Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service!

The US National Park Service turns 100 today! There are over 400 national parks, monuments and historic sites that the National Park Service works hard to upkeep and preserve. In honour of this milestone birthday, we're dishing out travel suggestions featuring two of our favourite National Parks and one epic road trip; Joshua Tree to Death Valley. 

It will take about four hours to get from to Death Valley. We recommend dedicating about two days in and around the town of Joshua Tree to take in the sights of the area. This includes:

Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum - Noah Purifoy Foundation  - the most incredible sculpture park.  

Crossroads Cafe - the most delicious food in town! 

Pioneertown - if you're into Westerns, this quaint little town was created originally to be used as a movie set.

From there, it'll be over 200 miles of the most sensational landscape on a mostly very flat road. So an easy, but quite hypnotic and absolutely stunning drive.  

But it will be worth it. Because of this:

And this:

And this:

If you go:

Airbnb has a number of super cool accommodation options, including our very favourite below.
CarRentals.com has crazy good deals. Bonus points for being able to pickup in one state, and drop off in another. 
For Joshua Tree, fly into Palm Springs; Las Vegas is the closest airport to Death Valley. 

Happy Trails to you! 

Boarding Pass | Travel News from Around the World

Boarding Pass | Travel News from Around the World

What to do this year at Doors Open Toronto

Doors Open Toronto is back for another year! Taking place on May 28 and 29, the event grants the public access to over 130 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city. With some of the buildings only open to the public during this annual event, its pretty much the next best thing to snooping through strangers' homes! 

Here are some of our favourite places to check out this weekend: 

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Aviation lovers, take note! On Saturday, May 28, the airport will be touring Doors Open visitors though the newly built underwater tunnel, as well as giving visitors the rare opportunity to watch planes up close as they take of and land. 

Historic Don Jail
Now the bridgepoint administrative building, get access to the jail not usually open to the public. This one is always a popular Doors Open option, so be sure to plan your schedule accordingly. 

Congregation Knesseth Israel
Because it's always lovely to learn about religions, cultures and traditions, check out the Congregation Knesseth Israel where community members will talk about the history of the Shul as well as guide you around the building, which houses the only Mikvah in the west end of Toronto, and has a number of distinct features. 

Ismaili Centre Toronto
Another great way to learn about religions, this beautiful Islamic centre is open all weekend. The stunning architecture features a beautiful prayer hall with a crystalline glass dome. We may never leave. 

MODERNest House 4
A truly unique way to see how Toronto's architects live. Visitors will have a chance to tour the ground floor and basement and see a home that comlements a contemporary lifestyle for the urban family. 

 

For more information about Doors Open Toronto, visit their website. 

MUST DO IN THE CITY | This Weekend’s Toronto Events Not To Miss Out On

Because it's the freakin' LONG weekend, Toronto and we're about to have us some fun: 

Friday, May 20, 2016
Start your weekend off right by enjoying a cold one at one of the many new breweries that have opened in this city. We recommend Rainhard BrewingBandit Brewery andHalo Brewery.  

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Dance your pretty little face off at BOY PROB•LEMS: a Carly Rae Jepsen Queer Dance Party, celebrating our favourite Canadian Idol. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016
A delicious doner bbq at one of our favourite patio bars in the city? Check and check

Monday, May 23, 2016
You deserve some more delicious craft beer to celebrate the long weekend at our favourite spot in the city. 
Finish your long weekend off with a bang - literally. 

Get Ready for Another Fun Summer with Toronto's Craft Beer Passport... x 2!

 

Starting tomorrow, May 18, Toronto Craft Beer lovers will be able to purchase their 2016 Craft Beer Passports. This ingenious initiative lets you purchase a $20 passport, which then allows you to buy $2 craft beers at participating bars around Toronto. 

New this year is the option to choose from a east or west end passport; but heck, why not do both!

This year's selection of bars include some of our favourites: Rainhard BrewingLoveless Cafe, 
Get WellHitch BarLeft Field Brewery; brand new places we've been super excited to check out: Bandit BreweryLansdowne BreweryHenderson Brewery, as well as literally every other bar on the list. 

For more information and a full listing of all participating bars, check out the Craft Beer Passport website.

Boarding Pass | Travel News from Around the World

Our Favourite Jane's Walk tours in Honour of Jane Jacobs' 100th Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Jane Jacobs! The urban activist and local hero would have turned 100 today. This incredible woman changed the way people think about the cities they live in, encouraging urban dwellers to embrace the beautiful chaos of it all.

Each year, cities across the world participate in Jane's Walk, locally organized walking tours where people get together to explore and celebrate their neighbourhoods.

Below, a list of our favourite Jane's walks happening in Toronto this month:

May 4
Jane Jacobs' 100 Birthday Jane's Walk!
Because there's no better way to celebrate! 

May 6
Kensington Market as Cultural Landscape
Because tourists and locals alike love this piece of boho heaven. Learn about this neighbourhood's history, and how the market exists in the cultural imagination.

May 7
Introduction to Rouge National Public Park
A soon to be National Park right in our own Toronto backyard?! Yes please. 

May 7
Queer and Fabulous!
Learn about the history and talk about the future of Toronto's lgbtq community! 

May 7
Take a Walk on the Sunnyside
Did you know Toronto had an amusement park not unlike Coney Island? Find out what happened on this walk down memory lane. 

May 8
The Beltline and Beyond: The Midtown Trail Loop
Hop on your bicycle and explore this 16km trail! 

May 8
The Scarborough Bluffs
Discover the beauty of this Toronto gem!

May 8
Dundas West, The Real Deal: Glaciers and Beyond
Because we're biased about our favourite neighbourhood in all of Toronto

Check out the Jane's Walk website for information about all the incredible walks you can take part in not only in Toronto but world wide! 
 

Top Picks for Canadian Music Week

It's here! Toronto's multi-venue week-long music festival is already in full swing. 
Here are the shows we're super excited to be checking out:

Tuesday, May 3
Bob Mould at the Horseshoe Tavern
There's a reason this man is playing two nights at the Horseshoe Tavern. Because he's an indie rock legend. And you should totally go see him. 

Wednesday, May 4
Bob Mould Band at the Horseshoe Tavern
I mean, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? 

Wednesday, May 4
The Strumbellas at the Phoenix
 "Spirits" has got to be one of the catchiest songs ever and don't mind if we just keep listening to it over and over and over again... <3

Thursday, May 5
No Joy at Velvet Underground
We've been girl crushing on this girl-fronted shoegaze outfit from Montreal for a while now. Can't wait to dance around to these psychedelic goddesses.

Friday, May 6
Diarrhea Planet at Horseshoe Tavern
We may or may not have broken a record with the amount of times we saw this band a few years back at SXSW.  We still cringe a little everytime we have to tell someone the name of one of our favourite bands, but remember what your mama told you: don't judge a book by it's cover. 

For more info, check out Canadian Music Week's website

 

BOARDING PASS | Travel News from Around the World

Boarding Pass | Travel News from Around the World

What To Do In Vegas... If You're Just Not That Into Vegas

We know what you're thinking a.) who doesn't love Vegas? and b.) why would you go to Vegas if you don't like it? 

Well, a.) despite the $1.99 margaritas and the Bellagio Fountains. Las Vegas is definitely not for the faint at heart. and b.) maybe because you'd love to see the incredible beauty surrounding Vegas; you're on a business trip with a couple of days to spare; or because your cousin Bill decided to get hitched here could be a couple of reasons why you're currently hanging out in Sin City, even if it's not your thing.

Whatever the reason, we've got you covered! Here are a few gems from our recent trip to Las Vegas guaranteed to be loved by those that may not particularly enjoy a typical Las Vegas vacation:

EAT & DRINK

Turns out Downtown Las Vegas is becoming quite the culinary haven for those of us looking to stay away from the all you can eat buffets or the 1 million dollar throngs of insert famous chef here restaurants on the strip. They include: 

Park on Freemont
It would be easy to blink and miss this gem of a restaurant tucked away in an unsuspecting building just east of the Freemont Experience. But walk inside the conventional looking building and you'll find yourself inside a charming saloon-inspired gastropub. Walk through the back doors and you'll be in a magical patio, twinkly lights included, with delicious food and a great selection of craft beer and cocktails. 

Le Thai
Thai food isn't exactly what comes to mind when you're thinking of must try culinary experiences in Las Vegas, but then again, this isn't your typical Vegas guide. Just a few feet away from Park on Freemont, Le Thai focuses on simple but delicious thai food; curry, fried rice and stir fry dishes populate the menu, with a good selection of beer and must-try fried bananas for dessert. Meanwhile, the 50 seat restaurant provides an intimate atmosphere that feels like you're in your own neighbourhood's hidden gem; a perfect escape into a relaxing calm when you're feeling too much sensory overload. 

Carson Kitchen
This sleek gastropub takes comfort food to a whole new level with stand out items like bacon jam, chicken skins and cocoa-espresso new york strip, while the restaurant's drink menu features delicious craft brews such as Bad Beat Hoppy Times IPA and Maui Bikini Blonde Lager. A must try in yet another area of Vegas that is decidedly so unlike Vegas. 

Heaven on a plate. AKA the brunch at Eat. 

Heaven on a plate. AKA the brunch at Eat. 

Eat.
If you're looking for the most delicious brunch in the desert, look no further than Eat.. Delicious brunch options include truffled egg sandwiches, huevos motulenos and - because it wouldn't be Vegas without this staple - chicken fried steak. All locally sourced and made with the freshest ingredients, of course. 

Lola's Louisiana Kitchen
One of the most authentic Cajun restuarants we've ever stumbled upon just happens to be - we kid you not - in Las Vegas. Bronzed catfish, Shrimp and Grits and Gumbo are just some of the A++ dishes that will leave you feeling like you're in NOLA. 

Commonwealth
This ain't no Vegas nightclub. Instead, it's a cocktail bar serving up delicious drinks with a great view of Fremont Street. If you can, booking a reservation in advance to the bar's speakeasy area is highly recommended. 

Hugo's Cellar
Ok, we cheated. Because nothing screams Las Vegas more than Hugo's Cellar does. BUT in the most nostalgic way ever. Tucked away in the cellar of the Four Queens Casino, this is as classic Vegas as it gets; waiters dressed in three piece suits, Salad A La Carte, roses for the ladies. Treat yourself.

PLAY

Container Park
This downtown park contains a shopping area, galleries, restaurants, a playground and more built from shipping containers surrounding a giant playground. The container park regularly hosts special events, such as wine walks and craft beer festivals, as well as plays and family activity days. Definitely worth checking out! 

A round of cornhole and some laughs at the Gold Spike

A round of cornhole and some laughs at the Gold Spike

Gold Spike
If you've ever wondered where the locals hang out in Vegas, this is it. This 24 hour spot has everything you've ever wanted in a bar: lots of outdoor space, good selection of beer, carnival games, live music, and an airstream (is the last one just us?). 

Downtown Grand's Rooftop Patio & Pool 

Downtown Grand's Rooftop Patio & Pool 

STAY

We loved, loved, loved our stay at the Downtown Grand Las Vegas. The rooms were spacious and clean and as an added bonus, the Casino attached to the hotel was incredibly quiet in comparison to the others in Downtown Fremont. 

But the real gem of the whole place is the incredibly relaxing rooftop patio. Pool included! 

ROAD TRIP

If you're still not sold on the idea of staying in Las Vegas, you're in luck! The town is just a couple hours away from some of these incredible places worth exploring: Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, Death Valley, Zion National Park, Joshua Tree, etc, etc. The world - as they say - is your oyster. Enjoy! 

Joshua Tree! 

Joshua Tree! 

 

 

PRESCOTT, ARIZONA'S GRAND HIGHLAND HOTEL

Prescott, Arizona is the home of Whiskey Row, the world's oldest rodeo, and infamous outlaw Billy the Kid. With the city located along one of the most scenic routes in America, an overnight stay or two in town is highly recommended. Which is why we were so excited to come across this latest hotel gem on our recent trip to Arizona. In fact, we're pretty sure if hotels competed in Rodeos, they'd be winning the top prize!

Here's why we loved our stay at the Grand Highland Hotel so much:  


Background:
The Grand Highland Hotel is a 12 room, family owned boutique hotel with a rich history. It served as a saloon and hotel since the early 1900s until a fire destroyed most of the building in the 2012. The damage done led to a complete reconstruction of the space to the beautiful property it is today.  

Highway 89

Highway 89

Location: 
The hotel is perfectly situated in Prescott's historic Whiskey Row. On the same street and just seconds away from the town's legendary bars and restaurants, including: Matt's Saloon,  Devil's Pantry and Palace Restaurant and Saloon
It is also minutes away from local brewery Granite Mountain brewing and tapas restaurant El Gato Azul
So many bonus points for being able to crawl back in case you get up to a little too much fun on Whiskey Row.

Additionally, Prescott is ideally located near some of the most beautiful places in Arizona; the incredibly scenic Sedona, the quaint town of Jerome, and Flagstaff and its San Francisco peaks are all less than a 1.5 hour drive. Wherever you end up going - on the way into or back from Prescott - make sure it involves travelling via the zig-zagging Hwy 89. You're welcome. 

Rooms:
The spacious 12 rooms are all beautifully decorated and historically themed. Whether you're booked in at the Speak Easy, which features a large bay window overlooking the main street,  or the Capitol Suite that includes a sitting parlour, know that each room comes equipped with air conditioning, cable tv and the most generously sized bathrooms. 

Amenities: 
In addition to the above, The Grand Highland hotel offers free internet, a selection of delicious continental breakfast treats and coffee, afternoon refreshments, free in-room water bottles and so much more! Ear plugs are also generously provided in case you're a light sleeper. 

It is the perfect destination in the heart of Prescott with beautiful rooms and amenities that can't be beat! For more information or to book your stay, visit the hotel's website

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