Top 10 of the Best Weekend Spa Getaways Near NYC


Are you looking for the perfect weekend spa getaways near NYC? If so, keep reading, here is a list of my favourite spa hotels near NYC.


So you’re kinda tired of the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple? The pollution’s worked it’s way into your pores, your shoulders are feeling tight, and you really really want to find a way to unwind and let the stresses of city living melt away? Well look no further! We’ve got a list of the best spa getaways near NYC so that you can pick one and be on your way to relaxation station in no time. 


Belhurst Castle – Finger Lakes


Address4069 W Lake Rd, Geneva, NY 14456, United States

Website: www.belhurst.com

First on my list of the best spa getaways near NYCm it Belhurst Castle. In the heart of Ontario County, which is New York’s wine region, lies this simply stunning first entry in our list of Spa getaways near NYC. Wine and relaxation are the perfect pairing and this castle by the finger lakes offers not only spa treatments but award winning wining and dining! This is a full package getaway that’ll leave you feeling like you went on holiday to a fairytale destination- what more could you want?

Weekend Spa Getaways Near NYC


Crystal Springs Resort – Golf, Spa, and Culinary Resort – Hamburg


Address1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg, NJ 07419, United States

Website: www.crystalgolfresort.com

This luxurious resort hotel is one of the stand-out choices in the upstate New York area, the unique selling point of this particular spa has to be the 10,000 sq ft tropical indoor pool complex – unlike any other in the USA. The Biosphere at Grand Cascades Lodge is truly something special! This spa resort is a really popular choice for mini-moons away from the city, and it’s also a really popular wedding destination too, and the spa makes for a fantastic bachelorette party location! Oh, and when you’ve finished relaxing in the spa, there’s always time for a round of golf! This is a beautiful choice and addition to my list of the best spa getaways near NYC.

spa getaways in New york state

Image credit: instagram.com/crystalspringsresort


The Sagamore Resort – the Adirondacks


Address110 Sagamore Rd, Bolton Landing, NY 12814, United States

Website: www.thesagamore.com

Next on my list of the best spa getaways near NYC, it’s The Sagamore Resort. In terms of seclusion, this resort beats the others as it is located on it’s own island! If you’re looking for spa getaways near NYC, this is a great option. With facilities ranging from award winning spa treatments (it was voted the 5th best New York spa in 2019 by Conde Nast Traveler), to an amazing salon, and fitness and outdoor activities on lake George and in the surrounding Adirondacks Mountain range – you couldn’t really ask for more from a spa getaway. 

best spa getaways near new york city

Image credit: instagram.com/TheSagamoreResort/


YO1 wellness centre – the Catskills


Address420 Anawana Lake Rd, Monticello, NY 12701, United States

Website: www.yo1.com

In the heart of the Catskills mountain range, you’ll find a wellness a centre and spa that’s the only one of its kind in the whole of the USA. You can experience holistic and natural treatments from hot oil massages to yoga and meditation retreats. This stunning resort is tucked among 1,300 acres of lakes high in the Catskill Mountains and features a beautiful state-of-the-art wellness resort and spa (using therapies such as Ayurveda, Naturopathy, and Yoga). I love this option for spa getaways near NYC.

luxury spas near new york


Mohonk Mountain House – Hudson Valley


Address1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, NY 12561, United States

Website: www.mohonk.com

Next on my list of spa getaways near New York City, it’s Mohonk Mountain House in the Hudson valley. This Victorian castle located only 90 miles from NYC has been family run since it’s opening in 1869 and features an award winning spa in amazing countryside. Alongside the spa they’ve seasonal activities from Horse Riding to Skiing. Whatever your version of unwinding is, Mohonk mountain house has it in spades. This is an iconic choice for the best spa getaways near NYC.

spa getaways near new york


Gurneys inn and spa, Long Island


Address290 Old Montauk Hwy, Montauk, NY 11954, United States

Website: www.gurneysresorts.com/montauk

This hideaway in Montauk is one of our favourites on our list of spa getaways near NYC. Gurneys sea water spa offers a beachy kind of spa resort, with all your favourite treatments including mud baths and sports massages. They’ve also got a state of the art fitness centre for those who like to keep it a little active! A luxurious choice for the best spa getaways near NYC!

best spa getaways in New York


Roosevelt Baths and Spa – Saratoga Springs


Address39 Roosevelt Dr, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, United States

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RooseveltBathsAndSpa/

Next on my list of the best spa getaways near NYC, it’s Roosevelt Baths. A Saratoga institution since 1935, this entry on our list of spa getaways near NYC is rooted in Native American beliefs that the natural springs at Saratoga had healing properties. Treatments haven’t changed much over the near century that this spa has been opened, but that doesn’t mean that the mineral Baths, facials, and body scrubs aren’t absolute winners!

Saratoga Springs spa


The Lodge at Woodloch


Address109 River Birch Ln, Hawley, PA 18428, United States

Website: www.thelodgeatwoodloch.com

The Lodge at Woodloch is a peaceful and sophisticated resort set in the heart of the Poconos. The resort aims to give a relaxing escape from city life, with beautiful spa facilities and lots of relaxing pools and facilities to choose from. The resort is award winning too – so you know you’re in good hands. A great all rounder and great choice for the best spa getaways near NYC.
 spa getaways near NYC

Copperhood Retreat & Spa


Address7039 NY-28, Shandaken, NY 12480, United States
Next on my list of the best spa getaways near NYC, it’s Copperhood Retreat. This gorgeous spa is nestled deep in the Catskill Mountains, against a beautiful backdrop of the upstate New York scenery. It’s only a 2 hour drive from NYC (perfect for a weekend getaway) and it’s a truly stunning spa and hotel.
spa near new york

If you don’t have time to leave the city… Aire Ancient Baths


Address88 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013, United States

Website: beaire.com/en/aire-ancient-baths-newyork

And finally on our list of spa getaways near NYC seems more like a resort in some exotic clime, than a city adjacent bathhouse. This place is located in the heart of Manhattan, so it’s a great choice if you don’t have time to leave the city, but you still need that doe of relaxation. The practices of this spa are rooted in ancient bathing traditions, so come along to experience spa treatments like the Greeks, the Romans, and the ancient Ottoman Empire. It’s one of my favourite places in the city. 

Aire spa - places to visit in new york


I hope this list of the best spa getaways near NYC has been helpful! Which spa do you like the look of?


 

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The Ultimate Guide to Saratoga Springs, NY

Are you planning a trip to Saratoga Springs, and you’re searching for all the information you need to make your trip a success? Here you’ll find information about the city, where to stay, what to do and even info on where to eat!


Saratoga Springs has long held a reputation for being a calm, relaxing, and down right beautiful get away for New Yorkers looking to unwind. In this ultimate guide to Saratoga springs we’ll walk you through how to unwind, what to do, and what’s worth seeing so that by the time you set off you’ll know everything there is to know about Saratoga Springs.

ultimate guide to Saratoga Springs


A little history about Saratoga Springs


First up in our ultimate guide to Saratoga Springs, wed like to give you a little background info. Situated just north of the Hudson Valley, in the foothills of the Adirondacks (a mountain range) the area was first settled by Native Americans who believed that the effervescent spring water had healing properties.

Once Europeans had settled there, word began to spread of these healing waters and soon spas, luxury hotels, and processing facilities to tap the water for bathing and drinking had sprung up! At its height Saratoga Springs was the pinnacle of tourist destinations, becoming not only spa central, but also a place for fashionable New Yorkers to see and be seen. 

ultimate guide to Saratoga Springs

Soon there was a race track, jazz speakeasies and casinos, and the transformation of the are was complete: it was a full blown D E S T I N A T I O N to gamble, play, hear great music, and then soak off all the sin in a spa. Honestly, what could be better?

Whilst it gives a little less Gatsby Glitz than its golden age hey day – Saratoga Springs is still a summer party destination. At its height through the summer is full with revellers in their party finery, living up to expectations, but in the off seasons, it’s a stunning place of natural beauty, with a slow, serene pace of life. Saratoga Springs is both a place to unwind, and to let loose.


When should I go to Saratoga Springs? 


As we mentioned, Saratoga Springs is a pretty amazing destination for all-year round, and it’s for that reason it has stayed a super popular vacation destination (especially for those who live in NYC and want to get out of the city). If you want a rough guide of what Saratoga Springs is like season on season though, take a read below.

It’s worth bearing in mind also, that not all events and festivals (etc) will run year round. Some will only be available at specific times of the year. If you’re concerned about a particular event, it’s worth checking their official state website.

Saratoga Springs.

Spring: the weather is crisp and clear, and the season hasn’t quite ramped up to get started, so the air is full of anticipation. If you like excitement, but don’t want to get bogged down in crowds then this is the time to go.

Summer: this is Saratoga Springs at its height. The track is open, the clubs are full, the spas are jam packed, but boy are the parties good! Head in the summer for a riot of the senses, and a sense that Saratoga springs is where life is really being lived.

Autumn: the air is beginning to crisp again, and the leaves are turning as golden as Saratoga Springs’ reputation. The hoarded have headed for home, and you’re free to enjoy the serenity of the Springs’ three Hs: Health, History and Horses.

Winter: Saratoga is a veritable winter WONDERLAND when it’s blanketed in Snow. You can head to a spa, dine in style, and the park even becomes a hotspot for winter sports when the weather is icy.

Basically: Saratoga Springs is a year round destination, and you can go whenever the heck you want! 


How long should I stay in Saratoga Springs?


At the shortest, probably a couple of days to take in all the parks have to offer, try out a few spa treatments, see the horses, and learn a little history. 

At the longest… all summer long? It’s up to you, but this place is a favourite vacation destination for a reason! 


What can I do in Saratoga Springs?


There’s literally nothing you can’t do at Saratoga Springs – unless you’re planning on breaking the law, please don’t do that. As this is the Ultimate Guide to Saratoga Springs were going to break down our top selections for what to do in Saratoga Springs, NY. 

Visit a spa

Our recommendation is definitely Roosevelt Baths and Spa. An institution at Saratoga Springs since 1935, and well worth it for a dip in the healing waters. This place is kinda historic, it opened way back in 1935 as a bathhouse (and is part of the Saratoga Spa complex) which includes the Gideon Putnam Resort.

Saratoga Springs spa

Go on a spring tasting tour

There’s loads of options for a tour whether you prefer to Do it Yourself or head out on a guided tasting tour. Saratoga Springs Visitor Centre offers a tour called “history, legends, lore, and more” that’s 90 minutes long and gives you a taste of all the spring waters! A bit weird, but in a cool way. 

Visit the race course

If you’re in Saratoga Springs in the summer you have to visit, and this wouldn’t be the ultimate guide to Saratoga Springs if we didn’t mention it! If it’s hot, out on your fanciest togs and get yourself to the course to place a bet on whichever noble steed takes your fancy. You might not win, but it sure is a grand day out! 

Saratoga Springs new york

Hit up some folk music at Café Lenna

Cafe Lenna is one of the oldest and most well known Folk Music bars in America, this is where Bob Dylan played his first non-new York gig! Grab a drink and settle in for an open mic to spot the next folk star before they hit the high time. 

Soak up some History at the Horse Racing Museum

In the summer we’d definitely recommend you hit the race course, but as that’s not available all year round we’ve included the horse racing museum in our top five as you can visit whatever the season. 

Visit the national park

If you love the outdoors, there’s no excuse not to visit the Saratoga National Park. As with all national parks, this place is beautiful and full of wonderful scenery and places to admire. Let your thoughts get lost in nature and relax in the great outdoors!

things to do in Saratoga Springs

Adirondack Winery

Who doesn’t love a winery? This area of the USA has some of the best wine in the country, and the wineries in Saratoga Springs are full of amazing local tastes to try. You’ll find a really wide selection of locally hand crafted, award winning, fruit infused and varietal wines, seriously – if you’re a wine lover (or even a bit curious about it) you’ll really enjoy this.

Adirondack Winery

Children’s Museum of Saratoga

The Children’s Museum is a really lovely thing to do in Saratoga Springs on a rainy day, or in autumn / winter. It’s a lovely museum full of learning opportunities in a really immersive and interactive setting. If you’ve got toddlers or young children, they will love it here – there are so many hands-on things for them to get involved in and try.

Visit Canfield Casino

A treasured landmark, and a gambling institution dating from 1870! It’s situated in the gorgeous congress park, and whilst it’s no longer a casino, it is an events space with ballrooms and dining rooms, and the town of Saratoga Springs still holds functions there from time to time. 

tips for Saratoga Springs

Adirondack Cruise and Charter Company

This is something for the romantics, who want to spend a day seeing the lake in style, and feeling true relaxation. The Adirondack Cruise & Charter Company will take you on a cruise around the nearby lake, on a stunning  50 foot classic 1900’s Fantail Launch, or a 22 foot Sweetwater Pontoon Boat.

Saratoga Springs tips

One-off and seasonal events

There are loads of seasonal events being held in Saratoga Springs, so it’s worth checking these out on their local events page. You never know what event you might stumble across, such as the apple blossom viewing parties, or boutique brewery tours! There is loads of stuff to find out about!

activities in Saratoga Springs


Where should you stay in Saratoga Springs?


There are lots of great accommodation options in Saratoga Springs, so if you book in advance, you should have your pick of the best! Whether you’re looking for a casino-hotel, or a quaint bed and breakfast, we’re pretty sure you’ll be able to find the perfect Saratoga Springs accommodation for you!

Here are a few of my favourite options:

Saratoga Casino Hotel 

This popular hotel in Saratoga Springs is one of the favourites, especially for people looking to indulge in a bit of gambling whilst they’re there. It’s a lovely hotel, only 1.4 km from the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.As the name suggests, the Saratoga Casino Hotel has a casino on-0site – which makes nightlife super easy and convenient! Oh, and try out Morton’s restaurant, which we think you’ll love!

best hotels in Saratoga Springs

Embassy Suites Saratoga Springs

Another one of the biggest hotels in Saratoga Springs, this is a great choice for travellers who want amenities and comfort. There is an indoor pool to enjoy (a big plus point!) as well as a lovely restaurant, and free WiFi access is available in rooms too. It’s solid choice is you don’t want to be taking any risks on comfort and value!

best hotels in Saratoga Springs

Pavilion Grand Hotel 

I love the design of this hotel, it feels a little more ’boutique’ than the others on this list – which is more my personal style. As with the others on this list, there’s also an on-site restaurant here to enjoy too! One of the highlights of Pavilion Hotel is the cute spa they have – which is always nice to come back to after a day sightseeing. It’s also super central too, as Saratoga Springs’ main street, is just 160m away.

hotels in Saratoga Springs

Adelphi Hotel

If you’re after a hotel in Saratoga Springs that has great views, amazing reviews and a bit of history – then this place may be a great choice for you. Adelphi Hotel offers a beautiful terrace with gorgeous views of Saratoga Springs, as well as a restaurant, a touch of luxury everywhere you look, and super friendly staff.

hotels in Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Arms

My last suggestions for hotels in Saratoga Springs, is the Saratoga Arms. A smaller hotel (compared to some on this list) but it’s got lots of lovely history and features a spacious front veranda, to give you those ‘vacation vibes’. There is free WiFi access and a free hot breakfast each morning for guests to enjoy. What more could you ask for!

best hotels in Saratoga Springs NYC


Where to eat in Saratoga Springs


Here’s a quick go-to list of some of the best restaurants, cafes and bars in Saratoga Springs – you can just click through to their website from here and explore their menu and food options!

Blue Hen restaurant (sophisticated dining)

Prime at Saratoga National (steakhouse)

Harvey’s of Saratoga (pub and bar with food options)

Chez Pierre (French food)

Wishing Well Restaurant (mixed cuisine, romantic setting)

Nostalgia Ale house and wine bar (bar with food options)

Morrissey’s Lounge (upscale pub food)

Ravenous Crepes (french pancakes and a cafe)

places to eat in saratoga springs


We hope this ultimate guide to Saratoga Springs comes in handy! Let us know what you get up to when you go!


 

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The Ultimate Guide to Canandaigua, NY


Are you looking for the ultimate guide to Canandaigua, NY? Keep reading for lots of top tips of what to do and how to spend your time in Canandaigua, NY.


At the western gateway to the Finger Lakes, this gorgeous town in Ontario County, New York State is a real find! Canandaigua is beautiful and has gorgeous sights to be seen and a stunning backdrop of the Canandaigua lake. You won’t be short of things to see and do here – but we’ve put together this guide for you, so you can start planning your trip! So here’s our ultimate guide to Candaigua, NY.

 Canandaigua


Where is Canadaigua NY?


First things first on our ultimate guide to Canadaigua NY, is that it’s both a city in upstate New York and a gorgeous lake and national park. Canadaigua NY is right on the border of finger lakes, which includes the Watkins Glen National Park that we’ve also made an ultimate guide for! 

The town of Canandaigua, is located at the north end of Canandaigua lake, a beautiful lake that spans 16.5 miles across the New York State landscape. The town is historic, scenic, and friendly with locally owned shops, art stores, galleries, restaurants, cafes and bars. There are also lots of little parks in the town too – so plenty of outdoor locations to sit back and relax. The lake is main draw for Canandaigua, it’s a beautiful lake and it’s a stunning place to enjoy. If you love swimming, boating, kayaking – you’re going to find loads to do in this area.

Canandaigua offers an amazing base for those who wish to go into the Finger Lakes, but stay at a hotel in the city for a best of both worlds experience. 

map of Canandaigua


What are the Finger Lakes? 


The Finger Lakes are an area of outstanding natural beauty, consisting of 11 lakes that run north to south and kind of resemble fingers: hence the name! From East to west they comprise of: Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice, Honeoye, Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, Owasco, Skaneateles, and Otisco. Canandaigua Lake is the fourth largest of all the lakes, and it’s the furthest west. 

If you’re wanting to explore the finger lakes during your vacation, I really recommend choosing a town like Canadaigua NY as your base. You’ll be able to stop in beautiful accommodation and then drive out to the other lakes each day to explore more of the scenery. There is  loads to do in The Finger Lakes, and Canadaigua NY is right in the heart of this area, so it’s a brilliant place to use as a base whilst you explore nearby towns, villages, lakes, etc. I found this website really useful when planning where to visit and when around the Finger Lakes.

guide to Canandaigua NY


What can I do in Canadaigua, NY?


There is so much to do in Canandaigua, so there’s loads to look forward to during your visit. Whether you love spending time being active (hiking, etc!) or whether you prefer to take things slow and relax (fishing, spa days) you’ll definitely be able to find something in Canandaigua, NY that floats your boat!

Fishing

Canandaigua Lake is a hot spot for fishing, there are loads of tour companies that offer day trips onto the lake for this very purpose. I recommend this one. There’s three concrete boat ramps and six boats can be launched at once into the water, so even in summer you’ll find it easy getting out there. Though the Parks main function is to act as a place to launch boats onto the lake to fish, there are also some small spots for you to fish from the shore – so for you landlubbers out there, there’s still fishing to be done!

guide to Canandaigua NY

Rent a boat

There’s loads of companies that’ll do you a boat rental with a range of features, but we’d highly recommend three brothers as they’re super reliable, and helpful with all things boat. You can hook up a tube, a wakeboard and water skis too so that you can pull your friends and family along behind you! Take a look here for some of the best boat rentals on lake Canandaigua, they have loads of choice (so you can choose the best kind of boat for you!).

Go hiking / walking

The lakes are there to be explored, so hiking and walking is a really popular activity in the Canandaigua area. `you can walk around the entire lake if you wanted to!

hiking and walking is a really popular activity in the Canandaigua area

Finger Lakes boat tours

If driving your own boat doesn’t fill you with the joys of spring, then relaxing whilst a real finger laker takes the wheel maybe more up your street.We’d recommend living the life boat tours – the captain Dawson Raymo is a Canandaigua local, and has been driving the boat on the waters for 11 years! Sit back and relax in the boy watching the water slide by you, with the cool New York wind in your hair.

Roseland Waterpark

On a hot summers day, there’s nothing better to do than have fun and make a splash in Roseland waterpark. This is a fantastic things to do in Canadaigua NY, especially if you’re visiting with family or kids! If you’re going to be by the lake (or in the area) for a few weeks over the summer, they do ‘summer passes’ which give you unlimited access during the summer months. I love that, and it’s a great value option!

Canadaigua city pier

This cute little city pier is a lovely place to walk along, and enjoy the views from. If you’re looking for a nice little walk with scenic views – this is a lovely place to hang out.

Canandaigua in NY

Play golf

A round of golf on the edge of a beautiful lake sounds like a pretty amazing way to spend the day, right? The Canadaigua Country Club has a golf course and it’s a wonderful course with incredible views to enjoy whilst you play!

Canandaigua lady

If you want a slice of Finger Lakes history, then a trip on this 19th century replica double decker paddle wheel boat. She offers a lunch cruise, and afternoon excursion, or a dinner cruise and will look absolutely fire on your Instagram. She’s also available for private charter, too!

Canandaigua

Rent a house boat

Slow things down even more with a couple of days spent living out on the water. You can’t go wrong with a day on the lakes, so what could be better than spending a couple? You could even move through all the lakes from Canandaigua as they’re connected via a canal system.

Take a walk around Lagoon Park

Lagoon Park is a really beautiful park with lots of little lagoons running through it. It’s a really lovely place to take a stroll on a sunny day, and it’s a great place to take photos and enjoy a little bit of nature and the outdoors!

Canandaigua wine trail 

You might not think it, with California wines having such a big name for themselves, but Ontario County has some pretty amazing vineyards. The Canandaigua wine trail includes 22 wineries, with quaint villages, farmland, wide landscapes and pristine lakes as a back drop. What more could you want than a wine tasting in such beautiful countryside!?

things to do in Canandaigua NY state


Where to stay in Canadaigua, NY


What kind of ultimate guide to Canandaigua, NY would this be if we didn’t give you a few pointers on where to stay? 

Lake House on Canandaigua Lake

Why not stay at the Lake House on Canandaigua Lake? It’s a gorgeous, glorious hotel with stunning vista of the Lakes and the surrounding countryside. This is a little slice of luxury in the finger lakes and it’s a stunning property to stop in. 

hotel in Canandaigua

1840 Inn on the Main Bed and Breakfast

This B&B in Canandaigua, NY has loads of amazing reviews and is one of the best reviewed accommodations on TripAdvisor for Canandaigua, NY! It’s a great choice if you want the home-style accommodation and you want a home-from-home.

hotels in Canandaigua

The Bella Ella Bed & Breakfast

Another little Bed and Breakfast option, this is another great choice for people who love a home-from-home style. Whilst this accomodation isn’t exactly located in ‘central Canandaigua’ it’s only a few minutes drive from the town centre.

Rent a houseboat

If you really want to get out on the water during your time in Canandaigua, and become one with the lakes, then we’d definitely recommend renting a houseboat. There are quite a few houseboat options around Canandaigua, so it’s definitely worth looking into! Renting a houseboat in Canandaigua is also a really quirky (and kind of romantic) way to spend time in the finger lakes! 

Camping

If you like the sound of being at one with nature, but sleeping o. The water itself doesn’t appeal to you, then you can always camp! There’s quite a few camping grounds around the lakes but we’d recommend Bristol Woodland campgrounds for the views and the proximity to the lakes themselves. 


How long should I stay in Canandaigua?


We’d definitely recommend staying at least a week to make the most of the activities. There’s loads to see and do at Finger lakes, so even if you run out of things to do in Canandaigua (kinda impossible, but just in case) there’s the other lakes, and the nearby cities to keep you occupied! In the summer this place really springs to life, and there are events and festivals in the nearby areas too – so even more to keep you busy! 

Canandaigua NY


When should I go to Canandaigua?


Choosing the right time to visit Canandaigua, NY, is key to having an amazing time during your stay. You’ll want to make sure you choose the right time of year for your visit, to make sure you can enjoy all the activities in Canandaigua that you’re looking forward to. Take a read below for a our guides to various seasons in Canandaigua, NY.

If you’re ever unsure about whether attractions or activities are open, it’s always useful to check the official state website here.

Spring: the weather can be pretty cold in spring, but it’s usually quite dry. The crowds are manageable, as the schools aren’t out for summer, but you might not want to jump in the icy waters! 

Summer: this is when the weather is at its finest! The waters have warmed up from the hot summer sun and the wine is full bodied and flowing non stop! The crowds can be quite hefty In The summer, though, so do bear that in mind.

Autumn: the water is still warm from the summer sun, but the crowds have lessened due to all the kids going back to school. This is our favourite time to go, as most of the activities are still in full swing, but you don’t have to fight through swathes of people to get your boat in the water! 

Winter: the lakes are truly beautiful in the winter. Whilst a lot of the activities on the water are off for the cold months, and we definitely wouldn’t recommend swimming, you can always stay at a cozy B&B, hunker down in a spa, and go wine tasting when there’s snow on the ground! 

Canandaigua


We hope this guide to Canandaigua, NY has been useful! Let us know any more of your tips in the comments below.


 

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The ultimate guide to Watkins Glen, NY

Within the finger lakes of New York State, you can find an absolute BEAUTY of a national Park: Watkins Glen State Park. A veritable oasis of trails, waterfalls, and peaceful calm away from the Big Apple. Watkins Glen is also a lovely village / town to stop in too – there’s lots to do around the area (not just the state park) so here you’ll be able to read everything you need to know about Watkins Glen, NY.

Because it’s such a spot of outstanding natural beauty, we know you’re going to want to soak it all up, so we’ve made you this ultimate guide to Watkins Glen, NY so you’ll know where to go, what to do, and how it all works ahead of time.

guide to Watkins Glen, NY


A little history of Watkins Glen, NY


First up on our ultimate guide to Watkins Glen NY is going to be a little background info in how this gorgeous spot came into existence. It all started around 2,009 years ago when a huge glacier covered the whole of North America. As it moved across the landmass, and then melted away over time, it left behind the gorges, caverns, and waterfalls that you can see at Finger Lakes today. In 1851 the state turned Watkins Glen into a national park so that’s its beauty could be preserved, and it’s now known worldwide as one of the nations greatest national parks! 

The town of Watkins Glen is right next door to the State Park, and it’s where most people will stop during their time in the area. It has most things you’ll need; a campsite, a BBQ restaurant, a Walmart, a bar and grill, and so on! It’s a lively place to stay with lots to keep you busy.

watkins glen map


When to go to Watkins Glen, NY


Watkins Glen, NY is a beautiful place and it’s somewhere that’s lovely to visit all year around! Here’s a guide to what to expect from Watkins Glen all year round…

Spring: the crowds are way smaller, the weather is less humid and less hot, but the gorge trail (basically the park’s main draw) is only open once all the snowmelt is gone, so you will want to check if it’s open before you go (especially is you’re driving there from NYC or Boston). The flora and fauna are at their best this time of year, with everything coming back to life after the winter. One of the main reason visitors head up in the spring time is actually the ARC Grand Prix Run– a well-known fundraiser that is hosted at Watkins Glen International race track in early April.

Summer: It’s hot at this time of year and the town really comes to life. People are here on their vacations, enjoying the lake, enjoying the park, enjoying the activities. The crowds are biggest in summer in Watkins Glen, but if you’re dead set on seeing the park in its verdant summer glory (and boy is it gorgeous) then this is a good time to go. We recommend avoiding the weekend, and starting out as early as you possibly can to beat the crowds. One of the highlights of summer has to be the NASCAR racing, but also the Waterfront Festival (usually held in June) every year in Seneca Harbor Park in downtown Watkins Glen. This little festival is a family-friendly, free event and it’s always a hit with tourists and locals alike! 

watkins glen state park

Autumn: This is one of our favourite time to go to Watkins Glen, NY. The gorge is full of that heralded New England foliage, and as all the kids are back at school the crowds are definitely lighter. The Gorge Trail is also definitely open for the whole of Autumn, so there’s no chance you’ll miss out.

Winter: We wouldn’t necessarily recommend visiting Watkins Glen state park in the winter. The gorge trail will be closed, and you’ll miss out on the parks best features. New York winters can be very harsh too!


 How long should you stay in Watkins Glen?


Watkins Glen, NY, is one of those lovely vacation spots near NYC, that you could happily spend a week or even two in. Lots of people head to Watkins Glen for the weekend (it’s a great long weekend destination from NYC) or in the summer, many people head up to Watkins Glen for a few weeks in the summer! 

If you can, take a look at the local events or season events listed in this article, and try and plan your trip to Watkins Glen, NY around them!


What can I do and see in Watkins Glen?


There is lots to do in Watkins Glen, and below we’ll discuss all of these amazing things to do!

Gorge trail inside Watkins Glen State Park 

This is the park’s main attraction, and boy does it DELIVER (and it’s one of the main reason many visit Watkins Glen, NY). We recommend starting at the bottom of the trail by the main entrance, and then heading up the cascade to the north entrance.  It is a tricky trail, there’s 832 steps, it’s 2.1 miles and there’s an elevation gain of 501 ft. It should take around 2 hours to complete.  There are no entry fees to the park, but there are parking fees at each entrance.

You can park for free in the village, and walk on over, but bear in mind that this parking can fill up pretty quickly, and it is supposed to be for people coming to the village rather than going to the state park – so be responsible and respectful when parking up.

Watkins Glen, NY

Indian trail inside Watkins Glen State Park 

This trail takes you along the top of the gorge. Whilst most sighted are within the gorge trail, this one gives you a birds eye view so if you’ve got the tie, it’s definitely worth it! This trial is moderately difficult. There’s no steps, but there is an elevation gain of 413 feet. It’s around 1.9 miles long, and should take about 2 hours. 

Other sights inside the Watkins Glen State Park 

All these sights are beautiful, from the tunnel that was carved by hand into the rock in the early 1900s, to rainbow falls that dazzles and sparkles with rainbows in the sun. Your insta will be fire, and your senses will be delighted.

