To avoid 2x 12 hour back-to-back flights, we stopped in the USA. With my suitcase already at its max weight, there was no chance of shopping here. This trip was purely about seeking out the best food and visiting the sites.
San Francisco 5 nights
LA 4 nights
New Orleans 3 nights
Chicago 7 nights
New York 4 nights
S E E K
Fight off the tourists to get your classic clam chowder served in a bread bowl for $7.
Musee Mecanique – Pier 45, San Francisco, CA 94133
I loved this gem located in Fisherman’s Wharf. You can play over 200 antique arcade games for 25c each. Bargain!
Golden Gate Bridge – Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129
A must do! Head to Fort Point to get the best snaps.
To ride on this iconic transport, a day pass will set you back $17 each but it’s totally worth every penny. Make sure push the kids out of the way so you can hang out the side.
PRE-BOOK! This should be the first thing you do after booking your flights. We went on the 6pm tour to catch the sunset behind the Golden Gate Bridge, wow! Great bonuses were the free audio guides and informative guide talks.
16th Avenue Tiled Steps – 16th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
Appreciate the community art work – Walk up 163 beautifully decorated mosaic tiled steps.
Lands End – Lands End Trail, San Francisco, CA 94121
Take a stroll along the coastline and view the hidden Labyrinth at Eagle’s Point. Unfortunately when we arrived it had been vandalised but the original artist has since rebuilt it.
Golden Gate Park
This doesn’t compare to any New Zealand park, so I wasn’t blown away.
E A T
Hog Island Oyster
A bustling restaurant located in a historic ferry building on the waterfront. We dabbled in some grilled oysters, clam chowder, grilled cheese sandwich and washed it down with a craft beer.
If you love craft beer, this is the place for you. My fav is the Summer Porter.
Soma Street Food Park
Food truck heaven. We hit up Bacon Bacon and got the Pulled Pork Burrito and Crusted Chicken Sandwich.
House of Nanking
If you are on a budget, I would head to Chinatown. Cheap range of noodle and wonton soup dishes.
Super Duper Burger
A budget friendly burger joint with delicious Oreo shakes.
Tip: LA public transport is shit! Uber will be your best friend here.
S E E K
Upright Citizens Brigade – 5919 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
UCB theatre is the home of great improv comedy. It was the best $5 I spent in LA. https://franklin.ucbtheatre.com/
Santa Monica Pier – 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401
This seaside attraction wasn’t really for me. With a combination of heat and far too many tourists, I felt like a sweaty rapist ready to punch the next kid who walked into me with a stuffed toy.
Hire a bike! We hired bicycles from our airbnb for $15 each and cycled along the beachfront but there are many rentals along the Venice boardwalk.
Hollywood Walk of Fame – 7018 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Be prepared to side step a lot of tourists while you view your favourite stars. I recommend visiting this website http://hwof.com/stars to map out which stars you want to see.
Griffith Observatory – 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Views of the city and Hollywood sign.
Disneyland – 1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802
The happiest place on earth? Yep it is. You feel like a kid again. We spent the whole day here. I would recommend bringing a picnic because the food there tastes like cardboard.
E A T
This little hole in the wall joint is located on the Venice Boardwalk. I cannot rave enough about the fresh Hawaiian poke bowls. We shared a large Raw Sashimi Tuna with soy, chilli, ginger and Kale for $14. Yum!
Pi on Sunset
A delicious Mediterranean restaurant on Sunset Boulevard serving up cheap falafel and tabbouleh dishes.
Blue Palms Brewhouse
Nice casual spot to grab a bite to eat before heading out. We ordered the pork belly sandwich and duck apple sausage with sauerkraut.
A Hollywood dive bar that opened in 1929. The bar tender who served us had worked there for 34 years!
Good Times at Davey Wayne’s
Unfortunately we only managed to get to the entrance of this bar because they refused to let my boyfriend in with shorts. So for all you Kiwi blokes, no jandals and shorts here.
Angel City Brewery
Craft beer galore! They don’t serve food but they are happy for you to bring your own picnic in.
S E E K
The French Quarter architecture was absolutely beautiful to look at.
If your keen to get drunk, every bar and strip club on Bourbon St will be promoting a 3 for 1 deal or yelling “Titties! You want to see some titties?”. I found it pretty dirty and busy to be honest. Head to Frenchman Street instead.
Spotted Cat – 623 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Now this is what I’m talking about. The Spotted Cat is a quintessential jazz club on Frenchman Street. Best experience and atmosphere.
I recommend taking a stroll around the Garden District to get away from the tourists and just appreciated the architecture of the mansions.
Oak Alley Plantation and Laura Plantation – 3645 LA-18, Vacherie, LA 70090
We decided to take a tour through Cajun Encounters http://www.cajunencounters.com/. The Laura plantation tour guide was very informative compared to the Oak Alley tour guide who sounded extremely scripted.
Pearl River Swamp
As part of the Cajun Encounters deal, we went on a swamp tour along the Pearl River in Slidell. Over the 1.5 hour boat journey we saw wild pigs, racoons and alligators. We also saw a lot of river houses that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. For both the plantation and swamp tours it cost $160.
E A T
St Roch Market
We stumbled upon this gem in the neighbourhood we were staying in. St Roch Market is a hip food hall that opened in Spring 2015, boasting a variety of food stalls.
I had been looking forward to a meal here for the whole trip. Pulled pork, brisket, potato salad, coleslaw and topped off with a peanut butter pie. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
S E E K
Wrigley Field – 1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613
It is a must that you go see a baseball game with a beer and hotdog. If you sit in the bleachers on a hot day, prepared for your boobs to get sweaty!
A must-see mind blowing sculpture in Millennium Park. I loved taking photos from all different angles.
Get your hands on some bicycles and take a trip to the Navy Pier.
AMC Rivereast 21 – 322 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611
As we were staying with some friends we decided to catch a movie but this is not just any cinema. They have a sweet arcade upstairs with over 100 games.
Shoreline Architecture Tour
A great informative tour that lasted 75 minutes for $35 each.
E A T
Beer on Clark – 3415 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657
Why has no one introduced a beer pong bar in NZ?! Feel like a uni student for a night and head down to Beer on Clark.
Are you up for the batting cage and some dueling pianos? Can you tell I’m exploring Chicago with boys? I had a great time in the batting cage.
Falafel sandwiches for $4…yes please. I would eat here everyday if I could.
Trendy Spanish tapas restaurant with great food and atmosphere.
The Pancake House
Perfect hangover cure! A stack of pancakes with bottomless coffee.
S E E K
Smorgasbord Market – 90 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
These the bees knees! Great vintage clothing and yummy food. Definitely a must.
If you visit NYC, you must stay in an airbnb loft located in Brooklyn. The culture and atomosphere is just incredible.
Statue of Liberty
A momentous symbol that is incredible to see up close. A place that you will never forget.
Take a walk along the historic freight rail line through the Meatpacking District.
Rockefeller Center – 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Breathtaking views of the Empire State Building and Central Park. $30 each
One World Trade Center – 285 Fulton St, New York, NY 10007
We went up to see the sunset of the city. Beautiful 360 views but far too many people. I felt that the Rockefeller Centre was the better option.
Take a picnic and soak up the atmosphere. It is an absolutely surreal experience to relax in this park in the middle of a busy city.
E A T
Eat the biggest pastrami sandwich you have every seen where Harry met Sally.
Delicious wood fire pizzas in the Bushwick neighbourhood.
My favourite restaurant of the whole trip. A fusion of Japanese and Jewish culture is out of this world. Not only was the food to die for but the service was incredible.
Great Mexican food but the service definitely let it down.