Mission: Space City Sweepstakes Official Rules
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.
1. Eligibility: The Mission: Space City Sweepstakes (the "Sweepstakes") is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are at least eighteen (18) years old (or the age of majority in their state of residence, whichever is older) at the time of entry. Employees, officers and directors of 360i, United Airlines, Inc., Houston First Corporation and Greater Houston Convention & Visitor's Bureau, Space Center Houston, The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, HelloWorld, Inc., and their respective parent, subsidiaries and affiliate entities as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, stepparents, siblings, children, stepchildren and grandparents, regardless of where they reside) and individuals living in the same household as such individuals, regardless of relation, are not eligible to enter or win this Sweepstakes. The Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited. Participation constitutes entrant's full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules. Sponsor's and Administrator's decisions are final and binding in all matters related to the Sweepstakes. Winning the prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
2. Sponsor: United Airlines, Inc., 233 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606. Administrator: HelloWorld, Inc., 3000 Town Center, Suite 2100, Southfield, MI 48075.
3. Timing: The Sweepstakes begins on June 21, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. Central Time ("CT") and ends on June 22, 2019 at 10:29 a.m. CT (the "Promotion Period"). Twitter's servers are the official time-keeping devices for the Sweepstakes.
4. How to Enter: To participate you must have a Twitter account. Twitter accounts are free, but subject to Twitter, Inc.'s terms of service: https://twitter.com/tos. Your account settings must be set to "unprotected" and/or "public" in order for your Tweets to be viewable by Sponsor and its agents. If you Tweet using your wireless phone, message and data rates may apply. Please consult your wireless-service provider regarding its pricing plans.
During the Promotion Period, Sponsor will post a Tweet about the Sweepstakes that includes a video, hashtags #MissionSpaceCity and #sweepstakes and the link to these Official Rules: uafly.co/X5laI ("Sponsor's Tweet").
To receive an entry, during the Promotion Period, Retweet Sponsor's Tweet.
You need not include any additional content with your Retweet. However, if you choose to include additional content, it must be your original work and must not be indecent, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, libelous, contain material that violates or infringes another's rights, disparage Sponsor or any other person or party, or contain material that is unlawful in any way.
You automatically will receive one (1) entry into the Sweepstakes for your qualified Retweet. Sponsor may disqualify your Retweet if it determines that it finds it to be unlawful, or in violation of these Official Rules. Released Parties (as defined in Section 7, below) are not responsible for lost, late, unreceived, damaged, incomplete, invalid, un-intelligible, or delayed Retweets or failure to receive the Retweet due to limitations of third-party social network platforms all of which will be void.
Limit: You may enter one (1) time during the Promotion Period. Multiple entrants are not permitted to share the same Twitter account. Any attempt by any entrant to obtain more than one (1) entry by using multiple/different Twitter accounts, identities, registrations and logins, or any other methods will void that entrant's entries and that entrant may be disqualified. Use of any automated system to participate is prohibited and will result in disqualification. In the event of a dispute as to any registration, the authorized account holder of the Twitter account used to register will be deemed to be the entrant. The "authorized account holder" is the natural person assigned an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses used to create the Twitter account. The potential winner may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder.
5. Prize Drawing: Administrator is an independent judging organization whose decisions as to the administration and operation of the Sweepstakes drawing and the selection of the potential winner are final and binding in all matters related to the Sweepstakes. Administrator will randomly select the potential Sweepstakes winner from all eligible entries received during the Promotion Period, on or around June 24, 2019. After the drawing, the potential winner will be notified by @united as a reply message or Direct Message on Twitter and will be required to follow the instructions to provide their name, email address, home mailing address and date of birth to confirm eligibility and for prize fulfillment purposes within forty-eight (48) hours of the date notice or attempted notice is sent, in order to claim the prize. The potential winner will be required to sign and return a Declaration of Compliance, Liability Waiver and, where not prohibited, a Publicity Release ("Declaration") which must be received by Administrator, within forty-eight (48) hours of the date notice or attempted notice is sent, in order to claim the prize. If a potential winner of any prize cannot be contacted, fails to sign and return the Declaration or provide any other requested information, within the required time period, or the prize is returned as undeliverable, the potential winner forfeits the prize. Receiving the prize is contingent upon compliance with these Official Rules. In the event that the potential winner is disqualified for any reason, time permitting, Sponsor will award the prize to an alternate winner by random drawing from among all remaining eligible entries. Only three (3) alternate drawings will be held, after which the prize will remain un-awarded.
