What To Do In Orlando?

Number 3 of the "What To Do In ... ?" - Series . There is so much more to Orlando than just theme parks!

NON-THEME-PARK THINGS TO DO IN ORLANDO

Let's start with the things which aren't exactly a typical theme park attraction. I'll list the parks for you further down anyway though.

  1. THE COCA-COLA ORLANDO EYE
    • It is part of the i-360 theme park and gives you a spectacular view over downtown Orlando. It will take you up to 122m (400ft) high!

      TIP: There's free ground level parking behind the Eye, right off  the Universal Blvd.

  2. BOGGY CREEK AIRBOAT RIDES
    • If you go to Florida and don't go on an airboat right, you didn't do it right. 😉
      Enjoy your ride of up to 56km/h (35 miles per hour)! Racing over the water surface you'll get to see plenty of nature and native wildlife. Make sure to wear sunscreen!

      TIP: Book ahead of time and maybe consider a later tour to enjoy the sunset and beat the heat.

  1. WONDERWORKS
    • Rainz day? No problem! At WonderWorks you can experience hands-on science exhibit, which make it very fun to explore. Parents might appreciate the learning experience for their kids as well!

      TIP: The best time to visit are early in the day on weekdays.

  2. RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT
    • Full of rare items and incredible objects. Go have a look at the world's largest tire or an danti-gravity pool table! Or you can go for admiring an authentic vampire killing kit - up to you.

      TIP: Visit early to beat the crowds and get the most of your experience!

  1. CIRQUE MAGIC DINNER SHOW
    • This dinner show is very family oriented and includes a whole dinner with ice-cream as desert.
      It is an interactive dinner with magic tricks, acrobatics and lots of laughter for the whole family.

      TIP: Call and reserve upfront!

  2. CONGO RIVER ADVENTURE GOLF
    • This attraction won 2015's TripAdvisor Hall of Fame Award! It's not just mini golf! You can explore caves, play basketball, feed alligators and even go mining for gems!

      TIP: Go with enough time on your hands! Sooo much to do there!

  1. GATORLAND
    • If you want to get a really good feeling for Everglades' nature and animals, then this one is a must for you. It'S wildlife preserve and theme park in one. Make sure you see the rare "white" alligators"!

      TIP: Don't forget the sunscreen! Since there's a waterpark for kids inside, bring appropriate clothes for them.

  2. KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
    • Not directly in Orlando, but just an hour to the east, near Titusville, you'll find the Kennedy Space Center. A great place to spend the day! You'll see a lot of exhibitions but also experiences like the Shuttle Launch Experience.

THEME PARKS

Fine! Theme parks. You won't get around them in Orlando. Here my TOP 5:

  1. DISNEY'S MAGIC KINGDOM
    • Yes, Disneyland. The king of all theme parks!
      No further explanations needed.
      (Choose from six different fantasy lands! Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Main Street!
      TIP: Don't miss the haunted mansion!)
  2. UNIVERSAL'S ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE
    • Voted world's #1 theme park in 2015 and 2016 by TripAdvisor reviewers! It's the ultimate experience when it comes to rides and attractions.
  1. DISNEY'S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
    • Combining Disney and Hollywood? Great idea! Make sure to check out the spooky Hollywood Tower!
  2. WET'N'WILD
    • Because you need these water parks when it's warm! Not just for the little ones. You'll find great rides for everyone!

  3. ANIMAL KINGDOM
    • Can't make this Safari trip this year? Go feed some giraffes in the Animal Kingdom.

What's you favourite thing to do in Orlando?

Safe Travels!

What To Do In San Francisco?

Another question of Most Googled Questions Of 2016. Good that I used to live there. So now you get first-hand recommendations on what to do!

I never realised how much you can do in this 7x7 area of San Francisco... Since this will be a long one, feel free to jump what you like most!

Sightseeing

"Hidden" Places

Parks

Lookouts

Food

Let's start off with the classic:

Alex in San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge - California

SIGHTSEEING 

This could will become a very long one... bare with me! It's worth it - pinky promise!

  1. THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
    • Walk across it. Cycle across it. Drive across it. Whatever you do - cross it. And take pictures while doing it and also before/and after the crossing. Here are the top 5 spots to take pictures of the bridge!

  2. FERRY BUILDING
    • It's very iconic and we'll get to it later in the food section!
  1. ALCATRAZ ISLAND
    • This is one of the places you either love or hate. But to decide you definitely have to see it at least once. Many people will recognise it from movies. I recommend to book tickets in advance, as especially the "night tours"  tend to sell out in advance.

  2. LOMBARD STREET
    • You just have to see it when visiting San Francisco. It is so iconic and fun to drive down. Yes, you can drive in one direction only! The view from up there is fantastic.
  1. CABLE CARS
    • If you want to get the complete historical experience, then the cable cars are a must do. But keep in mind that they are quite pricey and most of the times really packed. One ride is 7$ - so definitely see it as an attraction and not an actual form of transport.

