Enjoy These Top 4 Fine Dining Restaurants in Tampa

If you’re visiting Tampa, you might be interested in checking out some of its fine dining restaurants. Tampa’s many restaurants feature different types of food such as Indian and Italian cuisine, chicken, and steak. Many of them also have menus for kids and gluten-sensitive travelers. For a taste of what Tampa has to offer, enjoy these four fine dining restaurants for your pleasure.

Flames Indian Cuisine  

This Indian restaurant serves dishes from all over India. They include appetizers such as bharwan paneer tikka, veg pakora, and lamb shami. Some of their kid-friendly dishes include chicken cutlets, chicken lollypop, and kashmiri naan, which is a leavened flatbread stuffed with dried fruits. Their main courses include dishes made from lamb, chicken, seafood, and rice. Travelers can finish their meal with a dessert like gulab jamun with kulfi, carrot halwa, or chocolate samosa.

Ocean Prime 

Whether you’ve just spent the day at the beach, or you’re in the mood for seafood, then Ocean Prime is the place to tickle your palate. If you’re staying at a nearby hotel, you can simply enjoy the walk to this fine dining establishment for either lunch or dinner. Their selections include dishes made from seafood, chicken, lamb, and steak. Some of their gluten-free selections include blackened salmon salad, sea scallops, and crème brûlée. Their sides include jalapeño au gratin, asparagus and hollandaise, and twice-baked potatoes. Kids 12 and under can choose from selections like buttered noodles, macaroni with cheddar cheese, the Ocean Prime Burger, and a petit filet mignon.

Donatello Italian Restaurant 

Donatello’s models many of their dishes after the ones served in Northern Italy. However, they also prepare dishes from other regions of Italy. Dishes from Naples and the Amalfi coast include calamari Amalfitana, capelli al pomodoro, and medallion Napoletana. Some of their Rome-inspired selections include scottadita alla roma and saltimboca. 

Diners who like dishes from Florence can try the florentina, a delicious porterhouse steak that’s grilled and seasoned with olive oil and rosemary. In addition, their dishes from Milan include osso bucco Milanese, which is served with a saffron risotto.

The Capital Grille

If you can’t decide between steak and seafood, you’ll be happy to know The Capital Grille serves both. They’re open for both lunch and dinner. Some of their lunch selections include a rib-eye steak sandwich with caramelized onions, and havarti, a semi-soft Danish cow’s milk cheese. Diners can also try the Grille’s signature cheeseburger, filet mignon, and sushi-grade sesame seared tuna with ginger rice.

Some of their dinner selections include caramelized French onion soup, New England clam chowder, a salad that consists of field greens, butter leaf lettuce and heirloom tomatoes, seared tenderloin with butter poached lobster tails, veal tomahawk chop, dry-aged New York strip, and filet mignon. Gluten-sensitive diners will enjoy selections of steak tartare, fresh oysters on the half shell, and cast-iron garlic shrimp.

Tampa has many fine dining restaurants that offer other types of cuisine, so you’re sure to find something everyone in your family will like. When looking for restaurants to try, consider the type of food you usually like, but be open to trying new dishes and experimenting with the choice of cuisines from around the world.

5 Outdoor Experiences You Can’t Miss Near Lancaster, TX

Located just 15 miles southwest of Dallas, Texas, Lancaster is a quaint and small town with over 150 years of history. The community focuses on year-round fitness, with a number of parks and recreation opportunities on its doorstep. There are over 600 acres of public land around the town, including rare and significant natural areas.

Be sure to check out some of these outdoor experiences in Lancaster for your next visit. If you’re planning a trip to Lancaster, book your hotel room ahead of time to ensure a relaxing holiday!

Walk or Bike Lancaster’s Trails

There are quite a few hiking and walking paths in Lancaster. The Pleasant Run Hike and Bike Path is a 2.4-mile trail that winds through neighborhoods in the west side of town. Benches are placed conveniently along the path, allowing users to take a break and watch the birds.

Ten Mile Preserve offers views of Ten Mile Creek and weaves through meadows and wooded areas. Visitors can hike the 2-mile trail, enjoy bird watching, share a picnic, or photograph wildflowers. The Lancaster Community Park is also an excellent place to walk or ride a bike, with numerous overlapping paths and trails which meander between the recreation center, sports fields, and other amenities.

Play a Round of Golf

Lancaster boasts the beautiful 70-par Country View Golf Course. There’s no better way to spend a sunny spring day than with a round of golf. This course was rated Best Value Priced Course, Most Improved in the Dallas Fort Worth Area, Best Overall Value Under $40, and Best Greens in DFW. With its peaceful fairways and numerous water hazards, this course will challenge your skills and improve your game.

Go Fishing

The largest of Lancaster’s parks is Bear Creek Nature Park, with hiking and equestrian trails, climbing rocks, a butterfly garden, pavilion, and fishing pond. Make sure to get a fishing license before you bring your rod and relax on the fishing pier. 

Bear Creek is a catch-and-release fishing pond, which allows everyone to enjoy this activity. Fishing is a great way to spend an afternoon with the family in Lancaster.

Catch an Outdoor Performance

At the Helen Giddings Amphitheatre in Lancaster Community Park, visitors can enjoy performances and events such as the Fourth of July and Juneteenth celebrations. The Amphitheatre is located right next to a lake and features gorgeous natural surroundings. Music festivals and art exhibits have been hosted at this new facility, which was completed in 2013. 

Visit Lancaster’s State-of-the-Art Recreation Center

If you happen to be in Lancaster on an overcast day but are still craving outdoor activities, be sure to check out this impressive 64,000-square-foot facility. The Lancaster Recreation Center boasts an indoor water park complete with water slides, a lazy river, and a lap pool. There are also numerous fitness classes, sports leagues, and other events to attend.

Lancaster, Texas, is a great small-town location with excellent outdoor opportunities. Be sure to check out some of these nature-based activities to explore all that Lancaster has to offer! 

Top 4 Beaches in Florida for a Quiet Escape

With its thriving nightlife, many theme parks, and stunning beaches, it’s no wonder Florida is considered one of the most beloved vacation destinations in the world. In fact, the Sunshine State’s tourism arrivals for the first quarter of 2018 have gone up by 7.4 percent at 33.2 million visitors, 2.3 million more compared to last year’s 30.9 million, according to the tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida.

If you’re one of those people who desire solitude during vacations, these statistics may seem off-putting. However, you’d be pleasantly surprised to know that the region has plenty to offer with quiet escapades — even better given that many of these places are by the sea.

Longboat Key Beach

This gorgeous stretch of natural shoreline is ideal for those who wish to stay away from the crowds. Longboat Key is lined with rental properties, condominiums, and private residences that limit the public’s access to its beach, making privacy one of its main appeals. Due to this level of privacy, couples and families who prefer seclusion often end up staying here. You can find plenty of reasonably priced Longboat Key accommodations in and around the area in addition to the nearby restaurants and shops.

Cayo Costa State Park

Finding hidden gems often requires a bit of effort, and such is the case for Cayo Costa. Getting to its 9 miles of pristine, white sand shores will require you to depart from Punta Gorda on a private ferry. However, the journey is more than worthwhile because the trip includes opportunities to see dolphins, manatees, and local avian wildlife along the way. Upon arriving at the island, you also have to hike through pine hammocks and mangroves to get to Cayo Costa’s secluded beach. You can also spend the night if you wish since the park offers some rental cabins.

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Encompassing 437 acres in northern Palm Beach County, this park was once the property of insurance magnate John D. MacArthur. Today, it has become a coastal preserve peppered with manatees and mangrove channels. 

While its beach is a mere 2 miles long, rarely does the place get crowded. In fact, with so few swimmers going in and around the area, the beach doesn’t have any need for lifeguards. The park is also the natural habitat of the zebra longwing, the state butterfly of Florida, in addition to other marine species such as fiddler crabs, oysters, and snook.

Caladesi Island

Although Caladesi Island has only about 3 miles of coastline, its stretch of beach is often considered one of the best in America. This atoll off Dunedin is accessible only via a private boat or ferry, but its unspoiled shores make it a beach lover’s paradise. Since you need a bit of effort to reach Caladesi Island, the atoll doesn’t have as much crowd congestion as many of Florida’s public beaches. Bring your own lunch, chairs, and umbrellas, or opt to pack light and get what you need from an on-site purveyor.

Whether you desire privacy or wish to blend in with the crowd, Florida has something in store for you. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that the Sunshine State has it all.

Things to see and do when visiting Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is a popular vacation location in the USA and it’s no surprise why! Fort Lauderdale is a beautiful beach-side city on Florida’s southeastern coast, and it’s known for it’s stunning sandy beaches and the boating canals too. Because of how much outdoor space there is in the city, it’s popular with holiday-makers and families too.

It makes a great vacation spot, as it’s chilled out, there are loads of activities for all interests and ages, there are lots of accommodation options, and there are even special clubs for water sports.

If you’re wondering how to spend your time in Fort Lauderdale, hopefully this blog post will fill you in!

The Strip

This part of the city is a popular place with locals and tourists. It is a long promenade running along oceanside highway A1A. It’s lined with many delicious outdoor restaurants, fun bars, boutiques for shopping, and even hotels too. If you’re stopping in one of these hotels you’ll probably spend a lot of time on the the strip, but if not, it’s certainly worth taking time to explore it during one day or evening. It’s a great place to drive to (renting a car in Fort Lauderdale is really easy) and you can just park up and walk around to explore. Grabbing a meal is definitely worth doing too – because it’s a fantastic place to people watch.

Bonnet House Museums & Gardens

If you want to learn more about Fort Lauderdale’s history, and see some beautiful art, grounds and gardens, then this is the perfect day activity for you. Bonnet House is a stunning estate, dating back many years and offering up a real insight into the towns history.  It is even famous for a famous true love story! The 35-acre estate is nestled between the beach and Intracoastal Waterway and it really is a beautiful sight to behold.

Las Olas Boulevard

Located in downtown, this is an amazing place to stroll around, people watch, and even sip on a milkshake or coffee at one of the trendy outdoor cafes. Las Olas Boulevard is fully of luxury shopping, art stores, and even sidewalk food stalls and cafes too – there really is something for everyone. It’s definitely worth a visit! If you really love your food, you could even try out the ‘foodie’ tour currently being offered around the area – which will make sure you don’t miss any of the good stuff!

