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Guest Post: Chad’s Guide to Barcelona

2 Jun

My very dear friend Chad was one of the few lucky ones to scoop up one of those outrageous airfare deals to Europe a few months ago. He somehow managed to get a ticket to Barcelona from NYC for less than $250 (yes, r/t!) and carry out his dream of visiting the bustling Spanish city.

Check out his Barcelona tips below!!

 

Chad’s Guide to Barcelona


I was inspired to travel to Barcelona after seeing the movie Vicky Christina Barcelona a few years ago. From the amazing Gaudi architecture, wonderful nightlife, and friendly locals, I knew this city on the Mediterrian coast was the perfect travel destination for me. Luck stroke earlier this year when Delta slashed their fares to Europe and the price for a roundtrip ticket to Barcelona from NYC dropped to $236 w/ tax!   I booked right away, and was able to spend 5 amazing days in the city!

 

Resources

I’m not a big fan of carrying around a lot of bags when Im walking around a new city as It can weigh you down. For most of the trip I used my iPhone to navigate me through the city!

 

  • TimeOut Barcelona App (http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/barcelona-travel-guide-time/id404444687?mt=8)- Perfect app to use explore the city. The app has everything you need to get you by in Barcelona from attractions to restaurants to nightlife, museums and tours. The best thing about this app, is that it works offline. There is no need for a wifi connection, which is a life saver on the go. I was able to pull up a map and locate my location and all attractions nearby in seconds!

 


Attractions

There is a lot of see in Barcelona. Tons of museums, parks and amazing works of Spanish Catalan architect Gaudi.

 

  • Sagrada Familia- A must see attraction when you’re in Barcelona.This beautiful church designed by Gaudi has been under construction for xx years and still isn’t complete.  The design is unreal.


  • Museu Picasso- I wasn’t lucky enough to get a chance to experience this museum while I was there (late planning), but locals recommended it the next time I was in town. This museum houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks from Pablo Picasso.

 

  • Parc Guell– Park designed by Gaudi is the perfect afternoon trip. Beautiful views of the entire city.

 

  • Las Ramblas– Another must see attraction while in Barcelona. This is Barcelona’s version of Times Square. Vendors, street performers, and tourists from around the world line this block almost mile long street.

 


Eating

The best part of vacation to me is being able to enjoy foods from different cultures. Barcelona is known for their Paella, wonderful seafood, Sangria and Hot Chocolate (that surprised me too!)

 

  • La Paradeta- This in-expensive seafood restaurant was amazing. Walk in and choose from a wide selection of raw seafood (shrimp, crab, lobster, calamari), grab a bottle of wine and wait for your number to be called. When your food is cooked they’ll call your number and you can start enjoying the yummy food. Be alert though because not all your food is ready on once, so listen for your number to be called more than once.

 

  • Can Majo– The go-to place for the best seafood paella and Sangria! Amazing views of the sea outside on the terrace. Be sure to make a reservation, they rarely accept walk-ins.

 

  • La Boqueria-  This is Europe’s biggest food market. Tons of fresh seafood, cheese, and produce.  There are several tapas bar inside the market that serve food. I picked up a few snacks and headed up to Parc Guell for a nice afternoon picnic.

 

  • El Fornet- One of my favorite Bakeries in Barcelona. The breads are baked fresh and just smell alone will make any passerby stop in. I visited here at least 3 times on my visit to Barcelona for their amazing Bocadillos (sandwiches with meat and cheese)!

 

 

Nightlife

The city has a plethora of nightlife options because the Catalans know how to party. Be warned though, most of the action doesn’t get going until after 2AM. I spent most nights in the “Gayxample” a nickname for the gay area of the Example district. This area holds most of the gay nightlife in Barcelona.

 

  • Punto BCN- Great place to start your night out! This bar is always packed and attracts locals and tourists. Tip: Free passes to other Arena bars are available from the bar!

 

  • DBoy– Dance your Saturday night away! This huge space has great music, nice décor, two dance rooms and good looking boys!

 

 

Guest Post: Returning to San Francisco

21 Apr

As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m heading to San Francisco next week for the first time (I know, I know!) for work. My co-worker Fay, has been there a bunch of times and has shared some great tips for those who are looking to scope out the San Fran scene, off the tourist track.

Check out her post below and thanks Fay!

Guest Post: Returning to San Francisco

Planning a first time trip to a new city or country is the best—everything is yours to discover and the options are endless.  There’s nothing like experiencing a place for the first time but preparing for a repeat trip to a city you love can be just as much fun.

I’m heading to San Francisco next week—a city I’ve visited many times but have been hard at work planning just the same.  I have a mix of visits to old favorite shops, restaurants, cafes, and sights that make each visit San Francisco feel like returning home again, along with neighborhoods I’ve yet to fully explore and places that have long been on my list.

Resources

Daily Candy SF

Daily Candy SF


The first thing I did after booking my flight, I signed up for a variety of San Francisco e-newsletters to give me ideas for recent openings, special events, and interesting tips.  Two that have yet to lead me astray:

Shopping

San Francisco has some of the best boutique, consignment, and vintage shopping in the US—better than NYC in my opinion.  Some of my favorites:

Crossroads

Crossroads

  • Crossroads Trading Company—Four locations in San Francisco proper, one in Berkeley, one in Oakland
  • The Firm—This boutique used to be Brown Eyed Girl but has come under new ownership since my last West Coast trip.  I’m excited to see what the updated version has to offer
  • Painted Bird—A super stylish, native San Franciscan friend recommended this vintage shop in the Mission as a not-to-miss
  • Benefit—Mecca for make-up junkies, the original Benefit boutique is located in the Russian Hill neighborhood, also brimming with great shops and cafes to stumble upon along the way

 

Eats and Drinks

Without a doubt, my first stop will be at Blue Bottle for a cup of amazing coffee and a look at their mesmerizing preparation method.

Blue Bottle

Blue Bottle

  • Tartine Bakery—This treat shop seems to be popping up in conversations and articles I’ve read, and looks delicious.
  • San Francisco has some of the best sushi restaurants in the US.  A few favorites:
  • Tokyo Go Go
  • Live Sushi

Lucky for me, I’m staying in Japantown so will have lots of new sushi options to try.

  • The Slanted Door—another one everyone seems to be talking about so I need to see what all the fuss is about

Fun

Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art (Getty)

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