Visiting San Francisco | A Local Guide for Outside Lands 2019

We’re just a couple weeks away from San Francisco’s highly anticipated music festival of the summer. This year, Outside Lands, a three-day festival traditionally held inside Golden Gate Park, will run on the weekend of August 9th to 11th. If you’re planning to pay a visit to the City by the Bay during this eventful time, we’ve got everything you need to make sure you make the most out of your trip.

Starting with the most important question: have you gotten your tickets yet? Like most festivals, Outside Lands gives you the option of purchasing 3-day passes priced at $385, or single day tickets for $155. The best way to determine which ticket option to go with is to ask yourself who you want to see. Scan the lineup below to see if you’d rather purchase a single day ticket or a weekend pass!

If you’re a Bay Area local with a tight budget, have you ever considered volunteering at Outside Lands? Volunteering allows you to work two six-hour shifts at the festival, and then grants you festival access to attend a day and a half for free. If you ask us, that’s a pretty good deal. You can even coordinate a team name with your friends so you can request to volunteer together. If you don’t have any plans for that weekend, this might be a great budget-friendly option for you to be able to see some of your favorite artists.

Transportation & Lodging

For those of you who aren’t from the Bay Area, finding a place to stay near the festival is optimal. There is no designated parking lot at the festival and street parking in San Francisco is limited. With that being said, your best option is to find a vacation rental within walking distance of Golden Gate Park. The best neighborhoods to find a rental are the Richmond District and the Sunset District.

Alternatively, you can find a cozy spot anywhere in the city, but keep in mind that Uber and Lyft prices tend to spike up that weekend because rides are in high demand. If you find a place closer to Downtown San Francisco, Outside Lands provides a prepaid local shuttle service from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

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If you live in one of San Francisco’s neighboring cities, one option would be to purchase a local shuttle pass, then BART to Civic Center Station. The Civic Center BART stop is just a short walk from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium pick up point. Outside Lands also offers a regional shuttle service from Mill Valley, Oakland, Palo Alto, Sacramento and San Jose. Round trip rates start at $41 for single day fares, and $112 for all three days, but rates vary depending on your shuttle stop location.

Attending The Festival

Before you go, be sure to look on the Outside Lands Official Website for what you can and can’t bring. In the last couple years, they have implemented a clear bag policy, with the exception of fanny packs, purses, drawstring bags, and hydration packs that meet specific sizing standards listed on their website. Also, if there’s one important piece of advice we could give you, it’s to always bring a jacket, no matter how warm it seems during the day. San Francisco’s weather can be unpredictable, and once the sun goes down, the temperature can drop drastically.

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When you get there, keep in mind that there’s more to Outside Lands then just music. Give yourself some time to wander through the festival grounds. Indulge in a few glasses at Wine Lands or Beer Lands, where you’ll find an assortment of libations from NorCal’s most popular wineries and breweries. Plus, with the legalization of cannabis in California, the festival also made history by being the first American music festival to curate a perfectly legal cannabis experience called Grass Lands, serving cannabis-infused treats and even hosting a bong carving competition. Plus, be on the lookout for The Barbary, a stage designated for stand up comedians to share their thoughts, no holds barred, just to make you laugh.

 

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But one of the most exciting things about Outside Lands is the food! The festival always partners up with the best Bay Area food vendors to bring you mouthwatering bites you can enjoy in between sets. Go on a foodie adventure with a group of friends so you can try a little bit of everything! Some stalls to look out for this year include Azalina’s chicken curry nachos, Chef Smelly’s Creole and Soul Food for surf and turf fries, and a pastrami reuben from Wise Sons.

Exploring San Francisco

Because the festival is located in the city of San Francisco itself, it’s easy to go out and explore. For anyone who’s always wanted to visit, this is your perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

Inside Golden Gate Park itself, there’s a few other places to explore. Spend the day picnicking outside the Conservatory of Flowers, or if you stay another week, you’ll be able to catch their monthly Botanicals and Brews event on August 16th. You can also visit not one, but two, museums in the park! From now until October 6th, the de Young Museum has an Ed Hardy: Deeper Than Skin exhibit showcasing tattoos as an art form. If you’ve got some ink of your own, you can even get in at a discounted price. Simply use the promo codes provided on their website and be ready to show your tattoo at the door.

Another exciting museum is the California Academy of Sciences, to indulge in all things earthly; from rainforests, to aquariums and even a simulation room of San Francisco’s two historically hard-hitting earthquakes. Every Thursday, Cal Academy also hosts NightLife, where adults ages 21 and over can enjoy the exhibits over music and cocktails.

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If you’re staying near the Golden Gate Park area, you’ll have quick access to two tucked away attractions: Land’s End and the Mosaic Stairway. Lands End is located on the northeast corner of the city, five minutes away from the west end of the park. You can get lost wandering through the various places to explore in Land’s End, but one notable attraction is the short hike to the hidden Labyrinth. Once you find this secret site, you will be amazed at the meticulously placed rock art, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge — as long as Karl the Fog isn’t in the way.

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Another cool place for photo-ops is the Mosaic Stairway, only a short drive south of Golden Gate Park. There, you’ll find 163 colorfully tiled steps, inspired by the Selarón Staircase in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. San Francisco’s Mosaic Stairway beautifully blends the sea, the sky, and nature. Go see it for yourself when you visit!