Boat Tours: Intracoastal Waterway & Millionaire’s Row

The ocean and canals are a huge part of life in Fort Lauderdale, and there’s no better way to see the city than via boat. There are loads of companies that offer boat tours, and if you’ve rented a car in Fort Lauderdale, you can drive to the pier and park there, and then board your boat worry free! You’ll see stunning waterfront houses, beautiful estates and even wildlife too.

Flamingo Gardens

For bird lovers, or just people who want to do something a little different… this 60-acre botanical garden and Everglades wildlife sanctuary is a must-see. This incredible day out features a walk-through aviary and you can even expect to see alligators, flamingos, bobcats, black bears & Florida panthers. It’s really fun for adults and children, and it’s an interesting and educational day out.

The Beach!

How could we mention Fort Lauderdale without mentioning spending the day on the beach! You’ll love spending hours relaxing on the beach with the sound of the waves crashing nearby. The beaches in Fort Lauderdale are some of the best in the country – so you definitely won’t want to miss them.

We hope this has given you some interesting ideas on what to do in Fort Lauderdale. It’s such a fun location to visiting with you family or friends and we know you won’t run out of thing to keep you busy!

 

 

What to see and do in Orlando

If you’re planning a visit to Orlando in Florida, you might be wondering how and where to spend your time. Orlando is a huge place, and it’s full of amazing ways to spend your vacation and holiday.

Who is Orlando for?

Orlando is great for everyone! From honeymoons and couples to family vacations! There something in Orlando for most people and it’s a really fun place to spend time.

When to visit?

Most people visit Orlando in the spring and autumn, when temperatures are warm but manageable and the humidity isn’t too full on. Lots of people also visit in the summertime though, and even though it’s hot in the summer it does mean you can make the most of your hotel pool! After a day of sightseeing or theme parks, a day spent relaxing by your hotel pool will seem heaven-sent! If you plan on spending your days exploring theme-parks, it’s worth considering how much heat you can handle – especially as most theme parks are outdoors under the blazing sunshine.

So how should you get there?

People get to Orlando in all sorts of ways. If you live within driving distance, it’s a great idea to drive down. Most hotels have parking, and driving means you can easily get to and from all the theme parks. If you’re flying into the city, it’s a good idea to rent a car in Orlando when you land, to make getting around the parks easier. Luckily, rent a car in Orlando isn’t expensive (as it’s such a popular choice for travellers) so you can usually find great deals and reasonable prices no matter what time of year you visit. Do be sure to book in advance though – you’ll get better rates and you’ll be assured your vehicle choice too.

Where should you visit?

The list is endless!

There are so many places to visit in Orlando, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Most people visit the city to explore many of the famous theme-parks, so these will probably be the first things on your list to tick off.

Disney’s Magic Kingdom

You can mention theme-parks in Orlando without mentioning this iconic park! Founded in 1971, it’s the first ever attraction to open at Orlando’s sprawling Walt Disney World.

Universal Orlando Resort

This is one of the most well known parks in Orlando, this is a fantastic park for families, especially those with older kids and teenagers.

Universal Island of Adventure

Universal’s Islands of Adventure has received loads of global awards for the range and variety of rides and attractions. There are loads of rollercoasters and amazing rides and adults and kids will love visiting. This place is also good for Harry Potter fans, as it’s the home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™-Hogsmeade™.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studio is home to loads of the magic and there are 6 main areas here dedicated to different Disney themes. It’s an adventurous day out and you’ll love it! There are rides, shops and even restaurants to enjoy! Some of the most well known rides are rides like Tower of Terror and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Coaster.

SeaWorld Orlando 

Whilst SeaWorld isn’t a conventional theme-park, it’s definitely worth a visit if you like the ocean and marine life. For many families it’s a fantastic way to learn about marine life and get the children educated about the ocean in a fun way.

Remember when you visit Orlando to choose your theme-parks carefully! You’ll want to be sure you’re getting a variety of parks and seeing a wide-range of attractions too! Oh, and don’t forget to pack your suncream! Spending all that time outdoors means you’ll be exposed to the sunshine and you’ll want sun protection on you at all times!

All these places are easy to get to, and easy to park at – so renting a car in Orlando is the perfect (and easiest option) in most cases.

Tips for driving in Miami

If you’re planning to drive around Miami on your next visit, you might be worried about driving in a new place or adjusting your driving habits to suit a new location. Miami is a vary car-friendly city, with loads to see and do, most of which have parking and are accessible by car (whether you choose to rent a car in Miami or bring your own).

Here are some highlights we recommend:

Miami Beach

The iconic beach, it simply can’t be missed during your time in the city. There’s plenty of parking along the beach, both in residential streets that run alongside and in designated car parks. Taking the car to the beach is a great idea too, because you’ll be able to take games with you, plenty of food and water too.

Visit the Art Deco District

The Art Deco style is what Miami is all about. The nostalgic 1930s buildings are so famous in the city and it’s amazing to see them in person. Driving around this part of the city is relatively straight forward, and if you spot anything you want to stop off anywhere, there should be plenty of meter parking to choose from.

Bayside Marketplace

This lively and amazing place in Miami is a popular nightlife spot. Hosting over 150 specialty and tourist shops, cafes and restaurants, Bayside Market place has it all so you’ll have plenty of places to choose from. There are outdoor malls, as well as lovely boutique stores to enjoy too. It’s a great place to park up for the daytime, enjoy some shopping, and then stop for dinner afterwards. Located along Miami’s waterfront, you’ll get to enjoy loads of views and live music too!

The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

A stunning museum that is worthy of a full day of exploring. This museum is regarded highly in Miami, usually referred to as one of the city’s best spots and most enjoyable days out. It truly is a treasure to behold, with it’s wonderful architecture, grounds and artwork to explore and admire. There are 34 rooms, all arranged around a breath taking courtyard, and if you love the Renaissance-style you’ll absolutely LOVE this villa.

Driving tips in Miami

So now you know where to drive to, and where you should be exploring, it’s time to talk about driving around Miami and give you some tips on how to handle the road in the city:

  • Keep your driver license, proof of insurance on you all the time
  • All passengers must wear seat belts
  • If you’ve rented a car, keep your rental documents on your person
  • Drive on the right-hand side of the road (like the rest of the USA)
  • Always note posted speed limits: 15 mph in school zones, 30 mph in business or residential areas and 55 mph on most expressways, unless road conditions warrant lower speeds.
  • Right turns are permitted at red lights unless otherwise indicated
  • Children under 5 years old must be fastened securely in government-approved car seats
  • Texting while driving is not allowed
  • Do not use social media whilst driving either
  • In the case of rain or fog, turn on your car’s windshield wipers and headlights (not hazard lights)

Remember: Weather in Miami can be somewhat unpredictable in certain months, so it’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with different weather functions on the car – incase you need to make rapid changes for rapid weather changes. This is especially important for those in rental cars, where you might not be familiar with the car’s controls.

Most of all – remember to have fun and be responsible! You’ll love exploring Miami by car, whether you choose to drive your own vehicle, or whether you decide to be renting a car in Miami!

What are The Best Theme Parks In America Beyond Disney World

While Walt Disney World draws millions of visitors from all over the world, there are many other theme parks across the country with fairytale offerings for those looking for fun getaways. Whether you’re seeking out the family-friendly experiences or new thrills, these amusement parks have something for everyone.

Here are some theme parks in America you should add to your travel bucket list.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Florida

Spreading across over 100 acres at Universal Orlando Resort, this amusement park comprises a few themed islands. The Marvel Super Hero Island is themed after Marvel superheroes. It is home to the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk. There is also a chain of themed areas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, featuring the magnificent Hogwarts Castle.

Hershey Park, Pennsylvania

Once owned by Hershey Chocolate Company, this themed park is now open to visitors from around the globe. With a wealth of rides tailored for kids, Hershey Park is an ideal place for families with young children. It also offers 13 roller coasters for older guests. Regardless of age, visitors can experience a delicious journey during the chocolate making tours.

Dollywood, Tennessee

This loud park is partly owned and named by a famous American singer and songwriter Dolly Parton. Placed in the foothills of picturesque Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood covers about 150 acres that are packed with a whole host of amusements, rides and unique attractions. Despite the fact that there are plenty of things to do in Dollywood theme park, most visitors get caught up in the rides on the Wild Eagle – America’s first wing roller coaster. Additionally, the guests can view memorabilia of Dolly Parton, go to music concerts, and visit the Calico Falls Schoolhouse.

Knott’s Berry Farm, California

With roller coasters and live entertainment venues of all kinds, Knott’s Berry Farm is a perfect one-stop shop for a family vacation. The Montezooma’s Revenge is no doubt the biggest thrill of the park. This steel shuttle roller coaster reaches a speed of 55 mph in less than 5 seconds. Guests may lodge at the award-winning Mystery Lodge or Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel in Buena Park. It’s advisable to visit this place in spring during Boysenberry Festival, not only for live music but also tasty berries and craft brews.

Cedar Point, Ohio

Dating back to 1870, Cedar Point is the 2nd oldest amusement park in the United States. With a total of 71 rides, including 18 world-class roller coasters, this amazing park is a haven for thrill seekers. Steel Vengeance, the world’s biggest wood-steel hybrid roller coaster, prides itself on breaking 10 world records so far. Those preferring leisurely rides should visit the Midway Carousel at the entrance of the park. Younger guests and families can also head to the Sky Ride and enjoy breathtaking views of the park.

From family-friendly activities to intense roller coasters, these awesome theme parks offer a wide range of attractions and fun options for all ages. Whether you plan a vacation with family or friends, each of them is worth a trip. You are going to enjoy it to the fullest!

Best Day Trips from Las Vegas

While Las Vegas may present all the glitz and glamour associated with adult types of entertainment, it is also the ideal location to vacation with the family. When you find out all the family-type amusements that Las Vegas has to offer, you will see that it is also the ideal place to escape for some wholesome fun and relaxation.

Natural Diversity

While Las Vegas  is a destination in itself, Las Vegas can also be used as a hub for exploring nearby attractions that may include a Grand Canyon tour or a bus ride to nearby Hoover Dam. When you consider that Las Vegas is located close to nine U.S. national parks, you will find that a Las Vegas travel plan will provide plenty in the way of natural diversity. If you don’t fancy going too far afield, a trip to Red Rock Canyon is ideal as it’s only a 45 minute drive just outside the city.

Grand Canyon National Park

No Las Vegas travel itinerary is complete without including a Grand Canyon tour as well. You cannot miss seeing the Grand Canyon as it is one of the great natural wonders of the world. You can either take a five-hour bus ride to the location or choose to enter the canyon by way of a helicopter transport. It just depends on your budget and inclinations.

