New York is such a complex and amazing place. It's busy, dirty, cold or humid, everything is expensive, subways suck ass, and yet it's still one of the funnest places to be.
Each neighborhood has great things and hidden gems are everywhere. Food and drinking rule the city.
Getting Around: The Subway Get a 7-Day pass and you'll be good to go.
Eats There are restaurants literally everywhere. Lists are done North to South by respective borrough (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn)
+ Toby's Estate, La Colombe, Bibble & Sip (Lavender Latte), The Coffee Project (Deconstructed Latte), The Good Sort (Chinatown's Unicorn Latte), Porto Rico (East Village Coffee Shop)
+ Jacob's Pickles (UWS): One of the better breakfast brunch places, really close to Central Park and really crowded
+ Bouchon Bakery (Columbus Circle): In the mall near columbus circle, the best quiche lorraine ever made.
+ POST (East Village): Counter service breakfast, homemade chicken sausage biscuit sandwich is great.
+ Clinton Street Baking (LES) - newly expanded but usually long waits. Home to some of the most delicious pancakes in the city.
++ Buttermilk Channel (Carroll Gardens): A Brooklyn gem. A bit of a trek to get there as it's in Carroll Gardens but it's worth it. The fried chicken rules.
+ Absolute Bagels (UWS): Busy and fresh bagels
+ Ess-A-Bagel (Midtown East & Flatiron East): Giant bagels
+ Russ & Daughters (LES): is a must do
+ Tompkins Square Bagels (ABC City): Bagels with crazy flavored fillings
+ Carmines (Theater District): Family style Italian, huge portions. Shrimp scampi is one of my personal favorites
+ Ringolevio (Williamsburg): Mediterranean but the lasagna was perfect
+ John's of Bleeker St OR Bleeker St Pizza (West Village): These are literally down the street from one another and both are similar but delicious. The big thin slice pizza that has lots of oil. Simple pizza but amazing.
+ Artichoke (Multiple Locations): Heavy and Rich slices. Artichoke obvi but my personal favorite here is the vodka square pizza.
++ Prince St Pizza (SoHo): Just amazing pizza
+ Roberta's (Bushwick, BK) OR Paulie Gee's (Greenpoint, BK): Both very similar hot oven pizzas with specialty pizzas involving hot honey
+ Juliana's (Brooklyn): Old school delicious pizza, very fresh, really simple. One of the best.
+ Di Fara (Midwood, BK): quite the trek into BK, and probably a 2 hour wait once you get there. But it's one of the best in NY
+ Los Tacos No 1 (Chelsea): the only taco place I've found comparable to San Diego. In Chelsea Market, cash only and no places to sit.
+ Caracas Arepa Bar (East Village): This place never disappoints. Arepas, all of them. 1 arepa + an app will suffice.
+ Cafe Habana (SoHo): a chill little spot in SOHO/Nolita with really good elote. Good spot to stop for a snack while shopping
+ Meatball Shop (Multiple Locations): a New York staple, meatball sandwiches are amazing, customized orders make it easy for everyone.
+ Soup Spot (Midtown): A little whole in the wall place that has some amazing soup. The seafood bisque is amazing.
++ By Chloe (Multiple Locations): A vegetarian/vegan food, multiple locations now. One of my favorite burgers in NY ends up being a vegetarian one. That good.
++ Burger & Lobster (Flatiron): Personal favorite, only 3 options for food, fresh lobster, lobster roll or a burger.
+ Pearl Oyster Bar (West Village): Great clam chowder and fried oysters.
+ Fuku (East Village): Momofuku's chicken sandwich spot, definitely good. Get the korean style off-menu chicken sandwich!
+ Upstate (East Village): This is a total date spot but really good food. Smallish seafood plates and wine.
+ Root & Bone (ABC City): Another personal favorite. Everything here is tasty and the people are super chill. Fried chicken is a must.
+ Seamore's (NoLiTa): Same owners as Meatball shop but with a seafood flare, actually comparable to San Diego, really chill vibes here.
+ Queen's Comfort (Astoria, Queens): Astoria's best. Southern comfort. Love it.
+ Traif (Williamsburg, BK): American style tapas. Bomb date spot, likely a long wait.
+ Takashi (West Village): One of the better places in the city. Expensive but you will not regret it.
+ Pig & Khao (East Village): Thai tapas spot. Really good food with influences from a few different southeast asian areas. Best in a small group
+ Oiji (East Village): Another date spot, modern asian fusion. small plates, good twists on korean favorites.
+ Thursday Kitchen (East Village): Best to go here with a small group so you can try all the goods. Korean fusion, but really good.
+ Benemon (East Village): Japanese comfort foods. Was really into the katsudon.
