USA National Parks – Enjoy the Best Things to Do in 48 Hours

USA National Parks – Enjoy the Best Things to Do in 48 Hours

Yellowstone (also Idaho, Montana) Acadia
Acadia National Park is a great place for a weekend visit. Located on the northeastern corner of Maine, it is one of the most remote national parks in the country. Although one can easily spend longer, 48 hours is perfect to visit Acadia!
If you’re looking for an easy, but scenic ocean stroll, then look no further than Ocean Path Trail . This is my favorite hike in Acadia, as the ocean views and rock scrambling opportunities are plentiful. Bubble Rock Trail is a nice easy to moderate hike that takes you pretty high up for some spectacular scenery of Jordan Pond and Acadia National Park.
For something a little more challenging, you can attempt the Beehive Trail. This trail is an Acadia classic, although it is not for those with a fear of heights. Once you reach the summit, there are dramatic views of the granite cliffs and rugged coastline.
For those that are not much into hiking, then a ride down Acadia’s old carriage roads should be high on your to-do list. A drive through the park can also be quite scenic, as visitors can stop and pull off for some nice picturesque views. While camping is quite popular at Acadia National Park, staying at the nearby town of Bar Harbor is perfect for those looking for a little more luxury and great restaurants.
You can’t go wrong with a 48 hour visit to Acadia National Park.
A special thanks to Margie DQ from DQ Family Travel for sharing her thoughts on Acadia National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS American Samoa
Many US National Park chasers know American Samoa as the park that is preventing them from visiting them all. Getting here is a mission, although, for us, it was a cruise port. We headed straight for the visitor’s centre to get that elusive stamp of the only US National Park in the southern hemisphere. Hiking and snorkelling are this tropical park’s primary activities , and the visitor center can arrange for both, and even for a homestay.
We enjoyed views from the Afono Pass and Vatia Lookouts. From the second there are three trails, each leading down to the beach in Vaita. This small village is located inside the park and receives payments from the US government for the use of its land.
American Samoa is an unincorporated US territory comprised of 5 tropical islands and two atolls in the Southern Pacific Ocean. Its native inhabitants are US nationals, rather than citizens. Life here is a seamless blend of nearby Samoan cultural with modern US comforts. Remember to bring a rain jacket as its harbour has the highest annual rainfall in the world.
A special thanks to Rhonda Albom from Albom Adventures for sharing her experiences at American Samoa National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Arches
Arches National Park to me is the perfect national park to spend a weekend in! Located a short drive outside of the quirky and quaint town of Moab, Arches is a really accessible national park and has a plethora of activities to keep you busy in your long weekend away!
One of the things I love most about visiting Arches National Park is that they have hikes for all abilities! Some of my favorites are going on the primitive trail near Balanced Rock, the Double and Turret Arch and of course the absolute must do hike at Delicate Arch – the most famous of all the iconic arches in the park.
If you are visiting during the summer, I would advise doing your hikes first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon to beat the worst of the heat. In the middle of the day you can enjoy the beautiful scenic drive which runs for 18 miles. And be sure to keep one of your nights to head back into the park for sunset and then to stargaze with the naked eye!
A special thanks to Leona Bowman from Wandermust Family for sharing her thoughts why Arches National Park is ideal for a weekend getaway. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Badlands
Badlands is a fascinating park to visit, with the landscape we see today recognized to be created over 75 million years ago with the deposits that were eroded away over the years creating the Badlands. In this time fossils were left, and Badlands has the largest deposit of fossils in the world.
The best things you can do in the park starts inside the visitor’s center. In addition to learning about the various hiking trails, take some time to view the interactive displays and film before visiting the Fossil Preparation Lab where you can watch the paleontologists working.
The 22 mile loop road from the visitors centre to the west entrance is breathtaking, where you can see bison, bighorn sheep, black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs in their natural habitat.
There are also a lot of hikes that you can do within the park, some are very short and easy at 0.25 miles, whilst the longest Castle Trail is 10 miles long and through the grass prairie. One of the most popular is Medicine Root Loop which is 4 miles.
A special thanks to Clare from Travels in Peru for highlighting her favorite experiences in Badlands National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Big Bend
Big Bend National Park in Texas encompasses the largest protected area of the Chihuahuan Desert in the United States and nestles in a curve of the Rio Grande River between the U.S. and Mexico. It is after the bend in the river that the park was named after. Big Bend is a huge park and yet it is easy to see a lot of it in a short amount of time. If you have 48 hours to explore, you can still cover quite a bit.
Start with a visit to the Panther Junction Visitor’s center which features several interpretive exhibits, many of them interactive. The existing large 3-d relief map as well as the full size model of the 18′ wing of Quetzalcoatlus northroppi, the famous Big Bend Pterosaur, remain as all-time favorites. The life-size replica of the wing bones of an enormous pterosaur, a 18-foot long specimen was discovered in Big Bend National Park and represents the second largest known flying creature ever to have existed.
Plan for at least a couple of days of hiking in the trails here. Two of the best and easy trails in Big Bend National Park are: Santa Elena Canyon – A beautiful hike into an awesome canyon. You can also enjoy views back across much of Big Bend National Park. 1.6 miles RT. Grapevine Hills Trail – It’s what’s at the end of the trail that’s what makes this one of the best trails in Big Bend. The Big Balancing Rock seems to defy gravity as it sits atop two other large boulders. 2.2 miles RT.
If you want to trek by bicycle, foot or boat but don’t want to brave the Chihuahan Desert terrain on your own, you can opt for a trip with a guided tour company.
Big Bend National Park is one of the most remote and least visited parks in the lower 48 states with a low level of light pollution, which also means, brilliant stargazing!
A special thanks to Priya from Outside Suburbia for sharing the best things to do in Big Bend National Park. Biscayne
Biscayne National Park is perfect for long weekend getaways for two reasons – accessibility and uniqueness.
Unlike the wilderness that surrounds the western parks, Biscayne sits just beyond metro Miami. More than 150 daily direct flights land in Miami alone, and just up the road, the Fort Lauderdale airport services almost 10,000 customers a day. This easy access allows you to spend more time at the park and less time getting there.
Once you arrive in Biscayne National Park, you’ll find coral reefs, islands, and shoreline mangrove forests. More than 95% of the park is on the water so you’ll need to access its reefs and islands by boat. A wide variety of animals call Biscayne Bay Lagoon home including dolphins, turtles, and pelicans.
Diving and snorkeling adventures abound on the Underwater Maritime Heritage Trail where you’ll find shipwrecks and the only living coral reef off the continental United States. The most Instagrammable spot in Biscayne is the Boca Chita Lighthouse on Boca Chita Key. Here you’ll find coastal views and a museum at Convoy Point that explains local ecosystems.
On Biscayne National Park you’ll experience the American tropics at its best with that chill Florida Keys vibe. As a bonus, traveling to the Upper Keys allows you to save money on your vacation , especially compared to Key West or going abroad.
A special thanks to Jenn and Ed Coleman from Coleman Concierge for sharing their experiences on Biscayne National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a hidden secret amongst the Colorado National Parks . Uncrowded and relaxing, the park hugs 48 miles of the Gunnison River with canyon walls that jut straight up 1800 to 2700 feet into the sky.
The best place to start is at the bottom, driving to the river on East Portal Road from the South Rim. Be warned, this is an extremely steep drive (16% grade) with tight hairpin curves. Parking is available to leave your camper at the top. You’ll find a beautiful recreation area with fishing, a small campground and a wonderful picnic area at river’s edge. Here you have an impressive view of the soaring canyon walls.
Then head up top to view the canyons from the panoramic South Rim Road. 12 overlooks take you right to the edge of the canyon, with sometimes scary drop offs! Several hikes trailhead here. Plan ½ day to explore including a stop at the South Rim Visitor Center.
Campgrounds are found inside the park and nearby Curecanti National Recreation Area. With no other services in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, bring drinks and snacks along. Motels and cabins are convenient in the nearby communities.
A special thanks to Ladona Stork from Walking The Parks for highlighting some of the best things to do in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon is perhaps one of the most unique within the entire N.P.S. system. The park, in fact, does not feature a canyon at all; instead, the landscape is comprised of a stunning array of thousands of “hoodoos”, striated orange, pink, and white geological structures reaching to the sky.
Start your visit along the Peek-A-Boo Loop, a 5.5 mile trail that offers panoramic views of the diversity of different types of hoodoos throughout the park. Since you’ve sufficiently worked up an appetite, head on over to the south end of the park to eat a quick picnic lunch before you head out to the Navajo Loop Trail, a 1.3 mile round trip journey that will take you down under the rim of the park, leaving hoodoos soaring above you. End the day by gazing at some of the darkest skies in the U.S.A. and see if you can catch a falling star.
On your second day in the park, hit up the Fairyland Loop, an 8-mile trail, in the morning. After yet another picnic lunch overlooking the stunning landscape, take a leisurely rim stroll, guided by a park ranger, where you can learn about the wildlife and the geology of the park. End your stay by watching the sun sink below the rim at Sunset Point, watching the amphitheater turn brilliant colors and dreaming about your next visit to Bryce Canyon.
A special thanks to Jessica Schmit from Uprooted Traveler for sharing her ideas on spending 48 hours in Bryce Canyon National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Canyonlands
Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah, is already surrounded by beauty and stiff competition and with Arches and that’s why I think so much of it flies under the radar.
Start with the famous sunrise at the Mesa Arch, then check out the nearby island in the sky district. There are a couple of easy hikes at Canyonlands like the Aztec Butte and Murphy trails. Both provide sweeping views and are easy to access.
To get away from the crowds on day two, I highly recommend the Needles district. Start with the Needles overlook to get a lay of the land and go for the Red Canyon hike, a 9.5-mile trail that can be tough but with incredibly rewarding views.
A special thanks to Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse for sharing her thoughts on the best way to spend 48 hours in Canyonlands National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Capitol Reef
Capitol Reef National Park is one of Utah’s mighty 5 national parks located in the state’s south-central red rock country. Any visit here should start at the Visitors Center in Fruita where you will learn the history of the Mormon settlers in the area. Eat pie at the Gifford Farmhouse, visit the schoolhouse, or pick fruit during harvest season.
Explore the remote, picturesque Cathedral Valley via 4×4 (tour companies available). The 8-mile Scenic Drive is a great way to explore the park as you drive past the towering rock formations. The drive will take you to pull-outs for sites and trailheads you don’t want to miss like Hickman Bridge and Panorama Point.
The hikes in the park offer incredible scenery. The Capitol Gorge trail takes you deep in the canyon walls as you seek ancient petroglyphs and an old Pioneer Registry of the early settlers in the area. Explore narrows in the Grand Wash trail and enjoy impressive views after the hike up Cassidy Arch trail.
Don’t forget to save some energy for stargazing as Capitol Reef National Park boasts one of the darkest night skies in the world! Be one of the few people to view the Milky Way with the naked eye!
A special thanks to Becci Edington from Tattling Tourist for sharing her thoughts on Capitol Reef National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Carlsbad Caverns
If you love exploring caves, there are not many places more spectacular than Carlsbad Caverns in the heart of New Mexico. A collection of 119 caves, Carlsbad is home to a plethora of breathtaking geological formations not to mention a host of resident bats that love to call these caves their natural habitat. For the avid photographers out there, this is a paradise waiting for you to capture and although it’s a challenging experience trying to take all of your equipment deep into the caves, you will soon realize that it was worth the effort.
In terms of highlight attractions in Carlsbad Caverns, perhaps the iconic location is “Big Room”– an 8-acre space full of cave formations that will leave you speechless. The Rock of Ages and Temple of the Sun are just two examples of formations that you can admire here but it’s the intricate details of these natural phenomena that really amazes every visitor into these caves.
It’s fair to say that after 48 hours inside (or even 24 hours if you are pushed for time) these caves, you will be a resident expert on understanding the difference between a stalagmite and stalactite. Whether you choose to take a self-guided tour or guided tour via a local park ranger, you can be sure that you experience will be memorable. Stay in the local town of Whites City or larger town of Carlsbad for convenient access to this national park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Channel Islands
The Channel Islands are all about diving . They are home to giant kelp and diving through the thick forests of giant golden kelp is an incredible experience. However, there are also plenty of fish, including bright orange garibaldis, as well as sea lions and harbor seals that like to dart up to divers and then swim away.
The Channel Islands National Park is comprised of the five northernmost Channel Islands off the coast of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California. SCUBA diving boats for Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands usually leave from Ventura Harbor, just north of L.A. The boats for the northern Channel Islands (San Miguel, Santa Rosa and Santa Barbara Islands) usually leave from Santa Barbara.
With two days, you can spend one day diving the southern islands and on the second day dive the northern islands. The best visibility is September to November, although July-August and December-February are still good.
A special thanks to James Ian from Travel Collecting for sharing why Channel Islands National Park is a great diving destination. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Congaree
There are many national parks across the US that frequently fly under the radar simply because they don’t have the reputation or perhaps recognition that they deserve. Congaree National Park in South Carolina is a perfect example. It may not have the expansive vistas such as those that you can see at the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone but what it does possess is an inherent beauty that should not be forgotten.
By preserving 11,000 acres of hardwood forest, Congaree is undoubtedly one of the most essential national parks that we have. It should go without saying that preserving this type of landscape is something we should all strive for but unfortunately, outside of places that are designated as national parks, it’s not something we appear to be focused on, despite the constant debate about climate change and desire to be more eco-friendly. When you visit Congaree National Park, you can clearly see the focused efforts to maintain this incredibly important landscape…if only more places were able to achieve this!
For nature lovers, Congaree epitomizes everything there is to love about the great outdoors. From the biodiversity throughout the national park to the myriad of wildlife that have an untouched natural habitat here, there are a number of hiking and paddling trails throughout the park that make it easy for visitors to admire this scenery. The 2.4 mile hike on an elevated boardwalk is a great way to experience everything there is to love inside Congaree National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Crater Lake
Crater Lake is one the most magical places you can visit in America. It was created by the explosion of Mount Mazama around 7,700 years ago. Over time, water collected in the resulting crater and represents some of the purest and clearest water in the world.
Some tips for visiting: The best time to visit is June through late September when the weather is best. There isn’t much lodging inside the park. Options are Crater Lake Lodge, The Cabins at Mazama Village, Mazama Campground and Lost Creek Campground. You can also stay in nearby town Fort Klamath. For food, there also aren’t many options. During the summer season your options would be Rim Village Café & Gifts, Annie Creek Restaurant, Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room, and Mazama Village Camper Store. Make sure you arrive with a full gas tank since there aren’t many gas stations within 35 miles. During late May to mid-October , there is one gas station operating inside the park. Remember to swing by the Visitor Center to to watch the 22 minute film on the history of Crater Lake. The Cleetwood Cove trail is the only trail that leads down to the lake’s shoreline. The hike down isn’t too bad, but going back up was tough. Pinnacles Overlook, located in the south east corner of the park and a six mile detour off of the Rim Drive is worth checking out.
A special thanks to Henry and Zory from This Life Of Travel for highlighting some of the best things to do at Crater Lake National Park. Cuyahoga Valley
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the only national park in Ohio, located between Cleveland and Akron.
If you only have 48 hours in this National Park, then you will want to start with the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The scenic railroad is open year around, and will take you on a two and a half hour round trip journey throughout the park.
You can purchase meals on the train, or even look for special events such as a wine or murder mystery night. You can get off at different towns along the way, and your train ticket is good for the day.
There is plenty of hiking and biking trails in this national park. In addition, you should check out the gorgeous waterfalls. Brandywine Falls is the most impressive, but Blue Hen Falls is also worth a visit. You can even take your bike on the train, to be able to better explore the park. The trails that you visit will be sure to make for a relaxing weekend.
A special thanks to Michelle Maraj from Travel After Five for sharing her thoughts on Cuyahoga Valley National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Death Valley
Death Valley is a great weekend getaway destination. Don’t let the name fool you, this National Park in California offers lots to see and do. Bring your car and your hiking shoes!
Some of the coolest places in Death Valley are Devil’s Golf Course, the Racetrack, and Badwater Basin. Devils Golf Course is a large salt pan, filled with mounds and mounds of salt all over. You can drive to Devils Golf Course and actually go out and walk through them. The salt is leftover from the lake that dried up there.
The Racetrack is a very cool stop. It has “sailing stones” which are stones that move through the surface all by themselves…leaving a trail behind to see where the rock was before it. It is definitely worth the stop but with Death Valley being the largest national park outside of Alaska, there is plenty to experience throughout the park.
The Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America where you will be 282 feet below sea level. Death Valley has so many more points of interest to check out, so you can definitely spend a good 48 hours here exploring. For those of you that prefer to be a little more adventurous and only have 24 hours, check out this day trip guide from Las Vegas to Death Valley and how you can maximize your time.
A special thanks to Sara from Our Kind of Crazy for sharing her experiences at Death Valley National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Denali
Denali National Park is 6 million acres of Alaskan wilderness waiting to be explored. It is a great park to spend two days exploring and one of the few parks that you can visit via public transport. Unless you have significant Alaska winter wilderness experience, Denali is best visited during the summer. During the summer, Denali National Park has a great bus system to explore the park.
Start your first day in Denali by taking one of the bus trips into the heart of Denali. There are several different bus trips that range from 6 to 12 hours. I highly recommend the 12 hour Kantishna Experience. The Kantishna Experience travels all 92 miles of the Denali Park road and you will visit all the major park highlights while stopping to view wildlife along the way. In Kantishna, you will learn about the mining history of Denali and Alaska.
On your second day, start your morning off with a flight see of the park. Flights offer the best chance to see Denali. After your flight, have a quick lunch and catch a shuttle back into the park. Head over to Savage River and hike one of the two trails in the area. There is a flat 2 mile loop along the Savage River or the 4 mile Savage Alpine loop. The Loop has about 1,500 ft in elevation gain but on clear days the view is worth the climb. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Dry Tortugas
Dry Tortugas National Park is unique in many ways. Located 80 miles off Key West, Florida, it is one of the most remote US National Parks and worth the time and effort to visit. Its seven islands and pristine waters are simply beautiful – and it’s a rarely visited area that preserves the beauty of this amazing marine park!
Getting to Dry Tortugas can be expensive and challenging – Dry Tortugas is only accessible by boat or plane. You can read more on what to do in Dry Tortugas National Park and how to get there.
The most popular activity in Dry Tortugas is a day trip tour from Key West with Yankee Freedom III ferry. The voyage includes a tour to Fort Jefferson and snorkeling. More activities can be arranged prior to boarding the ship. For example, you can stay in the overnight primitive camping ground, do some kayaking, or even scuba dive!
A special thanks to Halef and Michael from The Round The World Guys for sharing a few reasons why Dry Tortugas National Park is a great place to visit. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Everglades
The Everglades National Park in Southern Florida is teeming with wildlife. The park spans across 1.5 million acres and there are three main sections that you can easily access. The section along Florida’s Hwy 41 is one of the easiest to access and where you should spend your 48 hours in the Everglades.
Whilst many people opt to take a tour in the Everglades it’s easy, and arguably more fun, to plan a self-guided tour to the Everglades . This gives you the chance to watch the wildlife at your own pace and stop where ever you like along your road trip along Hwy 41.
If you’re coming from Miami, spend your first-day road tripping east to west. Learn about the Miccosukee tribe at the Miccosukee Indian Village, walk the boardwalks keeping your eyes peeled for ‘gators, turtles and birds at Kirby Storter Roadside Park, H. P. Williams Roadside Park and Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, find the US’s smallest post office and learn about the mysterious Skunk Ape and the Skunk Ape Headquarters.
On the second day be prepared to explore the Everglades from a different angle. Sign up to a kayak tour and immerse yourself in the mangrove forest with Jenny’s Eco Everglades Tours as you paddle past alligators and watch the birds leave the forest for the day. It’s a trip that’ll stick with you long after it’s finished!
A special thanks to Hannah from That Adventurer for sharing her thoughts on how to spend 48 hours exploring the Everglades National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Gates of the Arctic
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Kobuk Valley National Park are the two northernmost national parks in the United States, and the two least visited national parks in the US. Official statistics will say they get about 10,000 visitors per year, but in reality, they get much fewer than that. The number of actual tourists who visit each park is probably below 1,000, and possibly much less than that.
These parks have no visitor center, no roads, no campgrounds, no trails or anything else you would expect to find in a national park. Your options in each park are either a day trip by float plane or a two-week backcountry trip in the wilderness. There isn’t much in-between these two options.
You can visit both parks in a single day on a park hopper flight from Bettles, Alaska. The flight isn’t cheap, but you will land in both parks and get some stunning aerial views from the plane that you would never get on the ground. In Gates of the Arctic, the highlight attraction is the Brooks Mountain Range.
A special thanks to Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere for sharing the highlight experiences in Gates of the Arctic National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Gateway Arch
Gateway Arch National Park is quite unique, located in downtown St. Louis, but it is a smaller park. 48 hours in Gateway Arch National Park will encompass everything. But, there is enough to do nearby for a fun-filled 2 days.
