Episode 13: All Things Abacos Island, Bahamas with Andrew Morgan

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In Episode 13, The Travel Brats interviewed close friend, Andrew Morgan, to uncover the hidden gems, food recommendations, and fishing hot spots in Abacos Island, Bahamas. He shares his tips on how to make the most of out your Bahamian trip, best time to go, and how to stay safe!

Listen at Apple Podcast!

When in the Abacos Islands, he loves to visit and explore Elbow Caye and Hope Town. He recommends going in the summertime because that’s when it’s pretty busy and there are tons of activities to do; he also suggests going with family or friends, basically anyone who likes doing the same things as you so you can book fun day trips. The Bahamas are known for having a warm and welcoming culture, and the cays are a great places to delve into it. 

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Best place to stay: 

Rent a house and go to the local grocery stories; live like the locals

So you can check out places to rent: 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentals-g147424-Reviews-Great_Abaco_Island_Abaco_Islands_Out_Islands_Bahamas-Vacation_Rentals.html

https://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/caribbean/bahamas/abaco

Things to Do: 

Festivities and Activities:

Junkaknoo — a smaller version of mardi gras at Nassau https://www.bahamas.com/event/new-year’s-day-junkanoo-parade-abacos

Every island has its own band and they practice all year, drums trumpets, tubas, sticks, custom made costumes.

Jimmy Buffet Event: Margaritaville, free burgers and beers and everything with tons of boats and Mr. Buffet will fly in with his boat, every year, stage in the middle of the water

https://strandednaked.com

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Best Food To Eat:

  • Crab Conch or Conch Fritters
  • Conch Salad Raw conch, pounded down, a shot of rum and beer, with chips and salsa

Restaurants: 

Nippers, north end of guana cay. Crazy colors, right on the beach, pool you can hang at, it’s very beachy vibe and on Sundays, there is a pig roast, 25 pigs 500+ people, 9am until the parties go on late (frozen nipper: best drink rum, cranberry juice, gumbay punch: illegal in the US bc too much sugar. https://www.nippersbar.com

Pete’s Pub — get there by noon for food http://www.petespub.com

Firefly — Hotel/ Restaurant owned by the people who own Firefly vodka https://fireflysunsetresort.com

Local Drinks: 

Sea Spray

Gumbay Smash

Kalik Beer

Rum Runnas

Mud Slide

Hidden Gems Fishing Editions:

Kalamora Caye– https://www.kamalame.com

Crashed plane from the 80’ so it’s a sunken plane off the coast and you can dive into it, it’s only in 10 feet of water (try to find it)

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Tips to make the most out of a Bahamas trip:

Don’t take too many lobsters (no no, trouble)

Staying safe advice:

Traveling on boat, make sure to follow the GPS, don’t want to hit a reef, so pay attention to the navigation system

When diving, be aware of your surroundings and know where the boat is at all time

Don’t get too far from the boat, there are a lot of sharks and you may have to get back to the boat quickly 

If a shark swims towards you, don’t get so frantic and swim away, you are a friend, not food 

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Travel Brats Episode 12: All Things Asheville

Listen on Apple Podcast!

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In Episode 12, The Travel Brats interviewed actress, Natalie Brouwer, about all things Asheville (the little sister city to San Franscico). In this episode, Natalie shares her recommendations and hidden gems on where to go, what to see, and how to make the most out of your time in the beautiful city of Asheville, North Carolina. She even shares her favorite Breweries with beer recs, so tune in before you head to NC!

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There’s so much to do in Asheville and there’s a lot of opportunities to travel there on a budget because there are a ton of free things to do, like hiking/parks/walk around downtown

Best times to go to Asheville: Recommended times to go— spring and fall for different reasons

Things to do:

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Fall time recommendations:

Winter Recommendations:

Skiing at Beech and Sugar Mountain https://www.beechmountainresort.com
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ARTSY + Cultural Activities To Attend:

River Arts District https://www.riverartsdistrict.com

Biltmore House (late 1800’s) https://www.biltmore.com

Grove Park Inn (1913) https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park

Best Places to Eat

Breakfast –

Sunny Point Cafe https://sunnypointcafe.com

Louise’s (Black Mountain) https://louisesblackmtn.com

Over Easy Cafe http://www.overeasyasheville.com

 

Lunch/Dinner –

WHITE DUCK TACO http://whiteducktacoshop.com

Chestnut https://www.chestnutasheville.com

Chai Pani http://www.chaipaniasheville.com/

Nine Mile https://ninemileasheville.com

Farm Burger https://farmburger.com/asheville-nc/

Easy Girl Eatery https://earlygirleatery.com

Tupelo Honey Cafe https://tupelohoneycafe.com/location/downtown-asheville/

My Father’s Pizza (BM) http://www.myfatherspizza.com

Fresh (BM) https://freshwoodfiredpizza.net

 

Where are the best places to stay? 

