Though it looks like it belongs on a movie set in a small town where everyone knows your name, Larchmont Boulevard brings a certain charm to upscale boutiques, high-end eateries and popular shops you have come to love.
When it comes to shopping on Larchmont Boulevard, Noni Boutique is an absolute must when it comes to designer clothing, jewelry and accessories that can’t be found in department stores. Men looking to shop on Larchmont Boulevard should visit Legion Los Angeles, a rock ‘n’ roll type clothing store with popular and European finds for the most fashionable of men.
The restaurants on Larchmont Boulevard have also begun drawing people in, from a visit to Larchmont Village Wine Spirits & Cheese for a freshly made sandwich or Panini or a trip to Crumbs Bake Shop for a homemade cupcake concoction.
Along with great shopping and restaurants, the sheer beauty and elegance of the boulevard makes strolling the street just as exciting as a visit into a shop.
Nic’s Martini Lounge is one of the only places in Los Angeles where you can enjoy live music, eat dinner and take a trip to the VodBox for vodka tastings.
Though Nic’s is popular for dinner with specialty dishes such as Nic’s Oyster with spinach, garlic and walnuts as well as Pan Sear Filet Mignon with crispy fried onions, it is one of the only places in Beverly Hills that doesn’t close down once diners leave. Once the dinner rush is over, Nic’s turns into an after-hours lounge featuring live music and an array of specialty martinis to choose from. Though the live music can range from a Beatles cover band to a solo acoustic singer, the specialty martinis remain the same and the most popular drink on the menu. Specialty martinis include the “Beez Kneez” made of Marani Armenian Vodka with muddled raspberries and candied pear and the “Vicious & Delicious” made of Vicious vodka, vanilla liquor and strawberry juice.
If dinner and drinks isn’t enough to get your party started, a trip to the VodBox might just do the trick. As you dress yourself in luxurious furs, a trip inside the vodka locker allows you to taste some of the finest vodkas out there as well as in-flight tastings for the true vodka lover.
In the city that is infamous for hot weather, those at Nic’s are voluntarily entering freezing territory.
Downtown Miami’s got a river running through it and bars are now lining the area making it a place to see and be seen with a killer view to boot. Finnegan’s on the River packs them in on any given night after all, it’s great for a mid-week happy hour, Friday night end-of-the-week outing and Saturday night hot spot.
In typical Miami fashion, Sunday is a huge day at Finnegan’s when boaters are invited to park and join in on the pool party. The drink specials alone (c’mon, $3 and $5 cocktails are unheard of around here) are incentive enough to party at Finnegan’s.
Happy Hour is Monday to Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays it’s the perfect spot to watch a late afternoon college game and stay to party the night away.
Finnegan’s on the River is located at 401 SW 3 Avenue, Miami, FL
Off the beaten trail, and nestled in South Philadelphia this French sensation offers an experience unlike any other. A savory lunch or dinner at Creperie Beau Monde is something unique. From hearty buckwheat crepes to sweet crepes, mouthwatering salads to flavorful cheese plates Beau Monde is a foodies dream. The fresh vintage setting brings a feeling of France to the intersection of sixth and Bainbridge. On top (literally) of all of the wonder that is Beau Monde is L’Etage, where the French flare is illuminated into the night. There you can find a DJ pumping beats in a cozy cabaret setting well equipped with a dance floor.
If you are looking for a night of dinner and dancing or a memorable luncheon, Beau Monde/ L’Etage has it all under one roof. The Creperie is open Tues-Fri:12-12, Sat:10-11 and the cabaret upstairs runs Tue-Thu,Sun 7:30pm-1am; Fri-Sat 7:30pm-2am.
Insider’s Tips: L’Etage offers special nights for live cabaret, music, film and Djs.
Located in West Washington Square, Garces Trading Company offers a dining experience unlike any other. Whether you are dining at home and looking for a gourmet touch, or looking to dine out-Chef Jose Garces has created a one-stop shop. Food Network’s newest Iron Chef has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and opened Garces Trading Company, a cafe, wine shop and on-site bakery. Not only can you go in and purchase a bottle of wine to take home, but you can also buy a bottle with no markup price to accompany you at your table as an afforable asset to your meal. Along with a phenomenal menu for diners, customers can also purchase artisan cheeses, charcuterie, breads, desserts and much more. Although the restaurant is in the middle of the market, the ambience is charming and does not lack an ounce of rustic flare. This unique concept in a Philadelphia original and definitely worth a trip.
Insiders Tip: Check out the vingegar bar, where you can find a plethora of choices to dip your bread in before dinner. The pomegranate balsamic vinegar is delicious! Yum!
Food Network stars are no stranger to the Philadelphia food scene. Inspired by chef and TV personality Bobby Flay’s boyhood summers at the Jersey Shore, Bobby’s Burger Palace offers a gourmet spin on a fast-food favorite. A burger with fresh goat chesse and lemon meyer honey mustard runs for a reasonable price of $7.50, cheapier than most fancy burgers you would find in an upscale restaurant. You can also get the standard burger sides like fries at $2.50 or a thick creamy milkshakes for $5 a pop. With hip leather barstools, this 71-seat David Rockwell designed eatery resembles a back-to-the-future burger joint. I am sure Marty McFly would approve!
Insider’s Tip: If they ask you if you would like your burger “crunchified”, don’t be concerned. No they are not offering to burn it to a crispy black- they simply want to know if you would like to add chips on your burger for that extra bite!
Located in the heart of Rittenhouse, at 2006 Chestnut St, Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar is small venue that creates a lot of noise! Jolly Weldon’s 125-seat space surrounds two baby grands for pianists Anthony “Tony T” DeCarolis and “Wildman Joe” Marchetti. Every Tuesday through Saturday, these talented musicians battle to encourage the crowd to sing along with them to a 2,000+ song repertoire.
An abundant menu of snacks will feed your hunger as you work up an appetite singing along to all of your favorites. There’s also a two-hour happy hour from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. nightly with $3 well cocktails, $3 glasses of select red and white wines and $3 domestic beers, to help you sing your best!
