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A Vegas Miracle - how I won $129,000 in my 3rd tournament ever
This is how I won $129,000 in my 3rd ever poker tournament. Note: don't try this, it probably won't turn out well for you. I spent about 6 months grinding up a $5,000 bankroll playing home/casino games ranging from .5/1 to 1/3. The week that I hit that $5,000 mark, Matt, one of my best friends from college informed me that his job had placed him in Las Vegas for the next month and that I could crash with him for a few nights if I wanted to come on out west. I had frequent flyer miles for the flight and some Mlife/Fremont hotel comps for the rest of the trip. My grand total for flight and lodging for 10 days came to $200. Now, I’m not going to bore you guys with low-level cash hand histories. The next 10 days were filled with me playing lowstakes poker for 10-12 hours a day. It’s as fun as it sounds – it’s not. I was having a good time in Vegas otherwise – but towards the end of the trip I had a realization: 1/2’s the same everywhere. I didn’t have to fly out to the desert to raise to $7 preflop. After 10 days, my grand total from poker (and a fair amount of dumb degenerate shit on Fremont) was -$186. That wasn’t what I came out to do — I knew that I was a better player than my recent results had indicated. The morning of my return flight, I decided I was going to play tournaments until I either busted my $5,000 bankroll or hit something worthwhile. I impulsively decided to not get on my plane at 11:30am. Checkout time from Luxor was at 11:00 – and I didn’t know where I was going yet. I had 30 minutes to pack up my stuff and figure out where I was going before they’d charge me a fee. I sorted TripAdvisor by cheapest first – I’ve stayed in crappy hostels/motels before and overall am a very low maintenance person. I figured that by staying somewhere for $20 a night, I’d be able to maximize the amount of shots I could take before flying back home. I accepted that there was a real chance I’d go back broke – but I didn’t really care. If I didn’t take my shot now, then when? I booked the cheapest bed in Vegas - a 6-person shared hostel just past the Stratosphere. Let's just say you get what you pay for — it was not a happy place. A fair amount of the people in there were bordering on homelessness and there was barbed wire surrounding their outdoor gym. In addition to this, I had the constant stress of knowing that all that separated my bankroll from the rest of my roommates was a tiny lock. I took the Deuce to the strip, lived off food comps, and turned down invites from my friends to hang out. I was in town to play poker, nothing else. Disclaimer: I had never played tournaments prior to heading out to Vegas. My only knowledge of hand ranges was from watching televised events. I downloaded a free Nash chart app on my phone while on the Deuce to the strip and studied it for 5 minutes – whatever, I get the jist of it. Let’s play some cards. The first day of doing this I played the $140 daily at the Aria. Top 13 spots paid -- I finished in 15th. It was depressing to say the least — I felt as if I was at rock bottom. Before the first night of sleeping at the hostel I called the airline to see if I could get on the flight that I had deliberately missed the day prior. I couldn't. I made it my goal to at least cash something so that I could get a decent hotel room. I couldn’t have slept more than 2-3 hours the first night there. One of my roommates was loudly vomiting all night, the sheets itched, and I was going through an existential crisis... like dude, you’ve got a finance degree and you’re really doing this shit? While on the bus to the strip, I opened Poker Atlas and saw that there was a $200 satellite to win a seat into the $1,600 Venetian main event. I decided that I was going to go take a shot at that. I was at risk twice in the satellite but after studying the GTO method on how to win coinflips, I persevered and won a seat to the main. The first day was surreal – once again, I was running on minimal sleep due to my housing arrangements, but I remember the following hands from day 1:
Button opens to 2.2x, I’m in the BB with Q9cc. SB folds, we go HU to a flop of 832c. He c-bets, I call. Turn 4x, x/x. River Ax. I check, he bets, I x/r to like 3x his bet, he insta folds. I take it down and show air.
UTG+1 opens, MP calls, I flat on the button with K10ss. 3 ways to a flop of Qs43xx. UTG+1 bets 40% pot, MP calls, I call. Turn is the Js. UTG+1 bets 60% pot, MP calls, I flat. River comes the 8s. UTG+1 snap bets 80%. MP flats, I flat. I announce king high flush, they both muck.
Folds to the SB, he limps, I look down at Q10o, and check. Flop comes KQ6r. He leads 35%, I call. Turn 10. He bets, I call. River comes a J. He bets, I tank for about 45 seconds then flick in a call, he shows 76o… ship it.
The average stack after day 1 was around 40k, I bagged like 65k. I walked back to the Deuce stop outside of the Venetian and headed on my 30 minute ride back home. I kept thinking to myself, someone’s gotta win this thing, why not me? I had to get in the money for this tournament to be able to get the fuck out of there. A min cash here was over $3k – that was more than enough for me to get a suite on Fremont for a few nights and party for a bit, then get home with my head held high. Day 2: I get up at 7am after already being completely awake for the past 4 hours. There’s no way I slept more than 3 hours last night. I hit the Denny’s by the Stratosphere then get on the Deuce. I get to the Venetian and feel like I’m about to fall asleep. I go to the self-serve coffee/tea dispenser in the middle of the room and make myself an iced coffee. I get to my table, and the cocktail waitress comes around. I ask for another iced coffee and toss her a fiver. Here are some highlights from the 1st half of day 2:
I open 97ss on the button, BB flats. Flop comes AK3s. BB checks, I bet 35%. He throws out a 5k chip – which I interpret as a x/r to my bet. I groan, make a joke about it being the first hand of the day, and start to muck. The dealer stops my cards midway before hitting the muck, and informs me that he didn’t raise, that he called my flop bet. Everyone laughs, I go silent and wait for him to make change. Turn is the 2s. He thinks for a second and bets 30%. I tank for like 30 seconds, then flat. River is a blank. He thinks for a second, then checks. I bet like 30% pot. He tells me that I’m an angle shooter and mucks. I tell him I’m not an angle shooter and show my 9 high. Everyone laughs, we get on with playing.
CO opens, I 3b 87dd in the SB to 4x, he flats. Flop comes 1032d. I check, he checks. Turn is the 6d. I bet 55% pot, he flats. River comes the Kd. I bet 60%, he tanks, tells me he thinks I backdoored diamonds, then folds. Damn, these players are pretty good.
I open KK UTG to 2.5x, UTG +1 flats. Heads up to a flop of K43r. x/x. Turn 8, I bet 40% pot, he calls. River 3, I bet 80% pot, he tanks, then calls with AK.
I bring my 3 racks of chips to the new table and immediately get some comments – whatever, I’m just on a heater, it happens. At this point, my body was giving out. I was trying my hardest not to fall asleep in between every hand. Cutoff opens, I’m in the SB, I look down at KK. I put in the 3b, folds back to him. He puts in a healthy 4. We’re the two big stacks at the table – I’d guess he was 50bb effective while I was around 65bb. God damn, am I good enough to fold kings here? No, I’m not. I shove, he snaps, I know that I’ve just fucked up my tournament. He shows the aces. The dealer puts a king in the window, and I hold. I’m for sure the chip leader now. I lose a few 40/60 and 60/40 flips and chip down a bit. I still have a very healthy stack, probably around 80bb. The next 3 hands are from the second half of day 2:
Aggro Asian guy on the button. Folds to him, he opens to 2.2x, SB folds, I look down at 43ss and raise to 7.5x, he flats.
Flop comes 894cc. I check, he bets, I call. Turn’s another 9. I check, he bets 75% pot, I call. River’s the 10c. I check, he bets 1.2x pot. I ask the dealer for a count of the bet – meanwhile, villain looks like he’s going to shit himself. I flick in a chip, he throws down KcQx. I laugh a little, show my 43ss, and obnoxiously say ship it.
I open KQo UTG+1, MP 3bets me. I figure that a 4b from UTG+1 could take it down a fair amount of the time, so I decide to go for it. He thinks for a second and flats.
Flop comes AK4r. I check, he checks back. Turn is a 6, goes x/x again. River’s another brick. I put in a 30% value bet. He does a little grimace and tanks for like 20 seconds. It looks like he’s going to fold so I start verbally telling him that his queens are good. The dealer informs me that you’re not allowed to talk about your hand to another player. I inform him that I’m not talking about my hand, I’m talking about villains’ hand. Dealer laughs and lets me continue to antagonize villain. MP starts talking back, asking if I’m really bluffing. I inform him that once he folds, I’ll show the bluff. He ends up calling, I snap show, he pays me then gets up from the table to go for a walk.
We’re playing 6 handed. UTG opens, MP flats, I flat TT on the button. 3 ways to a flop of AT9ccc. UTG bets 50% pot, MP folds, I put in a medium sized raise. He thinks about it and flats.
The turn is the Kd. He pauses for a second then checks. I figured AxKc was his most likely combo. I didn’t think he could fold AxKc to any sizing – I decide to overbet jam 2x pot. He tanks for like 5 min and eventually lets it go. He tells me later he folded AxKc. Nice fold sir. I finished day two 2nd in chips out of the 64 players remaining. More importantly, I was in the money. My friend Matt offered to give me a ride to the hostel to grab my stuff. On the way to the hostel I’m telling Matt how trash the place is and he’s kind of like yeah man, whatever, it can’t be that bad. We gather my belongings and head on out. Matt remarked to me that the hostel reminded him of jail mixed with a summer camp. I open a same night hotel app and see a room at the Four Queens available for $110. The lady at check in was nice enough – however, she informed me that the only room they had available at my price point was a smoking room overlooking the Fremont St. experience. I paid the $20 to upgrade to a non-smoking in the quiet part of the hotel. Vegas man, I swear. It’s like 2am at this point -- I get to my room, sit on the bed and close my eyes. I open them and it’s 11:00am. Ah fuck man, I gotta get to the Venetian. I hop in the shower, brush my teeth, and freshen up. Even if I don’t have clean clothes, whatever, I’m second in the main, who cares. Some interesting hands from the first part of Day 3:
I had two inexcusable punts in this tournament. This is the first one: I open 5h5c from LP, BB calls. Flop comes J62hhh. x/x. Turn is a 4x. x, I bet 50% pot, BB jams 15bb. I called – and immediately realized I fucked up, big time. He had 2 big chips in his stack that I didn’t see, making his shove effectively like 25bb. In addition, I didn’t have the 5h, I had the 5d. I really didn’t ask for a count or double check my hole cards. Villain turns over 64o and holds. In my defense, I literally didn’t know what ICM meant at the time. Whoops.
Someone who I recognize from poker TV jams 22bb UTG. I’m in the CO with JJ, I ask him how much it is, he’s talkative and seems genuinely comfortable/down for me to call. I fold – I run into him a few days later at the Aria, he tells me he had AA there. I believe him.
CO opens, button instantly jams 30bb effective. I’m in the SB with TT and 25bb – live reads, we’re flipping. I call for all in my effective stack, CO folds, button has AQ. I hold. He’s not happy I called with tens. Oh well, sorry bro, gg.
MP opens, CO 3 bets to 7bb, button jams 20bb. I look down at 2 black aces in the big blind. I reshove, MP folds, CO calls off his 20bb stack. I’m up against AQ and QQ. I hold.
Even with my atrocious punt earlier in the day, I’m the chip leader again. We’re down to about 15 left in the field. UTG opens, I 3b AKo on the button, he jams 20bb, I call. He has 99, a king comes on the flop and he’s gone. It’s day 3 of the main and we’re playing 5 handed with 12 people left. Let’s fucking go.
Button opens to 2.5x, I’m in the BB with A8dd, I flat. Flop comes A104r, I check, he bets, I call. Turn is a 7, x/x. River A, I bet 1.2x pot. He tanks, calls, I show, I’m good.
CO opens to 2.5x, I’m in the BB with 108dd, I flat. Flop comes Kd4x2d, it goes x/x. Turn is a Kx, I check, he bets 60% pot, I flat. River is the 4d. I check, he bets pot. I tank and let it go. He tells me later he checked back a weak king on the flop.
SB completes, I’m in the BB with J9o and I check my option. Flop comes Q108r. The SB donks out into me for 60% pot. I flat. Turn comes a brick and he leads into me for 60% again. I raise to 3.5x his turn bet, he thinks for a while then flats. River is another brick. He bets 80% pot into me. I tank for a while, then shove. He starts laughing and folds QQ face up.
