Archive for the ‘shopping’ Category

Things to do in Charlotte, NC: TSB City of the Month

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Charlotte is a fast growing city with much to enjoy for people of all ages. While most visitors head to ‘The Queen City’ between the spring and fall, there’s still plenty to do during the winter months; and right now during the holidays is no exception.

Holiday Happenings in Charlotte

Just 15 miles west of Charlotte is the small town of McAdenville (population 700). For the past 50 years, McAdenville, otherwise known as “Christmastown USA” has kept the Charlotte area merry and bright with its amazing light display that drawls more than 600,000 visitors each year and has even garnered the attention of TIME Magazine. There’s only one way through town so you can’t miss anything. Locals say the lights are best experienced on foot.

An animatronic orchestra of computerized bears, the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra, is one of Charlotte’s favorite Christmas attractions. The “Bearstein Bears” complete with singers play favorite holiday classics at Founders Hall for free daily throughout December.

200177110-001Things to Do in Charlotte

One of the city’s oldest cultural institutions is the Mint Museum. The historic building used to house the United States Mint – hence the name – but today its two-campus set-up houses both an impressive art collection and a popular craft and design museum.

North Carolina is regarded as the “Birthplace of Aviation,” and the Charlotte region is steeped in flight history. Located on the grounds of Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the Carolinas Aviation Museum has a collection of over 50 aircraft and a large collection of smaller historic items related to aviation in the North and South Carolina.

The museum even recently added the body of US Airways flight 1549, the famed “Miracle on the Hudson” plane.

For the theme park enthusiast, you’ll be thrilled to know that Charlotte is home to Carowinds. This theme park actually crosses the borer between NC and SC, so you can be in two states at once. And, if it’s a water park you are looking for, Charlotte is also home to a Great Wolf Lodge, doubling as a great hotel option for your visit, too.

The first actually documented gold found in the United States occurred in the nearby Reed Gold Mine in Midland, NC. There’s no charge to tour the mine or see the museum and it is $3 to pan for gold.

Food for the Soul in Charlotte

Charlotte’s unique blend of business and southern hospitality seem to be the right ingredient for culinary success in the city. You can find just about anything in Charlotte to please even the most discerning palettes. Here are a few dining recommendations for your visit to Charlotte.

Mert’s Heart & Soul serves southern cuisine that is as authentic as it comes. All I can say is “Yum”. Mert’s has the best fried chicken, shrimp & grits, fried catfish around. Be sure to stop by for all the fixins.

The North Carolina Barbecue Society created a BBQ Trail all the way to Tennessee featuring 24 historic barbecue pits. I’m not sure whether to file this under “things to do” or “where to eat” but either way it would be deliciously fun.

Soul Gastrolounge is a hip and delicious choice for dinner. It stands in the top ten of Zagat’s best restaurants in Charlotte list. And, you can even catch a glimpse of the restaurant as it’s a backdrop spot in the new TV series, The Novice.

Be sure to make dinner reservations early enough in the evening so you’ll be able to get downtown for the Bobcats game at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. The new team brings a lot of new excitement to the area.

We’ll round out the week with a few hotel recommendations for when you visit Charlotte whether on business, pleasure, for romance or with family.

 
 

 

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A Perfect Weekend Away in Charlotte, NC: TSB City of the Month

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

If you’re looking too get away for a long weekend and you want to visit a city that is not too bustling, but not too quiet, not too artsy or action-packed, then try Charlotte, NC. It’s just right for a getaway weekend with the perfect combination of everything that makes ‘The Queen City’ a favorite travel spot for friends, couples and families up and down the East Coast.

200177106-001Charlotte is the #2 banking capital outside of Wall Street and gives the city a certain metropolitan buzz that you’d expect in a downtown. One of the things I like most about Charlotte is how pedestrian-friendly it is. You can walk anywhere in the vicinity of Trade and Tryon (the two main streets) and encounter art, music, and great dining options. Downtown is also a great place to sit and people-watch. It was especially prime people watching when Charlotte hosted the Democratic National Convention last year.

And just outside the city are some fantastic, hip neighborhoods beckoning for you to explore them. SouthPark is full of wonderful shops and restaurants. For an inexpensive treat, park at South 21 Curb Service and experience the 1955 drive-in a modern twist. Indulge in thick chocolate milk shakes, hot hush puppies, and crispy onion rings…and a trout sandwich.

