Tulum Travel Guide: 2 days in Mexico’s Most Stylish Beach Getaway

Tulum’s pristine coastline located on 1,000-year-old Mayan ruins, complete with crystal-clear cenotes, hotels that emulate treehouses, contemporary restaurants, and bohemian boutique shops has made this once sleepy beach town completely erupt.

The perfect Tulum itinerary includes swimming in the ocean, exploring ancient Mayan ruins and a refreshing dip in a beautiful cenote, topped off with a margarita and fresh tacos at sunset.

Day 1:

The main street of Tulum is lined with beach clubs, which is where everyone spends their day; carefully dividing their time between swimming in the ocean and taking dips in the pool. While it’s great to have options on where to spend your day, it can be overwhelming to pick the right one. These beach clubs are part of hotel accommodations, so if you’re not spending the day at your hotel you’ll need to pay a fee to relax on a lounge chair at most places; with prices varying depending on the star of the hotel/club.

My friend and I opted to spend our day at Be Tulum. It had the Tulum “vibe” I wanted to experience, albeit quite expensive for what you get. We paid $60USD ($84AUD) for access to the lounge chairs and lunch. I couldn’t go all the way to Tulum and not have the ~authentic~ experience…

After begrudgingly pulling ourselves away from Be Tulum to see what else Tulum had on offer, we stumbled across some beautiful boutique stores. If creamy linens, stylish bikinis and beautiful hand-crafted jewellery and trinkets pique your interest, then you’ll love perusing the shops here.

Some notable mentions include;

  • Caravana Tulum
  • Calo
  • Arte Sano
  • Lolita Lolita
  • The Jungle Stores

We watched the sunset whilst eating delicious pizza on the beach at Posada Margherita.

Day 2:

The second day in Tulum was spent swimming in Cenote Azul. We went early in the morning to beat the crowds and it felt like we were swimming in our own green oasis. The water was so clear we could see the fish swimming around us! The entry fee was 120 pesos ($8AUD). There are closer cenotes to Tulum town centre, but this cenote is a great option if you’re driving back to Cancun Airport and want to break up your drive from Tulum, or just aren’t ready to admit the holiday is almost over!

We spent the afternoon reading books in the hammocks at our hotel. Then enjoyed an amazing, Mexican meal at GITANO Tulum for dinner; opting for the Mushroom Camote for the main meal. It is a must to have an accompanying beverage whilst here; there is a whole cocktail menu dedicated to the Mexican spirit- Mezcal. We then topped off the night in the best possible way, treating ourselves to an ice-cream from Campanella Cremerie.

Best cenotes and beaches to visit

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to visit all the beautiful cenotes and beaches I had wanted to whilst in Tulum. Here’s a few I had on my list and hope to visit one day:

  • Cenote Ik Kil
  • Gran Cenote
  • Cenote Dos Ojos
  • Cenote Caracol
  • Playa Parasio
  • Playa Ruinas
  • Xel-Ha Park
  • Akumal Beach (where you can snorkel with turtles)

Whilst in Tulum a lot of people visit the Tulum Ruins. We chose not to due to time restraints and visited Chichén Itzá instead. However, I would recommend getting to at least one ancient ruin whilst in Mexico and the Tulum Ruins look like a great option if you have enough time.

Necessities to pack

  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat + sunglasses
  • Swimming costumes
  • Beach coverups
  • Insulated water bottle that will keep filtered water cool at the beach
  • A couple of nicer night-time outfits if you plan on going to dinners (Tulum is quite an upmarket dining experience)

Where to stay

Majority of the hotels and activities in Tulum are located along the beach road, so this is where you’ll want to stay.

If you want the ultimate high-end experience and money is no object, book Be Tulum or Nômade. For the authentic Tulum treehouse experience stay at Hotel Origen Tulum. For more affordable options, consider NEST or Amansala.

Best time to visit

Tulum’s rainiest months are June, September, and October. October-December is generally the best time to visit, as hurricane season has ended and the weather is warm but not unbearably hot. I visited in November and it was very hot- I could not imagine it any warmer! January through to March is the busiest period for tourists, as well as the hottest weather, so I would avoid this time if you’re not a fan of heat or crowds.

Getting around in Tulum

It’s about a 25-minute drive from Tulum town to the centre of the beach area, and 1.5 hours drive from Cancun airport to Tulum.

