How to save on local attractions!!!

On every vacation, I always try to save as much as possible especially on the admission ticket to museums, local attractions, and theme parks. I tried to do my diligence before each vacation.

Here are some options to get into the museum for free or at least at discount rate.

  1. If you have Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit card, every first full weekend of every month you can get one free admission to their the participating museum, just show their credit or debit card and a picture ID. Click here for the complete list of their partners. Usually, kids get in free with your free admission tickets but I guess it depends on the museum. (You can ask the bank to issue extra cards with your kids’ and spouse name on it)
  2. Do you know if you are a member of one museum you might entitle to get into their reciprocity for free or at a discount rate. For example, we’re a family member of Museum of Science and Industry Chicago and since MSI belongs to ASTC, a global organization of science centers and museums, we’re allowed to visit museums across the U.S. and around the world for free or discounted admission.
  3. Watch for the state free museum days. Check the museum website.
  4. Reserve a free passes from your public library. Some of the public libraries give Library cardholders access to free passes for local museums and attractions.
  5. Go for Museum Day. Museum Day is an annual celebration hosted by Smithsonian magazine. Participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket.Click Get a Ticket to search participating museums and download your ticket.
  6. Search local attraction deal on Groupon. (Signup for here and they usually send you a notification when they have a flash sale. The biggest discount I saw so far is from T-mobile Tuesday 30% off, the normal discount usually 25-10% off)
  7. If you are an active duty military, you and your family can get free admission all summer long at participation museums around the country.
  8. Or you might want to consider CityPass or GoCityCard

THE WESTIN LOS CABOS RESORT VILLAS & SPA

Westin Los Cabos property is located in Carretera Transpeninsular KM 22.5 about 30 minutes away from the Los Cabos International airport. Their property is located in the secluded Tourist Corridor which gives an easy access to both Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

Westin Los Cabos

This picture was taken from the lobby of the hotel

 

Westin Los Cabos Villa was designed by Javier Sordo Madeleno to reflect the famous El Arco. All their rooms have ocean views and feature the signature Westin Heavenly Bed, with layer after layer of refreshing down bedding. All their villa equipped with a kitchen, washer and dryer, sofa sleeper, HDTVs, DVD Player, and Bose sound system. I really like the washer and dryer option. I washed our swimsuit and all the sweaty clothes almost every day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

I love watching the sunset and sunrise of the Sea of Cortez from our private balcony. Watching sunrise is not an option in our lifestyle. We hardly can make it to see the sunrise. Below are pictures I took during our stay at Westin Los Cabos.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our family really enjoy spending time in the infinity pool, hanging out at the beach and digging in the sand. You can not swim in the ocean in front of this resort because of the dangerous riptides. There is a swimmable beach not far from this resort and it is kind of like a private beach too. This beach is pretty quiet if you go on the weekday when the local is still busy working.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoying Westin’s breakfast at Cocina Casera with the amazing view of the Sea of Cortez.

 

THINGS TO DO IN LOS CABOS

Before we go to Los Cabos, I’ve done some research that it is easier to just rent a car in this town than taking public transport like in Cancun. We end up renting a van from BBB rent a car. Their service is excellent and the price really reasonable, two thumbs up to friendly Sagi. Once you decide you want to use their service, they will send you an email on how to proceed from the airport.

We were staying at the Westin Resort. This hotel is so beautiful inside out. Click here for my review about this hotel.

Things we do in Los Cabos

Obviously, there is two town you want to visit while visiting Los Cabos, Cabos San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Driving in Cabos is really easy and safe too. You can bring your own GPS with Mexico map or your smartphone with google map.

What you can do around San Lucas.

  1. Of course, you have to visit El Arco de Cabo San Lucas (Lands End) which is a unique natural rock formation where you can watch whale migrate from Alaska to the warm waters of Baja California from January to March. We took a water taxi which is about $10/person. If the weather permits, they will drop you at the Arco and pick you up in 1-2hrs. If not they will bring you to as close as possible to the Arco and you can ask to be dropped to the nearby beach. Tell them what time you want to be picked up. Don’t forget to pack a beach towel, sunscreen, water, and some snacks. Put on your swimsuit under your shirt because they don’t have a place to change if you want to enjoy the beach.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  2. Hike up to Mt. Solmar.  Do this early in the morning because it can get extremely HOT since there is no shade at all. Bring extra waters and wear a shoe, 🚫NO sandals. This is about 40-60 min hike. It is short but the trail here can be challenging for some people especially elderly and young kids. You need to ask around to get to this hidden gem. The summit view here is amazing, well worth the effort. Make sure you bring some changes to tip a man named Enrique (the property owner)

