#Raleigh Summer Staycation Ideas | Where to STAY,EAT,PLAY #NorthHills @achotelsraleigh @level7roofbar

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary stay at the AC Hotels Marriott Raleigh and hosted by Level 7 to provide my perspective and share my thoughts. All opinions expressed in my review are honest and my own.

A recent study came out from wallet.hub that listed 2017’s Best & Worst Cities for Staycation and I was surprised that Raleigh did not make the Top 10 list! I’d like to change that by providing a Where to stay -eat-play Staycation guide for some of my fave areas in the Triangle. First area I’d like to share is Raleigh’s Midtown area-North Hills and it’s newest hotel, AC Hotel by Marriott.

STAY 

We checked into the brand new AC Hotel by Marriott, located in the trendy North Hills area of Raleigh. This select brand of hotel
in the Marriott family is unlike any of their others. Stylish and functional is how I would describe this place. The design is open showcasing simplicity at its best. Their website describes it as ” It’s an experience that has been designed to give you the essentials”.

Some hotel highlights:

  • Nice minimalist rooms with a sofa bed (suitable for our 5yr old) and great rain showerheads. We requested an accessible room as those have a bathtub. 
  • Beautifully functional gym area with an actual professional grade spinning/cycling bike
  • Artsy public spaces. European sleek feel abounds everywhere.

Great place for business travelers and couples alike. Although we were there with our little one, this brand is not specifically marketed to families like some of their other properties. However, our daughter and her cabbage patch kid enjoyed their stay! 

AC Hotels Raleigh North Hills 

101 Park at North Hills St             Raleigh, NC 27609

EAT….and Drink!


Inside the AC Hotels Raleigh North Hills, lies Level7, the new hotspot rooftop bar accessible to hotel guests, visitors and locals. Guests take an elevator ride to the 7th Floor which leads to both an indoor space (AC Lounge) and outdoor rooftop bar (Level 7).  

The beautiful AC Lounge indoor space resembles a gorgeous living room/bar , while Level 7 allows you to step out onto the open air patio, with oversized bone white lamps, comfy loungers and sofas.  

We got to sample the Level 7 experience
at dusk this past Saturday and despite the rains earlier that day, there was quite the scene. Some guests were sitting at the inside bar or enjoying the game on the big flat screen tvs outside. We decided to sit outside on the high top stools overlooking views of North Hills. 

They also have some community tables if you decide to come with a small group of friends to enjoy inventive craft cocktails and tapas. The outside also has their own exclusive bar so guests never need to go back inside to keep “hydrated”.

Their carefully curated cocktail menu caught our attention as it has so many interesting choices. Choosing one was a challenge so we decided to have a pair a piece. The management gave us a sneak peek at their brand new updated cocktail list. If you love margaritas, be sure to order the following:Midtown Margarita – Casaamigos Anejo, St Germain, Lemon juice and Blood Orange. It was an amazing twist on a all time classic!

I also tried the Raspberry Lemonade– Vodka, LemonJuice, Fresh raspberries and Peychaud’s and my husband enjoyed his cocktail called…

Lassiter– Basil Hayden, Black Walnut Bitters, Simple Syrup and Lemon Peel
All drinks were awesome and went even better with some of their tapas plates. We had a variety of samples from their eclectic choices. Here are some you must try:

  • Charcuterie platter

  • Roasted wings made with their in house made spice rub
  • Pork belly served with yellow rice                                                                 We took advantage of having a few hours to ourselves while our little one was at a Parent’s Night Out event. This is a perfect date night spot to enjoy cocktails and conversation while relaxing and enjoying small bites with a view.

Level 7 Roof Bar/AC Lounge

102 Park at North Hills St 

Raleigh,NC 27609

More Dining Options Nearby

Zoe’s Kitchen : Casual, Family-Friendly Mediteranean Fare. Open for lunch and dinner. Serves Beer and Wine. Has outside seating. (We dined here for an early dinner with our daughter after check-in. Because of their healthy kid’s menu options, this place is a family favorite. Read my review here)

Bonefish Grill : This restaurant is known for its amazing seafood lunch and dinner  options but do you know they serve Sunday Brunch? That’s where we dined after checking out of the hotel at noon. (See here for past review of Sunday Brunch) Reservations are recommended.

