A city is a large human settlement. Roughly half of the world population now lives in cities. This list is a collection of some of the most populated cities such as London, Tokyo, and New York City. As well as the old cities of Faiyum (Egypt), Damascus (Turkey), and Varanasi (India) which claim to be the longest continuously inhabited places.
Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy and the entire world, with around 9 million people visiting from around the globe each year.
Most people stay for just a few days and try to check off the biggest sights – the things you can’t afford to miss, like the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Pantheon.
But if you’re looking for something beyond the obvious to give your holiday a little something extra, check out these sights and really make the most out of your time in LaCittà Eterna.
The viewpoint at Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi
If you want a great view of the city, walking up to the top of the Janiculum Hill is essential. It can be a bit of a tough walk if you’re already tired from a day of sightseeing, but the views are well worth the effort.
Arrive in the large, open square to see a huge statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a key figure in the unification of Italy, astride his horse, looking out across the capital of the country he helped to create.
From here, you can see the whole city – the Colosseum and Roman Forum included – and if you cross over the square, you can watch the sun go down behind the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican.
Get there in the early evening to snag a spot on the wall, grab a takeaway cocktail from one of the kiosks, and settle in.
The Fountain of the Acqua Paola
Just around the corner from the Janiculum Hill’s viewpoint is a huge monumental fountain. Built in 1612, it marks the end of an underground aqueduct originally built by the emperor Trajan.
In the seventeenth century, the aqueduct brought essential drinking water to the Trastevere area of Rome and culminated in this elaborate fountain.
If it looks familiar, it might be because it actually served as the inspiration for the better-known Trevi Fountain, built over 100 years later.
There’s another gorgeous view of the city here, and it tends to be a little quieter than the viewpoint at Piazza Garibaldi as there are no kiosks serving drinks, so you might be in with a better chance of snagging a place to sit.
The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary
Yes, that’s right, a cat sanctuary. If you’re a cat person, you probably won’t need much more convincing, but this sight is worth a visit regardless of your feelings towards our furry friends.
It’s situated among the ruins of four ancient temples, dating from 400–300 BC, and it’s also the site of Julius Caesar’s infamous murder on the Ides of March.
While it’s not possible to walk around the ruins themselves, you can get a good view of them from the street level, so peer over the railings to marvel at the well-preserved columns and slabs of ancient tufa.
Throughout the year, you’ll see the stray cats of Rome who have been taken in by the sanctuary basking in the sunshine or lying in the shade of these once-vast temples.
The sanctuary itself welcomes visitors, so if you need a sightseeing break or are looking to cuddle up with some cats, look no further!
The Borghese Gallery and Museum
If art is more up your street, take a trip to the Galleria Borghese, home to some of Bernini’s most famous sculptures.
Housed within the Villa Borghese and the surrounding park (one of the largest in Rome), the gallery’s upper floor contains paintings by Raphael, Titian, Correggio, and Rubens.
The lower floor displays two of the most jaw-dropping sculptures of the Baroque period: Bernini’s Rape of Persephone and Apollo and Daphne.
Bernini’s Rape of Persephone
Wonder at these marble masterpieces, including neoclassical works by Canova, and gaze at ancient mosaics before taking a stroll around the expansive park – a perfect place for an evening passeggiata (promenade), an Italian tradition.
Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls
This huge basilica is one of four ancient papal basilicas in Rome and is the largest church in the city other than Saint Peter’s in the Vatican.
Situated outside the Aurelian Walls, which traditionally contained the city’s fabled seven hills, it’s often overlooked by tourists, but its rich history and elaborate façade make it a worthwhile visit.
St Paul’s outside the walls
Home to the bones of Saint Paul himself, the church has been repeatedly pillaged throughout history, eventually leading to the construction of a fortified town, Johannispolis, the ruins of which you can still visit today.
Inside the church itself, as well as thirteenth-century mosaics and a fourteenth-century crucifix, look out for the series of mosaic portraits of all the popes.
Legend has it that when there are no spaces left for portraits of new popes, the world will end – there are now only six spaces left, so visit while you still can!
The Isola Tiberina
This island in the middle of the River Tiber is a marvel. To reach the island, just walk across the city’s only intact ancient Roman bridge, the Ponte Fabricio (look out for the four-headed stone gatekeepers as you start to cross).
View from Ponte Fabricio
Once on the island, you’ll find a tenth-century basilica built on the site of an ancient temple, and a restaurant that wafts out gorgeous smells at all times of the day.
The four-headed gatekeeper
Wander around the circumference of the island and sit down at the eastern end to gaze up at another Roman bridge, the Ponte Rotto (‘Broken Bridge’) – the oldest in the city.
This is a wonderful place to sit down and take a breather, and you’ll often spot locals coming to the island to relax with a bottle of beer and something to read. Take a leaf out of their book and wind down.
Enjoy your holiday
There are so many wonderful things to do and see in Rome, whether you want to see the ‘biggies’ or not.
If the ever-present hordes of tourists in the eternal city are off-putting for you, consider visiting these smaller sites instead. While still busy at times (Rome is a capital city, after all), you’ll find that you have more time and space to reflect, relax, and enjoy your trip.
Chloe is a freelance proofreader, copy editor, and writer from the UK who has spent the last year living, working, and traveling through Italy. She’s picked up great tips and tricks to help make your Italian adventure the best it can be. See more of her writing at chloelaywrites.wordpress.com.
Japan is one of the most popular countries in the world to visit. It is a country where you can find old traditions mixed with modern technology.
And depending on which city you choose to go to, you’ll find vast differences between each one of them. For instance, Tokyo might be the city surrounded by technology, but Kyoto is the city known for its old traditions and temples all around.
Spring time in Kyoto
Which is why if you decide to visit Kyoto, you will be stunned by all the amazing traditions this city has kept. From the old shinto shrines to temples to bamboo forests to even geishas. You will feel like you traveled back into the past and get a first hand look at just what Japan was like in the older days.
There is simply so many things to see and do. And it is because of these things that many people will often think that visiting Kyoto is a very expensive thing to do.
And to be honest…Sure there are some expensive things here in this city, but it isn’t as bad when compared to some of the other countries in the world.
Kyoto On A Budget: Travel Tips
Path to Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine
There are many things you can do here in this city for either a low cost or no cost at all. It is totally possible to save money when you are visiting Kyoto. Which is why in this post I’ll be detailing all the tips and tricks for you to visit Kyoto on a budget.
So let’s get started!
Finding Cheap Accommodations
As we know, one of the most expensive parts of a travel trip is the place we stay at.
So the first thing on our list of budget tips is on how to choose your accommodations wisely.
Good thing for you is that there are a variety of cheap accommodations in the city that you can choose from.
In this list, we’ll be starting with the most basic of places to stay at and then move slowly up to the more higher end price points.
A capsule hotel is basically a hotel that rents out small cubicles. The size of the entire cubicle is not very big and can only probably fit 1 person max. Even though it is small, it is a popular choice for many people to stay in if all they really need is a bed to sleep on. So if you don’t mind small spaces, then this will be perfect for you.
Typical Price: $10 – $15 USD a night.
This is something where a lot of people might be familiar with. They are basically communal places where you stay with a lot of people. One room might have many beds for a bunch of people to sleep in or depending on which hostel you decide to use, they may offer private rooms.
Typical Price: $10 – $50 USD a night.
This is one form of accommodation where I think everybody should be familiar with by now. It is incredibly popular in Japan as there are many houses available for you to choose from at affordable prices. Although it is a bit pricier than some of the other options, it is still cheaper than a hotel.
Typical Price: $20 – $50 USD a day
Just like every other city in the world, there are many hotels for you to choose from in Kyoto. Although the price point tends to be on the higher end of things, it may be something you’ll consider.
Typical Price: $80 – $100 USD a night
Using Public Transportation
When you are going to be traveling around Kyoto, there are a few methods you can use.
Trains, Buses and Taxis are going to be your friend. Now depending on where you are going, you might not even need them.
I personally recommend that if the destination is less than 30 minutes away by foot, I would just walk to that destination instead. Or, if you don’t feel like walking, there are some bike shops around that’ll let you rent out a bike to ride.
But if the destination is a little bit far, I would try a Public Bus first as they are relatively cheap. However if the Public Bus is not able to reach your destination, then I would try a Taxi.
Do know that taxi’s are actually quite cheap here in Japan compared to some other parts of the world. They are great to use especially if you are late for something or you missed that last subway or bus home.
Furthermore, here are some tips that can help you make traveling around the city more easier for you.
Download Google Maps if you do not have it yet. This is literally a god send and can help you out if you ever get lost. Google Maps is also able to give you accurate recommendations for different modes of transportation when you are trying to figure out your journey. So overall, it is a must have app for travel.
Download CityMaps2Go app for your phone to plot your destinations. This is a great app to use especially if you don’t have wifi because it works offline and is able to help you identify where you want to go.
If you are going to be using the train system here in Japan, then I would highly suggest you download Navitime for Japan Travel as it can help you figure out where you are going.
Finding Food To Eat
Fried pork with onions
This is the part everybody is probably waiting for.
You’ll be happy to know that eating food in Kyoto is incredibly affordable and cheap. Plus, the food is at a real high quality as well so you know you are getting some good food.
However, you do have to know where to go before you go buy your food. Mainly because, not everything is cheap in Kyoto.
Tip: Try to go where the locals eat. Avoid the restaurants that are geared towards tourists and go find some hole in the wall restaurant where locals eat. This will guarantee you save some money as foods tend to be cheaper here.
Note: The only problem in this approach is that they probably won’t speak or understand English so you might need a translation software or do some hand signs. Perhaps, learn a few common Japanese words, numbers, and phrases.
Also please note that these places might be a bit hard to spot if you don’t know what you are looking for. Typically you can find these places by going to any residential neighborhood and finding a place that can only sit 5 to 8 people only.
Street food is another type of food you can buy for a very cheap price.
You can find street foods by going to any of the street markets here in the city. And once you are there, you’ll be able to enjoy an assortment of different and delicious tasting foods.
Some of the foods you can find are:
Tempura – This is basically a fried Japanese dish that can consist of mostly seafood and vegetables. The batter is light yet crispy and makes for a delicious bite. Also, it is usually less oily than the other regular fried foods you’ll find in other countries.
Takoyaki – Takoyaki is basically a fried octopus ball and can be found all throughout Japan. They basically take a piece of octopus and cover it in dough batter and cook it into a ball shape. After that they top it with a sweet sauce, bonito flakes, and also Japanese Mayonnaise.
Okonomiyaki – A common street food (as well as commonly served in many restaurants) you might run into while in Japan is one called Okonomiyaki. It is basically a savory pancake excepted it is pressed on a griddle with a very diverse amount of ingredients. You can find them topped with all kinds of toppings such as cabbage, bacon, egg, seaweed flakes, and much more.
Yakitori – Yakitori is another street food you might run into while in Japan. Basically it is a grilled chicken skewer that has been cooked over a hot charcoal fire. It is a pretty cheap dish that is highly popular in pubs where people sit down and enjoy it with a glass of beer.
Donburi – Another simple dish you can find in Japan is one called a Donburi. It is a very cheap and affordable dish that is also very filling. The name Donburi means rice bowl and it can consist of many different types things added together with the rice bowl. It is a common item that you can find almost anywhere in Japan, as there are even fast food chains that sell this delicious item.
Donburi – this one is a traditional rice bowl with eggs
The best thing about this is that most of the street foods you buy are only around $5 bucks or less. So you can eat quite a bit without having to break the bank.
Another place where you can find some cheap and affordable food is at convenience stores all over the country. These stores are on a whole different level than those you can find back in the States.
Plus, they don’t just stock food, but they have literally anything and everything you can ever want.
One of my favorite things to get at these stores are the Ramen bowls. You can get them for as little as $0.50 cents and they will fill you up just nicely. Plus you can grab a drink and a dessert and make it a full on meal. How great is that?
So if you are wanting to save some money, I highly suggest you visit the convenience stores located in the area. They are amazing!