Air bnb! Or you can rent houses/cabins. Or stay at one of the nicer/fancier places connected to Biltmore/Grove Park

https://www.airbnb.com/s/Asheville–NC

 

Best Places to Explore/“hidden” gems:

Visit Black Mountain: https://www.exploreblackmountain.comThe town of Black Mountain

Sliding Rock a little farther away in Brevard and LAKE LURE: http://www.townoflakelure.com

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Top Breweries!!!!

-Beer (Brewing companies)

*Sierra Nevada  https://sierranevada.com/visit/north-carolina/

*Wicked Weed https://www.wickedweedbrewing.com/

*New Belgium https://www.newbelgium.com/brewery/asheville/

*Highland Brewing https://highlandbrewing.com/

*Green Man http://www.greenmanbrewery.com/

*Catawba https://catawbabrewing.com/

-favorite beers – Octoberfest (SN), White Zombie (Catawba), Pernicious IPA (WW)

 

Safety Tips

Asheville is a very safe town

When Hiking, make sure you dress appropriately for the season. Bug spray, water, snacks. Bears (black bears) you will likely not see. They are nocturnal animals and are more scared of you then you are of them. With a snake, if it’s a black snake you are fine. You will likely not see them either, but perhaps look up what to do if you see a copperhead, rattlesnake, or water moccasin. Make sure to lock your car! In general, just be aware of your surroundings. Our hikes are VERY user friendly!

Stay connected with Natalie by following her on IG: https://www.instagram.com/nataliejuneb/

Travel Guide for All Things Punta Cana, DR: Episode 9 with Connor Firmender

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Whether it’s a family trip, going out with the guys, or taking a wild spring break trip, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (often referred to as DR)  may be the place for you to go explore for fun nights, gambling, cave diving, drink tasting, and dune buggies.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE!!!

Where to Stay:

Connor stayed at The Grande Bahia Principe

His cost was $1,100 bundled with 3 people which included a roundtrip flight, 5 days and 4 nights.

A connection from RSW to Miami to Punta Cana int. Flew Southwest.

https://www.bahia-principe.com/en/resorts-in-dominican-republic/resort-punta-cana/

expedia deals:

https://www.expedia.com/Punta-Cana-Hotels-Grand-Bahia-Principe-Punta-Cana-All-Inclusive.h1091208.Hotel-Information

Ashley stayed at Majestic Mirage:

https://www.majestic-resorts.com/en/our-resorts/majestic-mirage-punta-cana

Day time Activities and Recommendations:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g147293-d12467586-Punta_Cana_Discovery_Package_Dune_Buggy_Adventure_and_Catamaran_Cruise-Punta_Cana_.html

Nighttime Activities:

Drinks Recommendations

  • Coconut drinks
  • Pineapple drinks
  • Shots of the sig liquor: Mama Juana (rum, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs)

Tips to Stay Safe while in DR

  • Stay with a friend the entire time, let friends know ahead of time where you are going. Share your locations with friends
  • Look at your data plan. Call provider for $10 a day for unlimited data. Unless you have an unlimited international plan.
  • Ask resort people where to eat, where is safe and unsafe etc.

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13 Looks The Travel Brats Can’t Wait To Rock When Quarantine is Over

Since I am currently quarantined in Florida and it’s 80 degrees everyday, I’ve been wearing a swimsuit everyday. I can’t remember the last time I put on real clothes (that weren’t pajamas) or did up my hair and makeup. I am already daydreaming about all the cute outfits I am going to wear out when the world heals and this pandemic comes to an end, until then I am happy to stay in and keep everyone else safe. Here are some of the looks I can’t wait to wear out and about, to the beach, and on adventures. 

Shop all these looks and more at SHOP BEST DRESSED and follow @shopbestdressed on IG!


