Holidays in the Mile High City

December in Denver is a magical time. The temperatures drop, the snow falls, and the holiday lights go up. The holiday season brings magic and cheers to the Mile High city. Check out these activities you do not want to miss this season.

Zoo Lights
A holiday tradition, Zoo Lights is a local favorite each holiday season. The zoo goes all out with lights, beginning in November. Explore the zoo at night for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Zoo Lights are perfect for date night or a fun family outing, with beautiful light displays, animals, and holiday entertainment. You can also see a lot of the animals in their indoor exhibits, especially the elephants and giraffes.

Tip: Be sure to make your way to Santa’s village and grab a cup of hot chocolate.

Blossoms of Light
The Denver Botanical Gardens also decks the ground with beautiful holiday lights. This annual event happens every year and features beautiful lights making guests feel like they are walking in a winter wonderland. This fully immersive event is perfect for all ages and lights up Denver.

Tip: Purchase tickets in advance as this event does tend to sell out every year.

Holiday Cocktails at One of Denver’s Food Halls
Denver’s food and bar scenes are booming. Each restaurant loves to feature fun and unique holiday-themed craft cocktails and bites. Explore many of the Denver area food halls that decorate for the holiday, making each place cozy and comfortable. Some of the top food halls to be sure to check out during the season include Union Station, Avanti Food & Beverage, The Denver Central Market, and the Milk Market.

Tip: Looking for something new to try? Just ask your bartender for a great holiday recommendation.

Downtown Ice Skating
It might not be Rockefeller Square, but Denver’s Ice Rink is the perfect skate in the city. Located right downtown in the heart of the city center, Skyline Park is right off of the 16th Street Mall. Every winter, this park is transformed into an ice rink. Skate around the rink with a perfect winter city background. Grab your mittens and beanie and enjoy a fun classic winter activity. If you want to rent ice skates, prices are very affordable for both adults and kids!

Tip: Admission to the rink is absolutely free for those who bring their own skates!

Holiday Hike
Denver locals truly enjoy the outdoors all four seasons of the year. You can expect some cooler weather, but the sun does shine over 300 days a year. Take advantage of the sun and go for a drive and hike one of the beautiful hikes that Colorado has to offer. You are in for a treat of stunning views of the Mile High City and the surrounding nature. Take a short drive up to Boulder and hike the snow-covered Flatirons. Once you get to the top, the views of Boulder and the Front Range are unbelievable.  Another close by hike is Mount Falcon Park, which is a 2.3-mile loop just outside of Denver.

Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and be sure to enjoy the breathtaking nature Colorado has to offer.

Denver is the perfect place to spend your holiday season. For the perfect dose of picturesque snow, outdoor fun, and holiday spirit, start planning your next trip to Denver today.

Know Before You Go:

  • Bring a warm winter coat. Most activities are outside, and you want to be sure to stay warm.
  • Denver International Airport is a few miles outside the city center. If you do not plan to rent a car, there is the RTD train that will take you into Downtown for $10.50. Lyft is another great option for transportation.
  • Denver enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, making it the destination for any quick getaway year-round.

Cartagena: The Sol of Colombia

Imagine this: You’re walking down a lively cobblestone street, looking at rainbow-colored colonial buildings lined with vibrant flowers. As you bite into your second arepa de huevo, you notice a woman dressed in a bright red dress selling the freshest fruit you’ve ever seen and a young man selling hot tinto. The breeze blows some salty ocean air your way. An older gentleman sits on his stool playing the accordion, singing a vallenato ballad, and you can hear the exciting rhythm of champeta playing in the boutique down the street.

Sounds amazing, right? This is Cartagena de Indias – a beautiful gem on the Atlantic coast of Colombia. Cartagena has it all: excursions, gastronomy, history, nightlife, and beaches. It’s the perfect place to visit whether you’re with friends, family, or your partner, and it accommodates all budgets from backpackers to royalty. These are a few of my top suggestions for your trip.

Excursions
Visit the Islas del Rosario, an archipelago of 27 small islands situated on the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea. Most islands are accessible only by boat, and there are a plethora of pasadías (day tours) available for around $95 USD. If you’re a diver or like to snorkel, the reefs out there are amazing!

Take a mud bath in the Totumo Volcano! You can choose between full-day and half-day excursions to enjoy this unique experience. Don’t worry, the volcano is not active anymore!

Old City
Rent a bike or go for a walk inside the historic walls of the Cartagena Old City. You absolutely must visit the Old City during the daytime and at nighttime. By day, you can experience all the colors of the flowers and buildings, as well as the hustle and bustle of the locals who work there and study at the universities. By night, the Old City takes on this mystical enchantment, with soft yellow and purple lighting, live music, horse-drawn carriages, and artisanal markets and stands scattered along the sidewalks and UNESCO buildings.

Fantastic Views
Visit La Popa Monastery and the San Felipe Castle for unbeatable views of the city! La Popa is on a 150 meter/492 foot-high hill marking the highest viewpoint in Cartagena. San Felipe Castle has stood proudly in Cartagena for centuries, despite numerous invasions by pirates, admirals, and barons.