  • Entrance tunnel
  • Cavern cascades
  • Spiral tunnel and suspension bridge
  • Central cascades
  • Rainbow Falls

Seneca Lake Pier

This lovely scenic spot in the heart of Watkins Glen is a beautiful place to explore and just watch the world go by. It’s a lovely place to relax in Watkins Glen, and it’s right on the waterfront too – so it’s a popular spot in spring and summer! Especially when the weather is nice!

what to do in Watkins Glen, NY

Take a Schooner Excursion on the lake

If you don’t know what a Schooner is, it’s an incredibly big, traditional-style boat. Schooner Excursions are the company that run the boat tours on the lake, and it’s seriously one of the best things you can do on Seneca Lake. It’s also hugely romantic! There are different kinds of excursions available, from public sailing trips, to private schooner rental – it’s such a fantastic thing to do in Watkins Glen.

Watkins Glen, New york

Summit to Stream Adventures

Summit to Stream is a company that offer outdoor activities on Seneca Lake for people who want to explore some of the most beautiful parts of Watkins Glen (on the water!). They do fly fishing day trips and kayaking too – both really fun activities and perfect for couples and families alike.

Watkins Glen, NY Watkins Glen, NY

Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Seneca Lake has a really diverse offering of world-class wines, and visiting the Seneca wine trail is a really lovely way to try some of these world-class wines. If you LOVE wine and you want to experience some of the local flavours – this is for you. This is a great thing to do in Watkins Glen, NY.

Watkins Glen, NY getaway ideas

Grand Prix Festival

Taking place in early September each year, the downtown area of Watkins Glen, NY transforms itself into a haven for car-lovers for the Grand Prix Festival. This event celebrates the towns racing car history and it’s a really fun time to be in Watkins Glen! During this time you’ll see loads of vintage cars lining the streets for the public to admire and look at, as well as music, food and other events and experiences.

Keep an eye on local events

There are actually lots of great local events put on by Watkins Glen and around the Finger Lakes, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the community pages to keep up to date with these. From farmers markets, to mini-festivals – there’s something for everyone. I find this website really helpful when finding the little local events in the Watkins Glen area.


Where can I stay in Watkins Glen, NY


There are actually lots of different accommodation options in Watkins Glen, NY. There are different options for different budgets too – which makes Watkins Glen, NY a really good getaway destination for all kinds of budgets.

Here are some of the best accommodation options I’ve come across in Watkins Glen, NY:

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel – Located right on the waterfront, if you want a little bit of luxury, teamed up with some amazing views, then this is the place for you.

harbor hotel watkins glen

Longhouse Manor – Next up on our list of hotels in Watkins Glen, NY, it’s another really nice choice for a weekend getaway or a romantic escape. I love the four-poster beds they have here and the traditional decor is charming. It also has a small lake-front swimming pool!

Idlwilde Inn – This place looks like a fairytale B&B from the outside and it’s just perfect. If you’re after somewhere romantic looking, with the traditional country-style, this is a good choice for you.

Clute park and campground – This is one of the prime camping spots in Watkins Glen, NY as it’s really close to town and right on the lakefront. If camping is your deal, then this is one of the best places to pitch your tent!

The Local Hostel – If you’re on a budget in Watkins Glen, NY, this is probably your best choice in the area. It’s not as close to the lakefront as some of the other suggestions are, but it’s still close to amenities, and it has really good reviews too.


I hope this guide to Watkins Glen, NY has been useful for you! It’s a great place to visit and you’re bound to love your time there, especially if you get lucky with the weather!

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Top tips for visiting Watkins Glen State Park


Are you planning a trip to Watkins Glen State Park soon?


If so, you might be looking for some tips and advice for making the most of your trip to Watkins Glen state park. Located in upstate New York, near the finger lakes, this national park is one of the must-see in the state and a stunning place to spend time in the outdoors.

Good news! Watkins Glen State Park is one of the most gorgeous state parks in New York – so you’ve made an amazing choice! There are loads of things to do and see around Watkins Glen state park, and the park itself is home to so many beautiful sights to see. There so much to do there, and the scenery is breathtaking!

Watkins Glen state park


Here’s the key information you need about the Watkins Glen State park


Address of Watkins Glen State Park: 
1009 N Franklin St
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Latitude 42.375896
Longitude -76.871078
Parking: Free
Vehicle fee (to enter the park): $8 per vehicle
General Information(607) 535-4511
Trail Shuttle (during summer / autumn season): Service runs from 9 am to 6 pm
$5 per person each way
Top tip! If you live in New York and you explore the national parks a lot during the spring and summer months, it’s well worth looking into the the easy-to-use Empire Pass card. It costs $80 a year, and it gives you all-season free (and unlimited) day-use entry into most facilities operated by State Parks and the State Dept. Depending on where you live, this can include beautiful forests, amazing beaches, trails and loads more.
Watkins Glen state park

So here are my top tips for visiting Watkins Glen State Park…


Tip 1: Pack plenty of water (in reusable bottle of course). The hikes are a little strenuous, and whilst each entrance has water fountains, there’s nowhere to stop along the way. There are no shops inside the park, so having a good supply of water is a super sensible idea and makes sure you don’t put yourself in any dangerous dehydration situations. 

Tip 2: Wear waterproof clothes and shoes. Due to the nature of the park sometimes the falls come straight over the paths where you’ll be walking. There’s nothing less fun than walking a trail with wet socks and shoes – so make sure you’ve got the right kind of gear. You’ll need a little something to keep you dry, even in summer when the weather is great!

watkins glen hiking

Tip 3: Get a map of the park. Whether it’s paper or on your phone, it’s something you’ll definitely want with you. This just acts as insurance incase you do get lost or wander the wrong way. 

Tip 4: Get to Watkins Glen state park early. If you want to feel like an intrepid explorer, arrive early to avoid the crowds, especially in the summer and autumn (when this place is a really popular destination). You’ll have a way better experience of walking the trails, and your photos will look way better too, because you won’t have random hikers and tourists in the background! 

Tip 5: Don’t bring Rover with you to Watkins Glen state park. Whilst pets are allowed in the park, they’re not allowed on the Gorge Trail, and you’ll be so disappointed if you miss the Gorge Trail as it’s the main attraction inside the park and the reason most people visit. 

Tip 6: Use the bus shuttle. In the summer the park runs a bus between all the entrances, and it’s a really good little hack to know and use. This could be super useful if you’re camping at the north entrance and want to hike from the Main entrance. 

Tip 7: Leave no trace. Keeping the park clean is super important in order to preserve it for the future, so being eco-friendly and taking all rubbish and litter with you is CRUCIAL. Leave nothing behind but footprints! We want to keep Watkins Glen state park beautiful for many generations to come. 

Tip 8: Leave time to explore Watkins Glen village. The town of Watkins Glen is actually worth spending a day in too, so make sure you’ve got time to hike the trails, and enjoy sightseeing around the Watkins Glen. There’s a beautiful river to kayak on, and the pier is a lovely place to enjoy a few hours and a cup of coffee. I wrote an entire guide on Watkins Glen here.

what to do in Watkins Glen, NY

Tip 9: Check the trails are open at Watkins Glen state park. This applies especially when you’re visiting during springtime. The Gorge trail inside the Watkins Glen state Park doesn’t always open in April, sometimes (if the snow melts later) it can take longer to get access, even into late May. So it’s always worth checking the official park website to make sure you can actually do your hike!


I hope this mini-guide to visit Watkins Glen state park has been useful! Enjoy your visit!

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Places to visit in New York City: The ultimate list with 74 amazing suggestions

Are you looking for the ultimate list of places to visit in New York? Keep reading for 74 of the best places to visit in New York!


There are so many places to visit in New York City – it can be a little overwhelming deciding how to spend your time and what to see first! Hopefully this list will give you some ideas, and also give you a little information about each and every one of these great places to visit in New York City!


The Statue of Liberty

How could we write a list about places to visit in New York and not include the Statue of Liberty! The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic statues in the world and one of the most un-missable places to visit in New York City. You can book tickets by clicking here. 

Statue of liberty places to visit in new york city


Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is one of the most famous building in the world, and it’s located in the heart of New York. You can view the Empire State Building from the ground (it’s pretty impressive to look up at!) but you can also visit the Empire State Observatory too, which offers up some amazing views of the city. Book skip-the-line tickets by clicking here. 

Empire state places to visit in new york


Bryant Park

This might not be NYC’s most famous park, but it’s one of my favourite places to visit in New York. This little park is nestled away in midtown, and it has a huge green space, lots of tables to eat at (perfect for lunch!) and a great view of The Empire State too. It’s a perfect place to spend a few hours in the sunshine.

places to visit in nyc


The High Line Park

The High Line Park is one of the most interesting parks in the city of New York, having been built on old abandoned rail tracks. It’s pretty impressive, interesting and fun to walk along, and there are some lovely views of New York along the walkway too. Definitely one of the best places to visit in New York for those who love a leisurely walk in the morning! You can take a walking tour of the highline park and the meatpacking district, which I highly recommend!

places to visit in new york the high line


Top of the Rock Observation Deck

Top of the Rock observation deck is at the very top of the Rockefeller Centre in Midtown. In my opinion this is the best observation deck in NYC, as the views are pretty unparalleled. There are epic views of the New York skyline, and the Empire State from up here! Book tickets by clicking here.

places to see in new york


Central Park

How could we write a list of places to visit in New York without including Central Park? Central Park is beautiful, no matter what the weather or time of year. It’s simply beautiful, so give yourself a day to explore it properly! If you want to take a tour of NYC – I wrote about all the best ways to tour Central Park here.

Central Park, places to visit in new york


Times Square

Times Square is one of the most iconic and famous places to visit in New York. It’s bright, colourful, loud and busy – but there’s nowhere else quite like it. Head there in the daytime and the evening for the full effect – because it feels completely different at different times of the day. Times Square is a great place to enjoy a coffee, and take a few photos too!

times square places to visit in new york


Macy’s Department Store

Macy’s is one of the biggest department stores in the world, and it’s well worth a visit during your time in New York! Head to Macy’s and enjoy some shopping, browse the stores, and maybe even buy yourself a thing or two!

bachelorette party ideas in NYC city


Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world, so of course it made our list of best places to visit in New York. If you’ve got time, take a walk across the bridge itself and enjoy the amazing views of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn too. If you’re wondering where to find the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge – I wrote about that here!

brooklyn bridge places to visit in new york


The Vessel

The Vessel is a new vertical park in Hudson Yards. The huge sculpture-type structure is full of steps you can climb up to get the best views of the city. It’s unique, different and really quite special. If you love exploring and you love photography – this is going to be one of the best places to visit in New York for you!

the vessel places to visit in new york


Hudson Yards Mall

Next on my list of places to visit in New York, it’s Hudson Yards mall. This new luxury shopping mall is located in the newly developed Hudson yards neighbourhood, and it’s beautiful! It’s a great place to indulge in a little bit of retail therapy! It’s also right next to the Vessel (mentioned above).


Manhattan Bridge

Manhattan Bridge might not be as famous as it’s neighbour Brooklyn Bridge, but it’s just as beautiful! I love this bridge, and I’ll take any excuse to take some gorgeous photos of it!

manhattan bridge places to visit in new york


Roosevelt Island Tram

Roosevelt Island tramway is actually just a method of public transport from the upper east side to Roosevelt Island. Saying that makes it sound a bit boring though – which it certainly isn’t! The Roosevelt island tramway is really fun, has some great views of the city, and it’s surprisingly cheap too!

roosevelt tramway places to visit in new york city


Grand Central Terminal

Also known as Grand Central Station, this is one of the most famous rail station in the USA and it’s a hub of transport in NYC. It’s a lovely building to visit, it’s really beautifully designed and has lots of history behind it too. There’s also a food market inside which I adore!

central stationplaces to visit in new york


The Edge Observation Deck

This is a brand new place to visit in NYC, it’s a new observation deck with great views of the city. What makes it different to the other observation decks? This place is literally like walking on the edge of the view, you can go right up to the edge of the viewing deck (hence the name!).


New York Public Library

You might remember this amazing building from the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” as the place where the characters hide out from the storm. Aside from being the movie-location of that film, it’s also a pretty kick-ass library and one of the most beautiful buildings in midtown!

places to visit in new york city


Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is a really beautiful building, that was (once upon a time) the tallest building in the world. Of course, it’s not anymore, but it’s still a really lovely building to visit and take a look at.


Belvedere Castle in Central Park

Did you know that Central Park has a castle? Lots of people don’t! Belvedere Castle is located about halfway up Central Park and it’s one of the most unexpected places to visit in New York! Definitely worth a photo or two!

things to do in nyc


Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle is located on the South West corner of Central Park and it’s a pretty nice place to walk around and explore. I actually love the shopping mall at Columbus Circle – especially the huge Whole Foods!


Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim is one of the most iconic art galleries in NYC, so it’s definitely one of the main places to visit in New York – especially if you love art and culture. The design of the building is also really interesting too! You can book advance tickets by clicking here. 


Central Park Zoo

Yes, Central Park has it’s very own zoo! It may not be the biggest zoo int he city, but it’s one of the most charming, and it’s a great place to visit in New York if you love animals! You can book tickets by clicking here.


Flat Iron Building

The Flat Iron Building is probably one of the most recognisable buildings in New York, and one of the most unique too. As the name suggests, it looks a little like one of the vintage flat irons, and the slim shapes lends itself perfect to the surrounding skyline.


Washington Square Park

Another lovely park in New York, this park is near the university district! My favourite bit about this park is the special dog park inside it! Who doesn’t love puppies!


Wall Street

Wall Street is one of the most important parts of New York, as it’s where all the stock exchanges take place. Taking a stroll through Wall Street on a working day is a bit crazy, busy and bustling – but it gives you a real insight into New York life for the brokers who works there every day! I really recommend taking this walking tour of Wall Street, Chinatown and Little Italy – you get to see so much of the city!

wall street places to visit in new york


Fifth Avenue Shopping

If you fancy shopping until you drop, then fifth avenue is going to be one of the best places to visit in New York for you! There are SO MANY shops on fifth avenue, you’ll have loads of choice! You could spend a whole day walking up fifth avenue visiting all the shops!


A broadway show

Next on my list of places to visit in New York, take a trip to a Broadway Show. If you’re unsure which show to watch (don’t worry, that’s normal as there are so many of them!) I actually wrote a guide about Broadway Shows here.

broadway shows places to visit in new york


MoMA

Another brilliant art gallery, the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is an absolute must-see for people who love art (especially modern art!). There are loads of amazing artists in this gallery, so it’s unmissable.


Intrepid Air and Space Museum

The Intrepid Air and Space Museum is a really interesting museum in New York and is all about planes, aircrafts and air travel. It’s fascinating for anyone remotely interesting in air travel, and it has outdoor and indoor exhibits too. You can book priority tickets by clicking here. 


Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry is a great place to visit in New York – and it’s free! The Ferry leaves from the southern most point of Manhattan and it’s a free ferry that makes round trips between Manhattan and Staten Island. You’ll get great views of the skyline as you make the crossing too, and there’s even a little cafe onboard!

things to do solo in nyc


New York Giants Stadium

Next on my list of places to visit in New York, it’s the New York Giants Stadium. If you’re visiting New York during the NFL (American football) season, then grab some tickets and go watch a game! It’s honestly so much fun and the stadium is pretty epic!

NY giants places to visit in new york


American Museum of Natural History

Probably the most famous museum in New York, the Natural History Museum is huge and so interesting for people of all ages! It’s a great place to visit with kids too – as there’s so much for them to do and see.


One World Observatory

The One World Observatory is located at the top of NYC’s tallest buildings, so of course it had to make my list of places to visit in New York. This is an observation deck with incredible sky-high views, unlike any other in the city. You can book skip-the-line tickets by clicking here. 

one world observation deck places to visit in new york city


Yankee Stadium

Even if you’re not that into sports (or the Yankees) it’s still pretty cool to go to the stadium and watch a game. If it’s not game season, see if you can book a stadium tour instead, and explore all the hidden behind-the-scenes areas usually off-limits to tourists and visitors.


Westfield Mall – World Trade Centre

The Westfield Mall is a relatively new mall in NYC and the design and building is just incredible. Go to admire the incredible interiors design, but stay for the shopping! Definitely a brilliant one of the places to visit in New York, that pleases everyone!

westfield mall places to visit in new york city


Rockefeller Centre ice rink

If you looking for places to visit in New York during the winter months, then the Rockefeller Centre ice-rink is a must-visit location. The ice-rink at the Rockefeller Centre is one of the most popular in the city, and it’s located right underneath the famous Christmas tree.

places to visit in new york city


Bow Bridge (Central Park)

Bow Bridge in Central Park is one of the most famous places in the park, and it’s one of the most romantic places in Central Park too! Bow Bridge is also known as ‘proposal bridge’ as so many people pop the big question there! Click here to read a blog post I wrote about the best Central Park photo spots. 

bow bridge places to visit in new york city


Washington Street (Brooklyn)

This is one of those magic photography spots that you just won’t want to miss. It’s a perfect framed photo of the Manhattan Bridge, peeping through the streets, and it even has the Empire State Building in shot on a clear day!

Places to visit in NYC


St Patrick’s Cathedral

St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the biggest cathedrals in New York, so it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in New York. This huge (and very beautiful) cathedral is a stunning contrast to the skyscrapers around it, and is located in the heart of midtown.

the cathedral places to visit in new york


September 11 Memorial

The September 11 memorial located where the Twin Towers used to be is a very poignant, emotional and meaningful location in the city. I don’t think I class this as a tourist attraction (and please don’t treat it as such) but it’s an important place to visit for the history and for showing respect to those who lost their lives.


Chinatown

Chinatown is a really lovely part of New York, with lots of amazing restaurants to be explored and tried out! I really recommend taking this walking tour of Wall Street, Chinatown and Little Italy – you get to see so much of the city!


Katz Deli

This CLASSIC deli is one of the oldest delis in NYC, which is why it makes my list of places to visit in New York. Seriously, Katz Deli is iconic int he city and you have to try a sandwich before leaving New York (otherwise did you even really visit NYC?). It’s also where that famous scene in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ was filmed!

katz deli places to visit in new york


Little Italy

Little Italy is a great neighbourhood to explore, as it feels a little different from other more ‘touristy’ places in New York. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in New York because of the food! There is so much great food here, as you’d expect! I really recommend taking this walking tour of Wall Street, Chinatown and Little Italy – you get to see so much of the city!


Madison Square Garden

If you’re headed to the city for a show or a game in Madison Square Garden then you’ll get to see this amazing venue anyway! But if not, it’s worth doing a tour of the building on an off-day because it’s a pretty cool place to see behind the scenes of!


Color Factory

This immersive museum is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s all based around colour and how you experience it and interact with it. I can’t say much more without spoiling the experience – but trust me it’s fantastic. Click here to book tickets. 

colour factory places to visit in new york city


Levain Bakery

Levain Bakery is famous for it’s cookies… and oh boy, the cookies are out of this world. If you want to visit somewhere in New York that has a cult-following and serves up incredible desserts… you found it.


Battery Park

Located on the southern most tip of Manhattan, Battery Park is a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by. There are also great views of the Statue of Liberty from here (the best views you’ll get without going on a boat) so that’s a reason to visit too!

nyc travel guide new york city


Radio City music hall

If you’re visiting New York City at Christmas time, then one of the key places to visit in New York has to be the Radio City Music Hall! This is there the famous Rockettes performs their annual Christmas Spectacular – and it’s an awesome venue to experience!

places to visit in new york city


Ellis Island

If you’re heading out to see the Statue of Liberty on the ferry, then you’ll be able to hop off the ferry at the Ellis Island as well as Liberty Island. Ellis island is a really important place to visit in New York because it’s so historically important.


Bronx Zoo

The biggest zoo in New York, this is one of the best places to visit in New York for families, for sure! There loads to see here, and they even have special experience packages to meet certain animals too!


Aire Ancient Baths

You probably haven’t heard of this place, but that’s because it’s a true hidden gem in the city. What makes this one of the best places to visit in New York? Aire Ancient Baths is just magical. This is a private, serene underground spa, which whisks you away from the hustle and bustle of the city outside. One of my personal favourite places to visit in New York.

Aire spa - places to visit in new york


The Garment District

The Garment District in New York is where you’ll find all the material shops used by fashion students and fashion designers. I love looking around these stores in the Garment District, they’re so interesting and I love finding hidden gems too!


Soho

Soho is a neighbourhood in New York and it’s my next choice on this list of places to visit in New York. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in New York because it’s such a lovely local neighbourhood. It’s a lovely place to stroll around, grab a coffee, enjoy the views and snap a few photos. It’s such a nice neighbourhood! Here’s how to spend a day in Soho. 


Union Square Market

This is just a cute little local-seller market that happens in the park. If you want a taste of what local Manhattan life is like, or if you want to browse some cute stalls and taste some local produce – this is such a lovely places to visit in New York.


Bethesda Terrace

Bethesda Terrace is located in Central Park, and it’s one of the most interesting and unique parts of the park. There have been a few movies filmed under the terrace, but you’ll want to visit there for the amazing designs, and also the regular singers and performers that base themselves there.

bethesda terrace places to visit in new york


The Loeb Boathouse

The next suggestion on my list of places to visit in New York, is the Loeb Boathouse. This restaurant located in the heart of Central Park is one of the most romantic spots to eat in the city, and it was also the filming-location for many famous movies too.


Trader Joe’s

Next on my list of places to visit in New York, it’s Trader Joe’s. If you’re from the USA, you’re probably familiar with Trader Joes but if you’re from the UK or elsewhere you might not be. Basically, Trader Joe’s is where most of the locals do their grocery shopping – and it’s kind of fun to walk around as a visitor and see what there is on offer!


Whitney Museum of American Art

Another addition to my list of places to visit in New York – this is another option for the art lovers! It’s a slightly smaller gallery than the high-profile places above, but still brilliant!


New York Botanical Garden

If you love plants, flowers, gardening, or all of the above… then you’re going to adore the New York Botanical Garden. It’s a lovely place to visit in spring or summer when all the flowers are in full bloom!


Smorgasburg

This is one of the biggest outdoor food markets in New York and it’s such a fun way to spend the afternoon or evening. Honestly, if you love food and you love trying the best of local food, then Smorgasburg is one of the best places to visit in New York for you! You’ll be able to try a little bit of everything!


Chelsea Market

Another food market, this is a popular indoor market full of foodie finds and deli-type stores too. Chelsea Market is popular with tourist and locals and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, and makes a great lunch destination!

places to go in nyc


Time Out Market

Time Out Market in Brooklyn is definitely one of the coolest places to visit in New York if you’re into your food! It’s an indoor food market with some of NY’s most popular food vendors and restaurants selling their menu’s hot-picks. You really can’t go wrong – plus the view from the rooftop bar is epic!

time out market places to visit in new york


The ‘Friends’ apartment

Of course, we all know that majority of TV show ‘Friends’ was shot in studios in LA – but a lot of the outdoor shots we filmed in New York, and you can actually go and visit the apartment a lot of the TV was based at. It’s found at 90 Bedford St. A must-see place to visit in New York anyone who loves the TV show!


Brooklyn Heights

Next on my list of places to visit in New York, it’s Brooklyn Heights. Across the water from Manhattan – this has some great views of Manhattan! A perfect place for a picnic, or just a walk along the water to enjoy the views.


DUMBO Brooklyn

DUMBO in Brooklyn is one of the best places to view the NYC skyline, so it’s one of my favourite places to visit in New York. There’s some lovely green space there, as well as some shops and cafes too. It’s just a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by!

DUMBO brooklyn


Coney Island

Located a little further out of the city, Coney Island is a fun amusement park with lots of rides and games to try out. It’s a lot of fun and well worth the visit out of the city. Best time to visit Coney Island is definitely a sunny spring or summer day!


South Street Seaport

This little sport on the east side of Manhattan is a lovely place to spend a sunny afternoon. You can walk along the edge of Manhattan and enjoy the views of the bridges and Brooklyn!

brooklyn bridge south street


Tiffany’s New York

You might’ve seen the movie ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (or maybe you haven’t) but it was this movie that shot the Tiffany’s branch in New York to fame. Most of us won’t be able to afford anything inside the store, but that doesn’t stop us window shopping!


Wollman Rink

The famous ice rink in Central Park with an amazing backdrop of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline! If you’re in New York during the autumn or winter, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in New York.


Conservatory Water (Central Park)

Next on my list of places to visit in New York, this is one of the lesser known lakes in Central Park. I love Conservatory Water as it’s a little quieter, calmer and scenic. If you want to escape the touristy parts of the park, this is a great place to go.

places to visit in new york


Jacob’s Pickles

I’m including this on my list of places to visit in New York because Jacob’s Pickles is my personal FAVOURITE restaurant in the city. They serve up crazy delicious southern food with mega impressive portions. I’ve never had anything below average here – everything is freaking delicious.

jacobs pickles places to visit in new york city


GhostBusters Firestation

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know exactly which fire station I’m talking about! This place is a bit of a New York gem, and it’s easy to locate and visit and snap a quick photo in front of! Definitely a must-visit location in New York for any movie lovers!


Dominique Ansel Bakery

If you want to try one of New York’s most famous foodie cronuts, then the Dominique Ansel Bakery is where you need to head to! This is one of those Instagramable foodie bucket list items – so don’t miss it!


The skyscraper museum

Exactly what it sounds like! This places to visit in New York is a museum dedicated to the skyscrapers in the city. If you love architecture and seeing the history of the city, this will be a great choice for you.


The Alice in Wonderland Statue

Next on my list of places to visit in New York, the beautiful Alice in Wonderland Statue. You’ll find this famous statue in Central Park (it’s quite far up!) and it’s one of the most well-known statue in the park. It’s a perfect place to pose for a photo, especially if you loved the books as a child!


The Charging Bull

Last on my list of places to visit in New York, it’s the Charging Bull. This huge sculpture / statue in downtown (near Wall Street) is a must-see for anyone into history and art. It’s famous in itself, and was recently added to by another artist, who added the sculpture of a young girl challenging the bull. You’ve probably seen photos of it – and it’s amazing to see it in person too!


I hope this list of places to visit in New York is helpful and has given you lots of inspiration for your next trip to NYC! It’s such an amazing and exciting city to visit and there are so many places to visit in New York, you could never be bored here!

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The best things to do in Hunter NY

Hunter is a brilliant place in NYC for a weekend away or a relaxing break from the city. There are lots of reason to visit Hunter, NYC so if you’re looking for things to do in Hunter NY – then this is the list for you.

things to do in Hunter NY.!

One of the main reasons to visit Hunter, NY is the scenery and the beautiful landscapes surrounding Hunter. Hunter is in Greene County, NY – so it’s about a 40 minute drive from the heart of the Catskill Mountains, which are a gorgeous part of the world year round. The Catskill Mountains are one of the most beautiful parks of America, and being not so far from NYC, they’re an amazing place to visit if you feel like you need some time away from the big city. Whether you’re there for skiing in the winter, or hiking in the summer, both Hunter and it’s surrounding areas will have loads for you to do!

So here are my favourite things to do in Hunter, NY. 


Hunter Mountain


The first thing on my list of things to do in Hunter NY is Hunter Mountain. This is the second highest peak in the Catskills, and is definitely Hunter NY’s claim to fame.

Whether you’re an outdoors aficionado, or you just want to soak up the scenery it’s definitely worth checking out what’s on offer at Hunter Mountain, their website (which I’ve linked above) is actually really useful and I found loads of great information and events on there. Whether it’s skiing in the winter, or fishing in the spring, or riding a 4×4 in the summer – there’s something for everyone! 

list of things to do in Hunter NY


The Mountain Cinéma


Next up on the list of things to do in Hunter NY a s checking out a film in Hunter’s very own cinema! Whether it’s to top off a day spent outdoors, or to make up for bad weather (it’s a great thing to do in the rain), or tired limbs, this cinema is quite simply gorgeous.

It’s really old-school, and it’s a lot of fun to go and get cosy and enjoy a movie. It’s got a wide selection of movies from the biggest releases, to foreign film and movies probably more at home in an art house cinema. You can even, on some days, find classic movies too if you want to take a ski down memory lane! 


New York Zipline Adventures


Next on my list of things to do in Hunter NY – it’s zip-lining! Honestly you can’t go wrong with this bad boy – and I would 100% make checking these out near the top of your agenda as soon as you get to Hunter. It’s such a fun day out, and it’s something you can do with friends too.

There’s a night zip tour too that sends you whizzing through the trees under the stars, loads of group and solo tours and la piece de resistance: The Sky Rider tour that gives you a chance to race your pals on zip lines reaching speeds of 50mph!!

things to do in Hunter NY.


Ride the Hunter Mountain scenic skyride

Next on my list of things to do in Hunter NY – it’s the scenic skyride. If you want to enjoy some amazing scenic views from way up high, then the Scenic Skyride is your perfect option for things to do in Hunter NY. The scenic skyride can hold 6 passengers, and it’s a great way to see the surrounding landscapes. It takes 11 minutes to ride to the top of the 3200′ high summit, and when you get to the top you’ll be able to get off and enjoy the shops and cafes waiting for you, before heading back down.

things to do in Hunter NY.


Snow Tubing Park 


If all the ski trails and hiking routes aren’t enough to get your heart jumping like Eddie the Eagle, then the snow tubing park will definitely do the trick! The tubing lanes are nearly 1000 feet long, and two hour sessions can be for both adults and kids. If you’re in a group bigger than 15, you can also get a surprising number of deals, too! 

It’s a great day out, it’s so much fun, and it’s something almost all ages can enjoy. It’s also a really nice group activity to include everyone – you don’t need good coordination to take part, or experience skiing or snowboarding – so it’s a great way to get everyone involved and taking part!

things to do in Hunter NY.


