The Best Destinations for Your Next Birthday Party

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Browsing exceptional places, hotels, resorts, and events around the world will make you wish that birthdays happened more than once a year.

Birthday is the right time and the perfect occasion to get your heart out and quench your thirst, to travel to places scattered around the world.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

A trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, can be a wonderful gift. Enjoy 250-year Old San Juan with its ancient cobblestone streets and restaurants. To see old town from the water, just take a boat; it is the best way to view the waterfront of this city.

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Walk along the gorgeous sandy beach of Ocean Park Beach or dive into the clear blue sea. Visit the University of Puerto Rico’s Botanical Garden, where there are thousands of rare plants and fragrant flowers. San Juan is beautiful not only above the water, but also under it; go diving to explore its scenery. It is impossible to see and enjoy everything that San Juan has to offer at the same time!

Shotover River rafting, New Zealand

If you like speed and wonderful landscapes, you definitely need to go boating through the amazing canyons of New Zealand. This can be done at Shotover Jet; it’s the only company that has permission to work here. It uses specially built boats to ensure complete safety and thrill.

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A helmsman guides the boat through the canyons. Sometimes it stops so you can enjoy the beauty and appreciate the landscape. The company will give you full safety equipment. Of course, you can take photos or videos with your camera!

Safari West, California

If you want to celebrate your birthday in an unusual way, then Safari West in Napa, California, will not disappoint you. Thousands of wild animals and birds live in this 400-acre reserve area. Instead of a hotel there are cottages, and you can observe the wildlife right from your window.

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The rooms will not disappoint you; they are not just tents, but solid buildings with all the amenities. There are small and large cottages to accommodate couples, whole families, and groups. The entire interior is decorated with African artifacts and decor. You can watch the wild animals not only from your hotel room, but also from the car tour – which is included.

Escape Haven, Bali

If you want to get away from all your daily routines, visit a special tropical vacation for women. All day long you will practice yoga, surf, and relax in the sun. This holiday will allow you to completely relax and get in shape.

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These luxury resorts spoil you from head to toe. The relaxing tour lasts for a week and also includes cooking lessons, spa treatments, fitness activities, and detoxification procedures. You will live in luxury villas and houses that offer all the modern amenities.

Along The Great Ocean Road, Australia

There is another type of recreation not associated with beaches. Many of us dream of driving an endless road along the sea. Australia can offer you this!

The Great Ocean Road goes all around the coast of Australia and encourages you to experience the magical delight of driving.

A wonderful combination of ocean breezes, soft whispering waves, light music (in your car), endless blue seas, and wonderful landscapes can really heal your mind and soul. You will feel reborn after this road trip!

The Best Countries for Bike Lovers

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The bicycle is transport of the future. A bike is ecological: it does not need fuel, does not pollute the air, and does not cause traffic jams. Also, riding a bike is good for your health. When you ride, you improve your musculature as well as your respiratory and cardiovascular systems, and increase your endurance. Many countries now see the benefits of bicycles and try to develop their cycling infrastructures. We will tell you about the best countries for bike lovers!

Netherlands, Amsterdam

bike travel

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Amsterdam can be called the bicycle capital of Europe. There are more than 400 kilometers of bicycle paths equipped with individual signs and traffic lights. There are a significant number of parking lots and bicycle rental stations in the city. Today, half of all urban movements in the capital of the Netherlands are carried out using a bike. In this country, you can rent something very unusual: a water bike and a bicycle for eight people.

Denmark, Copenhagen

bike travel

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Thirty-five percent of the total city population goes to work on bicycles. This is a separate transport category that has equal rights with cars. The tradition of using bicycles started in the early 1900s and lasted through the entire twentieth century.

In Copenhagen, there are 300 kilometers of bike paths and 1,000 municipal bicycles, which are free for citizens. Each street in Copenhagen has its own bike path. Anyone can rent a bike for free; you just need to pay a deposit, which will be returned to you when you give the bicycle back. In some parts of the city, a bicycle is the only permitted vehicle.

