Santa Barbara California: High-End Hotels and People Watching

Lower State Street, Santa Barbara, California.
Lower State Street, Santa Barbara, California.
Lower State Street, Santa Barbara, California.

You know your city is well off when your downtown sidewalks are decorative red brickIt’s these little details that will catch the eye of visitors and locals alike and part of what makes Santa Barbara California so special.

Come soak up the sunshine and the pleasant ocean views on your next vacation, business trip, or bleisure opportunity. 

Foodies, get psyched– food tours are one of Santa Barbara’s specialties. Cruise downtown at a leisurely pace on your fat tire cruiser bike as you sample bits from the city’s distinctive and eclectic restaurant scene.

Don’t leave without visiting one of the areas many wineries; Carr Winery, Jamie Slone Wines, or the classically named Santa Barbara winery to name a few. The climate is perfect for a variety of wines, but this one is best known for its fruit-driven Chardonnay. If that’s not so much your style, blends of Grenache-Syrah or Pinot Noir are a few other favorites.

Stearns Wharf Dolphin Fountain, Santa Barbara, California.

Stearns Wharf Dolphin Fountain, Santa Barbara, California.

 Families will appreciate Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, an area rich with art galleries and boutiques with the up-to-date styles of California (and wine of course).

The zone is home to brewpubs, wine tastings, art galleries, and trendy boutiques. The region used to be much less visually appealing, comprised of mainly industrial warehouses. What was once a hub for the fishing industry during the nineteenth century is now turning into an upscale spot that is attracting eclectic artists and business owners.

Pass by the well-known Dolphin fountain and take a jaunt down Stearns Wharf. Other (more outdoorsy) activities in Santa Barbara include hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding,  surfing, and fishing. Don’t forget your bathing suit, the water’s almost warm enough to swim in. Not quite.

A tour of the newly opened Rosewood Miramar Beach
A tour of the newly opened Rosewood Miramar Beach

There is no shortage of hotels and lodgings, whatever your budget. Those with a few extra bucks to spare should consider the new Miramar Hotel. Located in the affluent community of Montecito, (home of Oprah Winfrey and plenty of other billionaires)  the hotel is marked by many tells of its creator, Rick Caruso, including photos of his four kids above the bar to his family crest strewn throughout the modern beach styled get-away.

You might even get to glimpse the talented Leonardo Dicaprio, spotted at the resort not too long ago. Rooms start at $800 a night, with the grande suite coming in at a whopping $5,000 a night.

Other lodgings to appreciate include Hotel California with a Middle Eastern theme and the Santa Barbara Inn, recently renovated with views of the beach and mountains.

Santa Barbara resident Arthur von Wiesenberger shares his favorite restaurants in the city.
Santa Barbara resident Arthur von Wiesenberger shares his favorite restaurants in the city.

Fresh Takes on food

In a feature story on GoNOMAD Travel, local Arthur von Weisenberger shared his personal favorites of his hometown.  There are plenty of new options to grab a bite at in Santa Barbara.

Santa Mezcal is restaurateur Carlos Luna of Los Agaves Restaurants’ latest creation. The cuisine puts a Santa Barbara spin on traditional Mexican flavors by mixing in local and seasonal ingredients of the Santa Barbara region in. “The food is terrific, it’s very authentic,” Wiesenberger said.

Sit outside on the terrace to people-watch State Street’s pedestrians as you indulge in bold, exciting dishes.

“You can sit on the street and watch all the action on State Street– or you could sit inside and watch all the action at the bar,” Wiesenberger said.

Don’t delay, make a reservation today for hotels in Santa Barbara California.

Disneyland Summertime Survival Tips

Disneyland Summertime Survival Tips

All year long your little ones have been admiring their favorite characters on the big screen and TV, quoting inspiring and hilarious lines and singing the songs from the many Disney films. Don’t wait until your kids feel all cooped up in the house during summer vacation to start making your travel plans. A trip to Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California is just the summer vacation idea that your family can get behind.

So now that you’re on board with planning a trip to Disneyland Resort (Disneyland Park together with California Adventure Park), you’re probably wondering what you need to do for a fun, successful trip within budget.  If the whole family isn’t comfortable physically or financially, it’s going to put a damper on the experience. At Bonwi, our mission is to make travel easier, so that vacations can actually feel like vacations. Here are our survival tips to help you make the most of your Disneyland Resort experience:

Beating the heat

Step one is to stay hydrated. Whether you’re towing your own bottle with a carabiner or regularly buying bottles at a cart or kiosk, it’s super important to keep your family hydrated. With all of the extra fun and excitement working together with the constant sunshine, you’re bound to exude a lot of energy.

The right apparel is also key to keeping your family safe and comfortable. Make sure to pack plenty of breathable tops, bottoms and footwear for the long days of fun ahead. One or more of the adults may want to consider bottoms or bags with plenty of storage to hold everyone’s essentials. Select apparel that will be comfortable for walking and standing the whole day. Hats and sunglasses will help to protect you and your family from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. 

Don’t forget to apply (AND reapply) sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied to all skin that is exposed to the sun (remember to get the tops of your feet). There is a good chance that the protective effects will wash away after swimming, a water ride, excessive sweating or after a few hours.

The best tip of all for beating the heat at Disneyland or California Adventures is to hop on a water ride!