Charlotte’s artsy NoDa neighborhood features some of the finest art galleries around. Twice a month there is an art crawl, held on the 1st and 3rd Friday starting at 6pm, and let’s you peruse some of the city’s finest galleries. After you can chill at Dolce Vita, a low-key wine bar and neighborhood gathering spot.

And up the road in Concord, NC, you can get that small-town experience. Concord features three historical districts with many beautifully preserved homes worth driving around and the Memorial Gardens are a botanical delight in the spring and summer months. Union Street in Concord is a fun walk with local shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries.

Later this week, we’ll take a look at where to stay and more suggestions on what to do and areas to explore when visiting Charlotte.

 
 

 

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America’s Newest Holiday: Thankshopping Day!

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The appeal of Black Friday is at a five year high, with 55% of shoppers saying they’re likely to shop the holiday kickoff event. And 38% told consulting firm Accenture that they plan to shop on Thanksgiving this year, and that of those, 41% said they’ll be out between 6 p.m. on the holiday and 5 a.m. on Black Friday. Perhaps we should just rename the whole event “Thankshopping Day.”

0_117085750I’ll admit it! I’ve gotten into Black Friday shopping and perhaps not for the reason you think. Sure, it started out as a quest for a few great deals but it has become something more. Actually, I like that I can leave my house at 3AM (yes, I know I am missing a ton of deals this year and I may reconsider) and spend a few fun hours alone or perhaps with a friend without feeling guilty about missing out on family time because my kids and husband are sleeping.

If crowds aren’t your thing, a new report from analytics firm ShopperTrak pegs Wednesday, Dec. 4, as the best day to shop with the least amount of store traffic during this year’s holiday season. Not to alarm you but you have one less weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas compared to last year, which will mean more crowds and fewer shopping days. Online sneak-peak ads for Black Friday are already out. Here are a few tips to help you score big during the new holiday tradition of Thankshopping: holiday shopping steals!

  • Use the Internet to compare prices, not just the Black Friday ads but also retailers’ regular websites. Doing this ahead of time will help you know if the prices are just inflated to make it look like you are getting a deal or to know if it really is a steal.
  • Take the ad with you so that you can find the exact item at the price advertised. In fact, you may want to check the items out at the store ahead of time just to be sure it is something that you actually want to buy and don’t just get caught up in the frenzy.
  • Follow your favorite travel companies on Facebook and Twitter to get access to Black Friday codes that unlock deals and discounts. Monitor tweets tagged #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday. And, sign up for email alerts that could get your coupons for the nation’s shopping holiday.

Top 3 Black Friday Shopping Cities

  1. 1.     New York City
  2. 2.     Houston, TX
  3. 3.     Minneapolis, MN

How many hotel rooms could you book for the cost of an item from Hotels.com’s Christmas Shopping Basket? Keep checking back on Hotels.com for special holiday promotions.

Will you be taking part in Thankshopping this year? If so, what’s your plan for shopping success?

 
 

 

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Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI) – Round-up of Key Results

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 11.57.42 AM

What’s trending in the travel industry?

Here’s a quick round-up of the Hotels.com Hotel-Price-Index (HPI): It dives into domestic and international travel, which cities are most visited, where hotel prices rose and fell, and other helpful travel tips and trends!

Domestic Travel
In 2013, hotel prices in North America were three percent higher on average than during the same period in 2012. Although relatively small, these figures show a trend of slowly increasing rates (since the start of 2010) with average prices now nearing 2006 levels, before the global financial crisis began.

Honolulu became the most expensive U.S. DMA in the first half of 2013 at an average of $230 a night. This average rate surpasses that of New York City for the first time since the inception of the Hotel Price Index. With an average nightly rate of $211, New York City saw 2% year-over-year increase, but it was Honolulu’s 13% rise over the first half of 2012 that pushed it to the top.

When evaluating U.S. destinations by city (not DMA) Newport Coast, CA blew both Honolulu and New York City out of the water with an average daily rate of $501, up 25 percent from 2012! Debuting at number 3 on the World’s Most Expensive Cities List, this resort town is likely attracting posh visitors for its pristine, five-star beaches, recently named cleanest in the country.

Among the nation’s 30 largest cities, it was Nashville that saw the largest price increase (10 percent) over the same time period.

HPIimageInternational Travel
According to the HPI, Americans tend to splurge about 37 percent more when traveling internationally. London, Paris and Rome continue to be the front-running cities with regard to overseas spending for the third year in a row. However, Bangkok (#14) and other far-away cities are moving up in the ranks of American’s most preferred.