    IMG_5831

    Mt. Solmar view from the beach

  3. Relaxing at Medano Beach. The water is nice and calm. You will find tons of activities on this beach, from jet skiing, parasailing to snorkeling. This beach is the one with lots of merchants and restaurants. About $10 to rent umbrella and couple chairs for all day. If you like the quieter beach you have to go to the beach under Mt. Solmar. We love it. ** bring snorkeling gear and action camera
  4. Strolling inside and outside beautiful Puerto Paraiso Mall. You will find a lot of photo spots. Cool yourself down inside the mall on a hot day.RPGQE7739.jpg
  5. Watching the sunset at Playa del Armor. It is a beach where the sea of Cortes and the Pacific Ocean meet. It is basically the Arco. The water on one side is so rough and the other side is very calm. I don’t really like it that much because this place is very crowded.
  6. Spend the day at the beach under Mt. Solmar. (I don’t know the name of the place) but you can ask the water taxi to drop you there after visiting the El Arco.
  7. Chill out at Chileno Beach. This beach is a hidden gem when you come at the right time like early in the morning during the weekdays when the locals are at work. This beach is pretty tricky to locate make sure you follow the sign on the road (the address online is not accurate)
  8. Another fine beach is Playa Santa Maria. We went here early in the morning during the weekday so it was pretty quiet. Make sure you bring lots of waters and foods. You will not find a single vendor on this beach, which we liked. Most of the beaches in Cabos is not suitable for swimming but this one, you can swim and snorkel in.

 

What to do around San Jose

  1. Visit the Art Walk held every Thursday evening from 5-9PM. We had lots of fun walking around the downtown San Jose. We fall in love with the local Tamales sold by the street vendors during the Art Walk.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  2. Do your grocery shopping at the giant Supermarket La Comer Mauricio Castro 4650, Zona Hotelera, 23400 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico – Buy bottle waters and local snacks to enjoy it at the beach.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  3. Exploring Mall Plaza Del Pescador and take some cute pictures
  4. Dolphin Discovery San Jose del Cabo Paseo de los Pescadores s/n, La Playa, 23403 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico
  5. Stop by at Estuary Bird Lookout Boulevard Antonio Mijares, 23400 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico

If you have extra days try to visit TODOS SANTOS and LA PAZ.  Todos Santos is really small so you can continue on to La Paz, which is about 1 hr away.

Things to do in Todos Santos

  1. Todos Santos is a very small town between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. It is around 1.5hr drive. Here you can witness the local releasing baby turtle back to the ocean usually from December to the end of April at Tortugueros Las Playitas
  2. Don’t forget to stop at Hotel California, FYI this has nothing to do with the famous song by Eagle.

 

Things to do in La Paz

  1. Take a picture at Espectacular de La Paz Los CabosApril 09, 2018-5
  2. Stroll along Malecon which is a beautiful waterfront promenade. La Paz’s waterfront, with its wide sidewalk, tiny beaches, tourist pier, benches, sculptures by local artists and unimpeded sunset views, is the city’s highlight. It stretches 5.5km, from the Marina de la Paz in the south to Playa Coromuel in the north. It started getting a face-lift in 2017 that may continue in stages over a few years. Evenings are the best time to visit as the entire town seems to come out to enjoy the cooler evenings. People bike, run and walk along the waterfront, stopping in restaurants for dinner or drinks and live bands play late into the night.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  3. Exploring Isla Espiritu Santo which is the most beautiful island in the Sea of Cortez.  (Playa el Tecolote, La Paz 23000, Mexico) 
  4. Playa Balandra – is about 45 minutes away from downtown LaPaz but it is worth the drive, beautiful scenic route. Playa Balandra is considered as one of the best beaches in Mexico. Pearl white sand frames a lagoon bounded by hills, filled with the sort of turquoise water. It is a home to famous El Hongo, a mushroom-shaped rock formation. The water here is crystal clear, shallow, and very calm.

 

Hope you guys find this guide to Los Cabos helpful. Enjoy Los Cabos!!