Keeping kids safe among the crowds

Let your kids know what to expect in terms of noise, excitement and crowds before your trip out to the park. Here’s how:

Talk to them ahead of time

It’s important to educate your children what to do in case you get separated for whatever reason. This can help reduce the overwhelm that children and parents may have heading into the experience.

Make sure phones are completely charged 

Setting devices to energy-saving mode helps lengthen the life of the charge. Bring your plug-in or solar charger.

Come equipped 

From the right strollers to safe and ergonomic carriers, the right equipment can help keep everyone’s legs fresh and ready for fun, while also ensuring that your children are safely within reach.

Consider buying ID bracelets for your kids

Customizable ID bracelets can include vital information such as your cell phone number, the child’s name, address, any medical conditions, etc. 

Come early and know where you want to go

By beating the crowds with early admission, you can avoid the issue of large crowds entirely. Having a good idea of the themes, characters, rides and attractions that your family wants to see/do while at the park will reduce idol time and confusion.

Maximizing the fun without maxing out your budget 

We all want to give our little ones the most amazing experiences possible. However, it’s important to keep in mind that any Disneyland trip should result in unforgettable memories. With a little bit of planning, your kiddos can have an amazing summer vacation in Southern California, regardless of your budget. Let’s focus on a few key areas that you can customize to plan the perfect Disneyland Resort vacation:

Characters

Where are your kiddos favorite characters? Do they have any special performances and when and where do they take place? For general admission, your family can interact with Disney’s most beloved cartoons come to life! There also a number of different dining options that feature some of the Disney greats, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy!

Themes

What are some of the can’t miss rides and activities that your children have to see while they’re at Disneyland? Plan each day to weave through all of the excitement and amazing attractions to stick together as a family while still ensuring each kid gets to spend time in their own real-life fantasy!

Lodging

If you stay inside the resort, you’re waking up right inside the action, but it may cut into your overall budget for your trip. Weigh the benefits of having your Disneyland hotel nearby and starting your days earlier vs. having more budget to spend on food, travel and memorabilia for your Disneyland vacation.

Ticket packages

For larger groups or for families looking for a comprehensive experience, Disneyland Resort offers ticket packages that permit visitors access to unique experiences at a more affordable value.

MaxPass

For $15 per day, per person, you can beat long lines with FASTPASS access as well as download and save as many pictures from your stay as you want.

Other considerations

Get to know the Disneyland Resort rules and regulations. This will make sure that there are no surprises during your vacation. Check their FAQs for answers to any other questions you may have.

Creating lasting memories

With enough attention to detail, you can all but guarantee that your Disneyland trip will be unforgettable. When your trip does go off without a hitch, you might want to turn it into a family tradition. Look into saving money on your summer vacations and all of your other travels with Bonwi’s rewards program. Take a look at Disneyland Resort hotels, Anaheim hotels and other properties a short drive away right here.

disneyland-resort-summertime-tips

The Best Motorcycle Road Trips for Bikers With Experience

Are you a weekend warrior who breaks out the colors and cuts whenever you can? Do you feel most alive when dawning your dome and taking on twisties? This post’s for you. 

For many bikers, hitting the open road is more than just a thrill ride – it’s a way of life. The road doesn’t know what kind of bike you ride, how seasoned you are or who you’re riding with. But you get to ride the curves in the road and experience mesmerizing natural vistas from the open air. So fill up your tank and start revving that hog for these 10 bucket list biker trips.

#1 Tail of the Dragon – Deal’s Gap
  • Distance: 11 miles
  • States: Tennessee and North Carolina
  • Nearby: Maryville, TN

This easy to miss slice of road is a biker’s dream. Right near the Tennessee/North Carolina border, the Tail of the Dragon is 11 miles of whipping curves and bends – 318 of them actually, but who’s counting? It’s ideally located right on the edge of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so it won’t be lacking in views. Wind through these 11 miles slowly and enjoy the ride or test your skills against the dragon!

#2 Skyline Drive

Winding through the entirety of the Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive makes for the perfect fall escape into the Northeast foliage that Virginia boasts. 

#3 Blue Ridge Parkway

For a longer trip, Blue Ridge Parkway only has a 45 mph limit and the roads are extremely well maintained. This is all the better so that you won’t miss the numerous pull off areas for all of the sight-seeing that can be done along this great parkway, including The Great Smoky Mountains!

#4 Beartooth Highway
  • Distance: 50 miles
  • States: Montana and Wyoming
  • Nearby: Billings, MT

Dozens of hairpin turns and switchbacks maximize this modestly populated stretch of highway near the border of Montana and Wyoming. Not for the waxers or independents, Beartooth has more twisties and ups and downs than it does guardrails.

#5 Coastal Route 1

Lobster anyone? U.S. Route 1 runs from Brunswick to Machias and generates an absolutely quintessential experience for a New England road trip that checks all the boxes. From lighthouses to the ocean breeze, you won’t be hurting for places to stop along the way to unwind after throttling through some high-speed curves.

#6 The Three Sisters AKA The Twisted Sisters

Deep within Texas’ stunning Hill Country, this route is comprised of three ranch roads (the sisters) 335, 336 and 337. Bendy hills and amazing curves make for an amazing day for Southwestern riders. Conquer The Twisted Sisters in a day or saddle up for a ranch tour cowboy!