Catskill Mountain Foundation Gallery and Bookstore


Next up on our list of things to do in Hunter NY is a chance to slow things down a little at the local Gallery and book store. The foundation bookstore is full of gorgeous books, the gallery is always showing a range of artists from local painters to the great American Romantics for whom the Catskills were a big deal.

We’d definitely recommend the onsite restaurant, too, for a really lovely meal with friends!!


Go fishing


If you’ve turned up with all the fishing gear, then you already know Hunter is a great location and base for fishing enthusiasts. However, if you’re a newbie to the world of fishing but you fancy giving it a go then hunt out a a day tour or a fishing school instead! You’ll have loads of fun and you’ll learn loads too! I recommend this particular fishing school – they seem to be the main company in the area.

things to do in Hunter NY.


Get your skis on!


This is kinda the highlight of things to do in Hunter NY – as it’s what most people head out to the Catskills to do! If you need to get new ski or snowboarding equipment, look no further than the Pro Ski & Ride in town. You can get your hands on rental equipment and new things – all your skiing needs will be met.

In the winter, Hunter turns into a little bit of a skiing hub, you’ll meet people taking a weekend away from the city to hit the slopes, and it’s nice to just embrace the fresh air and snow! 

things to do in Hunter NY.


Bailiwick Animal Park and Riding Stables


This is a great example of things to do in Hunter NY that’s great for kids and grownups alike, and if your idea of a great time is seeing beautiful animals – then this animal park is the one for you! There is a petting zoo style area which is home to over 40 exhibits of domestic & exotic animals (including alligators – which is mega cool!). You can get up close and personal with the animals, you can learn loads about them, and there are even opportunities to feed them. Adult tickets are $17 and kids tickets are $13.

Oh, and you can also go on Horse Riding tours that range from 1hr to multiple days.

things to do in Hunter NY.


Mountain Club Spa


After all this activity, you’re gonna wanna chill out a little, and where better to chill out than a spa? Whether it’s for a little Après Ski, or for a whole day of pampering, this spa has all the accoutrements to leave you feeling like you’ve managed to completely unwind. The spa uses naturally and locally sourced products – so everything involves the local flora and fauna, which is really something! 


Farm Tours at Hull-O Farms

And finally on my list of things to do in Hunter NY, it’s a farm tour! Located about a 30 minute drive from Hunter NY, Hull-O Farms is a really simply, easy and enjoyable day out. It’s great for families (especially those with children) as a lot of the farm tour includes hands-on experiences with the animals which children absolutely love.

The farm itself is 200+ years old (yes really!) and during the tour you’ll learn from the experts how a working farm functions, how to take care of animals, and lots of interesting tips and tricks.


We hope you enjoy your stay in Hunter, NY, and that our list of things to do in Hunter NY has inspired you! Let us know what you get up to in the comments.

things to do in Hunter NY.

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Ultimate list of non-touristy things to do in LA


Are you looking for the ultimate list of non-touristy things to do in LA?


I love LA. If you’ve not been there, nothing can account for its sprawling mass, it’s huddle of sky scrapers around downtown, the looming mountains at its back, the easy breezy vibes of north Hollywood, the pristine beaches of Malibu, and the fun of Santa Monica pier. But if you’re searching for a more authentic experience of LA and you’re looking for those non-touristy things to do in LA – then this list will give you some amazing ideas.

So here we’ve made a list of fun non-touristy things to do in LA that’ll leave you feeling like a local!


Go hiking


First on my list of non-touristy things to do in LA, it’s hiking! I’ve already mentioned the undulating mountains that encircle the city of Angels, but this was one of my favorite parts about visiting LA. Take a whole day to hike above the city, taking in the views, and spending some much needed time alone in the hills – it’s one of the best non touristy things to do in LA because it’s just you, the views and the landscape.

If you go alone, make sure to be safe, and don’t stray from the paths as there are snakes in the brush. Take your phone so that you’ve got a GPS Incase you get lost, and be sure to take enough water (crucial!) and sun cream too. If striking out alone isn’t your thing, though, there are loads of guided hikes that steer clear of the touristy stops (mount hollywood, and the Hollywood sign).

best non-touristy things to do in LA


The original pantry diner


I wouldn’t say this place is a well kept secret, but I would say that it isn’t a particularly touristy thing to do, which is why it makes my list non-touristy things to do in LA. Here, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with locals and, here’s a tip, if you’re riding solo you can jump the queue to sit at the counter.

I’ve added this to the list of the best non touristy things to do in L.A because it’s breakfast, and there’s nothing touristy about that! I went here for breakfast three days running, and sitting at the counter meant I got to watch the chefs work the grill, which is half the fun of being at a diner anyway. I can’t vouch for everything on the menu but the pancakes, French toast, and steak and eggs were just excellent, and 100% worth the trip.

best non-touristy things to do in LA


Barnsdall Art Park


Next on my list of non-touristy things to do in LA, it’s Barnsdall Park. If you like art, and you like being outdoors, this is the place for you. It possibly one of the most non touristy things to do in LA, and it’ll keep your insta looking fire. Located in East Hollywood, it’s a word class art gallery, and under some gentle sunshine it’s accentuated by its killer views of downtown LA and the Hollywood Sign.

best non-touristy things to do in LA


The shortstop in Echo Park for Motown Mondays


This bar is a must-visit place for anyone who wants to find non-touristy things to do in LA. The music is always killer, and world renowned DJs (kinda) come down and spin records that are absolutely positively gonna get you dancing. If you’re at a loose end on a Monday in LA, you can get down and tie those loose ends up at the shortstop.


Find the secret stairs


Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a car for everything in LA. Get your hands on a copy of Charles Fleming’s Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles and get privy to one of LA’s best kept secret.

This is one of those non touristy things to do in LA that is going to make your insta pop, and also provide you with some big city knowledge that you wouldn’t have otherwise! Bring a camera, and a water bottle; climbing loads of the stairs in LA heat can be very tiring. Definitely one of the best non-touristy things to do in LA for sure!

best non-touristy things to do in LA


Go to a roller disco


You will not regret getting yourself to moonlight roller disco. Even if you can’t skate it is super fun, and you’ll be rollering around before you can say disco queen. It’s a retro-inspired, nostalgic and fun way to spend some time, which is why it makes my list of the best non-touristy things to do in LA.

This is a great place to go whether you’re headed there with friends old and new, or even just people you met along the way (if I’m honest this is 100% our idea of a cracking date, too so… bear that in mind boys!) you met a few minutes ago.

non-touristy things to do in LA


Check out Amoeba Music


Do you love music? If so, this is the best non-touristy things to do in LA for you! Amoeba Music is HUGE (the world’s largest independent music store) and it’s perfect for you to spend hours and hours looking for the most obscure albums, records and cover art. It’s located on Sunset Boulevard, and it’s an absolute musical icon in the city. Amoeba also hosts music events too – so check out their website and see if there are any taking place during your trip!

non-touristy things to do in LA


Stuff your face at the 626 Night Market


Next on my list of non-touristy things to do in LA, is the 626 night market. This is a seasonal thing, so definitely check whether or not this is available when you get there (they come through every summer). Basically, this entry on our list of the best non touristy things is going to make all you foodies lose your minds.

The 626 Night Market is an incredible food market, with a plethora of stalls from awesome bibimbap to pizza, you could eat so much you’d be rolling home and still not have tried everything! An amazing non-touristy things to do in LA!

non-touristy things to do in LA


Learn to surf


If you grew up watching sitcoms and TV shows set in LA you’ll know the morning surf routine that a lot of LA residents love and enjoy. Learning to surf is such a fun and challenging way to spend the morning / afternoon – and if you’ve never tried surfing before, you’re going to love it.

I really recommend this surfing lesson in Venice Beach you’ll get amazing, professional instructors and learn to ride those waves on one of the most famous beaches in the world.

surf lessons non-touristy things to do in LA


Catch a movie at the Vista theatre


LA, the home of Hollywood, and Tinseltown, and lights! Camera! Action! Our next suggestions of non-touristy things to do in LA is to catch a movie at this incredible movie theatre in Los Feliz. I love this idea for non-touristy things to do in LA.

The architecture is amazing at Vista Theatre, it’ll probably check all the boxes for one of the most beautifully weird cinemas you’ve ever been to, and as it’s a single screen cinema there’s a sense of being in a time and place where each individual moment of the movie matters.


Visit a beach town


There are so many beautiful beach towns around LA, and locals will tell you that one of their favourite things to do in the summer months is to head over to the beach and enjoy the scenery. It’s a perfect way to get out of the city and enjoy some non-touristy things to do in LA!

Laguna Beach is a popular choice, it’s a little more artsy than other beach towns in LA, and it has a more low-key relaxed vibe. There are loads of great cafes, restaurants and shops along the beach front too – and it’s a perfect way to spend the day.

things to do in Southern California.


Visit North Hollywood


Just FYI – this is a bit of a long one because NoHo (North Hollywood) is amazing, and I’m giving you options.

This entry in our list of non touristy things to do in LA is far my favorite neighbourhood in the city, and it’s full of cute little cafés and bookshops. This neighbourhood is in the valley, so a lot of LA’ers May tell you it’s not true LA, but even if you’re a total anti-valley snob; hear me out.

With an understated, kinda gritty vibe, it’s got a steadily growing arts community, putting on good nights and cool exhibitions, and a slowly thriving restaurant scene. Art highlights in NoHo include the remarkably well curated blastoff comics, and Gallery 800. Cahuenga Boulevard is home to a sweet selection of awesome spots from Cahuenga general store, which serves kick ass sandwiches, or Iliad bookshop which is full of cats and books in equal measure.

non-touristy things to do in LA.

If you’re into a dive, or a tiki bar then this area is all for you. Bar Toni’s will give you shades of Goodfellas, being a tiny little cocktail oasis nestled out back of Little Toni’s Italian restaurant. Bar Idle is also getting a big name for itself as one of the valley’s most whimsical bars (it’s shaped like a giant whisky barrel).

Finally, a must try restaurant is Rodini Park. They’re doing Greek food a little differently – think entirely customizable from Mediterranean pastries to huge Greek style pittas -and boy is it good! As it’s not really a place many tourists venture, you’re likely to feel like you’ve stumbled on a secret. That’s definitely how I felt when I found myself there, which is why it makes the list of the best non touristy things to do in LA.


Visit the Bradbury Building


The Bradbury Building is actually the oldest commercial building in the centre of LA and it’s unique in style and design – which makes it a must-see. You can go and take a walk around, and admiring the beauty of it makes a perfect idea for non-touristy things to do in LA. Local LA residents would describe Bradbury building as a bit of a ‘hidden treasure’ and it’s such a perfect place to take a stroll around.

non-touristy things to do in Los angeles


Take a stroll around the Pinata District


Next up on my list of non-touristy things to do in LA – It’s the Pinata District! The Pinata district is EVERYTHING it sounds like. It’s a district of LA with market stalls dedicated to selling pinatas. Pinatas of every shapes, size, theme…. YOU NAME IT. In fact, I challenge you to find a pinata that isn’t sold in the pinata district. This is a totally random suggestion, but if you want to have a completely weird and random day out – this is totally it. The whole district is an explosion of colour and energy and it’s amazing.

list of the best non-touristy things to do in LA


Visit a vineyard


LA might be known for the beaches and shopping… But it’s also pretty amazing for wine. Vineyards are everywhere in LA and some of the smaller wineries or vineyards make the perfect non-touristy thing to do in LA. Get an uber out there (so you can drink as much as you want without worrying about driving) and just enjoy a slow day of trying loads of delicious wines. Sounds pretty perfect right?

My favourite tour BY MILES is the wine-tasting tour in a VW camper van (click here to see the tour in more detail). I love this tour because it OOZES cool, you get to drive around in one of the most iconic cars ever made, and your pro tour guide will make sure you visit some of the best wine locations in the city.

non-touristy things to do in LA


Take a trip to Rosebowl Flea Market


Last on my list of non-touristy things to do in LA, it’s the Rosebowl flea market. If you’ve never been to a flea market – you’re missing out! There is so much to find at these markets and so many hidden treasures to stumble across.

Whether you actually need to find something, or you have something in mind, or whether you just want to find something random and see what sellers have got in store for you – it’s so much fun! As a fun challenge, you can set yourself and your friends a budget, and see who can find the most random / whacky item.


I hope this list of non-touristy things to do in LA is useful! Let me know in the comments which place you’ll be checking at!

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A Guide to Stopping at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando

The Portofino Bay Hotel is one of three premier onsite hotels at the Universal Orlando Report, and as the flagship hotel it offers what we think is the most luxurious stay of the three. It also offers the most amenities, so with so much on offer we thought we’d sort you out with a guide to stopping at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando so that you can make the most of your stay!

This hotel is one of the most luxurious and prettiest in the resort-areas, and it’s no wonder it’s so popular. The hotel is themed loosely around the Italian town of Portofino, and the exterior of the hotel looks just like an Italian town. So it’s really scenic and beautiful and a lovely place to spend time!


How far is the Portofino Bay Hotel from the parks?


The Portofino is one of the hotels onsite at Universal Studios. It’s really close when compared to external hotels and apartments, so it’s a great location and a fantastic hotel to be based at. This is probably why it’s such a popular choice! 

Portofino Bay Hotel


How do you get to the parks from the Portofino Bay Hotel?

There are a few different transports methods to the parks from Portofino Bay Hotel.

Water taxi

Universal has a complimentary water taxi service, that starts about 30mins before early admission and keep running until 2:30am every. Single. Day.

Theme park shuttle

Basically the same concept as the water taxi, but it’s a big shuttle bus that pics you up from the front of the hotel and serves all seven of the nearby hotel complexes. There’s no advantage to using this instead of the water taxi, unless you need to rent a wheelchair for the day from a park, as the shuttle drops you off closest to the wheelchair rental office of each park.

Garden Walkway

At just under a mile, this scenting walk will take you through to the parks and past other hotels. It’s completely safe as it never touches any actual roads, and is completely beautiful as it’s been completely landscaped.

Portofino Bay Hotel Orlando


What rooms are available at the Portofino Bay Hotel?


Every single room comes with some basics amenities that are available across the board, regardless of the kind of room you go for, so we’ll lay them out for you here:

  • 3 phones in every room. One at the desk, one at the bed and one in the bathroom. Each with dual voice lines, voicemail, and data ports.
  • Signature Cotton bathrobes 
  • On Demand movies in the room, along with movie checkout and a remote control TV with cable channels. 
  • A dvd player
  • Smart Room tech, so you can control the temperature even when you’re not in your room!
  • Coffee maker with coffee
  • A clock radio 
  • A refreshment pantry 
  • In room safe
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Hair dryer and makeup mirror
  • High speed internet access
  • And a daily newspaper delivery 

Portofino Bay Hotel Orlando rooms


Are different themed rooms available?


Taking in the basic room features and amenities above, the rooms vary a little – so we’ll walk you through the kinds of rooms that are on offer at the Portofino Hôtel in Orlando.

Garden View Room

These rooms will allow you to relax with a gorgeous view of the hotels manicured grounds. Every room has a beautiful turn out, with marble and furnishings in an Italian style. They’re all 450 square feet, allowing you to luxuriate in style. They come with either a king or a queen bed, and most rooms have a sofa and the option if a pull-out bed. You can also get connecting rooms to kings, queens, doubles and twins, too. 

Bay View Room

If you’re idea of heaven is waking up to wide reaching sea views, then this room is the one for you! As Orlando is on the east coast you’ll be treated to views of the sun rising over the glitter of the Atlantic Ocean. In terms of spec, these rooms are basically the same as the above.

Portofino Bay Hotel Orlando rooms

Deluxe Rooms

Hang tight y’all were getting fancy in here! The deluxe rooms are elegantly appointed with Crown moulding and a separate tub and shower in the luxurious bathroom. You’ll be treated to a view of either of the resorts elegant pools, and some increased living space of 490 feet. 

Despicable Me kids’ suites

This is the perfect opportunity to let the kids have some fun (and the grownups have some alone time and privacy). These suites come with a king bedroom for the adults and a separate room for the kids, and offers a full 650ft of living space so that you can all really spread out! All the kids’ rooms have been given a full Despicable Me makeover – so the kids will be sure to think they’ve landed in heaven! The kids suites open only into the Adults’ room and not into the hallway, but there’s no option for further connecting rooms.

Portofino Bay Hotel Orlando rooms

Portofino Suites

These suites offer plenty of space to relax away from the action. They have a 240ft parlour adjoining to a 450ft garden view bedroom, and a second adjoining bedroom can be requested to create a two bedroom suite. All suites come with their own full bathroom.

Villa suites

These rooms really allow you to live the highlife. They come with a casual seating area, a dining area, a kitchenette and an adjoining deluxe bedroom (see above). A second bedroom can also be added to create a 2 bedroom suite.

Club level deluxe Rooms

These rooms come with the option to upgrade your stay to have access to the Hotel’s club lounges. This means you can enjoy the highest quality of European hospitality and service. All the rooms are deluxe rooms and come with all club benefits: a concierge service, free continental breakfast, snacks in the afternoons, hors d’œuvres in the evening and a sweet hour at night. Complimentary tea, coffee, and soft drinks all day, and beer and wine at night. You’ll also get complimentary access to the fitness centre, and reduced rates in the pool cabanas. 

Balconies

There’s no specific rooms with balconies and outside spaces – though they are available on request. 


What’s outside your room?


There’s actually loads to do around the Portofino hotel, it’s a really nice place to be based while you’re visiting Universal Studios and Orlando.

Piazzas

A guide to stopping at the Portofino Hitel in Orlando couldn’t just tell you about the rooms! This one is absolutely full of spaces to relax in, unwind, and enjoy the scenery and ambiance. 

Harbour Piazza

Whilst there are several Piazzas at the hotel, the Harbour Piazza is the grandest of them all! Surrounding the glittering Portofino Bay, you’ll find italianesque cobblestone streets and sidewalk cafes. 

Mandata Spa

This spa is a sanctuary within the hotel, where you can relax, unwind, and maybe even find the elixir of youth! Services include massages, skin care, beauty, body treatments, hydro massage, steam rooms, saunas, lounges, hair and nail care and refreshments. 

Villa Piazza 

Much like the harbour piazza except this one looks over the villa pools, and has gone for a more Italian countryside vibe.

Piazza centrale

The main hub of the hotel, and just outside the main lobby, the piazza centrale offers the vibe of a central square in an Italian village. 

Portofino Bay Hotel Orlando rooms


Do they have a pool?


There are a few different pools at the Portofino Bay Hotel – and I love choice! Even when you’re visiting Orlando for all the parks, sometimes you may want a day (or two) where you can just relax and switch off by the swimming pool. Here are the three pools at the Portofino Bay Hotel, and a guide to which you might want to use!

  • Beach Pool: zero entry, with white sand and a Roman aqueduct themed slide. There are Cabanas available for rent. 
  • Villa pool: a more private and luxurious bathing experience, with upgraded lounge chairs. Cabanas also available.
  • Hillside pool: even more private and relaxing, with a secluded vibe.

Portofino Bay Hotel Orlando rooms


Dining near Portofino Bay Hotel


There’s loads of dining options near the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, so you’ll have loads of dining options right on your doorstep. Right outside the Portofino Bay Hotel you have a lovely area / walkway full of cafes, restaurants and bars. Here’s some of the tops picks…

Trattoria del Parto

This is Portofino’s three meal a day restaurant, and it’s themed around Italy’s colourful food festivals. It’s open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they have character dining from 6:30-9 on Friday nights. They’ve also got a kids dining room with kids sized tables and chairs and a play area so everyone can enjoy themselves!

Bice Ristorante

A slice of Italian tradition, and fine dining, Bice made its name in 1920s Milan and now has 26 international destinations. Not one to take small children too, unless they’re well versed in fine dining etiquette, but a very stylish destination for families with older children or just for the grownups, even.

Mama Della’s Ristorante

Dining at Mama Della’s is like being welcomed into her kitchen and being fed alongside her family. Every room is reminiscent of the Italian countryside, and the food is classic homely Italian fare. Every night the restaurant is home to musicians who’ll sing Italian classics whilst wandering around the restaurant as you eat. 

Sal’s market deli and Gelateria

With a sensational selection of deli food from cured meats to cheese, Freshly made pizzas, and gelato to die for, Sal’s is a really great rustic food environment. It’s first come first serve and kids are definitely welcome. Hit up the Gelateria for great coffee and pastry as well!

The thirsty fish

This wine bar on the side of the harbour serves small plates and Friday night Jazz.

Bar American

A swish lobby bar, with elegant cocktails, classic martinis and mouthwatering hors d’œuvres. 

Portofino Bay Hotel Orlando rooms


We hope this guide to stopping at Portofino Hotel in Orlando has been helpful! If you’ve any other questions we’ll do our best to help in the comments!

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A guide to Broadway: The best New York shows and which you should watch

Are you looking for a guide to all the New York shows on Broadway?

If you’re in NYC, chances are you’re planning to see a Broadway show, New York shows are one of the main attractions of visiting the city! I mean, Broadway is iconic and it’s one of the best things you can do in the city, and there’s nothing better than the excitement and anticipation of seeing one of the famous New York shows.

Did you know…? A lot of the shows on Broadway in NYC are exclusive to Broadway and you won’t find them anywhere else in the USA (or even the world).

But which New York shows should I see in NYC? It’s hard to choose and I totally get that – there are recent New York shows, old shows, quirky shows… it’s hard to know which Broadway show you’ll enjoy the most. Hopefully this guide will help you choose!

When you’ve finished reading this, you might want to check out my  ultimate guide to visiting NYC here, for other tips and tricks!

New York shows


Why is picking the right Broadway show so important?


So you’re wondering “which Broadway show should I see in NYC?”

Chances are you’re not in NYC very often, so taking the chance to see one of the New York shows when you’re in the city is ideal. Personally, I visit the city 2 or 3 times a year (I know I’m really lucky!) and I will always try and grab a cheap Broadway ticket if I can – because I know my opportunities to see these shows are often limited to when I’m in either NYC or London. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to see the majority of big shows on Broadway… although they’re are still some amazing New York shows I’m yet to see!

Another reason to make sure you pick the right New York shows, is that Broadway shows are expensive! Of course, the price is justified and the ticket price is worth the amazing experience, but tickets are pricy – and it’s likely you’ll only have enough budget to see one (maybe two) shows during your time in the city. You don’t want to waste time seeing one of the New York shows that isn’t ‘your cup of tea’ or one where you don’t know any of the songs, which is why researching the right Broadway show for you is so important.

New York shows


Which Broadway show should I see in NYC?


Ok, so here’s my low-down on the different New York shows, so you can hopefully make the right choice! You can click on the titles of the shows below to book tickets – to make everything super easy for you!


Frozen the Musical 

The first New York shows on my list… Based off the amazing Disney animation, Frozen the musical is a colourful, incredible show that anyone who loves the film will absolutely adore. You’ll find all the characters you love, all the songs you love and there are even some surprises too. I loved this show, it was super impressive, fun and memorable. This is a really children friendly Broadway show, there are lots of children in the audience having their first ‘Broadway’ experience – which is so lovely!

which broadway show should i watch, New York shows


Mean Girls

If you’re looking for New York shows with a bit of attitude and comedy… This is the New York show for you! Based on the movie of the same name, this is a funny, witty and clever musical comedy. It packs all the attitude and sass that the movie has, just on a stage instead of on your screen! This is a great choice for a bachelorette party or a girls night out!


The Lion King on Broadway

OK, The Lion King is probably one of the most iconic and famous broadway musicals and one of the most well known New York shows. It’s so well known, the songs are so popular, and it’s just a brilliant choice. The Lion King is especially good for families with kids (because you’ll all recognise the music and characters) but it’s also great for couples who want to experience some serious Disney nostalgia. If you book tickets to this show, my advice is to get tickets on the ground floor, and close to the aisle… trust me…. those seats pay for themselves in how amazing the experience is.

what musical should i see in nyc


The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is a controversial, quirky, comedy musical which looks at the practices of the Mormon religion, and (to put it bluntly) makes an absolute mockery of it. It’s one of the more adult-themed New York shows, but I’ve seen this twice, and loved it each time. It’s totally different to the ‘normal’ musical, and that’s one of the reasons you’ll love it. This musical is HILARIOUS but it’s definitely an adults-only kinda musical. You don’t want to be bring kids or even young teenagers to this show – pretty much all the jokes are either crude, rude or controversial. If you fancy going for one of the more risky New York shows, then this is it.

new york shows book of mormon


Chicago 

This was the first Broadway musical I ever saw, and it’s one of the classic New York shows. If you enjoyed the movie version, you’ll love the stage version as it’s even better. There are so many great songs in Chicago, and you’ll find yourself remembering them all as they get performed. This is one of the classic Broadway shows that I don’t feel like anyone could go wrong with!

what broadway musical should i watch in nyc


Come From Away

This is a relatively new Broadway musical and a new addition to this list of amazing New York shows. I actually haven’t seen it yet (aside from googling YouTube clips!). It’s based on the true story of the 7,000 stranded passengers that had to make emergency landings on the day of 9/11in a small town called Newfoundland in Canada. It’s a beautiful story, and the musical highlights certain people’s stories that are especially interesting or beautiful. If you want something truly moving and based on a true story, this is one of the right New York shows for you.


Hamilton

Next on my list of New York shows, I know you’ve heard of this one! We’ve all heard about how amazing Hamilton is. It’s one of the most talked-about musicals of the last 10 years – and it’s no wonder why. This musical makes historic cool, so cool you’ll wonder if it’s a musical you walked into or a concert. It’s such a great show, and it’s one of the most popular on Broadway right now.

hamilton - New York shows


Moulin Rouge!

Another recent New York show on this list, this one only opened recently, I’m absolutely desperate to see it. As you’ve probably guessed, Moulin Rouge is based on the movie with the same name (the Nicole Kidman one) and is about the romance of a performers in the Paris Moulin Rouge district. It’s promises to be opulent, beautiful, over-the-top and I’m absolutely here for it! Can’t wait! The story is pretty dark though, so this might not be the best musical to watch with children. If you like being the first to see New York shows, then you’ll want to tick this amazing new show off your list before anyone else!


Wicked the Musical

Next on my list of New York shows, this is one of my favourites. Wicked is about the ‘untold story of the Witches of Oz. It’s a prequel to the Wizard of Oz, so if you love that film, you’ll probably love this too. Chances are if you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll recognise some of the songs! The amazing ‘Defying Gravity’ is actually the Act 1 finale for this musical, and it’s absolutely beautiful! This is a good choice for families with older children and teenagers (as it’s well known enough to keep them entertained). It’s also great for adult groups and couples too!

new york shows wicked musical


Phantom of the Opera

Of course the next Broadway musical on my list of New York shows, it had to be Phantom of the Opera. One of the longest running musicals, this is one of the classic musicals that never seems to age or fade in popularity. It’s always packed out, and it’s one of the popular choices in the city for sure. I wouldn’t recommend seeing this with kids – the themes are a bit confusing, and the staging and costumes might be a frightening too.


Aladdin the Musical 

The next Broadway show on my list of New York shows, is Aladdin. This show is a great choice for children and families – this is the stage musical of Disney’s Aladdin film. There are a few changes to characters and plot (there’s no monkey!) but over all it’s a good conversion from film to stage and it’s really enjoyable. I loved the colours and the costumes of this one, and I absolutely loved seeing them recreate the flying carpet too!

what is the best musical in nyc


The Tina Turner Musical 

I’m afraid I haven’t seen this one so I don’t know too much about the plot line – but I do know that it is full to the brim of Tina Turner songs. So if you want something uplifting with songs and musical you know and love, this is likely going to be a good choice for you!


Dear Evan Hanson 

This is mega award-winning musical (and a relatively new addition to the Broadway scene) is one of the most popular New York shows at the moment, especially amongst young adults. It was described by the Washington Post as “One of the most remarkable shows in musical theatre history” so that’s a pretty good testament to how good this show is. The show is about a young man in high school, who has severe social anxiety disorder. He develops a relationship with a fellow student, but that student isn’t quite who you expect. I don’t want to say any more for fear of ruining it, but it’s a really beautiful show and it’d be a great one for families with teenagers, or adults and couples.


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 

And last on my list of New York shows, it’s the Cursed Child. This New York show isn’t actually a musical, but it’s one of the best shows on Broadway – and any Harry Potter fan will absolutely adore it. It was written by JK.Rowling herself, and it’s the continuation of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s lives after they’ve all grown up. You have to watch both parts of the story (told in two separate plays) so you’ll be spending the whole day in the theatre if you commit to this one. Make sure when booking tickets that you book part 1 and part 2 tickets. This is such an incredible piece of theatre, I won’t say anything to spoil it. The surprises make it truly magical!


I hope this list of Broadway musicals and New York shows has helped you decide which is the right choice for you!

They’re all amazing New York shows, and you’ll have an incredible time no matter which you choose. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!

 

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The perfect New York itinerary for 3 days


New York itinerary for 3 days!


Are you looking for the perfect New York itinerary for 3 days in the city?


If you’re in NYC, you’ll want to make sure you’re planning you trip down to the very last minute – you won’t want to waste a single second in this amazing city. A lot of people who visit NYC pop here for the weekend, for 3 days and 4 nights – and although (ideally) I’d recommend spending a bit more time in the city, there is still loads you can fit in to a New York itinerary for 3 days.

My ideal New York itinerary for 3 days is below – this is how I would spend my time in the city, and if a friend or family member was visiting NYC for the first time, this New York itinerary for 3 days is what I’d send their way!

things to do solo in new york city

In terms of how the New York itinerary for 3 days works, I’ve given you a breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks options for each day. You could mix and match these if you wanted (or maybe skip breakfast, or skip lunch) but the options work really well together, and they also fit really well with the activity locations too.