Less than a week ago I was grinding buffet comps at Planet Hollywood. Now I have guys correctly folding top set to me. I’ve made it to the final table. I pick up a few small pots and the two shortstacks at the table get eliminated in quick succession. This is without a doubt the most pointless and just plain out stupid punt of my entire life: I open J2dd on the button into a ~18bb SB and a GTO robot with mid 7 figures in career earnings in the BB. Don’t do this, this is quite literally lighting money on fire. SB folds, BB flats. Flop comes Kh8h3d. I cbet, BB calls. Turn is the Kd, goes x/x. River comes a 7h, he leads into me for half pot. Whatever, I’m going for it – I put in a raise. He thinks for all of 5 seconds then calls me with KQh. Wow, I just punted away $50,000 in ICM. Jesus Christ dude, what the fuck. For the next orbit or two, I’m clearly pissed at myself. I get up after my button and do a lap around the poker room – I’m good. The monkey tilt is gone, and I’m ready to get back to playing normal ranges. Anyway, nothing else really happens for a while – I look down at AKo UTG and raise it up. Folds around to the BB, he thinks for a while, then jams for about 20bb. I snap, he has AQo. I hold. I’m now second in chips. We go on a 10-minute break. When I get back to the table, the prospect of a 5-way chop comes up. We’re all tired – and the pay jumps are very significant. If you couldn’t tell from this story, I’m a degenerate, but in this spot, I’m willing to reduce variance a bit. We run the numbers and come to an agreement – we all agree to take a very slight ICM bump to give 1st place a bit more money than his stack is worth. I just won $129,000 -- huh? This was my second tournament cash – not too bad considering that it was my third tournament ever. Maybe I should start learning how to play MTT’s now. I take $124,000 in a check and $5,000 in cash. I’m leaving Vegas in 4 days and don’t plan on coming home with any of the cash. The winner of the tournament’s a pretty cool guy and he asks if I want to crash in his guest room tonight… like yeah, if that’s a real offer, I’m down. I pick up my toiletry bag from the Venetian concierge and we hit the Uber. The next morning Matt picks me up at his house – I hit the Chase bank and deposit the $124,000. I take Matt and my other friend, Spencer out to the Sterling Brunch over at Bally’s – the entire time, Spencer just kept repeating “Davis, what the fuck”. I don’t know dude, seriously, what the fuck. I get a suite at the D downtown that night and (very) long story short I end up hitting $100 on a number at roulette at 5am. It’s time for bed. Here’s a link to my Hendon Mob, verifying my tournament result. Hopefully I see some of you guys at the WSOP in 2021. https://pokerdb.thehendonmob.com/player.php?a=r&n=783521 Davis
Here is how to make the most of a one-week Mediterranean cruise and see as much of Europe that one can possibly manage in one week. I planned our cruise to minimize any unpleasant surprises and yet leave room to be spontaneous and adventurous. This article is not about cruise ships and you do not have to be a fan of cruises as my trip was mostly on land other than the overnight cruising. I felt that at the age of 57, I had delayed Europe long enough and with my busy business schedule, the cruise was the only way to get a snapshot of three countries and six cities in 10 days total, plus two days for flying from and to Canada. My wife does not like cruises, and I was left to travel with Lucas, our seventeen-year-old! In August 2018, Lucas and I flew to Barcelona, Spain, the embarking port for the Norwegian, Epic cruise ship. It was our very first time on a cruise and our very first time to Europe except for England. I do not recommend August or July for this trip as it is high season for local tourism, and it is too hot to walk the cities (well too hot for me). However, if you have kids in school, then you understand that it must be summer, unless you choose to go without them. Our ship would mostly cruise at nighttime giving us a full day from 7 am to 6 pm in most cities. That was perfect for me because there is only so much staring at water I can enjoy, and spending time in a tiny casino or eating non-stop are not my kind of pastime. If you are a cruise fan, then Norwegian Epic is great. They have about 10 wonderful restaurants, a superbly well-organized huge buffet with great selection of international food, a nice water park on the upper deck, and even a youth club with games, music, and dance to keep your teens entertained. Every evening after our long city walk, Lucas and I enjoyed a nice meal after our shower and then watched a show or a musical performance before we hit the sack in our comfortable balcony room. I do not like closed spaces and a balcony room was well worth the small difference in price, even though we did not have much time to be on the balcony. Epic was also completely renovated in 2015, which meant it was clean and up to date on amenities. Always check the year the ship was build or was renovated before committing to a cruise. Our cruise had stops in these cities: 1- Barcelona, Spain - embarking a. visit Gothic centre, La Rambla, La Sagrada Familia church, Park Güell, 2- Naples,Italy a. Rented a car and drove to Sorrento (an hour drive) 3- Rome, Italy a. Took the train to the city centre and then the city tour-bus to Vatican City, San Angelo Castle, Piazza di Spagna – drove past Colosseum 4- Florence and Pisa tower, Italy – walking tour, site seeing 5- Cannes and Nice,France – walking tour, site seeing 6- Mallorca (Majorca), Spain - took a taxi to Palma Nova beach, swam and chilled What to pack? We traveled very light with one carryon and a backpack. The backpack was for our extra stuff and NOT for touring the city. I do not recommend walking with a backpack, even less in the summer. Other than the usual travel items, here are some essentials I had to buy. 1- Light and cool walking shoes that were comfortable for walking and cool for summer. I bought a pair of nice leather sandals with good support and solid straps for walking. Also packed a pair of dress shoes for evening dinner on the ship and exercise shoes that I never used! 2- Summer shirts. I ordered some European collared Linen shirts. They look nice, are cool, and comfortable. www.bensherman.com has a good selection of those if you live in Canada or USA. Pack lots of tees for less formal places. 3- A couple of dress pants (linen and or khaki) for the evening restaurant and shows and dress shorts for long walks. 4- Beach sandal and swimming trunk for the Beach in Mallorca which I ended up buying in Cannes 5- Your credit card, Euro currency, and travel documents of course. Leave them in the safety box in your room and only take what you need for the day. Barcelona, Spain: We arrived Barcelona three days ahead of schedule to experience one city for more than just a day. We stayed at the Boutique Hotel Violeta (http://violetaboutique.com/home/) in the centre of the city and only three blocks from the Plaza Catalunya. It was the best and most centric location in my opinion. I loved the hotel. Violeta was a small hotel that reminded me of my apartment in Buenos Aires. The hotel is in a residential apartment building where they had turned two floors into hotel rooms. The Gothic architecture offered us a giant completely renovated room with a very high ceiling. We had two queen size beds in our room, a sitting area and plenty of open space. The reception was extremely helpful with information, and being small, made check-in a breeze. Violeta Boutique also included a European coffee and pastry breakfast but if you wanted an American breakfast, there was a small cafe next door on the street level and plenty of other options within a three-block radius. Our three days in Barcelona coincided with the Fiesta de Gracia (thanksgiving!) which was a 20-minute bus ride from Plaza Catalunya. I had bought a 10-ride Metro-Bus pass (Credit card size) from the Metro (subway, underground) station at Catalunya. Fiesta de Gracia was in the Garcia neighborhood where all the streets were colourfully decorated by the residents and live bands played all night on the streets and restaurants had set outdoor patios. The music was free, the food was reasonably priced, and people were jolly. It was my second favourite part of our time in Barcelona and we went there two evenings. Barcelona Gothic city From the airport, we took a bus straight to Plaza Catalunya (Plaça de Catalunya) in 20 minutes and then walked three blocks to our hotel. I had the hotel directions Googled (searched) in advance. I am fluent in Spanish (the Argentine version) so taking public transit was natural for me. Although Barcelona is a destination for international tourism and most people in the industry seem to speak English. I bought a SIM card for my phone (which was unlocked in advance) at the airport for €30 from Vodafone (https://www.vodafone.com/) that gave me 10 Gig of mobile data covering most of Europe for up to a month. It did not include coverage on the cruise ship. La Rambla and the old Gothic city in Barcelona were 10 to 15-minute walk from our hotel or Plaza Catalunya. You want to spend half a day walking this area, watching the beautiful shops, the narrow streets of Gothic centre and try a street café or restaurant. La Sagrada Familia is a must see for its architecture alone. We took a bus there, but you must purchase tickets in advance if you plan to go inside on a specific day and skip the long lineup. This is another half-day venture unless you want to tour the outside which is fascinating enough. I found it amazing to see how much craft and detail was offered to decorate the exterior of the building. It is no wonder that the new extension brings a modern and plain contrast that just does not quite match the elegance and masterful craftsmanship of the old. https://preview.redd.it/vtg8evyjdv851.jpg?width=3024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=777149d10c02a875134f6fab5d5ae73072cbf3b7 Park Guell is another 20-minute bus ride to the higher altitudes of Barcelona. It is a beautiful park with some very interesting structures left behind. It was a good half-day break from the city to relax and enjoy the nature. You can also see the entire city from the top. Restaurant can be pricey in the touristy Plaça de Catalunya area. I managed to venture a couple of blocks off the main streets and find some local small restaurants. We had a great satisfying meal at a fantastic price and mingled with the residents. I even found a little Italian owned pizza place! Of course, we also tried the more refined tapas restaurants. After all, we were tourists. Naples, Italy: The longest leg of our cruise was from Barcelona to Naples which took a full day at sea. That was perfect because it provided us the opportunity to navigate the ship and the amenities, learn the evening programs, browse the list of restaurants, and to start our reservations. I did not think that Naples had enough to interest me for the whole day and I hungered to see the Amalfi coast. Amalfi coast was too far for a day trip, so I decided that Sorrento and maybe Positano would be close enough. I rented a car from Hertz in advance which was a five-minute walk from the port. The car cost me about $150 Canadian, tax included! Luckily, I still remembered how to drive standard transmission (stick-shift). We made it to Sorrento on the scenic highway with no problem. Traffic did slow at some points giving the driver (me) an opportunity to enjoy the scenery. About 10 minutes before arriving, atop the hills on the narrow road that took us to Sorrento, I found a little space to park the car and breath-in the fresh view of Sorrento waterfront. We could see the sail boats floating on the Mediterranean blue water, and the colourful little houses built on the slope of the hill from the top all the way to the sea. The buildings were in so many colours as if the quaint Sorrento were architected by Michelangelo to be lived by DaVinci’s Mona Lisa. Sorrento from the road top Sorrento was so beautiful that we spent the entire day there. We parked the car in an underground parking across to Gran Hotel Europa Palace (www.europapalace.com) on the hilltop. We must have spend about 45 minutes roaming the exterior of the hotel, admiring the architecture and the impressive iron gate, and then spending time on the back patio taking a closer look at the colourful buildings on the hill rolling down to the water. There were stone walking paths from the houses to the water where a giant deck with seats and shades turned the sea into a giant public pool. Sorrento Hotel The ladies in reception were extremely helpful offering us information and allowing me to charge my mobile since I had forgotten my charger! According to one of them, the German war maps were still on the lobby walks behind the giant paintings at this fortress (now hotel). I wanted to go down to the waterfront for lunch. So, the nice lady called her friend, the owner of a restaurant on the waterfront, and they sent us a car at no charge and after lunch they drove us back. The ride to the water was through narrow winding streets of Sorrento. After lunch we took a walk along the harbour and watched the sail boats rock on calm waters. I would like to spend a week or more in Southern Italy some day. I forgot to mention that my cousin lives in Naples working on his PhD. He was our translator for the day. This was our first encounter in forty years (that is a sad tale that should not ruin this travel story). On the way back, we sat in a very nice café in Naples and had an amazing coffee and pastry before heading back to our ship. Italian pastry is the best, with my apology to mom and all the Persians. Sorrento harbour Rome, Italy: The port for Rome is in Civitavecchia, an hour drive from Rome. A tour purchased from the cruise would have been around $300 CDN per person. I like to think that I am adventurous and enjoy experimenting the local ways as much as I can. However, I understand that you may think that I am just cheap. I am fine with that. My son (Lucas) and I took a five-minute bus ride to the train station and paid €10 each to take the fast train to Rome. I love trains a lot more than buses. We could have ventured Rome with local transit; however, our time was limited and we could not afford any time asking for directions. If I recall accurately, the daily hop-on-hop-off city tour was about €20 per person. To visit Rome and only spend one day should be a crime but a snapshot to calm my itching curiosity was the deal I had taken. I would say that Rome and Vatican City would require at least a week. There are many ancient Basilicas other than St. Peter’s each offering a unique history and that alone is well worth a week for me. The bus passed by the Colosseum, check mark. We were heading to the Vatican City knowing well that we may not make it inside. After all, Vatical city is a day by itself. The bus dropped us a few blocks away in front of San Angelo Castle also known as Mausoleum of Hadrianhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castel_Sant%27Angelo. The castle was a tall cylinder-like giant stone building walled all around like a fortress. I thought we would take a quick tour of the place at €15 (it was free for minors “Lucas”). We ended up spending over two hours admiring the decorated walls and ceilings with painting that were full of stories, and the museum items there were placed in its numerous rooms. We climbed many rocky stairs all the way to the top of this tallest structure in Rome, ventured the narrow hallways and took some pictures on the roof. San Angelo Castle The entrance to Vatican City was a ten-minute walk. Before crossing the bridge over Tiber (Tevere) we sat on the patio of a river-side food booth to have a snack. We walked to Vatican City and spent an hour in St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) observing the architecture, the elegantly attired Guards, the crowd lining up and the shops that lure the tourist. We took the tour bus back to Piazza di Espagna. This was the cleanest, most modern, and prettiest part of the city that our eyes had seen in the past few hours. The bus left us on the upper escalation of the Piazza where I took some pictures before descending the