The Best View in NYC- Top of the Rock

For someone slightly afraid of heights I do love to see a city from above and New York is one city that you’ve not really seen till you’ve got up high.

On my first trip to NYC I went up the Empire State Building (which was amazing) but on a recent trip, I’d heard a lot about Top of the Rock and I wasn’t leaving till I had gone up there to see what all the hype was about.

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Opened in 2005 the Top of the Rock is an observation area literally on top of the Rockefeller Centre. The observation area is across 3 floor 67th, 69th and 70th (no idea what’s on the 68th!). You can visit every day of the year and the usual opening times are 8 am to Midnight with the last elevator going up at 11 pm but do check the website just to make sure. I visited at lunchtime but I’ve heard and seen amazing photos during the golden hour, sunset and in the evening with the city lights shining brightly. New York is one of those cities that you know is pretty darn special but once you get up top and look out across it you have a whole new appreciation for it. I could have had hours up there taking in the views and filling my memory card with pictures.

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On the 67th and 69th floor there are big panes of glass for protection and to stop the wind but if you take the stairs to the 70th floor you get a sweeping unobstructed 360 view of the city. You can see Central Park, the streets of midtown, Chrysler building,  Statue of liberty in the distance and the best is that you get a view of new york with the Empire State Building standing tall and strong in the foreground. Even on a cloudy grey day, it was the most beautiful view. You should note that is you are visiting during the Christmas holidays sadly you can’t see the ice skating and Christmas tree from up top but you can spend some time taking in the festive spirit once you’ve come back down to street level.

It’s a popular attraction for millions of visitors every year. It’s also a popular place for engagements and wedding photos. We were lucky enough to see a couple up there having some pretty spectacular wedding photos. Who wouldn’t want the NYC skyline in their wedding album! The tickets run on a timed system so you need to book for a certain time however once you are up there you can stay as long or as little as you want. I’d recommend at least an hour.  We booked online and you can do that or at the box office with several different options for tickets availabl. Do check out their website but a standard adult ticket is $36 which is brilliant value for an almost priceless view.

The main entrance is on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. You can’t miss it there is a big red carpet out the front and likely a queue of people. The queue does move fairly quickly and be ready for security checks when you get inside.

We visited late December and even with the foggy and grey skies, it’s still so beautiful…

Central Park is there under the clouds I promise

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I’d seen this shot on Instagram so obvs had to copy

Looking for other things to do in NYC then check out our post on The High Line and The Brooklyn Bridge.

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The best view of NYC from Top of the Rock on The Wandering Darlings

Be like a local in San Francisco – 5 Best Things to do

Every touristy guidebook lists Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Golden Gate Bridge. And that’s where the majority of the visitors to San Francisco go, and it shows, those spots are all insanely crowded. But if you want to go where the locals go, you’re in the right place!

Here’s a list of the 5 best things to do in San Francisco from a local’s point of view.

Bike Across the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden gate

The cost to drive across the bridge these days is so expensive (at least $6.75/car), we tend to avoid it unless we’re going up to Marin. With that said, it’s still worth it to bike across the bridge! You can rent a bike from the shops by Fisherman’s Wharf which includes a ferry ticket back from Sausalito and a map.

It’s great that they provide the one-way return ticket since after you bike all the way there, your legs will be tired and you’ll be able to rest on the boat!

Angel Island

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In a way, this island is stuck under the shadows of Alcatraz because it is much less popular amongst tourists since Al Capone didn’t exactly live here. But if you’re into hiking and great views, this is the place to be!

There are several trails that take you around the island and to the panoramic viewpoint, from here you can get a 360 view of the San Francisco Bay Area. On a clear day, you can see from Marin county all the way down to Silicon Valley.

This island was also once home to the “Ellis Island of the West,” where many Asian immigrants to the United States were once held awaiting approval into the country. At the Immigration Station museum here, you will learn about their lives detained on the island and see Chinese poetry they carved into the walls.

Ferry Building/Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

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This is one of my favorite places to go in the city! Mainly because I love food, but also because I love the selection here.

Any day of the week, you can go inside the Ferry Building and be treated with lots of stalls selling food and various types of housewares. My favorite stalls are Blue Bottle Coffee Company, Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream, Acme Bread Company, and Hog Island Oyster Company.

If you’re lucky enough to go on a Tuesday (10am-2pm), Thursday (10am-2pm), or Saturday (8am-2pm), there will also be an outdoor market where you can buy cooked food as well as fresh produce. There are also stalls selling fish and flowers so there is a lot of variety in offerings.

16th Avenue Tiled Steps

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If you’re a fan of Antoni Gaudi, like I am, and you’re missing his insanely gorgeous mosaics. San Francisco’s got a spot for you!

This local gem is hidden within a residential neighbourhood, the tiles are beautiful and you can see the amount of work that went into creating the mosaic. They were created when neighbours banded together to beautify the community by sponsoring handmade tiles including shapes of animals, fish, and shells.

After you walk up the tiled steps, you can continue walking up additional concrete steps to Grandview Park to get a view of the Sunset district and the Pacific Ocean.

Twin Peaks

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I’ve saved the best for last! Point blank, this is one of my favorite places in San Francisco because you get the most amazing views of the city.

This spot is beautiful day or night. During the day, you can see Marin county, Golden Gate Bridge, East Bay, and best of all, downtown San Francisco. At night, the views of the sparkling lights of Downtown and the main thoroughfare of Market Street are gorgeous.

Twin Peaks is a spot you must do on a clear day, on a cloudy or foggy day there will be nothing to see.

Hope you enjoyed these local spots in San Francisco! For a great 2-3 day weekend trip itinerary, check out A Weekend Away: San Francisco.

This post was kindly written by a lovely Wandering Darling- Constance fromThe Adventures of Panda Bear. I’m sure you loved what you’ve read as much as I have so check out her blog and social media channels with the links below for more great information and inspiration

Author Biography

Constance is a graphic/web designer and blogger living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where technology rules the world. She and her boyfriend, Jimmy, are always in a state of wanderlust, looking forward to their next adventure eating their way around the world. Follow them on their blog, The Adventures of Panda Bear.

https://theadventuresofpandabear.com

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5 places you must visit in North Carolina

What is the first thing you think of when someone says, North Carolina? For me, it the beach or the mountains. The first time I went to North Carolina, I went to the Wrightsville/Wilmington area. I spent all of 30 minutes there before my husband and I had to pack up and leave for a family emergency. I was amazed that North Carolina truly has the best of both worlds, the mountains, and the ocean. Currently, I reside in the middle of both of the two areas. Let me tell you it is so great to live in between, weekend trips are a must in our household. If you have never been to North Carolina, let me tell you 5 amazing places to visit if you do want to go. If you have been to North Carolina, but have never been to these 5 places I highly recommend them for you.

5 places to visit in North Carolina. Different Frame of Mind Blog guest post on The Wandering Darlings

1. Raleigh

I have lived in Raleigh for over a year now and love all it has to offer. The town is settled in between the mountains and the ocean. The city life is very fast paced, with plenty to offer. To get to the mountains it takes about 3 to 4 hours. The closest beach is Wilmington which is about 2 hours depending on where you are staying in Raleigh. There is North Hills shopping center, also Brier Creek shopping center which both have plenty of places to choose for eating and shopping. There are a few lakes in Raleigh, the picture below is Falls Lake. The best entrance to go to is located off of Creedmoor road. There are a few breweries and wineries located in and around Raleigh. The city is full of places to go and see, I still have yet to discover them all.

5 places to visit in North Carolina. Different Frame of Mind Blog guest post on The Wandering Darlings

2. Wrightsville/Wilmington

Wrightsville/Wilmington area is one of the most popular beaches in North Carolina. This is because it is the closest to the major city of Raleigh, North Carolina. This town has a lot to offer in ways of shopping, eating, and attractions. There is the aquarium that will keep you busy for hours. There is a battleship called USS North Carolina. I highly recommend going when it is not scorching outside due to it not being fully air conditions but they do have fans going. The cost of getting in is pretty inexpensive and there is always volunteers around to answer any of your questions. For a fun-filled adventure packed weekend, I would go here in a heartbeat.

3. Asheville

I spent less than a few hours in this town and it already had me hooked. Asheville is nestled in the mountains and is a cute town. The picture below is the entrance to the Biltmore Estate. The Biltmore is a bit pricey to get in but well worth the tour. The Great Smoky Mountains are located in and around Asheville. These mountains are breathtaking if you have never been, I highly recommend going in the fall when the leaves are changing. Asheville is a place I would go back to time and time again.

5 places to visit in North Carolina. Different Frame of Mind Blog guest post on The Wandering Darlings

4. North Top Sail

I have been to North Top Sail two times on our beach weekend trips. North Top Sail is one of the less crowded beaches in North Carolina. While you walk along the shore you will find plenty of seashells, shark teeth, and other various objects. There is North Top Sail, as well as Top Sail. My husband and I felt that North Top Sail had more to offer in the way of restrooms, places to eat and etc. If I am looking for a quieter beach to relax at, this would be the beach I would choose hands down every time.