Places To Shop At
To be honest, Kyoto isn’t really the city to be shopping in as there are not that many stores around. If you are wanting to shop, I would recommend taking the 1 hour train ride to the city of Osaka where you can find literally anything and everything you want.
However what Kyoto does have is something called “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, which is the number one place for you to go buy all your food ingredients.
That place is the famous NISHIKI MARKET.
Nishiki Market is popular with both locals and tourists as it offers you a glimpse into what a traditional Japanese shopping street looks like. This is the place to find all your traditional Japanese ingredients as well as fresh seafood. They also have takeaway food stalls and even restaurants selling all kinds of delicious and yummy foods at affordable prices.
Definitely recommend coming here if you are looking to try new foods.
Free Or Cheap Places To Go Visit
Did you know that you can visit a bunch of different attractions for either no cost or low cost price?
It’s true! There are literally a ton of things that you can do for either a low cost or no cost budget!
So lets see what you can see for FREE or very little entry fees:
Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine
This is probably the number one attraction of Kyoto. The famous gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The gates form a line and go all the way up the mountain of Southeast Kyoto. Definitely a must see attraction as it is something you’ll never find anywhere else.
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is one of the most beautiful sights here in Kyto. It is favored by many people from all around the world for its beautiful bamboo. Walking along the path of these bamboo shoots will make it feel as if you are going through a different dimension. There are also some local temples nearby which you can visit as well.
Tenryu-ji Temple is the most important temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. It is the head temple of the Tenryu sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism and is ranked first among Kyoto’s top five Zen temples. It is also here where you can find a beautiful Zen garden that dates back to the 14th century. It is one of the most beautiful Zen gardens in all of Japan.
This is a small and interesting temple that is located close to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and is known for its picturesque view of its moss garden, bamboo grove & maple trees.
Kinkakuji Temple is a unique temple because it is all Golden yellow. Heck, even the top two floors are covered in gold leaves. Although you are not able to enter this temple, it is still a beautiful sight to see.
Nanzen-ji temple is said to be one of the best temples in Northern Higashiyama district. It is one of the most important Zen temples in all of Japan as well as being the head temple of one of the schools within the Rinzai sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism. It is a magical place where you’ll have to really visit it to understand everything it has to offer.
Cost: Free to explore
Philosopher’s Path (Tetsugaku no michi)
If you want to see something truly beautiful, then head to Philosophers Path. It is a 2km long walkway that follows a canal and is surrounded by hundreds of Cherry Blossom Trees. If you come during the right season, the trees will be in full bloom and full of color making the area extremely beautiful to walk along in.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a Buddhist temple that is unlike any you ever seen. It is one of the most celebrated temples in all of Japan. What makes this temple famous is that it has a wooden stage that juts out from its main hall.
This stage allows visitors to a nice view of the surrounding area. Not only that, but there is also a shrine here that is popular among women for it is said to be the shrine to the god of marriage. Definitely a must see temple.
Gion Street is a famous geisha district that is filled with shops, restaurants and teahouses. It is here where you’ll be able to see many geiko’s and maiko’s roaming around trying to entertain people.
Cost: Free to roam
As you can see, there are quite a bit of things for you to see and do for either a low cost or for no cost at all. Hopefully this post was able to show you that you don’t have to spend a lot of money in Kyoto just to have fun.
So next time you plan a trip, you might want to consider traveling to Kyoto and enjoy all it has to offer.
Let me know how your trip goes!
Wayne is a part-time traveler and a firm believer that anybody is able to travel no matter how busy they are in work or life. He wants to show you how you can travel better and smarter like never before. So, if you want to check out his travel blog, you can do so by visiting Daily Tourist.
Las Vegas is the kind of place, where you set your foot and your money gets drained. The glitzy clubs, high-end resorts and not to mention the notorious casinos cost copious amount of money.
Many of us walk on a tightrope while traveling. It comes in handy to know some things which can be done freely. That too in Vegas!
BUT FIRST, WHERE TO STAY
We like Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Located adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center and just one block away from the Las Vegas Strip, it offers classic entertainment and some of the largest rooms in Las Vegas. For all the accommodation issues, visit link and they will look after you.
FREE CIRCUS SHOW
Circus-Circus is a place where you can watch the show for free. On the compound, acrobats perform stunts and magicians weave their magic. You can take a seat to your liking and get awed by the sheer perfection at performances.
Every day this world’s largest permanent circus gives away a ten minutes free show. The Cirque de Soleil also offers free tours in months of August from 11 am to 11:30 am. Have fun gawking at the massive production house.
VIEW INCREDIBLE ART
Las Vegas is not only for partying. It has got some brilliant artists. You can stroll the city and come across some artsy campuses where you can discover upcoming talents. The City Center campus sports artwork of famous artists.
Inside the mall, you can see Shards of Color – a masterpiece of James Turrell. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas & P3 studio are places where you can have a tour by yourself, and without the artistic geniuses.
WANDER THE STREETS
On the streets of Vegas Boulevard, you need to have the immense will power to resist the shops. The Grand Bazaar Shops offer you open-air shopping. You can stroll around and do some window shopping.
If hungry, you can dine here as well. From 10 am to 10 pm you can indulge your eyes in drooling over things you want to buy.
If you find something in your budget, you can buy it. There is a multitude of shops to explore in the Strip. You can visit the museum – The Polaroid Fotobar.
There are no entry fees to pay. It has a vast collection of photos from great photographers. Or Click a selfie in front of Swarovski to make your friends jealous!
Hershey’s chocolate world, as well as M&M’s world, are places which are heaven for chocoholics. You can enter here for free.
But be warned the chocolaty delights which will be displayed in front of you are sin incarnate. You will be tempted to buy them.
Sydney is one of the top destinations for world wanderers. What makes it so incredible is that there are hundreds of places to see and things to do. While the fun is guaranteed, you need to ensure you don’t waste your time in vain. That’s why you need to plan your stay thoroughly.
Note: If you are planning to visit Melbourne, know that Sydney is pretty close to Melbourne and if you have a few extra days, you can also check out Sydney. It’s especially worth your time and money if you are already planning a trip for some great events and the numerous festivals that Melbourne is famous for.
Plan Your Trip in Advance
In order to help you out, here are 3 tips for making the most of your stay in this marvelous city.
Sydney Opera House
Planning is the mother of both successful time-management and stress-management. Once, you book your airline tickets and set on your travel dates, next you must find a price-worthy hotel at a great location which gives you the most value for your money. We recommend Hotel in the Rocks as one such place with great views and great location.
Next, you should write down the top places you would like to visit and the things you would like to do. Since that also depends on your budget, you should take it into consideration your budget and how much time you have.
If you have no idea how to do this, you can simply google the top tourist attractions in Sydney. When the results pop up, you will find information on the price per each site or activity.
For example, if you want to take a guided tour inside the Sydney Opera house, you can search for “Sydney Opera House tour price” and you will easily find it. It’s the era of the internet and technology, so make the most of it.
Below is our suggestion of the top 7 attractions in Sydney.
Top 7 Must Visit Places in Sydney
To help you out with this, we have compiled a list of the top places every person should visit in Sydney. Let’s check it out.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge – You not only can visit it by standing next to it but you can also climb it. It’s a little pricey but the experience is enthralling. There are great guided tours that allow you to experience the enchanting view over the Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera House.
Sydney Opera House – The best way to visit the Opera House is by taking a tour inside of it. But, you can also watch a show. You can choose which one you like more.
Bondi Beach, Sydney
Bondi Beach – If you are going on a summer holiday, you have to spend part of it on the beach. Although there are hundreds of beautiful beaches within the city boundaries, Bondi Beach is the most popular of all, so you mustn’t miss it.
Darling Harbour, Sydney
Darling Harbour – Being made of large pedestrian and recreational areas, Sydney Harbour is a great place to spend some quality time. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can find great food and drinks and enjoy the view.
A Koala at the Taronga Zoo
Taronga Zoo – If you want to see some local and exotic animals, you have to visit the famous Taronga Zoo. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon, especially if you are traveling with kids since there are a cafe and a food market.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
The Royal Botanic Gardens – When looking for a peaceful place within the city, you should look no further because the Royal Botanic Gardens offer exactly that. Located near the Sydney CBD, this place offers a wonderful nature with incredible flora and the peacefulness you are looking for.
The Rocks – Being one of the oldest neighborhoods in Sydney, the Rocks are an inevitable tourist spot. There are plenty of hotels, historic pubs, and cafes where you can experience part of the history of Australia.
Explore the City
Panoramic view of Sydney at night
While visiting the top tourist attractions and places in Sydney is a great way to explore the city, it’s actually just one part of the whole experience. In order to make the most of your stay in the city, you should explore it from end to end. You can do that in two ways.
Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour – Bus tours are a great way to see the city, its buildings, streets, public areas, parks, and sites without spending much of your time. Taking a hop-on hop-off bus tour saves you from the trouble to look for public transport lines and tickets.
Take a cruise – Apart from exploring the city from the ground, you can also explore it from the water. There are plenty of cruises including, dinner, lunch, and wine tasting cruises, you can take in order to enjoy your time while exploring.
You can also ride on a ferry to Manly Beach. This ride is affordable, yet will offer you the chance to see the harbor, the Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House.
Ask any scouser and they’ll tell you; Liverpool is one of the best cities in the world. From the incredible architecture to the thriving music scene, the roaring nightlife to the iconic fashion; there’s no wonder that people flock from all corners of the globe to get a taste of the Liverpool way of life!
“Liverpool is one of the wonders of Britain … In a word, there is no town in England, London excepted, that can equal it for the fineness of the streets, and the beauty of the buildings.” – Daniel Defoe, A tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1721–1726)
Context if you are visiting outside of the UK
The Beatles statue in Liverpool
Liverpool is a city in England within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire, famed for its football teams, the Grand National horse race, music (including The Beatles), vibrant nightlife, and its links with the arts and culture.
The city served as one of the leading ports linking Europe to the Americas, expanding to become England’s second most populated city by the mid-19th century.
Liverpool in the 18th century
Before airline travel, many Europeans migrating to the New World passed through the city, particularly the Italians and Irish. To this day the city enjoys a large Irish community, with impressive cathedrals for the Anglican and Roman Catholic faiths.
Hop on hop off to Anfield
24 Hours In Liverpool
If you’re strapped for time but you still want to get the most out of the scouse scene, here are our top tips for spending 24 hours in Liverpool.
“One of the neatest, best towns I have seen in England.” – John Wesley’s Journal (1755)
Liverpool waterfront view
Kick-off the day with breakfast
Make sure you’ve got the energy for a full day of sightseeing with a hearty breakfast. If you’re looking for the works, head to Moose Coffee on Dale Street, or go for somewhere cute and quirky by trying out Love Locks, a hidden gem on Old Haymarket.
Or, if you want to head to a secret breakfast haven that only the locals know about, go to The Hole in the Wall Cafe, which is tucked away on School Lane, and build your own breakfast!
Enjoy the waterfront
As one of the UK’s most famous shipping ports, Liverpool’s waterfront is truly a sight to behold! The Pier Head has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Wander around the pier head for some spectacular views, or take a ferry across the Mersey for the ultimate tourist experience.
Whilst you’re in the area, don’t forget to head to the Albert Dock for an eclectic mix of history and food and drink – you’ll find the Tate Gallery, and the Maritime and Slavery Museums as well as plenty of places to enjoy a cheeky cocktail with a view!
Take in the incredible architecture
One of the most famous landmarks in Liverpool is the Three Graces which includes the Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building, and Port of Liverpool Building at the Pier Head. (pictured below)
Sunset view behind the Three Graces
Liverpool is home to not one, but two awe-inspiring cathedrals. Enjoy the gorgeous panoramic stained glass of the Catholic Cathedral (affectionately named ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’ by locals).
Next, then take a trip through the Georgian architecture of Hope Street to reach the enormous Anglican Cathedral.