So anyway, take a read of my New York itinerary for 3 days, and let me know what you think! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.


Day 1 in NYC


New York itinerary for 3 days.

Breakfast: Grab a bagel 

Your first breakfast in NYC should be easy, cheap and good on the go. A bagel is the perfect choice, and it’s a classic choice for New York too. You can grab a bagel from pretty much any diner or deli in NYC, but here are some of the top rated bagel shops in the city (maybe choose the one nearest to your hotel):

Lunch: Katz Deli

Katz Deli is my top choice for lunch on day 1. Katz Deli is one of the iconic delis in NYC, there have been movies filmed there, TV shows (it was featured in Man Vs Food several times). It’s an incredible deli, and it’s a classic New York experience too!

Dinner: Jacob’s Pickles 

For dinner, my absolutely FAVOURITE restaurant in NYC. Jacob’s Pickles is southern food (friend chicken, biscuits, tacos, etc) served up in a really cool, modern setting. The portions are gigantic, the flavours are amazing, I honestly can’t say enough good things about this place.

Drinks: The Skylark 

Skylark is a great bar perched above Times Square, with great views of Times Square and incredible views of the Empire State. I love sitting up here with my husband, soaking in the views and putting the world to rights. The cocktails are great, views are great and the service is great too.

Morning sightseeing: Open top bus tour 

In your first morning in NYC I would do a bus tour in NYC. A bus tour is a really great way to see the city and it’s a great way to see all the main sights (even if you just glimpse it down the street). The bus tours are super educational too – you’ll learn loads about the city, it’s history and secrets tips and tricks about visiting New York. I love the open top bus tours, they’re deifnitely the easiest and most efficient way to tick off loads of sights in the city.

There are two main bus tour operators in NYC:

Afternoon sightseeing: Central Park and Times Square 

For the afternoon activity on day 1 of my New York itinerary for 3 days, it’s Central Park. You can jump off your bus tour near Katz Deli, enjoy some lunch, and then jump back on the bus up to Central Park. When you get up to Central Park, get off the bus and have a walk around. Central Park is such a fun place to explore – whether you do it by yourself, or whether you join a walking tour.

Here are some Central Park tours I recommend, if you want a little guidance exploring this huge park of NYC:

Evening activity: Top of the Rock at Sunset 

In the evening, I recommend heading to the Top of the Rock observation deck to watch the sun go down. Sunset is the best time to go up to an observation deck because you get to see the city in daytime and nighttime – but you only have to pay one ticket price! You’ll get amazing views and incredible photo opportunities too. And that’s the end of day 1 of my New York itinerary for 3 days.

You can get tickets to the Top of the Rock observation deck by clicking here.


Day 2 in NYC


New York itinerary for 3 days.

Breakfast: Bubby’s diner 

Bubby’s diner is my choice for breakfast on Day 2 of my New York itinerary for 3 days. Bubby’s is a really cool and laid back diner down in Soho / Tribeca. It’s a great place for breakfast, one of my favourite breakfasts in the city.

Lunch: La Esquina

La Esquina is a really cool lunch destination. It’s a traditional Mexican place, with delicious food. My favourite is the tacos! This place is great for lunch on a budget!

Dinner: Time Out Market 

Time Out Market is such a great choice for dinner on day 2 of my New York itinerary for 3 days. Time Out Market in Brooklyn is EPIC. First of all, it’s located in one of the most scenic parts of the city, right on the river with panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline. Secondly, it’s a food hall with dozens of restaurants inside to choose from. It’s such a good choice and perfect for couples or groups (because you each get to choose your own food from all the options available).

Drinks: The Standard 

The ‘Top of the Standard‘ is a beautiful hotel bar, located in Chelsea area of Manhattan. It’s quite posh, so you’ll want to dress up! I love it because the vibe is sophisticated and the decor is amazing… Oh and the VIEWS! Just wow.

Morning sightseeing: Explore Wall Street & Downtown, then take the Statue of Liberty ferry 

OK, it’s the morning of day 2 in my  New York itinerary for 3 days. This morning you’re going to be exploring downtown NYC, and also heading out to the Statue of Liberty! The Statue of Liberty is a must-see for anyone visiting NYC, and for about $20 you get to ride over to Liberty Island on a ferry, enjoy walking around the statue of liberty and even head over to Ellis Island too.

You can book tickets for the Statue of Liberty ferry by clicking here. 

Afternoon sightseeing: Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and explore DUMBO

In the afternoon you’ll be walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and exploring Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Bridge is such a cool part of NYC, and it’s one of the hippest neighbourhoods in NYC – so (trust me) you’ll need to explore it! Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is brilliant too – it’s one of the bucket-list items you just need to experience.

Evening activity: Take in the NYC skyline from Brooklyn

In the evening you’ll be eating at Time Out Market, which is nearby DUMBO and in Brooklyn. There are brilliant views from this part of Brooklyn, you can see the whole of the Manhattan skyline.


Day 3 in NYC


New York itinerary for 3 days.

Breakfast: Tick Tock Diner 

Tick tock diner is a great choice for you last day in NYC. It’s a traditional New York diner and it’s a lot of fun too. You’ll be able to choose from loads of diner-classics, such as bagels, pancakes, waffles, hash browns.

Lunch: 2nd Avenue Deli 

This was quite a new find for me, but I just loved it at 2nd Ave Deli. It’s a traditional jewish New York deli, and the menun is epic. It’s full of delicious sandwiches, salads, meats… Just YUM. So much yum.

Dinner: Quality Meats / Rubi Rosa 

OK, I’m giving two choices for dinner on your last night. If you fancy one of the best steaks in NYC then you should visit Quality Meats. Their steaks are the best I’ve ever had, and I actually dream about their menu it’s so good! On the flip side, if you fancy something a bit more casual and you want to try some epic NYC pizza, then Rubi Rosa is about as good as pizza gets. It’s soooo good! For both of these places you’ll definitely want to book tables – as they’re super busy and popular.

Drinks: Draft 55

Draft 55 is a cosy neighbourhood bar, and it’s a great place to watch some sports in the evening, and enjoy some cosy drinks with friends or family.

Morning sightseeing: Macy’s and shopping on 5th Avenue & The Vessel 

Did you even go to NYC if you didn’t go shopping at least once? Even if you don’t have much of a budget, window shopping in NYC is kinda fun too. Macy’s is a good place to start (there’s some pretty cool views of the Empire State from there too) and then you can cross over to 5th Avenue and walk up past all the shops there too.

Then once you’re done shopping, head over to Hudson Yards and check out ‘The Vessel’. It’s a new sculpture / vertical park and you can climb to the top for FREE! It’s a lot of fun and there are some beautiful views from up there too.

Afternoon sightseeing: A museum / tour

Time to pack in some culture on the last afternoon! Pick a museum or an art gallery that takes your interest, and spend the afternoon having a look around it! Some of my favourites museums are:

Evening activity: Watch a broadway show 

In the evening of your final day, treat yourself to a Broadway show! Broadway is world famous for some of the BEST musical theatre in the world, and being in NYC is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some of that! I try and watch a Broadway show every time I visit NYC, and here are some of my absolutely favourites:

I hope this New York itinerary for 3 days is really helpful! If you follow this New York itinerary for 3 days you can’t go wrong – NYC is an amazing city and you’ll love it!


Here are some other blog posts I have written that you might find useful on your trip to NYC…


My ultimate travel guide for NYC 

Cheap lunch ideas in NYC

25 things for couples to do together in NYC

Bars in NYC with amazing rooftops views

Secret places to take photos in NYC

The best diners in NYC

Where to find the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge

bachelorette party ideas in NYC city


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The Ultimate Guide to using Amtrak trains

Are you looking for the ultimate guide to travelling the USA using an Amtrak trains? Hopefully this guide is what you’re searching for!

Amtrak is one of the lesser known methods of travel around the USA. For most people, they choose to drive or they choose to fly – but driving can be confusing or time-consuming and flying can be stressful, anxiety-inducing and is often prone to unexpected delays. Of course, both of these methods of transport have their own unique advantages, but there’s nothing quite like travelling by Amtrak trains – and this guide will hopefully help you trip be enjoyable and stress-free. 

Travelling by Amtrak train is one of those must-do bucket-list experiences. The USA is huge (there’s no denying it) and seeing the country through the viewing carriages is something not many people can say they’ve done.


How do I book tickets for Amtrak trains?


You can book tickets online on the Amtrak trains website. The website is actually really good, and it’s easy to figure out once you’ve got the hang of it. You’ll see the booking box (I screen grabbed it below) on their website, and you can input the journey you want to take there, and search for tickets.

Remember, Amtrak do deals and promotions too – so make sure you check that part of their website out, because you might be able to get a discount. At the time of writing, they have the following available:

  • Save 20% on early bookings
  • Get up to 45% for groups of 6 or more 
  • Veterans save 10%
  • Kids ride for 50% off 

They also have useful things like a ‘train tracker‘ on their website so you can check for delays – which is pretty useful once you’re out and about travelling.

Amtrak trains!


What kind of tickets do they offer for long term travel?


Of course, as I mentioned above, you can book for one-off journeys on their website. But there are different packages and tickets available for different kinds of travellers.

The multi-ride monthly ticket

The monthly multi-ride ticket allows you to take multiple trips using one ticket within a set amount of time – in this case, one month. So for example, if you bought a monthly ticket, it would be valid for unlimited travel between the origin and destination stations you select, and all stations in between, for an entire calendar month.

The ten-ride ticket

The ten-ride ticket is (as you’d imagine) valid for ten rides on the Amtrak trains. These ten rides can be within a 45-day, 60-day or 180-day window – depending on which stations you’re travelling between.

The six-ride student ticket

The Six-ride student passes are valid for a 365-day period. On Capitol Corridor trains between San Jose and Auburn, the pass is valid for all students with student ID. So please make sure you carry your student ID with you when travelling on this pass.

Tours and sightseeing packages

There are also lots of pre-assigned routes designed to help you see specific destinations and cities. You can see all of these by clicking here. 

guide to Amtrak trains


What route should I take?


Honestly, anything goes on Amtrak trains. But the answer to this question really depends on your budget, where you’re starting from and where you want to finish. 

Amtrak trains are all over the USA – and can take you almost anywhere. There are 30 train routes throughout the USA, and the trains travel to over 500 destinations in 46 states! That’s a lot of ground to cover! If you’re confused about what you want to see, but you know you definitely want to travel by Amtrak trains, I think looking at their route map is the best idea. I’ve copied a photo of it below so you can see just how much area the Amtrak trains cover!

guide to using amtrak trains

I know this is the ultimate guide to traveling the USA using Amtrak trains, but I would 100% advocate for going with no plan. Make sure you’ve got Jack Kerouac, William Faulkner or Toni Morrison for company, a toothbrush and a vague idea of cities you’d like to wind up in, and just fly by the seat of your pants. Amtrak is one of the few methods of travel that can truly allow for spontaneity.

Half the fun of travelling like this on Amtrak trains, is finding those unexpected places and towns along the way – so my one tip would be to just get off the train if you stop by a town you like the sound of. Some personal favourites of mine were rolling prairie, Indiana, Glenwood springs, Colorado, and Marks, Mississippi. Even if you stop for a day or until the next train comes through, it’ll show you a side of America you won’t get to see any other way.


How long should I go for?


This is really up to you and depends how much time you have for your vacation. You could spend months travelling the USA using Amtrak, or you could spend weeks. But bear in mind that some of the longer journeys can take multiple days, so the travel time does eat into your vacation time. 

Amtrak trains has some pretty rad USA rail passes. From 15 days with 8 segments up to 45 days with 18 segments. Do bear in mind, though, that if your journey requires a change, then that counts as two segments instead of one. I decided against a rail pass in the end, as I had 90 days to travel, and wanted to stay a while in each place, but this can be risky as some tickets can skyrocket up to around $200 or more. The way to combat this is to just go wherever the cheapest ticket will take you on that day, or meticulously plan your route to maximize your budget. 

I went for 87 days in the end on Amtrak trains, but I ended up staying with friends I made along the way which cut my expenditure massively! I think if you want to hit it hard, 45 days would be enough to hit all the big places, and give you enough time to really soak up the vibes, and will only set you back $689 for train fare. This sounds like a lot, but for 18 segments, it’s actually quite reasonable, considering how much ground you cover and how much you see. 

If you only want to sample Amtrak trains, and you just want to try a shorter journey first – then the options below would be great choices for smaller journeys on the East coast. 


Can I take checked baggage?


Like with a plane, when you travel on Amtrak trains, you can check your baggage. This is different from train in Asia and Europe – so if you’re used to lugging your big suitcase onboard with you, this might seem a bit weird to start with!

When you arrive at the station, you’ll check your cases like you would at an airport at the designated check-in area. Amtrak trains riders are actually given an allowance of two free checked bags on trains with checked baggage service. This means you can pack to your hearts content – and you’re not going to be worried about fitting bags under seats or on luggage racks.

Top tip! Before you travel, it is important to ensure your train and origin and destination stations accept checked baggage. 

Amtrak trains facts


What do I need to bring onto an Amtrak Train?


When riding with Amtrak trains, you’ll check your main baggage (as mentioned above) and you’ll carry with a small carry-on / hand luggage for the time on the train. In terms of the must-have items for your hand luggage, this is what you’ll want to bring:

  • An eye mask
  • A blanket
  • A good quality neck pillow (I swear by this one)
  • A change of clothes
  • Baby wipes
  • Flip flops

Another thing to consider when riding Amtrak trains, is bringing entertainment. I know it’s easy to imagine yourself dreamingly staring out of the window the whole time, but the truth is, you will eventually get bored. Something to do is paramount. Whilst I loved talking to people in the viewing carriage and gazing out of the window, I don’t think anything can prepare you for how long 24 hours on a train can feel. Bring a variety of things to do so you don’t get bored, and one of the best things I had on me was a deck of cards, so definitely stick a pack in your bag! A few other ideas would be: 

  • Dobble (the absolute best travel game I’ve come across!)
  • A colouring book
  • A magazine or comic book
  • Your kindle
  • A phone / iPad stacked with TV shows

Amtrak trains Amtrak trains


Can I buy food on-board an Amtrak train?


Yes, of course! There are actually a few different food options onboard Amtrak trains. From traditional sit-down dining, to cafes and snack – there should be something for you to enjoy whilst you travel. This page on their website is quite useful to look at! 

Remember, you can also bring your own food and snacks onboard the Amtrak trains too!

Amtrak trains


What should I do on the train?


Honestly? Anything you like.

But I would 100% recommend sitting in the viewing carriage on your Amtrak train and striking up conversation with people – most people on the trains are travelling too, and it’s amazing who you can meet and what you can learn about just by talking.

I carried a deck of cards on me, and I kept a book nearby in case I wanted some alone time, but I really did meet the most incredible people; from a film maker traveling to Canton, Ohio, to a new friend who invited me to her barbecue in Memphis the next day (I went, it was incredible). I never failed to be astounded by the generosity and kindness of people riding trains, so I would definitely recommend striking up conversation whenever you can!

Amtrak trains.


What’s the most picturesque Amtrak trains route?


In my opinion the most scenic Amtrak trains route is DEFINITELY the California Zephyr. It runs from Chicago to Emeryville (just outside SF), it goes through the Rocky Mountains, and shoots you out onto the Great Plains so that you feel almost as though you’re on the edge of the world. The whole journey is around 35-40 hours, and Chicago is a huge freight stop, so you can definitely expect delays coming into the station.

I would highly recommend stopping at Glenwood Springs, and Denver along this route. The former is known for its hot springs and its beauty, the latter because Denver is heart-achingly cool!

Also, any route that takes you along the coastline will be ridiculously pretty too!

everything you need to know about Amtrak trains


Should I get a sleeper carriage?


This is entirely a personal choice but I really don’t think that you’ll need one at all, especially if you’re on a budget and trying to save money where possible.

Compared to European trains, the seats on an Amtrak will make you feel like a small child again, they have plenty of space! There’s buckets of leg room, the seats recline and there’s a very comfy leg rest so sleeping in your chair isn’t too much of a hassle. And of course, you have the motion of the train to lull you to sleep too.

If you’re traveling in excess of 24ish hours, though, you might want to think about it, just to guarantee yourself sleep and also comfort. Being able to stretch out properly and have some alone time might make all the difference. For journeys that only require one sleep, though, you’ll almost definitely be fine sleeping in your seat. Here’s a guide written by Amtrak trains with tips on how to sleep on Amtrak trains. 


Get the Amtrak trains app


Amtrak trains finally have an app – so be sure to take advantage of it! It’ll keep you up to date with arrival times, delays, re-routes and anything else important, like schedules. It’s available on iPhoneAndroid and Windows Phone.


Overall advice


Basically, my advice would be to pack minimally, and dream big.

American train travel is honestly one of the most romantic experiences you can have, and Amtrak trains are the heart of it.

Just hearing the plaintive cry of a lonely train whistle is enough to set me off. If you can, get to the back of the train and watch the track unfurl behind you, and leave all your troubles out there as you head on to pastures new. If I could have spent my life riding around the states from small town to big city and back again I would have done.

So, what are you waiting for?

 

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14 amazing places to find the best cheap lunches in NYC


Are you looking for the best cheap lunches in NYC?


So, picture this: you’re in The Big Apple, you’re feeling peckish, but you check out your holiday budget and you’re feeling a little pinched. What to do? You’ve got to find the best cheap lunches in NYC.

Don’t fret, we’ve got some great recommendations for the best cheap lunches in NYC, that pack a real punch but don’t break the banks.


Head to a bodega


What kind of list of the best cheap lunches in NYC would this be if we didn’t start by telling you that almost every bodega on every corner will have a grill, and will be able to make an egg and cheese roll for about $3? We’ve got slightly fancier recommendations, too, but you honestly can’t go wrong with a Bodega!

If you don’t know what a bodega is – the name bodega comes from a Spanish word which tends to mean “storeroom” “wine cellar” or “grocery store”. That should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect inside a bodega – it’s a corner shop, convenience shop, full of those little bits you just ‘need’.

bagel Best Cheap Lunches in NYC


Hunt down a bagel


And just like we couldn’t make a list of cheap lunches in NYC without mentioning bodegas, we also could mention lunches in NYC without giving the classic bagel a mention. You can get bagels in every diner or deli in NYC, and you can sit in and eat them or you can have them to go. The price will depend on your bagel choice and toppings, but generally it shouldn’t cost anymore than $6-7 (even if you go crazy on the toppings). A classic cream cheese bagel will cost you about $3 on average.

Here are some of the best review bagel shops in NYC…

bagel Best Cheap Lunches in NYC


Urbanspace Vanderbilt


The first actual place on our list of the best cheap lunches in NYC packs a punch for choice. Urbanspace Vanderbilt is open Monday-Friday 6am-9pm, and Sa t& Sun they’re open 9-5. You’ll be spoilt for choice in this urban food market; from amazing donuts to classic pizzas, you’ll find something for all moods! La Palapa has amazing tacos, that we’d highly recommend, but honestly it’s all good! You could definitely get a lunch for under $10!

cheap lunches in NYC


Teranga


Next up on the list is all about flavor. We’d rank Teranga, with its casual setting, and incredible West African-inspired cuisine pretty near the top of any list of the best things we ate in NYC, so it’s pretty cool that it’s also a cheap eat! A vegetarian plate will set you back just $10, and includes things like black eyed pea stew, and roasted beets, and a wide selection of other dishes.

th best places to eat a cheap lunch in NYC


Gansevoort Market 


I love this place! Gansevoort market is like a mini food hall . indoor food market with about 12-15 different food vendors selling their best stuff. I stumbled upon it, and there was so much amazing choice and the prices are mostly under $12. I like the cosy feel too – and the cute communal seating. The choice, prices and vibe makes this a contender on my list of the best cheap lunches in NYC.


Just Pho


If you’re a fan of pho, you’re probably thinking that we’d send you to the east village or maybe China Town, but no! This list of the best cheap lunches in NYC is jam packed with not only the cheapest, but also the best, so we recommend you get yourself to Just Pho opposite Penn station. It’s a pretty modest place, and the menu is very pared back, but rest assured that what they do serve is fantastic. Get the Hanoi Classic Pho and the crab stuffed spring roll. You won’t regret it, and it won’t set you back more than $15 in total.

cheap lunch ideas in nyc


Papa’s Kitchen


Next up on our list of the best cheap lunches in NYC is Papa’s Kitchen, in Jackson Heights. Here you can find a Filipino Silog, priced at either $7 or $8, and includes a classic dish served with rice and a runny egg. We highly recommend the national signature dish which is chicken adobos, but there are honestly so many good dishes that you can’t really go wrong.


ANY by-the-slice pizza place


Next on my list of the best cheap lunches in NYC, pizza! Of course!

When in NYC you have to try pizza by the slice. They’re almost always incredible, and you can find one almost anywhere. They’re the perfect lunch on the go, and one slice is about the same size as a normal pizza so you definitely won’t go hungry! If you want our advice, head to Joe’s pizza in Greenwich Village. The place is an institution, and honestly some of the best pizza we’ve ever had. It’s not fancy, but you won’t be disappointed. It’s around $4 a slice with toppings, but cheaper for margherita (just cheese).

pizza Best Cheap Lunches in NYC


M&P Biancimanco


Next up on this list of the best cheap lunches in NYC is absolute winner. Hoboken is the place to go for amazing Italian-American delis, and the pièce de resistance is of course M&P Biancimanco. You can eat inside in their adorable dining area, at the tables outside, or munch on the go, but this place has about 55 hot and cold heroes (Italian sandwiches). If it’s your first time, get one of the cold ones with a letter for a name. This is also a cracking spot for people watching, so we’d recommend eating in if you’ve got the time. Their sandwiches are a little pricier than other things on this list, but half a sub could do you lunch and dinner for around $10.

best cheap lunches in nyc


Katz’s Deli


On the subject of deli’s this list of the best cheap lunches in NYC wouldn’t be complete without a pastrami sandwich. It’s one of the most quintessentially New York things to eat, and we’d definitely suggest going to Katz’s Deli to get one. Don’t commit a cardinal sin and get it without pickles. The basic sandwich is $3.45, so definitely won’t break the bank! Also the portion are HUGE so you’re really getting a lot of portion for your penny here. This place is simply ICONIC in NYC, so I couldn’t write a list of the best cheap lunches in NYC without including it!

the Best Cheap Lunches in NYC


La Esquina


La Esquina is a great Mexican place selling street food style dishes at really low prices. If you want something super cheap but also fresh, healthy and soooo tasty – then this is the place you want to be. They have 3 places in NYC now (great for convenience). A great choice for the best cheap lunches in NYC.

Best Cheap Lunches in NYC


Time Out Market, Brooklyn


Time Out Market is quite new on the scene, it’s only been open a year or so. Basically the idea is, it’s a huge indoor food hall with loads of cult-following NYC restaurants inside, offering up some of their most popular dishes. It’s great because the dishes tend to average about $8-$14 – but it’s also all about choice here too. If you visit with friends, you can all order and pay for your separate meals, different cuisines (whatever you each fancy) and there’s no worrying about splitting the bill at the end. It’s quickly becoming one of my favourite places for the best cheap lunches in NYC.

time out Best Cheap Lunches in NYC


Faicco’s Pork Store


I could write a list of the best cheap lunches in NYC without mentioning this place. Faicco’s Pork Store is a deli that (as the name suggests) specialise in delicious pork. You only have to see a photo of one of their pork subs to become hungry (seriously… look below!) and I’d recommend the “Italian Special”. They’re located on Bleecker St, so if you’re in that area, this is a must-do for lunch. It’s a true Italian deli and we know you’ll love it.

Best Cheap Lunches in NYC.


Cheeky Sandwiches


Last on my list of the best cheap lunches in NYC, it’s Cheeky Sandwiches… Even the name sounds fun right? We love food when it’s tasty and when it’s cheap – and this place ticks both those boxes. There’s 9 different sandwiches to choose from on the menu, the cheapest is $3.50 for the chicken biscuit, and the most expensive is the braised short rib sandwich at $8. Which is pretty amazing considering the quality and the size.

Best Cheap Lunches in NYC chicken biscuit


We hope you enjoy our list of the best cheap lunches in NYC! Let us know if there’s any you think we’ve missed, or if you enjoyed any of our favourites!

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30 fun things to do in Las Vegas during the day


Are you looking for things to do in Las Vegas during the day?


Las Vegas is an amazing city, and if you’re visiting for the first time – you’re in for a treat! Lots of people think Las vegas only comes alive at night, and whilst it’s true that the city had LOADS of nightlife, it’s also an amazing destination during the day too. My husband and I visit Vegas a couple of times a year, and this post is full of our favourite things to do during the day in Las Vegas. So if you’re looking for things to do in Las Vegas during the day, keep reading!


Visit The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace

First on my list of things to do in Las Vegas during the day, it’s The Forum Shops. The Forum Shops is a shopping mall located inside the Caesars Palace hotel – it’s huge and full of loads of great shops. But it’s also themed and designed to look like an ancient roman town.

best of las vegas


Visit the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Hotel

Next on my list of things to do in Las Vegas during the day, another shopping mall! Located on the Las vegas Strip, this one is located inside the Venetian hotel. Similar to the mall above, it’s also themed inside, but the Grand Canal Shoppes are designed to look and feel like Venice in Italy. It’s amazing, romantic, and full of great shops!

thing to do in vegas in the day


Take a gondola ride

The gondola rides take place inside the Grand Canal Shoppes (mentioned above) as inside the mall there are real canals weaving in and out of the hotel and walkways. Why is this is one of the best things to do in Las Vegas during the day? Because you can choose an outdoor or indoor gondola ride (depending on whether you’re escaping the heat) and it’s so much fun!

things to do in Las Vegas during the day gondola


Visit Top Golf driving range

One of my new favourite things to do in Las Vegas during the day, Top Golf is a HUGE driving range just off the strip. It’s easy to get an Uber or taxi there, and they also have a free shuttle if you head there from the MGM Grand. It’s so much fun, there’s music, bars, games, food, and even a pool alongside the golf!

things to do in Las Vegas during the day top golf


Rent a pool cabana (or just sit on a lounger!)

The most obvious of things to do in Las Vegas during the day, sunbathing by the pool! Most hotels in vegas have pools, and sitting by the pool on a sunny day and just relaxing with a drink in hand it absolute perfection. If you’re looking for something a bit more VIP, then renting a poolside cabana for the day is a great shout!

things to do in Las Vegas during the day 1


Gamble!

The casinos in Las vegas are open all day long (so gambling is a classic choice for things to do in Las Vegas during the day). You’ll see people gambling all day every day here! If you want to do a little bit of gambling when the tables are quieter – the daytime is actually a really good time to do it.

 


Grab a seat at a buffet

Las vegas is famous for it’s crazy big buffets! Most hotels have buffets, and they’re usually open from brunch to evening dinner. A good tip though, if you head for a lunch buffet, you’ll usually pay about $10-$25 less than the evening buffet. So having your buffet experience at lunchtime can save you money! Which is why it makes my list of things to do in Las Vegas during the day. Here’s a guide to the top 10 buffets in Vegas (my personal favourites are the Cosmo buffet and the Aria buffet).

things to do in Las Vegas during the day 1


Visit the Neon Museum

The Neon museum is what it sounds like… It’s an outdoor museum showing all the old neon signage that Las Vegas was once so famous for. It’s an great trip out, and it’s so interesting too, especially if you’re into the old-style Vegas.

things to do in Las Vegas during the day 2


Ride the High Roller

The high roller is open day and night, and if you choose to ride it during the day, you’ll get great views across town! It’s a relatively new addition to the Las Vegas skyline and it’s definitely one of my top things to do in Las Vegas during the day.

You can book ski-the-line tickets by clicking here. 

things to do in las vegas


Watch the Bellagio Fountains

Yes, the Bellagio Fountains are more impressive in the evening – but they’re also way busier and crowded in the evening too! If you’re looking for things to do in Las Vegas during the day, then watching the Bellagio Fountains is actually a great choice. You won’t need to push your way to the front, and your view will be pretty clear!

Vegas on a Budget.


Visit Bellagio’s conservatory gardens

Located in the lobby of The Bellagio Hotel, the Bellagio Conservatory is a beautiful indoor botanical garden. Every season the talented gardening team redesign the conservatory to suit a particular theme or story – so it’s always changing and there’s always something new to see there. It’s free too!

Bellagio's conservatory


Party at a pool party / day club

Las Vegas has it all, from the biggest nightclubs to the biggest day clubs too! Don’t know what a day club is? It’s essentially everything you love about clubbing, but during the daytime, in bathing suits and next to a pool. Sounds pretty epic right?

things to do in Las Vegas during the day pool party


Visit the Flamingos

The Flamingo Hotel didn’t get it’s name for no reason… There are actually Flamingoes inside too! You can wander through the resort / habitat and see the stunning birds as a fun things to do in Las Vegas during the day.


Drive out to Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon is only a 30 minute drive from the strip and it’s one of the most beautiful areas of natural beauty in the city. I absolutely love Red Rock, and it’s perfect for those days when you want to escape the city and get some fresh air. I recommend booking a tour from your Las Vegas hotel – as you’ll get park entrance included and transport there and back. Plus you’ll get the added bonus of a guided tour too! I love the Pink Jeep Tour personally, so that’s who I would recommend!

Click here to book a Jeep tour of Red Rock Canyon

things to do in Las Vegas during the day red rock canyon


Do a Grand Canyon day trip

The classic option for things to do in Las Vegas during the day, a Grand Canyon day trip! The Grand Canyon is only a few hours drive from las Vegas, so it’s the perfect day trip to take whilst you’re in the city. As with the above, I recommend Pink Jeep Tours above all other tour companies – they’re vehicles are super spacious and comfy… and they’re damn cool too.