THINGS TO DO IN MONTREAL

Old Montreal (everything is within the walking distance – use google map)

  1. Centre d’Histoire de Montréal (You might want to start your Montreal visit here – $7.50/person) – 335 Place d’Youville, Montréal, QC H2Y 3T1, Canada13-11-08-Centre-dhistoire-de-montreal-600x397
  2. Notre-Dame Basilique (Gorgeous Catholic Church – $4/person to go in) – 110 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, QC H2Y 1T2, Canada
  3. Turn to Place Jacques Cartier
  4. Walk along Rue St. Paul E
  5. Continue walking to Old Port of Montréal home of Montréal Science Center.
  6. Around here you will also find Voiles en Voiles, Zipline, and SOS Labyrinthe.
  7. Clock Tower
  8. Marche Bonsecours (Beautiful building but not much to see inside) – 350 St Paul St E, Montreal, QC H2Y 1H2, Canada

You can use below google map for your guidance around the Old Montreal Area.

DOWNTOWN Montreal

  1. Montreal Trade Center and Underground City – RESO is known as the underground City by Montrealers. It is a series of interconnected office towers, hotels, shopping centers, residential and commercial complexes, convention halls, universities and performing arts venues at Downtown Montreal. Measuring 33km in length, this network of interior galleries is one of the largest in the world. Its tunnels connecting metro stations and buildings. About 500,000 people per day go to work, go to the movies, or even go shopping without having to go outside. – Located at 747 Rue du Square-Victoria, Montréal, QC H2Y 3Y9, CanadaMontreal Trade Center
  2. Montreal Trade Center

Golden Square Mile Area

  1. Cathedral of Marie Reine du Monde is the third largest church in Quebec after Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Montreal and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré east of Quebec City.  Located at  1085 Rue de la Cathédrale, Montréal, QC H3B 2V3, CanadaSt. Patrick's Basilica
  2. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is the city’s largest museum and is amongst the most prominent in Canada. Located at – 1380 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H3G 1J5, Canada
  3. Musee Red Path – Free – 859 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3A 0C4, CanadaDawson_Gallery_-_Redpath_Museum_-_McGill_University_-_Montreal,_Canada_-_DSC07868

Mont-Royal Area

  1. Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mont-Royal is the largest shrine in the world dedicated to Saint Joseph. It is a must to see place when you are in Montreal. It is located on the summit of Montreal. The tip of the dome is the highest point in Montreal. Montreal’s city law restricts any building from being constructed higher than the Oratory. Located at 3800 Queen Mary Rd, Montreal, QC H3V 1H6, Canada
  2. Mount Royal Park
  3. Chalet du Mont-Royal
  4. Mt Royal CrossIMG_0714

Other Area

  1. Marche Jean-Talon ( Biggest farmer market in town) – 7070 Henri Julien Ave, Montreal, QC H2S 3S3, Canada
  2. Montreal Botanical Garden admission for an adult is $20.50CAD and $56 for a family of 5 – 4101 Rue Sherbrooke E, Montréal, QC H1X 2B2, Canada
  3. Biodôme the Montreal – 4777 Pierre-de Coubertin Ave, Montreal, QC H1V 1B3, Canada (close ’til summer 2019)
  4. Parc Jean Drapeau – 1 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montréal, QC H3C 1A9, Canadase-rendre-au-parc.jpg

**TIPS to Park in Montreal Downtown

Chinatown is just across the Old Montreal. You can park your car here around $15 for a full day.

Street parking is also available for a short-term

Use parkme or parkopedia website to find a nearby parking lot and to compare their prices.

Where to eat in Kansas City

City Market Area

  • Vietnam Cafe  522 Campbell St Kansas City, MO 64106
  • Dragonfly Tea Zone (Bubble Tea) inside the City Market
  • Beignet (Cajun/Creole) – Their Fresh Beignet is really really good – We bought Baker’s Dozen for $12. It tastes like Funnel Cake with powder sugar. Yummy.  inside the City Market
  • Betty Rae’s Ice Cream 7140 Wornall Rd Ste 102 Kansas City, MO 64114

Midtown

  • Q39 Midtown  1000 W 39th St Kansas City, MO 64111
  • Char Bar 4050 Pennsylvania Ave Kansas City, MO 64111
  • Jack Stack Barbecue – Freight House (The one close to the Union Station has a larger capacity than the other Jack Stack location) – make a reservation before you go. 101 W 22nd St Ste 300 Kansas City, MO 64108

Kansas City, KS

  • Joe’s Kansas City BBQ (when you put the address make sure the state is Kansas, not Missouri)  3002 W 47th Ave Kansas City, KS 66103

