We Are Travel Girls Contest Winner: A One Night Staycation with Virgin Hotels Chicago

 
 

A few weeks ago, Riley and I were the lucky  winners of the We Are Travel Girls hotel giveaway for the Virgin Hotels here in Chicago. We were so excited for a staycation that we couldn’t wait to make our reservation and booked it for this past weekend. The Virgin Hotels is a hip and trendy spot located in the North Loop just steps away from Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River (exactly where'd you want to be when staying in Chicago)!

The Virgin Hotels boasts both swanky and modern décor with amenities geared towards the tech-savvy traveler. Before we even checked in, I received an email to download the hotel's app Lucy. The app lays out the details of your stay before you even arrive and allows you to control your TV, thermostat, and order room service all from your phone (on their free Wi-Fi)! You can also customize your preferences (i.e. number of pillows you'd like in your room) on the app prior to arrival making you feel right at home from the moment you check-in.  Our room was a Chamber Room located on the 24th floor with breathtaking east and northern facing views of the river and the Chicago skyline. We could not have hoped for a better room!

From 7-8PM, The Virgin Hotels offers a free cocktail hour for its hotel guests at the Commons Club located on the second floor. The staff could not have been more friendly, answering all of our questions about the different options on the menu and the drinks were both delicious and strong! We sipped on our cocktails before heading up to the Cerise rooftop for a change of scenery. The rooftop was packed with Chicagoans and visitors hoping to catch sunset from one of the plush lounge chairs along the glass wall. 

The Cerise rooftop offers breathtaking panoramic views of the skyline and the perfect view for sunset. We quickly snagged one of the few tables left, settled in with our drinks and took in the views around us. We couldn't have asked for better weather or a more perfect evening (especially since there was actually a flood watch that day and a crazy storm the night before!).

After a night out on the town, we admittedly went straight for the mini bar as soon as we got back to the hotel. I mean it was just sitting there on top of that adorable Smeg fridge screaming our names so we pretty much had an obligation to ourselves to indulge (I mean we were on staycation, so it was totally justified. Right?!). Thankfully for our sake, the Virgin Hotels prides itself on charging "Street Prices" for the items at the mini bar, so our late night snack didn't cost us a small fortune. Virgin Hotels truly does operate with the guest in mind. From the phenomenal service to the customization of your room to make you feel more at home, we loved each and every second of our stay with Virgin Hotels and will be recommending it to friends and family visiting us in Chicago. Thank you so much to the team at We Are Travel Girls and Virgin Hotels Chicago for making our stay both possible and incredible! 

 

Favorite Features:

  • Cocktail Hour at the Commons Club: Free cocktail hour from 7PM-8PM for all hotel guests! 
  • Free Wi-Fi: No extra charges for bandwidth either!! 
  • Affordable Mini Bar: We would know. We ate 5 things from the mini bar and spent less than $15! 
  • Customization: Download the app before your stay and you'll feel right at home from the moment you check in! 
  • Lucy: Change the tv channel, turn up the AC, or order room service all right at your finger tips on the app! 
  • Panoramic Views: They. Are. Incredible. 
  • Centrally Located: Right in the heart of downtown Chicago, you are minutes away from Michigan Avenue, the Chicago river, Millennium Park and so many of Chicago's other favorite destinations. 

A Guide to One Day in Rocky Mountain National Park

 
 

2017 has become the year of the National Parks for me since they've recently become my new obsession. As much as I love traveling internationally, there is still so much for me to see within the United States (plus, it's so much easier when you're working with PTO schedules!) and I love using the National Parks as an excuse to explore more of it. So far, I've been to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park (see my guide to both here!), and now Rocky Mountain National Park just this year and I'm hooked. Ri and my decision to head out west for 36 hours was a bit impulsive, but we couldn't resist once we heard Riley's brother Rob, Allie (from Her Postcard Life), and her brother Joe were heading out to Rocky Mountain National Park for a day. 

