There’s nothing worse than spending a ton of time and money traveling to a beautiful place only to realize the pictures you took are absolute garbage. One of the best parts of traveling is being able to take home amazing memories. An easy way to access those memories is with photos. You don’t want to look back at your photos 10 years from now and think “I swear that place was prettier than that.” Thankfully there is an easy way to fix your pics.
While Lacey and I are by no means professional photo editors, we have found a quick and easy solution to fixing some of the god awful pics we take. We use a free (yes, free!) photo editing software called the Nik Collection, by Google. As always, a reminder that we don’t get paid to promote anything; we just honestly love this editing software.
While there is literally an entire ‘collection’ of free Google photo editing software you can download here, the product we end up using the most is the Color Efex Pro. Within Color Efex Pro, we typically only use 2 of the editing options – Darken/Lighten Center and Brilliance/Warmth. These 2 settings make it easy to brighten up dark sections of your photos and also make the colors pop. These are the only 2 settings we used to fix the picture below.
I know many of you could make this pic look even better, but we’re pretty satisfied by being able to make the terrible original pic look halfway decent. At least you can see our faces now! This pic was actually take a few hours before I proposed so it means a lot to me to be able to brighten up this one. Thanks Googs!
Let us know if you give the Nik Collection a shot! Send us some examples of the pics you edited.
Good luck with your edits!
Below are a handful of pics from our engagement trip to Italy from a few years back. Both our camera and our picture taking skills were awful at the time, but we were able to salvage most of the pics with the Nik Collection. Take my word for it, before I edited the pics below, they were borderline unusable.
Mat and I took advantage of our three day weekend and flew to Palm Springs, CA for a quick and relaxing trip. Our three-day weekend can be described in three terms: naps, hats and pool floaties. Palm Springs was a great place to get the summer started because the weather was already HOT, which I loved. We stayed at The Avalon and earned 29k Southwest points for doing so. I thought the hotel/bungalow accommodations were adorable. With these extra points, we earned the Southwest Companion Pass for 2018! Woo hoo!
After working a full day on Friday (we have to use our time off wisely!) we flew in late so we didn’t really get the vacation started until Saturday morning. However, The Avalon had a wonderful surprise waiting for us in our room-a HUGE plate of the most delicious and fresh fruit we have ever had. Mat went crazy on the fruit Friday night and I finished off some of it when I woke up on Saturday.
We slept in on Saturday and had breakfast at the Chi Chi restaurant, which has tables right beside the main pool at the center of the hotel. I had an amazing assortment of buttermilk pancakes, banana foster’s, barrel-aged maple syrup and candied walnuts. The best part was that it was still steaming hot when they brought it out. It was so good. If you follow us on SnapChat you probably saw me freaking out about it. Mat wasn’t as excited about his breakfast burrito, but it came with more of that amazing fruit and gorgeous poolside views, so it’s kind of hard to complain.
After breakfast we walked into town and did some shopping. This is when we made the most important purchases of the trip: our hats. I have become slightly obsessed with mine and it may have contributed to the fact that I didn’t brush my hair the entire trip. Mat looks extremely dapper in his, and of course they helped protect our skin from the blazing sun.
We made a quick stop at Las Casuelas Terraza for some giant margaritas before heading back to enjoy some pool time at the hotel. The Avalon has three different pools, which is nice that they cater to the different interests of their guests. One of the pools was kid friendly (we checked it out but promptly kept walking), and the main pool, located by the Chi Chi, seemed to be mostly couples. All the lounge chairs at this pool were already taken, so we kept going to the third pool. I called this third pool the ‘party pool’, which usually isn’t really our jam but we totally loved it! For the Memorial holiday, The Avalon hosted a variety of activities at the ‘party pool’ including: live DJ, a taco bar, booze-y snow cones, frozes (frozen rose wine), ping pong and bocci ball! We spent the majority of our time at this pool for obvious reason. 🙂 We then preceded to take a four nap after the sun had zapped our energy. Hey, it’s vacation-we can nap however long we want!