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Lastly, just a five minute drive from the east end of Golden Gate Park is the world renowned intersection of Haight and Ashbury. Take a stroll down Haight Street and peek into the various thrift shops, boutiques — and what the area has been infamous for since the 1960s: head shops. Beer lovers can grab a drink at Magnolia Brewing Company, a local brewery that has lived in the Haight-Ashbury area for the last couple decades. Additionally, music enthusiasts can pay a visit to Amoeba Music, a vast warehouse filled with records for sale. Then, to wrap up your Haight Street adventure, you can walk over to Cha Cha Cha one door down from Amoeba and enjoy delicious Cuban tapas and refreshing sangrias.

The Afterparty Playlist

When the festival is over, but you still want to keep the party going, we have a solution for you. Here’s an Outside Lands 2019 playlist of 100 of our favorite tracks by this year’s lineup, listed in alphabetical order by artist. Listen to it while winding down in your adorable Bay Area vacation rental, or put on some headphones and get lost in the music while you wander the streets of San Francisco. Either way, this playlist will help keep your OSL memories alive.

 

What are you waiting for? Grab your ticket to Outside Lands and book your stay in San Francisco now!

 

Lollapalooza 2019 Chicago Guide | Exploring The Loop

If you’re heading to Lollapalooza this weekend, you should already have your vacation rental booked, your packing essentials in mind, and your wristband activated, but have you done your homework on the best spots to hit while you’re there? With Chicago positioned in the #1 slot for the best food cities in the United States, you might as well make the most of your trip and scope out a few amazing bars and eateries in the Windy City. 

The four day music festival will house nine different stages in Grant Park, located down the street from the giant reflective bean known as Cloud Gate. To your advantage, there’s lots to explore around the local area known as the Loop

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Exploring The Loop: Where to Eat


To make your life easier, we’ve rounded up the best places to eat, all within walking distance of the festival. Starting with Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria on South State Street, you already know we had to start with Chicago’s finest: deep dish pizza. Only ten minutes away from Grant Park and rated by Zagat as “a true Chicago classic,” you won’t have to go out of your way to get your hands on a hearty serving of rich tomato sauce and melted cheese, freshly baked on top of Lou’s signature buttercrust. 

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If you’re in a rush and want to grab a quick bite before the festival, try a pressed Cuban sandwich from Cafecito. Their extensive menu may get a little overwhelming because everything sounds so delicious, but for starters, try the Mar y Tierra sandwich, made up of spanish chorizo, shrimp, and citrus garlic aioli. Or, if you’re in the mood to try Cafecito’s take on a traditional Cuban dish, go for the Ropa Vieja, consisting of shredded steak in a tomato sauce.

You’ll find a few Cafecito coffee houses scattered around the city, but the closest one to Lollapalooza is the branch on East Congress Parkway, less than ten minutes outside of the venue.

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To get a taste of several local vendors under one roof, take a 20 minute walk north from the festival grounds to Revival Food Hall. Right off the bat, Antique Taco’s chorizo chili cheese curds and crab flautas are calling our name. But if you’re in a carnivorous mood, dig into the savory smoked meats at Smoque BBQ. You get the option of sliced brisket versus chopped brisket, or you can also try their homemade jalapeno cheddar sausage, among other meats on the menu.

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One other dish at Revival that catches our eye is the Furious Ramen from Furious Spoon, made with fresh noodles, house-made chashu pork, and topped with tasty chicken and pork dumplings. With so many different cuisines to choose from, this food hall is a foodie’s paradise.

We also can’t forget to mention a true local favorite: Cindy’s Rooftop, just a 15 minute stroll from Lollapalooza. This place is great for both food and drinks, with a welcoming ambiance on a rooftop overlooking Lake Michigan and Millennium Park. Keep in mind that if you’re visiting during Lollapalooza weekend, they will run regular business hours everyday except for dinner on Sunday, August 4th due to a private event. 

Happy Hour Around The Loop


Onto the fun part – happy hour! There are tons of places to get your pregame on while soaking in Chicago culture at one of the Loop’s trendy bars and restaurants. Check out a few of your options below.

#1: Acanto on South Michigan Street

Starting off with Acanto, this Italian restaurant is a lovely place for happy hour, right across the street from Millennium Park. The establishment’s building on 18 South Michigan Avenue is one of three Gage Group Buildings, now a historic landmark due to its architectural significance in the 20th century.

  • Happy Hour Times: Monday Friday from 2:30pm – 5:30pm
  • Distance From Lollapalooza: 6 minute drive, 15 minute walk
  • Best Happy Hour Deals: $4 bruschetta, $5 beer, and $8 glasses of wine

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#2: AceBounce on North Clark Street

Next up is AceBounce, an exciting social club with ping pong, beer pong and wonderball. Their latest cocktail menu is an ode to classic ‘90s sitcoms such as the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Friends, and Full House. Be sure to book directly on their website if you and your friends plan on playing a round of games!

