Category : City Gems

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Living in the very upper left part of the U.S. has its perks. One of the major ones: We’re within a short drive of the beautiful lower mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Rare border-crossing hassles aside, we get easy access to all of the awesome kid fun in Vancouver, without having to endure the cost of living in this spendy little part of the world.

Taking Kids to Vancouver, BC

Here’s a collection of some of our favorite affordable kid-friendly spots in the Vancouver metro area:

The Stanley Park Miniature Train


City Gems: Stanley Park Miniature Train in Vancouver, BC

Built in 1964, the Stanley Park Miniature Train carries more than 200,000 passengers each year. It runs year-round but in the late fall changes to a Halloween Ghost Train (save that trip for your older kiddos!) and during the holiday season becomes the widely-popular Stanley Park Bright Nights Christmas Train. We rode the little circuit it travels on last summer and it was a blast!

The SkyTrain

Kid Fun in Vancouver, BC: Riding the SkyRail

From kid-sized train to big one. Large-scale events like the 2010 Winter Olympics and well before that, Expo 86 (the 1986 World’s Fair) boosted the need for public transportation from parts of the lower mainland to Vancouver’s downtown area. Enter the Skytrain. Above ground in the suburbs and underground in the city, just the experience of riding this train can be an adventure for little ones. We park in Richmond, BC and take the train straight to downtown, watching the sights as we go.

Vancouver Aquarium

Visiting Vancouver with Kids: Don't miss the aquarium!

A list of kid-favorites in Vancouver wouldn’t be complete without including the Vancouver Aquarium, located in Stanley Park. While you can see most of the aquarium in a few hours, it’s well worth it to visit this spot again and again. The educational shows, held in different areas throughout the aquarium, are entertaining and informative. The highlight of our last trip to the aquarium for my girls? High-fiving a scuba diver while he was swimming in the shark tank.

The beaches

The Best Vancouver Beaches for Kids

We’ve dug our toes in the sand at both Kitsilano Beach (Insider Tip: Call it Kits’ Beach to sound like a local) and Second Beach in Stanley Park. Sandcastle building for the kids; amazing people watching for the adults. Both have playgrounds located adjacent to the beach for some bonus sand-free fun.

Granville Island

How to get to Granville Island in Vancouver

Touristy? Yes. Worth it? Yes. Granville Island is a spot we visit over and over again, both with kids and without. Part of the fun is getting there: From downtown, hop on one of the tiny foot ferries to take you across busy but beautiful False Creek. Visit the Granville Island Public Market to sample of variety of Canadian goodies and pick up lunch from one of the numerous food vendors. In a separate building, the Kids Market has a giant indoor play area with kid-centric shops and eats. Granville is home to the biggest free water park in North America, complete with water slide, plus an awesome playground.

Side note: A few weeks ago, on a very hot Saturday, we decided to go on a big adventure to visit Granville’s splash park. We endured a longer-than-usual border crossing, parked in Richmond, took the Skytrain to Yaletown, boarded the Aquabus to Granville, ate lunch in an extremely-crowded spot and finally walked to the splash park only to turn the corner and find it shut down due to water restrictions resulting from the bad forest fires in Northern BC. Word to the wise: Check the website before you make this sort of trek. Both kids were toast by the time we got back to the Skytrain.  (Read: #parentingfail.)

Sans-kids bonus: Granville Island is also home to one of our favorite date-night spots, The Sandbar. There’s yummy food, a great local beer selection and best of all: an incredible view of the city from the rooftop patio. Read more about it here.


Taking Your Kids to Watermania in Vancouver

Watermania is one of those places that’s soooo good that I almost want to keep it a secret. A hidden gem tucked less than a mile kilometer off of the freeway in Richmond, Watermania is our go-to spot in Canada for rainy days. While it has an Olympic-size pool for lap swimming, a giant hot tub, a full fitness center and two water slides, the crown jewel is the large wave pool, complete with a toddler-sized play area right in the middle of the shallow end.

We seriously love this place. It’s super clean, with family-friendly changing areas and huge locker rooms. And, it’s a great value – admission for our family of four is $15 Canadian. On our last visit, my 4-year-old went down the slide approximately 45 times. Watermania is located in Riverport Sports and Entertainment Complex which also includes an ice rink, bowling alley, IMAX movie theatre, trampoline park, laser tag area and an Old Spaghetti Factory. It’s also conveniently around the corner from the Richmond Ikea. We’ve been known to spend the morning at Watermania, do lunch in the Ikea cafeteria and enjoy a quiet ride home with two exhausted kids konked out in their car seats.

Our list of favorites continues to grow as we explore more of the Vancouver area, but these family-friendly City Gems that can’t be missed!

This post was contributed by Jessica Spencer who is part of the Savvy Sassy Mom Product Scouts program. You can find more from Jessica on her blog, The Average Jess.

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You may have heard of the Indianapolis Colts or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or maybe you have never heard anything about Indiana. I was born and raised a Hoosier, but only truly fell in love with Indianapolis when I graduated college and moved to Indy with my husband. Since becoming a stay-at-home mom and having my son, I have only grown to love the city more. I truly love how Indy gives off a “small town” vibe while being a big city. In my opinion, it is the best of both worlds! This city has a lot to offer so check out some of my favorite local spots to visit in Indianapolis with kids.

Where to PLAY


The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The world’s largest children’s museum is located in Indianapolis and it is a stop you don’t want to miss! The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis features five different floors of fun learning experiences and exhibits, one of my favorite’s being the Dinosphere. Children are sure to love the Playscape area where they can play and create with water, sand, musical instruments, art supplies, and more!

Mulberry Farms

Mulberry Fields Park

In every area of Indianapolis you can be sure to find incredible parks and splash pads. One of our favorites is located in a suburb northwest of downtown (Zionsville) at Mulberry Fields Park. It has a park play area, picnic tables and shelters, paths, a skate park, and a splash pad. The best part, however, is the man-made creek that the splash pad water trails off into. You can splash around in the splash pad area and play in the creek! My little guy spends all of his time exploring the creek and collecting rocks and I can’t really blame him.

Monon Trail

Indianapolis has a lot of fabulous trails. In fact my entire suburb is connected by them. However, the Monon Trail definitely tops the list. Connecting downtown Indy to northern suburbs, it is great for walking, cycling, jogging, or whatever you prefer! There are multiple unique restaurants and attractions that line the trail, making it easy to hop off wherever.

Where to EAT


Bru Burger Bar

Bru Burger Bar is my favorite place to grab a burger! Dare I say the BEST burgers in Indianapolis? There are countless burger options on Bru’s menu made fresh and cooked to order, and you cannot go wrong with any of them. This is a great spot to stop and eat if you are exploring the Mass Ave. Arts District downtown.