Where to Eat & Drink
Enjoy amazing food at the many restaurants located in the Old City or Getsemani. Getsemani is a unique neighborhood, still inhabited by many locals. It is much more casual than the Old City and has beautiful street art. If you’re going out at night, try Colombia’s Aguardiente (national liquor whose literal translation in English is “burning water”) while showing off your dance moves. Here are some of my favorite spots in Cartagena:

  • Juan del Mar: The food is a fusion of Caribbean and Peruvian cuisines with an open kitchen concept and live music at night. It’s located in the heart of the San Diego Square (Plaza San Diego) in the Old City.
  • Di Silvio Trattoria in Getsemani: This delicious spot is surrounded by really cool street art and local performing artists, with reasonably-priced, delicious pizza and pasta dishes. It is adjacent to the Trinity Square (Plaza de la Trinidad) in vibrant Getsemani.
  • Café del Mar, El Baluarte, or Casa de la Cerveza: These are excellent places to sip a cocktail and watch the sunset over the ocean.
  • Mister Babilla: A nightclub with two separate music areas. One plays mixed-Latin music like reggaeton and champeta, while the other area plays electronic music.

Where to Stay
Hilton now has three beautiful hotels in Cartagena, each catering to a variety of tastes. The Hampton by Hilton Cartagena offers a rooftop pool, sky lobby, and hot Hampton breakfast with a Colombian twist. The Hilton Cartagena has an expansive recreation complex and is right on the beach. Both are only a 10-minute drive from the historic Walled City! The Conrad Cartagena is slightly further away, but its secluded beach, large golf course, spa, and multiple pools make it an ideal place to disconnect and unwind.

Grab your sombrero vueltiao and some sunblock and start planning your trip to Cartagena today! To access more information about local restaurants, unique attractions, and special offers in Cartagena, visit our Destination Guide.

The Paw-fect Fort Lauderdale Getaway with Your Dog

Finding a pet sitter is always a daunting task when planning travel. So, why not plan a vacation with your dog? That’s what makes a getaway in a pet-friendly city paw-fect. There aren’t many places you and man’s best friend can jump from high-end shopping to a National Park Swamp in less than 15 minutes with great weather year-round, but you can in Florida.

The greater Fort Lauderdale area offers many outdoor activities to enjoy the beautiful Florida weather like beautiful beaches, outdoor parks, and dining featuring international cuisines.

Tip: Shoulder seasons, which are periods of travel between peak and off-peak seasons, are a great time to visit Florida. October through December are great months because the weather is starting to cool down, so it’s not too hot to stay outside with your pup throughout the day. It’s at the end of hurricane season, so you are less likely to have your plans altered due to an unforeseen storm. Also, it’s a great time to find hotel deals since it’s right before Florida’s high travel season.

Fuel Up
Las Olas is one of the most popular streets in Fort Lauderdale, featuring amazing restaurants and shopping. One of the most popular restaurants, Louie Bossi’s, also happens to be the most pet-friendly. Dogs are welcome on the outdoor seating in the front of the restaurant on Las Olas. Inside, you’ll find a second outdoor space with tables spaced along a grass and paved area with an array of comfortable patio furniture. Bonus: there’s a gelato cart there. It’s great for lunch or dinner – we recommend Italian classics pizza or pasta.

You can find the Shops at Pembroke Gardens due west of downtown Fort Lauderdale. It’s a large outdoor shopping mall that’s great for shopping and dining with some restaurants allowing pets on their outdoor patios. Great options are local Lime Fresh Mexican Grill as well as Brio Tuscan Grille.

Adventures
There are several dog-friendly parks in the greater Fort Lauderdale area perfect for your morning walk. Consider options like Markham’s “Barkham” Dog Park in Sunrise, CB Smith Park and Johnson Street Dog Park in Pembroke Pines, or the Riverwalk Park in Fort Lauderdale. The Riverwalk Park is near Las Olas, so you can stop walk from the park to lunch easily.

Pets are also allowed in some areas of the Everglades, the largest national park in Florida and home to unique wildlife like gators, panthers, birds, snakes, and more. It’s about a 50-minute drive to the closest Everglades Visitor center called Shark Valley.

Great accessories to pack for your dog include biodegradable waste bags, a water bottle, leash, and harness for long walks or days out. Oh, and treats, of course!

Pamper
After a long walk in the sun, a day at the beach, or playtime in the grass, your dog inevitably will need a bath. If you spoil your pet(s) as I do, you like to give them the five-star treatment. There are several local grooming shops where your pup can get cleaned up. You can bring your dog by somewhere like Patty B’s Pet Spa, where your dog can be washed, get their hair trimmed, or get their nails cut by local pros. Or, you can also use your hotel’s bathroom for grooming. You’ll need to pack your own shampoo and brushes. Luckily, you can ask your hotel for extra towels!

Pawty
Before your trip, research online for local pet-friendly events on Bring Fido or Google. Every month, a local group called Florida Dog Events hosts a Dogs, Beaches, and Brews event at the Parrot Lounge. In the fall, you can attend the annual Mutts and Martinis fundraising event held at Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk Park. This is one of the largest in the area and includes all sorts of fun like a fashion show and a peanut butter eating contest.

Snooze
Make sure your accommodations are pet-friendly, like the Home2 Suites by Hilton. Each guest room is a suite and comes equipped with a full kitchen. It’s great to store your animals’ food and treats, as well as any treats for you. If you are a paw-rent to other species like cats or birds, they are also welcome at this pet-friendly hotel brand.