steep long set of steps into the centre of the shops and restaurants. We walked for about an hour window shopping and then found a restaurant patio in a pedestrian intersection. It was a touristy area but still reasonably priced. We certainly could give ourselves this one treat before heading back to the train station for our hour and twenty-minute ride back. Piazza di Espagna Total cost of our Rome venture including transportation, admissions, and food (for two) was €150. Lunch was the biggest expense. ** Picture Florence and Pisa, Italy: Another restaurant and show evening aboard the Norwegian Epic, and we arrived in Florence (port of Livorno) early morning. Getting to Florence by public transit was too complicated. A car ride from port of Livorno to Florence was about 90 minutes and to Pisa around 30 minutes. I was lucky to find a private mini-van taxi (a brand new eight-seater Mercedes) that needed two more passengers to get going. At €50 per person to take us to Florence and then Pisa and back, it was a great deal. This deal could have been booked online in advance for €40. A lesson learned here. The other people sharing our ride were a family of four from Montreal, and a mother-son pair from Los Angles. Everyone was very reserved and quiet. Lucas and I sat in the front with the driver and I spend the entire trip learning from our friendly driver. Florence is beautiful and quaint. However, I thought I had enough architecture in Rome and did not feel like lining up for an hour to see another church. We took a walking tour of Florence and had a meal at small sandwich joint run by two very funny and entertaining ladies. They offered a great selection of artisanal sandwiches, but almost two years later now, I cannot remember what I ate. Pisa was another little town walled all around. I can imagine the great length the leaders had to go to protect people from attacks and we so often take our freedom for granted. Of course, we must protect ourselves from partisan politics and corporate lawyers, but that is easily manageable. At this point of the trip, I had enough sight seeing. I would have been good with a video of Pisa on YouTube. Here is a picture of the magnificent but defected marble structure. Florence Residents sunbathing in Florence Pisa Canes and Nice, France: Canes, France was physically the most beautiful city on this trip, in my opinion. It was manicured clean and peaceful. Canes did not have a port for the cruise ships, hence we had to anchor in the sea and take the emergency boats to the shore. The emergency boats were giant, and each held about 200 people. We had a short time here and we were tired. I should have taken a tour bus, but my sense of adventure (or cheapness) had us walking up the steep and narrow winding street and then back down to the city centre for a bite. I found a small sandwich shop to share a ham and cheese baguette and a couple of drinks with Lucas. In my broken French, I asked the young lady behind the counter if she could cut the baguette in half for us and she gave me a stern “Non”. I am not certain whether that was a lack of courtesy or I had crossed some religious or cultural boundaries. It was simple enough to split the baguette with me hand. We should have continued our tour of the city and stayed in Canes as I had advised our friends from Quebec. However, a sudden urge came over me to take the train to Nice. We did, and Nice’s downtown and beach area were beautiful to walk; however, the injustice I did to my own principals of travelling is unforgivable. The whole day was just too rushed and consuming. Canes, City Market Mallorca (Majorca) Spain: The trip from Canes to Mallorca was the second longest leg of the cruise. We arrived Mallorca around 1 pm giving us roughly five hours on the Island. After seven days of walking the cities in the heat of August, even the young Lucas was exhausted. The port in Mallorca was not walking distance to any interesting place and Lucas wished to spend the day at a beach. Great idea, I thought. I Googled the most scenic beaches nearby and Palma Nova was the second choice but the only feasible option due to our limited time. We had a brief line up for a taxi right at the port. There was a family of five from Peru from our cruise in front of us in the lineup and they could not all fit into one taxi. I invited the grandpa of the family to come with us since they were heading to the same beach. Grandpa was a good companion and an opportunity for me to learn about Peru. We agreed on a time for going back together and then split to our ventures. Palma Nova was perfect to spend a day. The beach had the right amount of crowd and was decorated by some rocky hills on one side for us to take a walk in between swims. The water was perfectly tempered, calm, and clear blue. There were no high rises nor big tourist hotels on this beach and plenty of restaurants and shops. For lunch we crossed the street on the beach to a patio and I shared a nice pizza and drinks for €12. We paid €15 for the bamboo umbrella and two chairs to have our spot on the beach and about €35 total for the taxi ride back and forth. That brings our total to €62 for a beautiful relaxing day in Majorca. Palma Nova beach, Mallorca I would like to spend a week in Mallorca. There are many scenic quaint towns and beautiful beaches to enjoy. If you are interested to know more, you can search for Palma, Sóller, Valldemossa, and Pollença. All these are on the west side of the island and within an hour drive from Palma. I would stay in Palma and make day trips to each of these towns. If you are a tennis fan, then you will probably add Rafael Nadal’s academy (https://www.rafanadalacademy.com/en) to the list, which is about an hour drive east of Palma. Palma Nova beach, Majorca Our last night on the cruise was concluded by a beautiful three course meal and listening to a live band on the middle deck’s lobby. There was a talented singer among the passengers and a few great dancers on board who joined the performance. It was a great way to end the cruise. We arrived Barcelona early morning, well rested, with a fresh shower and a full tummy. We found a taxi and headed straight to the airport to catch our noon flight back to Toronto without rush. I suppose my project management trainings mixed with my entrepreneurial nature, made a perfect schedule for the trip. You can check out www.pmi.org if you are interested in formalizing your skills for time and budget management.
Ballpark Village is ringing in this New Year with added entertainment featuring the region's best DJ's along with the Pop 2000 tour hosted by Chris Kirkpatrick of *NYSNC with performances by O-Town, Ryan Cabrera & LFO's Brad Fischetti.
Brennan’s Work & Leisure and Anti-Agency invite you on a space odyssey to celebrate the New Year, 2020.
Once aboard the ship, enjoy a premium bar selection, heavy appetizers of the future by Chef Josh Galliano (Companion Bakery, The Libertine) and interstellar desserts by Pastry Chef Tai Davis. Groove to the night's soundscape provided by DJ Black Guy, then step into the Zero Gravity Live Feed Photo Booth to send evidence of your journey back home.
All passengers must report to the orbiter near midnight for a live music performance, projection show and champagne toast to the New Year. Dress: modern cocktail attire / space shuttle launch
Casino Queen invites area residents to partake in one of St. Louis’ biggest parties of the decade during its New Year’s Eve celebration on Tuesday, December 31. Guests will enjoy a specialty buffet, live DJ cranking out the tunes on the casino floor, a countdown to midnight with party favors for all and exclusive prize giveaways throughout the evening.
Dress to impress for 7th Annual New Year's Eve Ball at The Chase Park Plaza. The celebration takes place in the legendary Khorassan Ballroom and will feature musical performances of DJ Greasy, Lamar Harris & The L, and a Frank Sinatra tribute.
Also, the event will have a premium open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres, a balloon drop, and a champagne toast at midnight.
On New Year's Eve, Evangeline’s Bistro and Music House will host live music of all genres beginning at 6 p.m. until 12:45 a.m. The restaurant's full menu is served until 10 p.m. with a complimentary appetizer buffet from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and a champagne toast at midnight. No cover; cash bar. Tuesday, December 31, 6 p.m. to 12:45 a.m.
Your evening begins with a three-course, prix fixe dinner at the swanky Union 30 restaurant in Hotel Saint Louis, where options include a 30-ounce tomahawk ribeye, a 24-ounce dry-aged sous vide pork chop, or king crab legs. The $125 price includes admission to the NYE Blast at FORM Skybar on the 14th floor, which will host the Kim Massie Band, an open premium bar, and an appetizer buffet. There’s no charge for the prime view of the fireworks show at Kiener Plaza
In one of the most picturesque locations in all of Downtown St. Louis, meet us in the exclusive Sky Lobby to ring in the New Year. Recreating the eclectic energy of New York City, join us to watch the ball drop under the stars at midnight and move your feet to Spanky's Dueling Piano!
Ring in the new year with a view of the magnificent St. Louis skyline at this party cruise hosted by the Gateway Arch Riverboats. Featuring an elegant three-course dinner, open bar, DJ entertainment and a midnight champagne toast, the fun kicks off at 9 p.m. Reservations required.
Ring in the New Year with an evening filled with laughter courtesy of Ryan Niemiller! Skip the chaos of the bars and enjoy a special night with food and drinks from the comfort of our restaurant, bar, lounge, and showroom.
Ring in the new decade with two ballrooms with live music and fun at Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch’s Ultimate New Year’s Eve Party. The celebration will include a delicious dinner buffet, an open bar, photo booth, party favors and live music throughout the evening from Groovethang and Broseph.
One of the more appropriate places to ring in the new year and decade is POP, Dave and Kara Bailey’s bubbles bar and restaurant in Lafayette Square. This year, POP and Baileys’ Chocolate Bar (located upstairs) have teamed up to provide an all-inclusive celebration on December 31. The all-inclusive celebration begins at 9 p.m. Food stations include appetizers from POP and specialty desserts from Baileys’ Chocolate Bar. Tickets include beer, wine, bubbles, and cocktails, including chocolate martinis and dessert cocktails.
Music Director Stéphane Denève and the SLSO bring 2019 to a close at the BMO Wealth Management New Year’s Eve Celebration. Enjoy an evening of music and surprises at St. Louis’ best-kept secret. Bring family and friends together for this musical celebration you’ll remember throughout 2020.
Out with the old and in with a new decade. Celebrate with Tin Roof at their NYE "End of a Decade" Black and White Ball. Dress up in your best or come as you are and catch the best live music and DJ's around.
Celebrating NYE at Westport Social means you can play like a kid while partying like an adult. For just a $25 cover, guests can play the full range of games at the Westport Plaza watering hole while also indulging in a balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight and dance to live music.
Another year in the books and there’s no other holiday party like Wheelhouse NYE. And nothing is better than closing out 2019 and starting 2020 with you, your closest friends and WH doin’ what they all do best, wild out.
Brewery Lights is a family-friendly event, open to all ages at no cost. Guests can attend every Friday through Sunday, from 5 to 10 p.m.
Join others when they Flip The Switch on November 22nd with St. Louis Blues Captain, Alex Pietrangelo.
Witness and experience the magic of more than a million twinkling lights during the 34th annual Brewery Lights at the Anheuser-Busch St. Louis Brewery! Guests are invited to stroll down Pestalozzi Street to marvel as the brewery is turned into a remarkable holiday experience with something for everyone, including a Kids Zone.
Every holiday season, the neighbors of this Saint Louis Hills street transform this ordinary lane into a winter wonderland that most of St. Louis knows as “Candy Cane Lane.” Hundreds of strands of Christmas Lights are strung, inflatable snowmen and Christmas trees are blown up, wreaths are hung, and even sand displays are made. Every year, hundreds of family-packed cars drive down Candy Cane Lane to see the wonderful Holiday sights.
Your favorite Disney stories come to life at Disney On Ice presents Celebrate Memories, coming to Enterprise Center January 2-5! Sail along with Moana on her high-seas adventure and dance with Woody, Buzz and all the Toy Story friends. Feel inspired when love wins in Frozen and dreams come true for the Disney Princesses. Share the excitement and make new memories the whole family will treasure forever!
Learn the real science behind science fiction and mingle with others interested in the geekier side of life. Each month, First Friday features a different theme, hands-on activities, pub-style trivia, engaging presentations, photo opps for showing off your costume, and food and drink specials.
Garden Glow features a million lights surrounding visitors with a spectacle of unique installations amid some of the Garden’s most iconic locations. Enjoy interactive photo opportunities, traditional holiday music and festivities, delicious food and drinks and more as the Garden is transformed around you into a winter wonderland.
Santa will visit Garden Glow from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday nights from November 25 through December 17. (Note: Garden Glow is not open on Dec. 9.)
History was made on June 12, 2019. It’s a date that will forever live in St. Louis sports history. On that day, the St. Louis Blues hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time. On Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, the Missouri History Museum, in collaboration with the St. Louis Blues, will open History Made.
Featuring more than 20 artifacts on loan from the St. Louis Blues from the historic playoff run and the Stanley Cup Finals, History Made tells the story of the underdog team that took home the NHL’s highest honor and united its community in the process.
A dazzling winter spectacular featuring more than a million glittering lights, holiday entertainment, delicious seasonal treats, visits with Santa and many of our popular theme park rides. Combine holiday traditions with a thrilling family experience that is uniquely Six Flags.
Six Flags St. Louis extends its season and will be open weekends and select weekdays from November 23 through January 1, 2020 for this one-of-a-kind magical event.
A unique mix of holiday cheer with some of your favorite coasters & thrill rides makes Holiday in the Park a family tradition like no other. Meet Santa Claus in the North Pole or jump on Mind Eraser or Roar for a mid-winter rush. Then you can roast marshmallows near a cracking wood fire before you catch one of our many holiday shows.
Looking for somewhere new to get your party on this Holiday Season? For just a few weeks only, Oaked will be providing the very best in holiday-themed libations, good food, and an immersive atmosphere.
Housed in a historic brick building with almost 6,000 sq. feet of space (excluding the outdoor heated patio & bar), featuring 3 bars, and 2 levels of fun. Once inside, you’ll be transported to a Winter Wonderland and treated like family. Santa Claus will be on hand to spread holiday cheer and greet our guests as they arrive.
Oaked is located at 1031 Lynch St. St. Louis, MO 63118
Kwanzaa is a Swahili term that means “first fruits,” and this contemporary African-American holiday centers around the feast table of the harvest. A Kwanzaa ceremony highlights a day of storytelling, craft and jewelry displays, and authentic African drumming and musical performances.
It’s that time of year! The Loading Dock Bar & Grill in Grafton is gearing up for the Grand Re-Opening of their Ice Skating Rink on Saturday, November 23rd. Each November The Boatworks is transformed into a Winter Wonderland offering ice skating, s’mores tables, and a full menu and bar, that is sure to entertain adults and kids alike.