#7 Grand Staircase

Starting near the outskirt of Capitol Reef National Park and cutting through the middle of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Bikers can get one heck of glimpse of some of the amazing vistas that Utah has to offer along this 130-mile motorcycle route. Take your time getting to the Grand Staircase, as both Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon are places along the way that you’ll want to soak in.

#8 Peak to Peak Highway
  • Distance: 60 miles
  • State: Colorado
  • Nearby: Denver, CO

If a 60-mile strip of road is going to make our list, you best believe it’s because it’s packed full of hairpins and unforgettable views. Deep within the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, the Peak to Peak Highway features some of the best of what both Mother Road and Mother Nature have to offer. Elk and Moose are known to cross this road, so you’ll want to take it slow and enjoy the ride. Take your hiking boots to truly make the most of this great 60-mile ride!

#9 California Route 36 AKA Twisty Road
  • Distance: 140 miles
  • State: California
  • Nearby: Eureka, CA

With little to no cell reception, you’re going to want to just grip your bars and trust your instincts on this windy road. You likely won’t find many roads with more intense changes in elevation. If you’re a fan of roller coasters, this is one trip you won’t want to miss!

#10 The Natchez Trace Parkway

This Southern motorcycle route starts in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee (just below Nashville) and finishes in the town of Natchez, Mississippi. With tons of historical southern and Native American landmarks along the way, riders can easily find themselves turning this 400+ mile long trip into an unforgettable weeklong vacation.

If your heart belongs on the road, travel is inevitable. Bonwi can not only help you find the best deals on your hotels and lodges, but our rewards program helps you rack up valuable points that result in further savings on stays you were going to pay for anyway. Find out more here.

Best Cities for People with Allergies

Best Cities for People with Allergies

Best Cities for People with Allergies

Whether your job requires frequent travel or you’re planning out potential summer vacation destinations, knowing which areas are allergy-friendly and which areas aren’t can help you get prepared.

One in five Americans suffers from allergies accounting for $18 billion dollars in annual costs. This is why it’s important to consider an area’s allergy production and what a given city is doing to manage its allergens.

Allergy causes, Symptoms and solutions

While everybody’s immune and respiratory systems are unique, certain climates are more prone to foster allergens and pollutants that typically bring about airborne allergy symptoms.

These symptoms include:

  • Dry, scratchy eyes
  • Itchy, runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Swelling of the nose or eyes

Your allergy symptoms can be triggered by different allergens. Just because you haven’t experienced allergy symptoms, doesn’t mean you won’t if you are traveling to a new area. No matter where you decide to travel to, you can help reduce the impact of airborne allergens by:

  • Showering at night – This works to rinse away any buildup pollen that could be irritating your skin in the night.
  • Wearing glasses and hats – This will help protect your eyes and head by deflecting airborne pollutants.
  • Limiting your outdoor time during peak pollen release periods.
  • Placing clothing in the washing machine and changing clothes immediately after outdoor activities.
  • Wiping off shoes and pets when entering your home.
  • Purchasing a whole-home or portable air purifying mechanism.
  • Flushing the inside of your nasal passage with a nose rinse.
Most Comfortable cities

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) puts together an annual list that ranks some of the nation’s major cities in terms of how comfortable they are for allergy sufferers.  Factors that make for more comfortable allergy conditions include:

  • Cooler weather – freezing temperatures can kill off plant life that produces pollen.
  • Strategically planted plant life – clustered plant life can lead to more potent pollen buildup rather than more manageably distributed pollen levels.
  • Planting fewer high-allergy plants.
  • Biodiversity – plants still purify our air. By diversifying the city’s plant life, the density of each type of pollen is reduced.
  • Coastal proximity – ocean breezes can be strong enough to impact air quality.

Many of the best cities for allergies can be found in coastal and mountainous regions of the country.

  1. Denver, CO
  2.  Provo, UT
  3. Boise, ID
  4. Portland, OR
  5. Colorado Springs, CO
  6. Ogden, UT
  7. Seattle, WA
  8. Salt Lake City, UT
  9. Raleigh, NC
  10. Spokane, WA

Allergy symptoms may often be overlooked, but they can have a profound impact on the quality of life of allergy sufferers. If you or your loved ones suffer from allergies, seriously consider the areas where allergy sufferers can breathe a little easier when planning your next vacation or business trip. 

7 Underrated Places in the US the Whole Family Will Love

Family Vacation Summer 2019

Family Vacation Summer 2019

While classic summer vacations like Disney, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Wisconsin Dells, and Cedar Point might all be fun, the options below take a path less traveled. Your family will make memories they won’t soon forget and you’ll find something for everyone.

San Diego

This pretty city has perfect weather year-round. The whole family will enjoy manageable summer heat with zero humidity.

The award-winning San Diego Zoo is one of the largest and most reputable in the world, and is a must-stop for families. You’ll delight in seeing the giant pandas, but the fun doesn’t stop there. The northern frontier area boasts polar bears and arctic foxes while the African exhibit includes leopards, rare baboons, and lemurs.

Families can enjoy some of the nicest beaches in the country with activities like seal tours, snorkeling with sharks, and surf lessons. You can also do San Diego sand-free at the incredible Children’s Museum, Belmont Amusement Park, LEGOLand, Balboa Park, and countless other small attractions where your child can explore his or her interests.

