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The great East Coast vs. West Coast debate continues to capture Americans loyal to one particular shore. Without picking sides, (we love both Pacific and Atlantic seaboards equally), we’re focusing today on the East, looking at Independent Hotel destinations seen on an East Coast road trip. Here are nine must-visit spots.

The North End
Boston, MA

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This haven of mom-and-pop Italian restaurants is as authentic as it gets. You could walk into any dining room in the neighborhood and count on an excellent meal, but if we had to make a suggestion, we’d say to try roasted veal Trattoria di Monica, and cannoli from Mike’s Pastry.

Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn, NY

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During the New York City leg of your East Coast road trip, be sure to head to the shores of Downtown Brooklyn for unbeatable views of Downtown Manhattan. From a greenway terrace with bike lanes to basketball and handball court to walks across the Brooklyn Bridge, this is one of the city’s most romantic outdoor destinations.

Freedom Tower
New York, NY

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At 1776 feet, the Freedom Tower is the tallest building in Manhattan and the Western Hemisphere. A trip to the top is both an exploration of the city’s rich history, and an opportunity to see the best bird’s eye view in town.

National Mall
Washington, DC

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From the White House to the Capitol, Washington Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, Smithsonian and more, the National Mall is the most American destination there is. Exploring the two-mile stretch of grass is an essential step in getting a true taste for East Coast culture for both its photographic and historical value.

Phillips Collection
Washington, DC

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When visiting DC, it’s important to explore more than just the well known monuments on the Mall. The Phillips Collection, a small art museum in Dupont Circle with works by Renoir, Van Gogh and more is a welcome respite from the overwhelming (though stunning) National Gallery and Smithsonian museums.

Reading Terminal Market,
Philadelphia, PA

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Located in the heart of Philadelphia, Reading Terminal Market is the best place to taste Philly’s most revered recipes. From Dutch fudge to Italian hoagies to quintessential Philly cheesesteaks, there are plenty of bites to sample here.

Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL

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A stretch of art deco hotels facing the Atlantic, Ocean Drive is classic South Beach. When you head down to South Florida, be sure to reserve an afternoon to sit at a sidewalk café drinking giant cocktails and watching the vibrant locals carry about this tropical metropolis.

South Pointe Park
Miami Beach, FL

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For a less crowded destination in South Beach, we suggest heading to the island’s southernmost point at South Pointe Park. Your best bet is to get up early, climb out on the pier and watch the sunrise over the ocean.