  • Happy Hour Times: Monday Thursday from 4:00pm – 7:00pm, and Friday from 12:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Distance From Lollapalooza: 10 minute drive, 30 minute walk
  • Best Happy Hour Deals: $5 beers, vodka cocktails, and glasses of wine

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#3: Land & Lake Kitchen on East Wacker Drive

Lastly, you can visit Land & Lake Kitchen featuring indoor and outdoor seating close to the Chicago River. Aside from happy hour, they also host bottomless mimosa brunch from 11:00am – 3:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

  • Happy Hour Times: Monday Friday from 4:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Distance From Lollapalooza: 10 minute drive, 25 minute walk
  • Best Happy Hour Deals: $4 beers, $5.50 glasses of house wine, and $6.50 cocktails

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Unwinding After the Festival


Staying a day or two after the festival? You got the right idea. 

Take some time to explore the Windy City’s most in demand sites. If you haven’t done so already, spend an afternoon in Millennium Park and snap a photo at the famous Cloud Gate. From there, you can also walk 20 minutes inland to the Willis Tower and test your fear of heights on the Skydeck, 103 floors up!

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Then, follow the Chicago River north until you hit the Chicago Riverwalk. You can walk along the pedestrian path, parallel to the river, all the way until you reach City Winery right by the water. It’s the perfect place to end your afternoon with a refreshing drink in hand.

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Your Go-To Lollapalooza 2019 Playlist


Lollapalooza’s lineup will be packed with incredible performances each day as any four day festival should but we put together a playlist of some of our favorite songs by this year’s lineup.  Get hyped up while listening to it on your way to Chicago, or play it in your vacation rental while pregaming with your best buds. All that matters is that you have a great time while listening!

 

In the mood for a spontaneous getaway to Lollapalooza 2019? VacationRenter’s got you covered with the perfect rental.

 

Need a Break for a Weekend? Here Are 5 Great Philadelphia Getaways

Weekend getaways from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, are stress free and easy because of the city’s great location. With close proximity to Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and other Pennsylvania locales, a fun-filled weekend is just a short drive away. You’ll find many types of attractions in each of the following weekend destinations.

  1. Brandywine Valley

    Philadelphia getaways to the Brandywine Valley are a quick jaunt down I-95. The Brandywine Valley, home to world-class museums, opulent castles and colorful gardens, is located in Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, and Northern Delaware. Six different wineries are found on the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail. Brandywine River Museum contains Wyeth family art. World-renowned Longwood Gardens, Winterthur Museum and Gardens along with Nemours Mansion and Gardens are a few more of the area sites.

  2. Lancaster

    Weekend getaways in PA are lots of fun, especially when you head to Lancaster. You’ll find a picturesque landscape in Pennsylvania Amish Country. Rolling hills are dotted with farms that show off planted fields.

    Many attractions introduce you to the “Plain People,” who shun modern conveniences. As you travel through Lancaster County, you’ll share the road with their horse and buggies. Other attractions include Rock Ford Plantation, Dutch Wonderland, The Demuth Museum and Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum.

  3. Inner Harbor

    There’s plenty to see and do in Inner Harbor, a neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland. You can visit the Maryland Science Center and its planetarium and observatory, the National Aquarium, the Top of the World Observation Level, Power Plant Live!, Historic Ships in Baltimore and Port Discovery Children’s Museum. Federal Hill Park and the American Visionary Art Museum are close to Inner Harbor. Other Baltimore attractions include Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Watermark Cruises and Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

  4. Wildwood

    Wildwood is one of the New Jersey beaches that offers many attractions. The resort city boasts five miles of white sand beaches and a 38-block boardwalk. The Sightseer tram makes it easy to get to all the eateries, shops, arcades, water parks and rides on the boardwalk. Three amusement piers on the boardwalk contain over 100 rides and attractions. Doo Wop Experience Museum, featuring 1950s and ’60s artifacts, is found at Fox Park. Nighttime hot spots include dance clubs, sports bars and Irish pubs.

  5. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

    Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area runs over 200 miles along the Delaware River on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania border. The park comprises grassy beaches, forested mountains and the Delaware Water Gap, which runs through the Kittatinny Ridge. Significant Native American archaeological sites and historic buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are found in the park. You can hike the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and Dingmans Creek Trail, which leads to Dingmans Falls.

Tips for Picking the Best Chicago Vacation Rental

Chicago is a great destination for a metropolitan getaway. For a more personalized experience and to get more bang for your buck, consider booking a vacation rental in Chicago. Choose from small studio apartments to spacious townhouses all throughout the city. If this is your first trip to Chicago, check out these tips for choosing the best rental.

Find A Place Near Your Favorite Sites

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Select vacation home rentals in Chicago that are close to the attractions and places you plan to frequent. Chicago is a large city, and you don’t want to spend most of your time and money traveling within the city. While the price tag on a vacation rental home in Des Plaines near the airport might sound convenient, you could spend 45 minutes to an hour just getting into the city.

Check Out Transportation and Parking Options

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Like any major city, Chicago has a strong public transportation system. The L is the elevated rapid transit system that goes all through the city and makes stops in some of Chicago’s suburbs. Additionally, there are bus stops throughout the city to take you to all of the major attractions with ease. If you’re driving to Chicago, check what the parking options are for your vacation rental home. Parking is scarce in many parts of the city, and often comes at a premium. Homes with a place to park your car are a bonus.