Click here to book a jeep tour of the Grand Canyon (highly recommended!)

fun date ideas in las vegas


Learn how to shoot a gun

Next on my list of things to do in Las Vegas during the day, this might not be to everyone’s taste, but if you’ve always wanted to shoot a gun, then Las Vegas is a good place to try it out. There are lots of shooting ranges in the city, and they offer completely controlled and supervised shooting experiences. If you’re going to do it, Vegas is a great place as the facilities are safe and high quality.

Click here to book a shooting range experience in Las Vegas. 


Ride the New York New York roller coaster

Next on my list of things to do in Las Vegas during the day, it’s one for the adrenaline junkies! If you’ve not tried the NY NY rollercoaster yet, this is definitely something to try out during your next day in Vegas! The rollercoaster is amazing and even cuts through the hotel itself… it’s a Vegas classic!

date ideas in las vegas 2020


Visit the Eiffel Tower viewing deck

Next on my list of things to do in Las vegas during the day, you can’t miss it, it’s the huge building that looks just like the Eiffel tower! You’ll get some amazing views of the strip from up here, and it’s usually a little less busy in the daytime too.

You can book skip-the-line tickets by clicking here

things to do in Las Vegas during the day eiffel tower


Visit the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign

You might have driven past this iconic sign on your way in, but maybe you missed it. Either way, it’s a great place to visit during the day in Las Vegas. If you get an Uber driver to take you out there, they can park up for a few minutes while you take a photo, and then drive you onto your next location!

things to do in Las Vegas during the day las vegas sign


Learn how to play poker

During the daytime in Las vegas casinos, you’ll find lots of hotels offer poker lessons on their less-busy tables. If you’re wanting to learn, the best time to do so id during the day!


Do an open top bus tour

Next on my list of things to do in Las Vegas during the day, it’s the open top bus tour. Did you even visit Las Vegas if you didn’t take the open top bus tour? This is a classic tourist attraction and it’s a perfect option for during the day as you’ll get great views of everything.

You can book open top bus tickets by clicking here.

things to do in Las Vegas during the day


Look around the Mob Museum

Next on my list of things to do in Las Vegas during the day, The Mob Museum. The Mob Museum is a classic Las vegas museum and it’s a lot of fun. It’s full of historical facts, as well as artefacts and things that dates back to the time of the mob. Las Vegas was a different place back then and it’s certainly interesting to learn about it!

Click here to book tickets for the Mob Museum


Drive out to the Hoover Dam

A lot of Grand Canyon tours will stop off at the Hoover Dam on the way out of Las Vegas, but some people may want to visit the Hoover Dam on it’s own (it’s pretty impressive after all!). If you want to check out the Hoover Dam on it’s own and take a tour of this amazing structure – then I highly recommend this tour.

You can book a 3 hour tour of the Hoover Dam by clicking here.

best things to do in vegas during the day


Visit one of the city’s outlet malls

There are a couple of outlet malls in Las Vegas, and they’re a great place to visit if you want to snap up some bargains! The discounts can often be up to 50-70% off, which means you can really buy some amazingly priced designer clothing there.


Head to the top of the Stratosphere

Some of the best view of Las Vegas are from the top of the Stratosphere casino! It’s a huge tall tower (you can’t miss it in the skyline) and during the daytime you’ll get crazy good views of the strip and of the surrounding city too.


Grab breakfast at Denny’s

Maybe it’s because I’m from London (and we don’t have Denny’s in the UK) but there’s nothing quite like starting your day at Denny’s. I just love it, and it feels so American. There are 2 Denny’s on the strip.

things to din las vegas


Have a spa treatment

Ahhhh, one of my absolutely favourite things to do in Las Vegas during the day… Have a luxurious spa treatment! My favourite spa (hands down) is the spa at the Aria Hotel. I love everything about it.

things to do in Las Vegas during the day aria spa


Take a trip to Planet 13

Next on my list of things to do in Las Vegas during the day, this one isn’t for everyone! However, if you enjoy a bit of legal cannabis, then Planet 13 is where you can buy it. It’s like a supermarket for marijuana products and it’s actually the largest dispensary on the planet for recreational cannabis.


Grab a table at one of the city’s busier restaurants

The day time is a great time to grab a table at one of the city’s busier and more in-demand restaurants. You’ll find that queues for these kind of places are much small in the lunch hour, than during dinner – so it’s a good time of day to try your luck!

date ideas in vegas


Go Go-Karting

If speed is kind of your ‘thing’ then go-karting in Las Vegas is going to be at the top of your to-do list during the day. There’s an amazing go-karting track in Las Vegas and it’s definitely something you won’t want to miss out on!

Click here to book go-karting tickets in Las Vegas

things to do in Las Vegas during the day go karting


I hope this list of things to do in Las Vegas during the day is useful and has given you loads of great ideas for how to spend your time!


Here are some other posts I’ve written about Las Vegas, that you might find helpful…

The best shopping malls in Las Vegas 

Best Las Vegas nightlife for couples

The most romantic hotel suites in Las Vegas 

The most romantic things to do in Las Vegas

Las Vegas restaurants with amazing views of The Bellagio Fountains

The ultimate guide to visiting Las Vegas on a budget 

Where to find the best views of The Bellagio Fountains

Things to do in Las Vegas when you’re pregnant

The most romantic engagement ideas in Las Vegas 

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15 fun things to do solo in NYC

If you’re visiting NYC solo, you might be a little worried about finding things to do solo in NYC. The good news is, NYC is an amazing city to visit solo, there is loads to do here and the city lends itself extremely well to solo travellers.

Also – Once you’re finished reading this article of things to do, you might want to head on over to my ‘ultimate guide to NYC‘ – where you’ll find endless information about getting around, what to eat, see and do, and even money-saving tips and tricks. 

But first – here are some of my favourite things to do solo in NYC…


Take a food tour


The first thing on my list of things to do in NYC solo, it’s a food tour! Doing an NYC food tour is actually one of the best things to do solo in NYC! A food tour is a guided group tour (usually between 5-10 people) where you’ll be taken around some of the best local restaurants or cafes to try their ‘speciality dish’ or just something extremely delicious. It’s great for solo travellers in NYC because it’ll give you a chance to meet new people, try lots of new food and explore a neighbourhood too! There are loads of food tours in the city, but here are a few of my top picks…

2-Hour Cupcake Tour of Greenwich Village

Little Italy Italian Food Tasting Tour

Midtown Manhattan Street Food Walking Tour

things to do solo in nyc


Visit the observation decks


Next up on my list of things to do solo in NYC, it’s visit an observation deck. There are three main observation decks in NYC and it’s definitely worth visiting at least one during your solo trip to NYC. I’ve listed them out below so you can see which is best suited to you!

The One World Observation Deck – Amazing views from the highest building in NYC.

The Empire State Building – An NYC classic, this is one of the original observation decks!

Top of the Rock Observation Deck – My personal favourite, this observation deck has the BEST views over the city and the Empire State.


Take the Staten Island Ferry


My next suggestion of things to do solo in NYC, take the Staten Island Ferry! If you want to doing something fun (and free) one afternoon, taking a round trip on the Staten Island Ferry is actually a really nice things to do solo in NYC. It’s completely free (it’s just public transport, not a tour or anything!) but the views over the city on your way over to Staten Island are insanely good. There’s a little shop onboard, so you can sit down, people watch, enjoy the view, you name it.

things to do solo in nyc


Watch a Broadway show


I can’t visit NYC with watching a Broadway show, so it had to make my list of things to do solo in NYC! If you’re looking for things to do solo in NYC, then a Broadway show has be on your list. Actually, going solo to a Broadway show is a great way to score cheap tickets! Usually single seats are priced lower than seats together, so you might be able to snatch up a really good seat for a pretty affordable price. Watching a Broadway show solo is also a great way to score tickets to the newer or more in-demand shows! These are my favourite shows:

Frozen the Musical (based on the hit Disney movie, it was so happy and upbeat and just so “Disney”)

Mean Girls (based on the classic teen movie, it’s a great choice!)

The Cursed Child (two plays in one day. A incredible theatrical must-see for ANY Harry Potter fan)

The Lion King on Broadway (A Broadway must-see, this is like the ‘ultimate’ Broadway musical)

Come From Away  (uplifting musical about the true events following 9/11, in a small town where many planes were rerouted)

Moulin Rouge!  (quite a new addition to Broadway, based off the movie of the same name. Looks so good!)

Wicked the Musical  (Another classic, this was one of the first shows I saw on Broadway!)

things to do in nyc solo


Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge


Next up on my list of things to do solo in NYC, the Brooklyn Bridge! Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must-do for anyone visit NYC. First of all, it’s one of the most iconic bridges in the world, so you definitely need to make time to walk across it! Secondly, the views you get from the bridge are amazing, and it’s one of the best ways to see the NYC skyline.

things to do solo in new york city


Visit Time Out Market


Time Out Market is located in Brooklyn (right under the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO) and it’s one of the best places to eat in NYC if you’re visiting solo. It’s a brilliant food hall full of some of NYC’s best food chains, or restaurants. They’re all located in a food hall, with communal seating, and they serve up their best dishes. It’s a lot of fun, a must-visit for any foodies! Also – the rooftop has some of the best views in the city, so make sure you head up there before leaving! This is such a great things to do solo in NYC, especially if you’re feeling nervous about eating on your own.

things to do solo in new york city


Climb The Vessel


The Vessel is located in Hudson Yards, which is a newly regenerated neighbourhood about a 10 minute walk from Times Square. The Vessel is a huge sculpture / vertical park, full of staircases and reaching dizzying heights. It’s quite amazing to look at, and you can enter it and climb it for free. It’s one of my new favourite things to do in the city, and it’d be a great thing to do in NYC if you were visiting solo.

things to do solo in NYC


Visit one of the MANY museums or art galleries


Next up on my list of things to do solo in NYC, visit one of the many museums. We all know NYC is full to burst with museums and art galleries. On a rainy day (or if the weather isn’t too great) then heading inside to a museum or gallery is a perfect way to spend the day solo in NYC. I personally recommend the Museum of Modern Art or MoMA as many people call it (click here to buy skip-the-line tickets).

things to do solo in NYC


Stroll through Central Park


You can’t beat a leisurely stroll through Central Park, so it had to make my list of things to do solo in NYC. The park is huge too, so you could easily split this out into 2 days if you wanted to break it up! During the daytime, you can walk through the park on your own completely safely – so don’t let that worry you. The park is always full of locals, visitors, and event tour groups and cyclists. It’s the hub of the city and so many people enjoy spending time there.

If you want to do a walking tour of the park to make sure you see all the best bits, and to make sure you don’t get lost, I recommend this one. Or, you can read my full list of Central Park tours (there are all kinds to choose from, including running tours and even movie tours!).

things to do solo in nyc


Visit the Statue of Liberty


Next on my list of things to do solo in NYC, the Statue of Liberty. There are loads of different ways you can see the Statue of Liberty (I’ve written about lots of them here) but the classic way to see The Statue of Liberty is probably the ferry ride, with admission to Liberty Island. This is a must-do if you’re visiting NYC, it’s one of the main sights to see, and it’s just one of those absolutely iconic places. Click here for Statue of Liberty tickets. 

Next up on my list of things to do solo in NYC


Check out the street art on a walking tour


Another really cool walking tour, this time taking you around some of the city’s best street art and graffiti spots. I love tour groups (especially walking tours) when you’re travelling solo in NYC, because it’s the perfect chance to meet people. This tour is fantastic and there are so many amazing locations included where you can take some great photos. This tour is super cool, which is why it had to make my list of things to do alone in NYC.

things to do solo in NYC


Walk the High Line


Next on my list of things to do alone in NYC, it’s the High Line park. The High Line is a public park that was made on top of old abandoned rail lines in the Soho area of NYC. It’s a really special place, constantly changing with the seasons, and with some beautiful places to sit and relax and enjoy views of the city. On a clear day it’ll be busy, so I recommend getting there early to avoid the crowds. Oh, and it’s free!

things to do solo in nyc


Visit the Color Factory


Probably the most quirky things on this list of things to do solo in NYC, it’s Color Factory! This is a new immersive art installation / museum that will transform the way you feel about colour and art. It’s really unique, so much fun, and it’s somewhere you can easily spend a few hours (because there’s so many interesting things to see and do). I recommend booking online ahead of time, as it can get quite busy – especially because people are starting to realise just how amazing it is!

things to do on your own in nyc


Go thrift shopping in Brooklyn


And finally on my list of things to do solo in NYC… Thrift shopping! This is always more fun when you’re solo, as you can really take the time to browse each and every rack of clothing to find that perfect item. As you’d probably expect, NYC has some amazing thrift shopping, but Brooklyn has to take the crown. Buffalo Exchange and Monk Vintage Thrift Shop on Driggs Avenue are both brilliant places to start your day of thrift shopping.

things to do solo in nyc


I hope this list of things to do solo in NYC has been useful! If you have any suggestions to add to the list, just let me know in the comments below!


 

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Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour – Is it worth it?

Hop on Hop off New York bus tour


Are you wondering if the Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour is worth the money?


A Hop on Hop off New York bus tour is one of the classic ‘touristy’ things to do in the city. In fact, you’ll often spot these tour buses around the city, full of tourists getting their fill of sightseeing. But is the Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour worth it, and is it something you should spend your money on?

In my opinion… YES! It’s worth it!

There are 2 main Hop on Hop off New York bus tours you can do in NYC…

BIGBUS New York – Click here for info and tickets 

City Sightseeing Bus – Click here for info and tickets 

They’re both extremely similar in what they offer (I’ve done both) – so this post applies to both companies.


What makes a Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour worth it?

In my opinion, it’s one of the easiest ways to see the city, and tick off a lot of the major sights in one day. The Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour has been designed to fit in all the main sightseeing must-sees in the city, and it’s also a lot of fun too.

Here’s why I think the Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour is worth doing….

Reason 1: It’s good for first time visitors

If you’re visiting NYC for the first time, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed with how much stuff their is to see and do. The Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour is a great way to make sure you at least glimpse all the main sights and attractions. The pre-planned route that the bus takes is designed to fit in as many sights as possible, so you know you’ll be driving past all the good stuff (so you can be poised, camera ready!). If you are visiting NYC for the first time, I HIGHLY recommend booking the Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour for your first day. You can use it as a chance to see loads of stuff, but also to work out where you want to go back to in the following days.

Hop on Hop off New York bus tour

Reason 2: It’s genuinely interesting

If you jump on a bus with a good tour guide, then the tour is genuinely interesting and you learn a lot about the city. I know a lot of people think it’s just a sightseeing tour, but it’s nice to drive around the city and have facts and information given to you, so you actually learn about the city too. They’ll point out historical places, TV and movie locations, random facts, everything!

Reason 3: It’s so easy

If the idea of navigating the city on your own is a bit daunting, and you’re a little bit apprehensive about using the Subway, then you can essentially use the Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour as you means of getting around the city. The map they give you is super easy, and each bus stop is usually located right by a corresponding attraction or sightseeing point. So you can get off wherever you want to explore, and then jump back on another bus once you’re finished. It makes the whole experience of sightseeing in NYC so easy!

Hop on Hop off New York bus tour

Reason 4: You can bundle it with a ferry or night tour

I like that you can bundle your tickets with a ferry or night tour – as it just lets you do that little bit more during your NYC vacation. Ferry tours are amazing in NYC because the skyline looks amazing from the water (so that’d be my personal pick!) but the night tour would also be a great choice for anyone wanting to enjoy the skyline views during the evening. Anyway, I like that you can bundle these together with your bus ticket – it means you save money and time!

Reason 5: You get amazing photo opportunities

I love photography, so this is a major plus point for me. Sitting on the top deck of the bus gives you pretty epic photo opportunities you just would be able to get any other way. It’s also pretty consistent too – every new street or every corner you turn there will be something else to take photos of!

Hop on Hop off New York bus tour

Reason 6: You get to see Uptown, Midtown and downtown

NYC is pretty big, and it’s easy as a tourist to get swallowed up exploring one area – and you forget to venture a little further afield to see other neighbourhoods. A Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour means you can see lots of different areas in the city.

There are a few different tour companies that run Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tours, but with most of them you can book 1, 2 and 3-day tickets for the Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour, and all of those options include access to two different loops (this just means, two different bus routes). The 2 loops are Uptown and Downtown, so each loop takes you past different sights and attractions where you might want to hop off and explore.

As I mentioned above, you’ll also have access to live audio commentary from your tour guide too – which makes it so entertaining and educational! They will make sure you don’t miss anything important!

Hop on Hop off New York bus tour


BIGBUS New York – Click here for info and tickets 

City Sightseeing Bus – Click here for info and tickets 


 

As you can see, there are a lot of stops to explore, and so many opportunities to get out and explore NYC using the Hop on Hop off New York Bus Tour! I hope this blog post has been useful and you enjoy your trip to NYC!

 

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15 fun bachelorette party ideas in NYC

The Best Central Park tours 2


Are you looking for fun, unique and memorable bachelorette party ideas in NYC?


NYC is an amazing location for bachelorette parties, it’s the city of ‘Friends’ and ‘Sex and the City’ – so who wouldn’t want to jet away to the big city and have their bachelorette party in NYC? There are so many things to do in NYC for bachelorette parties, so I thought I’d put together a list of my favourite bachelorette party ideas in NYC – to get you started!


Bachelorette party idea #1 – Take a carriage ride in Central Park


First on my list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC, a classic! You know what we’re talking about, you’ve seen the Sex and the City episode where Big takes Carrie on a carriage ride around the park! The great thing about taking a carriage ride around the park, is that you don’t pay per person, you pay per carriage. This makes it a great activity for groups of 3-4, as the more of you in the carriage, the cheaper it is! I recommend booking your horse and carriage ride online in advance too – so that you don’t get taken advantage of or charged too much. You can book a premium carriage ride by clicking here.

bachelorette party ideas in NYC!!


Bachelorette party idea #2 – Have cocktails in the Skylark Bar


How could I write a list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC, without include an amazing cocktail bar? Skylark is my favourite bar in NYC, it has the MOST amazing views of the city, and the Empire State, and it has such a fun vibe and such a great atmosphere. The cocktail are fab, the music is great… and there’s even a balcony for taking the perfect group selfie with the Empire State in the background. I’d recommend booking a table ahead (as it can get pretty busy on Thursdays / Fridays / Saturdays).

bachelorette party ideas in NYC!!


Bachelorette party idea #3 – Do an NYC food tour


Next on my list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC, if your group of ladies love food and want to try some of the local food (NYC is known for amazing food after all!) then doing a food tour together is such a fun idea. Food tours are guided tours around the city, where you’ll get to stop in at various restaurants / cafes / vendors. Your host will have the specialities pre-prepared and the restaurant will know you’re coming, so usually you can jump the line too! You’ll get to try lots of the best neighbourhood dishes and try all the best bits in one day!

I recommend the 3 hour manhattan food tour, or this 2 hour cupcake food tour of Greenwich Village! Both would be amazing options for a bachelorette party in NYC!

bachelorette party ideas in NYC!!


Bachelorette party idea #4 – Take a TV / movie locations tour together


You’ve all seen all the movies and TV shows set in NYC, and taking a tour of the city around all the main filming locations is a really fun way to spend a few hours in the city. You can pose for photos in all your favourite movie locations, and even snap some instagram stories! I recommend booking this TV and movie tour as it includes a walking tour of NYC, and you’ll also get to go behind the scenes at one of America’s most iconic TV studios too! This is such a fun addition to my list of  bachelorette party ideas in NYC.

bachelorette party ideas in NYC!!


Bachelorette party idea #5 – Watch a Broadway musical


Next on my list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC – watch a Broadway musical! There are soooo many amazing Broadway musicals you can watch in NYC, and watching a musical together makes a perfect bachelorette party idea in NYC! A perfect night would be watching a music, then heading for a meal and cocktails afterwards! I couldn’t choose a favourite musical – there are so many I’ve seen and absolutely loved! If I had to choose though, for a bachelorette party my favourite picks would be….

Frozen the Musical (based on the hit Disney movie, this is upbeat and a perfect sing-a-long)

Aladdin the Musical (based on the Disney movie, this is a nostalgic, funny and colourful)

Mean Girls (you’ve seen the comedy chic-flick with Lindsey Lohan, this is the on-stage musical version)

The Lion King on Broadway (this is the classic, iconic Disney musical. A Broadway must-see)

Moulin Rouge!  (quite a new addition to Broadway, based off the movie of the same name)

Wicked the Musical  (Another Broadway classic, Wicked is the story of the witches of Oz)

bachelorette party ideas in NYC city


Bachelorette party idea #6 – The RIDE


The RIDE is one of the most unique tours of NYC, so it makes a perfect choice for bachelorette party ideas in NYC. The RIDE is equal parts theatre, as it is a city tour. You’ll tour NYC in a huge bus, and you’ll sit sideways looking out onto the streets through a huge window. From the window, you’ll see the best city sights, but you’ll also see performers, street-shows and more! You can book tickets by clicking here. If you want something a bit quirky and different this is the bachelorette party ideas in NYC for you!

bachelorette party ideas in NYC city


Bachelorette party idea #7 – Take a sightseeing cruise


Next on my list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC, sightseeing cruises! A sightseeing cruise of NYC ticks all the boxes! You get to see the city, relax, catch-up, take loads of amazing photos together… It’s perfect! Sightseeing cruises are also pretty affordable, especially considering how many memories you’ll make onboard! During the daytime, I recommend booking a classic sightseeing cruise, or if you want to take an evening boat cruise, then this sunset harbour lights cruise is an amazing choice. If you’re on a budget, then going on the Staten Island Ferry is a great choice (it’s free!) but you don’t get quite the same views, and it’s not quite as glamorous!

bachelorette party ideas in NYC city


Bachelorette party idea #8 – Color Factory


My next ideas on my list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC, it’s the Color Factory. The Color Factory is a relatively new addition to NYC, and it’s such a fun way to spend a few hours in the city – especially on a bachelorette party! It’s an immersive experience / museum full of amazing, colourful (obviously) pieces of art. It’s really hard to describe, you have to just experience it for yourself… But trust me, it’s so much fun! If you want some super cute photos and instagram shots too – this is a MUST. You can book tickets online by clicking here. 
bachelorette party ideas in NYC city

Bachelorette party idea #9 –  Visit some of NYC’s rooftop bars


Of course, the next thing on my list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC is a rooftop bar. The best kind of bar in NYC is a rooftop bar! You can to sip cocktails whilst enjoying insane views (and taking a few selfies too!). I’ve created a list of rooftop bars in NYC, if you fancy choosing your favourite from the list, or you can take a guided tour of the best rooftop bars in the city. 
bachelorette party ideas in NYC city

Bachelorette party idea #10 – Go shopping in Macy’s


Macy’s is the go-to shopping destination in NYC, so get your girls, grab your purse and head inside. You can spend HOURS inside easily, there is so much to try on, admire and (eventually) buy! If you haven’t found your bridesmaid dresses yet, you could even try on some of their formal dresses and see if you can find a beautiful bridesmaid dress! You can’t have a list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC without mentioning shopping!
bachelorette party ideas in NYC city

Bachelorette party idea #11 – Get a blow dry


If you’re planning a big night out, then you have to treat yourself to a blow dry before the big night. Dry Bar is the best blow dry bar in the city (and luckily there are a few located around the city). You go in, pick you perfect style from their blow-dry menu, and then you sit and chat, sipping champagne or cocktails until you’re ready to go! It’s the perfect way to spend the afternoon and proper pamper! I love this for bachelorette party ideas in NYC, it’s pampering, cute and glamorous all in one!

Bachelorette party idea #12 – Do a limo group tour


A glamorous limo tour is an amazing way to spend an evening with the girls, so of course it makes my list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC! Get glammed up (I recommend the blow-dry bar above beforehand!) and then pack in your private limo for a tour of NYC’s city lights by night. It’s the perfect way to make your bride feel like a VIP! You can book a private limo tour by clicking here.

Bachelorette party idea #13 – Go wedding dress shopping


Next on my list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC, wedding dress shopping! NYC is home to some of the most incredible wedding dress boutiques. We’ve all watched the epic ‘Say Yes to the Dress‘ and if you’re bride hasn’t found her dress yet, then going dress shopping in NYC is the ULTIMATE bachelorette party idea in NYC! You can all swoon over the amazing dresses, make your bride feels incredible and gorgeous, and have the most lovely day!
bachelorette party in NYC

Bachelorette party idea #14 – Book a spa day


There are loads of beautiful hotels in NYC that offer spa days, or stand-alone day spas… But my favourites have to be either AIRE spa (a stunning, secret underground spa) or the Equinox Hotel (which has a beautiful rooftop pool). If you’re looking for a spa day to make your bride feel extra relaxed and extra special… Then these two will tick all the boxes.
bachelorette party in NYC

Bachelorette party idea #15 – Book a photoshoot!


Last on my list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC, it’s a private photoshoot. Going to NYC for a bachelorette party is a big deal, and if you want to make sure you have loads of gorgeous photos to remember the trip with, then booking a private vacation photographer to take some lovely photos of you if such a great idea. I love this idea because it’s always so important to take photos on once-in-a-lifetime trips like these, and having a professional photographer capture the magic means you come away some seriously gorgeous photos!

bachelorette party in NYC


I hope this list of bachelorette party ideas in NYC is useful and you’ve found some great ideas for your trip! If you have any questions, just comment below and I’ll do my best to answer!


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The best of Las Vegas – What you need to see, do and eat

best of las vegas


 Are you looking for the best of Las Vegas?


Las Vegas is one of the most exciting cities in the world, but if it’s your first time, it can be a little overwhelming… especially when it comes to picking what to do, eat, where to stay, etc. Finding the best of Las Vegas in a list like this, will hopefully give you a bit more confidence that you’re visiting the right places!

Hopefully this quick guide of the best of Las Vegas will help you out. It’s a quick rundown of all the best of Las Vegas, so you can get a clear idea of how you should be spending your time!


The best of Las Vegas hotels


Las Vegas is home to hundreds of hotels, but the vast majority are located on the Las Vegas strip or downtown. The hotels truly are the best of Las Vegas… Hotels are where it all happens, the hotels in Vegas are the heart of the city! If you’re heading to Las Vegas on vacation, then you’ll probably want to be located in the heart of the strip, as this is where everything happens in Las Vegas!

Here are my top 3 budget Las Vegas hotels:

Here are my top 3 luxury Las Vegas hotels:

best of las vegas


The best of Las Vegas day trips


There are loads of day trips you can take from Las Vegas, most of them will pick you up from your hotel’s taxi rank (or concierge / garage area). Sometimes it’s great to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and explore some of the surrounding areas. Here are my best of Las Vegas day trips…

  • The Grand Canyon – I love Pink Jeep Tour company, I used them a few times and always had a great time. Grand Canyon tours really are the best of Las Vegas day trips!
  • Red Rock Canyon – A small national park only 30-40 minutes drive from the strip. You can get day tours to take you out there, and you’ll learn loads from the tour guide too!
  • Zion National Park – One of the most beautiful national parks in the USA and only a few hours drive from Las Vegas. There are lots of tours that can take you there – I recommend this one.

best of las vegas


The best of Las Vegas restaurants


Oh Las Vegas… so many amazing restaurants to try! But there are so many, how can you know if you’re choosing the best of Las Vegas? You’ll definitely want to try a steakhouse during your time in the city, along with a celebrity chef restaurant and maybe a themed restaurant too. Here are some of my top picks!

  • SW Steakhouse at The Wynn (steak)
  • Andiamo’s Steakhouse at The D Hotel (steak)
  • The Yardbird at The Venetian (posh southern food and friend chicken)
  • Tap Sports Bar at MGM Grand (big portion, american food and lots of screens)
  • Egg Slut at The Cosmopolitan Hotel (egg sandwiches – cult foodie following, very popular)
  • Block 16 Urban food hall at Cosmopolitan Hotel (food hall with lots of great choices, I love PokPok wings)
  • Hells Kitchen at Caesar’s Palace (celeb chef restaurant from the TV show of the same name)

date ideas in las vegas date ideas in las vegas


The best of Las Vegas shopping malls


Whether you’ve been saving up for month to go shopping in Las Vegas, or whether you won big on roulette the night before… Shopping in Las Vegas is serious stuff! There are loads of amazing malls here, so here are my 3 top picks…

The Fashion Show Mall – A big mall with all the major designer and high street brands inside. It’s big, spacious and nice to look around. Located opposite the Wynn hotel.

The Forum Shops – Located inside the Caesars Palace, the Forum shops are themed to look like Rome in Italy. There are loads of shops inside, mainly high end and designer – but there are some affordable and high street chains too.

The Grand Canal Shoppes – Located inside The Venetian Hotel, the Grand Canal Shoppes have been designed to look like Venice, Italy. The design of the mall is incredible and it’s entertaining just to stroll around (even if you don’t buy anything!).

Read a full list of Las Vegas shopping malls (including the city’s best outlet / discount malls) by clicking here.

best of las vegas


The best of Las Vegas nightlife


Las Vega is known for it’s nightlife, there are multiple nightclubs and bars in every hotel and on every corner – so you’re literally spoilt for choice. Whether you want to dance the night away in one of the city’s biggest clubs, or find a more intimate nightlife venue – Las Vegas has it all. Here are the best of Las Vegas nightlife…

Omnia – Located inside Caesar’s Palace, this is one of the best and most popular nightclubs in Las Vegas. There’s a roof deck and a terrace – so there’s a good balance between indoor and outdoor pace too. There’s great energy and vibes – we think you’ll love it.

Hakkasan – Another one of Las Vegas’s biggest and best nightlife destinations. Hakkasan is located inside the MGM Grand hotel and casino, and it’s huge! Spaced across 3 levels, this nightclub even has it’s own restaurant and light show too.