And if you’re feeling particularly spirited, climb the 108 steps to the very top for panoramic views of the whole city.
Or, if your religion is more of the football variety, take a trip to either Anfield or Goodison Park to learn the history of Liverpool’s two rival football clubs!
Museum of Liverpool
Located in the Pier Head on the riverside, the Museum of Liverpool is a large museum that covers all about the city of Liverpool and its history from ancient inhabitants of the area to its modern revival. Entry is FREE for all.
Bold Street, in particular, has a huge range of independent restaurants where you can sample everything from the authentic Indian street food at Mowgli to the delicious food at Slims!
Or, if your taste is a little more indie, why not head to the famous Baltic Triangle where you can enjoy a range of bites amongst some of Liverpool’s most striking street art. (Perfect if you want some snaps for Instagram!)
Some of the best food venues that you must visit during your trip to Liverpool are:
Slims on Bold Street
Duke Street Market
Dale Street Eatery
El Pecado Bold Street
Down the Hatch on Bold Street
Party the night away
Liverpool city at night
For a true tourist experience head to the Cavern on Mathew Street, and sip a cold one in the same place those four lads from Liverpool used to play, or, if you’ve packed your dancing boots enjoy a cocktail in one of the many bars of Seek Street for a club night you won’t forget.
If you’re planning well in advance, try to get tickets for Bongo’s Bingo – the international phenomenon that started its journey in Liverpool, for a night of (quite literally) dancing on the tables!
Get to know the locals
However you decide to spend your 24 hours in Liverpool, make sure you take the time to chat with some locals.
Scousers are renowned worldwide for being some of the funniest, warmest characters on the planet.
Every local you meet will have his or her own secrets to share with you, and we’re never too busy to point you in the right direction!
Samantha (Sam) is a blogger at The Daily Struggle, a Liverpool/UK based women’s lifestyle digital magazine and blog.
Ruins photography is a relatively new form of photography that focuses on the aesthetic and artistic value of modern urban decay. It’s increasingly becoming popular and getting notoriety.
In ruin photography, the subjects are typically large industrialized cities (e.g. New York City, Chicago, or Detroit) but can be any landscape, building, or symbolic representation of modern ruin and deindustrialization.
An abandoned factory hall in ruins
Ruins photography aestheticizes the abandonment and decline of the city most of all and has sparked conversations about the role of art in various revitalization and restoration projects from Detroit to Berlin.
San Galgano Abbey Ruins
Popular staples of ruins photography can include abandoned houses, neglected factories left over from the Industrial Revolution or auto industry booms, as well as bridges, abandoned lots, tenant or apartment buildings, or gutted theaters or offices.
Heiligendamm Villa Ruin in Germany
The style relies heavily on lighting, detail close-ups, long shots, and digital imaging.
Ruins photography is different from historical architectural photography in that it does not focus on comparisons between past and present but instead focuses on the state of the subject and how it came to be dilapidated.
Summit Castle, Burgruine in Switzerland in Ruins
Ruins photography as a way of marketing for potential tourism, while yet others have insisted that it can serve as a powerful call to action to do something about the city.
Detroit, Michigan is a major center for ruins photography. Since manufacturing jobs began leaving the city in the 1950s, Detroit has not only seen a decline in population, but also has seen many buildings and homes abandoned, vandalized, and destroyed.
Many other major cities and smaller settlements that once thrived have decayed over periods of time, some even becoming ghost towns due to economic hardship or civil unrest.
The town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, saw its population vanish due to a fire that spread from a nearby cemetery and ended up sparking smoldering flames in extensive abandoned coal mines below the district.
The state of Pennsylvania has blocked roads to the area, but there are about ten vigilant inhabitants that remain. Other examples of urban decay include Gary, Indiana, and Camden, New Jersey.
Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan was an empty island that became populated due to its coal deposits. Home to some of Japan’s first concrete high rise buildings, it became a ghost town when petroleum replaced coal.
Another example of a ghost town is Kolmanskop, Namibia, built by Germans into a successful diamond mining community. After the mining stopped and the workers left, the desert repossessed the area.
For many of our readers, thinking about travel brings to mind beautiful, charming cities with magnificent waterfronts. After all, why not visit a place where you can spend your time in the arms of nature? Who doesn’t want that?
The sound of rushing water touches us deeply. Our minds work to capture the beautiful locations as a sense of peace flows over us. These moments stir the desire in us to return to this heaven.
So for the planning of your next vacation, we present you with some of the most beautiful waterfront cities around the world.
The famous capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, is in Northern Holland. The river Amstel is a key geographical feature of the city, as it runs through the center of the city.
Amsterdam has around 90 islands, 100 kilometers of canals and 1500 bridges. The canals have cafes along with them which fill to capacity with visitors on sunny days.
If you are a camera fiend, you must visit the city’s most beautiful street, Brouwersgracht. Or stop by the Canal Ring or Grachtengordel to enjoy a leisurely romantic time with your partner by the waterside.
Amsterdam is also a city for fashion lovers, and shopaholics, due to the colossal variety of items and brands! For all the bicycle lovers there is good news.
The best way to discover Amsterdam’s canals and streets is aboard a bike. This cultural city has several famous museums like the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum.
Sydney is on the east coast of Australia. It attracts numerous tourists every year from all over the world due to its world renown sunny beaches and natural beauty. Also, this city has the finest harbor in the world.
Sydney has a broad range of modern and old architecture. If you visit, then you must stop by the most architecturally significant building, the Sydney Opera House. You should either catch a live performance or go backstage if you can.
Enjoying the blue water from 200 steps above the Sydney Harbour Bridge is a once in a lifetime experience.
If you are a wildlife lover, Sydney has a great biodiversity of native flora and fauna. However, the birds should be the first to get attention. You can visit the Royal National Park or the Taronga Zoo to get started.
Venice, Italy is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a world heritage site. Interestingly, the streets of Venice are integrated with the water. Small bridges, high buildings and a lot of boats create an environment without any traffic stress or pollution.
The antique palaces and sparkling canals are not the only reason to visit this aging city. Magical islands, beautiful cathedrals and of course, local wineries, are a symbol of the city’s rich cultural heritage.
If you are on the hunt for boutiques do not miss the Piazza San Marco. Furthermore, every visitor should make time to see the Basilica di San Marco, which is a Byzantine monument.
San Francisco, California is a city filled with sun and a warm glow. Plus, for all the science lovers out there, you can enjoy the Exploratorium. This ‘public learning laboratory’ has a glass bay observatory along with a museum displaying experiential exhibits.
You can also visit one of the city’s maritime epicenters, the Hyde Street Pier, to watch shipbuilders assemble boats. The historic ferry building offers many panoramic views of the bay.
In addition, the Golden Gate Park has oceanfront trails that you cannot miss! Animal lovers watch out for the migratory blue whales!
RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio (in Brazil) is the city of carnivals. It is a marvelous city, known for its charming, colorful views and lively culture. There is a ridiculous number of beaches across the city which lie opposite to the giant mountains.
You can cruise along the long sidewalks running parallel to the beaches. Or you can ride cable cars to Pão de Açúcar or go down to the city’s famous nightclubs like Circo Voador to enjoy samba music.
Hello, foodies! Wander down the Rua Dias Ferreira to find the city’s best restaurants. Top it all of by exploring the streets of Urca to discover the colonial architecture.
Quirky museums are present all around the World. From displaying profane things to perfect artifacts, museums give us immense knowledge.
If you bored of knowing about the age-old history of the British empire? Then London has some quirky museums that are worth a visit. You might think these museums strange, but they are impressive.
So go offbeat, away from crowded parts of London, and discover something – that’s fun!
Walk down 136 Kingsland Road and be surprised. Geffrye Museum is set apart from the traditional museums, because of its ideas. What is the purpose of a museum? Geffrye Museum serves that need. It takes you back in time. But not through decayed artifacts and coins.
There are eleven different rooms. Each room displays how a room used to be in a particular era. You can walk in from the Victorian period to the medieval and back to modern in no time! Talk about time travel.
Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising
Want to have a look at a KitKat dating back to 1930? Or would you like to have a swig at the oldest coca-cola bottle? We are just kidding. Apparently, you can’t. But you can have a glance at it in the Museum of Brands, Packaging, and Advertising.
Items from the Victorian age have been displayed. You will be taken through the time tunnel. You will have a look at the product lines of companies from the 1800s to the present age.
The Magic Circle Museum
Magicians from around the world visit this quirky museum. It is like a Mecca to them. The Magic Circle has a library, museum, headquarters. Entry is only available to members. But you can view the museum which is on the lower floor. Magic Circle has established 111 years ago.
But in 1998 the museum was opened, which hosts a variety of posters, ephemera, and artifacts related to magic. A look across the tokens of magicians from the past is a treat to watch.
The father of Psychology – Sigmund Freud was a genius. He studied psychoanalysis and wrote the first ever book in that genre –The Interpretation of Dreams. If you want to have a peek into the mind of the father of psychology, what better way than to see his home?
Freud Museum has been untouched, the family heirlooms and Freud’s belongings still sit at the exact place. It would be fun to see where Freud sat and meditated- yeah, his couch.
Every fancy and classy is displayed in traditional museums. The crown of kings, swords used to slay enemies, the boot of the great. But did you ever think of a museum which would preserve and display a tooth?
Of course, the tooth is not a regular human tooth, but the teeth of an extinct giant sloth. That is when we decided to include it in our quirky museums.
Hunterian Museum in Holburn takes you on a tour through the pathological and anatomical history of mankind. A massive skeleton is also on the show (but it is not of a beast). Don’t let your imagination run with you. It belongs to an Irish giant who was 7ft 7in tall.
Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum /CC0
Everyone wants to visit the Natural History Museum and for good reasons. It is worth visiting and hence this is an honorary mention.
The Natural History Museum in London is a natural history museum that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history.
Family trips are fun, especially when your kids have never been to the intended weekend destination. My family always looks at these trips as an adventure, a learning experience, and a chance for quality time together.
Trip with family / The Art of Travel
This past weekends trip was no different when a family friend invited us to use his condo on St Philips Street in the historic city of New Orleans. The apartment is pretty much in the center of the French Quarters a block from famous Bourbon Street.
I learned something about Uber drivers, my kids fell in love with Cajun food, and we were able to spread some joy to passerby from our balcony.
I love historical areas that are old and rich in history. New Orleans has this and more leaving no doubt why there’re so many books, stories, movies and TV shows based on this area.
The first learning experience I will share is one that shocked my kids. Now my kids are teenagers, so they pick up on everything out of the ordinary and this trip they did not let me down.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
Teaching and learning
Imagine driving through small one-way alley-like streets, not well lit at 2 am. You are trying to find the place you are staying, and you see blankets on the sidewalks. People are moving around almost zombish, and then your youngest son says, “OMG mom is that guy is using the bathroom on the sidewalk.”
Well, yes he was and it was gross. But instead of being freaked out I took it as a conversational moment to talk to my kids about homeless people and why they think there were so social issues such as homelessness in this region.
Civics class at 2 am but it did spark some interesting conversation and made my kids think. These are the best teachable moments to me.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
A few hours of sleep, and we were up and off to have breakfast in the Big Easy. We found a cafe not far from St Philips street called French Toast on Decatur Street. The name was not misleading, some of the best french toast I have ever had, and the restaurant staff was friendly. We checked in on Yelp, and they had a table waiting for us when we arrived.
From there we stopped by Belle’s Diner Nola also on Decatur St where we had a tasty Cajun Bloody Mary. One of the cool things about the Big Easy is you can take your drinks with you as you browse the street markets.
Bloody Mary Cocktail / The Art of Travel Partners
The cemeteries, also known in New Orleans as the “Cities of the Dead,” always amaze me. Some tombs and mausoleums are from the 1700s. Most of the people are buried in tombs above ground because New Orleans is basically a swamp.