Tokyo, Japan

bike travel

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Tokyo is an enormous metropolis with a developed transportation network, including for bicycles. It’s much faster to commute by bike – there are no traffic jams. Do not be surprised if you see a business person in an expensive suit, carrying a briefcase and riding a bicycle. It is quite usual for Tokyo.

All bicycles are registered and have unique numbers, just like cars. The owner’s name is written on the frame.

Top Places to Visit in Brazil

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Famous for Carnival in Rio de Janeiro and the incredible Iguazu Falls, Brazil is one of the world’s most exciting travel destinations. As South America’s largest country, Brazil covers most of the continent’s northeastern area. From the Amazon rainforest in the north to tropical beaches along the Atlantic coast, to the Pantanal wetlands and vibrant metropolises of the southeast, there are plenty of interesting places to visit in Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

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This fascinating city beckons with its white beaches, crystal clear water, and beautiful nature. One of the best places is the sandy beach of Copacabana, which stretches more than 4 kilometers. There is a wonderful atmosphere here that combines family beach vacation with entertainment such as volleyball tournaments and beauty contests.

The weather is always nice, regardless of the season, due to Rio’s geographic location and unique climate. Separate two-piece swimsuits made their debut in Copacabana, and now they are the calling card of this beach – which, unfortunately, makes them rather expensive to purchase.

The area of ​​Copacabana before 1920 was separated from the rest of the city by a mountain. It was a pristine jungle with wild parrots and palm trees. At the beginning of the century, a tunnel was cut into the rock to develop the future beach. By 1950, the tourist business reached its peak, and ​​Copacabana has since become one of the most prestigious and expensive places in the city.

Iguazu

Iguacu (Iguazu) water falls on a border of Brazil and Argentina

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One of the three greatest waterfalls in the world, whose name means “great water” in the Guarani language, is located on the border of Brazil and Argentina.

In the 16th century, the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca discovered these waterfalls while wandering through the jungle in search of the legendary treasures of Eldorado. According to his travel notes, these huge streams of water did not make a strong impression on him. Maybe he was a calm and unemotional person; we don’t know for sure now – but one thing is clear: Cabeza de Vaca was probably the only person in history who reacted so indifferently to these waterfalls.

The Iguazu Cascade, divided into separate streams by islets, tends to descend at such a speed that it captures the spirit. To observe the falling waters, you can hike across wooden bridges entangled with spider webs. Of course, it is worthwhile to stock up on waterproof raincoats. Whatever you choose to do, a thrill is guaranteed!  

The most famous waterfall is called “Devil’s Throat.” Crowds of tourists from all over the world gather on suspension bridges every day to look into the heart of the underworld.

The Statue of Christ the Redeemer

The Statue of Christ the Redeemer

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This amazing world landmark has for more than 80 years been considered a cultural icon of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. In 2007, it was added to the list “New7Wonders of the World.” The height of the statue is 38 meters, the range of Christ’s arms is 30 meters, and the sculpture weighs more than 1,145 tons. From the statue’s pedestal there is a panoramic view of the city and bay with picturesque Sugar Loaf Mountain, the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, and the huge bowl of Maracana Stadium.

The original sketch of the monument was designed by the artist Carlos Osvald. He suggested the idea that from afar the statue should resemble a large cross. Therefore, the position of Jesus with arms opened wide was chosen. The final design of the statue was done by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa.

The opening and lighting of this monument took place on October 12, 1931; later in 1965 the Statue of Christ the Redeemer was consecrated by Pope Paul VI. The statue has been repaired and modernized repeatedly, and in 2003 it was equipped with escalators.

Flamengo Park

Flamengo Park in Rio de Janeiro

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The giant Flamengo Park (also called Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes Park) in Rio de Janeiro is one of the largest in the world. Created in the mid-sixties by decree of Governor Carlos Lacerda, Flamengo Park covers an area of ​​1.2 million square meters.

The park’s amazing landscapes and colorful gardens are striking; it holds over three thousand different species of trees. The park contains many pedestrian and bicycle paths that make it a favorite holiday destination for locals.