Niagara Falls, Ontario debuted at number 10 on the Top 10 Most Popular International Destinations List, rising considerably from number 14 in the first half of 2012. Mexico City rounded out the Top 20, moving up from number 23.

Asia was the only region to see a fall in prices by 2 percent in the first half of 2013. Individual cities in the region performed well but the depreciation in value of the Yen and the Rupee, coupled with a fall in the number of inbound visitors to China contributed to this result. However, outbound travel from China has not yet been impacted by slowdown in the country’s economy and continued to boom.

The HPI tracks real prices paid per room by Hotels.com customers at approximately 155,000 properties within the Hotels.com network in major destinations around the world. To access the full report, including videos, detailed maps, colorful photos and a city-by-city breakdown, check out: www.hotel-price-index.com!

 

 
 

 

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City of the Month Itinerary: Can You Do It All in San Antonio?

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

TSBCotM

San Antonio is one of those cities that you really can return to again and again and experience something new each time. And yet, if you only have one day to check out this popular destination you could see most of what makes San Antonio unique without leaving downtown. Visitors with more time can extend their exploration into nearby neighborhoods and the Texas Hill Country.

And, if you’re looking for a destination for the whole family, you can’t go wrong with San Antonio!

IMG_9626If you only have a night or two then you will want to choose a hotel downtown on the Paseo del Rio, aka The River Walk. You’ll be within walking distance of all the popular attractions and can enjoy the strolls and views below.

Hotels near the River Walk

About The River Walk: This waterway walkway, constructed in the late 1960’s, adds a unique flair to the city and has been host to many a celebration. There is a walkway for pedestrian travel and is one level down from the main road. It winds its way along the banks of the San Antonio River and is lined with restaurants and shops and connects major tourist sites including the Alamo.

To get a good overview of what you may want to see and do, hop aboard one of the Rio San Antonio Cruises, the boats along the River Walk for a narrated tour. Tickets cost $7.75 adults, $2 ages 1-5.

IMG_9611Of all the cities that I have visited, San Antonio is hands down one of the easiest to get around in. Visitors can simply look up at signs on every street corner directing them to various points of interest. So, take your comfy walking shoes and get exploring!

From the boat ride: head to The Alamo. Like so many of our historic landmarks, the once religious mission turned symbol of courage and sacrifice, is now surrounded by a myriad of modern-day tourist traps. But don’t let this discourage your visit! The Alamo is as inspiring today as it ever was and treasures from the heroes of the fateful battle during the Texas Revolution are beautifully displayed and explained inside the hallowed halls.

If walking is too much, no problem! Catch the hop on-hop off trolley and see the rest of San Antonio’s major sites when you’re done with the Alamo.

Next, you can check out the Institute of Texan Cultures and the Buckhorn Saloon is also entertaining. If you’re at the Buckhorn you may want to go an extra block and look inside the historic St. Anthony Hotel, constructed in 1909 and well preserved as a glimpse of times past.

If you need a little retail therapy, try shopping at La Villiata, the historic arts village of San Antonio.

The San Antonio Children’s Museum is also great place to take the kids after a morning of historic site seeing.

Where to eat in San Antonio
Hungry? Options abound in San Antonio.

IMG_9540Breakfast
The kids and I enjoyed a morning stroll to Big Apple Bagels (headquartered in San Antonio) and even had a kitchen tour. But if you want a grand breakfast, then you shouldn’t miss starting your day at The Guenther House, an 1820’s historic mansion with awesome biscuits.

Lunch and Dinner
The Pearl Brewery area is a culinary destination for San Antonio and features the 3rd campus of the Culinary Institute of America (NYC and Napa are the others) and some really good restaurants. My personal favorites are Il Sogno Osteria, super-authentic and delicious Italian fare.

  • Biga on the Banks – for a really nice dinner, consider this one located right on the River Walk
  • The Station Café in Southtown is as cool and delicious as the neighborhood it is located in (which is really cool). It’s a great spot for lunch or dinner. The menu is super hip and super fresh.
  • Catch one of the best sunsets in Texas from the 750-foot-high Tower of the Americas, and then enjoy a memorable dinner at the new Chart House restaurant. It’s taller than Seattle’s Space Needle.

IMG_9668Nightlife in San Antonio
Not short on things to do after dark, you can visit more than 86 bars and lounges in San Antonio, like the Longest Bar in Texas at The Esquire.