6. Prize: ONE (1) GRAND PRIZE: A trip for winner and one (1) guest to Houston, Texas on United's space flight (the "Trip package"). Trip package includes one way, economy air transportation for two (2) from a major airport near winner's home (determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion) to New York, NY vicinity; one way economy air transportation for two (2) on United Airlines' July 17, 2019 "Space Flight" from Newark International Airport to Houston, TX; one way, economy air transportation for two (2) from Houston, TX to a major airport near winner's home (determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion); two (2) nights' accommodations at a hotel determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion (single room, double occupancy); two (2) Houston CityPASSes (terms and conditions apply); a $100 H Town Restaurant Group gift card (terms and conditions apply): a Level 9 VIP Tour for two (2) at Space Center Houston (all details determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion); and two (2) tickets to Space Center Houston's Space on Screen screening and dinner on July 18, 2019 (all details determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion); and travel agent services. Winner must travel on July 17-19, 2019 or prize will be forfeited in its entirety. Trip must be booked at least seven (7) days prior to departure. Travel and accommodations are subject to availability. Travel must be round trip. Sponsor will determine airline and flight itinerary in its sole discretion. No refund or compensation will be made in the event of the cancellation or delay of any flight. Travel is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this Sweepstakes, and those set forth by the Sponsor's airline carrier of choice as detailed in the passenger ticket contract. All expenses and incidental travel costs not expressly stated in the package description above, including but not limited to, meals, ground transportation, incidentals, gratuities, passenger tariffs or duties, airline fees, surcharges, airport fees, service charges or facility charges, personal charges at lodging, security fees, taxes or other expenses are the responsibility solely of winner. Winner's guest must be eighteen (18) years of age or older as of the date of departure, unless said guest is the minor child of the winner. If the minor child of winner, guest must be fourteen (14) years of age or older as of the date of departure. Winner's guest must travel on same itinerary and at the same time as the winner. Winner's guest must execute liability/publicity releases prior to issuance of travel documents. Travel restrictions, conditions and limitations may apply. If in the judgment of Sponsor air travel is not required due to winner's proximity to Newark or Houston, ground transportation will be substituted for air travel at Sponsor's sole discretion. Sponsor will not replace any lost, mutilated, or stolen tickets, travel vouchers or certificates. Approximate Retail Value: $4,927.85. Actual value may vary based on airfare fluctuations and distance between departure and destination. Winner will not receive difference between actual and approximate retail value.
Prize is non-transferable, not redeemable for cash and no substitution will be made except as provided herein at the Sponsor's sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute the prize or any prize component for one of equal or greater value if the designated prize should become unavailable for any reason. Winner is responsible for all taxes and fees associated with prize receipt and/or use. Odds of winning the prize depend on the number of eligible entries received during the Promotion Period.
Sponsor is not responsible if any event is delayed, postponed or cancelled for any reason, in which that portion of prize is forfeited in its entirety and no substitution will be provided except as in Sponsor's sole discretion. Tickets may be subject to standard rain-check policies and procedures. By accepting ticket prize, winner agrees to abide by any terms, conditions and restrictions provided by the ticket. The Sponsor is not responsible if winner does not use ticket on day of event. The attendance by any specific astronaut is not guaranteed and shall be subject to such astronaut's availability and Sponsor's sole discretion. In the event the winner and/or guest engage in behavior that, as determined by Sponsor, in their sole discretion, is obnoxious or threatening, illegal or that is intended to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the trip or any element of the prize early, in whole or in part, and send the winner and/or his or her guest home, with no further compensation. Winner and guest must obey all rules and complete any paperwork required for the prize, including but not limited to any additional releases, contracts, non-disclosure agreements, waivers required by the Sponsor and, failure to sign such paperwork and/or to furnish all required information on dates selected by Sponsor in their sole discretion will result in forfeiture of the prize.
7. Release: By participation in this Sweepstakes, entrants agree to release and hold harmless Sponsor, Administrator, 360i, Space Center Houston, Houston First Corporation and Greater Houston Convention & Visitor's Bureau, The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, Twitter, Inc., and their respective subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers, distributors, advertising/promotion agencies, and prize suppliers, and each of their respective parent companies and each such company's officers, directors, employees and agents (collectively, the "Released Parties") from and against any claim or cause of action, including, but not limited to, personal injury, death, or damage to or loss of property, arising out of participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of any prize.
