Friday, April 17, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Seattle’s Best Hotels for Live Entertainment

Because Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, it’s long been a regional center for many genres of the performing arts, including orchestra, opera, ballet, and theater. In the 1990s, Seattle became known as the birthplace of grunge. The bands Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and many more began their rise to fame playing in their hometown of Seattle. Grunge music’s popularity may have faded, but Seattle is still home to incredible bands and many forms of performing arts. And, there are many hotels in Seattle that bring a wide variety of entertainment to you.

Photo by Mytanfeet via trover.com

Sorrento Hotel

Seattle’s Sorrento Hotel  is well known for the unique programs they present in their Fireside Room and the Top of the Town. On any given night, you could attend a CD release event, a musical performance, a reading, or a discussion with a panel of experts on various topics. Your stay in one of the boutique hotel’s rooms will be as unique as the hotel and its events. No two rooms are alike; they each have individualized curves, corners, character, and charm. Decorated with crisp colors and vintage furnishings, they will spoil you with comfort.

The Edgewater - A Noble House Hotel

Every Friday and Saturday, Six Seven Lounge at The Edgewater - A Noble House Hotel  features a schedule with up-and-coming local artists, well-known local artists, or nationally known artists. The diverse music ranges from alternative to jazz to country and more. And the list of past performers, including The Beatles, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones, gives you an idea of the caliber of performance you will be treated to. The rooms are a treat too. All rooms have pine furniture, gas fireplaces, and views of Puget Sound or the Olympic Mountains.

The Moore Hotel

The Moore Hotel is conveniently connected to the Moore Theater, which is the oldest functioning theater in Seattle. The theater, operated by the Seattle Theater Group, presents a wide variety of performances: concerts, musicals, lectures, and dance, comedy, and variety shows. You’re sure to find a performance to your liking. The hotel’s glamorous lobby with restored tile-work, moldings, and marble, and the rooms decorated in an alluring cross between hipness and tradition will charm your socks off.

Hotels Near Venues

Both the Executive Hotel Pacific and W Seattle are within walking distance of the famous Showbox at the Market. The Showbox has been open since 1939 and has hosted famous artists stretching from Duke Ellington to the Ramones, as well as Pearl Jam, Macklemore, and Prince. It is a comparatively small venue with seating for approximately 1,100, making it a great place to see a concert.

A stay at the Mediterranean Inn or the Hampton Inn & Suites Seattle Downtown places you just a few blocks from Vera Project. The Vera Project is a music venue and more. There are weekly concert featuring newer artists like The Hollers, A Weekend at the Feelies, and Karma Knows. There are also classes in sound engineering, recording, lighting, writing, and DJ-ing. The Vera Project is the perfect venue for anyone interested in becoming part of the music industry.

Photo by Ron Mendoza via trover.com

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tips for Planning a Trip to Chicago on a Budget

Planning a trip that adheres to a budget, yet still packs in all the enjoyment you want to experience, can be a challenge. And Chicago is not an inexpensive city. However, when you keep these tips in mind, your trip to the Windy City is sure to be a successful one.

Photo by Sue Macchiarella via trover.com

Finding a Flight

When looking up flights to Chicago, remember that there are two airports that service the city: Chicago Midway International Airport and O'Hare International Airport. Compare the prices of flights to each airport; you might be able to save some money by flying into one airport instead of the other. Another thing to keep in mind, if you have some flexibility with your travel dates, is that you could save money by flying into or out of town a day earlier or later. You can play around with arrival and departure dates to find the most budget friendly combination.

Finding a Hotel

With so many hotels in Chicago, it helps to know about the options before booking a room. If you’re okay with not being downtown, there are many hotels in Rosemont that have lower rates than downtown hotels. Rosemont is also close to O'Hare International Airport, and several hotels have free shuttles from the airport. Plus, it’s easy to get downtown by taking advantage of the budget friendly Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line. Two hotels that you might want to consider for their great rates and favorable reviews are The Crowne Plaza Hotel Chicago O'Hare and the Hyatt Regency O'Hare.