Death Valley

When you plan a bus tour in Las Vegas, you might choose between a basic day trip or an overnight journey. It just depends on how you set up your travel itinerary. One of the places that you may want to include as part of your travel plan is a trip to Death Valley National Park. This destination is notable as it is the driest, the lowest, and by far the hottest spot in all of North America. The area was named “Death Valley” during the Gold Rush period. Prospectors gave the location its name when they traveled through this desert locale.

Death Valley National Park is about a three-hour drive from Las Vegas so you can make it to this this Las Vegas tour destination in a day. If you want to enjoy a more scenic drive, rent a car and take Route 160. This part of the journey displays a terrain that is defined by valleys and magnificent desert scenery. Scotty’s Castle in the park is located in Grapevine Canyon and is a main attraction.

Hoover Dam

As mentioned, you can also arrange a bus tour in Las Vegas to Hoover Dam.  A good tour operator to contact is Gray Line Las Vegas. The dam is less than an hour from the Las Vegas Strip. Take a view from the overlook and be prepared to see some amazing water views. Not only will you see the dam but Black Canyon, Lake Mead, and the Colorado River as well. Two tours are featured at the facility: one that takes you along routes of the giant dam and another one that highlights the power plant.

Bonnie Springs Ranch

If you want to stay closer to the Strip during your Las Vegas tour of the surrounding area, you may want to visit the Bonnie Springs Ranch. The ranch, which is about 30 minutes from Las Vegas, is the ideal family destination. The 115-acre ranch features a zoo, horseback riding, and a train that takes visitors on tours as well. Gunfights also happen regularly at the ranch. The stables are open daily with pony rides featured for the younger set.

 

10 Ways to Have a Great Experience at Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a perfect place for a vacation in the summer and winter. There are lots of things to do here such as water sports in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. This article describes 10 ways to have a great experience at the picturesque mountain lake that shares a border with both California and Nevada.

1# Stay Somewhere Nice:

Splash out and stay at one of the nice vacation rentals in Lake Tahoe. You have a few options to choose from and almost everywhere has a great view. It’s always nice to get a luxurious place that overlooks the wonderful scenery. Imagine waking up in the morning and overlooking that lake?

Image credit: Ron Reiring

2# Visit Both Sides of the Lake:

Lake Tahoe is in California and Nevada States and both have very different vibes. In fact, you’re going to have a completely different experience depending on which side you’re at. The Californian side is more about relaxing and enjoying the tranquillity. Nevada, on the other hand, has several casinos and lots of entertainment at all hours of the day and night. If you have the time, visit both sides.

3# Rent a Bicycle:

Cycling is a great form of exercise. It’s even better when you’re cycling around the lake and admiring the scenery. Renting a bike is possible and a highly enjoyable activity during the warmer months of the year. And, it’s one of the nicest ways to get around and enjoy the nature. Remember to take plenty of food and water and to pack your camera.

4# Take a Road Trip:

If cycling isn’t your thing or you’re spending a week or so at Lake Tahoe, you could take a mini-road trip. There are several towns around the side of the lake, some are pretty and quaint whereas others have a more historical charm. It’s nice to get out and see some of these places if you have the chance to.

5# Go Jet Skiing:

Jet Skiing is a fun sport for anyone at any age. During the summer months when the temperature is warmer, water sports are popular. You can rent a jet ski and spend the afternoon on the lake. Or, why not enjoy some of the other water sports including kayaking or sailing. There are lots of places to rent equipment. If this isn’t your thing, swimming in the lake is also a popular thing to do.

6# See the Sunset:

The sunset at Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful ones that I’ve ever seen. You could be sat on your balcony enjoying a glass of wine with a loved one or sat near the edge of the water with a cold beer. Wherever you are, the sunset in this picturesque setting is unforgettable. The sunrise is also worth seeing if you can wake up early enough.

7# Go Hiking:

The Lake is surrounded by mountains. Some have trails and you can hike all day every day if you want to. Some tourists come here just so that they can go hiking. If you do, stay on designated trails and remember to tell someone where you’re going. Another quick thing to point out is that there are bears living in the mountains. Though most are harmless and will only approach you if you’re carrying food.

8# Have a Break From Technology:

We’re addicted to technology in our daily lives. The phone, tablet, and laptop. Sometimes we need to use them to check our emails for work or use our phone for business calls. Go technology free and recuperate.

9# Come Back in a Different Season:

If you have the time or are living near the lake, it’s a good idea to return again when the season changes. The views, atmosphere and activities change with the seasons. Spring or fall is a perfect time if you want to avoid the crowds and still have pleasant weather. Summer is for water sports and the skiers come after the first snow. The scenery is also very different and you’re certain to have a different experience.

10# Learn How to Ski:

When we were children, some us dreamed of gliding down those slopes on skis or looking as cool as the snowboarders. But, as we age, dreams start to fade. Why not reignite that youthful passion and return again and learn how to ski or snowboard? It’s a perfect place around January when the snow has accumulated and there are plenty of places to learn and rent equipment. You can also bring the family to enjoy the winter wonderland.

Image credit: Ron Reiring

The Takeaway Message:

If you’re planning a trip to Lake Tahoe this year, follow some of my suggestions to make sure you have the best trip. It’s not essential to do everything, especially if you’re on a time budget. Use these 10 ways to help you plan your perfect trip to this beautiful lake.

Finding the perfect shoes for a city break

 

If you really want to put a pair of shoes to the test, take them to NYC. The amount of walking you do during a city break in NYC is just insane… And it’ll become totally clear after just a day if your pair of shoes don’t cut the mustard.

Because I’ve made this mistake in the past, I vowed never to make it again! I always make sure I have the most comfy shoes to take with me now, shoes that will keep my feet cosy and comfy all day, without fail.

My favourite pair at the moment (and the pair I lived in during our recent trip to NYC) are these adorable little East Side Booties from KEEN. They’re not walking boots in the traditional sense –  but they feel like you’re walking on air and have this magic padding in the heel which cushions every step. I didn’t have the weight allowance (or the space!) in my luggage for clunky walking boots, so these were just perfection.

They’re light and flexible enough to wear all day long, without your feet getting too hot.

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I got so many compliments on these too – during our NYC holiday several people came up and asked me where they’re from. Shoes that earn compliments are definitely a winner in my books.

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You can browse the entire range of KEEN shoes here – they have lots of great styles, from heavy winter boots to lighter every-day shoes (like the ones I’m wearing).

Best Places To Eat Lunch In San Francisco

Feeling peckish in San Fran? Here are some of the best places to eat lunch in San Francisco… If it’s time for lunch and you’re looking for some delicious grub!

Enjoy, and don’t blame me if you feel hungry after reading this! This list of the best places to eat in San Francisco will definitely get your tummy rumbling!
Molinari Delicatessen
373 Columbus Ave (at Vallejo St.)
San Francisco
CA 94133
Molinari Delicatessen is an authentic Italian deli offering a range of meats, cheeses and breads amongst other traditional foods. If you’re a sandwich fan – and you love filling but authentic food – then this place is going to be your new favourite place ON EARTH. The sandwiches are some of the best in the city, so of course we had to include it in our best places to eat lunch in San Francisco list! The deli provides fresh hot and cold sandwiches and has an outside seating area where you can tuck into your food and enjoy views of the city. A highly recommended and popular choice for tourists and locals alike.
best places to eat lunch in San Francisco sandwich
best places to eat lunch in San Francisco
Kokkari Estiatorio
200 Jackson Street (at Front St.)
San Francisco
CA 94111
Next on our list of best places to eat lunch in San Francisco, is this Greek restaurant. If Greek is your favourite cuisine – you’re going to love it here. These guys provide diners with a Grecian dining experience like no other. Specialising in Lamb and Fish dishes, the Kokkari Estiatorio has got this art perfected. Meat is always high quality and cooked to perfection and their lunch menu is packed with both meat and vegetarian options. A very popular and traditional establishment which can get very busy, booking is advised.
Kokkari Estiatorio best places to eat lunch in san francisco
The Codmother Fish & Chips
496 Beach St
San Francisco
CA 94133
A traditional British fish and chip shop located in the Fisherman’s Wharf area of the city, Codmother offers fresh battered fish served with the finest chips, cooked to perfection. Also offering tacos, battered shrimp and a range of delicious sauces, this place has something for everyone. It’s central, totally affordable and highly rated – which is why it makes our best places to eat lunch in san francisco list.
best places to eat lunch in san francisco
Il Casaro Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar
348 Columbus Ave
San Francisco
CA 94133
If pizza is your thing then this classic Italian pizza joint sells the best wood fired pizzas in town. All food is made fresh in house and is a very reasonable price. The Mozzarella salad is perfect and makes for a great lunchtime snack.
best places to eat lunch in san francisco
Capo’s Chicago Style Pizza 
641 Vallejo Street
San Francisco 
Another option for pizza lovers – this is literally the BEST PIZZA I HAVE EVER HAD. It makes quite a heavy lunch – but I could make a list of best places to eat lunch in San Francisco – and not include this place. It would be a sin! I ADORE their deep dish pizzas, but their thing ones are incredible too. Oh, and if you have room, I swear their Tiramisu is a gift sent from heaven.
best places to eat lunch in san francisco
Brenda’s French Soul Food
652 Polk Street
San Francisco
CA 94102-3328
Brenda’s French Soul Food provides exactly what it says in the name, food for the soul. It’s the kind of home-cooking you crave on cold rainy days and it’s a perfect choice for those wanting something comforting but unique. The lunch menu has options such as burgers, sandwiches and soups and house favourites like Cornmeal-fried Shrimp. Top quality cuisine at great prices, this place has it all… which of course is why it made the ‘best places to eat lunch in San Francisco’ list!
places to eat lunch in san fran
The Crêpe Cafe
Pier 39
San Francisco
CA 94133
This lovely little cafe on Pier 39 gives a real taste of France. The prices are rockbottom and the food is truly superb. Not only does this place make the best Crêpes around, their garlic fries with parmesan are out of this world. Both sweet and savoury Crêpes are on offer along with a range of hot and cold drinks.
Osha Thai Restaurant
149 Second Street
San Francisco
CA 94105
A true taste of Asia, Osha has classic Thai favourites along with more modern experimental dishes. The Pad Thai is very popular along with the Sashimi, the dishes are perfectly presented and really good value for money.
best places to eat lunch in san francisco
Buckhorn Grill
845 Market St
San Francisco
CA 94103
The Buckhorn Grill has a range of American food and portions are plentiful. Offering Certified Angus Beef, the meat is of highest quality. Platters, burgers, sandwiches, and salads fill the menu along with lighter options and flatbreads. True grilled food at its finest.
The Grind Cafe
783 Haight St
San Francisco
CA 94117-3316
If you’re after a real American lunch, The Grind cafe sells a range of bagels, pancakes and grilled options. There are loads of sweet options for dessert and the Belgian waffles and breakfast options are hugely popular. The cafe is open from 7am so it’s perfect for an early or later lunch.
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Jasmine’s Cafe & Deli
809 Bush St
San Francisco
CA 94108-3312
This lovely little cafe offers a brilliant selection of Mexican and Korean food at very low prices. It is a quaint, family owned eatery and has a large number of meat and vegetarian options such as quesadillas, burgers and burritos.