The best food of the weekend was at the hard to get into brunch joint, Cheeky’s. The Avalon provided cruiser bikes to hotel guests free of charge so we checked them out one morning and decided to bike the one mile to Cheeky’s. We arrived just 30 minutes after the restaurant opened and ended up waiting an hour and a half for a table! It was insane! During that hour and a half of waiting, dozens and dozens of people showed up to put their name on the waiting list. The restaurant is only open until 2 pm, so I have no idea if it was even possible to get through the list of people before they closed. The food definitely did not disappoint, so it was worth the wait.
Our last night we decided to drive the one hour and check out Joshua Tree National Park. The trees are so interesting, kind of a mix between a cactus and a palm tree. So cool! But to be honest, after you’ve seen 100, they all start to look alike. The park also has these amazing, huge, boulder structures. The park looked especially alien-like after the sun set and there were shadows everywhere.
Mat and I recently had the opportunity to visit the sweet surfing city, Sayulita, Mexico for a friend’s wedding. The verdict is out and…we are in love with it. So much so that we may or may not have looked at property while we were there. 😉 This was such a wonderful trip because we were able to travel with our good friends Tony and Heidy! Travel is always enhanced when you can spend it with friends and family.
We found a great villa to rent on Airbnb (Casa Kukana) that came with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and our own private pool. We did some research before we went and found that most travelers rent golf carts (how great/cute is that?!) to get around the town. If you are traveling to Sayulita, I would definitely recommend getting one mostly because it’s so fun. Plus, it helps you get around fast and is easy to find a parking spot.
It is important to note, however, that depending on where you are staying or wanting to visit, a golf cart may not get you there. There are two neighborhoods in the town that a regular ol’ golf cart can’t access: Gringo Hill and Nanazal. The town is built up in the hills, and these two areas are too steep to access with a regular four-seater golf cart. If you are staying in these areas you will need to rent a larger golf cart or a Polaris.
Sayulita is about a 45 min drive north of the Puerta Vallarta airport, so we arranged (through our Airbnb rental) a private taxi to pick us up. What was great about this arrangement is that not only was it a luxurious SUV, but the driver had ice-filled coolers in the back full of water and beer for us! Perfect for after the semi-long flying time to get there.
Scheduling a private ride from the airport worked out great because the price we paid included a stop at the Mega, which is basically the Wal-Mart of Mexico. Since we had a full kitchen in our rental, we stocked up on food and drinks for the week. Mat and I spent less than $100 on food and alcohol for the week, and if you know how often Mat eats, you will understand how much money this saved us! We also picked up some other items at the Mega including SPF, tanning lotion and a sports bra for me. Long story about the sports bra…but it’s nice to know that items like this are available if needed!
The villa we rented also provided all the filtered drinking water we needed, which is a must in Sayulita so you don’t get sick drinking the unfiltered water there. We even used the filtered water to brush our teeth just to be cautious. I loved our villa so much that it was difficult to ever want to leave it! We had the most amazing views of the beach and the town from our pool.
The town itself is what totally won me over. It is basically everything I want to be able to do every day including: laying on the beach, never brushing my hair, not wearing a bra or shoes, macrame, live music, yoga, delicious food (including pizza and dessert!), cold drinks and amazing shops. All of this is available in this adorable city! We found that Sayulita is a vacation destination for both Americans and locals, which is so cool!
Heidy compared the little town of Sayulita to one of her favorite travel destinations, Costa Rica. Mat and I haven’t been to Costa Rica (yet), but we thought it reminded us a little bit of Curacao. The adorable surf and yoga town is a bit more jungle-y than other places we have visited in Mexico, which makes me feel like I’m in a tree-house up in the hills. I loved it.