Know Before You Go:

  • Plan your trip during a shoulder season such as October – December.
  • Don’t forget items such as waste bags, water bottles, shampoo, and brushes for your pet.
  • Book a pet-friendly hotel such as Home2 Suites by Hilton.

 

Discover Irish Tradition in Galway

Galway is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the largest city located on the West coast of the country. The city is situated on the Wild Atlantic Way, one of the world’s longest coastal routes, and near some of the most spectacular natural wonders in the country. While Dublin is a wonderful and diverse international city, Galway is the true heart of the island, which has kept all the Irish tradition, hospitality, and culture. It is a place where you will hear locals speak Gaelic, or as it is often called here, Irish. In recent years, the city has gained international acclaim for the food and picturesque scenery in and around the city.

The center of Galway is littered with pubs, restaurants, cafes, artists and adorable small hotels. The main drag is located on Quay Street which is the home of some of the most famous establishments in town. The street is immediately recognizable by the numerous small national flags hanging over the cobblestone walkway. To start off your day, stop at the Coffeewerk + Press and enjoy a delicious American style mocha while shopping and enjoying the street art. One of the stores on Quay Street is the Thomas Dillons Claddagh Gold Jewelers, which includes the Claddagh Museum featuring the world’s smallest Claddagh ring. In fact, the popular ring was invented in Galway a few centuries ago and was named after the small fishing village on the west end of Galway named the Claddagh.

Across from the Claddagh is the Long Walk, a not-so-long stretch of a riverside path lined with colorful houses that are responsible for the most iconic images of Galway. On the West end of the walk are the Spanish Arch, the Galway City Museum, and the Hall of Red Earl. The Spanish Arch is the last remaining part of the city’s outer walls, and it protected the fish market where most of the trade in the region took place. Immediately next to the arch is the City Museum which is free and a great place to spend the rainy part of a day. The museum explores the history of the city and the impact of Galway on the Irish Revolution. The Hall of Red Earl, located behind the Museum on Druid Lane, is a 13th-century archaeological location that was discovered a few years ago. The Hall was Galway’s first municipal building. Due to this history and the unique local character, Galway has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture 2020.

At lunch, make time to visit Ard Bia at Nimmos next to the Spanish Arch in a historic building on the coast. It’s one of the many upscale restaurants that have gained Galway international culinary acclaim. Two restaurants, Loam and Aniar, have even earned Michelin Stars for the quality of their cuisine. However, make sure to make a reservation for any of the famous restaurants, because they fill up quickly and walk-ins are rarely accepted.

Following your delicious lunch, head towards the Galway Cathedral, which is one of the largest buildings in the city. The cathedral is primarily constructed from stone and, interestingly, contains an art piece of former United States President John F. Kennedy. Finally, at the end of a clear warm day, take a walk on the Salthill Promenade, a two-kilometer beach area that has views of Galway and the famous Aran Islands. After walking the entire promenade, it is a tradition to kick the wall at the far end of the beach.

At night, get some dinner at The Dough Bros, offering arguably the best pizza in Ireland. The atmosphere is fun and hip with numerous craft brews available as well. Definitely try the special dips with your leftover crust. Follow up your dinner with some Irish ice cream at Murphy’s. They have unique flavors like Brown Bread and Dingle Salt, as well as some flavors that have a little alcohol to get your night going on a good note.

At this point, you will probably be ready to visit one of the most noticeable and iconic pubs in the city. The blue and yellow façade of Tigh Neachtain will catch your eye as soon as you walk by. The cozy atmosphere inside is a great place to get some pints with friends to end an eventful day.

Galway is full of culture, history, and dining but its location is another reason that you should find time to spend a few days there. The city has a number of Ireland’s biggest attractions nearby and provides for some amazing day trips in almost every direction you decide to wander. To the south are the Cliffs of Moher. The most famous natural wonder on the isle. Nearby is also the Burren National Park which has unique rock formations and landscapes.

If you decide to go northwest, you will find yourself in Connemara National Park, a place described by Oscar Wilde as “in every way magnificent.” At the edge of the park, you can visit the most picturesque mansion you will ever see. Kylemore Abbey and its gardens make for a great venue for a picnic or a formal event. If you prefer to take a day trip, take a boat to the Aran Islands, famous for their ancient ruins and their very warm sweaters.

When planning your trip to Ireland, leave a few flexible days. Because once you stop in Galway, you will find it very hard to leave. And when you finally do, you will have Galway on your mind for the rest of your trip.

Enjoy a Weekend Getaway in Spain

¡Bienvenidos a España! When in Spain, there are a few places to visit. If you want to enjoy the nice cold air, visit the capital, Madrid. Sometimes the smaller cities are the way to go – Toledo is only a short train ride from Madrid, and you can spend all day exploring history. For warmer weather, head down south to Malaga on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Whether you are in Madrid, Toledo, or Malaga, or want to visit all three for the weekend, you’ll have a blast. 

Madrid
Visiting the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid is an experience. It has everything from old Egyptian clothing items to various skulls and rocks. It shows you the progression of humankind. The museum can be toured online, but it is worth it to see in person. I walked from the hotel I was staying in, the DoubleTree by Hilton Madrid – Prado. It is in a convenient location close to the subway and bus station. Walking is common in Madrid, and I felt safe walking from one place to another. It is a great way of seeing the city as a local.

