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5 Great Views in San Francisco

I originally wrote this post for Canadian Geographic after my press trip to SF last spring. Some good stuff in here and places I had no idea about until I went on a great afternoon tiki tour with a local friend. Scroll down for some fun SF moments and check out this post on Canadian Geographic with 5 great things to do in San Francisco.


I love San Francisco. The city is bright with lots of neighbourhoods to explore, each with a distinct look and history. There’s plenty of great spots to take in the city including the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Pier 39, or the Coit Tower. SF is known for frequent fog so all views come with a recommendation for a clear sunny day. ☀️

There was a perfect rainbow when I arrived! View from my balcony at Hilton, Union Square

Here’s a few great views that weren’t in my first SF travel post!


Twin Peaks 

Here you’ll find a great 180 view of San Francisco from the centre of the city at an elevation of 922 ft. The hike takes about 45 minutes but the drive is only 10 min. I love the way the road and city and look from the top of the hill. You’ll notice the Sutro Tower in the middle of the hill (not pictured). I learned that it’s become ironically iconic and was once seen an eyesore but is now kind of, cool? Ha! There’s shirts, souvenirs, and a selection of sellers on Etsy with Sutro Tower merch. It reminds me of something from Aliens or War of the Worlds.

Museum of Ice Cream 

If you can get a ticket, the views here are like something you’d find in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Museum of Ice Cream is located near Union Square inside a former bank. Aside from learning worldly facts about the famous food, you’ll find incredibly cute backdrops for photos. The museum is 100% family friendly and encourages you check in as a kid at the door. They’re closed each Tuesday to re-paint and fix any of the fixtures throughout the interactive exhibit.  Small groups are taken through the museum giving you enought time to take photos and tast the treats. Check out ticket dates and availability here.

Cityscape, Hilton, Union Square

At the very top of the Hilton Union Square, on the 46th floor, you’ll find Cityscape, a 360 view of San Francisco. On a clear day, you can see everything from the bridge to Coit Tower, and across the bay. They offer a selection of SF inspired cocktails and open daily at 4:30. If you’re a guest at the hotel, you can pop in anytime for photos or to use the wifi.

Alamo Square 

You might not recognize the name but trust me, you know the view. Anyone who was a fan of Full House recognizes these houses from the opening credits. It was a childhood dream to visit this park! ‘Postcard Row’ is located at 710 to 720 Steiner Street across from Alamo Square. The best shot is at magic hour just as the sun sets in the west. I could almost heat hear Uncle Joey saying “cut it out!“.

Sutro Baths

This is the best place to see the sunset. The Sutro Baths are located at Lands End and opened to the public as the world’s largest indoor swimming pool establishment in 1896. The former mayor of SF and wealthy entrepreneur,  Adolf Sutro created the baths which burned down in 1966, amongst years of complications. There’s a path from the Cliff House down to the remaining ruins but you’ll want to check the weather and tides before walking down. It’s really magical here.


As I was updating this post I went through my photos from this trip and I would love to get back to SF. It’s such a beautiful city full of colour, great food, and stuff to do. There is also HEAPS of street art! I’ll get those photos rounded up into a nice gallery and share with some food recos.

Happy Friday!

With love,

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Half of this trip was covered by San Francisco Tourism & Hilton SF, the rest was all me. Would 100% do it all again! 

Great Reasons to Visit Stratford, Ontario

A couple weeks ago I went on an autumn adventure to Stratford, Ontario.  Home of Justin Bieber and the Stratford Festival, the city has lots to offer and is just a 2hr drive from downtown Toronto. We have so many great plces to visit within a 2hr drive of Toronto and it was so nice to visit Stratford again. I hadn’t been since I was a kid! I spent the day with Stratford Tourism and learned it’s quite the quaint destination for culture, food, shopping, and of course theatre. I was happy to find a few cute boutiques with vintage finds, local brands, unique jewellery, and beautiful housewares. Luckily I drove so I had room to fit my purchases in the boot! 

What to Do: Stratford Ontario

Here’s a few of the things I really loved about Stratford aside from catching a show. If theatre is your jam it’s definitely worth seeing one of the many nightly shows, we saw To Kill A Mockingbird which was great. (I did not know this story which is like whoaaa btw).

Image result for stratford festival logo

The Stratford Festival is world renowned and for $29 you can get a bus to and from the theatre from Downtown Toronto. Upcoming shows include Billy Elliot, Othello, The Neverending Story and more. See the full list here.


