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Neil Patrick Harris on Travel, From Sandcastles to Subways

Original Article by Shivani Vora for New York Times

For many actors, a life of constant travel is part of the job, but for the actor Neil Patrick Harris, 43, who lives in New York City, frequent work-related trips generally aren’t the norm. “Given that I have two young children, I try to travel as little as possible for work,” he said, referring to his 6-year-old twins, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace, with his husband, David Burtka.

Last year, however, Mr. Harris made an exception to his stay close to home rule when he spent five months in Vancouver, British Columbia, to film “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” a Netflix drama series that made its debut this month and is based on the eponymous children’s book series; Mr. Harris plays the lead role of the villainous Count Olaf and is also a producer of the show. (This is the first in a series of Q&A’s related to our 52 Places to Go in 2017 list. Canada took the No. 1 spot.)

Below are edited excerpts from an interview with Mr. Harris:

Q. How did you enjoy your time in Vancouver?

A. It’s a fantastic city. When I was there on my own, I took advantage of how health-conscious it is and spent lots of time outdoors. I biked in Stanley Park and also hiked the different trails in the area including the Stawamus Chief, where you can climb three different peaks. When the kids came, I discovered how family-friendly Vancouver is. We were outside a lot, and also went to the Vancouver Aquarium and to the science center.

Also, since the city is on the coast, there is great seafood, and I ate amazing sushi and oysters.

Did you have a chance to travel around Canada’s West Coast while in the area?

We went skiing in Whistler and also to Vancouver Island, where there is plenty of open space and foliage. And I went to Tofino (on the western edge of Vancouver Island) twice, which is so scenic and romantic. First, David and I went for his birthday. We stayed at this incredible hotel called the Wickaninnish Inn, took walks on the beach and ate two meals at Wolf in the Fog, which is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to. We loved Tofino so much that we went back with our kids and enjoyed building sand castles on the beach there with them.

Do you recommend Canada, in general, as a vacation destination?

Absolutely. Besides Vancouver, I’ve been to Quebec City, Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton and have seen how diverse the country is. Quebec City feels very French, while Toronto is a fast-paced metropolis and Vancouver has a laid-back vibe. And, everywhere I’ve been, I’ve enjoyed the people.

Where do you go for family getaways?

We take weekend trips to the Hamptons and the Berkshires and make an annual trip to Disney World where we stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Staying there is like having a savanna in your backyard because you see herds of free roaming animals, like giraffes and zebras, from your room. My kids are at an age where they can ride many of the rides and appreciate the sights Disney has to offer.

We also recently took a trip to London and did all the quintessential tourist things.

Are there any hotel amenities that are musts for you on family trips?

For us, a hotel should feel special but shouldn’t be overly posh. Other than that, we want a room with a sitting area so we can spread out.

What activities do you enjoy with your children in New York City?

A subway ride is an adventure, observing people on the streets is fun, the theater is fantastic, and we love the parks, especially the lesser-known ones.

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