The folks at Kia recently flew me out to San Diego to drive the all-new 2017 Kia Sportage, and being that I’d never been to San Diego before, me and a few of the other guys decided to stay for a few extra days so that we could check out the city for ourselves.
Now I’m no stranger to California, having visited Los Angeles and San Francisco dozens of times in the past. But somehow I’d never made it down to San Diego before, so I was excited to see what it was all about. My buddy James from ManTripping lives in SD, so he offered to play tour guide for the weekend.
San Diego has an awesome nightlife scene, with more than 40 nightclubs and bars in downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. So we decided to stay right in the heart of all the action, at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. The staff there was great, the bed in my room was incredibly plush, and I could not stop eating those delicious Marriott cookies! It’s a great place to stay when visiting San Diego.
Did you know that San Diego is home to some of the finest hand crafted breweries? The craft brew scene out here is pretty crazy, with more than 100 craft breweries in the region. In fact, The New York Times called it “a sunny heaven for suds lovers”. So we decided to check out some of the local brews, including . And since we were planning on getting our drink on, we had Aall In Limo & Party Bus drive us around in a dope party bus.
Over the course of the next 3+ hours, we visited a number of different breweries, including Green Flash, Hess Brewing, White Labs, Duck Foot Brewing and Intergalactic Brew. It was pretty awesome, and by the end of it I had one hell of a buzz going on! Good call on the party bus James..
Afterwards, we headed over to the Hard Rock Cafe San Diego (just a short walk from our hotel) to try out their new Guinness & Jameson bacon cheeseburger, which was freaking OUT OF THIS WORLD! Imagine a certified Angus Beef patty topped with Jameson Irish Whiskey bacon jam, a Guinness Stout cheese sauce, tomatoes and seasoned arugula. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.
Later that evening, we all hopped into the Sportage (our friends at Kia let us borrow one for the weekend) and drove out to the world-famous Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island for some delicious s’mores and cold beers. Roast is a private beach bonfire and s’mores experience that they offer, and it was a really great way to close out the night.
The following morning, we decided to meet up at Mary Jane’s at the Hard Rock Hotel for breakfast, since no one got up in time for the complimentary breakfast at the Marriott. I’d eaten here a few days earlier really enjoyed the Eggs Benedict, so I was more than happy to get them again.
Properly fueled up for the day ahead, we jumped into the car and headed to Navy Pier to check out the USS Midway Museum, the longest-serving Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century. There were exhibits ranging from the crew’s sleeping quarters to a massive galley, engine room, the ship jail, post office, machine shops, and pilots’ ready rooms, as well as primary flight control and the bridge high in the island over the flight deck. Definitely set aside a few hours to check this out!
The Maritime Museum of San Diego was nearby, so we stopped to check out some of the historic vessels they had on display, including the Star of India, HMS Surprise (used in Master and Commander), and a B-39 Submarine. Pretty cool stuff if you’re into old ships like these.
Afterwards, we were supposed to meet up with some friends who were coming down from LA, but they were stuck in traffic. So we stopped at Rubio’s to get some lunch. James kept going on and on about how great their fish tacos were, and he was right. Really good stuff!
Our friends FINALLY made it to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and we made our way into the park. This was one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to, and my only regret was not getting here sooner, as the park closed at 5pm. The amount of wildlife, activities, and experiences are just out of this world, and it’s definitely worth setting aside a day to explore the entire park. Pricey, but well worth it.
Everyone was starving by the time we left the park, so we went to Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks for dinner, where I chowed down on nachos, wings, and a delicious Pipeline Burger that was overflowing with chili. Yum!
By the time we got back to the hotel, I was ready to call it a night. But the long line of people waiting to go up to Altitude Sky Lounge piqued my curiosity, so we took the elevator up to the 22nd floor to check it out. The scene was something else, with great music, beautiful people, and breathtaking views. We grabbed some seats by the fire pit, ordered up a round of drinks, and enjoyed our last night in San Diego.
We had a great time in San Diego, and it was a real eye opener, as I always thought SD was just a laid back surf town. But as you can see, the city has a lot to offer, and I’ll definitely be coming back.
The 5 Best Shows To See In Las Vegas
While most people come to Las Vegas for a weekend of gambling, the city has so much more to offer visitor. We’re talking five-star restaurants, desert adventures (ATVs, ziplining, helicopter tours), sports, and over-the-top Las Vegas shows that you’ve got to see to believe.