+ Raku (East Village): Favorite udon spot, get there early or wait long time
+ LoveMama (East Village): Nasi Goreeng reminded me of Indonesia. Really good!
+ Ugly Kitchen (East Village): Favorite filipino spot, everything was delicious and the manila mule was nice.
+ Nom Wah (Chinatown): Dim Sum down on Doyers St. Amazing pork buns. Serves dim sum late!! A little pricey compared to normal dim sum.
+ Joe's Shanghai (Chinatown): XLB royalty
+ Wah Fung (Chinatown): A tiny little place in chinatown that has charsiu bowl for 3.75. Best deal ever and the meat is delish.
+ Bricolage (Downtown, BK): Great dinner spot
+ Ramen-Ya (West Village): Simple and good, thin wheat noodles, reminds me of Shinsengumi.
+ Ivan Ramen (LES): ramen done differently. cool spot, very modern.
+ Ramen Lab (NoLiTa): constantly changing its ramen makers, check out their website to see who is in but have had some amazing ramen here. Super cool idea. No reservations either so the line moves quick.
+ Mamoun's Falafel (Multiple Locations): One of the cheaper places, cash only and a few different locations but get a great shawarma for $5
+ Taverna Kyclades Greek (East Village & Astoria, Queens): Not a cheap place, but not insanely expensive either. Delicious seafood
+ Souvlaki GR (LES): Chicken gyro so good, small so get a couple of things.
+ Newtown (Bushwick, BK): Super small spot. The sandwiches are great, very homey.
+ Daily Provisions (Flatiron): Chicken Milanese Sandwich is amazing. Danny Meyer owned fast food.
+ Faicco's Italian Special (West Village): Gotta get the italian sandwich
+ Cappone's Salumeria (Meatpacking District): One of my favorite italian sandwiches. Big sandwich too.
+ Wild Son (Meatpacking District): A great lunch spot, really clean decor and tasty sandwiches
++ Katz' Deli (LES): The best classic pastrami you will ever have; Open way late on weekends.
+ Harry & Ida's (ABC City): The modern pastrami sandwich, complete with home made spreads and melt in your mouth pastrami.
+ Cheeky Sandwiches (LES): In LES, a small hole in the wall spot for the best biscuit chicken sandwich.
+ Sal, Kris & Charlies Deli (Astoria, Queens): In the far far depths of Astoria, Queens but this place is legit Get "The bomb" a HUGE (no joke) sandwich for under $10. And it's tasty.
+ Il Bambino (Astoria, Queens): Really tasty panini sandwiches. The meatloaf sandwich is kind of amazing.
++ Brennan & Carr (Sheepshead Bay, BK): Way out near Coney Island. But amazing roast beef sandwich.
+ Mighty Quinns BBQ (Multiple Locations): Slabs of meat + best baked beans
+ Murray's Cheese Shop (West Village): Fun little cheese shop, their restaurant, Murray's Cheese Bar is a few doors down
+ Raclette (East Village): You've probably seen the videos of someone scraping melted cheese onto your plate, that's Raclette. The fig sandwich is very underrated here also!
+ Oda House (ABC City): Khachapuri. That's all you need. Trust.
+ Masala Wala (LES): Tikka Masala.
+ Hometown BBQ (Red Hook, BK): 2016 Brisket King. Stop by Steve's Key Lime Pies when down in Red Hook too!
// Late Night Action:
+ Halal Guys (Cart in Midtown East, Brick & Mortar East Village): If you haven't been here yet I don't know what to tell ya..
++ Sunny & Annie's Pho Sandwich (ABC City): 24/7 Convenience store specializing in pho sandwiches.
// Dessert: Dessert in NYC is a big deal so expect to wait in line for this too.
Doughnuts: Dough (Multiple), Doughnut Project (West Village). Peter Pan in (Greenpoint, BK)
Ice Cream: Ample Hills Creamery (Multiple), Milk bar (Multiple), Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (Chinatown), Mikey Likes It (ABC City), Ice & Vice (Two Bridges), Soft Swerve (Ube Soft Serve in LES)
Cookies: Milk bar (Multiple), Levain Bakery (UWS)
Cheesecake: Juniors (Multiple), Eileen's (LES), Two Little Red Hens (UES)
Other: SPOT (East Village), Rice to Riches (Nolita), Waffles & Dinges (Multiple), Little Pie Company (Midtown East), Petee's Pie Company (LES)
Drinks: Bars Everywhere.
