Layover Life: 52 hours in Chicago, U.S.A

Ahh, the windy city! Chicago, U.S.A has been on my bucket list for quite sometime. I have family there and was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit back in February (late post, oops).

There is a lot to do in the city, but with my family’s background in professional hockey, there was no way I was going to miss an NHL game! My uncle was able to get us seats in the Chicago Blackhawks Alumni Box for the evening I arrived. He played for them back in the day and I was glad that I got to share in the excitement of the game with him.

If you have never experienced an NHL game before, you’re missing out! The atmosphere is incredible- fans roaring, whistles blowing, pucks flying… it’s a great experience! (The Chicago Blackhawks ended up winning against the St. Louis Blues 4-2 that night too).

The following day, I met up with the crew and we ventured downtown together. We managed to navigate the subway and went straight to 360 Chicago located in the John Hancock Center. It was completed in 1970 and was originally conceived to be the world’s second tallest building. It is composed of 100 floors, the 94th being the observatory where we walked around. We also participated in Tilt, the newest attraction that tilts you outside of the building!

Following our visit there we made our way to Cloud Gate, also known as “the bean”. This attraction in particular was one that I have been wanting to visit for ages. I finally got to take a picture with it! Yay!

Shortly after, I went back to the hotel to meet my family for dinner that evening. We went to Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse & Bar in Rosemont; a famous Chicago hot spot that my uncle frequents. It’s popular amongst celebrities, athletes and sports fans. Definitely a must visit place!

My last day in Chicago was spent resting. As much as I wanted to leave the hotel room to go shopping, my body was telling me otherwise. I’m glad I took that time to rest up, because I ended up really needing it in the end! This is what lead to my roster changes in March.

Next Stop: Cape Town, South Africa

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company.

Layover Life: New York City, U.S.A

Ahhh, the hustle and bustle of New York. At first glance it appears to be a concrete jungle with soaring skyscrapers, bright lights and yellow taxis- but if you stop for a moment, you can see much more than that. There are many different people here, from all walks of life, running around to the tune of their own agendas. This diversity, in my opinion, is truly what makes this city so beautiful.

America was after all, founded on the premise of equal opportunity. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, you are welcomed here. It’s up to the people of this great nation to uphold these values, no matter who may be leading them.

This time around, I had the privilege of enjoying both a crisp New York evening in Times Square AND a snowy afternoon. I had a 37 hour layover (largely due to the weather) which gave me ample opportunity to eat, sleep and shop! I did all of my running around when we landed at night, and despite the heavy snowfall (of up to 14cm), I made it out of the hotel the next day with a fellow Canadian to grab food at my favourite restaurant; the Hard Rock Cafe! It’s been over a year since I’ve been in a snowstorm and I loved every minute of it!

Next Stop: Toronto, Canada for some time off!

Layover Life: New York City!

Ahhh, New York City! There’s so much to do here that I had a hard time deciding where I was going to go. Thankfully a friend of mine came to the Big Apple to meet me, so I didn’t have to make decisions on my own!

My layover was cut short due to the weather coming out of Dubai, but we still managed to visit Central Park, Times Square and two restaurants: Hard Rock Cafe and Tavern on the Green.

We arrived in NYC at about 7:00pm, and the first thing on my mind upon checking into our hotel was food (of course). With our hotel located a few blocks away from Times Square, we decided to venture that way for dinner. I have been to New York City before, so I knew exactly where I wanted to eat- Hard Rock Cafe. I love this chain, and want to visit each location across the globe. Why? The atmosphere, the staff, the food and the experience they provide their customers. I also LOVE rock music and the displays they have in their restaurants.

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Checking out Times Square!

Following dinner, we proceeded to walk around Times Square. Times Square is a major commercial intersection and neighborhood, brightly adorned with billboards and advertisements. It is one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections as it is constantly bustling with people.

There are tons of touristy shops in the Square that are worth checking out, as well as your typical branded stores. Considering that the DXB-JFK flight averages about 13 hours in duration, after all of this excitement we called it a night.

As soon as we woke up the next day, we ventured to Central Park. It was also a few blocks from our hotel. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States. Established in 1857 on 778 acres of land, it is also one of the most filmed locations in the world.

We were hoping to find a nice restaurant to have brunch, and we weren’t disappointed when we stumbled upon Tavern on the Green.  According to the restaurant’s website, it was originally designed by Calvert Vaux and built in 1870 to house the sheep that grazed in the park’s Sheep Meadow. It has been serving visitors since 1934 and centres its menu around local, seasonal ingredients. The food was delicious, and the venue itself was gorgeous. Take a look:

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How good does our brunch at Tavern on the Green look!? Eggs benedict, scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms and toast, complete with a mimosa and sparkling peach beverage.

Following brunch, we continued to walk around the park. There were musical performances, street vendors and lots of people out and about taking advantage of the beautiful day.

I’m really looking forward to flying back to NYC this week.

If you go: Definitely visit Times Square at night. It is beautifully lit and doesn’t have the same effect during the day. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from there too, but they’re all fairly pricy. Be prepared for that!

If you go to Central Park, brunch at Tavern on the Green is highly recommended. It is pricy too, but the experience is worth it. If you choose to dine there, you should make a reservation because it can get busy. You can also check out the menu before you’re like me and are hesitant to try something new!

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Walking the streets of New York City!

Next Up: New York, again! I recently spent a week off in Dubai and had a short layover in Chennai, India which I will be writing about shortly. Stay tuned!

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleDXB

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company. For the safety and security of Emirates staff, the name of the resort Cabin Crew stay at has been withheld.

Layover Life: Washington, D.C.

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the capital of the United States- Washington, D.C. Having received an undergraduate degree in political science, and having previously worked in political communications, this was probably one of the most exciting layovers I’ve had to date. It has always been a dream of mine to visit The White House, and it finally came true!

Our flight from Dubai arrived in Washington around 8:00am, so we decided to head downtown as soon as we settled into the hotel. Thankfully, the Metro was close to where we were staying, and we were able to get to Capitol Hill in 30 minutes.

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We made it to The White House!

As anxious as I was to venture around the city, food always comes first! We stumbled upon an Elephant and Castle after hopping off the train, and I couldn’t have been happier. Why? POUTINE WAS ON THE MENU! This classic “Canadian dish” is hard to find in Dubai, and everyone looks at me like I’m crazy whenever I try to find it on a menu.

Following our eats, we walked down to The White House and along Constitution Avenue- snapping some Instagram pictures along the way before calling it a day. There is a lot to do in the city, but when you have less then 24 hours it’s impossible to do everything.

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So much to do in downtown Washington, but not enough time. I’ll be back!

If you go,  my advice to you would be to plan your time accordingly. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on some things like we did. I didn’t get to see go ol’ Abraham Lincoln because we ran out of time!

Next stop: Mumbai, India (turnaround). I recently went to Madrid though, and will be posting about it in the next day or so!

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Twitter: @KelseyBelleDXB

Facebook: @LipstickAndLuggage

Instagram: @LipstickAndLuggage

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Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company. For the safety and security of Emirates staff, the name of the resort Cabin Crew stay at has been withheld.