Shopping 🛍

  • La Osa Vintage – This store is amazing. It’s on a side street from Market Square and FULL of vintage and new items from Canadian designers. They also carry heaps of unique jewellery. I could have really lit some $$$ on 🔥🔥🔥 in there!
  • Wills & Prior – This spot in the heart of Market Square has heaps of beautiful items for your home. The owner used to live in TO and work in PR and she’s left the city for small-town life. I was kinda jealous hearing about her journey and the store is so beautiful you’ll want to move right in! 
  • Distill Gallery   – The spot for well-crafted Canadian design, this shop has over a hundred different artisans and they have heaps of great accessories and gifts, plus a great selection of creative cards. I picked up a pair of gorgeous silk socks by Strathcona.  
This is from the La Osa website, their store and Instagram are SO COOL. I love the looks from their latest shoot. Check out the shop at @pamela_osa

Food 🥙

  • Revival House – This spot is an old church that’s been renovated and is run by a local couple. It’s a beautiful space for weddings and the huge windows let the light in to create a bright dining space. Upstairs is a bar called Belfry Lounge that offers incredible cocktails made with local ingredients. On Thursdays, they have a record night where people can bring their own records and the owner DJs. It caters to the 35+ crowd and honestly sounds like a total blast. Great spot.
  • Revel Coffee – This shop is a hub for fairtrade coffee and homemade pastry & sweets made in their open kitchen. It had a steady flow of locals and lots of tables if you want some creative time. We all sat at a large main table with recycled wood from the shop the used to occupy the space. They have a great patio for warm temperatures and are located right in Market Square. 

Stratford For the Holidays 🎄

  • Christmas Trail -This is a shopping tour of 25 shops downtown Stratford.  You’ll get six gifts along the tour for just $30(+HST). You’ll even be able to see lookout for seven swans a swimming! 🦢 It runs until Dec. 20th, details here. 
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  • Outdoor Christmas Market – Their Very Victorian Christmas is at Market Square and has all kinds of cute things that will surely get you in the spirit and boost up your holidays IG content. 🤶🏼 Ex. carousel rides, mini markets and Santa, of course.

For more info on Stratford check out visitstratford.ca. Huge thank you to the team at Stratford Tourism for taking us on an adventure. Great to explore part of Ontario I hadn’t seen in a while!

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Stratford Tourism invited me and covered my expenses but the experience is all mine! 



Mexico: Vacation Better – Sunwing Commercial!

Mexico: Vacation Better – Sunwing Commercial!

If you haven’t seen this yet on CTV, Global, or CP24, here it is! I was in Mexico earlier this month and I was a little hush hush about what I was doing there and now I can share, we were shooting a commercial for Sunwing Vacations! It’s part of their fall-winter 2018 Vacation Better campaign and the entire thing was shot on iPhones!

Watch Here

From finding the perfect couples getaway with the best on-site spas to booking the most Instagram worthy swim-out suites and everything in between, we want you to #VacationBetter this winter! Look for our tips all season long to help you make the most out of your next vacation! Watch on Facebook. 


We stayed a new all-inclusive resort called Riu Dunamar, 30min from Cancun.  Heaps of food variety, bars, pools, waterpark, spa, nightclub, shopping, minibar, and huge comfy beds. We were shooting most the time but I still carved out a bit of time to get a massage at the spa and read by the pool and with a piña colada. One thing I learned is to always bring a white outfit because white parties are totally a resort thing. I had nothing!  On our last full day we went in on a catamaran cruise to Isla Mejures, a Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea about 13km from Cancun. It was beautiful. 

I’m obsessed with these sunnies from Shade & Glory. My friend Mel who lives in California now started a sunnies company and sent me a couple pairs. Thank you!!! Check out other styles here and use code ‘shipit‘ for free Canadian shipping, USA shipping is free. 


This week I am shooting a commercial with Spin Master for a new game. A couple friends are in it as well so it will surely be a hilarious day for behind the scenes. 

Here’s to a great week!

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Vancouver: The Telus Innovation Centre

Vancouver: The Telus Innovation Centre

Earlier this year I was in Vancouver for a city planning conference and stayed an extra day to pop by the Telus office and have lunch with a friend. I’ve been working with Telus since my days at Much/MTV Canada, about 8 years ago.  I’ve had the opportunity to do some really neat stuff like volunteering, videos, city adventures, and making friends.