Noteables: Brooklyn Brewery, Crocodile Lounge (Free Pizza!), Lazy Point (Pistachio Mule!), McSorleys (oldest bar in NY), Lois (Wine on tap), Torst (Best beer bar in NY)
With a View: Pod 39, Mr Purple, The Top of The Standard
Happy Hours: Verlaine (Lychee Martini), The Wayland (ABC City)
Sightseeing worth seeing: Central Park, Staten Island Ferry, Times Square, Bryant Park, Flatiron Building, DUMBO Waterfront
Museums: MoMa, the Met, Natural History Museum, the New Whitney, The Museum of Moving Image (Queens), The Morgan Library (Free Friday 7-9), Brooklyn Museum & Botanical Garden
Best Views: Top of the Rock, Freedom Tower Observatory
Other fun: Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club (Gowanus, BK), Brooklyn Bowl (Williamsburg, BK), Heatonist (Hot Sauce Store With Tastings in Williamsburg, BK), Front General Store (DUMBO)
You feel like such an American when visiting Boston. Beautiful old buildings and historical artifacts everywhere. I'd say 3 full days in Boston is sufficient time to see much of the city.
Getting Around: The train! It's definitely the easiest way to get around the city. One of the trains is the oldest line in the United States so take it and enjoy the bumpy ass ride.
Where to Stay: Downtown is a nice area to stay or anywhere around Boston Commons. A great place to Airbnb!
Notes: Boston is a pretty small city. It's very walkable but beware of the winter months as they usually get the worst of the east coast storms.
Eats: There are big italian, irish and polish populations in Boston, so get some of that!
Paramount: Cafeteria style but freshly made and delicious! I love the rule here about not being able to sit before you order your food!
Giacammos: A really good italian restaurant. Crazy waits, fresh pasta and sauces.
Sam Lagrassas: Amazing sandwich place. Get the pastrami or corned beef sandwiches!! (Pictured)
Boston Chowda Co: Get some new england clam chowder in Faneuil Hall Marketplace (Pictured)
Suggestions from friends:
Dessert: Get canolis. Mike's, Maria's (Pictured) or Modern. All great choices.
Boston Cream Pie: You just have to get one while there. The original is from Parker's Restaurant.
Sticky buns: Flour Bakery is the best for it but get them before they sell out!
Drinks: Get some beer at the Harpoon Brewery! (Pictured)
Fenway Park: classic (Pictured)
Take a Duck Tour! (Pictured)
See the original Cheers location
The Commons: nice park
Boston Tea Harbor: Have a tea party. This is actually a lot LESS cool than I thought it would be. Kind of boring but a must see.
Fanuiel Hall (Pictured), Independence Trail
Boston Massacre: It's the same building from your history books so it's pretty amazing to see.
Cemetaries: There are cool cemetaries all over Boston with very historical figures!
Views: Skywalk Observatory at Prudential Shopping Center
Near Boston: New Hampshire, Maine, Foxborough, Gloicester, Rhode Island, Cape Cod.
Overall, Boston is a fun getaway. Much history. Have fun.
YOU SOUND LIKE YOUR FROM LAHNDAHN.
London is a really international, easy to get around, interesting city. The people I met here were not snobby or anything like that either despite what you may have heard. Experiences are different for everybody but people were chill with me.
Getting Around: Probably one of the easiest places to get around. Start by getting an oyster card (you can even sell it back when you leave if strapped for cash). This card is for the london underground. Buses and walking are also viable options. A lot of the things to see are within a 5-10 mile radius along the river, I walked almost everywhere.
Where to Stay: I stayed in an awesome hostel in Waterloo for about $40 a day. I highly recommend this area because it was cool and close to everything. You could see Big Ben and the Wheel from the upper windows.
Notes: Watch the exchange rates because it may seem like 10 pounds is good for fish and chips but really, that's $15.
Museums are mostly all free, so take advantage of that (The Tate Modern is recommended!)
Eats: To be honest, I was pretty disappointed by the food in London. It was expensive and not quite what I had hoped. Oh well.
Burrough Market! an awesome market to get all kinds of London staples.
Fish & Chips are everywhere, Try it out.
Pastys: I'm a big fan of empanadas and things like that, so these were awesome to me! Get them all over too.
Bangers and mash, shepherds pie, etc! Gotta try em all.
Indian food was amazing though!
Drinks: There are pubs every which way. Hit a pub, but don't get the traditional warm beer..
Activities: There is a ton to do here. Very historical place and doesn't have to be expensive. My #1 Recommendation is to go to the Harry Potter Warner Bro's tour. Great experience for HP Nerds.
St. Pancras & Kings Crossings train stations: Kings is where platform 9 3/4 is.
Otherwise, you can just walk along the River Thames and see all the sights. London Bridge, London Tower, London Eye, Museums, Buckingham Palace, etc. (I walked all the way down from Waterloo, down to the London bridge, went across the bridge to the other side and walked back. Took all day and was exhausting but it was a good way to see a lot).
