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Tag: travel

15 Free Things to Do in Boston

15 Free Things to Do in Boston

Boston has become a popular hub for millennials over the past several years. Sadly, the cost of living in Boston has risen as well. Actually, it’s the 4th priciest city in the United States, following New York, San Francisco, and San José. If you — […]

Visiting the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami, Florida

Visiting the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami, Florida

On my recent trip my Miami, my friends and I spent a majority of our time relaxing and drinking adult beverages. However, one of the highlights of the trip was an unexpected good time: the historic Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. Before going, we researched this […]

17 Tips for the Best Vacation to Miami, Florida

17 Tips for the Best Vacation to Miami, Florida

My recent trip to Miami — which I also wrote a post about here — was exciting, fun, and very relaxing. That being said, I definitely could have done a little more research before the trip. With my birthday weekend right before the trip, I was pretty busy. I barely planned anything specific or looked up places or restaurants to see before leaving. Whether you’re planning a trip to Miami soon or just want to learn from my mistakes, I’ve created a list of tips that would have helped me a little before I took my first steps along Ocean Drive. Prepare yourself for some Miami (ad)Vice. (Okay… I’ll go home.)

 

Dining:

1. Hosts and hostesses outside of restaurants will beckon you to join them. Don’t feel obliged.

At first, I was taken aback by the upfront, somewhat aggressive approach that staff members of various Ocean Drive restaurants take. At first, I would reply to the hostesses, saying “no, thank you” as we walked by their sales pitches, but by the end of the trip, I realized that just ignoring them is fine enough. It definitely takes some getting used to.

2. Check to see if the service charge is included in your check.

Where I live, service charges are usually only added if groups are made up of 6 or more people. In Miami, many checks include a 15% service charge and others include a 20%. If the service is great, you might want to add a little extra, but if the service charge is already added into your total, don’t feel like you have to!

Miami ocean drive restaurant
Source: TipStripFlorida.com

3. Food is pretty expensive.

Of course you can find cheap places to eat, but a majority of the big restaurants are pretty pricey. Don’t allow this to inhibit you, but definitely be aware of the fact that it’s not a cheap city.

4. Go on Yelp.

While most of the restaurants in Miami are great, there are lots of duds out there. My friends and I made that mistake one morning, when we got an overpriced, crappy breakfast. If we had gone on Yelp and seen its 2-star rating, we probably would have avoided it. On the other hand, we wouldn’t have discovered some of the best places we went to without Yelp. Use it!

Nightlife:

5. People go out so late here, and they stay out super late too.

In Boston and in college, I’ve gotten used to starting pre-gaming around 9:00 PM, leaving to go out around 10:30 PM, and staying out until before 2:00 AM. That’s not how it is in Miami. People head out after midnight and oftentimes stay out until after 5:00 AM… Some of the most intense partiers stay out until 8:00 AM and spend all of the next morning and afternoon sleeping. The latest I was able to handle was 3:30 AM, but it was a solid effort.

club party liv miami nightclub story e11even
Source: @night.life.miami

6. You’re going to have to dress to impress. For real.

In Boston, going out in jeans and boots or flats is totally normal. Not in Miami! People really dress up to go to clubs; bouncers will turn away people that aren’t dressed well enough. Yes, that means heels for women. Since I didn’t do my research before going, I had to buy a cheap pair of heels during my visit. Bring some in your carry-on to save you the hassle!

7. If you’re a lady and you’re attractive, don’t pay for club entry.

PC? Not really. True? Very. Promoters walk the beaches, streets, and even club interiors looking for attractive girls to bring to their tables. The goal is to make the club look more desirable. I’m still not positive how I feel about this whole thing, but it worked okay for me. Apparently, some promoters can be brutal, turning girls away if they aren’t hot enough or cutting the least attractive girls from his/her table when there’s overcrowding. If this is the case, don’t take it personally; it’s just (clubbing) business.

Bonus tip: Posting a picture on Instagram with one or two friends with a popular Miami hashtag is a good way to get promoters to comment, follow, and DM you. Just check to make sure he or she is legit!