Getting Fancy Looks:


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Shop the dress

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Shop the clip

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Shop the Skirt


Girl’s Night Out Looks:


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Shop the Dress

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Shop the Bodysuit

Shop the Skirt


Swimsuit/ Beach Looks:


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Shop the Sunflower Swimsuit

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Shop the Stripe Swimsuit

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Shop the Sunglasses

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Shop the Romper


Out and About Day Looks:


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Shop the Shirt

Shop the Leather Shorts

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Shop the Shirt

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Shop the Dress

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Shop the Jacket

SHOP LOOKS HERE!

Episode 6 – All Things Chicago: Hot Spots with Ryan Valdez

Listen to Travel Brats on Apple Podcast

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Last summer, mine and Sofia’s friend, Ryan, moved to the Windy City. Back in April 2019, I helped Ryan go apartment shopping in downtown and we got to explore to some really awesome places before he moved here. Since then, Sofia has visited Chicago and Ryan got to show her around to some of the best night life and bars. We were happy to hop on a call with Ry to ask him about his experiences, reminisce, and get his insight on how to survive Chicago on a budget. Here are so of his top places to go:

Restaurants 

Casual Dining

Portillos: 

https://www.portillos.com

Imperial Lamian:

https://imperial-lamian.com

Ramen Takeya fulton market:

http://www.ramentakeya.com/menu

Cafe Ba-ba Reeba:

https://www.cafebabareeba.com

Au Cheval:

auchevaldiner.com/

Best Day Time Activities

Depends on season:

Options: 

https://www.choosechicago.com/things-to-do/

Summer:

(cubs games, “beaches”, shops, Divvy bike, parks, rooftop bars) 

Fall/Winter (weather is brutal so limited options – Bulls game, second city, ice skating at McCormick or Maggie Daley) 

Best Night Time Activities:

Concerts and Bars (Lincoln Park, Old Town, West Loop, River North)

Coolest buildings in Chicago: Hancock, Water Tower for shopping, Willis Tower

Bars

Wrigleyville:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct-wrigley-bars-each-and-every-one-htmlstory.html

Sluggers:

http://www.sluggersbar.com

Point and Feather:

https://www.pointandfeatherchicago.com

Three Dots and a Dash (basement bar):

https://www.threedotschicago.com

What to Wear in Each Season

Fall: 

Light Jacket

Winter: Layer up, puffy coats, gloves, hats, be creative

Summer: Shorts, tees, tanks, anything goes 

  

When is the best time to visit Chicago? 

Ryan said: Summertime CHI is the best! – everyone is out & about, perfect weather, most things to do during this time 

 

Best places for Music and Theatre: 

CIBC Theatre:

CIBC Theatre

House of Blues 

https://www.houseofblues.com/chicago

 

How To Stay Safe in the City

Ryan said: not as scary as one might think – just be aware of you surroundings and try to have a buddy when you go out/walk through neighborhoods.

Thanks so much to our guest, Ryan, for letting us interview him! If you have more questions, reach out.

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Luxury Chicago Guide with the Travel Brats & Grandpa, Richard Komarek: Episode 5

 

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Listen on Apple Podcast

Chicago Facts & History— 

 (maybe help you win at trivia)

  • Chicago is located on the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan which is an inland sea 307 miles long and  118 miles wide.
  • French fur trappers coming south  along the shore of the Lake passed through the Chicago region as early as the 1780’s.
  • Jean Baptiste Point du Sable stayed, started a fur trading outpost  and is credited as the founder of the city.
  • It  stayed a wilderness outpost with a small fort, Fort Dearborn being built in 1803 and then being  abandoned a few years later. It wasn’t until 1833 that it was incorporated as a village.
  • Chicago then grew rapidly as the gateway to the westward expansion of the country. Huge quantities of logs from the North Woods were sent down the Lake and were processed into lumber needed for housing on the Great Plains and beyond. Manufactured goods came from the east. Everything went through Chicago. Grain from the surrounding farmland went East. By 1854 Chicago was the world’s largest grain port. 
  • By 1870 Chicago was the second largest city in the country.
  • Then disaster struck.  Because of the city’s rapid growth all, nearly all construction was wood rather than brick. In many places the sidewalks and even the streets were wood.
  • The fall of 1871 was hot and dry. On a windy day in October , legend has it that  Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern which started her barn on fire. From there the fire spread rapidly and soon engulfed much of the city. 
  • It was estimated that as many as 300 people were killed and 100,000 people were left homeless. The embers from the fire  were still warm, when the first load of rebuilding supplies arrived. With aid pouring in from all over the country and the world, Chicago rebuilt and went on to an even greater growth spurt, going from a population of 299,000 in 1870 to 1.7 million in 1900.
  • This rapid growth created opportunities that  attracted immigration from Europe that is still  reflected in much of the city’s population today,Polish, German, Italian to name  a few.
  • The recovery from the fire  also created a confidence and optimism in the population can still be felt today.

