July 29, 2019
How to Spend 3 Unforgettable Days in Boston

How to Spend 3 Unforgettable Days in Boston

July 29, 2019
boston public garden itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
Boston can be defined as the US historical capital. As a history lover, that's one of the things that made me choose this city as part of our 10-day East Coast trip this summer. I also love architecture, so the mixture of old buildings and modern ones in the capital of Massachusetts was something else to see.

Boston has impressive museums, beautiful neighborhoods and many reasons for sports fans to visit. Everyone can find a reason to visit it. We really enjoyed our three days there and I have many tips to share with you.

This complete guide includes everything you need to do in Boston, where to sleep, where to eat -including vegan options- and last but not least a very useful map with pins for all of that plus shops you can't miss.

This is how we spent three unforgettable days in Boston.

3 DAYS IN BOSTON ITINERARY: DAY 1
On the 4th of July, our plane landed at Boston Logan International Airport. We took the Silver Line bus -it's free- to South Station and from there we took the metro to our hotel. It was around 3pm when we checked-in the Boston Plaza Hotel. The hotel lobby is beautiful and luxurious and the staff were really kind and friendly, however our room was teeny tiny and we had to take turns to walk around it.

After a short rest we headed out. When I create an itinerary, I always divide the city map in areas. We always visit the closest to our hotel first because the day of our arrival is when we are the most tired. So the closest place to the Boston Plaza is the Public Garden.

We have seen many parks and and gardens all around the world but we found the Boston Public Garden particularly lovely. Its swan boats, duckling statues, and pretty little bridge create it a charming romantic atmosphere. There were also adorable squirrels everywhere.
swan boat boston public garden itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
ducklings statue 4th july boston public garden itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
Make way for ducklings! This is Boston's most beloved sculpture in the romantic Public Gardens. Bostonians dress them up for special occasions like the 4th of July here.

Any Cheers fans out there? If you are, you probably know that the 80's TV show was filmed and set in Boston. Nowadays, you can visit the set and have a drink and some food at the iconic pub.

Our next stop was Boston Common, another green area of the city. It's a great spot to hang out, rest or work out and has great views of the city but we didn't find it as special as the Public Garden. Both are great for a picnic though.

If you walk north of the park, you'll find yourself in the beautiful Beacon Hill neighborhood. An exclusive residential area where it's worth wandering the streets. It's really quiet and lovely and here you can find amazing unique stores. Probably the most famous place around Beacon Hill is the highly instagrammable Acorn Street. This beautiful cobblestone lane with brick houses on both sides is one of the most photographed places in Boston but beware, there's a no trespassing sign on the street. Only professional photo shoots with a permit are allowed. However, you can still take a pic of the street without entering.
acorn street beacon hill boston map itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston, that passes by locations significant to the history of the United States. You can choose to do the whole trail or divide it in parts which is what we did. On this first day we say the Old North Church, the State House and Granary Burying Ground.
granary burying ground freedom trail map boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
boston sunset state house freedom trail map itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
We had dinner at 5 Guys. Not the fanciest spot but we had heard so many good things about it -apparently, they make Obama's favorite burgers- that we had to try it!

We were incredibly jet-lagged and tired but we still made it to the Fireworks Spectacular show by river Charles because you don't get to opportunities like this every day.

3 DAYS IN BOSTON ITINERARY: DAY 2
We had breakfast at Boston's best coffee shop, Tatte Bakery. It's popular among locals and tourists so it gets pretty packed. They have several locations around Boston but we went to the one in Back Bay which was the closest to the hotel. We loved it so much that we had breakfast there every day.
boston tatte bakery breakfast brunch coffee brekky itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
With a satisfied belly, we headed downtown. We stopped at Copley Square where you can find three main Boston landmarks: Trinity Church, the impressive skyscraper John Hancock Tower and Boston's impressive Public Library. There's also a wonderful Farmer's Market in Copley Square.
reflection hancock tower copley square trinity church boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
hare rabbit tortoise turtle statue copley square trinity church boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
public library copley square boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
public library copley square patio fountain boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
Then, we went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This place is a bit further away but totally worth it. This Venetian-style house has one of the most impressive private art collections I've ever seen. General admission is $15. Fun fact: if you name is Isabella you go in for free! Go to their website to plan your visit.
isabella stewart gardner museum venetian palace boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
isabella stewart gardner museum venetian palace boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
Our next stop was MIT -look for the breathtaking building by famous architect Frank Gehry- and Harvard University. On our way to the latter, we stopped for lunch at Life Alive, a vegan cafe with delicious healthy food.