8. Publicity: Except where prohibited, participation in the Sweepstakes constitutes winner's consent to Sponsor's and its agents' use of winner's name, prize information, likeness, Retweet, photograph (including, without limitation, winner's Twitter profile photo), voice, opinions and/or hometown and state for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.
9. General Conditions: Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Sweepstakes, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures, human error or any other factor impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Sweepstakes, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. In such event, Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may elect to hold a random drawing from among all eligible entries received up to the date of discontinuance for any or all of the prizes offered herein. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Sweepstakes or to be acting in violation of the Official Rules of this or any other promotion or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsor's failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.
10. Limitations of Liability: The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Sweepstakes; (4) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Sweepstakes or the processing of entries; (5) late, lost, undeliverable, damaged or stolen mail; or (6) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant's participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of any prize. If for any reason an entrant's entry is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, not received, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, entrant's sole remedy is another entry in the Sweepstakes, if it is possible. No more than the stated number of prizes will be awarded. In the event that production, technical, seeding, programming or any other reasons cause more than the stated number of prizes as set forth in these Official Rules to be available and/or claimed, Sponsor reserves the right to award only the stated number of prizes by a random drawing among all legitimate, un-awarded, eligible prize claims.
11. Disputes: Except where prohibited, entrant agrees that: (1) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Sweepstakes or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Southern Division) or the appropriate Michigan State Court located in Oakland County, Michigan; (2) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this Sweepstakes, but in no event attorneys' fees; and (3) under no circumstances will entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, indirect, punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the entrant and Sponsor in connection with the Sweepstakes, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Michigan without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of Michigan or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Michigan; provided that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with the premiere portion of the prize and the intellectual property of Disney, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the state of California and in the event of any dispute, all entrants irrevocably consent to the jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in Los Angeles, California to resolve such disputes.
13. Winner List: For a winner list, visit http://bit.ly/2RcXGGf. The winner list will be posted after winner confirmation is complete.
© 2019 HelloWorld, Inc. All rights reserved.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Twitter, Inc.
Sisters and United MileagePlus® Premier® 1k members, Kelsey and Courtney Montague, are constantly traveling to create street art pieces for communities around the world. This year they teamed up with us to travel to Peru to explore the beautiful country, and to create a custom mural for a very special group of young women participating in the Peruvian Hearts program. Peruvian Hearts, now part of our Miles on a Mission program, works to support female leaders with access to education, counseling and peer support
Finding tranquility at Machu Picchu
As we hiked up the ancient steps of Machu Picchu, we were surrounded by Incan merchants, servants and townsfolk climbing the stairs to start their day. As foreigners not used to hiking at 7,9000 feet, the locals sprinted by us as we struggled up the steep steps, with the lush rainforest behind us and ancient city just beyond. But even with burning legs and straining lungs, it's likely anyone's breath would be taken away (as ours was) once they reached the clearing above this sprawling city in the clouds. All thoughts of the slightly tortuous route we took to this dazzling ancient city were forgotten the second we laid eyes on this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Along with my sister Kelsey, our Dad and our friend Clay felt the power and mystery when we all arrived at the vantage point over the city of Machu Picchu. The day before we had traveled all day from Denver flying in United's stunning United Polaris®. We slept fully flat on two excellent flights, curled up on down pillows and wrapped in Saks Fifth Avenue comforters. We slept soundly after feasting on steak and chocolate sundaes and spent a layover chatting with bartender, Steven, as he made us cosmos at the United Polaris lounge in Houston. It was wonderful, but the best part? Arriving in Peru so rested and relaxed we were able to completely savor this moment at Machu Picchu. A moment only made sweeter when our Dad turned to us and thanked us for taking him on the trip of a lifetime and giving him the opportunity to see a place he never thought he'd get to visit.
We explore the ruins with the wide eyes of children, enjoying every view and savoring every piece of information from our guide. Llamas 'own' the ruins and gently nudge tourists aside as they scamper between buildings to their favorite pasture. The terraces on the outskirts of the town were used to prevent soil erosion and to farm maize and beans. Condors soar above our heads, their keen eyes hunting for chinchillas tucked into the terrace rock walls.
