Puerto Rico Off the Beaten Path®, 6th: A Guide to Unique Places (Off the Beaten Path Series)
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Bus 70 covers Division St. Chicago has one of the largest Polish populations outside of Poland, and Avondale is a hub for the community. Delis wafting kielbasas and bars advertising piwo beer stack up along Milwaukee Avenue, the area's main vein. These days, artists and hipsters have started to spill over from Logan Square, adding fringe venues to the mix.
Next door, Parachute parachuterestaurant. Far-flung and with an outsider's edge, Logan Square is Chicago's current 'it' 'hood, the place to go for the hippest tiki lounge or cigar-box guitar shop. By day a handful of sights intrigue, such as the beeping, robot-voice games at Logan Hardware's Vintage Arcade Museum , and the rock-and-roll street art at Galerie F galerief.
By night it's all about eating and drinking in cool-cat spots. Reach it all via the Blue Line El train; it's a minute ride from downtown. Little Ukrainian Village packs a lot into its tidy, near west side confines. The onion domes of several churches pop up nearby, remnants of the Eastern European immigrants who first lived in the neighborhood. A young and stylish crowd has moved in since. Even so, Chicago Ave and Division St — the main commercial roads — mix rye bread bakeries and borscht restaurants with vegan cafes and craft beer bars. At night, rockers stream in to hear edgy alternative bands at the divey Empty Bottle.
A few miles southwest of downtown, Mexican culture combines with Chicago's bohemian underground in Pilsen. Activists, artists and students congregate at La Catrina Cafe facebook. Fashionistas trawl the vintage shops that emerge between taquerias on 18th St. Knee Deep Vintage kneedeepvintage.
The Pink Line train to 18th St drops you in Pilsen's mural-splashed midst. Five Chicago mayors — including the Daleys — came from this working-class neighborhood on the South Side. Though the tidy bungalows and Irish pubs remain the same, the gastro-taverns and nano-breweries would have the old men blinking in disbelief.
So would the art. Co-Prosperity Sphere coprosperity. Bus 8 motors along Halsted St to the area. It descended into some bleak years, but it's getting its groove back as young professionals move in. Humble-looking Pearl's Place pearlsplacerestaurant. This resulted in some unpleasant slipping and sliding through the mud, but we eventually made it to the empty waterfall. It was totally worth it! We were greeted back at the bed and breakfast with a delicious home-made breakfast locally sourced fresh fruit, French toast topped with strawberries, fresh cream, mango infused syrup and nutmeg.
Once we were done and all packed, we made our way to San Juan. Technically, this is the end of your Puerto Rico road trip. What to do in San Juan and the area depends on how much time you have left in Puerto Rico. I recommend this one , which includes a sunset boat ride as well. If you have a few more days in San Juan and want to stay in Vieques overnight to do a bioluminescent bay tour, consider booking this one. You have to book your accommodation and transportation separately.
We spent the majority of our time in Old San Juan wandering the streets and admiring the architecture. One of my favorite ways to orient myself in a new city is by taking a walking tour and nowadays, many cities offer free tip-based ones. In two hours, you get a great introduction to the city — including the must-see sights and plenty of history.
This walking tour is definitely one of the best free things to do in Puerto Rico! As the biggest European fort in the Americas, Castillo San Cristobal is a pretty awesome place to visit, covering 27 acres in San Juan. Plus it has an incredibly cool dungeon.
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If you spend just one day in San Juan, this fort is not to be missed, thanks to stunningly impressive architecture, historical cannons, cliffside views, and plenty of history. Condado Beach is probably the most popular due to its proximity to Old San Juan and most hotels -plus, you can rent chairs and umbrellas.
Ocean Park Beach is a bit on the smaller side comparatively, but still a good option. What better way to learn about a new place than by eating like locals do? I always recommend doing food tours at the beginning of a trip so you can get excellent foodie recommendations from the guide for the rest of the time priorities.
Speaking of good food, I highly recommend dinner at Jose Enrique in Santurce. There will be a wait, but the food is spectacular. Read more awesome things to do in San Juan and beyond here. Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico hard in and some parts of the island are still recovering.
My mom and I traveled together all over the island on a road trip and never once questioned our safety on the road. The only thing you should be wary of in Puerto Rico is petty theft namely, pickpocketing in some parts of San Juan. I combat pickpocketing by carrying my valuables in a lockable purse and secret pocket scarf and have never had issues! Again, just be street smart like you would in any other city and get travel insurance and you should be fine!
Although Spanish and English are both official languages of the island , Spanish is definitely the dominant one, especially outside of the more touristy parts. Brush up on a few basic Spanish phrases and you should be solid for your travels.
If you have a rental car like we did, you should have no issues getting around Puerto Rico, especially outside of San Juan. Whether you like beaches, nature, or adventure travel, Puerto Rico certainly has something for you. Get inspired by all the amazing things to do in Puerto Rico below! Have you ever been on a Puerto Rico road trip? Which cities are your favorite? Share in the comments below! Puerto Rico is amazing!
So glad to were able to see so much of the island.
Come back for another visit to check out Ponce, Fajardo, and more beaches! I especially like the La Cueva del Indio carvings. Looks fabulous. Costa Rica and Puerto Rico are two places that I really want to get to. I think I would definitely love to stay at Casa Flamboyant. Just my style of place.
The food looks great too, which I was pleased to see as a friend led me to believe otherwsise. You would love Casa Flamboyant! Wow, your trip looks amazing! I have never been to this part of the world but if I went, would totally go for off the beaten paths!
Itinerary looks great and the beaches are so stunning! Thank you! This is the first time I straight up skipped over the touristy places and went straight for the local places and I would definitely do it again! I need to be watching out for these! What an amazing trip and beautiful photos!
I really want to visit Puerto Rico!!! Thanks for sharing! And thank you, I had a great time. I hope you get a chance to go soon! Great pics too. I hope you get a chance to visit one day! Yeahhhh connecting flights can be a huge pain but the flight deal made it worth it :. Definitely keep a look out for them!
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Looks like a fantastic trip and great itinerary. I love getting off the tourist track when I travel. But even the one in Parguera was pretty cool as well :. Your first mother-and-daughter trip is a major milestone and will be one you talk about in years to come. My mom is my favorite travel partner. The caves in Arecibo look stunning! Thank you :.
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She has been raving about Casa Flamboyant since we stayed there so I think I wowed her for our first trip! I hope you get a chance to go with your mom! Haha yeah I felt like a bit of a bad-ass down in the cave, not going to lie :p. Great itinerary.