protestant church berlin germany

Top 10 Museums to Visit in Your Lifetime

For the history or art lovers among us, I present some of the most kickass museums to visit in your lifetime.

van gogh museum

Starry Nights of Van Gogh.

10. Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Yes, pot is legal in Amsterdam. Yes, so are ‘shrooms…so is prostitution. BUT Amsterdam is wayyyyyy more than that. It’s a city of canals that light up at night. It’s a city full of flowers and color in the spring like you wouldn’t believe. It is also a city where Anne Frank hid, and it’s a city where Van Gogh has his paintings displayed. You know, the painter of Starry Night, Bedroom in Arles, Sunflowers, and many other masterpieces. Well, this city has blessed us all with a museum full of his masterpieces, drawings, and even his personal letters. It’s well worth visiting if you’re swinging by this crazy town.

acropolis museum

Statue at the Acropolis Museum.

9. The Acropolis Museum (Athens, Greece)

Ahh the arts of antiquity. This little but mighty museum has so much inside, from Acropolis reliefs to busts of famous leaders. There are even ruins under the museum as you walk inside. If you’re in Athens and want to take a peek at more art around the Acropolis, this is the best spot to look (other than the Acropolis itself).

dinosaur natural history museum

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?

8. Smithsonian Natural History Museum (Washington, DC, USA)

If you’re a natural history museum lover, this is just the place. It’s a Smithsonian museum, which means it’s free! Yay! It also has a wide variety of exhibits, from fossils and various animal species to gems and the Hope Diamond, as well as mummies and displays about evolution. Be sure to check out the special exhibitions while you’re there!

George Seurat Art Institute Chicago

The Art Institute Chicago is a must-see if you’re in the windy city.

7. The Art Institute Chicago (Chicago, USA)

This is a museum I just keep on visiting, and for good reason: it’s amazing! If you have used all your time off, but are dying to see the famous French paintings you’d typically see in Paris: go here. There’s a whole wing for impressionists here, including my favorite painting! Think Degas’ ballerinas, Monet’s gorgeous French fields and sunsets on the beach, and George Seurat’s lovely pointillism paintings. Also, you can’t miss the modern art, including some Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso pieces.

Met museum

For the love of fashion.

6. The MET (New York City, USA)

Whether you’re a Gossip Girl fan, follow celeb gossip and hear about the Met Gala each year, or you just appreciate fine art and fashion, this is the place for you. Each year in NYC they put on an exhibition regarding fashion in which the Met Gala celebrates. I visited a couple of years ago when the exhibition was China Through the Looking Glass. This year: Man X Machina. These are only on display for a few months, so be sure to check the website before visiting. Aside from the fashion, there’s also wonderful art from around the globe to appreciate there.

holocaust museum

Shoes collected from Concentration Camps.

5. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC, USA)

While a visit to this museum is incredibly sad, it’s also very moving. It educates you regarding the Holocaust, what the victims went through, and the timeline of events. It is a place to remember and honor the victims, and educates visitors about genocide and how to prevent it. This museum does a wonderful job; it even gives you a pamphlet about a person who went through the Holocaust. You turn the pages as you change floors to learn about their story, what they went through, and how they ended up. It gives you a more personal connection. Make sure to reserve your visit online, as it’s a crowded museum.

pergamon museum

Gates of Babylon artifacts at the Pergamon Museum.

4. Pergamon Museum (Berlin, Germany)

When you think of Berlin, most don’t think about the amazing museum island this city offers. Berlin has such an incredible history with the Berlin Wall, TV Tower, Brandenburg Gate, etc. However, a trip to Berlin wouldn’t be complete without a trip here. This museum in particular is badass. Ever thought about walking through the gates of Babylon? You can do that here! Want to act like you’re in Greece thousands of years ago hanging out on the Pergamon Altar? You can do that too! Anyway, there are tons of really awesome historical pieces throughout this museum. They have the Collection of Classical Antiquities, the Museum of the Ancient Near East, and the Museum of Islamic Art all included here.

vatican museums

So much to see and do at the Vatican Museums.