Flamengo Park has its own sights as well – the Museum of Modern Art and the Carmen Miranda Museum. There is also a monument erected in memory of the victims of World War II.

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Lencois Maranhenses National Park, Brazil.

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It is one of those places that you will never forget. Due to the unique natural conditions in Lençóis Park, the snow-white sand dunes (whose heights reach up to 40 meters) are adjacent to emerald-blue lagoons. The area of ​​the park is spread over one and a half thousand square kilometers.

The park of Lençóis is inconstant as its sand dunes are always shifting. The landscapes you see will very soon change and turn into new, even more picturesque ones. The best time to visit the park is from June to October when the rainy season comes and the formation of azure lakes reaches its peak. Then the desert comes to life, lakes are filled with fish, and exotic birds fly by. If you are lucky, you can spot wild hares or even some  moose.

 

Published: 10/10/2017

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Ten Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

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There are still relatively few people who decide to travel independently, that is, without using an agent to make arrangements. According to various estimates, it is 10-13% of the total volume of travelers. Obviously, independent tourism has spread due to the development of the Internet and electronic technologies, which do not even require your personal presence when buying airline tickets.

Beautiаul natural landscape

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Despite the fact that the market for independent travel is growing, hotels and ticket booking systems are generally still much more oriented to and adapted for organized tourism.

The independent tourist is a person who arranges entire trips on his own – booking hotels and flights, buying tickets, arranging transfers, and taking care of medical insurance. Actually, people decide to travel independently not simply from the desire to save money.

Mostly, they prefer to travel to countries that are not popular in the mass tourism market, or to places where package deals just do not exist.

Young beautiful female traveler standing on the street and looking at the map

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Interest in “indie” travel has increased because many people think it is safer and cheaper. However, that is not always true. The most important thing a tourist who travels on his own should understand is that he alone is responsible for the entire trip.

There are numerous benefits to having a specialized agency organize your travel:

1. Advantageous prices for a mass of beach resorts (e.g., Egypt, Turkey, and Greece): charters fly, and tour operators buy up hotel rooms in bulk at big discounts half a year before the season.

An individual’s round-trip tickets can cost as much as the price of a whole package from a tour operator – including hotel, transfers, and other amenities. With food and entertainment, you can end up paying twice as much, or more, for the same services.

2. There could be the chance of catching cheap “hot” tickets a few days before departure.

Passports to world travel

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3. It is usually cost efficient to buy tickets in advance on regular flights, especially for peak travel times like summer and New Year’s holidays.

4. Health insurance is often included in the tour price.

5. You will spend a minimum of your time planning the trip. Everything will be arranged by your travel agent. It is their job.

6. You will not have to worry about the process of getting visas and all other documents.

7. Any questions while on the trip will be settled by the tour operator or its representative.

8. If you do not speak English – it is not a problem. There will be a guide who speaks your native language. In hotels and restaurants, you will not have to speak bad English.

9. Excursions will take place at an arranged time and at a comfortable pace. During your trip, you will have nothing to worry about.

10. Responsibility for a tour will lie solely on your travel agent. In a case of a force majeure situation, the travel agency will provide hotel rooms at their expense, organize alternative means of transportation, and ensure that other services you need are offered.

travel agent

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Travel agents assume overall responsibility for your comfort and safety on a trip. So, if you don’t want a headache in place of an amazing vacation, it is better to call your travel agent!

The Beauty of Seoul in Autumn

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Many people like to travel to Korea in the summer. However, the best time to visit this country is autumn, and there are a lot of reasons why!

Gyeongbokgung palace with Maple leaves, Seoul, South Korea. Photo: stock.adobe.com

  1. Pleasant weather

Autumn in Korea is called the “chhongomabi” season – “the time when the sky is higher and horses are gaining weight.” Fall is the most beautiful season here as the weather is ideal: not hot – not cold, perfectly suited for outdoor recreation.

