I've been home from North America for six weeks already (where did the time go??) and I still have so much to write about and share from my latest adventure.
Since it was my first time experiencing the States and Canada and I did some pretty fun things in quite a few places, I thought I would share my top ten best experiences.
Here are my favourite and most memorable things I did, in order:
1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway
If you didn't know, I am a huuuge Harry Potter fan (mostly of the books) and I have been lusting to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Play since it first started in London.
When I heard it was coming to New York on Broadway and it just happened to be when I was going to be there too - I just knew I was destined to see it.
The tickets were released on a lottery type ballad system and luckily - it was meant to be. After much trial, I got through and paid a bomb and a half for them but it was worth every. single. penny.
It was SO incredible, both parts one and two will forever stand out as the greatest shows of my life (and I've seen a few major ones). If you are a fan and you have the chance to see it, definitely do.
2. Exploring New York City
Speaking of New York, this city has been at the top of my Bucket List for many years and it was a literal dream come true to be there.
Walking around Central Park, seeing Times Square by night, eating hotdogs and pizza, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, seeing the incredible views from the tallest building in the Northern Hemisphere - it was such a great experience and lived up to my very high expectations.
New York has such a great vibe to it, an energy like no other. I enjoyed every second of my time there. One week was by far not enough and I can't wait to go back and explore more of this iconic city.
3. Fun in Las Vegas
Vegas was another of those incredible places seen through a screen that I've always wanted to visit. I'm not a gambler at all but I do love the bright lights and city life.
Las Vegas was the epitome of cool. I was so impressed by the stylish and sleek hotels, the unique and lush decor, the fact that The Strip was actually clean and an enjoyable place to walk around.
I had such a great experience there enjoying a foodie tour, exploring the lavish casinos, doing a nearby e-bike tour of the Red Rock Canyon and seeing a fabulous Cirque du Soleil show 'O' at the Bellagio - which I highly recommend!
Another city that lived up to my expectations, I can't wait to return to Las Vegas for more fun some day.
4. Grand Canyon day trip
This day trip was taken from Las Vegas but deserved a whole point to itself - seeing the Grand Canyon with my own eyes was another huge Bucket List tick.
I did a 12-hour West Rim tour with Grand Canyon Destinations which I highly recommend. It included a stop at Hoover Dam, a nice lunch and snacks, hotel pickup and dropoff and over 4 hours at the Grand Canyon to fully enjoy it.
The pictures just don't do it justice, seeing it in real life is simply amazing. I would love to save up and do a helicopter tour over it next time - that would be so epic!
5. Snow and time with friends in Ottawa
I had such a blast in Canada - spending time with old friends and experiencing the last of the winter snow.
They so kindly took time off work to show me around their capital city. We tried Beaver Tails, walked around Parliament Hill, the town centre, had Poutine (omg YUM) and visited the Museum of Nature.
I went crazy over all of the moose souvenirs and maple syrup related things. I also really enjoyed spending time at their home, where their street still looked like a beautiful snowy Christmas card.
We took some very nice walks in the woods nearby trying to spot some wildlife. We did see a very large owl and some coyote droppings.
6. Los Angeles Full Day Tour
In Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to do a full day private tour with We Love LA around all of the main city highlights.
Even though it rained for 90% of the day and I missed out on seeing the Hollywood sign and Bowl overlook, it was still one of the best tours I've done.
We went to some really iconic spots including Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Beverly Hills, The Grove, Hollywood Walk of Fame and so much more.
It was such a fantastic way to see all of these hot spots in one day and I highly recommend it for LA first-timers like myself.
One of my favourite moments was spotting Peter Jackson's star on the Walk of Fame! #ProudKiwi
7. St Patrick's Day in Chicago
Aside from eating aaall the pizza, the main reason I went to Chicago was to spend St. Patrick's Day there! Ever since I first learned they dye their river green, it was added to my travel list. (I have Irish heritage and I love celebrating March 17th).
It was a hectic day to say the least, sooo many people and drunk idiots even at midday. But I still loved it and seeing that green river was worth coming here for!
Of course, being the third largest city in the US, there is so much more to do as well. I spent four nights in Chicago and really enjoyed my time there.
What made my St Patrick's Day even more special was my friend Isabel who lives in Wisconsin drove all the way there and back in one day just to see me!
We got to hang out, have some obligatory green drinks and Irish whisky and it was such an amazing time.
8. Staying at the Citadel in Quebec City
I visited my friends in Ottawa who currently live there, but they are actually from Quebec City and said I had to visit there too or my time in Canada just wouldn't be complete.
I only had a short amount of time unfortunately so we were only able to spend one night there and it was a 5 hour drive each way... and it was SO worth it!
Quebec City completely charmed me and it felt like a slice of Paris and Prague. The coolest factor was that through connections we got to stay at The Citadel - an active military installation, historical fortress and official residence of both the Canadian monarch and the Governor General of Canada. Pretty dang cool if you ask me!
We left very early so we got to spend most of a full day exploring the Old Town. I loved the quaint cobblestone streets and cute shops, the Château Frontenac, trying Maple Taffy and the French influence everywhere.
Again, seeing the city covered in snow was such a novelty, but I heard it's even more beautiful in Autumn.
Another place I can't wait to return to for longer next time!
9. Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando
This was pretty much the only reason why I went to Orlando and it was very cool to experience. The only thing I didn't enjoy so much was the crowds.
It just happened to be Spring Break while I was there (nightmare) and even though I arrived before opening, there were just far too many people to fully enjoy it.
I spent a good 8 hours at Universal Studios and only managed to get on three rides... and one I was lucky enough to go straight on because I was a single rider. That's how long the lines were (over two hours).
For how horrifically expensive it is to be there, it was a bit annoying but nevertheless, it was still a good time.
I loved the two Harry Potter-themed parks and the Hogwarts Express ride between each one. The Butterbeer was delicious (the Pumpkin Juice not so much!).
I also really enjoyed the Jurassic Park section, The Hulk rollercoaster ride (worth the wait) and the Voodoo Doughnut shop (delicious).
10. Disneyland, Califonia
Growing up with Disney movies, going to Disneyland was another of those places I've dreamed of since I was young.
It rained for the first half of the day but then luckily the sun came out!
The only day I could go was during the weekend, which again, was extremely crowded. Still a fun time of course at the happiest place on earth.
My favourite was the Space Mountain ride and I enjoyed the Indiana Jones ride too. I even went on a carousel pony ride because, why not?
Those were my top ten highlights from my recent adventure in North America. It was a fantastic trip and I'm very grateful for the memorable experiences I had in the States and Canada.
Keep your eyes peeled for plenty more travel guides and tips coming soon.
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