If you’re staying in the heart of Tulum, you shouldn’t need a car during your stay. A lot of tourists choose to bike around the town as their mode of transport; I couldn’t figure out if it was just for fun, it was good for the planet or was a great way to off-set all of the tacos they’d been eating!

There are also plenty of taxis around should you need to get somewhere a bike or your legs can’t get you. We had a car to get us to and from Cancun airport.

Final Thoughts on Tulum

I feel it’s important to note that Tulum is an expensive town to visit- far exceeding the cost of any other Mexican city I visited! If the idea of having to pay to sit on a beach is not your vibe then maybe Tulum is not the right destination for you.

I also couldn’t help but shake the feeling that whilst Tulum is beautiful and relaxing, Instagram has over-hyped the destination which took away from the authenticity of the place. I enjoyed my time here, but I also felt that I could have had a very similar experience by flying 1-hour to Byron Bay in the north of Australia’s New South Wales instead of flying 20 hours to Mexico…

My final opinion is that I enjoyed my time in Tulum and I was glad I went to suss out what all the hype was about, but I definitely won’t be rushing back and I loved every other Mexican city I visited so much more!

Planning your visit to Chichén Itzá

Chichén Itzá holds the title as one of the new seven wonders of the world, making it an attraction you don’t want to miss during your visit to Mexico. It is located in the central-south of the Yucatán Peninsula, with many choosing to spend a day here on their way to or from Cancun or Tulum due to the proximity.

In 1988, Chichén Itzá became a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is now the second most visited archaeological site in Mexico; with its rich history and beautiful pyramids, it is no wonder people flock here each year to visit.

Visiting Chichén Itzá

When you arrive at Chichén Itzá, you will be greeted/bombarded by tour guides offering to show you around the archaeological sites and provide a historical background to all you will see. I think this is a must otherwise you won’t learn anything nor have any context to what you are seeing; you’ll just be looking at some very old, albeit beautiful architecture.

Cost

For an English speaking guide, my friend and I paid MXN 1000 ($65 AUD) for a two-hour tour. On top of the MXN 481 ($30 AUD) entry fee just to set foot in the door.

As this can be on the pricier side if you are travelling solo or in a duo. My tip would be to find another duo/small group of people to join the tour to make the day more cost-effective.

Getting there

Renting a car to get around Mexico is an easy, safe alternative while still being relatively inexpensive by Australian, USA or European standards. I flew from Mexico City to Cancun, drove to Valladolid then onto Chichén Itzá for the day before heading to Tulum.

There is the option to catch a 3-hour bus from Cancun which costs around MXN 202 ($13 AUD) through ADO Bus Service. From Valladolid, there’s a bus service every 30 minutes for MXN 26 ($2 AUD). 

If you don’t want to drive or catch a bus, you can also book a day tour. There are many options you can book through Viator before you arrive, or wait and ask your hotel/hostel when you get there!

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General tips for spending the day

  • Try to visit as soon as the doors open, or late in the afternoon to avoid the huge tour-bus crowds.
  • Chichén Itzá has a “light & sound show” that starts at 7pm in the autumn and winter or 8pm in the spring and summer. It’s included in the price of admission.
  • Consider splurging on a guided tour. There are information plaques at each attraction, but nothing like the insight you’ll get from a local guide.
  • Tourists can no longer climb to the top of the Kukulkan Pyramid due to UNESCO status and a few deaths over the years from falling. (Not that humans need to be walking on heritage sites anyway!)
  • The sun is unrelenting. Wear a hat, apply sunscreen and take plenty of water.
  • Bring cash to pay for your entry and tour guide- it is easier to haggle if you only have a certain amount of pesos on hand.
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Brief history

Mayans found this empty spot in 432 AD. They left around 1440 AD, and when the Spanish came in 1499 everything they had built was overgrown or in ruins. Chichén Itzá is now a 1500 year-old ceremonial centre for Mayan culture.

Chichén Itzá hosts two big cenotes which made it a suitable place to build a city and where its name was derived; chi meaning mouths and chen meaning wells, Itzá is the name of the Maya tribe that settled there.

The Mayans built 3 pyramids over 52 years to celebrate the end of a cycle and new age. Each pyramid was built on top of the old, so the famous pyramid we see today is 3 pyramids in one.

El Castillo has four sides, each with 91 stairs and facing a cardinal direction; including the step on the top platform, these combine for a total of 365 steps—the number of days in the solar year. During the spring and autumnal equinoxes, shadows cast by the setting sun give the appearance of a snake undulating down the stairways. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see this but it sounds truly magical!