For a delicious meal, opt for sushi and ceviche at Sushita. The ceviche is served on top of a teapot, making it look like it is hot. Of course, it isn’t, it is just for presentation, but it is stunning. Having the cooks in front of you is part of the experience. Make sure to sit close enough to see the whole action!

Toledo
Make sure to visit Toledo for a day. The city itself has an antique feel to it — most of the buildings and streets are made of stone. Learn about the history with a group or discover by yourself on a tour through Viator. I chose to do the tour by myself, so I could go at my own pace and test my navigation skills. While walking through Toledo, I was astonished by the many stories of the churches and their history. Within the city, there were several hills, but otherwise, it’s easy to walk.

If you get tired from the walk, stop for some coffee, or there are restaurants on every corner. I took a rest at Lo Nuestro Taperia & Restaurante and ordered a dish with deer and gravy. Try it with the Domus IPA, a Spanish IPA.

You can’t leave Spain without trying their traditional dish, paella. It usually contains rice, different types of meats, and vegetables. The shrimp and mussels in the paella I had also at Lo Nuestro Taperia & Restaurante were delicious.

Malaga
Next, head south to Malaga. Stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Resort & Spa Reserva del Higueron, — the view is unbeatable. There are local restaurants nearby that you can walk to, or you can take a shuttle from the hotel. They also have a shuttle that operates on a schedule to take you to and from the beach. With warm weather, the yellow-sand beaches make the day refreshing.

While in Malaga, stop by Restaurante gran Hong Kong for the duck marinated in orange sauce. It is fresh, delicious, and like nothing I have tasted before. As a dessert, they served me a tequila shot. I didn’t realize it wasn’t going to be food, but I wasn’t going to say no!

From the restaurant, continue down the road. The more you walk, the more you will find. The Mariposario de Benalmádena is a small butterfly garden nearby. It is nice to see how free they fly all around. I didn’t take many pictures, but it is a sight worth seeing.

Spain is full of adventure, sightseeing, beautiful beaches, and fascinating foods to try. There is a mixture of Asian and Spanish cuisine all over Spain. You can never go wrong with any restaurant – the flavors are ones to remember.

A Guide to Christmas in New York

Christmas is arguably the most magical, wonderful time of the year in New York. During the holiday period, New York transforms into a fairytale-like winter wonderland filled with exciting places to visit, performances to take in, and festive places to eat. Our guide will help you plan a visit to the big apple during this merriest time of year.

Theater and Performances
Visitors and locals alike get a kick out of holiday favorite, Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes. Mixing classic features like wooden soldiers, Santa Claus, and the fabulous Rockettes with modern technology, updated music, and contemporary costumes, this beloved show manages to stay fresh and mesmerizing. Partake in the festivities from November 8 through January 5.

See Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet as you’ve never seen it before at Nutcracker Rouge with a sensual vibe. Famed choreographer Austin McCormick has reimagined the Nutcracker story featuring circus performers, opera singers, burlesque acts, and aerialists. The performance runs from October 14 through January 26.

For the PG version of The Nutcracker, head over to David H. Koch Theater for George Balanchine’s interpretation. Tchaikovsky’s Christmas ballet is performed by 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 40 stagehands, and more than 125 children from the School of American Ballet for much holiday cheer.

For a romantic date, see Nutcracker Rouge. Traveling with the family? Opt for the other one.

Places to Visit
The holidays wouldn’t be the same in New York without a visit to the magical Rockefeller Christmas Tree. From December 4, when the tree is lit, through the holidays, a visit to see the giant spruce is a must. Rockefeller Center Plaza also welcomes tourists and Big Apple residents at the Rink at Rockefeller Center from October 12 through the holiday season and beyond to Easter.

For the most breathtaking views of all of Midtown’s holiday decorations and lights, be sure to make your way to Top of the Rock. From 70 stories above ground, visitors can view snowy Central Park, the twinkling lights of 5th Avenue, the majestic aforementioned Rockefeller Christmas Tree, and all the way to New Jersey and the outer boroughs.

Holiday window displays are part of New York’s Christmas DNA, and stores like Barneys, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and others unofficially compete with each other to put on the glitziest, cheeriest displays showing true holiday spirit while showcasing their latest merchandise.

Holiday markets are all the rage in Manhattan during the holidays, and the one that receives the most hype is the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park. The market features a 17,000-square-foot ice skating rink and over 150 shopping and food kiosks. Celebrations will take place from October 26 through January 2.

Other holiday market favorites are the Columbus Circle Holiday Market with its festive atmosphere and 100+ holiday booths that will run December 4 through December 24. For those visiting the downtown area, the European Union Square Holiday Market with 150+ vendors has a traditional European marketing vibe reminiscent of the holiday markets in Germany and runs from November 21 through December 24.

Decked-Out Restaurants
This New York landmark, Tavern on the Green, is the perfect place to stop for a libation and for viewing the Christmas tree, holiday lights, and live jazz. Spiced cider anyone?

Steak lovers should head to Keen’s Steakhouse where the dark-wooded interior is adorned by festive wreaths and ribbons.

For over-the-top Christmas decorations, head over to Rolf’s German Restaurant, the kitschy Gramercy Park German restaurant.

Gotham Bar & Grill’s classy creamed-colored interior is dressed up in shades of white and with brightly lit Christmas trees during the holidays.

