48 Hours in London Travel Guide

48 Hours in London Travel Guide

If you can’t tell, traveling is one of my biggest passions–there’s no better way to expand your mind, free your soul, and inspire your thoughts and creativity. I recently got to go on the opportunity of a lifetime, a trip across the pond to one of my fave cities in the world, London, England.

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48 Hours in London Travel Guide Burberry Bags Hotel Cafe Royal

Burberry–the iconic British designer brand known for their trench coats and plaid prints–flew me out to London to get an up-close look at their newest Spring 2017 runway show along with a makeup tutorial from the lead makeup artist from the runway. We were only there for 48 hours, which is very short considering the flight alone is about 10 hours each way from Los Angeles, so I knew I had to make the most out of my time there. They put us up at the stunning Hotel Cafe Royal, which was such a fashion-y and fab place to stay. As a seasoned traveler and a bit of a Anglophile, I compiled my hit list of all the best things to see, do and eat in London in two days! Below, my 48 hours in London travel guide–enjoy!

48 Hours in London Travel Guide Fashion Blogger Allison McNamara plaid maxi skirt fur sleeve jacket Burberry

DAY 1:

We landed in London around 10am (which was 1am Los Angeles time.) Make sure you check the time it is in London when you take off, and try and adapt to that time on the plane and sleep when it’s nighttime in London so you can feel as fresh as possible when you get there. Make sure to keep a change of clothes for your first day of exploration in your carry-on bag because chances are your room won’t be ready. And LBH–London is so cute you’re going to want to change and have a fresh outfit on for pictures.

First stop? Camden market! Camden Market, also known as Camden Lock, is an eclectic crafts market that has a gritty, punk feel that is so inherently British. This particular market has been around since the beginning of the 20th century, and it’s a great place to pick up souvenirs for your friends and fam. I like going here first to get the shopping out of the way while you’re still adjusting to the time. They also have a pretty awesome international food court if you need a snack! Personally, I like going into all of the funky vintage stores here–they have some great, affordable finds.

All that walking around is sure to work up an appetite. Head over to ever-so-quaint Notting Hill for lunch. Trust, you will feel major Julia Roberts vibes the second you get there. My favorite spot–Granger and Co. Affordable and interesting cuisine that’s perfect for a lengthy lunch to refuel your energy. If you’re up to walk through another market, take a quick stroll through Portobello Market, where you can find antiques and fresh fruits. This street is so cute, so I highly recommend if you have the time. One of my fave movies as a kid was Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, and I totally sung ‘Portobello Road’ while walking down Portobello Road…😂

48 Hours in London Granger & Co Restaurant in Knotting Hill London Travel Guide

48 Hours in London Travel Guide Knotting Hiill Pastel Buildings

Next–time to see all those famous British landmarks! And no better way to see them than by foot on the Westminster Walk. This 45 minute loop takes you past all of London’s most important Royal and political tourist spots including Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey…where Kate Middleton got married, major! I love seeing a city by foot so you can take your time and appreciate a city’s architecture. Also, don’t forget to take a picture in a red phone booth!

48 Hours in London Red Photo Booth Fashion Blogger Red Head

If you’re able to pre-plan, definitely make a reservation for a ride around the London Eye at sunset, around 5pm or so. The Westminster Walk will take you there! The London Eye is a gigantic ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames, and gives you insane views of the entire city. The ferris wheel itself takes 30 minutes, but the line to get on can be crazy. Definitely worth it though!

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Let’s talk dinner. England is famous for their delicious Indian restaurants, which have been touted as some of the best in the world outside of India. Indian restaurants have populated England for centuries, and if you’re a fan of spice and curry, you should most definitely hit up an Indian restaurant. My favorite is Dishoom. I’m salivating as I write this, so good!

 

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Day 2:

We didn’t have a whole lot of time on day two to explore because we were busy with Burberry, which I was totally OK with. The day started with a walk through their flagship store at 121 Regent Street which was absolutely insane! After that, we went to the Makers’ House, where the Burberry runway took place the night before, and got to look at the Spring 2017 collection up close and personal. Then we had a full on makeup demo with all the beautiful Burberry makeup goodies–they gifted us the entire line!–from their lead makeup artist Wendy Rowe. The look was soft and natural with a hint of British irreverence. Totally me. 