Choose the Right Neighborhood

Mark Baldwin/Shutterstock

When you’re planning a trip to Chicago, one of the top tips for finding the best Chicago vacation rentals is location. Of course you want to choose a rental with enough space for your crew, but you also want to stay in a neighborhood that suits you and is close to everything you want to see, do and experience. Whatever neighborhood you choose to call your temporary home, you just might find yourself never wanting to leave “The Windy City.”

  1. Hyde Park
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    If you’re into art or history, this South Side neighborhood is the ideal sport for vacation home rentals in Chicago. Hyde Park is one of Chicago’s most historic neighborhoods. This is where Chicago’s World Fair took place in 1893, introducing the country to two major advancements: the Ferris wheel and electricity. Popular attractions in the neighborhood include the Museum of Science and Industry, the Western Hemisphere’s biggest science museum. Other attractions include the architecture and scenery of the University of Chicago, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, the DuSable Museum of African American History and the Hyde Park Art Center.

  2. The Loop
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    When you want to stay near all the downtown action, the Loop neighborhood is the place to be. You’ll be surrounded by skyscrapers and close to some top attractions. Just walking around and taking in the amazing architecture designed by greats like Louis Henri Sullivan and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is a fun way to spend some time. Millennium Park is one of the neighborhood’s most popular hangouts, with its iconic features like Cloud Gate and a stunning amphitheater where concerts and events are held during nice weather.

  3. Gold Coast
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    This swanky neighborhood is just north of downtown, and it offers some of the most luxurious homes, shopping and attractions. Plus, its location along the shores of Lake Michigan make it one of the city’s most scenic neighborhoods to stay. The upscale shopping on Oak Street, which is just off the Magnificent Mile, is a favorite among serious shoppers. The neighborhood’s also home to several Michelin-star restaurants and plenty of nightlife located along Rush Street.

  4. Lincoln Park
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    For a great balance of natural beauty, outdoor recreation and independent eateries and boutiques, it’s hard to top the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Quiet, tree-lined streets mingle with busy business corridors, and you’ll find plenty of museums, theaters and clubs to choose from. Of course, at the heart of this dynamic, artsy neighborhood is its namesake park. In addition to roughly 1,200 acres of open green space, you’ll also have access to Lincoln Park’s free zoo, nature museum and its lakefront trail and beaches.

  5. Wrigleyville
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    Sports fans love the Wrigleyville neighborhood because it’s situated right in the shadow of Wrigley Field. When you book a vacation rental here, you’ll be in walking distance to baseball’s second oldest stadium along with shops, casual restaurants and some raucous nightlife.

5 Hot Air Balloon Festivals That’ll Make You Want to Visit Colorado This Summer

Social media has undoubtedly taken #travelgoals to the next level, providing thousands of millennials with an endless database of jaw-dropping images of where to go next. If you’re an aspiring globetrotter who frequently keeps up with travel bloggers, then you’ve probably come across gorgeous images of hot air balloons soaring at sunrise in the Turkish city of Cappadocia. After coming across those images, we wouldn’t put it past you if you decide to add “witness hot air balloons fill the sky” to your bucket list.

hot-air-balloons-flying-over-cappadocia

But guess what? You don’t have to fly all the way to Turkey to make your hot air balloon dreams come true. Lucky for you, Colorado has a handful of colorful hot air balloon festivals lined up in August & September. Find out which festival is the most suitable for you to make an adventure out of this summer!

Aug 3 – 4: Moffat County Balloon Festival in Craig

Kicking off Colorado’s balloon festivals is the Moffat County Balloon Festival held on the first weekend of August. The event includes a 5K & fun run race on Saturday, August 3rd and a Colorado Cruiser Classic Car Show to follow. In the afternoon, there will be live music by Wyoming artist Randy Burdghardt and Colorado musicians, Kyle Allgood & The No Goods.

The festival is located close to the northwest corner of Colorado, which means you could also take a trip to the border of Utah to check out the Dinosaur National Monument. This preservation of land is solid proof that dinosaurs roamed this region long before our time.

There you’ll find fossils, immortalizing the mysterious reptile-like beings that walked our planet over 60 million years ago. Seeing the bone structures of these life sized creatures is a pretty marvelous sight to see, so if you’re fascinated by all things science, this would definitely be an interesting adventure for you.

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In addition to the fossils, you’ll also stumble upon petroglyphs painted and etched on the monument’s rocks by the Fremont Indians thousands of years ago. To learn the park’s secrets of the past, it would be a good idea to book a guided tour. One unique tour for our outdoor explorers is a whitewater rafting tour through Dinosaur National Monument with OARS. They offer a variety of five-star tours that hit all the most exciting spots, all while enlightening you with everything you need to know about the land’s history.

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Needless to say, a trip to Dinosaur would be an interesting attraction for history buffs too.

Ready to take a trip to Craig and see the dinosaurs?

Aug 30 – Sept 1: Colorado Balloon Festival in Creede

Next on our radar is the Creede Colorado Balloon Festival at the end of August, which would be a great trip to take on Labor Day weekend. With the city of Creede located inside the Rio Grande National Forest and close to the San Juan Mountains, you’re guaranteed a stunning backdrop surrounding the balloons lifting off at sunrise. This weekend-long event is great for families, including activities such as a children’s carnival, marathon runs, a salsa cook-off and an ATV rodeo. 