3. Vatican Museums (Vatican City)

If you’re ever in Rome, the Vatican is a must-see. The Sistine Chapel alone is worth the visit. There are rooms and rooms full of Renaissance paintings, altar pieces, and sculptures. It’s enough to be overwhelmed, but be sure to book a tour guide and go early; this place gets crowded fast.

mummies british museum

The mummy exhibit at the British Museum is so interesting.

2. British Museum (London, UK)

So we all know that the British basically ruled most of the world at one point, right? Well, they have a museum dedicated to a lot of the antiques, art, and artifacts they’ve collected over the years. Sound pretty cool? That’s because it is! Let’s not forget that they have the Rosetta Stone, sculptures from the Acropolis in Athens, and even mummies… lots of mummies. Seriously, this is a cool museum.

monet l'orangerie

As it’s prohibited to take photos of the paintings here, it’s worth it to go check it out on your own!

1. Museum L’Orangerie (Paris, France)

A museum list wouldn’t be complete without an art museum from Paris. While they have many notable museums (D’Orsay and Louvre being the most popular), this is easily the best, and hardly anyone knows about it. Monet gave his most famous paintings to this museum and even helped design the rooms the Water Lilies would be placed in. So that alone is pretty sweet. Combine that with their acquisition of the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collections of art, this museum, while small, is stocked full of impressionist and post-impressionist art. If you’re into French Impressionist paintings, love Monet’s Water Lilies, and are in Paris, you have to see this place.”

acoprolis athens in a day

How to Tackle Athens in One Day WITHOUT Breaking the Bank

Ever dreamed of a Greek vacation, but not sure you could squeeze in Athens?

Maybe you’re short on time. Perhaps you are eager to start your Greek island hopping. Maybe you missed your flight from Budapest to Athens, spent the night in the airport, and only ended up with one day in Athens before your next flight. Either way, I found that it’s truly possible to spend one day in this city, take in a lot of sites, and even appreciate a little of the modern day culture. Not to mention save money (especially after having to book another flight last minute).

I had arrived at the hostel (about 10 euro a night) in Athens late at night, in the middle of the Plaka neighborhood. This neighborhood is a historical neighborhood, known as the “Neighborhood of the Gods” because it is very close to the Acropolis. It’s a stunning area, and even more convenient if you’re short on time, seeing as it’s within walking distance to several sites.

Exploring Athens

As for my friend and myself, we wanted to absorb as much of Athens as possible. It’s one of the most historical cities- anyone who’s a history geek like myself can imagine how excited I was to be here! I’m also the type of person who reads everything at the museum. I know-it’s a problem. But to walk in the sites where so much history has been made is a pretty awesome feeling. And we wanted to see it all.

athens in a day- st. paul

The rock that St. Paul preached to the Athenians on.

Therefore, we made our game plan: Wake up at 7:00am, walk down to the Acropolis museum (5 euro), and enjoy some wonderful busts, reliefs, etc. from the Acropolis. There’s even a part of the museum where they have excavated and found more ruins under the building! Basically, anywhere in Athens they dig, they find more ruins, which is pretty fascinating.

museum ruins athens in a day

Ruins under the Acropolis Museum.

muesem ruins athens in a day 2

Ruins under the Acropolis Museum.

Walking Tour of Athens

After the museum, we went back to our hostel to catch a free walking tour of the city. You’ll find that most places will offer some sort of walking tour. I recommend to always take it- most of the time it’s cheap, and it lets you see the main sights so you can decide where you’d like to spend more time later. In this case, we got to see:

  • the Olympic Stadium


olympic stadium athens in a day

  • Hadrian’s Wall

  • Syntagma Square (where the Greek Parliament building is)

  • Monastiraki (a lively part of town that has a massive flea market)
  • Plaka neighborhood (where we stayed)
  • Receive information about the Acropolis and Ancient Agora
  • See a few ancient ruins along the way
ancient ruins athens

Ancient ruins are located all over the city.