Get in the holiday spirit at Industry Kitchen with its chalet atmosphere and extreme decorations, including life-size reindeer families, giant nutcrackers, Christmas trees, and wreaths.

Expect a ceiling is covered in bright lights, a variety of wreaths, ornaments, and garlands peppering the restaurant at Pete’s Tavern, a landmark NYC bar founded in 1864. Don’t miss the impressive holiday window display.

Whatever the mood, budget, and preferred activity, Christmas in New York is certain to put visitors in the holiday spirit. From viewing festive window displays along 5th Avenue to shopping at one of the Christmas markets to seeing the Rockettes show at Radio City Music Hall, the Big Apple offers something for everyone.

Spend the Holidays in South Florida

If you are looking to escape the bitter winter, you should head to South Florida for your holiday vacation. You won’t have a white Christmas, but you will have memories to last a lifetime, and your trip may prompt you to start a new holiday tradition with family or friends. Winter in South Florida is not your typical scene. There is no snow, we decorate palm trees with Christmas lights, and our parades are on the water! This is the best time of year to be outside, hang out with friends and family, and take in the ocean breezes.

Fort Lauderdale
There are plenty of events and activities in the Fort Lauderdale area to get you in the holiday spirit. The First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale hosts the Emmy award-winning Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant. You will see one of the best productions outside of Broadway!

Enjoy a relaxing evening under the stars at Christmas on Las Olas on December 3rd. Here you can walk Las Olas Blvd, listen to school productions of holiday songs, taste some of the best restaurants in the area, and even have the opportunity to go ice skating. After tasting a few of the booths throughout the street, head to Louie Bossi’s and try the spaghetti carbonara, one of the best items on the menu.

Something unique in the area is the Winterfest Boat Parade on December 14th. The parade starts in the New River and heads to the Intracoastal Waterway traveling from Fort Lauderdale to Pompano Beach. The two-and-a-half-hour event showcases highly-decorated boats, ranging from small personal watercraft to corporate yachts that make your jaw drop.

If you are sports junkie, check the Florida Panthers or the Miami Dolphins schedule, and see if you can add to your bucket list of seeing all teams in their home stadium or arena. Both are championship teams and offer fun and excitement for the whole family.

For the best of both worlds, check out the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi, which offers a wonderful tour of the Intracoastal to see the beautifully decorated mansions on the water. It is a nice evening out with a fresh ocean breeze and great views.

Miami
Head south to the Miami area for more holiday activities that you can’t experience anywhere else. Check out the world’s largest holiday theme park, Santa’s Enchanted Forest, which features rides, holiday shows, and light displays for days. The event goes on all month long, so you have plenty of time to see it.

If you are an art lover, you need to attend Art Basel in Miami Beach. This event draws thousands of visitors from all over the world. The galleries, artwork, and people watching is worth the trip.

One of the biggest draws to South Florida is the Capital One Orange Bowl and the events leading up to the big game. There is a Food and Wine Festival, a college basketball tournament, and the finale of it all, one of the top college football bowl games of the season.

For families and animal lovers, make sure to check out the Zoo Lights at Zoo Miami. You can stroll through the zoo, experience special animal encounters, and enjoy the decorations for the holidays.

South Florida has so much to offer during the holidays. Whether your idea of a good time is cruising around looking at Christmas lights or taking the family to a sporting event, there is always something to do in the area. Head south for the winter, attend some great events, and see all that South Florida has to offer during the Holidays!

Qatar: The Pearl of the Middle East

In 2010, Qatar was named as the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Since then, there has been increased activity and interest in the country, which has a population of about 2.7 million that is majority expat. There are many activities and places to get to know this vibrant country!

Souq Waqif
Start with a visit to this buzzing market. It is a maze of stands, shops, and places to eat! It was built on the site of an ancient market where Bedouins, a group of nomadic Arab people, would visit to trade in sheep, spices, pearls, and essentials. It was designed to look like a 19th-century souq, so it is very picturesque. As a bonus, stop by the falconry market! A popular hobby across generations, Qataris are introduced to falcons and falconry at a very young age. Falcons are trained for racing and hunting, which takes time and patience. They are a source of pride for the nation.

National Museum
Recently opened, this museum was named as one of the World’s Greatest Places to Visit in 2019 by TIME Magazine. It features stunning architecture and design, so it is a must-visit to learn more about the culture of Qatar and its past. Prepare to be blown away through a richly immersive and experiential visit exploring three chapters: Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and The Modern History.

Al Zubarah
Visit Qatar’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site, which was once a pearl fishing and trading port. It’s absolutely worth exploring, as it is one of the largest and best-preserved examples of an 18th and 19th-century merchant town in the Persian Gulf region.

Qatar National Library
Featuring state-of-the-art facilities, the National Library is a great stop! Look for the Heritage Library section where you will find ancient manuscripts and historical photographs.

Desert Safari
The dunes and sand desert are a popular attraction, featuring safaris, dune-bashing, and visiting the inland sea. Check out 365 Adventures, as they offer a variety of tours and activities.

Cornish
The Cornish is a 7 km walk along the waterfront spanning the bay of Doha. It is a fantastic walk in either the daytime or in the evening. There are green spaces, phone charging stations, and exercise machines along the Cornish, and it is lined by traditional wooden dhows. It leads all the way to the Museum of Islamic Art.

