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Destinations

 

Now that the Rio Olympics are over, the city hopes to reap the benefits of the games well into the future. The city has plans to repurpose its Olympic venues into schools, high school dorms, community swimming centers, public parks and land for private development.

But we'll see.

Host cities of the past are notorious for their attempts to adapt their Olympic accommodations. Beijing's Bird's Nest, for instance, now lies mostly vacant except for a wax museum in its basement featuring former International Olympic Committee presidents (wait: what?), and costs an estimated $11 billion to maintain each year. A few host cities, however, are worth exploring.

London

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park of the 20120 Summer Olympics is now home to the largest urban beach in the country, with nature trails and boat tours. The Olympic Stadium is now the home of West Ham United of the English Premier League.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit offers an observation deck with a savory view of London—and it's now home to the world's longest tunnel slide, rocketing passengers at speeds up to 15 miles per hour. (That's pretty danged fast for a slide, yeah?)

Barcelona

Barcelona's beaches! You have the 1992 Summer Olympics to thank for those. The country's beaches used to be an industrial dumping ground, but were redeveloped in preparation for the games. Now, the city is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe.

Sarajevo

The Olympic facilities of 1984 are closely tied to the Bosnian War and the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare.

The Zetra Sports Hall, which houses the moment where figure skater Scott Hamilton took gold for the United States, was repurposed as a morgue during the war in the 1990s.

The Olympic Stadium (Kosevo Stadium) was renovated after the war and remains active. Nearby, the Sarajevo War Theater features plays, music, poetry and exhibitions.

Salt Lake City

The Winter Games of 2002 turned Utah into an international skiing destination and now claims the largest ski resort in the United States.

Three of the olympic's top venues—the Utah Olympic Park, the Olympic Ice Oval and the Soldier Hollow cross-country skiing and biathlon venue—provide space for Olympic hopefuls to train as well as recreational fun for the public.

Brave visitors could ride a bobsled or try extreme tubing, ziplining and adventure courses.

 Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.

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