If you’re heading to Vegas soon, I would highly recommend checking out any of these shows:
1) Absinthe, Caesars Palace
Absinthe is a fantastical blend of carnival and spectacle, featuring an assortment of incredible specialty acts of old-world burlesque, daring feats of strength and agility and not-so-common routines, performed in a 100-year old circus tent that holds a mere 640 seats, giving you a very intimate experience and putting you as close to the action as possible. This adults-only show delivers that “only in Vegas” experience, and it’s by far my favorite show in town.
2) Michael Jackson ONE, Mandalay Bay
In a word.. Wow! Michael Jackson ONE is an immersive journey that brings the King of Pop’s iconic hits to life, with riveting acrobatics, dance and visuals performed by the ultra-talented dancers and performers. This show is a heartfelt tribute to Michael Jackson’s work, innovative spirit, and legacy. If you can only see one (of the eight) Cirque du Soleil show while in town, this is the one to get tickets for. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!
3) Carrot Top, Luxor
Carrot Top has been a staple of Las Vegas entertainment for nearly 20 years now, and I’ve seen him perform probably half a dozen times over the years, because he’s just that good. His crazy props and wacky inventions keep audiences in stiches as he pokes fun at pop culture, politics, music and whatever the real world has to offer. And unlike other comics who recycle jokes for years on end, his material is VERY current, often talking about things that happened just a few days ago! It’s a wildly entertaining show you just can’t miss.
4) Blue Man Group, Luxor
Blue Man Group will rock your world, blow your mind, and unleash your spirt. Watch as these three bald and blue men put on a musical extravaganza like no other, combining innovative technology, heart-thumping music and well executed humor to create one grand performance. And the Vegas show has even more music, theatrics, audience participation, and sensory overload than ever before. Blue Man Group is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
5) Fantasy, Luxor
In a town known for countless topless revues, Fantasy rises to the top, with the Strip’s sexiest dancers delivering your wildest fantasies in a variety of titillating costumes. This sultry show keeps guests engaged with a great soundtrack (sung live), sizzling performances, and when the costumes hit the floor, your jaws will drop to the same level. This is one show where you want to sit as close to the stage as possible, trust me on that.
There’s no question about it, Las Vegas has some world-class entertainment, with something for everyone, and new acts constantly hitting the Strip. So make sure you set aside some time on your next trip to take in a show or two. You’ll be glad you did!
The Ultimate Way To Explore Johannesburg Without Spending A Fortune
The anxiety of exploring a new city comes with its own set of expectations. Where should you stay, what should you see, and did you bring enough money with you? Lucky for you, if you’re planning on visiting the South African city of Johannesburg, you need not worry about that last one, as they’ve got favorable exchange rates and incredibly affordable facilities.
Here are some of the top things you can do in Johannesburg that won’t break the bank:
Get A Taste Of Nature At Mantecasino Bird Garden (R70)
If you’re a nature enthusiast who isn’t afraid to take your wild side in a new environment, then Montecasino Bird Garden is the place to be. Best of all, this place isn’t usually that crowded, so you can take your time strolling through here and capturing those lifetime memories on your camera. The walkways are simply incredible and the animals exotic. You will get a first-hand view of the world’s longest snake, rare mammals like lemurs and sloth, and more than 60 bird species. Who’s ready to feed some birds and take part in an unforgettable experience?
Cool Off At The Zoo Lake Swimming Pool (R12)
Looking for a way to cool off after spending a day in the sun? Then you’ll want to head over to the historic Zoo Lake Swimming Pool, a local favorite. Go swimming in the 30 x 30 meter pool, a popular attraction during the hot summer months. You can even host parties (anniversaries, birthdays) in the picnic area and have so much fun. Take advantage of the affordable Kulula flights from your nearest city and get to enjoy this well-maintained public pool.
Have Relaxing Moments At The Living Room (R60: Weekends, Free: Weekdays)
The Living Room is a fantastic rooftop venue in the heart of Maboneng that gives a delightful view of the city. It’s like you’re sitting in your own backyard surrounded by beautiful plants and a touch of fresh air. Enjoy amazing local delicacies and sip glasses of wine long into the night. And on Sundays, you can enjoy the mixes of hosted DJs.
Feed Your Sense Of Smell At MultiFlora Flower Market (Free)
The flowers here are simply beautiful, instantly bringing life where there is boredom. So if you want a little bit of mood-lifting or want to surprise that special someone with some flowers, the MultiFlora Flower Market should be on your to-do list. The flowers here are of world-class standards and the scents are incredibly sweet. This place could make the best pass-by spot on your way back home.