Museum of Islamic Art
MIA was designed by IM Pei, the winner of the 1983 Pritzker Architecture Prize. You will find beautiful Islamic jewelry, ceramics, glass, manuscripts, metalwork, textiles, and much more at the museum. Look for the stunning MIA Café, located in the Atrium – it has the famous Doha skyline view!

East-West / West-East by Richard Serra
I saved my favorite for last! This sculpture in the desert by Richard Serra is inspiring! It is set in an unusual landscape; you will find it in the heart of the desert, with four perfectly aligned steel plates over 14 meters high. Watch the video here, which shows how interesting and picturesque it is to walk through the sculptures while the artist himself discusses how he has created “a place within a place.”

While you’re in Doha, check out these cafés, too. Remember to dress modestly, covering your shoulders and knees. However, Qatar has a more relaxed dress code than other countries in the Middle East. A trip that is about five days to one week long should be enough time to visit all these places and get a taste of what Qatar has to offer. Shukran!

Know Before You Go
Enjoy your trip to Doha with these helpful tips!

  • Sunglasses are a must.
  • Dress with respect by covering from shoulders to knees.
  • Rent a car, or use Karwa or Uber to get around.
  • Beware the heat; stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • A sweater or shawl will come handy in the cold shopping malls and indoor places.

Explore Arlington, Texas in a Weekend

Arlington, Texas is a city within a city located in the middle of Dallas and Fort Worth. It’s called “The American City,” and is known for three major reasons: Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, and Texas Live. Arlington offers plenty of entertainment for the whole family and a variety of dining options to suit everyone’s taste.

Sports
AT&T Stadium is a great place to visit and take lots of selfies! The stadium is home to the Dallas Cowboys and hosts a wide variety of exciting events including monster truck shows, rodeos, concerts, and boxing matches just to mention a few. Stadium tours are offered daily. Check out the Guided Art Tour where you learn more about the artists and the unique and world-class artwork throughout the stadium.

The Trolley provides free transportation in the local area to AT&T Stadium, many local attractions and places in the area, downtown Arlington, and the Arlington Visitor Welcome Center. Check out the Trolley website for more information and schedule times for free pick-ups.

If baseball is more up your alley, Globe Life Field will open in the spring of 2020 as the new air-conditioned home of Texas Rangers. It is located across the street from Globe Life Park where the Texas Rangers played from 1994-2019.

Entertainment
Texas Live is an entertainment district, and it is known as Arlington’s backyard. Wear your cowboy boots to this fun spot! There are lots of places to eat and drink all in one large complex. Check out Troy’s, created by former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, or Lockhart Smokehouse for classic Texas barbecue.

Believe or not, there is a downtown in this unique city. Visit The Grease Monkey to listen to live music or watch your favorite sports team on the big screen. Try their yummy Black & Blue Burger with blue cheese and a side of sweet potato waffle fries – it’s a guarantee you’ll want to come back for more. If you’re looking for a lighter lunch, the Sanford House is an excellent choice.

Arlington also has a bustling art and music scene. Arlington Music Hall opened back in the 1950s and was recently renovated. Here, you can see local or well-known artists or even the Arlington Symphony. The historical atmosphere brings back memories of concerts from many years past. For a more laid-back music atmosphere, Levitt Pavilion invites you to bring your lawn chair and enjoy free concerts (and sometimes movies!) at this outside venue during their concert season. You can also check out local artists’ work at the Arlington Museum, or catch a performance at Theatre Arlington.

Other attractions in town include Six Flags Over Texas, which is the original Six Flags theme park, and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, which is open in the summer. Each provides fun for thrill-seekers and the whole family alike.

Where to Eat
Arlington, Texas is known as an international community offering a variety of restaurants. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll be able to find it here.

A well-known Mexican restaurant is Mariano’s Hacienda. Here, you must try a frozen margarita to go with your favorite Tex-Mex dish. The frozen margarita machine was invented at one of their locations in 1971. The very first frozen margarita machine from their restaurant is now on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Pho 95 is an authentic Vietnamese restaurant. The food is fresh and very nutritious. Try the Shrimp roll appetizer. Hungry for great Sushi instead? Swing by Piranha Killer Sushi, where you can choose from many enticing sushi rolls. For dessert, order a Banana Spring Roll à La Mode. They have daily lunch specials that are offered until 4 pm.

Amazing Italian home-cooked food can be found at Piccolo Mondo. Try the Lasagna alla Bolognese. One taste will make you feel like you are in Italy.

If something all-American sounds better to you, Al’s Hamburgers is a family-owned restaurant with great burgers and home-cooked dishes for decades. It is a genuine Arlington treasure.

Arlington is an all-American city with a heart of love and Texas-sized hospitality. Check out Visit Arlington TX for more information on entertainment, major sporting events, food, and fun.

Spend a Romantic Weekend in Vienna

Dreaming of feeling the 19th-century atmosphere and enjoying a delicious piece of cake? If this sounds like an ideal day, then head to Vienna, the beautiful capital of Austria, for a dreamy escape full of history, food, and charming vibes.

Day One
The city center is easily accessible by every kind of transportation. If you arrive by plane, jump on the CAT, the nickname for the City Airport Train, or on the S7 Metro to head into town. If you arrive by train, you can take a direct connection to the city center in less than 15 minutes. Once there, you’ll find an array of bike-sharing and scooters for moving about the city. However, walking is easy and pleasurable since the city center is small and worth exploring its little streets.