Take a day trip out of the city. I recommend doing this since there are so many things that are cool but needing a day trip out. I took a tour of Windsor castle, Bath and Stonehenge and thought it was definitely worth it. There are also tours that go to Oxford, which I would have liked to do also.
Near London: Amsterdam, Paris, Belgium, Oxford, Bath (Pictured)
Don't go here unless you're ready to be on the cross streets of looking good on the beach and pigging out on hawaiian soul food all day. There is not one without the other on this beautiful island.
Getting Around: Take the bus, easy and cheap ($2.50 per trip, with a 2 hour transfer window), although for if you're staying around Honolulu, you can walk everywhere. Car Rentals if you're planning to cruise up to the North and Scooters if you're planning on short trips.
Where to stay: You can get by for the cheaps here, you just have to research and whatnot. I stayed in a hostel half the time (I think $35 a night or so) and a hotel the other half (Around $135 a night) both in Waikiki.
Notes: Definitely look at a map before you come here, North shore may be a lot farther than you think. And have lots of CASH, many places on the island are cash only and you may not find your bank.
Eats: The awesome thing about Oahu is that every food place is mad delicious.
Shave Ice: Quality-wise: Waiolas, Quantity-wise: Shimazus
– Diamond Head Grill: obviously close to Diamond Head which I’m sure you’ll hike. If you go for breakfast, the loco moco is amazing, otherwise lunches they have all the regular digs. (bus)
– Side Street Inn: Delicious! Its family style so go with a group. Kim Chi Fried Rice, Porkchops, Mochiko Chicken are all good. Gets pretty packed though (Near Rainbow Drive-In)
– Rainbow Drive Inn: Classic Hawaiian plate lunches. Everything here is amazing. Get a slush too if its hot.
– Ono Hawaiian Seafood: Best Poke. Across the street is a different Ono Hawaiian which has the best Lau Lau
– Foodland: This is just a grocery store, but its rad. The one at Ala Moana shopping center has like five different types of poke that you can get! Really good! (Various Locations)
– Marukame Udon: Cheapy good eats. This place gets huge lines but the lines go pretty quickly (5 min walk)
– Iyasume: bomb spam place! Really small japanese place, kind of hard to find. But their spam musubi/variations of spam musubi are good! Good for snacks if youre going to go hiking. (5 min walk)
– Boots N Kimo’s: Pretty famous pancake place that have macadamia nut sauce on top. Long ass wait though, but its in Kailua so you can go to Lanikai Beach or the pillboxes after. (Kailua)
– Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck: Pretty famous food truck in North Shore. There are a ton of shrimp trucks at North Shore/Waimea and I think they’re probably all good. Matsumoto’s Shave ice is over there too but it dont compare to waiolas. (North Shore)
– Me’s BBQ: The Meat Jun was good and they give you 4 sides with your meal!! (Honolulu)
**Friend's Recos: Tanioka's, Helena's and Liliha’s
Late Night: Mac’s 24 (In the Hilton) and Zippys (chili rice! and orange bang shake!) Both in Honolulu
Bubbie's: Mochi Ice Cream is awesome, Multiple Orgasm Cake is a MUST
Leonard's Malasadas: This was the first place I went, they have portugese donuts. get a box of them and just enjoy
Drink: I only went to a couple of places, one being M Club. It was pretty cool, where all the local UH girls party.
Hike: Kokohead (Pictured): Once a rail road, now a really tiring hike up the mountain but you're rewarded with beautiful views.
Lanikai Pillboxes: In Kailua
Haiku Stairs: Illegal and all that nonsense.
Kailua, Ala Moana, Waimea Bay
Other: Snorkel at Hanauma Bay, Turtle Bay, Aloha Stadium Flea Market, Learn to Surf, USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor
The great city of Seattle.
It is about a 2 and 1/2 hour drive from Portland, and a few hours from Canada, but there is a lot to do in Seattle too.
Getting Around: Walk/Bus/Car
Where To Stay: I stayed in 30 minutes outside of the city so it wasn't the best place to stay. I recommend somewhere near all the action. I think Airbnb would be a great choice for Seattle.
Eats: It was really difficult to find a place to eat during the weekends for 6 people. Most places downtown are reserved or just too small to accommodate so be wary of that.
Paseo: 2 locations, I went to the one in Fremont after seeing the Fremont Troll. Long line but it went quickly. Paseo is a cuban sandwich spot but it is insanely good and insanely messy. Huge onions in the sandwiches! The cuban press and the roast pork sandwich were the best. Very reminiscent of Ikes with the long line. Yelp
Pink Door: An unmarked place in Post Alley. It was too busy to eat here but it looked good and it had a nice view outside. Try it and tell me if its good!