Posing for photo / The Art of Travel
You can visit the “Voodoo Queen” herself, Marie Laveau which was a little on the expensive side to me for a $20 tour fee per person. If this is something you want to visit, then you will find her in the St. Louis Cemetery No 1 that is closest to the French Quarters.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
If you are looking to save money skip the St. Louis Cemeteries and head over to the Lafayette Cemetery.
Lafayette Cemetery / The Art of Travel
Some Tips on Lafayette Cemetery
I prefer to visit the Lafayette Cemetery because you can enter for free and if you want a tour its tip based. One other note, if you decide to Uber around the French Quarters don’t tell the driver your destination if the Uber happens to call you before arrival.
I found out the hard way they will cancel the ride if they think they will not make much money off your trip. Hint, hint, Uber drivers can’t see your intended destination until they pick you up.
Beautiful French Quarters / The Art of Travel Partners
Our condo for the weekend was better than any hotel, so I’ve saved the best for last. The building was built before 1800 and the owners did a great job of keeping it authentic with a few modern conveniences such as the updated bathroom and kitchenette. It was a real breath of fresh air.
The place was excellent, historic but what it even more special was the ability to make the people walking below happy. Our friends had installed bubble machines.
Yes, bubbles. We had walked, shopped, dined, and did the tourist things but at the end of the day we ended up on the lacy balcony overlooking Royal and St Philips street.
We followed our friends advice and turned on the bubble machine. Everyone walking by stopped to take notice of the bubbles floating down the streets.
What was even better was there were weddings taking place where they had brass marching bands leading the bridal parties in true New Orleans style, and we got to add to that with our bubbles.
View from the balcony / The Art of Travel
People were videoing, taking selfies, cheering, and saying thank you for the simple glistening, soapy pockets of air floating down to them.
The evening turned out to be simple, it didn’t cost us anything, the kids put down their phones, and we had several hours of just quality family time spent laughing and talking.
This was a good experience for the whole family, one I will not soon forget. One that every family should experience.
Sheila Lynne – ever changing and growing, I am a mom, reader, writer, chef, wine connoisseur, craft beer drinker, adventurer, traveler, friend, mentor, and photographer.
The past twenty years I ran multi-million dollar businesses for management companies. I was highly successful because I was an analyzer, listener, and have learned interpersonal development with my teams and customers. These are skills that I will carry with me through my life endeavors starting with my new writing pursuits.
I am fortunate now that I get to do what I love and I have the natural ability to write about it as you will see with my writing, putting myself out there for the world one letter at a time.
The goal is for me to be published and at some point make money doing it. I want to live. I want to write. I want to share it with you.
Overlooked for decades by tourists flocking to resorts on the Costa del Sol, Malaga has come of age and is now ready to rival Europe’s best when it comes to quality of life for its citizens.
Named the European Capital of Culture in 2016, Malaga has every right to be pleased with the way Mayor Francisco de la Torre has turned a once-gritty port into a 21st-century city.
Photo: Malaga Port / The Art of Travel Partners
Malaga Travel Guide
Today Malaga is brimming with a youthful vigor following a multimillion renovation of the city’s port (pictured above) that includes the giant glass cubed Pompidou Centre, the museums first venture outside of France.
The city that gave the world Picasso also has its own Soho art district and a branch of the St. Petersburg State Museum that includes a collection of Russian art that spans five centuries.
Photo: Christmas in Malaga / The Art of Travel Partners
Malaga is also proud of its multi-layered past that encompasses several civilizations dating back to the Phoenicians. Where else in the world could you find a boutique hotel squeezed between a Moorish fortress and a Roman amphitheater?
Packed with bars and restaurants that would rival Madrid, Malaga has a food culture that embraces humble tapas bars and Michelin star seeking restaurants serving the freshest of seafood.
Photo: Eating fish in Malaga / The Art of Travel Partners
In fact, the natives eat so much fish that the local football team is known as the Boquerones (Spanish fried Anchovy).
Things To Do In Malaga
Málaga has become a well-known place for visiting art galleries, historical sites, and monuments in the South of Europe.
Start your tour of Malaga on the northern side of the Paseo del Parque where you can see Roman, Arab, and Renaissance culture side by side.
Photo: Islamic Architecture / The Art of Travel Partners
Built above a Roman amphitheater is the Alcazaba Fortress from where the Moors ruled Malaga for over 700 years.
Photo: Alcazaba Fortress / The Art of Travel Partners
Situated under the Alcazaba facing a small plaza are the beautiful remains of an old Roman theater. You can view them anytime from the overlook in the plaza, but if you want to get up close you can enter the attached building, where you’ll be shown a short film and view some artifacts before entering the theater itself, where you can walk past the old stage and sit on the stone steps. FREE.
Castillo de Gibralfaro
Further, up Gibralfaro hill you will come to the magnificent Castillo de Gibralfaro, a fortress that dates back to the 10th century with panoramic views of the city below.
Museo de Malaga
For a look into the civilizations that called Malaga home visit the impressive Museo de Malaga in the Palacio de la Aduana, a neoclassical building built in the style of an Italian Renaissance palace.
Here you will discover artifacts dating back thousands of years and a collection of paintings from Spain’s greatest artists.
The Picasso Museum is located close to the Plaza de la Merced in the Old Town and features 233 pieces spanning 80 years of the artist’s life.
Photo: Picasso Museum / The Art of Travel Partners
Museo Casa Natal de Picasso, as it is called locally has loads of objects and some paintings that the most famous artist of the 20th century created during his childhood.
Museo Carmen Thyssen
If you are interested in learning more about the 19th-century Spanish art a visit to the Museo Carmen Thyssen is a must with the museum’s permanent collection containing 230 paintings.
Centre Pompidou Malaga
Photo: Centre Pompidou Malaga / The Art of Travel Partners
Modern art enthusiasts will love the cubist Centre Pompidou Malaga an offshoot of the popular Parisian museum showcasing contemporary works of art.
Located right in the heart of the city center and well worth visiting.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
Malaga has exceptional road and motorway links, making it an excellent base for exploring the nearby villages and towns.
Wonderful drives inland reveal the hidden gems of this region, with small restaurants nestling in the hills where you can experience a truly authentic taste of Andalucia.
There are also several tourist holiday resorts within reach, such as:
Photo: Nerja / The Art of Travel Partners
There is lots of great rock climbing in and around Malaga.
Photo: El Caminito del Rey / The Art of Travel Partners
The amazing El Chorro gorge is 50 minutes drive to the North West and this also features the King’s little pathway (aka El Caminito del Rey), an amazing pathway suspended high above the gorge.
There is also Via Ferrata and rock climbing at El Torcal near Antequera.
The nearest beach to the center is La Malagueta. Please note, La Malagueta is fine for a day’s sunbathing although quieter and prettier beaches can be found further east or west.
It can be a nice walk along the waterfront to reach these beaches, otherwise, you could get a bus from near the Bullring in the direction of El Palo.
Photo: Bullring / The Art of Travel Partners
Note: Malaga East tends to have smaller beaches while Malaga West have long stretches of beaches.
Best Time To Visit
With an average of 320 days of sunshine a year Malaga is the perfect place for a weekend getaway and with just about every low-cost airline serving the city you have no excuse not to visit.
With so much to see and do in this exciting city, Malaga is worth a visit at any time of the year.
Photo: Life in Malaga / The Art of Travel Partners
From the airport, you have several options for getting into the city. You can take the airport express bus to the city center or a train from the airport to Malaga-Centro Alameda Station. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or rent a car from one of the many car companies operating out of the airport.
Once in Malaga getting around is easy with most of the places you want to visit all within walking distance. Malaga also has an extensive cycle lane network with rental bike pickup and drop off locations throughout the city.
A great way to see the best of what the city has to offer including a ride out to the beach is to take the hop-on-hop-off bus. The bus stops at all the major attractions and allows you to ride as much as you want for a one-off fee.
Nicola Kennedy works with Malaga Airport Taxis, helping visitors to Spain get the most out of their holiday. She loves sharing her travel adventures and helping others appreciate the wonderful country of Spain.
Typical British weather means that it is going to rain at some point during your visit to London. If you haven’t brought an umbrella, you severely under packed.
However, the rain won’t dampen your spirits because there is still so much to do and get the most out of your trip.
Best Indoor Attractions In London
Get settled in, store your luggage in London and get ready to enjoy yourselves. Below are some of the best thing to do in London when you can’t be outside or don’t feel like exploring the outdoors.
1. London Dungeon
Delve into the ancient capital’s most horrible history at the London Dungeon. Experience live actors, thrilling rides, and exciting special effects. Step back into the darkest of times… given you are brave enough to face 90 minutes of London’s dark past?
Vengeance: the UK’s first 5D laser ride has been unleashed at the London Dungeon. A Victorian séance has gone wrong… As you spin around in the darkness, can you duck, dive, dodge and shoot your way out?
A high speed, high adrenaline ride, this is the ultimate ghost hunt with you at the heart of the action.
2. Warner Bros. Studio Tour
If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter film franchise, this is going to be at the top of your list. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London provides an amazing new opportunity to explore the sets of the books and films you fell in love with.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
This unique walking tour takes you behind-the-scenes and showcases a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes, and props.
It also reveals some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animations that made these films so hugely popular all over the world.
Explore the Great Hall, marvel at Dumbledore’s office and see how all the wonderful creatures were brought to life.
3. Covered markets
London markets have enjoyed a rich and vibrant history through the ages. From feeding the first settlers in the area to becoming major centers of commerce as London grew; to their present role as not only shopping hubs but tourist attractions in their own right.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
Greenwich Market is a fine example of a Victorian covered market, and Leadenhall Market or Coventry Garden Market also have similar traditional structures.
Borough Market isn’t a bad place to get caught in the rain either, especially if you’re hungry.
4. Royal Opera House Backstage Tour
See London’s iconic concert hall as never before in a behind-the-scenes tour. Get up close and personal with its nooks and crannies, discover the building’s colorful history and gain a special insight into its current performances.
You may even get the chance to see The Royal Ballet in class or some of the slick backstage technology in action. All with nary a drop of rain in sight.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
The Royal Opera House is a Grade I-listed building, and with its beautiful modern additions, it is a striking Covent Garden landmark.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
Book in advance for a behind-the-scenes tour, or just drop in for a visit: the foyer spaces (refurbished in 2018), café, restaurant, and bar are open to the public every day from 10 am.
5. National History Museum
If you have never been, now id the best time. Diving through the heart of Hintze Hall, a gigantic blue whale skeleton leads a cast of natural world stars, telling the dramatic story of evolution, diversity in the world today and our urgent role in the planet’s future.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
This real, 25.2-meter female whale skeleton is surrounded by hundreds of new specimens across three floors, including ten other star specimens in the ground floor wonder bays.
The Museum offers a wide-ranging programme of temporary exhibitions and events all year round which inspires a love of the natural world and educates on the power of nature.
6. London Aquarium
This one is for you animal lovers. If you have little ones, they will bask in the glory of creatures and colors they have never seen before. Take a stroll under the sea as you pass through our amazing glass tunnel. Shoals of glittering fish flutter along beside you whilst enormous Green Sea turtles glide slowly over your head.
You’ll continue your journey of discovery as you explore the mysterious creatures that inhabit the world’s coastlines, species ranging from the depths of the Pacific Ocean to the breadth of the Atlantic.
7. Royal Observatory
Stand on the world-famous Meridian Line with one foot in the west and one foot in the east. Discover the past, present and future wonders of astronomy at the centre of time.
With your complimentary audio guide, learn about the discoveries of great scientists and inventors based at or associated with the Royal Observatory. Explore how great scientists first mapped the seas and the stars in Charles II’s magnificent Christopher Wren-designed Octagon Room – dating from 1675.
Marvel at the Great Equatorial Telescope, the UK’s largest historic telescope which gave astronomers new views of the universe over 100 years ago.
8. Art galleries
There are many in London and most of them are free. If you’re right in the centre but you get caught in a downpour in Trafalgar Square, then the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and Somerset House are all within a couple of minutes’ walk of each other.