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Visiting Valladolid

Valladolid is located in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. The state is synonymous with Mayan ruins, cenotes and beaches. Many who travel to the Yucatán overlook Valladolid, opting to visit only Cancun and Chichen Itza. I am here to let you know that you’re doing yourself a disservice if this quaint city isn’t placed on your Mexico travel list.

There were many things I enjoyed about this city. Notably, it’s size; it is a small city with around 50,000 inhabitants. It was home to a gorgeous cenote right in the centre of the town, plus many cenotes within close driving proximity. It was incredibly walkable (and bike-able). I also happened to be visiting at a very special time, during Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) and witnessed hundreds of locals dressed up to celebrate the holiday.

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What to do:

1. Wander the cobble-stone streets

My favourite thing to do in any city, big or small, is wander around and soak in the architecture, ambience and aroma. Valladolid is filled with pastel-coloured, Spanish-colonial buildings. It is a treat to walk up and down the streets, perusing the boutique shops that host locally made, unique gifts and goods.

The gorgeous street I walked through was Calz. De Los Frailes.

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2. Explore Cenote Zaci

Cenote Zaci was once a massive cave, that has now partially collapsed. Multiple stalactites hanging from the roof of the cenote, and the open sky side is covered in beautiful greenery. Once in the cenote, swim to the centre, so you are halfway between the roof and the open sky, lean back and allow the serenity to wash over you.

You can easily walk to Cenote Zaci; a 7-minute walk from the main square. The water here is murky, so it is not the best cenote to snorkel in.

The entrance fee to Cenote Zaci is 30 pesos ($2 AUD) and is considerably lower than other cenote fees.

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3. Sit by the Fountain

The main square in Valladolid hosts a quaint park and fountain, surrounded by a church and many restaurants. There are nice seats located around the park, allowing you to people watch, eat an ice-cream and enjoy the afternoon sun.

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4.Visit The Convent Of San Bernardo

Located just outside the main square of Valladolid lies The Convent of San Bernardo. I opted not to visit due to time restraints, but you can visit for around 40 pesos. There is a small museum inside which explains the discovery of cenotes and the items left behind in them.

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5. Rent a bike and explore

Bike riding is an excellent way to discover a city; especially in Valladolid as the roads are very flat, so you can leisurely bike around. Biking through the city at sunset was a highlight of my time here.

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6. Visit The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Assumption

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Assumption is a beautiful church in the centre of the town, located by the Fountain.

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7. Eat at a local Mexican restaurant

Valladolid boasts some delicious, traditional Yucatán restaurants. I always think it’s a fun idea to ask the waiter what traditional food they recommend, and being open to trying their suggestion. (I am a vegetarian, so I didn’t eat any of the traditional meat dishes whilst in Mexico).

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8. Day trip to Cenote Oxman

Cenote Oxman is a 15-minute drive from Valladolid. It is visited by tourists for its natural beauty and crystal clear water, but what makes Oxman especially special is that it is located within a traditional hacienda. The cenote is a collapsed limestone cave with sunlight rays peeking from the holes above the cave ceiling. There are also roots from the ancient trees that crawl through the walls of the cave.

To get to the cenote, you make your way through a cave entrance. There is a winding staircase that will provide a safe way to get down to the water. You can choose to jump in off a swinging rope or walk down the stairs into the cenote. I tried both, much preferring the latter experience. There is a swimming pool outside of the cenote, with a restaurant and bar, providing another spot to relax in.

At the time of writing, the cost of admission to Cenote Oxman is 80 pesos for the simple entry. However, if you are planning to buy drinks or eat at the restaurant, go for either the 100 pesos option that gives you a 50 pesos credit for the restaurant or the 150 pesos option that gives you a 150 pesos credit. When I visited, the cenote was open from 10am to 5pm.

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Where to stay:

There are a handful of boutique hotels around the city. I stayed at Casa Quetzal Boutique Hotel. The hotel was in a great location, a 7-minute walk from the main square. The interior of the hotel was decorated in local designs making it a very authentic Mexican experience and included a delicious breakfast.

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How to get here:

I flew to Cancun from Mexico City, rented a car from the airport and drove 2-hours to Valladolid. Another option is to fly to Mérida and drive the 2-hours.

If you feel safe travelling by bus, there are routes you can take from airports and other cities.