Spend one day exploring the Arch and riverfront, visiting the Arch Museum, riding the tram to the top, walking the parkland trails to find amazing photo spots. Have lunch with a view at a street cafes at Laclede’s Landing, or at the pricier 360 rooftop bar. Later, take the helicopter flight over the park, followed by a downtown and riverfront carriage ride. End the day with a dinner cruise on the national park riverboats.
Start day 2 at the Old Courthouse, to learn its role in the battle for human rights, and the Old Cathedral, the oldest west of the Mississippi. Then take a walk down the Gateway Mall, 12 blocks of green-way, with sculpture gardens, memorials, and the Soldier’s Memorial and Military Museum, at block 8. Or, walk to the National Blues Museum, for funner St. Louis history, and live music Sundays, Thursdays and Fridays. You will pass plenty of places to eat along the way.
End your day on the other side of the Mississippi at the overlook, for amazing sunset arch photos.
A special thanks to Roxanna Keyes from Gypsy With a Day Job for highlighting why Gateway Arch National Park is a great experience. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Glacier
With 48 hours in Glacier National Park you can enjoy the best of the park’s attractions. Have a look at this list of things to do and start planning your trip now! Trail of Cedars – a beautiful nature trail that’s a little less than ¾ of a mile through the forest and features a waterfall. Hike Avalanche Lake, you’ll pass by the trailhead on Trail of Cedars walk. This hike is under 5 miles in total and takes you to a stunning lake in the Rockies. Take a boat trip on Lake McDonald and learn more about Glacier National Park during the 1-hour tour around the lake. Enjoy lunch at Russell’s in Lake McDonald Lodge – make sure to allow some time for looking around this historic lodge. Drive the Going to the Sun Road – one of America’s most scenic drives. Take the shuttle boat at Many Glacier Hotel and hike Grinnell Glacier for incredible views. Afterwards enjoy lunch at the Ptarmigan Room at Many Glacier Hotel then walk it off with a hike around Swiftcurrent Lake. Or enjoy the exceptional views from a relaxing boat tour on the lake. Don’t want to drive? Do one of the Red Bus Tours in the park – these classic cars have been in operation since the 1930’s and feature roll-back tops so you get a perfect view.
A special thanks to Susan Moore from Solo Trips and Tips for highlighting some of the best things to do in Glacier National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Glacier Bay
If you have been fortunate to visit the beautiful state of Alaska, you will know that that this part of the US is inundated with natural beauty. Although Denali and Kenai Fjords are the two infamous national parks in Alaska, it’s those untouched parks that are incredibly difficult to reach that are perhaps the most intriguing.
Glacier Bay National Park is one of these, though in comparison to Kobuk Valley and Gates of the Arctic, this is not the most difficult to access. Be prepared to drive on a solitary road after taking a ferry from Juneau to Gustavus but then prepare yourself to be transported into 3.3 million acres of breathtaking beauty.
A unique combination of glaciers, forestry and the world’s largest non-polar ice field are enough to justify a visit but when you throw in the opportunity to see wildlife including seals, otters, moose, wolves, deer, brown/grizzly bears and possibly even orcas/humpback whales, you know you have found a real gem of a national park.
For those of you that prefer to take a guided tour, you can take a Day Boat trip from Gustavus to experience the best of the national park. This 150 passenger high speed catamaran sails from Glacier Bay Lodge and for the next 8.5 hours, you will take the 130 mile round trip journey deep into Glacier Bay National Park. Regardless of which method you choose, a visit to Glacier Bay is something that everyone should be inspired to experience. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Grand Canyon
As one of the most visited national parks in the United States, visiting the Grand Canyon is often a highlight of any trip to Arizona and the Southwestern US. Encompassing nearly 5,000 square kilometers of land, one could easily spend weeks or months exploring this natural wonder. However, if you only have a limited amount of time, then spending two days here is an excellent option.
You can spend your first day at the Grand Canyon taking in the traditional viewpoints and taking a stroll along the paved and accessible rim trail. If you want to escape the crowds even further and you’re visiting the Grand Canyon between the months of May-October, then heading to the far more remote North Rim is a great choice.
If you’re after something a little bit more strenuous than a paved rim walk at the Grand Canyon, there are a seemingly endless amount of hiking trails in and around the Canyon itself. One of the most popular is the Bright Angel trail, which can take you all the way to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon. The hike takes approximately 4-6 hours to get down and then 6-8 hours back up. Many people opt to spend the night at Phantom Ranch before hiking back up the next day.
A special thanks to Maggie Turansky from The World Was Here First for sharing some of the best experiences at Grand Canyon National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Grand Teton
Grand Teton National Park is located south of Yellowstone and often a forgotten park. Grand Teton is filled with natural wonders such as Jenny Lake and of course the two towering Grand Tetons.
One of the top things to do in Grand Teton is to drive the Teton Park Road which will take you past the Grand Tetons which are towering the landscape at 13,770 feet tall.
If you continue on you will come to Lake Jenny, a two mile long glacial lake. Jenny Lake is one of the highlights to your Grand Teton trip. Not only does it have stunning views but you can also hike around the lake or swim or paddle on the lake. The hike around the lake is approximately 7 miles long and an easy hike.
If you are looking for an easy to moderate hike to do, I would recommend Taggart Lake Trail. The hike is only 3 miles round trip but you are rewarded with views of Lake Taggart and the beautiful landscapes.
A special thanks to Nicole LaBarge for highlighting why Grand Teton National Park deserves more recognition, despite frequently being left in the shadow of nearby Yellowstone. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Great Basin
Great Basin National Park is a hidden gem in the middle of nowhere Nevada. Literally. It’s the home to over 200 mountain lions, the only glacier in Nevada, and some of the oldest living things on Earth, bristlecone trees. While it may not be the biggest park, it has enough to keep you busy for 48 hours.
On the first day, I would do a tour of Lehman Cave. There are two options: 1 hour or 1.5 hours. The longer tour is the same as the short one but includes a few extra things.
You’ll need to book ahead because they do fill up. You can do that online at recreation.gov . If you can’t get a spot on the longer tour, don’t worry, the short one is still awesome. Before or after your tour, make sure you do the Alpine Lake and Bristlecone Loop. If you only do one hike, do this one.
On the second day, climb to Wheeler Peak, the second highest peak in Nevada or spend some time walking along Lehman Creek Trail, exploring the Gray Cliffs and Baker Creek area, or Pole Canyon.
A special thanks to Megan Johnson from Red Around The World for highlighting the best things to do in 48 hours in Great Basin National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Great Sand Dunes
The greatest thing to do at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is to simply climb them! Truth be told, it’s not easy. Have you ever walked over sand? Try climbing it!!! The Dunes are huge and beautiful, and ever changing. It’s definitely a challenge so be prepared to take your time and drink plenty of water.
There are several different areas to climb, hike and backpack. Now, in case you’d like something a little more adventurous, how about trying sand boarding or sand sledding? Yes, you can do that at the Great Sand Dunes National Park!
Or, if you’d like something a little more laid back. Why not take a tour or go horseback riding during your visit? And if you’re looking to make it an educational visit for you and your family there are plenty of free ranger programs available late May through October.
So even though I think the greatest thing to do is climb you have so many awesome options right at your fingertips!
A special thanks to Cassie Trin from White Sands and Cool Breezes for highlighting why Great Sand Dunes National Park is worth exploring. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country and it is absolutely no surprise why. Once you’ve been there and seen it with your own eyes, you’ll never want to leave.
Living in Nashville, only 3 hours away, I grew up going here and to this day it is still one of my favorite places in the world. This is the perfect weekend retreat with so much to explore. Make sure to head to Cades Cove for the best chance of spotting wildlife, especially black bears. Come in early June to see the once in a lifetime phenomenon – synchronized fireflies.
Explore the park via the countless hiking trails, campgrounds, driving loops, and more. When that all gets to be too much (it won’t), head into Gatlinburg for some small town and don’t forget to try the moonshine.
For more about the synchronized fireflies or abandoned spots in the park, check out these posts.
A special thanks to Ashley Hubbard from Wild Hearted for sharing her experiences in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Guadalupe Mountains
In the heart of west Texas is the remote Guadalupe Mountain range, an area of the state that epitomizes the solitude and wilderness that is present here. But don’t let this remoteness fool you because the moment you venture deep into Guadalupe Mountains National Park, you will find some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in the state of Texas.
From the mountain range itself that have been pushed 3,000 feet above the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert to an abundance of sand dunes, salt flats, ravines and other natural phenomena, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of those “lesser-known” parks that is well worth experiencing. Guadalupe Peak, standing at 8,749 feet above sea level is the tallest mountain in Texas while there are some other impressive mountain tops to be found in this part of the state.
The incredible gypsum sand dunes at Salt Basin are a real sight to behold but the real beauty can be found when you head out deep into the wilderness and explore some of the 80 miles of hiking trails. McKittrick Canyon is frequently renowned as one of the most beautiful spots in the state and is definitely a hike that anyone visiting this national park should consider experiencing. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Haleakala
Haleakala means “House of the Sun” in the Hawaiian language, and it’s easy to understand why the ancients viewed this dormant volcano as such. It is the younger of two volcanoes on Maui, measuring more than 10,000 feet above sea level, and is still considered a sacred place.
Haleakala sunrise at the summit is the big draw here for Maui first timers and repeat visitors alike, so much so that the National Park Service instituted a reservation system to limit vehicular traffic to four popular viewpoints at 150 vehicles per day.
If you are camping within the Park, you don’t need the reservation to the Summit District, nor do you if you are a Native Hawaiian practicing traditional culture. If you prefer, you can visit with an authorized sunrise tour. Plan to arrive between 3AM – 7AM prepared for high altitude temperatures which can get cold. Once the sun is risen, short and long hikes, including overnight wilderness treks are available in the summit and coastal areas, which include natural pools, waterfalls, and bamboo forest.
Campers can bring their own gear to drive or hike up to sites or reserve wilderness cabins. Photo ops of volcanic landscapes, flora and fauna, and coastal vistas abound. Note that this is one of the best places in the world for sky watching, with very little ambient light to obstruct your view.
A special thanks to Betsy Wuebker from Passing Thru for sharing a few reasons why Haleakala National Park in Hawaii is a place we all need to visit. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Hawaii Volcanoes
Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii is quite spectacular and now that it is open again from the latest lava intrusion, there’s still a lot of the park to see and explore.
Located on the southeastern region of the Big Island you can easily do a day trip from the Hilo side or Kona depending on where you are staying. There’s so many places of interest to visit but start with the welcome center to get oriented and see what is happening on the calendar when you visit. There are guided walks or a DIY road trip through the park you can do and take a variety of scenic hikes that fits your time and skill level.
Although most of the lava activity has slowed down dramatically there’s still plenty to see and do in this national park with so much cultural and historic significance to experience. Check out my post on visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Big Island with kids here for more inspiration to visiting.
A special thanks to Noel Morata from Travel Photo Discovery for highlighting a few reasons why Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a spectacular experience that everyone should visit. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Hot Springs
As one of the United States’ smallest National Parks, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas is the perfect place for weekend visit. Created to protect the historic bathhouses that line the appropriately named Bathhouse Row, it’s a bit unique compared to the more wilderness focused parks in other parts of the country. These bathhouses arose thanks to the natural hot springs that bubble out of the mountain at a piping hot 143 degrees Fahrenheit.
The park’s visitor center is located in one of these historic bathhouses, and visitors can tour all three levels of it. You can explore the changing areas and leisure room, see the kinds of health treatments that went on here, and take a peek at the gym.
Two of the bathhouses – Buckstaff Baths and Quapaw Baths – are still in operation and you can make an appointment if you want to go for a soak in the naturally hot spring water. The park’s boundaries also include some of the rolling mountains and you can spend all or part of a day hiking the trails through them.
If you’re more into driving than hiking, you can take a winding road to the top of a mountain and picnic, just take in the views, or buy a ticket to ride an elevator to the top of the observation tower. After park hours end, you can enjoy your evening dining at one of the many restaurants along Bathhouse Row or sample some beer from Superior Bathhouse Brewery, located in one of the former bathhouses.
A special thanks to Kris from Nomad by Trade for sharing her experiences in Hot Springs National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Indiana Dunes
Located along the shores of Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes can lay claim (at the time of this initial publication) to being the newest area to be designated with national park status. The 61st national park, Indiana Dunes has quickly become part of the national park system and is certainly not out of place with 15 miles of incredible beauty along the shorelines of Lake Michigan.
With over 15,000 acres of gorgeous beaches, woods, prairies and marshland, Indiana Dunes is the perfect habitat for a diverse range of wildlife, all of which can be experienced when you start exploring this national park. Visitors can enjoy sledding on the dunes during the winter months while you may be intrigued to hear that during the spring, this area is a haven for maple syrup making…you don’t even need to cross the Canadian border to experience this!
Hiking trails are a rewarding experience all year round, though it may be more apt to experience snowshoeing or cross-country skiing during the winter months. Indiana Dunes is a photographer’s paradise, whether you are a nature/wildlife aficionado or simply someone who enjoys capturing gorgeous landscape shots. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Isle Royale
Located in the heart of Lake Superior, the largest of the US Great Lakes, Isle Royale National Park is an untouched, isolated wilderness of dense forest and rocky shoreline. But it’s this type of landscape that is a hiker’s paradise, particularly if you are interested in exploring the hidden depths of this remote island.
Did you also know that Isle Royale is the least visited national park outside of Alaska and Hawaii? With only 20,000 visitors annually, anyone visiting Isle Royale will likely have much of the island to themselves, simply adding another layer of beauty to the experience. The tranquil setting is not only ideal for visitors but also for the myriad of wildlife that can be found in their natural habitat. From beavers to foxes and moose to wolves, there is a diverse population of wildlife that have found Isle Royale National Park to be the perfect place to call home.
A ferry or seaplane is the best way to access Isle Royale from Houghton and Copper Harbor on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s also worth noting that Isle Royale is actually not the only island…rather, it’s part of a large archipelago of 400 smaller islands that collectively create this area of natural beauty in Lake Superior. With over 165 miles of hiking trails, it’s certainly a paradise for those that love to explore outdoors. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree National Park is a wonderful desert Park in South Eastern California. It is famous for being the area where two desert systems meet, the Mojave and the Colorado, and it can be easily visited in a couple of days.
The best things to do in Joshua Tree over a weekend are hiking and driving, two excellent ways to see the park’s unique landscape. Hikes in Joshua Tree go from easy to moderate: the easiest ones take 30 mins – 1.5 hours (Cholla Cactus Garden, Barker Dam, Hidden Valley, Hi-view) while moderate ones such as Lost Horse Mine take up to 3. Because of the potentially extreme heat, organize your time so you hike in the morning and avoid the midday sun.
On your first day, hike in the morning, then drive up to Keys Views for great views of the Coachella Valley and San Andreas fault. On your second day, hike again, then drive between the North and Western park entrances to see the Joshua trees and famous park boulders.
Finally, the join one of the regular ranger talks about the park, its history and challenges. Spend your evenings in the park stargazing for a truly unforgettable experience!
A special thanks to Marta Correale from Learning Escapes for sharing her thoughts on spending 48 hours in Joshua Tree National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Katmai
Katmai National Park is a great place for a 48-hour excursion from Anchorage; you’ll have to get there via seaplane, once you do, you’ll be transported to perhaps the most famous park for bear watching, as it is home to over 2,000 brown bears!
Many of these star each summer in the world famous “Bear Cams”, webcams capturing the bears catching salmon to gorge upon in advance of winter hibernation. You can view the feast in real life at multiple sites throughout the park, though most notable is Brooks Falls.
Camping at Brooks Falls (don’t worry, the campsite is enclosed by an electric fence) situates you within the park. Campsite reservations via recreation.gov go faster than hot concert tickets, selling out within hours of their release each January. There are privately run lodges inside the park, though prices do tend to be on the higher side and the lodges, too, sell out well in advance.
Fishing is king here, for both bears and humans. You can bring your own gear and fly-fish (with a license) in the Brooks River, or contact one of the official park concessionaires for gear rental and boat access to more remote fishing locations.
For another day adventure, explore the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, comprised of the remnants of the largest 20th century volcanic eruption. While the smokes—fumaroles and mudpots— have gone silent since the 1912 eruption, you can still explore this otherworldly landscape by a guided bus tour with concessionaire Katmailand.
A special thanks to Derek from Parks and Points for sharing wonderful experiences in Katmai National Park in the heart of Alaska. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Kenai Fjords
There is something quite magical about watching ice calving and there are not many better places on earth to experience this than in Kenai Fjords National Park. When you add an opportunity to see a plethora of orcas, humpback whales and other wildlife, it’s pretty much a given that everyone should want to visit this breathtaking national park in Alaska. Whether you are taking a day trip to Seward from Anchorage and then hopping on a half-day cruise around Kenai Fjords or you are staying for longer, this is an unforgettable experience that we can 100% attest is worth it.
Although the coastal fjords are the pièce de résistance in Kenai Fjords, there are plenty of other natural attractions worth exploring while visiting this area of Alaska. The accessible Exit Glacier area is full of epic hiking trails, though these are not for the faint hearted! The 2.4 mile Edge of the Glacier trail is perhaps the most iconic along with the 8-mile, 8-hour Harding Icefield Trail but both are well worth the effort.
For those of you happy to stay on board a day (or half-day) cruise, we highly recommend taking a Major Marine Tours excursion to experience both the wildlife and natural beauty on display throughout Kenai Fjords National Park – you won’t leave disappointed! CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Kings Canyon
Kings Canyon National Park coincides with Sequoia National Park as they are located side by side in the Sierra Nevada. Kings Canyon itself is one of North America’s deepest canyons, with a maximum depth of over 8,000 feet in certain spots. This granite valley is surrounded by natural beauty and bordered to the east by the Sierra Crest and the highest peak in this national park, North Palisade, measuring 14,265 feet. Just a short distance away in Sequoia National Park is the tallest mountain in the mainland 48 US states – Mount Whitney!
One of the highlight attractions in Kings Canyon is to take the 36-mile scenic drive along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. Whether you are inspired by the natural beauty around you or you prefer to park your vehicle and start hiking among the plethora of trails, you can be sure that a visit to both Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks will be worthwhile. This is definitely a time where having the National Park annual pass is beneficial as you will surely want to visit both parks. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Kobuk Valley
If you read the above post by Gary Arndt on Gates of the Arctic National Park, you will know that Kobuk Valley is one of the least visited national parks in the world. With an advertised number of 10,000 visitors per year, but the actual number likely being much closer to only 1,000, this remote wilderness is a place that only an exclusive number of visitors are able to experience.
Gary recommends trying to visit both parks in the same day by taking a park hopper flight from Bettles, Alaska. In terms of the highlight attraction in Kobuk Valley, the highlight of the park is the sand dunes, which are the northernmost sand dunes in the world. But the inherent beauty of this park can be admired as you fly over and capture amazing aerial photography that you would never see from ground level.
A special thanks to Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere who has been fortunate to visit both Kobuk Valley and Gates of the Arctic National Parks in Alaska. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Lake Clark
Another of Alaska’s national parks that is only accessible either by seaplane or boat is Lake Clark. Located approximately 100 miles from Anchorage in the Alaskan Peninsula, Lake Clark’s remote and undeveloped landscape is an incredible sight. Once you arrive inside Lake Clark National Park, the opportunities are endless. Sit back and relax while watching a brown bear graze in the landscape or for the more active and adventurous, head out into the tundra of Lake Clark’s wilderness to stumble across a myriad of breathtaking scenery.
Visitors to Lake Clark will have an opportunity to see wildlife but it’s the local salmon that are the most intriguing. In fact, Lake Clark was given national park status in 1980 as a way to preserve these salmon (along with all other local wildlife in this region of Alaska). Lake Clark itself is about 40 miles long and 5 miles wide and surrounded by snowcapped mountains – just imagine taking a few minutes to admire this scene before heading out to explore the plethora of epic hiking routes throughout the park.
As mentioned, salmon may be the highlight here but when you have salmon, it’s no surprise to hear that there are plenty of bears to be found. Bear viewing season is primarily June until September and one of the iconic places for seeing these in their natural habitat is along the banks of Crescent Lake, Silver Salmon Creek and Chinitna Bay. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Lassen Volcanic
If you’ve only got two days at Lassen Volcanic National Park, here are two activities that might occupy your time. One is good for a couple of hours, and the other will take the better part of a day.
First, there’s the comically named Bumpass Hell. You reach it via a trail which starts near the southwest entrance to the park. It’s an active hydrothermal area, with geysers, fumaroles, and highly acidic ponds. It is named for an early explorer who severely burned his leg when he fell through the geothermal crust. Stay on the well-marked paths and boardwalks so you don’t do the same.
The Cinder Cone is the remnant of a “recently” active volcano. As its name suggests, it’s a big pile of volcanic material, and you can climb it to enjoy the view of a crater that’s only a couple of hundred years old. The climb is only slightly strenuous, mostly due to the 8000-foot altitude, not its difficulty.
You reach Cinder Cone by via the northeast park entrance, then taking six miles of bad road to a parking lot. From there, it’s a one-mile hike through fine black sand to the base of the cone.
A special thanks to Tom from Travel Past 50 for sharing two of the best things to do during 48 hours in Lassen Volcanic National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave National Park is located in south central Kentucky and is home to the longest cave system in the entire world. Despite this park being so close to me my whole life, it took 32 years for me to actually visit the cave. Caves are really cool but it was at the top of my to-do list.