Pike Place Chowder: All kinds of great seafood chowders! Bread bowls and sandwiches (Rolls) too! Another gem in Post Alley
Le Panier: A little bakery down the street from the original Starbucks. Really good french macaroons and pastries. Definitely stop in and get a snack!
– Piroshky Piroshky: A super small bakery type of place that has piroshkys obviously. The potato and cheese one was good. Awesome snack place.
Pike St. Fish Fry: Fish & Chips Open Late!!
Theo Chocolate: Really good/expensive chocolate in Fremont. They have tours too but you can just go into the store and try all the samples if you really want. Coconut Curry Chocolate.. weird!
Museums: Chihuly Glass & Garden. One of the coolest exhibits I have ever seen. Unbelievable art.
EMP Museum: Experience Music Project. A museum for music, which is pretty rad. Specializes in northwest artists (Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix), also has a bunch of sci-fi stuff in it.
Ballard Locks: Northwest Seattle, where they have the famous locks to get boats from lower water level to higher and vice versa. Cool to see.
Bruce Lee Grave site: Pretty cool to see. In the Lakeview Cemetary.
Olympic Sculpture Park: I didn’t see this but I have heard some good things.
Seattle Public Library: A really rad and modern library with cool designs all over. The red hall is creepy as hell though.
Of course there are the other tourist things like the gum wall, the fremont troll, the pike place market, tours of Century Link and Safeco fields which are right next to each other. I wish I would have been able to watch a Seattle Sounders game though.
Best View Spots: I’m pretty big on skyline views and seeing the city from high above.
– Columbia Sky View Observatory. Go up to the 73rd story and get an almost 360 degree view of Seattle. Open until 10PM if you want to watch the sun set from here.
– Kerry Park: A tiny little park where you can see a beautiful view of Seattle’s skyline and waters.
Make sure you see the sunsets because they are really nice.
Nearby: Portland, Vancouver
Portlandia. So green and hipster. The food here is on point and the vibe is very relaxed!
Getting Around: When I went, we rented a car and it was pretty easy to get around. I'm sure the bus system is fine too or get a bike like everyone else!
The Waffle Window: Super bomb waffles, 2 locations too. Yelp
Pine State Biscuits: Biscuit sandwiches! so flaky and awesome. Yelp
Salt & Straw: Crazy ice cream combinations, really crazy but awesome. good waffle cones too but huge lines!
PokPok: Mad long lines at this place. Like waiting for 2 hours long. But it is right across the street from salt and straw and a bar so you can go to those places in between wait time. They have awesome chicken wings here and other thai food. Yelp
The Screen Door: More long lines for good food. This is southern food but its legit. I had the fried chicken and it was one of my favorite fried chickens ever. Yelp
Blue Star Donuts: Really good donuts, more weird combinations but for donuts. I had a berry basil bourbon, buttermilk old fashion and passion fruit. I liked this place much better than Voodoo. Yelp
Other Food: They have a ton of trailer food trucks in Portland. In downtown there is a whole street full (We went to Nong’s Khao Man Gai, which is where the street is). Powell’s Bookstore is right down the street too so walk there too.
There is another little trailer food truck area too, but its open super late (I think they all closed at 3AM). They have one called Potato Champion which has poutin fries. I’m sure this place is awesome for drunchies.
Places I bookmarked but didnt have time to try: broder restaurant (american), harbor city (dim sum), mothers bistro (american), Tasty & Sons, shut up and eat (sandwiches).
Multonmah Falls: Definitely a must see waterfall. You can walk up to the bridge and it’s insane.
Horsetail Falls: Really cool hike, I think it’s about 2.5 Miles looped. Right down the street from Multnomah. Just driving through this area is beautiful. The Horsetail falls loop takes you to 3 waterfalls, the first at the beginning is cool, the second one you actually get to go behind the waterfall which is pretty sick and the third one is whatever. Pretty easy hike, once you get to the second waterfall it levels out. Cool views and a good view of the Oneonta Gorge.
Oneonta Gorge: if you don’t mind getting wet, this is a hike that goes through the gorge. I wanted to hike this one but my parents were not down. I think there is cliff jumping and its supposed to be a pretty wild hike.
Drink: Breweries! There are tons of breweries in Portland. Rogue, Hair of the Dog, Cascade, etc.
Powell's Book Store
Grand Marketplace: huge vintage store, really cool stuff to see and buy. Reminds me of the travel channel show American Pickers.
Portland Gun Club: Skeet Shooting
This place is a facebook whore's wet dream.