In September, the air temperature is 20 – 22°С; in October, 15 – 17°С.  During the day, everything is warmed by a gentle sun, so this is the best time of year for touring.

autumn red leaves Seoul, Korea

Bongeunsa Temple in autumn red leaves Seoul, Korea. Photo: stock.adobe.com

  1. Stunning nature

Autumn in Seoul is, without exaggeration, magical. Leaves are all varieties of color, from the usual yellow to bright red and even purple. You can admire this splendor without leaving Seoul – just go to Pukhansan.

One of the few national parks in the world that is located within a city, the park is surrounded by urbanized territory of the capital and its suburbs and referred to as the city’s lungs. Imagine how colorful this park becomes in autumn when the foliage is painted in various shades from light green to maroon. It also has numerous waterfalls, cultural monuments, and overlooks.  

Seoul tower in Seoul city

Seoul tower in Seoul city , Korea. Photo: stock.adobe.com

  1. Festivals

Korea is internationally famous for its festivals, and Koreans have great respect for festivity days, celebrating them colorfully and boisterously. Do not miss the chance to see these bright and fantastic holidays of life:

Seoul Korea

Spectacular fireworks at han River Seoul Korea. Photo: stock.adobe.com

International Fireworks Festival in Seoul

This annual festival on the Khangan River is one of the most spectacular events of autumn where thousands of firework masters from around the world are invited. It is interesting that each team presents a show concerning a unique national theme.

You can also see a truly amazing light and laser show here, as well as festive music performances. The entire pyrotechnic show is accompanied by music of various genres including rock, pop, and classical. Overall, more than 50,000 fireworks are launched throughout the festival.

Seoul Festival of Lanterns (03 – 19 November 2017)

The bright and mesmerizing Seoul Festival of Lanterns is held annually in November along approximately 1.2 kilometers of Cheonggye Stream. This festival first took place here in 2009, and in 2014 it officially changed its name.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang” – meaning the event is being conducted to support the 2018 Winter Olympics.

fish market, Seoul Korea

Sea shell at fish market, Seoul Korea.
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Korea Grand Sale

The Korea Grand Sale is an annual shopping festival. It was originally held in winter, but in 2017 it will be countrywide and last all through October. Approximately 20,000 shops from hundreds of business types are going to participate in the Korea Grand Sale.

What can you get there? A lot of significant discounts including 50% off admission to Everland amusement park, about 70% off at duty-free shops, and a free 24-hour stay at the Ibis Ambassador Hotel.

The Korea Grand Sale offers astonishing discounts on almost everything – food, entertainment, fashion, accommodations, beauty, and more.

Don’t miss these fantastic opportunities to enjoy everything South Korea has to offer!

Published:02.10.17

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The Double Upgrade: Azamara Club Cruises

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YYZ Travel Group, TICO:#04332359. 7851 Dufferin Street, Suite 100. Thornhill, Ontario L4J 3M4.

*DOUBLE UPGRADE: Promotion allows guests to book Club Veranda staterooms at Club Interior stateroom prices (category 12). Offer applies to bookings created September 1 – November 30, 2017 (“Offer Period”). Offer applies to select sailings departing on or after 20 – April 2018. Bookings must be made in desired category, which will be priced at the lower fare after the valid promotion is selected. All other charges, including, but not limited to, cruise taxes, fees, and port expenses, are additional and apply to all guests. Offer may not be available on all categories on all sailings. Offer applies to new, individual bookings and non-contracted group bookings named and fully deposited during the Offer Period. Offer is not applicable to incentive or contracted groups. Limit one Offer per stateroom. Suites are not eligible for suite_ _category upgrade. Offer is combinable with Create Your Own Sale, Back-to-Back Benefit, Onboard Booking Savings, Early Booking Bonus and Le Club Voyage Quarterly Savings. Unless stated otherwise, offer is not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, Employee Rates, Interline Rates, Travel Agent Rates, Net Rates or other Deep Discount rates. After the Offer Period, the Offer will be removed from the booking if the guest cancels and reinstates the booking, applies a fare change, or changes the ship or sail date of the booking; certain other changes to the booking may also result in removal of the Offer. Offer is subject to availability and may change without notice and may be withdrawn at any time. Azamara reserves the right to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions and to change or update fares, fees and surcharges at any time without prior notice. This offer is applicable to U.S. and Canada residents only. Refer to AzamaraClubCruises.com/DoubleUpgrade for additional terms and conditions.

