George Igoe explores some well-known locations, activities, and restaurants as well as others that are more obscure in his series “George Goes Everywhere.” The six new cities he visits include Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and Austin.
Interview with George Igoe
I chatted with George Igoe about Season 3 of his show “George Goes Everywhere.” I had just watched the Las Vegas episode.
I loved the whole heads-tails thing. You know, for the choices that you made in Las Vegas. Have you done that a lot before? Or is that a new thing that you did because it was Vegas? Feels like a gamble.
George: “Yeah, well, I mean, it was a new thing. I try to do something, get maybe kinda like a theme to each episode, something that reflects the city a bit. And you know, Vegas, of course, is, is gambling. And so just kind of introducing a little element of randomness to it felt appropriate.”
I loved it. I think the first choice was the Neon Museum or the Atomic Testing Museum. And I’d actually never heard of the Atomic Testing Museum. So now I have a new thing to check out the next time, I’m in Vegas, but I’ve done the Neon Museum. And if you didn’t get a chance to do it, while you were there, you should totally go back. Because it’s a really fun thing that kind of changes every time. Because every time they sort of adopt new lights and new signs, they find new homes. So it changes just a little bit every time. It’s so much fun.
George: “Yeah, it looks really cool. I mean, Vegas IS constantly changing. And so it’s really good that it exists, that they take all those old neon signs and just put them in this one big area.”
So the Minus 5 Ice Bar. I know you mentioned a couple of things in there like the VIP with the furs and the hats and the whole coaster thing. Did you get the tip from them about not putting your drinks on the ice? Or did you figure that out on your own?
George: “That place was super cool, no pun intended. There was a guy in the Yeti costume kind of walking around as a photo opp. And everyone who worked there they were super welcoming to us and really, really friendly. They were cool to work with.”
It seemed like a fun time. When we went, they didn’t have the Yeti. He was not a photo opp walking around when we were there. It was so so many years ago, but I feel like I need to go back. Because that was definitely a fun experience. And the next time I’m there for a conference in August, I am for sure going to hit that up because when it’s 100 degrees, you’d be like, “please, let’s get in the icebox.”
George: “Oh, yeah. Vegas summers hit differently.”
They really do. So you had five other stops this season? Do you have a favorite city out of that group that you visited, just in terms of vibe or activities that you did?
George: “I mean, I love Seattle. I’d been there before, but it’d been probably about 10 years. I had a friend from college who used to live up there, so I went up there a bunch of times we’ve had a place to crash.”
“And yeah just there are a lot of cool things. There are a lot of fun things in that episode. And so I’m a fan of it, including a tree house. A little bit outside the city, it’s a bed and breakfast really, but they offer tours, and it’s tree houses you stay in tree houses. Very cool. And that you can go in and it’s amazing. There’s no plumbing and they’re very really nice, and it’s just the kind of place, I mean, it’s expensive to stay there but the tours are affordable, but staying there will be so awesome.”
I’ve not stayed in a tree house but I have a friend that stayed in one in Missouri and it looked like a really fun time so I’ll have to check that out the next time I head up there. Yeah, it’s super cool. Did you get anything to eat while you were in Seattle for the show?
George: “Um not really. I usually get something to eat in every episode. Seattle is an exception in that one. It’s just because, you know, with the budget did some other stuff that was filling up the budget quickly. And so that is the one exception. One thing I looked into, I couldn’t actually find it, there’s a place I know it because of Seattle Mariners games, one of the specialties that the ballpark is toasted grasshoppers, and they’re actually really popular at the ballpark. And so I looked around in the city for a place that maybe sold toasted grasshoppers. There were a couple of places that had them on the menu, but I called them up and they didn’t have them at the time. And so that was kind of on my radar, but it didn’t make the episode.”
Okay, now I know what to look for though. Also the next time I go okay treehouses and toasted grasshoppers. Cool. I’ve had crickets, so I feel like grasshoppers wouldn’t be too much different
George: “Yeah, it’s basically the same thing really.”
Yeah, crunchy dried whatever.
Let’s talk about Portland for a second because that is near and dear to my heart. Can you tell me the stops that you made without you know, without spoilers or whatever that you can’t get into?
George: “I can; that episode is out in I think. But yeah, I went to the international level for that whole episode that kind of the shtick of that episode is Portland has a lot of nicknames.”
“And so like sometimes when I look at it when I research the city, I look at what the city’s nicknames are, because that kind of gives a little bit of insight and Portland had just a ton of nicknames. So there’s City of Roses, Beervana, PDX. One of those there. Stumptown. And so I went to the International Rose Test Garden I tried to do something with each of the nicknames so International Rose Test Garden, which is free and amazing. I checked out Millers Park, the smallest park in the world.
It’s I’ve heard of it, but I’ve not actually been there. And I did not realize it was the smallest.