Miami Beach

Florida beaches like Destin and Saint Petersburg are a hit with families. So are North Florida family hubs like Disney World and Cape Canaveral. But South Florida has something different to offer. Boasting the most tropical stateside beaches, the snorkeling in Miami Beach can’t be beat, as you’ll easily spot tons of colorful fish and aquatic life.

When the heat becomes too much at midday, head indoors for more fun. There’s an exceptional children’s museum between Miami and Miami Beach not far from Jungle Island – a great indoor spot to enjoy orangutans, lemurs, sloths, and other jungle creatures. They also feature indoor sky-diving simulation, escape rooms, and more. The Ritz-Carlton at Bal Harbor also has a well-loved children’s beach club experience, but there are many other family-friendly resorts and hotels to explore, too.

New Orleans

New Orleans =swathed in beads and feathers for Mardi Gras is not the only draw to this warm and diverse city. While your family will undoubtedly enjoy the delicious seafood, Creole cuisine and French pastries, the Big Easy boasts much more than great dining.

NOLA is loaded with historical museums, beautiful outdoor experiences, and family-friendly music experiences. Gator tours will thrill kids and adults of all ages, the enchanting train garden makes for a fun adventure inside the botanical gardens. No family vacation to New Orleans would be complete without a romp through Storyland Park, which brings your family’s favorite characters and fairytales to life. New Orleans also caters to families with kid-friendly book stores, kid-focused restaurants, and parks on every corner. Your crew might be begging to stay forever.

Anchorage

Alaska gets a bad rap as a freezing cold arctic experience featuring moose encounters. While the potential for moose encounters holds true all year round, Alaska can be downright springlike. It’s a solid choice for escaping the hight temps of July and August. Stay in Anchorage, and plan trips from there to Alaska’s many outdoor destinations.

At wildlife hubs like the Sea Life Center, the Wildlife Conservatory, and Denali National Park, your family will get the chance to see – and even interact with – tons of native wildlife. Sled dogs, sea otters and puffins are among the protected creatures you might meet and interact with on tours, while luckier travelers will see bison, moose, reindeer, and even bears. Tours of all kinds allow you to paddle, hike, or cruise through the various ecosystems that make up Alaska’s unique lands.

In Anchorage itself, your family will love exploring The Imaginarium Science Discovery Center at the Anchorage Museum or the Nancy Lake State Recreational Park. Grab a Discovery Duffel at the botanical gardens, stuffed with challenges and activities for kids, and relax at a cafe or poolside at your hotel.  

Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is an eastern Tennessee town you may or may not have ever heard of. For those in the know, the Smoky Mountains bring all of the enchantment and mystery of the western US mountains to the eastern hills.

If you’ve never been, one trip on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram will blow your mind. This tram will give you a bird’s eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which is as incredible as it sounds. Even better, the end of the tram will drop you and your troops at a mountain-town amusement park. In nearby Anakeesta, you’ll enjoy mining for gems and traversing the treehouse park. By the way, mom and dad, the views are insane.

Other attractions in the area include Dollywood, exploring the Ripley’s Believe-it-or-not Museum and playing with penguins at Ripley’s Aquarium, entering a dessert dreamland at Crave Golf Club and more.   

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Lake Michigan is an attraction unto itself, with the usability and accessibility of a freshwater lake and the size and waves of a coastal beach vacation.

While America’s largest lake offers plenty of spots to stay and play, Sleeping Bear Dunes is among the most unique. This area boasts forests and dunes that invite adventurers to hike, bike, ride, tube, or buggy. The lake also offers constant entertainment from wading, swimming, and sandcastle building for little kiddos to jet skiing, hang-gliding, and learning to surf for older kids.

For the whole family, this area is spotted with old-town shops, ice cream parlors, and at night, the Lanphier Observatory is perfect for stargazing and forgetting to check your phone.

Olympic National Park

For an all-in-one outdoor excursion your family won’t soon forget, head to Washington state and the Olympic National Park. This national park is one of the most ecologically diverse as it includes mountains, lakes, ocean beaches, and temperate rainforests. Choose to camp in one of many pristine and remote campgrounds, opt for a lakeside resort like the Quinault lodge, or grab a hotel in a nearby staple city like Olympia, Shelton, or Port Angeles.

On the west side of the park, your crew can experience tidepools, whale watching, and sea otter spotting at the Kalaloch beaches. To the south, dip a kayak or canoe into Quinault lake, then hike out to see the world’s largest Sitka spruce tree. On the north side, from Port A, take a casual hike through the Hoh rainforest, where spots like the Hall of Mosses, bear-sightings along the salmon-filled Hoh River, or one of many gorgeous waterfalls will enchant you. From Port Angeles, you can also take a short drive to Hurricane Ridge to see acres and acres of wildflowers peppered with deer, foxes, and elk with a stunning mountain backdrop. (This is a great place to snowshoe, sled, and ski in the winter, too!)

If your family loves the water, take a dip in Lake Crescent – this lake is free of algae and is one of the deepest and cleanest in the country. You can also visit Sol Duc Hot Springs for an any-season soak. The Puget Sound, to the east, could round out your trip and, for families with time, nearby Olympia and Seattle offer tons of indoor excitement, too.

Where will you be traveling this summer?

