Sunny Fashions, Cool Interior at Debbie Katz

Stroll down Lincoln Road – heading toward the mainland and away from the beach – and you’ll reach the ultra chic Debbie Katz boutique. The place’s crisDebbie Katz boutiquep white interior is the perfect backdrop for Katz’s colorful collection, which features a variety of patterns and designs.

Her hand dyed pieces are made from the finest cotton gauze, but hers is not the typical one size fits all sheer-looking material most of us know as typical gauze. Her pieces vary in thickness so shoppers can achieve either a solid no-sheer look or a wispier completely sheer outfit.

The place is worth checking out for clothing, accessories, sandals and handbags, all coordinating to please any fashionista.

Journalist Maureen Orth Seas BlackSalt is Best

Maureen Orth is an award-winning journalist that has covered beats for the likes of Newsweek and Vanity Fair, but when she goes out to eat she only likes the best, BlackSalt Fish Market Restaurant. As the capital’s premier seafood restaurant, quality fresh fish is their pride and joy. Picture 6

One part fish market, one part restaurant, BlackSalt is your one stop gourmet shop for everything seafood. Rated one of the best restaurants in D.C. by Washingtonian Magazine, Chef Jeff Black makes each seafood item shine- from mussels to shrimp to lobster and grouper. Pairing the perfectly seasoned and cooked dishes with a crisp Chardonnay brings the experience to a whole ‘nother level.

The Fish Market is based on Chef Jeff Black’s desire to provide chefs-in-the-making at home with the best seafood possible. So whatever you choose is guaranteed to be delicious, but if you’re unsure of what to take and how to prepare it, Fishmonger Keith Slepper’s always there to lead you in the right direction.

Dine in or take out, Maureen Orth can attest to the fact that this is the place for seafood in D.C.

*** Maureen Orth is an award-winning journalist who started her career at the prestigious Newsweek Magazine and is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair and the founder of the K12 Wired Foundation.

Leave Your Hipster At the Door at Bar Lubitsch

Though it surrounds itself with trendy L.A. hotspots, Bar Lubitsch is the ultimDrink Page--Pubate bar that feels like a pub without the 60 year old men and smell of stale beer. Though the décor feels more like a Russian hole in the wall than a Los Angeles hangout, the relaxed vibe makes sure you leave the chaos of L.A. at the door. The low lighting and stool seating at the bar make this the perfect place to cozy up for conversation. Or you can head to the back room to dance.

The beauty behind Bar Lubitsch is how popular it is without even trying to be. They never overdo it with techno music or even try to spruce up the settings. The mellow vibe brings in packs of people on the weekends making this the perfect bar on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Word to the wise, choose street parking over valet if you are lucky enough to find it.

Pub and Kitchen: Where Food Dreams Begin!

Pub & Kitchen has figured out the formula for restaurant success and it’s absolutely taking Philadelphia by storm. From music- fantastic classic rock playing at just the right level for conversation, but conducive enough for sing-alongs-  to seating -you’re welcome to chit-chat with your neighboring table, or cozy up in a booth with friends- to the bar -gorgeous, and they’re making their own wine now, PuRestaurants--Americanb & Kitchen is doing gastro pub in style without even acknowledging food yet.

And the FOOD! Dreams will be had of the hand-cut skinny french fries with truffle dijonnaise sauce. Their entrees cover the spectrum of comfort food featuring a citywide known burger (if you’re smart, you’ll put the truffle dijonnaise on that too), fish & chips with mushy peas, and fantastic gnocchi. The menu changes often and continues to delight its patrons with fresh approaches to classic dishes, like the English version of French onion soup that sneaks some pulled pork and bacon into the dish.

You will not be disappointed with your visit to this hip, yet classic joint.

Last Stop, Rockbar

It’s on East Picture 8Colfax. It’s ensconced in a motel called the All In whose history of ill repute is far from ancient. And its logo is a burst of flames. Rockbar is marked by warning sign after warning sign—otherwise known as green lights to Denver’s anything-goes afterparty crowd.

Low-ceilinged and packed tight, the dance floor’s made for getting down and dirty—and so is the music, from 80s faves to heavy metal and back again. For that matter, so are the drinks: aside from the requisite cans of PBR, cheap shots of Mad Dog are a no-brainer—almost literally.

Black and Read and Funky All Over

Picture 10If Tattered Cover is Denver’s 800-lb. gorilla, Black and Read is its bespectacled bookworm burrowing into the local literary underground. Granted, new and used books in dizzying array—or disarray, as the case may be—aren’t the half of it: indie music buffs browse the aisles for obscure recordings on vinyl, while fanatical gamers (are there any other kind?) gather to gab about the latest releases with employees who are, of course, almost comically knowledgeable about the inventory, be it MMPORGs or 1980s SoCal punk. Owner Danny Graul, for his part, is a true cinephile, and it shows in his selection of film texts.

Ultimately, Black and Read is less about finding any purchase in particular than about losing yourself in the search.

Planet Blue’s on a Whole Other Level

In the worPicture 12ds of Rachel Zoe, “It’s on a whole other level.” Planet Blue, home to some of the best designers and funky finds, gives a whole new meaning to a one stop shop. Everything in the store, whether clothing or accessories, is absolutely brilliant and interestingly unique. The store is filled with packed racks of clothing.

Though at times overwhelming, the store itself feels more personal as they directly acknowledge their employees style trends and picks on the internet. With an abundance of beautiful clothing left and right, the only things not so beautiful are the prices. Mixed in with the ridiculously overpriced, you can always dig hard enough to find a good deal. If digging isn’t for you, make sure you check the website and storefront frequently to catch absurd deals and seasonal sales.

Date Night at the Cemetery’s Cinespia

When you are looking for a taste of old Hollywood and a way to spice up your love life, there is no better date spot than the Hollywood cemetery. On Sunday nights, thePicture 17 cemetery opens its doors for the hundreds of people who are looking for a cheaper way to go to the movies. With old Hollywood flicks constantly being aired, you feel as though you are truly in another decade.

One of the best parts of Cinespia is that you can turn the experience into your own. People bring blankets, food and even wine as they sprawl onto the lawn and cozy up for a film. The uniqueness of this experience draws a large crowd so make sure to get there early- really early. While this may be the only movie theater you can actually bring your own food into, it is also one of the best experiences when you are looking for a change in scenery, literally.

SLS Hotel: Single Lady Safe Haven

It’s one of a kind, disturbingly beautifulPicture 14 and has more personality than your fifth grade science teacher. The SLS hotel on La Cienega is one of those hotels you might just find yourself staying at even if you already live in Los Angeles.

With “a to die” for lobby and beautiful bar area, the SLS hotel is truly unique in that every inch of the hotel is beautifully designed. If you aren’t lucky enough to ever score a room, a drink in the lobby or the Bazaar is unbelievably worth it. Celebrity families like the Kardashians have been spotted here drinking in the bar or exiting late at night. Even if you find the drinks are overpriced and the valet parking is even pricier, don’t leave without checking out the bathrooms; they are probably cooler than half the hotels you have ever been in.

Sophisticated Nightlife at G Lounge

See and be seen, get your groove on, hit the do-it fluid: whatever your M.O. for the weekend is, G Lounge will do more than satisfy. G Lounge presents you with sophisticated nightlife – one part club, one part lounge, this hotspot gives you options. You can cozy up to the new cutie youglounge2 met in the VIP lounge or dance the night away with your posse to the themed evening beats.

G does many special events (the New Year’s Bash always sells out) and does so with a style that’s hard to find in any city. For a more relaxed atmosphere, visit during the week for “Speak Easy Tuesdays,” where dress is casual and the DJ integrates live bands into their sets. Then get ready to dress up and get down on weekends, where the beautiful people come out to play and celebs are often spotted like Jamie Foxx, Rihanna, Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies players.

The drinks are cool, the staff is hot, and the crowd is ready to go – it’s everything you could want for a night out.

Puttin’ on the Ritz at Key Biscayne Hotel

Across the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge, flanked by a breathtaking view of Biscayne Bay, lies the posh island of Key Biscayne. There’s no better way to enjoy this land of luxury than at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Picture 7

This island is a virtual playground for the rich and famous with its luxury residences, world-famous tennis stars everywhere (a little thing called the Sony Ericsson Open is held there), and PGA golfers playing the premier course Links at Key Biscayne.

When all that activity is done, relaxing for a stay at the Ritz-Carlton isn’t a bad place to lay your head down. This hotel is a best of the best with one of the Top 10 beaches, best restaurants, and best spas in North America.

The resort’s ambiance is modeled after an island paradise, making it a difficult decision whether to enjoy the view from a swanky room or drift off to the ocean breezes on the beach or by the pool.

Sit on Top of Times Square at Ava Penthouse Lounge

Whether you’re in town to see the ball drop or want to relax in luxury in the middle of chaos, Ava Lounge always offers a VIP experience and incredible views of Times Square. Located on the rooftop- penthouse to be exact- of the chic Dream Hotel, the Ava Lounge is a French Riviera, Rome, South Beach, and Hamptons style holiday all in one.

In the summer, there’s no need to race out of town, because the terraPicture 6ce allows you to catch some rays in a luxurious setting while sipping a fabulous cocktail. When the weather gets colder there are two options, the heated terrace or the Crystal Room that’s complete with a fireplace, heaters, and winter cocktails.

The main attraction of Ava Lounge is the view. During the summer, an after work crowd comes to catch a beautiful sunset where the skies go from blue to pink to purple and then are lit up by the neon lights of Times Square. In the winter, Times Square is the center of attention and the dj’s give the buzz of the city a beat for you to dance to.

And for New Year’s, when all the world has their eyes on Times Square, partiers can get tickets to be on top of all the action to ring in the New Year. So while the rest of the world is watching TV or freezing cold in the -10 below temperatures, you can be sipping champagne in a tiny party dress and dancing to the DJ’s music with a perfect view of the ball and the fireworks.

Business or Pleasure – Loews is a Treat

The Loews Hotel in Philadelphia is in the heart of Center City located in the historic PSFS (Philadelphia Savings Fund Society) Building, a silhouette that has dominated the Philly skyline in its modern form since 1932.

loews2The hotel has terrific amenities, some of them utterly unique. If you love toting along your furry friend, pets are welcome at the hotel with open arms complete with a cat or dog bed in your room. Kids also get all-star treatment by receiving Fisher-Price welcome gifts and special “Kidbanas” by the pool. A full-service health spa, two-lane heated lap pool and twenty-four hour room service amenities round out the ways you can be pampered while staying with the acclaimed, four diamond Loews Hotel.

The art deco style combined with original bank vault doors and granite floors makes for a chic and elegant space to stay. Conveniently situated by the Reading Terminal Market and Philadelphia’s Convention Center, the 38 floor hotel is in a prime location for business or pleasure.

Avenue of the Arts: A Stretch of Culture Across Philly

The Avenue of the Arts runs through the heart of Philadelphia on Broad Street, the city’s widest and busiest street. To say that this area is saturated with culture is an understatement- museums, theaters, restaurants, perfPicture 7orming arts venues, universities, you name it, it’s there. The Avenue is a great place to visit because it’s easy to get to (lots of parking garages on the Avenue as well as accessible public transportation) and is always bustling with foot traffic.

The busiest and most affluent area of the Avenue is on South Broad, starting from Philly’s beautiful City Hall to Lombard Street, where you will find many of the city’s major theaters like the Academy of Music, Merriam Theatre, and Wilma Theater. When meandering down the Avenue, you can stop along the way and catch the building tours at many of the venues. Be sure to look on the Avenue of the Arts website for a listing of all the shows happening at all venues!