These are obviously the most well-known but there are plenty of other options such as The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian, famous for its futuristic painting styles and Dulwich Picture Gallery, specialising in the greats such as Canaletto, Rembrandt and Gainsborough. However, they also have temporary exhibitions featuring new and emerging artists.
The final thing to do on this list is a bit of a treat. You HAVE to come here and indulge into the gorgeous hot chocolate they have to offer.
Photo: The Art of Travel Partners
Its version of the cocoa classic comes with whipped cream, large pink marshmallows, a dusting of cocoa and a magic wand of curled chocolate. You can also choose from 70-percent-cocoa-butter dark, 38 percent milk or 29 percent white chocolate.
Tokyo is simply one of the world’s most fascinating cities of the world. Not only does it offer some of the most modern and advanced technological innovations but it also shows you a completely different side of it full of shrines and little snippets of how Japan used to be in the past.
Must Do In Tokyo
Japan’s capital is truly one of the most crowded cities in the world and it just introduces you to a place where you can always find something interesting to do.
From its amazing food to the world-famous sites and attractions, Tokyo is truly a city worth visiting. Here are some of the top 10 things you should do while visiting.
1. Meiji Shrine
If you want to see something different from the crazy everyday rhythms of the life in the city, the Meiji Shrine will truly help you find a serene and quite place to visit on your journey.
Built and dedicated to the late 19th-centure Emperor Meiji who opened Japan to the West, this shrine is just a beautiful spiritual place that is not that big or a tourist trap.
Before entering the old temple to pray, you are able to wash your face and mouth at the cleansing station’s communal water tank and you will also be able to write little wishes on a small piece of paper which you can tie on the prayer wall of the shrine, just like the locals do.
If you’re lucky, you might even come across a traditional wedding through the courtyard which will just allow you a peak into Japan’s traditions and beautiful traditional dresses. You might also want to keep in mind though that during New Years, this beautiful shrine can gather a crowd or a million if not more people who wish to celebrate together.
2. Tokyo Tower
Did you know that Japan has created something similar to the Eiffel Tower of Paris? Indeed, this incredibly tall structure actually stands 13 meters taller that the actual Eiffel Tower and it remains one of the most amazing things to witness in Japan.
You can actually even go to the observatory which has been built on the tower, where you will be able to be 150 meters above the ground and observe the beauty of Tokyo for high above. Sadly, the 250m special observatory is not available to the public due to renovations, but you will still be able to see a lot from that big of a height.
The Tokyo Tower truly is the most amazing attraction you will be able to spot from all the rest of the observatories in Tokyo and it is truly glorious to look at even during the night.
If you have ever been intrigued by Japan’s favorite sport and wanted to know more about it, this is the best chance for you to do so. You truly won’t be able to understand the character and intensity of this sport until you get to witness it in person.
You can watch Sumo wrestling practice at the Hakkaku Sumo Stable in Tokyo but you will have to know that this is not a fun game. This is a serious tradition and the fights are legitimate so you will have to be respectful to the people and serious about the situation in order to truly enjoy this incredible sport.
4. Walk across Shibuya Crossing
This is probably one of the most common things you have seen in movies and videos about Tokyo. The Shibuya Crossing is one of those things that are always on every visitor’s “to-do-list” and so it should be on yours too.
Not only is this perfectly organized but chaotic crossing fun to watch but it also shows a lot about how in order everything in Japan is. After you cross this awesome crossing yourself, you can easily take a break at the Starbucks nearby and get a better look at it from their 2nd-story window.
5. Sing Karaoke
One of the things that are very popular about Tokyo’s nightlife definitely has to be its Karaoke places. Karaoke plays a very important role in the Japanese culture and it’s something that you can often see presented as a fun activity in many animes.
Tokyo is truly full of all different kinds of Karaoke places where you will be able to even rent a room for you and your friends to have fun, eat, drink and sing to your heart’s content.
6. Try a Kimono fitting
Kimonos are some of the most beautiful pieces of clothing in the Japanese culture, Traditionally worn by all women on special occasions, they each have unique colors and patterns in order to fit the person’s likings and can truly be an awesome thing to try while visiting Japan.
There are actually a couple places where you will be able to try on a Kimono in Tokyo and you can ask a tour guide to help you even find a tour where you will be able to for example walk the streets of Asakusa in a Kimono for a truly unique Japanese experience.
7. Visit a Cat Café
Whether you are a cat lover on not, this is definitely a thing that you have to try and which can possibly help change your attitude regarding these furry creatures. Cat cafes are actually a very common thing in Tokyo.
They are essentially exactly what you are imagining; a café where you can have a nice cup of coffee and at the same time play with a couple cute kitties. If you give it a go, you might even come across a dog café and even a cute café where there are also hedgehogs!
8. Have Ramen at the Ramen Museum
Located just a little bit out of town, the Ramen Museum is pretty much an accurate representation of how Tokyo used to look in the 60s. Not only will you be able to go through the various narrow streets of “old Tokyo” but you will also be able to have a selection of amazing ramen restaurants at your fingertips.
There are quite a few things you can see and learn while visiting this place, but most importantly you will be able to taste and enjoy some traditionally cooked ramen.
Japan is surely known for its crazy technological innovations and one of the most fascinating ones has to be the vending machines. No matter where you come from, you have definitely come across the original vending machines which serve snacks and sometimes even warm and cold drinks.
Japan has simply taken this to a whole new level and even offers restaurants which solely work with vending machines serving anything from ramen, to milkshakes to even grilled sandwiches and you should definitely not leave Japan without visiting one.
10. Stay in a Capsule Hotel
Another thing that you should definitely give a try is spending a night in a capsule hotel. This is something that you should definitely avoid though if you are afraid of small spaces as this is essentially and small-sized pod which allows you to get a night’s rest without having to worry about spending too much on accommodation.
One of the most popular capsule hotels in Tokyo is Capsule Net Omotenashi, so you should definitely give this awesome invention a try and see if this might be a great way for you to travel on a tighter budget.
Tokyo is full of wonders
There are truly so many things to see and do while staying in Tokyo that no matter how long you stay you will wish you had a few days more. These 10 things will definitely make your trip to Tokyo a memorable one and have you wanting to come back for more!
Which one are you the most excited to try while being in Tokyo?
Preston Felix is a graphic designer, traveler and freelance writer for Rewarded Essays. He is passionate about covering topics on blogging, traveling, business writing and self-improvement.
As a 30th birthday present, my wonderful girlfriend presented me with tickets to New York City in February 2018. Being from the UK, neither of us had ever been and I had always been convincing her to go but by the end of the trip, I think she could easily see why it had always been top of my travel bucket list.
So after a delayed flight, a rather undignified moment of some guy’s rancid sock poking me in the ear from behind my seat and a rather long queue at border control, we finally made it to the Big Apple and boy was it worth it!
Despite having some amazing European cities on our doorstep, we were not used to big skyscraper cities, and nothing could prepare us for the towering Juggernaut buildings that consumed us. So here we go, I’ve crammed this article with everything you need to prepare and enjoy a first-time visit to this magnificent city.
First Time New York Visitor Itinerary
So Many Activities!
New York City has five amazing borough’s to explore, each of which has its own personality and culture.
We stuck to Manhattan for the majority of our trip. As first timers, we were tourists wanting to see those famous sites and get our Instagram fix (I know, I know but embrace your inner tourist).
On our first day, we were just roaming around and that’s the great thing about this city, you’ll just be walking aimlessly around and then stumble upon something really cool and famous like Times Square.
This area is loud, manic and a real commercial overload but it is definitely something you have to experience, even if it is just once. With its giant advertising billboards and screens in every direction, it feels like it’s been designed by an advertising mad genius.
I was happy enough to have seen it and avoid it after but the thing is you tend to stray back to it at some point, especially on foot as it’s so central to a lot of the other sights and main avenues you pass.
Tip: Embrace your inner tourist and go into one of the many ‘I love NY stores’ – yes they’re a bit tacky but you want to bring something back to prove you went there, right?
The Empire State Building
The Rockefeller Centre and The Empire State Building are breathtaking – they sum up the perfect NYC experience in my opinion – gobsmacking views and the feeling like you’re actually on top of the world for a split second make it well worth it.
Many people argue which is better but in my opinion – do both! But do one at night and one during the day. We opted for the Empire State Building on our first day and although a little grey in the sky, this magnificent 102 story skyscraper will simply take your breath away.
Plus the lobby downstairs and the whole way leading up to the top floor are very grand and give you a real historical breakdown of how it was built and eventually finished in 1931.
Top of the Rock
The Rockefeller Center on the other hand or ‘Top of the Rock’ as the vantage point is well known was actually my highlight of the entire trip. We went around 11 pm at night and it was less crowded and if you get lucky like us, on a clear night you get great views of the Empire State building which make this a must-see.
Perhaps you could argue that this view is better for the Instagram account, as you get the Empire State in your picture, but both are good.
Tip: Embrace the guys in Midtown trying to sell you a city pass – they are well worth it. They give you discount on two major NYC attractions and you by-pass the queues when you enter each one. I heard a few people say ‘I wish we’d done that’ when queuing so don’t be petty, take advantage!
There are so many museums to see in NY but we only visited one and that was also a major highlight for both of us: The American Museum of Natural History.
Wow, this place is incredible and if you have kids, take them here.
They’ll get lost in this amazing world from seeing great North American mammals to the dark universe. We spent about 3 hours in here and we probably only saw a third of it – my inner geek was truly revealed here.
Tip: Get there early to avoid the crowds. Pay for the dark universe show which is like an all-around cinema above your heads, you’ll feel like you’re in a galaxy far far away. Also, the hall on the history of mankind is full of cool and pretty geeky bits of info about how we transformed from Apes to our current form today.
Broadway is astonishing. I’m no major theatre fanatic but whether you are or not I’d push a Broadway show nearer to the top of your list of things to do. We watched Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre (between 7th and 8th Avenue) which was built in early 1900’s, reportedly haunted but still, the place had charm and history coming out of its rooftops.
And the show itself was simply brilliant; from the amazing genie to all the props and the rest of the cast I’ll be singing ‘Arabian Nights’ for a long time to come.
Lion King, Wicked and Chicago are amongst the other popular choices while book adaptations like ‘The Curious Incident of the dog in the night time’ might warm others’ tastes. And to my amazement I got my beer served in an Aladdin beaker with a straw – how delightful.
Another great thing about NYC is that most of the really cool stuff is actually free such as walking along Brooklyn Bridge. Completed in 1883, it is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the United States, connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River.
When we walked across here it was around 20 odd degrees and very busy but it’s amazing, you just keep looking back at the towering skyscrapers behind you to the joggers and cyclists coming at you, and it’s here it really sinks in where you actually are. It’s brilliant and we walked all the way along to Brooklyn then hopped back on the subway so we only had to walk one way!
Admittedly, despite staying so close to it we didn’t see a whole lot of central park during our visit but we did walk through a decent portion of it on our walk to the museum. One thing I wasn’t a fan of was the number of people trying to sell the horse and carriage tours of the park – the horses looked a bit unhappy, to be honest, and it just put us both off.
We strolled through the Strawberry Fields which is a 2.5-acre landscaped section in the park that is dedicated to the memory of former Beatle John Lennon and named after the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever” written by Lennon.
It’s a nice touch and worth seeing. We also got a few photos of the boathouse and the lake before heading off. There is plenty more to see and even just people watching during the summer months I imagine is probably worth it plus it’s free to walk around one of the most famous urban parks in the world so why wouldn’t you.
I’ve seen the Wolf of Wall Street and I laughed all the way through. But when I think back to how greed has affected the world I was a bit miffed about seeing the financial district in lower Manhattan. But still, walking through Wall Street is another free experience that one simply cannot avoid on an NYC trip.
Get a coffee and watch the traders in their Gucci suits walk by, get your picture next to the raging bull and look around the fine shops like Tiffany’s – I almost got talked into buying a $15,000 watch – the shop assistant must have noticed I was wearing £70 walking shoes and thought ‘this guy’s got taste’!