Incan community members that lived or worked in Machu Picchu must have felt the same way we felt the first time they came across this thriving metropolis, situated on top of a mountain. Incan urban planners neatly organized centers for astrological studies, religious ceremonies, sports, commerce and farming. The buildings were built from granite and limestone, likely from a quarry located on the same mountaintop. Some buildings were so finely constructed scientists still don't quite know how the Incans did it.
At the end of the tour we come to the sacred rock — a perfect, flat replica of the Yanantin mountain behind it. Some mystical members of society believe that touching the rock transmits tremendous power. I won't lie that I quietly let my fingers graze the stone as a I walked by. Did I feel a sudden power rush? No. But did I leave Machu Picchu filled with a sense of wonder and a reaffirmed belief that anything is possible? Yes.
Partnering with Peruvian Hearts
The next morning, we awoke ready to tackle the most meaningful part of our trip to Peru — working with Peruvian Hearts.
Peruvian Hearts works to support women by giving them access to education, counseling and peer support. They are currently working with 32 talented, bright young women who they have hand-picked from secondary institutions across Cusco. They focus on supporting brilliant engineers, psychologists, teachers, scientists and doctors. These are the future female leaders that will change their communities, their country and the world for the better.
When we arrive to meet these scholars, they cheer, and each young woman gives Kelsey and me a hug. Overwhelmed, we both begin to cry. We are so grateful for our job as a traveling street art team, but we are on the road so much we are often very lonely. We can't remember the last time we received so many hugs or saw so many bright smiles.
When we arrive to the Peruvian Hearts headquarters a number of the young women tell us how they found Peruvian Hearts. Aldi, a brilliant engineer in training, was asked to join this special organization because she was first in her class in secondary school. She grew up in tough financial circumstances — her mother is ill and unable to work, and her father works in construction. As the only person in her family who has attended university, she is the primary hope of her family. Tears stream down her face as she describes how tough it has been for her family to survive. So many of these young women tell similar stories and carry the weight of their entire family's future squarely and proudly on their shoulders.
These stories reaffirm the reason Kelsey and I decided to join forces with United — we hope to make that weight on their shoulders a little lighter. As we worked on the mock-up for the mural to commemorate Peruvian Hearts, United decided to help in another way by including Peruvian Hearts in their new Miles on a Mission program. A first of its kind program, United MileagePlus members can now donate their miles to nonprofits they care about. Miles that will help young women like Aldi attend conferences in the United States or study abroad in Mexico.
Other women will be able to travel more freely between their studies in Lima and their families in Cusco. The young scholars were so excited to now be part of the United family and to have access to the connections a major airline can bring.
After an ideation period Kelsey decided to create a large-scale heart flock mural with 32 hearts on one side to represent the young women in the program and 32 hearts on the other side to represent those to come. Over two days we painted the piece and filled it with items that represent Peru (a llama, a condor, Peru's national flower and butterflies), Peruvian Hearts (pencils, books, and a shooting star) and a United airplane. As we worked on the piece the ladies sang, danced and told us their dreams. Dreams to travel, learn new languages, start meaningful careers and change their communities for the better.
When we finished the piece — two massive streams of hearts that appear to be coming from the person standing in the middle of the mural — the girls came to thank us. With cheers, hugs and kisses they explained how proud they were that this mural was for them and how it would continue to lift them up as they work hard to improve their circumstances.
At the end of this project Kelsey and I felt so blessed to be connected to such a wonderful group of women. At that moment we realized that is what art and travel should be about. Art and travel should connect us to each other as humans and to something deeper within ourselves — a desire to lift each other up.Visit United's Miles on a Mission program to support Peruvian Hearts .
February 12, 2020
As we continue to evaluate our operation between our U.S. airport hub locations and Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai as well as Hong Kong, we have decided to extend the suspension of those flights until April 24. We will continue to monitor the situation and will evaluate our schedule as we remain in close contact with the CDC and other public health experts around the globe.
We suspend travel to Hong Kong
February 4, 2020
In response to the continued drop in demand, we are suspending travel to Hong Kong beginning February 8 until February 20. Our last flights will depart San Francisco on February 5 (flight 877 and flight 869) and the last returning flight will depart Hong Kong on February 7 (flight 862).
Please check united.com for important travel information as well as current travel waivers.