After the makeup demo, it was time for afternoon tea! So we headed to the Thomas Cafe for high tea and biscuits… I think I soaked up ever last carb on the table 🙂

My friend Ashley Fultz, blogger from The Style Editrix, was also on the trip and we saved the best for last. For dinner, make sure you check out Sketch London. Famous on Instagram for it’s out-of-this-world egg bathrooms and pink dining hall, it’s worth a look, if only for a picture. But I highly suggest making a reservation and winding down here after a marvelous 48 hours in London! And don’t forget to take a mandatory #selfie in the egg rainbow bathrooms. But I’ll be honest, the food there isn’t my fave–it’s kind of odd and very British, but worth it just for the ambiance. 

48 Hours in London Travel Guide Bathrooms at Sketch Fashion Blogger Allison McNamara

48 Hours in London travel Guide Sketch restaurant pink restaurant

It was such a beautiful, albeit short, 48 hours in London and I’m so thankful Burberry invited me! If you do head across the pond for a short time, some other fun things I recommend doing are: the Tate Modern, the Crown Jewels, St. Pauls Cathedral! For food, check out the Punch Bowl for the best fish and chips in town, and drive through Mayfair. Also, don’t forget to make a shopping pitstop at Harrod’s 🙂

Did you like my 48 hours in London travel guide? Let me know in the comments below!

The Ultimate Cuba Travel Guide!

Cuba Travel Diary Travel Guide Havana

CUBA TRAVEL GUIDE

It’s hard for me to put into words my week-long stint in Cuba this March. The closet I can get to embody the spirit of what I felt and saw can best be defined as magic. For me, Cuba holds a special place in my heart. I have long been a fan of the prolific and inimitable Ernest Hemingway, and knowing that he spent a vast majority of his adult life in Cuba piqued my interest years back. That, coupled with the fact that we as Americans legitimately weren’t allowed there for the past 50 years made my desire to go and see and experience this magical, forbidden place even greater.

Cuba Travel Diary Blue Vintage 1950s care Cuba

While I was away, I got so many messages from you guys on where to go, what to see, places to eat… so I decided to do a comprehensive travel guide on my seven days in Havana. I hope my Cuba travel guide helps you plan your trip to Cuba. And please let me know if you have any magical spots I need to check out on my next trip there!

Cuba Travel Guide Red Dress in Cuba

WHERE TO STAY:

Casa Particulars are basically AirBnB’s in Cuba. We booked one through AirBnB and man did we luck out! Our place was insanely huge and gorgeous. Two bedrooms, three bathrooms, three floors, a 70 foot wrap around patio, 10+ foot tall doors, a spiral staircase, a complete upstairs patio and an even higher third floor patio. We stayed in Centro Habana and this was the view we had from the street level, and below that is a view from our third floor balcony.

Cuba Travel Diary Centro Havana Streets

Cuba Travel Diary Rooftop centro havana sunset view

There are definitely pros and cons of staying here. Pros: close to everything and walking distance to Habana Vieja. It was nice not staying right in Habana Vieja because it’s so damn touristy and it’s right where the cruise ships let off, so every few days Habana Vieja was flooded with thousands of people! Centro Habana, where we were, is in between Old Havana and New Havana (Vedado) and our place was a stone throw away from the sea wall. I’d stay here again! Old Havana is beautiful and quaint too–the only place I wouldn’t want to stay is in Vedado.

Cuba Travel Guide Sea Wall Havana Cuba

The cons: not really anything however Centro Havana is in local territory and the locals don’t have a lot to do (but they are really friendly and harmless.) Therefore, they are up at all hours of the night and they are pretty damn loud. Also, no swimming pool which would have been nice on super hot days. If I had to stay at a hotel, I’d consider Hostal Valencia (hostels aren’t hostels in Cuba, they’re nice,) or somewhere with a pool.

ACTIVITIES:

Fabrica De Arte !!!! If you do one activity on my list, go here. It was so  much better than what I expected! It’s an insane art gallery filled with all different kinds of art, music, performances, movies–it really was stunning and my favorite thing the whole trip. Only open Wed – Sunday, go early.