RMNP is absolutely massive with 355 miles worth of hiking trails, making it far harder to accomplish in one day than some other national parks. Since we were cut short on time, we focused on the highlights. Check out my guide below for my top recommendations for a fun-filled adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Trail Ridge Road

We entered the park through the Bear Meadows Entrance Gate, just outside Estes Park, CO and immediately began our tour of RMNP by driving 18 miles along Trail Ridge Road (fun fact: TRR is the highest continuous motorway in the United States!). We stopped at various scenic points along the way and were absolutely stunned with the views. Part of the drive was above the tree line and we all were fascinated watching the thermostat in the car drop as we ascended through the mountains. Trail Ridge Road guides you through three different ecosystems that are all equipped with different overlooks and trailheads. Some of our most notable stops along the way were:

  • Many Parks Curve- While the views are absolutely beautiful from the first viewpoint, beware of the shocking metal fence along the edge! From the Many Parks Curve Viewpoint you can see 13 different mountains (one of which is over 14,000 feet!).
  • Rainbow Curve- This viewpoint doesn't even require stepping out of your vehicle. There are bathrooms at this stop that came highly recommended by some of our group members. Take advantage of these bathrooms before you get deep into the park where restrooms are limited! From here you can spot 10 different mountains, Horseshoe Park, and the Hidden Valley, which is home to the beaver!
  • Forest Canyon- You can really feel the temperatures dropping when you arrive at this viewpoint. The viewpoint is about .25 miles away from the parking lot and offers a few benches and picnic tables for you to enjoy your lunch with a view. We spotted our first elk of the day here! **Make sure you stay on the trails as this is a designated Tundra Protection Area.
  • Rock Cut: Rock Cut is a rock formation that was cut through so that the road could be built for the national park!
  • Lava Cliffs
  • Iceberg Pass
  • Gore Range: From the Gore Range you can spot the Never Summer Mountains (which originally shared a name with our final stop-- the Medicine Bow Curve). The Gore Range offers breathtaking views in the sub-alpine ecosystem. We were able to grab a parking spot and decided to stop here for lunch before continuing on our itinerary
  • Medicine Bow Curve: This was our designated final stop. When we originally hopped out of the car, I was thrilled at the prospect of being able to see Wyoming (although, it was a cloudy day and storms were rolling in so I doubt we would have been able to see it anyway). Just as we were rounding the corner, we saw a giant elk feeding on the grass just a few yards away.

Wildlife 

I was absolutely blown away by the amount of wildlife we saw in RMNP. At each of the different viewpoints, we saw a chipmunks, marmots, pikas (which I called mountain gerbils the entire day until learning the real name for them), and eventually some elk too. Keep your eyes open while on Trail Ridge Road and you may seem elk, black bears, moose, eagles, and bighorn sheep as you ascend through the mountains!

Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lakes Hike

Since we were short on time, we decided we were going to do one long hike up to Emerald Lake. The hike was 3.6 miles round trip, which gave us the perfect opportunity to stretch our legs before the 90 minute ride back to Denver. Start this hike at the Bear Lake Trailhead and even make a pit stop at Bear Lake before beginning your trek up to Emerald Lake. The hike is fairly easy and is loaded with dozens of scenic mountain viewpoints and waterfalls along the way. You truly cannot go wrong with this hike-- just make sure you bring lots of water! Bonus points if you get to play in some of the leftover snow from the winter!

 

Tips & Tricks:

  • Make sure you bring water. Most of Rocky Mountain National Park is at high altitudes. It's important to stay hydrated even when you aren't hiking.

  • Pack lots of layers. You'll be ascending and descending to different altitudes throughout the day and temperatures can range 20 degrees.

  • If you're driving in from Denver, stop at a grocery store for packed lunches and a cooler before arriving in Estes Park. The options for lunch were limited and the store itself left a lot to be desired.

  • Wear sunscreen. The sun is a lot stronger at high altitudes!

 

 
 

Ever been to Rocky Mountain National Park? Let me know what you did while there in the comment section below! 