Insider’s Tip: Make sure you don’t throw out your cocktail napkin, because each one acts as your song request form.
They’re stars on E the Entertainment Channel with two reality shows, the focus of one being the sisters Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian’s boutique DASH Miami located on South Beach’s gritty and happening Washington Avenue.
It’s a non-descript storefront that’s easily missed with a simple DASH sign but step inside and their style, which is a blend of fun and funky, comes right through. The K sisters love to showcase their favorite fashions in the stores from simple to simply embellished t’s, cool dresses, tanks and plenty of accessories of course. They’ve also got swimwear, a line they recently debuted at Miami Fashion Week.
DASH Miami is located at 815 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
What started out as a simple idea by Skip Bennett in 1992 has turned into a worldwide bivalve sensation known as Island Creek Oysters, which sells more than 100,000 a week. Today, most major restaurants in Boston offer the made-in Duxbury oysters but the brand, which has grown to be one of the largest oyster companies in the country, has also become a worldwide sensation. They are now even being flown into the JW Marriott in Hong Kong so it isn’t surprising Bennett and Co. would open an oyster bar at the Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square where you can slurp some of the best oysters in the world. Visit islandcreekoysterbar.com for more information.
Co-owners Brian Piccini and Executive Chef Christopher Coombs (who appeared on The Food Network’s show Chopped) have come together to showcase American Nouveau Cuisine with the opening of Deuxave Restaurant & Bar in the Back Bay. The duo from Dorchester’s dbar fame named Deuxave after its location at Massachusetts and Commonwealth Avenues. Be sure to check out the back bar, which was designed with an array of mirrors by Piccini to reflect the Back Bay skyline through the expansive bow front windows. The French-inspired restaurant serves up everything from Moroccan spiced Colorado lamb saddle to seared Hawaiian ahi tuna. Visit deuxave.com for more information.
Darryl Settles, creator of the BeanTown Jazz Festival, has opened Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen in the former spot of Bob the Chef’s. The neighborhood restaurant focuses on “the intersection of friends, food and music.” The lively spot offers a southern-inspired menu (think fried catfish strips, jambalaya and bourbon pecan pie) but also specialty items, including blackened sirloin steak. Relax and sip Darryl’s famous Chicken Martini or a Roxbury Raz and nosh on a late night menu while listening to some live jazz music playing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Visit darrylscornerbarboston.com for more information.
Veteran cultural group Tigertail Productions, headed up by legendary director Mary Luft, is presenting another season jam-packed with musical and theatrical performances as well as spoken word events.
They’ve been presenting passionate programs in performing and visual arts since 1979 and each year is better than the next. They’re known for pushing the envelope and bringing recognition to lesser-known artists who they feel deserve their time on stage.
Gracing this season’s calendar are Dutch jazz artists the Benjamin Herman Quartet, a variety of spoken word or “WordSpeak” events and workshops, blues legends Henry Gray & the Cats and jazz guitarist Bill Frisell. The Jess Curtis Gravity Dance troupe, featuring dancers from France, Germany, Italy, England and the United States, is an interdisciplinary mixed ability performance. And Japanese couple Eiko & Koma present their provocative performance piece “Raven.”
Tigertail’s performances are held on Miami Beach, in Coral Gables and throughout Miami. Visit their web site for exact locations.
The story goes that during American prohibition bartenders were considered the walking dead – hence the name “Death and Company” of this prohibition style bar in Manhattan’s present day East Village. Here you will find old fashioned stirred and shaken drinks such as the Straw Dog – that’s Compass Box Asyla Scotch, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, fresh squeezed lemon juice, Bitterman’s Grapefruit Bitters, and muddled strawberry – and the Bella Luna which is Plymouth Gin, St. Germain Elderflower, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and Creme Yvette. There’s an abbreviated wine and beer selection but an intriguing list of Champagne cocktails and punches to make up for it. There’s also a “Bites” menu with a lobster roll and crispy pork belly. The scene is all marble and mahogany, quiet but lively. They don’t let more people in than there are seats for so it’s never too crowded but you may have to wait outside – though it’s no problem, the doorman is quite friendly.
Tokio 7 is the little 7th Street consignment shop that everyone goes to. The shelves and racks are always packed with lightly used – sometimes brand-new looking – designer clothes, shoes, and accessories at about half the retail price; and because the store sells so much, everything in there is always current. Looking for a pair of slick Paul Smith oxfords? Or a metallic Gucci minidress? How about a pair of Persol sunglasses? Or a Helmut Lang tank? They’ve got all that – but not for long. Next week it will be gone and in it’s place some Marc Jacobs cargo pants, Valentino motorcycle boots, a couple of Balanciaga handbags, and a Jill Sander shift dress. If you are lucky you may even find a couture Chanel jacket. Whatever you are looking for, Tokio 7 is wort checking out, especially now that it’s in its new location that is just a smidge bigger.
Denver’s a wonder of early to mid-twentieth century architecture, and the Paramount Theatre is no exception, boasting as it does a sweeping Art Deco interior complete with a 1600-pipe Wurlitzer organ—a feature it shares with only one other venue in the nation, namely Radio City Music Hall. But this inductee into the National Register of Historic Places is also a vibrant showcase for performers of all kinds, from alternative songsters like Sufjan Stevens and star comedians like Louis CK and Margaret Cho to TV celebrities like Buddy Valastro, aka The Cake Boss. The Paramount screens films, hosts lectures—think talks by famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass—and of course stages holiday classics like The Nutcracker. In short, it’s a glitzy, posh one-stop entertainment shop.
The iconic Cameo Nightclub in the heart of South Beach on gritty Washington Avenue stands out among all other clubs on this famous strip. The old-style neon movie marquee can be seen from blocks away, alerting clubgoers that inside awaits an awesome night.