Cuba travel Diary Fabrica De Arte Cuba

Walk along the sea wall at dusk, pure magic.

Be a tourist and take a ride in a classic car around town. Pick your favorite color and style and don’t pay more than 50 CUC for the hour.

Cuba Travel Diary Riding in Old Classic Vintage Car in Cuba

Hemingway House: I loved this so much! See Ernest Hemingway’s actual house outside of Cuba. About 35 minutes away and worth it. We had a delicious Hemingway Special cocktail at the bar and listened to salsa.

Cuba Travel Guide Hemingway House

Playa Santa Maria: close beach to Habana. Nice to get away from the city and relax. I want to host a Cuban beach clean-up because there was a decent amount of trash on the beach and it made me 🙁

Coconuts beach playa santa maria Cuba

Walking tour of Habana Vieja. We loved this! So worth it, and we learned a lot about Cuba’s history

Vinales: We did a day trip here. It’s 2.5 Hours in both directions. We went through the caves on a boat which was cool, went to a tobacco farm and learned how to roll cigars, and saw a botanical garden. The highlight here was our lunch. BEST MEAL IN CUBA! Paladar Barbaro, get the PORK. OMG!!!

Vinales White Dress

Cigar Tasting: We only did this in Vinales but I wish we had done it in Havana too. We went to a place right behind the Capitolo (you can’t miss it) on our last day, but it was closed!

Cuba Cigars Cuba Havana

Drive past the mansions in Miramar. The juxtaposition of poor v wealth in Cuba is fascinating considering it’s a socialist country

Walk around Centro Habana

Cuba Travel Diary Streets of Centra Habana Central HavanaShopping at Almancenes San Jose:  A huge market in a warehouse by the water near the cruise terminal. So much good, local, Cuba made goods here, including a ridiculous art section filled with some pretty incredible artwork. I brought home a killer abstract piece.

FOOD:

Despite what people say about the food being borderline terrible, we had some wonderful meals in Cuba, including the best fried pork Cassondra and myself have ever had. The biggest tip here is to go to paladars instead of state-run restaurants. Most paladars have the word “paladar” in the title, but at times, it can be hard to distinguish if a spot is a paladar or state-run. Paladars are family run and are Cuba’s small but steady pulse of capitalism. The families pay a tax to the government and they’re allowed to run their paladars like a business. Remember to not over order and try and finish your meals, because food in Cuba can be scare and some restaurants have to ration out their portions so they don’t run out.

One thing I wish I would have known is you need to  make reservations at the “hotspots” now. Who knew you’d need a rezzie in Cuba? I put * by the ones you should make a reservation at before you leave.

BREAKFAST:

el Cafe (Habana Vieja)  Super cute breakfast / lunch spot located close to the Capitolo. This was by far my favorite breakfast that we had. Only downside, it was super slow, as most things are in Cuba, but at least the building is cute with original colonial columns and tile floors.

5 Esqinas Trattorias (Habana Vieja) We adored this place! We got a huge breakfast for 4.50 cuc, not bad considering there was a whole buffet, coffee, fruit, and made-to-order eggs and bakey included.

Cafe Francesa (Centro Habana) Easy place to grab coffee and pan dulce or some other delicious sweet treat.

DRINKS / TAPAS:

Cafe Madrigal (Vedado)* The vibe here is so on point! An adorable paladar located in the second floor of a bright pink home with a very hipster, Williamsburg feel. Tapas style only, but we were obsessed with our Cuban chicken nuggets and tortilla with egg! Ambiance + piano player made this place a 10.

Hotel Saratoga (Capitolo) Where Beyonce stayed. Go up to the rooftop and check out the insane view!

Ambos Mudos (Habana Vieja) We loved the pina coladas so much here, we went twice! A gorgeous pink hotel where Ernest Hemingway lived in his 30s. A truly beautiful place, but very touristy. Head up to the roof for a gorgeous view of Havana and the sea wall, and order the pina colada special in the pineapple, you’re gonna die it’s so good!