You've seen this place somewhere, probably on a desktop or a travel instagram account. It is as beautiful as it looks in pictures.
How to get there: Drive/Fly into Vegas/AZ/Utah - Either way, a car is necessary to get around.
What you need:
A Tour: It's the only way you can get in there. But it's worth it because they drive you in there and clear people out so you can get good pictures, as well as throwing dirt around so you can really see the light shining through the canyon.
Water: Most tours will give you some water bottles, but it's pretty hot out there so does not hurt to have extra, especially if it's in a water bottle that can stay cold.
Camera: Don't be one of those iPhone photographers. This place is beautiful, do it some justice by getting a camera that can truly capture the colorations and shadows. The lighting in there is beautiful but you will be able to tell how much better a good camera is compared to a phone. There are a lot of low light type of shots.
The Tour: There are a ton of tour guide companies, but I think they all will provide a good experience. I used Overland Tours and they were great.
You meet at the tour guide HQ, then they jeep you out to the canyon. It's a crazy ride to get there, like the Indiana Jones ride but crazier.
The tour is usually around a half hour to an hour depending on what you get. But IMPORTANT, get a good time slot. Usually noon is the best slot and the tour companies all have different time slots so research the best ones and the best time to go! Like I said, they throw dirt around, give great insight on the best places to take pictures and lighting and all of that.
Where to stay: Stay in a nearby area. I stayed at a Motel 6 in Page, which was about 10-15 minutes away. It had a 24 hour desk reception, which is awesome for those that like to travel late at night or after work.
What else is around: Page is in the middle of all the cool things in the desert. It's like around 2 hours from the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Zion National Park, Four Corners, and not too far from Vegas too!
Another must see that is about 10 minutes away from the canyon is the Horseshoe Bend. It's a short like 1/2 Mile Hike down but it's sick.
Glen Canyon Dam Overlook is a nice little chill out area too, obviously it has a view of the dam, but you can sit and appreciate the beautiful colors of the water.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument is another trip, but it's a half day trip I believe, so I will have to go next time.
Food: Not too much out there but Big John's Texas BBQ and a few other little places are around. I'd say just drive around and find something.
One of my favorite cities. Like a mix between LA+Seattle with seasons though and city pride everywhere you look.
Pride for Sports Teams there are unrivaled, and they have reason to be that way. Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, White Sox and Bears all reside in chi-town and you’ll see remnants of it everywhere as well as the 4-star city flag. I’ve never seen a city rep their flag like they do there. In fact, I didn’t even know cities had flags, which led me to look up Los Angeles (WTF).
Anyways, to start, flying into O’Hare makes things really easy and it’s a nice airport with transport from the burbs to the city (Blue Line).
// Getting Around: Begin by getting a city Ventra pass, it gets you use to both the the trains and the buses, which can get you basically anywhere in the city and beyond. (I got an unlimited 3 day pass)
The rest is up to you but here are my recos:
Must Do: Millenium Park/The Bean. Whatever sporting event is happening during that season (United Center/Wrigley), Take a walk down Milkwaukee/Damen and hang with the locals, lots of great stores and food/coffee spots.
// Food: DEEP DISH PIZZA: It’s known for it so get it. My favorites are Giordanos and Gino’s East, but the original Uno’s is also there along with Lou Malnati's!
Italian Beef Sandwiches: Al’s is awesome, but I could not stop thinking about Johnnie’s Beef in Elmwood Park. It’s a little bit far out there (takes about an hour on the bus from downtown) but it’s $5 for an amazing sandwich. Beware it’s cash only though!
Chicago Dogs: I only really ever go to Portillo’s but I’m sure there are plenty of bomb places.
Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe: Best breakfast! Right across the street from the bean, so go here first then walk off the food in the park. Beware long waits though, this place is very busy on the weekends. The french toast is amazing.
Piece Pizza: Awesome NORMAL pizza and award winning beer. They even have a Girl & the Goat collaboration pizza (A $$$ restaurant, so I have never been there).
Au Cheval: This place lives up to the hype. Not expensive, delcious food and drinks, just have to show up mad early.
+ Crisp: Korean Fried Chicken Sandwiches. Must try.
// Drink: Emporium – 2 locations, it’s basically a barcade with lots of beer and tons of games for a quarter. Similar to “barcade” in NYC but better and bigger.
Goose Island Brewpub: One of my favorite places.
Coffee: Walking down Milkwaukee, I found a number of cool looking coffee shops, but none better than the one called The Wormhole. Really chill vibe and kind of nerdy at the same time. There is a car in there as decor. Rad.
+ Mindy's Hot Coco: This is as much a brunch spot as it is a coffee/hot coco spot, but I would gladly get another iced mexican hot coco. Amazing.