Chicago Helicopter Experience

 
 

Riley is a master of gifting experiences for my birthday. The first year we were dating, he took me skydiving and the second year he took me on a helicopter tour of Chicago (this kid has a thing for flying, but I guess I should be grateful he's only had me pushed out of the aircraft once, right?). Since his delivery of his gift the first year has left us both with PTSD, he decided to tell me the idea and have me help plan it in case I was utterly terrified again.

We wound up finding a Groupon deal for the Chicago Helicopter Experience for a Day Time Helicopter Ride for 2 and booked it immediately. I wanted to make sure we'd be able to see the foliage on the trees since Lincoln Park was bursting with colors of orange, red and yellow from the changing seasons, so we opted for a 4 P.M. departure time.

Upon arrival at the Chicago Helicopter Experience building, which is just southwest of the Loop off the orange line, we were weighed and given a debrief. We had about 30 minutes to kill before a second safety debrief, so we entertained ourselves in the waiting area reading different historical facts about Chicago and attempting to fly a helicopter in a simulated experience. Since Riley and I were the tallest people on the helicopter, we scored the front two seats on the helicopter. The other two couples sat across four seats in the back of the chopper. While the rides are a quick 15 minutes, the pilot offers a fully guided tour of the different sites you fly over in Chicago. Ours pointed out Solider Field, the Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, Lincoln Park, Wrigley Field, and many other key destinations in Chicago.

I absolutely LOVED my experience with Chicago Helicopter Experience and highly recommend it to anyone wanting a different perspective of Chicago!

Have any of you ever done a helicopter tour? If so, which city and did you enjoy your experience? 

A Weekend in Moab, UT Exploring the National and State Parks

 
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Let me start off by saying that one could definitely spend more than a weekend in Moab and still not have enough time there. Between the national parks, state parks, mountain biking, dune buggies, rafting, zip lining, hot air balloon rides, etc., you'll never be bored here. On my recent trip with Allie J from Her Postcard Life, we focused on the national and state parks in the area because of our tight schedule. Check out my guide below for a fun-filled weekend in Moab.

HOW TO GET THERE

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Getting to Moab is not terribly difficult and there are actually a few different options too! If you're coming from far away and need to fly, you can fly into Salt Lake City, Grand Junction or Denver-- all of which are great options!  You can also catch a flight from Salt Lake City to Moab on a small prop plane, but we opted out of this since rental cars were far more expensive once in Moab (plus, who doesn’t love a gorgeous scenic drive?!)

DRIVING TIMES:

Salt Lake City to Moab: 3:45 minutes

  • Despite not being the fastest route, this was the most cost-effective option when we booked our flights (which we did through Skyscanner- one of my favorite travel apps!). We had unknowingly opted for a "mystery" rental car, which turned out to be a Jeep Grand Cherokee for only $25/a day! If landing later in the day, I'd recommend breaking up the drive like Allie and I did. We stayed halfway between Salt Lake and Moab in Price, UT at the Holiday Inn Express, which far exceeded my expectations!

Grand Junction to Moab: 1:45 minutes

Denver to Moab: 5:30 minutes

WHERE TO STAY: 

Moab surprisingly has a wide variety of places to choose from depending on your budget! Looking for something a little more unique? Allie and I opted to stay at Under Canvas Moab, one of the trendy new glampsites that you can find outside a handful of national parks in the United States! Depending on your budget, you have a few different options for your tent. Allie and I chose the most cost-effective option-- the Safari Tent, which offered a wood-burning fire place, a king-sized bed, two chairs, a dresser, and some portable chargers (none of the tents have electricity aside from the portable lanterns and chargers). No electricity means no heat in the tents! Find your inner Girl Scout like I did and build a fire before going to bed so it isn't 35 degrees in your tent when you wake up for your sunrise hike! Next time I stay with Under Canvas, I'll probably upgrade to a Deluxe or Suite tent with a bathroom inside (those bathroom walks in the middle of the night were chilly!). Plus, these two upgrades have some of the best views of the property. 