Hotel Nacionale (Vedado) Spectacular hotel on the water where all the famous people stay. Worth it if just to walk around and enjoy the view. We almost stayed here and I’m very glad we didn’t. We also checked out the famous cigar room and the pool.

DINNER:

Sia Kara (Centro Habana) If you go to one restaurant on my list, go here! The food was phenomenal. This place has been around since the ’50s (or earlier) and has a really awesome island eclecticsm going on with the decor. At 11pm, they had the most fantastic salsa singer come in and we had so much fun singing and dancing the night away.

Los Nardos (Capitolo) A really delicious restaurant with all the local flavors, and very cheap. We went here for lunch but I’d go back but for dinner instead. The mood is very dark and vampy and makes you feel like you’re in pirates of the caribbean. There are 3 restaurants all next to each other, make sure you go to Los Nardos the whole way at the top.

El Dandy (Habana Vieja) Get the pulled pork tacos! We went here for both lunch and dinner. Cute and small.

Dos Pelotas (Centro Habana) The second best Cuban meal we had. Delicious little locals spot in Centro Habana that’s not to be missed! Get the fried pork pieces, mixed rice and yucca.

El Chancellero (Habana Vieja) Next door to el dandy. Amazing spot run by cool, young guys. Was the first “good” meal after a first day of not-so-good meals in Cuba. This place gets a crazy long line, but it’s worth the wait. I had the grilled fish and it was 💣

El Cocinero (Vedado)* Go here! But make a reservation. And go on a Friday or Saturday before going to Fabrica de Arte right next door. This place has an Asian-inspired menu and since I basically only really eat asian food at home, this place was very welcomed after a week of Cuban food. Ambiance is great too, sit on the patio.

Casa Migilas (Centro Habana) We were craving pasta and this place came to the rescue! Loved the decor of this spot too, colonial with a little bit of edge. I also had plantains and ice cream for desert and I’m still thinking about it.

We also went to: Rio Mar (in Vedado just OK) el Chansonnier (also in Vedado, just Ok.) Some spots we wanted to check out but couldn’t get in because we didn’t have reservations were Dona Eutimia and Paladar La Guardia (make recs for both!)

EXCHANGE RATES:

Since Cuba is a socialist country, they can decide what value currency has in their country. And since America isn’t on the best terms, they royally f*ck Americans on the exchange rate. 1 CUC = .87 American dollars. That being said, everything is still relatively cheap in Cuba. Drinks are 2-4 CUCs, meals are anywhere from 5 – 25 CUCs. The thing that will get ya are the damn taxis! Always negotiate. Also, Cuba has two currencies, one for tourists CUCs and one for locals Pesos. Pesos aren’t worth anything, 25 Pesos = 1 CUC. A major scam is that they give you back money in pesos instead of CUCs. CUCs have buildings on them and pesos have faces on them. This happened to me once, so annoying!

WIFI:

Ahh wifi. Legit hard to get. We went to Hotel Ingleterra and sat in the lobby using wifi cards that we peddled from guys off the street. Not very pleasant and also the wifi is slow, so try not to make it a priority unless you have to.

Another thing: download Galileo! It’s an offline map and you need to download the Cuba map specifically before you get there. You can search for restaurants and places then without wifi so you can get around! This was a huge lifesaver. 

My biggest piece of advice to you: go now, don’t wait. Go while it’s still fresh and untainted from American tourism… while there still isn’t wifi and cars from the ‘20s and ‘50s roll down Paseo del Prado by the plenty. Go while the markets are still filled with artisanal, hand-made goods made in Cuba by local craftsman. And see their ingenuity and creativity on how they reinvented, maintained, and created basic necessities from the meager products that were imported. I can’t wait to go back, but at the same time, I’m scared it will change.

Did you like my Cuba travel guide? Let me know in the comments along with any awesome places I should check out next time I’m in Cuba!

Travel Diary: Galapagos Islands

Española Island - Galapagps

Española Island, Galapagos

Traveling has always been a priority for me. Personally, I don’t think there is a better investment you can make for yourself than seeing and experiencing the world and it’s different cultures and climates. I’ve been lucky enough to visit places like Thailand, Alaska, all over Europe, the Greek Islands… even the Middle East. But, I still have an infinite amount of places I want to see and experience.

