Category: Travel

Fun Things to Do In Nashville

Fun things to do In NashvilleTraveling to Nashville in fall is pure vacation bliss. The weather is idyllic and the people are pleasant.  We embarked on a journey down south to celebrate the marriage of a friend and decided to explore all of the fun things to do in Nashville in one weekend. Since we had never been to Nashville, Tennessee I took a leap of faith in the hands of the all knowing Google to plan our itinerary.
Coffee In NashvilleDining in locally notorious restaurants is a must on every vacation we go on, especially in the land of comfort food and fried goodies some like to call Nashville. Our first stop was a local coffee shop called Red Bicycle Coffee. Enjoy the hipster vibe while sipping on their Yelp renowned Cuban and a decadent breakfast crepe if your feeling indulgent.Pretzels in NashvilleI would say it was destiny that I stumbled upon a coupon for a free homemade pretzel while we were shopping in Downtown Nashville. Since I am a glutton for breads of all sorts and can’t say no to a serendipitous event we made our way into a local bar called Clyde’s on Church. There we savored a basket of sinfully good twisted pretzel bread with the local folk and one enjoyed of their many beers on draft. BBQ NashvilleThe ultimate foodie goal was finding an awesome BBQ place that didn’t involve waiting in line for too long. We discovered queuing more than 30 minutes is a typical experience for many of the restaurants with the best reviews. After a long debate involving a comparison of food photos, reading review quotes aloud, and challenging the easiest navigation route, we decided on Martin’s BBQ in downtown Nashville. I recommend going there for lunch because supplies are limited. To my chagrin, they were out of mac n’ cheese when we finally got to the register to order our supper. We dried our tears and down a rack of baby-back-ribs like ravenous carnivores after not-so-patiently waiting 35 minutes in line. The BBQ ribs and potato salad did not disappoint, but I would have given anything for a bowl of cheesy goodness. By the way, fried cornbread is not to my liking, very dry and not what I was expecting. I will stick to the traditional cornbread slathered in butter and honey and y’all can keep your flat pancake looking thing.Icecream Nashville TennesseeSince my sweet tooth guides me to find a treat wherever we go, choosing a dessert stop was a no-brainer. We embarked on a mission to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream over in East Nashville that was well worth the jaunt. They have numerous unique flavors like blueberry goat cheese, salted caramel, and my favorite Intelligentsia espresso. I happily sampled over 10 different flavors before I settled on the perfect combo.Parthenon NashvilleOk, if food isn’t fun to you…..we probably couldn’t be friends. Fun things to do in Nashville that do not involve eating or drinking are few and far between. So I won’t lie, everything we did in Nashville was planned around food, but after our appetites were appeased we ventured to the Parthenon Replica and Museum in Centennial Park as our first tourist stop. I begrudgingly entered the museum as my husband persuaded me to be a good sport, but after seeing the full scale 42-foot replica of Athena while listening to a live violinist, I was glad I indulged his love for history.Nashville Pedal TavernOne of the most memorable events we partook in was pedaling a wild ride on the Nashville Pedal Tavern. The 2 hour bicycle bar tour consisted of 12 strangers becoming well acquainted through uphill pedaling, drinking games, and singing boisterously while seeing the sites of downtown Nashville. If I were to recommend one fun thing to do in Nashville, it would be to climb aboard this unique bicycle contraption and bring your own adult beverages.Fun Things to Do In NashvilleShopping in the local artisan booths around the famous Antique Archaeology store in the Marathon Motors building downtown was a blast. The recycled building consists of all sorts of boutiques including handmade souvenirs and even locally designed clothing. My joy for supporting local businesses was satisfied as we took home a few cherished items to remind us of the fun we had in Nashville.Jack Daniels Tennessee Tour Jack Daniels Distillery Tour

Our last day was spent journeying to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee which is approximately an 1.5 hour drive from downtown. We cruised through the rolling hills adorned with autumn trees with their best fall leaves. The tour was remarkable and I would highly recommend the tasting if you are going to make the trip to the distillery. Fun fact: over 98% off the materials used to make Jack’s famous sour mash (whiskey) are recycled and reused!Fall in Nashville TennesseeThere are plenty of fun things to do in Nashville, Tennessee and we still have a few things left to do on our list that went unaccomplished! All the more reason to visit again sometime soon.

Tips for Traveling to Chicago

Destiny In ChicagoI had the pleasure of visiting the Windy City for the first time this past weekend! The city dazzled me with a lively downtown scene, deep dish pizza, hipster coffee joints, and a chance to catch up with a childhood friend. While I was packing for Chicago, I assumed the weather would be cold and packed heavy, which I was extremely thankful for. The famous Chi-town winds makes a 40 degree spring day seem like the dead of winter to this Vegas-born chick. But besides packing recommendations, I also learned a few tips & tricks I would remember for my next adventure when traveling to Chicago.