Start your trip the right way by treating yourself to a Viennese dinner at Zwölf Apostelkeller. Make sure to reserve a table in advance and ask for one in the main grotto so you can also enjoy live traditional music. Try the schnitzel, a thin, breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet. Afterward, spoil yourself at Café Demel for a delicious Sachertorte, the most common (and tasty!) cake in the country. Admire the beautiful Rococo-style saloons and browse its shop on the ground floor if you wish to bring some delicacies with you.

Day Two
Start your next day in the Austrian capital with a visit to the Schönbrunn Palace. Public transportation will take you straight there. Purchase the Sisi Ticket for access to the Imperial Furniture Collection and the Wien Hofburg, along with the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, and the Imperial Silver Collection. Walk around these majestic buildings and go back in the time for a day. The tour is lengthy, so wear comfy shoes. You should also download or buy a full guide of the palace or the city itself. You should also try the famous Viennese sausages at one of the Würstelstände, a traditional Austrian street food stop. Check out this list of the best ones, and choose one for a stop along your tour.

After a long day visiting these breathtaking fortresses, unwind with a meal at Pürstner; the portions here are pretty big, so you can share plates. Do not miss out on the Spätzle and homemade soups. Finish the day by taking a nice walk around the city center — Stephansplatz and Karlsplatz are magical at night. Complete your evening by enjoying a fancy cocktail at the rooftop bar Das Loft Bar & Lounge, where you have one of the best views of the city.

Day Three
Your last day in the beautiful Austrian capital can be spent on an alternative route. Start the day with a tasty Viennese breakfast at Cafè Mozart. Try the delightful apple cake if you did not already have the chance to, and combine it with one of the many teas they offer.

Then, visit the beautiful University of Vienna. A list of guided tours can be found here. Make sure to visit its beautiful old-style library. If you enjoy visiting libraries, here is a list of the best ones in town.

Afterward, head to the Hundertwasserhaus, an ex-working-class district that was built by the architect and artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. His idea was to spread joy through the 50 apartments of the colorful building given to the less-privileged. The shapes are soft with no angles present in the building, and the colors are vivid. In front of the building, you can find the Hundertwasservillage with a restaurant, souvenir shops, and an explanation of the project itself.

After a good Käsekrainer (a hot dog with a cheese sausage) at the kiosk in front of the main building, go straight to the Belvedere Palace to admire the beautiful collections of Klimt, Monet, Schiele. Buy a combo ticket for the Upper Belvedere, Lower Belvedere, and Belvedere 21. Stay until sunset, since admiring the beautiful colors of the sky around the Belvedere Gardens is an amazing show. Finish the day at the chocolate shop Xocolat Manufaktur, where you can try the heavenly Viennese praline.

Let’s be honest: who does not love sweets, chocolate, and the historical fashion of the age of Sisi? You will fall in love with Vienna with the exquisite food, romantic atmosphere, and history throughout the city.

The Magic of Thanksgiving Time in Anaheim, CA

In Anaheim, Thanksgiving is about community. This time of year, the destination and its partners come together to support families and friends across local circles and beyond. The warmth of the holiday is truly felt by those who live in Anaheim and those who visit, and all are welcome to participate in the many activities and celebrations. And, who are we kidding – it’s also about the food.

We Give Thanks
For 32 years, the We Give Thanks organization and the Anaheim Ducks have been serving local families delicious, warm meals on Thanksgiving Day. With the participation of continuing sponsors like the Hilton Anaheim, over 230,000 meals have been served to date. The 2019 event will be held in the parking lot of the Honda Center on Thursday, November 28. The event is a celebration for all ages, with live music and endless smiling faces. Learn more about attending, becoming a volunteer or donating directly by visiting the We Give Thanks website.

Anaheim Turkey Trot 5K & Fun Run at Angel Stadium
What better way to build up your Thanksgiving Day appetite than a morning 5K at the one and only Angel Stadium? This family-friendly event is for everyone – run, jog, trot, walk, or stroll on the flat, festive course. Participants will receive a Turkey Trot finisher medal, t-shirt, chances to win exciting raffle prizes, and of course, a pumpkin pancake at the finish line! The 5K begins at 8 AM the kids’ race starts at 9 AM on Thursday, November 28. Proceeds benefit Ware in the World Foundation, encouraging healthy lives through fitness by gifting life-enhancing opportunities locally and cross-culturally. Learn more or register to participate here.

World Taste Event at the Anaheim Packing District
Attention foodies! Hilton is proud to continue its sponsorship of the annual World Taste event at the historic Anaheim Packing District. On the evening of November 13, grab your date, your family, or your friends, and embark on a culinary expedition at this uniquely-Anaheim venue in the heart of Orange County, California. Each wristband includes 10 gourmet tastes from participating foodie establishments within the Packing House, and of course, live entertainment for the evening. Be sure to buy your tickets early!

Thanksgiving Champagne Buffet at Knott’s Berry Farm
Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant first opened in 1934, and today it remains an iconic location for delicious homestyle meals that visitors to the theme park and locals alike, continue to line up for. On November 22 only, enjoy an exclusive Thanksgiving-style champagne buffet at this unique and historic venue. Rollercoaster screams in the background included. Bring the family, and reservations are recommended.