It’s FESTIVAL Season: Get Ready with Our Top Festival-goer Tips

Festival Season

Festival season is in full swing! You may have already learned the hard way that having an unforgettable experience at these amazing events requires a decent amount of planning. You can try to go with the flow and hope for the best, or you can take our advice and become an instant festival traveling pro.

#1 Book your lodging ASAP

There are only so many hotels near these venues. In order to ensure that you are getting a good deal, the right number of rooms and/or the best proximity, you have to book your lodging as soon as you get your festival tickets. Look into any hotels that are partnering with your festival for a special discount.

#2 Never act solo

Traveling is always a lot to handle. Having a friend or group of friends to help coordinate your trip, navigate your travels and execute your festival plans can make all the difference. Not only will you be safer with a co-pilot to talk to and manage the Waze or Google Maps, but festivals are a whole lot more fun when you get to share the amazing experience with your friends.

If you’re going to trade off driving, try to always have at least one person awake to accompany the driver.

#3 Pack early and double-check your list

Festivals can either be one long party filled with amazing entertainment, food, drinks, and fun OR they can be exhausting and overwhelming if you feel unprepared. Someone spill their drink on you and you didn’t pack extra clothes? Forget the one thing you can’t forget (the all-mighty phone charger)? By creating your own personal checklist and starting the packing process early, you make sure that among the excitement of the travel and the festival events that you are prepared for whatever comes up. Here’s a quick festival checklist to start with:

  • Tickets/wristbands
  • A physical map for traveling through dead zones
  • More than enough clothes in case of accidents/emergencies
  • Cash – whether it’s for the trip or during the festival, it’s always important to have multiple payment methods at your disposal
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer/wet wipes to keep you feeling fresh
  • Bug spray
  • Backpack or similarly easy to carry bag for extended time away from your hotel/tent
  • Tent and sleeping bag (if applicable)
  • Refillable water bottle – likely holds more than 16 ounces so you don’t get dehydrated while you’re busting a move (bonus for cutting down on waste!)
  • Phone charger
  • Chairs for downtimes
  • Blankets or mats to lay down on
  • Cards or other travel-friendly games in between sets or for in your hotel/tent
#4 Get to know the details of your festival

How is your festival laid out? What times are your favorite artists performing? How easy is it to get back to your lodging accommodations? Be certain to answer these questions ahead of time to ensure that you feel prepared to make the most of your festival weekend.

Here’s a list of some of the biggest, baddest festivals

  1. Boston Calling – May 24-26, Harvard Athletic Complex, Allston, MA
  2. Bottlerock – May 24-26; Napa Valley, CA
  3. Bayou Country Super Fest – May 25-26, 2019; LSU Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
  4. Primavera Sound – May 30-June 1; Barcelona, Spain
  5. Governors Ball – May 31-June 2; Randall’s Island, New York City, NY
  6. Roots Picnic – June 1, The Mann at Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA
  7. CMA Music Festival /Austin City Limits – June 6–9, 2019; Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
  8. Bonnaroo – June 13-18; Manchester, TN
  9. Firefly – June 21-23; The Woodlands, Dover, DE
  10. Glastonbury – June 26-30; Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, England
  11. Longitude – July 5-7; Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin, Ireland
  12. Pitchfork Music Festival – July 19-21, Union Park, Chicago, IL
  13. Lollapalooza Paris – July 20-21; Hippodrome Paris Longchamp, Paris, France
  14. Cincinnati Music Festival – July 25-27, 2019; Paul Brown Stadium – Cincinnati, OH
  15. Mo Pop – July 27-28; West Riverfront Park, Detroit, MI
  16. Lollapalooza – August 1-4; Grant Park, Chicago, IL
  17. Outside Lands – August 9-11; Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
  18. Woodstock 50 – August 16-18; Watkins Glen, NY
  19. Burning Man – Aug 25-Sep 2, 2019; Black Rock City, Gerlach, NV
#5 Map out your set-list

Which acts can you absolutely not miss? If these acts are headliners, odds are you’re going to have to stake your claim around a half hour before the set starts.

Don’t leave an amazing festival with a sour taste in your mouth because you missed your favorite band or had to wear the same pair of underwear the entire weekend. Start your planning early so that your weekend can be a breeze.

Looking for a great deal on your festival hotel so you can increase your food budget (Chi’lantro is calling…)? Do a quick search with Bonwi.com to review our best offers.

The 10 Best American Craft Beer Cities

top craft beer cities in the USA

top craft beer cities in the USA

In a time when seemingly every American destination is claiming to be one of the hottest craft beer cities, we do need to thank our lucky stars that we have come this far. There are now more breweries in the small state of New Hampshire than there were in the whole country in 1983.

Back then the six largest brewers controlled a depressing 92% of the market. Those brewers weren’t exactly putting out medal-winning beers either. The big three then and now that are part of international conglomerates were joined by Stroh’s, Heileman, and Pabst.

Some of the original craft beer pioneers that launched soon after are still around: Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Anchor Steam, and Saranac to name a few. Over the past 35 years though, some clear hubs have emerged where you don’t have to go very far to get a beer from a tap in the place where it was made. As of last year, there were a staggering 7,450 brewers in the states according to the American Brewers Association and only 104 were considered “non-craft.” Here are ten top craft beer cities in the USA that hit the mark for both quantity and quality.