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How to get around:

We opted to travel by car (rented from Cancun Airport), as we were going to a few different spots on the Yucatán Peninsula and this was the easiest and safest way for us to travel.

There are buses and tours that you can join to take you from place to place around the Yucatán.

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Mexico City Travel Guide

I’m going to start this post off by admitting that Mexico had never been particularly high on my long travel bucket list. Growing up in a southern suburb of Sydney, Australia meant there weren’t any Mexicans near me, resulting in a non-existent exposure to Latin culture. My disinterest in visiting this  country only grew further the older I got, with the media portraying Mexico as an extremely dangerous and drug-fuelled country to visit.

However, if you were considering visiting this country you will be glad to know that I am here to contest this theory. With every city I visited in Mexico, I was greeted with warm, smiling faces, an incredibly vibrant aura, a delicious and interesting cuisine and most importantly, I felt safe. So, if you’re wondering whether or not to visit, I hope after reading this post, you jump on and book your flights!

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As of 2018, 21.3 million people live in the Mexican capital; making it one of the largest metropolis in the world! I barely even touched the surface of all that CDMX has to offer during my visit. I am a person who loves art, architecture, fashion and food so these are the things I hunt out in any city that I travel to.

Here’s what I got up to in my four days in Mexico City:

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Day 1:

  • Free walking tour through freetour.com.During the walking tour, you will walk through the most important streets of the Centro Histórico. These include the Zócalo, Catedral Metropolitana, Templo Mayor and Palacio de Bellas Artes.
    • When I first arrive in a new city, the first thing I like to do is go on a walking tour to help me get my bearings of the city and to learn about the history of the city.
  • Ate dinner at Los Loosers. This was a trendy restaurant serving vegan Mexican cuisine in Roma Condesa.
    • Try a dish with Mole sauce for an authentic Mexican experience.

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Day 2:

  • Breakfast at Tetetlan in Pedregal. The building of this restaurant was originally the horse stables of a home designed by Mexico’s most influential architect, Luis Barragán. The space was restored by the art collector living next door, who transformed it into a multi-purpose building. It serves as a cafe with shade-grown local coffee, a restaurant with creative Meso-American dishes, a showroom for local designers, a yoga studio and a listening library. The design space is truly breathtaking with glass floors that look onto local purple-black volcanic rock.
    • Be sure to try the dish with cactus and cheese.
  • Visited the markets at Bazar Sabadl in San Angel and Coyoacán. The markets are filled with works from artists, ceramicists, jewellers and painters who have come to display and sell their art. These markets are quite fancy compared to a local Mexican market.
    • Taste test Esquites from a street vendor.

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Day 3:

  • Brunch at Cicatriz in Juarez.
  • Anthropology Museum: a national museum located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Chapultepec Park. It provides a great historical background to the Indigenous inhabitants of Mexico and how the country became the Mexico we know today. There are hundreds of fascinating artefacts and relics in the museum.
    • Give yourself 3-4 hours here.
    • It is free for Mexicans, but tourists must pay 64 MXN (approx. $5AUD)
  • Frida Karlo Museum: a historic house museum dedicated to the life and work of the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. This museum was a fascinating insight into the painful life of Kahlo, showcasing her trials and tribulations through her art. The museum is located in the Colonia del Carmen neighbourhood of Coyoacán.
    • You can only visit the museum in allotted times, to ensure it doesn’t get too crowded. I recommend booking ahead of time, so you don’t waste precious travel time standing outside the museum.
    • You can opt for a guided tour, which is available in Spanish or English at 700 MXN ($55AUD)
    • You can visit and stroll through at your own leisure for 230 MXN ($19AUD)
  • Dinner at Brassi in Polanco. Enjoy a good bottle of wine, listen to live jazz, and savour every mouthful over great dinner conversation. A great way to end any day!