Do you prefer staying downtown? You can still find reasonably priced hotels. The Dana Hotel And Spa has much lower rates on average than other nearby hotels. It earns great reviews for its luxury boutique styling and its comfortable rooms. It also has a really cool rooftop lounge that is open year-round. You can also save money at the more well-known, pricier hotels by taking advantage of special pricing offers and discount packages. Sofitel Chicago Water Tower has a money saving second honeymoon package and offers substantial discounts for longer stays.

Finding Free Fun

You don’t have to spend a dime to enjoy several of Chicago’s famous activities and attractions. Kids will love Millennium Park with its famous interactive video sculpture and family activities. And the Lincoln Park Zoo is another favorite for kids. Seeing the wide array of animals will give your children outstanding memories to last a lifetime.

Photo by Meredith Haas via trover.com

There are plenty of free things for adults too. The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago has collections of European art, Asian art, contemporary art, and more. The works by artists including Picasso, Matisse, and Ansel Adams are really something to be seen. If you are into architecture, a visit to the Harold Washington Library Center is a must. The building is absolutely stunning architecturally. It has roof ornamentation depicting giant owls and wall medallions of the Roman goddess Ceres.

Photo by Richard Kidd via trover.com

These are just a few suggestions to get you started with planning your travel, lodging, and entertainment. Chicago is a marvelous city where you are sure to something new around every corner.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Best of Orlando Hotels with Outdoor Recreation

There's more to the compelling city of Orlando than famous theme parks. Recreational sports lovers can find their own fun at several Orlando hotels, many of which have on-site outdoor sports amenities for both adults and kids. There are hotels with golf courses, putting greens, tennis courts, biking trails, and more. You don’t have to leave your hotel to have fabulous outdoor fun.

Photo by Rita LaDouceur  via trover.com

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress has so many activities available that you might have to stay a week to revel in them all. To begin with, there are four Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, eight clay tennis courts, and four turf tennis courts. There’s a private lake with paddleboats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and hydro bikes. The pool is lagoon-style with 12 waterfalls, a swim-through grotto, a waterslide, and more. If you can fit a meal in between all of the thrills, there are several dining options for everyone. Also, the rooms have everything you need for a contented night’s sleep.

Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel

While the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel doesn’t have quite the number of activities that the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress provides, it still features plenty of outdoor activities and a stay here is won’t empty your wallet as much. One of the coolest things at Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel is their Olympic size, regulation sand volleyball court. There are also tennis courts, nature trails, and four outdoor heated pools. You won’t find too many other hotels with 12 restaurants featuring Italian, Mexican, Sushi, Steak, and more. The rooms are luxuriously appointed with Georgian style furniture.

Hilton Orlando

With a stay at the Hilton Orlando, there is never a shortage of exciting things to do. You can hit the course, a 9-hole putting green course that is perfect for a quick round with your kids, or the courts — tennis, basketball, and volleyball that is. And when you’re ready to cool off, you can swoosh down the waterslide or float down the lazy river. The hotel has several dining options, from poolside cafes to a stylish, upscale steakhouse. After all that activity, you will take comfort in the handsomely decorated rooms with peaceful earthy touches.

Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Lodge

As you might expect, Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Lodge has an amazing golf course: 27 holes on the shores of the scenic Butler Chain of Lakes. It also has a tennis facility with clay and turf courts. What you might not expect at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Lodge is a marina. Whether you are going to fish or observe the awesome Florida wildlife, you’ll love a boat excursion. You’ll also enjoy the dining room food and the guest rooms with framed photos from Arnold Palmer’s personal collection.

JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

Want to play an 18-hole course designed by Greg Norman? JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes has one. The hotel also has tennis, volleyball, biking, kayaking, fly fishing, and a pool with a lazy river. For dining, the hotel has many restaurants, from Asian to Italian, and more.  The rooms are decorated in serene tones of blue and green.