The destination for my most recent adventure? Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. And rather than call this a vacation, I’m going to refer to it as an expedition, because this trip was all about soaking in the wildlife in Charles Darwin’s infamous living science lab. As the birthplace of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, I had high expectations for the endemic wildlife we were going to see. And I’ll be honest, the Galapagos blew my mind. We did so much over the course of seven days. We started off in Ecuador, then made our way to Baltra Island, Galapagos. From there, we visited 6 islands: Espanola, Floreana, Isabella, Fernadina, South Plaza, and Santa Cruz. 

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On Board Celebrity Expedition in our Penthouse

The Galapagos Islands are located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, and are two hours by plane. One thing I didn’t really understand before going on my trip is that there are only certain areas you can go solo. Only 30,000 people live on the Galapagos Islands and they are restricted to specific areas to protect the fragile ecosystem. We landed in Baltra Island, and then took a Zodiac boat to our Celebrity Expedition boat, which really is the only way to see the Galapagos Islands. Get this–boats can’t even dock at most of the outer islands! And at almost every island we visited, we were the ONLY people on the island. Crazy right? We were lead by a team of environmentalists, who are native to the Galapagos Islands, along specific trails to minimize our footsteps. To give you an idea, 98% of the Galapagos Islands are a national forest and are fully protected.

Ok so you’re probably ready to hear about which islands you should go to, right?

Punta Suarez, Española Island

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This was hands down my favorite dry hike we went on. This island is absolutely incredible in terms of wildlife. It is the oldest island and is slowly sinking into the ocean, and has moved 100 miles since it was created at the main volcanic hotspot. We were greeted by thousands of marine iguanas, which aren’t the easiest on the eyes, or nose! And even though they look mean, they are harmless and are vegans, only eating green algae that grows in the cold Pacific Ocean water.

Sea lions are everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE in the Galapagos, and the site of them never gets old. They are literally puppies of the ocean and are so incredibly playful and vocal. We were there during baby season, so we saw tons of baby sea lion pups playing around.

We also spotted Albatross, Blue Footed Boobies, doves, sea gulls, and tons of bird species endemic to Espanola Island.

Blue Footed Boobie

Albatross

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Marine Iguanas

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Gardner Bay, Española Island

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You’ll notice that there isn’t much relaxation on this journey, mainly because going to the Galapagos is quite literally an expedition.  However, if you do want to soak up a little bit of relaxation, Gardner Bay hits the spot with it’s pristine, white sand beaches, calm waves, and loads of sea lions and pelicans. We snorkeled here, but it was a murky day and we didn’t see much. I also got stung by a TON of teeny tiny jelly fish, no bueno.

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Cormorant Point, Floreana Island

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If you are in the mood to snorkel or dive and see incredible marine life, this is the place for you! I’ll be frank, I’m a little scared of the ocean and snorkeling, but this was totally worth it. We swam with sea turtles, sea lions, and saw some of the most incredible fish I’ve ever seen! We even spotted a Galapagos penguin! Pretty incredible to see a little penguin swimming at the Equator.

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Flamingos in the wild in Galapagos

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Urvina Bay, Isabella Island

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Isabella Island is the youngest of the Galapagos Islands and mainly covered in lava rock because it hasn’t had the chance to break down. Sand was nowhere in site here and there was a LOT of hiking on sharp rocks. However, the lava fields are really impressive and we even saw a white-tipped reef shark in one of the sea water coves!

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White Tipped Reef Shark

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Espinoza Point, Fernandina Island

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This is another place to do a long dry hike. We spotted tons of Sally Lightfoot Crabs by the ocean, and then as we headed inland, we got to see brilliant yellow and orange land iguanas and a huge land tortoise!

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South Plaza Island, Santa Cruz

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south-plaza

One thing I noticed throughout my expedition in the Galapagos was the lack of greenery. I always imagined these islands would be lush and filled with tropical plants. That vision could not be farther from reality. In fact, the islands are covered in, what looks like, dead trees. Due to the lack of rain, these trees have adapted and have little to no leaves during the dry season, and only grow scarce leaves during the wet season.