It’s a great tour, and only a few hours. While it is free, they typically expect tips at the end, so budget about 5 euro for this. It’s well worth it to cover a lot of sights in a limited amount of time.

After that, we headed to the biggest part of Athens, the Acropolis. It’s 12 euro to enter, but includes the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, and Theatre of Dionysus. It takes about three hours to walk through (so bring plenty of water), and you get to see it all. We even ran into a local Athenian who was showing a friend around and asked him where a good place to eat dinner was.

acropolis athens in a day


lady columns athens

After seeing these in art class, I was pumped to see them in person.

posing with gods athens

Exploring the Ancient Agora and posed among the gods.

A Local Experience

Now this is something I’d recommend doing. Ask the locals! They’re proud of where they live, and are so excited to tell you about it. So ask for their advice! We ended up in a neighborhood that was completely local and had one of the best Greek meals we’ve ever had. It was also a lot cheaper than eating at a place close to where we were staying. We even hung out at a bar a few blocks down full of locals- great for people watching and just sipping on some Greek wine.

lamb meatballs athens

Delicious lamb meatballs with feta.

So there you have it. One day, so much accomplished. We saw the ancient sites of the city, and even got to explore where local Athenians hang out. All around the cost of about 45 euro ($50) total with our food and tours. If you don’t have much time or money, it is possible to explore Athens in one day.

Dionysus in athens

Dionysus theatre in Athens.


12 Badass Races You Need to Sign Up For

There is nothing more satisfying than completing a race. You’ve trained so hard for it. You’ve saved money for the race, ate the super foods to get ready, and even researched the best running shoes. Hundreds and even thousands of people are racing for the same cause. I get emotional every race. Some are racing to lose weight or achieve a personal goal. Some are also running to check out a new location. Whatever your reason, these are some awesome races to complete in your lifetime.

12. Rock N Roll Las Vegas Series

This is as epic as it sounds. Awesome music + Vegas Strip at night = PERFECT recipe for a race. The Marathon and half marathon have headliner concerts that have included Kid Rock, Snoop Dog, and Macklemore. They also have other events such as “Run Thru Weddings” and “Run as Elvis”. It couldn’t be more Vegas if it tried. Also, the Rock N Roll Marathon series has the coolest race medals.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon: 4:30PM on Sunday, November 12, 2017
    • Half Marathon: 4:30PM on Sunday, November 12, 2017
    • 10k: 4:00PM on Sunday, November 12, 2017
    • 5k: 6:00PM on Saturday, November 11, 2017
    • Run Thru Wedding: 5:45PM on Sunday, November 12, 2017
  • Website
Vegas Races

Vegas at night.

11. United Airlines New York Half Marathon/TSC NYC Marathon

Imagine looping around Central Park, running past Times Square, down to the World Trade Center and Memorial, past Battery Park where you can see the Statue of Liberty, and ending on Wall Street. That’s just the half marathon! The full marathon explores the boroughs starting on Staten Island, goes through Brooklyn and the ever so trendy Williamsburg neighborhood, then into Queens, across Roosevelt Island into Manhattan, a quick trip into the Bronx, then back in Manhattan where you run through Harlem to the Upper East Side and into Central Park. Not to mention the New York Marathon is the largest marathon in the world! If you want to sightsee New York in the same fast pace as the city itself, you have to try one of these races.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon: The race has several start times as it is run in waves. However, the race begins at 8:30AM on November 5, 2017
    • Half Marathon: 7:30AM on Sunday, March 19, 2017
  • Important note: As these are popular races, you have to qualify. This means that you have to have proof you finished another race in the appropriate amount of time required. These times differ based on age and gender.
  • There are also several races among the boroughs should you wish to explore NYC further.
  • Website:
NYC Races

Brooklyn Bridge.

10. Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Races

The magical world of Disney, complete with princesses, castles, and people racing in their best Mickey Mouse ears. Let your inner child fly free this marathon weekend. You can treat this as a weekend getaway to see the various parks within Disney. The marathon runs through all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks (Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park). The half marathon races past Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot. The 5k and 10k take place in Epcot. Basically, if you can’t go see the world, you may as well run past all of it in Epcot. If you grew up watching the best of Disney, you have to run this race.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon: 5:30AM on Sunday, January 7, 2018
    • Half Marathon: 5:30AM on Saturday, January 6, 2018
    • 10k: 5:30AM on Friday, January 5, 2018
    • 5k: 6:00AM on Thursday, January 4, 2018
  • For the super ambitious: Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge is comprised of 39.3 miles starting Saturday, January 6 and ending Sunday, January 7, 2018. You can run the half marathon and marathon.
  • For the crazy super ambitious runners out there: Dopey’s Challenge. If you’re really wanting a workout, this is where you run all of the 4 races (5k, 10k, half-marathon, and marathon).
  • They also have races for kids!
  • Note: These races book up fast, so book early! Registration opens February 14th!
  • Website
Disney Races

Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World.

9. Virgin Money London Marathon

This city is full of history, ready for you to run. Run across Tower Bridge and past the Tower of London. Pass by Big Ben, the Shard, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Run along the River Thames, toward Westminster, ending at Buckingham Palace. If you’re looking to see London from East to West, this is the perfect way to do it.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon: 10:00AM on Sunday, April 23, 2017
  • Important information: If you are not a resident of the UK, you will have to book via Overseas Entry. The event website has a tab where you can locate your country of residence to register. The US requires you to go through a marathon tour company.
  • Website
London Races

Big Ben in London

8. Athens Marathon

This list would be remiss if I didn’t include the marathon to rule them all! This bad boy is the original, the first marathon to have ever occurred. While the original runner died of exhaustion, well-trained athletes are proving up to the challenge. But it is a challenge. You start in Marathon, you know, like what this whole race is named after. Anyway, you run across hills, roads, towns, and all the way into Athens, where you end up in the Ancient Olympic Stadium. You’ll see the Acropolis along the way. Want to feel a part of history? This is the race for you. Thank the gods they have smaller routes too.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon: 9:00AM on Sunday, November 13, 2017
    • Power Walking: 9:00AM on Sunday, November 13, 2017
    • 10k : 8:35AM on Sunday, November 13, 2017
    • 5k: 7:45AM on Sunday, November 13, 2017 AND 4:00PM on Sunday, November 13, 2017
  • They also have races for kids!
  • Website
Athens Races

Imagine ending your race at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.

7. Napa Valley Marathon Weekend

Who doesn’t love wine? Running and wine may be some of my favorite things. After running along wineries and vineyards, it’s enough to make you so excited to taste all of the wine after. Whether it’s red, white, or rose, all are enough to keep you motivated to cross the finish line.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon: 7:00AM on Sunday, March 5, 2017
    • 5k: 8:00AM on Sunday, March 5, 2017
  • Hint: This race is downhill- perfect for first timers!
  • Website
Napa Valley Races

Napa Valley Vineyards.

6. Galapagos Marathon

Yes all of you Darwin/Science nerds out there! There truly is a race for everyone in the world. If you’re looking to run among Galapagos Giant Tortoises and on a beautiful, tropical island full of diverse species, this is the race to run.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon: 6:00AM on Sunday, August 13, 2017 and Sunday, August 15, 2017
    • Half Marathon: 6:30AM on Sunday, August 13, 2017 and Sunday, August 15, 2017
    • 10k: They offer this, but do not discuss a time. Offered on Sunday, August 13, 2017 and Sunday, August 15, 2017
  • Website
Galapagos Races

Slow and steady wins the race.

