Category

Guest Posts

Category

Thousands of visitors flock to Chicago each year from all around the world. The Windy City definitely has its fair share of tourist attractions worthy of visiting. From the ever popular Cloudgate- or as Chicagoans affectionately refer to as The Bean- to Millennium Park to the Museum of Science and Industry, there is enough to keep every traveler’s interest peaked for days. But if you’re looking for something more off the beaten path, you may want to consider these hidden gems. The Hidden Gems of Chicago has something to offer to everyone!

Athenian Room

The Lincoln Park neighbourhood is full of awesome restaurants for any kind of palette. We discovered the Athenian Room while living in Lincoln Park during D’s law school days. Back then, we didn’t have the budget to eat out often, but the Athenian Room was our go to restaurant when we wanted to celebrate- birthdays, anniversaries, you name it. He almost always got the steak while I favoured the gyros. And we always ordered the baklava for dessert. 

Address: 807 W Webster Ave, Chicago

Lincoln Park

Most everyone visiting Chicago has heard of the famous Millennium Park, located near the Loop. But another great park that is just as picturesque and not nearly as well known is Lincoln Park, on the north side of the city. Lincoln Park is hands down our favourite spot in the city. Located just a short walk from North Avenue Beach, it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or quiet spot to sit and people watch. 

Chicago Botanic Garden

The Hidden Gems of Chicago

Okay, so the Chicago Botanic Garden isn’t actually in the city. I hadn’t even heard of this gorgeous oasis until we moved to the suburbs from Chicago. Located in Glencoe, on the north shore, it takes a bit of planning in order to get there. But if you are able, it is definitely worth a visit. There is no admission fee to visit the gardens but you will have to pay for parking. 

Address: 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe 

La Lagartija Taqueria

Of all of the Mexican restaurants in Chicago, you have probably never heard of La Lagartija Taqueria. Located on the corner of Ashland Ave on the west side of the city, this hole-in-the- wall joint is not in the safest area of the city. I personally think that could be the reason it isn’t frequented as much as it should be. To be honest, the only reason we discovered La Lagartija Taqueria is because I worked in that area when we lived downtown. Though I’m so glad to be done working in that neighbourhood, I’m sad that I don’t have a reason to make the journey for their amazing tacos. 

Address: 132 S Ashland Ave, Chicago 

Glencoe Beach

The Hidden Gems of Chicago

Before I moved to Chicago, I didn’t realise that the city had so many sandy beaches. It makes sense since the Windy City sits right on the shores of Lake Michigan. But I didn’t realise that they were so sandy. Chicago residents flock to the shores at beaches such as North Avenue Beach and Montrose Beach, to name a few. And why not? However, the free city beaches tend 

to get crowded on hot summer days. Approximately 25 miles north of the city, is another of Chicago’s hidden gems- Glencoe Beach. Though you have to pay a small entrance fee per person, for it’s worth it. The beach is less crowded and includes more amenities than the downtown beaches. These include pavilions to rent, and a playground complete with slides and swings, which my kids love. 

Lake Katherine

Our most recent find in the greater Chicago area is definitely what I would consider a hidden gem. Lake Katherine is a bit of a drive- about an hour outside of the Loop in Palos Heights, but if you’re a nature enthusiast, it’s worth making the trip. The mile-long stretch around the man made lake is beautiful and serene and full of nature- the perfect break from the hectic city scene. 

Though Chicago boasts some pretty amazing tourist attractions that are worth visiting, make sure to take some time to discover some of the lesser known places, too. You’ll be glad you did! After living here for eight years, we have hardly even scratched the surface of hidden gems in the Windy City. But we’re looking forward to finding more.

While most people may visit Silicon Valley for business, there are many places to be explored outside of the high-tech bubble. Here are a few Silicon Valley hidden gems worth visiting when you make your way south of Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram headquarters towards a collection of cities called the South Bay!

Start off your day at Living Room Coffee Craft where a portion of your purchase will be donated to local organisations. You will find a spacious interior filled with tables of all sizes to relax and enjoy your morning. Have a coffee or tea with their fresh pastries! The peach brown butter cake has an amazing caramelised exterior and the fresh peach slice compliments the cake. Their gluten-free “everything cheese waffle” is a fantastic version of the Brazilian pão de queijo made of tapioca or rice flour giving it a distinct chewy texture. Mix that in with sesame, poppy seeds, dried garlic, and onions for a unique bite! The Living Room Coffee Craft is definitely a Hidden Gem of Silicon Valley!

If coffee wasn’t enough to get your blood pumping or you have the desire to be in nature, we have that too! Head to Villa Montalvo and hike among California Redwoods without having to drive an hour away through windy mountain roads. As a non-hiker, I really appreciate the easy incline and shaded trail here. To make things more interesting, there is actually an arts residency program attached to the grounds of Villa Montalvo and hosts over a hundred artists a year. (Probably the reason people don’t think you can hike here.) Check out the statues located inside the picturesque garden while you cool down from your hike. Both entrance and parking is free in Lots 2, 3, or 4.