WHAT TO DO:

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

Arches National Park is ranked as one of the top five National Parks in the United States and noted as one of the most photogenic parks for good reason. I could have spent days here exploring, but given our time constraints, we decided to just allot an entire day to the park. Plan ahead and get there early to avoid lines at the gate and make sure you grab a map at the gate! Tip: From May 2017-November 2017 the whole park will be closing at 7 P.M. Sunday-Thursday for construction. Make sure you take this into consideration if planning to see sunset in the park since it's usually around 8:30 P.M. You can also check out the Arches National Park website so there won't be any surprises when you get there. 

Popular Sunrise Spots:  Turret Arch, Double Arch, Landscape Arch, Double O Arch

Popular Sunset Spots: Delicate Arch, Fiery Furnace, Skyline Arch, Balanced Rock, and Tower Arch

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SCENIC DRIVE & VIEWPOINTS

If you're short on time and can't spend a whole day in Arches National Park, I'd highly recommend stopping at each viewpoint on the map and spending around 10 minutes at each. Here are some of my favorite viewpoints that we stopped at: 

  • Park Avenue Viewpoint and Trailhead: The first stop and the perfect viewpoint to get you excited to be in the park! Plus, you only need to walk a few hundred feet!
  • Tower of Babel: Also visible from Courthouse Viewpoint, this spot is less frequented given the number of parking spots. This was a great way to get up close to some of the larger rock formations without going off the path!
  • Balanced Rock: Definitely worth a quick ten minute stop. Easily visible from the road and many other parts of the park, the walk from your car to the base of the formation may only take a minute or two.
  • Windows: Windows could also easily turn into a short leisurely hike, but definitely make your way up the short path from the parking lot to see the giant window holes in the rock formations. **Bonus points if you make your way over to see Turret Arch too!
  • Double Arch: While technically characterized as a hike, it's only 0.5 miles round trip and well worth it! Make sure you get up under the base of the arch and look up to see the separation between the two arches!
  • Delicate Arch Viewpoint: There are two different options for this viewpoint: The Upper Viewpoint and the Lower Viewpoint
  • Fiery Furnace Arch Viewpoint

If you see a parking spot at a viewpoint and think you should just come back later, think again. Parking spots are rare and hard to find at some of the more popular viewpoints in the park. If you see one, grab it!

SHORT HIKES IN ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

Most of the Arches are super accessible and are usually just a short walk from the parking lot. Take a few minutes to stretch your legs and explore these short, easy hikes! 

  • Balanced Rock: I'm not sure I would truly count this as a hike, but Arches National Park does on the map so I've decided to include it here. The whole loop is 0.3 miles. Make sure you walk up to the base of the formation and look up! You'll be in awe at how such a bizarre structure formed! 
  • Windows: Although this technically qualifies as a viewpoint, I listed it as a short hike because you'll definitely want to spend more than ten minutes here exploring the rock formations at both the North and South Windows and the Turret Arch. You can either make your way back to the parking lot or take the long route and make your way around the side of the South Window and do the Primitive Trail. Either way will take you to the exact same place in the parking lot. 
  • Broken Arch/Sand Dune: This Arch is part of the Devils Garden Loops and is a very leisurely stroll. The Broken Arch and the Sand Dune Arch have the same parking and are great easy hikes for families with young children. Make your way from the Sand Dune Arch and cross through a large meadow towards Broken Arch. 

The Delicate Arch Hike

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The Delicate Arch is easily the most popular Arch in the entire park. There are two separate viewpoints for it and a hike all offering different perspectives of the Arch.  I personally don't think either viewpoint does the Arch justice and would not waste my time even walking the few hundred yards from the parking lot to see it unless you truly do not have the time to spare. From the Lower Viewpoint, the Arch looks like it is nearly a mile away. If you're going to go out of your way to see anything while in the park, this is definitely the spot to do it for (It's so popular that it's even on the license plate!)!