Story by Priya Krishna | Photography by Marco Arguello | Hemispheres February 2020
A term that's often used to describe India's capital city is “organized chaos." This concept applies to every aspect of Delhi: the crowded streets, the boutiques and art galleries coexisting with centuries-old ruins, even the steady rhythms of the fruit vendors and chaiwalas traversing the city with their wares. As the capital, Delhi is home to some of the subcontinent's most famous sites, such as India Gate and Red Fort, but it also bears the scars of colonization—centuries during which it was divided and redeveloped in the name of the British Raj. In recent years, however, the city has undergone a transformation. Interwoven among the stately buildings and relics and beloved food stalls are new restaurants, markets, and developments that are leaning into India's bountiful heritage. Instead of gazing outward, Delhi, it seems, is finally looking inward.
Day 1: Exploring Old Delhi's mosques, street food stalls, and spice markets
There is no better way to deal with jet lag than to dive headfirst into the belly of the beast. Here, that means Old Delhi—the former capital of the Mughal Empire and, as the name suggests, the oldest part of the city. Old Delhi is 1,500 acres of sensory overload: rickshaw horns blaring, frying pooris giving off their nutty scent, and throngs of people (about 20 percent of the city lives here) weaving through narrow alleys and bustling streets.
But first, I load up on breakfast at The Oberoi, New Delhi, a venerable hotel right in the heart of the city. The spread is vast and varied, but I'm here for the idli, fluffy steamed rice cakes that taste like miniature clouds, served with a side of sambar (a tangy lentil and tamarind soup) and coconut chutney. To drink, a cup of milky, cardamom-laced chai. No one does mornings quite like Indians.
I've been visiting this city every couple of years since I was a kid. Also, I recently wrote a cookbook, Indian-ish, which features recipes partially inspired by what my parents ate growing up near Delhi. Indian culture normally dictates that I stay at my aunt's place, so it'll take some time to adjust to having a spacious room (and an automated toilet!) all to myself. But I'm excited to explore the city on my own for the first time.
After breakfast, I meet up with a Tours by Locals guide, Vishnu, and we take a short drive to Old Delhi. Along the way, we pass seventh-century ruins and the moat-lined stone wall that separated the palace complex from the rest of the city during Mughal times. I know we've reached our destination when we begin to share the road with cows and sugarcane juice vendors. Our first stop is one of India's largest mosques, the Jama Masjid, which was completed in 1656 to house relics of the prophet Muhammad. I can't help but compare the breathtaking structure—soaring red sandstone minarets, white marble domes, lines from the Quran carved in black onyx, a wide courtyard—to the Taj Mahal. “There's a reason for that," Vishnu says. “Same architect." That is, Persian visionary Ustad Ahmad Lahori, whom emperor Shah Jahan commissioned to design both.
From there, we take a brisk walk into Chandni Chowk, a busy stretch of markets where people are hawking everything from silver jewelry to gulab jamun (rosewater-dipped milk balls). I want to stop and browse at every stand, but Vishnu is on a mission—he wants to show me the havelis, centuries-old townhouses known for their elaborately decorated doors. I see one etched with incredibly detailed roses, another that's bright blue and outlined in mint-green vines. It's amazing that these painstakingly crafted relics are lingering in plain sight—you just have to know which alley to duck into.
That last part is tricky, because Chandni Chowk has a lot of alleyways (galis, in Hindi). I have my stomach set on one in particular: Paranthe Wale Gali, which is home to a cluster of stands that sell only stuffed breads called parathas. Vishnu directs me to the oldest of them, a simple setup with just a few tables and no decorations that dates back to 1872. The sign out front says, “Minimum Two Parathas are Necessary." That won't be a problem. I order two stuffed with paneer, a mild, non-melting Indian cheese, and watch as a cook rolls out the dough, folds in crumbled paneer dotted with fenugreek and coriander, rolls it out again, and then slides it into a pan filled with ghee. It's served alongside sabzis (stewed vegetables). I tear a piece off and dip it into a pumpkin sabzi. It's a rich, crisp, spicy, and slightly sweet mess.
I'm struggling to keep up as Vishnu bounds through the crowded streets. Here, pedestrians occupy the same space as animals, rickshaws, and cars. “Walk like an Indian," Vishnu advises as he charges into traffic. Rickshaws magically get out of the way. “It's about walking confidently." I try my best to mimic him, but I can't help but flinch at oncoming cows.
On Khari Baoli, one of the district's most bustling streets (and that's saying something), we browse a spice market, with its fragrant bags of cardamom pods and saffron threads, and then I pick up a vial of saffron perfume at a 100-year-old perfumery. My stomach rumbles. After all that walking, I'm hungry again.