Once known as the Cameo Theatre, hence the marquee, there’s something going on every night. A combination of live performances and first-rate DJs including Max Vangeli, Saeed Younan and Chocolate Puma take turns on the stage and behind the booth to excite the huge crowds that gather to dance the night away to their pulsating rhythms. Cameo is also one of the spots to catch the latest masters during the yearly Winter Music Conference.
And it wouldn’t be a club on South Beach without some specialty weeknight parties like Stars and Stilettos on Tuesdays.
Cameo is located at 1445 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Coral Gables may be known for its restaurants, monthly Gallery Walk and upscale Mediterranean inspired architecture but it’s got a great nightlife too. For a quieter experience than South Beach or the Design District try the subdued, elegant Globe Cafe & Bar.
Great jazz artists hit the stage on Saturday nights, in this quaint spot to perform some top-rate, traditional and fusion Latin jazz. Legendary trumpet player Ira Sullivan has graced the stage as have trombonist John Fedchock, vocalist Valeria Proano, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and saxophonist Gary Campbell. And these are just a few of the rotating talents that make a night at the Globe Cafe a great night out for jazz lovers.
The Globe Cafe & Bar is located at 377 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, FL
One thing is for sure, visit a trendy hotel on South Beach and it’s very likely that they’ll use every inch of their space to provide multiple experiences for clubgoers and guests. The Shore Club is no exception where they utilize their interior and exterior space to the max, providing a nightclub experience among the palm trees as well as under the hot club lights.
The Redroom Garden surrounding the pool area is set up as an outdoor living room with Asian-style furniture and landscaped gardens filled with colorful perennials, bouganvilleas and passion flowers. It’s a true tropical oasis.
In keeping with the red theme, the interior Redroom is awash in the fiery color from the red lacquered teak floor, red walls that glow with intimate lighting and luxurious red bar stools. The comfy couches are filled with red-patterned cushions. No wonder local and national celebrities love to stop in and party here. Of course, a party on South Beach wouldn’t be complete without a DJ, they play here pretty much every night, Sunday afternoons there’s always a pool party.
SkyBar at the Shore Club is located at 1901 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Walking among cageless wild animals (no fear, they’re separated from visitors by a very wide moat) is what makes Zoo Miami, formerly known as Miami Metrozoo, such a unique experience. There’s nothing like walking along and seeing lions, tigers, giraffes, monkeys and other wildlife staring right back and roaming free without a cage in sight.
The place is huge, 327 developed acres and more than 2,000 animals representing over 500 species. One mode of transportation that’s popular with visitors are the safari cycles for pedaling around. There’s also the Monorail which has four stops throughout the zoo and Safari Tram Tours.
The zoo is split into several areas, including Asia, Wings of Asia Family Aviary, Africa, The Americas and Australia along with the Children’s Zoo with a petting yard and Butterfly Garden and Dr. Wilde’s World with 7,200 square feet of interactive exhibits.
For real “hands-on” experiences, there are giraffe feedings and camel rides.
Zoo Miami is located at 12400 SW 152 Street, Miami, FL
The concept at Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill is to entice diners with a combination of flavors in a wide variety of small plates, known around Europe (particularly Spain) as “tapas.” They have robata, hot and raw bar kitchens.
Their eclectic menu is contstantly changing so it’s a unique and different experience everytime. Some of their most ambitious items include bacon wrapped dates with linguica and manchego, thin-crust flatbread with cured tuna, tobiko and sour cream and Kobe beef sliders with tonkatsu and quail egg. Their hand picked market greens with with crumbled goat cheese and cherry bing vinaigrette is a great starter, free range bulled barbecue chicken on brioche bread served with zucchini pickles and pommes frites (very fancy and tasty fries) is a great entree sandwich and the homemade el ray chocolate chip ice cream sandwich is a tasty dessert.
Inside, the place is colorful, industrial and edgy with a West Indies flair through their paddle fans, watercolor stained walls, a tall green hedge surrounding the outdoor patio and a killer bar with colorfully displayed wine bottles and alcohol.
Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill is located at 3250 NE 1 Avenue, Miami, FL
The French are known for their design sense so a bit of European influence around the home is never a bad thing and it’s easy to find at the legendary Roche Bobois. These folks have been designing pieces inspired by the Bauhaus movement as well as French designers since 1950.
A group of European and American designers collaborate to create the four collections that feature contemporary, provincial, Les Voyages and their highest end the Collection Particuliere. Each features lines of sofas, armchairs, chairs, dining tables, coffee tables, children’s furniture, desks and much more. Enough to furnish every room in the house.
The quality and craftsmanship of the pieces can’t be beat, it’s part of the company’s stellar reputation. Their store is worth visiting simply to see outstanding furnishings and accessories unequaled by many.
Roche Bobois is located at 450 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables, FL
Hands-on, interactive permanent as well as traveling exhibitions are what Miami Science Museum is all about. Add in the interpretive presentations, Wildlife Center and Planetarium laser shows and it’s a full day affair!
Visiting this attraction means learning about all things scientific, whether it’s wind, electricity, the human body, dinosaurs, sharks, energy this place gets people moving since most all displays are interactive. Head outside to the Wildlife Center and see their amazing collection of turtles, snakes, birds of prey and other critters. It’s also a rehabilitation center for sick and injured birds so it’s an educational lesson as well.
And in the Planetarium, daytime shows focus on the telescope and on identifying the stars and planets. In the evening, laser shows take over, they’ve been a hit here for years and keep going strong. Watch laser lights move and groove while listening to the sounds of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley. On the first Friday of the month they open up the rooftop observatory for star viewing.
The Miami Science Museum & Planetarium is located at 3280 S. Miami Avenue, Miami, FL
A lounge is the last thing anyone going to party the weekend away on South Beach would put on their list of “must visit” hot spots, except when it comes to Purdy Lounge. This is a definite add-on.
Located a bit off the beaten path and marching to the beat of its own drummer, the mood at Purdy is the opposite of a high-energy, thumping nightclub. Here it’s all about board games, pool tables, lava lamps and best of all, reasonable drink prices. For patrons who still want a bit of that high-end SoBe atmosphere, they do have bottle service and a VIP area but for sure the “lounge” part of Purdy is where it’s at. Five deejays spin favorites that keep people singing along and dancing, it’s all about crowd pleasers here.