While the Delicate Arch trail was definitely the most difficult hike we did in the park, it's still doable. *Seriously, we saw a woman make the climb in backless block heels and a skirt. If she can do it, so can you!* The trail is incredibly easy to follow, but does take some time. The total hike is 1.5 miles each way, so allot for approximately 2.5 hours depending on your athletic ability. 

 Delicate Arch is a well-known spot for sunset. Large crowds will be there waiting for it, so get there early to reserve a good spot. The Arch is so popular because of the way the sunlight makes the red rock glow. Tip: The light hits the Arch only during certain months of the year-- typically later in the summer (shout out to our photographer friends we met that explained this to us), so make sure if you are spending sunset here that it's during the right time of the year! Make sure you bring a flashlight so you can easily make your way back down to the parking lot. 

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK

Canyonlands National Park is so large that there are actually two sections to the park: Islands in the Sky and Needles. The two visitor centers are hundreds of miles apart, so if you're time in Moab is limited, I'd recommend going to the Islands in the Sky part of the park since it is a short drive from Moab. 

WATCH SUNRISE AT MESA ARCH

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One thing we learned while in Moab is that the sun sets late and rises early. This meant that we had to be up at 4 A.M. to make sure we'd be in the park in time for sunrise. After reading up on various recommendations, we settled on sunrise at Mesa Arch for it's breathtaking views through the Arch of the sun rising over the mountains and casting the first light on the canyons 2000 feet below. Since Mesa Arch is a short ten minute walk from the parking lot, we were not the only people that had this idea. The Mesa Arch is very close to the path, which only allows a certain number of spots for the perfect sunrise view (much unlike our experience at Delicate Arch the night before which had a huge viewing area). We showed up 45 minutes before sunrise and there were already tripods PACKED into the small space. This may have just been bad luck for us since it appeared that it was one entire tour bus taking a photography class from one individual, but if you want to use your tripod make sure you get there early and dress appropriately. It will be cold!  I was fortunate enough to squeeze my tripod in (although one guy did almost knock it into the canyon 2000 feet below on more than one occasion) so I could get some great shots of the sunrise.  

Since the sun rises around 6 A.M. you'll most likely have the park to yourself for a few more hours! Take this opportunity to explore some of the more popular view points or hikes. We started at the Grand Viewpoint Overlook! What was supposed to just be a quick viewpoint, quickly turned into one of the most breathtaking strolls. The total round trip for the Grand Viewpoint Trail is 2 miles and is incredibly easy. Most of the hike was flat and followed along the edge of a canyon offering incredible panoramic views for the entire walk. This was easily my favorite part of Canyonlands National Park and I could not recommend it to someone more. 

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK VIEWPOINTS

After finishing up at Grand Viewpoint Overlook, do the scenic drive through Canyonlands National Park and stop at the various view points. Our favorites were:

  • Green River Overlook: The photographers that we met at the Delicate Arch the night before also recommended that we watch sunrise here. Not a fan of huge crowds? This may be a great alternative to Mesa Arch! 
  • Orange Cliffs Overlook
  • Shafer Canyon Overlook: This offers spectacular views of the canyons and the mountains far off in the distance. *Bonus points if you make your way out to the ledge for a breathtaking photo! 
  • Buck Canyon Overlook

DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK

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For our final few hours in Moab, we headed to Dead Horse Point State Park which is located just outside of the Island in the Sky entrance to Canyonlands National Park. If you haven't figured it out, Moab is home to some absolutely INCREDIBLE parks and this state park is no exception. Dead Horse Point State Park is obviously much smaller than the other parks that we visited during our trip, but offered spectacular sunset views. Arrive early to Dead Horse Point Overlook to secure a parking spot and explore both the East and West Canyon Rims. The West Canyon Rim is where you'll be watching sunset, so scope out where you want to sit back and watch as the sun goes down over the canyons and Colorado River 2000 feet below. 

