontario -- Toronto is Canada's biggest city, financial powerhouse and fashionista play ground. See all that the city has to offer from a bird's eye view by taking a walk on the wild side on the CN Tower EdgeWalk. Spend a day strolling or cycling on Toronto Island, or go shopping in celebrity favourite, Yorkville. There's never a dull moment in this buzzing city.

Vancouver, British Columbia -- Arguably one of Canada's most picturesque metropolises, where big city meets the great outdoors,Vancouver is like no other. For you outdoor enthusiasts, consider the Grouse Grind -- a very challenging 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain. Or simply sit and experience coffee culture or stand in awe as you take in Vancouver's bright city lights that trim the sky scrapers against the surreal backdrop of the distant Rocky Mountains.

Atlanta, Georgia -- Immerse yourself in American culture by taking in an Atlanta Braves baseball game at Turner Field. Come face to face with creatures of the deep sea at the Georgia Aquarium or learn about the history of the iconic Coke brand at the World of Coca-Cola.

Big cities less travelled:

If you're looking for a big city and you have more time to spend, these destinations might be perfect for you and your family.

Istanbul, Turkey -- Historically known as Constantinople, Istanbul is a city that has been a trading paradise for Europe and the Middle East for thousands of years. Its rich history is evident in the breathtaking marriage of old and new world culture, architecture and food. Spend the days visiting spectacular buildings like Aya Sofya, the Blue Mosque, and Basilica Cistern, then spend the evenings exploring the shops, cafés and clubs around Taksim Square. And be sure to leave space in your luggage as the markets and bazaars in this big city are some of the best on the planet.

Tokyo, Japan -- Among the biggest of the world's cities, Tokyo is a perfect place to lose yourself in. Clean, safe and fabulous light rail lines allow travellers and locals to get around comfortably. Exciting sensory sights and sounds will keep you constantly intrigued by the fascinating surroundings and culture. Pack an appetite -- Tokyo is on the cutting edge of the culinary arts. And with Tokyo being awarded the 2020 Summer Olympics, there's sure to be many exciting changes on the horizon for this great city.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -- Another city hosting the Summer Olympics, Rio's colonial buildings, reminiscent of Europe, stand side-by-side with 20th century skyscrapers on the edge of the Atlantic. The coast, dotted with perfectly white beaches and Sugarloaf Mountain rising majestically from the ocean, may very well take your breath away.

With all of these big cities to seize, aren't you itching to pack your bags? Get started today by visiting!

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