Take advantage of all that there is to do- and see- on this beautiful Avenue in the heart of Philadelphia.

Golden Gate Fields: Where the Bay Goes to Play

A day at the races has long been America’s favorite pastime, well next to baseball and BBQ’s.  Luckily for San Franciscans, the Berkeley shoreline across the bay houses Golden Gate Fields, the only horse track in Northern California. Even for first timers, it’s easy to get swept up in the scene.  There are dozens of screens overhead on every floor highlighting the races, boxing matches, sports, and just about any televised activity favorable to gambling.Winners

Making a reservation in The Winner’s Circle is where your group receives personal attention.  With a champagne buffet set up next to the winner’s circle, valet parking, and your group’s name introduced by the track announcer, this is true Derby in style.

Most fans opt to come on Sundays for $1 beer, programs, tickets, and hot dogs. For those feeling more lavish, the Turf Club has amazing views of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island, and the Golden Gate Bridge.  They even have Hermes and Gucci equine scarves on display next to antique bridles worn by winners past.

With tickets starting at $5, this is a place where everyone can take a Sunday to play.

Innovative Sounds from the New World Symphony

The string section is lulling, the horns are blowing and the ultimate in guest artists are doing what they do best to the baton of world-class conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. This exciting scenario takes place every timNWS Fellowse the New World Symphony takes the stage at Lincoln Road’s Lincoln Theatre, a beacon of culture on South Beach.

Tilson Thomas and his posse provide a twist on traditional classical music by performing lesser known pieces as well as original compositions. These pioneering musicians have garnered a respected reputation by constantly evolving their repertoire over the last two decades making each performance a mind blowing, exciting, and unforgettable experience.

Splurge at Bourbon Steak

The traditional “gentleman’s club” steakhouse just got a serious makeover with celebrity chef Michael Mina’s new addition, Bourbon Steak.  Located in the heart of Georgetown at the Four Seasons, Bourbon Steak is attracting both foodies and power diners alike, with its simple, yet sophisticated menu and smart, contemporary décor.

bourbonsteak Outfitted in warm, modern neutrals, Bourbon Steak exudes a cool masculinity fitting for a Mad Men-worthy steakhouse, with a menu that reflects the same sensibility.  Start off with a classic cocktail with an updated twist paired with the Ahi Tuna Tartare that’s prepared tableside with Ancho Chile, toasted sesame oil, fresh mint and crunchy Asian pear.  The perfectly aged cuts of meat, locally sourced and poached in butter, will change your life, while classic American sides prepared with a gourmet hand only enhance the meat with a decadent simplicity.  Be sure to try the Black Truffle Mac & Cheese or Wood-Roasted “Magical” Mushrooms.

The new hotspot on the DC restaurant scene, Bourbon Steak, has definitely shown patrons such as Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson exceptional American cuisine.

Insider Tip: For a real splurge, try Michael’s lobster pot pie (enough to feed two) at $85 a pop.  Be sure to ask Executive Chef, Dave Varley, his wine recommendation as well – aside from executing a flawless menu, Varley has extensive wine knowledge.

No Falsetto Needed at Opera Nightclub

Who said going to the Opera was a bore? Opera Nightclub is one of the hottest places in Atlanta. With its elegant Greek columns, luminescent chandeliers, and three-tier balcony, you’ll feel like royalty the moment you enter its doors.Picture 8

Emerging onto the national scene as the backdrop to the Real Housewives of Atlanta’s many dramas, it is also the place to go for VIP events Atlanta and to socialize with the beautiful crowd.

Opera has been a staple in Atlanta for almost a century. Built in 1920 as a performing arts theater for the Atlanta Women’s Club, the center has since undergone two million dollars worth of renovations to revitalize the space to its original luster. There are three amazing venues inside the nightclub: The Opera House encompasses a stage, perfect for VIP performances. In the Venetian room you can have party with 150 guests  in this Atlanta banquet hall, which includes grand Victorian accents. On those hoTLANTA days or cooLANTA nights, try the Patio, offering breathtaking views of the skyline.

Want to get in on all the events? It’s sometimes – keyword, sometimes- as easy as going online. Visitors may register online for its weekly events, reserve VIP tables and see photos from previous weeks. On Thursdays the music is dance, on Fridays its hip-hop & 80’s dance mix, and on Saturdays come out with Atlanta’s finest to see & be seen.

Amazing Deals-And Location-at The Georgetown Inn

For a true taste of Georgetown, book a room at the characteristically quaint Georgetowgeorgetowninnn Inn.  Minutes from the waterfront, great shopping, and award-winning restaurants, the boutique hotel offers accommodations with proper Georgetown sophistication and an element of elegance reminiscent of charming European inns.

The six-story hotel houses a variety of accommodation levels, all with Capital-worthy namesakes.  Try the Senate Room for a simple stay with one queen or king size bed and gorgeous city views.  For a more luxurious night away, stay in one of the ten Georgetown Suites, complete with an additional living room and entertainment center.  Depending on the time of year, the Inn usually offers rooms for well under $250 – a great deal for DC.

Head next door for a drink and a bite to eat at The Daily Grill, the Inn’s cozy restaurant and  local favorite amongst the Georgetown after-work crowd.

Escape to the Italian Riviera at Fuga Salon & Spa

A mini-break to Italy is the goal of Fuga Salon & SPicture 6pa, which is the mastermind of Italiano Antonio Favaro when he arrived in the States just two years ago with one intention: provide the people of Chicago with a quick escape to Italy.

For starters take the complimentary espresso and panino coming straight from the spa’s very own Italian espresso bar. From there look ond pick your pleasure. The Fuga signature facial with Mediterranean essential oils is a favorite or maybe the “Juliet” is more your thing with more powerful resources like retinol and enzymes. For men, try the Cassanova facial to clear your mind (and your pores).

Here the world is really your Italian oyster. Massages (everything from sports to lymphatic), cellulite treatments, body wraps, waxing and top-notch hair design services will leave everyone with a little bit of  Sophia Loren in them. Mamma mia!

X-Rated Ventures at Voyeur

With aerialists crawling through nets on the ceiling and naked women in bondage in glass displays, VoyeuVoyeurr brings a whole new meaning to the art of sexual observation.

The beauty behind Voyeur isn’t just the naked women; it’s the ability to get a bar and nightclub rolled up into one. The reservation only tables in front feature loud club music and packs of people, while the back end is more relaxed with a less packed bar.

This new Los Angeles playpen for the rich and famous is exactly what you anticipate it to be: impossible to get into. Make sure you know someone at the door or get your name on the list before trying to smuggle your way in. Though I could describe the magic behind the closed doors of this fabulous club, the name speaks for itself; you’ll only know once you come and observe.

Free to Get Into Trouble at Trendy Alibi

Tucked inside one of Boston’s hottest and trendiest hotels, the Liberty Hotel, is Alibi. This lounge takes the bar scene literally as it’s on the lower level of the one time residence of the Boston Strangler- The Charles Street Jail.

Paying homage to its past, the lowly-lit lounge/club has celebrity mugshots on the wall from Frank  Sinatra to Miss Lohan. The cocktails are aptly named as well, like the Jailbait and Courtney Love. During the day this is a perfect hotel lounge complete with a finger food menu, but at night- and especially on the weekends- the DJ’s come in, the lights are turned down, and the hot twenty-somethings of Boston are lining out the door to get in. Check out the website at

Everyone Wants a Bite at Tiny Vetri Ristorante

In the heart of Philadelphia lies an Italian hotspot that has been called Picture 2the best Italian restaurant in the country. Vetri Ristorante has foodies flocking in from all over, including famed Italian chef Mario Batali, to sample the culinary stylings of chef Marc Vetri in his tiny 35 seat restaurant.
Choosing the finest seasonal ingredients from local farm markets, Vetri keeps cooking to a minimum, using the simplest techniques, allowing the fresh food to shine. Highlights include the intense spinach gnocchi and the roasted goat that made New York Times critic Frank Miller say it was the best plate of food during his stay in Philadelphia.
With its loyal clientele and limited seating, it’s a great idea to make reservations in advance, this special place books up fast.

Eat Chic at Cafe des Architectes

Nestled in a perfect Gold Coast locale, the Sofitel Hotel is a hubbub of activity: business people staying, cool locals hanging, and enough gorgeous French people to star in a Sophia Coppola film. Within the hotel lies the delicious Cafe des Architectes with its partner bar, the aptly named Le Bar.

pic20No matter the day or time, people watching here is like eating candy: sweet and energizing. But of course, the people are here for the cuisine. After all, the chef, Martial Noguier was a semifinalist in the James Beard Best Chef of 2009 competition! He will also be starring in his television debut on the upcoming Glutton for Punishment on the Food Network.

His culinary skills have also lent a hand in making Cafe des Architectes a hotspot for Christmas and NYE dining. The five-course menu starts at $89 and goes up to $160 with wine pairings. From short rib tortellini to veal strips and center cut tuna – you will actually need and want to save room for executive pastry chef Suzanne Imaz’s delectable creations like the white chocolate coconut mousse!

Year round this cozy-chic eatery remains a hotspot for food, drinks and gorgeous patrons serving brunch, lunch, dinner and the worker-friendly executive 30-minute lunch. Merci Noguier!

Even Scrooge Loves The New Ford’s Theatre

Have a recent run-in with Scrooge in the grocery line?  Brush it off and be sure to encounter the real deal this season at Ford’s Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”  Ghosts of ChPicture 7ristmas Past, Present and Future travel across the 19th century stage under the direction of the Signature Theatre’s Michael Baron.  Echoes of “bah humbug!” ring through the historic President’s Box as renowned Washington performer, Edward Gero, brings Charles Dickens’ notorious character,  Ebenezer Scrooge, to life.

Recently renovated, Ford’s Theatre is one of the most visited historical sites in America, and with such a rich history, you’ll be sure to take in more than just a good show.  Be sure to visit the Ford’s Theatre Museum, full of Lincoln memorabilia and unique artifacts from that fateful night, including the pistol that Booth used to assassinate the President.  Head on over to the Petersen House and stand in the same room where Lincoln spent the last hours of his life.

Pure Serenity at Historic Barnacle

Nestled in the quaint community of Coconut Grove is a jewel oBarnacle housef a park that takes visitors back to another era- and has one of the best bay views in the city. Wind down tree-lined Main Highway and come upon the Barnacle Historic State Park, once the home of pioneering Miamian Ralph Middleton Munroe, to catch a glimpse of life in Miami in the late 1800s.

The place has grounds that rival a scene from the Great Gatsby and the house is just as grand with a bird’s eye view of the bay from the home’s balcony, an open rotunda attic with wrap-around carved railings, skylights and intricate furnishings in every room. The boathouse, where Commodore Munroe built his vessels, and shaded pathways throughout the property add to the tranquil setting.

The Barnacle is more than simply a house to admire, they also house many activities that can make this landmark part of your weekly routine. Every week there is a yoga class that allows you to get the serenity and tranquility of the locale while also burning some serious calories. Throughout the year there are also many special concerts that take place on the grounds.

Enjoy the old and the new, but always a beautiful setting, at The Barnacle.

Forget Postcards, Cantina Returns With Liquor

To any downtown intoxicologist, Cantina is the preference for ‘cocktails de culinaire.’ In fact, the bar grows its own citrus and infuses its own liquors. Bringing decades of knowledge to the bar, each Cantina mixologist is a self-proclaimed ‘savant of spirits’ who’s traveled the far corners of the world in pursuit of the finest cocktail ingredients. Cantina bartenders have a genuine love for the art and invent every dCantina Goodrink on the menu, making your experience at Cantina completely unique. It’s no wonder Cantina’s recipes have graced the pages of The New York Times, Food & Wine, Esquire, London’s Daily Telegraph, and even Vogue.