George: “So it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s only 2 feet across, and it’s in the middle of the road. And it was guerilla gardening. It was just a guy who saw an empty spot and planted a tree there. And it was just unofficial for decades, and back in the 70s, Portland made it an official city park. And that’s so cool. Yeah, it’s just a cool little story. In that episode, I tried to like focus on kind of stories about the city a little bit and talk about, do you know, the PDX airport carpet?”
Oh, yeah. intimately familiar. Somewhere on my desk, there’s a little square Lego that we bought when we lived there. There was a Brick Store and they made custom PDX carpet squares that you can buy.
George: “Yeah, it’s everywhere. It’s on merch everywhere. Yeah.”
Oh, yeah. We have a dog collar with that also.
George: “Oh, really? Oh, that’s funny. Yeah, but yeah, the foot selfies people take with it.”
Oh, yes. There are probably a few in my Instagram feed.
George: “It’s just funny. That’s such a like, where’s there another city that has its own carpet pattern? I mean, that’s just that it felt very Portland to me. So it’s very important. But yeah, and also Rip City, so much of the Trailblazers. And so yeah, just there’s a lot of nicknames that episode is it’s a fun episode.”
So obviously, you know share, like sort of a love and fascination of the things that you do and the places you’ve traveled. But are there any places you’ve been for any of the episodes this season or the previous season where you were like, really didn’t love this place? And I never I would never go back or I would like tell not tell people to go here.
George: “I wouldn’t say so. I mean, you know, some episodes are, are harder than others, you know, we have to get permission from all these places that we would film. And so you know, in some places, you’d be surprised how some places are not as welcoming as others. In certain cities, you run into people, that can be a little crabby with you. But I think every City’s got, you know, sometimes you can’t let you know, a couple of people that are a little, you know, welcome on the wrong side of the bed affect your opinion of the entire city? Fair, but you know, it’s, you know, some places, you know, I’m in, in New Orleans, we had a couple of people that were a little tricky to deal with. But we got through.”
So, this season, it seems like most of the cities are very sort of West/Northwest. Is that kind of the theme you went with this time around? Or how did you pick those cities?
George: “It’s just, we just hadn’t hit a lot of the West Coast to this point. We shoot three episodes at a time. And so geography does kind of play a role. That’s why, you know, we did San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, and, one batch. So geography plays a role in that regard. But it’s just, you know, looking for, you know, cool cities bit beaten, you know, bigger cities, bigger cities have more to do. And so that’s kind of important. We’re just looking for bigger cities. And, you know, I live in Los Angeles. And so doing an LA episode was, you know, kind of a way to do one because it was a little cheaper, because we didn’t need a hotel, or, you know, flights or anything. And so a little bit of a cost-saving measure in that regard, too. And of course, LA is a huge city.”
Yeah, I feel like every time I visit LA, people be like, “Oh, well, we’re in LA.” And I’m like, “Well, I’m here. And I’m here. And I’m here.” All over the map. And they’re not necessarily realizing how big LA is when you come to visit.
George: “Yeah, for sure. That’s in that episode. Part of that is because LA can be a tough place to visit, I think. And because it’s just it’s so big, like New York is the same way I think. And so I tried to kind of break down the geography a little bit. And so I start in downtown LA, and then I kind of worked my way to the beach. And so kind of breaking down the geography a little bit for any visitors.”
Which is a really nice way to do it. If people have no idea what they’re doing or where they’re going once they get there. That’s awesome. Yeah.
George: “You don’t know where to begin.”
Season Four? Sounds like you guys are on deck for another season?
George: “I hope so. I’d love nothing more.”
Any thoughts as to where you might look out for two more cities to cover next?
George: “For sure. First of all, I haven’t been to anywhere in Florida yet. So Miami, Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg, Orlando. But also Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. I think doing maybe just a Brooklyn episode. I did a New York episode, but maybe just focusing on Brooklyn, but also work. I’d love to go into Canada to Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Those are all no-brainers to me. Yep. Awesome. parts of the Midwest, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Plenty. Plenty of spots left.”
It sounds like you have enough for like another six seasons.
George: “I hope so.”
About “George Goes Everywhere”
The free financial literacy entertainment channel Million Stories launches Season 3 of the popular digital budget travel series, “George Goes Everywhere,” hosted by television writer and YouTube personality George Igoe. Now streaming all episodes of Season 3, the show features George traveling to a city and then exploring that city and seeing as much of it as he can, all without spending more than $100.
Join along as George dives into local cultures, food, traditions, and history and tours cities’ hidden gems all on a budget! Episodes are free and stream on MillionStories.com.
About George Igoe
A New Jersey native, Igoe has worked for shows such as “Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show,” and was a writer on CBS’ “Mike & Molly.” No stranger to the world of affordable travel, he developed “Rich Travel / Poor Travel,” a show where he traveled first class with frequent flyer miles, then explored the destination city on a micro-budget.
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