In October 2018, I headed up for a day trip though and I will never not be excited about a cave again. Walking through this huge mammoth of a cave was absolutely breathtaking. Not only to know that you were in the longest cave system in the world, but to know the human history dates back 6,000 years ago and contains more than 400 explored miles of passageways is pretty spectacular.
The 400 miles is nearly twice as long as the second longest cave which is found in Mexico. The park itself is free to enter but you do have to go on a guided, paid tour to enter the cave.
A special thanks to Ashley Hubbard from Wild Hearted for sharing her experiences in Mammoth Cave National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Mesa Verde
Mesa Verde is one of the National Parks that gets your mind running making you think about the former residents of the cliff dwelling in Southwest Colorado. The ancient ruins of the Ancestral Puebloans sometimes called the Anasazi, cling to the rock cliffs near Cortez, Colorado. Exactly who these people were and when their society organized and then disbanded is a point of contention. However, there is no argument about how amazing the structures are that they created.
Plan to stop at the visitors center on your way into this park even if you generally eschew park visitor centers. You’ll be able to gain the necessary information to properly appreciate the structures and vistas you will encounter in Mesa Verde. A minimum visit to the park is 4-6 hours with drive time consuming at least 2 of those hours.
Here are a few of the best things to see and do in Mesa Verde National Park: Stop at the park entrance to visit the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center Tour the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum See Spruce Tree House Drive the Mesa Top Loop Road Drive the Cliff Palace/Balcony House Loop Road Drive to the Wetherill Mesa Visit Cliff Palace Visit Long House on Wetherill Mesa Visit the Far View Sites Do a self-guided tour of Step House Bike on Wetherill Mesa
Note: If you plan to visit either Cliff Palace, Balcony House or Long House you will need to purchase tickets at the visitors center.
A special thanks to Laudy and Jerome Shaw from Travel Boldly for highlighting some of the best things to do and see in Mesa Verde National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Mount Rainier
Named after the tallest peak in the state of Washington, Mount Rainier is not only a national park with an imposing backdrop because of its namesake, it’s also a haven of natural beauty waiting to be explored. In addition to being the tallest mountain in the state at 14,411 feet, Mount Rainier is also a volcano that is frequently renowned as being one of the world’s mountaineering spectacles.
Thousands of expert mountain climbers attempt to ascend to the summit of Mount Rainier each year but only a small percentage are successful. With rough weather frequently moving across this landscape from the Pacific Ocean, this is definitely one of the toughest climbs anywhere across the globe. But if you like us and simply want to enjoy the beauty of this mountain from a distance, the panoramic views around this national park are a real sight to behold.
If you love scenic drives as much as we do, perhaps the highlight of visiting Mount Rainier National Park is to enter via State Route 706 to the Nisqually entrance and then take the 42 mile route via the Sunrise and Sunrise Rim Trails. You can easily spend several hours experiencing the beauty along this route but don’t worry, if you are ready to hop out of your car, there are plenty of hiking trails ready to inspire your wanderlust. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS North Cascades
Take a moment to think about those iconic images of Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada. You know, those iconic pictures with gorgeous glacial lakes, snow-capped mountain peaks and forested valleys. Did you know you can experience all of this and more in the state of Washington? That’s right, head over to North Cascades National Park for an incredible experience where you can enjoy all of the above. Renowned as the “American Alps”, the North Cascades is an expansive wilderness that epitomizes everything there is to love about nature.
The beauty of North Cascades is that there is a perfect blend of wilderness and recreational opportunities. Whether you are intrigued by the prospect of hitting the hiking trails through these spectacular valleys or simply want to go kayaking on the various lakes throughout the park, you can be sure that you won’t be bored when you visit this part of Washington.
One of the most scenic drives in West USA can be found through the heart of North Cascades. Head along State Route 20, also known as the North Cascades Highway, and you will immediately realize why this landscape has such an “Alps” feel to it. The breathtaking viewpoint at Washington Pass is an experience that will long live in the memory. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Olympic
Olympic National Park is packed with lush rainforests, waterfalls, driftwood-strewn beaches and mountain peaks. There are so many adventures to be had and natural wonders to see that you could easily keep coming back to this park year after year and still not see it all.
But if you’ve just got 48 hours to spend in the park, you can still see plenty. There are so many things to do in Olympic National Park , in fact, that it can be downright overwhelming! We’ve put together a list of some of the best places to go for a quick trip to the OP.
Start your trip to the Olympic Peninsula with a quick stop at High Steel Bridge & Vance Creek Viaduct. These 2 bridges are quite close to each other and are certainly sights to behold. When you’ve had enough vertigo-inducing views, head to Hurricane Ridge for epic mountain views.
Walk around on the trails and enjoy a picnic lunch. Another must-see sight is Sol Duc Falls, which looks straight out of a postcard with water flowing over mossy rocks in thick rainforest. And speaking of rainforests, a short drive from the waterfall is Hoh Rainforest, which has flat, trails that meander throughout the moss and vine-covered trees.
Have more time? During your first visit to the Olympic Peninsula, you can’t miss the beaches near La Push, which is just outside the park. First, Second and Third Beach, are Instagram favorites and Ruby Beach is a little quieter. All four of them are worth checking out and wandering past the piles of driftwood and even spending a night if you have camping equipment. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, hike out to Shi Shi Beach, and camp beneath a starry sky!
A special thanks to Katie and Ben Zweber from Two Wandering Soles for highlighting some of the best things to experience in Olympic National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Petrified Forest
Some of the best national parks lie in the southwestern U.S.: Grand Canyon, Big Bend, and Canyonlands. To properly experience them though, you’d need a week or more to explore.
Fortunately, Petrified Forest National Park and the adjacent Painted Desert Badlands can be toured in just a couple of days. There are only a half dozen or so designated trails in the park, and each of them is less than a mile long. They’re all fairly easy too, with only a couple gaining or losing any elevation.
Each trail visits a site of geological or historical significance, like a ring of petrified logs or thousand-year-old pictographs drawn by indigenous residents. If these trails don’t scratch your hiking itch though, there are a few abandoned roadways and dried up stream beds to traverse; you’ll need a good sense of direction and maybe a compass as there’s no signage on them.
No car camping is permitted in the park, though you can backpack into the wilderness area on the north side. This region has very little water and absolutely no shade; it should only be attempted by serious hikers that know what they’re doing.
For a weekend camping trip at Petrified Forest, consider pitching your tent or staying at a hotel in nearby Show Low. This quirky mountain town is at a much higher elevation, where cooler temperatures and ample shade prevails.
A special thanks to Ryan Victor from Passions and Places for sharing his experiences in Petrified Forest National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Pinnacles
California is home to a diverse range of spectacular national parks and the newest addition to this list is equally breathtaking. Pinnacles National Park is located in Salinas Valley and offers an eclectic blend of nature’s finest formations, featuring caves, vistas, cliffs and of course, as per the namesake, rocky pinnacles overlooking the surrounding area. All of this landscape was formed over millions of years from an ancient volcano located along the San Andreas Fault.
There are actually two sides to Pinnacles National Park, with a similar layout to the Grand Canyon. You cannot drive between the two sides and instead you have to drive around if you want to experience both perspectives, although for the adventurous folks, there is an arduous 5-mile hike awaiting you if you want to explore both.
In terms of the best things to do, well most of Pinnacles is all about getting out and exploring. Head down Talus Caves for an experience unlike any other cave system in the US. These caves have actually been formed by huge chunks of rock breaking off the overhanging “pinnacles”, creating large chasms inside and today, these are known as Pinnacles’ cave system. Perhaps the most iconic hiking experience is to visit the High Peak Trail and explore a series of jagged pinnacles. It’s another of those hikes that is pretty strenuous but well worth the effort when you reach the summit! CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Redwood
In terms of national parks with the most obvious name, I think Redwood National Park is perhaps at the very top of this list. Home to the tallest trees on earth, Redwood National Park can be found in the heart of California but you may be pleasantly surprised to hear that there is plenty more to experience here than just the redwoods.
But let’s start with the real reason most visitors will want to experience this national park. As you walk along the network of hiking trails throughout these redwoods, you will quickly realize just how small you are in comparison to your surroundings. There are so many iconic trees to be found inside this national park so it’s almost impossible to recommend any in particular.
If you are looking for those that are truly infamous, consider heading to Big Tree – a redwood estimated to be 1,500 years old and with a circumference of 68 feet! You can find this tree located on the Newton Drury Scenic Parkway close to Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Alternatively, for those that are fans of Star Wars, head to the Star Wars Tree to recreate a scene from this movie. Regardless of which redwoods you stumble across, there is a story behind each and every one of them.
As mentioned, Redwood National Park is more than just the trees. You can experience gorgeous prairie land, wild rivers and of course, given the location along the Pacific Ocean, more than 40 miles of rugged coastline. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Rocky Mountain
Rocky Mountain National Park is best explored on a long visit: at 415 square miles, it’s impossible to see it all in a day trip! It’s also packed with wildlife, especially elk, marmots, and moose, so be sure to stop in the park at dawn and dusk when they’re most active.
One of the best places to start your park visit is at the Wild Basin Trailhead. Here, the trail is more level so it’s a great place to acclimate to the elevation, and it’s less-visited than the central park areas, but no less beautiful as you hike to waterfalls. Once you hop onto Trail Ridge Road, which covers one end of the park to the other, there are dozens of places to stop off. Some of the park’s best hikes are near Cub Lake and Bear Lake, with options for all lengths and levels.
Crossing the Continental Divide to the western section of the park, you’ll go higher than the tree line for expansive views and then back down to very different scenery along the Colorado River. Whatever you decide, this is a gorgeous park that everyone loves!
A special thanks to Becky Pokora from SightDOING for highlighting why Rocky Mountain National Park is such an intriguing place to visit. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Saguaro
There is no better place in Arizona to spend 48 hours than Tucson, home of Saguaro National Park, which surrounds the city like bookends. (Note: Rob was born and raised in Tucson. #biased)
Saguaro Park East was established in 1950 in the Rincon Mountains, giving you plenty of photo ops with purple mountain backdrops, many from scenic pullouts along the Cactus Forest Drive. Saguaro Park West, in the Tucson Mountains, has a higher density of saguaros, ancient petroglyphs on Signal Hill, and one of the best views from the Valley View Overlook Trail.
Together, there are more than 170 miles of hiking, horseback, and accessible trails over more than 90,000-acres. Both parks have scenic drives and picnic areas, too. Visit in late spring, when the giant Saguaros are in bloom, and you’ll see why it’s the state flower of Arizona!
Just outside of Saguaro West is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, one of the Top 10 Museums in the US. Then it’s time for Wild West family fun at Old Tucson, a movie set turned family attraction. For a complete change of pace, head up Mount Lemmon, the southernmost ski resort in the US. Or drive South to the historic missions and artist colonies in San Xavier, Tubac, and Tumacaccori.
Before leaving town, indulge your inner foodie. The native Sonoran cuisine earned Tucson the distinction of being the first UNESCO International City of Gastronomy in the US! Our tip? Grab a Sonoran Dog from El Guero Canelo for a true taste of Tucson.
A special thanks to Rob and Ann from TravelLatte for sharing just a few reasons why Saguaro National Park should be on all of our radars. Sequoia
Sequoia National Park is home to the biggest trees on the planet. The biggest tree in the world is the General Sherman Tree, reachable by a short trail that goes through a tunnel carved into the side of a fallen tree.
Many of the biggest trees have been named, and a great hike for Day One is the Congress Trail , which starts at the General Sherman Tree and goes past many of the named trees such as the President Tree, the Chief Sequoia Tree and a couple of groups of trees, the Senate and the House. The scale of the sequoia trees is awe-inspiring. One tree, just off this main trail, the Room Tree, has an empty space inside that is big as a small room.
On day two, walk the Crescent Meadow trail – another easy, but beautiful hike. Then visit the small, but interesting Giant Forest Museum and learn about these fascinating trees. Then take another hike from the museum along the Big Trees Trail. This is a short, flat hike around the Round Meadow. Go there in the late afternoon and there is a good chance you will see black bears foraging in the meadow (take precautions – bears are dangerous!)
You will love every minute of your 48 hours in Sequoia National Park.
A special thanks to James Ian from Travel Collecting for highlighting the best things to experience in Sequoia National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Shenandoah
If you love road trips, taking a scenic drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia should be near the top of your bucket list. Nestled in the heart of these mountains is Shenandoah National Park and despite being only 12 miles wide at most, it certainly packs an incredible amount of natural beauty into this corridor.
The 105 mile Skyline Drive that runs the length of the park is undoubtedly a drive that everyone should experience but as with most national parks, there is plenty to experience if you are prepared to explore on foot. With a plethora of breathtaking waterfalls, mountains and valleys, the panoramic views across this national park are endless.
Did you know that the Blue Ridge Mountains actually get their name because of the color of these mountains from a distance? That’s right, thanks to the isoprene substance (an organic compound released by the trees in this range), the bluish haze you can admire from a distance is exactly why these mountains are named as such. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Theodore Roosevelt
Ready to embark on an intimate and colorful experience with the only national park in North Dakota? Theodore Roosevelt National Park encompasses buttes and hills of the northern badlands, expansive prairies, and a distinct lack of trees.
The park encompasses more than 70,000 acres spread over three separate units. With 48 hours to explore the park, we suggest sticking to the south unit, which has a great front-country campground, lots of hiking trails, and is close to the kitschy cowboy town of Medora.
Start by setting up camp at Cottonwood Campground and heading out on a day hike. If you have gotten an early start, we recommend the Petrified Forest loop, which is a 10-mile loop through the prairie, with some great ridgeline views. After your hike, catch dinner in Medora and check out the Medora Musical, which pays tribute to Teddy Roosevelt every single night in the summer.
On day two, wake up early and drive the loop road through the park for a chance to see bison, prairie dogs, wild horses, and more. All of the park’s critters are more active in the early morning and late evening, so be sure to have your camera ready.
Two really short hikes that are worth checking out are the Painted Canyon Nature trail (1 mile) and Buck Hill (less than a half mile, but really steep). Finally, catch a stagecoach ride along the Missouri River from Medora to Deadwood for a relaxing end to your day.
A special thanks to Tara Schatz from Back Road Ramblers for highlighting some of the best things to do in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands National Park is one that doesn’t get much attention, but it should. Its beauty is on par with any other park, and the over-saturated emerald and turquoise waters will leave you breathless.
Be sure to rent a car for your visit – it makes getting around the island of St. John easier and will allow you explore more of the island. After a stop at the visitor center to register your vehicle, take a drive out to see some of the white-sand beaches at Cinnamon Bay or Maho Bay and bring along your snorkeling gear as Virgin Islands National Park has some of the best snorkeling anywhere. Visit Annaberg along the way to see what remains of a once-thriving sugar plantation.
Hiking is also a great way to explore this park. Set out from the visitor center to Lind Point and Honeymoon Beach for some fantastic overlooks of the bay. Ranger-led hikes are also available to see other plantation sites like The Reef Bay Sugar Mill. If you love being out on the water, scuba diving, sailing, kayaking and windsurfing are also available, and you can find rental shops right on the beach.
A special thanks to Carrick Buss from Along for the Trip for sharing a collection of the best things to do in Virgin Islands National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Voyageurs
Minnesota may not be the first state you think about visiting when considering a national park adventure but the moment you set foot in Voyageurs National Park, you will quickly realize that your opinion about this should change. It took the state of Minnesota 80 years to finally have an area designated with national park status but as is frequently the case, it was well worth the wait.
Located on the border between Canada (Ontario) and Minnesota, Voyageurs is an incredible and historic landscape full of ancient rocks, lakes formed by the melting of glacial ice and archaeological exhibits that can be found inside the visitor center. Named after the French “voyagers” who arrived here in the late 17th-century as fur traders, Voyageurs National Park is home to many breathtaking spectacles that every visitor should expect to experience.
It’s all about the natural attractions in Voyageurs and one of the best way to experience these is by renting a kayak, canoe or boat and head out into the open water to explore the gorgeous shorelines. When you stop on Kabetogama Peninsula or any of the smaller islands, there are a myriad of hiking trails that will test every standard of hiker. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Wind Cave
South Dakota may be home to the infamous Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park but left in the shadow of these iconic locations is yet another incredible place – Wind Cave National Park. One of the most complex and dense cave systems in the world, Wind Cave is a spectacular location below ground.
But that’s not to take anything away from life on the surface. In fact, most visitors to this national park may well experience the true beauty of South Dakota without heading deep underground.
Wind Cave is frequently renowned as one of the jewels of South Dakota’s Black Hills. An incredible scenic drive is available along a 13-mile stretch of US 385 and SD 87 between the north and south park entrances. This is primetime location for herds of bison, deer and prairie dogs but it’s the panoramic viewpoints that are the real beauty along this drive. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Wrangell-St. Elias
Before we discuss our time in Wrangell St. Elias National Park, let’s consider how to get there because not only is this America’s largest national park at 13.2 million acres – it’s also one of the most remote.
A wonderful option that combines transportation as well as an incredible flight-seeing opportunity to see soaring mountain peaks, flowing rivers of ice and glacier blue water – is to bush-flight into the park.
The other option is driving the historically fickle McCarthy highway that is 60 miles of un-paved but grader-maintained, dirt-road that is notorious as a teeth-rattling washboard drive until its end at the Kennicott River.
Best Things to Do include the following: Mining / Mill Site – The National Park Service protects the historic mining buildings from the copper-ore days in the early 1900’s. Processing equipment, remnants and restoration of the mill buildings are the core of the park. We used St. Elias Alpine Guides for a comprehensive tour of the mining buildings and learning the history of the mining business. Hike on the Root Glacier – Incredible experience to use crampons and venture out onto the glacier. Standing next to flowing rivers of running glacier water diving deep into crevasses and moulins is an experience we will never forget!
A special thanks to Steve Binkley for sharing his experiences in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Yellowstone
Many of USA’s national parks come with a high reputation and Yellowstone National Park is certainly at the very top of this list. Yellowstone is one of those locations that you will immediately fall in love with. From the spectacular sight of Yellowstone Falls to the incredible collection of wildlife you will likely stumble across when you take the scenic drive around the park, Yellowstone is a place you will want to return to time and time again.
Did I also mention that Yellowstone is home to the iconic Old Faithful geyser? That’s right, but that’s not all. Yellowstone is home to a plethora of spectacular geysers, many of which are arguably even more impressive than Old Faithful itself and you will find several of them to be very active each time you visit. Please, please be careful and pay these natural attractions the respect they deserve! Whether you are an avid hiker or simply want to enjoy this amazing national park by taking the scenic loop, there is something in Yellowstone for every visitor.
We took an epic road trip from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone and this route itself was incredible enough, and that’s before we even reached the entrance to the park. But the moment you enter…well, you just won’t want to leave! There is a reason why finding accommodation in and around Yellowstone is incredibly difficult so be prepared to book well in advance…you won’t regret it once you arrive! CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Yosemite
If you only have 48 hours to visit Yosemite National Park you might want to plan your visit carefully to see and do as much as possible. There are 4 visitor centers, more than 800 miles of hiking trails, 6 lodgings and 13 campgrounds in the park.
There are around 200 miles of scenic roads which you can enjoy inside a car if hiking is not your thing. Yosemite is a home of Half Dome and El Capitan which was recently climbed without any equipment by famous rock climber Alex Honnold.
During your 48 hours inside a park you can choose from many short hikes including Cathedral Lakes, Panorama Trail, 4 mile Trail. Mist and John Muir trails are perfect if you want to see the famous Yosemite’s Waterfalls. You might also want to consider hiking up to the famous granite wall El Capitan to see wonderful views of the valley.
If you are not interested in hiking, you could visit a museum or simply drive a car around the park to enjoy wonderful viewpoints. General recommendations for a short visit in Yosemite would be – wake up early, sleep inside the park and bring your own food, as it is quite expensive inside.
A special thanks to Juozapas Žygas for sharing some of the best things to do during 48 hours in Yosemite National Park. CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO LIST OF NATIONAL PARKS Zion
Zion National Park is an outdoor lover’s paradise with everything from epic full day hiking trails to short strolls along paths teeming with wildlife in the early morning or late afternoon.
Luckily the park is relatively small which means you can see a lot in just 48 hours. One of the highlights of Zion is the Narrows, a hiking trail that quickly leads into the Virgin River as you hike upstream in water which can be up to your waist, all the time surrounded by the towering red canyon walls.
If that wasn’t adventurous enough, then you can test your nerve on the trail to Angel’s Landing – a hike up an incredibly narrow ridge with 700 metre drops either side, you’ll be assisted by chains, but it is still an adrenaline rush for all who dare.
However, there are plenty of beautiful walks and viewpoints that aren’t quite so daredevil such as the beautiful one-mile Canyon Overlook trail or 1.2 mile track to a pretty emerald pool. Watching sunset from the iconic view at Canyon Junction is also a must. It’s usually packed with photographers though, so if you prefer a quieter experience sunset is also beautiful from the Pa’rus and Watchman trails.
A special thanks to Cat Smith from Walk My World for sharing her experiences exploring Zion National Park.

