12-hour city guides. Genius.

While I always love planning the details of a trip, it can definitely get overwhelming, especially if you’ve got limited time in any one place. When I travel to a new city, it’s not unusual for me to spend hours creating a detailed and well-researched list of places to go and things to do, eat, and try. However, sometimes I just don’t have time to deal, and then I feel a little disappointed in myself. Putting together the bones of an incredible trip (flight + hotel), then wandering adrift through a city and not seeing or doing anything much different than what I would do at home feels like a huge missed opportunity, and one that I try to avoid.

Enter 12hrs, a 12-hour City Guide.

This site features well-curated itineraries for a fabulous day in a handful of cities.

It’s great. I browsed through their recommendations for a day in Portland, and for me it was right on target. The recommendations included a stop at Screen Door, a walk over the Burnside Bridge, a doughnut break at VooDoo, and a pop-in at the Ace Hotel.

The photos on the site are gorgeous – browsing through them makes me want to book a trip and pack a bag. Check out this photo of the fog rolling in through the trees in Portland:

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Currently, they’ve got guides for San Francisco, Portland, Paris, Barcelona, London, East London, Berlin, Hyéres, Antwerp, Copenhagen, and Vancouver. Because I’ve established that they are on my wavelength, I’m definitely planning to incorporate some of their picks into our plans while we are in Europe.

What do you think of their selections? Is this site something you would use as well?


  1. Marilyn B says:

    Agree that the photos are great, and the suggestions will appeal to some. A lot of it isn’t what we do on vacation, but then we are mid-60’s, so trendy shopping, cafés, bars and clubs aren’t really our thing these days. We do like to walk, wander and explore. We love window shopping and markets. But wow – their 12 hours looks like a bit of a race to me.

    I checked out Barcelona – they have you in Parc Guell at 4:15 and La Sagrada Familia at 5:30 and the next stop at 6:30. I don’t think so, unless you are spending no time anywhere. We went to La Sagrada Familia at 9am, didn’t stay particularly long and then took the metro toward Parc Guell. It’s quite an uphill walk (and we are walkers) so it took us about 15-20 minutes from the metro stop. Most of what there is to see is near the entrance (lizard steps, terrace above). But I still don’t think the time allotment is realistic. By the way, you should check out the Magic Fountain – I think your kids, and you, would enjoy it.

    Looked at Paris – yikes! Their 12 hours has you all over the city – from Trocadero to Marais to Montmatre. Took us days to cover that ground.

    The ideas sound great if it was just you and Josh, or you and Hottie, but I really think this would be pushing it with your kids. Really depends on how many days you will have in each place and what major sights you want to see that are not included in their 12 hours.

    Hope you find a good balance that works for all of you. Now get out of here and have a great vacation!

    • Points Pixie says:

      Marilyn B – Ha ha! Laughing out loud at your last remark. 🙂 I know – it seems like we are never going to get out of here!

      And I agree that the pace of the guides seems frenetic. Love that you remembered Hottie’s name. She’ll be thrilled. She and I could probably pull it off, but agree that it would be kind of a race. Maybe fun but also maybe just crazy.

      As a family, I think we would probably select some of the ideas to include in our overall adventures. On the whole, I think the site is a great idea if you haven’t had time to plan stuff yourself.

    • My first impression was the same, much too trendy for me. But for a certain age group it could work.

  2. Michele A says:

    I checked the San Francisco guide and frankly did not like it much. I was expecting some good tips to check the city, while what I got was 50% city and 50% shops and commercials.

    Although I understand these guides must appeal to anyone, I also think that boiling it all down to shopping is limitative.

    YMMV, but where are the moraga steps? the seals on pier39? lombard street? the cable cars? as inflationed as they are, aren’t they still better than going to a shoe shop?


  3. Denise L says:

    I agree with Marilyn B that the pace is way too hectic for 12 hours. I checked out a few cities that I am very familiar with and think their timing is quite unrealistic. While you could get some ideas for attacking a city, I certainly wouldn’t attempt to follow their plan.

  4. I live in PDX and so checked out that guide since I know the city well. In fact I wrote a book on PDX but that was in another lifetime 😉 .

    I thought it showcased a good slice of the city and its quirkiness – if you come here specifically to shop and eat! But if you want to explore beyond the food and the shops, it is not the best guide to use.

    But do come – and please stay more than 12 hours 😉 !

  5. Oh this site is awesome! I can’t wait for them to add more cities! This is my type of traveling. I actually did Paris in 10 hours a few months ago! I was on a cruise and we were in Paris for the day. I left my ship at 6am to get to Paris since we were docked in Le Havre. I got to see all the major sites (sadly minus Paris Disneyland) and it was a great way for me to see if I want to come back and spend more time in Paris at a later date. I also did Rome and Florence in about 12 hours too.

  6. interesting guide and fun pics. i checked out SF which I know ok, seemed like a lot going on! Maybe pick pieces here & there. But i did enjoy learning about the donut shop at the Marina i will have to check out next time I’m there! 😛

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