One of our favorite parts of the trip happened because we took a wrong turn on the way back to the villa one night and randomly came across a street we nicknamed Carnival Alley. The reason for the nickname was because on this street there was the greatest carnival-like game ever. I don’t think it has a name but we called it Beer Toss. There was a large makeshift wall with rows of glass beer bottles held up by nails, and in front was a table filled with rocks. Yes, glass beer bottles. And yes, rocks. So simple yet brilliant. You pay 30 pesos (equivalent to about $1.60) for three rocks to throw and try to break a glass beer bottle. For every bottle you break, you get a beer. No joke. So, you could potentially win three beers for for about a buck and a half. And it’s oddly satisfying to break a glass bottle with a rock. We had SO much fun in Carnival Alley. You can see the bottle breaking action near the end of our video below this post.
All in all, the wedding was beautiful (congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs. T!) and the laid back, surfing town won us over. I’m hoping to see you next year, Sayulita!
Shoshone Falls is currently dumping more water per second than it has in 20 years. The falls are only about 2hrs away from our home in downtown Boise, so we decided to go take a look! Shoshone Falls is often referred to as the ‘Niagara of the West’. After finally seeing it in person we now understand why. Currently running at about 22k cubic feet per second, this is by far the most impressive waterfall either of us have seen in person.
We were a bit worried about the large volume of people rumored to be visiting the falls this weekend. Some were saying they had to wait over an hour to park during their visit. Others had said traffic was backed up for a few miles leading up to the parking lot entrance. Fortunately, we didn’t experience either of these things. Whether it was good timing, or luck, we didn’t have to wait at all this past Saturday during our visit. There were plenty of people there, but we didn’t have any trouble finding a parking spot about 200 yards from the lookout points. The entrance fee is only $3 per car and well worth it. You can find more details here.
We would highly recommend you visit Shoshone Falls, ID if you’re anywhere in the neighborhood.
Let us know if you have any questions while planning your trip!
New York City is like a giant storage unit that the world keeps stuffing awesome shit into. It’s filled to the top and all the way to the back with food, sports, architecture, shopping, art, and entertainment. Anytime you slide up the storage unit door, a pile of awesome spills out on your feet and you’re like “do we have too much awesome in here? Nah, I think there’s still some room in the back.” We were lucky enough to make our 3rd trip to this amazing city recently and agree that it was our best New York City experience…so far.
First of all, I’d like to thank Matthew McConaughy and Kate Hudson for making this trip possible. Seriously. If it weren’t for the 2003 rom-com “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”, we never would have taken this trip. Thanks to the scene below, going to a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden had landed itself on Lacey’s bucket list. We take bucket list declarations very seriously in our household, so I knew we needed to make this happen asap. We scored amazing seats (11th row) as the Knicks caught a beatin’ from the 1st place Celtics. Lacey was dressed up in her custom Knicks jersey and seemed to be constantly in awe of her surroundings. In addition to the game, there were a ton of celebrities on hand that were often hanging out directly next to where we were sitting. The Knicks even honored the team from 1999 during the game which included every player Kate Hudson and Matty Mc-C cheered for during the movie. What are the odds?!! To top it off, Lacey caught a Knicks shirt from the t-shirt gun people. It couldn’t have gone any better. Bucket list item checked off in style.
We only had 1 other pre-planned event for this trip; a live taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers. This ended up being way more fun than I think either of us thought it would be. While being led to the Late Night Studio within the Rockefeller Center, we walked by the main Saturday Night Live stage which was really cool to see in person. As our tickets were free and didn’t have assigned seats, we were thrilled when the NBC ushers placed us in the 3rd row from the studio floor. The guests that night were Chelsea Handler and Jake Johnson (Nick from New Girl). We like those two a bunch so it made for an even more exciting experience. They didn’t allow anyone to take pics in the studio so I grabbed a couple of screenshots from the episode to show where we sat. Shown at the bottom.