Reggae lovers should visit on Monday nights to hear live performances by Jean P. Jam, Thursdays ladies drink free 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. and in true SoBe style, there’s a party on Sunday nights too called Chocolate Sundays with drink specials and house deejays rotating each week.
Purdy Lounge is located at 1811 Purdy Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Using the softest silk fabrics and original designs from her mother’s collection as well as her own artistic vision, self-professed Bohemian stylist Arianne La Rue creates comfortable, airy, stylish fashions to suit any style and body type.
There’s nothing constricting about the dresses, tops and pants in this line, everything is flowy and soft and tailor made to be worn loose or gathered, over leggings or flowy pants, the possibilities are endless. And the hand painted designs on the fabric, created by Arianne and also taken from her mother’s original designs, are watercolor inspired.
Celebrities are known for loving Ra Mona La Rue creations with tops and jumpsuits spotted on singer Katy Perry and actress Hayden Panetierre star of the television show “Heroes.”
Ra Mona La Rue is located at 3400 North Miami Avenue, Miami, FL.
The Paragon Theater located in Coconut Grove’s CocoWalk outdoor mall and it takes the movie-going experience to another level. It’s more than just typical candy, popcorn, soda and hot dogs, the concession offerings as well as the theater itself are much more upscale.
The 13-screen theater features high definition digital projection in 3-D, a 1,500 seat all reserved VIP stadium seating and coming soon a bowling alley. Paragon takes dinner and a movie to another level, offering moviegoers expanded food offerings, like wraps, pizza and chicken fingers and more. In the “Back Lot” private screening rooms they show sporting events, concerts and classic films. It’s all here. Of course, because it’s located in CocoWalk there’s plenty of shopping to do as well.
Paragon Theater is located in CocoWalk at 3015 Grand Avenue, Coconut Grove
The Freedom Tower is Miami’s Ellis Island, a historic building that symbolizes the city’s melting pot of immigrants. The national historic landmark has seen many ups and downs and was on the verge of disappearing when it was donated to Miami Dade College. It has now become a space for provocative art exhibitions, most recently Instruments of Torture.
The connection began last Fall with the unveiling of the world map mural located in the Freedom Tower’s Mezzanine floor. Other major art exhibitions featured here included the works of masters Goya, Dali, DaVinci as well as presentations by authors and other dignitaries.
There’s always an interesting cultural artistic or literary presentation happening at the Tower and with a central location in Downtown Miami it’s easy to make a day of it visiting here.
The Freedom Tower is located at 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL
Just a quick and easy ride on Chicago’s CTA Green Line westbound to Harlem will bring you to the idyllic suburb of Oak Park. Here you may feel you’re walking on a movie set as the brick streets, mansions and adorable eateries seem too cute to be real.
This suburb defies the word by being anything but cookie-cutter and is packed full of culture. It is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum and the somewhat lesser known Hemingway Foundation Exhibit. Yep, it’s right here in Oak Park. The celebrated author is originally from this cute town and thus Chicagoans and tourists can enjoy anything from wine auctions at the Foundation to tours, lectures and educational programs.
Afterward, head across the street to ponder life at Hemingway’s Bistro.
The American Repertory Theater (better known as ART to locals) has been welcoming major American and international theater artists since it opened in 1980. The theater, which hosts reinterpretations of classical texts and provocative new music theater productions (think Cabaret or Alice vs. Wonderland), has received numerous awards, including the Tony Award, the Pulitzer Prize and numerous local Elliot Norton and IRNE awards. The staff here also teaches undergraduate classes in acting, directing, dramatic literature, dramaturgy, design, and playwriting at Harvard University. In 1987, the theater also created the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. Discount tickets are available for college students. For informaton and schedules, chgeck out americanrepertorytheater.org.
Perhaps the arrival of an Hermes store in Chicago means the Windy City has really made it in the fashion world. The French phenom brand is the brains behind the all-elusive Birkin bag which has a waiting list of up to two years in some cases and of course a whole slew of amazing scarves that will make anyone look instantaneously French.
Its location couldn’t be more than ideal, across the street from a supersized Barney’s and Prada, Hermes brings the level of chic to this carrefour to a level only this line could. Alas visit the store of the line rumored to have Oprah banging down its doors during off hours for an emergency purchase (the Paris location) and scarve yourself fabulous.
If you are headed to Long Beach or are interested in taking a tour of the Queen Mary, make sure you snag a room at Hotel Maya, a boutique hotel located in Long Beach along the water. This newly renovated hotel has all the basic hotel amenities such as dining options and pool but with an added element of luxury and sophistication.
With 199 guest rooms to choose from, Hotel Maya has accommodations for everyone, from those looking for rooms with a basic gardenview or those looking to unwind in the Grande Vista Jr. Suite. In-room amenities can include anything from pillow-top mattresses, flat screen TVs and private balcony.
The ever popular Fuego restaurant, featured on Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker, is the perfect dining experience that combines Latin flavors with authentic Mexican cuisine. Other popular amenities at Hotel Maya are the outdoor heated pool, indoor fitness center and limousine transportation available upon request.
Once you stay at Hotel Maya, you may never want to utter another name.
Rocking Hubbard Street, Epic has made a splash on the Chicago scene and for good reason – the service is ridiculously good. On a street and in a ‘hood where new restaurants come and go as fast as fashion fads, Epic should be here to stay as guests feel spoiled indulging in the attentive service and delicious menu.
Here, despite its location in the Midwest, the calamari is as thick, plump and juicy as if you were in Hawaii – same goes for their tuna tartare. Steak lovers rejoice and celebrate in a hearty Midwestern steak and if you’re only down for cocktails, this is the perfect place as well. The dark and sexy lighting makes the medicine go down.
For a unique gift, for a friend or for yourself, skip Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma across the street and pop into Inkanta Design Store, where their goal is “to satisfy lovers of modern design so they can enjoy beautiful objects at work, at home and in everyday life.” And that goal has been met. This minimalist, clean, crisp all-white store gets its pop of color from the modern object on display for sale.