You’d assume such famous cocktails would have equally notorious prices, but Cantina offers drinks from $9-$11.  Their most prized potion is on the market for $14: The Coca Leaf Sour- Pisco infused with coca leaves, egg white, yellow chartreuse, fresh-squeezed citrus, and sugar.  Of course, their $9 cocktails are just as impressive.  Try the St. Barth’s Daiquiri- rhum de batiste, fresh lime & key lime bitters, luxardo maraschino & fresh-grated nutmeg.

Just remember, quality takes time so no impatient tapping on the bar at Cantina, relax and enjoy the world through its spirits.

Meet The Pioneering Heroes of The Black American West Museum

The history of African Americans on the Western frontier is far richer than the average gradeDENblackcowboy-school textbook lets on. It comes to life at the Black American West Museum, one of Denver’s most undersung treasures. Set in a handsome Five Points two-story building that was once home to the state’s first female black doctor, the exhibits cover surprising ground: from the open range where black cowboys roamed to the battlefields of the Buffalo Soldiers to Dearfield, an early-twentieth-century all-black settlement that’s now a genuine Colorado ghost town.

Bonus: the museum’s just about a lasso’s toss away from Tom’s Home Cookin,’ a long-standing lunchtime favorite for soul food.

Vintage Wine Bar – Much More than Fine Wine

Malbecs and Beaujolais and Viogniers, oh my! Just as a fine wine has its particular nuances that sometimes you can’t seem to put your finger on, Vintage Wine Bar and Bistro has that charm that keeps you coming back for more.

Picture 6It is certainly helpful that Vintage is constantly changing their menu, but the one great consistency is that there’s over 60 wines by the glass at all times. The menu is crafted to enhance the wine, and features French-inspired bistro food like steak frites and escargots for fantastic prices. For those that prefer a different fermentation, Vintage also features a plethora of specialty brews from all nooks of the world, like Dogfish Head from Delaware and Sagres from Portugal.

If you’re searching for an evening with some extra oomph, the staff offers personalized food and wine pairings and would be happy to work with any group. Order a flight with some recommendations from the wait staff and settle in for a great evening in this enticing and sophisticated atmosphere.

Feel Like A Sophisticated Socialite at the Hillwood Estate

Picture 11Washington D.C. is known for its various large museums, from natural history to aeronautics, but sometimes its the smaller ones that make the most impact. One such place is the Hillwood Estate.

The former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the heiress and eventual owner of Post Foods, features the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia and a world-renowned collection of eighteenth-century French decorative art and furnishings. The collection ranges from Fabergé eggs to Beauvais tapestries to Sèvres porcelain.

Call and make a reservation to see this gorgeous Georgian home that used to be known as one of Washington’s most extraordinary estates. It sits absolutely stunning on top a beautiful hill. If you have seen enough of the artwork and the house, walk through the 25 acres of gardens and greenhouses. Built for one of the wealthiest socialites, this estate is a truly unique experience.

It’s SL If You Know Where To Go

Out with the old, in with the new. In New York nightlife, that means goodbye Britney fave Lotus, hello super-hot Simyone Lounge. What was once the VIP section (floor) of the Chelsea favorite Lotus is now an entire club that is so VIP it goes by its initialsPicture 9. Brought to you by the masters of meatpacking nightlife, EMM Group of Tenjune fortune, SL has all the same management, killer music, and strict doormen that make a club du jour a hot staple in New York City.

This highly anticipated re-opening has thus far lived up to its buzz. Opening during New York’s favorite holiday season, a.k.a. Fashion Week, SL brought in leggy models and the admiration of the hard-to-please New York Times. Since then both young and Hollywood have been making this their nightlife home, from the cast members of Gossip Girl to the likes of Demi Moore and Mickey Rourke.

If you’re one of the beautiful few that makes it past the door, the basement club is pure energy. At the front is a narrow bar/lounge (lounge is a term used very lightly, meaning bottle-service tables with large, leather couches) that opens up into a full-on standing room only club complete with rainbow disco balls and world-renowned DJ’s spinning techno, classic rock, top 40, and hip hop all in one night.

Pizzeria Mozza: The People Will Tell You It’s Amazing

The pizza is fabulous, the caprese salad is mouthwatering, and the olive oil ice cream is to die for. Owned by Italian culinary heavyweights Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich (son of Lidia Bastianich), don’t be surprised to see that every patron walLAmozzaking out of Pizzeria Mozza raves about every single dish on the menu.

The portions, ideally shared family style, bring the best Italian food to Los Angeles from some of the most talented chefs in the world. The collaboration that is Pizzeria Mozza is far more casual than it’s sister Osteria, but the food is in no way sacrificed.

If you plan on making reservations the day before, think again. Though you might find yourself eating at the bar, the food is that good that you might not even care. This Hollywood hotspot brings fancy food to a casual setting, and that my friends is “Amore!”

Say Goodbye to Winter Woes at Posh Spot

poshWinter brings dazzling lights, decadent treats and dreaded dry skin. The Posh Spot, located in the cozy Vinings area minutes from downtown, promises a luxurious and relaxing escape from the blistering cold. Services include a wide array of pampering selections for guests seeking a refuge from winter misery. An aromatherapy hand & foot treatment or even a fruit renewal manicure is the perfect end to a hectic holiday shopping weekend.

Ladies aren’t the only patrons that can enjoy themselves at the Posh Spot, the gentleman’s manicure and neck up scalp & facial treatment gives the guys a great excuse to stop by with or without their significant other. Check out their weekly promotions, aimed at divas on a dime who don’t clip coupons. Whether it be a manicure, facial or massage, Posh Spot invites you to make an appointment with the rejuvenating specialists that are highly skilled in defeating the winter woes.

Apache Cafe: Safe Haven for the Outspoken

CAFEArt Mondays. Wednesday Jam Session. Weekly Open Mics. All of these are the norm for Atlanta’s Apache Cafe. Guests can come in mostly any day of the week and express themselves in many forms of art: spoken, writing or by song. Located in the heart of downtown, Apache Cafe opens its doors to those that walk to a different beat, music.

If you prefer to sit back and enjoy the talents of others instead of taking the mainstage, be sure to try the menu specials: Bermuda Tacos and Salmon Cakes paired with the Ultimate Apple Martini. Who knows, after a few martinis you may become more daring!

Apache Cafe features unique nightly performances as well as seasonal events to get you in the mood for any upcoming holiday. Whether your passion is poetry, song or performing, the Apache Cafe has something to entice all of the above.

Rumor Nightclub Heats Up the Club Scene

Late night partiers come to dance the night away at Rumor Nightclub, one of Picture 11the hottest clubs in town. Located near the Charles Playhouse (think Shear Madness and Blue Man Group) in the Theater District, Rumor Nightclub typically doesn’t get going until late in the evening. If you go on the weekends, expect long lines if you arrive after 11 p.m.

Even though the club is closed Sundays and Mondays, there seems to be something going on every other evening. Evolution Tuesdays is extremely popular for house, hip-hop and Latin music. Rumor Wednesdays hosts Boston’s longest running Latin night. Signature Thursdays is one of their most popular nights featuring a mixture of house, hip-hop and Latin music. Envy Fridays and Rumor Saturdays both feature a DJ and are the club’s most popular nights. Check out for more information.

The younger chic crowd comes for the lively atmosphere at Rumor Nightclub.

Any Given Glamorous Sunday at Fred’s of Barneys

Oftentimes brunch is a euphemism for hangover cure and a time when people aren’t exactly looking their most chic. Au contraire at Fred’s at Barneys New York on a Sunday, the hottest place for brunch in Chicago. Prepare to loChicago2ok smashing if you want to dine on the delights at Fred’s, because everyone else will be.

Dressed in their Sunday best, but not because they went to church, Fred’s is a see-and-be-seen, plush 5,000 square feet of Gold Coast property heaven (fifth floor ensures amazing views of the lake and streets below). On any given Sunday you can expect to see some of Chi-town’s biggest socialites and business mavens and maybe even a celeb or two. That along with your average slew of really, really, ridiculously good-looking people- albeit collagen-enhanced.

People-watching aside, you’ll actually want to eat. For just $25.00 enjoy the Fred’s brunch special which includes:

  • Bread basket of scones and focaccias
  • Salad
  • Entree of your choice
  • Dessert
  • Mimosa
  • Never-ending coffee

The service is impeccable in a dance of sorts, where more people than you’ll remember will have visited your table at a timely perfection to check on you, refill your coffee and keep the dance flowing.

Billy Dec’s Favorite Italian Restaurant is La Scarola

Even though restaurateur Billy Dec’s Rockit Bar & Grill may make the best burger in town, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have cravings for some good, hearty Italian fooPicture 7d. Whenever he’s in need of some pasta and marinara sauce, the Chicago social mover always heads to La Scarola.

The Italian restaurant is known for its low key environment that brings high-profile diners like Billy. It’s been awarded the Zagat Excellent Rating year after year for their gigantic proportions and delicious cannolis. La Scarola’s dishes taste like the ones from the Italian grandmother you never had.

Sure, Billy Dec is well-known about town, but La Scarola’s great because regardless of your residence, you’ll feel like a local. The place is small so everyone knows each other, and if they don’t, you’ll feel like they do after the meal is over. With a crackling fireplace and the likes of Billie Holiday setting the mood, it’s impossible not to relax and enjoy a great dinner at La Scarola.

*** Billy Dec is the CEO and Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, Chicago’s premier restaurant and entertainment development company. The company owns the new hotspot Sunda, The Underground club, and the award-winning Rockit Bar & Grill.

Get Some Rhythm at Georgetown’s Blues Alley

For a little rhythm and blues, take a trip back in time to the naBluesAlleytion’s oldest jazz supper club, Blues Alley, hidden between the quaint streets of historic Georgetown in an 18th century, brick carriage house.  With saxophones and bass guitars echoing off the intimate, exposed brick interior, you can’t help but tap your foot as talented artists from around the country liven up the nearly 45 year-old nightclub.

Enjoy a leisurely, Creole-style meal (the menu has hardly changed since 1965) and a glass of wine while you are blown away by old school tunes that will have you scrambling for a CD on your way out.  Over the years, Blues Alley has hosted jazz movers and shakers such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Byrd and Eva Cassidy, so you’ll get a little taste of history along with your dinner.

Insider Tip: Blues Alley is open 7 days a week, but fills to the brim right before shows.  Be sure to make a reservation and get there a little early – pre-show tickets are available online.

Sushi Gets Jazzed Up at Yoshi’s

Someone forgot to tell the proprietors of Yoshi’s that sushi and jazz are cultural opposites.  Of course its founder and namesake, Yoshie Akiba, is also a fascinating mix.  YoshisOrphaned in Japan during WWII, Yoshie came to Berkeley as a student and opened Yoshi’s with her two best friends.

Thirty years later, in its new $10 million setting in the Fillmore District (the “Harlem of the West”), Yoshi’s has earned a reputation as one of the world’s finest jazz venues featuring jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Diana Krall, Max Roach, and Harry Connick Jr.