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Ramadan in Dubai: 94 iftars to try

As for the food? Well, this is Dubai, so expect heaving tables, lavish decorations, and dishes from every corner of the globe.
Here is our round-up of iftars you can try in Dubai this Ramadan. 21 Grams
The brilliant Balkan restaurant is serving a special four-course iftar menu including fresh soup of the day, mezze platter or a choice of Ramadan starter, a choice of main dish including Ramadan specials and dessert for Dhs280 for per couple. Highlights from the special Ramadan dishes include homemade phyllo pie with spicy potato and mint yoghurt; baked feta and mastelo cheese with honey and nuts and a hearty Bamia stew with short ribs and okra.
Park Regis Boutique Jumeirah, sunset to 11pm, Dhs280. Tel: (04) 3490744. 21grams.me Address Boulevard
Expect live cooking stations that serve a myriad of local and global dishes, all complemented by shisha on the terrace.
Address Boulevard, sunset to 9pm, Dhs220. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 8883444. mydubairamadan.com Address Dubai Mall
Break fast with a Mediterranean buffet in the alfresco setting of Address Dubai Mall’s poolside restaurant, Cabana. Choose from a variety of Mediterranean classics amid the tunes of live oud music.
Address Dubai Mall, sunset to 9pm, May 5 to June 4, Dhs195. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 8883444. mydubairamadan.com Address Dubai Marina
Held in the hotel’s huge Constellation ballroom, this marina iftar features a lavish buffet with live cooking stations filled with Middle Eastern delicacies and international favourites along with live traditional music.
Address Dubai Marina, 7pm to 9pm, Dhs199. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 8883444. mydubairamadan.com Address Montgomerie
Aquaviva at Address Montgomerie will set the stage for a unique poolside alfresco iftar buffet experience including traditional Arabic desserts and mood music.
Address Montgomerie, sunset to 9pm, Dhs185. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 8883444. mydubairamadan.com Al Nafoorah
Guests can indulge in an all you can eat buffet at this award-winning venue for Dhs195, including drinks.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers, 6.30pm to 10pm, Dhs195. Tel: (800) 666353. jumeirah.com Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort
Iftar at the Crescendo buffet and choose to sit in the chic indoor dining area, or on the spacious outdoor terrace. Whether you want traditional Middle Eastern dishes or a more international affair, Crescendo has it all.
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, sunset, Dhs199, Dhs100 children 6 to 11 years. Tel: (04) 5678304. anantara.com Atlantis, The Palm
The Palm resort goes all out for Ramadan with its hugely popular Asateer tent serving iftar and suhoor. Inside you’ll find an enormous buffet offering lamb kibbeh, a shawarma station and an Arabic mixed grill. Plus, ten decadent dessert stations and more.
Atlantis, The Palm, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, until June 12, discounts for children. Tel: (04) 426 2626. atlantisthepalm.com Aspen Chalets
Experience ultimate luxury at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. At the cosy Aspen Chalets, a private chef will prepare Middle Eastern delicacies for you and your guests as you iftar overlooking Ski Dubai.
Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, sunset to 9pm, Dhs650 (minimum of 8 people). Tel: (04) 4095999. kempinski.com Azur
Executive Chef Hassan Abdallah leads the iftar preparations cooking authentic Arabic cuisine including hot and cold mezze, fresh salads, lamb ouzi and Arabic mixed grills, as well as dedicated shawarma, manakish, soup and carving stations.
Raffles Dubai, sunset to 10.30pm, Dhs205. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 3248888. raffles.com/dubai Bab Al Shams
Set among sand dunes and surrounded by natural desert landscape, Al Hadheerah restaurant gives guests a unique opportunity to feast in an Arabian setting. The evening will be brought to life with tunes of traditional oud and kanun musicians. After the iftar buffet, the live cultural entertainment will commence, such as Tanoura dancing, as well as stunning horse and camel shows.
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, sunset to 11pm, Sun to Wed Dhs265, Thur to Sat Dhs295. Tel: (04) 8096194. babalshams.com BHAR
The contemporary Middle Eastern style brasserie will offer traditional Middle Eastern cuisine all interpreted with Chef Mohanad’s modern twist.
Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai, sunset until 9pm, Dhs195. Tel: (04) 5125561. renaissancedubailife.com Burger and Lobster
Expect the best of B&L signatures in one colossal five-course set menu including the classic Cheeseburger, the ever popular Mini Shrimp Roll, and a half pounder of lobster. Phew.
Burj Daman Building, 312 Al Sa’ada St, sunset, Dhs149. Tel: (04) 5148838. burgerandlobster.com Burj Al Arab
The world-renowned Al Falak Ballroom inspired by a Viennese opera house is transformed into a palatial hall dressed in Arabesque patterns this Ramadan. Inside, you’ll find an Arabic Iftar buffet featuring a wide selection of local dishes, as well as a live Badri band.
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, sunset, Dhs265. Tel: (04) 3017600. jumeirah.com Carine
The restaurant will be helping diners to break their fast with dates and homemade soup, and will be operating as usual with its regular a la carte menu.
Emirates Golf Club, sunset. Tel: (04) 4179999. facebook.com/carinerestaurant Caesars Bluewaters Dubai
Head over to Vegas favourite Bacchanal for royal iftars and alfresco suhoors. Delivering a delectable buffet with a dedicated children’s corner, expect grand open kitchens serving up a Middle Eastern-style feast. Round off the perfect evening with an intimate suhoor experience complemented by an extensive shisha menu in Bacchanal’s charming Ramadan conservatory, while the little ones enjoy hours of play at Empire Kids Club and Roam Teens Club.
Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, sunset to 1am, Dhs250. Tel: (04) 55 . caesars.com/dubai Chival
Chef Kinan Ibrahim creates dishes inspired by his Syrian homeland this Ramadan, with an alternative iftar menu served directly to the table. Dishes include mezze, manakish, chicken biryani and mixed grill. Extend the evening for suhoor in the courtyard with the option of shisha for Dhs60.
La Ville Hotel & Suites, City Walk, Dhs239. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 4033111. livelaville.com Cinema Akil
Project Chaiwala and Cinema Akil join forces to create Cinemajlis – a unique iftar experience, transforming the cinema into a dining hall for a special dinner and a movie experience.
Alserkal Avenue, 6.30pm (iftar), 8.45pm (movie), Dhs200. cinemaakil.com Cipriani Dubai
Cipriani Dubai serves a special iftar of its best-selling and most popular dishes including its handmade pasta. Priced at Dhs280 per person, the menu has been created to be shared between groups of two or more and will change on a weekly basis.
DIFC, sunset, Dhs280. Tel: (04) 3470003. cipriani.com Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai
Iftar at the legendary Claypot restaurant for only Dhs65 per person. Buy five iftars and get one free.
Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai, sunset to 9pm, Dhs69. Tel: (050) 1007065. citymaxhotels.com Counter Culture Café
International live stations accompanied by a selection of refreshing classic drinks at Counter.
Culture Café. Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Dubai, daily sunset to 9pm, Dhs159. Tel: (04) 3194000. marriott.com Couqley French Bistro
Popular JLT spot Couqley is hosting a special three-course iftar set menu throughout Ramadan.
Cluster A, JLT, Dubai, sunset to 8pm, Dhs139. Tel: (04) 5149339. couqley.ae Coya
Diners visiting this What’s On Award-winning restaurant for iftar will be treated to quintessentially Peruvian creations with a twist, including Charentais melon soup, seabass croquettes, chicken tacos, spicy short rib, salmon fillet and more.
Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs250. Tel: (04) 3169600. coyarestaurant.ae Crowne Plaza Dubai
Middle Eastern cuisine is served alongside a pasta station, ceviche station and pani puri station for iftar inside the hotel’s elegant ballroom where a traditional qanun player will entertain guests.
Crowne Plaza Dubai, sunset to 9.30pm, Dhs199 or Dhs249 including shisha at Al Tannour. Tel: (800) 276963. crowneplazadubai.com Dubai Opera
Dubai Opera’s auditorium is once again transforming into a magnificent banquet hall for iftar this year, where three different iftar menus – of Arabic and international dishes – will be served throughout the month.
Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, sunset to 9.30pm, Dhs260. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 4408888. dubaiopera.com Dubai World Trade Centre
Part of Dubai World Trade Centre transforms into a huge majlis this Ramadan serving traditional cuisine for Dhs165 per person.
Za’beel Hall 6, Dubai World Trade Centre, sunset to 3am, Dhs165. Discounts for children. Tel: (800) 3982. booking.majlis.ae Dunes Café at Shangri-La Hotel
Taste traditional delicacies such as ouzi, lamb kabsa, shish barak, biryani, shawarma, a traditional Arabic barbecue and more with every region of the Middle East culinary landscape covered.
Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, sunset to 10pm, Dhs149. Tel: (04) 4052703. shangri-la.com Fairmont Dubai
Executive Chef Renald Epie and his team have prepared a daily rotating selection of 26 freshly prepared salads, hot and cold mezze, 17 different international and Middle Eastern main courses including ouzi, mixed grill, shawarma, lamb tajine and more.
Fairmont Dubai, sunset to 9.30pm, Dhs184, Dhs92 children 6 to 12 years. Tel: (04) 3118316. fairmont.com Fairmont The Palm
The ballroom at Fairmont The Palm transforms into the Fairuz Ramadan tent, fit for up to 350 guests, where you’ll find a special buffet and traditional entertainment. A new addition this year is a fully air-conditioned suhoor tent, offering shisha and Middle Eastern mezze until the early hours.
Fairmont The Palm, sunset to 9pm, Dhs215. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 4573457. fairmont.com Feast
Seven interactive cooking stations offering signature dishes, authentic Arabian cuisine and traditional Ramadan drinks.
Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, sunset to 11pm, Dhs195. Tel: (050) 9415576. feastrestaurantdubai.com Flow
Flow, the homegrown healthy eating and creative hub, within Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard, is serving up a healthy Arabic iftar to coincide with the return of its Ramadan Flow Talk Series, aptly named ‘The Modern Majlis’, which lets diners engage with a range of artists, poets and philanthropists sharing their talent and insights.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Wed sunset to 9pm, Dhs98. Tel: (800) 666353. jumeirah.com Four Seasons Resort Dubai
Choose between SUQ restaurant or a tented lounge for iftar and suhoor. The team has created an iftar buffet that is both steeped in Arabic favours as well as international favourites. SUQ will be serving warm patisserie delicacies from the designated cake counter, to take away too.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily sunset to 9pm, Dhs265. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 2707777. fourseasons.com Gaucho DIFC
A three-course feast featuring starters including freshly prepared grilled pumpkin and quinoa salad, salmon tataki and more, followed by carrot linguini, tender spatchcock chicken and of course the famous show-stopping Gaucho Burger.
DIFC, from sunset, until June 4, Dhs250. Tel: (04) 4227898. gauchodubai.com Grand Hyatt Dubai
The Grand iftar promises to be bigger and better this year at the new and improved Laylati Café tent. It has been relocated, and reconstructed, and has a dedicated entrance from the main road. Expect a full buffet and live cooking stations.
Grand Hyatt Dubai, sunset, Dhs210. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 3172221. dubai.grand.hyatt.com Grand Millennium Dubai
Choose from more than 60 items at the iftar buffet at Grand Millennium Dubai. Entertainment includes live musicians, a children’s play area, and cinema room for children to watch their favourite movies.
Grand Millennium Dubai, sunset, Dhs199. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 4234170. millenniumhotels.com Grand Plaza Mövenpick Media City
This new hotel in Media City is staging a traditional iftar buffet with a wide range of Arabic and international dishes, live cooking stations and sweets at Bytes restaurant.
Grand Plaza Movenpick Media City, sunset, Dhs149. Tel: (04) 4441407. movenpick.com Gürkan Şef
Turkish steakhouse Gürkan şef is serving a four-course set menu including a selection of kebabs and Turkish specialties such as lentil soup, mixed grill platters, hummus and an eggplant dip.
City Walk 2, Al Safa, sunset, Dhs149. Tel: (04) 3799777. gurkansefdubai.ae H Hotel
A first in Dubai, The H Hotel’s Eat & Meat restaurant is offering a month-long, unlimited iftar buffet deal for Dhs1,999. This allows you to dine here every evening during the Holy Month. Bookings must be made before the first day of Ramadan.
The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, sunset to 9pm, Dhs1,999. Tel: (04) 5018888. hhoteldubai.com Habtoor Palace
Guests are welcome to iftar in the Ramadan Tent located within the property’s gardens where they’ll find an iftar buffet with Arabic cuisine.
Habtoor City, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs165. Tel: (04) 43 . lxrhotels3.hilton.com Hakkasan
Don’t fancy Middle Eastern cuisine at iftar? Hakkasan’s special iftar set menu features Peking duck and the restaurant’s famous dim sum platter.
The Avenues at Atlantis, The Palm, 6.30pm, Dhs288. Tel: (04) 426 2626. atlantisthepalm.com Hell’s Kitchen
An eclectic menu of sharing mezzes and a la carte mains featuring signature dishes and Middle Eastern favourites including a slow-cooked lamb shank tagine or delicious crispy salmon along with a selection of flame-grilled sides such as lamb chops, koftas and shish kebabs.
Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs350. Tel: (04) 5566466. caesarsdubai.ae Hillhouse Brasserie
Available on Thursdays, guests at this pretty new restaurant at Dubai Hill can expect signature dishes served buffet and family-style, over three courses, with a live carvery, bread stations, halal charcuterie stations, and a wide variety of salads.
Dubai Hills Golf Club, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, Dhs155. Tel: (800) 666353. jumeirah.com Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, The Walk, JBR
BiCE serves an Italian sharing menu for iftar this Ramadan, while Oceana restaurant is hosting an Arabic iftar buffet with live oud entertainment.
Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, daily sunset to 8pm, Dhs250 (BiCE), Dhs215 (Oceana). Tel: (04) 3182319. hilton.com Hyatt Regency Dubai
As Al Dawaar revolves, it offers panoramic 360-degree views of the city’s skyline, while diners can enjoy a lavish iftar spread this Ramadan. Expect traditional delicacies including Arabic mezze, roasted local ouzi, whole baked hammour, grilled and wok fried dishes, rich desserts and more.
Hyatt Regency Dubai, Deira, Dubai, daily sunset to 11.30pm, Dhs190, Dhs95 children. Tel: (04) 2096887. dubai.hyattregencydubai.com IBN Albahr
Expect authentic and fresh seafood, at this fishermen-owned Lebanese restaurant. The award-winning venue is offering a special iftar menu of hot and cold mezze, plus a variety of seafood main courses like sayadieh, fish Biryani or fish curry.
Club Vista Mare, sunset to 2am, Dhs125. Tel: (04) 5539575. ibnalbahr.me Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Kitchen Connection’s international iftar buffet will take you around the world serving international cuisine alongside Arabic flavours.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel, sunset to 8.45pm, Dhs200. Tel: (04) 4323232. jumeirah.com Jumeirah Emirates Towers