A perfect fit for Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road, the store’s inviting interior features a slew of modern silver key chains with all types of colorful ensembles, a wall displaying modern clocks in every style, shape and color, funky wristwatches, and glassware for cocktails ranging from a high ball to a martini to a nice aged scotch, all done in gradient shades of pink, green and blue. The collection includes accessories as well as objects for home and office designed mainly by Europeans hailing from France, Denmark, Italy, England, Holland and Germany with a few American designers thrown into the mix.
Inkanta Design Store is located at 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
Lesley Abravanel knows her way around Miami and then some…comes with the territory. What does she do? What doesn’t she do. She’s the Miami Herald’s long running gossip/nightlife columnist/blogger (with column titles like Velvet Underground and Scene in the Tropics), editor of the food/drink blog Miami Eater, Miami listings editor for Black Book and author of guidebooks Frommer’s Florida and Frommer’s South Florida.
It’s no wonder Lesley is the perfect person to provide insider tips and faves about the city she knows so well.
What do you love about your city in the summer/fall?
What I truly love about summer and fall is as soon as summer is over, regardless of the temperature, natives tend to whip out the Uggs, the thigh high boots and the ski caps. It could be 100 degrees with a heat index of 120, but if it’s October, it’s boots and hats all the way.
What are some of your favorite neighborhoods? For eating? Museums? Nightspots?
The obvious answer to this would be Midtown Miami, the Design District and Wynwood for various reasons—food, culture, hipsters, nightlife. But I’ll give another shout out to the always evolving areas of Brickell and Sunset Harbour/Purdy, where on any given day, week, or month, a new restaurant or watering hole seems to emerge from nowhere. I’m also keen on developing downtown Miami.div>
What is your favorite place to shop in the city?
Why, Target at Midtown, of course.
What inspires you about your city?
The absolute inanity of it. And the insanity too. And the efforts of a sophisticated, educated group of many trying to change the aforementioned. That inspires me most.
Do you have an insider tip for tourists visiting your city for the first time?
Miami is not all about South Beach. Rent a car and explore.
Are you a regular somewhere? Local hangout?
They seem to know my name at The Room and Clarke’s. (Both are on Miami Beach)
Do you have a secret spot in the city (to unwind, get away, people watch, read a book, escape)?
What are you favorite restaurants/museums/parks/ shopping places/bars/etc?
Restaurants: Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Joey’s, Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill (all in the Design District), Jimmy’s East Side Diner (on 72 Street and Biscayne Blvd. in the MiMo District)
Bars: The Room, Clarke’s, Fox’s Sherron Inn (South Miami), Ted’s, Deuce, Raleigh Bar (rest are on Miami Beach)
This comedy troupe’s slogan is “Improv Your Life,” and you had better believe you can, at the very least, improve your prospects for a delightful evening. Its weekly roundup of shows, both short-form and long-form, range from the team-tagging Tuesday Night Throwdown to the long-popular On the Spot—which takes shape through audience input—to the Improv Hootenanny, guest starring comics from across the city. Bovine also offers classes and workshops for aspiring sketch performers in its colorful little downtown space, while doing customized shows for private groups—so even if you’re in town for a busy convention, you can make time to laugh with (and, let’s face it, at) your colleagues.
Located on the 12-acre plot of land that once marked the end of the Cherokee Trail, former wayside inn Four Mile House is a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it’s also a thriving destination for history buffs and their families, who can take tours of the property and its farm, bring picnics, embark on weekend carriage rides, sit in tee-pees and visit the reconstructed camps of Colorado’s trappers and miners, even learn how to pan for gold. The park also hosts special events, from activity-filled harvest festivals to lectures on the expansion-era history of the area.
The fun begins as soon as you board your “DUCK”, a W.W. II style amphibious landing vehicle. First, you’ll be greeted by one of our legendary ConDUCKtors, who’ll be narrating your tour. Then you’re off on a journey like you’ve never had before. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s more. It’s time for “Splashdown” as your ConDUCKtor splashes your DUCK right into the Charles River for a breathtaking view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines.
Boston Duck Tours has 3 ticket booth locations. They are located inside the Museum of Science after the gift shop, inside the Prudential Center across from Barnes and Noble and in the Whale Watch Booth at the New England Aquarium. Tickets can also be purchased at the Bostix booth at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. 80-minute tours depart from the Museum of Science and Prudential Center. Discounted 65-minute tours depart from The New England Aquarium on certain dates starting at 12 pm or 3 pm. Please see below schedule for New England Aquarium departure times. Tickets may not be purchased outside at our Duck Stops located at the Museum of Science and Prudential Center.
Denver’s karaoke bars are getting a run for their money since the opening of this self-styled dueling piano saloon in Lodo. Part old fashioned singalong, part comedy showcase, the performances (Tuesday through Saturday nights) star pianists who take requests from the audience, so don’t be shy about your Billy Joel fixation or your soft spot for honkytonk blues! Downstairs, dance club Juke keeps things current with DJs, but the same fun interactive format applies: while you call the songs, the turntablists try to trump one another in granting your every rockin’ wish. One caveat: if you fear the wild bachelorette party crowd, come on a weeknight.
The latest newcomer to the city is The Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel located in the Seaport District offers amazing views of Boston Harbor. The oceanic designed hotel offers 450 rooms with a Starbucks on the first level along with Capiz Bar, a hot after-work gathering spot for a freshly muddle mojito. Renowned Chef Michael Schlow has recently added another restaurant to his roster of establishments – 606 Congress, the hotel’s on-site restaurant that features modern American cuisine (think local sea scallops, Brandt Farms ribeye and lobster club sandwiches). Be sure to request a suite for a waterfront view.