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After a relaxing day admiring the balloons, one unbelievably epic area to hike is the Wheeler Geologic Area, a short drive away from Creede. The bizarre rock formations inhabiting this land are the result of one of the world’s strongest volcanic eruptions ever, now known as La Garita Caldera. To get to the otherworldly land, you can either take a 7-mile hike from the East Bellows Trailhead or embark on a 14-mile ride on an intense four wheel drive road. For more information, you can refer to the Sangres website laying out detailed information on how to get there.

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If you can extend your stay a little longer, you can also visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park, less than two hours away from Creede. Take a hike up Star Dune, the tallest sand dune in North America, standing at 750 feet tall. Sandboarding and sledding equipment is also available for rent outside the park to chase that adrenaline rush down the dunes. 

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Plus, more adventure lies a few miles south of the Great Sand Dunes at Zapata Falls, a mile-long hike leading to a secluded 30 foot bustling waterfall. Although your stay will occur during the warmer months, what the falls look like in the winter is worth mentioning. Once the temperature drops towards the end of the year, the falls freeze over and give off major enigmatic vibes. 

Plan an exciting excursion around Creede for Labor Day!

Aug 31 – Sept 2: Labor Day Lift Off in Colorado Springs

Another option for a Labor Day weekend trip takes us to the Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off. Of all the hot air balloon events happening in Colorado this summer, this is one of the largest and most colorful. Hundreds of locals are estimated to flock to Memorial Park, where over 70 balloons are expected to rise up overlooking Prospect Lake at 7:00 AM sharp each day. Those who want to be a part of the action can even reserve a slot to ride one of the hot air balloons at sunrise. 

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In addition to the bright colored display in the sky, there will also be a donut eating contest hosted by Dunkin’ Donuts, skydiving demonstrations, and a photography contest awarding one lucky winner a Nikon D5600 camera! Other fun activities at the event include paddle boarding on the lake, and even paddle yoga. At sunset, everyone gathers together for a “balloon glow,” where the balloons are inflated on land and burners are ignited, creating a glowing effect that lights up the park as the sky transitions to dusk.

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Just a ten minute drive from Memorial Park is Seven Falls, also known as “Colorado’s Grandest Mile.” There are many outdoor activities to keep you entertained at Seven Falls, but the most exhilarating one is the Soaring Adventure. This wilderness experience will take you through an intrepid route consisting of ten zip lines, various suspension bridges, and spectacular hikes giving you another chance to see Colorado Springs from an aerial perspective.

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Two other sites to include on your Colorado Springs to-do list are the Garden of the Gods and the Cave of the Winds. As you can see, you won’t fall short of things to do in this city, being an added bonus after attending the vibrant hot air balloon festival.

Find the perfect vacation rental in Colorado Springs today.

Sept 6 – 8: Snowmass Balloon Festival in Snowmass Village

We weren’t kidding when we said Colorado has a handful of hot air balloon festivals to choose from this summer. Onto our fourth balloon-filled celebration, we’re headed to Snowmass Balloon Festival in Snowmass Village, a ski town just 20 minutes west of Aspen. What makes this event so unique is that over the course of three days, roughly 30 pilots are set to compete in different races and challenges while flying their inflated aircrafts, as festival attendees watch from below. 

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Snowmass Village will also be hosting Cidermass ⁠— a hard cider tasting event that’s back for its second run ⁠— and Septemberfest on Saturday, September 7th. Kid-friendly activities in the area include wandering through The Lost Forest, riding the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, and horseback riding. If your furry friends are tagging along too, you can take both your pets and your kids on a scenic summer lift ride or enjoy a night camping in Colorado’s great outdoors.

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From Snowmass, you should definitely spend a day visiting the breathtakingly beautiful Maroon Bells. The best way to get there from Snowmass Village is through the village shuttle and bus service. What’s so great about Maroon Bells is that the most sought out mountain views are easily accessible to anyone. One hiking trail that’s safe for children and recommended for all skill levels is the Maroon Bells Scenic Loop Trail. As you hike towards the lake, you’ll see exactly why the Maroon Bells mountains are one of the most photographed ridges in the country. 

How does a trip to Snowmass Village sound? Start planning now!

Sept 20 – 22: Colorfest in Pagosa Springs

The final balloon festival closing out the summer is Colorfest located in the hidden gem of Pagosa Springs. This festival is the only one among the five that requires an entry ticket, but for $70 you’ll have full access to the Pagosa Wine & Food Festival on September 20th, the Bands & Brews Festival on September 21st, and the balloon ascension held at 8:00am on both days. 

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While you’re on holiday, treat yourself to a relaxing day at one of the town’s many hot springs. Most people are drawn to The Spring Resort & Spa to see the “Great Pagosah Spring,” breaking records as the world’s most massive hot spring with a depth of over 1,000 feet. The pool’s exact depth is unknown to anyone, as no plumb lines or measuring devices have ever actually hit the bottom. With temperatures surpassing 140 degrees, visitors are not allowed to dip into this worldwide phenomenon, but as the Mother Spring, it does supply mineral water into the spa’s many swimmable soaking pools.

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If you’d rather soak in hot springs on a rooftop, you can cross the San Juan River and spend an afternoon at Overlook Springs. Catch sunset overlooking the city as you unwind in one of their scenic rooftop tubs, or stay as late as 10:00 PM on weekdays, and 11:00 PM on weekends to gaze at the stars.