I've been told that Karim's kebab house in Chandni Chowk is the spot for the city's finest grilled meats. The unadorned restaurant was started more than 100 years ago by the son of a chef who had been a cook in the court of the Mughal emperor, and the seekh kebabs are appropriately splendid. The glistening cubes of beef speckled with cumin and coriander are so tender they literally fall off the skewer.
After our (second) lunch, Vishnu motions me to follow him up a flight of stairs a few blocks from the restaurant. We ascend all the way to the rooftop, which yields a spectacular view. The entire city unfolds before me, from the grandeur of the Jama Masjid to the ornately decorated balconies of Chandni Chowk to the palatial government buildings freckled throughout New Delhi.
Back at street level, I spy a group of plumbers, electricians, and carpenters napping in the shade, awaiting customers. “It's a good system," Vishnu insists. “If you need a plumber, you know exactly where to find one." I've started adjusting to the pace of Old Delhi, but looking at those snoozing handymen, I'm reminded that I could use a nap too. Back to the hotel.
When I wake up, it's time for dinner at Indian Accent. The famed tasting menu restaurant by globe-trotting chef Manish Mehrotra is a far cry from Old Delhi—the dining room is spacious, serene, and dimly lit, with a certain earthy glamour. A parade of dishes appears: pepper crab topped with idiyappam (crisp rice noodles); pork ribs laced with Old Monk rum and mango pickle; and for dessert, makhan malai, impossibly light saffron cream topped with rose-petal jiggery brittle and almonds. “The idea is to do pan-Indian regional food, but make it new," Mehrotra explains as he serves the last course. “The presentations and combinations are unique, but it is all rooted in the food I grew up eating."
Belly full, I head back to The Oberoi and crawl into bed. I may be stuffed, but I'm already looking forward to everything I'll eat tomorrow.
Day 2: Checking out a famous fort, a gorgeous garden, and a giant jewel
Today starts with another round of idli and sambar. I could get used to this. Post-breakfast, my driver (it's relatively cheap to hire one, and you can usually book through your hotel) takes me to Red Fort, a fortress that was the Mughal emperors' primary residence. Considered by many to be Delhi's most important monument, it's surrounded by a mile and a half of imposing red sandstone walls, with ornately carved domes and tall watchtowers. Inside, I explore the houses of the Mughal royals: Rang Mahal, which was home to the emperor's wives and was once painted in bright colors and decorated with mirrors; and Diwan-i-Khas, where the emperor doled out justice from his bejeweled Peacock Throne (which was stolen in the 18th century).
Next on my list: Humayun's Tomb, which was built in 1569 to honor Emperor Humayun. With its triptych-style facade capped by an imposing dome, the tomb served as inspiration for the Taj Mahal, which was erected nearly a century later. As I get closer, I can see all the tiny details that make the 154-foot-tall structure so stunning: the complicated marble inlay patterns that line the facade, the latticed windows where light streams in. Surrounding the building is an almost artificially green garden.
Speaking of gardens, you might be surprised to know that Delhi—a city known for its crowded streets—is full of public parks. I'm off to see the most famous one: Lodi Garden, which was both a garden and a tomb for the rulers of the 15th- and 16th-century Lodi dynasty. By the time I arrive, the sun is out, and the infamous Delhi heat is arresting. It's well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and I've soaked through my T-shirt before I pass the entrance. That doesn't stop me from being amazed by the little differences in design from all of the other structures I've seen. The tomb of the ruler Muhammad Shah, for example, is octagonal, and the dome is topped with a lotus flower. Around me, I see couples cuddling on benches and elderly aunties out for a stroll, admiring all the native tree varieties.
I'm melting, though. Time for indoor activities.
Back in the car, air conditioner blasting, we drive by India Gate, another of the country's most famous landmarks, a memorial to Indian soldiers who died fighting in World War I. A sturdy 138 feet in height, it's an anchoring point of the city. We drive around the entirety of the monument, which is crowded with tourists taking photos. I'd do the same, but I'm still drying out. Also, I'm hungry.