The rest of the trip was accidentally action packed, but in a great way. We ate tons of delicious food at places like PJ Clarke’s, Toscana 49, dessert at Serendipity, and Juliana’s Pizza in Brooklyn. We visited Central Park for some morning hot chocolate, we stopped by the “Fearless Girl” statue near Wall St., and quickly passed through Time Square on our way to catch a metro. Lacey visited “blo“, a blow dry bar near our hotel in midtown. Her hair is always awesome but I think she appreciated having someone else wash, dry, and style it for the day.
Last but not least, we visited the jewelry boutique where I purchased Lacey’s engagement ring 3 years ago. Neither of us had ever been there before since I ordered her ring online. The boutique was hidden in a nondescript office building in midtown on the 9th floor. You had to pass through 2 security doors before waiting to be buzzed in through the main door. It felt good knowing that it wasn’t an easily accessible, run-of-the-mill jewelry shop with “80% OFF SALE” signs everywhere. The shop was filled with beautiful antique jewelry and had an amazing view of Manhattan. We had Lacey’s ring cleaned and maintenanced while we were there. I don’t think she has stopped looking at her ring since.
One thing that stood out to Lacey and I the most during this trip was finally being able to experience New York City the way we always wanted to. Since our flights were free (thanks to the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass) we felt comfortable dropping a few extra bucks on tickets, dinner, wine, coffees, and desserts. The more we thought about and appreciated that simple fact, the more we realized that it really did change our entire experience. If we had to swap out our intimate dining experiences for fast food or if we had balcony seats at the game instead of our floor seats, it would have been a completely different experience for us. Still fun, but just very different. We couldn’t be more thankful for the credit card award options that let us get to places like this for free!
This was our best New York City experience…so far. We’re hoping to catch a live taping of Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live on our next visit!
Last year I got Lacey a push-pin travel map for our anniversary. It’s a really cool map, but I realized that it might have been kind of a sucky gift for an anniversary. Anniversaries probably call for a little more effort than just ordering something online. My bad. This year, Lacey and I put our heads together about 4 months in advance and came up with an awesome idea. Rather than doing material gifts, we were going to spend our 2nd wedding anniversary in Maui, HI.
This trip was a rare case because we actually paid for most of it out-of-pocket and did not use any rewards points. We did, however, get 1 of our flights for $99 + taxes while using the Alaska Airlines “companion fare” that comes with this card. So we still saved about $600 dollars on flights. Our tax returns covered the rest of the trip including a 5 night stay in an ocean front studio suite at the Honua Kai Resort.
The Honua Kai is beautiful. The resort has multiple pools, a water slide, a lazy river, a charming ocean front restaurant, and easy beach access. We would definitely recommend staying here if you’re planning a trip. It is located on the northwest side of the island, minutes from Ka’anapali Beach and Lahaina. The studio we stayed in was incredible. We had a full kitchen (where we baked our wedding/fun-fetti cake), living room, large bathroom with a tub and shower, and a large patio equipped with furniture. The best part was the sliding glass door leading out to the patio. You could slide and fold this door together creating an “open air” feel leading from your room out to the resort and ocean.
While we didn’t have much planned for this trip, there were a couple of things we really wanted to do. I wanted to see some waterfalls and Lacey wanted to do some cliff jumping. We knocked out both pretty quickly and stumbled upon some awesome plants, animals, and geography along the way. We visited the Heart Shaped rock near the Nakalele Blowhole and we happened upon the Twin Falls and Garden of Eden along the road to Hana.
We spent our final evening in Lahaina on a bench facing the ocean and sunset. We shared a giant shaved ice while marveling at nearby whales as they lept out of the water. So incredible!
For us, this was the perfect way to spend our 2nd anniversary. Hopefully this becomes a Thompson tradition!
Lacey and I didn’t originally plan on taking a trip in between Aruba (late Jan.) and Maui (next Saturday!), but the weather in Boise continues to be absolutely miserable. The buzz from the Aruba trip wore off quicker than we’d hoped as the wind, rain, snow, and inversions of Southern Idaho kept coming. Lacey and I are both really affected by ugly/dark/cold weather (who isnt?!). I’m not sure if it’s to the level of seasonal depression disorder, but it sucks nonetheless. After a few days in a row of being bummed out, we decided we had to seek out some sunshine.