Yoshi’s is also an award-winning restaurant, with Chef Shotaro Kamio presenting modern sushi that he describes as “seasonal, simple, surprise.”  You can make dinner reservations in the separate restaurant before the show or enjoy small tapas-style sushi and sake cocktails in the club.  Prices are higher than average, but you’ll appreciate that Yoshi’s serves fresh and thoughtful Japanese cuisine rather than greasy quesadillas and mozzarella sticks.

Tickets range from $13 – $100 depending on the performer, and the club seats 420 in its warmly lit acoustic cavern.  The custom sound system, complete with a resident Steinway grand piano, is clear and allows artists to truly be the center of attention.  So feel free to jazz it up with flapper outfits and tailcoats.

Controversial De Young Museum Shines

Unless you’re a local who knows its history, visitors who pass by the De Young Museum might think an abstract spaceship had crash-landed into Golden Gate Park. Providing San Franciscans with a never-ending debate over aesthetics, the building is intended to unify modern art and architecture with the natural landscape.  Meant to oxidize and turn pale green the way the Statue of Liberty has done, the museum’s copper mesh exterior will eventually blend in with the surrounding eucalyptus trees.

image_1_32Before you even enter the De Young Museum, explore over five acres of native landscaping, in which you can wanarden, koi ponds, waterfalls, and the Andy Goldsworthy “Faultline” installation in the courtyard.

Like any great museum, the De Young features an impressive permanent collection: Ancient Teotihuacan stone murals from Mexico, the finest collection of American paintings, African and Oceanic art, and The Anderson Graphics Art Collection.  Great exhibitions have included Yves Saint Laurent, Andy Warhol, Chihuly, and most recently King Tutankhamun.  You can also explore the 144 ft. observation tower that provides views of the park, the new California Academy of Sciences building across the lawn, the Golden Gate Bridge, and downtown.

Whether you love the building and what it contains, or hate its aesthetics, the architects and curators have obviously done their jobs – eliciting reactions.

Glitz and Giggles at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret

Of all the things you might find in the basement of a hundred-year-old downtown office building, a gorgeous, chandelier-hung cabaret may be the least likely. But it’s the most fun.

While the undisputed star of the Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret stage is Lannie Garrett herself—especially when she appePicture 7ars as Patsy DeCline in a hearty send-up of country music—the spotlight shines on a variety of acts Denverites hold dear, from the Demented Divas to Naughty Pierre’s Burlesque and Comedy Extravaganza; risqué as they are, their real appeal’s due to their surprisingly strong talent.

If your taste runs toward subtler stuff, however, you’re still in luck, as nationally touring torch singers, jazz combos, and blues crews also regularly book stops here.

Genuinely Tasty Eats at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Whether the hunger strikes at lunch or dinner, sitting down for a meal at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in the Design District is a trip to culinary heaven. The crowds that flock there are proof positive of this and also a good sign that reservations areCrispy Sweet & Spicy Glazed Pork Belly with Kimchi & crushed peanuts_2 a must.

Chef Michael Schwartz quickly made a name for himself at the three-year old spot with simple bistro fare like steamed mussels with roasted tomato harissa broth, sticky black rice and garlic chips, and crispy sweet and spicy pork belly with kimchi and crushed peanuts. He prides himself on using the freshest organic ingredients available so his creations are top-notch in taste.

The indoor table seating is in an ecclectic, cool interior and there’s a welcoming bar where diners can watch their delectable eats being prepared. Being in Miami, of course there’s outdoor seating. The place is not to be missed and its a hot bed for celebs as well as notable locals.

Who’s Who of Aircraft at the Smithsonian Nat’l Air & Space Museum

As with anything beginning in Smithsonian, The National Air & Space Museum has an impressive showing of all things airborne.  Beginning with the Wright Brothers and constantly updating with new space artifacts and Hubble telescope pictures, this museum boasts a who’s who of aircrafts. The Spirit of St. Louis, 1903 Wright Flyer, and Apollo 11 Columbia are just a few of the big names on display.

More than simply displaying aircraft, the museum also houses the aptly named Lockheed Martin IMAX theater, Albert Einstein Planetarium, and flight simulators if you want to get involved in the action. This is the mother of air and space collections and it’s located in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Welcome to the New and Improved MOCA

Only in Hollywood can a museum bring out so many A-listers. Art lovers Brangelina, Lady Gaga, and members of the Bolshoi Ballet were part of an eclectic mix to honor the new Museum of Contemporary Art.

The MOCA is the only museum in Los Angeles devoted solely to contemporary art. It houses nearly 6000 pieces (and growing!) from all mediums of art produced after 1939. The museum is actually in three facilities: MOCA Grand Avenue, The Geffen Observatory at MOCA, and MOCA Pacific Design Center. The collection is so impressive that it’s regarded as one of the most important collections in showcasing the post-war world.

And as you can see, it is a favorite for many of Los Angeles’ most elite artists.

Maialino is Danny Meyer’s New Crown Jewel

Picture 22Restaurateur Danny Meyer is known as the “King of Union Square” owning landmark restaurants like Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe. With the very recent opening of his high-end restaurant, Maialino, in the chic Gramercy Park Hotel, it seems he has the new crown jewel to his empire.

Meyer has professed that it’s been his dream to open an authentic Italian restaurant and Maialino is the culmination of his hard work and vision. The name is actually Meyer’s nickname, meaning “roast suckling pig,” from when he lived in Rome in his early twenties. Of course, the signature dish at Maialino is the suckling pig.

One part wine bar, one part trattoria, the Roman-style restaurant serves dishes in true Italian style with primi, secondi and antipasti courses written in Italian. The dishes are simple, elegant, and fresh, using the local Greenmarket as its supplier. Just like the food, the restaurant reflects the juxtaposition between rustic Roma and modern NYC. The restaurant is outfitted in shades of brown and blue checkered tablecloths, but keeps its clean and modern lines.

In true Meyer fashion, Maialino serves consistently delicious food inside an elegantly designed restaurant. Yet this one has the added bonus of generous views of the private Gramercy Park inside one of the coolest hotels in Manhattan.

Imbibe at M Bar for an Ultra Cool Experience

The Mandarin Oriental has finally made its debut in Boston and M Bar has already made a name for itself. Picture 6The stylish and chic bar caters to a 20s, 30s and 40s+ crowd. The bar is almost at capacity on Friday nights when not only hotel guests come down for a drink, but many locals head over for a cool mandarin martini.

You can’t beat the hotel’s ideal Back Bay address located smack in the heart of Boylston Street- making it a perfect meeting place. The interior features a blend of green and gray stone and an illuminated glass bar top, intimate banquettes, and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows. The custom-designed wine wall houses some 300 vintages.

If you are feeling hungry, take a look at the light fare menu, which ranges from artisan cheeses and Asian-style tapas to braised Kobe short ribs and a poached Maine lobster roll. There are also full size entrees, including an eight-ounce grilled skirt steak and grilled chicken tandoori sandwich, but most people come for the specialty drinks. Click here for more information.

My Brother’s Bar Belongs to Everyone

From the late great Terminal Bar (immortalized in song by Tom Waits) to the Satire Lounge (where the SmotPicture 15hers Brothers got their start), Denver’s a treasure trove of storied dives. Among its most colorful gems is My Brother’s Bar, a scuffed and stained Depression-era time capsule revered by generations of fans of Jack Kerouac—who famously whiled away the hours here with fellow Beat hero Neal Cassady.

Yet this is no mere hipster hang. Another quirk of the Mile High City’s more historic haunts is their diversity, frequented by grizzled guzzlers and families alike; here, young and old, stoned and stone-cold gather ’round as much for the signature JCBs (jalapeno cream cheese burgers) as the booze.

Star-Gazing Without the Paparazzi at Griffith Observatory

Mixed in with Hollywood nightclubs and overrated bars, you will find one of the best places in Los Angeles where the stars aren’t driving drunk and wearing Dior. The Griffith Observatory is one of the only places that actually makes learning interesting and gives you first hand access to star-gazing at its finest. Picture 22

With multiple exhibits and shows, you can learn all sorts of stuff, from constellations to how much you would weigh on the moon. Even though this place is great to visit with friends, it is filled with couples and PDA galore since walking and admiring the sky is a perfect activity for two.

They are closed Monday and the weekends can get really crowded, so make sure you get there early enough to be able to walk around before it closes at 10. Even though the romantic date spot and beautiful sky scenery should be enough to sway you, the even better perks are that it is free and so is parking.

Finally, a place where you don’t have to pay to see some stars.

Abe & Louie’s Sizzles with Flavor

When Abe & Louie’s emerged on the dining scene a little more than 10 years ago, no one could have anticipated the fanfare that would surround this popular steakhouse. Voted Best Steakhouse by Boston Magazine in 2004, 2005 and 2009, Abe & Louie’s is now a symbol of excellence.

Located across from the Prudential Center in Copley Square, this classic restaurant consistently delivers exceptional service and mouthwatering steaPicture 10ks with attention to detail. The Hollywood-style booths in the dining room have attracted numerous celebrities including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who celebrated their anniversary here just last month.

All of the steaks are aged six weeks on the bone to ensure the most flavor. While the 24-ounce ribeye and bone-in filet are their signature cuts, classic entrees also include swordfish steak, wood grilled or broiled salmon filet, boiled or baked stuffed Maine lobster, whole chicken and lobster casserole. The ever-changing roster of weekly specials displays such offerings as filet of beef Wellington, Abe’s famous crispy pork and steak house beef ribs.

If you dine at Abe & Louie’s in the warmer months, be sure to request a seat on the patio for al fresco dining and people watching along one of Boston’s busiest streets. Visit for more information.

Stay in Luxurious Lockdown at The Liberty Hotel

Imagine spending the night in a prison cell – that’s exactly what guests will do at The Liberty Hotel. This now uber-chic boutique is the former Charles Street Jail, famed for housing The Boston Strangler and Malcolm X.

Gone is the barbed wire that once surrounded the property yet some of the original architecture remains, including wrought iron and exposed bricPicture 11k walls. The massive rotunda opens up to a three-story atrium that once served as the prison’s catwalk. There is a tile mosaic here that also highlights some of the property’s historic jailbirds.

Don’t miss a drink at the aptly named bar, Clink, where you can view a 19th century prison cell. Scampo, the hotel’s upscale Italian restaurant, features dishes from Chef Lydia Shire of Biba and Excelsior fame. There is even a lively club, Alibi, for those late-night partiers.

Located in Beacon Hill overlooking The Charles River, the hot hotel now offers modern amenities, including flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and complimentary local car service. Mick Jagger, Annette Bening and Bruce Willis have all enjoyed a stay at this former prison. The Liberty Hotel now offers all law-abiding citizens a taste of the other side of the law.

Melt Away Stress at Swanky Camelot Salon & Spa

There’s nothing like ending a tough 40-hour work week (and let’s face it, they’re more like 60-hour work weeks) than with a nice trip to the salon or spa. A great place to get it all in one is at the swanky and elegant Camelot Salon & Spa in Coral Gables.

This salon has been getting it right for more than 17 years and it’s no wonder, the place is pure serenity. Single roPicture 4ses in crystal vases are displayed ever so elegantly in individually lit white display shelves, haircutting stations are outfitted with cherry wood mirrors and shelving is set up to create an element of privacy and one-on-one attention.

The spa area is an oasis of mellow blues and beiges and a high back wicker couch with comfortable off-white cushions. Manis and pedis are given on leather chairs and high back leather benches. Orchids, flowers and candles throughout Camelot complete the relaxing experience. Now it’s time to breathe in and say, Aaaaahhh.

Buzzworthy Films at The Angelika

Looking for something entertaining and low-key with a side of wine? Check out the Angelika Film Center at Mockingbird Station. Whether you’re trying to impress a date or a client, this place has it all.