St. Elmo Steak House

St. Elmo’s is my very favorite restaurant in Indianapolis. Known for their famous spicy shrimp cocktail sauce and delicious steaks, it is absolutely worth dropping in for a night out. It is Indy’s oldest steakhouse in it’s original location and it is located right in downtown Indianapolis.

Scotty’s Brewhouse

Scotty’s has several locations located throughout Indiana and you can find serval in the Indy area alone. They have a huge selection of food and a very impressive menu. Scotty’s Brewhouse is very family-friendly and kids eat free on Tuesdays and Sundays at all locations! If you have any picky eaters in your family, they are sure to find something on the menu they will enjoy.

Where to EAT and PLAY


Traders Point Creamery

Come visit and explore Indiana’s first organic dairy farm at Trader’s Point Creamery! You can enjoy delicious hand crafted ice cream from The Dairy Bar or grab a nice meal at the rustic and unique restaurant, The Loft. The Loft features on-site fresh farm-to-table food. You can tour the farm and watch the cows get milked daily.

Where to TREAT


The Flying Cupcake

Treat yourself to the most delicious cupcakes in Indy! With a couple of locations around Indy and tons of amazing flavors you can be sure to cure your sweet tooth. “Here Comes The Bride” is always my go-to flavor because who doesn’t love wedding cake? The Flying Cupcake has an adorable atmosphere and you can often find their food trucks around town.

This post was contributed by Amy Gene of O’Leary Love.

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We have lived in Atlanta pretty much our entire lives, so we hold this city very near and dear to our hearts. From the big city lights to that friendly Southern feel, Atlanta offers so much for tourist and locals alike.

One thing that this city is not lacking are things to do as a family. There are countless delicious kid-friendly places to eat and numerous top-notch attractions to visit. No matter what your tastes or interests, Atlanta has it all!

Where to PLAYAtlanta City Gems: Olympic Centennial Fountain Park

Centennial Olympic Park: This park, in the heart of Atlanta, was originally created as a gathering spot for visitors and locals to enjoy during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Perhaps the most iconic and recognized part of this park is the Fountain of Rings. It is an interactive fountain representing the Olympic Rings symbol and there are four free shows daily, put to music, that combine water and music in a way you would not think possible — the water literally dances in front of your eyes! When the Fountain of Rings show is not taking place, you will find children (and adults with a child-like spirits!) running and splashing in the fountains.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History: Named one of the top 10 places in the world to learn about dinosaurs, this museum has exhibits all about natural history and it entertains as well as educates. They present hands-on exhibitions perfect for kids and also have an IMAX theater featuring the biggest movie screen in Atlanta.

Braves games: Do you have a little (or big) baseball fan? The Atlanta Braves are one of America’s most historic baseball teams and with their stadium located right in downtown Atlanta, it makes for an easy attraction to visit. It doesn’t even matter if the team is playing in town when you’re visiting — there are tons of activities, even in the off-season. Turner Field offers tours that will take fans through the Braves Museum and Hall of Fame, press boxes and the dugout. The Coca-Cola Sky Field features large over-sized Adirondack chairs that afford you excellent views of Atlanta’s sky-scape and a base-line that children (both young and old) can run to test out their speed. To enhance your base running experience, kids can participate in the Kids Run The Bases program where they get to run on the actual

World of Coca-Cola: This Atlanta attraction celebrates one of the most famous brands in the world, Coca-Cola. Not everyone knows, but it all began from a secret recipe originating in Atlanta. This fun museum features brand favorites and memorabilia from Coca-Cola’s beginnings, pop-culture and even the Olympics. Also not to be missed is the fun 4-d movie and a tasting room featuring Coca-Cola products from around the world.

Where to EAT

Fox Bros. BBQ: You can’t come to the South and not visit one of our famed BBQ joints! One of our favorites is Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q. Located in the beautiful Candler Park neighborhood, this finger-licking BBQ with a Texas-twist is a huge hit. From ribs to pulled pork to their Fox-A-Roni, you can’t go wrong.Googie.burger.shakes

Googie Burger: While you are at Centennial Olympic Park, be sure to stop by this fun burger place. They have no freezers in-house, which means everything is made fresh. Their menu offers delicious burgers with creative sauces and hand-spun shakes that you can enjoy in the outdoor seating area while you take-in the sights and activity of the park.

Fellini’s Pizza: While New York and Chicago might lay claim as the pizza kings, the South does offer a few challengers. Fellini’s Pizza has several locations throughout the city of Atlanta and makes one of the best pies we have ever tasted. Their restaurants have large outdoor seating spaces and the atmosphere is always enjoyable with kids. You can order full pies or pizza by the slice to sample a little bit of all the cheesy goodness offered.King.of.pops.Collage

King of Pops: This unique Popsicle company was started by two local brothers and has grown into a successful business that is an Atlanta favorite. In addition to their permanent location and their availability in local restaurants, you can find their carts all over town at special events, farmer’s markets and food truck events. Their pops are made with fresh ingredients, are all-natural and their flavors are truly unique. Some of our favorites are Chocolate Sea Salt and Watermelon Lime!

Where to EAT and PLAY… in the suburbs

Here’s the deal with Atlanta… most people you’ll meet that tell you they are from the ATL do not technically live in Atlanta. Most of us live outside the city limits, in sprawling suburbia. However, because of the massive suburban sprawl of Atlanta, our ‘burbs also have some really fantastic places to eat and things to do, so we wanted to be sure to share a few of our local favorites!american.girl.Collage

American Girl Boutique and Bistro: If you have doll obsessed little girls, the American Girl Boutique and Bistro is a perfect way to spend some time. With one of the few locations nationwide, North Point Mall, just north of Atlanta, hosts a store that is almost like a museum where you can shop in doll heaven followed by a delicious meal or even tea in the adjacent bistro. Not only will you and your girl enjoy the tasty treats, but their dolls will too! The American Girl Bistro has thought of it all, including doll sized seats, cups and saucers for them to use during your meal.tellus.Collage

Tellus Museum: About 45-minutes north of Atlanta in Cartersville, Tellus is hands-down one of the best museums in the Atlanta metro area. Tellus is a hands-on interactive museum for kids of all ages. Exhibits feature dinosaurs, gemstones and jewels, a solar house, mind puzzles and a planetarium.

Stone Mountain Park: One of the most popular attractions in the state is just 10-miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. Stone Mountain is the largest exposed mass of granite in the world and the park offers numerous family activities as well as thousands of acres of natural and historic sights. You can hike to the top of the mountain or take the Summit Skyride. Some other family favorites are the SkyHike adventure course, the Scenic Railroad ride around the mountain and viewing the state of the art digital graphics Lasershow as a way to end your day.McEntyres.Collage

McEntyeres Bakery: This friendly neighborhood bakery entices you with its impressive display of sweet treats and boutique goods the moment you walk in the door! It is a great place for lunch, as it offers an impressive selection of yummy sandwiches and soups. The Kickin’ Chicken sandwich is our favorite and you can leave with out some cheese straws and a Petit Four.