Ultimate List: Places to Eat in Dallas

Looking for the ultimate list of places to eat in Dallas?

The list below is full of some of Dallas’ most top rated eateries. I wanted to keep things as varied as possible on this list of places to eat in Dallas, so I’ve divided the restaurants up into different categories. You can find Luxury & high-end, budget & cheap, quirky & unique, fast food and southern dining.

Let me know in the comments below if you found the list helpful, and definitely let me know if there are any amazing places to eat in Dallas that I’ve missed off! 🙂

Luxury and High-End Restaurants

The French Room – Upscale French dining, would make a perfect place to propose or for a special occasion. Luxury at it’s best, rated #1 in Dallas on TripAdvisor.

The Capital Grille – Well-known prestigious restaurant in the heart of the city. Serving up fantastic lobster and steak dishes – for anyone who loves meat and classic American dining.

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Frank Underground – The restaurant founded by two previous Masterchef contestants. Trendy cuisine with a rustic edge. Definitely one for the foodies and food cooking enthusiasts.

Pappa Bros Steakhouse – Amazing steak in a great atmosphere, this is one of the leading steak houses in the city of Dallas. Vast selection of wine too – so it’s a great choice for wine lovers.

Abacus Restaurant – A sleek and modern dining experience serving up global cuisine that incorporates the flavours of the Mediterranean, Southwest and Pacific Rim.They have a chef’s tasting menu, if you want to sample the best of what’s on offer.

Hibiscus – Serving up a mixture of meats (fish, shellfish, poultry and red meat) with an emphasis on well sourced ingredients and well-paired wine.

Budget & Cheap Restaurants

Jimmy’s Food Store – Old-style Italian grocery and cafe, ranked #2 on Trip Advisor for restaurants in Dallas. Really authentic food and atmosphere, adored by locals and tourists alike.

Twisted Root Burger Co. – For a southern take on burgers (and some brilliant head-spin milkshakes) head here for some hospitality, southern style.

places to eat in dallas

Edohana Sushi – Affordable healthy food is great to balance your diet whilst in the heart of Southern food – so having a budget, but healthy option up your sleeve is a great idea. These guys serve up delicious Sushi.

The Gold Rush Cafe – Your typical American greasy-spoon style diner, this places has great reviews online, so worth a visit if you’re after something easy and pleasing.

Italia Express – Delicious pizza on a budget. Yum!

Monkey King Noodle Co. – Authentic noodles on a budget. Great for a quick meal, most things on the menu under $10.

Jen’s Place – Home-cooking and home-baking at it’s best, this is a local gem worth seeking out.

Quirky & Unique Restaurants

Rise No.1 – This unique concept of ‘Souffles-only’ is hugely popular with locals and has high reviews across all online reviewing platforms. Go for something a bit different.

places to eat in dallas

Truck Yard – If you fancy a selection of loads of different foods and flavours, then The Texas Truck Yard is a great place to go. There are loads of different trucks to choose from, and loads of food to try.

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Fast Food Restaurants

Velvet Taco – Known by locals as ‘the best tacos in the south’ it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed by anything they serve up here. The menu has tons of variety too – so maybe an excuse for multiple trips!

Super Chix – Fast food chicken, in fried form – drumsticks, burgers, thighs, wings, you name it.

places to eat in dallas

Start – Simple and small menu that is delicious and impressive. Lots of sandwiches and buns.

Jersey Mike’s Subs – Sandwich place serving up huge subs with loads of different fillings. A local favourite.

Southern Grub Restaurants

Lockhart Smokehouse – If you love BBQ and trying a variety of meats and sauces, you’ll love it here. With rave reviews from locals and online, it’s a sure-fire choice to tickle those ‘southern’ food urges.

Ellen’s Southern Kitchen – Traditional home-style southern cooking, expect filling, comforting and saucy food. A great place to start if you’re new to southern food, or need a tasty reminder.

Peacon Lodge – There’s smoke. There’s BBQ meat. There’s sauce. If that sounds like some kind of southern-food heaven to you, you’re going to love it here. It’s authentic, tasty and friendly.

places to eat in dallas

Bubbas Cooks Country – With loads of local history, and a menu full of southern delights, this diner-style restaurant is a winner for anyone wanting a traditional American eating experience.

Hattie’s Restaurant – Traditional-style southern cuisine, with homemade food and traditional decor.

Don’t forget – if there are any places to eat in Dallas you think should be included in this list, you can comment below!

Romantic things to do in Orlando

Looking for a list of romantic things to do in Orlando?

Not everyone is heading to Orlando for the theme parks, and even if you are (nothing wrong with that after all!) you may want to break up the rollercoasters with some romantic things to do in Orlando too.

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Here’s a list of some date-worthy things to do in the city, whether you’re after a little bit of romance (or a lot!) there’s something for everyone on this list.

Leu Gardens

If you want some fresh air and the wind in your hair, then Leu Gardens is a great choice. These romantic botanical gardens are made up of 50-acres of beautiful gardens, so you can do all the exploring you have time for.  If you fancy visiting at night though, Leu Gardens hosts one of Orlando’s favourite date nights, an outdoor cinema / screening! Once a month a different romantic movie is picked and you can head there, pick a spot and enjoy some alfresco movie watching.

romantic things to do in orlando

Image credit: www.leugardens.org

Bosendorfer Lounge

Of course we had to include some cocktails on our ‘romantic things to do in Orlando’ list. If you fancy a romantic night of cocktails and drinks in a sophisticated and sultry setting, then Bosendorfer Lounge is the perfect setting. There is even live jazz on the weekends, perfect from some romantic dancing and pulling someone a little closer.

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Crealde School of Art 

Have you ever seen the movie Ghost? You know the ever-so romantic scene where they’re making pottery and it all gets a bit messy and a bit steamy? Well if you fancy recreating one of Hollywood’s most romantic moments, then taking one of Crealde’s specialist pottery courses might be ideal for you and your partner. It’s a great change to the hustle and bustle of the theme parks, so a perfect activity to indulge in if you need a little most romance and a little less exhaustion!

Hillstone Steak House

For some, a good meal in the perfect setting is one of the ultimate romantic things to do in Orlando. We’ve picked Hillstone Steak House as our romantic restaurant of choice, it’s perched on the shores of Lake Killarney, and serves up delicious and perfect meaty goodness. It’s definitely worth the drive, and we promise it’ll impress your other half.

romantic things to do in orlando

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The Ritz Carlton Spa

Everybody loves a spa day, and there’s nothing quite so romantic as enjoying a glass or two of champagne before indulging in a couples treatment together, and unwinding all your worries and stresses. The Ritz Carlton Spa is phenomenal and you’ll be treated like royalty. A perfect choice for your romantic afternoon in Orlando.

Lake Lily Farmers Market

For a laid back afternoon that is enjoyable, romantic and totally low-key, you can’t beat a farmers market – especially this one near Lake Lily.

Chocolate Making at the East End Market

The East End Market is a super fun day out on it’s own, but if you want to add a little bit of romance into the mix, you can’t beat on of their cookery classes. For our list of romantic things to do in Orlando, we’ve chosen Chocolate making (because chocolate is everyone’s favourite, right!?)…. but you could choose whatever course tickled your fancy, they have loads to choose from.

romantic in orlando

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Rent a paddle boat on Lake Eola

If you like your romance on the cheesy side, then you have to hire a swan boat from Lake Eola and have a paddle around on a sunny day. It’s cheesy and a little bit corny – but it’s oh so fun and you’ll have a great time!

Thumbnail image credit: www.todaysorlando.com

Foodie Heaven: The Best Diners In NYC

Whenever Pad and I visit NYC, our favourite places to eat are ALWAYS the traditional old-school NYC diners.We have nothing like that in London, so we always make the most of it when we’re over there…. trying to cram in as many of the best diners in NYC as humanly possible.

We’ve been so many times now, and each time we end up visiting 3/4 different diners, so I’ve put together a list of my favourites.

Tip: My favourite thing to order at diners are Buffalo wings and Gravy Fries. So if you’re after a food suggestion as well as a diner suggestion, there you go!

Ellen’s Stardust Diner

This might not be one of the best diners in NYC, it’s definitely one of the most well known! Head to Ellen’s at 1650 Broadway for American diner-style fare and delicious milk shakes in an authentic setting. This is one of the more touristy options on the list, which is why I’ve put it up top – chances are, if you’re stopping in midtown, this will be within a 10 minute walk. Be serenaded by your waiter or a visiting entertainer and join in too (if you want)! You may have to queue but it’s a reasonably speedy process.

best diners in nyc

Tom’s Restaurant

Suzanne Vega wrote a song about this well-known Greek-American diner in Brooklyn’s Morningside Heights, and TV’s Seinfeld used 782 Washington Avenue as the façade for Monk’s Diner. Sample a variety of home-made soups and specials, or join the ever-present Columbia students for gravy fries (MY FAVOURITE!!) washed down by a milkshake at 3 am.

best diners in nyc
Belaire DinerEat at this Queens location for a wide variety of classic dishes in large portions with vegan and vegetarian options. Child-friendly staff serve free nibbles while you check out the stunning chrome interior of this 24-hour railroad car-style Greek venue at 31-91 21st St, Astoria.

Opened in 1980, Astro Diner is where you should go for a typical NYC experience. Astro is open 7 days a week, and does breakfast, lunch and dinner.

best diners in nyc

Alpha Donuts

If you crave a donut you can expect the best at 45-16 Queens Blvd Sunnyside, but step inside and you’ll discover a classic diner where regulars are greeted 24/7. Choose chunky toast, fried chicken sandwiches or Irish breakfast. There’s no website but you’ll find plenty of information and reviews online.