Remember the ages of those we are traveling with and help them understand and appreciate what they are seeing on their level, so the historic vacation can be fun for everyone. For younger family members, pick out the historic facts that they can understand or would find most interesting and perhaps save some of the more sedentary tours for the return visit when they’re older.

With an extended trip to San Antonio, you can experience some of what I think are the city’s best kept secrets!

The Witte Museum is the museum of history, science and humanities. Its exhibits are engaging and educational for adults and kids alike. The biggest draw for kids is the fantastic HEB Science Treehouse, a four-level, 15,000-square-foot science center that sits behind the museum on the banks of the San Antonio River. You can spend an entire day (or two) in this museum complex.

IMG_9648Nearby is the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, about 30 minutes outside of downtown San Antonio. These were both unexpected pleasures on our recent visit to San Antonio. The kids and I enjoyed learning about the recently discovered (1960s) underground cavern system located in the Texas Hill Country. And the Wildlife Ranch was something of an African Safari that my nearly two-year old just couldn’t get enough of.

And there is Sea World, and Elitch Gardens, golf and spas, and so much more. The Texas Hill Country is a great respite for Texas residents and visitors from all over.

SEE? There is so much to do in San Antonio! So what are you waiting for?

 

 

 
 

 

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America’s Melting Pot: Visiting US Ethnic Enclaves

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

In some of the US’s largest cities you’ll find small populations of immigrants from distant countries. They’re called “ethnic enclaves” and they are wonderful pockets of culture, cuisine, shopping and more. What began as a way for people with similar nationalities to live and commune together; has become a way to experience authentic cultural experiences without having to travel too far. From Little Havana in Miami to the Danish settlement of Solvang outside Santa Barbara to the more than 20 Little Italy’s and 30-plus China Town’s, America is truly a melting pot ready to be explored.

Chinatown in SingaporeSo next time you are visiting a big city, take a side trip to a nearby, far-away place. Here are a few standouts:

“Little Australia” or “Australita”, New York City – Aussie restaurants, shops, and art galleries are mainly popping up along Mullbury Street in the Nolita section of NYC, just North of another popular “little” (Little Italy).

“Little Saigon” or “Little Vietnam”, Chicago – Located on West Argyle Street Historic District in Uptown Chicago, this Little Vietnam neighborhood should not be confused with Old Chinatown, which is in the Armour Square community area on the South Side of the city.

“Little Havana”, Miami Cuban immigration personifies Miami and there’s really nothing “little” about Little Havana. It is a center of social, cultural, and political activity in Miami. Its festivals, including the Calle Ocho Festival, Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays, the Three Kings Parade and others, are watched on TV by millions of people every year. Elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, and cigar rollers deeply at work are synchronized with Little Havana’s pulsating music, vibrant storefronts and art galleries, and flavor-rich restaurants.

“lndia Square” or “Little India” or “Little Bombay”, Iselin, NJ – There are 17 Little India neighborhoods in the US. The standout is a neighborhood in Iselin, New Jersey where just fewer than 13,000 Indians live in a two-block stretch. They even have their own Holi celebration every year. Stock up on your favorite Bollywood flicks, enjoy the beautiful saris and salwar kameez, and dine on the most authentic Indian cuisine outside of New Delhi.

“Japantown”, San Jose and San Francisco — Japanese culture is thriving in these two Northern California communities. Japantown San Jose has a number of special events throughout the year such as Obon Festival, Nihonmachi Run, and Sake San Jose.

You can track down events in J-town San Francisco, too, including an Francisco’s Japantown celebrates two major festivals every year: The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival (held for two weekends every April), and the Nihonmachi Street Fair, in August. With its prime Japantown location and unique blend of Eastern and Western influences, Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco has 218 spacious rooms and suites with some offering Japanese soaking tubs and views of the Japanese Gardens.

“Germantown” Meunster, TX and Hermann, MO – Need some lederhosen? There are some delightful German towns peppering the US with a sausage and heferwiesen just waiting for you. The town of Meunster, located North of Dallas, was founded in 1889 by German Catholic settlers. Today the town offers its own Germanfest and the Kraut Bowl, a heated high school football game that originated from the two largest German populations.

Hermann (yes, it has two “n”s) is tucked into the heart of Missouri wine country and is a great town for walking and wine tasting at its seven local wineries.

