5 Places to Celebrate the Obamas If You're Sad About Them Leaving the White House


If you're saddened by the end of Barack Obama's two-term presidency, here are five places, from Hawaii to Havana, where you can pay tribute to the 44th leader of the free world. And if you're dreading his successor, here's a handy guide to places around the country where you can totally avoid Donald Trump.

1. KaŹ»ena Point State Park, Oahu
To celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Parks Service in 2016, Obama more than quadrupled the size of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in his home state (that's right, birthers), making it the largest protected area in the world. Although Papahanaumokuakea (pronounced pa-pa-hah-now-mo-koo-ah-keh-ah) is currently closed to tourists, you can celebrate by snorkeling and hiking the trails at the next best thing: Ka'ena Point State Park, a nature reserve on Oahu's North Shore that has a similar ecosystem.

2. Valois Cafeteria, Chicago
Ever since he was a student at the University of Chicago, this has been one of Obama's favorite go-to places for inexpensive (and cash only!) comfort food. Once he became our 44th president, a special menu board was created with his favorites, from N.Y. steak and eggs to an "all-vegi" egg white omelet. As you chow down, reflect on the fact that the college kid who once ordered steak omelets here would later order special forces to kill Osama bin laden. Bon appetit!

3. 57th Street Books, Chicago
Buy another copy of "The Audacity of Hope" at its author's favorite Chicago bookstore. Heck, why not celebrate Obama's signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—which got us out of the Great Recession and created almost 3.7 million new jobs—by splurging and buying the book for your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and random strangers? But don't bother sending a copy to the president-elect, who has bragged that he doesn't read books.

4. The White House, Washington, D.C.
Before you head over to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., stop and enjoy a fresh-squeezed libation at a nearby juice bar, like Fruitive. Raise your glass to "Obamacare," which brought health care to millions of Americans for the first time in US history, then walk to its namesake's soon-to-be-former residence to pay your respects. Take a tour and try to remember how elegant everything looks before it's likely all covered in gold plate by President No. 45.

5. Havana, Cuba
Thanks to Obama, for the first time in over half a century, Americans will be able to visit Cuba. In 2016 he became the first president in nearly 90 years to visit the country just 90 miles from the U.S. With many sanctions lifted, it's easier for Americans to visit the country now, although tourism is technically still illegal. If you don't have family or business there, you can visit Cuba for educational purposes (and hey, what visit to a foreign country isn't?). During your stay, you must meet locals in daily settings like community centers and schools. Two important words to know: "Viva Obama!"

Laura Goldman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Check out her i Still Love Dogs blog and follow her on Twitter.