One of the most stylish and beloved theaters in Dallas (voted Best Movie Theater by the Dallas Observer), the Angelika combines old world charm with new world hip and features some very under-the-radar Oscar-worthy films. During the spring this place packs a hearty crowd of celebrities and movie critics for the annual USA Film Festival; however, look over your shoulder on any given day and you’d be surprised who might be sitting behind you.

Majestically overlooking the whole of Mockingbird Station, the Angelika is easily accessible by car, cab, or train and provides an abundance of shops, like Movida Boutique, and restaurants, such as a local Dallas favorite Trinity Hall.  But don’t overlook the Angelika Cafe where you can order standard movie fare such as popcorn and a soda, or get into the mood with wine and chocolate.

Prêt-à-Porter at Movida Boutique

Movida Boutique is where Dallas ladies go for boutique items at affordable prices. Located just underneath the Angelika Film Center, this trendy yet eclectic boutique has great deals and pairings to those in need of some eye-candy or some serious shopping.

Picture 4

Whether you’re a true shopper and like to dig or prefer the full-service route, the girls here are laid back and ready to help when and where you need. You can find everything  from jewelry to purses to shoes for nights out or a sassy work number that has yet to go mainstream.

Let the fashionable staff help put together your next ensemble. Movida is spacious and tends to be less crowded than other boutiques at Mockingbird Station.

Gilley’s: Rhinestones & a Mechanical Bull

If there is such a thing as upscale honky-tonk, look no further than Gilley’s Dallas. Does the name “Gilley’s” ring a bell? Think John Travolta and a mechanical bull. While this isn’t the original bar or bull from Urban Cowboy (same owner Mickey Gilley), it’s a mighty fine second and a first place win for country-lovin’ good times. Even if yoDALgilleysu’re not a fan of skintight Levi’s and red snakeskin boots, the crowd is so fun you can’t help but join in on the line dance with 200 other cowboys and cowgirls.

A good mix of authentic wranglers, weekend hicks, and fashionable Dallas “bumpkins,” Gilley’s has something for everyone- including an actual mechanical bull. And don’t be afraid of two-stepping, there are free dance lessons every Saturday from 6pm – 8pm with awesome drink specials and free admission for the rest of the night.

With national music acts and local fave The Chris Rivers Band and a decent cover charge, it’s time to break out your rhinestones and boots -or rhinestoned boots-for guaranteed fun at Gilley’s Dallas.

Mile-High Honky Tonk: Charlie’s

Picture 13Having launched the career of RuPaul’s Drag Race runner-up Nina Flowers, Vivid still glitters with up-and-comers like Felony Misdemeanor Sunday in and Sunday out. But cowboy-themed GLBT bar Charlie’s is much more than just a weekly stage for Denver’s premier drag show. Depending on the night (it’s open all 365), an extra-diverse and welcoming horde descends for free line-dancing lessons, raucous rounds of bingo and trivia, unreal happy hour deals—and even, yes, the occasional wet jockey shorts contest. Meanwhile, if more than the occasional Jello shot is your guilty pleasure, Charlie’s is your watering—er, gelatinizing—hole.

When it Comes to Sashimi, Go to Uni

Uni Sashimi Bar, located inside The Eliot HotelUni and adjacent to the famed Clio restaurant of chef/owner Ken Oringer, offers some of the best sushi in town. At this tiny Back Bay bar which opened in 2002, you will see sushi chefs hard at work preparing rolls and sashimi. Sip on a Japanese scorpion bowl for two or their popular spicy Enter the Dragon cocktail, while noshing on sushi flown in from around the world. The menu here changes daily, but you can typically find Scottish salmon, Japanese fish and yellowfin tuna. Since the restaurant is next to Clio, you can also order off its Asian-inspired dessert menu, which includes miso dark chocolate cremeux, rhubarb shortcakes and a sweet mascarpone beignet. Check out the website at

Insider Tip: Don’t miss the popular all-you-can-eat Maki Mondays for $32 and four-course sake bomb Tuesdays for $35.

Indulge in a Night of Luxury at The Lenox Hotel

Location. Location. Location. If you are looking for the best place to stay in the heart of Boston then look no further than The Lenox Hotel. Situated in Back Bay at the corner of Boylston and Exeter Streets, the gorgeous hotel is within walking distance of Newbury Street’s upscale boutiques, SPicture 9ymphony Hall (home to the Boston Pops) and the Museum of Fine Arts. Come here in April for a front row spectator’s seat to the Boston Marathon, which can be viewed from the hotel’s sleek rooftop.

The Lenox Hotel is modeled after smaller, boutique European hotels offering three restaurants, rooms with four-poster beds, wood-burning fireplaces, and marble bathrooms along with a complimentary Lexus SUV hybrid car service to take you around town. If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your furry friend behind, request a stay in one of the pet friendly rooms. On the other hand, don’t worry if you are allergic to pets – the hotel is the first of its kind to devote an entire floor (heaven on eleven) to PURE allergy friendly guest rooms.

Now you know why John Travolta, Katie Couric, Michelle Pfieffer and Steve Martin have all stayed here.

Figure Skating at The Frog Pond

Every Bostonian knowBOSponds some of the best winter fun can be had at the Frog Pond in The Boston Common. While it’s no Rockefeller Center, it does provide a great time for the everyone. Located in America’s oldest park, ice skating here has become a favorite pastime for both residents and visitors. Saturday nights are the busiest times of the week with a nearly all adult crowd and romantic couples.

The entire area is lit up at night with spectacular holiday decorations and the twinkling lights. The nearby trees and stately homes lining Beacon Hill will surely guarantee a memorable time to be had by all.

In the warmer months, the Frog Pond is filled with just six inches of water transforming it into a wading pool with a spray fountain for adventurous individuals.

The Majestic Theatre: Where Vaudeville Took Flight

Picture 17Places like Hollywood and New York are known for their legendary theater houses, but with the Majestic Theatre, Dallas has a goldmine of entertainment theatre that lives up to its grand name. On April 11, 1921, the Majestic Theatre opened its doors during the Vaudeville era, hosting a variety of now legendary acts from Houdini to Mae West and Bob Hope.  As Vaudeville began to fade and the era of “talking pictures” emerged, the Majestic Theatre began hosting movie premieres. And not to be outdone with its past, the Majestic hosted stars such as Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck and John Wayne.  The Big Bands featuring Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington continued the tradition of live entertainment at the Majestic.

In 1973 the Majestic Theatre went dark after the final showing of the film, Live and Let Die, but when it re-opened in 1983, it was upgraded to the elite list on the National Register of Historic Places. Today the Majestic Theatre serves as a beautiful old-era theatre house, with extravagantly engraved and decorated balconies, plush red seats, and grand box seats, and is home to performing acts as diverse as Menopause the Musical to Dallas Black Theatre performances to Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker.

Contemporary and Cool at Parc 55 Hotel

Sometimes all you want is a convenient and comfortable place to stay.  At the Parc 55 Hotel off Union Square, you’ll get all you need: central location, friendly service, modern style, and an uncluttered room with a view.

With its downtown location, Parc 55 is perfect for business and vacation travelers. You don’t have to walk far to experience the best of San Francisco: take a stroll to the Museum of Modern Art oParc55lounhrr Yerba Buena Gardens, enjoy downtown’s fashionable night scene, attend a function at the Moscone Convention Center or ride a cable car– just a block away.

Within the hotel, there is plenty of business space with 15 board-style meeting rooms.  You can also invite your friends up to the 31st floor club lounge for your birthday soiree or plan your wedding reception in the 5,610 square-foot grand ballroom.

At the end of the day, you’ll be pleased to enter a room that doesn’t overload your senses with stale air conditioning and dated floral prints.  Each of the hotel’s 1,010 rooms are the model of contemporary sophistication, having recently celebrated a $30 million renovation.

Parc 55 is so confident with their new look, they’ve hosted a 55-hour party in Union Square and even outfitted every room with a 36” plasma TV – show offs!

Vagabond’s Rivaling South Beach Hotspots

The party never ends at high-energy nightclub Vagabond in what used to be sVagabond1leepy Downtown Miami. Now it’s an area rivaling South Beach in late night dancing. Lines usually wrap around the place with clubbers waiting to enter and take in an atmosphere that changes nightly.

At Vagabond, there’s something for all types of music lovers. The indie band Surfer Blood may take the stage one night and the next it’s a group of hip hop performers. Things get artsy during Stone Groove night with jazz, blues, soul and spoken word taking over the space. This spot that’s housed in Downtown’s up and coming Park West region (there are galleries popping up around the area as well), is a feast for the eyes both inside its doors and out, with the towering high rises playing backdrop.

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere at The Hour Cocktail Collection

Stock up for that soiree you’ve been dying to host at The Hour, a new cocktail boutique in quaint, Old Town Alexandria.  With a chic, cocktail-era vibe, The Hour will have your inner hostess drPicture 7ooling over everything from stylish martini shakers to quirky Collins glasses!  Browse amazing barware from designers such as Georges Briard, Dorothy Thorpe, Couroc, and Fred Press.

Need a little extra panache for that perfect party?   The Hour is literally filled to the brim with fabulous vintage cocktail prints and retro furniture that will pump up your décor and keep your guests talking for days.  If the ornate martini glass you’re holding isn’t enough, The Hour even has a collection of cocktail jewelry to top off your evening.  Cheers to The Hour for bringing back the art of entertaining – and the martini!

Insider Tip: Just in case that martini went straight to your head, remember to share the wealth – be sure to visit the boutique for the perfect wedding or hostess gift.  The whimsical champagne flutes are way too chic to pass up! Visit for more information.

Visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate


George Washington’s plantation on the banks of the beautiful Potomac River offers visitors a chance to understand America’s first hero and the fascinating world in which he lived. Since the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association bought the nearly empty Mansion in 1858, it has gathered Washington objects and used archaeology and research to piece together clues about the buildings and gardens of a bygone era. Over 1 million visitors come to walk in Washington’s footsteps each year, making Mount Vernon the most popular historic estate in America.

A Maki Made in Heaven at Coast Sushi

Oh. My. God. Almost always the three words uttered by anyone trying their first White Dragon roll at Coast Sushi in Wicker Park or now, it’s newer location in the South Loop. The roll is so good it feels like it should be illegal. Order it as yCoastSushiour starter roll and you can kiss goodbye trying anything else on the menu – you’ll just keep ordering more White Dragons until you can barely get yourself out of the door.

Flattering lighting and a cozy feel, Coast masters the Japanese chic of interior design, but who really notices when the food is so good? As for drinks, it’s BYOB so indulge in as much or as little as you want, you won’t feel it when the bill comes.

Aside from the White Dragon, Coast features all the standard rolls, sashimi and nigiri, plenty of entrees, salads and all that jazz. But, if you don’t order sushi, you’re making a mistake. As for the White Dragon – what is it that causes it to create an instantaneous reaction of pure and utter bliss? The ingredients admitted are: shrimp tempura, wasabi  tobiko, cream cheese, avocado, scallion spicy sauce, wasabi dessing, eel sauce and tempura crumbs — and a little bit of Oh. My. God.

Get Saucy at Vesta Dipping Grill

Picture 9Replete with sensual swirls of fabric amid steel sculptures and secluded circular banquettes, Vesta Dipping Grill maintains an invigoratingly sexy appeal right down to the menu.