“Greek”, Tarpon Springs, FL – Head North from Clearwater Beach and you’ll find the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US. The first Greek immigrants arrived in this city during the 1880s to work as divers in the growing sponge harvesting industry. Today, the shops along Dodecanese Avenue in the Sponge Docks District of Tarpon Springs are still thriving as both a historic and a current tourist destination. There are many restaurants serving traditional Greek cuisine and fresh seafood.

Koreantown”, New York City – Koreantown, a Midtown neighborhood in the Manhattan borough of New York City, USA, is an ethnic Korean enclave. The restaurants here take Korean food to a whole new level with a slew of Korean barbecue joints that boast delicious eats, tabletop grills and 24-hour service.

“Little Italy”, Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland  There are 23 Little Italy’s in the US with many shrinking in their cultural authenticity, but not these three!

  • Boston’s Little Italy, which encompasses about two square miles, is located in the North End. Today, though there are over 80 restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, the area still retains its old-world charm. This is evident in the narrow, cobblestone streets, hearing Italian spoken, and the delicious smells wafting through the air.
  • South Philly boasts a large Italian-American population and a booming Little Italy neighborhood. Restaurants like Dante & Luigi’s, Villa di Roma, and Ralph’s have been serving up classic Italian cuisine for over a century.
  • Cleveland’s Little Italy is located on Mayfield Road, in the Murray Hill section of the city. In mid- August, Little Italy hosts over 100,000 visitors for the Feast of the Assumption – a four-day celebration complete with a parade, Italian food vendors, live music, carnival rides, fireworks, and other festivities.
 
 

 

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Birchbox: Top 4 In-Flight Beauty Tips

Friday, June 28th, 2013

These Birchbox videos offer fantastic advice and products that help to improve the overall travel experience. Meredith Stebbins, editor and content strategy manager for Birchbox, shares the best in-flight beauty tips to help you to be well-prepared for you next travel experience!

Check out the below video for the top four tips to help you to feel comfortable and looking great while flying.

What are some of your favorite tips to keep in mind during travel? Let us know in the comments below!

 
 

 

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Affordable Three-Day Weekends

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Royalty Free stockSummertime is the perfect time for a little vacation. Thankfully,  you don’t need to take off a week of work or save money for months to enjoy a fun getaway. Check out these great destinations and make plans for an affordable three-day weekend with the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index. Steal a deal at any of these locations with Hotels.com and you’ll have extra cash to spend exploring and enjoying your interests!

What are you interested in doing with your long weekend? Here are three fun options to consider:

For the Active Traveler
Denver, Colorado – $118 (average daily rate according to the HPI)

Stay: A short walk from the 16th Street Mall and trendy Lo-Do, the Marriott Denver City Center offers breath-taking views of the Rocky Mountains for rooms facing west.

Activities:  With miles of bike paths starting in the heart of Denver and spreading over the greater metropolitan area, travelers can walk, run, bike or rollerblade around to explore the city. Skirting just west of downtown Denver, the South Platte River gives travelers the opportunity to rent a tube and float through the river or try a new sport such as river kayaking or river paddle boarding.  Rent a car and take a quick 30 minute drive west to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Chautauqua Park or Lookout Mountain to get some exercise and see a sweeping view across Denver looking west.

For the “Shop Until You Eat” Traveler
Houston, Texas -$118 (average daily rate according to the HPI)

Stay: Nestled in the heart of the nation’s fourth largest city, travelers can stay inside the “loop” at Inn at the Ballpark.

Activities:  For foodies, the city harbors an eclectic mix of chefs and cuisine including restaurants specializing in southern soul food, mouthwatering cocktails, fresh seafood dishes, up-and-coming Mexican and Vietnamese gems. Scour the various outdoor farmers’ markets for local goods and fresh snacks. Shoppers will love Houston. With a dozen distinct shopping hubs, the city has stores for all tastes and interests from vintage and bargain goods to high-end designers and luxury commodities. Spend an afternoon wandering 19th Street in the historic The Heights neighborhood. Dive into bargain hunting on Harwin Drive. Need to find something for the man in your life? Houston prides itself on having a host of shops catering specifically to men.

For the Entertainment Lover
Las Vegas, Nevada – $105 (average daily rate according to the HPI)

Stay: The opulent Caesars Palace supplies enough amusement you’ll never want to leave. Enjoy two dozen restaurants, gaming, entertainment, shopping, spas and a pool.