I meet up with my aunt Manisha, who has lived her whole life in Delhi, at Café Lota. We're more than a decade apart in age, but when we're together we gab like old college friends. Warm, bubbly, and open to eating anything, she is also the perfect dining companion. Housed in the National Crafts Museum—a celebration of India's rich history of artisans and textiles—the breezy, indoor-outdoor café serves hyper-regional food showcasing the country's range of heritage lentils and grains. There's corn dhokla, savory fermented cakes from Gujarat adorned with crisped curry leaves, mustard seeds, and a fiery tomato chutney; cheela, a tangy pancake made of millet flour studded with chilies, paneer, cilantro, and green beans; and bhatt ki churkani, a stew of a local variety of black bean paired with rice and spicy potatoes. The flavors are wildly vibrant—unlike anything I've had before. I want to order even more food, but Manisha cuts me off. “We can barely fit what we have on the table," she points out.
The two of us digest our meals with a spin through the museum, where I find an early-20th-century purple sari embroidered with hunting scenes in gold thread. I'm also enamored of two hamsa (swan masks) from West Bengal, used in classical dance.
I'm exhausted, but Manisha wants to check out the National Museum—an exhibit called Jewels of India is showing 173 gems and items of jewelry made of precious stones found in India. I'm dazzled by the main attraction, the 184.75-carat Jacob diamond. I also fall in love with a seven-string pearl necklace called a satlarah. Suddenly, my J. Crew silver chain isn't quite cutting it.
My dinner reservation is at NicoCaara, located in the Chanakya, an upscale mall in Chanakyapuri. The restaurant is a collaboration with the chic Delhi clothing brand Nicobar, and the space is appropriately stylish, with botanical wallpaper and plants in gold pots hanging from the ceiling. Cofounder Ambika Seth is one of only a few restaurateurs in India focusing on local sourcing: The goat cheese comes from Rajasthan, the avocados from Bengaluru. “We have this colonial hangover based on this strange complex that imported was always better," Seth tells me over a plate of nutty zarai cheese, made at a farm in Uttarakhand, near the Himalayas. “That's changing with my generation."
The rest of the meal is a pageant of bold flavors—orecchiette with fresh pesto made using basil grown at Seth's organic farm, and a coconutty prawn stew from Malabar laced with rice noodles, lentils, and earthy mustard seeds. For dessert: a fluffy almond-orange cake with a dollop of not-too-sweet cream. I wish Manisha were here to try this—or at the very least to help me finish it all.
After dinner, I check into Bungalow 99, an apartment-style hotel centrally located in the Defence Colony neighborhood. The design here is minimalist and beautiful, but I barely have time to look around before my head hits the pillow.
Where to stay
More like a bed-and-breakfast than a hotel, Bungalow 99 is the kind of place that makes you feel like a local. This plant-filled family-run spot is wonderfully intimate, and Aditya, the owner, treats everyone like a guest in his home. A full breakfast is served in the dining room each morning, and every floor has a sun-filled living room and balcony, where you can lounge while looking out onto the lively area of Defence Colony.
The Oberoi, New Delhi
For a luxurious experience in a convenient location, there's no better place to stay than The Oberoi. Thanks to a 2016 renovation, the hotel has all the modern conveniences you could want—automated Toto toilets in suites, iPads in every room—but the design at this 50-plus-year-old institution still feels timeless. There are yoga classes every morning, and don't miss the breakfast buffet, with its unforgettable selection of regional Indian dishes.
Day 3: Marveling at the Lotus Temple, snacking on sweets, and shopping for saris
I've been told the place to be on Sunday is the farmers market at Bikaner House, a former palace of a maharaja that has been converted into an art gallery and cultural space. Every Sunday, vendors selling everything from fresh dosas to artisanal granola set up shop around the flower-lined entryway. Thankfully, the weather has cooled down, and I have my eye on a family-run stand called The Pickle Studio that specializes in achaar, or Indian pickles. I buy a pungent dry garlic version—whole cloves in chili powder and ghee. I can't wait to mix it into pasta sauce.
From there, I'm off to take in one last architectural marvel: the Lotus Temple, a house of worship for the Baha'i faith. Finished in 1986, it's new by Indian standards, but it's already an icon, drawing 3.5 million visitors a year. The flowering lotus shape, which reminds me of the Sydney Opera House, was chosen because it's a symbol of purity and peace. The petals of the temple are surrounded by nine pools and 26 acres of strikingly groomed gardens. Inside, light soars through the archways, directing my eye to the nine-pointed, gold-embossed star on the ceiling. Crowds of sari-clad elderly women stream by, elbowing me out of the way so they can take selfies against the backdrop of the temple.