Expect the unexpected from the kitchen, which specializes in eclectic mix-and-match dishes meant to be shared. Appetizers and entrees centering on grilled meats, fish, and vegetables come with your choice of several dipping sauces (hence the name) that range from the familiar—Carolina barbecue, peanut sauce, chimichurri—to the inventive (try bacon aioli, Asian pear chutney or rose blossom yogurt on for size). Desserts follow the same formula; order the caramel apple with hot fudge for you and your date, and you can rest assured the evening won’t end at the restaurant. Reservations are essential.

A Good Night’s Never a Question at Cafe Wha?

Tucked along the NYU friendly Macdougal Street, Cafe Wha? and its humble exterior might make you question the legitimacy of this place. Put all doubts aside, over the years Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor have all performed on its small stage. Picture 5

Today, the place is always packed with a cool, downtown crowd. The lowly lit venue is always loud with buzzed New Yorkers and the small stage allows for an intimate setting. Different guests perform every night, but the acclaimed Cafe Wha? Band is guaranteed to play every Wednesday through Sunday. And comedians, many of whom have appeared on Comedy Central, HBO or late-night television, open for the band regularly.

Arrive early for the best seats, but bets are on that you half-way through you’ll be singing at the top of your lungs and turning this live music venue into a personal dance floor.

The Met’s Thomas Campbell Eats at Balthazar

Balthazar is owned by the same Keith McNally of the trendy, meatpacking hotspot Pastis, so it’s no wonder it’s always packed with a cool crowd. One of the Picture 9elite New Yorkers that frequents the French bistro in artsy SoHo is the Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas P. Campbell.

Often quoted as a “masterpiece,” Balthazar is known for its fresh baked breads, delicious brasserie cuisine, and rustic Parisian-inspired decor. Favorite dishes include the short braised ribs, Portbello mushroom sandwich (for lunch), and the proudly named Balthazar salad.

No matter what time of day or night you head downtown, this brasserie is always buzzing with social New Yorkers like Campbell. Make sure to call ahead for a reservation. But if you just want to drop by, you can go to the Balthazar Bakery and grab some of their famous grains to enjoy in the privacy of your home.

Thomas Campbell has incredible taste in haute art and tasty cuisine.

***Thomas P. Campbell is the Director of the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before his role at the Director and CEO in January 2009, Campbell excelled as the Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts and was the organizer of many groundbreaking and highly acclaimed exhibits at the Met.

50 Years of Funny: Taming of the Flu

50 Years of Funny. Hell yeah. Bravo to Chicago’s Second City which has been going strong for 50 straight years producing some of the world’s favorite comedians and productions that push the envelope. This season, why not make fun of the flu? After all – it’s everywhere, coughing, sneezing, calling in sick for work – and you can believe the Second City cast will capitalize on it with their newest production, The Taming of the Flu.

What can you expect here? According to the Picture 6Second City:

While hope and change won’t stop you from getting sick, they may help you pay the hospital bills. And if you believe that, we have a great policy to sell you. We’re sick of the flu, sick of the health care system, and sick of the cameras catching us running the red lights. Although technology & Twitter have supposedly made us a smaller world, people have never felt farther apart. Taming of the Flu connects with everyone: put-upon Chicago cabbies, Canadian expatriates and even a visit with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni.

Leave it to the Second City to incorporate so much more than just one topic. Word of the wise: snag your tickets fast because they’re becoming harder and harder to cough up.

The Taming of the Flu plays Tuesday through Sunday with multiple shows on weekends.

A Brussels-Inspired Brunch at Belga Cafe

Get a true taste of Brussels at Capitol Hill’s authentic Belgian eatery, Belga Cafe.  Nestled right along 8th Street, in the Barracks Row neighborhood, Belga brings more than just a European sensibility to the District.

Known for its mbelgaodern, Belgian cuisine and extensive beer list, Belga offers a delectable, Eurofusion-inspired menu with traditonal offerings such as light and fluffy Brussels style waffles, dusted with sugar and topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, or mussels with white beer and delicate frites.  With an “everyone is family” attitude, Belga exudes a warm and cozy neighborhood feel with its quaint sidewalk cafe and bustling indoor bistro.

For a truly feel-good meal, visit Belga for brunch.  Sounds of laughter and the clinking of mimosas echo from the energetic, local clientele. The delicious aroma of fresh waffle batter exuding from the open kitchen will keep you glued to your seat for hours.  For an unexpected savory version of the popular Belgian street food, try the warm goat cheese waffle with roasted tomatoes, red pepper coulis and a fresh herb salad.

Insider Tip: Be sure to start your morning off right with Belga’s to-die-for Bloody Mary with celery foam that puts a gourmet twist on the classic!  For an unexpected kick, try the beer cocktail version, made with Belga Pils and Bloody Mary mix.

Blackbird Bar: Not For the Birds

P8200088Oscar Wilde once said: “Work is the curse of the drinking class,” and if you’ve been to The Castro’s newest and most popular neighborhood bar, Blackbird, you’ll completely understand.   You’ll find a drink for everyone in your group with wines by the glass, artisan microbrews on draft, and proper classic cocktails- and none of them will drain your wallet, even after the 5-8pm happy hour is over.

For years the area has had only two choices when it comes to happy hour– dive bars for the straight community or pricey lounges for the gay crowd.  Blackbird, with expert precision, has nailed the art of comfort and class for the mixed-crowd atmosphere.

To create a Blackbird: blend historical newsprints with local modern art, an old-world cherry wood bar with contemporary seating, and a top shelf drink list handwritten on 8 feet of butcher paper, and the neighborhood bar is ready.  Do not garnish with a cover, fancy dress code, or water down with unemployed barflies- just a twist of chic will do.

Rick Bayless Loves to Walk Under the Picasso

Frontera Grill’s Rick Bayless is a big fan of Chicago’s outdoor areas, but there’s something special about Daley Plaza that never gets old for him.  Daley Plaza is a great place to go year-rouCHIdaleyplazand, with events happening every season. From Halloween activities to the great Christmas tree to ethnic festivities to remembrance ceremonies for Memorial Day, there is always a reason to visit the area.

Even when there’s not an event going on, Rick Bayless told citybuzz he likes to head over to Daley Plaza due to a certain Spanish artist:

One of the places that I’ve never tired of walking through, and we have some really beautiful ones in Chicago, is the area right around Daley Plaza because we have that incredible Picasso sculpture… It’s really fun because they are enormous sculptures and they almost invite you to be part of it, to climb around in them, to interact with the sculpture in a way that I think the artist really want you to do. They are not something that’s sort of often and distant, but something that invite you into them.

Rick Bayless loves the sculpture in Daley Plaza, but we’re sure he also loves the Chicago farmer’s market that calls the plaza home from May through October.

***Rick Bayless is an award-winning chef-restaurateur, cookbook author, and television personality. Known for his Mexican cuisine, Bayless has become hugely successful with restaurants like Chicago’s Frontera Grill and America’s only fine-dining Mexican restaurant, Topolobompo.

Melt The Day Away at Kabuki Springs & Spa

With daily stressors that can wear and tear at your body (and every last nerve), it’s nice to have a place to get away from the grind.  Kabuki Springs and Spa in JaSFkabukipantown accommodates the pampering needs of all, from private, alternative wellness services to San Francisco’s only Japanese-style community baths.

Designed to promote harmony and relaxation, Kabuki specializes in the exotic Pan-Asian experience.  Just $20 at the door and you’re led through orchid and Buddha-lined hallways to a private dressing area, then through the steam curtains into the bath house.   Serene music plays in the background as you melt the stress away in the hot tub, warm and cold baths, sauna, or steam room.  There is no time limit on relaxation at Kabuki, so take a rest between each bath on cedar lounge chairs and hydrate with cucumber water or detoxifying tea.

Open seven days a week, Kabuki hosts men-only, women-only, or co-ed days, depending on your preference.  Talking is strongly discouraged (have fun banging the Thai-style gong if it gets too loud for you!) and intimacy is not allowed.  There’s no need for anyone to feel uncomfortable, since personal peace, space, and wellness are Kabuki’s top priority.

Do You Know the Cha Cha Cha?

Away from the bright tourist lights of North Beach and Union Square, most San Francisco locals head to the Mission District after hours, where one can find the most entertaining fusions of food and nightlife in the city.

One of the Bay Guardian Newspaper’s “Best of the Bay” winneSFchachachars several years in a row,  Cha Cha Cha on Mission Street is the perfect way to pre-game your evening.  This neighborhood favorite features an extensive tapas selection, including Platanos Maduros (tropical sweet bananas with black beans and sour cream) and Ceviche Del Dia (seafood in a spicy lime vinagrette).  There are so many favorites from the tapas menu that most groups have no problem compromising on ordering one of each dish!  There is plenty to go around.

One thing to be sure of when starting an evening here is ordering a pitcher of Cha Cha Cha’s famous sangria. The bartenders also make a killer Caipirinha, with Cachaca Ypioca (a Brazilian rum), sugar, and fresh lime.  Of course, if the traditional Latin drinks aren’t your thing, the bar has plenty of microbrew beers or sweet cocktails to suit you.

Artmore Hotel Brings Art to Life in Atlanta

New York CiPicture 14ty has the Statue of Liberty. San Francisco has the Bay Bridge. Atlanta’s work of art is the Artmore Hotel. Unlike many of the city’s boutique hotels, the Artmore takes its guests on an international journey all within city limits. The exterior is that of Spain, interior of Los Angeles, and the rooms look like a posh French apartment. Your next stay here will surely require that you kick back, relax and enjoy the stay.

Built in 1924, the former Granada Suites Hotel has transformed into a renovated urban retreat. The warm color palette of each room brings a romantic flavor to the stay. Each room includes complimentary WiFi, flat panel TV’s, an iPod docking station and awesome views of the Atlanta skyline.

Located minutes away from the city’s famed Atlantic Station shopping district, you won’t have to look too far for various ways to stay busy.

Perennial Panzano

PanzanoswordfishrisottoThe hype’s as low as the loyalty is high at Panzano, a downtown fixture that’s so dependable day in and day out you could almost be forgiven for taking chef Elise Wiggins’s enormous talent for granted. But don’t. Even as it morphs from a power breakfast and lunch spot to a happy hour haunt to a pre-theater rendezvous, Wiggins’s creative energy never wanes, whether she’s popping out zeppole (doughnut holes), flipping her signature crespelle ai funghi (mushroom crepes), or whipping up ever-intriguing pastas (keep your eyes peeled for dried fruit). Meanwhile, matching her knack for contemporary Italian cookery is her passion for sustainability; going beyond organic, she launched a nose-to-tail steer program in mid-2009.

Yet another bonus: the bread basket’s one of Denver’s best.

Momentum Dance: One of Miami’s Best Troupes

The hypnotic moves of Miami’s stellar dance troupe Momentum Dance Company, who have been gPicture 26racing stages around the city for more than two decades, makes for a mesmerizing experience. A show by Momentum always holds some kind of surprise with their ingenious creativity. The repertoire of numbers conceived by artistic director Delma Iles are so popular that dance fans have come to expect them, like “Sand Dance,” a solo effort by Iles that incorporates a single spotlight and sand into the performance.

Performing all over the city, this contemporary group is known for inventive and innovative moves and haunting performances that captivate the audience and leave them wanting more. Make a point of catching Momentum while in Miami or risk missing an unforgettable experience. Check out their website to find out when the next performance is taking place.