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Last on your itinerary, head west to the Chimney Rock National Monument, a celestial observatory built by the Ancestral Puebloans over a thousand years ago. The monument is only open to the public between May to September, so this would be your last chance to witness this astronomical masterpiece for the rest of the year. Check it out if you get the chance and experience the powerful energy in an archeological wonder that some say was ahead of its time. Be sure to reserve tickets to Chimney Rock directly on the Recreation.gov website before your trip.

Have the perfect send-off for summer 2019 in a lovely Pagosa Springs vacation rental.

 

Nashville Trips for Every Season: What to Do and See

If you’re thinking about heading to Nashville for a few days of fun in one of the South’s finest cities, you may be wondering what time of year is best for traveling. The fact is that any time of year is a good time to visit Music City, depending on what you want to do. Spring sees azaleas and dogwoods in bloom, while summer is warm and features live entertainment galore. Fall sees beautiful foliage and comfortable temperatures, while winter offers affordable prices and all the holiday fun you can handle. Take a look at what all there is to see and do during Nashville trips in every season

Spring

The days grow a little warmer, the birds are chirping, the flowers are in bloom and more and more people are getting outdoors to enjoy Nashville. That’s how you know spring has arrived in Music City. It’s the perfect season to enjoy the great outdoors, whether you’re taking in a festival, hiking in a park or exploring a beloved outdoor attraction like the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.

If you love festivals and other similar events, spring in Nashville is your season. Start with Music City Irish Fest, the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, or Tin Pan South, the world’s largest festival of songwriters (which also takes place in March). Each year, April brings the East Nashville Beer Festival, the Cherry Blossom Festival, Rites of Spring at Vanderbilt University and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon, which is sponsored by St. Jude. If you’re in town in May, you may want to visit the Tennessee Craft Fair, the Nashville Film Festival or the Nashville Flea Market Spring Fling.

Nashville Fashion Week occurs ever April and is the place to be if you want to catch up on the latest trends, shake hands with industry insiders and enjoy live music and good food across the city. Speaking of good food, many of the city’s most beloved restaurants open up their patios and outdoor dining areas during spring, so you can dine on everything from barbecue to pizza while enjoying the gorgeous Tennessee weather. Bring the family along to watch the animals come out of hibernation at the Nashville Zoo, check out a AAA baseball game when the Nashville Sounds start their season and stop by Cheekwood Garden & Estates to see over 100,000 tulips in full bloom.

Summer

Nashville really heats up during the summer, which also happens to be the town’s peak travel season. Riverfront Park in downtown Nashville becomes one of the most popular spots in the city, thanks to a number of outdoor concerts that take place at the park’s open-air venue overlooking the beautiful Cumberland River. Come for the city’s annual July 4th celebration, which includes fireworks, delicious food and live music. There’s also the CMA Fest, which takes place in June, and the Rewind Bar-B-Que Festival, which happens every Labor Day weekend.

If you want to get inside and beat the heat in air conditioning, you can practically walk from Riverfront Park to one of the city’s many museums and shrines to music legends from the past. There’s the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Johnny Cash Museum, The George Jones Museum and the Ryman Auditorium.

Shopping is another great way to beat the Southern heat. The Nashville Arcade dates back to 1902, and today is home to an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, art galleries and businesses. The Mall at Green Hills is an upscale place to shop, and is home to several department stores, boutiques and luxury brands. You’ll find favorite stores and restaurants at Opry Mills, too.

Fall

You know it’s fall in the city when the temperatures begin to cool off, the leaves on the trees turn to beautiful shades of red and gold and the Tennessee Titans take to the field at Nissan Stadium. Football is big in Nashville. Not only is the city home to the beloved NFL team, but college fans come to watch the Vanderbilt Commodores. If you can’t get tickets to a game, at least visit one of the city’s favorite sports bars or do some tailgating. There’s plenty of hot chicken (Nashville’s signature dish) to go around.

Spring may be the ultimate season for events in Nashville, but fall is definitely the second-best time to come enjoy festivals like the Music City Food + Wine Festival, the African Street Festival, Oktoberfest and the Southern Festival of Books. October (or “Artober”) is also when the city celebrates the arts. All throughout the month, you can visit art galleries and enjoy live performances at local theaters.

The CMA Awards bring all of music’s biggest stars to the city each November. And if you prefer more intimate performances, check out a live show at a venue like the Bluebird Cafe, the Grand Ole Opry or the Mercy Lounge.

Winter

Winter sees its fair share of sports fans in Nashville, thanks to the Nashville Predators NHL team. The season starts in October, and by December it’s in full swing, with the team battling at Bridgestone Arena. If you’re in town for New Year’s Eve, stop by the free “Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: New Year’s Eve in Nashville” event to see some of your favorite country stars perform.

Of course, the Christmas holiday season is the perfect time to visit Nashville and enjoy the city’s Holiday Harmony celebration. From November through January, catch dozens of holiday-themed activities.

Winter is also a wonderful time to check out Nashville’s food scene. The Gulch, Germantown, East Nashville, 12South, Downtown and Hillsboro Village are all great foodie neighborhoods. Be sure to stop into one of the city’s coffee shops to grab a cup and maybe run into great songwriters working on their next big hits.