Tips for Traveling to Chicago

 

1. Check the Weather Forecast

If the weather forecast says 40 degrees, don’t forget to add the wind factor. I recommend bringing layers, gloves, scarves, a hat, and a variety of jackets to choose from depending on the weather for the day. Of course the weather will be different in the summer, but always pack an umbrella just in case.

The Giant Bean Chicago

2. Plan Your Transportation

When it comes to getting around town, there are so many options available to tourists including Uber, Lyft, Taxis, Trains, bicycles, and walking. Using Uber will always be my first choice, but ride fares can rack up quickly if you have a busy day ahead. The train is convenient if you use Google Maps and make sure you go up or down the stairs on the correct side of the tracks because you can’t switch sides. I highly recommend getting the 3-day CTA pass because it will end up being less expensive than a daily pass and it works for bus rides as well. Lastly, I would recommend using the Divvy bicycles for a day if you have time to cruise lakeside. The bicycles are $10 for 24 hours and offer a memorable experience that can provide transportation and enjoyment all the way from the Zoo to the Planetarium.

Divvy Bike Chicago

3. Book Show Tickets In Advance

Seeing The Second City live or a Broadway performance in Chicago will be a highlight of your trip, but don’t wait to book your tickets because shows sell out fast. I would recommend booking at least 2 weeks out so you can secure good seats at the best time that fits your schedule.

4. Save Time to Eat

Dining at all of the restaurants in Chicago was my favorite part. Make time to eat every meal at a local restaurant you can’t find back at home. From brunch at Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe to dinner at Giordano’s, the wait times are long, the places are packed, and the food is amazing. We waited on average 15-45 minutes before every meal and if you are getting deep dish pizza that adds another 25 minutes before you start the main dish.Chicago PizzaWormhole Coffee Chicago

5. Take Advantage of Free

There are quite a few activities in town that are completely free like The Lincoln Park Zoo. We also enjoyed walking around Millennium Park, Grant Park, and the hipster area surrounding Wicker Park. Take a picture at The Giant Bean, see the lions at the zoo, window shop around Wicker Park and soak up the sun and wind because all of the free activities are almost all outdoors.Destiny & Kyle Chicago

6. Get the City Pass

If you are looking to do all of the tourist things in Chicago, get the City Pass online before you go anywhere. The lines to all of the experiences are extremely long but you will save time and money buying the City Pass. Although it costs $98 you will hit every tourist hot spot in town. The best part is, it also acts as a fast pass to skip the lines which sometimes can wrap around the buildings. We waited an hour to get tickets to the Skydeck at The Willis Tower only to find out it would be another 30 minute wait to get up to the top. After that experience we decided the City Pass was the only way to do experience it all.

7. Be Safe

There were only a few times I felt unsafe in Chicago and both times were at the train stations. I would avoid the trains and buses after 9pm and avoid the south side all together. Ladies, I recommend having a cross body purse you can hide under your jacket. Don’t carry cash, you really don’t need it for anything and it’s never a good idea to give money to anyone asking because it could be a scam to get you to open up your wallet.

Altogether traveling to Chicago was a memorable experience and knowing these tips for next time will make our second vacation even better! If you have tips of your own or favorite places of your own, please share them in the comments. 

Things To Do In Kauai -Honeymoon Style

If you haven’t been to Kauai, what are you waiting for? You don’t even need your passport to visit one of the most beautiful vacation spots in the entire world! For those engaged or the soon-to-be newly weds, I highly recommend spending your honeymoon on this beautiful, romantic and secluded island.

Kyle and I were lucky enough to spend one week in Kauai at the Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy. It is a beautiful timeshare property that is quiet, conveniently located, and comes with a full kitchen, which is quite useful if you are looking to save a little money in Kauai.
Beach Boy KauaiHoneymoon In Kauai

Kauai is full of adventure, endless beautiful beaches and lots of little fun bikini shops. Here is my list of things to do in Kauai, honeymoon style.

Things to Do In Kauai Honeymoon Style

Enjoy Kauai’s Many Beaches

Poipu

Kauai's Best BeachesSnorkeling at Poipu Beach

Ke’e Beach

Ke'e Beach Kauai

Kealia Beach

Kealia Beach
Kauai is THE place if you are looking to lay on beautiful beaches with warm inviting water and tons of sunshine. If you are looking for beaches that you can swim in, my favorites were Poipu Beach and Ke’e Beach. They were quiet and the waters had soft gentle waves that crashed along the shore. Kealia Beach was beautiful and had only a few people in sight but the waves were much bigger if you are looking for more action in the water to surf or body surf.