Photo by Global Heartbeat via trover.com

When you make outdoor recreation your focus, you can have as many Orlando-based thrills as you would at theme park.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Best of Chicago’s Lincoln Park Hotels

One of Chicago’s most popular attractions is the Lincoln Park Zoo, and for good reason, but the Lincoln Park neighborhood has much more to offer. There are so many high-end stores, unique boutiques, museums, restaurants, taverns, theaters, and live music clubs that you could spend your entire trip to Chicago in Lincoln Park and not even miss downtown. In fact, some of Chicago’s top rated restaurants are in Lincoln Park, including Alinea, Riccardo Trattoria, and Boka.

If you stay in one of the hotels in Chicago in Lincoln Park, you will be able to fully appreciate every aspect of the beautiful neighborhood, from the architecture of the incredible row houses and historic churches, to the lush and serene parks that dot the area, to the business corridors with their incredible shopping and entertainment options. With the hotel choices available, you are sure to find one that is to your, and your wallet’s, liking. 
  
Photo by Yelena Galstyan via Trover.com

Hotel Lincoln, a Joie de Vivre Hotel

The views from Hotel Lincoln, a Joie de Vivre Hotel are stunning. Soak in the green of Lincoln Park, the blue of Lake Michigan, and the bright lights of Chicago’s famous skyline from the hotel’s rooftop bar while enjoying a cocktail. Hungry? The on-site restaurant, Perennial Virant, will not disappoint. It’s overseen by chef Paul Virant of the famed Boka restaurant. The hotel has complimentary bike rentals and pedicabs for your convenience. The comfortable rooms at this 4-star hotel are an added bonus.

Days Inn Chicago

The Days Inn Chicago is a great hotel to consider if don’t want the bells and whistles that fancier hotels have. The hotel still has everything you need for a comfortable stay, and it is a great value for its location. The rooms are sparsely decorated, but clean and pleasant, and they come with a complimentary continental breakfast. And Days Inn Chicago even has miniature golf and a driving range for your entertainment.

Villa Toscana Guest House

If you prefer lodging that’s intimate and cozy, Villa Toscana Guest House will be perfect for you. It is a charming guest house with eight European style rooms from which you may choose. The rooms — French, Venetian, English, Empire, Art-Deco, British Colonial, Neo-Classic, or Moroccan — have either queen or full beds. Every room comes with free Wi-Fi and a complimentary continental breakfast.

Chicago Getaway Hostel

You might be surprised by everything you’ll find at Chicago Getaway Hostel. The hostel has traditional dormitory rooms that sleep up to 12 people with common bathrooms, but it also has private rooms with private baths. The complimentary breakfast served in the cafeteria provides for a wonderful opportunity to meet other guests from around the world. There’s a music room with a grand piano and guitars, a television room, free Wi-Fi, and computer stations. You won’t find a better price for lodging than at this hostel which receives consistently positive reviews.

Photo by Adam Biedron via trover.com

Each of the hotels and lodging options are located within walking distance of numerous Lincoln Park attractions. Catch a comedy show at Second City, a concert at Park West, or a game at Wrigley Field. Whatever you decide to do, you are bound to have a spectacular time in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Incredible San Francisco Memories – An Opinion Piece

San Francisco is definitely a place where you can make incredible memories, and the opportunities to create them are numerous. Think about seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in person. It is nothing like the postcard versions, and riding a cable car is nothing like watching an old Rice-A-Roni commercial. If you are planning a trip to San Francisco, consider some of the activities and attractions that are our favorites.

Photo by Steven Monigold via Trover.com

Memorable Activities

Riding San Francisco's cable cars is something everyone should experience at least once. After all, this is one of the rare places where you can ride an actual vintage cable car, not a replica, on real steel rails. The swaying of a moving cable car and the smell of the wooden brakes are unlike anything you will encounter on modern forms of public transportation. This is an activity that is certainly worth your time, even if it is a touristy one.