However, South Plaza Island had the first form of pretty vegetation–impressive succulent trees and red succulent-type moss, creating a picturesque contrast with the bright blue ocean. I loved soaking up the views at South Plaza, definitely not a site to be missed!

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Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island

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My first reaction: ahh, people! Yes, Puerto Ayora is a real port and is has the largest population of people on the Galapagos Islands! This is also home to a huge percentage of the Galapagos’s land tortoises. This was really the only time we had to wander around a city and shop. We took a tour of the Charles Darwin Station, where we saw the tortoise breeding centers, separated by each island since each island has a different, endemic species!

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Fun fact: Galagaos got it’s name from the land tortoises. Bishop Tomás de Berlanga is credited for naming the islands as “Galápagos.” The legend explains that galápago is an old Spanish word, meaning saddle, and is the shape of the tortoises shells found only on the Galapagos Islands!

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We also had the chance to give back! We planted trees on Santa Cruz Island in hopes of rebuilding the endemic forest, which is essential for aforementioned Galapagos land tortoises and other species to survive!

Planting endemic trees to help restore the highlands on Santa Cruz Island in Galápagos 🌿🍃

A photo posted by Allison McNamara (@allisonmcnamara) on

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Heading to the Galapagos isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to be a nature lover who is eager to see unusual wildlife and ready to hike and snorkel. I guarantee you will leave the Galapagos Islands changed, impacted by the beauty that is evolution. Getting to see these creatures that exist nowhere else in the world up close is a memory I will never forget.

 

 

With Love, From Chiang Mai

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Chiang Mai Patara Elephant Farm

 

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Hotel Rachamanka

 

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Better late than never, right? I went to Thailand last November, but fell behind on doing posts for my travels. I took so many beautiful videos and photos, and had so many one-in-a-lifetime moments, that I felt not doing a post on it would be a missed opportunity. I put together a Bangkok travel diary and video, but stopped there. Chiang Mai was probably my favorite city that we visited in Thailand. Situated in the Northern part of the country, Chiang Mai is in the jungle and has unique food that differs from the beach coastal cities that typically come to mind when you think of Thailand. 

We did some of my absolute favorite activities here. We stayed at hotel Rachamanka, which was incredible and serene, and is the same place Angelina Jolie stayed when she visited Chiang Mai! Patara Elephant Farm came highly recommended as one of the few places that you can safely (for both elephants and people) ride elephants, and it was an experience that I will never forget! 

The other major highlight was the Chiang Mai lantern festival–one of the most incredible things I have ever seen! Watch my video for all the highlights, and enjoy some of my favorite snaps! xx

My Lollapalooza Travel Diary

I’ve been hitting up music festivals for over a decade. As a music festival veteran, and on the brink of 30, I thought it was about time to hang up my festival fringe… but not without one last hooray. And OK I still might go to Coachella if the situation presents itself… but I’ve spent enough time / energy / money / footsteps at music festivals.

So, Cassondra and I decided to pack our bags and head to Chicago for Lollapalooza. This festival crossed off a lot of firsts: my first time to Chicago, to the Mid West, and to a four day festival. FOUR DAYS. It was a lot. The festival started on a Thursday and went through Sunday. We arrived Thursday mid afternoon and made it to our hotel and out the door just in time to catch Lana Del Rey.

Lana-Del-Rey-Lollapalooza

The beauty of Lolla, compared to other festivals, is that you don’t have to commit to the festival all day. In fact, we used the mornings and afternoons to explore the city, and reserved our early evenings for the festival. Most of the artists we wanted to see started around 6pm, which gave us a full day to do things like the beach or the museum. Also, they allow up to 3 in-an-outs each day, so you have the option to check out an early band, leave for the afternoon, and come back at dusk. The headliners each night have to end by 10pm (otherwise, they get a $10,000+ fine) so we even had time to grab a late dinner and/ or drink in the city afterwards. Although I will note that Radiohead said FU to the rules and went into overtime past 10pm to play “Creep.” It was awesome.