The Godolphin Ballroom’s elegant Ramadan tent will be the venue for authentic Arabic cuisine served alongside the pacifying sounds of the live oud.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers, sunset, Dhs205. Tel: (04) 4323232. jumeirah.com Jumeirah Mina A’Salam
Award winning chefs give guests the choice of a traditional iftar buffet to share with friends and family in an elegant restaurant.
Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, sunset, Dhs210. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 4323232. jumeirah.com JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
One of the most popular iftars in town, Al Fanous Lounge at Dubai Ballroom serves an opulent iftar buffet.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs199. Tel: (04) 4143000. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com/dining/ramadan Kaftan
Kaftan Jumeirah erects its yearly tent with views of the iconic Burj Al Arab. There’s a buffet with over 200 different dishes including fan favourites and authentic dishes. Look out for the etli ekmek – Turkish Pita topped with minced meat, tomatoes onions and parsley.
Opposite Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah, sunset to 2am, Dhs190. Tel: (04) 33899688. kaftan-restaurant.com Karak House
The homegrown Emirati restaurant in Downtown Dubai, is launching a special iftar menu priced at Dhs109 per person and consists of classic dishes including soups, salads, main courses and desserts.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, sunset to 2am, Dhs109. Tel: (04) 5516852. facebook.com/karakhouse Kitchen6
For an international iftar, step into the award-winning Kithen6 restaurant where six interactive cooking stations serve a huge selection of worldly cuisine.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs215. Tel: (04) 4143000. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com/dining/ramadan La Ville Hotel & Suites Dubai
Located in City Walk Dubai, this boutique hotel is the perfect place for a lavish iftar sharing menu including hot and cold mezze, an array of Middle Eastern specialties served directly to the table. Afterwards, head to the hotel courtyard for shisha.
City Walk, Dubai, daily sunset to 9.00pm, Dhs239. Children under 6 eat for free, 50% off for children aged between 6 and 12. Shisha Dhs60. Tel: (054) 3095948. livelaville.com La Petite Maison
Sample a variety of starters including green lentils, quinoa salad, and calamari, followed by main course dishes such as grilled sirloin, grilled lamb cutlets, and finish off with cheesecake or warm chocolate mousse with malt ice cream or pistachio cake.
Gate Village 08 DIFC, 6.45pm to 8pm, Dhs240. Tel: (02) 4390505. lpmrestaurants.com Lima
The Peruvian restaurant is serving a carefully curated iftar menu showcasing a selection of Lima’s signature dishes.
The Square, City Walk, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs199. Tel: (056) 5004571. limadubai.com Little Erth by Nabz&G
The lovely healthy-eating café is offering a five-course Middle Eastern vegan menu comprising homemade soup, side salad, starter, main meal and vegan kunafa for Dhs89.
Cluster J, JLT, sunset, dhs89. Tel: (04) 2767287. nabzandg.com Lowe
Lowe is offering a special set menu designed by Lowe’s culinary duo Jesse & Kate. The candle-lit dinners will be made up of four sharing-style courses including woodfired bread, tarama, bottarga, sesame salt, raw sea bream, fried chicken, and BBQ lamb neck.
Wadi Al Safa 3, Dubai, Dhs185 (minimum four people). Tel: (04) 3201890. lowe-dubai.com Madinat Jumeirah
Elegantly designed with arabesque accents, Al Majlis at Madinat Jumeirah is one of the more luxurious venues to iftar or suhoor. Expect an impressive buffet selection.
Madinat Jumeirah, sunset, Dhs160. Tel: (04) 3666065 (iftar), Tel: (04) 3665875 (suhoor). jumeirah.com Manzil Downtown
The iftar features an inspiring spread of cuisines from across Europe, Asia and Africa. Connect with different traditions and witness the influence of the Silk Route at your iftar table.
Manzil Downtown, sunset to 10pm, Dhs195. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 8883444. mydubairamadan.com Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra
For iftar with a difference, head to newly opened Masala Library, which is hosting a unique set menu. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian menus available.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs230 (non-vegetarian), Dhs195 (vegetarian). Tel: (04) 4143000. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com/dining/ramadan Masti
Start with authentic Arabic staples such as lentil soup, dates and fruits, then enjoy fun Indian fusion from edamame chaat, and mango and avocado ceviche.
La Mer South, sunset to 2am, Dhs150. Tel: (04) 3444384. mastidubai.com Meydan Hotel
A lavish buffet featuring a selection of dishes from international cuisines alongside traditional Arabic favourites. The Meydan tent will host six live cooking stations serving cooked lamb ouzi, mixed Arabic mezze and more. Those looking for international flavours can head to the wok and pasta station, stopping by the sushi and sashimi station en route.
Meydan Hotel, sunset to 8pm, Dhs199. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 3813111. themeydanhotel.com Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai
Authentic Arabic and international delicacies with a variety of Arabic sweets and live cooking stations at Loumi. Alternatively, check out the three-course set menu at Da Vinci’s combining Ramadan signature dishes with Italian flavours. Shisha will be available on the outdoor terrace of Loumi, Biggles and Cactus Jacks.
Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs169 (Loumi), Dhs120 (Da Vinci’s). Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 7028888. millenniumhotels.com Mina Brasserie
Priced at Dhs210 per person, the four-course iftar sharing menu includes appetisers such as burrata stracchiatella, or roasted foie gras, followed by mains of truffle rigatoni or grilled lamb chops, and dark chocolate marquis and lemon tart finish.
Four Seasons Hotel DIFC, sunset to 9pm, Dhs210. Tel: (04) 5060100. minabrasserie.com Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai
Sit beneath 88 opulent Moroccan lanterns, listening to an oud player as you choose dishes from an extensive buffet. It features Ramadan favourites such as lamb ouzi, mixed grills, and Arabic sweets as well as a selection of international dishes from each of the hotel’s specialty outlets – Mistral, Shanghai Chic, Sicilia, and Chor Bazaar.
Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai, sunset to 9pm, Dhs185. Tel: (04) 4445613. dine.ibnbattuta@movenpick.com Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach
A traditional buffet and live cooking stations with live oud music.
Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, from sunset, Dhs145. Tel: (04) 4498888. movenpick.com Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Highlights from the cooking stations at Nosh include ouzi, Arabic mixed grill and shawarma. Children under 6 dine for free, and shisha is available after iftar on the terrace.
Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers, from sunset to 10.30pm, Dhs135. Tel: (04) 4380000. movenpick.com The Oberoi, Dubai
Arabic cuisine is the highlight in the Grand Ballroom – which transforms into the Layali Ramadan – at The Oberoi, Dubai. Its luxurious surroundings make it an elegant choice to iftar with family and friends.
The Oberoi, Dubai, sunset. Dhs195. Tel: (04) 4441407. oberoihotels.com Olea
Celebrated as one of the most authentic Levantine restaurants, Olea serves up culinary classics for iftar. Complete with live cooking stations and succulent grills, guests can create lasting memories in the inviting atmosphere. The iftar will be accompanied by the soothing sounds of the Oud player.
Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, sunset to 9pm, Dhs210. Tel: (04) 4095999. kempinski.com One&Only The Palm
Zest hosts an iftar buffet featuring a variety of Middle Eastern traditional delicacies and international specialties along with Ramadan-inspired drinks.
One&Only The Palm, sunset to 10.45pm, Dhs250. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 4401030. oneandonlythepalm.com Opa
A special set menu is available at new Greek haunt Opa, which is serving grilled halloumi, lamb gyros, imam bayildi, loukoumades and more. It’s the ultimate spot to enjoy all the flavours and fun of a traditional Greek experience.
Fairmont Dubai, 7pm to 8.30pm, Dhs195 without drinks. Tel: (04) 3570557. opadubai.com Park Hyatt Dubai
Break your fast with some delicious dates and authentic Middle Eastern cuisine to the backdrop of melodious Arabic instruments at the relaxed Park Hyatt Dubai.
Park Hyatt Dubai, sunset to 9pm, Dhs220. Tel: (04) 6021814. hyatt.com Pullman Dubai JLT
Dine for iftar at Seasons Restaurant and be in with a chance of winning a three-night stay to MGallery Hotel by Sofitel in Istanbul. There’s a wide selection of dishes and themed buffets on offer during Ramadan.
Pullman Dubai JLT, sunset, prices start at Dhs129. Tel: (04) 5671159. accor.com QD’s
The legendary QD’s Tent at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club returns this Ramadan, serving a sumptuous iftar buffet for just Dhs170 per person and an extensive suhoor a la carte menu. Shisha is available from 9pm.
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, sunset to 9pm, Dhs170. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 295 6000. dubaigolf.com QE2
The original 1960’s Queens Room onboard the QE2 is transformed into a majlis this Ramadan featuring a beautiful backdrop of Arabesque décor, where a royal iftar is served.
QE2, Mina Rashid, sunset to 9pm, Dhs195. Discounts for children. Tel: ( 04) 5268888. qe2.com Ramadan Nights by Dish
The pop-up restaurant in Al Quoz’s Warehouse Four is back for another year offering an intimate iftar experience. The meal begins with specially-crafted starters including sweet potato and red lentil soup, zataar and preserved lemon hummus with Arabic and cumin toasted flat breads. This is swiftly followed by slow braised lamb shoulder in Middle-eastern, served alongside BBQ prawns, chicken kofta, spiced cauliflower and more.
Warehouse Four, Al Quoz, sunset to 9.30pm, Dhs200. Tel: (056) 1283247. dish.ae Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery, The
In addition to an iftar buffet at all-day dining restaurant, Vibe, guests will also receive a free genetic test. Choose from four test areas: weight loss management, micronutrient management, food intolerance lactose & gluten, or skin care and anti-ageing management.
The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery, sunset to 11pm, Dhs175. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 5247777. theretreatpalmdubai.com The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, JBR
The Amaseena Majlis is the setting for Ramadan at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, JBR where chef Rami has created inventive fusions such as Mandi-cooked salmon and traditional favourites flavoured with hand-roasted spices, to tagine cooked in authentic clay cookware.
Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, JBR, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs205. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 3186150. amaseenamajlis.com Rixos Premium Dubai
The iftar buffet at Turquoise restaurant features traditional dishes including mezze, soups, salads and main courses of grilled meats of Turkish and international flavours.
Rixos Premium Dubai, sunset to 9pm, Dhs199. Tel: (04) 52 . premiumdubai.rixos.com Rixos The Palm
Expect an oriental buffet at A La Turca complemented by the sounds of Turkish stringed instruments.
Rixos The Palm, sunset, Dhs259. Tel: (04) 4575454. rixos.com Roda Al Bustan
Middle Eastern cuisine as well as international dishes including a seafood section, live saj station, sushi counter and fruit market.
Roda Al Bustan, sunset, Dhs169. Discounts for children. Tel: (04) 7054650. Roda-hotels.com Roda Al Murooj
Ouzi, barbecue stations, and an Arabic station serving up saj and manakish. There’s also a new dessert station this year.
Roda Al Murooj, Downtown Dubai, sunset, Dhs159. Tel: (04) 3043577. roda-hotels.com Ruya
Choose from dishes such as whole grilled sea bream or marinated baby chicken for your main course, and let the rest be delivered to your table. There’s a weekly-changing soup and selection of starters and desserts with Ramadan drinks, tea and coffee.
Grosvenor House Hotel, from sunset, Dhs249. Tel: (04) 3999 123. ruyadubai.com Segreto
The restaurant is curating an alternative iftar which features three-courses of handcrafted Italian cuisine for a minimum of two people at Dhs150 per person.
Madinat Jumeirah, sunset to 11pm, Dhs150. Tel: (800) 666353. jumeirah.com Seven Sands
Every Monday and Friday during the Holy Month, the Emirati restaurant Seven Sands in JBR will be hosting a unique iftar, which includes an intimate talk about Arab traditions during Ramadan. The cultural connoisseur Nasif Kayed from The Arab Culturalist will lead an open discussion into topics such as ablution, fasting, culture, food and the significance of Ramadan as you indulge in the iftar buffet.
The Beach, JBR, Mon and Fri sunset to 9pm, Dhs225. Tel: (04) 5516652. sevensandsrestaurant.com Sheraton JBR
Middle Eastern and international cuisine with great views out across Jumeirah Beach.
Sheraton JBR, sunset, Dhs99 (1st week), Dhs165 2nd week onwards). Tel: (04) 3153861. sheraton.com Sofitel Dubai Downtown
Les Cuisines Restaurant is hosting an iftar buffet for Dhs159 per person.
Sofitel Dubai Downtown, sunset, Dhs180. Tel: (04) 5036111. sofitel.com Sofitel Jumeirah Beach (JBR)
From sunset, guests may enjoy Middle Eastern specialities, and Moroccan dishes with a contemporary French flair at AOC Restaurant. Highlights include lamb ouzi, and Turkish shawarma.
Sofitel Jumeirah Beach (JBR), sunset, Dhs160. Tel: (04) 4484733. sofitel.com Stoke House
Guests can enjoy hot and cold mezze, as well as a buffet of main courses including lamb kaftas, chicken kebab, chicken taouk, whole grilled seabream and lamb ouzi to name a few.
Trump International Golf Course, Damac Hills, sunset (first seating), 8.30pm (second seating), Dhs150. Tel: (04) 2453939. stokehouse.ae Toro + KO
The specially curated iftar menu at Toro + KO features a three-course feast of traditional Spanish fare with Boston inspired twists including Toro’s famous Catalonia style paella made with saffron rice and seasonal vegetables.
The Square, City Walk, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs199. Tel: (04) 5905433. torodubai.com V Hotel Dubai
Iftar at V Hotel’s Korean fusion restaurant, Namu. The K-iftar features a Korean-style set menu including Namu’s signature dish, bibimbap.
Habtoor City, sunset to midnight, Dhs155. Tel: (04) 4355577. curiocollection3.hilton.com Vida Downtown
Restaurant 3in1 is hosting a curated three-day rotation iftar main menu where guests order freshly prepared dishes straight from the kitchen. As part of the rotational menu, dishes include lamb ouzi, chicken potato, kofta khashkhash, fish harra, and lamb dawood basha, served alongside a large Mediterranean buffet.
Vida Downtown, sunset to 10pm, Dhs180. Tel: (04) 8883444. vidahotels.com Villamore
The new beach-front restaurant in Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai is serving a curated iftar menu with dishes fusing levant and Mediterranean cuisine. Highlights include grilled lamb chops, whole corn-fed chicken and sea food stew, as well as ricotta cannoli and vanilla pannacotta.
Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai, Sun to Thur 6.30pm, Dhs250. Tel: (04) 24888890. villamoredubai.com W Dubai – The Palm
Prepare for a vibrant, rainbow-fueled iftar at LIV with contemporary twists on traditional classics. Think charcoal and beetroot hummus. Also look out for favourites such as lamb ouzi, shawarmas, grill stations and Josper roasted meats.
W Dubai – The Palm, sunset, Dhs195. Tel: (04) 24 . whotels.com Yalumba
Drawing inspiration from the culinary culture of the Middle East, the special iftar buffet offers a variety of traditional favourites.
Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, sunset to 9pm, Dhs169. Tel: (04) 7022455. yalumbadubai.com