If you take the Hyde Street cable car, hop off near Lombard Street for another San Francisco treat. You will be near the top of what has been called the most crooked street in the world. This block of Lombard is super steep and has eight sharp turns. It also has magnificent views of the city and Bay Bridge. My husband and I especially love walking down the steps alongside the curvy street and checking out the impressive mansions with immaculate landscaping. It is considered one of the wealthiest areas in San Francisco.

Photo by John Corvus via Trover.com

Memorable Attractions

Because I love being near water, Pier 39 is a favorite of mine. I’m not much into shopping, though there are many stores for those who are. Instead, I go for the views of the bay, the boats, and the sea lions. You can see Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, and more from the pier. The variety of boats at Pier 39 Marina is amazing. When it comes down to it though, the sea lions are the best part. There is nothing like seeing hundreds of the amazing creatures basking in the sun on floating docks. It's unforgettable.
Photo by The Travelling Quill via Trover.com

It may seem contradictory for me to say that Ghirardelli Square is another favorite place since I previously said I don’t like shopping, but I do make exceptions. This exception has to do with memories. When I was young, my father took me to the Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop. I loved it, and that memory has stayed with me ever since. Plus, I do like to shop at Lola Toy Shop for my kids and Yap for my dog. My husband and I enjoy the Pub at Ghirardelli Square, too.

Where to Stay

We like to stay in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, and there are San Francisco hotels aplenty there. We usually stay at either Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf or Radisson Hotel Fisherman's Wharf depending on which hotel has better rates when we go. They each have clean and comfortable rooms, impressive amenities, and a great location.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cities Less Traveled: Trekking a Different Side of Tokyo

You might want to consider stepping off of the main streets and back into the alleys if you want a unique experience on your trip to Tokyo. The many narrow lanes throughout Tokyo are called yokocho alleys, and walking down these alleys will transport you to a funky and not-so-well-known side of Tokyo.  The yokocho alleys are filled with offbeat shops, restaurants, bars, and more. You won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to encounter the local culture and traditions in yokocho alleys.

Photo by Kate Stella via trover.com

Nonbei Yokocho

Nonbei Yokocho is also known as Drunkard’s Alley because of its many tiny bars. If you like the intimate feeling of smaller bars, you’ll love the bars here; some of them seat only four people. Nonbei Yokocho also has several bistros, Yakitori shops (skewered meat), and eccentric stores. It is considered one of Tokyo’s coolest back alleys with its retro feel. Nonbei Yokocho is located right near Shibuya Station. It's hidden well from the main streets; you’ll know you are there when you see the vibrant red lanterns.

Harmonica Yokocho

Because the rows of small shops in this alley resemble harmonica reeds and holes, it was given the name Harmonica Yokocho. It is home to several restaurants, as well as grocery stores, clothing stores, and specialty food shops that sell yokan (candy made from bean paste) and taiyaki (fish-shaped cake stuffed with sweet anko bean paste). Harmonica Yokocho even has fortune tellers. The vibe of this yokocho alley, which is just north of Kichijoji Station, is similar to that of an Asian bazaar. The variety of things to do here provides for an enjoyable and memorable day.

Photo by Takashi Kamiya via trover.com

Kurobe Yokocho

Kurobe Yokocho is also called black-fence alley because it is surrounded by chic black walls. This yokocho alley is known for the variety of cuisines served at its restaurants; there is outstanding Japanese, Okinawan, Korean, and more. You can delight in the flavors of dishes such as kushikatsu (seasoned, skewered meat dipped in egg, flour, and panko then deep fried) and Okinawan soba (thick wheat noodles served in flavored broth topped with fish cake, pork belly, and boneless pork ribs and garnished with pickled ginger). Your taste buds will be titillated. Kurobe Yokocho is just a few minutes from Tokyo Station.