Found on 210 10th Ave and serving up traditional diner food in a traditional setting, this place is exactly what you’ll be imagining when picturing an NYC diner – in fact, the place looks just like it’s come right out of a movie film set. The gorgeous art deco style is my favourite part!

best diners in nycCoppelia

For a change of diet, pick this round-the-clock Latin American version that will have you thinking you’re in a diner in Havana rather than at 207 W 14th St New York 10011. Eat South American or Caribbean cooking and nightly specials on swivel stools, and finish with Cuban coffee.

Gena’s Grill

Continue the Latin experience at 210 First Avenue Manhattan 1009 for Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban cuisine. Sit at the six-seat counter or upgrade to one of the three tables at this establishment run by mother and son. It’s the real deal!

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Lexington Candy Store
 

For me this is for sure one of the best diners in NYC. Despite its name, this is a well-patronised worker’s diner at 1226 Lexington Ave, New York 10028-14 with bread made locally. Open since 1925, its retro look matches its menu, and has earned it appearances in adverts and in the 1975 film Three Days of the Condor. Order the meatball sub – you will never look back! YUM.

best diners in nyc
Remedy Diner 

Grab the inevitable all-day breakfast with the usual refillable coffee, day or night at 245 East Houston St NY 10002. The new twist here is in the additional pasta and Mediterranean recipes offered by owners Peter and Anastasious Giannopoulos, alongside the southern fried chicken and steaks you’d expect.Brooklyn Diner

Savour Brooklyn’s diversity at 212 W 57th St, close to Carnegie Hall and situated in the Midtown hotel area. Go for Jewish, Irish, Italian cooking and more, but save room for the impressive desserts, freshly baked onsite. Try its outpost in the middle of the theatre district at 155 W 43rd St. More expensive than other choices on this list – but still fun!

best diners in nyc
Tibbett Diner 

Don’t leave out a trip to the Bronx at Riverdale and this favourite of restaurant critics at 3033 Tibbett Ave. From its extensive menu of above-average diner classics, make sure you don’t miss the instant pick-me-up of its chicken potpie or an indulgent slice of Boston cream pie.

Located on 174 Fifth Avenue, 212-675-5096, this diner is one of cities most iconic diners and has a fun vibe, and delicious food. Sit down and watch the world go by whilst munching on their toasted cheese sandwiches!

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Neptune Diner is located at 31-05 Astoria Boulevard in Astoria, Queens and is one of the best greek-run diners out there. This place serves up your normal diner food – but for something special, try the Greek items on the menu!

And one last suggestion… Katz Deli

Ok, so this might not technically be a diner – but it’s a deli – and THEY’RE AMAZING so you should go visit them anyhow. It’s where ‘When Harry Met Sally’ was filmed (that famous scene) and it’s been visited by so many celebrities you won’t be able to keep count of all the signed photos on the wall. If you want an amazing sandwich then this is where you should go. GO RIGHT NOW! It’s my favourite place in NYC for sandwiches!

best diners in nyc

Got some suggestions? Have I missed anywhere off? If you know any other diners that should be added to the best diners in nyc list – let me know!

 

The Ultimate Guide to DUMBO Brooklyn

The trendy DUMBO neighbourhood is one of the coolest places to visit in New York, and somewhere that is often overlooked by tourists, who may feel a bit overwhelmed or pushed for time to leave Manhattan.

DUMBO Brooklyn is an acronym for ‘Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass’ – and now you can see why they shortened it! DUMBO is a little more catchy hey?

DUMBO brooklyn
This historic area brings together the old and new, resulting in an ultra-hip area packed with fun things to see and do. The area is best known for its charming cobblestone streets and waterfront access, as well as stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan island (I feel a bit sad thinking about it, because it makes me miss NYC so much!).
DUMBO brooklyn
Having undergone massive renovation in the last two decades, this one-time manufacturing district is now a thriving, up-and-coming art hub with classy studios, cute places to eat and designer boutiques.

Getting Around

DUMBO is fairly small and easy to get around on foot, as long as you can handle the cobblestones! There is plenty of public transport linking DUMBO with the rest of New York City, so whether you take the F Train or the East River Ferry, you should find it pretty easy to get here. It’s also worth downloading Uber (the taxi app) if public transport isn’t your thing.

Places To Eat

So what exactly is there to do in this attractive neighbourhood? One thing is for sure, you’ll find no shortage of places to eat! DUMBO offers up restaurants serving a huge range of cuisines from around the world. Whether you’re looking for somewhere special for a romantic meal or a quick bite before you head off sightseeing, you’ll definitely find something in DUMBO Brooklyn.

For fine dining…

The River Cafe

is a great choice. Boasting gorgeous views of the New York skyline, this upmarket eatery is especially wonderful at sunset and offers attentive, high quality service. Although the food isn’t cheap, it is of an excellent standard, and the menu encompasses all the most luxurious items such as foie gras and lobster. It truly is the perfect spot for a celebration, or just if you fancy living the high life! Take your camera too – to capture some photos of the amazing views on offer.

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If casual dining is more your thing…

You can’t go to Brooklyn and not have pizza. Juliana’s Pizza is the perfect choice, it’s old-school NYC pizza at it’s best and YUM. Great for families with kids, this restaurant serves delicious, familiar food in a friendly atmosphere, and you’ll taste the pizza (obviously) but you’ll also get a proper taste of NYC.

DUMBO Brooklyn
For something quirky…

Try Superfine, which is located in a former feather factory and still sports exposed brick walls. If you visit on a Sunday you can enjoy the popular bluegrass brunch.

Or, for something quirky (and posh) and for a taste of France in the heart of NYC, try Atrium DUMBO, Brooklyn. Beautiful, airy interiors, views over the water, and a pretty garden wall make this a lovely place to have a meal. They also have a living plant wall which is kind of cool. The French inspired cuisine is just delicious, featuring classics such as escargots, New York strip and brioche doughnuts (nom nom).

 

Cafes And Bars

If you’re not in the mood for a sit down meal, but would still like to enjoy a coffee or sip a drink while you watch the world go by, try one of the popular bars and cafes that DUMBO Brooklyn has to offer.

DUMBO BrooklynYou can enjoy some really great coffee in DUMBO…

Almondine

is a wonderful French patisserie where all the baking is actually done on the premises and you can get a fantastic cafe au lait.

One Girl Cookies

is also a great choice if you have a sweet tooth. Cookies and whoopie pies are perfect when combined with a strong espresso or a syrup flavoured iced coffee.

If a cold beer or a glass of wine is more your thing, try Pedro’s, one of the oldest bars in the neighbourhood. With its unique graffiti adorned exterior, its the best spot to drink a margarita and perhaps sample some Mexican food.

More Things To Do In DUMBO

DUMBO brooklynDUMBO isn’t just about the food and drink, there is plenty to occupy you for a couple of days. Here are a few of my top picks…

  • Jane’s Carousel dates back to 1922 and has been beautifully restored to offer $2 rides to a new generation of kids. Brooklyn Bridge Park is another wonderful place to spend the day, with playgrounds for the kids and a cool rollerskating rink.
  • For lovers of classical music, Bargemusic is a great place to listen to a chamber music concert. Located on an old coffee barge, you can enjoy intimate recitals on the water.
  • Galapagos Art Space is another exciting venue which offers a host of entertainment in a stunning 10,000 foot performance space. Whether you love music, dance, comedy or even a circus themed cabaret, you can find it here
  • You can set off on your walk across the Brooklyn Bridge from DUMBO too – read my blog post (by clicking here) on how to get to the bridge and find helpful maps, etc.

DUMBO brooklyn

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park is another fun thing to do in the area, and the most obvious choice, perhaps! The park has incredible views over Manhattan and you can stroll around it, play ball, sit and have a picnic – whatever takes your fancy. If you’re anything like me, you’ll take a load of stupid self-timer photos.

DUMBO brooklyn

  • Ride a Citi bike – which is a kind of ‘rent-a-bike’ system they have in NYC. It’s a great way to explore Brooklyn, and there are a few stations in DUMBO Brooklyn, so it’s a good place to start your adventure.

 

The Neon Museum in Las Vegas – Lots of photos and tips!

I’ve been meaning to do a full photo-post of The Neon Museum in Las Vegas for ages now – and here it finally is!

The Neon Museum in Las Vegas is definitely one of the most unique and quirky things to do in the city, and it makes for a nice break from all the drinking and casinos (if you get me).

It’s found about a 15 minutes drive off the strip in downtown Las Vegas (the original city!) and it’s pretty easy to find, most taxi drivers will know where to find it, and if not just do a quick Google search and it’ll pop up straight away. I think the cab drive cost us about $20 from the strip which wasn’t too bad – but if you got the bus it’d be cheaper.

We got the taxi because it was mid-August and like a million degrees outside, and we didn’t want to chance walking too far at the other end. Have you ever been to Vegas in August? It’s basically like being on THE SUN.

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Anyway, onto the tour!

It’s a guided tour that lasts about 45 minutes (which doesn’t sound like much, but in the heat and the sunshine – it’s just the right amount). You’re given plenty of opportunities to take photos and you stop every couple of feet anyway to discuss a different piece of of neon, so you have plenty of opportunities to snap away (which was my main priority).

Just to prove this point more so, in our tour group there were 2 fashion bloggers, who had clearly paid the admission only to take some cool outfit photos in front of the neon art. They lagged right behind the group, not really paying attention to the guide and just did their own thing for the majority of the tour.

One thing it is worth noting too though, is that you’re not allowed any bulky camera bags of tripods, etc on the tour. So just bring along your camera and nothing else.

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Our group had about 10 people, so it wasn’t crowded, and you can always get up close and personal with the pieces (within reason). The tour guide is great, and super friendly and entertaining. I’m not usually a fan of tour guides, but this guy won me over and I found him quite entertaining.

Las Vegas Neon Museum

You can kind of see in the photo below, the little pathway that takes you through the museum. You’re not really allowed to venture from the path, but there are still loads of photo-opps and room to take them!

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

I loved the little dude behind me in the photo below!

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

And the big finale – the famous StarDust sign! This makes an awesome photo, so try and lag behind for this bit and catch a few shots without the rest of the group in it!

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

Las Vegas Neon Museum

If you’re thinking of visiting The Neon Museum in Las Vegas, I’d recommend booking a couple of days in advance, especially if you’re planning on visiting in peak season or at the weekend. I’d also recommend taking a couple of bottles of water with you for the tour – it gets hot!

Ticket prices for day tours are $18 for general admission; seniors 65+, students, active military, veterans and Nevada residents are $12 (valid ID required for each discounted ticket: must show current ID upon arrival). So it’s a pretty cheap day out in comparison to a lot of vegas attractions!

