I’ve been to a lot of different cities and states during the year and also when I lived in California, but some trips really stood out and have to be considered as a destination in any young explorer’s travel plans.
“I think I’d be a really good full time partier, where do I apply?”
You can get a pretty cheap deal from NYC to Miami so it’s a great option for a weekend break. We went last minute on Labor weekend so yeah, not so cheap but SO worth it. The weekend I spent in Miami deserves a serious shout out. The day parties are insane which is probably why I could say it was the one of best weekend of my life! Just two people was the perfect number, we took each day as it came and said yes to everything, no arguments or disagreements. On the first night, we went to STORY, one of the bigger clubs. We were so lucky our table was right in front of the DJ booth because Zedd was playing. Katie even got a few from-a-distance fist pumps in there with him. We danced with our new drunk BFFs for about 4 hours straight before our day of traveling caught up with us. Our hangover was well and truly cured by The Local Cafe. If you’re ever in Miami, this spot does the best breakfast.
We heard SLS hosts the biggest pool parties so our Saturday day plans were pretty set. Before we made our way to the pool, these guys came over “girls, you want some shots?”, my first thought being “oh here we go another group of guys with a game plan”. We couldn’t have been more wrong because these guys made our weekend. There were 13 of them, all from Beverly Hills on a guys trip just having a good time. They knew all of the best places to go and of course we cancelled any reservations we had once we left the pool party. “Trust us, it’s gonna be a good time”. We met them at the Fountaine Bleau before getting a party bus to dinner at Baoli. Yep, a party bus. Dinner was insane, it made me wonder is there any restaurant in Miami that doesn’t turn into a massive party? Although, our table 100% brought the party! We did Sunday brunch at Cecconi’s, Soho Beach House and I really wish I wasn’t hungover and tired because wow, the food was unbelievable. I really wish I took full advantage of the all you could eat but Saturday night got the best of me. Katie was a trooper and snook some brownies and cookies for us to eat later (probably the best brownie I’ve ever had). The boys invited us to dinner again Sunday evening at Sea Spice. It was just as insane as Saturday night, 10 champagne bottles, amazing food and the music was spot on. We eventually had some down time on Monday. We relaxed by the pool for a couple of hours, then to the beach and onto Nobu for dinner before heading to the airport. It took us a full week to recover from our crazy weekend but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Honestly, I didn’t expect much from Austin because I went for a work trip. I organized a company event downtown and it had been a long few months of planning so I knew I’d be rushed off my feet all weekend. Lucky for me, my boss grew up in Texas and went to college in Austin so she knew the best spots. We walked along South Congress on Thursday evening and I instantly fell in love with the city. It’s so chilled but every restaurant and bar were full of people having a good time. We had dinner at a Tex-Mex restaurant Gueros and drank Margaritas before heading outside to listen to a live band. I felt very Texas. That night we went to Rainey St and I really wish I could transport the whole street to New York. It was once a residential street full of your average American houses and now, every house has been transformed into a bar. It’s just like hopping from house party to house party. Inside every house, you’ll find a different vibe whether it’s honkey tonk, circus-themed or my favorite, Container Bar. It just looks like a bunch of warehouse containers piled on top of each other with an open area in the middle and a great DJ. Friday was filled with running around preparing for the big event on Saturday, but I did manage to make a return to Container Bar at one point, hehe.