TRAVEL TIPS:

  • Climbing on the arches will secure you a $10,000 fine. We've all seen those cool photos of the person in the bright colored jacket on top of an Arch. The sad reality is that these photos are either edited or the people are inconsiderate enough to avoid all of the warnings through the parks that the arches are incredible fragile and could be ruined from foot traffic on top of them. Don't be that person. 
  • Bring packed lunches into the park to avoid having to leave! Allie and I survived off of beef jerky, almonds, and power bars for breakfast and lunch during our days in the park and were always famished by dinnertime.
  • Bring hiking shoes! I read recommendations that insisted hiking shoes weren't necessary and I couldn't disagree with them more.  Hiking shoes have great traction and give you much better grip for climbing things! 
  • Sunscreen is not enough. Wear a hat to protect your skin. 
  • Drink lots of water. It is recommended that each person drink 2L of water per day and filling stations aren't particularly easy to come by. I'd recommend filling up at the beginning of the day at the entrance to the park. 
  • Moab is located in a desert, meaning the temperatures while vary greatly. Make sure you pack lots of layers as you'll most likely be adding and removing layers throughout the day as the temperature changes

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO MOAB? WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT IT?

A Local's Guide to Palm Beach: Where to Shop

 
 

ANYWHERE ON WORTH AVENUE

Worth Avenue is the pinnacle of shopping in Palm Beach. Local Tip: make sure you wander through at least a few of the eight different vias! 

CJ LAING

Located in Via Mizner this shop offers everything you love about island life. All of the accessories and clothing are absolutely ADORABLE. Seriously, I find something that I HAVE to have every single time I'm here. If I could live in any store on Palm Beach, it would be CJ Laing (although I'm sure the store managers Clara and Daniel would argue that I practically do when I'm in town). 

C.ORRICO

C.Orrico is an institution on Palm Beach and should not be missed. This was actually the only spot you could find Lilly Pulitzer in Palm Beach before they began open up stores a few years ago. Fun Fact: I actually met Lilly Pulitzer here when I was decorating my room and she helped my sister and I pick which bedding from her most recent collection we would have in our rooms. C. Orrico is favorite shop when I'm in need of a great cocktail dress or some really fun accessories. 

PALM BEACH GIRLS/BOYS CLUB/ARISTOKIDS

Located side by side these are the go-to surf shops on Palm Beach. The girl's store has the BEST selection of swimwear and cover-ups. Make sure you say hi to Phoebe the Yorkie if she's in the store for the day! 

STUBBS & WOOTTON

Nothing adds a punch to an outfit like a pair of smoking slippers from Stubbs & Wootton. Stop by their new store located in Worth Avenue and check out all of the different options they have to offer. Nothing catching your eye? Don't worry! They can make custom slippers as well! 

 

 

 

WHERE ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO SHOP WHILE IN PALM BEACH?

More on Palm Beach! 

Where to Stay

Where to Eat

Where to Drink

What to Do

A Local's Guide to Palm Beach: What to Do

 
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BIKE THE LAKE TRAIL

Palm Beach has a bike trail along the intercoastal that is fun for all ages! The bike trail is about 4 miles long from the second entrance. Hop on here and make your way to the end of the island. (Before I turned 16 and got my license I did this bike ride 2 times a day both days of the weekend. If I can do it, you can too!) Make sure you stop along at all of the historical homes and read up on the history of each one! My personal favorites are The Old Bethesda By the Sea and the old Post Office. Local Tip: the Old Post Office actually doesn't have a plaque anymore, but there are two large white little buildings right along the lake trail covered in bougainvillea. The mail used to be delivered to the building on the right by boat. The building on the left was built just for symmetry after the post office closed.

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SHOP ALONG WORTH AVENUE

A trip to Palm Beach is not complete without shopping on Worth Avenue. Make your way through the different vias to find some of Palm Beach's favorite treasures. Check out my post on Where To Shop for more ideas! 

TEE OFF AT THE PAR 3 COURSE

Score yourself a tee time at the public golf course on Palm Beach and play eighteen holes along the ocean!