  2. PALACE OF FINE ARTS
    • This place is just beautiful. Not only the buildings are impressive by themselves. They also happen to be located right at a little pond where you can also find some swans peacefully swimming around. A very serene place with history.
    1. SUTRO BATHS
      • A beautiful place, especially breathtaking on a sunny day! It's also surrounded by great hiking trails. There is also a cave to explore with the ocean rushing in and out.

    2. PIER 39
      • Go watch the sea lions! But hold your nose closed! As much as it's nicer to visit them on a sunny day, that's when most of them turn up to sunbath, it's also the day they smell the most.
        Other than that, there are lots of food places with nice views. Close by is also the Aquarium and lots of souvenir shops, of course.
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"HIDDEN" PLACES

I'll call it hidden places, because they're not the main things to do in San Francisco and also not that easy to find. Though you might stumble across some of the decorated staircases by accident!

Here are some of the best, combining it with a bit of sightseeing as well:

  1. LANDS' END LABYRINTH
    • It's not too far away from the earlier mentioned Sutro Baths and could be easily combined with it. What I actually did. It was a great day full of amazing views! 
      There are so many beautiful trails around this place! The place itself is like a "labyrinth" of stones and offers you a great, though distant, view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

  2. STAIRCASES
    • YES! Climbing staircases is actually a fun(ish) thing to do in San Francisco! There are so many of them because of all the hills. So they decided to decorate a lot of them beautifully! You'll find tiled ones for example. My favourite one: the Filbert Steps starting at the Coit Tower! Like a mini jungle with view over the totally underrated Bay Bridge.
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PARKS

Parks. Everywhere. Let's narrow it down to these 3:

  1. GOLDEN GATE PARK
    • This park is massive and has so much to offer, that it actually needs an own post dedicated to it. Some highlights are definitely the Conservatory, the Japanese Tea Garden  and lakes.
      Check out the handy map I linked for you!

  2. CRISSY FIELDS
    • You'll get iconic views of both, the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge! It's sprinkled with picnic tables, beaches and marsh overlooks. Make sure you pick a sunny day.

  3. MISSION DOLORES PARK
    • The perfect starting or end point for exploring Mission District. It has San Francisco's best street murals like the Clarion Alley Mural!
      Not really a park for kids, though. A lot of young people enjoying a few drinks and also smoking.
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LOOKOUTS

San Francisco has so many beautiful views, the previously mentioned Land's End Labyrinth could also easily make a spot on the lookouts section to be honest.

  1. TWIN PEAKS
    • As almost any big city, you'll find "the" lookout. In SF it would be Twin Peaks. You can simply take an Uber (or Lyft, both are super cheao in the city of startups...) to the parking lot and then easily "climb" up the rest.  You get a beautiful view over the whole city

  2. COIT TOWER ON TELEGRAPH HILL
    • It does not only give you beautiful views over the Golden Gate Bridge, but also the Bay Bridge - which is much more interesting at night, than the Golden Gate Bridge!
      While the Coit Tower itself is not that spectacular during the day. It is definitely worth day visit at night, it gets lit up in different colours every night!

      While the entry to the tower is free, taking the elevator up will cost you. We recommend to visit their website and prebook to skip the queues!
      Definitely worth the 360° view!
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FOOD

San Francisco is an awesome place to have great food. It's expensive, but definitely healthy. Whatever new trend is going on, it probably started in San Francisco. Like all the avocado thing that is going around at the moment.

Here are some of the best, combining it with a bit of sightseeing as well:

  1. FERRY BUILDING MARKETPLACE
    • Go explore the marketplace together with the locals on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The stalls offer a huge range of produces from 75 regional farmers until 2pm. Chocolate, cheese, fruits... name it - you get it.

      PLUS: It's also one of San Francisco's famous sights.

  2. TARTINE BAKERY & CAFÉ
    • It's all about coffee and delicious pastries - the old fashioned way. We recommend going for a Banana Cream Tart or a hot pressed sandwich.

      Since they're so popular, you should get there right before they open at 7:30am to avoid the crowds. The queue moves quite fast though. Still - who got time to stand in line?

      EXTRA: Around 4:15 pm they start selling freshly made bread. Get in line! 😉

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  1. TONY'S PIZZA NAPOLETANA
    • Be prepared to queue. But they do have the best pizza in town. You can leave them your number, grab a beer somewhere else and pick up your pizza when called, though! If you want it a bit faster, you can order at their "Slice House" for take away.

  2. SMITTE ICE CREAM vs BI-RITE CREAMERY
    • Where the best ice cream place is probably a never ending debate. Here a two great places.

      Smitten Ice Cream makes its ice cream with liquid nitrogen which will give you an extra velvety texture! They have multiple locations all over San Francisco. Go check out their website to find the nearest to you!

      Bi-Rite Creamery is amazing. The I like it is that they have some really unique flavours! You can try Earl Grey, Honey Lavender or Ricanelas. Of course they also have some classics and if you're feeling curious but not overly adventurous, go for their Salted Caramel. Always a good decision.

There are just so many delicious food places, I probably could will dedicate a whole post just to "Where to eat in San Francisco". Stay tuned!

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Safe Travels!