I heard about the one million bats that fly out from under Congress Bridge every sunset so I had it in my head I needed to see it. After the FibiFest wine mixer finished up, I was free for the night. I went back to the hotel to meet my best friend who flew to Austin from NYC just for a great night out, as you do. I dragged her to see the bats despite her protests and it took forever for them to emerge because of course there was a storm. Tash was not too happy. Nevertheless, it was incredible and I’m glad I ticked it off the list. We went to Rainey St to grab a drink at Unbarlievable. The bar was like a circus inside, it was awesome but she made us get this gigantic Moscow Mule and we were convinced there was not that much vodka in it. Oh little did we know. We definitely didn’t need those tequila shots before heading to 6th St. We were told 6th St was a little messier and more of a student spot but we wanted to try it out. (Probably should have stopped off at one of the million food trucks along the way, they are life btw). We went to Ranch and we didn’t even need to second guess our decision, it was packed inside and right on our vibe. It was one of those places where if I lost Tash (and I did) I could still have a good time. Those dangerous tequila shots got the better of me though, I blacked out after midnight. On Sunday, I really wanted to go to Hamilton pool which was a little out of the city but it’s a beautiful natural spring where you’ll find people hanging out on a sunny day. Unfortunately, the storm came back in force and we were forced inside which wasn’t all that bad, we just continued the party.
I never did find myself a hat or boots, that’s the one thing I regret.
Having a friend living in a city you want to visit makes the experience all the better. You never have to worry about finding the best spots to go out or the how to get around and you also have somewhere to stay. You think this would save you money but oh no, not Rachel. Rachel goes ahead and books flights for the wrong weekend and has to pay what I would have paid in accommodation to change it. Seriously, it’s all in the blog name. Anyway, I did a weekend trip to Chicago to see the city and catch up with my college friend Alva. Saturday night we had some drinks at a couple of bars in Wicker before heading to The Mid. We resserected the next morning and walked around the area in and out of vintage stores. It’s more of a young professional vibe in Wicker with a hint of hipster. Sort of like Williamsburg. Exactly like Williamsburg. We had the famous Jenny’s ice-cream and you could tell it was popular from the wait line. I must have been standing there for 25 minutes (still worth it). Sunday night, we met up with some of her Irish friends and went downtown to Stout and The Kerryman because that’s just what Irish do, hang out at Irish bars.
I left all the touristy stuff until Monday because I just wanted to enjoy the weekend before fitting in all of the sights. Alva had great patience. I didn’t expect her to take me into the city at all because she has probably done it one thousand times (Lord knows I’ve done NYC over and over again) but she was the best tour guide. Downtown is beautiful. It’s much more spread out than New York so you can actually breathe. A much easier city to live in long-term. We did all of the typical sights, The Bean, Navy Pier and the Skydeck at Willis Tower. After much lazing about back at Alva’s, we went to a blues bar Kingston Mines for my last night. I love going to places like this because you really get the American country experience.
I probably could have done Vegas better, just because I was underage but even still, it was a trip to remember. We drove from Westminister, California through Death Valley (with the air con on full blast). We stopped somewhere along the way for food and I remember stepping outside of the car and feeling an instant burn on my skin! Vegas wasn’t as bad as Death Valley but compared to Cali, it was still a furnace. Driving through the strip, I was staring out of the car window not paying attention to the conversations anymore, just pure excited to head out. Despite being underage, I had such a great time in Vegas because we went with a group of 13 Irish guys that had already been. We hung out with them at the MGM and just wandered in and out of bars. My favorite spots to eat were Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas and Serendipity at Caesar’s Palace. I’m still confused about what cold hot chocolate is but whatever, it was LIFE.
The boys had already done the Grand Canyon so myself and Rachael decided to book a trip there and back for the Thursday. After a wild Wednesday night, I got back to the hotel at 4:30am and our bus was to leave our hotel at 6am, smart Rachel, real smart. Needless to say we woke up with 7 minutes to spare so I packed my make up bag, toothbrush and my camera. Who needs a purse and a phone? The Grand Canyon was well worth the trip, it’s incredible. I could have stayed there all day but I don’t think I would go back again unless I was close by. The 5 hour journey from Vegas was slightly torturous.
I can’t wait to go back to Vegas and do it the right way!!!
There’s no US trips I’ve taken that I haven’t loved but these four have me eager to do them all over again. My next trip is in the making. Possibly Vegas round two or a road trip. I really want to drive from Nashville through Alabama and onto New Orleans before finishing up at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter #nerdalert