7 Top Areas to Stay in Vacation Home Rentals in Nashville, TN

Nicknamed “Music City,” Nashville is filled with a buzzing atmosphere that makes it a terrific place to take a vacation. Each of its diverse neighborhoods has something different to offer, so follow these neighborhood tips when deciding where to stay in vacation home rentals in Nashville, TN.

  1. Downtown

    Stay right in the heart of the entertainment area with downtown vacation rentals in Nashville. Head to the main Broadway strip, known as Honky Tonk Highway, to see live music acts for free in a whole road of bars.

    See a concert at the iconic Ryman Auditorium, which was once home to the Grand Ole Opry. Take a tour of this legendary venue, see construction artifacts at the exhibit and enjoy a multidimensional screening experience called “Soul of Nashville.” What better souvenir is there to have of your Nashville vacation than to record your own CD at the Ryman’s recording studio?

  2. East Nashville

    If you want a low-key atmosphere that’s still close to the main attractions, stay in East Nashville. Dine out and enjoy some drinks in the restaurants and bars at the area known as 5 Points. Browse the boutique shops and wander around East Nashville’s art galleries. As a popular neighborhood for visual artists and musicians, you’re bound to bump into some songwriters and serenaders in this hip and historic area.

  3. Germantown

    Soak up some history and warmth of the community when you stay in the oldest neighborhood of Nashville, TN. Admire the Victorian architecture that lines the streets of Germantown, relax with a craft beer and dine out on anything from traditional German foods to Asian dishes, American menus and other European offerings. Relax at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and take a free tour to discover the history behind it.

  4. The Gulch

    Discover how the industrial background of this historic neighborhood, which used to house the railroad terminal, seamlessly blends with contemporary style to make it one of the hottest places to be. Stay in one of the Gulch’s vacation home rentals in Nashville, TN, to be close to the vibrant nightlife and diverse restaurants.

  5. Belmont/Hillsboro Village

    The quaint neighborhood of Hillsboro Village is a must for shopaholics. Spanning four blocks, there are specialty stores and boutiques for jewelry, home goods and clothing. In Belmont, guitar enthusiasts find paradise at The Gallery of Iconic Guitars (The GIG), which is home to over 100 iconic and rare guitars. Visit Nashville’s largest house museum, Belmont Mansion, to admire the Italian-style architecture and ornate decorations that include lavish artworks and antiques from the 19th century.

  6. West End/Elliston Place

    Stay in the trendy neighborhood of Elliston Place for great dining options and a variety of entertainment at night. Take in a show at Exit/In, which has played host to huge names in the music industry and is one of the oldest venues in Nashville. Dance the night away in the block of nightclubs known as Elliston Place Rock Block. Across the way, you can head to the Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original one in Greece. Relax in the peaceful surroundings, admire the art collection and statues, have a picnic on the grounds and revisit in the evening to see it when it’s illuminated.

  7. Opryland/Music Valley

    Take a lunch or dinner cruise along the Cumberland River on the General Jackson Showboat and enjoy live entertainment while you dine. Shop until you drop at Opry Mills, the largest mall in Nashville.

    Don’t miss the chance to tour the Grand Ole Opry House during your vacation. Choose between three tours that give you behind-the-scenes glimpses of this legendary institution as you hear stories about music icons and look at historical photos.

Living Like a Local – Tips to Find Fantastic Philadelphia Vacation Rentals

Rich in historical charm, tourists flock to Pennsylvania to explore the city. One of the best ways to experience all it has to offer is to live like a local while you’re there. With a wide array of Philadelphia vacation rentals, you can move right in and get ready to see the sights. Many Philadelphia rentals are spread out among the various neighborhoods that make this city something special.

Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Sean Pavone [https://www.shutterstock.com/g/sepavo]/Shutterstock
Philadelphia is a bustling city with a strong, urban vibe that flows freely throughout its distinctive neighborhoods. Many of these districts have lengthy histories that date back to the early days of the city. Center City, Philadelphia, is commonly considered the heart of the downtown district. This is where you’ll find historic homes intermixed with new architecture, creating a one-of-a-kind vibe. Staying in Center City puts you close to it all. Logan Square, on the other hand, boasts a few big-name attractions, such as the Franklin Institute. Inner city parks provide a pleasing touch of green to make this neighborhood feel quaint and inviting. Choose Chestnut Hill when you want the best of it all. Just far enough outside of the downtown district to feel quiet, this neighborhood has a nice assortment of theaters, museums, shops and parks. Setting out on foot from your rental promises to be an adventure.

Benefits of Houses for Rent in Philadelphia

Joseph Sohm [https://www.shutterstock.com/g/josephsohm]/Shutterstock
If you’ve ever admired the quaint row houses that line those old-fashioned cobblestone streets, you are in luck when looking for vacation homes in Philadelphia. Renting a house gives you the space and amenities you’ll want to really get comfortable during your stay. With multiple bedrooms, expansive seating areas, a gourmet kitchen and a patio, you may feel like you’re relaxing at home. Many rentals have added amenities such as private pools, hot tubs and landscaped gardens.

Enjoying Philadelphia

Songquan Deng [https://www.shutterstock.com/g/rabbit75shu]/Shutterstock
Explore Philadelphia on foot with a walking tour of the various neighborhoods. Local guides are the perfect experts to take you up and down the streets to discover charming shops and restaurants. You’ll hear stories that help you learn about the city. Don’t miss seeing the Liberty Bell, housed at the Liberty Bell Center. From there, check out Independence Hall to see copies of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

dibrova [https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dibrova]/Shutterstock
There’s no better way to really get to know a destination than living like a local. Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are inviting and welcoming, helping vacationers forget that they are just visiting.