Moxie Burger: This great burger place just north of Atlanta was created as a neighborhood gathering place for families and it has become just that. It is a hidden gem, tucked into a shopping village, but doesn’t deter the crowds as it is a favorite amongst the locals. Everything is delicious and the atmosphere is warm and perfect for a family-friendly meal. They have toys on-hand for children and a fun patio with a chalkboard table for kids to play and get crafty pre- or post-meal. Also, for Mom and Dad, they have a fabulous wine and beer list!

Have you ever been to Atlanta? What are some of your favorite places?

This post was contributed by The Magnolia Mamas as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts program.  You can find more about their adventures in and around Atlanta on their blog.   

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St Louis Arch

I’ve lived in St. Louis nearly 15 years and never have I loved this city more now that I have children.  St. Louis has so many amazing attractions and events for kids, most of which are completely free! This affordable, drivable, small city is packed with fun activities, beautiful parks, amazing museums and some of the best food in the Midwest. We are more than just a baseball and brewery town (although we really like those, too). Welcome to my city!

Where to PLAY

City Gems: Exploring St. Louis with Kids: Grant's Farm

Grant’s Farm: This unique St. Louis attraction combines the appeal of a zoo with the local history of the Anheuser-Busch legacy. Free to the public, admission includes a tram ride through an animal preserve, animal shows and even free beer (for adults only). This is also where you can meet all the famous Budweiser Clydesdales. Mom tip: Buy the $5 pass so your kids can feed the goats, take a carousel ride and get a snow cone. If you don’t do all three, the card can be redeemed on your next trip.

CityGems: Exploring St. Louis with KidsEckert’s Country Store & Farms (Belleville): Eckert’s is a great place to take kids and fill your grocery cart at the same time. Located about 25 minutes from downtown, it’s open year-round, but go during “Pick Your Own” season, which begins with strawberries in May and continues through fall with vegetables, apples, blackberries, peaches and pumpkins. Picking is easy for kids of all ages and they love the tractor ride to the fields.

City Gems: St. Louis Forest Park Forest Park: I don’t think anyone can do a St. Louis feature without mentioning Forest Park. One of the 100 largest parks in the country (over 1,300 acres), it houses our world-class St. Louis Zoo, the History Museum, Art Museum, Muny Amphitheater and Science Center… all of which are free to the public.  And if that wasn’t enough, it has an ice skating rink, a tennis complex, an 18-hole golf course, a boathouse (with paddle boats), multiple playgrounds, lakes, streams, running trails and wooded areas (perfect for family photos).

City Gems: St. Louis Magic House

Magic House: The St. Louis Magic House is truly one of the gems of our city. It’s packed full of fun and interesting science and problem-solving exhibits, which create a hands-on learning environment for kids of all ages. Some of our favorite exhibits are the imaginary shops, art center, outdoor construction area, 3-story beanstalk, bubble room and the giant electromagnet ball that will make your hair stand on end! Mom tip: Leave for lunch and come back to play for the rest of the day — try Dewey’s Pizza in downtown Kirkwood.

Yucandu Art Studio: This is a unique retail store and interactive art studio in Webster Groves, which is interesting for both children and adults. They provide the materials (paint, beads, paper, ribbon, tiles, etc.) and teach you the steps so that “yucandu” the projects yourself. They offer mosaic, collage and/or paint projects for a small hourly studio fee, which includes staff guidance, use of tools and brushes and complete clean-up!

Creation Station at the Museum of Transportation: The Creation Station is a hands-on learning environment dedicated to introducing children (ages 5 and under) to all modes of transportation while focusing on play, imagination and interaction. This large brightly-lit room is filled with train tables, play houses, books, costumes, cars and racetracks. Mom tip: There’s almost always a Groupon available for discounted entry.

Citygarden: Located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, Citygarden is two square city blocks long, filled with sculptures, gardens and trails, as well as fountains, waterfalls, spray parks and wading pools perfect for splashing in on a hot summer day. Within walking distance of Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village, the Gateway Arch, the Old Courthouse, Peabody Opera House, Scottrade Center and a variety of shops and restaurants.

City Gems: Ices Plain & Fancy in St. Louis

Where to TREAT

Ices Plain and Fancy: This is St. Louis’s first (and only) made-to-order, liquid nitrogen ice cream parlor. The process is totally amazing — an ice cream base and your add-ins go into a mixer, followed by liquid nitrogen and they’re quickly blended while clouds of cold smoke pour out. The mixture gets so cold it has to be blow-torched from the bowl!  Mom tip: Make dad drive and get one of their boozy drinks if you’re having one of those days.

Jilly’s Cupcake Bar: Jilly’s has won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars two times and is hands-down the best cupcake shop in the Midwest. Flavors change monthly, but some of my favorites include Key Lime Gooey Butter, Chocolate Thunder and 24-Karat Carrot Cake.

This post was contributed by Sara McCarty as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts program. You can find more about Sara on her blog Running from the Law

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Palm Springs sits like an oasis in the desert of Southern California. Its proximity to Los Angeles has made it a go­-to escape and retreat for decades, including for well-known Hollywood celebrities whose homes are on tour maps and whose names line the streets of the greater Palm Springs area. But, you don’t have to have a Screen Actors Guild card to enjoy Palms Springs with kids. This desert retreat welcomes everyone, including families, and there are myriad city gems for families to explore.

Where to EAT

Where to eat with kids in Palm Springs

Palm Springs has some great family-­run, independent restaurants that offer a welcome change from franchises and fast food. El Gallito is an historic Mexican eatery that has been a local Palm Springs favorite for 36 years. They offer an extensive menu of delicious specialties that your family already loves, like ­burrito especial, beef or chicken tacos, quesadillas, chips with salsa and yummy guacamole. The line-­up out the door attests to the tasty food, great service and comfortable atmosphere of this super family-­friendly restaurant.

Blu Ember is an upscale, family-­friendly restaurant at the Rancho Las Palmas resort in Rancho Mirage. Make reservations to ensure a seat on their large outdoor patio and enjoy a delicious, if pricey, selection of excellent cuisine featuring local ingredients like dates and beets.

In old Palm Springs, Birba is all the buzz for an Italian pizza dinner. They have a wide selection of thin ­crust, wood ­fired pizzas, as well as salads and pastas. It is a very busy restaurant, so reservations are highly recommended.