With plenty of Southwest points paired with the Companion Pass and our recently earned 2 “anniversary” nights with Hyatt, I started doing some searching for a Presidents Day Weekend getaway. From Boise, Southern California is usually our best bet for a quick trip to sunshine this time of year. I had a little trouble out of the gates finding award night availability with Hyatt. I searched places like San Diego, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach. No luck. It seemed this was just too short of notice to book a room with awards. Then I remembered Lacey telling me about how much fun her and her mom had wedding dress shopping at Manhattan Beach. I quickly searched for, and found, availability at the Hyatt House near Manhattan Beach. After a quick chat with Lacey, we booked the trip.
The conversation went something like this:
Mat – “How do you feel about going to Manhattan Beach for President’s Day? We can get there for free, use 2 free nights at a Hyatt, and then book a 3rd night with a points+cash combination. The entire trip would cost $83.”
Lacey – “Oh my gosh, yes! Book it!”
So I did, and we enjoyed a quick and casual, no plans, just hanging out, Netflix by 7pm, awesome weekend in the Los Angeles/Manhattan Beach area.
The weather was a little chilly during the trip, but the sunshine did come out each day after some morning clouds. We ventured to Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, while hiking to the Griffith Observatory. We made our way to Venice Beach and crushed some In and Out Burgers on the way back to the hotel. We even caught a movie during a couple hours of cloudy drizzly weather one morning.
Another awesome experience courtesy of rewards points. We saved $900+ on this trip by using the Southwest Airlines companion pass and the Hyatt rewards programs. Let us know if you have any questions on how you can do the same!
Lacey and I just did the math and realized that we redeemed nearly $22k of free travel in 12 months. To be exact, it was $21,833.42 from February ’16 – January ’17. Holy shit! We traveled to some amazing places (20 different cities) and stayed in some incredible hotels along the way. The majority of our travel expenses were either highly discounted or completely free thanks to credit card rewards points. I can’t stress enough how easily all of you can do the same thing!
Our 12 month travel recap includes the destinations listed below. Click the links to get more details on what we experienced in the past 12 months and how we did it for next to nothing!
While there were a number of rewards programs we used to get all of this awesome stuff, there are a few programs that gave us the most in return. Keep in mind that we don’t get paid to promote any of these programs. These are our genuine opinions based strictly on our personal experiences.
Southwest Airlines Companion Pass – Lacey and I have redeemed over $5,000 worth of free flights from this reward so far. This reward lets you AND your companion fly for free for up to 2 years. Lacey and I still have all of 2017 left to use this perk and we’re going to do our best to make sure we continue earning this reward for as long as possible. Check out how to earn the SW Companion Pass here.
The Hyatt “2 Free Nights” card – link here. After meeting the spending requirements, you’ll earn 2 free nights at ANY Hyatt property. Lacey and I both earned this reward and used our 4 free nights at the Grand Hyatt in Aruba for an $800 per night ocean view suite. This card also gives you 1 anniversary night per year. Lacey and I just used our anniversary nights to book a stay on Manhattan Beach – Los Angeles.
The Wyndham card – What a nice surprise this card has been! You don’t hear much about this card on the mainstream travel blogs. You’ll earn 45k points after hitting the spending requirement. You can book ANY of their hotels for a flat rate of 15k points. So out of the gate, you get 3 free nights anywhere. We used this to book an ocean front suite on South Beach in Miami. It was one of the best hotel experiences we’ve had so far. More details in this post.
The Hilton Honors program. I love Hilton! They have multiple cards you can sign up for making it easy to stack points quickly. Their customer service reps treat you like royalty when you call to book your room(s). I’ll never forget how cool it felt to have someone say “Alright Mr. Thompson, let’s see if I can get you into our most luxurious property during your stay.” There aren’t many occasions in life when I feel like a big shot, but the Hilton reps make me feel like that every time I talk to them.