Farther down Milkwaukee/Damen, you can find Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. Another cool spot for food and drinks!
// Other Fun:
Skyviews: I’ve been to both the John Hancock Observatory (360 Chicago) and the Sears Tower/Willis Tower (Skydeck) and they’re both pretty cool. I think you have to go to the Skydeck though, it’s higher and the glass over the edge is pretty legit. Beware of major tourists and waiting in lines for pictures, otherwise hope for a clear day for these beautiful views.
Not Recommended: Wicker Park, just because there is a movie, doesn’t mean it’s worth going to.
Enjoy the windy city!
All national parks are amazing, but Acadia is one of my favorites. It's unappreciated because it's in the far corners of the US, but it's nice.
Getting Around: You definitely need a car, but in Bar Harbor, you can walk around everywhere. I would imagine there is a bus system that goes through the park also.
Where to Stay: Bar Harbor is the closest place to Acadia and it's very comfy there. Be wary though, the town basically shuts down during the off months.
The Park: You can drive through on Park Loop Road and see a good amount in a day but I think 2-3 days would be ideal to really explore this place. My top highlights were:
Cadillac Mountain: We went around 5 in the morning to the top of the mountain to catch the sunrise. It's the first sunrise of the western hemisphere and it is one of the most memorable things I've done.
Sand Beach: Really relaxing beach with beautiful surroundings.
Thunder Hole: A really random area where the water comes in and out and makes "thunderous" noises. It was alright but the surrounding area was fun to explore.
Jordan Pond: Great place to have a picnic and relax. The area around Jordan Pond is basically where to go for lunch and souvenirs.
Go Hiking: I didn't have enough time to go explore the trails but I've heard good things about the Precipice Trail and the Beehive Trail.
Other Things Around There:
Explore Bar Harbor! Of course there are a ton of good seafood places and amazing clam chowder. There are half day trips from Bar Harbor to go penguin watching or whale watching also!!
Walk the Land Bridge during low tides! You only have a few hours to do this but when the tide is low the sand bar is exposed and you can walk across to the outskirts of Acadia with water on both sides.
Lighthouses are everywhere. Go find some!
Where I Ate:
My first reaction upon arriving in DC was "wow it's so clean here". A city full of politics, museums and american food.
It's a great place to spend 3 days and get a good feel for the city. It's rich in history and has beautiful monuments.
Getting Around: There is a metro but it doesn't really cover as much ground as I'd hoped, I ended up UBERing most of the time. I think busing it is also an efficient way to get around like most cities but if you're pressed for time just UBER.
Where to stay: Most of DC seems really safe and nice. Dupont Circle, and U St seem to be the more popular young areas to stay.
Eats: You have to get the local eats. Mainly American food. There seem's to be a lot of southern influence here which is awesome.
+ Old Ebbit Grill: an old food establishment that's seen many a politician I'm sure. Pretty delicious.
+ Founding Farmers: This is a wait an hour and half and still worth it type of place. The corn bread, the fried chicken. Amazing.
+ Farmers, Fishers, Bakers: All you can eat delicious breakfast. $30 but they have good french toast for days.
+ Ben's Chili Bowl: classic stop for anyone visiting DC
+ Good Stuff Eatery: Amazing Shakes!!
+ Museums: Smithsonians are all cool and FREE, International Spy Museum, Newseum
+ Ford Theater: where Lincoln was shot.
Monuments: Lincoln, Washington Museum, All of the National Mall. Recommend you take a bike around, but it's just as cool to go to at night when it's empty than when it's crowded as balls in the day.
Around DC: Arlington National Cemetary (Pictured), Philly, NYC
To all you lucky people going to Havasupai Falls, you will have a great time and see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.
The Havasupai tribe is extremely difficult to get a hold of. When we called for a lodge room, we originally had no answer for the first few days. My friend had to call every 10 minutes until they finally picked up and when they did, they just took down his name and that was basically it, they don’t ask for your information or payment.
Helicopter: We looked into this momentarily but apparently they do not fly the copters on Saturdays and we were on a time crunch. However, I think the best way to go would be to hike in, helicopter out.
The Drive: Depending of course from where you’re coming from but most of us will just google map it to “Hualapai Hilltop”. That will get you there for the most part. Our phones took us to Indian 18 (a one lane each way street) and it said to go to mile marker 29 and then we would arrive. Well, we got there and nothing was in sight. Turns out you have to keep driving all the way to mile marker 65 (the end of the street). There is a parking lot at the end where there will be a lot of other people/bathrooms/etc. If driving there late night, be careful of animals (deer, cows, rabbits, etc, they all walk around on the street and could get freaked out by headlights)
The Hike: The hike in is much easier than out. It is 8 miles to the village of Supai and another 2 to the campground/Mooney Falls. If you’re staying in the lodge, it will be in the village. The beginning of the hike in, is about 1.5 to 2 miles of switchbacks and downhill slopes to the beginning of the canyon. From there it will be about 6 more miles of leisurely walking (its flat) and you start to get some beautiful sights (the canyon has crazy formations) and if you go early enough you will have plenty of shade. We left at 7 in the morning and were one of the last groups to leave.