©2017 Azamara Club Cruises. Ships registered in Malta.

Published: 29/09/2017

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Friends and Family Sale!

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YYZ Travel Group, TICO:#04332359. 7851 Dufferin Street, Suite 100. Thornhill, Ontario L4J 3M4.

Published: 28/09/2017

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Beyond Rome, Florence, Venice: Try Southern Italy

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There are few rivals to the antiquities of Rome, the Renaissance heritage of Florence, and the fairy-tale setting of Venice, the three cities comprising Italy’s popular tourism triangle. But the south of Italy is a different animale.

“The south’s hospitality is exceptional,” says Andrew De Angelis, an Italian native and YYZ travel advisor based in Calgary, Canada. “Locals don’t see you as a walking wallet, as they often can in Rome, Florence, and Venice. They see tourists as people to share their heritage with.”

Until Italy was unified in the mid-nineteenth century, the south was an independent region, which accounts for its differences, such as Puglia’s trulli (conical-roofed stone huts); the couscous that replaces pasta in Sicily, reflecting its proximity to North Africa; and the lemon orchards terracing the Amalfi Coast. Greek ruins and ancient Roman cities abound, while Neapolitan pizza and Sicilian wine “are expressions of the region: simple and beautiful,” says De Angelis.

white houses in italy
Traditional conical-roofed stone huts in Puglia.

“It’s not as tidy or as organized as the north, but the south of Italy is a trip you won’t forget,” he adds. “It’s the old Italy, the motherland.”

Travel to Southern Italy 

Hydrofoil to the chic isle of Capri, let your chauffeur navigate the cliffside S curves of the Amalfi Coast, explore Pompeii’s ruins and Palermo’s markets, and taste the vintages of Sicily, all on a 17-day private tour with Artisans of Leisure.

Must-Stay Hotel

Perched atop a cliff on the Amalfi Coast, the 67-room Hotel Santa Caterina features modern Mediterranean dishes and panoramic ocean views at its two restaurants, regionally inspired spa treatments (think massages with local lemon balm), and a heated seawater pool at its coastal Beach Club.

 

Adapted from: www.blog.virtuoso.com

Published: 22/09/2017

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Favorite Ideas For Healthy Eating On The Road

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What products to take with you while traveling on the road so that your travel will be not only informative, but also tasty and healthy?

Fitness food. Weight loss nutrition diet. Take away of healthy food. Eat right concept, diet, clean food take away in aluminium boxes, vegetable salads and meat at white wood. Healthy lunch

Photo: depositphotos.com

Food on the road has to be convenient: when we say that we mean that it should be convenient to eat, convenient to transport and, of course, convenient to store. Therefore, first of all, we will define the main qualities of road products.

Products shouldn’t be bulky and too heavy.

Otherwise, while on a road you will be connected not with pleasant impressions of a travel, but with the cares that nothing from products has fallen anywhere and has soiled something of your stuff.

Restaurant food delivery in foil box. Poached egg with runny yolk closeup on veil steak medium rare with fresh vegetable salad and couscous cushion. Dish take away closeup, healthy meal.

Photo: depositphotos.com

Food shouldn’t be perishable

Perfect meal on the road has to be of such quality that it would be possible to store it long time without refrigerator. Food shouldn’t thaw in the sun. Plus, it has to be simple in cooking, with no additional preparation required. Try to prepare everything in advance.

Principle of two “no”

“No” – to pungent smells, “no” – to garbage. You shouldn’t stock up to the road with food with strong smells even if you like them a lot. Approximately in two hours all smells will start irritating you. Besides, you shouldn’t also forget about fellow travelers.