Where to PLAY

Exploring Palm Springs with Kids

Just south of old Palm Springs sits the expansive Indian Canyons conservation area. There are a variety of walking, hiking, cycling and horseback riding trails for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. We chose the two-mile loop hike in Andreas Canyon, just past the entrance gate into the conservation area. The hike was a fairly level pathway, with some small elevations from the creek bed into the hillside, but nothing too strenuous. Arrive early in the morning to enjoy cooler temperatures before the desert canyon heats up during the day. The hiking trail in Andreas Canyon is in partial shade from the many fan palms that our unique to this area. Stop to admire the rock formations along the creek bed. Their unique colors and shapes represent a geological journey through time that is interesting to rock fans. Hike safely: Don’t forget to pack along some water and a hat in this dry desert environment.

The Palm Springs Air Museum is a must for any aviation fan or military history buff… or simply for your little airplane enthusiast. The large museum is staffed by knowledgeable Air Force veterans and is divided into a Pacific and European Theatre, showcasing World War II history and battles. The indoor plane collection is extensive, and the outdoor planes date from the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Take time to enjoy the informative history displays and don’t by shy of asking questions — ­the volunteers love to share their incredible military and aviation knowledge.

Exploring Palm Springs with kids

For incredible views of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, ride up the Palms Springs Tramway, just 30 minutes from the city. The rotating gondola takes just 10 minutes to travel to 8500 feet at Mount San Jacinto State Park. Pack a jacket as the temperature will be much cooler than in the valley! The Tramway station has restaurants, facilities, and a state park nature interpretation display. The 1-1/2 mile Desert Trail is an easy loop hike (it’s stroller ­friendly) with five lookout points, called notches. They offer beautiful views of the valley and the mountains, and even the San Andreas fault.

Where to SHOP

To the east of old Palms Springs, in the town of Indio, is the Shields Date Garden. Growing and selling dates since 1924, this date farm offers tours of its extensive grounds, date tastings, date movies in its vintage theater, and a store selling every kind of date you can imagine. Don’t leave without trying their famous date shakes made with date sugar crystals. They’re very sweet but very delicious!

To the west of Palms Springs sits the enormous Desert Hills Outlet Mall, part of the Simon Premium Outlets family. This outdoor shopping mecca has many high-end fashion labels, including Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Prada and Saks Fifth Avenue, along with trendy and popular shops such as Forever 21 and Polo Ralph Lauren. If you’re a shopper, you’ll probably want to plan at least a half-day visit.

Where to STAY

Where to stay with kids in Palm Springs

Palm Springs is filled with beauty and history. The Waldorf Astoria property of La Quinta Resort & Club dates back to 1926. It was built as a refuge for Hollywood celebrities to escape and relax in the desert and the guest list has hosted the best of Hollywood history from ­Bette Davis and Marlene Dietrich to Greta Garbo and Errol Flynn. La Quinta Resort remains a very popular destination for film stars and discerning guests of more humble stature, with or without family in tow. The property boasts 41 pools, private haciendas, villas, fitness facilities, a kids club and professional tennis courts that host celebrity and charity tournaments year round. Enjoy breakfast of fresh fruit or eggs benedict at Twenty 6 Cafe and a gourmet dinner of surf and turf at Morgan’s in the Desert.

Palm Springs City Gems: Where to stay

Rancho Mirage is centrally located in the greater Palm Springs area, and home to many family-friendly hotels. The Hilton Garden Inn has spacious rooms, comfort adjustable beds, in­-room Keurig coffee machines and a lovely pool area surrounded by palm trees and fragrant flowering jasmine. The hotel is close to restaurants, shopping and tourist amenities, including the impressive mid-century Sunnylands estate of the Annenberg family. Book tickets in advance to tour Sunnylands, as it is a very popular destination.

Upscale, mid-­century modern chic comes with cute valet car service and posh surroundings at this boutique hotel property in Palm Springs. Tucked away behind high walls and lush landscaping, The Parker offers luxury, privacy and full modern amenities on its 13 ­acres. The property includes two pools —­ one for kids and the other for adults ­only —­ tennis courts and a couple of swish restaurants that offer the ultimate, top­ drawer Palm Springs experience.

This City Gems post was contributed by Claudia of The Travelling Mom

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City Gems: Exploring Nashville with Kids

Nashville, also known as Music City, USA. Most think it’s just a bunch of honky-tonks and cowboy boots, but Nashville has so much more to offer — even if you don’t care for country music. Of course, if country music and cowboy boots are your thing, you’ll have a great time, too! Nashville is quickly growing and evolving every day, which means this guide will probably be out-of-date before it even posts! But that’s a good thing because in Nashville, there is always a new place to shop or restaurant to check out. Here are some of my favorites.

Sweet treats

Las Paletas has become a Nashville staple. They make their gourmet popsicles using fresh fruit, veggies, nuts and herbs so the popsicles taste just like they should. They have cream popsicles, which are more like an ice cream bar, and fruit popsicles, which taste more like a traditional ice pop. You can also get them dipped in chocolate! They have around 20 different flavors each day and while they always serve your normal strawberry or chocolate, you’ll also find avocado (my favorite), hot chocolate with chili peppers and so many other interesting flavors. You’ll wish they didn’t melt so you could take more home with you!

City Gems: Exploring Nashville with Kids

If you don’t make a stop by the Goo Goo Clusters shop, you’re missing out! Those amazing candies are made right in downtown Nashville and you can even watch them work while you’re in the shop. There are usually samples out of the different flavors. I have yet to try one that I didn’t like, but the classic will always have my heart. Grab a box to take home for some friends, or hoard for yourself.

Date night & girls’ night out

City Gems: Date Night in Nashville

Pinewood Social is a very unique place. It’s a full-service restaurant, bar, coffee shop, bowling alley and even has a pool outside. If you want to bowl, you’ll definitely need to call ahead to reserve a lane, but it’s worth it. The bowling alley is made from reclaimed wood using old bowling lanes. The pool area is 21+, but has its own menu and is great option for a girls’ night. Even if you only have time to stop by for a drink, Pinewood Social is worth it. The atmosphere is awesome and you will fall in love the vintage-industrial feel inside.

City Gems: Where to have a date night in Nashville

Arrington Vineyards is the perfect place to visit for picturesque views of rolling vines and a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. All of the vineyard wines can be tasted and purchased on-site and visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic to accompany their wine. While I recommend this as an adults-only outing, kids are welcome. There are spacious areas overlooking the vineyards that are perfect for children to explore while the adults relax. Several nights each week in the spring and summer, the outdoor patio features live music and a visit at dusk offers spectacular views of the sunset over the Middle Tennessee hills that can’t be beat.

Foodie favorites

Edley’s BBQ is a must when visiting Nashville. I mean, you can’t go to Nashville and not have barbecue, right? Edley’s knows how to do it right. They have your typical pulled pork sandwiches, but they have so much more than that. You can get BBQ nachos, quesadilla or perhaps one of their best dishes — the Tuck Special. I would suggest going for a walk after that meal on the streets of 12 South, one of the awesome neighborhoods in Nashville.