I love visiting American universities. One of my favorite things to do when I was living in California was to stroll around Stanford University. I just love the beautifully design campus, the architecture and especially the ambiance. Harvard has all of that as well.
harvard university cambridge boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
harvard university cambridge boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
On our way back to the hotel we stopped to grab some dinner at by Chloe, another great vegan option.

3 DAYS IN BOSTON ITINERARY: DAY 3
We crossed the Public Garden and Boston Common to get to the harbor, then we stopped at the bustling Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, probably the most touristy spots in the city. It's a great place to grab some lunch and buy some souvenirs.
harbor boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
quincy market faneuil hall army band music street boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
union oyster house lobster roll seafood landmark freedom trail boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
We couldn't leave Boston without trying their most famous food: lobster. We had lunch at the oldest restaurant in America, Union Oyster House. It is also a National Historic Landmark and is part of the Freedom Trail. We had a lobster roll each and we absolutely loved it!
Our two last stops were the Old State House -part of the Freedom Trail- and the Tea Party Ships and Museum.
old state house downtown massacre freedom trial boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
tea part ships museum boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
On our way back to the hotel, when we were around Downtown Crossing -a pedestrian shopping area east of Boston Common- it started pouring with rain so we got some shelter at Caffe Nero, one of the loveliest cafes in the city. It's a great spot for reading or working on your laptop, too bad we didn't have time for that!
caffee nero coffee pastries bakery cafe boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
That is how we spent 3 unforgettable day in Boston. As you can see our days were pretty full and we walked until our feet and legs hurt but felt so happy about all the things we saw and experienced. The following day we flew to DC but more on that next week.

Also, check out these posts for the ultimate 10-day east coast itinerary and tips for shopping in the USA.
squirrel common boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast
BOSTON ITINERARY MAP
This Boston map includes all the things you need for your trip: what to do, what to eat, where to stay and where to shop. The blue pins are the sights, yellow pins mark places to eat and the green ones are the location for my favorite shops. Click on the star next to the title to save to your maps in Google.
WEAR THIS HERE

Like this post? Pin it and share the love!
pinneable pinterest boston itinerary plan guide tourism usa america park east coast trip travel
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Boston Venetian style palace art collection

July 22, 2019
The Ultimate 10-day USA East Coast Itinerary

The Ultimate 10-day USA East Coast Itinerary

July 22, 2019
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary dumbo brooklyn bridge nyc destination spot place guide planner
Ten years ago, I went to the US for the first time. I was feeling nostalgic about it this spring so we decided our summer vacation would be going back to America. We booked a trip around the East Coast including three different destinations. Three big cities, all of them important for different reasons:

  • Boston: where US history started
  • Washington DC: the nation's capital
  • NYC: the capital of the world.

We spent 10 amazing days in the US. We planned our trip carefully so we saw everything we wanted to see but we arrived to the hotel every night exhausted from so much walking. However, despite the exhaustion, we felt very happy after each sight-seeing day.

Our itinerary started in Boston and we flew from one place to another instead of renting a car or taking the train. Let's take a look at the ultimate 10-day USA east coast itinerary.

BOSTON (3 nights)
DAY 1
We arrived in Boston at 3pm on the 4th of July. Our hotel was the Boston Park Plaza. It was a very nice hotel with an unbeatable location next to Boston Public Garden but our room was rather small for two people, something surprising since we are used to huge rooms when we travel in the US.

After checking-in, we headed out. We were very eager to explore the city on such an important date and even if it was hard to stay awake, we made it to to the Fireworks Spectacular by river Charles.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary boston public garden duckling duck stature destination spot place guide planner
DAY 2
We explored Back Bay, the impressive Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Harvard University.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary boston isabella stewart gardner museum destination spot place guide planner
DAY 3
We started the day at the beautiful Boston parks: Public Gardens and Common, then we saw the Boston Harbor and tried the world famous New England Lobster, finishing our day at the Tea Party Ships and Museum.

Read: How to Spend 3 Unforgettable Days in Boston

usa trip vacation east coast itinerary boston tea party ships museum massachusetts destination spot place guide planner

BOSTON ITINERARY MAP
This Boston map includes all the things you need for your trip. The blue pins are the sights, yellow pins mark places to eat and the green ones are the location for my favorite shops. Click on the star next to the title to save to your maps in Google.


WASHINGTON DC (2 nights)
DAY 4
Our flight to DC departed at 11:00. It's a little over an hour, so we arrived early enough to take advantage of our first day in the capital of the USA. After checking-in at the Capital Hilton Hotel near the White House -the room was great, very big and luxurious- we had lunch at Duke's Grocery and walked on M street all the way to Georgetown University.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary georgetown university washington dc destination spot place guide planner
DAY 5
When we woke up it was pouring rain and floods were expected. We had booked a tour of the Capitol and were not sure what to do. Fortunately, the weather improved soon enough for us to get there on time. We spent the rest of the day exploring the impressive National Mall.