You can also visit at night (which we didn’t do – but I imagine would be gorgeous). You can view the fabulous neon of six restored signs and see the other ones lit up with colourful lighting. Ticket prices for night tours are a bit more money, at $25 for general admission.

Exploring Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

As a regular visitor to Las Vegas, I’ve done most of the city’s ‘big attractions’ and ‘tourist must-do’ things. One of my absolute favourites of these, has to be the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

If you are wanting to explore some more of the local scenery and the ‘outback’ (I guess you’d call it?) – but you don’t fancy the 11 hour round day-trip to The Grand Canyon, then the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a great option.

Who should I travel / tour with?

We booked our trip with Pink Jeep Tours, who are my favourite tour company in Vegas, they also took us to The Grand Canyon 3 years ago. They’re my favourite tour company based in Vegas, and I couldn’t recommend them more.

How long will it take to see the canyon?

It literally only took 30 minutes to get out to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area from a central Las Vegas Hotel (we were staying at The Cosmopolitan at the time), and about 3 hours to drive around it, so it’s a great little day trip you can do without it eating up your whole morning, day and night. In total, put aside 4 hours if you’re going with a tour group – maybe a little longer if you plan on driving yourself and exploring more, and maybe stopping for lunch.

You spend a few hours out of the city, and you get to see some incredible scenery and landscapes. It’s the perfect escape 🙂

Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day…

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

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What is there to see in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area?

The most famous part of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is the famous red coloured bit (you can see in the photos above). Your tour will definitely do a stop off here, and you can climb down to some great views and photo opportunities. There are also lots of rock climbers around this part of the canyon – try it if you dare (and only if you’ve done it before of course!).

Random fact 1… It’s this part of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area that was used during the filming of 127 Hours (that movie were he cuts his arm off).

Random fact 2… This part of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area was also where Captain Kirk died (the character not the actor!) in Star Trek Generations. Apparently, every year, lots of Star Trek fans come and pay homage.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

There’s much more to Red Rock Canyon though – and it’s not just the small red-rocked area. There’s also a huge mountain range and beautiful desert too. You can see the sun over the mountains above, and the sparse area of woodland and Joshua Trees below.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

There’s no doubt the area is stunning, and it’s incredible to be stood there overlooking such a beautiful landscape, knowing the glare of Las Vegas is a short drive away.

The National Conservation Area works in a one-way road, so you enter in one place and exit in another – this means you can drive it yourself, but it also means you have to leave time to drive the whole way around if you plan on visiting. I kind of loved this design of the park, as it means the road isn’t congested, and it also means you get to see everything.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Las Vegas

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If you have any questions about visiting the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, don’t hesitate to drop me a comment or tweet! 🙂

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Amazing Hidden Gems in NYC

I won’t deny how much I love the touristy things in NYC – but there’s something to be said abut discovering the lesser known places too. If, like me, NYC is place you visit time and time again, it’s always nice to have somewhere new to discover.

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Here are some of my favourites…

The Old City Hall Subway Station

This old subway station is now closed off to the public – but remains in beautiful condition for the occasional tour (run by the folks at the MTA Transit Museum). It’s spookily beautiful and the perfect ‘unique date night’ idea.

The Highline Park 

This is gradually becoming more known amongst New Yorkers, but a lot of tourists still have no idea this place even exists. It’s a raised walkway above the city, with some of the most incredible views you can imagine. Perfect for photography lovers!

Part of The Berlin Wall 

Nestled into the small plaza on Madison (520 Madison Ave to be precise) are five slabs from the former Berlin Wall. One side is decorated by German artists Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny, while the eastern side remains blank.

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Whispering Gallery, Grand Central Station

Grand Central Terminal is known for holding several historical secrets. But the most romantic of them all is the Whispering Gallery, also known as the Whispering Walls. If you stand in one part and whisper a message, someone else in another part of the station will hear. Pretty cool huh?

Loew’s Theater, 4515 New Utrecht Ave

This old theatre is now destroyed and abandoned – however the auditorium is still intact and is a beautiful place to visit (just to see it!).

Secret garden at St. Luke in the Fields

Behind several tall brick walls, is a beautiful hidden garden. You’d never expect if, and you may have even walked past it once or twice before!

The narrowest house in NYC 

This one you have to see to believe. But even thought this house is mini, it still comes with a hefty price-tag! The house was purchased in June 2013 for $3.25 million. Where can you find it? 75 1/2 Bedford St., New York, N.Y. 10014.

What would you add to this list? I found a few extra suggestions on this blog post, if you want to keep reading!

Free shows in Las Vegas

It might be obvious by now… that Las Vegas is one of my favourite places EVER. I’ve been 3 times in the last 2 years, and we’ve got another visit planned for November (yay!).
Las Vegas may seem an unlikely city in which to find a bargain…. I expected to be paying out of my ears for everything when I first visited the city. After all, the self-proclaimed entertainment capital of the world has all the lights, glamour and glitter you’d expect…. And it’s true, some of that comes with a price-tag. But it is possible to do Vegas on a budget, and yes there are free shows in Vegas. Free attractions. Things which don’t cost any money at all.

You’ll find more free kicks in Las Vegas than in almost any other destination, and this article is all about the free shows in Vegas you can enjoy for free. Leaving you more money for beer, cocktails, gambling , shopping (or whatever else takes your fancy).

1. The Volcano at the Mirage

In terms of free shows in Las Vegas, the erupting volcano at the Mirage is where it all began. Hundred-foot high smoke and fire can be seen hourly from 8pm to midnight every night. Running since 1989, this landmark has been revamped to an all-new multi-sensory spectacular, with the help of design firm WET, and musicians Zakir Hussain and Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead. Unmissable!

free shows in las vegas

free shows in las vegas

2. The Aquarium at the Silverton

Within this charming hotel is a magnificent 117,000-gallon aquarium, this is more than a goldfish bowl – you’ll find colourful coral, and, among the 500 species of exotic fish, everything from sharks to stingrays.

free shows in las vegas

3. Circus Circus

As with many of Las Vegas’ best bargains, you need to be prepared to pass through a casino floor. It’s well worth it, though, for Circus Circus – this child-friendly circus show runs from 11am each morning, and includes all the jugglers, acrobats and trapeze artists you’d expect. A free treat for the family.

free shows in las vegas

4. The Fall of Atlantis at Caesar’s Palace

At one of the most famous casinos in Vegas, this free fountain-based show tells the myth of the lost city of Atlantis, in a performance replete with animatronics and special effects. Oh, and right next door to the show is The Cheese Cake factory – which is like AWESOME.

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5. The Rio Masquerade Show in the Sky

Carnival floats… that float? Hanging from tracks on the ceiling of the Rio casino are performances of music and dancing, with freebies cascading to the lively casino floor below throughout. The fifteen-minute show takes place hourly from 6pm to 11pm from Thursday to Sunday – and for a reasonable %12.95, you can buy a spot on a high-riding float and have the chance to take part in the show yourself!

free shows in las vegas

6. Sirens of TI

The newly-rebranded Treasure Island, TI, hosts a free 90-minute pirate show each night – with a difference. Alongside the stage fighting, explosives and British-on-pirate swordplay are the sirens of the title, who (so the storyline goes) attempt to lure their pirates with their powerfully enticing singing, and other barely-concealed charms. Music, sword fights and some added sex appeal – who could ask for more from Vegas than that?

free shows in las vegas

7. Bellagio Fountains

Save the best until last! I LOVE The Bellagio Fountains, and I make sure I spend at least one night visiting them. Go early (to grab a good spot!), take a bottle of Cola and some snacks, and just enjoy! The fountains go off every half an hour and last for about 5-10 minutes. You’ll end up watching 4/5of them without realising 2 hours have gone by!

top things to do in las vegas for couples

Famous Restaurants in NYC from Movies and TV Shows

I’m a massive movie and TV geek, and so is my fiancé (it still feels funny to say that!) so I wanted to make a list of all the movie and TV food locations for next time we visit NYC. So this blog post is part for my future reference – and part for your enjoyment!

Basically these are some of the most famous restaurants in NYC, as mentioned in TV shows and movies…

We’ve actually already been to a few on this list such as Katz Deli, which has to be one of our absolute favourite food places in the city. The others are places I’ve remembered from many a time when watching Friends, SatC, Will and Grace (etc) and a bit from research too!

Enjoy!

21 Club

As far as legendary and famous restaurants in NYC go… This place has to top the list for sheer klout. This place first opened as a speakeasy many many years ago, and was also proud to boast regular visitors such as Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart and Joan Crawford (which is a pretty cool claim to fame). It’s also (warning… trivia alert!) where Michael Douglas tells Charlie Sheen to have the steak tartare in the original Wall Street movie. 

’21’ Club21 W. 52nd St.

famous new york restaurants

Katz Deli 

The diner / deli which featured in When Harry Met Sally – and where she famously faked a very loud orgasm right in the middle of the restaurant (video clip here!). Look out for the table where Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal sat and chatted in the movie. (There’s a sign in the restaurant that reads, “Where Harry met Sally…hope you have what she had!”). This place actually features in many tour bus routes as ‘Most Famous restaurants in NYC’ so it’s well-known and often jam-packed. 

The food here is AMAZING though so it’s win win.

Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 Houston St.

famous new york restaurants

Coyote Ugly Saloon

Coyote Ugly is a classic NYC bar/dirty saloon where you can get cheap drinks and cheap thrills. It was made famous by the movie called Coyote Ugly (hey, go figure!) and is the bar where the main character Piper got her big break. Head here for a wild night, dancing on the tables and numerous shots. Sounds great! 

Coyote Ugly Saloon, 153 First Ave.

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The Rainbow Room 

Mentioned in most NYC TV shows (at some point) as the most romantic spot in the city, this restaurant is a part of the city’s history. It’s been name-dropped in many Friends episode (which is why I thought of it for this list, as a self-confessed Friends junkie!) as well as King of the Hill, How I Met Your Mother and Will and Grace (a few episodes were even filmed in there). If that wasn’t enough, Presidents have eaten there, actresses, actors, singers, you name it.

The Rainbow Room, 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

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Joe’s Pizza, Downtown

The pizza take-out chain has loads of different branches across the city, but the downtown one was where the fictional Peter Parker worked as a delivery boy. You know, before his whole spider bite and superhero thing kicked off. If pizza is your thing, try out Lenny’s Pizza (1969 86th St) too, which was featured in Saturday Night Fever.