Denver

The land of Coors was an early leader when the craft beer scene took off in America and by most accounts the 19th largest city in the USA by population is still the leader. It fights with Portland for breweries per capita and with Chicago for the most breweries of any kind overall, but they’ve been doing it right for a very long time here. There’s a good reason that Denver is home to the Great American Beer Festival. There are around 400 craft brewers in Colorado alone, with around 158 of those in Denver.

Find the best Denver hotel prices here.

Seattle

Washington state has the third-highest number of total breweries in the country, at 394. Around 170 of those are in the Seattle region, making it the #1 or #2 city depending on how you draw the metro area lines. While there’s some perpetual Portland envy in the northwest, Seattle does have a good mix of large brewers (Georgetown, maker of Manny’s) and small. Maybe they’ve been a little too successful: RedHook and Elysian got swallowed up by the conglomerate that makes Bud.

Find your ideal Seattle hotel at Bonwi.

Portland

Rogue beer in PortlandWhile this mid-sized city doesn’t lead by any volume stats, it does get the crown for per-capita production among the cities of more than half a million people. It has around 67 breweries in the city itself (and around 130 in the whole metro area), but for a population under 700,000. Many beer lovers put it at the top of the quality scale as well. With so much competition in a relatively small area, you have to have the goods to survive. Since Portland also punches well above its weight class for food and coffee too, build in plenty of indulgence time when you visit and join the locals on a bike to work it off. Or combine both with a Brewcycle tour.

Book your Portland hotel here and earn points back

Chicago

The Chicago brewing scene was quite robust in the days before Prohibition, with the German immigrants opening up lots of breweries in their neighborhoods, some becoming major brands. It took a while to roar back in the modern age, but now this city is back on top of the craft beer cities list for the total number of breweries, beating out Seattle and Denver last year with 173.

Find a Chicago hotel deal here.

San Diego

Green Flash from the craft beer city of San DiegoEven if they stopped at Ballast Point, Stone Brewing, and Green Flash, San Diego would be known as a great beer city. It doesn’t come close to stopping there though because there are now 150 breweries in the metro area, moving well beyond the signature double IPA style the city’s brewers started. You can hit many of San Diego’s breweries along the “Hops Highway” of California State Route 78.

Book a hotel in San Diego.

Los Angeles

California has more brewers than any other state in the nation. The second-largest city in the USA by population is a spread-out mess and beer loses out to wine and cocktails here by consumption. Los Angeles is no slouch when it comes to breweries though, with nearly 150 of them in the extensive metro area. They’re not household names with national distribution, but you will find plenty to like without having to go very far in the notorious traffic.

See hotels in Los Angeles here.

New York

First there was Brooklyn Lager, which I used to throw back when I moved to the area in 1990. Now there are more than 140 breweries. This city has always had great water piped down from the mountains up north, but high rents made brewpubs a risky bet. After the tide finally turned, the USA’s most populated and wealthiest city made up for lost time. Most of the breweries here aren’t as large as the ones in upstate New York, where land is abundant, but there are plenty of medal winners to sample in every borough. Since New York has the country’s most extensive subway and it’s easy to find a taxi, you never have to worry about drinking and driving either.

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Philadelphia

As with Chicago, this was once a brewing powerhouse city in the 1800s, but took quite a while to find its mojo again after the dark days. Dock Street was founded in 1985 though and quite a few local brewers launched in the ’90s. Philly now has more than 100 breweries and brewpubs in its metro area.

Search Philadelphia hotels here.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company

Tampa Bay

Nobody would have predicted Tampa Bay would be a craft beer hotspot two decades ago, when the laws were idiotic and one failed brewer said nobody would drink craft beer in Florida because the weather was too hot. Depending on how you draw the Tampa Bay boundaries now, there are somewhere between 62 and 70 breweries in the area. There are 10 within walking distance of each other in downtown St. Petersburg and six within a few blocks in tiny Dunedin, near Clearwater Beach. Some are major players with statewide distribution, like Cigar City, Coppertail, and Big Storm, while others are brewpubs with food for the neighborhood. Get a Pub Pass if you’ll be in town for a while or hop on the Brew Bus to take a tour.

Check out our story on the hotel zones of Tampa Bay and book your hotel here.

Minneapolis

If we went by metro area, the breweries of Washington, DC would be next on this list of the top craft beer cities. But it doesn’t seem fair since that statistical area includes a city and big chunks of two neighboring states. Much smaller Minneapolis/St. Paul has 34 breweries in a less spread-out area where it wouldn’t require putting 10,000 miles on your car to visit them all. Most of the beers brewed here are not nationally known, but in a city where you have to spend a lot of the months indoors, it’s good to have plenty of nice brewpubs for gathering.

Check out hotels in Minneapolis here.

Other big cities with a robust scene on par with Minneapolis include Pittsburg, Boston, Detroit, Austin, Milwaukee, and St. Louis.

Which small cities have the most breweries per capita? According to this report, those would be Portland, Maine; Asheville, NC, Bend, OR; Boulder, CO, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Some real surprises that rank high are Greenville, SC; Pensacola, FL; and Missoula, MT.

The state of Montana actually has the second-highest number of breweries per capita, at 11.4 breweries for every 100,000 adults aged 21+. Vermont is first, at 13.5 breweries per 100,000. Pennsylvania has the highest beer production overall. See how your state ranks here.