Foodie Adventures | Best Food Cities in the United States

When you’re a foodie, travel often revolves around three questions:

What’s the food scene like?
Can I turn this trip into a food tour?
And,  “How soon can I take off?

Before you book a flight, you need to know where you’re going. Since there are so many options, it can be tough to know which destination is best. Lucky for you, VacationRenter surveyed over 1,000 people across the country to find out which cities are the best food destinations. See our results below! Please note, however, that New York City was excluded from the survey results, because its culinary excellence is a given, right?

#4: Charleston (13.93% of the national vote)

The old-town charm of Charleston is bolstered by its robust restaurant scene, with delectable options that often reflect its seaside location. Head over to The Ordinary for delicious seafood that’s ironically far from ordinary. Drop by on a Friday to try their baked stuffed lobster special, or get your hands on crispy oyster sliders on any day of the week.

Another notable hot spot is Workshop — Charleston’s first exploratory food hall.  The venue rotates its vendors on a regular basis with a handful of local eateries that you can try under one roof. They also host weekly trivia nights, so you can get your game on while indulging in Charleston’s latest culinary concepts.

#3: Nashville (16.32% of national vote)

With a well-established culinary tradition of southern fare and flavor-packed takes on old favorites, Nashville is another great option for foodies to explore.  One must-try is Hattie B’s which has three locations spread throughout Nashville. The chicken joint is commonly known for their hot chicken sandwich, and their selection of heat levels ranging from “southern” which has zero spice, to their sixth level of spiciness called, “shut the cluck up!”

Other stops to add on your Nashville food tour include Pinewood Social, a trendy space that serves coffee, eats and cocktails all day long, and Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint for — you guessed it, mouthwatering meats. And of course, there’s the deep-rooted tradition of country music that flows through the city to act as a backdrop to your meal-focused trip.

#2: Philadelphia (21.08% of national vote)

Cheesesteaks are not the end-all, be-all for this massive, diverse and foodie-friendly city, and it’s not surprising that Philadelphia found its way to the number two spot on this list. For the OG cheesesteaks, check out Pat’s or Geno’s, which are right down the street from one another. Or for what’s known as “the best Mexican food on the East Coast,” you can also visit South Philly Barbacoa and put that title to the test.

While Philly is famous for its rich and delicious carnivorous eats, it’s also a vegan food haven, offering options that can satisfy even the most stubborn herbivore. Vegan eateries to visit include V Street and Bar Bombon.

#1: Chicago stood out above the rest, with 33.18% of the vote.

Here are a couple reasons why foodies should pay the Windy City a visit:

International Eats – Chicago may be best-known for pizza and hot dogs, but there’s much more to the foodie scene than those classic options. And by more, we mean a wider palette that spans the globe, and draws inspiration from a myriad of cultures. Even better news is, they aren’t hard to come by. Try Cemitas Puebla for savory Mexican sandwiches, or Passerotto and Crisp for fresh takes on Korean-American fusion. Spice-lovers will want to visit Sze Chuan Cuisine in Chicago’s Chinatown for its shameless approach to heat-laced dishes.

Comfort-Food Paradise – It may be cliche, but a Chicago food tour wouldn’t be complete without the ultimate comfort food: pizza. It may not be the most original option, but deep dish pizza is one of Chicago’s biggest staples — and for good reason. Pequod’s Pizza, for example, is an inexpensive and popular option in the Lincoln Park area, but due to high demand, brace yourself for the possibility of long wait times.

For those who really, really love pizza, it may be a good idea to check out the Original Chicago Pizza Tour, which meets near Millennium Park and includes a few options for vegetarians. Alternatively, Portillo’s is another classic spot if you’re more interested in Chicago-style hot dogs.

Interested in booking a room in Chicago and fulfilling your foodie dreams? Check out VacationRenter for options so you’ll have a great room to rest up when that food coma finally hits.

Making Global Travel Easier With More Currencies

At VacationRenter, our team is committed to helping travelers conveniently book vacation rentals from anywhere around the globe. Our mission is to help you find the perfect vacation rental with the simplest experience. 

We recently shared our plans of expanding into international markets and over the last month we have already helped millions of international travelers find their perfect rentals. While they are still only a small percentage of our users, we expect international travelers to grow exponentially over the coming months as we roll out new international features.

To make searching easier for travelers overseas, our team is excited to announce that we have added additional currencies to our platform, allowing users to select a currency of their choice while searching through our millions of global properties. We started with adding the currencies that account for more than 50% of global transactions in vacation rentals including USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, and NZD. In addition, if a traveler is located in a market that uses one of our provided currencies, the currency will default to their location’s currency.

While we’re excited about this, it’s only the first of many international product updates that will make the VacationRenter search experience easier for travelers everywhere. Over the coming months, we will continue to add additional currencies, enable language localization, collaborate with international partners to bring our users more listings, and expand our localized content with travel guides and price trends for locations abroad. 

Your next vacation is just a click away. Escape to a beautiful rental with VacationRenter today!