City Gems: Where to eat in Nashville

Batch Nashville is a great stop to make if you want to be able to support the amazing local artisans in this town. They carry many of the food products that are made here in Nashville. Some of our favorites (that you can totally pack to take home with you): Willa’s Shortbread Cookies, Bluebird’s Biscuit Mix, Olive & Sinclair Chocolates and Eli Mason Cocktail Mixers. The Batch store itself is located inside of the Nashville Farmer’s Market, so make sure to save time to walk around and see all that they have to offer. You can also grab lunch while you’re there at some of the great restaurants.

Family time

City Gems: Exploring Nashville with Kids

The Frist Center is a true privilege to have in Nashville. A sophisticated art gallery and museum for Mom and Dad to enjoy, but there’s a twist. Upstairs, there is an entire area (Martin Artquest) dedicated to the kids. It’s hands-on fun that teaches kids about principles of art. I have to admit, you can usually find me pretending to help my kids with the activities, but really just doing them for myself. It’s tons of fun! The Frist is always free for children under 18, so you won’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy it.

City Gems: Fun in Nashville with Kids

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens is another family favorite that seems more adult than child, but really is family-friendly. Sure, there are amazing exhibits for Mom and Dad to admire, but there are also special things for the kids to enjoy. They have the trains set up where Thomas and his friends drive through an elaborate track setup. They also have an amazing tree house that the kids can climb up and play in. The exhibits change periodically, so make sure to check what is going one before you visit.

Nashville locals, where are you favorite city gems?

This post was contributed by Lindsey McPherson as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts program. You can find more about Nashville from Lindsey on her blog, The Nashville Mom.

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Exploring Cannery Row Monterey California
Weekend in Cannery Row

If you aren’t already familiar with the area, Cannery Row is a street that runs parallel to the coastline of Monterey Bay in the middle of California, made famous by American author John Steinbeck, who captured the lives of workers and residents who worked in the fish canneries that gave the area its name. Once the area was fished out, the bay was made into a marine sanctuary, but the canneries remained.

Following a period of revitalization, this little section of Monterey now boasts beautiful hotels, restaurants, shopping and other activities, as well as opportunities to explore the water and coastline. Some of the original canneries are still standing, and you can see and even walk in the iconic “crossover” bridges that joined the canneries to the old shipping houses across the street.

Just an hour and a half drive from San Jose airport, Monterey is also home to Monterey Bay Aquarium, the famous scenic 17-Mile Drive, and a marine sanctuary for sea otters, elephant seals, sea lions, and many species of birds. The area enjoys a temperate climate, so it’s a perfect place to bring your family during the summer for a road trip stop or a final destination.

Visiting Monterey Bay in CaliforniaWhere to STAY

The Victorian Inn is located just blocks up the hill from Cannery Row itself, and the higher floors offer views above the rooftops to Monterey Bay. Centered around a large Victorian home built in 1907, the decor of the inn reflects the style of the period. Rooms are spacious and comfortable and each one has a gas fireplace which is nice when it gets chilly at night. There’s free continental breakfast and daily wine receptions in the lobby, complimentary in-room internet, and in-room massages if you need one. There’s no pool at this hotel, so your kids will have to get their swimming fix in the ocean.

Monterey Bay Inn

A little bit more upscale for adult travelers, the boutique Monterey Bay Inn is perched above the ocean at the southeast end of Cannery Row, adjacent to San Carlos park and beach. Rooms have sleek updated decor and each has a small balcony overlooking the coast – binoculars are provided, too. The bathrooms have double sinks, private toilets, and large showers. With two hot tubs on site, the hotel also provides comfy spa robes ready for you in the closet when you arrive. In-room breakfast is complimentary, as long as you hang your order on the door by midnight.

What to-do in Monterey, CaliforniaWhere to PLAY

When at Cannery Row you’ll definitely want to visit the oceanside. A great way for an active family to see the sights and get some exercise is to rent some equipment from Adventures by the Sea and either paddle around the bay or ride around town. I rented an adult-sized cruiser for maximum comfort (braking by pedaling backwards, which I haven’t done in decades, took some re-learning) and there are also two-person surreys available to rent in three locations along the coast.

The recreational trail that runs 18-miles along the Monterey Bay coast was once a rail line, and you will even see old railroad crossing signs still standing as monuments to an earlier era. In fact, there is an old train car that is now parked right on the trail that is now a bookstore.
lovers point beach

There are many spots to stop and run around and take in the natural beauty, and Lover’s Point Park is a perfect one: a calm beach for young children with crystal blue waters, a spacious green park, a large rocky outcropping perfect for climbing, and a restaurant for dinner at the end of your day.

What to do with kids in Monterey Bay, CaliforniaBecause of the temperate seaside climate, mornings can be foggy or even drizzly in the area, so some indoor activities might be good to have in your back pocket. The aquarium is an obvious choice but if you want to avoid summer crowds, check these out. Monterey Mirror Maze, Lazer Challenge, and Highway 1 Black Light Mini Golf are all within feet of each other right on Cannery Row. Set up like a small Chuck E. Cheese minus the animatronic cartoon characters, these attractions let kids run amok while providing entertainment, as long as they have the tokens! The mirror maze feels like an extended creep inside a fun house, and the lazer challenge can be tough for the awkward adult (okay, me) but still fun.

On the way into the Cannery Row area as you approach from the airport, you’ll pass by El Estero Lake and a colorful children’s play area named after Dennis the Menace – his creator donated much of the money that built this park. Dennis the Menace park is no ordinary park. It has a hedge maze, a climbing wall, an old steam engine, a zip line, and a giant wiggly slide. In the surrounding complex you can rent a paddle boat to cruise around the lake.

Where to EAT

Almost every restaurant at Cannery Row has a spectacular view of the water so I’ll just go in order of where I ate! Schooner’s Coastal Kitchen & Bar is a full-service restaurant located in the Monterey Plaza Hotel, a spacious throwback in the classic grand hotel style. Local food is the star of the “farm to fork, sea to table” menu, and the locally grown artichokes make a great appetizer.

Servers will kindly suggest a perfect local wine to go with your meal: my grilled scallops, served over etouffee and brown rice risotto, went perfectly with the crisp and fruity Carmel Road “unoaked” Chardonnay. Our party tried several desserts and the standout was the unusual butterscotch banana pudding with housemade “Nilla” wafers. Every table looks out over the water. Before or after your dinner, stroll the patio or enjoy a cocktail by the modern fire pit. Schooner’s is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Fish Hopper Monterey
The Fish Hopper

The Fish Hopper
, open for lunch or dinner, is perched on the far end of Steinbeck Plaza, where a monument to the historical figures that made Cannery Row famous claims center stage. You can stand outside in line to just grab a cup of their rich and creamy clam chowder to go, or enjoy a glass of white peach sangria in the bar before going out to the deck to enjoy a meal. Given where you are dining, right above the waters that supplied fish to the entire world at one time, you’ll probably want to try some seafood, but there are plenty of meat and vegetarian options too.