I must say, I wish I had discovered this festival years ago. It’s much more laid back and not nearly as scene-y. And despite the sheer size of Lollapalooza — 400,000 people!— there was a surprising amount of space. We had no problem scouting out an area to sit and listen with a view of the stage!

OK, so let’s get into the highlights of the festival, my style diary, and a few of my must-see and dos in Chicago!

Chicago

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HIGHLIGHTS:

The Skyline

Hands down the best view I’ve ever had while listening to my favorite bands!

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The Booze

They serve wine by the bottle in a plastic jug. I’ll let you in on a secret — I actually slipped one into my suitcase for wine nights at the park back home! Bars are scattered aplenty throughout the fairgrounds, so no hand should be empty.

The Food

Holy cow! I thought the VIP area at Coachella had the best food, but the GA food at Lolla trumps even the finest food at other festivals. Do not miss the deep dish by the slice, a Chicago dog, or a honey fried chicken sandwich.

The Fashion

While the people watching isn’t nearly as good as a Coachella (no Riri or Leo DiCaprio in the crowd, sadly,) the fashion is fun and less trite. Sure, there was enough fringe to go around, but for the most part comfort was king and people had fun with their outfits, rain or shine!

The Bands

Everyone we saw was stellar. My highlights were Radiohead (omg,) Flume, Grimes, and Two Door Cinema Club. You really can’t go wrong with a line-up as great as Lolla’s!

MY STYLE DIARY

The weather in Chicago is highly unpredictable, so I went with easy dresses that wouldn’t RIP if they got a little wet. 

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Denim

Lolla-Allison-Day4

Outfit 1: H&M dress, H&M shoes, DIY choker, Vita Fede bracelets, Guess bag. Outfit 2: XX dress, TiVa sandals, DIY choker, Guess bag, Paul Smith sunglasses. Outfit 3: Jumpsuit from Thailand, H&M sandals, Backpack from Tulum, Perverse sunglasses. 

EAT:

Lou Malnati’s

I’m more of a thin crust gal, but if you head to Chicago, you have to make sure you stop at Lou Malnati’s for some classic Chicago deep dish. The best in the city, and the Malnati salad was pretty stellar too!

Lou-Malnatis-Pizza

Au Cheval

Au Cheval was hands down the best meal we had. The burger was insane, and they delivered a unique spin on a cobb salad, which was my personal favorite. Think pork belly instead of bacon with a little cilantro mixed in the ranch. I’m still salivating.

Au-Cheval-burger-Chicago

SOR

Want a classic Chicago dog? Check out standing room only for some of the best dogs in town.

SOR-Hot-Dog

Soho House: Chicago

If you get the chance, check out Soho House for a late dinner. And if you’re up for it, stay for dancing under the disco ball into the wee hours. Don’t forget to check out the pool on the rooftop!

3 Arts Cafe

We didn’t do a meal here because of the 2 hour wait, but we did spend some time drinking our coffee in the garden. Worth it, if even only for the view!

3 Arts Cafe Restaurant

Big Star

We washed down our long weekend in Chicago with some good ‘ol tex mex. Delicious!

Big-Star-Tacos

DO:

Architectural Boat Tour

I’m such a tourist, and I don’t even care. I love learning about the cities I travel to, and there is no better way to see all of the beautiful high rises in Chicago than on the water! The tour is about 1.5 hours and it’s totally worth it. A must do!

Architectural-Boat-Tour

Beach Day!

Who knew Chicago had a beach? Not me! We headed to Lake Michigan to go paddle boarding and jump in the lake, and it was so worth it! A mega perk… it’s fresh water. We stopped for lunch at Castaways, which had pretty great food for a diner on the beach.

Lakeview

Paddleboarding

Art Institute of Chicago

If you’re a museum junkie like me, you won’t want to miss the Art Institute of Chicago! We went in the late afternoon and spent two hours looking at their vast collection of impressionist art.

Art-Institute-of-Chicago

 

All in all, I absolutely loved Chicago and can’t wait to go back! The food was delicious, the views were epic, and I’m still dreaming about Radiohead. I hope you enjoyed this post!

To shop my festival looks, check out the gallery below. xx