If you’re a fan of the Olympic Games, then you’ll enjoy vacationing in London, Athens, Salt Lake City or Beijing. Each of these former host cities offers travelers an opportunity to re-experience the Games through tours, visits, exhibits and more. Plus, after you’ve had your Olympic fix, there’s plenty left to see and do.
In 2012, London transformed into a sporting arena against a beautiful and historic backdrop. Billions of dollars were put into events, security, stadiums and more. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the white stadium in central London more commonly known as Olympic Stadium, can still be toured. Within the Park, five Olympic venues remain and offer tours, including the stadium and the Aquatics Centre. After you walk the same paths as Olympians, head out into the city to see its many sights, like Big Ben, the Tower of London, the British Museum and so much more.
Venture to where it all began: Athens. See where the first modern Olympic Games were hosted in 1896 at the Panathenaic Stadium. Built from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium, the Panathenaic is the world’s only marble stadium. Afterward, check out more of this city’s incredible history by visiting the National Archaeological Museum, the Parthenon, the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus and more. The Olympic Games once again returned to their original host city in 2004.
Panathenaic Stadium. Photo by Robert Wallace, Flickr.
The United States hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the eighth time a U.S. city played host during modern Olympics history. In nearby Kearns, you can ice skate in the Olympic Oval, which offers handrails for kids. Or, ice skate in the indoor Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center’s rink. Or, train like an Olympian by tackling Utah Olympic Park’s adventure course. Drive over to neighboring Park City for more Olympic sights and tons of other activities, like hiking, biking and Sunday Silly Market shopping.
Travelers can now take advantage of increased transportation made possible when China updated its infrastructure for its first Olympic Games during the summer of 2008. Visit the Bird’s Nest, the National Stadium and the famous Water Cube, which served as the National Aquatics Center during the Games in Beijing. After the Olympics, the Aquatics Center was transformed into the Happy Magic Water Cube, an indoor water park featuring more than a dozen slides, a lazy river, a wave pool and more. While you’re in Beijing, make sure to visit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and more of the city’s historic and iconic sights.
Bird's Nest and Water Cube, Beijing, China. Photo by Caitriana Nicholson, Flickr.
If you don’t find yourself traveling to one of these four destinations during the Rio Olympics, you can still watch the Games in the comfort of your own resort suite. Tune in to NBC on your suite’s television set for a wide variety of coverage throughout the two weeks.
*The photo featured at the top of this article is of the Panathenaic Stadium lit up at night in Athens, Greece.
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