GO TO THE BEACH

Obviously! A trip to Florida isn't complete without a trip down to the beach. Make sure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen! Local Tip: From the beach in town you can walk south and walk all the way to Mar-A-Lago. Not only is it a great workout, but you can check out the club from behind as well! Local Tip 2: If you're on the beach in the north end keep an eye out for Reef Road. This is one notoriously the best surf spot in Palm Beach.

GET OUT ON THE WATER

I mean, you are in Florida! Go out for a snorkel or scuba tour of some of the best reefs on the East Coast of Florida. Or if water activities don't strike your fancy, you can always hop on the Diva Duck in West Palm and take the tour of the bike trail from the water. 

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO PALM BEACH? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WHILE HERE?

More on Palm Beach!

Where to Stay

Where to Eat

Where to Drink

Where to Shop

A Local's Guide to Palm Beach: Where to Drink

 
 

HMF

The Breakers hotel is the most iconic hotel on Palm Beach. HMF is the huge bar right next to the lobby and is a must-stop spot for visitors. The Chanel #5 is my personal favorite drink, but you really can't go wrong with any of their drinks. Local Tip: This is where most local's start their night before heading over to Cucina around 11:30PM or midnight. 

CUCINA

As I mentioned before, Cucina is a place with many talents. My friends and I (along with every other person going out on Palm Beach) usually find ourselves here whenever we go out. Try to weave through the crowd to the back of the bar and dance the night away under the lights from the disco ball.  Local Tip: If you're around until 2AM, they bring out free pizza for the customers! 

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE SPOT TO GRAB A DRINK IN PALM BEACH?

More on Palm Beach!

Where to Stay

Where to Eat

What to Do

Where to Shop

A Local's Guide to Palm Beach: Where to Eat

 
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WHERE TO EAT

BREAKFAST

CUCINA DELL' ARTE

Also known as Cucina to 99% of people that have ever heard of it. Cucina is quite possibly the most renowned spot on Palm Beach by visitors and locals alike. It's opened for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and then as a bar later at night (seriously there is a giant disco ball that hangs above the bar). I personally love Cucina for breakfast and as a late night spot (but more on that aspect of Cucina later). Local Tip: Try to score a table up front or outside for the best seats in the house! 

GREEN'S PHARMACY

Green's Pharmacy is another institution on Palm Beach and yes, it is located in an actual pharmacy. Don't be put-off by the atmosphere at Green's (it doesn't exactly give off the typical Palm Beach vibe), but it's definitely worth it! Sit up at the bar or at one of the tables and enjoy a delicious breakfast.  Local Tip: Browse the aisles while waiting for food and pick up some fun items before heading up to the beach just one block away. My favorite aisle is the pool/beach toys aisle!

SANT AMBROEUS

The coral and green hues at Sant Ambroeus fit in perfectly in Palm Beach!

The coral and green hues at Sant Ambroeus fit in perfectly in Palm Beach!

If you're a coffee lover, Sant Ambroeus is the place to check out! It was originally started in New York and has just recently made its debut in Palm Beach. The options of different espresso drinks, lattes, and other coffees seems endless! Enjoy reading the newspaper with a fresh coffee and a pastry to start your day. Local Tip: Order a scoop of their vanilla gelato and pour some espresso over it! Just trust me on this one. 

LUNCH

SURF SIDE DINER

The ultimate diner in Palm Beach, Surf Side is a great spot for a burger and fries (and a milkshake if you're ready to go all out!), but don't fret they also have some relatively healthy options too! Local Tip: Put your name on the list (as there will likely be a wait around lunch time) and head over to the Palm Beach Girls/Boys Club surf shops across the street! 

BUCCAN SANDWICH SHOP

A well known secret amongst locals, the Buccan sandwich shop is the perfect place to stop in and grab a sandwich before walking one block further north to the beach. Local Tip: There is no sign for the Buccan Sandwich shop. Located just around the corner from its sister restaurant Buccan (another amazing eatery), the sandwich shop can be found just south of South County Road on Australian Avenue right across from the gas station! 