We are so lucky to have experienced everything we did during the last 12 months. We are very grateful that there are ways for people on a budget to get to see the world. When there’s a will, there’s a way! We hope to continue this pace throughout 2017 as well. So far we’re booked through June 2017 with vacations to Los Angeles (Manhattan Beach), Maui, New York City, and Sayulita Mexico.
Let us know if you have any questions once you start planning your next vacay!
Edits and pics from our travels last year:
Houston (Final Four):
This pic was on our custom lanyards that we wore around our necks.
New York City:
Huntington Beach, CA:
first view upon opening our window shades at the Hyatt in Aruba. Not a bad start
view from our Hilton Suite in Curacao
South Beach – Miami, FL:
view from our upgrade at the Shelborne in South Beach
Idaho is going through one of the coldest/snowiest winters in the past 30 years. Snow, ice, freezing rain, slush, inversions, misery. We had to escape it if only for a short while. Luckily, we already had a getaway booked for January not knowing just how badly we would end up needing it. This is kind of a funny story how it all came about actually. Back in September, we booked this trip out of spite for the sole purpose of getting back at the Hyatt hotel brand. Somewhat of a blessing in disguise, here is how we ended up visiting Aruba, Curacao, and South Beach Miami for free.
Last summer, Lacey and I visited Huntington Beach, CA. You may remember our post about it here. We ended up staying at a little Air BnB during that trip by default as Hyatt would not let us use the 4 free nights we earned from this card. The Hyatt reps were so awful and unhelpful while I was trying to book nights at one of their $200 per night properties down there. I felt like they were doing everything in their power to prevent me from redeeming the awards we earned. Long story short, Hyatt pissed me off super bad and I wanted to get back at ’em for how they treated us.
Angrily, I googled “most expensive Hyatt hotel”. At the top of the results was their resort in Aruba. What a coincidence, Southwest Airlines flies to Aruba meaning Lacey and I could get there for free because we earned the Companion Pass. This was our chance to stick it to Hyatt as these rooms were $600 per night. Suck it Hyatt. Side note, these rooms in Aruba were a challenge to book as well. Their website would tell me there was no availability when I search for 2 or 4 consecutive nights at this resort. Oddly, when I searched 1 night at a time it was available. So, I ended up having to make 4 separate reservations in order to get 4 nights in a row. Keep this in mind when you’re looking for availability on Hyatt’s website. I’m not kidding, they do their best to prevent you from using your rewards.
While booking our flights to Aruba, I found that we could break up the trip by making stops on the island of Curacao and in South Beach Miami. We had never been to either place and both looked amazing. We booked a suite for a night at the amazing Hilton resort in Curacao with honors points and booked 2 nights at the Shelborne Boutique Hotel on South Beach in Miami with Wyndham reward points. I have to mention how awesome the staff at the Shelborne resort were to us. I emailed them prior to the trip to confirm our reservation and briefly mentioned that it was an anniversary trip. When we checked in, they said “it looks like you are celebrating a special event with us so you have been upgraded to an ocean view penthouse suite.” I had totally forgot that I emailed ’em about it and was a little caught off guard at first. Then I turned to Lacey and said “happy anniversary, ha”. If that weren’t enough, they sent us a bottle of champagne later that night. That was pretty amazing of them and we are so grateful.
Our week-long trip was just what we needed to break up this awful winter here in Idaho. Each place we visited was amazing for their individual reasons. Aruba’s beautiful white sand beaches, flamingos, and iguanas made us feel like we were in a different reality. Curacao’s tropical surroundings and heavily Dutch influenced architecture had us wishing we had more time to spend there. The hustle and bustle of South Beach blended with the beauty and calm atmosphere at the beach had us asking each other if we were ready to move there.
