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Travel Tips Around The World

Apr 7 2017

Earthly delights: Shopping in Porto, Portugal

Set along the gorgeous Douro River, Porto, Portugal is one of the oldest cities in Europe, and a must-see for many reasons. Among the historic sites and museums, there is also magnificent shopping to be found, for everything from artisan chocolate to fine clothing. Portugal's second largest city is full of chain and specialty stores for any and every kind of product, but these are a few of our favorite spots for special souvenirs and exciting experiences.

                 

                                             The grand staircase at Livraria Lello; photo via Portugal Resident.

Can there be any doubt that Livraria Lello is the most beautiful bookstore in the world? It draws people in such numbers that there is now a charge of a few euros to even enter the store—but the fee goes towards any books you may buy! This ornate shop stays packed; go early in the day, when it's less crowded. An absolute must-see in Porto.

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Oct 7 2016

The San Benedetto Market: A cornerstone of Sardinian life

Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia and the city you're most likely to first visit on the island, since the airport and major port are there. The capital is the hub of many of the arts and culture of the island, and is more bustling than some of the slow-moving smaller towns. There's no place that fact is more in evidence that at the San Benedetto Market, the city's main market and the place where Sardinians buy all of their food. 

                   Fresh fish for sale at the San Benedetto Market; photo courtesy of the Sardinia Tourism Board.

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Sep 22 2016

Chicago Neighborhood Profile: Logan Square

Most visitors to Chicago only make it outside of the Loop (our name for downtown) to head to the Southside for the Museum of Science and Industry, or maybe to head a little bit north to Wrigley Field; and that's a real shame, because our city is vibrant, diverse and full of incredible experiences, many of the best of which are outside the tourist hubs. If you want to escape the endless hordes of people on Michigan Avenue, hop the CTA Blue Line for twenty minutes and get off at either the California or Logan Square stops, and you'll find yourself in Logan Square, the most up-and-coming area in the city, jam-packed with award-winning bars and restaurants. Here are some of my favorite dining, drinking and shopping spots in my neighborhood. 

                        

                                     The signature dish at Logan Square's Fat Rice. Photo via Bon Appetit.

Dining. Some of the most exciting and unique dining experiences in the city reside in Logan Square. My favorite is Fat Rice, which serves Macau cuisine—Macau was a Portuguese trading outpost in China where many cultures blended, producing a one-of-a-kind fusion cuisine. You'll find dumplings and pork buns along with traditional Portuguese drinks such as caipirinhas, but the real star is the titular dish, the fat rice, which is a rice pot loaded with clams, prawns, a variety of sausages and porks, and hardboiled eggs (it'll feed two to four people). It's basically a treasure trove that you eat. Get a reservation, because I was once told on a Thursday evening that it was a two-and-a-half-hour wait for a party of two. (Tip: Fat Rice has a bakery next door where you can buy a wide variety of buns (they even have a Chicago-style hot dog bun, if you're feeling brave) and coffee and tea that's open during the day.)

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Jun 16 2015

10 tips for families visiting Disney

Category: Megan Leader @ 10:41

We all love an authentic travel experience that immerses us in another culture, but sometimes you just need to put on mouse ears and watch fireworks over Cinderella's Castle while enjoying a Dole Whip. During spring break my senior year of college, instead of jetting off to the beaches of Mexico or the cobblestone streets of Europe, I visited one of my best pals who was working as a cast member at Walt Disney World in Florida. Even at 22, I was completely captivated by the magic and lightheartedness of a Disney theme park.

If Disney magic is your (spinning) cup of tea, here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of your experience in Disney's theme parks or on a Disney cruise:

1. This is our top tip for every traveler, so it almost goes without saying, but we're going to say it anyway: More...

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Jul 17 2012

A shopping day in London

Category: Megan Leader @ 06:19

I don't know about you, but shopping is one of my favorite things to do on a trip. I don't like to spend a lot of time shopping, but I always like to make sure I stop in to a local boutique or two (or five). It's a great feeling when you can purchase a unique item that will remind you of your trip, whether it's a bit of decor for your home or a great dress. ("Oh, you like it? Why thank you, I bought it in London!")

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Apr 6 2012

Carmel is the relaxing spring vacation everyone needs

Category: Destinations | ItinerariesChristine @ 08:53

It’s finally spring—and what a warm spring it is!—and I’m getting excited for things to come this season. Sandals! Cookouts! Swimming! But to fully enjoy all this warm weather, there’s really only one thing I need: antihistamines vacation! More...

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Nov 17 2011

A relaxing morning at Seattle's Pike Place Market

Category: Destinations | Shopping | SightseeingMegan Leader @ 04:08

No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the iconic Pike Place Market. With dozens of vendors and an incredible variety of food and handmade goods, it's the perfect way to spend a leisurely morning in the Emerald City.

Photo Credit: Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau

You could easily devote a half-day (or an entire day, really) to Pike Place Market. More...

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