 

 

THINGS TO DO IN KANSAS CITY

  1. If you are visiting Kansas City, visiting the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art is a must!!! Admission to this museum is Free to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy, appreciate and understand the finest visual arts. Free outside parking.  This museum is located at 4525 Oak St. Kansas City, MO 64111

    The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

    The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

  2. Stop by at Country Club Plaza. The Plaza is an outdoor museum of romantic Spanish architecture and European art where people actually live and work every day amid its beauty. It was designed in 1922 as the nation’s first suburban shopping district. Since then, it’s open-air public art gallery has continuously added to its collection, with fountains, sculptures, and murals that bring the very best of the Old World and the New. Download the guide here.  Located at 4706 Broadway BlvdKansas City, MO 64112-1934  
  3.  City Market  The City Market is home to an eclectic mix of restaurants and merchants who offer distinctive gifts, flowers, home accessories and specialty foods from across the world. March through November, it hosts the region’s largest farmers’ market on Saturdays with additional markets on Sundays and Wednesdays. The buildings surrounding the open-air market house more than 30 shops and restaurants that are open year round, including the Arabia Steamboat Museum. The Market also offers an impressive lineup of concerts and special events. Located at 20 E. 5th Street, Suite 201, Kansas City, MO 64106.
  4. Ride a Free to ride KC Streetcar. Explore the route here

    KC Streetcar @ City Market

    KC Streetcar @ City Market

  5. Kansas City Public Library Central Library14 West 10th Street, Kansas CityMO 64105

    Kansas City Public Library - Central Library

    Kansas City Public Library – Central Library

  6. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is an architectural marvel in Missouri. The design features semi-arches giving it a shell-like appearance. Located at 1601 Broadway BlvdKansas City, MO 64108-1229

    Kauffman Center

    Kauffman Center

  7. Kansas City Union Station home of Science City, Dinasours Revealed, Railroad Experience. Located at 30 W Pershing Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108

    Kansas City Union Station

    Kansas City Union Station

  8. National WWI Museum and Memorial

    National WWI Museum and Memorial

    National WWI Museum and Memorial

  9. The Money Museum  Free walk-in experience which allows you to see all the exhibits, the cash Processing, and Vault viewing area. At the end of the tour, you also get a bag of shredded money.
  10. Crown Center Shopping Complex which includes SEA LIFE, Lego Discovery, and Hallmark Visitors Center.
  11. Don’t forget to take pictures at the following murals

Four Points by Sheraton @ Kansas City Sport Complex Area

Four Points at KC Sports Complex is a category 3 hotel. It was a bad idea, I should trust the review on the SPG website. It looks like they’ve been working on upgrading the hotel. They look decent when you first step into the room but once you go in further you can smell the dampness. I open my shoes and start walking barefoot on the carpet and then I found my feet soak in the water from the carpet. I look up at the ceiling and I saw a water stain. My son walk-in and sat right away on the sofa and he found himself submerged in the wet cushion.

So my husband went back to the front desk ask for a different room and they only have one left so we just go with it. This time the room was not as wet as the first one but still, you can feel the dampness. My husband and one of my kid have asthma and allergies to mold and dust. We thought we can ignore it but their allergy is getting worst. They start sneezing, coughing, having a runny nose, itchy eyes. And tonight it’s not only them, I also start having itchy eyes. Even Claritin didn’t ease the symptoms.

I called the SPG platinum line to see if I can cancel my reservation for the next day, but they said I have to call the hotel to see if they’re willing to cancel it. Unfortunately, after being transferred to several people from the front desk, concierge and I don’t know who else, we still can not cancel it or even move to a different room since the hotel is fully booked. The only thing they did is providing us with a dehumidifier. In just 5 hours the dehumidifier is full.

That’s how much water collected in less than 5 hours.

The dehumidifier does help a lot, but I’m really disappointed with how they handle this matter. They should let us cancel the room for the next day. Before SPG and Marriott merged we never have a problem canceling the room less than 24 hrs. Now they require 48 hrs to cancel the room. We were ok to stay at this hotel if the room is not wet. We don’t know the fact until we arrived which is very late at the hotel and there is no way for us to cancel the next day and the day after. (Since it will be less than 48hrs). Today we have to empty the dehumidifier twice. On the last day, we got moved to the top floor and this time the room is really nice. The manager that work at that day was really helpful and apologized for the inconvenience we experience on the first two days.