Ameya Yokocho

If you like shopping and finding great deals, Ameya Yokocho is the yokocho alley for you. It is a street market with over 181 discount shops. You will find everything from unique local products to clothes, shoes, jewelry, plants, antiques, and more. Of course there are also restaurants, cafes, and fruit stalls where you can enjoy a meal or snack during your shopping excursion. What makes shopping here extra entertaining is the fact that you can negotiate prices with the shop owners. Ameya Yokocho is located next to Ueno Station.

Photo by Ross W via trover.com

There are numerous other yokocho alleys throughout Tokyo that you will be delighted by, too; this is just a small sampling to give you an idea of the variety of their offerings. For added convenience during your trip, there are many Tokyo hotels located near the yokocho alleys, so you won’t have to walk far for your adventures.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Best of New York City Hotels with Awesome Eats

The city of New York is famous for its skyline, museums, Broadway shows, and so much more. There is never a shortage of things to do in New York City, and there is never a shortage of wonderful places to eat. New York is home to an innovative, diverse restaurant scene. If you plan your trip to New York City right, you won’t even have to leave your hotel to experience some of the finest cuisine the city has to offer because there are several hotels in New York City that have their own top-rated restaurants.

Photo by Jonah&Carmen @ Here and There Without a Care via Trover.com

The Waldorf Astoria New York

The Waldorf Astoria New York is where you will find the famous Bull and Bear Steakhouse. The restaurant has many cuts of steak from which you may choose, including the mouth-watering Black Wagyu New York Steak. There are also chicken and seafood dishes. Of course, no stay at the Waldorf Astoria would be complete without enjoying the famous Waldorf salad.

The 5-star Waldorf Astoria New York has elegantly decorated, luxurious rooms with beautiful wood furniture and fancy drapery. You will not be disappointed with a stay at this famous hotel.

Martha Washington

In the hotel lobby at New York’s Martha Washington hotel is Marta, an Italian restaurant that serves meals cooked over open embers. The flavors introduced to food with this cooking method will blow your taste buds away. There are several delicious meat and seafood dishes available, including Pork Milanese, Beer-Brined Chicken, and Grilled Striped Bass.

The rooms at this 4-star hotel are pleasing to your budget and your senses. Decorated in shades of black and white with splashes of red to add interest, the rooms have a modern, fun look, and the plush bedding gives them a comfortable feel. 

Trump Soho New York

Koi Soho at Trump Soho New York is the perfect place to delight in some of New York’s incredible Japanese cuisine. The super fresh sushi is made with fresh ingredients including toro, octopus, snow crab, and yellowtail, and is like no sushi you have tried before. The restaurant is also known for their Hamachi fusion, peppercorn filet mignon, grilled sea bass, and miso-bronzed black cod.

The opulence and amenities at this 5-star hotel are definitely something to write home about. The rooms have unique and stunning wall treatments, and the touches of leather and exquisite fabrics will really spoil you.

Hotel Elysee

New York’s Hotel Elysee, a 4-star hotel with a country inn feel, features a well-known restaurant that has become even more famous thanks to recent appearances on “Mad Men” and “Sex in the City.” When you stay at the hotel and eat at The Monkey Bar, you will be treated like you are famous, too.  

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

Another 5-star hotel with an outstanding restaurant is The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel. The Carlyle Restaurant, known for its Dover sole, also has delectable caviar, venison, duck confit, and a tasting menu that lets you sample several of the other popular menu items.  The hotel rooms are decorated in a funky art deco style.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Best of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter Hotels

San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter has it all: culture, cuisine, concerts, and much, much more. There are also many excellent hotels in San Diego that place you directly in the Gaslamp Quarter so you can enjoy it around the clock. After all, the nightlife is a big part of its appeal.