Chelsea market is another amazing option to do for free (unless you spend a lot of money in the actual place) but we just enjoyed roaming around. This space is effortlessly cool – an enclosed urban food court, shopping mall, office building and television production facility located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
It’s near the Google office too if you’re a major tech fan. My girlfriend enjoyed the quirky boutique clothing shops and handmade jewelry and poster stalls.
Tip: If you do decide to visit the market, visit The High Line nearby which is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail. It’s well worth a stroll along where you get some fantastic alternative views of the old meatpacking district of Manhattan.
Chinatown is also worth a visit – its home to the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere with an estimated population of 90,000 to 100,000 people.
You come out of one neighborhood and then suddenly feel like you’re actually in China itself, it’s amazing it really is. Fresh fish is aplenty on sale here as is pig brains which to our delight was on the menu of a restaurant we decided to try.
We were being adventurous but the idea of the brains put us off instantly and we have to admit we just made a run for it. However, this remarkable mini-world within New York is a must-see for anyone.
Grand Central Terminal
The Grand Central Terminal is a commuter and intercity railroad terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown but is no ordinary station with its grand lobby and lower ground food court, it’s worth a visit.
We went at night when it was less busy which was good but I hear it’s worth coming here in the morning rush hour, just to see the daily commuters and thousands of people going about their business.
As it was a present, she did splurge out quite a bit on this one – so although this was probably one of the bigger costs of the trip it was well worth it. We stayed at the Park Lane Hotel which was old-world New York at its very best.
With its well-dressed frontage opening into a grand lobby, it had that old New York service feel and charm and the size of the bedrooms were fantastic. But it’s what’s outside the hotel that first wowed us – we were staying right along Central Park, one of the city’s most iconic attractions.
There are probably far cheaper options in a similar location but if you want a big, comfortable bed, spacious room and views over the central park to come back to every day, this hotel hits all the right notes.
We opted for a classic yellow cab to get us to and from the airport – it is reasonably expensive as the two main airports Newark & JK are both around 15 miles outside the city.
You’ll expect to pay around $85 there and they can charge anything on the way back so just double check. We jumped in with a Rastafarian guy from Brooklyn. He’d never been to England so I think he struggled to understand us and asked: “Are you Australian?”
I knew my days watching Home & Away would come back to haunt me. Anyways, once we got through the Lincoln tunnel, we found you can really save money on travel – we just walked and walked and walked.
Honestly, the moment you arrive in Manhattan you feel like you’re going to get lost in this 24 hour, non-stop metropolis, but here’s the thing – you don’t at all.
See Manhattan works on a grid system so you can easily navigate your way around, as long as you know your East from West and up or down you’ll soon get the hang of it.
Tip: Download the New York City Subway map to your phone before you go and use the subway – honestly, it’s fantastic! For 3-4 days I’d say you only need to put around $20 on a metro card each and you’ll be fine. We mainly walked around Midtown but when you want to go further uptown or downtown, the subway is a godsend!
Eating & Dining
Food is my second language!
For anyone who knows me well knows I like my food – a lot! And it was also one of the main reasons I’ve always wanted to come to New York City. Here, you have an abundance of cool coffee culture, cozy breakfast sit-ins, exquisite high-end restaurants, world famous pizza, grab me shakes and a whole lot more.
This post could’ve been just about the food we ate alone because in between all the stuff above, we went and tried a crazy amount of cuisine!
Just grab and go!
We heard the grab and go culture in NYC is damn good and you have to try it. There’s something urbanely cool about standing in a small hectic pizza place, getting in amongst the regulars and city goers and embracing the chaos but damn is the food good.
It might be messy and you’ll eat quickly but the experience is great nonetheless. It’s also a cheap way of keeping to a reasonable budget.
My tip: Gray’s Papaya is a flagship hot dog chain located on 72nd street and Broadway. They do the most amazing tasting hot dogs. Just don’t wear a white t-shirt as you’ll undoubtedly have onions and mustard down it! Pizza-wise you can’t go wrong with Ray’s pizza – not the most famous of pizza but we grabbed a whole one and took it back to our hotel around midnight and that was awesome!
Breakfast of champions
Another reason to skip the monotonous hotel food every morning is the NYC breakfast scene. Oh boy oh boy where do I start on this one – we tried bagels and coffee, juice bars and French-themed cafes. Just go and do it – walk around, find a busy place and you’ll know you’re doing something right!
Tip: Try George’s at the corner of Greenwich and Rector Streets, three blocks south of the World Trade Centre. This place opened its doors in the 1950’s and was what I imagined a total NYC breakfast experience to be – just make sure you can put away the drizzly blueberry pancakes.
Also, check out ‘Pick up a bagel’ (right) on 8th Avenue – this was our first NYC breakfast experience and it did not disappoint. Opt for a bacon and egg on the sesame bun or crème cheese and salmon washed down with a classic coffee.
Joe and the Juice
Joe and the juice should get a special mention here. They are popping up now in the UK but here in NYC, they were a bit of a savior for us as we often felt a bit flagging at times so we’d stop by one of these on 6th Avenue most mornings. Try a ‘pick me up’ blend of raspberry and banana to really perk you up!
There are probably loads of high-end, expensive restaurants to dine at but we preferred to keep our budget for this low as we opted to spend money on other things so if you’re looking to save money I would do the same.
Most people here eat pretty late so if you want to join them, go for dinner around 8 pm or later. We usually got back to our hotel for a few hours to rest our feet from all the pavement pounding and then headed out to see if anything caught our eye.
Tip: Bill’s Bar & Burger on West 51st was a great burger spot known for its delicious disco fries (with gravy and cheese). It’s also one of many cool places to chill and have a beer. Just DON’T order a Coney Island root beer…unless you like the taste of germolene (yes, germolene).
So what are You Waiting For?
If you’re planning a trip to NYC or are just starting to think about it, do it! It’s an incredible place, full of diverse culture, food, shopping, and attractions.
We only barely scratched the surface and there are so many other areas to explore such as Harlem, upper Manhattan, the Bronx Zoo, the Yankees Stadium, Brooklyn Heights, Queens and if you are there even longer, why not try slightly further afield like Long Island and New Jersey City.
Don’t let anyone tell you this place is not worth a visitor it’s too expensive, it’s simply not true from our experience. We came back almost depressed that we weren’t there for longer!
Luke Paines is a UK-based writer who works in marketing for the technology industry. When he’s not writing copy for brochures, the web, and blogs, he enjoys traveling to new and exciting places and has since combined that passion with his flair for writing. Read more from Luke on his travel blog The Dubious Traveller.
He loves the food in Sorrento, Italy, has enjoyed sledding down snowy hills near Oslo in Norway, embraced the casinos in Las Vegas and has always appreciated the scenery of the Venice of France, Annecy. However, his favorite place in the world is the Jurassic coastline in his native England. The scenery, the English seaside charm form his best childhood memories.
Los Angeles, the La-la Land…the House of Hollywood…where stars are made and dreams are transformed into glittering celebrities. My journey started from Las Vegas one early morning.
A little over 5-hour drive from Vegas, the Sin City in the district of Nevada is the city of Los Angeles, the cultural and entertainment capital of California. On your way, you pass through multi-lane highways, non-descript deserts and unassuming mountain ranges.
The moment you enter the contours of this fabled City, the traffic snarls get thicker and more frequent. Your safety is nevertheless secured as long as your companion, i.e. your GPS remains your friend & guide.
Pro Tip: If you lose your way or take wrong exits, you may have real trouble getting back to your planned route due to heavy traffic. So always add some buffer time to your travel plan.
Los Angeles is a city of diverse cultures, and many of them are showcased in and around the city’s Downtown. It is a quintessential commercial metropolis with modern infrastructures, tall buildings, broad roads, traffic jams, and all the other good & vices that are generally associated with any large bustling city.
I spent the rest of the day exploring the downtown area, trying some Mexican food, looking at tall buildings, China Town, and Little Tokyo.
But it is not the downtown alone for which Los Angeles is famous for.
Los Angeles’s fame augments from being home of Hollywood, the famous Universal Studios, the Disney Land, Beverly Hills, and its other beautiful neighboring cities like Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
Camarillo shopping Mall
After night’s rest, next morning the concierge at hotel Hilton pulls out a map from under his desk and suggests places that I need to visit. First on the list was the Camarillo shopping Mall situated at an hour drive from my Hotel.
Camarillo Premium Mall is a factory outlet where you can get nearly all of the world’s famous brands at heavily discounted prices. This is a place no tourist should miss (well, if you want to shop, of course).
‘No Problem’ I thought to myself. I have a car. I pressed the ignition & obediently followed the GPS’s advice to reach this sprawling Mall spread over large area divided primarily into three blocks. The shopping list was long but not beyond my Credit Card limit, luckily. Shopping spree thus ensued.
After over three captivating hours, it was time now to leave towards the fascinating Santa Monica Beach.
Santa Monica is a coastal town and famous for its beautiful beach.By the time I touched its periphery, the Sun had set and the lights had begun to glow. The entire place looked extremely enchanting.
Well-lit malls, shops, restaurants, lined up as I drove admiringly towards the beach. I parked my car and moved towards the far end restaurant built right into the sea. I seated myself at a vantage point from where the glitter & glamour of the place could be conveniently enjoyed.
A few drinks and some good seafood was all that was needed to refuel my hungry-belly. Satiated, both visually and gastronomically, I paid the parking charge and drove back to the hotel.
Next Morning, was the time to visit the very famous, “Universal Studios”. The heart and soul of the park is still the 2 Studio Tour, a tram tour of the backlot that lasts 45 min to an hour and winds through many famous movie sets and past working sound stages.
After parking my car, I headed towards the iconic Universal Studio Globe, and then towards the entry ticket window.
Paid $180 USD for an Express Pass (I was short on time) and walked inside the huge gateway into the sprawling studio premises. Once inside, Studio Tour in Tram is the first thing one should go for.
This multi-compartment Tram ride, that is enthralling as well as educating, takes you around the entire studio with a high quality pre-recorded audio-video system installed in each compartment. This facilitates the passengers to have a clearer and better perspective of each site and every situation.
You first pass through various enclosed sets and then through open streets that resemble those in London, Paris, and other iconic cities. Your tram then takes you from near an artificial lagoon in which animatronics of intimidating Sharks can be seen swimming.
Further, as it passes through within one of the studios, it halts unannounced, and suddenly the whole compartment starts shaking vigorously, making you feel as if you are in the midst of a terrible earthquake. You are really shaken.
Before you recover, the tram moves ahead to another place where you see a small stream of water suddenly swelling and turning into a flash flood. The approaching slab of water scares the hell out of you. The smart tram driver moves out just in time to escape this fury.
If this was not enough, you witness person carrying a corpse of a woman, trying to hide her body in his car dicky. As he notices you watching him, he angrily rushes towards you with his knife. The driver once again drives ahead and you are seemingly saved from his wrath.
Then the tram moves to the Sound Stage. Here you are directed to put on your pre-provided 3D Glasses. There comes alive the riveting 360 degrees 3D drama. You see dangerous looking illusionary creatures running menacingly behind and along your tram.
As they come scarily close, King Kong intervenes and fights them all to save us from being harmed. Awe-inspiring sounds effects of air and water simultaneously played; enhance the dramatic effect of the entire play exponentially. Indeed a memorable experience.
Fast & Furious
Next, the tram drives into a garage where “Fast & Furious” is played. Once again you wear your 3D glasses and watch an incredibly amazing chase where the protagonist chases down the antagonists as screeching cars move out on the freeway, banging, breaking, and crashing all the way.
The synchronization of Sound & Visuals makes you feel you are an intrinsic part of this daredevil action. Stunned, the tram moves out to take you back to the starting point.
Almost dazed, you return your 3D glasses and make out alive and alright. Outside, the awed experience of this unique place continues. Lined up are auditoriums that present enthralling shows that includes “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey”.