Joe’s Pizza, 7 Carmine St.

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Buddakan

For Sex and the City fans (and yes, I definitely include myself in that category!), this restaurant and bar is where Carrie and Mr Big had their glamorous rehearsal dinner before their big day. If you plan on going, make sure you dress up – the dress-code is strict!

Buddakan, 75 Ninth Ave.

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Smith & Wollensky’s

This is the steak house that was favoured by Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho (you know, the absolutely mental serial killer guy with strangely exquisite taste in fashion, food and interior design) so I guess you can’t go much wrong with this place…. Fancy having what he had? Order your steak without hash browns.

Smith & Wollensky’s, 797 Third Ave.

Smith & Wollensky's

The Central Park Boathouse 

This place has been featured in countless NYC movies and TV shows, and remains one of NYCs most recognisable (and posh!) restaurants. Head there on a summer day to take full advantage – the view isn’t quite as good in the middle of winter!

The Loeb Boathouse Central Park, Central Park

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Soho House

Made famous by an episode of Sex and the City, where Samantha sneaks in using some random person’s membership and then get’s thrown out soon after (video clip here!) – this place is one of the most exclusive clubs in NYC. It also has a rooftop pool.

So in short, it’s pretty awesome, if you can get in. Which you probably can’t.

Soho House, 29 – 35 Ninth Avenue

famous nyc restaurants

And one place I wish existed but doesn’t: Central Perk cafe from Friends. MAJOR SAD FACE.

Got any more famous restaurants in NYC that you’d add to the list? Leave me a comment! 🙂

 

The High Line Park, New York – The Ultimate Guide

In cities like NYC, it’s hard to stumble upon hidden gems, but The High Line Park New York is one of the best hidden spots I’ve found in the city. If you have a few hours going spare in NYC on a sunny day – walking The High Line Park New York is how you should spend them! And it’s free!

What is it? 

It used to be a derelict old railway which went unused and abandoned for years before a neighbourhood campaign turned it into the beautiful park and elevated walkway it is today. It is truly unique and a must-do in the city. 

The High Line Park New York

Getting into the park….

Whilst you can enter the park at several places along the route – but I’d recommend entering at the point on the map below (the bit in the red circle). The exact address for that spot is West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues. You can then walk the entire length of the park from start to finish, if you get on The High Line Park New York here.

The two red arrows on the map are point towards the nearest metro stations; Times Sq 42nd St, and Penn Station 34 St.  There aren’t any stations super-close so you’ll have about a 10 minute walk to the entrance whichever station you choose.

the high line nyc

So you can see it in the grand scheme of things (and by that, I mean the whole of Manhattan) it starts and finishes around the points on the map below – although it’s not exact! So it is a fair distance you end up walking! Good boots / shoes are a must!

The High Line Park New York

What will I see?

So, say you start at the top, like I mentioned above – what kind of views can you expect to see? Keep reading to see! Trust me, it’s well worth, if purely for all the amazing photo opportunities! As you can see below!

The High Line Park New York

The High Line Park New York

The High Line Park New York

The walkway weaves itself in and out residential buildings and office blocks, about 30 – 40 ft off the ground ( I don’t know exactly – but it’s pretty high).

There are so many gorgeous spots along the walkway, and so many great views to look out for. Such as…

The Empire State!

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New York’s famous street art scene…

The High Line Park New York

The High Line Park New York

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The High Line Park New York

Famous avenues and streets (with great vistas!)….

The High Line Park New York

The High Line Park New York

Top tip….

Be careful of the breeze! If it’s a windy day you might find you get caught in the gusts of wind that run down the streets and avenues. Here’s Pad and I trying to save his hat from flying away mid selfie!

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And another one, once it was safely on again!

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Toilets and food….

Don’t worry there are toilets! NO PANIC!

There are also cafes, vending machines and restaurants situated along the High Line Park New York too.

And after you’ve walked it… 

Take a stroll around the local area, the West Village and Meat Packing District is known for being one of New York’s quirkier districts. You’ll find lovely apartment blocks, cobbled streets, coffee shops and boutiques a plenty! If you’re looking for somewhere to eat after the long walk, I’d recommend Mighty Quinn’s – best BBQ ever!!

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My Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park (It’s Gorgeous!)

Central Park is pretty amazing, but Brooklyn Bridge Park has something pretty special going on too.

It’s a little bit more effort to get to Brooklyn Bridge Park, but (and trust me here!) it’s worth the extra time on the subway, because the views are just stunning.

We walked over Brooklyn Bridge, and then walked down to Brooklyn Bridge Park just in time for sunset, which obviously was beautiful. I thought I’d share my photos with you guys, because I just fell in love with the place and the view. It’s quite something special to see NYC from a distance – and you never realise how big everything is until you can take it all in like that.

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

I love the shot above, I’m not sure if you can see – but it has Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and even the Empire State Building in it. All of New York in one photo! (Almost).

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This trip to NYC was the first time we’d visited with the Freedom Tower complete, you can see it just behind us in the photo below.

Each time I’ve come back to NYC, the Freedom Tower has grown a little bit more and a little bit more and my understanding of how much it means to the city has grown too. Now, on our most recent visit it was complete – and so beautiful. Everything it stands for, means so much to me – and I think it’s now the most important building in the skyline – simply because of everything it represents and every it was built to remember.

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Pad looking wistfully towards the city… I tell myself he’s thinking about how much he loves me. He was probably thinking about the BBQ restaurant we’d be eating at later that night.

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

I had this habit whilst we were in NYC of taking ‘Engagement ring selfies’ everywhere we went. This basically consists of me taking a photo of my hand in front of something recognisable.

I’m still deliberating whether a blog post of all these ring-selfies would be funny or tragic.

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

It took us so many attempts to get the photo below. Luckily, I have an amazing fiancé who totally understands my need to take lame-ass photos. He very rarely complains actually, which is probably a good thing!

I had to keep running back and forth to the camera (which was sat on the grass about 15 feet away) and pressing the shutter button, then running back and jumping up in time for the self-timer. We did this about 6 times.

Anything for a good shot.

Photos of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Review: The Omni Berkshire Hotel, NYC

On our recent trip to NYC, we had the pleasure of staying at The Omni Berkshire Hotel. The hotel can only be described as a high-end (yet affordable), traditional New York hotel.

Located right by the Rockefeller Centre (just a blocks walk away) and next door to St Patrick’s Cathedral (another bit tourist spot in the city) you couldn’t get a better location than this. The hotel would be perfect for first-time visitors who want a lovely hotel, with spacious rooms, right in the heart of the city.

The following attractions are all within walking distance (I’d say all within a 10 minute walk or less); Rockefeller Centre, Central Park, Apple Store, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Times Square, 5th Avenue Shops, Trump Tower, the list goes on!

Now onto the rooms… 

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As you can see the room design is classic / modern and in lovely cream colour tones. I honestly couldn’t have been more pleased with the room, there was so much space, a lovely view and the windows opened too – which is always nice in NYC, because I love the city-noise of the streets outside.

The bed was HUGE too. I could sprawl across and not even touch the ends (which, by the way, is my marker for a good bed).

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The room was kind of in two parts, the bed side and then the living end, with a little sofa and coffee table. I always find in city hotels that this extra space is a total bonus. NYC is famous for having tiny hotel rooms – but the Omni Berkshire Hotel is definitely an exception to this rule.

The little sofa was perfect for watching a movie after sightseeing, or setting up a little in-room picnic when we didn’t fancy eating out (which we did on our first night!).

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The bathroom (pictures below) was also a good size, and had a bath / shower combo. After sightseeing and being on your feet all day in the city – it’s kind of amazing to come back to a hotel room with a bath. Such a treat for weary feet.

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See if you can spot me in the photo below. I look like an idiot!

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Here are some photos of the hotel lobby (looking all pretty and Christmassy – yay!) it’s not a huge lobby, but it has a nice little seating area and it looks beautiful – so I’m not sure what else you need. I always find it a bit weird when people comment on the size of a hotel lobby. It doesn’t matter really, you won’t be spending much time down there, except when walking through it!

But just for those people who do care, The Omni Berkshire has a lovely looking lobby!

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The outside of the hotel is easy to spot and easy to find – and there are a few different subway stations available nearby – which is good if you plan on using the subway to get around!

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How to Walk Across The Brooklyn Bridge… Maps, Route Suggestions and Photos!

When I first visited NYC, one of things I want to do the most was walk across Brooklyn Bridge. And then the second time I visited, I wanted to do it again. It’s the same story for the 3rd and 4th times too. It quite simply, is one of the best and most beautiful things to do in New York City.

But when you first visit it’s tricky to know how to walk across The Brooklyn bridge. Where do you go? How do you get on it? Do you have to pay? When is the best time to go? All those answers and more you’ll find here.

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to walk across The Brooklyn Bridge… Getting there!

First thing’s first, you have to decide which side to walk from. I’ve always walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn, but the other way is just as great. Either way you’re going to get some incredible shots, and you can always stop and turn around any time you like.

As you can see below, the closest Subway stations to the Manhattan entrance to Brooklyn Bridge are;

City Hall (N, R Trains)

Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall (4,5,6 Trains)

Chambers St (J, Z Trains)

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From the Brooklyn side of things, you have the following stations nearby;

High St (A, C Trains)

York St (F Train)

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I always think, if you walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn, you can then take a nice stroll around Brooklyn Bridge park too afterwards, which is beautiful too. So that route is probably my favourite.

But now onto some more photos…

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

When should you walk across The Brooklyn Bridge?

Try and walk across the bridge on a clear, sunny day – the view will be SO MUCH better if you do, and you’ll be able to see right off into the distance. It’s also much nicer walking across the bridge in clear weather than in the rain!

I’d also recommend setting off in the last hours of daylight, right before sunset – that way you get some beautiful sideways sunlight right across the city, which is just breathtaking.

How long does it take to walk across The Brooklyn Bridge? 

Probably about 30 minutes if you’re not the kind of person who stops to take photos.

If you want to take lots of photos and soak it all in (let’s face it – that’s probably the case!) I’d recommend putting aside an hour or an hour and a half to get across. It’s not the kind of thing you want to rush, it’s so beautiful, so just take your time.

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

Don’t forget to look behind you, and stop to look around! About halfway, this is the view looking back towards Manhattan! Now, you wouldn’t want to miss that right!?

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

I love the shot below so much, it’s just pure-NYC.

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

It can get pretty busy, so wait until there’s a lull in foot-traffic for when you take those all important photos. That way you won’t have lots of backpacks and heads in the background.