The rink will be open Friday, Saturday, & Sunday through March 8. 2020 with extended hours during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. Special events this year include a visit from Santa and a New Years Eve party.
Venue: Small Change 2800 Indiana Avenue St. Louis, MO 63118
Miracle is a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting. With kitschy holiday décor, professionally-developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best office party you’ve ever been to, Miracle is sure to get even the grouchiest grinch in the holiday spirit.
Guests will take a real train ride from St. Louis Union Station to the 'North Pole' and discover the magical journey of one boy's search for the real meaning of Christmas. The Train Ride departs from St. Louis Union Station for a 45-minute adventure to the North Pole. The train ride is promised to be filled with magic, songs, and cheer.
Soulard Farmers Market is located at 730 Carroll Street in St. Louis, Missouri, a half mile north of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. The market is open Wednesday through Saturday, year round. They feature locally grown and shipped in goods, including: produce, meats, cheeses, spices, gourmet kettle corn, flowers, baked goods, and general merchandise. There are also several different eateries that have many food options, which allows customers the convenience to grab a quick bite to eat and a drink while shopping.
Steinberg Skating Rink is the largest outdoor ice skating rink in the Midwest, offering public skating all day, everyday—including all holidays. Your skate admission is valid for all day. You may arrive at anytime during business hours & skate as long as you like.
Go "Up on the Rooftop" for a whimsical holiday cocktail pop-up experience with extreme decor and delicious seasonal drinks, small plates and more. Three Sixty at the top of the Hilton at the Ballpark overlooks the downtown lights and the glowing Gateway Arch. Cozy indoor spaces and outdoor patio fire pits.
Enjoy a stroll through more than one million twinkling lights at Winter Wonderland. Tickets are $6, not including MetroTix fees. Pre-registration is required. Dogs on a leash, cameras, strollers and wagons are all welcome. Desserts, hot chocolate, and other beverages will be available for purchase. Also, be on the lookout for a special visitor from the North Pole until 8:45 pm!
November 23 - January 26, 2019 (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays)
A favorite St. Louis winter tradition for all ages, the fourth annual Winterfest, presented by Bank of America and World Wide Technologies returns to Kiener Plaza and features a community ice rink, a Winter Market shopping district, reserved Igloo seating with Sugarfire table service and more exciting events than ever before.
Always check the Snow Report before coming out to Hidden Valley for updates on snow and tubing conditions. Skiing, snowboarding, and tubing are weather-dependent activities and conditions and hours are subject to change without notice.
Experience the Gateway to the West with Sofar! From The Grove to Cherokee Street to The Loop, they're reimagining live events through curated, secret performances in intimate settings. Come mingle with touring acts, local and international artists, fellow music lovers and our imaginative hosts.
Celebrated as one of today's most exciting and enduring orchestras, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, marking its 140th year with the 2019/2020 season and its first with Music Director Stéphane Denève. Widely considered one of the world's finest orchestras, the SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community connections – all in service to its mission of enriching lives through the power of music.
Just to let everyone know, Casino Rama has closed the Poker Room, and moved the tables into the main room. It's located near the center bar, where all the table games like Roulette and Craps are. I don't like it...noisy and distracting. You also get shoulder surfers wandering about and watching the games. It used to be that the poker area was for players only. PRO TIP: The Couchiching Buffet jumps their pricing at 4pm from $17 for lunch to $22 for dinner. Get there at 3:45pm, and dig into the freshly prepared Dinner dishes 15 minutes later, at Lunch prices. The salmon was fantastic. More news...rumour has it that Poker is coming back to the Blue Heron up in Port Perry in the fall. Session: Bought in for $200 about 6pm, and ran card-dead for 90 minutes, getting ground down by the blinds. Got down to $150 and packed up. Went to the room and watched TV for a bit. Came back down at 11pm and sat back down. There was a $2/$5 running, and (2) $1/$2 tables. Still pretty card-dead. The $2/$5 table broke and some players came over to the $1/$2, and they were opening up at $20-$30, which really helped my decision making. I was getting impatient, and tempted to play marginal hands in shitty position...but not at those prices. OTTH: I managed to bump my $150 up to roughly $220. Being card-dead, I had a very tight table image. UTG, I wake up with Q♥Q♦ and open to $6. Six callers. Flop comes J♦3♣J♣, and I check, waiting to see if anyone hit the Jack. Guy to my left bets $20, one caller, everyone else folds to me, and I call. Turn is the Q♣. Very nice...so I hide in the weeds, hoping someone spiked their flush. Check. The opener from last hand fires $25, one caller, and I call. River 6♦. Brick. I check again...putting more bait in the trap. The opener fires $45, again the same caller, and back to me. I hollywood for 10 or 15 seconds, and then shove for $129. The opener tanks, then calls, and the other player tanks, then folds. I take the pot, over $500. Sweet. MOST AMUSING HAND: Old guy and young guy are in a pot, the board is 99663. Old guy says "Whatcha got?". Young guy replies, "I have pocket 5's". Old guy flashes a 10-4, says, "I got nothin'," and throws them into the muck. LOL. One of the other players says, "Wait a sec," and the dealer replies, "Yeah, I saw it, too, but he mucked them so the hand is dead."
I just got back and a friend who is taking the exact same cruise and is also cost conscious asked me to give him all my lessons learned. I figured you all might benefit even if some of this information isn't strictly about cruising. I'm going to ask my travel companions to review it (first time in Hawaii and first time cruising) to see if they have anything to add.
Getting There And Getting Around
Air Fare With Southwest now offering tickets to Hawaii, I expect the competitive market to drop prices across the board but unless you are fortunate enough to live on the west coast in a city with flights that fly direct, air fare can be pricey. I had to get 4 people there round-trip (2 from rural Maine, 1 from Louisville Kentucky and 1 from the Baltimore/D.C. area). I ended up signing up for the Chase Sapphire credit card (annual fee waived for the first year) and the Alaska Airlines credit card that gave me a buy one/take one sign up offer. My total air fare cost was $2400. Besides the credit card, there was no secret other than monitoring the prices as far in advance as possible to see what typical prices are and then striking when there was a decent sale. I would also mention following Scott's Cheap Flights on the off chance a deal becomes available for when you were already planning on traveling. Ground Transportation We flew into Waikiki on Tuesday (cruise started on Saturday) so I got a rental car through Autoslash. The total cost for a mid-size for 4 days was $176 and ended up being from Alamo. While I feel this was a good deal as I had four people, if you're not 100% sure you will need it - you can probably get by with an Uber, taxi or even a hop on/off bus (see excursions later). Many excursions had an option for hotel pickup/drop-off. Probably the best deal I found was Star Taxi which only charged $25 for up to 4 people one-way to/from the cruise terminal and not much more for other locations. Call 1 hour before you need the service. Parking Parking is EXPENSIVE so be sure to do a lot of research if you plan on renting a vehicle.
General In your mind, you have this idea of what Hawaii is going to be like. Oahu (specifically Honolulu/Waikiki) is not it. It is very over developed and crowded. Many places are run-down because investors have purchased the property but have chosen to wait until conditions are more favorable to develop. There is a very large homeless population in Hawaii overall but I was shocked by the number of shanty towns and abandoned vehicles doubling as homes I saw on Oahu. Excursions
Snorkel-Cruise-Swim-Dolphins-Turtles - highly recommended (hint: This excursion may be cheaper directly with the vendor Dolphins And You - if you buy the photos, you will have to go to their Waikiki office later to pick them up and they will offer you a 10% discount on merchandise at that time).
Shark Dive - Unfortunately, this tour got canceled due to weather so I can't comment on it. Since it is on the north shore, the plan was to do an early morning adventure (when the water is calmest) and then spend the rest of the time exploring the beaches and surfers. (hints: You may be able to get this cheaper directly with the vendor North Shore Shark Adventures and if you drive, take one way to get there and another way to get back so you can experience more of the island).
Sunset Cruise & Show - The people I was going with had never cruised before so this was to get their feet wet so to speak. It was nice but not spectacular. You may be able to get it cheaper directly through the vendor Star Of Honolulu. On Fridays, they offer an extra hour for a nominal fee upgrade which includes fireworks. I didn't see the fireworks myself but several people I talked to said they are put on by a hotel and aren't anything special. (hint: If you drive, they will validate your parking ticket and parking will only be $4 instead of $18).
Waikiki Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off You can trade time for money and if you have time, this would be a much more cost effective solution to getting around and is very configurable (how many days of use, how many different lines, etc.)
Polynesian Culture Center - I had the Ambassador Luau Package With Circle Island Tour of Oahu. Pickup was at 8:30 in the morning and drop off wasn't until after 10 PM so it is a long day. If you do this one I have several recommendations. First, take it early in the trip because it includes a multi-day pass so you can go back at no charge for 3 more days and the Circle Island tour allows you to see some areas you may want to explore on your own. Second, you don't get food until 6 PM so be sure to eat breakfast first and plan the rest of the time accordingly (bring snacks for instance). The only thing I was disappointed in was the Diamond Head didn't actually drive up to the crater. Update After the initial post, I was reminded by mashel2811 of a few things. The PCC is Mormon owned/operated which has pros/cons. On the downside, there is no alcohol on-site and things overall tend on the conservative side. Not that I have an issue with that but if you're looking for authenticity then this would represent Polynesia post Christian missionaries. On the upside, it is a huge facility that truly will allow you to experience many of the cultures besides just Hawaii. Also, regardless of how you feel about religion, the money taken in from PCC helps to sponsor many students education from all over Polynesia. I had nothing to compare the luau to but I have heard from several other people that there are much better options (the luau at PCC is optional). The Breath Of Life was awesome.
Pearl Harbor (see the end of the cruise excursions)
You probably want a beach other than Waikiki due to the number of people - Hanauma Bay looked awesome. If you do decide to stay in Waikiki, walking the coastline towards Diamond Head is a better choice for the beach instead of around all the hotels. This is because in Hawaii, beach access and water is considered a public service (free)
What is and isn't expensive didn't make any sense. Eggs imported from the mainland were cheaper than eggs from Hawaii despite chickens EVERYWHERE but I was able to get a large jar of peanut butter for $1.89. The best place I found for groceries was Don Quijote and it had a free parking garage.
Souvenirs were much cheaper on other islands
It rains - almost daily - but not for long - don't let it fool you - WEAR sunscreen of at least SP50
Hydrate more than usual - especially if you're drinking beer like me
Updates From original post below
You can get insanely discounted Pearl Harbor tickets from recreation.gov but they sell out in 5 minutes. Exactly 7am Hawaii time they sell tickets for the next day or for 2 months out. Nothing in between. I recommend having 2-3 people trying it simultaneous for different time slots. The early tickets sell faster. Then the bus ride anywhere is $2.50 each. When you board the bus ask for a transfer ticket. The transfer ticket is good for two more rides for the next 2.5 hours. If you get out of PH within the time slot you can ride back for free.
There's a stand near Breakout Waikiki that is a hard sell timeshare sales pitch (couples only). If you're willing to sit through it, they give you $150 towards an excursion or a free meal and a $120 Visa gift card (as of March 2019). If you want the exact location, message me.
You may think being a Costco member will help you out on expenses and you're probably right but know that the busiest Costco in the world is on Oahu and they claim 1 in 4 people have membership so plan accordingly (think shopping for the latest toy on Christmas Eve)
Pride Of America
I have to be honest, this was hands down the most expensive cruise I have taken and it was the worst cruise ship. I had a great time but there was a lot left to be desired.
Entertainment was very underwhelming - I believe unlike other mass-market cruise lines, NCL's entertainers are on multi-month contracts just like other staff. This tends to be bad for entertainers like comedians (how many different sets can they have prepared) but should be better for magicians (you shouldn't have to rely on the suitcase you get through security at the airport). I have seen a Vegas quality magic show on NCL before (Norwegian Spirit last November) but this act was honestly no better than a birthday party. I could go on but I will summarize it as this: On Carnival, I struggle deciding what I am going to do because of so many good things where as on this ship, I struggled to find anything I actually wanted to do.
Beer prices were outrageous and included a mandatory 20% gratuity and since you spend a LOT of time in port, taxes too. In each port, I found a better selection of beer right off the ship for at least 20 - 30% cheaper than on the ship. If you do drink on the ship however, I highly recommend the Gold Rush Saloon as it has a couple of beers on tap you can't get anywhere else. It has a self-serve popcorn machine and is adjacent to the buffet so you can get self-serve ice cream too.
The food was mediocre (main dining quality was about the same as the buffet which was good but not great). I didn't spend the money to try any of the specialty dining.