Food that leaves a lot of crumbs and additional packing, is not the most successful option while traveling on the road, especially if you travel by car.

It seems that there is no food which would meet all these requirements. But this is not like this. Almost all products can be taken on the road, all you need to need to know is how they should be preparing to take on the road.

Lunch box with vegetable and fruits on wooden table. Kids take away food box. Top view

Photo: depositphotos.com

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables is an ideal option not only for a main course to the road, but also for having a snack. The cut carrots, apples, sweet pepper straws are very useful and serve as a perfect alternative to all snacks in the form of chips, sunflower seeds and crackers. It is better not to take fruit entirely because they very heavy – it’s better to cut them up and take with you as an afternoon snack. It diversifies your road diet.

It is better to cut various vegetable and salads and put them into tight containers. To make a road crude vegetables lunch tastier, prepare some simple sauces which will be very convenient for taking with you in small plastic sauce boats. Vegetables are good not only in the form of salads – vegetable fritters and zucchini, pumpkin, carrots and potatoes cutlets are perfect when even not warmed.

Rye bread sandwiches with ham, cheese and vegetables in a craft paper bag. Take away food. Selective focus

Photo: depositphotos.com

Sandwiches

Sandwiches are, perhaps, the most popular meals on the road. It is possible to prepare them using vegetables, or meat, fish and , of course, cheeses. Sauces, seasonings, any greens –you can add anything according to your imagination. It is better to use brown bread, with bran – it less high-calorie also not so strongly differs in taste from white, than, say, rye.

For those who are who categorically against high-calorie bread, we recommend thin flat cakes (for example, a lavash) which you can use for wrapping stuffing. Beaters by the way very convenient – they are not less nourishing, than the same sandwiches, but they are much more commode in consumption.

Published: 18/09/2017

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A Perfect Fall Weekend In Hayes Valley, San Francisco

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San Francisco skyline

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Today, a walk around San Francisco’s Hayes Valley is bound to lead to a sidewalk café, a hidden coffee shop, or a buzzing new pop-up restaurant. The neighborhood is beloved by discerning city dwellers who come here to shop and sup, while visitors who make it to Hayes often look like they’ve just stumbled in on a secret.

In the phoenix that is Hayes Valley, atmospheric hangouts and hip boutiques rose from the ashes of the destructive 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The quake damaged a 40-foot-tall section of the Central Freeway above Hayes Valley, which, at the time, skewed far more seedy than trendy. After the bridge languished amid a city-planning tug-of-war, it was torn down in 2003, freeing up space for redevelopment and paving the way for one of SF’s most beguiling neighborhoods, a centrally located stretch north of the Mission District and west of SoMa that just keeps getting better. Visitors can’t walk a block without encountering a “Now Open” sign beckoning them into a new space.

“Hayes has a small-town feel in the middle of the city,” says Charles Bililies, the restaurateur behind Souvla, a chic, Hayes Valley Greek space with a cult following. “When I was planning Souvla, I looked at many neighborhoods [before choosing Hayes]; I even moved here nine months before Souvla opened in 2014.”

hayes street
Cocktails on Hayes Street.

Here’s where to start your exploration of Hayes Valley:

Where to Eat and Drink

For about a six-block stretch, Hayes Valley is a bastion of global culinary ambition, where restaurants (much like residents) live in historic homes and new condo developments clustered on or around Hayes Street, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. Dining out is a globe-spinning exercise: Go Greek at Souvla, get your schnitzel fix at the Bavarian Suppenküche, dive into Italian comfort food at recently opened a Mano, dabble with French fare at slick Monsieur Benjamin, or stay local with elevated California prix fixe at Nightbird.

souvla hayes valley
Souvla in Hayes Valley.