Cool River Scores Big With the Little Things

Oftentimes, it’s the little things that really make a difference between a good time and a great time. Cool River in Las Colinas knows the little things count, and adds those extra touches to keepCool River Cafe patrons coming back for more. First little detail? A coat check. It might be old-school, but the class and convenience of a coat check is especially welcome on nights out when you want to dance and don’t want to be bogged down with accessories. Another interesting perk is the cigar room; choose any of the reasonably priced cigars off the menu and enjoy a relaxing smoke. If this all sounds a little too stuffy for your taste, don’t worry. A DJ spinning the latest hits or live bands, like the quirky “Space Rockers,” keep the dance floor moving until the wee hours.

Traditional food and libations of all kinds provide sustenance, and if you want to enjoy your meal in a quieter setting, the dining room is available as well. Cool River has something for everyone, and those little touches speak volumes about big atmosphere.

The Stars Are Always Out At Nobu Dallas

Picture 4Strategically located off the ultra-luxurious lobby of Hotel Crescent Court, and smack in the heart of Uptown, sits one of Dallas’ sexiest Japanese hotspots. But this isn’t your average sushi joint; this is Nobu Dallas.

A testament to the parking lot full of Bentleys, Maseratis, and Porsches outside, Nobu is prone to frequent visits from VIP guests of the hotel, as well as repeat offenders of pretty much any Dallas sports team from the Cowboys to Mavericks to Stars. And speaking of stars, A-list celebrities and Dallas elite have also been known to frequent their favorite tables, servers, and dishes right here at good ol’  Nobu Dallas.

Nobu offers something delicious for every palate- even those who tend to run from raw fish. Nobu also offers a variety of hearty fare; most notably the Wagyu beef (think Kobe or Washu), their very famous Black Cod with miso glaze, or Lobster Tempura for those with bigger appetites. And just say Omakase! if you have no idea what to order to let your knowledgable server map out your meal. Despite the reputation of most Japanese restaurants, we would suggest saving room for the desserts here.

Rioja: LoDo’s Mediterranean Mecca

RiojagnocchiFrom the moment its doors opened in 2004, handsome Rioja has been on the short list of candidates for Denver’s best restaurant not only among locals but in the national press (including GQ and Details).

Though Colorado is always in the background, chef-partner Jennifer Jasinski keeps her focus admirably sharp and tight on the cuisines of Italy and Spain, and the result is a seasonal repertoire as robust and colorful in flavor as it is precise in presentation. Handmade pasta is always a must, as is the signature appetizer of spiced pork belly in fresh chickpea puree—but then, so are the remarkably rich soups and fruit-based desserts. Perhaps the ultimate must is more than one visit.

Classical Art Made Modern at San Francisco Opera

If you think of opera as long, boring, and hard to follow, you haven’t been to the San Francisco Opera.  From the bellbottoms to ball gowns dress code, and SFotellowith subtitles above the stage, a night at the opera isn’t just for the world-traveling elite anymore.  The San Francisco Opera does justice to this classic art form by making it accessible and entertaining to modern society.

In the heart of The Civic Center next to the Capitol Building, every grand staircase and facade of the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House seems to have been carved out of marble and gold, and the set designs are always elaborately impressive.  Taking in the spectacle is even better while enjoying a pint of beer or a high-end wine.  And don’t think the crowd is going to be boring either, since the opera is attended more these days by 20-50 something’s in the peak of their social lives, with great fashion sense to boot.

Tickets can range from $10-$120, but if you’re looking for an old-fashioned night out on the town don’t be afraid to play “Pretty Woman” dress-up, make reservations at one of the many nearby fine restaurants (like Absinthe), and go all out with a box seat and opera glasses.

Raffaello Hotel’s Menage-a-Trois

Boutique hotel. Four Stars. Non-smoking. Raffaello Hotel proudly boasts being the only hotel in Chicago to hold down that menage-a-trois. Thankfully, their location is also a major perk, just off Michigan Avenue and surrounded by the Theater District, where perfect shopping oPicture 47pportunities and dining options galore. But we all know that means jack if the service sucks — and worry not. It doesn’t. The service is personalized and sincere; phew!

Next question: amenities of course! Here’s their bragging list:

breakfast room service, massage treatments, manicure and pedicure by Windy City Massage, concierge services, 24-hour business center, PC computer kiosks, 24-hour fitness center, valet parking, valet laundry, mini-bars, microwaves, rain forest showerheads, flat screen LCD TV’s, DVD players, electric shoe shine machines, in room safes, luxurious bathrobes, all cotton terry bath towels, 350 thread count sheets overlaying goose down duvets. 18th floor meetings and convention center; restaurant and bar with outdoor terrace seating

If all this doesn’t talk to you, maybe money will. The Raffaello Hotel recently threw $25 million to their space in refurbishment upgrades. So if checking out this space is on your radar, see if a package would suit your fancy. They’ve got one for practically every occasion (hot cars, bridal getaways, shopping sprees and many more).

Atlanta Goes Green at the Piedmont Park Green Market

Picture 6 With the holidays around the corner, it’s the perfect time to show your family & friends that you truly care about their health with organic ingredients for your holiday meal. An alternative to your neighborhood grocery chain and an excuse to go for a walk are great reasons to check out the Piedmont Park Green Market on Saturdays from 9 AM-1 PM.

Packed with flavor and not pre-packaged, the selection is locally grown produce, cheeses, floral arrangements and natural products. In addition, you can meet the farmers or merchant that grew or created the product you’re purchasing, how often do you have that opportunity?

See chef demos, enjoy live music and support local merchants at the Piedmont Park Green Market Saturdays in December.

Hubbard Street Dances Outside the Box

If you’ve seen the Nutcracker more times than you can count then try on a new dance for size. The Hubbard Street Dance Company is boasting their Winter Series at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park, which will blow your Nutcracker-Deja-vu-Blues away. Critically acclaimed for its innovative performances and top echelon of choreographers, when Hubbard Street announces a new series, you’ll want Picture 17to snag your tickets asap. The billboards for this baby are already adorning all of Chi-town.

Dancing to the “haunting music” of Arvo Pärt by Ohad Naharin and rocking out to ‘Boléro’ by Maurice Ravel, the dancers will have you squirming in your seat awaiting your chance to move. Even if this means nothing to you, isn’t it enough that it’s:

  • Inspiring? Yes.
  • New? Yes.
  • Leaves you with something to talk about? Yes.

So leave Clara and her sugar plum fairies to their ol’ routine this season and support a company that dares to push the envelope.

The Winter Series is from December 3-6, 2009 in Millennium Park, but make sure to check their website for their seasonal series.

The Ellis Hotel, A Truly Unique Boutique Hotel

Picture 5The new and improved Ellis Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Atlanta is a piece of Atlanta’s history. From its luxurious modern guest rooms – fully equipped with iPod docking stations – to its elegant crystal chandeliers, there is no limit to the luxury at Ellis.

Its recent $28 million hotel renovation brought much more than a fresh paint job, Atlanta’s Ellis Hotel offers 21st century conveniences and amenities. Among them are sleek and sophisticated interior design and furniture, on-site event planning service, and WiFi access throughout the entire hotel.

But the new Ellis Hotel didn’t stop with luxury amenities, they also have an exclusive women’s only floor. It’s complete with necessities for the woman-on-the-go (i.e. snuggly slippers and curling irons).

After prepping in your luxurious room or on their exclusive floor, it’s time to dine at the fine Terrace on Peachtree Restaurant. This Atlanta restaurant offers its patrons recipes from local vendors, giving a simple escape to America’s finest. Be sure to try the Sweet Potato Ravioli, stuffed mushrooms or even the Chocolate Indulgence Brownie. Andrea, the restaurant manager, will ensure that your dining experience is that of royalty.

These features make The Ellis not just an Atlanta hotel with comfortable beds, but also a lavish retreat from the usual chain hotels. This truly unique boutique Atlanta hotel offers its clients options while relaxing in luxurious accommodations.

San Francisco From the Stars at The Starlight Room

You don’t need a time machine to party in 1930’s glam style, just take the elevator to the top floor at the Starlight Room.  Priding himself with more style and attention to detail as other nightclub owners, socialite Harry Denton has done the classic penthouse lounge justice.

With a glittery panorama of downtown, including Union Square’s designer shops and the Bay BridgPicture 4e, the Starlight Room is a place to relax and enjoy the view.  While the bar offers many ‘Million Dollar Cocktails’ such as the $200 Angels Share snifter of cognac, and 20 yr. old Tawny Port with walnut liqueur and Chartreuse, they also offer a drink called ‘The Recession’”– PBR in a brown paper bag for $4.

If you’ve done your research and made VIP reservations, a plush booth for six awaits you with your bottle of choice, where cocktails are mixed and served right at your table.

Expect to see it all at the Starlight room, from club-hopping 20-somethings and performing drag queens to convention-going doctors and lawyers.  Everyone comes here because of the sophistication of the scene, and to dance amongst the stars.

Nothing to Toi About

Toi pictureEven though there are countless Thai restaurants spread all over Los Angeles, nothing compares to Toi on Sunset. Half Rock ‘n Roll café and half amazing food, this place is the ultimate stop for great veggie Thai food with even better service. Some must haves include their amazing Pad Thai and even more amazing vegetarian dishes such as the dried chili cashews and the eggplant, pumpkin and tofu.

Other than the food, what makes this place so great is the atmosphere; the décor is wild and the walls are filled with rock royalty paraphernalia and posters galore. While you may find other restaurants shutting their doors earlier than eleven, this place shuts down at 4am, making this a great after hours spot for drinks and dining. And don’t worry about what days this place is open; they are open seven days a week until 4am each night!

With fabulous food and a killer vibe, the only downfall would be the horrendous parking situation on the weekends; try to find a spot on Sunset or take the time to search for parking, because after all, it is open until 4am.

See and Be Scene at George

Tucked away in a courtyard about as obscure as a place on the coveted guest list, lies George, the newest addition to the semi-private bars that encompass the popular Georgetown social scene.  George’s ultra-exclusive vibe caters to young Washingtonians looking to mingle with a hand-picked crowd, in a relaxed yet refined setting.

Just opened in August 2009, George has an upscale, tavern-like feel with oversized brass bars studded with substantial leather bar chairs.  Washed in warm, olive hues and outfitted in historicPicture 16 decor inspired by colonial Georgetown, George lends a nod to tradition with a uniquely modern sensibility – perfect for its young, conservative crowd looking to party with some class.

Lured by a DJ spinning popular late-night favorites, list members and their guests tend to pile in after 10pm on weekend nights.  A nearly pitch-black dance floor is the place to be if you’re looking to party hard with some Georgetown movers and shakers. Who knows, you may even learn a move or two from Washington Nationals star, Ryan Zimmerman, a frequent patron of the bar.

Insider Tip: List or no list, the bar is open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays for Happy Hour from 6-9 PM, so grab a comfy leather seat at the bar and get a feel for what its like to be a card-carrying member.

Illuminate Yourself at Lumen

Meatpacking district in Chicago. Confused? Chi-town also has a meatpacking district and it happens to be at the cusp of the fastlane. Known as Fulton Market, this ‘hood is opening up hot little numbers each and every month. Whether it’s the bistro-du-jour or a great new lounge, this neighborhood is a bouncin’.

One of the newer favorites is the contemporary lounge-slash-dance space, Lumen. With 5,000 square feet of space, Lumen describes itself as “a visual indulgence for the eyes,” so too is the crowd that adorns it. Those there to chill and those there to dance all have one thing in common: they’re dressed to impress.

The 3-D sound system and accompanying uber-technologically advanced light system at Lumen is enough to transport guests to a true escape. The sound? Depending on the night you’ll find your regular hot-list for Chicago party-goers: jazz, chill-lounge and deep house.