Update: One thing that really stood out as being a good thing is that the room had 3 US standard outlets!!! Why Does It Cost So Much
There is no casino to subsidize the fare cost
It is a US Flag cruise ship which means it has to abide by US labor laws (this is an indirect result of the Jones Act as it doesn't travel to any foreign ports)
Hawaii not only has a sales tax but a tourist imposed General Excise Tax which of course NCL passes on to you
Exclusivity - unless you want an extremely sea day intense cruise from California, around Hawaii, to Mexico and then back to California (or similar) cruise - they're the only show in town
Hint: You should get the NCL Mobile App. It includes dinner reservations, account charges, dinner reservations, deck plans, passenger to passenger chat for an additional fee ($10 vs Carnival's $5) and other nifty features. Observations I was astounded by the number of first time cruisers I saw (based on their ship card color). Because so many of the employees were American, I was also surprised by how many told me that they were on their first contract and wouldn't be back. The people (both employees and passengers) were incredibly friendly and most everyone seemed to be having a good time. I didn't see long lines at guest services. I mentioned earlier how this was the worst ship I had been on - and, while true, shouldn't give you the impression that I didn't have a great time. For my traveling companions, they had nothing to compare it to and other than the entertainment - they had no complaints at all and loved it.
Day 1 & 2 Maui (overnight)
If you have ever been on a Caribbean cruise and you didn't feel like paying for an expensive excursion you could always just walk off the ship and go to a beach or a shopping district or a friendly bar - something. This is not the case in Maui. Where the Pride Of America docks there is absolutely nothing (it took 10 minutes to walk out of the port with chained link fence on both sides only to end up about another 10 minutes away from a strip mall). I do want to point out that the strip mall did have a few artisans selling things out on the sidewalk but this was far from what you will be used to at other locations. So what to do instead?
Rent a car if you want to go on your own - day rentals are common and you will be in port overnight. You will have to do your own research as to what to do as I booked excursions for both days
Go up to Haleakala Crater for sunset or sunrise. I went for sunset as sunrise required leaving the ship at 3 AM. I can't stress how amazing this sunset was at nearly 2 miles above sea level. If you go, take plenty of warm (think Maine winter) cold. It was 44 degrees without the windchill when we arrived at around 5 PM (still sunny) and the temperature dropped significantly by the end of the sunset (around 6:40 for us but varies based on time of year).
Road To Hana - I didn't take this excursion but it is extremely popular. Most guests I spoke with said they absolutely loved it though a few called it the road to hell (it's an all day excursion)
Maui Northshore & Waterfall Walk - This is the one I took because it was rated as "easy" and one of my traveling companions has mobility issues. There is an alternative called Waterfall Hike that you may want to consider. This was a great excursion which took you into a historical town for lunch (delicious) and gave you some free time to explore the artisans (glass blowing, jewelry making, etc.) before taking you to the private access Wailele Farm. The waterfalls you can walk to (as opposed to hike to) were not breathtaking but overall the plants and flowers here were amazing. You will get an opportunity to eat many of the things you encounter so if you're feeling adventures, give it a try.
This is the first of two days on the island of Hawaii and it is on the eastern (very wet) side of the island. Normally doing two excursions in one day is a not recommended. I would make an exception here because the Botanical Gardens are not to be missed. It is a short excursion (2.5 hours), is relatively inexpensive (you can even do it on your own) and is offered at multiple times allowing you to get another excursion in. Recommendations
The Botanical Gardens - either through NCL or directly with Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden - they have social media as well if you have questions. Tip: One of my traveling companions said walk through twice - once looking down and once looking up because there is just so much to see.
Go zip-lining. I happened to choose Zipline Through Paradise as it had a tandem/parallel course (you got to zip at the same time as someone else). You can even hold hands on one line for a very special photo. You may even want to book directly with Kapohokine
The other side of the island is a stark contrast to Hilo as it is dry/desert climate. It is the only tender port on the cruise. Unfortunately, we didn't fare very well here on excursions but shopping and beer was good. It has been on my bucket list to be in a real submarine and go over 100 feet to below the surface to the ocean floor. That's what 3 of us did here in Kona and while I am glad that I can now say I have done it (105'), the experience itself was underwhelming. To not interfere with the wildlife, the sub doesn't use any artificial lights nor does anything to attract the fish to your windows. This means almost everything is a monochrome blue (the color red doesn't exist at this depth for instance). It's also nearly impossible to get nice photos out the windows even though they are clear enough - just not the right conditions. Now, I met a guest back on the ship that said he had a phenomenal time on a sub that wasn't sponsored through NCL but I'm not sure what it was. The other guest in my party decided to go on the Gold Coast & Cloud Forest excursion and was also not impressed. The gold supposedly comes from the Hawaii state fish (yellow trigger fish also known as humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa) but apparently they haven't been plentiful enough to turn the coast gold for years. She also said if she was a coffee drinker, she probably would have enjoyed it more (they are famous for their coffee). Recommendations
If you would like to buy coffee at a discount, a tour guide let me in on a little secret. To be called Kona Coffee it has to indicate what percentage is from Kona (i.e. 100%). Well, geography being what it is, the line between Kona and the region to south is arbitrary (created by humans) so buying coffee labeled just across the boarder (I forget the name of the place - I don't drink coffee) is 25% cheaper
If you want to see the pretty coral and reefs, consider a glass bottom boat ride. The bartender I chatted with told me that she used to work on the sub and a much more beautiful experience was the glass bottom boats.
Normally, the closer to port you are the more expensive things are - like souvenirs. That may in fact be the case in Kona but I found the prices at Whalers General Store to be very competitively priced. Many of the same items I saw at stops before here were at least 20% cheaper.
Have a drink or 6 at Paradise Brewing Company. I was fed up with the prices on the ship so I checked this place out (there was another one further up the street with a fairly large beer menu as well but they weren't very friendly so I moved on. I sat in here for hours (was one of the last tender boats back to the ship). It was extremely friendly - the beer was good, the food was good - I would definitely recommend.
Remember how I said you have this ideal image in your head of what Hawaii is and Oahu doesn't meet it. Kauai exceeds it - I fell in love and if I ever go back, I will just fly directly here and stay on this island - it is that good. I am not going to suggest you do anything other than exactly what I did because I couldn't possibly imagine having a better time. Recommendations
Day 1 - Best Of Kauai. I have no idea if a similar excursion can be booked elsewhere because it included 5 stops (Waimea canyon, Spouting Horn Park, Keoki's Paradise for lunch, Opaekaa Falls and Wailua River Fern Grotto). If you want to "build your own", just go to Waimea canyon and dine at Keoki's Paradise as they were the highlights of the day. If you are into photography and have gotten tired of lugging all of your lenses around, today is the day to have it all at the ready.
Now, there's more to the story than just these two excursions. First, since you're overnight you can stay out as late as you want. I asked our tour guide where an affordable place to get good beer close to the ship was. She recommended The Nawiliwili Tavern (or just the Tavern). It happens to be a 2 minute walk from one of the free shuttle stops and they have great pizza, beer and pool. Secret I learned this is also where a lot of the crew from the ship hang out after they get off at 9PM so if you want to have a real conversation and ask real questions - this is the place to do it. Once the bartender realized I was into craft beer and trying all they had, she told me about a brew pub not too far up the road that I really wanted to try but ran out of time.
Napali Coast (still day 6)
The cruise ship leaves port early (circa 2PM) and instead of heading to Honolulu backtracks around Kauai. There is a portion of the island that's only reachable by air (helicopter) or by sea (cruise ship) and I was fortunate enough to do both. Actually, our pilot said that a few of the beaches can be reached by a hiking 11+ miles but it isn't an easy hike. In any event, this is where the opening scenes of Jurassic Park were filmed if I remember correctly - utterly gorgeous. My pilot also let me in on a little secret - that the captain times the cruise ship to sunset when the coast is all lit up in spectacular colors so be out on deck with camera ready.
Day 7 - Honolulu (Pearl Harbor & City Tour)
I made a big mistake here. I booked a late flight so I could go to Pearl Harbor and then get dropped off at the airport. We had already done the Circle Island Tour and none of the other offerings were of interest. This was a mistake for two reasons. Reason 1: Exhaustion After having spent 5ish days in Waikiki and then taking a 7 day cruise, we were wiped out and really didn't have the stamina to really take it all in. Recommendations
Eat a big breakfast as this tour didn't include food
Bring food for the tour and possibly the airport (see airport notes below)
The cheapest place to get hot dogs at the time was at the Missouri ($6 as of March 2019)
If you are using your phone as a camera, practice taking photos against the bus window as the city tour took you to some neat places but they didn't stop to let you off
The tour includes the Missouri and the Arizona - everything else is additional
At the time of this writing, the Arizona was still under repair so you only took a boat close. You will be watching a very emotionally moving video before the boat ride so sit as close to the exit doors (front left) as you can so that when it's over you can pick one of the corners of the boat to get unobstructed photos from - they don't allow you to stand up and they don't play. Oh, and if you are sensitive to loud noises - when the bomb actually drops on the Arizona it is about 10 times louder than the rest of the film so be prepared
Our guide got tickets for the Arizona at 2:15 PM, helped us navigate the shuttle over to the Missouri and told us he would see us at the bus 3:30 PM. If you're not comfortable navigating on your own then this is probably not the tour for you
It's only 5 minutes from the airport so if you want to stay longer because of a late flight it would be fast/cheap to go on your own - just ask to get your luggage off the bus
Reason 2: Airport If you have a late flight home, I'm sorry. All of your checked bags have to be screened by agriculture (certain plants are not allowed to leave the state) which is airline specific and unless that airline is running flights all day (looking at you Alaska), then you will have to wait for them to open before you can even check in. While you wait, there is essentially no place to eat (Starbucks and a bar that serves hot dogs for $12.50 - yes, $12.50). I recommend you keep some food with you for this reason. They do offer a baggage hold service but the prices were ridiculous (4 checked bags for 24 hours was $100). Sorry if it seems like I am whining - it was the end of a long trip and I was returning to reality.
In this post, I have provided a number of links to NCL's excursions, directly to the vendor and also to Viator. Viator is part of Tripadvisor and generally speaking, you can trust the reviews. On most of the bookings, you can cancel for a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. They are competitively priced and you can usually get a discount. For instance, new customers will get offered a 10% discount off their first purchase. Companies like Ebates and TopCashBack will offer an additional 3 to 6% cash back as well. Use a credit card that gives back 2-4% on travel and it can really reduce the price. I haven't had too much trouble figuring out what vendor was being used through Viator so you could just book with them direct too and just use them as a way to find fun things to do and use the reviews to distinguish between what's good and what's not.