A couple years ago I helped them with some ideas to create their influencer program and it’s really grown into something awesome. Next month, they’re taking the ENTIRE GROUP of Canadian influencers (including me!) to their HQ in Vancouver.


Telus Garden

I was really stoked to visit this building. I remember when it started in 2012 and was opened in 2016. The Telus Garden building takes up an entire city block downtown Vancouver, totalling 1M sq ft. It has amazing energy saving features, a fantastic garden, and has won a bunch of awards for the design and sustainability. Unfortunately, I was there in winter so I didn’t get to see the outside areas, it snowed!  

“TELUS Garden is Canada’s most beautiful and ambitious LEED Platinum building, and one of the most environmentally-friendly developments in North America,” Darren Entwistle, TELUS President and CEO


Telus Innovation Centre

I met up with Ana from Telus (check out her IG @msanadouglas) and she took us up to the Innovation Centre where. I was amazed to see a beautiful bright space filled with technology.


One of the coolest features were the doors. Telus has created a set of doors that have screens instead of windows. Hello, why didn’t I think of that!? They’re the only 4 doors like this IN THE WORLD and they’re right here at Telus in Vancouver. A couple of them have cameras where you can host meetings and have the person you are talking with will show up on the screen. Other ones have touchscreen and heat sensors, so they can tell when there’s a person standing in front of them. This blew my mind. Imagine the possibilities? Our guide said they were originally developed for hospitals (Telus Health does heaps in healthcare, telushealth.co).


The space has a number of workstations, fully equipped with pop-up monitors for video conferencing. They pop up OUT of the tables! The card with wifi details doubles as seeds you can plant later at home. As a lifelong lover of tech, this was like being a kid in a candy store! 

They also have a 3D printer where they create and test out innovative ways to make our lives easier. For example, this small purple object made with PLA plastic could never be made by hand but it is 3D printed in a way that makes it unique and super strong, you can stand on it without it breaking. It can hold up to 300lbs!

I was really impressed to check out the mock apartment they have to test smart home technology. I’m not just talking a couple smart lights, they’ve got smart home everything. It’s not just the appliances and light bulbs, there’s a laser that reads prescriptions in your cupboard, smart pillows, smart bed. It was like living in the future and tbh, I’m totally into it. 


I can’t wait to be back on the West Coast with the #TeamTelus crew. There’s some really rad people on the team, a few I’ve known for years and some I’ve never met. I’ll be documenting as I go next week and fill you in on the details.

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Mexico: A Few Days Down South Will Do You Good

Mexico: A Few Days Down South Will Do You Good

It’s amazing what a few days away will do! This week I was on a client project in Cancun, Mexico and it was so great. In between the things we needed to get done I made time for some self-care. I read my book at the pool, drank piña coladas in the sun, and went to the spa. I walked along the beach, ate great food, made new friends, and danced at the disco. 

I landed today in the crazy wind storm and it’s nice to be home. I’m excited to share more about this project over the next few weeks but for now, I’m looking forward to some family time. I’m feeling refreshed, inspired, and ready for the weekend!

We stayed at  Riu Dunamar (via Sunwing) in Costa Mujeres near Cancun and it was so great!

Sending you love and sunshine through the internet!

casiestewart, blog, blogger, toronto, canada, travel, tech
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New Zealand: Aeroplan + Moments Worth Millions

New Zealand: Aeroplan + Moments Worth Millions

What would you do with a Million Miles? Where would you go? I visited New Zealand and Portugal #withAeroplan this year and if I had a million miles I’d be off to India, South Africa, and Japan. I’m so inspired by adventure! Travelling is the best way to enrich your soul, feed your curiosity, and expand your mind. Portugal #withAeroplan 

Aeroplan is back this summer with their incredibly cool contest, Moments Worth Millions. They’re giving away 5 Million Miles over the course of 5 weeks where 5 winners will each win 1 million miles. Think of the possibilities?

5 weeks. 5 winners. 5 million miles.



Do you know how many trips you can take with a million miles? You can take 20 friends to Hawaii in economy or a handful of besties in business. You can take 40 trips from Toronto to LA or take someone you love on a first class trip around the world. 

To enter the contest, follow @Aeroplan and share your favourite travel memory and tag #withAeroplan.

For more information see this link

Last summer I wrote about the Million Miles contest and how I was planning to use my miles to visit family in New Zealand. Little did I know I’d be heading there so soon with mum over the holidays.