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Day 4:

  • Brunch at Dosis. Get the avo toast. Costing 42MXN ($3AUD).
  • Churreria el Moro for the most delicious churros.
  • Avenue Reforma
    • This is where you can find the Alebrijes. The Alebrijes are mythical creatures that have elements from different animals such as dragon bodies, bat wings, wolf teeth and dog eyes. Colourfully painted, they were originally made with papier mache but nowadays they are wood carved. Although these distinctive cultural artefacts are often assumed to represent a long-established tradition of Mexican folk art, they only began to appear in the 1940s. They come alive in the city during Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead).
  • Shopping: Mexico City is one cool city and you’d be a damn fool not to set aside some time to check out the shops!
    • Casa Bosques for a trendy book store
    • Tuza for boutique shopping and crafty candles
    • Goodbye Folk for amazing vintage finds

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Travel tips:

  • I would recommend a minimum of four days in the capital. It is a truly bustling city with many museums, art galleries, restaurants and shops! Plus you will need time for a walking tour and to wander around on your own.
  • Most of the museums are closed on Mondays- so check ahead of time when planning your itinerary!
  • Go to the Sears across the road from Palacio de Bellas Artes, and go upstairs to the cafe for great views.
  • Wifi is useful and cheap. You can purchase a SIM card at most convenience stores.
  • Be sure to taste Jamaica tea! It is made from Hibiscus flowers and is extremely tasty.

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Safety in Mexico City:

I found that visiting Mexico City was just like visiting any other major city. Sure, there are areas to stay away from and I wouldn’t gallivant around solo at night, but those are precautions I always take regardless of the destination.

Be smart, don’t flash expensive electronics/jewellery, and be extra aware/cautious at night (especially if travelling alone) or if taking public transport. You will be fine! Just stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Dodgy things can happen anywhere, it is up to us as travellers to trust our gut and be diligent in where we choose to visit.

How to get around Mexico City:

I chose not to take any public transport as an added measure of precaution and opted to use Uber as it was cheap. An Uber would cost anywhere between $3-10 to get across town, depending on how far you wanted to go from destination to destination.

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When to visit Mexico City:

In all honesty, there’s no bad time to visit Mexico City. The weather is fairly consistent year-round, with a mild temperature around 24-27 degrees celsius.

Summer (May through September) does experience more rain with frequent downpours and winter (November through February/March) can be slightly colder with frequent downpours as well.

I visited in November and wore jeans and a t-shirt every day. It rained every late-afternoon, and I would wear a denim jacket or knit jumper out at night.

 

 

 

The Best things to do in New York City

To know “The City” like a local might be the greatest badge of honour for travellers. However, I am pre-warning you now that you won’t be able to cover all the museums and galleries, eat at every restaurant or $1 pizza slice joint, or walk every neighbourhood in one visit. But that’s the good news- it gives you a reason to keep coming back!

What to do:

Now that you’ve booked your trip to New York City, you need to decide what you want to see and do to make the most of your time. New York City offers visitors endless options of things to do, there is no chance to get bored during your stay. Experience the best things to do in NYC with this guide to essential sights, eats, drinks, culture and nightlife.

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1- Central Park

Central Park is the heart and soul of New York City. It is a place of peace in an otherwise loud, crowded and hectic city. Enter via 72nd Street in Central Park West and head towards Strawberry Fields, Bow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain and Loeb Boathouse. Allow 3-4 hours here.

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2- Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock is an observatory on top of the Rockefeller Center. I prefer this view over the Empire State because I want to see the iconic building, not be in it. It is best to book your ticket online to beat the long lines. Allow 1-3 hours here.

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3- The High Line

The High Line is a public park built in 2009 on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. The High Line is a funky space filled with restaurants, art and design stores, and is a beautiful way to see the city’s architecture. Allow 2-3 hours here.

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4- Soho

Soho is my favourite area to walk around in NYC. It is filled with beautiful cast-iron-facades, cobblestone streets, designer boutiques and high-end art galleries; making it a very trendy area and top shopping destination. Let yourself get lost amongst the streets and fall in love with the beautiful architecture, cafes, stores and vibe. If you love to shop, allow yourself 2-4 hours here.

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5- Guggenheim

The Guggenheim is a beautiful art museum located in the Upper East Side. The Guggenheim is an architect-lovers dream! When the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened in 1959, critics were unimpressed with the building, likening it to a washing machine. Today it has become one of New York City’s most beloved architectural icons. Allow 2-4 hours to peruse the art and the outside of the building.

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6- 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is a memorial and museum commemorating the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed 2,977 people. This attack attempted to tear apart  and destroy a city and a country, but the result of watching the opposite of that happen is truly inspiring. It is a must-visit when in this city, as the attacks completely altered the way the city and the country is today. It is a somber, meaningful place for remembrance and reflecting. Allow 2-4 hours.