Article by Tim Leffel, editor at Perceptive Travel and the Cheapest Destinations Blog

Places To Escape The Heat

Bonwi-21-Places-To-Escape-The-Heat

Bonwi-21-Places-To-Escape-The-Heat

Summer is coming and and it’s time to start planning. Below is a list of lakes, mountains, and beaches to help keep you cool in the warmer months.

Denali-Alaska

Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali National Park offers beautiful views of land and water. It’s home to amazing wildlife and offers the perfect escape from the summer heat. Temperatures during July tend to hover in the mid 60s during the day, and dip down into the low 40s at night.
MEXICO-CITY-MEXICO
Mexico City, Mexico 
Mexico City is full of interesting neighborhoods and museums, amazing archaeological treasures, and an incredible public square. Best of all, at an altitude of 7,411 feet the climate is moderate all year.
Michigan
Upper Peninsula, Michigan 
Get outside and enjoy the Great Lakes, refreshing woods, and beautiful landscapes found in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The daytime highs hover around the mid to low 70s, and evening temperatures are in the low 50s.
San-francisco
San Francisco, California 
San Francisco is a great city for walkable neighborhoods, famous attractions, and every type of ethnic food imaginable. July brings daytime temperatures in the high 60s, often with a cool, gentle breeze off the ocean throughout the day.
nova_scotia
Nova Scotia, Canada 
Nova Scotia is surrounded by rolling green fields, high sea-cliffs, and wooden architecture that is perfectly picturesque. The residents of Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, barely break a sweat in the summer on account of the fresh salty ocean air.
Let us help ensure that your next getaway is the best one yet. Get up to 40% back in travel points on every booking with Bonwi.com.

Five Fantastic Oktoberfest Events In The US

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest, originally a celebration of a royal wedding, began over 200 years ago in a field in Munich, Germany. It’s now the largest festival on earth, with people coming all over the world to celebrate Bavarian culture by laughing, dancing, singing, and, of course, drinking beer. But it’s not necessary to leave the United States to celebrate Oktoberfest. Many cities across the country have embraced their German heritage, putting together festivals that rival those in Munich. Below we have included our five favorite picks for Oktoberfest celebrations around the United States.

Harpoon Oktoberfest
One of the most popular Boston fall events for over 20 years, complete with Oktoberfest beer, traditional bratwursts, a keg bowling game, and German chocolate cake-eating contests. Harpoon Oktoberfest offers everything from musicians dressed in lederhosen to yodeling competitions, plus much more.
Addison Oktoberfest
One of the most authentic outside of Munich, this four-day Oktoberfest in Addison Circle Park attracts more than 70,000 visitors every year. This event offers a variety of food and entertainment options, including gourmet schnitzel, polka dancing, folk music, karaoke, a German spelling bee competition along with numerous child activities.
Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest
Among the top rated Oktoberfests in the US for more than 42 years. Features of the Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest include food such as bratwurst, knockwurst, and Bavarian dumplings, as well as premium imported beers on tap. Observe or participate in various contests such as stein-carrying, plus enjoy live music, petting zoos, face painting, and much more.
Leavenworth Oktoberfest
A three-weekend festival held annually in Leavenworth, this celebration attracts over 10,000 people and features four venues with concerts of live traditional German music from the US and Germany. Here you will find authentic Oktoberfest cuisine like sauerkraut-topped bratwurst, shops with handmade art, crafts and collectibles, plus concerts, games and contests.
Historic German Town Oktoberfest
Attracting thousands of people for over 32 years, the family-oriented event of Oktoberfest in Nashville features everything from 4 stages presenting live German music, delicious assortments of Bavarian food and beverages, polka dancing, arts and crafts, antique booths, street performers, and plenty of fun games and activities for children.

 

Cheers to festivals and cheers to exploring new cities! Check back for more travel tips. And when booking your next trip, make sure to check out Bonwi.com.

The Ultimate West Coast Road Trip

West Coast Road Trip Tips

West Coast Road Trip Tips

The landscape found along the West Coast of the United States between Seattle and San Diego is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the world. The various environments between the two cities include volcanoes, high deserts, ancient redwoods, forested-coastline cliffs, massive rivers, and untamed wildlife. Depending on the time you travel and how you want to experience the journey, such a road trip can be conquered anywhere from one to five days. Starting at the northwest tip of the United States at Olympic National Park and driving all the way south to the Mexican border, this 1,650 mile (2.655 kilometers) stretch can be broken down into sections for you to start and stop as you wish during the best road trip of the year.

Olympic National Park

The park spans 1,442 square miles (3.734 square kilometers) and features snow-covered mountains, a temperate rainforest, and the rocky Pacific coastline. Olympic National Park is perfect for almost all outdoor activities due to its undeveloped and untouched environments. Camping, hiking/backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, fishing, soaking in hot springs, wildlife watching, skiing, snowshoeing, and surfing are a few activities you can take advantage of in this outdoor playground

Distance from Los Angeles: 1,243 miles/1.812 kilometers: (17 hours)
Distance from Portland: 162 miles/260 kilometers (3 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 1,124 miles/1.808 kilometers (19 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 112 miles/180 kilometers (2 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 796 miles/1.281 kilometers (13 hours)

Joshua Tree

With its desert landscape, dry air, and “anything-goes” vibe, many consider Joshua Tree to be a very magical place. There are areas designated to walking trails and rock climbing found throughout the park. Here you will come across a variety of great stores and restaurants each with their own unique personality. Make sure to visit the Hicksville Trailer Palace and grab a drink at the famous Pappy & Harriet’s Bar & Grill.