5 places to visit in North Carolina. Different Frame of Mind Blog guest post on The Wandering Darlings

5. Outer Banks

Outer Banks or OBX as most call it is very popular. Most people in North Carolina continuously mention OBX as their vacation or weekend destination. There was so much do and see in OBX when I went, I am dying to go back. The lighthouse located on Cape Hatteras Island is huge. They recommend coming when it is not too hot outside, as the lighthouse is not air-conditioned. There are several beaches to relax on in the Outer Banks, some more popular than others. We took a stroll around the Pea Island National Wildlife Rescue. The views were pretty and the staff was so kind and helpful. I would definitely go back time and time again. There is always something to do in the Outer Banks.

5 places to visit in North Carolina. Different Frame of Mind Blog guest post on The Wandering Darlings

This post was kindly written by a lovely Wandering Darling- Ariel from Different Frame of Mind Blog. I’m sure you loved what you’ve read as much as I have so check out her blog and social with the links below for more great information and inspiration

Author Biography

Ariel from 5 places to visit in North Carolina. Different Frame of Mind Blog guest post on The Wandering Darlings

My name is Ariel and I am the creator of Different Frame of Mind blog. My blog focuses on travels with little funds, medical and psychological disorders. I was born in Kansas but currently, reside in North Carolina. I am married and have two wonderful puppies.

I am a bucket list traveler and have plenty to still check off. I have been on a cruise, traveled to 34 different states, swam with the dolphins and so much more since 2010. Join me on my journey on one of the social media links below.

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Xoxo, Ariel

Creator of Different Frame of Mind blog

5 places to visit in North Carolina. Different Frame of Mind Blog guest post on The Wandering Darlings

The High Line in NYC 

On my most recent trip to NYC one thing I really wanted to experience was The High Line. I’d heard about it from friends, witnessed lust worthy snaps on Instagram and started seeing it pop up on all the ‘must see in NYC’ lists on Pinterest. So I wasn’t going to be leaving the big apple on my next visit until I had got there!

The High Line is a linear urban park in Chelsea and the Meat Packing District of Manhattan. It’s been upcycled from an old disused railway that was due for demolition. A preservation society worked with the council to turn it into what we now know as the High Line. It’s such a clever concept and I’m sure there is lots of other parks like this all over the world. I have seen pictures of one in Paris and believe it was the initial inspiration for The High Line. I mean seriously what a clever clogs to think of having a park running amongst the high rises. It’s kinda like playing in the sky just below the clouds. They must have got some funny looks when they first proposed it.
It’s roughly just over a mile long and is a really easy walk. It’s just so beautiful and quickly became one of my favourite places!! Sights of the city and river all around you yet you feel like you aren’t surrounded by one of the biggest cities in the world. You get such a different view of the skyline and a little insight into NYC away from the hub of midtown.
It can get busy so you may want to try and avoid mid day but to me the people added to the experience. We saw some very interesting characters on our visit from excitable tourists, to NYC locals out running to Billy Connolly and even a lady taking her dog out for a walk in a pram. Taking the term furbaby a little too far.
Along with the city sights and the characters you also have wonderful views of the Hudson, street art dotted along the park and the actual tracks that have been preserved so you can see a glimpse into what it was in a previous life. It really has been executed so cleverly. There is a lot of benches along the line so always a place to sit if you want to take your time and breathe in your surroundings and or just to rest your weary legs.
I thoroughly loved our walk along the High Line and will ensure I go back again and again on my next visits. It really was a nice little escape from the hustle and bustle of the NYC experience.
Here is my 5 things for your trip to the High Line

  1. Take your time you don’t need to rush here
  2. Observe. Look up, look down, look out, look EVERYWHERE
  3. Wrap up if visit in Autumn or winter it can get a little chilly especially by the Hudson
  4. Do a tour be it stargazing or food related or even try and witness an outside opera
  5. Take in the history of the urban park. Notice the railway sleepers in the boardwalk, look at the buildings and structures surrounding.

Have you been to the High Line or a similar park? If so would love to hear your thoughts!

There is so many great places to explore in New York. One I would have loved to visit would have been Williamsburg (save that for next time!) but you should check out this great guide from our friends at Do You Salut

Ticked off the bucket list

  

Trying to be ‘NYC cool’ and failing miserably 😂😂 crossing the Brooklyn bridge is now ✔️ off the bucket list 
I visited NYC 6 years ago but was only there for a flying visit so stayed in mid town however my trip earlier this year I was determined to make sure I walked across the bridge. 

It was wet, miserable, grey and cold but really none of that mattered as in my eyes  it was even more beautiful. 

I can’t recommend strongly enough that if your in NYC you should go and walk to Brooklyn. The city views, the bridge itself, the Statue of Liberty and all the people you meet along the way. Even some silly tourist taking pics while jumping in the air. 

Here is a couple of  my favourite pics from the Brookly Bridge