Photo by John Henry via trover.com

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego – The Best Partying, Dancing and Music


Hard Rock Hotel San Diego brings the nightlife to you with two different clubs: a rooftop bar and a dance club. Float is famous for its rooftop pool parties where you can dance, swim, and enjoy excellent music and cocktails. The pool has a swim up bar, and there are lounge areas with fire pits to keep you cozy. If you can’t get enough dancing, Club 207 is one of San Diego’s most popular dance clubs. A stay at the hotel gives you VIP access to both clubs.

If you love seeing live music, try to plan your trip around the hotel’s Third Thursdays which feature famous national artists as well as the top local bands. There is also a monthly event called Maryjane's Underground that features San Diego’s best up-and-coming musical talent and a hosted bar. You can sip in style and get a true taste of the local music scene at these events.

When you are not partying, you can rock out in the vibrantly colored and cushy rooms that come with your choice of 20 Fender electric guitars, or you can relax with spa treatment at the hotel’s spa.

Hotel Indigo Gaslamp Quarter – The Best Dog Friendly, Boutique and Eco-Chic


Many people consider their dog a part of the family, and you don’t have to leave home without your dog when you stay at Hotel Indigo Gaslamp Quarter. A stay at the hotel includes complimentary doggie daycare and rooms with a dog bed and bowls. If you don’t want to take your dog out on the town with you, there are several nearby restaurants dog where your dog can dine with you.

The warm colors and chic d├ęcor are welcoming features of rooms in this boutique hotel which is the first LEED Certified hotel in San Diego. Various green methods are utilized throughout the hotel, including a 4,000 square-foot green roof that insulates the hotel. The rooftop is also a great place to enjoy nightlife at the hotel’s Level 9 bar and lounge.

Photo by Michelle Rouet via trover.com

Omni San Diego Hotel – The Best Award-Winning and Family Friendly


Consistently voted one of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hotels, Omni San Diego Hotel has also received a Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Award as one of the top hotels in Southern California, and it was voted “The Best Downtown San Diego Hotel for Families” in 2013 by Trekaroo. Your children will feel extra special when they receive a backpack at check-in that is filled with games and goodies. Kids also get milk and cookies delivered by room service on the first night of your stay.

The hotel has dining options for everyone in the family too. There is fine dining for Mom and Dad, a pastry and dessert shop for snacks and treats, and a casual poolside bar and grill. Your kids will love that they don’t have to get dressed and leave the pool area to get meals.

Photo by Erik Rowley via trover.com

Whichever of the San Diego hotels you end up selecting, you are sure to have a memorable trip when you stay in the Gaslamp Quarter.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Hipmunk City Love -- Venice, Italy: How to Get Around on a Budget

If you have never been to the city known as the Bride of the Sea, one of the first things to do when preparing for your trip to Venice is learn the best ways of getting around the 117-island city that has no motor vehicles. The islands are connected by 177 canals and 409 bridges, so traveling by water and foot are the only choices. There are several options when it comes to water travel. Choose the right one, and you will be able to navigate the beautiful city for a price that fits your budget.

Gondolas

Gondolas may be the most recognized of Venice’s boats, but a gondola ride is actually more of a tourist trap than a reasonable method of getting you from one location to another. Gondola rides are expensive 40-minute fixed-rate cruises. That being said, gondolas are a part of Venice’s history and culture, and a trip to Venice wouldn’t be complete without a gondola ride. Rates are higher at night, so take a daytime trip to save money. You can also save money by sharing a ride; gondolas hold six people.

Photo by Little Mermaid At Sea via Trover.com

Traghetti

The ferries called traghetti are large gondolas that hold up to 14 people. Unlike gondolas, traghetti are not decorated and do not have fancy chairs; most passengers ride a traghetto standing. Because they are basic and hold more people, traghetti rides are much less expensive than gondola rides. And even though the rides are much shorter than gondola rides, you still get the gondola experience at a much more budget-friendly price.