That trip created so many memories and was really special for mum and I.  Road trip sing-alongs in the car while driving the other side of the road, exploring the North Island, Eketahuna, Taupo, Dessert Road, visiting family, friends, and spending our last moments with Nana. It was an experience that enriched my life in so many ways my heart swells with love thinking about it. 

Leaving NZ with so many goodies to bring home!

If you win the contest and need a great travel buddy. I’m always here haha. Love you! 

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This post is in partnership #withAeroplan!

Portugal Pt.2: Sintra & The Yellow Castle

Portugal Pt.2: Sintra & The Yellow Castle

I went to Sintra, Portugal, the most romantic place! The true romance was really how great this blazer matched the Pena Palace.  I bought it just before leaving Toronto knowing full well that it would match perfectly. Ha! Aeroplan was open to me picking the places I wanted to visit for this trip and Sintra was top of my list. It’s a small resort town in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, about a 20min Uber from Lisbon. It’s amazing how close this is to Lisbon and yet so different than the city. There are a couple beaches nearby, but unfortunately, I didn’t make it there.

Casa do Valle

I stayed at a beautiful place in Sintra about a 10 min walk from the centre of the tourist area. I booked it almost 2 months ahead and paid $149.42 CAD the garden suite near the pool. When I check to extend my stay there, it was almost double the price. Book early! Get $40 if you use this booking.com link

Casa do Valle is owned by a family from Finland, they built it to have family stay with them but they didn’t come so they turned it into a bed and breakfast. We met them they were so incredibly nice. Breakfast was served in our room and we had a few different options to pick from + coffee and tea. Wifi was included and from the pool area, you can see Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle.

Pena Palace

This is the red/yellow castle. I mapped this place out and added it to my itinerary as soon right away. I was told to get there early in the day to avoid crowds but we went around 4:30pm and it was busy, but not ridiculous. I was still able to get great photos without too many people in the background. I was actually quite surprised how patient people were for everyone taking photos. Thanks, Instagram! 

I purchased ‘Park & Pena Palace: Skip the Line’ mobile tickets from tiqets.com a couple hours before visiting or 14 Euros. I really didn’t need the ‘Skip the Line’, there was no line.

The hilltop 19th-century Pena National Palace is known for its design and bright colours. You can get a great view from the mountain top and explore the beautiful park before the castle. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you have to walk from the park up the hill to the castle and you’ll really feel it in your booty.

When leaving Pena Palace you pass the Castle of The Moors, a medieval castle where you can tour the grounds to a lookout over Sintra. (You’ll need to buy a ticket!)

Sintra

Sintra’s downtown is a cute little area beside The Palace of Sintra is in the heart of the old town. There are cabs, Uber, and tuk-tuks to take you around the tourist areas. I didn’t have any great meals but there’s a pastry you must have a Piriquita, the most famous pastry in Sintra.


I highly recommend going to Sintra. It’s magical!

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This vacation was in partnership #withAeroplan. Earn miles and rewards by shopping at your fav spots (ex. Amazon) and redeem for travel almost anywhere in the world. I've been an Aeroplan member since I was 11 years old and love redeeming my miles to visit new & exciting destinations. Check out aeroplan.com!Aeroplan Logo
 

Portugal Pt. 1: What to Do in Lisbon

Portugal Pt. 1: What to Do in Lisbon

Portugal is amazing! My trip with Aeroplan this month was great and if you were following on social you’ll know because I posted heaps of photos!  The air was hot, the food was good, and I found inspiration in the bright colours and kind people. I took over 2,000 photos and kept notes during the trip. I did a bunch of research before I left and have been asked heaps about recommendations, so, I’ve broken down my trip into 5 posts based on things I did, which is only a fraction of what there is to do. Next trip I’ll rent a car and drive around to see the Algarve, Braga, Cascais, Coimbra, Aveiro (the Venice of Portugal), and the historic town of Óbidos.

I’d like to take a second to thank Telus for keeping me connected. I have an Easy Roam package on my plan where for the cost of a coffee & snack each day I could use the data of my Canadian plan without having to worry about roaming. It’s great to disconnect but for me, being able to still share my experience as it happens is part of the fun!

Links to other Portugal Posts are at the bottom and I’ll update as each is published! Obrigada!


What to Do In Lisbon

I arrived in Lisbon with a loose plan of what to do for the next 10 days. It was my first visiting and I’d been building a Pinterest board of the things to see and do for weeks. The city is so beautiful, bright coloured buildings fill the streets and the hills make it so picturesque. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk a lot.