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7- Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village has a heart and soul of its own. It is a hub of jazz clubs, off-broadway shows, restaurants, and home to NYU. Fan of rock and roll music? Make sure to visit Cafe Wha?; the spirit of rock & roll, where Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan used to jam. Spend hours walking around the streets, there’s a lot of special gems to be found in this neighbourhood. Next time I visit, I’m staying here! Allow 1-3 hours.

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8- Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park is inside Greenwich Village but I thought it deserved a special mention. Grab a slice of pizza, sit on a bench with a good book or people watch for hours as there is always something happening in the park. Allow 30 mins-3 hours.

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9- MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1929. It was recently renovated, expanding their galleries making it a truly beautiful and special experience. It is an awe-inspiring art gallery with some of the greatest artworks by the greatest artists in the world: including several pieces by Picasso, Monte, Kahlo, Warhol, Cézanne and Chagall to name a few! It is open 10am-9pm and you can purchase your ticket online beforehand. Allow 3-5 hours. 

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10- The Vessel

The Vessel is a structure and visitor attraction built as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. I stumbled upon this as I was walking The High Line. It is a spiral staircase meant to be climbed; offering wonderful views of NYC from a new perspective. Allow 1-2 hours.

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11- Little Italy

Little Italy was once home to the immigrants who settled there from Sicily and Naples in the 1880s. For years it was a thriving area filled with Italian restaurants, bakeries and shops. Nowadays, the Italian presence has shrunk down to the blocks surrounding Mulberry Street. There is a deep, dark and interesting history within these streets- I suggest finding a free walking tour that includes this area! Allow 1 hour.

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12- Financial District

The area home to Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange and Trinity Church may still be dubbed the Financial District but it is no longer what it used to be. Whilst here on a walking tour, I found out that the New York Stock Exchange barely exchanges any stocks there anymore and is actually used as a department store. The New York City we knew, is no longer. Alas, it was still nice to walk the streets and imagine what life would have been like here in the 1920s! Allow 1 hour.

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13- New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is the second-largest public library in the United States and the third-largest in the world! It is located in a beautiful building with breathtaking decor and ceiling art. Even if you aren’t interested in reading or books, it is worth taking a look inside. Allow 30 mins-2 hours.

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14- St Patrick’s Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. Patrick is a Neo-Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral in the centre of the city. It has become a quintessential part of NYC; you can often spot a bride and groom snapping their wedding picture in front of the iconic church! Allow 30 mins to look inside. If you are religious you can attend a mass or confession.

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15- Times Square

Times Square is a billboard-littered hell that has very little to do with the rest of the city. Nobody hangs around outside the M&M store, and nobody buys anything from the souvenir stores. Locals pass through as quickly as possible on their way to a Broadway show, and I suggest you do the same. See it once and then get out of there! Allow minus 1 hour.

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16- Rooftop bars

New York is flooded with trendy rooftop bars. I visited the popular 230 Fifth, located in Manhattan, which boasted amazing views, especially at sunset. I wish I could have visited more!

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17- Oculus

The Oculus represents the most integrated network of underground pedestrian connections in New York City. It serves as the centre of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. It is an amazing piece of modern architecture, bringing a new life to a place of destruction and sadness.

18- Broadway Show

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Broadway shows are practically synonymous with New York City! It is inspiring how important the arts and theatre are to this city and it is important to support that so it never changes. If you are worried about the steep prices for theatre tickets, keep checking online for sales, and there are ways to win free tickets on the day from special ticket booths around the city.

Where to eat:

19- Pizza by the slice from Little Italy

This is not to be confused with Little Italy as a neighbourhood but Little Italy as a dingy hole-in-the-wall pizza slice joint on Amsterdam Street between 70th and 71st- as shown to me by a New York City local. Don’t miss it!

20- Bell, Book & Candle

If your eyes aren’t peeled you might miss this gorgeous bar and restaurant located in the West Village. The menu is made from local, organic and sustainable procurement, mostly from the vegetables on the rooftop- my kind of place!

21- Levain Bakery

Levain Bakery opened in 1995 and there are now multiple storefronts all over the city. If you pass one, go in!

22- Miznon

Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani brought Miznon to the U.S. after the pita sandwich spot was considered one of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv. I can attest that this place will not disappoint!

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Where to shop:

23- Reformation

Reformation is a beautiful clothing store that celebrates women’s bodies while ensuring the clothes are made sustainably and ethically. It is my favourite store ever and is located in Soho. Stop by during your visit if you’re into the eco but stylish life.