Marquee – Based inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel this is one of the newer nightlife destinations in the city. It’s really popular with people who love a bit of glitz and glamour.

best of las vegas


The best of Las Vegas pool parties


Pool parties are one of the best ways to spend a summer day in Las Vegas. It’s all the best things about a nightclub, but based around one of the city’s glamorous and spacious pools instead. It’s the perfect way to spend a day! Here are some of the best pool parties in Las Vegas…

Marquee Day club at The Cosmopolitan – The same vibes as the nightclub by the same name, but during the day! There are amazing views from the rooftop pool, and the cabanas poolside are a great little extra perk if you’ve got the budget for one.

Wet Republic at The MGM Grand – This place is famed for champagne showers, and it’s actually one of the longest running pool parties and day clubs in Las Vegas. Expect long queues and expensive tickets – but if you want the epitome of poolside partying – this is it.

Encore Beach club at Wynn Encore – This place is huge and one of the most spacious and luxurious day clubs / pool parties in Las Vegas.  They even have poolside blackjack tables, just incase you want a break from dancing!

best of las vegas


The best of Las Vegas shows


There are so many incredible shows in Las Vegas, you could watch a different show every night! My favourites are (of course) the Cirque du Soleil shows, and you’ll know already that Las Vegas is known for being home to Cirque du Soleil. But I’ve tried to include more than just Cirque du Soleil on this list, to give you a bit of variety!

Cirque du Soleil “O” – this is my favourite show in the world, and definitely in Las Vegas. It’s mind-blowing, it’s incredible – it’s perfect. If you only see one show in Las Vegas, let it be this one!

Penn and Teller – If you like magic, then you can’t miss out on Penn and Teller. I absolutely loved this show, it’s a magic show with a twist and it’s speckled with their witty humour and amazing trickery too.

Shania Twain – If you’re lucky enough to be there when Shania is there, book tickets! She was phenomenal when we saw her perform, and I couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks! You forget just how many amazing songs this lady has released!

La Reve, The Dream – Similar to a Cirque du Soleil show, but with a slightly different set-up and theme. I love the seating for this show (there isn’t a bad seat in the house!) and the plot / theme is lovely.

best date ideas in las vegas


 

 

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List of 28 fun and romantic date ideas in Las Vegas


Are you looking for fun and romantic dates ideas in Las Vegas?


If you’re looking for fun and romantic date ideas in Las Vegas, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve been visiting Las Vegas twice a year for the last decade (almost!) and it’s one of my favourite vacation destinations to visit with my once boyfriend, now husband. There are so many amazing date ideas in Las Vegas – you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Here are my top picks for date ideas in Las Vegas…


Watch “O” by Cirque du Soliel


First on my list of date ideas in Las Vegas, if you’ve got a big budget, in my opinion this is the ultimate date night in Las Vegas. For me, “O” is the best show in Las Vegas, it’s original, mind-bending, over-the-top and just beautiful beyond words. I’ve seen it 3 times now, and it’s incredible every time. It’s such a memorable and fun date idea, and it’ll give you something to talk about for hours afterwards too.

best date ideas in las vegas


Visit The Neon Museum


My next suggestion for date ideas in Las Vegas, is The Neon Museum in Las Vegas. This place is a great idea for a day-date or an evening date. The Neon Museum is pretty much what it sounds like, it’s a museum dedicated to all the old neon signs that once filled the streets of Las Vegas. It’s unique, a bit quirky and provides loads of cute photo opportunities too.

romantic date ideas in las vegas


Go to a casino


How could I write a list of date ideas in Las Vegas and not include gambling in a casino? When you gamble you’ll get complimentary drinks from the casino hostesses (you only need to tip them a dollar) so if you’ve got around $30-$100 dollars, you could easily spend the night gambling and get free drinks too. Gambling together is fun, try out different machines, try and work out how the different table games work, it’s a really good time.

las vegas on a budget


Have a luxurious spa treatment


My favourite spa in Las Vegas is the Aria Hotel spa. Most spas in Las Vegas have separate men and women’s areas for relaxing, but the Aria Spa actually have an amazing co-ed spa pool to enjoy together too – which makes it a lovely date location. You could have a couple’s spa treatment, and then cool-off in the pool together afterwards. This is one of my favourite date ideas in Las Vegas by far.

date idea las vegas


Book a Grand Canyon tour


The Grand Canyon is right on your doorstep in Las Vegas and there are so many tours that can take you there. I LOVE Pink Jeep tours, they’ve always been my favourite tour group. The vehicles are super fun and comfortable, the tour guides are amazing, and the groups are small – which makes a big difference to seeing everything and making it to places on time. You can book a Pink Jeep Tour by clicking here. Their amazing Drive, Fly and Float tour includes an amazing drive over to the Canyon, a helicopter ride down to the base of the canyon, and then a boat ride along the river at the bottom. It’s so cool, I’ve done it and loved every second. Highly recommend!! You can book it here.

best date ideas in las vegas


Head to Red Rock Canyon


If you want to head into the great outdoors, but you don’t fancy going as far as the Grand Canyon, then Red Rock Canyon is a good choice instead. We took this tour out to Red Rock, and we had such a fun day. Red Rock is only 30-40 minutes out of town, and the views are stunning. It’s such a beautiful national park, and the tour guides have so much cool stuff to point out to you (like movie locations and TV filming locations!). Again, I really recommend going with the guys at Pink Jeep Tours, they’re so amazing, friendly and professional. I only have amazing things to say about them.

date ideas in las vegas


Visit a steak house


Las Vegas is known for it’s steak houses and there are loads of incredible ones in the city. My husband and I love steak, and we’ve made it our mission to try and as many steak houses as possible over the years.Our 2 stand-out restaurants have to be Andiamo’s at The D Hotel downtown, and SW Steakhouse at the Wynn Hotel (ask for a table on the balcony). MY husband and both love this date idea in Las Vegas, and we visit at least 2 steak places each time we visit!

las vegas date ideas


Take a romantic helicopter ride over the strip


Next on my list of date ideas in Las Vegas, a helicopter ride! I love this date idea, because it’s probably the most memorable thing you can do in the city. Taking a helicopter ride over the city and seeing all the light twinkling below you is just pure magic. A helicopter tour has to be (hands down) one of the most romantic date ideas in Las Vegas. You can click here to book the group tour, or click here to book the completely private helicopter tour (which is slightly more romantic!). Both are highly recommended by myself!

best las vegas date ideas


Book a private hot air balloon ride


OK, this is a mega extravagant date ideas in Las Vegas – but I had to include it because it’s probably one of the most romantic dates you can do around Las Vegas. This incredible private hot air balloon ride is literally the date of a lifetime. We’re talking ‘The Bachelor’ levels of romance. You’ll even get a champagne toast when you land! You can book this insanely romantic date by clicking here.

hot air balloon romantic engagement ideas las vegas


Go to a shooting range


Shooting and guns isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s definitely a date to remember, so I had to include it in my date ideas in Las Vegas list. There are quite a few gun ranges in Las Vegas, and the major ones are really professional, safe and entertaining. Usually they will have certain packages to choose from, where you can choose the size and power of the guns you want to fire, and you basically do target practise in a controlled environment. Everything is really controlled and you’ll be under constant supervision, but it’s definitely one of the more unique dates I’ve been on, and I did enjoy it because it was out of the ordinary.


Do a hotel crawl


Every single hotel in Las Vegas has something unique to offer. From themed shopping centres, to crazy casinos… it’s a pretty epic city to explore. One hell of a date idea in the city is to work your way down the strip, having a drink in as many hotels as possible. It’s a great way to see them all, and it’s a lot fo fun too. This is one of those classic date ideas in Las Vegas, and it’s so easy to do too!

date ideas in las vegas 2020


Take a romantic gondola ride


OK, this has to be one of the the most iconic date ideas in Las Vegas… Taking a romantic gondola ride! Inside the Venetian Hotel, you’ll find the canals and gondolas (usually found in Venice, Italy). For a pretty reasonable price, you can take a private gondola ride around the canals, and even enjoy being serenaded by your host. It’s definitely romantic, and it memorable too!

date ideas las vegas


Visit Hells Kitchen


This restaurant only opened last year in Caesars Palace Las Vegas, and if you’re a fan of the TV show (or if your date is) they will absolutely LOVE visiting this place. It has all the classic food items on the menu, and you might even bump into a celebrity or two!

date ideas in vegas


Visit Top Golf


We did this on our most recent trip to Vegas and it was so much fun! We actually did this as a double-date with our friends, and despite our hangovers from the night before, we all had so much fun. Each driving range booth has sofas, TVs, and a range of clubs, and you can order food and drinks through the table service too. You get a great view of the city, and hitting a few balls over the course of a few hours is a really fun and casual date idea in Las Vegas. Not a conventional ideas, but I think it’s one of my favourite date ideas in Las Vegas!

date ideas in vegas


FlipNOut Xtreme


I always think some of the best date ideas are the ones that bring out our inner child. This date idea at FlipNOut is definitely one of those. This is basically a giant room of trampolines where you can flip, bounce, run and jump to your hearts content. It also has zip lining, laser tag and even ninja warrior courses.


Visit the top of The Eiffel Tower


You might not be able to whisk your date away to Paris, but a trip to The Paris Hotel might be enough to win them over! The Eiffel Tower inside The Paris Hotel has it’s own restaurant and observation deck (click here to book skip-the-line tickets) and either of them would be a beautiful date ideas in Las Vegas. A classic on this list of date ideas in Las Vegas for sure! You can never go wrong with Paris!

date ideas las vegas.


Take them on the High Roller


The High Roller is a huge observation Ferris Wheel overlooking the city and it makes an amazing date idea in Las Vegas. It’s a pretty amazing date idea in Las Vegas, it’s the perfect mix of fun and romantic and the views on offer from the observation pods are insanely good. You can click here to book skip-the-line tickets.

date ideas for couples in las vegas


Lake Mead Cruise


Lake Mead is so under-rated, it’s not far from the city at all and it’s a gorgeous place to tour and relax at. I found this Lake cruise (on one of those super cute old-style boats) that also includes a Hoover Dam tour, and I think it’s an amazing deal. This would be a great day-date from Las Vegas, and something a bit different too which is why it makes my list of date ideas in Las Vegas. Click here to book it. 

date ideas in las vegas


Take a food tour


If you’re both foodies and love trying new things, then booking yourself onto a Las vegas food tour would be a cracking date idea in Las Vegas. If you haven’t done a food tour before, they’re so much fun, especially as a couple! You can guided around the city, and taken to the best food locations. You’ll get to skip any lines, and try out the best items on the menus, before heading off to a new place after! It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to scope out potential future date locations too! You can book the Secret Food Tour of Las Vegas by clicking here. 

date ideas in las vegas date ideas in las vegas


Go go-karting


Go-karting is such a fun date ideas in Las Vegas. It’s fast-paced, it’s fun, it’s full-on. If you’re the kind of couple who like to keep things exciting, then this date idea in Las Vegas is a must-do for your list! You’ll zoom around the local course, perfecting thos corners and competing for the best time! You can book tickets here. 

date ideas in las vegas date ideas in las vegas


Take a stroll around Town Square


Town Square is an outdoor shopping centre just off the Las Vegas strip. It’s a great location for a slow stroll around some shops, a romantic meal and a coffee. This is much less touristy than the other destinations on this list, but just as enjoyable.

best shopping malls in Las Vegas.


Watch FRIENDS: The Musical Parody


Next on my list of date ideas in Las Vegas, something a bit cute and funny. If you’re both of a certain age (over 25!) chances are you’ve grown up watching the TV show Friends and you know it like the back of your hand. I know that’s the case for me and my husband at least! This show is a musical parody, and it’s absolutely hilarious. I was lucky enough to watch it last year, and it is SO FUNNY. If you like friend (even if you hate it) you’ll enjoy it, it’s such a cheap comedy to enjoy on the strip and it’ll definitely gives you loads to laugh about after! You can reserve tickets here. 

date ideas in las vegas date ideas in las vegas


Watch the Absinthe Show at Caesars Palace


This adults-only carnival show is like a feast for the senses. It’ll remind you of the old-fashioned circus you saw as a child, but a little more grown-up, cheeky and fun. There are so many different acts in the show, from extravagant vaudeville-inspired acts to jaw-dropping acrobatics. You can book tickets here!


Watch the Bellagio Fountains


This date idea in Las Vegas is totally free, and you can literally spend the evening just wandering around the strip finding the best locations to view the fountains from. I’ve actually written a blog post about this (click here) so you won’t even need to do any more research! The fountains are so gorgeous, and they’re one of those iconic Vegas-moments you just have to indulge in at least once.

date ideas in las vegas usa


Visit a strip club


This isn’t for every couple, but for many couples visiting a strip club is a great night out and a fun date idea too. You’d probably be surprised how many couples you’ll see in Las Vegas strip clubs. A tip for those planning to visit, if you call the club ahead of time, they will send a private car to pick you up and you’ll also get to skip the line when entering the club.


Dine at the Stratosphere revolving restaurant


Next uop on my date ideas in Las Vegas list, it’s this famous Vegas restaurant. The restaurant is called ‘Top of the World‘ and we’ve eaten here once, and we both really enjoyed it from start to finish. The restaurant is right at the top of the huge Stratosphere tower, and it slowly revolves 360 degrees, giving you incredible views of the city all night long. The menu is big with lots of choice and it has a really lovely romantic vibe to it – perfect for a date night.

date ideas in las vegas


Sip cocktails at The Chandelier Bar


The Chandelier Bar is located inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel and it’s probably the most glamorous and glitzy bar in Las Vegas. The entire bar appears to be suspended inside a gigantic diamond chandelier, and the experience is just perfect. Get dressed up, order some fancy cocktails and spend the evening talking and people watching. Sounds like a perfect date to me!

I hope this list of date ideas in Las Vegas has been useful! Las Vegas is such a fun city to be in and you’re bound to have an amazing time! 

Las Vegas nightlife for couples


Now that you’ve read about the best date ideas in Las Vegas… Here are some other posts I have written about Las Vegas that you might find useful.


The best shopping malls in Las Vegas 

Best Las Vegas nightlife for couples

The most romantic hotel suites in Las Vegas 

The most romantic things to do in Las Vegas

Las Vegas restaurants with amazing views of The Bellagio Fountains

The ultimate guide to visiting Las Vegas on a budget 

Where to find the best views of The Bellagio Fountains

Things to do in Las Vegas when you’re pregnant

The most romantic engagement ideas in Las Vegas 

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The ultimate guide to 8 of the best shopping malls in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is an amazing shopping destination, with some of the most unique and interesting shopping malls in the world. Whether you just plan on window shopping, or whether you plan on shopping till you drop – here are some of the best shopping malls in Las Vegas.


The Fashion Show Mall


First up on my list of best shopping malls in Las Vegas, The Fashion Show Mall. This place is located right opposite The Wynn Hotel, so it’s in a great location on the strip and in walking distance of many hotels. The fashion show mall is one of the biggest malls in Las Vegas and has loads of HUGE shops inside.

If you want tons of choice and lots of stock, then this is the mall you want to head to. There’s a good mix of designer and high street shops in this mall too – so a good mix of budgets. There’s also a nice little food court with about 12 different food chains!

best shopping malls in Las Vegas


The Forum Shops


Another great addition on my list of the best shopping malls in Las Vegas is The Forum Shops. The Forum Shops is one of the most well known malls on the strip (and in Las Vegas) and it’s all about the experience as well as the shopping. It’s located inside Caesars Palace Hotel, and carries on the theme. The mall is designed to look like an old Roman town, and there are cobbled streets, and even pretend sky on the ceiling.

You have to see it to believe it – but it’s really something special. There are to sides to the mall, and both have a really good selection of shops (ranging from budget clothing like H&M, to designer stores like Mulberry). There’s also a Cheesecake factory – which is a must-visit during your shopping trip! This is definitely one of the best shopping malls in Las Vegas.

the best shopping malls in Las Vegas


The Grand Canal Shoppes


The Grand Canal Shoppes are my next choice on my list of best shopping malls in Las Vegas. This mall is brilliant! This mall is located inside The Venetian Hotel and it’s a must-see whilst you’re in Vegas. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, you need to just walk around and see this place for yourself.

The entire mall is designed to look just like Venice, and there are even canals and gondolas running through the mall. It’s truly something – and you’ll be mesmerised by the incredible design and how realistic it looks too! There are some restaurants inside the mall (in the fake St Marks Square) and there’s also a good food court too, with burgers, chicken wings and pizzas.

best shopping malls in Las Vegas.


Town Square Las Vegas


I visit Las Vegas a couple of times a year and I only discovered Town Square on my most recent visit. It’s a little bit off the strip (about a $15 taxi ride) but it’s a gorgeous little outdoor mall with loads of my favourite shops in. There’s even a WholeFoods too – if you needed to do grocery shopping.

This place is a lovely mall to walk around, it’s super pretty, there’s even gardens and fountains to stroll around. This isn’t in the centre of the city, but it’s definitely one of the best shopping malls in Las Vegas if you don’t mind travelling a little off the strip.

best shopping malls in Las Vegas.


Miracle Mile Shops


The next mall on my list of the best shopping malls in Las Vegas is The Miracle Mile Shops! They are located inside the Planet Hollywood Hotel, and stretch for (you guessed it) a mile. I like this mall, there’s a good variety, and it loops it’s way around the hotel casino, so you can dip in and out as you please.

There’s a huge variety inside the Miracle Mile mall too, but I’d say it’s well suited for lower-budgets (as there aren’t as many designers in here than some of the others on this list). It’s got a friendly vibe, it’s easy to navigate and it’s right in the heart of the Las Vegas strip!

best shopping malls in Las Vegas?


The Shops at Crystals


The Shops at Crystals is probably one of the most sophisticated and luxurious malls in Las Vegas. It’s designed to feel like the epitome of luxury, and everything in here is polished, sparkling and ultra-modern. It’s connected to the Aria Hotel, and also very close to the Cosmopolitan Hotel (these are two of the best 5* hotels on the strip, so that makes sense!).

You’ll find big designers in here, as to be expected, but there’s also a Starbucks, so you can grab a cheap coffee while you shop! This is definitely one of the best shopping malls in Las Vegas if you’re shopping for designer stuff!

where are the best shopping malls in Las Vegas


Showcase Mall


Next up on my list of best shopping malls in Las Vegas, it’s the Showcase Mall. This is one of the more budget malls on the strip, the Showcase Mall is located up towards the MGM Grand and Excalibur. It’s great for grabbing a bargain (there’s a ROSS there) but it’s also known for being a chocolate haven as it’s also home to M&M world in Las Vegas too!

There are a few different eating options inside such as; Panda Express, Popeyes, Subway and Outback Steakhouse.

best shopping malls in Las Vegas!


Las Vegas North Premium Outlets


And finally on my list of best shopping malls in Las Vegas, it’s Outlet Mall. If you want to do some designer shopping, but you don’t have as big of a budget as you’d like… you NEED to head to the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets. This is an outdoor mall full of outlet stores for some of the biggest designer brands, as well as some well-known high street brands too. You’ll find a Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Crocs, Skechers, Adidas, Banana Republic… and so many more.

There’s a small food court too, if you need to refresh and re-energise whilst grabbing all those bargains! I hope this list of the best shopping malls in Las Vegas is useful! Be prepared to shop until you drop!

best shopping malls in Las Vegas.


Here are some more blog posts I’ve written about Las Vegas that you might find useful!


Top things to do in Las Vegas for couples 

Best day trips from Las Vegas 

Ultimate guide to Las Vegas on a budget

Best places to see the Bellagio fountains

Las Vegas nightlife for couples

Romantic hotel suites in Las Vegas

Romantic engagement ideas in Las Vegas

Las Vegas restaurants with a view of the Bellagio

Things to do in Las Vegas when pregnant 

The most romantic hotels in Las Vegas 

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23 of the Best Romantic Date Ideas in San Francisco


Are you looking for romantic date ideas in San Francisco?


We get it, you want some great romantic date ideas in San Francisco that make you look like…

A) You’re really romantic

B) You know about San Fran

C) You’re really good at dates (this is key!)

We’ve taken all the hard work out of finding romantic date ideas in San Francisco, and we’ve come up with a few great ideas so you don’t have to spend loads of time planning… You just have to show up and have a great time. 


For the adventurers


Take a Bike tour of the city

If you’re both confident on a bike, and enjoy cycling, then bike tours will always be top romantic date ideas in San Francisco. Taking a cycling tour of the city is actually a really cool date idea, especially in the spring of summertime when the weather is great. If you want to book a bike tour in the city, I recommend trying this Electric Bike Tour. Always go for an electric bike tour in San Fran – because OH MY GOD THE HILLS ARE HUGE. If a tour sounds a bit too ‘structured’ and you just want get on a bike and explore at your own pace – then you can rent bikes in the city instead!

romantic date ideas in San Francisco

7D Darkride experience

Next on my list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco, the 7D Darkride experience. There aren’t really any theme parks in San Francisco, but this 7D Darkride is as close as you can get. It’s just totally weird and random, and I think it’d make a great 1st or 2nd date, when you’re trying to break the ice a little and just do something super fun. You can book tickets here. 

Do the GoCar Tour of San Francisco

A GoCar is basically if a gocart and a mini car had a cute little yellow baby. It’s a unique type of transportation and driving one and taking a tour in one is so much fun. It’s totally unique too and it’s such a fun way to spend time together and explore the city. You’ll see LOADS of the city’s most famous sights during the tour, but for me, this date idea is all about doing something a bit wacky and adventurous together. You can book yourself onto a tour here. 

romantic date ideas in san francisco

Do a high-speed boat ride

Next on my list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco, a high speed boat ride. Nothing screams adventure more than a high-speed boat ride through San Francisco Bay. This will have you clinging onto each other, screaming with joy (or fear) and feeling the wind in you hair. It’s a pretty epic date idea… Perfect for making an impression! You can book tickets online here. 

fun date ideas in san fran


For the Foodies


We couldn’t make a list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco and not include food!

If there’s one thing 2 people can bond over, it’s food. Food is one of the most perfect date activities, it’s fun, it’s delicious and you get to learn about each other’s tastes and preferences too. Literally food tours are so much fun, and you get to try lots of different restaurants / cafes all in one afternoon. Whether you’re a SF local, or a tourist visiting the city, food tours have to be one of the top choices on my list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco.

North Beach food tour: A great food tour if you LOVE Italian food. You’ll get to explore the Italian restaurant scene of San Francisco, and try pizza and try some of the best Italian food in the city.

Mission District Walking Food Tour: The Mission District is probably one of SF’s oldest neighbourhoods, but recently it has transformed into one of the trendiest parts of the city. This walking tour combines some of the area’s BEST food, and some of the best urban art too.

SF’s Chinatown food tour: Who doesn’t love Chinese food? Chinatown in San Fran is bursting with amazing restaurants and food stalls, and this food tour will literally take you to the best places for the best menu picks.

North Berkeley 3-Hour Food Tour: This tour is a little out of the centre… but OH WOW are there some iconic food destinations on this food tour. You’ll visit Jewish deli, Saul’s, Peet’s Coffee flagship location, The Cheese Board Collective, The Local Butcher Shop, and more.

romantic date ideas in san francisco.


If you’re looking for a more traditional date, here’s four options for a dinner date that I seriously LOVE. 

Robin – robinsanfrancisco.com

The Hayes Valley’s best sushi restaurant, in our opinion. Get a seat at the bar so you can watch the masterful chefs work their magic, but rest assured this will be the most amazing sushi you’ve ever eaten. It’s a bit pricy, but honestly so worth it!

Lavash – lavashsf.com

This restaurant has been going for 10 years, but recently had to do a two year refurb after a 2018 fire, so it’s back in business, and you’ll look very cool for knowing all about it. It’s one of only a handful of Persian restaurants in the city, and you’ll find that the Shiraz salad and the Koobideh are amazing.

Lazy Bear – lazybearsf.com

It’s fine dining without the white table cloths. Lazy Bear is going to give you something a little different to what you’re used to. With communal tables and an attentive but casual style of service, you’ll feel like you’ve been invited to an incredible dinner party. The food is classic America, think grilled lamb with spring herbs or San Francisco salmon – but it definitely will not disappoint.

romantic restaurant in san fran


For the super romantic


If you want to plan a super romantic date, and by that we mean something really memorable, maybe even once-in-a-lifetime… this is the part of my list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco you’ll want to pay attention too! Here are some super impressive date ideas in San Fran to whisk someone off their feet!

Take a romantic twilight cruise on the bay

Next on my list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco, a sunset boat tour! A boat tour, at sunset, on the bay. Can you think of anything more beautiful? I love the Luxury Catamaran tour on Get Your Guide because it’s quite a small group on the boat, the boat is open-air and you get to see so many beautiful parts of the city from the water (click here to book tickets).

romantic date ideas in san francisco usa

Take a seaplane tour of the city

If you don’t know what a seaplane is, it’s a small aircraft that takes off and lands in water. It’s insanely cool, and it’s one of those mega romantic ‘Bachelor TV show’ kind of dates that you’ll remember forever. Also, the views you’ll get from the air are crazy cool, it’s one of the best ways to see the city. You can book tickets here. 

romantic date ideas in san francisco.

Take a Napa Valley wine tour

Napa Valley is one of the most scenic locations in the San Francisco area, and who doesn’t love wine tasting!? You can drive yourselves out to Napa Valley, but you’ll be limited on how much you can drink… So I think it’s best just to book a tour. That way you don’t need to worry about driving, and you can just enjoy the day and enjoy each other’s company. I recommend this tour, as you’ll get to visit 3 different wineries – and both the Napa Valley and the Sonoma Valley too. It’s a great addition to my list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco.

romantic wine tour in san fran

Napa Valley Hot Air Balloon

OK, I’m ending the mini-list of super romantic ideas with the ULTIMATE romantic date idea in San Francisco. Taking a hot air balloon is just WOW. You can even finish your tour with a Champagne breakfast option too – just to add in that extra bit of romance. I just think this is the perfect romantic date in San Francisco. You can book tickets here. 

romantic date ideas in san francisco


For the budget conscious


Not everyone has a big budget, so if you’re looking for free (or nearly free) romantic date ideas in San Francisco, then hopefully the following ideas will work perfectly…

Take a picnic in Alamo Square Park

It’s one of the prettiest parks in the city, with great views, so pack a picnic and head over to Alamo Square Park to hang out for the day. Take a ball, or a frisbee and inject a bit of fun into the afternoon afterwards too!

the best romantic date ideas in San Francisco

Take a walk along the beach

Yes, San Francisco has beaches! Even on days when it might not be ‘beach weather’ a walk on the beach is still super romantic. If it’s warm then take you swimsuits, if it’s cold bundle up and keep each other warm! Here’s a list of the best beaches in San Francisco. 

best romantic date ideas in san francisco

Take a hike

There are so many amazing hikes around the San Fran area, and taking a hike together is a really cool date idea if you want to rope them into spending more than a couple of hours with you! Pop on your hiking gear (or just some gym pants and a pair of trainers!) and set off! Sometimes getting a bit lost together makes it even more fun! Here are some hiking trails you might want to consider. This is on my list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco because it’s fun, adventurous and free!

romantic date ideas in san francisco

Find a Shuffleboard bar

Me and my husband love Shuffleboard, and one of our favourite cheap date ideas is finding a shuffleboard bar and spending a few hours playing and drinking. Here’s a list of the best shuffleboard bars in San Fran. This is on my list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco because it’s one of my personal favourite date ideas!

romantic date ideas in san francisco 4

Ride the street cars / trolleys in the city centre

Next on my list of free romantic date ideas in San Francisco, ride the street cars! I think this is just good fun and a nice way to get around the city. Some routes are free, others cost a few dollars – either way it’s a super affordable but also romantic date idea in San Francisco!

romantic date ideas in san francisco 5


For the culture fanatics


The Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers

First up on my list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco for culture fanatics… What’s more romantic than Shakespeare? This garden is heavenly, make this a day date and go strolling through this beautiful spot. You can stroll along cobbled pathways, and wind your way around the sundial. 

The Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers

Exploratorium

This next suggestion is kind of a quirky romantic date ideas in San Francisco. A visit to the Exploratorium, is equal parts culture and arty, but also mega fun. There’s so much to see and do in the Exploratorium, and it’s a great date idea in San Francisco because it gives you so many opportunities to laugh and explore / discover together. You can get skip-the-line tickets by clicking here.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Last on my list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco it’s the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The SFMOMA is one of the best art galleries in San Fran, and if you both love art (or just exploring galleries / museums) then heading to SFMOMA is a great date idea. You can easily spend all day wandering around the exhibitions, and it’s such a great activity to get you both talking and discussing your favourite artists or pieces on show. You can book tickets online here.


I hope this list of romantic date ideas in San Francisco has given you plenty of inspiration for your next date day or date night!


 

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Where to stay in Boston – The best neighbourhoods and hotels

where to stay in Boston


Are you looking for the information on where to stay in Boston?


So you’ve gone looking for where to stay in Boston… Each neighbourhood has a different vibe, so there’s usually something for everyone, but making that decision can be pretty tricky if you’re not sure what you want from your city break. If you haven’t been to Boston yet, you might not be sure which neighbourhoods are best suited to you – but hopefully this blog post will make things a little clearer for you!

From Back Bay and its Old Boston reputation, to the South End and its thriving culinary scene – there’s something for everyone in Boston.