Breath In The Sunrise Glory At Mountain Sanctuary Park (R155/adult, R40/car)
One of the best ways to start a day is soaking in the warm sweet morning sun. This park is full of beautiful natural rocks that you can use to grasp some air after your hiking trip. The place gets even better after the summer rains as the generous rainwater form amazing rock pools. And if you feel like taking a dip, you can do so at the well-kept pool after which, you can enjoy your picnic snacks in the tall grass with a viewing deck. Just make sure that you book this in advance, as they limit how many visitors can come through the park each day.
Go Shopping At 27 Boxes (Free)
27 Boxes is an amazing shopping center made entirely from shipping containers. Here you can stroll around and check out some of the most affordable home-made stuff by the locals. The primary priority of this place is to support the community by uplifting their entrepreneurship ideas. You can easily source unique gifts for your loved ones over here and get to enjoy the taste of locally made fresh juices and cakes. Call it a one-stop-shop.
So there you have it. Sure, vacations can be expensive. But as you can see, there are plenty of things you can do in Johannesburg without spending a fortune. All you need is to focus on the little-known places and you will be surprised at what people are missing out. Enjoy!
4 Cities In Northern England With The Best Nightlife
London, the capital of England, is one of the most iconic cities in the world. But when it comes to nightlife, there are many places outside of London which put the small country on the map, especially up north. So if you’re looking for a good time, make sure to visit one of these cities:
Liverpool is as famous for it’s nightlife as it is for being the birthplace of the Beatles. Whether you want to drink and dance until dawn, catch epic live bands and new music, or simply enjoy a quite drink in a traditional English pub, Liverpool has it all.
The once empty warehouse spaces of The Baltic Triangle have now become the cultural hub of the city. Visit Camp and Furnace or 24 Kitchen Street for trendy club nights, or head over to District or Constellations for more intimate, live music events.
Those that want to enjoy a pint or two should visit the Ropewalks District with plenty of hip and happening hostelries on offer including The Peacock, Salt Dog Slims, Santa Chupitos, La’gos and Red Door. Whether you are visiting the city as a large group, or just here to party, Matthew Street is not just the home of the Cavern Club, it is also the place to find large bars and nightclubs that are popular with the younger crowd.
More affordable than its southern counterparts, you can find reasonably priced places to stay throughout the city of Liverpool, making it perfect for those looking to spend a weekend partying in and around the nightspots mentioned above.
Newcastle is a former industrial stronghold that now boasts a plethora of epic nightclubs and happening bars as well as traditional English pubs and microbreweries.
This city can offer something for partygoers regardless of their budget. Their thriving student nightlife scene means there are many venues offering unbeatable drinks deals whilst on the other end of the scale, Newcastle is also home to some top quality cocktail bars that offer a more premium experience. The locals of Newcastle love clubbing, and here you will find some of the best clubs to enjoy a drink and dance right into the wee hours of the morning.
Newcastle has established itself as a firm favorite amongst bachelor parties (or stag groups as they are called in England) due to its fantastic nightlife and wide selection of other fun group activities to partake in. If this is your main reason for a visit to the city, then be sure to check out this in depth guide by Last Night of Freedom.
Without question, Manchester has one of the strongest nightlife scenes in the UK.
From the bohemian bars of the Northern Quarter like The Mint Lounge, The Soup Kitchen and Jimmys, to the big traditional pubs like The Grafton Arms, O’Shea’s Irish Bar and The Britons Protection in Oxford Road, you will always get a great pint in Manchester.
Want to experience the city’s vibrant music scene firsthand? Venues like The Deaf Institute, Sound Control and Matt & Phreds showcase some of the best live bands from around the north of England and beyond.
Looking to dance the night away? There are a huge selection of late night drinking haunts and nightclubs. Fashionable clubbers should check out Lola Lo, Liv or Bijou in Deansgate, while the more discerning raving enthusiast should pay a visit to FAC251, the South Club or Viva.
This northern city offers visitors a warm welcome, cheap pints and an affordable lifestyle with a wealth of budget accommodation, and a great public transport system. The city is even small enough to navigate on foot – You can walk from one side to the other in less than an hour!
Those coming to Leeds looking for a night out will find a slew of drinking establishments and late night venues all packed into that compact city center. Pubs like Whitelocks, The Brewery Tap and The Adelphi are institutions within the city, while places like the Stew & Oyster and the Midnight Bell offer riverside views or large beer gardens for laid back evenings.
When it comes to dancing the night away, the city has a lot to offer. You can sample some first class jazz, soul, funk and hip-hop tunes at Hi-Fi, dance along to the indie disco at Wire or experience the flavor of internationals DJ’s at the legendary Leeds dance club, The Warehouse.
Partying Up North
So there you have it, four of England’s best cities for nightlife. It just goes to show you that there is much more to offer outside of London, and that when it comes to partying, no one does it better than the northerners.