Fly High on a Helicopter Tour

Kauai Helicopter Tour
The helicopter tour took us over the entire island of Kauai and was most definitely our favorite part of the trip. As you would expect, it was also the most expensive part, but if you sit through a timeshare presentation you can get a 2-for-1 deal! We went with Sunshine Helicopter Tours and had a wonderful time. Make sure you request the front seat next to the pilot or you will only have views outside one side window. Here is just a glimpse of the breathtaking views over the Napali Coast.
Kauai Helicopter Tour Kauai Helicopter Tour Kauai Helicopter Tour

Get Dirty on an ATV Ride

Kipu Ranch ATV
Our ATV ride at Kipu Ranch was incredible! A full day of fun in the mud, swinging from the rope swing that was used in Indiana Jones, and four wheeling through the area Jurassic Park was filmed in.
Kipu Ranch ATV
Kipu Ranch ATV
We loved our time at Kipu Ranch and it was totally worth the money! Make sure you get your own ATV, bring serious bug spray, lots of sunscreen, and be ready to ruin whatever clothes you wear from the red Kauai dirt.

Hike the Mountains

Kalalau Trail
Kauai is full of breathtaking hiking trails all over the island. If I would have known we were going hiking as much as we did I would have bought hiking shoes, BUG SPRAY, and a waterproof case for my phone.
Kalalu Trail

River on the Kalalu Trail
This is the most beautiful trail in the entire world! We only hiked 2 miles in to get to Hanakapaei Beach but it was the most memorable part of our trip.
Hanakapaei Beach
This excursion took about 5 hours due to the muddy trail, so I recommend if you want to do the full trail pick the driest day in the forecast and go early. The most enjoyable part for me was swimming in Ke’e bay and washing off all the dirt in the clear warm water. Truly incredible sights on this hike but make sure you slather on the bug spray, I got over 20 bug bites on just my legs alone.
Floating in Kauai

Shop In Hanalei Bay

Kauai Juice Co
Hanalei is my bae…but really I love this place. The town of Hanalei is absolutely adorable and so quaint. They have tons of fun restaurants, shops and local stores to peruse through. Stop in at Kauai Juice Co. for a freshly pressed tropical juice and enjoy the fruits of kauai; better than any beverage you will find on the island or the mainland!

Drive to Waimea Canyon

Waimea CanyonDrive up the winding road to the very top of Waimea Canyon to enjoy the beautiful “Grand Canyon” of Kauai. This is a quick trip up and once you are at the lookout, there isn’t much to do other than buy fresh fruit. So snap a few photos and enjoy the views of Waimea Canyon.

Explore the Napali Coast

Napali Coast Tour
The Napali Coast is unlike ANYTHING I have ever seen before. You feel like you are being transported to a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean because it is so secluded and untouched (fun fact: Pirates of the Caribbean 3 actually did film there). We went on the ocean raft tour which was very extreme, not relaxing at all but totally worth it. Just make sure you slather on the sunscreen before you get on the navy seal boat because you will be wet ALL day. I highly recommend Kauai Sea Tours because they are one of the few companies allowed to take you to the holy grounds and visit the Hawaiian temple ruins. Bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a good attitude because you have to hang on to the raft for dear life for about an hour each way while being sprayed in the face with water. But the highlight of going early in the morning was seeing numerous sea turtles and sooo many spinner dolphins.

Kayak The Wailua River

Kauai RiverWater Fall HikeKayaking the Wailua River was a really fun filled day of rowing, exploring, and singing with our tour guide form Rainbow Kayak Tours. Make sure you are ready to get an arm workout, hike into more bug infested areas, and see beautiful waterfalls! We brought our lunch and had a little picnic with the wild chickens by the falls. The falls were pretty small in this photo because we didn’t get much rain on our trip!

Have a Romantic Sunset Dinner in Princeville

Princeville SunsetSt Regis KauaiSunset in PrincevillePrinceville is one of the most posh areas of Kauai. The St. Regis resort is THE nicest hotel I have ever had the pleasure of staying at. It is way better than the Grand Waillea that everyone raves about in Maui. If we had an endless honeymoon budget, I would have booked our entire stay at the St. Regis. Our beach view was priceless, the restaurant overlooking the sunset was incredible, and the everything about this place was luxury.
Someday Kyle and I will return to Kauai and enjoy the island once again. Please feel free to share anything other fun things to do in Kauai so we can add to our list for next time. Aloha!