 

Top Restaurants

 

  • Les Nomades  222 E. Ontario. We love  Les Nomades for its creative French Cuisine and its friendly elegance without a trace of stuffiness.It is what you imagine a Parisian restaurant to be. http://www.lesnomades.net
  • Spiagia 980 N. Michigan Refined  Italian Cuisine with a great view of Lake Michigan.
  • Spiagia Café is a more casual version open for Lunch as well as Dinner

https://spiaggiarestaurant.com/about/cafe-spiaggia-story

  • River Roast  315 N La Salle  Roasted chicken, beef, pork and fish served family style. With great view of Chicago River. Brunch with some of the  City’s best Blues musicians playing.
  • https://www.riverroastchicago.com/#_home
  • Tratoria No. 10   at 10 N. Dearborn Italian American charming  setting reminiscent of a Renaissance cellar dining  hall.
  • http://www.trattoriaten.com

 

 Comfort Food: 

  • Portillo’s: Beef sandwiches ,Chicago style hot dogs  and Polish Sausages

https://www.portillos.com

 

  • Lou Malnati’s:  Thick crust Pizza

https://www.loumalnatis.com/chicago-old-irving-six-corners

 

Drinks:

 

  • London house hotel

https://londonhousechicago.com

 

 

Best Museums: 

  • Art Institute of Chicago 111 S. Michigan Great Collection of French Impressionists and Post Impressionists. 

Iconic American 20th century, Hopper’s Night Hawks, Grant Wood’s  American Gothic and much, much more.

https://www.artic.edu

App audio guide

 

  • Field Museum of Natural History: Sue the T-Rex now has her own room plus  new Maximo the Titanosaur , the largest land animal that ever lived, Our Evolving Planet , Egyptian exhibit and changing exhibits.

https://www.fieldmuseum.org

 

  • The Shed Aquarium and Adler Planetarium are on the same Museum Campus  as the Field Museum.

https://www.sheddaquarium.org

 

  • Museum of Science and Industry 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.   Has a real German submarine from WWII. Coal Mine , many interesting  scientific exhibits and Imax Theater.

https://www.msichicago.org

 

Favorite Sport Teams: 

  • Cubs play at Wrigley Field Clark and Addison . Core of World series team still on the playing but maybe not for long see the while you can.

https://www.mlb.com/cubs/schedule

  • White Soxs play at Gauranteed Rate Field (Sox Park) 35 th Street and Shields Good young team coming together fun to  watch.

https://www.mlb.com/whitesox/tickets/single-game-tickets?mlbkw=ds-g-p30687924720&gclsrc=aw.ds&ds_rl=1236799&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0pfzBRCOARIsANi0g0uqcB2q7CeMc5e1Pkmwl1rrREtu3K_lNVo-D5pIGB-Wy0f57E5v_l8aAvjBEALw_wcByya 

 

 

  • NFL  Bears play at Soldier Field 

https://www.chicagobears.com

  • League Soccer: Chicago Fire Play at Soldier Field also 

https://www.soccer.com/shop/fan/teams/chicago-fire?gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0pfzBRCOARIsANi0g0vIfuuqpHXv6GZHNXnuTzh7VRUPONOWD_i__WMDFZZkfjm-KTlOTfkaAgvKEALw_wcB

                          

  • Bulls in NBA and Blackhawks in NHL play at United Center
  • SKY in WNBA play at Wintrust Arena

https://www.vividseats.com/nhl-hockey/chicago-blackhawks-tickets.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=DSA+NHL+Hockey+tROAS+v2&utm_term=&vkid=15545231&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0pfzBRCOARIsANi0g0swVoX2n2fZ_em9mal-mzjYhrbjuDCbclO_Q6SlycZRZXX3KHfcntIaAg9XEALw_wcB

 

Buildings: 

  • Willis Tower : (Formerly and still called Sears Tower) was the tallest building in the world for about 30 years and is still the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Has a great observation deck at the top including The Ledge, a clear glass platform you can walk out on and look down 103 floors,if you dare.

 

  • John Handcock Building: Almost as high as Willis tower, the observation deck  has beautiful views looking  east and north  over the lake and shoreline as well as west and south over the city.The deck also has glass panels that tilt out so you can look down to the street.

 

  • Navy Pier  is a 3300 foot long pier that sticks out into Lake Michigan starting at 600 E Grand Ave. It has a Ferris Wheel with an excellent view of the city and is highly recommended Also there are various boat rides out into the lake  from a tall sailing ship, the Windy, to speed boats, fast and really fast Sea Dog and Super Sea Dog, to calmer sightseeing and  lunch and   dinner cruises. We recommend you try at least one. The guides will a bit of history and explain  points of interest on all the cruises .

Navy pier is also the home of the Shakespeare Theater one of the best theaters in the city ,and it is not all Shakespeare.

 

  • CAC River Cruise  Over a century ago, Chicago was a young city and was rebuilding from  the fire; so there was  land and opportunity for young and innovative architects  to experiment with new and even radical designs. Not all of those buildings remain, but that spirit of innovation does remain in Chicago Architecture. To really appreciate this architecture, take a river cruise run by the Chicago Architecture  Center.Many of most beautiful buildings are built along the river. And the docents on the river cruises will give you a treasure-trove of information.

 

We have Chicago Part 2 coming out next week, March 24!

WWT’s Episode #4 “All Things Florida Keys”

who Wear There Podcast-2

Listen to our Podcast on Apple Podcast! 

“All Things the Florida Keys”

Getting to the Keys:

  • Key West Express from Fort Myers to Key West 

https://www.keywestexpress.net

Entertainment/Activities: 

  • SkyDive Key West

https://skydivekeywest.com

  • Biking riding: Bike Man Bike Rentals 

(https://www.bikemanbikerentalkeywest.com)

  • Hemingway’s Home: house tour and bookstore

https://hemingwayhome.com

  • Southern Most Point — 90 miles to cuba

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34345-d274104-Reviews-Southernmost_Point-Key_West_Florida_Keys_Florida.html

  • Mallory Square for Sunset and Entertainments

https://www.mallorysquare.com

Places to eat and drink:

Key West:  

  • Sloppy Joe’s (drinks and live music)

https://sloppyjoes.com

  • Kevin’s Irish Bar

https://irishkevins.com

  • Fat Tuesday

https://www.facebook.com/FatTuesKeyWest/?rf=146811228718041

  • Hard Rock Cafe

https://www.hardrock.com/404.html

  • Amigos for burritos

https://amigostortillabar.com

  • Nine One Five Restaurant

https://www.915duval.com

  • Croissants de France for breakfast

http://www.croissantsdefrance.com

  • Pepe’s for a shack style, breakfast

https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=pepe%27s+key+west&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

  • On the water, 
  • Dante’s

https://danteskeywest.com

  • Alonzo’s Oyster Bar and Grill

https://alonzosoysterbar.com

Islamorada/ Key Largo:

  • Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar

https://www.loreleicabanabar.com

  • Hog Heaven (clubish)

https://hogheavensportsbar.com

  • Whistle Stop (pizza, pool table)

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34346-d7349316-Reviews-The_Whistle_Stop_Bar_Grill_And_Wood_Oven_Pizza-Islamorada_Florida_Keys_Florida.html

  • Ocean View (O.V)

https://theocean-view.com

  • Florida Keys Brewing Company

https://floridakeysbrewingco.com

  • Tiki-Bar at PostCard

https://www.holidayisle.com/islamorada-restaurants/tiki-bar

BEACHES/ WATER ACTIVITIES

  • Nighttime Kayaking

 http://www.keywestpaddle.com/Nightpaddling.html

  • Fury for Jet Ski Rentals, Parasailing, Snorkeling

https://www.furycat.com/?nck=branded&gclid=Cj0KCQjw0pfzBRCOARIsANi0g0vX8EA7s_d0lN1mqqhP7MxBmlM4X2ra4Y-IJp5pzYPuGzWVShtNXGQaAqT2EALw_wcB

  • Dry Tortuga National Park (go by boat, great day event)

https://www.drytortugas.com

  • Paddle boarding Tours

https://keywestsebago.com/tour/watersports-all-day-adventure?gclid=Cj0KCQjw0pfzBRCOARIsANi0g0ujHMyvCHEKeywRIjFtF7mAmdp1hzM0f1SOKqYE_xrZoqg-YUx6rfoaArRdEALw_wcB

Nightlife

Pub Crawl: 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34345-d2578392-Reviews-Key_West_Pub_Crawl_Tour-Key_West_Florida_Keys_Florida.html

Events going on in the Keys: 

https://keywest.com/calendar/