Imagine a cupcake shop that offers zero carbs, sugars and fats! Impossible, you say? Not when you are Johnny Cupcakes, the quirky clothing store designed with cupcakes on them. Started by a kid who sold T-shirts out of his car, the company is now a multi-million dollar business and owner Johnny Earle was ranked #1 “Best Entrepreneurs 25 and Under” by BusinessWeek. Inside the shop, you will find a uniquely decorated interior, including antique refrigerators and all sorts of baking products with fun clothing items sitting prominently on display on baking trays and in glass pastry cases. Visit johnnycupcakes.com for more information.
Nearly eight years ago, the InterContinental Boston hit the hotel scene running and hasn’t stopped to look back. With more than 400 guest rooms and even a collection of private residences (for those who never want to leave), the all-glass contemporary property designed to resemble a Tall Ship, has an unbeatable location. The international dining scene here is impressive – start off with a rum cocktail while listening to Latin and Caribbean music at RumBa, order up a spicy tuna roll at Sushi-Teq and then end the evening with a relaxing dinner at the French brasserie known as Miel. Don’t miss a walk in the InterContinental Gardens, a two-acre waterfront promenade along Fort Point Channel. Click here for more information.
Since the early 1990s, the Reading Terminal Market has become one of Philadelphia’s most popular tourist destinations.
With so many vendors and tasty treats to try- the market can be a bit overwhelming for a new comer or even a Philadelphia veteran. The “Taste of Philadelphia” food tour rolls everything into one tour around the market that is sure to enlighten and make your taste buds water. Carolyn Wyman, author of the ultimate “Great Philly Cheesesteak” book, leaves from the market information desk at 12th and Filbert every Wednesday and Saturday at 10am to reveal Philly’s favorite sandwiches, breakfast foods and snacks in the city.
Wyman’s wealth of information about Philadelphia food history leaves no stone unturned and you even get to try a few of the Philadelphia staples along the way!
At an affordable rate of $15.95 per adult and $8.95 for children this 75-minute tour won’t eat away at your wallet or your time- only your appetite!
Insider’s Tip: Plan to eat before or after the tour. Although there will be sampling, it is more of a talking than tasting tour!
With its extraordinary array of herbs, spices, extracts and more, this Denver-based franchise has caught the attention of everyone from avid local home cooks to the Food Network, which produced a 2010 miniseries called Spice & Easy starring owners Janet and Mike Johnston (who have also made guest appearances on Paula’s Best Dishes and Down Home with the Neelys). Looking for white, green or black cardamom pods? You’ll find them here. Black, brown or yellow mustard seeds? They’re here too. What about asfoetida, epazote, charnushka or grains of paradise? Never even heard of them? Rest assured the knowledgable employees can share their secrets for usage.
Not quite ready for the Rockies? At this rock-climbing gym, you don’t have to be ready—just willing. Come on a Tuesday night, when it’s open to the public (for a $10-per-person fee), and you’ll get a vertical workout for both your body and your brain as you climb 15-foot walls in a 1,500 square-foot space designed with routes to create more than 100 obstacles. If you enjoy the experience enough to become a member, the perks are as countless as the mountain peaks you’ll eventually tackle: 24/7 access to the club includes instruction and the opportunity to engage with a keen built-in community.
Tell me about your current job and your past history that makes you the perfect person to be a Miami insider.
I moved to Miami when I was 11 years old so I think I am almost a native. I have been Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Miami for over 23 years. In this role I create working partnerships between the corporate and cultural communities. We have programs that help business professionals connect with their creative side and make meaningful use of their skills and their free time. I work with over 500 arts groups and hundreds of artists in Miami Dade and am a passionate fan of the arts in our community.
What do you love about Miami in the Fall? The cultural season gets into full swing in the fall. I also love football which starts in the fall and love the Miami Dolphins (most years). The weather cools off and hurricane season ends.
What are some of your favorite neighborhoods? South Beach on the bay side, Design District, Mimo and Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.
For eating? Lincoln Road, Coral Gables
Museums? Miami Beach, Downtown
What is your favorite place to shop in the city? Museum gift shops have the best and most unique items for sale. Your purchase supports the arts. Many museums carry the work of local artists. You can find a list of all the museums in Miami-Dade at www.MiamiDadeArts.org and click on find an arts group.
What inspires you about Miami? The diversity of the people and places, the sunshine, the warm and inviting atmosphere and of course our world class cultural community including over 1,000 arts groups.
Do you have an insider tip for tourists visiting Miami for the first time? Explore. Go to the different neighborhoods for different experiences. Visit our museums, take an Art Deco walk or historic walking tour with Dr. George. Check the Weekend Section of the Miami Herald and go to a festival or special event. Miami has more festivals than days in the year! Visit the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau website www.gmcvb.com for a great calendar of events and programs and great promotions such as Miami Spice month at some of our best restaurants.
Are you a regular somewhere? The Adrienne Arsht Center, museums, theatres and festivals.
Do you have a secret spot in the city (to unwind, get away, people watch, read a book, escape) and why? Maurice Gibb Park in South Beach is a quiet little park right on the bay. Perfect for a small picnic with friends, walking the dog or just watching the sunset over beautiful downtown Miami.
What are your favorite Restaurants – Joe Allen, Solea at the W, Dynamo Café at Wolfsonian, Garcias on the River, Sr. Martinez
Museums – Miami has a great variety of museums and I love them all. Some of my favorites Wolfsonian, Bass Museum, Lowes Art Museum, Deering Estate. Looking forward to our new museum park opening in a few years in downtown Miami.
shopping places – Lincoln Road, Bakery Center Art Space, Museum gift shops
Art Basel, Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Miami Book Fair, Summer Shorts, Miami Hispanic Theatre Festival
After Intermix called the Malibu Lumber Yard home, Malibu locals and those craving a little bit of high-end fashion came running to the opening. Featuring top designers such as Stella McCartney and popular brands such as Citizens of Humanity, this Malibu store has become a popular destination for those looking to scoop up some designer duds and accessories.
Though the Malibu store is packed with everything you could possibly want to find, if you can’t find in on the shelves and racks, head over to their website. Not only does the website feature clothes, shoes and accessories foud in and out of the stores, intermixonline.com features different sections such as a Lookbook, a must list and what they are obsessed with currently. International customers are now also able to shop the website, when they aren’t free to jet over to the Malibu location.
If you visit the website and subscribe to the Lust List, you can get 15% of your very first purchase.
SCREAMS is much, much more than a haunted house. It’s a Halloween theme park complete with five major attractions that you can tour as many times as you like, scores of professional actors, activities, food and drink and games.
For more than 100 years, the State Fair of Texas has been a major source of entertainment for millions. They say everything is bigger in Texas, well the State Fair is no exception, featuring great food, great music, great rides, and much more. If you are going to be in Dallas, you can’t miss this super-sized event.
Don’t miss the Storybook Pumpkin Village, the only pumpkin village in the world, with four walk-through houses made completely out of pumpkins. Each house will represent a children’s book that features pumpkins in the story.
Checkout out the best part of downtown near the library, art museum, capitol, and city and county building. Here you’ll be able to take fabulous pictures of the capitol and the surrounding area. You’ll also get to see a 21 foot tall big red chair known as “The Yearling”. This fun piece is a must see and provides a great “Kodak Moment”.
Check out the Independence Plaza, which has a plethora of shops. You could enjoy one of the many restaurants, but you should consider grabbing a hot dog from the stand on the west end. You will not be disappointed. Perhaps the best feature of the plaza are the built in stone chessboards. Watch a game or play one yourself at this hot spot which exudes Denver charm.
Join Denver Zoo’s nocturnal creatures during a special nighttime addition to Boo At The Zoo. Enjoy trick-or-treating stations throughout the zoo while supporting Denver Zoo’s mission to provide exceptional care to their resident animals. Be a Zooper Hero and share the care this Halloween, because every time you visit you help animals.
The Victorian Fetish Ball is a feather and ice fetish party encouraging people from all walks of life to come together for sensuality and titillation. Celebrities, business owners, politicians, artists, models, etc. all in costume adopting alter egos and becoming an integral part of the entertainment. It is designed to tantalize the mind, exploit the senses, creating a euphoric sensual and mental overload. The “pretty” fetish party.
This multimedia extravaganza is a show unlike any other. Cavalia celebrates the bond between humans and horses, virtually reinventing the equestrian arts. Created by one of the founders of Canada’s famed Cirque du Soleil, the show will be held under the White Big Top at the Pepsi Center. Enjoyed by more than 2.5 million people in the U.S., Europe and Canada, Cavalia involves more than 100 performers, including 50 magnificent horses from all over the world, riders, aerialists, acrobats and dancers as well as musicians and a vocalist.
Don’t miss the Storybook Pumpkin Village, the only pumpkin village in the world, with four walk-through houses made completely out of pumpkins. Each house will represent a children’s book that features pumpkins in the story.
Celebrate happy hour like a local on Capitol Hill at the stylish Lounge 201 (201 Massachusetts Ave.), where you can sip a half-price Martini on Tuesdays. Or grab a beer and half-price nachos until 6:30 at Bullfeathers (410 1st St. SE).
Take in the scene at Dupont Circle, where artists, power-lunchers, chess players, and Olympic-caliber bike messengers abound. Scope out the art scene on the first Friday of every month, when Dupont Circle’s art spaces are open late and score complimentary wine as a bonus.
Cirque du Soleil is coming to Washington DC with the premiere of OVO. The performance will be held under the trademark blue-and-yellow Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) at National Harbor. Cirque du Soleil OVO is described as “a headlong rush into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement.” Come see for yourself the wonder that is Cirque du Solei.
Boo at the Zoo is a Washington, DC favorite Halloween tradition. Children visit the National Zoo at dark and enjoy trick-or-treating, animal encounters, keeper talks, festive decorations, and haunted trails. Great for the whole family, come enjoy the holiday at one of the nations greatest Zoos.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have scheduled opposing rallies in Washington DC on Saturday, October 30, 2010. Just in time for the mid-term elections, Comedy Central will offer some comic relief with these unique events in the nation’s capital. Bring a sense of humor and enjoy these two hilarious comedians in Washington D.C. for this tongue in cheek anti-extremism demonstration.
Head on over to Lombard Street and where people drive down the crooked, one-block section, and if you have a car you can drive down it yourself. On a busy day, a seemingly endless stream of automobiles and scooters buzz down, their passengers squealing in mock fear at every turn. If you’re on foot, you can walk down (or up) the sidewalks and watch, but be sure to bring a camera because you’ll be in for a show.
Enjoy a beautiful scenic walk in San Francisco while avoiding those daunting hills at Crissy Field. Take in the picturesque view of The Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. Take a seat and relax at the Crissy Field Center where you can grab a great sandwich and look at the Bay through their large, plate-glass windows.
Jodi Wine country is returning to historic Treasure Island, San Francisco for the 2nd Annual Treasure Island WineFest. Taste your way through 200 wines exclusive to the Lodi appellation while sampling artisan cheese and olive oils or indulging in our gourmet wood-fired pizzas. Take part in educational wine seminars, enjoy live acoustic music and take in the absolute best view of Fleet Week’s aerial shows. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to meet the passionate vintners and growers behind the delicious wines that make up California’s best kept secret.
Imagine yourself practicing yoga and along with each pose comes a crisp sea breeze and the distant sound of the ocean. Sacred Thread presents the alluring opportunity to do exactly that. This San Francisco yoga festival is the only one of its kind in the city and the leading yoga festival in Northern California. Not only does this festival cater to those interested in yoga, but also to those interested in meditation and health and wellness events. If you’re interested in a healthy body and mind The Sacred Thread of Yoga Festival is for you.
24 Days of Central Market Arts is a three-week performing arts festival in San Francisco’s Central Market district. The events include dance, live music, participatory and family-friendly arts activities for all to enjoy the uniquely vibrant arts scene that the neighborhood offers. Most of the events are free and family friendly so head on down and see all the art that San Francisco has to offer.
The Reading Terminal Market has been one of the most popular Philadelphia spots since 1892. It has not lost a bit of its popularity since its opening and is still very much a market, selling produce, meats, traditional Amish Foods, fresh hand baked pretzels, Bassett’s world famous Ice cream, and more.
As one of the city’s first and foremost food courts, there’s plenty of options for food and drink, but after taking a walk around the market you must get a DiNic’s pulled pork sandwich, which gives even the famous Cheesesteak a run for its money. Take your sandwich on over to the Beer Garden and wash it down with a local brew, while you sit back and relax in this beautiful spot for a true Philadelphian experience.
The historic homes of many of Philadelphia’s rowing clubs provide one of its most famous sights—Boathouse Row, which is even prettier at night, when the lights outlining the homes reflect onto the Schuylkill River.
The boathouses are home to several active rowing clubs overseen by the Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia, but rowing isn’t the only recreation that takes place here. Take a stroll down Philadelphia’s most popular paved trail, the Schuylkill River Trail, which is especially beautiful during the Fall. This is a perfect place for walkers, runners, bikers, and everyone else who simply wants to enjoy the stunning scenery.
“Terror Behind the Walls” is a Halloween event held annually at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Known as “A Massive Haunted House in a Real Prison,” is actually made up of five separate haunted attractions inside the 11-acre
Terror Behind the Walls has grown to become one of the nation’s largest and most well known haunted attractions. It had been consistently ranked as one of the top haunted attractions in the nation and is a must-see if you truly want to get into the spirit of Halloween. Bring an extra pair of underwear, and check out Terror Behind the Walls.
Over 30 restaurants in Northern Liberties, East Passyunk, Penn’s Landing, and Chestnut Hill are offering menus for $20 and $30. A portion of the proceeds from this Alterna-Restaurant-Week will benefit Philadelphia Academies, making the week not only good for your stomach and good for your wallet, but also good for the community. A restaurant week focused away from Center City allows you to see and experience places in the Greater Philadelphia area you would normally miss, but the locals love.
Design Philadelphia is marking its sixth year with a city-wide celebration honoring the historic role of design in the region while showcasing the creative innovation yet to come. They will be teaming up with The University of the Arts during the nation’s largest festival of its kind. They aim to celebrate and promote Philadelphia as a design capital and destination.
Nearly 500 artists, professionals and students alike, will be represented in practically every design discipline, including automotive, product and interior design, graphic design, architecture, multi-media and urban planning. Events planned for Design Philadelphia 2010 include exhibitions, lectures, workshops and demonstrations to help shine a light on the city’s design scene and history.
Feel the fear at Navy Pier! Crazed clowns, zombies, monsters, vampires and werewolves are no longer complying with the Captain’s commands and the most feared creatures known to man have devised a plan to claw their way to freedom and avenge their capture. Enter if you dare!
This year, the Chicago International Film Festival kicks off with ‘Stone’, a crime drama starring Robert De Niro and Edward Norton. But Stone is just the beginning. The festival will be packed with excellent films to please anyone’s taste.
The only question is ‘What CAN’T you get on Newbury Street? From your stylish boutiques like Chanel and LIT to quirky shops like Newbury Comics where you can fulfill all your novelty needs from Vinyl records to a Barack Obama action figure.
If you’re searching for a glimpse of colonial Boston, look no further. Beacon Hill’s Federal-style rowhouses, narrow streets, and brick sidewalks will make you feel like you traveled back in time to the 18th century. Today, Beacon Hill is regarded as one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods in Boston
Boston Duck Tours is the perfect place to go in October!
The fun begins as soon as you board your “DUCK”, a W.W. II style amphibious landing vehicle. First, you’ll be greeted by one of our legendary ConDUCKtors, who’ll be narrating your tour. Then you’re off on a journey like you’ve never had
before. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s more. It’s time for “Splashdown” as your ConDUCKtor splashes your DUCK right into the Charles River for a breathtaking view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines.
“What do you get when you combine a cursed privateer, a pyromaniac circus ringleader, a demon spat out of the pits of Hades, a homicidal opera diva, and a deranged nanny? An experience unlike anything else in Boston!”
If you’re looking to explore the spookier side of Boston then look no further. The Ghosts & Gravestones tour will invite you to walk through 400-year-old burial grounds while you hear the haunted tales of those buried beneath you. You will explore some of Boston’s most haunted sites like the Omni Parker House as well as the scene of the infamous Boston Strangler’s final strangle.
This year Connors Farm invites you to get lost in their corn maize designed in the shape of “The American Legend” Clint Eastwood. It’s open late on the weekends, so if you like your maize with a side of spooky, make sure you come by after dark!
Enjoy the spectacular New England countryside as the leaves turn a multitude of colors during the fall season. A pleasant tour of foliage display is capped by a stop at a native orchard for apples and cider.
Want to dine to the likes of Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel & Fergie? Then Hub 51 is your place. While filming Transformers 3 in the Windy City, the stars (and spouse in Josh’s case) frequented Hub 51 which is also known to host plenty of NBA stars as well.
So what is it that causes the stars to flock here? Perhaps it’s that they serve a little bit of this and a little bit of that and they do it all oh so darn well from the juicy burger to the fresher than fresh sushi. Then again it could be the drinks – like a whole lot of yummy draft beer selections, superb wines and unique draft cocktail specialties that change with the seasons.
Whether its the menu, the drinks or the stars that lure you here – just make sure you look your best as you never know who you’ll run into.
When Chi-towners are in need of some fresh air, green pastures and loads of flowers, they head to the Chicago Botanic Garden. A hidden oasis just 30 minutes from downtown in Highland Park (an easy Metra ride), the garden boasts paths that allow you to peruse the place as if it were your own.
From Japanese and English gardens, isles reached by arched bridges and a tropical garden with orchids dangling from palm trees, perhaps the best feature of the Chicago Botanic Garden is its full calendar of events from educational programs to social mixers. Classes they offer range from cooking classes, gardening, kids programs, horticultural therapy and wellness programs. In a nutshell – this place is Chicago’s therapy.