Miami
An example of Instagram comments my friend got after posting a bikini picture. Definitely worth changing your Insta settings to “Public” for the weekend.

8. Drinks are super pricey. Even water.

It’s no surprise that some of the more exclusive clubs serve up mixed drinks with top shelf liquor, making your vodka soda upwards of $20. What surprised me is how much these clubs charge for water. Rather than serving up tap water for free — as I’ve experienced in the Northeast and the U.K. — bartenders serve bottled water, oftentimes charging $8-10 for it. If you’re completely parched, you might have to splurge, but I’d hold off otherwise.

Weather:

9. Prepare for humidity.

I’m lucky that my hair doesn’t blow up or frizz in humidity — as I have naturally pin-straight hair — but this might be something to prepare for. Bring some hair product along to tame the mane.

10. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.

I actually didn’t get a terrible burn this time around, but my last trip to Florida had me looking like a straight-up lobster. Even if it’s a cloudy day, lather on the SPF!

Miami South Beach jetti

11. Have a backup plan in case of rain.

Have an option in mind if you do have a rainy day in Miami, whether it’s the World Erotic Art Museum or the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (the latter of which has its own blog post coming!). You can’t go to the beach every day.

12. Technically you’re not supposed to drink on the beach, but people do it anyway.

Same thing goes for the beach in my hometown. Just keep it low key and don’t get obnoxious.

Mystic River Dennis Lehane Corona Beer South Beach Miami

Etc.:

13. You might be a minority, fellow white people.

I grew up in a predominantly white town, attended a predominantly white college, and studied abroad in a predominantly white country. I’m used to being in the majority. However, in Miami, you might find yourself being the only white person in the room. This isn’t a tip necessarily, just an interesting fact that’s pretty cool about visiting Miami or any other culturally and racially diverse city.

14. Don’t feel like you have to look “Miami hot.”

“Miami hot” is a phrased I coined during my trip. Basically, women in Miami look way different than women from Boston, just as beautiful women from L.A. and Vermont look different, for instance. Beauty standards are different in each of these locations and you don’t have to assimilate. The ideal woman in Miami is curvy with a tiny waist, a body that’s near impossible to achieve without the help of plastic surgery. Don’t feel self-conscious; the beauty ideals where you’re from may be differ from the tanned, extreme hourglass ideal in Miami.

hot girl miami bathing suit
Source: @mybeautifulgiselle
hot girl miami
Source: @stephs_music

15. Ubers and Lyfts are… actually very cheap.

I was afraid that ride-sharing services would be super expensive down in Miami, mostly because everything else is pretty costly down there. However, getting an Uber or Lyft for my three friends and me was very reasonable, whether we were riding to a club or to the airport. Especially if you’re from Boston or New York, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

16. If you’re a light sleeper, bring earplugs.

Miami truly is a city that never sleeps. Every night, the sounds coming from the streets below us — of loud music, shouting, etc. — were noisy enough that I felt like they were partying in our room. On Friday and Saturday, it was at its worst. Fortunately, I was able to get to sleep, but it took a little extra effort on Saturday, when I didn’t have alcohol in my system to put me to sleep.

17. When it comes to your hotel… location, location, location!

Where your hotel or Airbnb is will determine where you go, whether you like it or not, so try to get a room in a prime location. My friends and I got a pretty good price on an Airbnb on Ocean Drive, and we loved the place and location. We could have paid a little less to be set off from the action a little bit, but paying a little extra was worth it for the convenience factor, in my opinion.

 

Miami is a fun, vibrant, culturally rich city. Although knowing some tips might help you out on your travels, don’t over-research. Be intuitive, adventurous, and spontaneous!