ALFRESCO AT THE PAR 3 COURSE

Whether you golf or not, Alfresco is a great spot for lunch. Enjoy panoramic views of the ocean in a casual setting! Local Tip: They also open up at 7AM for breakfast. Score a table on the second level porch and watch the sunrise with stunning views!

DINNER

THE PALM BEACH GRILL

The Palm Beach Grill is one of my favorite spots to eat at while I'm home, but making reservations in advance is definitely a necessity. Palm Beach Grill is one of the ultimate hot spots to eat at in Palm Beach. With its lively atmosphere and fantastic food you really can't go wrong eating here. Local Tip: My two favorite items: 

  • Silver Service Kosher Hot Dog (get it loaded with everything!) as an appetizer. They can cut it in up to four slices. I don't like hot dogs and I still crave it whenever I hear we're eating at the Palm Beach Grill
  • The Ribs as an entrée. I eat barbecue all the time in Chicago and nothing compares to the ribs here. The meat literally falls off the bone and is absolutely incredible. 

PIZZA ALFRESCO

Local secret: Nutella Pizza, a must-try at Pizza Alfresco

Local secret: Nutella Pizza, a must-try at Pizza Alfresco

Located right off of Worth Avenue and nestled into the corner of Via Mizner, Pizza Alfresco is an absolute must for lunch or dinner. This place is easily my most frequented restaurant for a number of reasons (no seriously, I've eaten dinner here every Sunday that I've been in Palm Beach for the last 6 years with all of my parents' friends): the food is incredible, the ambience of the outdoor seating cannot be matched, and it's magically 2 blocks from my house (hence why we frequent Pizza Night so often!). Make sure you walk over to the back corner and check out Addison Mizner's pet monkey Johnnie Brown's gravesite. Local Tip: Ask for the Nutella Pizza (it's not on the menu!) and don't knock it until you try it. It's the BEST dessert pizza I have ever had. Lathered in Nutella, fresh fruit, and different chocolate and raspberry sauces, this pizza is the perfect way to end your meal. **Fun fact: I was actually asked to prom my senior year of high school with a Nutella pizza from Pizza Alfresco that spelled out PROM in raspberries if that tells you just how much I like it. 

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT WHEN VISITING PALM BEACH?

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A Local's Guide to Palm Beach: Where to Stay

 
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THE BREAKERS

This hotel is one of the most iconic buildings on Palm Beach. A stop here is an absolute must if you are on the island (even if you don't stay here). Take a drive up the palm tree lined driveway and head on inside to be blown away by the breathtaking (and lavish!) architecture. I'm a big fan of grabbing a drink at HMF (take a left when you walk inside) or the Seafood Bar whenever I'm in town. The bar at the Seafood Bar is actually an aquarium, so enjoy sipping on your cocktails as you watch the fish swim by!  Local Tip: Bring your snorkel and mask! Breaker's Reef (named after the hotel for its proximity) is one of the most spectacular coral reefs in Palm Beach county and is just a few yards off the beach! 

BRAZILIAN COURT

Located just blocks away from Worth Avenue, the Brazilian Court is the perfect exclusive escape just minutes away from all of the action in town. This little boutique hotel has a crazy long list of rewards from Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.  Local Tip: Make sure you stop in at Cafe Boulud, the French-American restaurant at the Brazilian Court, for one of Palm Beach's most coveted dining experiences. Local Tip 2: Make sure you pamper yourself at one of the three Frédéric Fekkai salons in the world found at the Brazilian Court. You won't regret it!

THE COLONY

Prepare to be blown away by the adorable décor of the Colony hotel! Filled with bright colors and patterns, the Colony truly embraces the spirit of Palm Beach! Local Tip: Friday nights are now Motown Friday & Steak nights at the Colony and it's a local favorite! Throw on your dancing shoes and head on over to the colony. Live music starts at 9PM! 

WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO STAY WHEN YOU COME DOWN TO PALM BEACH?

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