5/12/18 Downtown Detroit Wedding RECAP and Budget Breakdown (135 guests/$60k)
First: PHOTOS! We got engaged Dec 31, 2016 and decided to get married in the Detroit area (spouse's hometown) even though we both live in Atlanta. My family would have to travel either way and we wanted to make it easier on his friends and family who we predicted would be less likely to travel. My initial budget thought was 25-30k (he said later he assumed way more) but after looking at 5 venues in 7 hours on a weekend visit we absolutely fell in love with our expensive-as-hell venue and upped it quite a bit. My main thing was to get married on the water, have amazing food and make it as nice foeasy on our guests as possible which our venue made perfectly possible. It was also mostly-inclusive which I knew would help us with planning from afar as I work a lot and didn't want to have to track down every vendor myself. We paid for our wedding/welcome party/honeymoon completely on our own-- we are mid-30s established professionals with one living parent between us and I already own our home, etc. I know our budget is on the higher side around here but I know I appreciated any kind of recap when I was planning so I am trying to breakdown everything I can. Guest count: 212 invited including children and plus ones, 135 attended including 5 babies/kids. This was almost exactly the number we were planning on due to the number of people residing out of state. We had 5 people RSVP then back out last minute (one had a baby so totally excusable, the others were just jerks) but a couple of other local friends of friends filled in (we thought why not--we had already paid for it) Venue, etc: ~$40,0000 –Waterview Loft at Port Detroit. This included ceremony with officiant, full open bar, passed apps, dinner (salad, duet of filet mignon and chicken with potato and veggies or vegetarian entree), pastries, late night snack, tables, chairs, linens, service staff, venue coordinator, pretty much everything not listed below. This also includes DJ, Cake, valet parking, and florals/design/rentals company who all contract through the venue and a few upgrades with them are included in that total as are the tips that we gave to the bartenders/valet/day of coordinator. Cake: Sweet Heather Anne: Main cake was included above but I did spend around $100 for a smaller gluten-free chocolate cake from a separate bakery Photographers $3200: Rosy and Shaun Wedding Photography: Husband and wife team for 8 hours of coverage and photo booth. They were amazing. We weren't super into being pulled away for a bunch of photos and did all of our posed shots prior to ceremony and they still captured some incredible images and great candid shots during the event. HaiMakeup: $1250-- Detroit Glam: 2 Hair and makeup stylists on location at hotel for me, 5 bridesmaids and mother in law with airbrush and eyelashes included. I covered everyone and this includes tips. Hotel rooms: $800, Two suites two nights each at the Marriott hotel next to the venue where we also had a guest block. We stayed in one suite where the groomsmen then got ready and we booked a hospitality suite with a murphy bed for me/bridesmaids to get ready. One of my bridesmaids stayed in this suite as I wanted to cover her room anyway. Attire:$1250-- I made/sewed my own dress so approximately $800 in fabric total (silks from Mood) and maybe another $100 in notions/resources most of which are reusable. I also spent 100+ hours on it (not including muslins/toiles) over a year's time but I really wanted to use the crochet fabric from my deceased mother's dress and I am really tall and hard to fit anyway. It was truly a labor of love and though I'm not sure I'd do it again the same way I learned a TON and I ended up really loving it even if the fit wasn't as great as it would have been with professional help. The veil was my also my mom’s my uncle bought in Europe for her wedding in the 70s-- I sewed it onto a comb. I also wore a brooch that has been worn by all the women in my family since my great-great grandmother. I found the Manolos for less than $200 at a Saks outlet but changed into ballet flats ($50) later. My earrings were from the Saks outlet and I found a bracelet to match on Etsy (<200 combined). His tux rental with shoes from Men's Warehouse was free as we had all the groomsmen get theirs there. Rings: $500. This includes my simple gold wedding band from a local jeweler and his inexpensive titanium ring from Amazon. My engagement ring was my grandmother's wedding ring that I inherited long before engaged and that I gave to him when I was ready for him to ask me :) Welcome Party: $6,900, Mexican-themed buffet and open bar for 75 guests at upscale brewpub next to our hotel. We invited the whole guest list but it was mostly bridal party and out of town guests staying at the hotel. I was a bit shocked when I got the final price estimate as I am fully aware that this is the cost of a lot of weddings but it was one of my favorite parts of the weekend and we really got to spend time with people who had traveled to be with us. Day of Food: ~$500 Brunch/coffee catered by the hotel and mimosas for the ladies while we got ready, pizza and beer for the dudes. I may have pre-ordered the pizza while tipsy after the welcome party and way overestimated how much they would eat. It was good leftovers at 4 am after the casino though. Stationary and postage: $500, super simple save the dates from Vista Print then single page invitations with a detail card with gold foil and 20 RSVP cards for older folks from Shutterfly. Waited for sales on both. We used appycouple for our website and online RSVP and I would probably choose another site/app if I were doing it again. Favors: $500 we did Uno card decks because Uno is our favorite. I ordered them online on black friday and printed the stickers from Zazzle then assembled on Christmas while we were up there Welcome bags: <200. Nothing fancy just water, soda, snacks from Costco, a map and transit tokens. Mostly did them because we were in a huge hotel and I wanted to make sure people had something to eat/drink around without having to do room service. Gifts: We got random personal gifts for everyone in our wedding party (from records to curtains) and I honestly have no idea what the total was as I ordered mine and he ordered his. They were all big hits though. We also gave a restaurant gift card to MIL's friend who helped spray paint the records and a gift card to a younger cousin who recorded the ceremony/helped MIL get around all weekend. Other assorted stuff I bought (really tried to limit this): ~$300 total--simple glass card box from amazon, pac man cake topper from etsy, photos and frames for memory table, frames for table numbers (which were my mom's watercolors I scanned and printed), flipflops for guests ($1 during an old navy sale last summer and a HUGE hit), spray paint for records we used as chargers and the menu stickers for them (records themselves were promos gifted by a friend who owns a store), cardboard cutouts of our dogs for the photo booth, marriage license. Our friend gifted us the constellation poster and it made a great "guest book." Prenup: $2000 legal fees-- I suppose I should include this. We are odd and talked about prenups on our second date when neither of us had much of anything but now we both have more assets and I own a business so it was pretty much a given for us. Went very smoothly just each had to hire our own attorney. Honeymoon: $3500-- We came home for three nights to see our dogs, catch up on work and repack. We then had 2 nights in Miami and rented a car and drove to Key West for 2 nights. We sprung for really nice rooms since we were staying in the country so that as well as flights is most of the cost here. Total: $62,000 (ish) What went wrong • Planning a wedding when your parents are dead just sucks. I lost my dad at 18 and my mom three years ago both to cancer. Husband lost his dad when he was 19. I was really worried about how my emotions would be the day of because I had some real low points about it while planning but I tried to include a lot of personal touches that would make me feel like my mom was around and for the most part it worked. I also carved out time in the morning for being alone to think about them, cry and thank them and that helped keep the tears from coming later I think. • Weather-- It was colder than we had hoped all weekend (approx. 45-55F though the weekend before and after were 70+) and it rained all morning/afternoon of the wedding which kept us from doing our first look outside and also our ceremony outside which was something I really really wanted. It did clear up about an hour before the wedding so we were able to do some photos outside and our guests could enjoy being on the patio/river during the reception. • I wish I slept more the night before because I look tired and my eyes are half closed in almost all of our photos. I didn't stay up all night partying but I did stay up later than planned and couldn't sleep past 6 am. • Lastly we started late because I really wanted to greet guests with champagne as they came in but between people then not moving into the ceremony on time and people having traffic issues we were 30+ minutes late starting the ceremony which threw us off all night and we only ended up with about an hour and a half for cake and dancing after dinner. I loved everything that we did but probably would have tried to book an extra hour to party until midnight. What went right: • Everything else. Everything I had worked toward for over a year came out perfectly and we felt so much joy and love all around us. Every bit of stress and money was absolutely worth it to have all our people in one place for a weekend. The venue, food and staff were absolutely amazing and we got tons of compliments on all of it. • I loved all the "different" things that we did like greeting our guests at the door and having our speeches/toasts during cocktail hour. Though it did throw off our timeline, I thought it made for a nice flow and gave us more time to visit with guests. • My bridesmaid's 10 month old started walking early so we decided to send him down the aisle as a "ring bearer" even though we weren't planning to have one. He did great and it was adorable. • We took ~15 minutes of alone time after the ceremony/signing the marriage license and walked down the river just us, no photographers. This was one of my favorite parts and definitely recommend! • My uncle (mom's brother) made a toast unexpectedly that made everyone cry and was really welcoming of my husband to the family--definitely one of my favorite moments • Since we got married in Detroit there are several casinos and for a while I had been thinking I wanted to go play blackjack in my wedding dress after the reception. Well, a ton of our friends went to the casino as an afterparty and I won $350 my first time playing at a table! I said this before but you guys provided so much help, wisdom, and inspiration so thank you again for your part in making our wedding so wonderful!
My computer had a mini heart attack last night and I wasn't about to do this on a cellphone... So here's the latest happenings with a slight delay! All my information comes from VisitIndiana so the list is not 100% comprehensive. If you know of anything that's missing, please post and share with everyone! If you've ever been to any of these events, or if you go this week, please share your experiences Also be sure to visit the city-specific subreddits This Week Only Northwest Indiana
Ouibache Music Festival - July 27, 730-930pm, at Delphi Opera House. This quintet of locally grown musicians formed in 2000 celebrating American Roots music with a flair for jazz and anything else. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the missions of the Ouibache Music Festival and the Delphi Opera House
Old Lighthouse Museum S.S. Eastland Memorial - July 27 at the Old Lighthouse Museum. At 11am, the 104th Anniversary Memorial of the S.S. Eastland will commence, Station Michigan City Coast Guard will place a wreath in Trail Creek where Indiana Transportations dock was located. Father Lev of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church will say memorial prayers. Speakers will tell the horrific story of the Eastland tragedy. WEFM 95.9 live radio will be at the museum from 9am-noon. The museum will be open free of charge today only from noon-4pm.
Gatsby at the Gardens - July 27, 6-9pm, at Friendship Botanic Gardens. Step into a Great Gatsby Garden Party! Enjoy a speakeasy evening set in the 1920's. Stroll the gardens, sip some giggle water, play bocce or badminton or cut the rug while listening to live jazz. $45; 21+event
Main St. Tour & Taste of White - July 26, 500-1130pm, at Downtown Monticello. Concert-style music and delicious food/beverages. You won't want to miss this night of entertainment!
New Carlisle Hometown Days - July 26-28 at 300 E Michigan St. New Carlisle Hometown Days is a 3 day family fun-filled weekend. Friday night we offer fireworks, parade on Sat, car show, famous wiffleball contest, kiddie tractor pull, bouncy houses, games, various vendors, food and entertainment.
Downtown Tractor Show - July 27, 8am-3pm, at 124 N. Michigan St. The streets of Downtown Plymouth will be filled with Tractors, Garden Tractors, Pedal Tractors and Hit-n-Miss Engines! There will also be food trucks with yummy treats to purchase. Autumn Leed and the River City Band will be playing from 12:00 pm til 2:00 pm. This is a FREE, family-friendly event!
Jasper County Fair - July 20-27 at the Jasper County Fairgrounds on State Road 114. The annual fair includes rides, games, demolition derby, food vendors, craft vendors and more!
U.S. Military All-Star Baseball Game - July 22, 7-10pm, at Oil City Stadium. The U.S. Military All-Stars will return to Northwest Indiana for a stop on this year’s Red, White & Blue Tour as they continue the mission of promoting the awareness of all Americans in support of the honorable sacrifices our armed forces make. The team is comprised of active duty servicemen from all branches of service around the world.
25th Annual Pierogi Fest - July 26-28 throughout Whiting. Taking place in Whiting, Indiana, Pierogi Fest® celebrates Eastern European food and culture with a wacky familial twist. Pierogi Fest® welcomes all to celebrate Eastern European heritage while poking a little fun at the same time.
Festival of Magic - July 26-28 at the Aftermath Cidery and Winery. Join Aftermath Cidery and Winery for a family-friendly trip to everyone's favorite boarding school! Visit all locations on your map to complete the scavenger hunt and win a prize: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, King's Cross, the Leaky Barrel, and more! Each location will offer both Adult Potions and drinks for Little Wizards and Witches
Park-inn Movies: The Sandlot - July 25, 930-1130pm, at Potawatomi Inn. Bring your blanket or lawn chair to the lawn overlooking Lake James. Admission is free to Inn Guests, Campground Guests and with paid admission to Pokagon State Park. (Weather Permitting).
Auburn Downtown Cruise-In - July 25, 530-800pm, at Courthouse Square. Join classic car enthusiasts around Courthouse Square downtown. See restored cars and other special vehicles of interest at this free event. Bring your family and stroll the streets, shop, have dinner in one of our local restaurants. There will be door prizes and a Crew's Choice Award for the most popular car. All show vehicles should arrive no earlier than 5:30 pm. Please enter at the corner of 7th & Cedar in order to check in and receive registration forms. All Cruise In's are held in Downtown Auburn around the square (Cedar, 9th, and Main.)
Berne Swiss Days - July 25-27 throughout Berne. The Swiss Day Celebration is a time for Berne to share it’s heritage with authentic Swiss costume, great food, craft vendors and merchandise. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the friendly competitions for all ages. From the 5K race to Big Wheel Competition for the younger ones to the Steintoss, there is something for everyone. On stage and around the festival you can hear Swiss music. Watch as couples dance the polka to live music on stage.
Allen County Fair - July 23-28 at the Allen County Fairgrounds. We welcome families to the 30th Annual Allen County Fair July 23rd to July 28th at the Allen County Fairgrounds, located off Carroll Road in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The 2019 Allen County Fair is home to Allen County 4-H and features many animal shows, projects and events throughout the week. In addition to 4-H festivities, the fair offers a full food court, carnival rides, and lengthily list of family-fun events. Highlighted events include: free ice cream social, hot air balloon fight/glow, 4X4 truck pull, demo derbies, kids day, live music, peddle truck races and much more.
Fort Wayne Pride Fest - July 26-27 at Headwaters Park. The two day event features live entertainment, vendor market, a beer tent, food plaza, workshops, tournaments, KidSpace and fun with the community! There are a variety of opportunities available for businesses and individuals who are looking to support Pride in the Fort including sponsorship, vendors, and volunteering. Pride is committed to bringing events throughout the year to build a stronger LGBTQ community outside of the festival. Check out our events page for more info.
Colonial America on the Frontier - July 27-28, 10am-6pm, at The Old Fort. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the American Revolution at Fort Wayne’s Historic Old Fort. The Continental Army and British forces will be on hand to provide live demonstrations throughout the day on period specific artillery and military maneuvers. Re-enactors will also bring to life the daily activities of this time period through demonstrations on period cooking, gardening, blacksmithing, and much more! The Fort will be open to the public: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, and 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 28. Tours of the Fort will be offered throughout the weekend.
Elkhart County 4-H Fair - July 19-27 at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds. he fair hosts nationally known musical artists during their 5-night concert series. A sanctioned rodeo, PPL tractor pull, and demolition derby are also highlighted at the free grandstand during fair week. Bring your appetite and explore famous food row. With more than 70 food stands, the fair takes pride in offering mouth-watering, once-a-year, fair favorites. Over 3,000 4-H livestock and more than 4,000 4-H still exhibits are shown during the 9-day event. Daily entertainment can be been found on every corner of the grounds, with multiple shows and exhibits included with your gate admission. Thrill seekers of all ages will want to visit the mid-way, complete with roller coasters, games and kiddie rides for the young fairgoers.