When you arrive from the airport it can be a bit confusing, if you don’t want to Uber or taxi, there’s a green bus that will take you downtown to a variety of spots for a couple Euros (the ticket is good for 24 or 48 hours).


The main streets will present heaps of opportunities to dine on a patio, have wine, visit a museum, or go shopping. We found a great little store for clothes at a good price at the bottom of  Santa Justa Lift. I ended up getting a 2nd suitcase to bring home all the things I bought on this trip! You can go up the lift for a 360 view but there was a line so I didn’t bother (this is included in your Yellow Bus ticket, see below).

Yellow Bus Tours

For 20 Euros I got a 48-hour ticket for Yellow Bus Tours which allowed me to take 2 bus lines and the trolley unlimited for 2 days. This worked out really great because they have an audio guide on the bus that tells you all about the history and landmarks, it also saved me paying for Ubers to get to all the places I wanted to go.

Parque Eduardo VII

One of the great views from the bus tour is Parque Eduardo VII, the largest park in Lisbon. I would have loved to walk around the park. There’s some greenery that looks like a maze! The park is 26 hectares and in between Avenida da Liberdade and the Marquis of Pombal Square, right in the centre of the city.

casie stewart, portugal, travel blogger, lisbon, aeroplan, withaeroplan, travel

Belem

One route on the bus tour took me to Belem and Torre de Belém (Tower of Belem). It was built on the northern bank of the Tagus between 1514 and 1520 and in 1983 was classified by UNESCO as “Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.

There’s also a place in Belem called Pastéis de Belém, the original spot for Pastel da Nata (Portuguese egg tart), since 1837.  Be prepared to wait but sooo good! 

belem, casie stewart, portugal, travel blogger, lisbon, aeroplan, withaeroplan, travel

LX Factory

This is a really cool area with bars, restaurants and shopping. It’s great for photos and has heaps of street art. This was where I saw the most hipstery people in Lisbon. There was live music and really cool shipping container/bus things to check out.

Barrio Alto District

Grab a beer at a little store and walk around, it’s really busy here! (Also, you can drink in the streets!) There are heaps of little bars and restaurants. We had dinner in an alley at an Italian restaurant. I was also surprised by how many police and families were walking around late at night. Hold onto your stuff though, if you were going to get pickpocketed, this would be the place.

Park Bar, Lisbon

If you’re looking for a great view, Park Bar it’s a busy hot spot on top of a parking garage with wooden seats and drinks. The entrance is on a small side street but they will likely be people hanging out or checking Google Maps on their phones to get there. You’ll have to walk up a few flights of stairs but the view is amazing. Unfortunately, I didn’t get there before sunset, the view in daylight is amazing.

Praça do Comércio (Yellow Square)

The Royal Palace used to be here before the Great Earthquake in 1755. The square is beside the Tagus River, it has a beautiful archway (Rua Augusta Arch) and a bronze statue of Joseph I of Portugal (1750 – 1777)  (King of Portugal during the earthquake).

Time Out Market

This is a HUGE market with all kinds of different food. It’s really busy at night with people eating and drinking. It’s right across from the train station if you want to get to Sintra, Cascais, or Praia De Carcavelos (beach).  I stayed at a great Airbnb just behind the market with a great host who showed me how to navigate the train station. If you haven’t used Airbnb yet, visit this link to get $45 CAD off your first stay.

time our market, lisbon, casie stewart, portugal, travel blogger, lisbon, aeroplan, withaeroplan, travel


Hope you enjoyed my photos and recommendations.

Check out my other posts about Portugal below! 

Casie Stewart: Guide to Portugal

  1. Portugal Pt. 1: What to Do in Lisbon
  2. Portugal Pt. 2: Sintra & Pena Palace
  3. Portugal Pt 3: Porto (Coming Soon!)
  4. Portugal Pt. 4: Douro Valley (Coming Soon!)
  5. Portugal Pt 5: Highly Instagrammable Places to Photograph (Coming Soon!)


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This vacation was in partnership #withAeroplan. Earn miles and rewards by shopping at your fav spots (ex. Amazon) and redeem for travel almost anywhere in the world. I've been an Aeroplan member since I was 11 years old and love redeeming my miles to visit new & exciting destinations. Check out aeroplan.com!Aeroplan Logo