You’d never guess that I was still in New York City or any city for that matter. You’d probably think I was across the pond in some Celtic countryside castle. However, I am very much in downtown Manhattan at the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park just steps away from Wall Street.
The Irish Hunger Memorial is a super interesting landmark that you should consider visiting next time you’re in New York. It represents the rural Irish landscape and abandoned stone cottages that many Irish left behind during the Great Irish Famine. It also stands as a reminder of the hunger that remains today. Being half Irish, the memorial really means a lot to me.
No matter how far apart and different major cities around the world are, they all have the same two things in common. They attract a lot of tourists and these tourists all flock to the same main tourist traps.
It’s true. In New York, everyone uses their first trip to see the Empire State Building. All the way over in France, the Eiffel Tower is Synonymous with the word Paris. Parents with eager kids in California think Disneyland Park is the only option. And in Venice, Italy, you won’t get far without seeing someone clambering aboard an overpriced gondola!
In doing the same activities and seeing the same sights, you’re doing two things to yourself. You’re making yourself compete with the elbows and selfie sticks of hundreds of others. Plus, you’re also losing out on the authentic part of the city, lurking quietly in the background. So, break away from the crowd, metaphorically and literally by taking the road less traveled by tourists.
Avoid: Disneyland Park Instead do: Adventure City
Anaheim as a city has a lot more to offer than just Disneyland Park! Sure, it was the only Disney park that Walt actually had a hand in building himself. But it’s also a hotspot for manic children and exhausted parents all year round. Well, you might not believe it, but somebody actually had the bravery to set up a competing park in the same area. Adventure City opened back in 1994 and has managed to survive ever since. Yes, the park is smaller and offers fewer rides. But this doesn’t mean it is small or even limited. Set across two acres, you get the same thrills and rides for a far more affordable price. While the masses are over at Disneyland, you can join the savvier adults over at Adventure City.
Avoid: hiring a gondola Instead do: a day trip to Treviso
Ask people what you should do on a trip to Venice and they will probably answer ‘hire a Gondola’. Well, while this is a very nice idea, it is also a very expensive one! The owners of the gondolas have caught on to just how popular their offering is, and their prices seem to rise every season! So, say no to this offer, and hop on a train instead. Bear with us on this one. While there is lots to see and do in Venice, it is very difficult to avoid the tourists. However, if what you are looking for is authentic Italy and all it has to offer, a 30-minute train ride away is the town of Treviso. Much smaller, it is also much quieter. However, this in turn means it is more affordable, more authentic and just as stunning. Plus, they have rivers and boats in Treviso too!
New York, USA
Avoid… the Empire State Building Instead do… a wander around Greenwich Village
Let’s be honest. The best part of the Empire State Building is the view from the top. From the outside, and especially down below, it kind of looks like pretty much any other NYC building.
So, instead, head to where the locals and resident New Yorkers spend a lazy afternoon or early morning; Greenwich Village. Wander around the cobbled, tree-lined streets. Stop for a coffee in one of the many places that does it freshly brewed. Say no to the tourist shops and look in the little boutiques that are dotted around Greenwich Village. You could also spend the day exploring some chic neighborhood in Brooklyn such as Williamsburg or DUMBO. They’re just a short train ride from Manhattan and offer a way more personal New York experience than you’ll ever find in midtown Manhattan.
Avoid… The Eiffel Tower Instead do… A traditional Parisian Park.
Tourists in Paris love The Eiffel Tower like tourists in Venice love the gondolas. I.E. – A LOT! However, there is simply so much more to the French capital. Locals boast of having lived in Paris their whole lives and having never visited the tower once. Instead, they busy themselves with the wealth of other authentic sites and activities Paris lays on. Take Paris’ parks. Parc Monceau and Parc Montsouris are just two stunners to enjoy on a stroll or a picnic – or both. Parc Buttes-Chaumont is another local favorite, and it offers wonderful views over the city too. It’s not just grass and trees you’ll find, either. Instead, there is a lake, waterfalls, hidden grottoes and more.
Over the weekend I found true happiness at the Museum of Ice Cream, an interactive pop up experience based on the history and sweetness of Ice Cream. Like the Museum of Feelings it will only be in existence for a limited time and it’s totally worth a trip (though it might be sold out now).
Throughout my blissful visit, I ate ice cream (of course), looked at ice cream-inspired art and learned fun facts about the history of everyone’s favorite frozen treat. The highlight was swimming in a pool full of sprinkles. For my sprinkle swimwear I wore my LOFT Flecked Side Shirred Dress. I hope they come out with a Museum of Cupcakes next because that would make my life!
A few weeks ago (okay a month ago! I’m still getting caught up on blogging) I visited my sister in Baltimore. She moved there a couple years ago and loves it. I must say that I like Charm City a lot too. My sister’s neighborhood of Canton is filled with beautiful murals, art galleries and creative street art like the colorful milk carton lanterns (pictured below). Above I’m wearing my summer signature LOFT Lou & Grey Slinky Racerback Midi Dress. It’s really one of my favorite dresses from this summer. It’s so comfortable and stylish.
I’m a huge fan of Baltimore’s artsy side and unlike New York, the art for sale in the galleries is actually pretty affordable. The huge detailed murals and nearby Patterson Park make it a blogger’s and photographer’s paradise. I’m pretty excited to go back.
I can’t believe it’s already August! While summer is flying by faster than a two week vacation, it’s not too late to stock up on some sexy swimwear. This Scallop Bandeau Bikini look is everywhere this summer and I’m loving it. Luckily, this beachside look is available at every price under the sun. So dive in and get your end of summer shopping on. A new bathing suit is the perfect excuse to book another vacation or crash someone’s pool party (not that you needed one).