We come across great hotels, local experiences, interesting flight routes, and food tips all the time. Instead of keeping these swoon-worthy discoveries to ourselves, we’ve taken note and reminded ourselves to share some of the ones that really made an impression on our Travel Experts with you. Here are our top picks and best-ofs in Europe and the U.S.
Hotel Zephyr, SAN FRANCISCO
When you look out the window of your guest room at Hotel Zephyr, you’re treated to the panoramic views of San Francisco’s golden skyline and bay. In the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf, the waterfront pet-friendly Hotel Zephyr brings you inviting spaces to eat, drink, and play under the attention of a guest services staff that can anticipate how to make a great stay even greater.
The on-site food truck aptly named The Camper, serves sustainable, locally-sourced fast food paired with local California wines and craft beer from this refashioned 18-foot vintage Shasta.
Staying at the Hotel Zephyr is the perfect place to rest your head and wind down between sightseeing and exploring the City by the Bay.
Best Local Experience
Table D’Hote Creole dinner in the Big Easy, NEW ORLEANS
Southern Hospitality is the way of life in New Orleans. Mouthwatering, peppery Louisiana Creole jambalaya, Cajun po’ boys served on freshly made baguettes with fluffy insides, toasted crust and fried shrimp, seafood, or chicken. In the French Quarter, Antoine’s is best known for their oysters, particularly the Oysters Rockefeller, a dish created in 1899 served with the richest original sauce named after John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in America at the time. There is great pride taken into the cuisine here in New Orleans, a spectacular showcase of recipes that date back over 100 years, passed down from generation to generation. Sit down at the Court of Two Sisters for a table d’hote Creole dinner in the Big Easy and taste for yourself!
Best Up & Coming City and One to Watch Out For
The southern charm is real. The sway of the sleepy Spanish moss trees, the slow deliberate southern drawls, the elegance of grand colonial homes. Every turn around every corner in this coastal town reveals another alluring and romantic character trait. In contrast, or perhaps in line with the good nature of folks in this part of the south, locals are privileged with an open-container law, which permits drinking cocktails and alcoholic beverages out in the open outside of licensed establishments. So go ahead and feel free to responsibly put your 18-ounce strawb-erita in a to-go cup and take it with you on your way to delight in the old world charm of the Historic District, the city’s open marketplace, where you can rummage through and purchase locally made art, enjoy a latte, and shop.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
If you can swing a layover in Prague, you’re definitely going to want to leave your terminal and get on the ground running to see as much as you can in the short period of time you’re there for. With the currency exchange (one Canadian dollar buys you 17 Czech Koruna), transportation, tours, and food is an affordable sidetrip that won’t empty your pockets.
Sights nearby the Prague international airport are less than half an hour away by cab ride and will take to the footsteps of the gothic Charles Bridge that connects the Old Town to Mala Strana, one of the main historic centres; the historic Baroque Prague Castle which will give you prize hilltop views of the city and Vlatva River; and the iconic 10th century Old Town Square, Prague’s original city centre and venue for one of its largest Christmas markets in the winter.
Travel tip: in terminal one of the Prague international airport, there is a convenient facility where you can leave your luggage for up to 24 hours!
Best Food & Drink
Pok Pok PDX, PORTLAND
Pok Pok PDX is a Southeast Asia inspired eatery that originated in Portland which has grown with five additional locations across the United States. With dishes like Papaya Pok Pok, a Thai-style spicy green papaya salad with tomatoes, Thai chili and lime juice, and Kai Yaang, a charcoal roasted lemongrass chicken, you will probably want to come back for seconds at this sit-down family style restaurant.
Our Travel Expert Tessa Schneider can vouch for the fresh, delicious cuisine and location:
“Great casual Thai place on SE Division Street in Portland! Northern Thailand pub/street style fare that is sure to please! The restaurant itself is half on the street and half in the basement of a Portland-esque home, sure to fit anyone’s dining style.”
Best 2-city Stay
PARIS & ICELAND
We teamed up with Icelandair to create a special tailor-made Fare of the Month valid all of July. Paris and Reykjavik are the perfect pair of mystery and smoulder, love and romance, and surprise and intrigue. Consider booking this irresistible fare to the City of Fire and Ice and the City of Light.
Icelandair operates daily service out of many major Canadian cities like Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, and Halifax. If you don’t live in one of these gateways, our Travel Experts can help you find a fare from almost any city in Canada!
Top Shopping District
Oxford Street & Covent Garden Market LONDON, ENGLAND
Londoners have a distinct style as cool and laid back as the city itself. Whether pieces are curated from second-hand shops, flea markets, high street or high end, Londoners know how and where to shop. Head to Harrods department store and peruse this iconic landmark. Stroll down Oxford Street for even more shops and department stores like Selfridges, Primark, and Topshop. Carnaby Street has been an iconic shopping area since the 1960s; a maze of 13 streets and over 150 shops, restaurants, pubs, boutiques, and designer names. London’s markets are also a goldmine for treasures. Check out a 19th-century piazza in Covent Garden Market, one of London’s most popular markets packed with shops, antiques, clothes, and more.
Best Neighbourhood to Check Out
Brooklyn, NEW YORK CITY
Effortlessly cool, Brooklyn is easily the hippest of all five boroughs. Head over to East River Park on the waterfront and peruse the artisanal food and drink stall set ups made by over 100 vendors, many local. Enjoy a craft brew from a rooftop bar, immerse yourself in the Williamsburg art scene, or shake things up on Coney Island. Curate a few vintage finds in one of the many second-hand shops and give one of these recycled treasures a second life. Tap into the craft beer scene on an Urban Adventures tour with a local Brooklyn guide and a few new friends and sample a selection of craft beers while you learn about their history and production.
Best Tour Operator for an Unforgettable Experience
G Adventures National Geographic Journeys
If you’re looking for a premium line of tours with high end and unique accommodations, private transportation, all the freedom to roam, and the structure and security of small group travel, G Adventures National Geographic Journeys will change the way you travel. But not only will the indulgence of upgraded creature comforts make you feel more at home on the road, but these G tours take you to far-off places beyond the surface of what you see, and deep into the culture and habitats of your destination. You’ll get unique opportunities like the chance to meet and speak with historians, marine biologists, photographers, Buddhist monks, and chefs; enjoy more sit-down meals at restaurants and with local families and more. Local accommodations are a bit of a step-up from the standard and include modern hotels, boutique guesthouses, and heritage homes. National Geographic tours have you experience the world around you and promise adventure, enhanced.
Looking to make your way across the border or the pond to experience some of our top picks? For a limited time, we’re offering up to $100* off select vacations to the US and Europe! Contact your local Flight Centre travel agent by connecting with us online, calling 1-855-796-8359, or visiting your closest Flight Centre store.