For lunch, I had a poached pear salad with seared scallops, a perfect light dish with just enough protein to keep me fueled for more walking around this colorful town. Paired with another local wine, a Blackstone Sauvignon Blanc, it was perfect. The kids’ menu includes some nice choices like grilled chicken and fish & chips along with the usual suspects of burgers and fries.

Where to eat with kids in Monterey: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company

Great for families with kids who don’t like to be quiet or necessarily sit still at the table, the well-known Bubba Gump Shrimp Company is full of things to see and touch, all in homage to the award-winning movie “Forrest Gump.” Naturally, one orders the shrimp. To keep it real I had Mama Blue’s Southern Charmed Fried Shrimp with French fries (and stole my dining companion’s remoulade dip), and I paired it with a signature cocktail, Tennessee tea (iced tea with Jack Daniels served in a pedestal Mason jar glass). Mama’s Bread Pudding was the favorite dessert, and the kids’ menu has popcorn shrimp on it. The servers make it fun by grilling you with Forrest Gump-related trivia. Our table was tough to stump.

Taking one for the team

Taking one for the team

This isn’t just another tourist trap – it was the very first location of this restaurant, so it’s worth checking out the water’s edge view, the gift shop, and the kitschy photo op – put yourself in Gump’s shoes.

Where to eat in Monterey: Cannery Row Brewing Company
Cannery Row Brewing Company

My favorite of the restaurants we tried was Cannery Row Brewing Company, which is one block up the hill from the main drag. Once a popular barbecue joint, CRBC has preserved its original smoking oven and still serves smoked barbecue wings – which are pretty spicy and delicious. The restaurant has an extensive beer list, although none are brewed on site, and a tasting flight includes a surprisingly ordinary choice of Sam Adams’ cider. Still, the Seadog Blueberry wheat ale and the Youngs & Co. Double Chocolate stout made it eclectic enough. But this is a post about family travel, so for the kids in the house, CRBC has an open, chill vibe that makes it great for dining with your children.

Outdoor seating includes a large round fire pit if your kids are old enough to be trusted not to throw themselves into the flames, and room to move and spread out. There is a children’s menu but it’s not on the website – it has a long list of choices including PB&J and chicken noodle soup. Overall, the food is satisfying and unique. In fact, the restaurant’s tasty giant pretzel has been featured on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-in’s, and Dives (although I wouldn’t characterize CRBC as any of the three). The cheddar bacon biscuits with chipotle-maple butter are a must-try, and the burgers are juicy and delicious, and customizable.

For a splurge – come on, you’re on vacation – you must visit The Chart House at the southeast end of Cannery Row for a luxurious dinner. This location of the small chain of fine dining restaurants is true to its waterside nature here in Monterey Bay – a seat at the best table in the house feels like you are suspended over the ocean itself, and affords a prime view of the stunning sunsets here. The service is impeccable and the food lives up to the Chart House tradition. A trio of flavored hummus comes with plaintain chips and pita bread.


One dining companion declared the coconut shrimp the best she’d had in the area – and she had sampled it almost everywhere we ate. The salad bar was a popular option for this party. You can choose it as your entree or as an addition to a main meal. If you’ve had enough seafood during your seaside stay, the Chart House filet mignon will be a nice counterpoint. Served with mashed potatoes or steamed fresh vegetables, it’s decadent and delicious. Desserts include the signature lava cake, which at our meal came out overcooked (but still chocolatey).

Where to shop on Cannery Row in MontereyWhere to TREAT

Shopping and sightseeing up and down Cannery Row can take a long time because there is so much to see and do and buy. The olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Monterey’s Tasty Olive Bar are sourced from all over the world and you can taste them before you purchase. Gifts and body care items at La Dolce Vita in Steinbeck Plaza make great souvenirs for the adults in your life. And candy stores abound – inside the Monterey Canning Company building, The Candy Factory makes their chocolate covered bacon right there in-house! (Only one sample of fudge per person, be warned.)

ghirardelli chocolate ice cream shop monterey

To take a load off, enjoy the endlessly beautiful water view, and indulge in an old-timey treat, visit the Ghirardelli Chocolate & Ice Cream Shop. Resistance is futile, really, since the aroma of baking waffle cones pulls you in as you pass by the entrance. The ice cream itself is delicious but the combination sundaes, like the sea salt and caramel sundae topped with a truly remarkable fresh whipped cream, will make you battle for the last bite, if you’re sharing at all.

Have you been to Monterey or Cannery Row? DO you have a favorite I missed?


Disclosure: I enjoyed most of the above attractions and restaurants as a guest of the Cannery Row Company. All opinions (and full tummy) are my own.

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City Gems Family Travel USA Savvy Sassy Moms

City Gems: The local places moms love

This is a special time of year for families. Yes, it’s a busy time of year, but summer vacation is what childhood memories are made of! It’s definitely one of the things your children will remember most about their childhood. Summer is all about those classic road trips, picnics and BBQs with family, and heading to the beach or the lake on a whim. Taking a summer family vacation does not have to mean jetting off to some luxury resort in Mexico or taking a fancy European tour. In fact, most family vacations are just a few short hours drive from home and just as special as trips that take them countries away from home.Findery Travel App

Since so many families hit the road in the summer, visiting cities right here in the USA, I just created a City Gems Notemap on Findery with some of the best family-friendly City Gems for each city. I love getting to know cities through the eyes of other moms — who better to tell you where to go out for breakfast, which parks to got to, and where to fill up on coffee and cupcakes!?

After I rounded up some of my favorite moms from around the country for this assignment, we created a bit of a USA Love List, which was featured over on the Huffington Post Travel section. Find them here:

Local Places Moms Love: Featuring Nashville, Austin, St. Louis, Chicago, Raleigh

Five Great Local Summer Adventures:  Featuring Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Seattle

Follow these moms on Findery

Be sure to follow the moms who contributed to our Summer City Gems posts on Findery for even more family-friendly summer adventures from coast-to-coast:

Jo-Lynne Shane in Philadelphia
The Magnolia Mamas in Atlanta
Lani Derrick in Austin
Amy Gene O’Leary in Indianapolis
Lindsey McPherson in Nashville
Sara McCarty in St. Louis
Angela Amman in Detroit
Erin Lane in Raleigh
Katie Kavulla in Seattle
Alison Ray in Chicago

Document your summer travels with Findery

You can create your own City Gems Notemap on Findery to share your favorite local spots or the places you discover this summer, too. It’s a great way to document your travel so you don’t forget the details of a special place. And, you’ll be helping other families that are traveling this summer by sharing your Notemaps and pictures along the way.

We’ll be sharing more City Gems right here on Savvy Sassy Moms this summer, so stay tuned!