5. Big 5 Marathon

This is for the truly wild at heart runners. If running along giraffes, wildebeest, and the Big 5 (lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, leopards, and rhinoceroses) sound like a dream come true, you have to try this race. This combines a safari and a good, long run into one amazing race day. Remember you don’t have to be the fastest runner, just be sure to outrun your friends.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon: June 24, 2017
    • Half Marathon: June 24, 2017
    • No times established yet
  • This is an event that is best to book through a tour company
  • Be sure to be properly vaccinated and drink plenty of water!
  • Website
Big 5 Races

Dare to run wild with these guys.

4. Midnight Sun Marathon/Polar Night Marathon

Think summertime in the artic circle: you’re running close to midnight with the sun still shining. Then think again about running at night and looking up to see the Northern Lights. These take place in the same spot, just different times of year. Either way, both look extremely captivating.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon:
      • Midnight Sun Marathon: 8:30PM on Saturday, June 17, 2017
    • Half Marathon:
      • Midnight Sun Marathon: 10:30PM on Saturday, June 17, 2017
      • Polar Night Marathon: 3:00PM on Saturday, January 6, 2018
    • 10k:
      • Midnight Sun Marathon: 7:00PM on Saturday, June 17, 2017
      • Polar Night Marathon: 3:15PM on Saturday, January 6, 2018
    • Mini Marathon:
      • Midnight Sun Marathon: 6:00PM on Satruday, June 17, 2017
      • Polar Night Marathon: 3:20PM on Saturday, January 6, 2018
    • Note: They do not have a marathon for Polar Night.
    • Important: As the Polar Night run is in the winter in the Artic circle, you must dress warm, and wear shoes with spikes and traction for the snow.
    • There’s a kid’s race for the Midnight Sun Marathon!
  • Website
Arctic Night Races

Catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights during the Polar Night race.

3. Antarctica Ice Marathon

Are you trying to cross off that seventh continent from your bucket list? Do you LOVE running in the cold? Maybe you’re crazy? Either way, a race in Antarctica is not for the faint at heart, but is said to be an amazing experience. Want to really impress your friends? This is the ticket. Just don’t anticipate setting a personal record.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon and Half Marathon: Friday, November 24, 2017
      • They do not have times established yet
    • Important: This is a super expensive race as it is a far-flung destination and you can’t just fly in. It’s easiest to book through a tour group like Global Running Adventures.
    • Note: Wear the appropriate shoes and clothing for the weather.
  • Website
Antartica Races

It’ll be cold, but for views like this, it may be worth it.

2. Great Wall Marathon

Want to visit the Great Wall of China? Check. Want one of the most challenging races to run? Check. One word to remember: stairs. Yup, it’s quite a challenge. Again, don’t expect to make your best time, but it’s worth it for the beauty of the Great Wall of China.

  • Races Offered:
    • Marathon, Half Marathon, and Fun Run (5.5 miles): All take place on Saturday, May 20, 2017. No times established yet.
  • Important Information: You will need a visa to get into China. Also, you will have to book through a tour package.
  • Website
Great Wall Races

See more of this wall during this race.

 1. Inca Trail Marathon

Whether you’re looking for the perfect Instagram photo, want a real challenge with elevation, or you love history and all things Incan, you have to run this ancient trail. But again, this is another one of the most challenging marathons. Be sure to train, because when you’re hitting that runner’s high at the end, you’re running into Machu Picchu.

  • Races Offered: This is unique as you run almost every day of your tour from 4.5 miles until the actual race day where you run either the marathon or 30k (18.6 miles). The race day is Thursday, June 8, 2017 or Thursday, August 10, 2017.
  • Important Information: Like most international races, you have to book through a tour package.
  • Website
Inca Trail Races

Amazing views and high altitudes: You may get more of a runner’s high than you bargain for.