5 Things to Do in Bilbao Besides Visit the Guggenheim

Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is so recognizable it’s almost synonymous with the Basque city. It’s difficult to imagine today, but in the late 1980s and early 1990s Bilbao was suffering from severe decline due to dwindling industry, rising unemployment and ongoing Basque separatist conflict. The Guggenheim Museum was a last-ditch effort to save the city, and it paid off in spades. Gehry’s building was so successful in drawing in tourism dollars, that the “Bilbao Effect” is now used as a term for urban renewal and reinvention. The Guggenheim Museum is still a great reason to visit Bilbao, but the bustling Basque city has a lot more to offer. Here are some fun things to do in Bilbao:

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11 Exciting Places to Find the Best Street Art in NYC

Updated May 29, 2019

When it comes to hunting down the best street art in NYC, there’s more to it than just finding massive murals and famous street artists. It reflects New York City’s values and shines a spotlight on its diverse neighborhoods. Street art in NYC is mostly temporary by nature, with only a few iconic pieces preserved for posterity. So the best strategy is to visit a street art gallery instead, where the murals span multiple blocks and feature a number of street art styles and artists. Whether you’re looking to discover the newest talent or to simply locate a dramatic backdrop for an Instagram post, here’s a definitive list of the best graffiti locations in NYC.

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Lunar New Year Parade in New York City’s Chinatown

The Lunar New Year is celebrated at various locations throughout the five boroughs. But easily the most festive Lunar New Year parade in New York City can be found in Chinatown. This year’s parade is on February 17th.

It’s the Year of the Pig according to the Chinese Zodiac, so dress in your most auspicious reds and make your way out to Mott Street and Canal Street in Lower Manhattan to get in on all the festivities. There will be impressive floats, marching bands, lion dance troupes, dancers and, of course, those colorful confetti sticks popping off along the parade route. Just make sure to get there early for the best vantage, it can get mighty crowded.

You can find more information on the parade, including the complete route, and other Chinatown celebrations here.

You can get a birdseye view of the event from our coverage of 2018’s Year of the Dragon here.

The Chocolate Addict’s Guide to New York City

Updated Aug 25, 2019

You don’t know what’s good and what’s bad until you try something better. Our first visits to France and Italy many, many moons ago taught us this lesson in spades. If you grew up in many parts of America before the tidal influx of imported chocolates and the explosion of craft chocolatiers, the only chocolate you may have known was Hershey’s. And Hershey’s, as it turns out, barely qualifies as chocolate. That’s not an exaggeration. In the US, the minimum cocoa solids that are required to constitute a milk chocolate instead of a what is ambiguously referred to as a “confection” is 10%, and Hershey’s is camped out right on that line. By comparison, Canada requires 15% and Europe 35%. Don’t you feel cheated?

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5 Things You Must Do On Your First Visit to Dublin

I have a pretty stupid confession to make. I don’t drink, and that’s why it took me so long to make my way to Dublin. From the seven-floor Guinness Storehouse to the number of pubs per capita, this is a place that knows how to put the “happy” in happy hour. So I couldn’t help but wonder if Dublin would be fun for someone who wasn’t going to imbibe. Well, it turns out Dublin has plenty to offer. If you’re planning your first trip to Dublin, here’s what you should add to your to-do list.

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My Favorite Things at The Museum of Interesting Things Secret Speakeasy

The Museum of Interesting Things Secret Speakeasy is a traveling, interactive exhibition of antiques, collectibles, and inventions. The focus of the speakeasy is to inspire innovation and creativity. This is achieved through interaction with relics from our past. In many cases, the audience are full-on participants. They assist in unveiling the newest acquisitions, offer their own anecdotes about particular items, and ask insightful questions. Interaction at a secret speakeasy, whether with people or objects, is encouraged. Save for a few exceptions, audience members are entirely welcome to touch the items on display.

The Museum of Interesting Things Secret Speakeasy is presented by its inimitable host, Denny Daniel. He’s the curator and founder of the museum. If you are wondering what the show is like, the general ballpark is a robust mix of Barnum and Baily, Pawn Stars, and Antiques Roadshow. So, in other words, prepare to be entertained.

Please keep in mind that the secret speakeasy has been known to change venues last-minute. We strongly recommended that you check the website before the event. Typically, though, the speakeasy is held at The Loft in Soho at 177 Prince Street. Keep in mind, each month the programming changes to focus on a specific theme, so make sure to join the email list to see what is offered each month. This month’s theme for Denny Daniel’s birthday is One of My Favorite Things…and Yours! Party in Soho.

For a preview of the event, read about our experience visiting a prior speakeasy here.

A Local’s Guide for Friends and Family Visiting New York City

We’re constantly asked for recommendations when friends and family are planning a visit to New York City. And let’s face it, bloggers have this particularly awful habit of simply shooting off a bunch of links. The truth is, we know that even if you’ve popped in from time to time (thank you!), you may not want to go on a deep dive through our blog before a trip. There are also some obvious and amazing things to do in New York City that we’ve never featured on the blog. So we thought we’d put together a guide of some of our favorite things. These are the very same suggestions we provide our friends and family. (Usually in a long-form email, with about 4-6 addenda over the following days. Sorry, guys!)

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Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides

Every Sunday from November 25th through December 30, take advantage of New York Transit Museum’s Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides. For the cost of a Metro Card swipe, commute between Lower Manhattan and Harlem on a vintage 1930’s R1-9 train car. Trains depart 2nd Avenue (Lower Manhattan) on the F line and 125th Street (Harlem) on the A/C/E line.

The F line departures are 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm & 4 pm.

The A/C/E departures are 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm & 5 pm.

Now don’t forget, New Yorkers love a good excuse to travel back in time and elevate their dress up game. Don’t be surprised when you show up for the Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides only to find your fellow commuters in vintage dress accompanying you.

You can find more information, including schedules, here.

For a preview, check out a post from our ride here.

Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides

Every Sunday from November 25th through December 30, take advantage of New York Transit Museum’s Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides. For the cost of a Metro Card swipe, commute between Lower Manhattan and Harlem on a vintage 1930’s R1-9 train car. Trains depart 2nd Avenue (Lower Manhattan) on the F line and 125th Street (Harlem) on the A/C/E line.

The F line departures are 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm & 4 pm.

The A/C/E departures are 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm & 5 pm.

Now don’t forget, New Yorkers love a good excuse to travel back in time and elevate their dress up game. Don’t be surprised when you show up for the Holiday Nostalgia Train Rides only to find your fellow commuters in vintage dress accompanying you.

You can find more information, including schedules, here.

For a preview, check out a post from our ride here.

The Mad Hatters NYC Blog: Year Three in Review

Throughout the year, the pervasive mood in the country has been dour, an ominous shadow hanging over virtually everything else. And yet, we still put ourselves out there, traveling more this year than we had in the last two combined, which was simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. But 2018 was a challenging year for us personally, too. We both work full-time and there were some notable changes to our jobs, which upended the comfortable life we’d built. We were plagued with some health challenges, though fortunately nothing too serious. We had some unfortunate luck, like discovering our toilet was leaking the day before we were due to leave for a trip. And finally, in a real gut-punch, we lost a few friends unexpectedly–a fellow blogger to a freak accident and a longtime co-worker to cancer.

As for the blog, it’s hard to believe it’s been three years since its inception. Some days it feels like the time has flown by, while others it feels like a slow, steady, relentless grind. At this point, we could forgive you for assuming the blog is humming along like a well-oiled machine. But that hasn’t been the case. The curve balls have kept coming, so let’s talk about what the year brought us.

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