I moved to California when I was 18 years old, and over the past few years, it’s become home for me! It’s a beautiful, sprawling state with varying terrains: beaches, cities, deserts, forests… literally, you can snowboard and surf in the same day. It’s a special place! I’ve spent time in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco (and many places in between) + I’m excited to share my go-to destinations across California.
If you’re a fan of contemporary + conceptual art, you can’t miss a visit to The Broad. I moved to LA in August 2015, and The Broad opened one month later in September! Since I was living near downtown at the time, The Broad quickly became one of my usual spots. I love spending time in galleries to sit back, reflect, and find inspiration on the walls… and The Broad certainly delivers! From Yayoi Kusama to Andy Warhol, their collections are impressive. Tickets are free, but I would definitely recommend reserving your date in advance as availability at the door can be sparse.
I have an affinity for the American southwest, from red rock cliffs to the adobe home suburbs. The first time I visited New Mexico was in 2018. I was offered to work a seasonal gig at the New Mexico State Fair and had the opportunity to live in Albuquerque for a month. Since then, I’ve spent quite a lot of time in the “Land of Enchantment,” and I’ve determined it’s a real travel gem. I’ll never get tired of the stunning natural backdrop of the Sandia Mountains, which turn pink at sunset!
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a seasonal event that takes place in October. During the 9-day festival, hundreds of hot air balloons take to the skies in a 78-acre launch field! There are sunrise and sunset sessions, so you have an opportunity to see the balloons twice a day. It’s an incredibly magical scene to see countless hot air balloons rising over the horizon.
Fun fact: Balloon Fiesta is the most photographed event in the world!
In addition to the hot air balloons, there are booths lined up with local New Mexico-based vendors, selling their handmade goods. One of my favorite parts of the event (besides the majestic hot air balloons!) is meeting and supporting the local artists.
If you’re planning on attending the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, I would recommend coming for (at least) a few days. While the festival itself can be tackled in one day, the hot air balloons are only able to fly if the weather is calm. When I attended in 2018 and 2019, there were a handful of days where the balloons unfortunately couldn’t fly due to inclement weather. It was a bummer for those who traveled all the way to Albuquerque and only arranged a single-day for the festival. However, the weather and wind patterns in New Mexico are (generally) great for balloonin
Admittedly, I know nothing about wine – besides the fact that I like it.
Despite my lack of wine knowledge, whenever I visit Albuquerque, I try to make a stop at Casa Rodeña Winery. Since opening in the 90’s, Casa Rodeña Winery has gained popularity for their high desert wines. Their Tasting Room is opened daily, where you can sample their entire portfolio of award-winning wines and browse the gift shop, which is filled with handcrafted items from local artisans. If you’re looking for a relaxing day, I would recommend spending a few hours at Casa Rodeña Winery, strolling around the grounds and sipping a glass of wine on the patio.
Below are a few pictures from my visit, but if you’re looking for more information, you can also take a virtual tour on their website!
More coming soon! This is a never-ending work in progress. (: