Annie Fitzsimmons

Annie Fitzsimmons is Intelligent Travel's Urban Insider, your cosmopolitan culture connection. From great places to stay and one-of-a-kind things to do in her home base, New York City, to tips from locals in the know in cities around the world, Annie is here to get you up to speed. Follow along on the blog and on Twitter @anniefitz and on Instagram @anniefitzsimmons.

When New York City puts on its holiday charm, even the grumps among us can’t help but be enchanted. There’s just something about twinkly lights, sweet treats, and whiffs of roasted chestnuts that is universally appealing. Here’s my custom itinerary for a festive holiday crawl that will take you from Greenwich Village all the way to Central Park.

How to Elope to Paris

I’m not a huge fan of the concept of a honeymoon; there’s just so much pressure to make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Andy and I are lucky to have jobs that allow us to travel, but we were feeling over-scheduled and looking for a direct, easy flight. And what could be better than Paris in the fall? Here are my tips for a no-pressure, all-passion trip to celebrate taking the next step with your significant other.

Mexico wowed me in so many big ways, from the level of sophistication I saw in hotels and restaurants to the profusion of cultural wealth on display in every town and city I visited. The country surprised me in small ways, too — the quiet benches in beautiful parks, the noticeable importance of family life, the cute cafes and coffee shops. Here are some of the best things I discovered on my journey.

Before this recent trip to Mexico, I had only a vague understanding of what the Day of the Dead was all about and had always found the holiday a little creepy. Come to find out, it’s a heartwarming occasion that serves an important dual function.

When I landed in Los Cabos, I almost immediately started daydreaming. You will too, if you come here. It’s rare that I arrive at a destination and start planning my return trip. Cabo hooked me in an hour. Here’s why.

The Best Eats in Cabo

I take a salty, savory bite. It’s earthy and crisp. It is, as promised, one of the greatest Caesar salads I’ve ever had. In fact, the Caesar salad may be the most famous dish to emerge from Baja California: It originated in Tijuana. I found a similar level of artistry and care in restaurants across Los Cabos. And the olio of internationally inspired dishes on offer around town was a welcome change of pace. Check out seven of my favorite foodie finds in this city by the sea.

Welcome to one of the most fascinating urban landscapes on the planet: Mexico City. How do you even begin to know a place that has so many different personalities? By visiting its impressive cultural institutions.

When arrived in Mexico City, I felt something I hadn’t felt since my first visits to London, Paris, Shanghai: I couldn’t wait to tell my friends they needed to visit, too. But in a city so large — it’s about the same size as New York City — making decisions about what to prioritize can be overwhelming. That’s why it can be helpful to home in on a few can’t-miss neighborhoods and what you can see and do there. Here’s my recipe for the perfect long weekend in Mexico City.

Mexico City Chic: Polanco

I feel at home in Mexico City. This isn’t something I expected to encounter while exploring one of the world’s largest cities. I thought I would feel exhilarated and up for an adventure. But at home? Part of the reason I feel this way is because of where I’m staying: in Polanco.

Mexico’s Secret Beach

We’re just an hour’s boat ride from Puerto Vallarta, but these mysterious islands — a protected paradise that’s home to more than 90 species — make you feel like you’ve traveled a great distance.

Punta de Mita, a swath of lush jungle complete with lapping blue waters and sandy beaches, is part of Mexico’s Vallarta/Nayarit region. And it’s heavenly.

In addition to drawing legions of surfing and yoga devotees, Puerto Vallarta offers dishes that surpass meals I’ve paid triple for in New York (don’t even get me started on the ceviche) — and a rich cultural heritage that can be felt on the streets, in the shops, and in boutique hotels around the city.

My work and my wanderlust have led me to travel alone more often than not, and I’ve grown to embrace it, and even crave it. When I’m alone, extraordinary things happen on ordinary days all the time.

You’ll hear Arizonans say, “It’s a dry heat” with pride, and I’m right there with them. I would take Arizona summers over a sticky 85° with 75 percent humidity any day.

Comments Off

When you travel to England, you may fall in love with any number of things, like afternoon tea or cozy cottages. But after a recent visit to the Isle of Wight, which lies four miles off the coast of Hampshire, I am a proud hovercraft enthusiast. Here are a few other things you might not know about this unique place.

I’ve traveled a ton with my family and, of course, with my significant other. But when I think of the trips where I’ve had throw-back-your-head-laughing fun, it’s been the ones I’ve taken with my girlfriends.

Comments Off

As an American and a traveler who enjoys a bit of romance and tradition, I find the monarchy endlessly fascinating. The royals put on a show for their subjects, especially in England, where each castle and historic site shines with pomp and circumstance.

Since returning from England, I look at Tabasco sauce in a new way. While attending the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace, I discovered the legendary condiment from Louisiana has earned the stamp of approval from Her Majesty in the form of a Royal Warrant of Appointment. (That’s right, the Queen likes a little spice.)

At times on Kiawah Island, I wondered if I was in South Carolina or the marshlands of Botswana. A mere 20 miles south of Charleston, Kiawah is a beachy paradise with all the essential resort elements — like cool cocktails and a phenomenal spa. But not every asset is manmade.

My Favorite On-the-Road Apps

When I think back to trips I took ten years ago, I can’t even imagine (or remember) how I got around foreign cities. It must have been a combination of maps and the kindness of strangers. Now, my smartphone is my key to the world — and the way I stay in touch when I’m away. Here’s a list of the apps I use the most when I’m on the road and why.

So many of my travel memories are linked to great food, like street daal at Ravi in Dubai or spaghetti pomodoro at Hotel Cipriani in Venice. But summer always brings me back to my childhood, and to America. Here’s a list of some of the food-place combos that keep me coming back no matter where I am.

The Upper East Side I love, the one that oozes with New York history and tradition, is finally pumping some blood that isn’t blue. I’ve even heard it said that it’s the next Brooklyn. It makes me laugh, but the prediction might not be too far off base as restaurateurs continue bringing exciting new spots to a neighborhood known for its resistance to change.

I had the pleasure of interviewing five high-powered women with rich and varied backgrounds who are leading the charge at exceptional hotels around the world — from Thailand to the Caribbean. Here’s what they had to say about the challenges and rewards of their chosen profession — and their advice to other women who are thinking about following suit.

While my fiance and I are happy to explore the world solo, each trip we take on our own reminds us of how much better it is to travel together. It’s not perfect, of course. Because travel forces you out of your comfort zone, it can bring unexpected challenges as well as unexpected joy. Here’s what we’ve learned from a decade of travel together, from both sides.

Can you go back to the 1820s? In Ireland, you can. (Don’t worry, there is still great WiFi.)