Distance from Los Angeles: 128 miles/205 kilometers (2 hours)
Distance from Portland: 1,080 miles/1.738 kilometers (15 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 160 miles/257 kilometers (2 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 1,249 miles/2.010 kilometers (19 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 500 miles/804 kilometers (7 hours)

 

Big Sur

The drive to Big Sur is known to be one of the best in the country. The road zigzags along the ocean making it a fun and beautiful drive. The beauty that you will see along the way will only continue to expand upon your arrival. Redwoods tower over cafes, hiking trails, and modern businesses. The area is booming with artisans from around the world.

Distance from Los Angeles: 352 miles/566 kilometers (6 hours)
Distance from Portland: 757 miles/1.218 kilometers (12 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 462 miles/743 kilometers (8 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 928 miles/1.493 kilometers (14 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 140 miles/225 kilometers (3 hours)

 

North Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe offers something for everyone with its ski slopes, boat rentals, camping, fishing, gambling, and nightclubs. It is considered one of the best pit stops for road trippers. Grab a drink at the historic lakefront Cambers Landing Bar, or make have some Tex-Mex from the legendary Caliente, also known as “The Stop.”

Distance from Los Angeles: 500 miles/804 kilometers (7 hours)
Distance from Portland: 581 miles/935 kilometers (9 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 559 miles/899 kilometers (9 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 752 miles/1.210 kilometers (12 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 199 miles/320 kilometers (3 hours)

Explore the Distilleries and Breweries of Washington, D.C.

Washington DC distillery

Want to sample some local hooch after you visit the Smithsonian and snap photos of D.C.’s monuments? Here’s a rundown on a few notable local distilleries and breweries in the city.

Among the revolutionaries that moved to Washington, D.C. in the late 1700s to start the USA’s first government, quite a few were were brewers or distillers. So it’s fitting that the nation’s capital has some production facilities of its own nestled into its limited land area. I got a tour of some of the options with City Brew Tours and here’s what we found.

Cotton and Reed Rum

Washington D.C. Distilleries

Cotton & Reed
Although rum played an important (and often unsavory) role in the Americas in the 1700s and 1800s, there was never a rum distillery in Washington. Cotton & Reid Distillery changed all that when they opened in a revamped 1929 factory building in 2016. They make two kinds of rum for now, white and spiced, because nothing has had time to age. So the attached bar serves lots of cocktails—really good cocktails. They’re serious about the craft though, using Lousiana cane sugar and distilling with a botanicals basket that includes the cane itself. One of the founders, Reed Walker, was a NASA engineer so they’ve got the chops for the science part.

Jos. A. Magnus & Co.
Taking the name and recipes from a midwest distiller that ceased operations during prohibition, Jos. A Magnus is a company that takes the best from the past and reworks it for the modern age. (One poster from the original days says, “A staunch friend from sunrise to sunset.” Another says it’ll cure your marital ills.) They make several styles, with their excellent Murray Hill Whiskey, a bourbon, already winning awards. Their Vigilant Gin is made exclusively with American ingredients. It’s a bit sweeter than most, in an attempt to lure in new fans to the spirit.

Heading up the operation is Nicole Hassoun, who mixed cocktails at D.C.’s top gin bar before striking out on her own. The company also makes Royal Seal Vodka, which tastes like…vodka. Good stuff all around.

Joseph Magnus liquor DC

Washington D.C. Breweries

Atlas Brew Works
Downstairs from Jos. A. Magnus in the Ivy City neighborhood is Atlas Brew Works, probably the city’s best-known brewery. Two of their three most popular beers are ones you would easily predict: the easy-drinking District Common and a Ponzi American pale ale. The third one, Rowdy, is kind of a wild card though: a hop-forward rye beer that doesn’t taste quite like anything else I’ve had.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to linger here, but did find out that Atlas is a 100% solar-powered brewery. How many breweries can say that? There’s a great pub vibe here, so make a night of it and go down the row for a flight.

Atlas Brew DC

Blue Jacket Brewery
Located walking distance from the Nationals baseball stadium, Blue Jacket is a new-build brewery inside the walls of an old boilermaker factory, in an area that’s gone from closed-factory-desolate to gentrified glory in just a few years. Because they could plan it all out from scratch inside, this brewery has set up operations in the traditional style, letting gravity take its course. Brewing starts at the top level and then works its way down to the bottom. There modern science takes over and beers are served in the brewpub at the ideal temperature: lagers at a colder temperature than stouts, for instance, all temperature controlled from the back.

Brewery near Washington Nationals baseball

They’re not afraid to experiment at Blue Atlas though, brewing wild yeast beers that sometimes work and sometimes don’t, and having two dozen house-brewed beers on tap at any given time. The Mexican Radio spiced stout is a typical example. It’s not like anything you’re ever going to actually find in Mexico, but it’s yummy. This is a bustling restaurant too, so get some food in you between samplings.

There are a few other breweries and brewpubs in D.C. proper. You can check out the whole list of what’s there, in Virginia, and in Maryland nearby at DCbeer.com.

Find the best deals on Washington D.C. hotels and earn far more points for your stays than you would anywhere else—go to Bonwi.com DC.