Read: 2 days in Washington DC:all you need to see, eat and do

usa trip vacation east coast itinerary capitol dc washington destination spot place guide planner

DC ITINERARY MAP
This DC map includes all the things you need for your trip. The blue pins are the sights, yellow pins mark places to eat and the green ones are the location for my favorite shops. Click on the star next to the title to save to your maps in Google.


NYC (4 nights)
DAY 6
10 am flight to NYC. Our hotel here was the Row NYC at Times Square. It's a huge modern hotel very close to the E metro line and to Times Square.

DAY 7
We started our day at Top of the Rock. Going up to the top of the Rockefeller Center is pricey but worth it. $42 per person, 10 extra if you go there at sunset. We spent the rest of the day at Central Park ending with some shopping at the Columbus Circle mall.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary rockefeller empire state top of the rock nyc destination spot place guide planner
DAY 8
We took the metro to WTC, saw the 9/11 Memorial and headed to Brooklyn Bridge. We crossed it to get lovely views of it and the Manhattan bridge from Dumbo. We ate at Nomo Kitchen in Soho and continued north to the Flatiron building. Once again we were caught by heavy rain -it rained one day on each destination- so we called it a day and went back to the hotel.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary dumbo brooklyn bridge nyc destination spot place guide planner
DAY 9
Lady Liberty was waiting for us. Piece of advice: the only place to get official tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is the ticket office at Castle Clinton. There are people all around Battery Park trying to sell tickets so beware.
If you don't want to spend any money and still get a view of Lady Liberty you can take the ferry to Staten Island which is free.

After the ferry brought us back, we saw Wall Street and the Charging Bull, then went back to the WTC for lunch. Our last full day in NYC ended seeing the United Nations building and surrounding landmarks like Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler building.
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary grand central terminal manhattan nyc destination spot place guide planner
DAY 10
Last minute shopping on 5th Avenue before heading to the airport. Our flight back to Madrid departed at 6:30 pm.

NYC ITINERARY MAP
This New York City map includes all the things you need for your trip. The blue pins are the sights, yellow pins mark places to eat and the green ones are the location for my favorite shops. Click on the star next to the title to save to your maps in Google.
Need more to plan your East Coast trip? Check out the following posts
A European's Guide to Shopping in the US
Best NYC photo locations for first-time visitors

WHEREVER YOU ARE GOING DON'T FORGET...


Like this post? Pin it and share the love!
usa trip vacation east coast itinerary boston nyc destination spot place guide planner

July 15, 2019
A European's Guide to Shopping in the USA

A European's Guide to Shopping in the USA

July 15, 2019

shopping guide new york 5th avenue usa store louis vuitton nyc manhattan
The USA is shopping paradise for many of us. Huge stores, wide spaces, perfect decor… Americans sure know how to lure you in. Even window shopping is a real pleasure. I still remember how these stores amazed me the first time I was in the US 10 years ago. I was coming from a small city back then and they literally made my jaw drop. 

For those who may be headed to the US, I've created a complete guide to shopping in the USA so when you get there, you can shop like a pro.

WHAT TO BUY IN THE USA: WHAT’S CHEAPER AND WHAT’S NOT
American brands are cheaper, European ones are not.
Tech items, which tend to be rather pricey, are much cheaper in the US. If you need a new Apple gadget, you want a Roomba vacuum or a new lens for your camera, put some money aside and wait for your next US trip, you will save a lot of money.

The same goes for retail and skincare products, brands like Clinique or Abercrombie are way cheaper in America.
shopping guide new york 5th avenue usa store apple nyc manhattan
SALES TAX
One thing to always have in mind is that the price tag does not include the sales tax which varies from one state to another. For example, in NYC most purchases are subject to an 8.875% sales tax. However, some items are excluded from the sales tax such as clothing and shoes under $110 or unprepared foods for instance.
shopping guide levis union square san francisco california usa store
MY FAVORITE STORES
Every time I'm in the US, I pop by all of the following.
  • Anthropologie: I'd say this is my favorite one. The loveliest apparel, skincare and homeware all in one place. I love the mixture of cultures and styles of their products. It's like someone with impeccable taste finds the best products around the world and puts them all in one place.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch: probably the most famous American clothing brand among young Europeans. They have rebranded in the last few years and have left a little bit aside the "perfect" American poster boy image. Due to controversy in the past, they have become more inclusive and now offer sizes for different body types.
  • J.Crew: clothes and accessories to curate the perfect preppy closet.
  • Free People: boho-chic style for the modern hippy.
  • Kate Spade: this one is a bit more high end. Here you can find ultra feminine colorful clothes and the most fun accessories. 
  • All American designers Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren
  • WilliamsSonoma: if you like cooking like me, you can't miss this place. Here you can find every single item for your kitchen you can think of.
  • PotteryBarn: go here for beautiful homeware and furniture. The only bad thing about this place is that many of their items won't fit in your suitcase... 