PLAY


If you have ever been to North Hills , then you know there are plenty of spaces to play, shopping….

…restaurants, movies and more! Right next to the hotel is Kings Bowl America, which has bowling, billiards, shuffleboard, darts and more. Food and drinks are available too at this entertainment complex.  Its fun for the whole family! 

One of our fave places to let our little one run around while we sit on a bench nearby is a little grassy area right near Ben and Jerry’s and Starbucks. It’s a popular play spot for families.

This Summer or anytime you need a Staycation, and prefer a place with one stop shopping, dining, lodging and play options, consider planning a stay in North Hills, Raleigh’s Midtown and leave with memories and a smile!

Thank you to the management and staff at AC Hotel Raleigh and Level 7 for your wonderful service. Until next time…

WHERE DO YOU PLAN TO VACATION/STAYCATION THIS SUMMER? Share below and Safe Travels!

Where to Play: #Atlanta Must Do Family Fun Attractions #puppetryATL @CTRPuppetryArts & @LDCatlanta  

Disclaimer: We received complimentary passes to visit these 2 attractions in order to facilitate review, however the opinions are 100% my own.

This past Friday may have been ‘Good Friday’ but we turned it into a Great Friday by visiting two of Atlanta’s family fun attractions: Center for Puppetry Arts and LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta! Both of these attractions are kid friendly, educational, full of family fun and a must do when visiting Atlanta, GA.

Center for Puppetry Arts

The Center for Puppetry Arts has alot to explore and a whole lot to admire. I learned so much about the craftmanship and the passion behind making a puppet. Everyone’s childhood history involves being entertained by a puppet. Whether its Sesame Street….

…the Muppets,with our favorite couple Miss Piggy & Kermit…

..or any of the projects Jim Henson was involved in, we all learned at an early age that puppetry like love is universal. 

Edit
Now thru May 28, Pete the Cat will be playing at the Center. Be sure to request all-inclusive tickets which will provide admission to the show, access to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum and ability to attend the Create-A-Puppet Workshop to craft your own Pete the Cat hand puppet! It was nice to be able to see the interactive show based on the books my daughter loves as well as create a keepsake afterwards to take home. 

Our favorite thing that we did was create our own puppet show. My family and I pretended to go live on tv with the hand puppet of our choice and let our imagination wonder! Hmm, I wonder if PBS is hiring?

Located in Midtown, the Center for Puppetry Arts should be a part of your family vacation memories your next visit to Atlanta.

Center for Puppetry Arts

  • 1404 Spring St. NW at 18th
  • Atlanta, GA 30309-2820 USA


LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta

A family visit to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center was recommended as a family fun attraction during our stay at the Mandarin Oriental because it is conveniently located nearby in the fashionable Phipps Plaza shopping mall.

Legos are those little plastic, colorful, play things that are beloved all over the world. We knew a visit to this attraction would definitely appeal to our 5 year old!

While legos and building opportunities are everywhere here, they have different areas dedicated to specific themes. Their “miniland” area had lego mock ups of construction projects and the space program. They also have 2 rides; Merlin’s Apprentice and Kingdom Quest laser ride. We also took turns getting on a specially calibrated scale that converts your weight to how many lego bricks it would take to weigh that much! However Daddy and daughter mostly enjoyed connecting and discovering what they could build together.

When it was time for a break we took in a show at their incredible Lego 4D Cinema where you are immersed {literally} into the story of the screen. You may get snowed or rained on in the theatre! 

My daughter also had great fun using the karaoke machine. If you get hungry they have a neat little Cafe where you can get snacks and Icee’s. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta is truly fun for the whole family! It brought out the little Big Kid in us all. 

LEGOLAND Discovery Center 

Phipps Plaza, 3500 Peachtree Rd.

Atlanta, GA 30326