Amishland and Lakes Bicycle Tour - July 27-28, 6am-1pm, at Lakeland High School. Amishland and Lakes, based at Lakeland High School in LaGrange, Indiana, visits a world where lifestyles have remained almost unchanged for over a hundred years. One of the friendliest rides around, you’ll enjoy seeing and meeting families, women’s groups, regional cycling clubs, and tandem pairs who tell us they love our routes because they are so “tandem friendly.” There are wide open spaces, clean country air, friendly people and lots of great food. There is plenty to explore, experience and eat. Amishland and Lakes is famous for great SAG food (watermelons, peaches, blueberries, bananas, fresh baked cookies and more), and there are also Amish bakeries, restaurants and homemade ice cream parlors along the route. The routes range from 22 to 100 miles, offering smooth, quiet roads, where buggies are numerous and cars are few (both days begin and end at the High School). We also offer directions for a do-it-yourself Friday option to ride the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. Camping is available at the 4-H Fairgrounds across from our start location. For more details go to http://amishlandandlakes.com
11th Annual Dixie Day Festival and Arts & Craft Fair - July 27, 8am-5pm, at 102 S. Morton St. The Dixie Day festival honors the landmark sternwheel paddle boat. It also encourages everyone to visit North Webster. The Dixie Boat has been cruising Webster Lake every summer since 1929 and attracted more than 13,000 riders last season. Dixie Day Festival is a dream come true with a list of activities and events that continue to grow. Extra Dixie cruises will be added for Saturday afternoon of the festival as well as the regular evening cruises. What to expect: North Webster Fire Department Pancake/sausage breakfast - 7am until out, Arts and Craft fair- 10a- 4p, 5K Run like a Pirate/Walk like a Captain, Car, truck, and bike show 10a-3pm, Boat show- 8am-4pm, Delicious food trucks, Tractor Show 10a-3p, and Ride the Dixie Sternwheel on beautiful Webster Lake.
Lauren Talley - July 23, 7-9pm, at the Blue Gate Theatre. Showtime: 7:00pm | Doors Open: 6:30pm Prices: Tickets Only - $19.95 | Dinner and Theater - $37.95
The Taylors - July 25, 7-9pm, at the Blue Gate Theatre. Showtime: 7:00pm | Doors Open: 6:30pm Prices: Tickets Only - $19.95 | Dinner and Theater - $37.95
Legacy Five - July 26-27, 7-9pm, at the Blue Gate Theatre. Showtime: 7:00pm | Doors Open: 6:30pm Prices: Tickets Only - $39.95 | Dinner and Theater - $57.95
SetonFest - July 25-27, 6-10pm, at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church. SetonFest is a three-day festival that includes carnival rides, a different band each night, food, bingo, a casino, beer garden and more. Free parking and free admission.
2019 Topgolf Tour - July 22, 6-11pm, at Topgolf Fishers. Team up, play and earn your way to Las Vegas and $50,000. There are 19 Regional Tournaments at Topgolf locations across the US, UK, and Australia, between June 18 and August 14. Playing a variety of Topgolf signature games that test strategy and accuracy, two-person teams compete against one another for a spot at the Topgolf Tour Championships in Las Vegas, with full VIP treatment. Only one team from each Regional Tournament makes it through to compete for the glory and a life changing prize. WHAT'S INCLUDED Entry into Topgolf Tour Regional Tournament, Minimum 2.5 hours of game play, Hot buffet, Official Topgolf Tour Insulated Water Bottle, $5 donation to Bunkers in Baghdad from every US player registration.
25th Annual Frankfort Hot Dog Festival - July 26-27 at Prairie Creek Park. Indiana's largest two-day hot dog festival features vendors, family fun, hot dog eating contests, dachshund races and HOT DOGS!
Gas City Concerts in the Park Presents Keith Anderson - July 23, 7pm, at Gas City Park. This is a FREE concert brought to you by the Gas City Concerts in the Park committee.
Gas City Concerts in the Park Presents The Park Avenue Band - July 26, 7pm, at Gas City Park. This is a FREE concert brought to you by the Gas City Concerts in the Park committee
Indy Shorts International Film Festival - July 25-28, 10am-10pm, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. The Indy Shorts International Film Festival, presented by Heartland Film and the organizers of the Heartland International Film Festival (HIFF), is an Academy Award®-qualifying fest dedicated to the art of short film! Last summer, Indy Shorts expanded as its own separate event from HIFF, becoming the largest short film festival in the Midwest - showcasing storytelling from around the world. All winners (Grand Prize and Audience Choice Awards) will play encore screenings at HIFF in October 2019. General ticket info at https://heartlandfilm.org/indyshorts/.
Athenaeum Soireé: An Affair on the Ave - July 25, 630-900pm, at Athenaeum Foundation, 401 East Michigan St. The Athenaeum Soireé: An Affair on the Ave is an annual fundraiser featuring pairings of culinary creations and delicious handcrafted beverages from local establishments as well as live entertainment, silent auctions and more at this business casual, 21+ indoor event.
7th Annual Iron Eagle Paddle & Run - July 27, 8am-6pm, at Eagle Creek Park. Athletes of all ages can explore Eagle Creek Park, one of the nation’s largest city parks, via land and water alternating between trail runs and a canoe/kayak leg. Starting at the beach, the race consists of a 2.5-mile trail run, 1.5-mile paddle and 2.5-mile trail run back to the beach. Participants can enter as an individual or 2-person team. They have the option to bring personal kayaks or canoes with life jackets and paddles, or rent a boat in advance from Eagle Creek Outfitters. Spectators are more than welcome to come show support. Awards will be presented to the top solo female, the top solo male, the top team and the top relay team. An after party will be held post-race at the Earth Discovery Center. 100% of proceeds benefit the Eagle Creek Park Foundation. To Register: Visit EagleCreekPark.org
RhumFest 2019 - July 27, 2-10pm, at Kokomo Arts Pavilion in Foster Park. Enjoy live music by local students and instructors of Rhum Academy of Music in Kokomo. Free admission. Bring everyone for a family-friendly day of great music, art, food, and fun in Foster Park. With back-to-back performances in a variety of styles and genres all day you are sure to hear some music you love!
Tippecanoe County 4-H Fair - July 20-27 at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds. All phases of agriculture, 4-H exhibits, wide variety of youth activities, carnival rides, games and mouth watering fair food.
Tuesday on the Trail Nature Walk - July 23, 6-7pm, at the Haan Museum of Indiana Art. Get a closer look at nature as a guide leads you on an educational walk along our Nature Trail. The trail is about a mile long loop in the Museum’s three acre woods making it feel very much like a wilderness experience in the middle of town. Meet at the Nature Trail Entrance located at the south side of the Carriage house just off the parking lot. Fee: FREE
Bicentennial Park Summer Concert: Random Reaction - July 27, 7-9pm, at Bicentennial Park. Located at the corner of Indiana and Main Streets, the park is convenient to local restaurants to enjoy before the show. Popular local group Random Reaction will take the stage on July 27. Live music begins at 7 pm; bring your lawn chairs or blankets. Free.
47th Annual Vintage Motorbike Show - July 24-28 at the Jay County Fairgrounds. The LARGEST vintage motor bike show in the USA. Join us to reminisce the Simplex, Mustang, Whizzer, Cushman motorbikes and more! $5 admission fee per person/per day charged at the Fairground's front gate. Gates open at 6 AM daily.
Jackson County Fair - July 22-28 at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. The Jackson County Fair is the biggest and best! Still a free fair, find building after building of exhibits, visit barns, enjoy the midway and delicious food. Great grandstand events and racing!
Bluegrass on the Square - July 27, 4-8pm, at Historic Downtown Corydon. Since its inception in 2003, Bluegrass on the Square has featured some of the most well-known Bluegrass musicians in the region. Now in its 16th year. All concerts are free and open to the public. July 27 features Hog Operation and Ida Clare
Master Gardeners and 4-H Llamas & Alpacas Club - July 27, 800am-1230pm, at 400 Block Laffollette Station. Join us for Two Special Events;; Master Gardeners will be a the Market answering your Gardening questions and Floyd County 4H Club will be bringing the Alpacas & Llamas.
Purple Veins: a tribute to Prince - July 27, 630-900pm, at Lincoln Amphitheatre. Purple Veins aim to re-create the magical power and energy of a classic Prince show circa 1985: an all-out dance party with relentless funk, all the hits, tasty lesser-known classics, theatrical elements, and dance choreography woven into it. Their aim is to be all-inclusive, with an age range of 18 to 40 and multiple ethnicities within the band..to both reach his music to millennials who didn’t live through it and transport those that did back in time to their younger days. With a charismatic and soulful frontman, a huge ensemble (16 plus!) of the funkiest cats, sultriest singers, and hottest dancers Wisconsin has to offer, Purple Veins is THE tribute show of all Prince tributes.
Country Roads Shop Hop - July 25-28, 10am-5pm, at Country Roads of Dearborn and Ripley Counties. Six Antique, Vintage and/or Home Decor shops will be combining forces to give you an unforgettable shopping week, with the chance to win big in the process! You can start and end at whichever shop you would like. Get your brochure stamped at each location and you’ll be entered to win our Grand Prize Drawing, $150 in gift certificates! ($25 from each participating shop) * Must be 18 yrs or older to be entered and Limit 1 per family* No purchase is necessary to receive a stamp, but it will be difficult not to purchase anything when you see what these amazing shops have to offer! Are you ready for some Antique, Vintage or Home Decor shopping and hopping? Hop all over the country roads and visit each participating shop! The Greenbriar Shop - Guilford, IN, The White Swan - Moores Hill, IN, The Blue Willow House - Dillsboro, IN, The Rustic Nail - Dillsboro, IN, The Whistle Stop - Milan, IN, The Huntington Carriage House - Milan, IN.
Wild Women's Hike - July 27, 10am-12pm, at McCormick's Creek State Park, 250 McCormick's Creek Park Rd. All are welcome to join us for the monthly DNK hike at McCormick's Creek State Park! The hike is free, but there is an entrance fee to get into the park. We'll be meeting at the Wolf Cave Parking area for about a 2-mile hike. Click here for the park map: https://www.in.gov/dnparklake/files/mccormicks_creek_trail.pdf Can't wait to hit the trail with you!
ONGOING EVENTS Northwest Indiana
Chesterton's European Market - Saturdays May through October at Third St and Broadway, Downtown Chesterton. An outdoor family/artisanal market held in historic downtown Chesterton from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Gary Southshore Railcats at U.S. Steel Yard - Various days at US Steel Yard. A day at U.S. Steel yard is non-stop fun, and that's even without the baseball! The RailCats promise a wide array of laugh-out-loud between inning entertainment, great giveaways , jaw-dropping fireworks and a family-first, kid-friendly atmosphere!
Miller Woods Hike Sundays - Every Sunday at Miller Woods. The hike starts at the National Lakeshore's Paul H. Douglas Center and travels through varied habitats including rare and beautiful black oak savanna and offers incredible views of Lake Michigan and Chicago. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water and insect repellent. This hike is offered every Sunday from 1:30 to 3:30pm.
61: An Exhibit Celebrating the 61st National Park - July 2 - Sep 21 at the Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Dr. The 6,500-square-foot exhibit hall will be transformed to represent the 15,000 acres of diverse landscapes and highlight activities available to those that visit the park system. The exhibit will feature 12 trail stops. There will be interactive exhibits for children along the trail, selfie stations and a large “sandbox” for building sandcastles. Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about the 1,100 native plant species, rare and migrating birds, as well as recreational opportunities like camping, hiking, kayaking and cross-country skiing. Interactive activities will also give children a chance to become a Junior Ranger!
Summer Market on the Lake - Thursdays through the end of August at Festival Park, 111 E Old Ridge Road. Come enjoy outdoor shopping featuring fresh produce, baked goods, ethnic and gourmet foods, beer garden, local live entertainment, jewelry, handmade crafts and so much more.
LaPorte Farmer's Market - Saturdays July through the end of October at Monroe St and Lincoln Way. The LaPorte Farmer's Market strives to build and strengthen the local food movement in LaPorte by showcasing our region's bounty and economic opportunities locally.
Summer Sundown Music Series - Sundays May through August. Bring the lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy Sunday evenings listening to a different musical artist each week. Each Sunday evening you will find yourself at a different park with new musical artist. Check online to see where and who will be appearing!
Michigan City Municipal Band Concerts - Thursdays in June, July, and August, at the Washington Park Guy Foreman Amphitheater. Experience free live musical performances under the stars near the shores of Lake Michigan in Washington Park. Seating available or bring your own chair. June-August, Thursdays 7:30pm.
Light Keeper Harriet Colfax Month - July 1-31, 1-4pm, at Old Lighthouse Museum, 100 Heisman Harbor Rd. Harriet Colfax came into the 1858 Light House in 1861 an served faithfully until her retirement in 1904. Learn more about his Great Lakes legend all month long. The Michigan City Historical Society commissioned a color portrait of Harriet by local artist Wendy Wilcox Kerman. Come and view the portrait and enjoy the historic museum and don't forget to browse the gift shop.
Michigan City's Farmers Markets - Saturdays July - October at 801 S Washington St. and 1500 Franklin St. Saturdays through October 26th, 2019. Michigan City's Farmers Market aims to provide our community with the freshest produce, providing a space filled with locally grown food and artisan goods
Market on the Square - Fridays June through August, 3-9pm, at Founders Square. There will be over 20 vendors selling unique crafts, fresh produce, honey, flowers, breads and jams. Plus local food vendors selling food. Bands from the region will begin at 6. Then to top off the evening we will have a family movie at dusk.