 

Miami South Beach sunset

 

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My Weekend in Burlington, Vermont

My Weekend in Burlington, Vermont

This weekend, I went up to my college city, Burlington, VT, for a short visit. Months ago, my friend Troy bought tickets for the two of us to see Barenaked Ladies downtown. Since the weather was nice and a lot of other alumni were going […]

Where to Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Miami, Florida

Where to Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Miami, Florida

I just got back from a 6-day trip to Miami and I just wanna talk about it! In my first of multiple upcoming blog posts about my vacation, I’m going to cover the essentials that every twenty-something visiting Miami needs: good food, strong drinks, and nightlife […]

Visiting the Harvard Museum of Natural History

Visiting the Harvard Museum of Natural History

This Friday, I was able to take a half day (hooray for vacation rollover!), so I decided to use my time off to do something fun and different. Earlier that weekend, my boyfriend, Matt, found out about the Harvard Museum of Natural History while looking up fun things to do in Boston. I was surprised that after several months of living in Boston (and 22 years of living in the Greater Boston Area), I didn’t know this place existed. Since the weather was less than desirable — AKA, several inches of heavy snow — we figured spending time walking around a museum would be a good way to go somewhere cool and different but stay shielded  from the snow.

LOCATION AND ACCESSIBILITY:

The museum is a short walk from the Harvard T stop and practically steps from Harvard Yard. The museum is located at 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, which sounds like a very British address to me. Various buildings of sciences, from zoology to computer science to chemistry, surround the museum; this is no coincidence, as many contributions to the museum are from student and faculty research.

Harvard Museum of Natural History
This section is part of the Earth & Planetary Sciences exhibition.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
This section named each of these rare and interesting rocks and named the country in which each was discovered. I was surprised by all the cool varieties in the U.S. alone!

THE MUSEUM’S EXHIBITIONS:

The exhibitions, though very different, are very interesting, with a great amount of artifacts and replicas. I found myself immersed in the animal kingdom of Africa, in a New England forest, in Native American villages, and in prehistoric times through the highlight of sights that make up the museum. Anthropods: Creatures That Rule is another highlight; this exhibition includes a honeybee installation at certain times of the year. Finally, the famous glass exhibitions, Glass Flowers and Sea Creatures in Glass, are captivating and memorable spots.

Peabody Museum
This exhibition, which was part of the Peabody Museum, called Arts of War, included weaponry, armor, and helmets used throughout various periods and cultures.
Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum also features ceramic pieces from different nations, cultures, and eras.
Peabody Museum
One ongoing exhibition features artifacts from different Native American tribes. It was fascinating to see differences in their day-to-day lives, transportation methods, and housing styles.

ADMISSION:

If you have an active Harvard ID, admission to the museum is free. However, if you aren’t an employee or student at Harvard, admission is $12.00 for adults, or $10.00 for students with a non-Harvard student ID. (Unfortunately, my college ID says “Class of 2016” on it, so I can’t milk those discounts anymore. So sad.) Admission to the Peabody Museum Of Archaeology and Ethnology, which is next door and attached, is included in the purchase of entry to the Museum of Natural History.

Harvard Museum of Natural History
Equus: a genus of mammals in the family Equidae, i.e. horses, donkeys, etc. Also, the play that featured a naked Daniel Radcliffe standing beside a horse.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Even some prehistoric animal bones make up a prehistoric exhibition. This guy is the world’s only mounted Kronosaurus, a marine reptile at over 40 feet. I definitely wouldn’t want to come face-to-face with that thing.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
The Evolution exhibition explores Charles Darwin’s famous theory.

HOURS OF OPERATION:

The museum is open almost every day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with the exception of a few holidays. However, they stayed open a little later than 5:00 when I went; people were coming in and out when Matt and I left around 5:15.

Harvard Museum of Natural History
Several rooms are designed to immerse you in different ecosystems and animal habitats. This one, which reminded me of trips to Canada in the summer as a child, is intended to be a New England forest.

 

If you decide to visit the Harvard Museum of Natural History or have been there before, let me know what you think!

 

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Revisiting D.C.

Revisiting D.C.

I hadn’t planned on going back to D.C. for a long time, but when my boyfriend, Matt, got a great deal from JetBlue, I found myself googling museums and monument locations. I’d only been to D.C. once, in middle school with my parents, and though […]