Nine Things To Do In: Vienna

1.  Attend a Recital/Ballet/Opera. We were lucky enough to attend a Mozart and Strauss concert in a beautiful old building.

2. Visit the art galleries, such as the Leopold Museum. I was lucky enough to see a great Van Gogh exhibition. I also got to visit the The Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum).

3. Visit the  ‘Prater’ Amusement park, called “Wurstelprater” is the oldest amusement park in the world. We never made it as we kept running out of time and it closed in the evening. Now apparently it’s open 24 hours!

4. See the Royal Palace, aka the Hopfburg Palace. An easy walking tour can take in the Statue of Maria Theresa, the palaces, the famous balconies, an array of statues and sculptures and the Spanish Riding School.

5. Shop downtown, along ‘The Graben’ and ‘Kärntner Straße’–  Vienna’s main shopping streets. I think I had my first experience at European H&M along this route!

6. Sightsee at the Old Church located on the main pedestrian mall and square ‘Stephansplatz’. The beautiful church is called St Stephen’s Cathedral.

7. Pay tribute to Mozart by visiting his statue and Treble Clef garden in Burggarten – the Imperial Palace Gardens. An easy walk from downtown and the other major attractions

8. Visit the Natural History Museum. Vienna has some amazing museums, and the Natural History Museum is a great place to explore for an hour or two. Don’t miss the famous ‘Venus of Willendorf’, one of the world’s oldest statues.

9. Explore the Viennese nightlife. Vienna has some great bars, restaurants and clubs. Make sure you have a local schnitzel, visit a schnapps museum (with free tasting), try a local beer called a ‘Zwickel’ and even find a Irish pub or two. We found a funky night club and ended up being photographed for the club’s website!

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Nine More Things To Do In: San Francisco

After my first visit to San Francisco, I wrote a post of nine things to do in the centre of the city. That was a trip for 3 days, with a friend and with no car. Four years later I returned for 2 days, with my partner and a car. This led to having a different experience of the city (and one where he got to choose the majority of sites). So here is nine more things to do in San Francisco!

1. Comic Museum – When your fiancé is an an Artist, holidays revolve around exhibitions. The Cartoon Art Museum in downtown SF is small, but interesting if you are into that sort of thing. Pretty rad gift shop too. UPDATE – The museum has closed (Sept 2015) and is searching for a new home, read about it here.

2. Walt Disney – The Walt Disney Family Museum is much bigger than I expected, so it is worth visiting for the price ($20 Adults) and it was really interesting. Of course The Artist could have spent all day there…

3. Crissy Field – A reserve / park along the waterfront of the Presidio area. Great for a drive, ride or walk, head right to the end to get great Golden Gate views.

4. Coit Tower – A great place to get 360 degree views of the city on top of Telegraph Hill.  And it’s only $6 entry.

5. Lands End – Past the presidio on the edge of the Pacific Ocean is Lands End, a national recreation area with great views and hikes. Great for views of the GG from the other side.

6. Legion of Honour – ‘The Legion of Honor museum displays a collection of 4,000 years of ancient and European art in an exquisite Beaux-Arts building in an unforgettable setting overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge’.  We didn’t get time to go in the museum unfortunately, but it is still a spectacular building to see from the front.

7. Lombard St – Having a car meant we could drive down the famous street, but it is so popular that there are people everywhere, making it a bit less special.

8. Small Gardens – All over the city are little parks, gardens, slides, steps and interesting nooks and crannies to explore! We found a few accidentally (like Fay Park in the photo above), but some you need some expert know how to seek them out  (next time I hope!)

9. Sutro Baths – These ruins are located at Lands End, north end of Ocean Beach. See them from above at Cliff House or walk down and explore.

Nine Things to Do In: Shanghai

1.  Eat awesome dumplings! I am not a huge dumpling fan, I find them a bit slimy in texture, but we had pan fried dumplings at Yang’s Dumplings, and they were awesome! Worth the wait and the queue.

2. Catch the Maglev, the magnetic levitating train from the airport to the city, which gets to speeds of over 400km an hour! We caught it from the city and back just for fun.

3. Take a night cruise on the Huangpu River to see the spectacular skylines all lit up. On one side is the modern Pudong district with its skyscrapers, the other is the bund with its colonial style buildings and hotels.

4. Go up the Jin Mao Tower. There are a few high rise viewing platforms to visit in Shanghai, but the views from the Jin Mao Tower are pretty cool on a clear day (pray for smog free – not for me unfortunately!)

5. Visit the Yu gardens, yes they are touristy but you can get some awesome souvenirs, eat more dumplings and other great food and have a traditional tea ceremony.

6. Walk The Bund, the waterfront boardwalk, offering awesome views day or night.

7. Go fancy in posh hotels, even if you can’t afford to stay the night, the lobbies, shops, toilets and cafes/bars of the ritzy hotels along The Bund are worth a visit. Bonus points if you swag your way onto a rooftop for views!

8. Visit the Shanghai Museum for free to see many amazing Chinese artefacts, artworks and furniture as well as admire the cool shape of the building

9. Shop, shop shop! Whether its for clothing, souvenirs, food or panda shaped bread rolls, you’ll find it in Shanghai!

 

Nine Things To Do In: San Francisco

1. Alcatraz! ‘The rock’ is a great day trip, the audio tour head set thingy is very interesting. Plus the ferry ride is great!

2. Segway tours… 3 hours of cruising fun, we booked with city segway tours.

3. Eat seafood chowder and shrimp down at the Wharf.  Anywhere at Fisherman’s Wharf will be yummy.

4. Watch the seals relaxing and playing at Fisherman’s Wharf.

5. Ride the cable cars, worth the queue for people like me who live in non cable car cities and it’s still a novelty!

6. Hang out in Union Square, shopping, people watching, flower buying…

7. Walk the steep streets, go down them on a segway if you dare!

8. Wander the grounds of the Palace of the Fine Arts, pretending your in Europe

9. See the fog roll in across the bay… especially around the Golden Gate Bridge!

 

Nine Things to Do in Berlin

1. Take a Fat Tyre bike tour. An awesome introduction to this great city.

2. Walk around the area near Checkpoint Charlie, reading the inscriptions where the wall used to stand.

3. Get lost and reflect in the maze created by the inspiring ‘Memorial for the Murder of the Jewish

4. Wander around the front of the Red Rathaus, Berlin’s town hall with Neptune’s fountain out the front.

5. Walk between East and West Berlin pushing crossing lights, just to see the two different characters that is the Stop/Go man, apparently called Ampelmännchen. I love East Berlin’s portlier gentleman with the top hat !

6. Walk through the majestic Brandenburg Tor, which is so much more easy to say in English as Brandenburg Gate. Brace the crowds at this popular meeting place. Imagine a baby being dangled from a balcony by a beloved king of pop.

7. Go on a hunt for remains of the wall, which turn up in all sorts of unusual places, even in a nightclub set outside in a sand pit where you will see John Cusack. Yes really.

8. Check out the remains of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Gedachtnis Church, in the Nikolai Quarters, bombed during the war.

9. Head out to Schloss Charlottenburg for a day trip to see the 17th century palace with gardens created by the same designer as Versailles.