Keepers of the Fire: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi - April 2019 to January 2020 at The History Museum. The rich history, culture, and art of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi is shared in this vibrant exhibit about the thriving community. Through interviews and oral histories, sculpture and beadwork, art and artifacts, the exhibit immerses visitors in the traditions and teachings of the Pokagon Band.
South Bend Cubs at Four Winds Field - Various days at Four Winds Field. The South Bend Cubs are the Class A minor league affiliate of the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. Over the past 30 seasons, the team has won five Midwest League titles and has captured 12 division titles. In 2015 the team was named Ballpark Digest's Team of the Year and received the John H. Johnson President's Award, the highest award in minor league baseball.
The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Show - May 4th 2019 to May 2nd 2020, 6-9pm, at the DoubleTree by Hilton. America’s largest interactive murder mystery dinner show! The Dinner Detective provides a hilarious evening of murder mystery, a 4-course meal, and a prize package for the top sleuth. Just beware, the killer might be sitting right next to you!
Fort Wayne TinCaps at Parkview Field - Various days at Parkview Field. The TinCaps are entering their 10th season at Parkview Field, which has been rated as Minor League Baseball's No. 1 Ballpark Experience four consecutive years.
Faces of Middlebury - May 17th to October 4th throughout Middlebury. Grab your cameras and the map to locate each “face of Middlebury” and insert your face for the perfect picture. Free maps are available at local businesses and organizations. Post your pics on Middlebury Then & Now’s Facebook page or on Instagram using #facesofmiddlebury. Can you find all of them, up to 30 "faces"?
Gangsters, Saloons and Buggies on Roofs Guided Tour - May 29th to September 25th at the Downtown Middlebury library. You wouldn't know Middlebury had a rough-and-tumble past, but behind today's modern facades lie tales of small-town mischief, hoods on the lam and possible mysterious passageways. Get the inside story and secrets from a local with this tour of downtown. Tours are offered at 10am every Wednesday and at 630pm the first Tuesday of each month. Walking tour is approximately 1 hour. Allow time after the tour to visit the unique shops and restaurants in the area. $5 Group tours are available by advanced reservation (call 574.825.5601)
Giant Toadstools and the World's Fair Guided Walking Tour - May 30th to September 26th at the Krider World's Fair Garden. Enjoy a guided tour through living history! The Krider family of Middlebury once captured the imagination of the world. This tour of the garden that bears their name opens a window to the family's nursery at the height of its creative powers. The beauty will take your breath away, just as it did at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. Tours are offered at 10am every Thursday and at 630pm the first Tuesday of each month. Walking tour is approximately 1 hour. Allow time after the tour to visit the museum, unique shops and restaurants in the area. $5 Group tours are available by advanced reservation (call 574.825.5601)
A Simple Sanctuary, the new musical - March 28th to October 31st at the Blue Gate Theatre. She prayed the day would never come, but when her past comes calling, Melissa James has no choice but to flee. Pursued and living on the run, she finds desperate sanctuary and surprising friendship in Amish country. Part suspense, part romance, A Simple Sanctuary is a compelling story of love tested, the cost of freedom, and the solace found in true community.
Shipshewana Flea Market - Tuesdays and Wednesdays from May through September, 8am-4pm, at the Shipshewana Auction. Nearly 700 open-air booths on 40 acres await you at the Midwest’s Largest Flea Market. Food courts, restrooms, scooter rentals and rest areas are on site. Open rain or shine. Also open for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and new weekend markets on August 16-17 (MotheDaughter Days). Antique Auctions are every Wednesday inside the Antique & Miscellaneous building.
Shipshewana Breakfast Club - Fridays in July and August, 830-1100am, at the Blue Gate Theatre. Breakfast: 8:30am | Program: 10:00am Price: $26.00 - Includes Breakfast and Show These concerts will be held at the Blue Gate Theatre July 12 - Lynda Randle July 19 - Allison Speer July 26 - The Taylors Aug 2 - King's Brass Aug 9 - Doug Anderson Aug 16 - Old Time Preacher's Quartet Aug 23 - Soul'd Out Quartet Aug 30 - TBA
Kroger Symphony on the Prairie - Saturdays and Sundays at Conner Prairie. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's summer series provides music from classical, pop, and rock genres from mid-June through Labor Day weekend. See performance schedule online indianapolissymphony.org
Celebrate the 10th Year of Tenderloin Tuesdays - Tuesdays in July throughout Hamilton County. Celebrating the 10th year, dine along the Tenderloin Trail™. Don’t miss Tenderloin Tuesdays™ in July along the tastiest trail. Each Tuesday restaurants offer special deals on the Hoosier delicacy. For a complete list of participating restaurants in Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield and Northern Hamilton County, visit TenderloinTrail.com.
Hot Wheels: Race to Win - May 18th to July 28th at The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines and hold on tight as we open our Hot Wheels: Race to Win exhibit celebrating speed, safety, design, and power. Get revved up for the special performances, activities, and the occasional pit stop.
Treasures of Ancient Greece exhibit - Jun 15 to Jan 5 at The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis. This once-in-a-lifetime immersive exhibition brings to Indianapolis more than 150 ancient objects and artifacts, many of which have never been seen outside of Greece. The ancient Greeks revered the human body, and many of the depictions are nude. Featured are bronze and marble statues, gold jewelry and funerary objects, exquisite pottery, artifacts of the world’s first democracy, and an extraordinary replica of the Antikythera Mechanism, known as the world’s first computer.
Mind Tripping Show - March 1st to December 28th, 8:30-10PM at the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites. Mind Tripping: a Comedy with a Psychological Twist is an interactive show by Christian & Katalina, the #1 Husband and Wife Comedy Mind Reading Act in the Nation. Be a part of a mind-bending, reality-twisting interactive theatrical show. Think Candid Camera meets the Twilight Zone. Be prepared to have your perceptions challenged and your expectations turned upside down
Naturally Inspired Art Exhibition - May 24th to August 21st at The Indianapolis Zoo. After the paintings have dried and been professionally framed by The Great Frame Up Downtown, they are displayed for the summer in the Schaefer Rotunda at White River Gardens. Plus, you also get to enjoy the works of some of our more artistically inclined animals. Who knows — you may see a penguin Picasso, a walrus Warhol, an elephant Escher and many others! The Naturally Inspired Art Show presented by The Great Frame Up Downtown is included with Zoo admission.
Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol Adventure Play - February 23 to July 28th at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. The hero pups of Adventure Bay are coming to The Children’s Museum, and they need your help. It’s time to run some rescue missions, as we work together to overcome challenges and help everyone in Adventure Bay. Enter the Lookout. Save the Day in Adventure Bay. Be a Helping Hero on Jake’s Mountain.
The National Bank of Indianapolis Summer Nights Film Series - Various days June-August, at The Amphitheater. You can watch movies under the stars every weekend at Newfields. Doors open at 7 pm, when you can enjoy a picnic dinner, music, and activities, followed by that night’s movie, which will begin when twilight turns to night (usually 9:30 pm). Over the summer, over 20 movies will be shown—everything from black-and-white classics to modern blockbusters. All you need is a picnic (with non-alcoholic beverages only), chairs (for the back row of each tier), and blankets (in case the chair row is full). You will also want sunscreen and bugspray. No alcohol, pets, candles taller than 12 inches, or knives permitted. And if you want to travel light with just a chair and blanket, concessions will be available to purchase. Check out discovernewfields.org/summer-nights-2019 to see available films and to purchase tickets once they are available.
Zoolapalooza Concert Series - Fridays in June and July, 530-830pm, at the Indianapolis Zoo. Under the Bicentennial Pavilion, this incredibly fun night out is a great way to kick off summer weekends on Friday evenings with terrific live music. Concerts are free for members and included with Zoo admission, so you can play all day and dance all night! Seating under the Bicentennial Pavilion includes open tables on a first-come, first-serve basis
The Generous Pour at The Capital Grille, July 8 - Sep 1, 5-9pm, at 40 W. Washington Street. The Capital Grille’s annual The Generous Pour wine event has returned for its eleventh year. This year’s theme is Legends of the Land, where guests can sip on any combination of seven select wines including the Maggy Hawk 2015 Pinot Noir, the 2015 Cenyth Red Blend, and the Arrowood 2013 Red Blend. Each is from California’s Jackson Family that tell a unique story of origin and sustainability. From July 8th through September 1, 2019, guests are offered a customized wine tasting paired with the restaurant’s classic menu items, including hand-carved steaks and fresh seafood and appetizers with a flavorful twist for $28 per person with dinner.
First Friday Kokomo - First Friday of every month, 530-9pm, at Downtown Kokomo. Activities include art, music, food, local vendors, shops, entertainment, kid's activities & much more! Visit their Facebook page for monthly themes and schedule of all activities!
Kokomo Jackrabbits at Kokomo Municipal Stadium - Various days at the Kokomo Municipal Stadium. Enjoy a day at the ballpark! The Kokomo Jackrabbits baseball team are members of the summer collegiate Prospect League. Games are held late May through early August and feature fun themes and giveaways. Lawn and stadium seating available, starting at $8.
Karl Martz and the Legacy of IU Ceramics - May 4th to July 27th, 1-4pm, at the Haan Museum of Indiana Art. Martz’s influence spread throughout Indiana and beyond through the ceramics program that he established at IU in 1945, and through his students. Many of Martz’s students went on to teach at universities, and others established successful careers as independent ceramic artists. The exhibition features works by Karl Martz, faculty that taught (or still teach) in the IU Ceramics Department, and students who went on to establish successful careers in ceramics.
Summer Story Hour - Mondays, 10-11am, at the Physical Building of the Joseph Moore Museum. Join us each Monday in June and July at 10am for a special hour of stories! Each week will feature a different book about nature or science with a corresponding craft or activity. All ages are welcome and stories are chosen particularly for children in preschool - first grade.
Indianapolis Colts 2019 Training Camp - July 25 - Aug 15 at the Grand Park Sports Campus. Join us at the Indianapolis Colts 2019 Training Camp! Every day you can enjoy watching practice, giveaways, food & drink specials, interactive games, and more. Download your free tickets at www.colts.com/camp.
Wildlife Cruises on Patoka Lake - Wednesdays May through October at the Patoka Lake Marina. Not just a boat ride: cruise the second largest lake in Indiana upon a climate controlled tour boat to search for osprey, eagles, blue herons, loons and other wildlife. Two hour cruises embark EVERY WEDNESDAY at 10am beginning in May and continuing through October. Voyagers are encouraged to capture on camera baby osprey in their nests, an eagle in flight, and busy beavers as the boat passes by.
Wine Cruises on Patoka Lake - Every other Friday starting June 7th, 730-930pm, at the Patoka Lake Marina. Sip wine paired with hors d'oeuvres/desserts while enjoying the sunset on Patoka Lake on our 60 person tour boat! Enjoy 5-7 tastings of wine from a featured Indiana winery, and choose 2 glasses of your favorite to enjoy after the tasting portion. Bottles of wine available for purchase as well as additional glasses. Call (812) 685-2203 to reserve your spot today! Only $50/person or $98/couple. Visit our website to view the winery lineup.
Shrek the Musical - July 3rd - Aug 18th, 6-10pm, at the Derby Dinner Playhouse. Somebody once told me everyone’s favorite ogre is back in the hilarious and twisted adventure based on the Oscar-winning smash hit film. Follow this unlikely green hero on a life-changing journey full of romance and dozens of zany misfit characters. The perfect show for any age! Ticket price includes dinner, show, tax & parking. AAA discount available.
Evansville Otters at Bosse Field - Various days at Bosse Field. Locally owned and a member of the Frontier League, the Otters are the darlings of summer. Great ball play combined with fun promotions throughout the game guarantee an evening of fun family entertainment. To top it off, the games are played at Bosse Field, a stadium built in 1915 and the site of the filming of "A League of Their Own" in 1992. Come watch our Boys of Summer from May through August!
Floyds Knobs Farmers Market - Saturdays May through October at 400 Block Laffollette Station. Floyds Knobs Farmers Market Opening May 11 - October 26 Every Saturday from 8:30 am to 1 pm. Were an Indiana Grown Market and host a variety of Great Events throughout Season.
The Art of the Monon - April 1st to August 31st, 10am-4pm at the French Lick West Baden Museum. The Monon was Indiana’s railroad and touched every town in Orange County. See the Monon paintings of renowned railroad artist Howard Fogg and other rare Monon items.
Dubois County Bombers at League Stadium - Various days at the League Stadium. League Stadium was home to the Rockford Peaches in the hit movie A League of Their Own. The vintage signage, scoreboard, and atmosphere remain. The Bombers play in vintage-inspired uniforms - pants are knickered, stirrups are worn. The crack of a wood bat against a baseball resounds through the stadium. You may hear Who’s on First over the audio. We even have our own Peaches at the games keeping everything in the stadium rolling, while our coaches and players keep it exciting on the field.
Rock on Rising Sun - April 10th to September 30th on Main Street. Search and re-hide painted rocks hidden within the City of Rising Sun city limits. Spearheaded by a local resident, thousands of rocks are painted throughout the season for kids of all ages to find and re-hide. Participants are encouraged to paint their own creations and hide within the city limits. Photos of found rocks are asked to be uploaded to the Rock on Rising Sun
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