Summer 2010: Tourist hot spots

By flickr.com/eyesogreen

The clouds are thinning, the gamma rays are hitting my skin and CVS is jacking up their sunscreen prices. Yup, summer’s here.

And Ohmelgee has been waiting since October to swap that gray cardigan for a turquoise 2-piece.

To celebrate summer, this is the first post of a 5-part series all about the great season. I’ll be sure to hit you with the best summer job hunting advice, music-loving goodness, big screen blockbuster previews and travel trips to boot.

For those who are splurging to visit those fanny pack-clad, mosquito-loving ambiances, here’s the lowdown on these lovely yet super-crowded hot spots:

1. Orlando, FL:

Why it’s hot:  Harry Potter lovers already know why O-town will be the hot spot this summer: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens June 18th. Immerse in the wizard world with the Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade, etc. Yes, it will be the shit.

Why it’s not: HURRICANE SEASON starts June 1st. Which means rain… every single day.

Remember: To stay away from Killer whales. They are a downgrade this year and always.

2. Las Vegas, NV

Why it’s hot:  You’re young, you’re over 21, and you’ve got a secret want to make The Hangover  a reality. Gambling, clubs, raves, buffets, broadway shows, concerts, free booze and magicians. It’s the IT place to go crazy. My fav. casinos are: Bellagio, Mirage, Mandalay Bay and the Palazzo.

Why it’s not: If you’re a lazy bum like me, your feet will hate you. There’s no free shuttle/train/etc. to travel around LV, so either pay a cabby or walk everywhere.

Remember:  To not slip on the stripper/prostitute advertisements that are normally scattered all over the ground – watch where you step. And do yourself a favor and don’t visit if you’re not 21. It’ll just be torture otherwise.

3. New York, NY

Why it’s hot: Because it’s NY, duh. All of the above and more.

Why it’s not: Don’t come here broke, expecting to fly by. You’ll starve because about everything, including cart stands, costs twice as much. And not only will you starve, you can’t travel anywhere because they’re already increased the subway fare by a dollar and cab rides aren’t cheap.

Remember: Take a map with you, or have someone with an i-phone at ready. Because you will get lost at least once.

4. The Bahamas

Why it’s hot: Twenty-nine islands to explore: scuba, swimming with dolphins and… pony riding? And the drinking age here is 18, so bottoms up!

Why it’s not: HURRICANE SEASON. Again… sigh.

Remember: I know you’ll be in a tropical setting and that seems to be an excuse to get cornrows and beaded hair. Do not get cornrows/beaded hair because 99% of the time they will not look good on you. Jus’ saying.

5. Los Angeles

Why it’s hot: Celebs abuzzing everywhere, and creative minds will basically trample you on the sidewalk. You know you want to go here to catch a peek of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Things I’d check out: The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre (one of the best improv groups in the U.S.), Grauma’n’s Chinese Theatre, and The Hotel Cafe (Where huge stars performed before their huge break.. i.e. Sara Bareilles, Meiko, Katy Perry).

Why it’s not: Check out that dom pic. Would you want to breathing that air?

Remember: To be super aware of your surroundings and pretty much stay away from southeast and east L.A., according to a virtualtourist:

“To the south you have Inglewood, Compton, Long Beach etc. To the east you have…..well…. east LA. All of those areas are mainly working class areas where of course there are gangs. But if you stay clear of those areas and stay in the north or north west such as, hollywood, brentwood, santa monica, venice etc. you will be perfectly fine.


10 things I learned in NYC

This was my fourth time visiting the Big Apple, but this time my friends and I definitely jammed so much into four days. Yes, we did all the touristy treks, but we also crammed in some authentic New Yorker-like activities. Like sitting on paint-peeling stoops and ordering cheap, Chinese take-out.

But I also learned some tidbits about New York after all our crazed ventures:

Where we stayed: Hancock St., Brooklyn

1. Brooklyn isn’t that scary at night. Since we’re a bunch of broke college students, there wasn’t any room to splurge on chic hotel rooms in Manhattan. So we all stayed in this awesome apartment (via HomeAway.com) in Brooklyn, a few blocks away from the subway. I’m not gonna lie,I thought it looked a bit rough at first, with some shady characters walking around at night and some run-down stores. Then my boyfriend pointed out a Jaguar parked on the side of the street. “See, if they feel safe enough to park their car there at night, we should be fine.” And yes, we came back home at like 2am some nights, mug-free.

2. Getting harassed by a probable crack-whore is a bit enlightening. We were on the E train when some lady with barely any teeth and almost no hair on her head, pointed at us as she walked off and said, “You all look cheap, you look like Payless! Your iPods are worth more than what you’re wearing!”  After she left, we just looked at each other and laughed. Thanks for the style-check, meth head.

3. “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” by Her Space Holiday is an incredibly addictive song. We all watched the newly on Broadway play, Next Fall, and the closing song was this jeweled tune. And whatdoyaknow, Her Space Holiday is from Austin!

View from the Empire State Building

View from the Empire State building.

4. Walking up the Empire State Building steps will leave you winded. Well, at least I was afterwards! It was actually only 155 steps but damn, I need to work out. Of course, the view was amazing. [And the top of the tower was all lit up green for St. Patty’s Day!]

5. It doesn’t hurt to have a map. Not going to lie, we got lost a whole bunch of times. And at first we all didn’t want to expose our true tourist colors, but when we finally realized we had walked about 8 blocks without knowing where we were going, we gave in. And this subway trip-planning  site was sooo helpful.

6. If you’re a legit New Yorker, wear dark colors. Seriously, I feel like the majority of people I saw were all wearing long-sleeved, dark clothes. Either black, gray or dark blue. My bright pink shirt made me stick out.

Lady Lib = Liam Neeson

7.  Lady Liberty is a man-man, baby. I didn’t notice it until a friend said that The Statue of Liberty has such manly arms. Then I realized she definitely resembles Liam Neeson. Weird.

Show we saw: check out that height!

8. Free street shows are the shit. We watched these city acrobat street performers after getting back from Ellis Island and they were amazing [and I donated $1]. And also the subway singers had some of the best voices i’ve heard in awhile.

9. It’s hard to be in NYC and under 21. Since none of us were of age yet, we spent the majority of Friday night trying to find a normal club to mingle around. But all we saw on yelp were house-music clubs that were 18+, and none of us felt like being stuck sweating in an European raving atmosphere.

10. Weather in mid-March is the best. NYC is so effing huge. And within every nook and cranny there was something we wanted to check out, regardless of how far we had to walk or take the train. So thank God the weather was perfect: 60-70 degrees, sunshine gleaming with wafts of wind cooling our tired-out bodies.