24- Everlane

Everlane is another eco-brand. They partner with ethical factories all around the world to make their clothes. They are a great go-to for staple items in your wardrobe.

25- The Real Real

The RealReal, Inc. is an online and shop marketplace for high-end vintage goods. They sell clothing, fine jewellery, watches, fine art and home decor. This place was practically an art gallery. I didn’t buy anything, but it was fun to look around.

26- MoMA Design Store

This is part of MoMA. I love looking at any art gallery store, but especially this one. It is filled with creative, quirky gifts, books you need and gadgets you definitely don’t need but want anyway. Make sure to have a peruse!

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There you have it! My must-dos of what to see, do and eat when you come to New York. Now, of course, I barely even scraped the surface on my list. There were many more art galleries, museums, restaurants, cafes and shops I wanted to check out but unfortunately, there isn’t enough time in the world to see everything in New York- but I’m going to try!

 

 

 

7 best things to do in Hobart

Hobart may be a small city geographically and population-wise, but it has a lot to offer! With a vibrant art scene, delicious restaurants and produce, surrounded by beautiful natural attractions it is no wonder Hobart is becoming a very popular destination to visit.

Don’t miss:

  • MONA
  • Salamanca Markets
  • Battery Point

Things to do and top attractions in Hobart-

  • 1. Shop for trinkets at Salamanca Markets

Salamanca Market is located on Hobart’s waterfront and is one of Australia’s largest outdoor markets. It is open 8:30-3pm every Saturday with more than 300 stalls filled with arts, crafts, jewellery, fresh food and produce and homewares.

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  • 2. Be awed by art at MONA

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is an art museum located within the Moorilla winery in Hobart. It is the largest privately funded museum in the Southern Hemisphere. MONA is a phenomenal art museum, with artworks ranging from ancient, modern and contemporary from the David Walsh collection. It is immersive, fun and weird. This should not be missed on a trip to Hobart!

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  • 3. Walk Hobart’s waterfront

Take some time to walk along the waterfront. Start from the beautiful sandstone buildings at Salamanca Place and stroll around to the docks at Brooke Street Pier. Whilst here it would be a crime not to get stuck into an iconic box of fish and chips.

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  • 4. Go on a free walking tour around Salamanca and Battery Point

One of my favourite things to do in any city I visit is to go on a free walking tour. I went with this company, who were really great! It was a 2 hour tour of Hobart, Salamanca and Battery Point where I learnt about Hobart’s fascinating history (which is quite different to mainland Australia) and other great tips and facts about the beautiful city.

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  • 5. Taste craft beer

Craft beer is very important in Hobart! For a great craft beer check out Shambles Brewery or Hobart Brewing Company. If you’re looking for a place with a cool vibe on a Friday or Saturday night, check out Preachers in Battery Point. It is a hip bar with a bus parked in the courtyard! You can get craft beers, cocktails and burgers.

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  • 6. Salivate over Hobart’s delicious food scene

A large portion of your time in Hobart should be spent scouting out delicious restaurants and eating until you can’t any more. All of the produce is amazing quality, and fish is a must. There are so many delicious cafes, bakeries, restaurants and food stalls in Hobart- I barely even touched the surface!

For brunch I recommend checking out Born in Brunswick. Get the potato and pecorino hash, celeriac and black sesame remoulade with smoked crème fraîche and a fried egg, you will not be disappointed! Cargo Bar for pizza in Salamanca was really good and had a great vibe. Jack Greene, just next door to Cargo Bar, has half price burgers every Sunday!

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  • 7. Go on a day trip to Bruny Island

Bruny Island is a small island located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania. You can get here by taking the barge with your car; you will definitely need a car to drive around the island. We visited the Neck Lookout, Cape Bruny, South Bruny National Park, and Bruny Island Cheese Company. One day on the island is more than enough time, I wouldn’t recommend staying over night unless you are after a very remote getaway.

Make sure you keep an eye out for the white wallabies which are located on Bruny Island. Unfortunately, I didn’t spot one, so let me know if you do when you go!

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Accomodation

I stayed at Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse which is a multi-award winning boutique hostel suitable for backpackers, groups of friends, couples and families. It’s located in central Hobart in the historic village of Battery Point- which in my opinion, is the most beautiful part of the city! If you’re visiting Hobart, I definitely recommend staying here. The place was perfect, complete with two french bulldogs to play with!

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