The great gray whale migration
The best place to see a whale migration is from “the deck of a boat or a sandy shore” in California, said Hugo Martín in the Los Angeles Times. During the winter months, “you can gaze west and see gray whales break the surface of the Pacific, cutting a 7,000-mile route from the frigid Bering and Chukchi seas north of Alaska to the warm waters of Baja California.” Right now the whales are settling into the waters around San Diego and points south. Whale-watchers tout this season as exceptional, due to an “unusually high number of humpback whales and orcas” spotted swimming alongside the usual gray whale pods. Marine researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla began leading twice-daily boating excursions in late December. Feeling more ambitious? In February, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro will lead a weeklong cruise “to see whales and calves in San Ignacio Lagoon.” This is where the “behemoth mammals” nurse their young before heading north again in the spring.

Obama’s old neighborhood
Barack Obama’s election to the presidency has turned his Chicago haunts into tourist stops, said Edward McClelland in The Boston Globe. Ever since November, out-of-towners have been flocking to Hyde Park, the “multicultural academic village” nestled within the city’s South Side, to grab a bite at his favorite restaurants or see the Hyde Park Hair Salon, the “storefront barbershop” where he gets his hair cut. Hyde Park is home to the University of Chicago, and notable sites include the “wedding-cake brick mansion of meatpacker Gustavus Swift” and the mile-long park known as Midway Plaisance. But specialized tours include Obama’s hangouts, including 57th Street Books, Attack Athletics (a private gym where he plays pickup basketball), and Medici, a “campus hangout” at which the Obamas order burgers and pizza. The Obamas’ own residence sits at Greenwood Avenue and 51st Street. But be warned. “It’s impossible to approach the house, because the Chicago police have sealed off the block.”