Did Someone Say Pumpkin? The Best Fall Sweets and Treats in Anaheim
Anaheim is quickly becoming more than just a destination for theme park connoisseurs and convention attendees. It’s becoming those things and a place for foodies of all kinds. Let’s be honest – most visitors to this magical destination are probably a little bit of all three. According to this delicious blog post from Visit Anaheim, this season, you can find your favorite, seasonal pumpkin offerings throughout the Anaheim Resort. Our favorites include the Mickey-shaped Pumpkin Spice Beignets in New Orleans Square at the Disneyland® Resort, the Pumpkin Spice Butter Cake from Reunion Kitchen + Drink, and the Mickey Pumpkin Cupcakes from the new GCH Craftsman Bar & Grill at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Status: Mouth Currently Watering.

Ready to explore Anaheim this Thanksgiving season? Experience the magic with rates from $99 at Hilton Anaheim, located in the heart of Orange County and just steps from the Disneyland® Resort.

Celebrate Thanksgiving Hawaiian-Style in Honolulu

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to visit Honolulu, Hawaii. Enjoy the beaches, soak in the warm sunshine, hike through the lush green valleys, and relax away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Hawaii is known as “The Aloha State” and aloha is celebrated at Thanksgiving. Truly a time to give thanks, Thanksgiving in the islands is anything but traditional! The diverse cultural history of Hawaii is reflected in local-style Thanksgiving meals. You may wonder, what can visitors do in Hawaii during the Thanksgiving holiday? The answer is simple: Plenty!

A turkey is cooked in an underground imu in Honolulu, Hawaii

Cook a Turkey in the Ground
Wait, in the ground? Yep! You heard that right! Turkeys are often cooked in an underground oven called an “imu.” Should you drive around the island the day before Thanksgiving, you may be alarmed by huge clouds of smoke rising in the air. Rest assured, what you’re seeing is people coming together to build an imu. A large imu can hold as many as 500 turkeys and requires the full support of the community. The night before Thanksgiving, the imu is built, and people drop off their thawed, foil-covered turkeys. Once the red-hot lava rocks cool, turkeys are placed in the imu to cook overnight. Families arrive early Thanksgiving morning to pick up their tasty treats and give thanks for all who worked hard to prepare the meal. If you want to observe the process, feel free to visit The Key Project in Kahalu’u on the windward side of Oahu. Stop by around 3 PM the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and be prepared to stay a few hours. It’s likely you can even lend a helping hand!

Palm trees in front of Diamond Head in Honolulu, Hawaii

Dining
Many restaurants and hotels offer a traditional turkey dinner complete with all the classics. In addition, you may be surprised to find a few less-familiar options on the menu such as ahi poke, Okinawan purple sweet potatoes, kalua turkey, lumpia, pan-fried noodles, poi, rice, Lau Lau, and kalua pork.

Count on your Hawaiian Thanksgiving being a holiday to remember! You can take in the sights and sounds of a luau with your meal, dine aboard a dinner cruise, enjoy fine dining, or even get dinner to-go and eat at the beach with your toes in the sand! A few dining options include taking in the sights and sounds of the Thanksgiving Holiday Luau on the Great Lawn at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, spending an evening at the Diamond Head Beach Luau, enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at House Without a Key at the Halekulani, or if you feel like cruising to the North Shore, you can dine at the Turtle Bay Resort Thanksgiving Buffet. For your best bet, ask around once you’re on the island. Who knows, you may even get an invite to someone’s house!

A beautiful Hawaiian rainbow

Giving Back
Encompassing the aloha spirit, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort has a 25-year tradition of team members volunteering to prepare and serve over 400 Thanksgiving meals for The Institute of Human Services.

Should you find yourself in the giving spirit and looking for a volunteer opportunity, you may want to consider volunteering with The Salvation Army to help serve 2,000+ meals on Thanksgiving Day.

A mural at the Pipe Masters surf contest in Honolulu Hawaii

Surf’s Up!
Winter means waves on the North Shore of Oahu! Scores of the world’s best surfers flock to Oahu to compete in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing events running from October 28 – December 20, 2019. Of course, the Hawaiian Islands already host many of the best surfers who can literally ride the massive waves in their own backyards!

A colorful sunset over a beach in Honolulu Hawaii

Holiday Events
Waikiki Holiday Parade
Where can you find Santa Claus waving a friendly shaka to the crowd while he relaxes in slippers, an aloha shirt, and board shorts? At the Waikiki Holiday Parade, of course! The long-running parade serves as both a tribute to the heroes of Pearl Harbor as well as a kick-off to the holiday season. This year’s parade is on November 29, 2019.

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot
A great way to explore Waikiki is the Turkey Trot, a 10-mile training run through the heart of Waikiki. Work up a sweat and soak up some sunshine before the big meal!  The Turkey Trot has been running for 45 years. Literally!

Island’s Best Craft Fair
Jumpstart your holiday shopping by attending Oahu’s longest-running craft fair, a local favorite.

Aloha and Happy Thanksgiving
Whatever you choose to do over the Thanksgiving holiday, be sure to soak in warm aloha spirit while visiting Oahu. Aloha is the very best souvenir to take home. It’s free — you can give aloha to everyone you meet and it’s the gift that will always, always keep on giving. Aloha and a hui hou!