In this 10 minutes trip, you walk through familiar classrooms of Hogwarts and enjoy the thrilling and entrancing adventure of Harry Potter and his friends in a short movie in between.
Water World is next. Here you come across some exceptionally daring live stunts enacted on ‘Water and in Air’. The intrepid actors, both male and female keep the audiences on their feet, totally engaged and thoroughly entertained. (Play duration 20 minutes).
Flight of the Hippogriff
Flight of the Hippogriff is a 5 min family-friendly coaster ride where even a wary person like me enjoyed the ride going up and down. It’s fun.
The Special Effects show is awe-inspiring and educative 25 minutes show where you uncover the hidden secrets of Hollywood moviemaking.You see real Hollywood stunts, special effects, and cutting-edge technologies come to life, right in front of your eyes.
Though I did not attempt, “Jurassic Park the Ride”, it is another heart-pounding water ride that will plunge you into an 80-foot waterfall as you go roller coaster. Sounds exciting ?? Not for me but you can try. Haha 🙂
Yes, the scary “Walking Dead”. As the name suggests (or if you have seen the TV shows), you quite literally pass from near the dead who can surprisingly walk. A 5 minutes’ walk along the chambers lined up with apparently hungry dead people.
Imagine if one of them suddenly tries to jump over you as you walk close to their chamber. You hear screams all around. A quintessential horrifying experience but it makes you laugh at yourself as you leave this amazing place.
Revenge of the Mummyis a 20 minutes terrifying thrill ride full of ghastly creatures that use linear induction motors technology to catapult riders deep into the heart of the film.
In the Despicable Me ride, you join Gru, his daughters, and the mischievous minions on a heartwarming and hilarious 3D ride for another 20 min.
In “Transformers the Ride”, you are transported into 3D Next Generation immersive Theme Park that displays astounding cutting-edge physical and special effect technology.
After these 4-5 hours memorable adventure at the Universal, the next place I wanted to visit was the Hollywood Street and the Beverly Hills (house of the rich & the famous).
Upon reaching Hollywood Street, I realized that going to Beverly Hills would mean risking my flight to Tahiti that evening. I had an 11 day Cruise planned to various Islands in French Polynesia including Bora-Bora, something that I wouldn’t even dream to miss.
So after a quick visit to a few malls, I purchased some souvenirs, walked around the street, clicked pictures with actors dressed as Spiderman, Superman, Batman, peeped into restaurants, saw people queued up at various theaters ostensibly to watch their favorite movie.
So I walked back to my car to cruise towards L.A. Airport. Just in time to return my rental car & board my long flight to Tahiti.
Before bidding sayonara, let me add, don’t miss going to Disneyland Park if you have children accompanying you. Pay US$20 and take a shuttle from LAX Airport that will take approximately 45 minutes to reach Disney Land. Your children will surely love you for it.
Brussels abounds many paradoxes. Bureaucratic yet artistically rich, multicultural yet strongly attached to its Belgium roots, modern yet nostalgic, Brussels is a multi-identity city. Often forgotten on travelers’ list, Brussels remains nonetheless an important city to visit if you are interested in cinema, art, theatre or any form of artistic activity.
Because Brussels is so culturally rich, this weekend getaway guide will give just a glimpse of the city’s artistic identity. I hope you enjoy!
Friday night: Explore the Beer Culture of Brussels
With only three days in Brussels, you will want to dig directly into the Belgian culture after your arrival. Arguably the capital of beer, Brussels harbors hundreds of cafés and bars where beers are put on a pedestal. Here is are my top 3 café/bars of Brussels.
A La Mort Subite
Located in the old town, near the Grande-Place, A La Mort Subite is a very retro brasserie. When discovering the place, you will be submerged in nostalgia, because of its 1920s decoration and style.
La Porteuse d’Eau
Stunning stained-glass dome and windows, wooden floor that is creaky, beer-based cuisine, La Porteuse D’eau is a gorgeous brasserie that one must head to. The extensive Belgian beer selection, as well as the Art Nouveau decoration, will make you travel into the 1920s Belgium.
With more than 150 beers on the menu from local artisanal specialties to more well-known beers, this brasserie is for the avid connoisseurs of beers. Its atmosphere is quite a special one too, with puppets, old objects and posters invading the walls and ceilings of the building, the Poechenellekelder will give you an out-of-reality feeling.
Saturday: Visit the varied selection of Museums in Brussels
Before being a bureaucratic city, Brussels is first and foremost an artistic city. It has welcomed actors, comedians, singers, painters and cartoonists for centuries, and this is reflected in the cityscape in every way. This day should vary according to your tastes but here are four of my favorite museums in Brussels.
Discover Magritte with a Surrealist Trail in Brussels
René Magritte is one of the most famous artists in Belgium if not the most famous artist. He was known for his surrealist and thought-provoking paintings such as The Son of Man, which depicts a man with a green apple painted in front of his face or the famous This is not a Pipe Painting. He is a symbol in Brussels and this is reflected in the city’s many museums dedicated to the man.
L’Atomium would probably be my first choice if you would like to discover an interactive exhibition on Surrealism and Magritte. In addition, the building offers a great view of the city. The building is open from 10 am to 6 pm every day.
The Magritte Musée (do not mix up with the Renée Magritte Museum outside of the city center) has also an extended collection of Magritte’s artworks. It is a must for all Surrealist lovers. It is open from 11 am to 6 pm on weekends.
Tintin, The Smurfs, Lucky Luke, many of the greatest comic books have been created by Belgian artists. If you are a comic book fan, head to the Musée de la BD in the city center of Brussels. Art Nouveau structure mixed with comic book-style decoration, this museum is quite something to visit.
It is closed on Sundays but remains open Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm.
To give you a little idea of what you can expect from this delicious museum, here’s a quote you can find on its website: “Nine people out of ten love chocolate. The tenth person lies.” J.G Tullius
In this museum, you will discover the history of chocolate, how it is made as well as taste some of the chocolates of course. Find this museum open from 10 am to 6 pm on weekends.
Saturday Evening: Music, Cinema, Theatre in Brussels
Saturday evening is the perfect occasion to head for a movie night. Brussels has amongst its cinemas the oldest projection rooms in Europe. With three projection rooms, Actor Studio Cinema invites you in their cozy and old-fashioned seats. The films are carefully selected so you can be sure to enjoy them.
Alternatively, if you would prefer a more jazzy night, you can have a look at the Archiduc, one of the best Jazz Clubs in Brussels. They usually have nights on Friday and Saturday evenings.
If none of these two appeals to you, maybe La Maison du Spectacle La Bellone could be luckier. It’s an artistic center from the 1980s that welcomes theatre spectacles, ballets, dance in a Renaissance styled- building.
Sunday: Architecture Tour
It can come to a surprise to find that the activities you wanted to do on Sundays are closed. Opening times differ greatly from country to country in Europe, and Brussels, together with Berlin and Paris, is one of the rare cities where all shops remain closed on Sundays.
So your shopping spree will have to be on a Saturday if that was something you wanted to do. However, I found that Brussels houses many architectural gems that are amongst the most amazing in Europe. Sundays would be a great occasion to visit these.
UNESCO World Heritage, Art Nouveau, Modernist, Neo-Classical, Belgian buildings will satisfy any preference. Here are my favorite places to head for this architecture tour.
The Major Town Houses by Victor Horta’s
Victor Horta (the architect that famously invented the Art Deco Metro Signs of Paris) built many different houses in Brussels, but as we only have three days in Brussels, the four UNESCO World Heritage houses will do a great first introduction. They are the Hôtel Tassel, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel van Eetvelde and the Maison and Atelier Horta.
The Maison Saint-Cyr by Gustave Strauven
Head to Victor Horta’s protégé Gustave Strauven’s flamboyant building: the Maison Saint-Cyr. Built in 1903, this house distances itself from the neighboring houses with its extravagant iron decorations. While you’re in the neighborhood, you can stroll around the Ambiorix square, with its nice park.
The City Hall
Gothic façade, grandiose towers from which you can view the whole of Brussels, as well as extended rows of statues, the Grand Place will sweep you off your feet.
I hope this weekend getaway guide has helped you discover Brussels in an artistic light! If you have recently traveled to Brussels, please share your experience with us in the comments below.
Paris is not just about the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Louvre Museum. It has much more to offer. You will have a great time visiting places, which are not crowded with tourists, and doing things, which you won’t get to do anywhere in the world.
Here are top 10 ideas you can use on your next trip to this lovely French city.
From the beginning of June till the end of August, every evening, dance-lovers gather along the river bank near the Institut du Monde Arabe, in Jardin Tino Rossi, and give in to the passion of dance, such as salsa, tango, waltz, and swing.
You think going to a museum in Paris is corny? Yes, it is. If you just go to Louvre. However, the capital of Paris offers lots of museums for every taste. For example, in Jardin des Plantes, you will find a botanical garden, a zoo and an array of natural history museums.
Anatomy and Paleontology provides an amazing look at the world of the 19th-century science, with rows of animal skeletons and lines of old wood and glass cabinets.
Other popular, but not as crowded as Louvre, places include the Musee de Quai Branly, Musee du Moyen Age, Musee Marmottan Monet, and Musee des Arts et Metiers. If you are into impressionism, don’t miss famous Musee d’Orsay. Although, it is rather popular and you might have to wait in line for a couple of hours.
Look for Roman Ruins
Paris is still dotted with numerous tracks of ancient Roman past: a coliseum, baths, and various remains of walls, pillars, and carved stones, which just wait to be discovered by curious tourists.
The Archeological Crypt near Notre Dame reveals the center of the old Roman city of Lutetia, while the Roman Baths at Cluny are probably the most impressive architectural remnant from the Roman era.
Enjoy Street Art
If you are really into graffiti art, head towards the Canal St. Martin in the 10th arrondissement, one of the most exciting and up-and-coming areas in the city.
Full of fascinating restaurants, artistic shops, and great street art, the area is a great place for leisurely strolling.
Explore the Covered Passages
The famous 19th-century covered passages of Paris are the remnants of the post-revolution rise of the middle-class in France. There are around 30 which still exist.
Some of the most impressive lie strung in a line, stretching from Passage Vivienne, behind the Palais Royal, and ending at rue Cadet, a charming little street. This type of activity is great for a rainy day in Paris.
Share a bottle of wine, some fruit, and baguette with a friend at the edge of the Canal St. Martin on a warm summer evening. It is a popular place among Parisians in-the-know, artists, and the Boho-Chic crowd. But still not so much among tourists.
Stroll along the Promenade Plantee
Some time ago, it was an elevated railway track. Now, it is a long narrow stretch of trees and flowers. Also known as La Coulee Verte, it stretches from Bastille, through the area around Gare de Lyon and Bercy, and all the way to the west entrance of the Bois de Vincennes.
After enjoying the gardens and the view of Paris from the height, go down to the street level and wander along the Viaduc des Arts, where you will find ateliers, workshops, cafes, and numerous galleries.
Go to the Flea Markets
Head towards Belleville area, filled with flea markets and produce stands, bustling shoppers, colorful products, and heckling merchants. Or get lost in the picturesque streets of Caulaincourt – a perfect destination for authentic French atmosphere seekers.
If you are into food, visit the charming Rue des Martyrs in the 9th arrondissement, one of the best food markets in Paris, where you will find bakeries, cheese sellers, gourmet shops, cafes, and hot new restaurants.
Don’t Miss Culture Events
When in Paris, you just can’t miss some typically Parisian events. For example, Nuit Blanche, held every autumn, is the only night in a year, when galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions are open and free of charge.
In June, the Fête de la Musique takes place, and the streets of the city get filled with dancers. Journées du Patrimoine, the celebration of heritage days, usually takes place in late summer and is a great opportunity to visit all government buildings in France, including the Elysée Palace, the French Mint, and the National Assembly building.
Learn Something New
If your trip to Paris is about to be long-term, sign up for some classes and obtain new skills. Whether it’s cooking, photography, calligraphy, writing, or language, it’s the best way to take something back home with you.