South End


First on my list of where to stay in Boston, South End. If you’re an arty type, South End is about the best place to stay in Boston. This is where the cool people hang out, and it’s known for being a quirky and cool neighbourhood. It’s got a thriving eating and drinking scene and in terms of culture, it’s become a go-to, not only due to the Boston Cultural Centre and the Boston Ballet, but also because more recently the area south of Washington street (SoWa) has become home to loads of new galleries. The highlight of our time here, though, was Wally’s Jazz bar on Mass. Ave

Tour Recommendation for South End: South is known for it’s restaurants and cafes, so we wanted to recommend the South End  Wine Tasting tour. It’s a bit quirky and different, and you get to try a few cool bars along the way!

Where to Stay: The Revolution Hotel. It’s got a cool vibe, it’s really well located, and has a 5* trip advisor rating, so don’t just take our word for it.

where to stay in Boston


Beacon Hill


Beacon Hill is iconic in Boston. If you thought “I want to live the highlife” when searching for where to stay in Boston, then you’ve found it in Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill synonymous with wealth and prestige, and the scenery of its redbrick houses and cobbled streets makes you feel almost as though you’re in Europe. Despite being highly exclusive, though, it’s super welcoming. It’s also where you’ll find Boston Common, which is a gorgeous park with swan boats, and different flower configurations all around. 

Tour recommendation in Beacon Hill: The 2 hour walking tour of Boston’s history and highlights will take you right through the heart of Beacon Hill, and your guide will tell you loads of interesting information about the area too. This tour has amazing review for a reason!

Where to stay: The Liberty Hotel. It used to be a prison, so it comes with buckets of history. The restaurants come with high recommendations from locals and visitors alike, and they host regular events like Yappy Hours for dog lovers.

where to stay in Boston


Back Bay


When thinking about where to stay in Boston you really can’t go wrong with Back Bay. It’s beautiful, central, well connected, and home to some of Boston’s best attractions. Home to the Boston Library (which is beautiful) you could check out some stunning architecture and people watch, or if you’re into beer we definitely would recommend heading to Bukowski Tavern. If you want to live your dream Boston life (highly caffeinated and surrounded by books) there’s also Trident Booksellers and Cafe. The coffee is incredible, and the environment to die for. 

Tour recommendation in Back Bay: The Boston Old Trolley hop-on hop-off tour will take you right through Back Bay, so it’s a great day activity to add to your list. In general, this is a REALLY fun (and affordable) way to see the city too.

Where to Stay: Gryphon House. It kinda looks like someone’s house, it’s hella beautiful, and has gorgeous harbour views. What more could you want?

where to stay in Boston


North End


Next on my list of where to stay in Boston, North End. One word: History. North End is all about the history. Boston is pretty well known as being a very historic city, and this area is chock full of info about the American revolution (if that’s you’re thing). It’s also Boston’s Little Italy, so it has an amazing character that draws both on Italian Culture, and New England history, to create something really unique. Think tiny Italian restaurants serving fresh seafood, or cosy little cafes making kick ass coffee. It’s definitely one of the most picturesque areas to just go for a stroll and soak in the vibe. 

Tour recommendation in North End: Another recommendation in North End is the amazing North End Pizza Tour. I mean, if the fact you get to try loads of pizza doesn’t convince you this tour is worth doing, I don’t know what will!

Where to stay: Boston Marriott Long Wharf. If it’s your first time in Boston this place could be ideal. It’s right on the water, it’s close to the sights, and it’s got a gorgeous waterfront bar (Tia’s) in the warmer months!

list of where to stay in Boston


Fenway


Fenway is my next choice for where to stay in Boston. Fenway park is one of the few original baseball stadiums that’s still knocking around (Wrigley Field in Chicago is another), but baseball is not all this area has to offer. However, saying that, it’s a great place to stop if you plan on catching a game. Everyone in Boston has a story of a big night out in Fenway, and loads of new restaurants have started picking up there. If you’re hungry head to the Time Out Market, which is an incredible plethora of chefs, turning out stellar recipes on the reg. 

Tour recommendation in Fenway: Of course we have to recommend the Fenway Park stadium tour! Seeing the stadium is really cool, and getting to go behind the scenes is even cooler.

Where to stay: The Verb. Trendy, unique, and definitely cool enough to stick up on your instagram. Live music is a regular occurrence in the lobby and at the pool so you can’t be disappointed.

list of boston neighbourhoods


Downtown Boston


Another great place to add to my list of where to stay in Boston is Downtown. What list of where to stay would be complete without mentioning this space right in the centre of The Hub? This is as central as it gets. China Town is right there for amazing eats, and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market are some of the city’s most visited sights. Get a BanhMi at New Saigon Sandwich, and the walk up to Boston Common to eat in the park. You won’t be disappointed! Watch out for the squirrels, though!

Tour recommendation in Downtown: The historic Pub crawl through Boston’s freedom trail is an absolute must-do if you love pubs, history or beer. You’Local Bostonian tour guide and beer expert

Where to Stay: Boston Park Plaza. It’s kind of pricey, and sort of in between downtown and Back Bay, but it is beautiful. A very classic 1927 hotel, with gorgeous rooms and killer views of the common.

where to stay in Boston.


Seaport District


And finally on my list of where to stay in Boston, the Seaport District! Seaport District is a South Boston district, which (as the name suggests) runs alongside the waterfront of the city. If you like your hotel room to look over water (personally, I LOVE a hotel room with a water view) then the Seaport District is an area you’ll love being based in. You’ll find lovely hotels along the seafront, as well as a variety of bars, restaurants and cafes too. So there’s plenty for you to do in the evening within walking distance of your accommodation.

Tour recommendation in the Seaport District: The 90 minute sightseeing Boston cruise is actually a lovely way to soak in the city skyline. It’s really affordable, and gives you some great photo opportunities too.

Where to stay: The Westin Boston Waterfront. The Westin is a classic hotel chain to stay in and has good standards of service and decor across the majority of their properties. For me this is a really safe choice, you’ll get a great view (make sure to pick a waterfront room) and a solid 4 star service.

where to stay in Boston.


I hope this list of where to stay in Boston is useful! If you have any more questions, just let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them for you!

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Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary

Are you driving the Pacific Coast Highway and you’re looking for a Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary?


So you’re planning a Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary… and you’re ready to rent a car and set off! You’ve got your open top car, you’ve got your beach boys Spotify playlist, and I’d also definitely recommend getting some twizzlers in the car as they’re the ultimate road trip food. 

The route we’re suggesting is Route 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and this Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary includes all the scenic stops and sightseeing along the way, so you won’t be short of cool things to see and do.

Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary

Whether you do this Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary over a couple of days, or you really take your time, we’ve come up with a tip-top 4 day drive plan, that shows you all the best sights whilst keeping the trip to an extended weekend so that you can fit this into any itinerary.


Day 1: San Francisco


San Francisco is iconic. So obviously it’s the first stop on our Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary. 

You know it from Bullitt and Mrs. Doubtfire (or, if you’re being honest with yourself, The Princess Diaries and the seminal Mark Ruffalo and Reese Witherspoon classic Just Like Heaven). We had an actual Blast in SF, so here’s a few quick things to tick off before you leave this amazing city… Ideally you’ll have more than a day there, but if a day is all you have then make sure you spend it wisely!

    • Little Italy for some incredible delis and cafes and some top notch coffee.
    • Visit Muir Woods to be in absolute awe of nature.
    • Don’t miss out on the Polk where you can find amazing vintage shops and the best donut in town at Bob’s.
    • Visit Alcatraz Prison for amazing views of the city, and to walk around a creepy prison.
    • Do a Bridge to Bridge boat tour and see the city from the water.
    • Do a San Francisco food tour and eat your way around the city.

Day 2: San Francisco to Monterey

Drive time: 3 – 3.5 hours (without stops)


Stops on this part of the Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary:

  • Half Moon Bay
  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park
  • Santa Cruz Wharf

Your first stop is at Half Moon Bay for coffee on the beach in the morning. If you’re a surfer, this is where you’re going to catch some waves (surfing at sunrise is always a good idea). If you’ve got time maybe stay here a little longer as it’s so scenic and beautiful.

Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary

It’s a real paradise for people who love the sport, so this is where you’re going to meet like minded surfers, who just want to get out on the water and cut a half-pipe (I don’t surf please don’t laugh at me). We got some coffee and took in the sights, it’s a quieter slice of Cali life, soak it up. Once you’re done here, continue down to Monterey, going via the Big Basin Redwoods State Park. 

Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary

After the Redwoods, you’ll want to head towards Santa Cruz Wharf. This is a great scenic stop-off, but also great if you need a toilet break too! Santa Cruz is quite a touristy area, but it’s definitely worth snapping a photo of! Any amazing photo spot is definitely a must-see on my Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary.

Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary

Arrive in Monterey and get yourself some dinner at Alvarado Street Bar & Grill. They’ve got super laid back bar food, like truffle crawfish mac and cheese, or really good wings. They’ve got killer beers from APAs to weird craft brews. Would definitely recommend the fish tacos. The vibe is super chilled out and friendly, so you’re likely to make good friends!


Day 3: Monterey to San Simeon

Drive time: 2.5 – 3 hours (without stops)


First up, spend some time at the following places (they’re all very close together):

  • Pebble Beach
  • Lone Cypress
  • Pescadero Point

The incredible scenery round this area is likely to make your instagram look really good, but also it’s just something we think everyone should see at least once before they die.

Next a quick hop over the headland will get you to Carmel by the Sea. This is a cute spot, and it’s not far away. If I were you I’d wait to have breakfast in this little beachside town as there are great breakfast options at the Tuck Box cafes. It looks like a Hobbit Cafe and the pancakes are amazing – we may have eaten our entire body weight in pancakes during our time stateside, so we know what we’re talking about.

Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary

Next on your day 2 driving, it’s the Big Sur!

The coastline views driving down the Big Sur are incredible – you’ve never seen anything like them, and you most likely never will again. Even though you’ve basically been looking at the ocean for the entire drive, these views will definitely take your breath away. Some places to look out for along the Big Sur part of the Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary are: 

  • Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge
  • Pfeiffer Beach
  • Grimes Point Scenic Lookout 
  • Seal Beach Overlook
  • Boronda trailhead 
  • Partington Cove 
  • McWay Cove 
  • Anderson Canyon

If you want to know more about these scenic places along the Pacific Coast Highway, click on my other blog post here.

If you’ve got some extra time, definitely stay at Big Sur to get in some hikes at one of the national parks. We’d recommend Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park or Limekiln Beach State Park. They’re definitely worth it – and you can stay at Ventana Big Sur for a glamping experience like no other! After, head on to San Simeon to spend the night!

Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary


Day 4: San Simeon – Los Angeles

Drive time: 5 -6 hours (without stops)


OK, it’s day 4 of my Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary.

If you do one super touristy thing on this trip, get on a tour of Heart Castle. Originally designed to be the private residence of W.R. Hearst expect to find a lavishly decorated home, some cracking fine art, and maybe even the odd peacock or zebra roaming the grounds. Even if you decide not to take a tour, definitely hop out at Piedras Blancas, ‘cause you can always catch a glimpse of some elephant seals there!

From here you’re gonna drive through the San Luis Obispo area, there are countless places to stop here, and there’s something for everyone. If you’re into wine you can stop at a winery in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo itself has something for the arts and culture lovers, Morro Bay is for all you outdoorsy types, and Pismo beach is a classic Cali Beach.

Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary

The next stop on my Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary is Solvang. It’s adorable, it’s California’s little Denmark, it’s got bakeries where you can get a danish pastry, and it looks so cute.

Drive down to LA, next, and really take in the ocean views on this last stretch of your journey. If you’ve got time you can stop off at Santa Barbara which has loads of cool things to see and do, like the old mission in town, and we’d definitely recommend grabbing a coffee and checking out the town. Once you get to LA, stop off in Malibu for a well earned drink and a rest at Paradise Cove Beach Cafe.

Lastly on my Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary, if that’s not your vibe, though, we spent a lot of time at The Original Pantry Cafe in downtown LA. It’s never closed once in its history, the lady behind the counter is honestly so sweet, and (again) the pancakes are killer, as are the steak and eggs. Sit at the counter if you’re alone, or there’s only a couple of you, as you can jump the queue and get served quicker!

things to do in Southern California.

I hope this Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary is useful for your trip along the West Coast! The Pacific Coast Highway road trip is an epic road trip – so make sure you enjoy every second!


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20 incredible things to do in Southern California

things to do in Southern California.


Are you looking for the best things to do in Southern California?


So you’re in So-Cal and you’re looking for cool stuff to do, are you? Especially in this part of the USA, it seems like there are so many awesome and fun things to do in Southern California, that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

  • What should you choose?
  • Which should you do first?
  • Is this place worth the drive?

We totally get it. Because of that I’ve written this great list of things to do in Southern California so you can make like a local and look like you know what you’re doing.


Camp out on the beach


First up on my list of things to do in Southern California… Hit the beach! California has 240 miles of g o r g e o u s coastline. We would 100% recommend doing this somewhere like crystal cove state park, where you can fish, swim, cook out, sunbathe, and just be a so-cal native. Trust us, you won’t regret taking a night out to do this!

things to do in Southern California.


Hit the trails


This was this writer’s favourite bit about being in the whole of California. It’s absolutely beautiful on the hills by the Hollywood Sign in LA, and I recommend taking a guided hike up to the top, to make sure you see all the best views. No matter the weather it offers incredible views, gorgeous scenery, and loads of different kinds of wildlife.

things to do in Southern California.

We saw deer, lizards, loads of different kinds of birds! Make sure you take enough water with you, though, and a portable charger. Also, a word to the wise, the hike up to the Hollywood sign is longer than it looks (we walked around 15 miles that day) so make sure you’re prepared and wearing decent shoes.


Griffith Observatory


Next on my list of things to do in Southern California, visit this iconic city landmark in LA. You have to go past this to get up to the trails around LA (so it’s a good idea if you plan on doing the hike above anyway). But even if you’re not big into hiking, I would still definitely recommend that you check this place out. There’s almost no better place to see the stars, and it’s super cool inside!

You can book a cheap shuttle service from LA to Griffith Observatory by clicking here. 

things to do in So Cal


Go to the Joshua Tree National Park


We could write a list of things to do in Southern California without mentioning Joshua Tree National Park. The trees are cool as heck, but also they were named by mormons who thought they looked like Joshua from the bible flailing in prayer – weird (yes) but bear it in mind next time you see one! We thought they looked like those inflatable car dealership things (you know the ones). It’s also super scenic, and the sunsets in the park are heavenly so we definitely recommend checking it out!

things to do in South California


Drive Pacific Coast Highway


If you don’t mind renting a car and hitting the road, then we think you’ll like the next suggestion on our list of things to do in Southern California. This road is EPIC and has some incredible views. Essentially, you want to take route 1, pack some twizzlers, and get ready for the most scenic drive of your life. Bonus points for an open top car, and a beach boys infused soundtrack.

20 things to do in Southern California


Santa Monica Pier


Yes, I know Santa Monica Pier is gimmicky and touristy – but it’s also hella fun and we couldn’t write a list of things to do in Southern California without mentioning it. It’s like going back to your childhood, playing arcade games, eating rubbish food and winning ride tickets. It’s loads of fun, it’s colourful, it’s summery.

the best things to do in Southern California


Balboa National Park


This space is huge – in addition to having gardens, walking paths, green belt, and spaces of vegetation it’s also home to a number of museums and attractions. The highlight is almost certainly the San Diego Zoo – with hundreds of species of animals. It’s been voted the number one zoo on the planet, so don’t just take our word for it!

best things to do in Southern California


Spend a weekend in Santa Barbara


Easily one of my favourite places in South California. It’s the epitome of Southern California living, with all the sunshine of LA but half the pace. Definitely a must-see on our things to do in Southern California list. 


Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave


Next on my list of things to do in Southern California, it’s Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave. This is so cool: it’s a sea cave that you can explore and live out your Goonies fantasies. It’s in La Jolla, it’s got 145 steps, it’s kinda spooky but also kinda cool. It’s one for the insta stories for sure.

best things to do in Southern California


Do a day at Disney


Disney isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for things to do in Southern California… You can’t get more ‘LA’ than Disney. It’s touristy, it’s childish, but DAMN it’s fun. It’s the ultimate day out, and I challenge you find anyone who wouldn’t love this even a little bit!

warm places to travel in December.


Coastline helicopter


Taking a helicopter along the Southern California coastline is an absolute must-do for anyone who loves seeing landscapes from the air. The coastline in this part of the USA is stunning, and to see it from a helicopter is even more perfect. It’s so beautiful to be able to see the little coves, cliffs and beach towns from above. You can book a helicopter tour by clicking here.

the best things to do in Southern California


Relax in Laguna Beach


Laguna Beach is a little beach town, about 45 minutes from LA. It’s one of the sleepy beach towns that is equally trendy as it is cute. There are beautiful beaches spread along the coastline of Laguna beach, and a gorgeous little town centre with all kinds of restaurants and cafes to enjoy too.

beach towns near Los Angeles USA


Whale watching


There are a few places you can do whale watching from in Southern California. A couple of the most well known locations are Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. You’ll head out in a tour boat and your professional tour-guides will use their amazing sonar equipment to locate nearby whales (and sometimes dolphins too).

I recommend booking this tour, which departs from Newport beach). 


Harper’s Topiary Garden


We loved this! Right in the middle of San Diego there’s a manicured haven of sculpted bushes. Whilst you can only admire it from the road, we’d definitely recommend swinging by to have a look at this gorgeous garden.


Annie’s Canyon Trail


Next on my list of things to do in Southern California, it’s Annie’s Canyon Trail. If you wanna go hiking somewhere a bit different and quirky… This one’s for you. It’s a short hike through some tight spaces that’ll make you feel like you’re an intrepid explorer. The photos you’ll get are incredible, trust us.

things to do in Southern California.


Go ghost hunting on The Queen Mary


The Queen Mary is an old cruise ship liner that is permanently moored just south of Los Angeles. It’s huge, it’s kinda haunted (or is it?) and it’s really damn cool. If you don’t believe in ghosts, it’s just a cool place to go for the history and the decor too! There isn’t really anything else like this in Southern California, so it’s well worth a visit.

You can book tickets for the Queen Mary boat by clicking here. 

beach towns near Los Angeles.


Santa Catalina Island


Santa Catalina is one of Southern California’s outlying islands, and it’s absolutely beautiful. You can take boat tours out there, and go wildlife watching, diving or even hiking. It’s popular with locals – because it’s such a beautiful escape from the bustling city, and it’s also pretty easy to get to.


Mojave Desert


Next on my list of things to do in Southern California, The Mojave Desert! This is a must-see in Southern California. It’s simply beautiful, a huge desert (the driest in North America actually) and it occupies 47,877 sq miles. If you want to go on a slightly challenging hike, or just explore a different kind of landscape – this is a great idea!

things to do in Southern California


An honourable mention!


Last on my list of things to do in Southern California… an honourable mention for delicious food. Get burgers at In-n-Out. Your previous tumblr self will thank you. Your belly will thank you. Your taste buds will thank you. Once all those things have thanked you, you can finish your last mouthful and thank us for getting you to go.


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Ultimate list: The best beach towns near Los Angeles


Are you looking for the best beach towns near Los Angeles?


Los Angeles might be best known as the bustling city with celebrities, smoothies and hipsters… But venture a little bit outside the city and you’ll find some of the most beautiful beach towns in the USA. Beach towns near Los Angeles are so gorgeous, and feel a million miles away from downtown and city centre. The beach towns near Los Angeles feel laid back, relaxed and the perfect place to spend a weekend in the sunshine.


Malibu


First on my list of beach towns near Los Angeles, it’s Malibu. Malibu is probably one of the most famous and well-known beach towns near Los Angeles. It’s a popular place for celebrities to live (it’s no wonder really – the views are incredible) and it’s also the shooting location for a few movies and TV shows too. The coastline of Malibu has the most rugged, windswept and beautiful beaches spanning all the way up the coastline, parallel to the Pacific Coast Highway.

beach towns near Los Angeles


Newport Beach


Newport Beach is a really popular beach town near Los Angeles, with a variety of hotels, restaurants, shops and cafes to fill your time with. It’s popular with families, but it’s also a really great locations for couples too. The famous Newport Beach is a lovely beach to spend the day relaxing on, but you also have the lovely Balboa Pier to explore and enjoy too (kind of a quirky, old-town part of Newport beach). This gorgeous beach town has a little bit of everything, from lovely al fresco dining, to design shops and art galleries.

the best beach towns near Los Angeles


Laguna Beach


Laguna Beach is one of the smaller beach towns near Los Angeles, and it feels like a bit of a hidden gem. It’s just south on the coast down from Newport Beach, and it’s a great spot for a quiet getaway from the city. Laguna Beach is intimate, arty, quiet and a little hipster. So if that sounds like your vibe… You’ll love it. It’s a little quieter, a bit less touristy than it’s neighbours Newport and Huntington Beach – and it’s probably better suited to couples who want a romantic getaway, than families. My personal favourite in this list of beach towns near Los Angeles.

beach towns near Los Angeles USA


Huntington Beach


Also known as Surf City, Huntington Beach is a favourite for outdoor sports, especially surfing. It’s a great destination for people who love lively resorts and beach towns near Los Angeles. There’s something for everyone in Huntington beach, from luxurious spa resorts, to the Huntington Pier and the expansive beach. On the beach itself you’ll find year-round activities such as volleyball, fire pits and other beach sport competitions.

beach towns near Los Angeles


Long Beach


Next on my list of beach towns near Los Angeles, It’s Long Beach. As the name suggests, Long Beach is one of the longest beaches in the LA area. Long Beach is actually classed as a coastal city and port in Southern California, but for the sake of this list I’m classing it as a beach town near Los Angeles, as it’s very close to Los Angeles! Long Beach has loads to do, and it’s the classic Californian beach with white sand and tall palm trees. Long beach has so many shops to offer, lots of restaurants and plenty of nightlife too. The marina is definitely a highlight, as is the Queen Mary, which is a permanently docked cruise liner which you can take tours of!

beach towns near Los Angeles.


Santa Monica


Santa Monica is my next choice for beach towns near Los Angeles. Santa Monica is actually a separate city to Los Angeles, but it’s only a shot drive from downtown LA – and it’s so scenic and pretty so it’s well worth a visit. Santa Monica is probably the beach most people associate with Los Angeles, and it’s famous for it’s colour pier, friendly people and shopping options. There’s always something to do here, from pop-up events, to restaurants, cafes and nightlife too. This place has a great vibe, and it’s somewhere every LA local has explored at some point! The beach is perfect, huge and perfect for a day of sunbathing or a weekend out of the city.

beach towns near Los Angeles. !


Dana Point


Last on my list of beach towns near Los Angeles, it’s Dana Point. Dana Point is a local-favourite for surfers and water-sports enthusiasts. It’s located in South Orange County,  and it has loads of charm and small-town vibes. There’s beaches in Dana Point, as well as a yacht harbour – so it’s a lovely place to spend the day. This is a nice option if you plan on surfing during your beach town trip, but also want to be based somewhere with nice eating options too.

beach towns near Los Angeles. !


I hope this list of beach towns near Los Angeles has been helpful and you’ve found some inspiration for your weekend away or your vacation!

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What are the best Central Park tours?


Are you looking for the best Central Park tours to help you explore?


Central Park is one of the most famous parks in the world – and when you’re in NYC it’s an absolute must-see. If you’re looking for the best Central Park tours, hopefully this list will give you loads of ideas!

Whether you want to do a walking tour, a bus tour, a bike tour… You name it! Central Park has it all. Here are the best Central Park tours…


Classic Central Park walking tour


First on my list of the best Central Park tours, a walking tour!

A classic Central Park walking tour is always a good idea – especially if you just want someone to guide you around the main areas of the park. In general booking a walking tour of Central Park is great because you remove any worry of getting lost (which is so easy, as the park is so huge!) and instead you can just enjoy meandering around and soaking in all the top sights and attractions Central Park has to offer.

I recommend this walking tour, you’ll be guided around by a former park employee and you’ll get a 2-hour tour of all the park highlights.

The Best Central Park tours 2


The classic horse and carriage ride


How could I write a list of the best Central Park tours, and not include a horse and carriage ride?

A horse and carriage ride is the classic way to tour Central Park. You can’t miss the horse and carriages in Central Park, but it’s always a good idea to book a carriage ride in advance (to ensure you only pay a fixed amount and don’t get scammed). The tour I’ve linked is a 40 minute tour and will take you to places such as Bethesda Fountain, Bethesda Terrace, Strawberry Fields, Sheep Meadow and other historical and iconic park landmarks.

The Best Central Park tours 5


A pedicab ride


Next on my list of the best Central Park tours, an alternative to horse carriage rides, the Pedicab!

If you’re allergic to horses, or you just don’t fancy the horse and carriage ride, then a pedicab ride is the next best choice. It’s a little more quirky and it’s definitely a lot of fun! A pedicab is basically a small carriage attached to the back of a bike, and your tour guide will cycle around the park past all the must-see places in Central Park. I love the Pedicab rides because they’re quick, easy and you get to see loads. Again, as with the carriage rides, I’d recommend booking the tour in advance. It means your fee will be pre-agreed and just avoids any queuing or confusion.

central park tours nyc


Movie and TV in Central park (walking tour)


For movie lovers… this might be the best Central Park tour for you!

There have been soooo many movies and TV shows set in Central Park, so if you consider yourself a bit of a movie-buff or TV geek, taking a TV and film themed walking tour around the park is definitely going to be fun for you. I recommend booking this specific tour, it has great reviews and a good itinerary – making sure you squeeze in as many movie and TV locations as possible! You’ll see locations from films such as; Home Alone, When Harry Met Sally, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Date Night, The Avengers, Friends, Glee and so many more.

best tours in central park new york


Deluxe Helicopter tour over Central Park


Next up on my best Central Park tours list… A helicopter ride.

If you want to see Central Park from above (and in the context of the city around it) then there’s no better tour than a helicopter tour. Helicopter tours are pretty incredible in NYC – you get to see so much, and the city looks so different from above. For me, it’s still one of the MOST memorable things I’ve ever done, and I’ll never forget seeing the park emerge from behind the skyscrapers and seeing the sheer scale of it! I recommend this helicopter tour – it’s actually a photography  helicopter tour, so you get to fly with the doors open (which is SO DAMN COOL).

best tours in central park new york


Central Park’s hidden gems walking tour


For people reading this list of the best Central Park tours, who already know and love the park – this might be the tour for you.

If you already know the park quite well, or if you want to discover some new areas of Central Park then this Hidden Gems tour of Central Park is a fantastic choice. You’ll explore off the tourist path and be taken to some secret places in Central Park that tourists don’t usually discover.  From hidden bird sanctuaries, historic gun emplacements, you’ll feel like you’re an NYC local when this tour finishes.

The Best Central Park tours


Central Park guided bike tour


If you enjoying riding your bike and cycling, then taking a cycling tour of Central Park is such a nice way to see the park. You can get around quicker on your bike, which also means you’ll be able to see more of the park than you would during a walking tour. Also, Central Park is an amazing park for cycling – there are lovely bike paths and cycling roads – so it’s great. I recommend this specific tour… it has great reviews, and means you won’t miss anything! They’ll take you to all the key historical monuments, statues, fountains and hidden gems. How could I write a list of the best Central Park tours and not include a bike tour?

the best tours in central park


Self-guided Central Park bike hire


If you want to explore the park by bike, but you’d rather do it at your own pace and on your own terms, you can rent a bike in Central Park super easily! This is a great option for people who want to tour the park more flexibly and don’t mind finding their own way around. You can rent bikes in Central Park by clicking here. Maybe it’s not a traditional ‘tour’ – but it’s so affordable, so I wanted to include it in my best Central Park tours list.

New York Pass


NYC Rollerblade rental


Another great option for people who want to explore the park on their own terms and by their own timings… Renting rollerblades is SUCH a fun way to explore the park. This is ideal for spring or summer time, and on a sunny day, you’ll see loads of people exploring the park on rollerblades. It’s fun, and it’s also a great workout too!

best central park tours


Food tour and Central Park tour combo


Next up on my list of best Central Park tours, a food and park combo tour. If you want to combine a tour of Central Park with a food tour… then this tour is a great choice! We all know that NYC is famous for it’s amazing food, so combining a stroll around Central Park with some food discoveries is a win/win situation!

tours in central park


Historical tour of Central Park


Next on my list of best Central Park tours, something for the history lovers!

Central Park has been around for many years and it’s at the forefront of lots of the city’s history too. If history is ‘your thing’ and you love exploring the historical part of a city, then this specific tour is one you’ll enjoy. You’ll get to enjoy a leisurely historical walk through Central Park, led by a knowledgable guide (who is dressed in historical costume!). Highlights include; the Angel of the Waters, The Ramble, and Shakespeare’s Garden.

The Best Central Park tours 4


5K running tour of Central Park


Last up on this list of the best Central Park tours, a running tour!

This is one for the gym-bunnies or the runners! It might be some people’s worst nightmare, but for others, combining a 5K run with a tour of Central Park’s best sights is an ideal combination! This non-competitive 5K running tour that takes you along some of the parks most scenic and beautiful running paths. You’ll make brief stops along the way to explore, take photos and just enjoy the view.


I hope this list of the best Central Park tours is helpful! Have you chosen the best Central Park tour for you based on this list? I’d love to know which you chose in the comments.


Other NYC blog posts


And last up on my New York City travel guide, some other blog posts you may find useful!

I love NYC and I’ve spent so much time here over the years (we visit multiple times a year!). So, as you’d expect, I’ve been writing about this city for almost a decade! Here are some other blog posts I’ve written, that might be useful for you!

The best ways to view the Statue of Liberty

Famous restaurants in NYC from movies and TV shows

Things to do for couples in NYC

The best outdoor rooftop bars in NYC

The best art galleries in Chelsea, NYC

Best places to take photos in NYC at night time

How to take a great photo in Times Square

Secret places to take amazing photos in NYC 

Hidden gem and neighbourhood restaurants in NYC

Touristy things to do with a baby in NYC

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Top 10 places: Where to find the best view of Brooklyn Bridge


Are you looking for the best view of Brooklyn Bridge? Here are my favourite places in NYC with amazing views of Brooklyn Bridge.


