Chicago, IL Guide

One of my favorite cities. Like a mix between LA+Seattle with seasons though and city pride everywhere you look.

Pride for Sports Teams there are unrivaled, and they have reason to be that way. Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, White Sox and Bears all reside in chi-town and you’ll see remnants of it everywhere as well as the 4-star city flag. I’ve never seen a city rep their flag like they do there. In fact, I didn’t even know cities had flags, which led me to look up Los Angeles and laugh for a good while.

Anyways, to start, flying into O’Hare makes things really easy and it’s a nice airport with transport from the burbs to the city (Blue Line).

Begin by getting a city Viator pass, it gets you use to both the the trains and the buses, which can get you basically anywhere in the city and beyond. (I got an unlimited 3 day pass)

The rest is up to you but here are my recos:

Must Do: Millenium Park/The Bean. Whatever sporting event is happening during that season (United Center/Wrigley), Take a walk down Milkwaukee/Damen and hang with the locals, lots of great stores and food/coffee spots.

Food: DEEP DISH PIZZA: It’s known for it so get it. My favorites are Giordanos and Gino’s East, but the original Uno’s is also there!

Italian Beef Sandwiches: Al’s is awesome, but I could not stop thinking about Johnnie’s Beef in Elmwood Park. It’s a little bit far out there (takes about an hour on the bus from downtown) but it’s $5 for an amazing sandwich. Beware it’s cash only though!

Chicago Dogs: I only really ever go to Portillo’s but I’m sure there are plenty of bomb places.

Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe: Best breakfast! Right across the street from the bean, so go here first then walk off the food in the park. Beware long waits though, this place is very busy on the weekends. The french toast is amazing.

Piece Pizza: Awesome NORMAL pizza and award winning beer. They even have a Girl & the Goat collaboration pizza (A $$$ restaurant, so I have never been there).

Drink: Emporium – 2 locations, it’s basically a barcade with lots of beer and tons of games for a quarter. Similar to “barcade” in NYC but better and bigger.

Goose Island Brewpub: One of my favorite places.

Coffee: Walking down Milkwaukee, I found a number of cool looking coffee shops, but none better than the one called “The Wormhole”. Really chill vibe and kind of nerdy at the same time. There is a car in there as decor. Rad.

Farther down Milkwaukee/Damen, you can find Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. Another cool spot for food and drinks!

Other Fun:
Skyviews: I’ve been to both the John Hancock Observatory (360 Chicago) and the Sears Tower/Willis Tower (Skydeck) and they’re both pretty cool. I think you have to go to the Skydeck though, it’s higher and the glass over the edge is pretty legit. Beware of major tourists and waiting in lines for pictures, otherwise hope for a clear day for these beautiful views.

Not Recommended: Wicker Park, just because there is a movie, doesn’t mean it’s worth going to.

NYC

Here is the New York City Definitive Guide:

Possibly the most difficult list I’ll ever make because there are so many things to do in so many different sections of the city and beyond.

Tourist Things Worth Doing:

Brooklyn Bridge & Brooklyn Bridge Park (Beautiful View of Downtown Manhattan)
Top of The Rock
Greenwich Village (Washington Square)
9/11 Memorial
Central Park
MoMa (Free on Fridays 4PM – 8PM)
High Line
SoHo (Shop + Architecture)
DUMBO
Bryant Park
Yankee Stadium
Gotham West Market

Food: 
Halal Guys, Clinton St Bakery, John’s of Bleeker St Pizza, Juliana’s, Katz’s Deli, Guayoyo, Arepa Cafe, Ippudo, Dim Sum.

Dessert: Spot, Big Gay Ice Cream, Milk

Coffee: Koffeecake Corner (Nutella Latte), Toby’s Coffee, Stumptown

Drink: 
McSorleys, Anywhere in the city, Please Don’t Tell(Speakeasy), Apotheke

Beer Brooklyn: Barcade, Torst, Brooklyn Brewery, Other Half Brewery

Extra:
Le Bain (Swanky $$), Pod 39 (Rooftop), Birreria (Rooftop beer garden)

Other Cool: 
Smorgasberg

The Definitive Havasupai Falls Guide

To all you lucky people going to Havasupai Falls, you will have a great time and see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

The Prep

The Havasupai tribe is extremely difficult to get a hold of. When we called for a lodge room, we originally had no answer for the first few days. My friend had to call every 10 minutes until they finally picked up and when they did, they just took down his name and that was basically it, they don’t ask for your information or payment.

Helicopter: We looked into this momentarily but apparently they do not fly the copters on Saturdays and we were on a time crunch. However, I think the best way to go would be to hike in, helicopter out.

The Drive: Depending of course from where you’re coming from but most of us will just google map it to “Hualapai Hilltop”. That will get you there for the most part. Our phones took us to Indian 18 (a one lane each way street) and it said to go to mile marker 29 and then we would arrive. Well, we got there and nothing was in sight. Turns out you have to keep driving all the way to mile marker 65 (the end of the street). There is a parking lot at the end where there will be a lot of other people/bathrooms/etc. If driving there late night, be careful of animals (deer, cows, rabbits, etc, they all walk around on the street and could get freaked out by headlights)

The Hike: The hike in is much easier than out. It is 8 miles to the village of Supai and another 2 to the campground/Mooney Falls. If you’re staying in the lodge, it will be in the village. The beginning of the hike in, is about 1.5 to 2 miles of switchbacks and downhill slopes to the beginning of the canyon. From there it will be about 6 more miles of leisurely walking (its flat) and you start to get some beautiful sights (the canyon has crazy formations) and if you go early enough you will have plenty of shade. We left at 7 in the morning and were one of the last groups to leave.