The dogs: Undoubtedly you will see a bunch of stray dogs running around the area. I think they are owned by the tribe, but not by one person particularly. They seem to just roam around in packs or alone. We had one dog guide us around the entire trip. I don’t know what the rules are on feeding them but we didnt feed any of them.
The lodge: It was your normal lodge but no television and had a hard time connecting to the wifi. It was definitely nice to have a bed and a/c though. Check in is 1 so that complicates things if you arrive at 10AM. We got breakfast at the cafe and then explored, coming back around 3PM to check in. (I believe you can have 4 people in the room, there are 2 beds, and a shower.) I think it was around $150 per night but they also included the $35 permit fee per person).
*They will let you leave your bags in the lodge area if you are early and want to go explore the area.
The cafe: Overpriced mediocre food but it does the job. Usually slow service because they only have a couple of people working there.Plus after a long 8 mile hike, a cold soda is amazing. Open from 7AM to 630PM. HUGE Pancakes
The Waterfalls: This place is unbelievable from the first time you see the blue green waters to the huge waterfalls. I think there are 5 waterfalls you can see (we saw 4). Walk toward the campgrounds and youll pass at least 3 waterfalls. We explored them all and loved them. There are natural infinity pools basically everywhere and the waterfalls get bigger the farther you venture. Havasupai Falls (the third waterfall in our trip), was the most chill. Picnic tables laid out everywhere, even in the shallow waters and would be a good place to picnic and relax. Mooney falls, which is another mile down past Havasupai Falls is the biggest but getting down to the falls is dangerous (sketchy staircaves) and we are not sure if you can climb the stairs back up (the alternate would be a long hike back up). Regardless it is beautiful to see.
Gear: Thats all dependent on if you camp or lodge. If you have a lot of heavy stuff, you can also have them mule your gear down/up.
Conclusion: Go here, hike in, helicopter out. Spend a couple days here so you can really explore it and just relax and enjoy the beautiful blue green waters. So few people go here that you can sometimes have the waterfalls to yourself. Be careful of snakes though! Enjoy
If you're going to Denver, you best be ready to do some outdoors shit.
Snowboarding, hiking, driving through the mountains are all acceptable activities.
Where to stay: I stayed in a penthouse airbnb, with beautiful views and a ping pong table for a little over a hundred a day. That's a pretty good deal. I think a lot of these places have very affordable airbnb's so why not.
Do you need a car: Probably. We rented one since we were going out to the mountains, otherwise the line system seemed pretty basic and it probably won't take you out to the mountains. Note: It's only a $9 bus ride one way to Denver International Airport!
Anyways whats in Denver? The Broncos, The Rockies, The Nuggets, Vail, Lots of White People, and beer!
Things to do: Whatever sport is playing there, I recommend going to it. I wanted to go to Coors Field but it was unfortunately out of the season so I decided not to.
Go to a brewery: Breckenridge, Great Divide and lots of other microbreweries are there. (At Great Divide, you get 3 oz tasters for $1).
Eat Food: Denver Biscuit Co is a must, El Taco De Mexico (Breakfast Burritos), Biker Jim's (Late night crazy hot dogs, I had Alaskan Reindeer), Table 6 (A bit more upscale), Colt & Grey (Upscale and across the river).
Ice Cream: Sweet Action had pretty good ice cream.
Art/Museum Scene: I didn't see too much, went to the Natural History and Science Museum and was not that impressed, would have liked to see the Miniatures Museum but ran out of time.
Denver's Capitol Building was a nice looking building too.
The Source: Was a cool little place that consisted of beer (Crooked Stave), bread (Babette's) and Svper Ordinary (Store). Kind of a little market that was fun, even got to watch the Broncos win their playoff game.
Take a walk: It's a very walkable city although there seemed to be a lot of homeless and wasn't overall that much to do it seemed. I took a long walk down to the river to the Millenium Bridge and then walked over. It was alright.
Snowboard: You must go a couple hours away to hit the slopes. Vail was amazing and Breckenridge was even closer, so definitely take the chance to do that.
Hike: Rocky Mountain State Park is there, amongst others (Red Rocks Park, yes where the ampitheatre is) and Dinosaur Ridge are only a 30 minute drive away.