Also – don’t be afraid to ask for help! Most people on the bridge are tourists and won’t mind taking your photo for you if you ask nicely! It’s gets more in than a selfie!

How to Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

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If you’re reading this with plans to head over to The Brooklyn Bridge sometime soon, have an amazing time. Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

 

Review: The London Hotel, NYC

We stayed in The London Hotel for a few nights during our recent ‘engagement-holiday’ to NYC and I can honestly say it’s one of the most beautiful hotels we’ve ever stopped in.

You know when you walk through the door and your immediate response is ‘WOW’ – yeah, that’s the general vibe of this hotel. So get prepared for amazingness.

The hotel is perfectly positioned for exploring the city, about 4 blocks south of Central Park, and 10 blocks north of Times Square. So when I saw awesome location, I mean it. The room we were in was just lovely, and kind of felt exactly like the kind of apartment you’d want to live in – if you lived in NYC. There was an entrance hall, a lounge area, a bedroom and a huge bathroom (the bathroom was the best bit – but I’ll explain why in a second).

The Living Room… Stylish but minimalist, the living room made for a comfy break-out space from the bedroom – perfect if you’re ordering take-out or having room service, etc.

There was also a massive window with beautiful city views stretching right around the corner of the room, which is something you can’t put a price on.

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The other side of the living area, looking through to the bedroom. There were glass mirrored doors to seperate if needed.

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The bedroom. Where we had many a perfect nights sleep.

ALSO the bed is huge. There’s another TV in there to the left, but it’s not in shot.

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OK, now onto the bathroom. Not only was it gorgeous and all white and shiny and marble (like a spa) but it had a double shower. I’m going to try and describe the awesomeness of it, but you really had to be there.

Basically the shower which had two sides (one each!) was about 8 feet long and had two different types of shower heads in each bit. One was a power shower, the other was a big rainfall shower.

YES AMAZING.

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amazingshower

Oh, and not forgetting the view – which was pretty sweet too! We woke up on our last morning and all the rooftops were covered in snow which was so beautiful. I forgot to take photos though – because I was too excited about the snow and too busy jumping around shouting about it.

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As I mentioned before, I learnt from our trip to NYC, that hotels like this don’t always have to be out of your budget too. On the surface this is a beautiful, luxury, hotel. I think if I was looking at photos of this hotel on someone else’s blog I’d assume it was out of my price range – which it isn’t.

If you book through websites like booking.com you can get hotels like this for great prices. Their London Sky Suite is currently discounted £1500 less than the normal rate on there at the moment – so it just goes to show you can find a great deal, and you shouldn’t rule beautiful hotels like this out, because it may in fact be in your budget after all.

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Best restaurants in Manhattan – My ULTIMATE list

One of things I get asked most over email by readers and friends, is…

“What are the best restaurants in Manhattan?”

And it’s a good question. Manhattan is a huge place – and if you don’t go there with at least a few ideas, you fall into the trap of only eating at tourist places like TGI Fridays in Times Square. And no, that doesn’t make it onto my list. Sorry!

I figured I’d put together a list of what I think are the best restaurants in Manhattan, divided up into categories and food-types.

For the best steak in Manhattan… Quality Meats

This is Pad and I’s absolute favourite restaurant.  It’s definitely a treat, and it’s on the upper-end of the price scale…. But it’s worth every penny. It’s the most mouth-wateringly, delicious, amazing, drooling all over my keyboard as I write this, holy crap it’s so yummy, steak.

Also – we discovered a new gem last time we went too – which is the bacon and peanut butter thingy in the appetiser section of the menu. It’s was so good!

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For the best deli in Manhattan…. Katz Deli

It’s where When Harry Met Sally filmed their famous ‘orgasm at the dining table’ scene – and that’s pretty much how you’ll feel after tasting their sandwiches! It’s pretty pricey for a sandwich – but when you see the portion sizes, you won’t be complaining.

Top tip – more right down inside the restaurant to find the smallest serving queue. 

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For the best pizza in Manhattan…. RubiRosa 

Recommended to us by some friends, we would never have found this incredible pizza place on our own. Tucked away downtown, this is one of the best Italian restaurants I have ever eaten at. But don’t just turn up – it’s small – so you’ll need to book a table in advance.

We ordered a small portion of pasta to share for our appetiser (holy wow it was delicious!) and went onto share a HUGE pizza for our main course. We barely finished it, there was so much food. Seriously the most perfect pizza ever, and the best I’ve ever had in NYC.

Just see the photo below, to understand how over-faced we were by the size!

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For the best late-night street food in Manhattan…. The Halal Guys

The wild-card on the list, if you fancy grabbing something on the way home one night – this is going to be your go-to place.

They have two stands either side of the block, and there are always massive queues around peek times. The first time you spot them, you’ll be like ‘REALLY? A MILE LONG QUEUE FOR A STREET STALL?” but how can that many people be wrong?

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For the best Disco Fries in Manhattan…. Cosmic Diner

OK, if you didn’t know, Disco Fries are crunchy french fries, with american gravy and melted cheese. Sounds like heaven right? I KNOW.

These guys do the best Disco Fries EVER. Don’t order anything else – just have like 4 portions of Disco Fries. It’ll be like a disco in your mouth, trust me.

Oh, and don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. 

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For the best BBQ meat in Manhattan…. Mighty Quinns

OK, if you love BBQ food, you simply have to visit Mighty Quinns. They have a menu fit for BBQ kings, and you can literally go back again and again until you’ve had your fill. They price by the portion (which is pretty standard for BBQ places) and you can get as much or as little as you want. They have brisket, pulled pork, sausage, chicken, wings, ribs, burnt ends – you name it.

They also have a special thing called the Brontosurous Rib – which is this massive beef rib slathered in BBQ sauce and the most magical thing you will ever see.

It’s canteen style seating (sit where you want) and you won’t need to a book a table. Also – if you’re confused about what to order – ask the staff! They’re awesome and super friendly.

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For the best Modern American in Manhattan…. Bo’s Restaurant

For somewhere a bit special, with modern, delicious food – Bo’s is up there with my top picks. Their food is traditional southern / american put with a modern twist – which is kind of amazing. I tried Alligator for the time here and it was great, and they have the most mouth-watering brioche bread EVER. I would go back just for that bread. Nom Nom.

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The best hotdog in Manhattan… Madison Sq Garden Stadium 

OK, so this probably isn’t strictly true (I bet there’s an equally awesome hotdog somewhere on the island I just haven’t tried!) – but we totally raved about the hotdogs in Madison Sq Garden Stadium. They were one foot long of amazingness.

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Want more advice about NYC? Check out the blog posts below!

10 things you just HAVE to do in NYC, and will regret if you don’t!

Seeing NYC from the air – in a helicopter

An email I sent to a friend about NYC

The best places for thrift shopping in NYC

Beautiful photos of Central Park in Autumn

The most romantic things to do in Las Vegas

Vegas might not strike you as the most romantic destination for couples – but I’ve always loved the city, and I’ve only ever been there with my boyfriend Pad – so for me it’s always been very romantic.

First things first, if you’re heading to Las Vegas as a romantic break – make sure you book a romantic hotel! That means no Hooters Hotel, or even Hard Rock Hotel. Pick a grown up hotel that oozes class and romance, and you’ll get things off on the right foot. I’d opt for The Aria Hotel personally (I fell in love with the place when we stayed there). A few other options might be The Wynn, The Bellagio or The Cosmopolitan (which is next on my wish-list).

Next you need to scout out the romantic experiences int he city – which is why I’ve written this post. I few of these suggestions will cross over with my ‘things to do in Las Vegas for couples‘ but not many. That blog post was more about day-to-day things and night-out ideas, rather than super romantic experiences.

1. Take a Gondola ride around The Venetian Hotel 

It should be pretty obvious why this makes the list! My only tip though, is making sure you get a private gondola ride and not a shared one! You have to pay a little more, but it’s worth it. After all, it’s not too romantic having some random tourist watch you while you try and steal a kiss! It would definitely be awkward though…

romantic las vegas

romantic las vegas

2. Take a helicopter ride 

If you’ve never done it before – a helicopter ride is exciting, fun and really memorable – making it the perfect romantic experience! There are a few ways you can mix this up too – you could watch the sunset over the strip – or you could take a helicopter out to the Grand Canyon and watch the sunrise instead. Oh decisions, decisions!

romantic las vegas

3. Take in the view

There’s nothing more romantic than enjoying a nice cocktail with an incredible view. One of my favourite views is from The Foundation Room in The Mandalay Bay Casino – it literally looks right down the strip and I’d challenge anyone to find a view quite as mesmerising. Book yourselves a private area in the bar – and just let the evening pass by.

romantic las vegas

romantic las vegas

4. Take a limo ride

Private limo + champagne = romance. Need I say more? Las vegas limos are actually more affordable than limos ANYWHERE else in the world – so you might as well take advantage of it!

romantic las vegas

romantic las vegas

5. Make your own ‘romantic VIP experience’ in your room 

OK, so your first step, is to upgrade your room to a suite, once you’ve done that go to one of Las Vegas’s many many dessert shops or chocolate shops and buy every single delicious thing you can find. Last step – buy some champagne (or order it from room service). There you have it – a super romantic evening-in right there in Vegas!

romantic las vegas

romantic las vegas

6. The Eiffel Tower Experience

I haven’t had the pleasure of doing this yet – but I can imagine it’s pretty amazing, and it’s definitely on my list for our next visit. Basically you head up to the ‘fake Eiffel Tower‘ and visit the viewing platform at the top – which has incredible views of the city and the Bellagio Fountains below. Sounds pretty lovely to me. You could even finish the night off at the restaurant they have up there too… cocktails anyone?

7. GET MARRIED! 

Haha just kidding.

Although, strictly speaking, that is amongst the most romantic things two people can do. So I’m keeping it on the list 😉

vegas wedding

My biggest piece of advice for taking a holiday to Las Vegas on a budget, is to try and save as much money as you can on flights, etc – so when you get out there you can do all these things and really splurge on your experiences. For even more (more general ideas) about where to go and what to do, check out this list on USAvacations.net.

Like I said – there’s so many amazing things to do here! It’s one place you can seriously spoil yourself and your partner so don’t hesitate to visit – it’s one of my absolute favourite places to go.

If you’re booking your trip soon, I’d recommend the following websites for great deals and prices:

tripadvisor.com (hotels and reviews)

expedia.co.uk (hotels)

agoda.com (hotels and tours)

skyscanner.net (flights)