One last thing to point out. We ended up paying $25 a night to upgrade our room at the Hyatt in Aruba to an ocean front suite. So for $100 + taxes we stayed in a room that was priced at $789 per night. We ended up getting a value of about $3100 from our 4 reward nights. Maybe Hyatt will rethink their customer service approach when someone is trying to book a $200 per night room next time 🙂
Total Amount of Free Flights/Hotels for this trip alone = $6,799 prior to taxes
Southwest Flights – $2900 (we used Southwest points and the Companion Pass to book these flights)
Hyatt in Aruba – $3100 (Lacey and I both signed up for this card to earn 2 free nights each)
Hilton in Curacao – $309 (used a combination of these cards over time to earn Hilton Honors points)
Shelborne Boutique Hotel on South Beach – $490 (we used Wyndham reward points from this card to book this)
Lacey and I had never been to Denver before. Being that Southwest has nonstop flights from Boise, we decided to give it a look. If nothing else, we could put a new pin on our travel map. With the help of some beautiful weather, public bicycles, nachos, and 21oz. margaritas, we enjoyed our day in Denver.
Thanks to the Southwest Companion Pass, Lacey and I hopped on a free flight to Denver last Saturday morning. We landed, caught the hotel shuttle, dropped off our bags, and took a $5 Uber to downtown Denver. We were enjoying brunch and mimosas at the Viewhouse on Market St. by 11:30am. The Viewhouse is one of the coolest sports bars I’ve ever been to. It’s like Disneyland for drunken sports fans. They have a huge outdoor area on the 1st level that is full of backyard games like corn hole. The top floor patio, where Lacey and I hung out, has amazing views of downtown Denver and of Coors Field. Their brunch is delicious and is accompanied by solid happy hour specials that include bottomless mimosas and a build your own Bloody Mary bar. Our day in Denver was off to a strong start!
After brunch, we walked across the street and found a public bicycle station where we rented 2 bikes. We couldn’t think of a better way to quickly find out what all was going on in the downtown area. While cruisin’ around, we ran into a Farmers Market right outside Union Train Station and then discovered the 16th St. Mall. Lacey had heard good things about the 16th St. Mall from a friend, so we hopped off our bikes and decided to check it out a bit more. Full of shops, restaurants, and people, this 1+ mile strip of outdoor mall was something I had never seen before in any other city.
As on most of our trips, I was on the prowl for a delicious margarita. I wish I could remember the name of the place we found on 16th St, but I definitely found a winner. The menu offered a 21 ounce, margarita. Yikes! It took quite a while to finish that bad boy off, but we enjoyed some great people watching from the patio of the restaurant while I worked on it.
Still on 16th St., we visited a cool little sports apparel shop. I’ve been wanting a new Chicago Cubs hat for a while now. I don’t know if it was the margarita or just the excitement of visiting a new city, but I figured this would be a good day to make that purchase. Surprisingly enough, I found the exact Cubs hat I had been looking at online the day before in Boise. An all black fitted New Era hat with a white “C” on the front…likely the best Chicago Cubs hat ever.
Still riding the high from my purchase (and margarita) we headed back toward Coors Field to grab a bite at Lodos Bar and Grill. This rooftop patio restaurant looked out to 2 other rooftop bars as well as Coors Field. The surroundings reminded me of a beer commercial or something. I always figured they staged those commercials to make ’em look like that, but as it turns out, that’s real life in downtown Denver. Well done Denver, well done.
Following Lodos we headed over to Coors Field as we had tickets to the Cubs/Rockies game. Right around that time, Lacey started feeling ill and we decided to call it a day rather then head into the game. I think the altitude played a role in her illness as I wasn’t feeling so hot either. Make sure to drink tons of water when you visit Denver! You need to keep as much oxygen in your blood as possible being that you’re not going to get as much from the air as you normally would.
Aside from getting sick, we still had a good experience in Denver. We got to see this beautiful city via bicylces and rooftop patios, we had some delicious food and drinks, and I scored a new hat! We will surely visit the mile high city again someday.