A couple of blocks east at Cala, a modern restaurant in a former sound studio with skylights, a fiddle-leaf fig tree, and a wall of kangaroo vines, chef Gabriela Cámara brings the flavors that helped her grow a following in Mexico City to a vast seafood-focused menu. After dinner, trip it to the tropics with a stop at Smuggler’s Cove, a tiki bar tucked behind a nondescript door, where bartenders whip up rum-centric concoctions such as the Millionaire Cocktail (No. 1) – rum, sloe gin, lime, house-made grenadine, and apricot liqueur. If umbrella drinks aren’t your thing, there’s Biergarten, where picnic tables let locals flirt with collective alfresco-drinking fantasies, but the staff doling out blankets acknowledges the reality of San Francisco’s frequent fog and chill.

smuggler's cove hayes valley
Smuggler’s Cove in Hayes Valley.

Where To Shop 

Fiercely protective of its village vibe, Hayes Valley has developed a shopping district that’s practically free of chain stores. Instead, a welcoming array of shops bring a strong eye for style and appealing offerings to the neighborhood. While the selection is wide ranging – from sake boutique True Sake to the Mexican folk-art talismans of Polanco – clothing, home decor, shoes, and sweets are the mainstays here.

Begin your spree at vintage-focused Ver Unica, one of the original Hayes Valley stores, where you’ll likely run into owner Cindy Spade, a muse with Joni Mitchell cheekbones and effortlessly inspiring personal style. Impossibly hip Acrimony stocks cool-girl and -guy pieces, while Welcome Stranger is solely dedicated to the sharp-dressed man. The contemporary design collective Minimal and artisan-focused Maker & Moss are like candy stores for designophiles, but when it’s time to satisfy a literal sweet tooth, head to Miette for cupcakes, cookies, and tarts; and Chantal Guillon for macarons.

maker moss hayes valley
Maker & Moss in Hayes Valley.

See & Do 

San Francisco possesses plenty of landmarks (hello, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz), but mostly due to its size, Hayes trades monuments for cozy public spaces. At Patricia’s Green park, created after the freeway was torn down, locals commandeer tables for meetups and chess matches, dogs carouse on the lovely lawn, and street fairs and public art make frequent appearances. Adjacent is Proxy, an ever-evolving open-air space that throws alfresco movie nights and block parties, and hosts coffee, ice cream, and beer pop-ups. Just around the corner is the sophisticated SFJazz Center, where, at sleek new restaurant B-Side, charred chive blossoms, hominy posole, and piquant cocktails play like crowd-pleasing openers to the night’s jazz-heavyweight headliner.

For larger-scale sightseeing, head to the neighboring Civic Center, home to the War Memorial Opera House (where the city’s opera and ballet companies split stage time), the San Francisco Symphony, and Herbst Theatre. A 15-minute stroll west leads to Alamo Square Park, bordered on the east by the Painted Ladies (aka Postcard Row), seven pastel-hued sister houses made famous by the opening credits of Full House, now one of the city’s most photographed scenes. Instagram-op scored, return to Hayes Valley to soak in the village scene – a glass of rosé in hand.

Advisor Tip

“Before dinner, grab a glass of wine at Hotel Biron, a secret wine bar tucked away on a dark alley off Market Street – trust me!” – Courtney Regan, Virtuoso advisor, San Francisco

Where To Sleep

Ever since it survived the city’s 1906 earthquake, the Fairmont San Francisco on Nob Hill has been a classic SF institution, with its marble-wrapped lobby and 592 sumptuous guest rooms. Don’t miss a visit to the Tonga Room – the 72-year-old holdover from the tropical-tinged days of Hawaii-mania is one of the country’s original tiki bars, complete with dangerous drinks, pupu platters, and waiters in festive shirts.

The Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel houses one of the city’s most breathtaking spaces, The Garden Court dining room and atrium, where Saturday afternoon tea is a San Francisco rite of passage. Beyond the restaurant, 556 revamped rooms feature 11-foot ceilings and marble baths, and swimmers can log laps beneath a glass dome in the indoor pool.

Downtown’s Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, a quick walk from Union Square, feels more like an urban residence than a big-city hotel, with 277 modern rooms, coastal fare at MKT Restaurant – Bar, and complimentary guest access to the adjacent Equinox Sports Club.

BY KELLY LACK
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANGELA DECENZO

Published: 08/09/2017

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