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Australian Cooking for Today (1977): Lamb Curry

Posted on April 29, 2019 by yinzerella
Hello, yinz guys! Happy Belated Easter!
My parents made the trip down to Baltimore for the holiday and on Sunday I made a big, French-inspired, Easter dinner featuring a roast leg of lamb. I will give you the run down of my French Spring Feast soon, but first I’m gonna share with you Lamb Curry.
One of the reasons that I love making a big lamb roast is that then I have the leftovers for a curry!
For this round I decided to bust out a cookbook that has been staring at me from the shelf for a long time, but I just never got around to it: Australian Cooking for Today edited by Anne Marshall. The lovely Taryn from Retro Food for Modern Times gifted me this one. It is quite large and the photos are just how I like them–WEIRD! Anne looks like a lot of fun. She has vast experience and knowledge of Australian Cooking!
I was happy that I had everything already on hand with the exception of sweet chutney. But I just fixed that by using some Mango Pepper jelly from my Easter cheese plate (or what I liked to call “Cheeses for Jesus.” It was delicious.
Here is the finished meal served with Basmati rice and Cucumber Raita, which is an absolute necessity for me when eating Indian cuisine.
My version of Raita is super simple: yogurt, cucumber, lemon, herbs, spices. Traditionally basil or mint. I just used what I had on hand. That was lemon, chives, parsley, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. I basically eyeball it.
But how was the curry? Good. It was definitely on the spicy side since I used that mango pepper jelly instead of sweet chutney. And because I did it in the instant pot, it really didn’t thicken. I could have easily done a slurry, but I was just hungry and skipped it. Perhaps when I reheat the leftovers, I will then thicken it.
Later taters. Be back soon with other Easter treats! Share this:

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10 Reasons Scuba Divers Love Fiji

10 Reasons Scuba Divers Love Fiji
With thrilling shark dives and beautiful soft coral reefs, Fiji has it all. By Terry Ward posted Apr 29th, 2019 at 1:44pm
A technicolor dreamscape awaits in the “soft-coral capital of the world.”
Stuart Hill 1. Beqa Lagoon’s Cathedral
Encounters with tiger sharks lure most divers to this dive site off Beqa Island , located just south of Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu. At the Cathedral, the feeding environment (chum in a metal box) pulls in tiger sharks , bulls, lemons, gray reefs and blacktips too. Divers kneel on the bottom in water about 65 feet deep and get set for some serious action. 2. Namena Marine Reserve
Fiji’s largest no-take marine ­reserve, this protected zone located between the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu is a soft-coral paradise full of rare species. The site Grand Central Station is known for striking arch formations ­covered with corals, but any dive within Namena is a winner. 3. Dine alfresco in Port Denarau
Fijian food, heavily influenced by ­Indian cuisine, is delicious. But when only a burger will do, head to this hot spot on the water in the Port Denarau Marina for the famous Mick Burger, topped with ­bacon, avocado and cheese. 4. Great White Wall
A real-world Eden, Fiji’s “­Garden I­sland” of Taveuni is home to the epic Great White Wall on Rainbow Reef. Here, a carpet of white soft corals , accessed via a tunnel through the top of the reef, ­blankets the underwater scene to ­luminous, snowy effect. 5. Supermarket
Resident gray reef sharks abound at this fabulous wall dive in the ­Mamanuca island chain, where schooling surgeon-fish and barracuda are often seen ­patrolling near pristine patches of coral. Blacktip and whitetip reef sharks get in on the action too, browsing the ­Supermarket for their next meal. 6. Waterfall Trek
From Suva, head out on day-trip ­hiking tours that visit the ­spectacular waterfalls at Nabalesere, where you can cool off with a swim, and the ­historic caves at Wailotua. Multiday guided ­trekking is also available. 7. Vatu-i-Ra Passage
Located in the Bligh Water, between Fiji’s two main islands, the Vatu-i-Ra Passage is a narrow channel that teems with life and offers some of Fiji’s most colorful drift diving (the site dubbed Wheatfield is a favorite). More than 300 species of coral and 1,000 species of fish can be seen here, with resident pilot whales also commonly spotted.
Read More: The Best Dive Destinations in the World 8. Ride a jet boat to a Fijian village
Half-day eco and cultural adventures with Sigatoka River Safari take you aboard a jet boat up the beautiful ­Sigatoka ­River into Viti Levu’s hinterlands to visit an ­authentic Fijian village. 9. Pacific Voyager
Fiji isn’t known for wreck diving, but this purpose-sunk tanker off Kadavu is a favorite with critter hunters and macro photographers. Colorful nudibranchs, sea slugs and many species of juvenile fish abound. 10. Raft a wild river
Challenging rapids hidden ­within pristine wilderness in the highlands of Viti Levu make for a rollicking ride during rafting tours on the Upper Navua River. Tags:

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Niyama Private Islands Maldives

Niyama Private Islands Maldives
This corner of the Indian Ocean has long been touted as true paradise on earth – so it’s only natural that the Maldives is a dream honeymoon location for many. We explored a resort that goes the extra mile to make OutThere travellers feel right at home.
We’re of the age where we grew up watching reruns of the somewhat surreal 1980s American TV series, ‘Fantasy Island’. The premise of the whole thing is a paradise resort where people from all walks of life could come and live out their fantasies. Never did we ever imagine that perhaps one day, we’d be visiting for real. Admittedly, we hadn’t given the Maldives much love over in the past few years. We’d been reticent – as some of our readers have – because sadly, the island nation has some severe laws when it comes to same-sex relations. But we noted that this didn’t seem to stop OutThere travellers from visiting, and the Maldives is still among the top luxury destinations for gay and lesbian honeymooners.
So, intent on finding a Maldivian resort for a same-gender honeymoon, we discovered Niyama Private Islands. Despite being independently branded, this resort playground is part of the Minor Hotels family. We’ve worked with the group for many years, particularly in South East Asia, where they have made waves to welcome OutThere travellers to their properties. Plus, there was something in the name that called to us – ‘Niyama’, in Sanskrit, means ‘positivity’ – a place to partake in habits for a healthy life, spiritual enlightenment and a liberated state of existence.
Landing in Male after a long plane journey can bring out the grouch in anyone. As a country where tourism is the main economy, it was only natural that the airport be crowded with travellers. It was a humid, sweaty mess, counteracted – only just – by our excitement of being there. Greeters swarmed the arrivals hall, looking for their guests. There were groups of locals just hanging around, eyeing up the arriving tourists, seemingly enjoying the chaos. The whole experience wasn’t as ‘Niyama’ as the resort’s name implied.
When we eventually found the resort representative, a group of locals suddenly jumped into action and took our luggage away; at first, much to our concern. But we soon realised that there was order in the chaos and we just had to down tempo and “que sera sera.” Next, we were bundled into a van with some other guests, who were as confused and bemused as we were. Note to selves, “improvement needed on arrival experience.” All the while, we hummed the famous tune in our heads, “whatever will be, will be.”
Everything quickly got a whole lot better. Niyama’s departure lounge was the antithesis to the airport – a place of calm – overlooking the turquoise sea. Seaplanes buzzed like giant dragonflies overhead: circling, landing, taking off. Our excitement started to build. If there is one thing we have learnt from this job, it is that transport combinations like this always end up in paradise.
The floatplane journey to Niyama was just 40 minutes south, landing us in the Dhaalu Atoll. We were in good hands; the ‘barefoot pilots’ of the Maldives are infamous as the best flyers in the world. As the twin propellers of our plane cranked to life, we pressed our faces firmly to the windows. We were soon soaring above the beautiful Indian Ocean, enjoying a view of the glistening white sandbanks and sparkling lagoons below. We could see in detail the outlines of the reefs and the changes in the water colour as they shallowed and deepened. We flew over quintessential views of pristine white sand blobs, some uninhabited, others with overwater resorts reaching out of their forests. While a logistical necessity, the journey in itself is spellbinding. Good job too, because it came at a US$700 premium.
A private island
As we pulled towards the jetty, we could see the multinational staff quickly lining up to greet us. We imagined ‘Mr Roake’ (the lead character and resort director of ‘Fantasy Island’) saying his catchphrase, “Smiles everyone, smiles.” And smiling they were, although our attention was quickly drawn to the resort behind them – presenting, almost smugly, the archetypal, Maldivian vista: crystal clear waters, sweeping into an idyllic bay of powdery white sand. The searing afternoon sun cast coconut palm-frond shadows on bright yellow sun-canopies (themselves reflected in the water of a gorgeous infinity pool) flanked by tantalising, pristine white sun loungers.
The resort very quickly revealed the rest of its majesty. Our Thakuru (Niyama-ese for butler) took us to our ‘Beach Pool Villa’. A personalised welcome was drawn in the sand on the doorstep and our names carved into a wooden sign hanging from the door. Parked outside were a couple of bikes to explore the resort. They too were personalised, each with its own nameplate.
Our butler swooped around the house with grace, swishing open the curtains to unveil a sun terrace and private plunge pool, with a sandy path that led out onto a stretch of deserted beach. Perfect, he told us, for a ‘romantic walk’. He’d clearly done this before. Back inside our sprawling home away from home, he had written, “Welcome to Nature’s Playground,” in lipstick – the resort’s tagline – on the mirror, an odd, but nice touch. On ice, a half bottle of Veuve chilled alongside fresh, tropical fruit. In a final, dramatic move, he flung open a set of imposing double doors to reveal an outdoor, garden bathroom complete with nature shower.
Niyama is an all-villa property, each designed with privacy and discretion in mind, in a contemporary style. At entry level, is a similarly proportioned house to the one we stayed in, but without the pool. The accommodation gets more elaborate as one moves up the scale, adding separate (or more) bedrooms and overwater locations, including one of our favourites – Villa 77 – an absolutely discreet, two-bedroom party palace on stilts over the inviting ocean, with steps so you can dive right in, infinity pool, on-deck telescope and its own electric guitar (in case you get tired of the view). For the ultimate luxury and if this were a ‘buddymoon’, we could have also taken over a three-bedroom ‘Beach Pool Pavilion’ with its own, secluded stretch of sand; or ‘The Crescent’ – a luxurious, private collection of villas set out over the water beyond a moon- shaped swathe of impossibly perfect sand. It can be hired exclusively for 14 guests, coming with its own, luxurious perks – including one of the most jaw-dropping sunrises we have ever experienced.
Sunrise at Niyama is spectacular. There’s something very beautiful about first light in any case, but our jet-lag-induced viewing of it over ‘The Crescent’ was just mesmerising. It started subtle, almost shy, but happy to colour the sea haze with a pale pink hue. We walked knee-deep into the warm sea as the sun danced on the horizon and splashed the clouds with its rays, with no one else for company but a Chinese couple shamelessly taking selfies in wedding attire.
Concept dining
Breakfast at Niyama is an elaborate, buffet affair. On most days, we chose to take it outside by ‘Epicure’ with a view out to sea. We could have also breakfasted at ‘Blu’ on the other island, more suited to families. The resort wasn’t short of dining options and some of the resort’s vegetables are even grown in its own garden. You could tell that a lot of thought had been put into the food and beverage offering throughout Niyama. Each of the resort’s restaurants were exquisite and impressive and played very much into our Fantasy Island headspace. Our favourite was ‘Nest’ where South East Asian chefs (no doubt thanks to Minor Hotels) offer up a menu of delicious Far Eastern treats in an atmospheric, Avatar-esque, tree-house setting. Down below, a playful Teppanyaki restaurant provided for a theatrical lunch.
Back at ‘Epicure’, fresh all-day, themed dining is complemented by a Maldivian BBQ dinner a couple of times a week, setting the scene for a cultural dining experience, complete with drumming and storytelling through song. Resort junkies will know what to expect.
Niyama also has a signature, concept restaurant, ‘Tribal’. It is a unique, perhaps slightly over the top, Afro-Latin cuisine eatery; serviced by pan-African staff, who would every so often break out into song and dance from the continent. We found the whole thing a little uncomfortable and rather contrived, not to mention culturally insensitive. While the food was good – as appetising as ‘Grilled Warthog’ can be – we weren’t in a hurry to be repeat visitors.
But the resort’s food and beverage pièce de résistance was an offshore complex accessible only by speedboat, that offered two mindblowing experiences. The first, ‘Edge’, a Miami- style bar under a white, curved canopy, where we supped cocktails before adjourning to its fine-dining restaurant beneath the stars. On our visit, a German chef-in-residence created impeccable molecular- fusion cooking with touches of the Indian Ocean, each presented as a masterpiece on a plate. Guests can time their visits with these culinary events, held throughout the year.
The other experience was one we will never forget: ‘Subsix’ – where all our Little Mermaid, Under the Sea fantasies came to life in an underwater, sub-marine inspired bar and restaurant, with anemone chairs and capiz shells draped from the ceiling. All around us fish swam, as we dined – not only is it a place where we could find Nemo, we could also eat him. One night, they transformed this venue into a fun glow party where we danced up a storm, among the theatre of the reef.
Out and about
Perhaps it’s to do with our short attention spans, but oftentimes, we can get a little bored after a few days on a resort. But Niyama offered a wide range of activities to ensure that we never did. The resort itself is set on two islands, aptly named ‘Chill’ and ‘Play’ – they speak for themselves. So when you’re done with one, it’s only a ride across an Instagram-inducing wooden bridge to the other. It is here we learned to surf, under the expert guidance of Portuguese instructor Ricardo – who is everything you imagine a surf instructor to be – part of the resort’s watersports activity team, ‘Float’. The calm waters of the waveless lagoon was a great place to learn the basics. We also indulged in a jet-skiing trip to a nearby sandbank where we spent time enjoying being marooned; and a dolphin spotting adventure that resulted in us seeing a huge school of spinners, in part thanks to Niyama’s dolphin locator Alfred (who is actually a dolphin himself) – it’s a long story, quite possibly aimed at children, but we played along.
There are also other marine activities like fishing trips (big game, if you’re inclined – apparently popular among the resort’s Russian clientele) that can be arranged, as well as far more placid (and more us) champagne sunset cruises. Snorkelling and diving are also staple activities and the resort has a house reef, quite far from the shore and albeit a little disappointing. Going further out on the boat, we happened upon a shark and one turtle though, the proof being in the Go-Pro footage of us snorkelling. While we did spot some impressive marine life, it was not in the National Geographic numbers one might expect. It’s a problem all over the world – over-tourism and overfishing are scourges on this fragile ecosystem. The resort’s in-house Marine Biologist will tell you this and encourage you to ‘adopt a coral’, an activity where resort guests can take part in coral regeneration. Back on the island, we were never short of land-lubber things to do, be it relaxing at one of the numerous bars like ‘Dune’ or ‘Fahrenheit’; or grabbing an ice-cream from the deli and channelling our inner child at the activity centre. We even booked a private outdoor viewing of a movie on a big screen, under the evening sky, with comfortable beanbag sofas, champagne and endless popcorn. The Drift Spa was also conveniently located right across the sandy lane from our villa, so we were frequent spa-bunnies, sampling their signature stress-busting therapies, preparing us for life back in London after the holiday.
But one of our favourite activities was something not at all on the resort’s menu. And that was watching the beautiful sunset, on a swing, listening to chill-out music, with a rum-punch in hand at the ‘Surf Shack’, mingling with other guests. If you’re thinking that all this sounds just like any other Maldivian adventure, do take it from us that there’s something particularly special about Niyama. Yes, it fulfilled every luxury whim we had and it has an inherently playful side, which we loved – but we would go even further to say that the magic of Niyama is to do with its staff. Throughout our time, everyone went out of their way to make us feel special. Perhaps we’re not fussy guests, or they’re very good at what they do, but we felt the team at Niyama approached their customers as if they were friends and family, visiting their home. With resorts like these, there’s an expectation that with the upscale credentials comes stuffiness. But at Niyama, we didn’t feel this at all. In fact, it lacked all the austerity of other luxury, paradise resorts around the world. Instead, it was unpretentious, relaxed but definitely expectation exceeding. Calling it barefoot luxury would be absolutely wrong, but it’s really a place where you can kick off your shoes and do as you wish, with whom you wish – on your own perfect, little Fantasy Island.