Vaporetti

The most reasonably priced method of water travel is via vaporetto. Vaporetti are large water buses that are the main form of public transportation in Venice. There are different vaporetto lines, but like the gondolas, rates are fixed. They travel through the main canals, around the lagoon, and to the islands. Most lines run from 5:00 a.m. to midnight. Riding a vaporetto will save you money and let you feel like a local.
Photo by Cara Mason Rea via Trover.com

Venezia Unica

You can save more money on public transportation in Venice by purchasing a city pass card called Venezia Unica. The card lets you ride the Vaporetti at residents’ rates, and it provides discounts at museums, churches, and other cultural attractions. The card can be purchased online in advance at the Venezia Unica website. A cool thing about the card is you can create your own according to your travel plans. You can choose the attractions that you plan to visit, and the services you plan to use, so you will not be paying for discounts at places you won’t visit.

Photo by At the end of the Rainbow via Trover.com

Once you know how to get around in Venice, it will be easy to get to the city’s famous attractions like the Rialto Bridge, The Basilica di San Marco, and Doge’s Palace. Make sure to visit the city’s famous museums too; Museo Civico Correr, Ca' Rezzonico, and Galleria dell'Accademia are a few you won’t want to miss. There are several hotels in Venice that are conveniently located for visits to these attractions. The hotels can help arrange your transportation too. 

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jazz Up Your Stay in Washington, D.C.

Jazz music might not immediately come to mind when you think of Washington, D.C., but it should. The district is Duke Ellington’s birthplace, and it's home to several world famous jazz clubs. To make the most out of your trip to Washington, D.C., immerse yourself in the spectacular sounds of live jazz at a local club or at one of the hotels in Washington, D.C. that hosts live jazz nights.

Photo by Jeff Dunlap via trover.com

Jazz Clubs

Blues Alley

Blues Alley has been around since 1965, and is still a hotspot today. Many famous jazz musicians have appeared at the club and some have recorded there, including Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis. Blues Alley has live shows almost every night of the year. The music and the supper club give you a true taste of jazz, especially when you order a menu item like Tony Bennett’s Shrimp & Artichoke Hearts or Eartha Kitt’s Catfish Po’ Boy.

Twins Jazz

Named one of DownBeat’s top 100 jazz clubs in the world, Twins Jazz derives its name from its Ethiopian twin sister owners, Kelly and Maize Tesfaye. The club has live music every night of the week and encourages local music students to participate in weekly jam sessions. Twins Jazz is the perfect place to listen to the cool sounds of jazz while dining on a delicious assortment of American, Ethiopian, and Caribbean cuisine.

Photo by Sarah via trover.com

HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz & Blues

The center is named for House Resolution 57, which designated jazz "a rare and valuable national American treasure." Its mission is to educate people about jazz through lectures, music lessons, exhibits, and experiences. The club at HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz & Blues offers weekly jam sessions for aspiring artists and weekend performances by local jazz musicians and touring artists.

Jazz Hotels

The Henley Park Hotel

The Blue Bar lounge at The Henley Park Hotel has live jazz shows Saturday nights from 7:30 to 10:30. The shows feature well-known local artists, and there is no cover charge, so you can enjoy live music right where you're staying without paying a dime. The lounge also serves several small plates, including yucca fries, calamari, and stuffed mushrooms. You will love the hotel, a beautifully restored Tudor building with exquisitely elegant rooms.

The Hotel George, a Kimpton Hotel

The Hotel George, a Kimpton Hotel has a complimentary wine hour in its lobby every evening. During the wine hour, not only do you get to sample some wonderful beverages, you also get to take in the sound of live jazz music played on the beautiful grand piano. In addition, the hotel is home to an award-winning restaurant where you might run into celebrities who often dine on the savory French cuisine. The rooms are sleek and modern, yet comfortable.

An encounter with the jazzy side of Washington, D.C. will provide an excellent soundtrack for a memorable trip.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.
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