When most people hear the word “gondola,” they picture an Italian guide steering them through the romantic waterways of Venice. But did you know that you can take a gondola ride without ever leaving American soil (or, well, American water)? If a European trip isn’t in the cards for your family anytime soon, treat the family to one of these gondola tours around the U.S.
The Venetian, Las Vegas
Las Vegas has something of everything—so why not gondolas? Whether you’re staying at The Venetian or elsewhere, you can take a short authentic gondola ride down the Grand Canal inside the hotel. For about 15 minutes, a singing gondolier will take you floating under painted blue skies through the Venetian’s vibrant streetscape, complete with cafes, bridges, and balconies. Also available, weather permitting, is an outdoor ride which takes you around the outside of the property.
Las Olas Gondola Tours, Fort Lauderdale
Enjoy the sights of South Florida from a tranquil gondola (some are open, some enclosed) on the miles of unique canals winding through Fort Lauderdale, the city known as the “Venice of America.” The gondoliers at Las Olas are personable and love to entertain you with stories and music, and you’re welcome to bring your own refreshments to enjoy on the water (ice buckets, glasses, and bottle openers are provided). Their tours are specifically designed for you, so the length, departure location, and price will vary based on your requests.
Gondola di Venezia, Boston
Arrange a group tour for the whole family at this Boston-based gondolier, which takes you on a relaxing ride down the Charles River in authentic Venetian gondolas. Snacks and ice buckets are provided, as are wine glasses, but plan to bring along your own beverages. For a little extra entertainment, book the accordion player and sing along to some tunes!
Old World Gondoliers, Indianapolis
Book either the half-hour or hour-long tour with Old World Gondoliers to enjoy the beautiful views of gardens and estates from the downtown Indianapolis canals. During the ride, you’ll learn a little about the area, and be serenaded by the beautiful voice of your gondolier, true to Venetian tradition. Choose either a private gondola for your family to have to themselves, or a public gondola ride where you’ll share the boat with strangers.
La Gondola, Providence
See Providence, Rhode Island from a new angle on the boats of La Gondola. Your enthusiastic gondoliers will keep you safe, comfortable, and smiling, and as you cruise down the water, you’ll learn about some of Providence’s history and culture. Ice buckets, glasses, and bottle openers are provided, so feel free to bring along some Champagne. For an extra-special experience, try to book during WaterFire, an annual fire sculpture event on the rivers which usually occurs twice monthly from May to November. Drifting down the water surrounded by flickering light, incredible music, and the scents of cedar and pine will make it a trip to remember.
— Kaitlin Braun