shopping guide williams sonoma california san francisco usa store
MALLS & DEPARTMENT STORES
The most popular malls and department stores in the US are the following:

You can also find many outlet malls throughout the country that are worth checking out because they offer designer clothes at affordable prices.

MOST POPULAR STORES
According to a survey these are the most popular stores among Americans:

shopping guide new york 5th avenue usa store bloomingdales bloomies nyc manhattan
SALES CALENDAR
If you are lucky enough to be in the US around these dates, you can save even more money on your shopping.
  • President’s Day Sale: February
  • Memorial Day Weekend Sale: May
  • July 4th Summer Sale
  • Back-to-school/Fall Preview Sale: end of July – beginning of August 1
  • Labor day Weekend Sale: September
  • Columbus Day Weekend Sale: October
  • Thanksgiving Eve: November
  • Black Friday: November
  • After Thanksgiving Weekend Sale featuring Midnight Madness: November
  • Cyber Monday (online): December
  • New Year’s Eve Sales: December
  • New Year’s Day Sales: January

shopping guide new york 5th avenue usa store hollister nyc manhattan
SHOPPING FROM EUROPE
I like to check out the online stores of my favorite shops every now and then and I often feel tempted to order something. However, you shouldn’t consider shopping from Europe, online shopping on US sites is not worth it. Even though all sites offer international shipping, the taxes and shipping costs will add up almost as much as the price of the items you are buying.

Do you shop when you are abroad? What are your favorite brands?

Like this post? Pin it and share the love!
usa shopping guide nyc manhattan store california san francisco

July 1, 2019
4 Rooftop Bars to Try in Madrid this Summer

4 Rooftop Bars to Try in Madrid this Summer

July 1, 2019
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
The heatwave is hitting Spain pretty hard. With temperatures over 40ºC/100ºF madrileños have to find a way to escape the scorching heat. What's the best place to do that apart from the pool? Rooftop bars and terraces! Cold drinks, breathtaking views and water sprays await. Let's take a look at 4 of the best rooftop bars in Madrid.

And if you need more ideas...

The first thing you notice when you enter this Gran Via Hotel is that it smells like...mint! The predominant color is mint as well. I love a place that keeps up with a theme. Sip a cocktail while enjoying the wonderful views and if you get hungry, there's a cute food truck from May to October which offers cheese and ham platters, hamburgers and Asian creations such as dim sum and Vietnamese spring rolls.

Address: Gran Vía, 10, 28013 Madrid
Phone: +34 912 03 06 50
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
mint rooftop vincci hotel gran via madrid terrace bar food truck cocktails
Gymage Lounge Resort is a fitness club, a theater, a restaurant and a rooftop terrace, all in the same building. The terrace is open all year long and includes a pool and a bar where you can order food and drinks all day long. During summer days (between 11 am and 6 pm) you can pay a fee to sunbath and swim in the rooftop pool.

Address: Calle de la Luna, 2, 28004 Madrid
Phone: +34 915 32 09 74
gymage lounge resort pool rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
RADIO AT ME REINA VICTORIA
If you want to get a taste of Madrid nightlife, Radio -the rooftop of the ME Madrid Reina Victoria on Plaza de Santa Ana- is the right place for you. Great food and cocktails, DJ and of course...views. Radio rooftop is the best place to party all night long 🎵🎵🎵.

Address: ME Madrid, Plaza de Sta. Ana, 14, 28012 Madrid
Phone: +34 912 764 747
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
radio melia me reina victoria dj nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails
Nice to Meet you is the rooftop restaurant in Dear Hotel located in bustling Gran Via. This place has a 360º panoramic view of Madrid, from here you can see landmarks like Plaza de España and Palacio Real. The food is as good as the views -look at that scrumptious salad, perfect brioche bun and the cheesecake, yum!- but the restaurant manager was the rudest we've ever encountered which totally spoiled our meal.
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails nice to meet you dear hotel madrid
WEAR THIS HERE

Like this post? Pin it and share the love!
nightlife rooftop madrid terrace drinks restaurant cocktails hotel bar