Are you looking for the best view of Brooklyn Bridge? Whether you’re looking for an amazing Brooklyn Bridge photo spot because you want to take some amazing photographs, or maybe you’re just searching for the best view of Brooklyn Bridge so you can sit back and enjoy it with a coffee!

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic sights to see in the city, and you’ll want to make sure you spend time soaking it in and seeing it properly. I recommend visiting a few of the places on this list, to give you a full appreciation of the Brooklyn Bridge!


The beach at Main Street Park (in Brooklyn)


First on my list of the best view of Brooklyn Bridge, is Main Street Park in Brooklyn. If you head towards the water, you’ll find a beautiful (albiet tiny) beach that looks out over the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. I honestly think this is one of the most scenic spots in the city, and the view of Brooklyn Bridge from there is just magical. In the winter, sit and listen to the waves and enjoy the winter sunshine… In the summer, take your shoes off and take a paddle in the waves!

best view of Brooklyn Bridge


Empire Fulton Ferry Park (in Brooklyn)


Next on my list of the best view of Brooklyn Bridge, it’s Empire Fulton Park. Empire Fulton Park is located in DUMBO, right underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s an amazing spot to take photos of the Brooklyn Bridge, because you can get right up-close and even get the NYC skyline in the background too. You really get a sense of the scale of bridge from here too – which I love! Definitely a must-see on your best view of Brooklyn Bridge check list, and it’s really close to the suggestion above too – so you can see both at once.

where is the best view of The Brooklyn Bridge


Time Out Market (in Brooklyn)


Next on my list of the best view of Brooklyn Bridge, it’s Time Out Market. Time Out Market is a new (ish!) indoor market in Brooklyn. Most of the food stalls are on the ground floor, but the secret rooftop area has the most incredible views of The Brooklyn Bridge, and tables outside too. This is one of my favourite places to have a cocktail and cheap dinner in the city. The food court is really affordable (and there’s loads of choice) and where else can you enjoy views this good while you eat? Definitely a must-visit!

best view of Brooklyn Bridge


South Street walkway (in Manhattan)


The walkway along the river parallel to South Street actually has some amazing views of The Brooklyn Bridge which is why it makes my list of best views of Brooklyn Bridge. You get a clear view right across the river, and the Brooklyn skyline in the background too. It’s also just a really lovely place to walk as there are no crossings or roads along the pathway. This is a really easy option on my list of the best view of Brooklyn Bridge.

best view of Brooklyn Bridge


Take a helicopter tour


If you want to get a shot of The Brooklyn Bridge from the air, one of the best ways (and most magical ways) is to book a helicopter tour around the city. There are loads of helicopter companies in the city, and most will definitely do a fly-by over the bridge, so you can see it in all it’s glory! The tours that I recommend specifically are below (including a open-door photography tour). When choosing a Helicopter tour always go for tours that have ratings of 4* or higher!

best view of Brooklyn Bridge


Pier 15 lounge deck (in Manhattan)


Next up on my list of the best view of Brooklyn Bridge, Pier 15.

Pier 15 is a quirky little spot in the city, and a really cool little discovery. It’s basically an open air deck / garden on one of the piers that faces the Brooklyn Bridge, and there are seats and loungers to sit on, facing the bridge. If you want somewhere to relax and just enjoy the view – this is a perfect location. In the summer you could sit up there for hours and just soak in the rays! You can in the winter too (check out the photo of me below!) but it’s just not as warm!

best view of Brooklyn Bridge


Take a boat tour


Next on my list of the best views of Brooklyn Bridge, take a boat tour! There are so many boat tours in NYC, and almost all of them will take you near / under Brooklyn Bridge. Seeing the Brooklyn Bridge from the water is really special and you can really appreciate the sheer scale of the bridge from underneath it! This is a view of Brooklyn Bridge you won’t want to miss.

If you’re on a budget, then this 90 boat cruise around the NYC landmarks is a great choice. You’ll obviously get to see the Brooklyn Bridge, but you’ll also get to see lots of other landmarks from the water too. Click here for tickets.

If you want something a bit different, book a speed boat tour of NYC, and zoom around Manhattan in a high-speed open air boat taking in the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and the skyline. Click here for tickets. 

If you want to splash out, go for a champagne brunch sail around the harbour. You’ll step onboard a stunning 1920s schooner and have your choice from a plentiful buffet as you soak in the sights. You’ll get to see the Brooklyn Bridge up-close, and also the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the general skyline. Click here for tickets. 

where is best view of The Brooklyn Bridge


Between the Two Bridges (South St in Manhattan)


This is in the same South Street area as I mentioned above, but for this view of the Brooklyn Bridge you’ll want to aim for the spot right in the middle of Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge. The photo opportunities are incredible, and you won’t want to miss out!
best view of The Brooklyn Bridge ny


On Brooklyn Bridge itself!


Of course, one of the best places to view the Brooklyn Bridge is on the Brooklyn Bridge itself! Many will argue that one the bridge is where you’ll fine the absolute best view of Brooklyn Bridge – because there’s nothing quite like it. Walking across the Brooklyn bridge is an easy walk, and there are views the whole way across. It’s beautiful!

best view of The Brooklyn Bridge nyc


One World Observatory


Last on my list of the best view of Brooklyn Bridge, the One World Observatory.

The One World Observation deck is the highest observation deck in the city, and the views are just incredible from up there. You’ll genuinely be overwhelmed by the views from up here, you can see every angle of the city! Looking down onto Brooklyn Bridge from up at the top of the One World Observatory is amazing, and you really get to see the bridge in context of the city around it.

If you want to book skip-the-line tickets (which I highly recommend to avoid the queues) you can book them by clicking here. 

best view of The Brooklyn Bridge new york


Other NYC blog posts


And last up on my New York City travel guide, some other blog posts you may find useful!

I love NYC and I’ve spent so much time here over the years (we visit multiple times a year!). So, as you’d expect, I’ve been writing about this city for almost a decade! Here are some other blog posts I’ve written, that might be useful for you!

The best ways to view the Statue of Liberty

Famous restaurants in NYC from movies and TV shows

Things to do for couples in NYC

The best outdoor rooftop bars in NYC

The best art galleries in Chelsea, NYC

Best places to take photos in NYC at night time

How to take a great photo in Times Square

Secret places to take amazing photos in NYC 

Hidden gem and neighbourhood restaurants in NYC

Touristy things to do with a baby in NYC


I hope this list of the best view of Brooklyn Bridge has been useful! The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most stunning and iconic places in the city – so make sure you take time to enjoy it!


 

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14 beautiful Central Park Photo Spots to capture amazing photography

best photo spots in central park


Are you looking for the best Central Park photo spots?


Central Park is one of the most iconic parks in the world, and definitely one of the muse-see attractions in New York City. If you’re heading there soon, you might be looking for information on the Central Park photo spots to ensure you stop by the most picturesque parts of this beautiful park!

Make no mistake – Central Park is huge! So going in with a map of where to find the best photo spots in Central Park is definitely a good plan of action! I’ve actually made my own map below with my favourite Central Park photo spots, so you can easily follow my map and find the best places to take photos in Central Park.

You don’t necessarily need to visit all the Central Park photo spots I’ve listed below, but these will definitely give you a good idea of where to find the best photo spots in Central Park – so you can take some amazing photos during your visit! Just find the number on the map, and the coordinating number on the list below – and you’ll see I’ve also included a photo taken from each photo spot below too – so you can see exactly what’s there and what to expect!

The best Central Park photography spots


Central Park Photography Spot #1 – The Pond


First up on my list of Central Park photo spots, The Pond.

The little pathway that leads you in Central Park from the 5th Avenue entrance, will naturally take you right by The Pond. If you walk up to Gapstow Bridge, there is a great pathway that runs alongside The Pond, and gives you some great views of the water and Gapstow Bridge. You can see the pathway on the photo below, the path is quite long so there’s plenty of space to take shots and loads of photo opportunities. You can also great great shots of Gapstow Bridge from along there too.

The photo below of The Pond, was actually taken from Gapstow Bridge (which is the next photo spot). So for photos of The Pond, stand on Gapstow Bridge, and for photos of the Gapstow Bridge, walk along The Pond pathway. I hope that’s not too confusing!

The Best Central Park Photo Spots !!!


Central Park Photography Spot #2 – Gapstow Bridge


Gapstow Bridge is one of the most photographed bridges in Central Park (probably second to Bow Bridge… which is further down this list of photo spots in Central Park!).You’ll probably recognise Gapstow Bridge from lots of films and movies too! Gapstow Bridge is a gorgeous place to take photos – from the bridge you can get wonderful photos of the NYC skyline across the greenery of the trees. The bridge itself is also extremely photogenic of course! Definitely one of the most popular Central Park photo spots – don’t miss it!

The Best Central Park Photo Spots !!!


Central Park Photography Spot #3 – Viewing path near Wollman Rink


This photo spot doesn’t have an ‘official name’ (trust me… I looked!) – but you’ll find it a short walk from Gapstow Bridge, if you follow the pathway up and to the left. It’s on the way to Wollman Rink and this gorgeous photo spot actually over looks the Wollman Rink area. It’s one of the most stunning and panoramic views of the city skyline, and it’s a pretty lovely place to just relax with a coffee and a book.

The Best Central Park Photo Spots The Best Central Park Photo Spots


Central Park Photography Spot #4 – Random park areas!


Next up on my list of Central Park photo spots, just random areas! There are some lovely random views in the middle of the park (half the fun is just following the pathways and seeing where they take you). One of the nicest ways to explore the park is by horse and carriage or by a bike – and you’ll discover so many lovely little photo spots in Central Park just by exploring this way.

I really recommend booking a horse and carriage ride using Get Your Guide – as you pay a fixed price and you can pay in advance. Sometimes the Central Park horse and carriage rides can be a bit unreliable with their fees and charges, so paying in advance means you don’t have to worry (and you’ll only need to tip at the end).

The Best Central Park Photo Spots !!


Central Park Photography Spot #5 – Lounging Rock and Playmates Arch


Lounging Rock is one of the biggest rocks in Central Park and it’s a great place to snap a photo of the skyline! You can climb up the rock pretty easily (getting down is often the hardest bit) and if you find a comfortable spot up there it’s a nice place to sit and watch the world go by too. You’ll find great photo opportunities from up there, with the skyline glistening in the background and the trees and park in the foreground.

The Best Central Park Photo Spots


Central Park Photography Spot #6 – Columbus Circle pathways


Next on my list of Central Park photo spots, it’s the areas leading from Columbus Circle. If you enter the park from Columbus Circle, there are a few pathways that will lead you into the heart of the park from there. These offer some gorgeous views as you walk towards the middle of the park, and you get to see a slightly different angle of the skyline than the 5th ave entrance.

The Best Central Park Photo Spots


Central Park Photography Spot #7 – The Aviary Bar


The Aviary Bar isn’t actually inside Central Park, but it has to be classed as one of the best Central Park photo spots. The view from this bar (located inside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel) is INCREDIBLE! You have to visit in daylight to enjoy the views of the park, as there’s not much to see if you visit once the sun goes down, but the views truly are amazing. The price of enjoying this Central Park photo spot is the cost of a drink inside the bar (so between $10 – $20). Not bad for access to a great view, and also a nice drink in a fancy bar!

best central park photo spots


Central Park Photography Spot #8 – The Lake


This is one of my favourite photo spots in NYC hands down! The Lake is one of the most beautiful spots in the park, and for me, it’s just everything about Central Park in one photo. You have the gorgeous trees and greenery, the beautiful lake, people boating, a stunning bridge and even skyscrapers in the distance. I love walking alongside the lake and snapping photos – and I make sure we visit this Central Park photo spot every time I’m in Central Park.

Top tip! A good way to tick off loads of the Central Park photo spots on this list, is actually by booking a Central Park walking tour. I recommend the tour with Get Your Guide (click here to book) because they’ll guide you through the park, to a lot of these key locations, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to snap amazing photos too. 

The Best Central Park Photo Spots nyc


Central Park Photography Spot #9 – Bow Bridge


Bow Bridge is one of the most romantic photo spots in NYC. Everyday you’ll see people popping the question here, and seeing people down on one knee with an engagement ring is something you’ll definitely see! It’s a beautiful photo spot in NYC and it’s a classic (and iconic) place in the city too.

The Best Central Park Photo Spots in nyc


Central Park Photography Spot #10 – Bethesda terrace


Bethesda Terrace is a wonderful place in Central Park, and it’s so ornate, detailed and beautiful. Bethesda Terrace is basically an underpass that runs through the centre of the park, but it’s an underpass with a difference. It’s tiled to perfection, it’s colourful, it’s beautiful. Look at those archways, the symmetrical tiles… how can you not fall in love!? This is definitely one of the best Central Park photo spots.

The Best Central Park Photo Spots


Central Park Photography Spot #11 – Conservatory Water


Next on my list of Central Park photo spots, it’s Conservatory Water. Conservatory Water is one of the less busy bodies of water in Central Park, and it’s actually more popular with locals than tourists. I love the symmetry here, and I love capturing photos of the reflections from the skyscrapers in the water. It’s just gorgeous and such a peaceful place in the city too.

The Best Central Park Photo Spots ! !


Central Park Photography Spot #12 – Oak Bridge


Oak bridge is a little wooden bridge hidden away at the far end of The Lake. It’s one of my favourite Central Park photo spots to walk up to on a nice day, as you get to walk past lots of the other photo spots on the way! You’ll get a gorgeous view of the skyline peeping out between the trees, and it’s just a wonderfully framed photo opportunity. Bear in mine, to get this shot, you’ll need to visit on a clear day!

The Best Central Park Photo Spots


Central Park Photography Spot #13 – Belvedere Castle


Next on my list of Central Park photo spots, did you know there’s a castle in Central Park? It’s surprising, but it’s there! Belvedere Castle is nestled about halfway down Central Park and it’s definitely one of the most surprising and beautiful photo spots in Central Park! You can stand in the castle ground and get some great shots of the skyline surrounding it, but you can also stand across the way from the castle and get a lovely photo like the one below, looking towards the castle.

The Best Central Park Photo Spots


Central Park Photography Spot #14 – Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir


Last on my list of Central Park photo spots, it’s the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir. This amazing Central Park photo spot is situated further down Central Park than most tourists get to, but it’s definitely worth the walk. It’s one of the biggest bodies of water in the park, so you get these lovely expansive views over the water – perfect for taking photos.

The Best Central Park Photo Spots


Top tip for photography lovers….


If you’re interested in photography and you’re in NYC – one of the best activities you can do is a photography tour. It’s a great way to learn some new techniques, find the best photo spots in NYC, and meet interesting people too. I’ve done a few photo tours in the city and I’ve enjoyed it every time.

Here are a few of the photography tours I recommend:

 

I hope this list of the best Central Park photo spots is useful! Central Park has to be one of my favourite places in the world – and (as a photographer myself) it’s somewhere that never gets boring! There’s always something new to see and take photos of!


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The best way to see the Everglades – Tips and tours to make your visit successful

best way to see the everglades.

Are you looking for the best ways to see the Everglades National Park?


If you’re looking to visit the Everglades National Park, you might be wondering what the best way to see the Everglades is? Should you visit the national park yourself, should you drive there, or take a tour?

The Everglades is a really unique National Park in the USA, and it’s unlike anywhere else you’ll visit. There are stunning lakes, surrounded by mysterious mangroves. In the water you’ll find herons, egrets, stilts, ducks, wood storks, spoonbills, alligators, otters, and a variety of fish too. It’s a hub of nature and animals – and when you visit the Everglades National Park, you’ll get a chance to see all of these.


Airboat Tour


First on my list of the best way to see the Everglades… An airboat tour!

An airboat tour is the classic Everglades experience and it’s something you definitely HAVE to do if you’re visiting. An airboat tour is how you’ll see the Gators up close in the wild (as well as lots of other wildlife), and a good airboat tour guide will make sure you spot those gators, so make sure you choose a good tour. During your airboat ride you’ll zoom through the open air amongst the Everglades, through the water itself. It’s fun filled and adrenaline filled too!

the best way to see the everglades

It really is the most popular and one of the best way to see the Everglades and I really recommend this one as it’s not only won awards, but has loads of positive reviews too. I always look at the reviews when it comes to Everglades tours, because that’s how you know you’ve found a good tour operator.

Below are some of the other best reviewed tours I found:


Walk the Anhinga Trail


Next on my list of the best way to see the Everglades, walking the Anhinga Trail.

If you want to do some walking around the Everglades National Park, you can actually walk as well as do a boat tour. If you’re spending a couple of days in the area, or if you want to pack your day full of activities, you can do the Anhinga Trail as well as a boat tour. The trail isn’t too difficult, and it’s only a mile long (just under actually).

The trail starts at the Royal Palm Visitor Centre, which is really easy to find, and there are toilets and refreshments available there too – for after you finish your walk! There are loads of amazing views along the walk and you’ll get the chance to spot animals and birds too.

best way to see the everglades usa


Take a walking tour


Next on my list of the best way to see the Everglades, is taking a walking tour with a professional tour guide.

If you want to take a slightly more ‘guided’ approach to the Everglades, but you still want to explore the Everglades by foot – taking a walking tour is a great idea and means you get to see the landscape with a professional tour guide on hand to point out anything notable and interesting.

This walking tour includes a 2 hour guided walk, taking you completely off the “tourist” map – and giving you an insight into the local area, the nature, the eco-systems and the animals too. You’ll have you guide on hand to spot anything interesting, and they’ll also be able to give you loads of interesting information along the way too.

best way to see the everglades usa


Go kayaking


Kayaking is one of the best way to see the Everglades, and one of the most memorable too. It’s one of the most amazing ways to see the everglades and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. When you’re kayaking in the Everglades you’re not just watching the wildlife, you’re part of it. You’re so close to everything, and it’s a real rush! It’s also one of the most eco-friendly ways to explore the Everglades too – so if you’re trying to be more conscious of the environment, this is definitely the tour you should go for.

I recommend this tour, as you get comfortable kayaks (more important than you think!), and you also get a really lengthy time exploring (3 hours!). The tour guide who takes you out is also a Florida Master Naturalist guide, certified by the National Park and licensed by the US Coast Guard – so you know you’re in safe hands. It also has a review score of 4.9 / 5 and that’s from 126 Reviews (which is pretty amazing). You can click here to book tickets. 

what is the best way to see the everglades


Do a photography safari


If you love photography and you want to make sure you capture some incredible shots during your time in the Everglades, take a photo safari! There are so many stunning things to capture photos of in the Everglades, and a photo safari is a tour specifically designed to give you the best possible photo opportunities. If you love taking photos, this is probably the best way to see the Everglades for you.

I recommend this photo safari tour, it’s a private tour, in a small boat too – which means you can gain access to areas larger boats aren’t allowed, or can’t reach. It’s also 2.5 hours long – which means you have loads of time to take incredible images, and don’t feel rushed!

what is the best way to see the everglades


Find a tour that does everything


If you can’t decide between all of the above, book yourself onto a tour that includes a boat tour, a safari, an animal show and a walking tour. This is the best option I found when I was looking for all-inclusive options. The tour lasts 9.5 hours, and lets you really explore everything this area has to offer. You’ll have an expert nature guide with you all day, and you’ll experience a wildlife drive, a nature walk, a delicious lunch, an airboat ride and a boat cruise all in the ticket price. Click here to book tickets!

what are the best way to see the everglades


Take the trolley


Last on my list of the best way to see the Everglades… Take the Trolley!

If you heading into the Everglades National Park from Homestead (in the south), you can actually take the trolley in. The Homestead National Parks Trolley is a free way to see the Everglades and it’s a guided tour too (for free!) so you really can’t lose.  The free trolley ride is only offered at weekends, and it’s available from late November through early May.


I hope this list of the best way to see the Everglades has been helpful! There are a few more tour suggestions below!


 

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The New York Pass – Is it REALLY worth it?

New York Pass

If you’re visiting New York City soon, you might be looking for the best deals for sightseeing and attractions. The truth of it is – NYC can be a pretty expensive city to visit, and any way you can save a little money (or a lot of money!) is good news! The New York Pass is one of the best options for saving money when sightseeing in NYC, and I’ll go through how the pass works and how you can make the most of it below. Keep reading for my advice and recommendations regarding the New York Pass.


How does the New York Pass work?


You pay a fixed priced, for the amount of time you’d like to spend sightseeing in the city. For example, if you’re visiting the city for 5 days, you may want to buy a 3 or 4 day New York Pass.

Whilst the New York Pass is activated, you’ll get access to all the ‘included’ attractions just by scanning the code on your phone. There are no extra charges once you’ve paid for your New York Pass, so essentially the ticket price is the only price you’ll pay, and you can make your way through the entire list of attractions if you want to!

In short – the more attractions you visit or enter using your pass, the more money you’ll save and the better value the New York Pass is. Most people end up saving around 40% – 50% of ticket prices, by buying the New York Pass. 

You can purchase the New York Pass by clicking here.


What are the limits?


Unlike other tourist passes in NYC, there is no limit on how many attractions you can visit with the New York Pass. You can visit them all if you have time!

The only limits are:

  • The length of time you’ve set for your pass, so how many days your pass is active for (but you can decide this)
  • You can only visit each attraction once

How much does the New York Pass cost?


This depends on how many days you want your New York Pass to be active for. As you’d expect, the price goes up depending on how many days you want to spend sightseeing! If you’re in New York for a total of 5 days, I would recommend having the 3 or 4 day pass, to ensure you’ve got plenty of time to see everything!

You can see the current ticket prices by clicking here, once on the webpage, check the ticket prices per day by clicking the ‘Book Now’ button on the right. 

I recommend having the pass activated for your entire stay in NYC, as you’re then totally ‘covered’ in terms of sightseeing, and you can rest easy knowing that your entrance (into all the included attractions) are included in the New York Pass and you’re not going to be worried about other big ticket prices or outgoings.


What attractions are included in the New York Pass?


There are LOADS!! Here’s the full list of attractions… I’ve highlighted some of my personal favourites in red!

Tourist classics

  • Empire State Building
  • Big Bus Tours: 1-day Classic Tour
  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck
  • Madame Tussauds New York
  • Rockefeller Centre Tour
  • The RIDE
  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum
  • Color Factory
  • Bryant Park Ice Skating (seasonal)

New York Pass.

Museums

  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • MoMA – Museum of Modern Art
  • Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum
  • Guggenheim Museum
  • Museum of Sex
  • 9/11 Tribute Center & Audio Tour
  • Whitney Museum of American Art
  • New York Transit Museum
  • Fraunces Tavern Museum
  • Museum of the City of New York
  • Museum of Jewish Heritage
  • Museum of Arts and Design
  • Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Skyscraper Museum
  • The Met: Breuer
  • New Museum
  • International Center of Photography
  • New York Hall of Science
  • Brooklyn Museum of Art
  • Museum at Eldridge Street
  • The Met: Cloisters
  • Ground Zero Museum Workshop
  • South Street Seaport Museum
  • Paley Center for Media
  • MOMA PS 1
  • Museum of American Finance
  • Staten Island Museum
  • LEGOLAND(R) Discovery Center, Westchester
  • Staten Island Children
  • El Museo del Barrio
  • Museum of Chinese in America

New York Pass

Tours

  • Madison Square Garden All Access Tour
  • Rockefeller Center Tour
  • Unlimited Biking: Central Park Bike Tour
  • The RIDE
  • Yankee Stadium Tour
  • Intrepid Audio Tour
  • Blazing Saddles: Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour (Pier 17)
  • Grand Central Audio Tour
  • Radio City Stage Door Tour
  • Catacombs by Candlelight Tour
  • Cathedral of St. John the Divine
  • Wall Street Walks Tour
  • Harlem Gospel Tour (Wednesday Service) by Harlem One Stop
  • The TOUR
  • Harlem Gospel Tour (Sunday Service) by Inside Out Tours
  • Brooklyn Gospel Tour by Inside Out Tours
  • When Harry Met Seinfeld Bus Tour by Inside Out Tours
  • Carnegie Hall Tours
  • Lincoln Center Tour
  • Circle Line Downtown

New York Pass

Walking tours

  • High Line Walking Tour by NY Tours 1
  • Food on Foot Tour
  • Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO Neighborhood Walking Tour by Inside Out Tours
  • Inside Broadway Walking Tour by NY Tours 1
  • SoHo – Little Italy – Chinatown Walking Tour by NY Tours 1
  • Graffiti Street Art Walking Tour by Brooklyn Unplugged
  • Central Park Walking Tour by On Location Tours
  • Greenwich Village Walking Tour by NY Tours 1
  • Cultural Walking Tours of Harlem by Harlem One Stop
  • Unlimited Biking: Central Park Walking Tour
  • Unlimited Biking: Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour
  • Queens Experience On Foot by Food on Foot Tours
  • Best of Brooklyn Walking Tour by Brooklyn Unplugged
  • New York Slavery & Underground Railroad Walking Tour by Inside Out Tours
  • Midtown Architecture Walking Tour by Inside Out Tours
  • Street Art Tour of the Lower East Side by Inside Out Tours
  • NYC Holiday Market & Christmas Lights Walking Tour by Inside Out Tours
  • Secrets of Brooklyn Walking Tour by Inside Out Tours
  • Hamilton Happy Hour Tour
  • Secrets of Downtown Walking Tour by Wall Street Walks
  • Bronx’s Little Italy and Arthur Avenue Walking Tour by Inside Out Tours
  • Fashion Windows Walking Tour
  • Marvel & DC Superheroes Walking Tour by Top Dog Tours NYC
  • Spirits on Foot Tour

Boat tours

  • Circle Line: Best of New York Cruise
  • Circle Line: Harbor Lights Cruise
  • Circle Line: Landmark Cruise
  • Circle Line: Liberty Cruise
  • Circle Line: Downtown Liberty Express Cruise
  • New York Water Taxi: All Day Access
  • Manhattan by Sail: Clipper City Tall Ships Cruise
  • Circle Line Downtown: Statue by Night Cruise
  • Manhattan by Sail: Shearwater Classic Schooner

Botanical Gardens and Zoos

  • Staten Island Zoo
  • New York Botanical Garden
  • Snug Harbor Botanical Garden- Staten Island
  • Brooklyn Botanical Garden

New York Pass

Bike rental

  • Unlimited Biking: Brooklyn Bridge Bike Rental
  • Unlimited Biking: Central Park Bike Rental
  • Blazing Saddles: Bike Rental (Pier 84)
  • Unlimited Biking: Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour
  • Unlimited Biking: Harlem Bike Rental
  • Unlimited Biking: Hudson River Bike Rental
  • Unlimited Biking: Harlem Bike Tour

New York Pass

Quirky days out

  • Luna Park at Coney Island – 24 Ride Wristband
  • Denos Wonder Wheel
  • New York Historical Society
  • The DOWNTOWN EXPERIENCE
  • Staten Island Yankees
  • Governor’s Island Surrey Rental by Blazing Saddles
  • HighFlyer Zipline at Foxwoods Casino Resort
  • National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey
  • Harlem Jazz Series – Tuesday
  • Harlem Jazz Series – Friday
  • Bagel & Cream Cheese from Davidovich Bakery
  • Beer at Brooklyn Brewery
  • Winery Tour at City Winery
  • Trolls the Experience

New York Pass NYC


Important things to know about the New York Pass


There are a few useful things to know before booking the New York Pass, these tips will just help you make the most of your pass…

  • The New York Pass will be automatically delivered online via a download when you purchase it. And you access it via an app during your stay. This makes it really convenient and easy to use!
  • New York Pass don’t control the opening hours of the different attractions – so it’s always worth checking the opening times on the individual websites.
  • Your pass gets activated when you scan your pass for the first time on your first attraction. It’ll then be valid for however many days you’ve purchased.
  • Days are calendar days (not 24 hours) – for this reason, it’s best activate your pass in the morning – not the evening! Activating in the morning will give you so much more time!
  • The bus tours on the New York Pass are always super popular, so it’s worth getting there early to ensure you get a seat.
  • As well as your admission to all the attractions above, you also get discounts at top restaurants, shops and Broadway shows included in your New York Pass – so definitely take advantage of this too!
  • You can purchase the New York Pass by clicking here.


My personal recommendations


I hope this guide to the New York Pass has been super useful! It’s a great options for tourists in the city, and it really does let you see some of the best places in the city (and save money while you do it).

Personally, I would tick off all the ‘tourist favourites’ if you can, and then split your time between a few of the other categories depending on how long you’re in the city. Try and identify your favourite destinations and choose tours or activities that let you fit them in.

Personally, alongside the tourist favourites, I would try and fit in:

A boat tour – Such a good way to see the city skyline, and especially lovely if you love taking photos.

A few walking tours  – I LOVE the walking tours in NYC, and the New York Pass has so many of them choose from. Walking tours are a great way to explore the city, and when you have a tour guide with you, you get to learn so much more about the city’s history and culture.

A few museums / art galleries- The museums in NYC are some of the best in the world, so make sure you squeeze a couple in if you can. You might see some incredible things.


Here are some other useful blog posts I have written about NYC, that might be useful!


The ultimate New York City Travel Guide

The best ways to view the Statue of Liberty

Famous restaurants in NYC from movies and TV shows

Things to do for couples in NYC

The best outdoor rooftop bars in NYC

The best art galleries in Chelsea, NYC

Best places to take photos in NYC at night time

How to take a great photo in Times Square

Secret places to take amazing photos in NYC 

Hidden gem and neighbourhood restaurants in NYC

Touristy things to do with a baby in NYC

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