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For our winter family vacation we headed to the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado to do some snowboarding, but first we spent two fun filled days in Denver, which was just a enough to get a taste of this mile high city. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Downtown Denver and I have to say, this was the perfect location. The Embassy Suites is in the middle of it all and conveniently close to the 16th Street Mall which runs right through the heart of Denver.

Embassy Suites Lounge Denver Convention Center

Embassy Suites Denver Convention Center

Embassy Suites Downtown Denver

The Embassy Suites Downtown Denver is a great property for families because of their large one bedroom suites that have a nice size living room area that includes a large desk, which is great since my husband and I usually take our work with us when we travel. These suites also have a small kitchenette with a small refrigerator and sink. The bedroom has two queen size beds with modern and luxurious bedding with fluffy duvets. I loved the bed and had a hard time getting out of it.

What I loved about staying at the Embassy Suites was that they had a complimentary happy hour from 5pm – 7pm with some appetizers too. This cocktail reception was a great way to end after a long day of sight seeing and activities. The restaurant and lounge area is very large and has plenty of comfortable seating, a full bar and fireplace. The complimentary breakfast is also very nice and had plenty of options for all of us. It was a better breakfast buffet then other hotels I’ve stayed at that offer the complimentary breakfast.

Denver with Kids

When traveling to a city it always helps to have a local friend, they can give you recommendations and if it’s a good friend, they might even join you and take you on a little city tour!  My good friend and graphic designer, Aimee Giese of Greeblehaus lives in Denver and was the perfect person to show us around her town. I love having insider tips and hearing from a local what they love about their city. So what did we do?

Childrens Museum Denver Colorado Family Travel
Denver Children’s Museum

The Denver Children’s Museum is about a 10 minute drive from the Embassy Suites and very easy to get to. My kids love visiting Children’s museums and you know it’s a good museum when you can;t get your kids to leave. This museum was under construction when we visited but there was stil plenty to do!  Our kids loved the building the in the ball room and creating different mazes and tracks for the balls to go down. We also spent a lot of time in the bubble room, which is always a favorite! They also have a Backyard Room where kids can crawl through tunnels, dress up like squirrels or bunnies and play with animal hand puppets. And If animals are your thing you should also consider visiting the Denver Zoo, which is only about a 15 minute drive from downtown and has over 4,000 animals and is one of the best Zoos in the nation.

Union Station Denver Downtown

The Terminal bar Union Station DenverThe Kitchen Next Door Denver Union Station
Denver’s Union Station

The newly renovated Union Station just recently opened in July of 2014 and is one of the hot spots to check out in Denver. Not only does it serve as a major transportation hub but it is now a popular place to hang out, grab a drink and a bite to eat. In the Great Hall of Union Station is the The Terminal Bar where you can order and pick up a specialty drink or draft beer right from the window and then have a seat anywhere you’d like.  The Great Hall is a gorgeous open room with high ceilings and the center of it all. There are plenty of seating areas, couches and two shuffleboards.

We ate at The Kitchen Next Door for lunch. The Kitchen Next Door calls itself a community pub and specializes in fresh, organic farm-to-table food. It’s a casual atmosphere and a great place to grab a bite to eat and a drink. and they also have a great kids menu.

Rocket Fizz Denver Colorado

From Union Station you can start to walk down the 16th Street Mall and you will find even more dining and shopping options. A fun place to take the kids is Rocket Fizz, an old fashioned candy shop with an eclectic mix of candy from the past, flavored sodas and even some unique and hard to find candy from all around the world. We could not believe that there is bacon flavored soda with chocolate!

Kris Kringle Village Denver Colorado

Kris Kringle Village Denver Colorado Christmas Shopping

Kris Kringle Village Shopping Denver Colorado

ChristKindl Market

Right off of the 16th street mall was the ChristKindl Market, a small Christmas Village set up for the Holidays and only open for a few weeks during Christmas. The village has a European flair that includes a giant beer tent, which looked like Decemberfest inside!  You can shop the autheentic German beer steins, Polish pottery, glass ornaments, wooden toys and nesting dolls. You can also buy Austrian pretzels, Danish pastries and hot roasted nuts.  If you are visiting Denver when the ChristKindle Market is happening, it is a must see and do.

FREE 16th street MallRide

By this time if your kids are complaining about the walking, you can just jump on the free MallRide which runs the length of the 16th Street Mall and is free for anyone to ride! Which is nice if anyone from your group wants to go back to the hotel, and the Embassy Suites is just a block away. If you ride the 16th street MallRide train to the very last stop you will get off close to the Capital Building, from there you can continue to explore a little more of the city sights, political buildings and some unique sculptures along the way.

Denver Capitol Building

Denver DIY Walking Tour

I love to walk around cities and take pictures of the buildings, and and when you have a local leading you it’s even better!  My husband took my son back to the hotel but my daughter came along for this fun walk. We walked past the Capital building which has a distinctive gold dome roof and it looked gorgeous as the light on the city was changing from day to night. It was cold in Denver so the grass was not green and the trees were bare, but I actually loved the beauty of the bare trees up against these concrete buildings.

Denver City Buildings

Denver Government Building Travel

Downtown Denver Colorado Family Travel

Downtown Denver Chair and Horse Sculpture

Denver Art Museum Sculptures

Denver Art Museum

We stopped to look at the fun sculptures that are near the Denver Art Museum and take in the awe of the Art Museum building which is a sculpture itself.  We did not go inside the museum but if we had more time we would have liked to.  On our walk back to the 16th Street Mall and where we could jump back on the MallRide, the city was starting to get dark but had this illuminating glow from the street lamps and all the Christmas lights.

Denver Capital Building at Night

16th Street Mall Denver Colorado at Chirstmas Time

Cherry Creek Shopping

Anther place to mention is Cherry Creek which is Denver’s popular shopping destination. You can either go to the indoor Cherry Creek Shopping Center (which has a great indoor play space for kids) or walk Cherry Creek North. Cherry Creek North is outside and has blocks of unique boutiques and specialty stores like Paper Source, Sur La Table and Kate Spade. They also have plenty of restaurants to choose from and Syrup a popular place to grab some breakfast.

We were only in Denver for about 48 hours but we had so much fun. I highly recommend staying in Denver for a night or two before hitting the road to the mountains. This way you can get acclimated to the altitude a bit before going even higher.  You can also stock up on water and snacks or buy anything you might need before venturing up to the mountains. We really enjoyed staying at the Embassy Suites for it’s service and hospitality, large rooms and most of all it’s location.

Have you been to Denver?  What are some of your favorite things to do!?

Disclosure: I was given a two night stay to review this property. All my thoughts are my own.  I share this with because I love to travel and share tips on what to do with kids when traveling and the Embassy Suites is a great family friendly hotel.