For lunch, a few local food writers told me that one of the best restaurants in town is a tiny spot called Little Saigon in upscale Hauz Khas. Vietnamese food in India? I'm surprised. That was also the thinking of Ho Chi Minh City native Hana Ho, who came to Delhi in 2010 to cook at the Taj Palace hotel and opened this place when she noticed that there wasn't anywhere in town to get a decent banh mi or bowl of pho. “I wanted Indian people to know Vietnamese food the same way they know Thai or Chinese," she says. I enjoy a round of summer rolls that are a respite from the heat outside, followed by a cold noodle salad with homemade pork patties dappled with herbs. “The finishing touch," Ho tells me as she drizzles fish sauce over the top. The noodles sing with sweetness and acidity.
For dessert, I must make a stop at Evergreen Sweet House, one of India's most famous sweetshops and a place I've been frequenting since I was a kid. The store, a five-minute drive from Little Saigon, is a Willy Wonka's factory of activity and color. People visit from all across the country to taste its fresh jalebis and ghee-soaked, fudge-like laddoos. I'm here for the kaju ki barfi, silver foil–topped diamonds of cashew, milk, and sugar. They're soft, creamy, and not too sweet. Just perfect.
Now, time for a little shopping. First, I pop by Hauz Khas Village, where a string of eclectic shops have popped up around a historic reservoir. I duck into a vintage sign shop, Indian Art Collection, delighted by the old-school Bollywood posters, and then K.R. Stationers, where I pick up emerald-green envelopes embossed in gold lettering for friends back home.
Next, I head for nearby Khan Market—a posh retail district that's home to some of the most expensive boutiques in the city (as well as plenty of affordable shops). I pick up a few short kurtas (loose, collarless shirts) at FabIndia and tunics at Anokhi, which is known for melding traditional textile-making methods with modern designs.
While Delhi may not be India's epicenter of saris, thanks to the tucked-away shop Kamayani, you can peruse the full range of textiles the country has to offer, from the tie-dyed bandhani saris of Gujarat to the striped leheriya style of Rajasthan. The store's eponymous owner buys textiles from artisans all over India who have spent their lifetimes mastering classic sari-making traditions. She shows me close to 50 different pieces, each with its own story to tell. “These saris are works of art and treasures of our country," she says, unfolding a bright yellow linen garment adorned with orange diamonds and colorful tassels. “I am here to share those." I'm tempted to try one on, but I don't trust my clumsiness and mediocre sari-tying skills with the delicate fabric.
For dinner, I'm excited to try something new at Mizo Diner, which is devoted to the food of Mizoram, a part of northeast India bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh. The cuisine is heavy on rice, pork, and bamboo shoots, and it's not well represented in Indian restaurants, but owner and hip-hop/graffiti artist David Lalrammawia is out to change that. I enjoy vawska rap, a stick-to-your-ribs smoked pork stew with leafy greens, and sawhchiar, a chicken and rice porridge served with an addictive sweet-spicy onion jam. Drum-heavy Mizo music blares on the speakers, purple graffiti lines the walls, and the entrance to the kitchen is adorned with bamboo in a nod to the traditional homes of Mizoram—a region that's now high on my list to visit.
It's late by the time dinner wraps up, but even at 11 p.m. the city shows no sign of slowing. Car horns honk furiously, fruit vendors crowd around me to try and sell the last of their supply, and even with no sun, the air is hot and thick.
I gobbled up all the kaju ki barfi I meant to bring back to friends and family at home, so I make one last pit stop at Evergreen to pick up more sweets. Then I head back to Bungalow 99 and go to bed dreaming of smoky pork and saris the color of cotton candy and all the things I've discovered in a city I thought I knew, and where I've still barely scratched the surface.
The Taj Mahal
If you're visiting Delhi, you really should plan a quick overnight trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, one of the world's great wonders. The most direct way to get there is to hire a driver—the trip can take anywhere from three and a half to five hours, or longer, depending on traffic. You can also hop on the train, which is less expensive, slightly faster, and an experience unto itself (the New Delhi train station at any time of day makes rush hour at Grand Central Terminal seem tame). It's best to arrive in Agra at night and wake up before sunrise to go to the Taj, as this is when the heat and the crowds are the most manageable. Also: Watching the sun rise over the mausoleum's white domes is one of the most serene, stunning experiences you'll ever have.