Ready for lunch? Pop into one of my favourite Silicon Valley hidden gems at family-owned Antipasto’s Deli for salad, a plate of pasta, or a completely customisable sandwich. I recommend their chicken ravioli with half tomato basil cream (TBC) and half alfredo sauce. The in-house ravioli is one of the best I’ve ever had. (There’s an all-cheese version, too!) They are so soft and comforting, just like fluffy pillows. The meat for their sandwiches is sliced upon ordering and pairs incredibly well with their fresh baked bread.

While street art isn’t exactly hidden, it will be easy to miss if you don’t know where to go. San Jose is a really big city! The Arts District lies mainly on South First Street in Downtown San Jose. Check out The 100 Block Mural Project to see the work of 100 local artists who created their own mini mural on a 3×3 square. The resulting 900-square foot space is filled with different art styles, techniques, and colours is truly a sight to behold. If you want to see more, wander over to the next few blocks and see what else you can find!

Since you’re in the downtown area, don’t leave without trying another Silicon Valley hidden gem with some of the best tacos in all of San Jose! Stroll down or catch a ride on an electric scooter towards 10th Street to Cali Spartan Mexican Kitchen. I highly recommend their guacamole and chips (with a chili lime seasoning) and any of their tacos. They have a full menu so you’re bound to find something delicious! Note: It is cash only. There is an ATM on the premises.

If you plan to visit the area, which of these places would you check out? If you’re a native to the South Bay Area, have you been to any of the places I recommended? What Silicon Valley hidden gems would you add to the list?

This weeks post in the Hidden Gems Series takes us to Kuala Lumpar in Malaysia. What a dream it would be to explore the capitol of a country so rich in culture. If you are lucky enough to be visiting soon, then you may find yourself wanting to explore some places that aren’t so full of tourist. The Hidden Gems of Kuala Lumpar are not too hard to find, if you know where you are looking! Firstly, I would like to thank Jess ling for putting together this post and bringing to light all the amazing Hidden Gems there are in Kuala Lumpar. I’d strongly suggest checking out her blog for more posts on Kuala Lumpar! Taman Eco Rimba Kuala Lumpur If you are looking for a beautiful, natural jungle in the city then head over to Taman Eco Rimba Kuala Lumpur! On Jess’ first visit she was surprised by…

Travel guides are useful however they often neglect to mention all the Hidden Gems of that place. This travel aims to explore Hidden Gems from all around the world. This week we are exploring the Hidden Gems of Dover in the U.K. and it has been written by PortExplore. PortExplore is a great is a travel blog written by Cathy Rogers who has years of experience in travel. Writing about the Hidden Gems of Dover comes naturally to her as with years of travel experience, she can easily give the best recommendations of things to do in Dover and places to see in Dover.

Just south of Gatwick Airport, sits the small town of Crawley. Being a small town, it may not be popular amongst tourists, however sometimes it’s the lesser known places that have the most to discover. This week in the Hidden Gems travel series, the suzytheexplorer is sharing with everyone all the Hidden Gems of Crawley. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Crawley, or you are searching for the less explored sites of Crawley, then this post is perfect for you!

The Hidden Gems of a location are a list of activities/ places to see that are not high on the radar of that area but are still well worth a visit. Every week I have a guest blogger talk about all the Hidden Gems in their area. If you’re new to the series then you can catch up on it by reading the first two episodes: The Hidden Gems of Edinburgh and The Hidden Gems of Leicestershire. This week we are staying in the U.K. and the wonderful Katie will be writing all about the Hidden Gems of Saffron Walden.  Firstly, I would like to thank Connie for allowing me to join her guest blog post series and I’m sure you will see a couple more of these kinds of posts as I travel around the world. In this post particularly I am going to be talking about Saffron Walden which is…

Hidden Gems are some of the best places you can visit in a city. These are less explored and not always known about, hence why we call them ‘Hidden’ Gems. In this travel series I hope to bring you to the attention of some Hidden Gems from all over the world. Last week, the wonderful Catriona, shared with everyone all of her favourite Hidden Gems of Edinburgh. This week, the brilliant blogger Megan shares plenty of things to do in Leicestershire that are off the radar and therefore she shares with you all of the Hidden Gems of Leicestershire…

Hello and welcome to the first post in my new series. In this travel series I plan on getting a list of Hidden Gems in as many places as possible. By Hidden Gems, I am referring to less popular places and activities that are worth exploring when you are visiting. These could be local bars, restaurants, coffee shops, museums, parks and whatever else. The first in this series is written by the wonderful Catriona from worldwidefootprintsblog. Read on to find out what all the Hidden Gems of Edinburgh are…