Activities: International music talent almost always stops on The Strip while touring, so travelers are guaranteed to find a show that interests them when visiting. Head downstairs from your room to enjoy a show at the Colosseum, which is currently headlining Shania Twain, the world’s best-selling female country artist of all time and Celine Dion, the best-selling female recording artist of all time, period. Afterwards go dance the night away to live DJs or rock out on the floating Cleopatra’s Barge. Want to venture out? The Cosmopolitan, Harrah’s and a plethora of other resorts are just minutes away on foot.

 
 

 

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Party Earth: Hot Hotel Rooftop Bars to Hit Up This Summer

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

PH-D_Hotels(dot)com (1)No matter which major metropolitan area you’re visiting for a night of revelry, hotel rooftop bars in America are some of the hippest high-altitude hangouts in the world.

At New York City’s Dream Downtown Hotel, penthouse bar PH-D is decked out in glass, glitter, and enough celebrity-studded luxury to make even the most moneyed Manhattanite blush. Arriving on the twelfth floor via a mirrored elevator, jet-setters and trust-fund coeds make their way past a small bar and into a sprawling lounge with glossy black walls, polished marble floors, and plate-glass windows that look out onto neighboring high-rises and the Hudson River. 

POV Roof Terrace_Hotels(dot)com (1)Whether it’s day or night, a visit to the P.O.V. Roof Terrace and Lounge above the W Hotel is a top destination for savvy citizens looking for things to do in DC. With an expansive panorama that encompasses several famous monuments, the venue attracts a wide range of political elites, professionals from nearby offices, and camera-toting tourists.

Set atop the 27th floor of a trendy boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Chicago, ROOF on theWit boasts an expansive view of the Windy City’s glittering skyscrapers, as well as a good sampling of the coolest cats in town. Open-air patios flank both sides of the main room, including a small dining area that hangs precariously over the side of the building – seemingly unsupported – and aptly named the Hangover.

Roof On TheWit_Hotels(dot)com (1)For ritzy Angelenos who love the heights, an evening at the ultra-mod Rooftop Bar at The Standard Downtown is one of the hottest things to do in Los Angeles. With a swanky environment where sipping cocktails under the stars (and around them) is par for the course, there’s few better places to experience Downtown L.A.’s resurging nightlife scene.

One of the best big-city delights in which denizens can indulge is sipping a drink on a rooftop perch while gazing down on the bustling boulevards below. So hop in that elevator and head for the sky at some of the best rooftop bars in the U.S.

By Party Earth - a global media and entertainment company that features reviews, editorials, and listings of the best bars, clubs, festivals, concerts, events, and more in major cities around the world.

 

 
 

 

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Top Travel Gifts For Grads

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

gradAnother crop of bright-eyed, big dreamed high school and college graduates are ready to take on the world. But before they do, perhaps they should see it first! I was so eager to get out and start working right after college, (which wasn’t a bad thing) but I do wish that I had taken some time, even if only the summer after graduation, to travel before I officially took on all of life’s responsibilities. So, if you are looking for that perfect graduation gift, consider the gift of travel or some encouragement to help facilitate a big graduation adventure!

Give the gift of travel!
A number of the airlines, cruise lines, hotels and other tour operators have gift certificates and gift cards available for purchase online through their websites. I’ve even seen Southwest Airlines gift cards in the grocery store. You can even gift your airline miles to someone. There’s still an associated cost, typically $15 per 1000 miles, but it could make a big difference for someone’s travel budget.

Oh The Places You’ll Go
Personalized Luggage Tags tucked in as bookmarks in the quintessential graduation book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss

Where I’ve Been Travel Scratch Map
Who doesn’t love a scratch and win lottery ticket. Well, this travel scratch map makes the trip “the prize”. The traveler simply commemorates his trip by scratching off for each country that he visited.

When the Grad’s iPhone Camera is Not Quite Enough…
Thanks to photojojo.com, cell phone users can convert their phones into super impressive cameras with fish eye, wide angle, and telephoto lenses. There’s even an attachable extension that has all three.

For the Traveling Professional
My husband recently gave me this exact business backpack to use on my work trips. Not only does it have lots of room, protects my laptop and is super great on my back, but it is super cute too. I get compliments on it all the time. Check out Mobile Edge for other business bags.

Don’t Forget to Call Mom!
Before you send your graduate out to conquer the world, make sure they have a good international cell phone plan. You may want to hear every detail, but not at $5-a-minute.

Know any traveling grads out there? We’d like to hear from them at TravelSmartBlog.com!

 

 
 

 

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