Taking a class in Paris will really be a unique experience, which not many visitors can boast of, so don’t miss your chance!
Kansas City is a fun place to visit. It is the biggest city in Missouri. The downtown is lined with restaurants, and famous for its barbecue this port city can fulfill any foodies dream. Besides food, there is also “shopping” that attracts the crowds here.
Other fun things are the noticeable soccer craze and the gushing fountains throughout the city. In this blog, I would like to share 6 fun facts one should know before visiting Kansas City.
World Class Shopping
Kansas City is not only the heart of the State geographically but is also the most populous city in Missouri. That said, you might guess the immense need of clothing options for so many people. You can have your pick at Country Club Plaza. The massive shopping center is a mecca for shopaholics.
From budget H&M to classy Tiffany & Co, there is a wide range for you to choose from. You do not need to head to Los Angeles for shopping. If you get fed up with shopping (which we know you won’t), then Panache Chocolatier and Café will serve you decadent chocolate. You can’t help but moan.
Best Cup Of Coffee
Kansas and Breweries. You might have heard that. The Boulevard Brewing Co. is famous for its unfiltered white beer. It has a collection of vintage beers as well as some surprise releases. But coffee!
Here is a fact you need to know about it. Filling station coffee garage and Thou Mayest are best places to get a cup of coffee to start your day. Both are based on garages turned into cafes. Their coffee is a hit in the Midwest.
Home Of Celebrities
One look at any famous celeb (in person) and we are star-struck! Imagine what locals of Kansas city go through when they see David Koechner driving around. Celebs like Eric Stonestreet, Rob Riggle, Jason Sudeikis were raised here.
They grew up to be revered celebrities. But they did not forget love for their hometown. Hence every year they come here to raise money for Big slick KC. It is a cancer center for children. If fate favors you, you might end up in one of those events.
We saw how celebrities love to keep it local. But what about the ordinary people! They also take steps to support the local businesses. For instance, the Local week in August is held, during that time period, Kansas Citizens depend solely on local products. It is a way to make sure local businesses get enough scope to grow. Isn’t this amazing!
The farmer’s market sells local and fresh produce. The bars, restaurants, and shops, they all support the local products. The interesting thing about the stores here is that they are open all the days of the year. You can shop any day you visit.
Barbeque is the signature food of Kansas City. It is the backbone of their cuisine. You are going to have so many options at your disposal when it comes to choosing a place for barbecue. You can taste the hot barbecue with a mouth-watering tomato barbecue sauce.
There are many favorites around here. You can go with your family to a picnic table barbecue or book a table at a fancy restaurant for your beloved. Anything you taste will prove that Kansas is the king of barbecue.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
By far the best ever collection of art in the Midwest, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is an art museum in Kansas City, Missouri, known for its neoclassical architecture and extensive collection of Asian art.
In 2007, Time magazine ranked the museum’s new Bloch Building number one on its list of “The 10 Best (New and Upcoming) Architectural Marvels” which considered candidates from around the globe.
New York City, the extravagant global city, can be quite difficult to explore, as it is a rather pricey destination. However, a little planning and smartness can help you save big when visiting the Big Apple.
In this blog, I will let you know about some of the money saving ideas when it comes to visiting New York City.
Pre-planning is a Must
Just don’t think that you will be able to manage everything, once you reach New York. In fact, there are many things, which you need to look out for or plan in advance. Check websites, which share information about the current and upcoming events in the city.
These websites will also let you know, which destinations offer free or reduced-cost admission on specific days and timings. If you do this, you will not only make your trip efficient but also save, at least, half of what you could’ve spent, without prior planning.
Also don’t forget to prepare a list of destinations, which can be explored for free, such as the Central Park, Battery Park, Bronx Arts Museum, Brooklyn Bridge Park & Brooklyn Promenade, Coney Island Boardwalk, etc.
Being one of the most expensive cities in the world, New York City still knows how to maintain a tourist-friendly reputation. The city offers a wide choice of tourist passes, for a quick low-price admission to different attractions throughout the city.
These passes are designed, to serve different requirements of visitors. There are those, suited for a single-day trip, and up to 9 days, with different charges for adults and children. They cover over 90 attractions, and along with the reduced admission cost, allow visitors to use the fast entry track to some of the busiest attractions.
Sometimes, these passes also offer additional perks, such as discount in restaurants, theater shows tickets, etc. So, it’s worth getting one if you have big plans for New York City.
A subway pass will also be a good decision if your tour includes unlimited subway rides. This pass will help you save a lot on commuting.
Don’t plan to visit two different destinations in two different parts of the city in a single day. Instead, cover all the destinations in a particular area during the given time. This tip will save you time, money, and energy.
Skip Shopping in Midtown Area
For budget travelers, it’s advisable to roam around in the mid-town area, without buying or eating anything. Undoubtedly, the area is filled with some great temptations and attractions, but, at the same time, the prices are way higher, than in any other part of the city.
Visit Statue of Liberty for Free
You can visit one of the most popular attractions in New York, the Statue of Liberty, for free by taking the Staten Island Ferry. It runs 24/7 and is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to see the Statue.
Explore the City on Foot
There are places in New York City that are very walkable, such as the big part of Manhattan. In fact, it is better explored on foot, than by car or bus. You only need to carry a pair of comfortable walking shoes or boots and get going.
Personally, I am a big fan of OTBT walking sneakers, because they are extremely comfortable and let me walk miles, without feeling tired. However, you can carry your favorite ones, to explore NYC.
When starting your walking tour, visit an official NYC Information Center, to get all the information about Broadway, metro cards discounts, and budget tips from the specialists.
Save on Meals
New York City boasts plenty of fancy expensive restaurants. But if it’s not your thing, choose places, preferred by young crowds and students. They generally offer food high on taste and low on price.
Also, Mini India, Mini China, and Mini Italy districts offer authentic local food at affordable prices.
Don’t forget about street food, as New York City is a great place to enjoy it. There are plentiful stalls and food trucks, which offer fresh, tasty food, from burgers to rolls, pizzas, and desserts, both veg to non-veg. There isn’t much, really, you can’t find here.
On the other hand, if you are craving for a fine dining experience in NYC, it’s better to go for lunch. There is usually a huge difference between lunch and dinner prices, even at the same restaurant. Lunches are comparatively cheaper and thus, more preferable.
Choose Budget Accommodation
It’s always very important to plan your accommodation wisely. An accommodation right in the middle of the city will eat up a big part of your money. But if you book something in the outskirts, you will spend a lot on transportation. So, you should find a place, which will save you both from the heavy charges and the hefty commuting.
The best are hotels, outside of the Midtown, but in the neighborhood of the prime city location. Go for hotels, which offer shared bathrooms, as you are not going to spend a lot of time in the hotel. It’s also wise to consider such accommodation options, as hostels, rental apartments, and Couchsurfing.
These are some tips, which will help you save money in New York City. However, once you’ve been there, you are sure to discover new money-saving ideas. It is called the benefit of experience. So, keep saving and keep traveling.
Emma Braun is a 34-year-old Mom and passionate traveler from the beautiful city of Boston, United States. She loves to pen down her magnificent travel experiences in the form of a blog, to inspire all the travel lovers out there.
She is also a big admirer of style and fashion and always keeps hunting for things, which bring both style and comfort to her journeys.
“Travel not only lets you see the beauty of places, but it also lets you discover yourself as a person. Different people and destinations make up the beautiful world we all belong to. Some people think they can’t follow their travel passion, because of the busy schedule, kids, liabilities, etc. They are trapped in the same busy schedule, because of the unnecessary fears and doubts. But those, who can break the barriers and follow the dreams, realize how good it is to live the life of your own choice. I am happy to be among them.”
Nobody likes feeling vulnerable, especially Solo Travelers. It is one of the worst feelings in the world. But when you travel alone that is what happens. You have to come out of your comfort zone and start doing something you never did. It requires a lot of guts. But as you know – No Guts No Glory!
Many times when we travel alone, do we meet other solo travelers! It is always more fun to come across a fellow traveler who can understand you better and can correlate with you.
Top Solo Travel Destinations
Airbnb shared some of its data. And there is good news for solo travelers. The solo traveler bookings of Airbnb increased from 14% to 27% over the past year. And not just that it also let out the data on where these solo travelers love to go.
So, if you think that you do not see any solo traveler where you go, then book your tickets for these destinations next. You are going to meet lots of kindred souls on your trips here. We can guarantee that.
Having a taste of London alone sounds tempting. But what is the fun if you have an already planned itinerary? Nothing is more fun than being spontaneous. And London is a city where you can do whatever you want and enjoy it.
A survey by Visa Global Travel Intentions in 2015 mentioned that 24% of the overseas visitors were solo travelers. What more? Most of them were women. So girls, pack your bags because London is your next stop.
When we hear Paris, we imagine couples kissing under romantic architecture. That is what we dream Paris is all about. But Paris has a lot to offer to Solo travelers. As you drive along the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower you can’t help but be in awe of it.
And as French men are most charming in the World, solo female travelers can have their share of fun. (Just a thought ladies!) . That is just an added perk. And why not Paris? Airbnb stats say that it was the second most booked location by solo travelers.
In the third place, we have Los Angeles which is not a surprise. Most of us have this weird obsession to see the Hollywood sign at least once in our lifetime. That is what drives people to LA. But it is just a part of it. The amount of talent that Los Angeles has makes it the “Creative Capital of the World.”
It is just, the electric atmosphere in LA that doesn’t let you feel like you are traveling alone.
Tokyo is a top choice for solo traveling especially if we are talking about female travelers. From separate hotel floors, to separate train cabins – Tokyo makes sure that women feel safe in their environment.
You will not see anyone giving you “What are you doing alone?” stare. Tokyoites keep to themselves. They won’t bother you. The full essence of Solo travel gets fulfilled in Tokyo (and Japan in general).
At first, you are going to hear stories, lots of it – about pickpockets and thieves. But do not let those tales put you off. Barcelona is a city of panoramic views, do not let a few tales scare you off.
Follow few precautions like a smart solo traveler, and you can stroll down Las Ramblas. And eat as much as tapas as you can and get drown in cava.
New York City
NYC is the city where aspiring artists and dreamers go. And if you are just here for a few days then you are not a solo traveler anymore. Nobody here is alone. Whether you stroll down the Highline or grab a brunch at the eatery, you will always be surrounded by people.
The best way to have fun while you are here is to join Meetup. It is free and lets you meet people who share your interests. Isn’t it a great way to spend time when traveling? Making new friends!
Like Tokyo, Toronto is also a safe place to travel. It has fewer crime rates, and people here are too busy to stare at you. Walking around in Toronto is the best thing a solo traveler can do because every turn will take you to a mini Toronto with its own ethnicity.
Above all the young solo travelers can have the time of their life at the lively Toronto Club scene. Drinking age is only 19, which is a plus for the young travelers. But we say, stay smart to avoid trouble.
The capital city of Spain is overshadowed by Barcelona most of the time. And even though it sees fewer travelers than Barcelona, Madrid is a beauty of its own. If you are doing a Europe tour, then you shouldn’t miss any of these cities.
The people here are friendly, and you will feel safe here. Be careful with your money belt (keep it hidden). And follow standard precautions like a solo traveler and you are good to go.
The understated charm of Berlin comes into focus only when you care to visit it. And those solo travelers who love a quiet and comfortable trip will enjoy Berlin. It has the classiest collection of hotels to choose from.
People are helpful and welcome. And the public transit is easy to figure out as well as inexpensive. Just get a Berlin WelcomeCard, and you get a discount on tours and attractions as well as free public transit. Isn’t that a catch? You will find all pros in Berlin for solo travelers, no cons, I bet.
Safety is a priority of solo travelers. And Seoul offers that in spades unless you decide to act stupidly. Solo travelers like Seoul because it is pedestrian friendly, has inexpensive public transport, delicious food, helpful tour guides and a laid back lifestyle.
Now, plan a trip and go somewhere new! Safe travel!