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Decoding Japanese Food Emojis

Are you familiar with the colorful, yummy looking but slightly mysterious Japanese food and drink emojis? Today we’re going to demystify some of the popular Japanese food emojis you have come across over text or email messages, and hopefully, this will give you a fun introduction to the ever-evolving Japanese cuisine.
We are emoji aficionados over at Just One Cookbook, particularly Japanese food emojis . If you are a subscriber to our email newsletter or a follower of our Instagram , you’ve probably seen different graphic icons that accompanying each recipe and travel & cultural post that we share. Not only they illustrate the recipes and various topics in such a delightful way, but these emojis are also essentially a representation of Japanese culture.
Hungry for some steaming bowl of 🍜 or maybe some fresh 🍣? Let’s dig in!
Emojis at a Quick Glance – Origin & Its Influence Just like Super Mario that took the world by storm, Emoji is another digital invention by the Japanese in the late 1990s by a creator named Shigetaka Kurita. They are tiny pixel images that were initially used on mobile phones in Japan and the word ’emoji (絵文字)’ literally translates as “picture (絵) letter (文字)”.
These ‘picture letters’ are kawaii (cute in Japanese), playful, and imaginative. As the saying goes ‘A picture paints a thousand words’, it can’t be any more truth to that!
Rather than typing the text out, emoji has the power in capturing your attention instantaneously. Which is why it doesn’t take long for Emoji to infiltrate the modern world and become a sort of new language in human communication. I think the influence of emoji lies on its indigenous way of expressing one’s thought or emotion in the most succinct and charming manner.
Different Groups of Emojis These days you can find emojis being used in all types of devices and platforms. In general, these emoji or emoticons can be grouped into a few main groups: people (the smiley face), objects, nature, places, and symbols.
Since they are originated in Japan, you’d find a lot of emojis related to Japanese culture. And with food being an integral part of the culture, you could find many food and drink-related emojis over the collection. Depending on your familiarity with Japanese cuisine, some of these icons may be more recognizable than the others.
Wondering what is the white and pink swirl emoji 🍥? What does 🍘 mean? What exactly are those colorful balls on a stick🍡? If you are curious about learning more, we’re going to decode these emojis in this post, and hopefully, it could well be your first steps in discovering iconic Japanese foods. What’s more exciting? We even have recipes for most of the emoji you’re going to learn today!
Japanese Food & Drink Emojis
Rice Ball Emoji This triangular shape icon with a dark green square in the center is called the onigiri , also known as Japanese rice ball.
Onigiri is made from steamed rice formed into the typical triangular, ball, or cylinder shapes stuffed with a variety of fillings and usually wrapped with nori (dried seaweed). These rice balls are synonymous to sandwiches in Japan as they are portable and make a delicious quick snack or lunch-on-the-go.
Some of the popular fillings for onigiri include umeboshi (pickled plum), salted salmon, and tuna mayo. You can easily pick them up from the airport, convenience stores, train stations, departmental stores or even specialty stores in Japan as they make excellent travel food.
Did you know? Onigiri is not a type of sushi as they are made of plain steamed rice, while sushi is made of steamed rice seasoned with salt, sugar, and vinegar.
Wish to make these riceballs🍙 at home? Here are the recipes:
Onigiri Yaki Onigiri (grilled version) Salmon Onigiri
Naruto (Fish Cake) Emoji This pinwheel-shaped icon with a cutesy pink swirl is probably one of the most intriguing Japanese food emojis. It refers to a slice of Japanese narutomaki (なると巻き) or naruto , also known as Japanese fish cake that you often see as a topping served atop of ramen.
The fish cake is made with pureed whitefish that is cured, molded and steamed into a small log with ridges. On the inside of the cylinder fish cake is the decorative pattern of pink spiral swirls. You can purchase naruto from the refrigerated section at the Japanese grocery stores. It is already pre-cooked and ready to use. To serve, slice the fish cake thinly and top a few slices over each noodle bowl before pouring the broth over.
Did you know? The fish cake is named after the tidal whirlpools of the Naruto Strait between Awaji Island and Shikoku in Japan.
Recipes featuring naruto 🍥:
Spicy Shoyu Ramen Kitsune Udon Oden (Japanese Fish Cake Stew) Chawanmushi (Japanese Savory Egg Custard)
Bento Box Emoji This emoji should be easy to decipher. Even if you’re a novice to Japanese food, you can at least figure it has something to do with a Japanese lunch box. Known as bento (弁当 bentō ) or obento (お弁当 o bentō ), the meal is packed in a compartmentalized box, usually consisting of rice with a variety of accompaniments such as grilled meat, fish or seafood, omelette or scrambled egg, vegetables, and fruits.
Compact and colorful, bento is the typical lunch that the Japanese bring to school or to work. But you can also purchase a bento box from convenient stores, train stations, and departmental stores in Japan. They make a filling and convenient food for a picnic or a long train ride.
Did you know? The little red circle in the middle of the rice you see on the emoji is a pickled plum (umeboshi). It has a very sour and salty flavor, which makes it a favorite pickle to serve with steamed rice or rice balls to awake the palate.
What’s in your 🍱 today? Learn how to make bento lunch boxes with the tutorial and recipes below:
Bento 101: Tips and Tricks for Bento Back to School Easy Bento Ideas & Recipes
Tempura (Fried Shrimp) Emoji Tempura refers to seafood, chicken and vegetables that have been coated with a light batter and deep-fried into golden crisp deliciousness. Some of the most popular tempura include shrimp tempura (as depicted in the tempura emoji) and sweet potato tempura. Tempura is not only enjoyed as a standalone dish, but they are also often served as part of donburi (rice bowl) or noodle soup.
Did you know? In Japan, you can even find specialized restaurants that serve only the best of the best tempura.
Wish to enjoy some crispy 🍤 at home? Don’t miss out these mouthwatering tempura recipes:
Shrimp Tempura Gluten Free Tempura Vegetable Tempura Chicken Tempura
Nabe (Hot Pot) Emoji With steam drifting up from a warming soup-pot, this emoji comes in handy when all you could think about is a hot pot of food on a chilly day. The graphic icon makes reference to nabe 鍋 or nabemono, a variety of hot pot dishes that are very popular in Japan during the cold weather months.
Typically served from a clay pot or iron pot with simmering broth that is shared communally, nabe includes an amazing mixture of fresh vegetables, meat, seafood, tofu, and soybean products, or seasonal ingredients.
It’s surprisingly easy to make nabe 🍲at home, and here are just some of the popular nabe recipes you should try:
Sukiyaki Shabu Shabu Nabeyaki Udon Nabemono: A Guide to Japanese Hot Pot
Senbei (Rice Crackers) Emoji Now that you’ve learned the dark green square on the icon is nori sheet (seaweed), you could probably describe the brown circle piece as toasty and snacky. And you’re right! This emoji refers to Senbei 煎餅 or rice crackers, a popular savory snack you can find in Japan. Come in various sizes and shapes, the rice crackers are typically brushed with a soy sauce glaze and grilled, then wrapped with a piece of nori.
Did you know? Senbei originated from China, where flour was used to make the crackers. But the Japanese loved rice so much that they started making the crackers with rice instead.
You can easily find rice crackers 🍘 being sold at the airports, tourist destinations or at festivals.
Curry Rice Emoji This may not be the most appetizing food emoji you’ve seen, but I can guarantee the real thing is so much more delicious that you could imagine. The emoji depicts the famous Kare Raisu カレーライス aka Japanese Curry Rice, characterized by the thick brown sauce that is served over fluffy steamed rice. The reddish circles are the red pickled daikon. Unlike Indian or Thai curry, Japanese curry has a stew-like consistency and a sweeter taste. It is also less spicy which is suitable for children. The curry is always served with rice.
Did you know? The curry was brought to Japan in late 1800 by the British. As always, the Japanese habitually adapted the curry to their own version soon after. By 1950s S&B Foods company introduced curry roux in block form and started selling the instant roux everywhere, which resulting curry rice a very popular dish people make at home.
You too can make Japanese curry 🍛 at home with these delicious recipes:
How to Make Japanese Curry Roux from Scratch Japanese Chicken Curry & Instant Pot version Japanese Beef Curry
Dango Emoji A type of traditional Japanese sweets (wagashi), dango are dumplings made with rice flour and skewered on a stick. The dumplings are mildly sweet with a chewy texture similar to mochi. There are different types of dango, but the one you see here is hanami dango 花見団子, which is typically enjoyed during the cherry blossom season.
Did you know? Hanami dango always consists of three colors, with pink, white and green in the order. The colors represent the life cycle of cherry blossom.
You can purchase 🍡 at the pop-up food stalls during cherry blossom season, or you can make them at home with this recipe:
Hanami Dango
Oden Emoji Loosely described as Japanese fish cake stew, oden is a type of one pot simmered dish, which includes a variety of ingredients such as fish balls, fish cakes, deep-fried tofu, hard-boiled eggs, konnyaku, and vegetables gently cooked in a soy sauce based broth. It is considered as a comfort dish during winter in Japan.
Did you know? Oden is also known as a food stall dish, and it’s especially popular among the salarymen after work where they enjoy the hot food and sake with their coworkers. You can even buy oden from convenience stores.
Wish to enjoy this simmered dish 🍢 out of the comfort of your home? Don’t miss out the recipe:
Oden
Kakigori (Shaved Ice) Emoji You’d see a lot of uses of this emoji during the summertime because it is the symbol of a dessert made of shaved ice flavored with syrups, and sometimes with additional toppings such as red bean paste , sweet dumplings, sweetened condensed milk, and ice cream. To make the dessert, you need a special machine so the ice is shaved into a fine and fluffy texture before it is served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon.
Did you know? Kakigori or shaved ice dessert has a long history where it is said to have already existed in the ancient time during the Heian period. The ice was shaved with a knife into a metal bowl and eaten with a sweet sap and doused with some golden syrup on top. It was considered a luxury treat and only enjoyed by the elites.
Nowadays kakigori is a popular sweet loved by all generations and you can find it sold at the summer festivals and food stalls in Japan.
Wish to enjoy some shaved ice🍧 at home this summer? We have an amazing shaved ice recipe just for you:
Green Tea Shaved Ice
Purin (Custard/Flan) Emoji This custard-looking emoji is indeed a popular Japanese dessert. Known as Purinプリン, it is basically a custard pudding with a layer of soft caramel on top. The texture is silky smooth and slightly firm, with a gentle wobble.
Did you know? Japanese “Purin” available at supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan is all made with gelatin. They are not baked or steamed.
Wish to enjoy 🍮 at home? Here’s the recipe:
Japanese Purin (No Bake Creme Caramel)
Matcha Gree n Tea Emoji This teacup with an unmistakable bright green drink is the analog for a special Japanese green tea called matcha. Pronounced as “MA-cha” 抹茶, this iconic Japanese beverage has become just as mainstream as cappuccino in many parts of the world. It is made of finely milled green tea powder that is whisked with hot water using a bamboo whisk and served in special tea bowls at tea ceremonies. These days matcha, the green tea powder, is also widely used in flavoring desserts and sweets, and enjoyed in drinks like smoothies and lattes.
Did you know? Matcha is high in antioxidant and a perfect energy booster. Although it has as much caffeine as coffee, it is absorbed by the body a slower rate and doesn’t give you the jitters. If you are looking for a drink that can give you a longer lasting energy, matcha makes a great alternative.
Check out our matcha 🍵 recipes:
How to Make Matcha Matcha Latte Matcha Smoothie
Sake Emoji Sake (pronounced as SAH-keh, not saki), also referred to as Japanese rice wine , is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice and water. Depending on the season or personal reference, sake can be enjoyed chilled, at room temperature, or heated. As seen on the emoji, it is drunk from small cups and poured from a small flask called tokkuri .
Did you know? Traditionally, it is a custom for allowing your drinking partner to pour your drink and vice versa. The practice has relaxed in recent years, but it is still widely observed in formal settings, especially when you partake a drink or a meal with an elderly or someone with higher social rankings.
Just like how wine is used in cooking, sake is widely used in Japanese cooking and is considered an important ingredient in many dishes. To learn more about sake 🍶 in Japanese cooking, read our article here.
Did you enjoy this article? There are a lot more emojis we could list out here, but we hope the above give you a good start in familiarizing with the basic Japanese food. Do you have a favorite? Are there any Japanese food emojis you’d like to learn more about? Let us know in the comment below!
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Originally from Penang, Malaysia, Reese lives in Minnesota with her husband and their baby boy. She previously ran an Asian spice shop, and also worked on UNESCO Heritage projects in Penang in the areas of performing arts, history, and arts education. Reese loves spending time with her family, listening to podcasts, and reading up on art & design. And of course, dreaming of another trip to Japan to hike mountain trails and eat her favorite street food Okonomiyaki. More from Reese →
from Merah Hati Cintaku http://bit.ly/2XJcezq
via MerahHatiCintaku.blogspot.com

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The Hoppery, Durgam Cheruvu lake/garden area, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad

Decent Craft Beers and “Foreign Food”!
Tucked away in a corner near Durgam Cheruvu lake/garden; this is a beautiful place indeed. Well! If you are going there first time that too during late evening, you may find the location odd or awkward but apparently its not.
Nice ambiance, wooden furniture, contemporary outdoor and indoor multi-level seating. Good background score (live bands at times), young crowd ++
Menu has Munchies, Sliders, Salad, Pasta, Pizza and Mains sections. Select preparation from global cuisines and hard to find any Indian preparation. Select decent alcohols in bar menu including in-house craft beers (some imported beers as well).
Tried…
Steam Lager: This brew was with light medium body, fruity, malty nose. Well rounded bitterness backed by good malt backbone. . It was close to American lager.
IPA: This brew was with medium body, hoppy, tropical fruit and pine nose. Bitterness balanced by decent malt presence. Finish was not that dry (as I expected). Yet; decent brew.
Classic Caesar Salad: Lettuce both iceberg and romaine, Garlic, Parmesan Cheese, Bread croutons in olive oil based dressing. I would have loved hard-boiled eggs too but the option was not available.
Beer Battered Onion Rings: Crisp but very oily. The oil was dripping out from the rings. Served with sour chilli mayonnaise. Very bad (is someone listening at The Hoppery!)
Pasta in white sauce: Penne in bland white sauce; greens, mushrooms and lots of cheese. It was decent.
Overall, it was decent place for craft beer and dinner.
Summary (out or 5)…
Ambiance: 4.5
Food Taste: 3.5
Food Quality: 3.5
Craft beer: 4
Value for money: 3.5
Service: 3.5
Overall: 3.5 to 4
Worth mentioning…
Craft beer quality is good
Beware of leaping frogs
No desi food on the menu

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Warners Bay mum wows MasterChef judges

Local News news, local-news, newcastle nsw, stephanie de sousa, masterchef australia, season 11, cooking, reality tv, masterchef Warners Bay home cook and mother of four Stephanie de Sousa has made it through to the top 24 of MasterChef Australia 2019. The 45-year-old made her television debut at the season premiere on Monday night, won an apron and will now cook for this year’s MasterChef crown. Each contestant had one hour to produce their signature dish. If all three judges liked the dish, the contestant received an apron and went straight into the MasterChef competition. If all three judges said no, they headed home. If one of the judges saw enough promise, they were asked to cook again the following night. Stephanie’s dish – Pani Puri with chickpea marsala, tamarind paste and cucumber sauce – was given the tick of approval by Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston. Even last year’s MasterChef winner, Sashi Cheliah, was impressed. When told she was cooking the dish from scratch, he responded with one word: “Wow”. A human resources specialist by trade, Stephanie’s life revolves around cooking. “When I was very young I would help – or hinder, not sure which – my Grandma to bake. She would make bread, fruit buns, cakes and biscuits,” Stephanie said. “After I left home and started a family, I had to cook every day. It has never been a chore for me and I find it a great way to de-stress after a big day or to relax on the weekend. “My husband Neville grew up in Goa in India and he exposed me to the world of Indian food and I have been learning about spices ever since.” Her strengths and weaknesses as a cook? “I think my strength is I have a wide variety of different dishes I can cook well, both sweet and savoury. I think that may also be my weakness,” Stephanie said. “Maybe I should try and stick to one cuisine or sweet or savoury, but I just love cooking and learning everything. My plating is also pretty awful.” Not only has she applied to appear on MasterChef on three previous occasions, Stephanie has resigned from her job of 15 years to focus on the competition. “I don’t want to have a safety net when this adventure is over. I want to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way, or that I make for myself,” she explained. “Winning MasterChef will seriously flip my life on its head. I have put my career aspirations aside while I raised my family. While Noah is still only 10, he is also growing up, and doesn’t need me as much as he did. I am determined to make a career for myself from this experience.” It’s been a big week for Newcastle and cooking talent. On Monday night Matt Gawthrop and Luke Stewart won the My Kitchen Rules grand final and $250,000 in prize money. MasterChef Australia screens on Network 10. https://nnimgt-a.akamaihd.net/transform/v1/crop/frm/37hLjTSaqSzzPeeWNnNkKKB/1cf8710a-59fd-4e59-9af5-c1b2f7af78d3.jpg/r0_1122_2400_2478_w1200_h678_fmax.jpg

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The mystery of intriguing Indian spices