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I have never been to the South but have always wanted to visit and soak up some of that good ol’ southern charm! This past summer we went on a seven-city road trip and one of the places I was most excited to experience was Savannah, Georgia. I’m not really sure exactly why, but I pictured it to be a charming old city with a small town vibe. I also stumbled upon this Savannah blog, Life on the Squares which got me even more excited to see this fine little city and discover all its historic squares.

Savannah Georgia Travel

Savannah Georgia City GemsEllis Square Savvanah Georgia Splash Fountain

Savannah Georgia Historic Squares

The city of Savannah is set up on a very easy-to-navigate grid that connects to 22 historic squares. We stayed at the historic Inn at Ellis Square which is in a great location right across from the Market Square splash fountain, perfect for the kids to cool off on a hot southern afternoon. This is also where you’ll find the Shops at Ellis Square and the popular City Market, a pedestrian-only street filled with restaurants, shopping, and outdoor entertainment.

Savannah Candy StoreSavannah Candy Kitchen Family Travel City Gems
Savannah’s Candy Kitchen

The original Savannah’s Candy Kitchen is down on River Street, but we wandered into the City Market location. “Beware of Flying Taffy” the sign says when you enter and you can feel the sugary goodness seeping into your pores the minute you set foot in this place. I think my kids thought they had officially died and gone to sweet treat heaven.

You can watch the candy makers making their famous Pecan Pralines, a popular confectionary treat in the South. They’ll give you a sample too, and when in Savannah… you must try the Pecan Pralines! There is also a conveyor belt that sends salt water taffy on a track all around the store, my kids could not take their eyes off of them and the giant barrels of taffy where they ended up.

Savannah Old Town Trolley Tours
The Old Town Trolley Tours

I definitely recommend the Old Town Trolley Tour. Sure it’s touristy, but it is a great way to see the city and hear all the historic facts from a local tour guide. My daughter and I did the trolley tour together, it was a perfect way to spend a day — just the girls! The trolley tour is hop-on hop-off, so you can take your time taking pictures and visiting different city stops you want to spent more time at.

If it wasn’t for this tour I may have missed a few scenic places, like the park where Tom Hanks sits in the opening scene from Forest Gump and says “Life is like a box of chocolates,” I might not have known I could step inside the stunning Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, or I may have missed where the very first Girl Scout Headquarters was or missed hearing about the history of The Pirates House. This trolley tour not only gave me the history of Savannah but a great overview of what a wonderful city it is today too.

The Coffee Fox Savannah Georgia
The Coffee Fox

Whenever I am in a new city, I always try to find the local coffee shop.The first morning I was in Savannah I stumbled upon The Coffee Fox and I went back two more times while in Savannah. I got up early and snuck out to get some work done and this was a fantastic place to wake up and work. Not to mention the coffee was fantastic! Finding a local coffee spot is also great for people watching, you can get a vibe for the place and the people that make up a city.

Red Clover Savannah Georgia The Paris Market and Savannah Bee Company Savannah Georgia
Shopping in Savannah

The very first shop I walked into was the cutest boutique, Red Clover, located on Bull Street near Chippewa Square (which is the Forest Gump film location I mentioned). This fashion gem is a mix of bohemian chic and southern sophistication. The collection of clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories are right on trend and you’re sure to want everything. But if you can’t get to Savannah, they sell online so you can shop Red Clover from anywhere!

If you stroll down the main street of Broughton Street you will find many shops and restaurants, (including the Coffee Fox) but do not miss the Savannah Bee Company and The Paris Market, both are worth taking a peek inside! The Paris Market is a gorgeous, eclectic store filled with beautiful furniture, home goods, books, gifts, toys and so much more! I could have spent all day in here browsing for treasures. The Savannah Bee Company has honey samplings daily and carries a variety of honey flavors and an entire line of bath and body products.

The Funky Brunch Cafe Savannah Geoorgia City GemsFunky Brunch Cafe where to eat with kids in Savannah

The Funky Brunch Cafe

The Funky Brunch Cafe, I liked it so much here I ate here twice! My daughter and I had lunch here and the Tuna Sandwich was spectacular and that is when I found out about the tables for “Make Your Own Pancakes” and so we had to come back to do that. The tables have a warm griddle center that heats up. The kids get to squeeze out the pancake mix, add a variety of toppings to their pancakes and flip them!  I have never been to a restaurant that does this, the kids loved it.

The Olde Pink House Savvanah Georgia City Gems

If you came to Savannah for that some of that traditional southern cooking then head to either the famous Paula Dean’s restaurant, Lady & Sons  – where I tried Shrimp & Grits for the first time! Or you can dine in a historic mansion at The Olde Pink House. Both restaurants will serve you all southern fried chicken, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes and grits you could ever want. Then if you have had all the fried food you can take, then go to Aroy-Jung Sushi for some fantastic sushi! Sushi in the South? I know, but this sushi was really spectacular!

Savannah Childrens Museum

The Savannah Children’s Museum

The Savannah Children’s Museum is brand new museum to Savannah and is extremely unique. It is literally built in and around the old railroad storage yard. This is an outdoor museum, so you may want to visit before it gets too hot outside. The Children’s Museum is located right next to the Georgia Railroad Museum and the Savannah History Museum. You can easily visit all three in one morning or afternoon and you can take the kids to eat inside a train car at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Leopolds Ice Cream Savannah Georgia City Gems
Leopold’s Ice Cream

There are some things worth waiting in line for and Leopold’s Ice Cream is one of them. In fact, the day we went to Leopold’s there was a line out the door and it stayed out the door the entire time we sat and enjoyed our ice cream cones. I am pretty sure this is the best damn Ice Cream I’ve ever had in my life! For real. Leopold’s is a ice cream parlor legend from 1935 and was recently re-opened in 2014. With their secret ice cream recipes and a famous Hollywood background it’s no wonder people line up around the block.

Savannah Georgia Riverfront Shopping
The Riverfront

If you do one thing, you must walk down by the water at the Riverfront, we went at sunset and before we boarded the Ghosts and Graveyards tour. There are plenty of places to grab dinner and do some shopping, but just sitting by the water watching the sunset and ships passing by was enough. This is also a perfect place to go for a morning walk or jog.

The Ghosts and Gravestones tour takes you through Savannah and tells you about all the stories of paranormal activity in the area and tells the unfortunate tales of many murders that took place many years ago. Our kids were 7 and 9 and weren’t too scared but it does have some mature content.

Savannah Georgia Riverfront DistrictSavannah Georgia Riverfront Sunset
I could go on and on about Savannah but I had to stop somewhere. The city of Savannah is just as I thought it would be, a small historic city with big time charm! Traveling as a family, this city was the perfect size with plenty to do and see, great food, unique shopping, friendly people and you can literally walk the entire city – with good shoes of course. Be sure to put Savannah on your list of American cities to see!

What did I miss? Have you been to Savannah, Georgia?
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