The dogs:  Undoubtedly you will see a bunch of stray dogs running around the area. I think they are owned by the tribe, but not by one person particularly. They seem to just roam around in packs or alone. We had one dog guide us around the entire trip. I don’t know what the rules are on feeding them but we didnt feed any of them.

The lodge: It was your normal lodge but no television and had a hard time connecting to the wifi. It was definitely nice to have a bed and a/c though. Check in is 1 so that complicates things if you arrive at 10AM. We got breakfast at the cafe and then explored, coming back around 3PM to check in. (I believe you can have 4 people in the room, there are 2 beds, and a shower.) I think it was around $150 per night but they also included the $35 permit fee per person).

*They will let you leave your bags in the lodge area if you are early and want to go explore the area.

The cafe: Overpriced mediocre food but it does the job. Usually slow service because they only have a couple of people working there.Plus after a long 8 mile hike, a cold soda is amazing. Open from 7AM to 630PM. HUGE Pancakes

The Waterfalls: This place is unbelievable from the first time you see the blue green waters to the huge waterfalls. I think there are 5 waterfalls you can see (we saw 4). Walk toward the campgrounds and youll pass at least 3 waterfalls. We explored them all and loved them. There are natural infinity pools basically everywhere and the waterfalls get bigger the farther you venture. Havasupai Falls (the third waterfall in our trip), was the most chill. Picnic tables laid out everywhere, even in the shallow waters and would be a good place to picnic and relax. Mooney falls, which is another mile down past Havasupai Falls is the biggest but getting down to the falls is dangerous (sketchy staircaves) and we are not sure if you can climb the stairs back up (the alternate would be a long hike back up). Regardless it is beautiful to see.

Gear:Thats all dependent on if you camp or lodge. If you have a lot of heavy stuff, you can also have them mule your gear down/up.

Conclusion:Go here, hike in, helicopter out. Spend a couple days here so you can really explore it and just relax and enjoy the beautiful blue green waters. So few people go here that you can sometimes have the waterfalls to yourself. Be careful of snakes though! Enjoy

Seattle!

Things to do in the great city of Seattle.

It is about a 2 and 1/2 hour drive from Portland, and a few hours from Canada, but there is a lot to do in Seattle too.

Food:

*It was really difficult to find a place to eat during the weekends for 6 people. Most places downtown are reserved or just too small to accommodate so be wary of that.

– Paseo: 2 locations, I went to the one in Fremont after seeing the Fremont Troll. Long line but it went quickly. Paseo is a cuban sandwich spot but it is insanely good and insanely messy. Huge onions in the sandwiches! The cuban press and the roast pork sandwich were the best. Very reminiscent of Ikes with the long line. Yelp

– Pink Door: An unmarked place in Post Alley. It was too busy to eat here but it looked good and it had a nice view outside. Try it and tell me if its good!

– Pike Place Chowder: All kinds of great seafood chowders! Breadbowls and sandwiches (Rolls) too! Another gem in Post Alley

– Le Panier: A little bakery down the street from the original Starbucks. Really good french macaroons and pastries. Definitely stop in and get a snack!

– Piroshky Piroshky: A super small bakery type of place that has piroshkys obviously. The potato and cheese one was good. Awesome snack place.

-Pike St. Fish Fry: Fish & Chips Open Late!!

-Theo Chocolate: Really good/expensive chocolate in Fremont. They have tours too but you can just go into the store and try all the samples if you really want. Coconut Curry Chocolate.. weird!

Stuff:

Museums: Chihuly Glass & Garden. One of the coolest exhibits I have ever seen. Unbelievable art.

EMP Museum: Experience Music Project. A museum for music, which is pretty rad. Specializes in northwest artists (Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix), also has a bunch of sci-fi stuff in it.

Ballard Locks: Northwest Seattle, where they have the famous locks to get boats from lower water level to higher and vice versa. Cool to see.

Bruce Lee Grave site: Pretty cool to see. In the Lakeview Cemetary.

Olympic Sculpture Park: I didn’t see this but I have heard some good things.

Seattle Public Library: A really rad and modern library with cool designs all over. The red hall is creepy as hell though.

Of course there are the other tourist things like the gum wall, the fremont troll, the pike place market, tours of Century Link and Safeco fields which are right next to each other. I wish I would have been able to watch a Seattle Sounders game though.

Best View Spots: I’m pretty big on skyline views and seeing the city from high above.

– Columbia Sky View Observatory. Go up to the 73rd story and get an almost 360 degree view of Seattle. Open until 10PM if you want to watch the sun set from here.

– Kerry Park: A tiny little park where you can see a beautiful view of Seattle’s skyline and waters.

Make sure you see the sunsets because they are really nice.