By Anoothi Vishal
It’s that time of the year again when my mother sits down for her annual ritual of pickling. Small green mangoes are cut, their flesh smeared with salt and turmeric and spices are added: asafoetida , fenugreek seeds, fennel, kalaunji (onion seeds) and a dash of red chilli powder. These will then pickle in oil and sunlight for a few days before the achaar is ready.
This mango pickle is similar to that made by many other families in Uttar Pradesh, its taste determined by the mix of spices my mother adds through andaz sans strict measurements.
However, in these days of convenience food, it is also possible to find roughly a similar mix packaged and retailed as a generic “achari masala” that can be instantly added to pickles, vegetables and meats by cooks who do not understand a basic thing about Indian cooking: how spices are used in specific ways depending upon the season, the region which the recipe belongs to, and most importantly, the ingredients. When my mother pickles red chillies in the winter, her spice mix changes: rai or brown mustard seeds replace fenugreek.
Since the main ingredient -chilli – is bitter, there is an instinctive understanding that you cannot add bitter fenugreek seeds to the mix. Instead, there is amchoor powder for tartness, coriander for a whiff of sweetness, crushed cumin and rock salt to balance the flavours and provide heat suitable for the winter chill. These specific ways in which we use our spices makes Indian food tough for beginners to cook. Anyone can follow recipes and pick up packaged masalas but creating regional and seasonal flavours requires a deep understanding of how spices are combined to balance tastes.
Mango pickle and the spices within.
Like classic combinations in other cuisines – rosemary-potatoes, avocado-chilli and tomato-basil – Indian cuisines too have their own classic combinations.
This is something that is usually overlooked because as chef Manjit Gill says,”There are recipe books but no book that teaches the principles of Indian cooking.”Home cooks instinctively cook up traditional combinations, which are based on Ayurvedic principles even if this knowledge itself is lost. Combinations like potatoes with fenugreek seeds, green mango or okra with fennel, eggplant with onion seeds and fish with ajwain (carom) are all classic flavours of Indian cookery which every home cook instinctively knows.
If you study these at a deeper level, you realise they have come about as a result of balancing the heating-cooling doshas (ascribed to each ingredient in Ayurvedic texts) and as a result of balancing tastes (sweet, sour, salt, bitter, astringent and pungent). In the absence of this understanding, a cook may douse a preparation like eggplant (bitter) with garam masala laced with pepper (also pungent) and successfully kill it!
Art of Garam Masala Nothing has been more detrimental to Indian cooking than the overuse of garam masala in restaurants. Indiscriminately used, it has turned into a weapon of mass destruction.
Pickles at a market in Amritsar.
In reality, Indian cooking does not need garam masala at all. It is superfluous, added at best as an “ornamentation” to finish specific dishes. “Spices in Indian dishes are added at different stages of cooking. Less volatile and stronger spices are used at the start in a pounded or whole form when they are fried in oil to leech out the flavour. More aromatic ones like green cardamom are added at finish, for aroma. This creates a sort of pyramid of smells,” says restaurateur and chef Marut Sikka. What he is describing is the artful layering of flavours, almost like the construction of a perfume that is the hallmark of Indian food.
Garam masala, which is always added at the finish and not while starting off a dish, may have been concocted as a hack to mask shortcomings in basic cooking, feel Sikka and Gill. A combination of “hot” spices with a predominance of pepper originally, the masala may also have been concocted exclusively for heavier winter recipes such as meat stews to keep the body warm. It is interesting to note that traditional families in Old Delhi use different garam masala (made at home) in winter and summer.
“Not all ingredients go into the masala for summer. Cloves, nutmeg and mace are not used in the summer because they have a warm taseer (property, according to Ayurveda ),” says Ashok Mathur, a fourth generation resident of Old Delhi.
Curry Powder Confusion Spice combinations have always eluded Western understanding. A 19th century cookery book for English memsahibs written by Henrietta A Hervey gives a glimpse into the utter confusion around these. Hervey gives recipes for three ¡§curry powders¡¨¡X Madras curry powder, Bombay curry powder and Bengal curry powder, corresponding to the three presidencies under the Raj. Curry powder, as we know, is a British invention.
As I go through the recipes, it becomes clear how little the British really understood regional cuisines. The Madras curry powder, for instance, lists three quarter pounds of saffron as a key ingredient. There is no logic to this since the ingredient is not intrinsic to southern India. The recipes are more or less similar with just small differences in proportions and addition cinnamon in the Bengal recipe. Luckily, no one in India uses curry powder.
The diversity of our cooking is still preserved because every home and micro region uses its own spice mixes. Those such as the bottle masala of the east Indians, various sambhar powders and goda masala came about as conveniences. Home cooks started assembling their own spice combinations and storing these but still maintained their individual recipes that differ home to home. Packaged retail versions of these will not only take away our culinary diversity but also our understanding of spicing. If Indian cooking is to spread globally, one key challenge is to demystify spicing and make the public at large understand its nuances.
The writer looks at restaurant trends, food history and culinary cultures
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com .)

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Sunday Scoop Week of 4/28/19 – What’s Happening This Week or Coming Up Soon

Sunday Scoop Week of 4/28/19 – What’s Happening This Week or Coming Up Soon In This Week’s Scoop 1) Upcoming at Historic Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival Opens May 1 2) Upcoming at State Theatre New Jersey Brit Floyd, Kip Moore, Rocktopia 3) Hurricane Sleep A New Play ar IATI May 2-12 4) Upcoming at iPlay America Music City Showcase Finale, Teacher Appreciation Night, Topgolf Swing Suite Opening Block Party, Kentucky Derby Special 5) Upcoming at Kelsey Theatre The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System 6) Upcoming at Merkin Hall Chinese Music Ensemble, PREformances with Allison Charney PR Firm Roundup 7) News from Andrea Alton PR Mary Mary Open 5/3 8) News from JT Public Relations 3 Egg Creams Returns to The Cutting Edge 5/4 – 5/28 9) News from Lincoln Center Free 60th Anniversary Block Party Saturday May 4 10) News from Michelle Tabnick PR 10A) Nai Ni Chen Presents Superheroes Disable Students and Professionals Share Stage 10B) BAM Kids Presents GLIMPSE by Ooarkaan 11) News from Polk and Co. PR Tootsie the Musical Now Open on Broadway 12) News from Richard Hillman PR Off Broadway Alliance Presents Puttin’ On the Hits 1) Chinese Lantern Festival Returns to Historic Philadelphia Franklin Square Philadelphia, PA May 1 – June 30 This year marks the fourth Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival to be held in Franklin Square, beginning May 1 and running through June 30 . The spectacular festival is a celebration of light and culture that features magnificent steel-framed and silk-wrapped giant lighted sculptures, created by hand using traditional Chinese methods . Bigger than ever before, 29 larger-than-life illuminated displays made of 2,000 individual lanterns and 20,000 LED lights in brilliant colors will glow in the Square. All of the lanterns will be new for the 2019 Festival, including several designs never before seen in the United States, highlighted by a 200-foot long phoenix (different from previous years’ giant dragon), a walk-through dragon tunnel, and a host of interactive installations such as lit swings and a fortune-telling wheel. In addition to the gorgeous light installations, festival-goers will witness authentic cultural stage performances. Martial arts specialists, a mysterious face changer, dancers, contortionists, and jugglers will grace the stage at the festival to showcase their unique skills. These performers from China will demonstrate incredible and impressive feats of strength, balance, and form during three nightly performances. Visitors can taste Asian cuisine and American favorites, drink a toast at the Dragon Beer Garden open nightly, and shop for Chinese folk artists’ crafts created on site as well as Festival-themed merchandise. Through a partnership with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, visitors are encouraged to dine in Chinatown restaurants using the Panda Promotions program before or after attending the Festival. For more information, visit http://historicphiladelphia.org/chineselanternfestival 2)Upcoming at State Theatre New Jersey 15 Livingston Ave. Brit Floyd, Kip Moore, Rocktopia Wednesday May 1, 8:00 PM Brit Floyd World Tour 2019 40 Years of the Wall Brit Floyd, the world’s greatest Pink Floyd tribute show, returns in 2019 with its most ambitious and biggest production yet; a very special 40th Anniversary celebration of Pink Floyd’s iconic rock opera, The Wall . As well as performing highlights from The Wall, the new Brit Floyd production will include songs from Pink Floyd’s classic albums, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Division Bell , and much more. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.stnj.org/event/brit-floyd Friday May 1, 8:00 PM Kip Moore Room to Spare Acoustic Tour With Special Guest Muscadine Blood For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.stnj.org/event/brit-floyd Sunday May 5, 7:30 PM Rocktopia Direct from its smash-hit run on Broadway, the international music sensation Rocktopia comes to State Theatre New Jersey for one night only! An explosive musical concert event that fuses the most iconic 20th-century rock with world-renowned classical masterpieces, Rocktopia features the works of musical innovators across centuries—including Journey, Mozart, Queen, Beethoven, Aerosmith, Handel, Led Zeppelin, Tchaikovsky, U2, Heart, Puccini, The Who, and more—performed by an elite lineup of vocalists, a five-piece rock band, a 30-person choir, and a 20-piece orchestra. For more information or to purchase, tickets visit www.stnj.org/event/rocktopia 3) Hurricane Sleep a New Play at IATI Theatre 64 East 4th Street (bet. Bowery and Second Avenue) New York, NY May 2-12, 2019 (10 performances) Preview: May 2nd at 7 p.m. Opening: May 3rd at 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Set in New York City during Hurricane Sandy, Sal finds herself trapped in a flooding bodega alongside a local girl named Ome. This claustrophobic setting will become Sal’s canvas to rapidly flow, like the fast winds that menace the building, in a journey of self-discovery while facing the ghosts from the past and the dreads of the future. Between boxed wine, ayahuasca and maybe a séance, it is disaster that brings us closer together and true intimacy is found when we least expect it. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors. For more information and tickets, call 212-505-6757 or visit IATITheater.org . 4) Upcoming at iPlay America 110 Schank Rd. Freehold, NJ Music City Showcase Finale, Teacher Appreciation Night, Topgolf Swing Suite Opening, Block Party, Kentucky Derby Special Thursday May 2, Door 6:00 PM Start Time 7:00 PM Music City Showcase Finale Come to iPlay America and cheer on local Country Music talents as the compete for the chance to perform at CMA Fest in Nashville this June! Plus, enjoy a LIVE celebrity performance by John Schneider – formally known as “Bo Duke” from Dukes of Hazard! For more information, visit www.iplayamerica.com/event/music-city-showcase/ Friday May 3, Door Time 6:00 PM Start Time 7:00 PM Teacher Appreciation Ride Night Join us for a Free Ride Night with the purchase of a $10 game card for teachers and their families. You will need to show your teacher ID at the Welcome Center. Come hungry as well because teachers get 20% off* at Game Time Bar & Grill. For more information, visit www.iplayamerica.com/event/2019-teacher-appreciation-night . Friday May 3, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Topgolf Swing Suite Grand Opening Join Greg T and the Z100 Party Patrol to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Topgolf Swing Suite at iPlay America. Enjoy music, giveaways, games and more! For more information, visit www.iplayamerica.com/topgolf-swing-suite-at-iplay-america . Friday May 3, 9:00 PM – 1:00 AM Block Party – 21+ Enjoy drink specials and live DJ, Class Kills! Purchase a Block Party Pass for $49.99 (valid every Friday 9:00 PM to close) and get unlimited video games plus 10% off food and beverage. Valid one year from purchase date. Saturday May 4 For more information, visit https://gametimebarandgrill.com/event/kentucky-derby-special . 5) Upcoming at Kelsey Theatre 1200 Old Trenton Rd. The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System Saturday, May 4 2:00 & 4:00 PM When the class gets lost on the way to the planetarium, Ms. Frizzle saves the day by blasting into outer space for an epic interplanetary field trip! But when rivalries threaten the peace, our young heroes must learn to pull together or risk getting forever lost in the solar system. Hop on the Magic School Bus for a ride in Theatreworks USA’s new musical adaptation based on the original book series published by Scholastic, and the classic animated series. 6) Upcoming at Merkin Hall Kaufman Music Center Sunday May 5, 3:00 PM Chinese Music Ensemble NY 58th Annual Spring Concert Featuring ancient Chinese classical to modern compositions, performed on traditional Chinese and Western instruments in various settings from solo and small ensemble to full orchestra. For more information, visit Monday May 6, 3:00 PM PREformances with Allison Charney MAY FLOWERS Featuring soprano Allison Charney with tenor Errin Brooks, countertenor Jeffrey Mandelbaum, flutists Marya Martin and Tara Helen O’Connor, cellist Rupei Yeh and pianists Helen Huang, Donna Weng Friedman and Keith Chambers. For more information, visit 7) News from Andrea Alton PR Retro Productions to Present a Revival of the 1960’s Rom-Com MARY, MARY Limited Run May 3-18 at the Gene Frankel Theatre Mary is a compulsively wise-cracking magazine editor who uses her sense of humor to shield her insecurities, while Bob is an infuriatingly sensible publisher. Their marriage ended in divorce and they haven’t seen each other in 9 months, but now Mary has been called back to Bob’s apartment by their mutual friend and lawyer, Oscar, in the hopes that they can avert an audit by the IRS. Throw in Bob’s young fiancée Tiffany; his old war buddy, the handsome and single film hero whose star is in decline, Dirk Winston; and one major snow storm–and we begin to wonder, will Mary and Bob recognize that they are soul mates in time to get back together before they each end up in the arms of another? Performances take place at the Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street (Between Lafayette & Bowery), New York, NY 10012. Subways: 6 to Bleecker Street, B/D/F/M to Broadway/Lafayette. Tickets are $22 students and seniors, and $25 for general admission https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/1011 . Running time: 2 hours. Performance schedule: Friday, May 3 @ 8:00 pm (Opening Night) Saturday, May 4 @ 8:00 pm Sunday, May 5 @ 2:00 pm Monday, May 6 @ 8:00 pm Thursday, May 9 @ 8:00 pm Friday, May 10 @ 8:00 pm Saturday, May 11 @ 8:00 pm Sunday, May 12 @ 2:00 pm Wednesday, May 15 @ 8:00 pm Thursday, May 16 @ 8:00 pm Friday, May 17 @ 8:00 pm Saturday, May 18 @ 8:00 pm More info is available at www.retroproductions.org 8) News from JT Public Relations 3 EGG CREAMS The Urban Love Story for the Ages Inspired by and featuring the music of LOU CHRISTIE 44 E. 32nd St. New York, NY Written and directed by George Cameron Grant and starring Vince Bandille, 3 EGG CREAMS has been described as “ A Bronx Tale meets It’s A Wonderful Life. ” It follows Vin Morrone (played by Bandille) as he traverses lessons in life, loss, and love. Whether you grew up on University Avenue in The Bronx, West Philly, or Cedar Falls, this humorous, heart-breaking, and ultimately transcendent journey redefines the mythos of the American male and even the meaning of love itself. 3 EGG CREAMS is inspired by and features the timeless music of the legendary Lou Christie. Tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the door and can be purchased by visiting TheCuttingRoomNYC.com or by calling (212) 691-1900 For more information, please visit www.3EggCreams.com 9) Upcoming at Lincoln Center Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Presents Free 60th Anniversary Block Party Event Spans Iconic Campus with Performances and Activities from all Constituent Organizations Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts marks the 60th anniversary of the center’s groundbreaking, kicking off the celebration with a free Block Party on Saturday, May 4 from 10:00 am–2:30 pm. With activities for all ages, the event brings together all of the eleven organizations that comprise Lincoln Center—activating the campus with a range of performances, art-making, film screenings, and more. The 60 th Anniversary Block Party begins at 10:00 am with a ceremony and land acknowledgement by Chief Dwaine Perry of the Ramapough Lunaape and Native American performing artists Cliff Matias and the Redhawk Dancers. The day continues with a series of outdoor concerts co-curated by Jordana Leigh of Lincoln Center and Musical Director Sunny Jain, featuring artists from throughout the five boroughs, including: Jazz at Lincoln Center-affiliated vocalist and flutist Melanie Charles presenting her unique blend of jazz, soul, experimental and roots music on Hearst Plaza; Student ensemble from The Juilliard School; Christian Dante White performing “ On the Street Where You Live” from the Lincoln Center Theater production of My Fair Lady ; Red Baraat PLUS (led by Sunny Jain) mixing North Indian bhangra with elements of hip-hop, jazz, and raw punk energy, with a 30-piece ensemble; Opera Noire of New York, a performing arts organization dedicated to the advancement of African American artists, presenting the Chorale on Hearst Plaza; Fogo Azul NYC, an all-female percussive group, providing Samba Reggae beats; Grammy-nominated singer Falu Shah blending classical Indian music and American pop in her kid-friendly project Falu’s Bazaar; Brooklyn-based Haitian roots street band Plezi Rara performing in Damrosch Park; and Step It Up NYC featuring youth dance and step performers aged 10–20 from throughout the City who participate in afterschool programs funded by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development. The outdoor activities culminate as more than 100 artists join together on Josie Robertson Plaza for a performance of an original arrangement of classic songs that celebrate NYC, arranged and conducted by Jain. Indoor activities include: Free tickets* to New York City Ballet’s 11:00 am presentation of Inside NYCB: Originating Roles, as company dancers share what it’s like to have works created on them and showcase excerpts of the company’s choreography; A sneak peek at the ballet stars of tomorrow with an observation of the School of American Ballet’s 12:30 pm class*; A preview of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra’s summer concerts at 2:30 pm in the David Rubenstein Atrium; Kristin Lee (violin) and Gilles Vonsattel (piano) of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center perform an intimate concert of works by Gershwin, Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, and Ravel in the Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Studio at 11am; American Journeys, an interactive concert by teaching artists of the New York Philharmonic who explore the ways that composers in America have expressed stories of immigration and migration through their music at 12:45 pm; At 2:30 pm at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Leslie Fornino’s one-woman show The Story Goes On, her quirky perspective on life told through storytelling, incorporating Broadway and pop tunes; The Metropolitan Opera opens its lobby from 9-10 am and 3-4 pm for visitors to walk up the famous grand staircase of the opera house, admire the iconic crystal chandeliers, and view the two large paintings, almost 26-feet in width, by contemporary artist Cecily Brown, on the Grand Tier and Dress Circle; and The Film Society of Lincoln Center opens the Amphitheater at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center for free programming related to their 50th anniversary from 10:00 am-2:30 pm. * A limited number of free tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis on Josie Robertson Plaza beginning at 10 am. The anniversary weekend continues with a Diamond Jubilee Gala fundraiser hosted by Neil Patrick Harris on Sunday, May 5 at 5:30 pm. The evening will honor four families who have had a transformative influence on Lincoln Center: the Audrey and Martin Gruss Family, the Rockefeller Family, the Daisy and Paul Soros Family, and the Laurie M. Tisch Family. As Lincoln Center renews its commitment to supporting a thriving campus for the next generation, funds raised will help benefit the organization’s artistic and educational activities which reach millions every year on campus and beyond. A schedule of 60th Anniversary Block Party events is available here

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