As for the social elixir of life to keep you going whilst there? Choose amongst their chic list of cocktails all bearing the name of a different locale: Tahiti, Casablanca, Geneva. Havana, and Milan.

There isn’t a drink called “Meat-packer” – yet.

You Gotta Hear It to Believe It: Jim Green

In a city known for its idiosyncratic tastes in art—including not just one but two giant blue animal sculptures—local visionary Jim Green fits right in, notPicture 9 least for the fact that you can’t actually see his work. What you can do is hear it: take a ride (or two) on his Laughing Escalator at the Colorado Convention Center; wash your hands in his Singing Sinks at the Denver Art Museum; pace the intersection of 15th and Curtis until you hear the whistles and hoofbeats of his Soundwalk rising up from the pavement grates.

Green’s recorded installations defamiliarize the mundane environment through which we usually move so thoughtlessly, startling us into laughter—and his exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, continuing through January 3, 2010, is no different, centering as it does on whoopee cushions.

Light Show & Cristal at Liv Nightclub

Head a little north of South Beach to one of the most unexpected places – the historic Fontainebleau Hotel – to party the night away at Liv NigPicture 8htclub, a hotspot catering to celebrities and locals alike. For example, chances of spotting actress Gabrielle Union, who loves to play in Miami, hanging out with her friend, Miami Heat basketball player Dwayne Wade, are very likely.

After all, the place is 30,000 square feet of pure party atmosphere with three full service bars, VIP areas where the Cristal champagne usually flows to world-renowned DJs playing dance tunes as well as hip hop and house music. The all-night light show, main dance floor, and second floor balcony viewing area are the perfect recipe for an unforgettable weekend.

Color and Pop at The Curtis Hotel

From the Wii in the pop art–filled lobby to the cheeky recorded anDENcurtisnouncements in the elevator, The Curtis Hotel positively revels in its own hipness—charming even the most curmudgeonly guest in the process. Who, after all, can spite the wacky decorative themes distinguishing each floor, be it One Hit Wonders on five or Big Hair on nine? Who can begrudge the borderline louche after-work scene at signature lounge The Corner Office, where colleagues canoodle over chicken and waffles?

And hey, there’s even something for vultures of high culture—the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, right across the street.

Members Only Rock ‘N Roll at The Rookery

Say goodbye to the grimy, Journey-blasting dives of old Picture 11and hello to “The Rookery,” an upscale live music hotspot that hosts a variety of talent every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  Located just beyond Georgetown in DC’s West End, The Rookery is an exclusive, “member’s only” hang-out where Washington’s young creme de la creme congregate over the tunes of local cover bands and national touring classic rockers – all beneath the simple elegance of crystal chandeliers, of course.

A semi-private hotspot for the 30-something conservative Preppy (Luke Russert and the Bush twins have been known to frequent the bar), The Rookery boasts a heated outdoor patio and two floors of rich, dark decor, complete with sport coat-clad patrons.  Grab a bourbon and some dancing shoes (preferably loafers) and get ready for a true Washingtonian-style jam session.  Just remember, collared shirt required.

Insider Tip: Go early and grab a bite to eat before you stake out your place near the stage.  The Rookery has an impressive menu to fuel some serious dance moves.  Shows usually start around 10:00 PM with a $5.00 entrance fee.

Hike Your Way to the Hollywood Sign

You can take tour buses, visit celebrities’ homes, and even put your hands in their handprints, but there’s nothing better than saying you got up close and personal to the famous Hollywood Sign that the average person only sees from a distance.

Picture 6With proper research on which turns to take and where to park, the hike to the Hollywood Sign is an absolute must for tourists and locals alike. When embarking on the hike, make sure to know where that certain “left turn” is; if you accidentally go right you will find yourself in Griffith Park.

The forty-minute hike involves stamina and hiking shoes, but the view is absolutely breathtaking. With cameras left and right protecting the sign, the closest you might get to the white letters is behind a fence. Yet the experience and view are well worth it. This is one tourist spot even a Hollywood tour bus couldn’t get you to.

Duross and Langel Savonniers

PHIdurossDuross and Langel’s shop (soaps, lotions, balms, candles) is the kind of place you walk into and involuntarily exclaim “Mmmmmm!” The smells are sensuous and alluring without the overpowering, headache inducing nature of most specialty soap shops. The product is 100% natural, the prices are great, and the shop often gives out free samples with purchases.All-star soaps are: “Mighty Aphrodite” made with scents like patchouli and lavender, and “Ocean,” which quickly whisks you away to an outdoor shower after a day on the beach.

The shop has its own version of Sunday school with hands-on soap making classes. Special events, like gelato tasting paired with inspired soap creations, are scheduled often and listed on the website. Happy smelling!

Swanky in the Museum at Art After 5

If you’re from Philadelphia, you’ve been to Art After 5. On Fridays the Philadelphia Museum of Art in all its splendor keeps its doors open later than usual (till 8:45pm) for food and drink specials, dancing, music, and gallery browsing. Picture 9

If you’re there for the music, make sure to get there close to 5pm to snag a good seat in the Great Stair Hall, which might be one of the coolest rooms you’ve ever seen.

If you’re there for the gallery, grab your cocktail and get ready to view some of Philadelphia’s finest with a fraction of the crowd, and great background music to boot. If you’d like to know more about the art with a guide, tours are offered throughout the evening for no additional charge.

Whether you’ve been to the Art Museum or not, Art After 5 is a fantastic way to see the museum in a relaxing and stylish way.

The Bellevue: The Grande Dame of Broad St.

Nicknamed “The Grande Dame of Broad Street,” this historically-rich building has kept the same charm since her opening in 1904. Famous guests, including every U.S. President since Roosevelt (!), PHIbellevuehave stayed in the hotel segment of the building.

Besides the hotel, the Bellevue holds dozens of luxury shops (Nicole Miller, Tiffany & Co.), a food court with cuisine ranging from sushi to gyros, and a top-notch health club.

XIX (Nineteen) is one of the finest restaurants at the Bellevue and often has jam-packed happy hours after work. The restaurant is on the 19th floor, hence the name, and has some of the best views of Philadelphia.

Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland is in the main lobby as you enter off of Broad Street; the champagne truffles are bursts of decadent goodness. The shop is adorable and their chocolates are packaged beautifully, making great gifts for your return to home or the office.

Atlanta Gets Styled at Bill Hallman’s Boutique

ATLbillhallmanFashion house. Event Venue. TV set. Three titles that rarely come to mind when one thinks of a boutique. However, the Bill Hallman boutique empire has raised the bar for designers worldwide. Much more than a store with clothes, this stylehouse is the mecca for this season’s best denim, outwear, & even your night-out-on-the-town gear.

Various events are hosted at the boutique weekly, including the recent meet & greet with men’s shirts designer Zachary Prell and jewelry designer Telahin. On any given night you may see a magazine, album, or TV show release party held at Bill Hallman.

Recently listed by Creative Loafing as 2009 Designer of the Year, Bill Hallman is doing much more for the Atlanta community than simply selling clothing. He’s encouraging social networking, community involvement through his current design mentoring program, and still providing an enjoyable shopping experience. So if you’re looking for an Atlanta hotspot where you may catch a glimpse of a celebrity all while getting styled for your next event, take a drive over to Bill Hallman’s Boutique. Visit for more information.

The Cafe That’s Not For The Day

Picture 8The Cafe has been The Castro’s favorite venue for years, welcoming everyone gay and straight to enjoy a one-of-a-kind dancing and drinking experience.  Having recently undergone a multi-million dollar transformation, The Cafe’s makeover is like treating its faithful patrons to a thinner and more successful boyfriend.

Let the thump of The Café’s state of the art sound system lead you upstairs to any of the three bars for a two-for-one happy hour.   Try not to spend the evening staring blindly at any of the 12 HD flat screens, because there’s a much better view on the dance floor.  The Café also features an open-air atrium (complete with retractable glass awning should the weather get touchy) in the middle of the bar to help cool off after that Michael Jackson dance routine.

It’s been a long-standing tradition in the Castro to meet any night of theweek for The Cafe’s legendary happy hour.  You’ll see many familiar faces so don’t be afraid to go alone.  If all this isn’t enough, the bartenders are appealing too.

Crissy Field: Weekend Windsurfing & Everything Else

Looking for an all-purpose, exquisitely maintained outdoor venue without the private club membership? Head to Crissy Field in the Marina District, where boredom and inactivity are not an option. This is where San Francisco spends its weekends: on windsurfing boards, kayaks, nature trails, dog-friendly beaches, bike paths, and open lawns.

Crissy Field is also the perfect place to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge, with no need to drive to the north viewing terrace in Sausalito, let alone homepage_san_fransicopay for the toll or the fancy postcards. Not to mention you can kill two birds with one stone, since Alcatraz, “The Rock,” is just off the coast in the center of the bay. Stick around with your blankets and folding chairs for sunset over the bridge- it’s a soft, romantic light show you won’t want to miss.

Originally a US Mail Airfield, Crissy Field has been transformed by the community through years of native plant restoration, historic preservation, and refurbished park amenities. All the years have paid off as this is now an amazing venue for the beach, sightseeing, and everything in between.

An Intoxicating Experience at Absinthe

Mix France’s passion for the art of dining, Northern Italy’s seasonal-inspired menus, and Top Chef Jamie Lauren’s cultured American influence and you have an explosion of rich flavor and buttery emotion that lingers on every taste bud long after you leave.

Absinthe Brasserie & Absinte cabinetBar in charming Hayes Valley has a vintage french wine list (Wine Spectator 2009’s Award of Excellence Winner to be fair) and assortment of fine cheeses alone that will impress even the most discerning of foodies.  Except how could anyone not be further enticed by menu items like Steak Tartare with poached quail egg and habanero or Charoula-Rubbed Lamb Loin with cucumber relish.  Feeling like a French royale? Absinthe serves Tsar Nicoulai Farm-Raised Osetra Caviar for $75 an ounce.

In addition to the fine dining, and for the upscale foodie on a budget, Absinthe has a separate Belle Epoque-inspired bar space featuring designer cocktails and cafe style small plates.  Pair the strength of Absinthe’s atmosphere with a “Sacred Heart” tequila/absinthe cocktail and this brasserie will have you seeing “la fee verte”.

Going Mad for Wonderland

Though Los Angeles is infamously known for being a town filled with women doing anything and everything they can to stay young, Wonderland has officially taken it to a whole ‘nother level. Wonderland nightclub, loosely based around thPicture 4e childhood favorite, is the newest addition to the Dolce Group, the men who brought us favorites such as Ketchup and Bella restaurants.

With mirrored walls and framed rabbit shadows, you might expect to find yourself dizzy, when in fact the club is quite tasteful and elegant. Opting for a more relaxed vibe than over the top, Wonderland is the new celebrity hang out on one of the most popular streets in Hollywood. With frequent visitors such as Rhianna and the girls from MTV’s The Hills, it’s no wonder everyone is coming out to play and standing behind the velvet rope. But be warned Alice imposters, only the real deal are getting in this New Year’s with tickets costing up to $200.00 a person awaiting the stroke of midnight.

You may not be able to fall down the rabbit whole, but you may just fall in love with this new Hollywood hangout.

Hotel Cafe: The Only Two Things This Spot Doesn’t Have

Even though Hotel Café is hidden on one of Los Angeles’s most popular streets, the venue feels like a throwback to old Hollywood amidst a sea of trendy nightclubs and sports bars. With up to four performances in a night, Hotel Café is a popular hang out for music lovers interested in independent artists at a fraction of the price.

The dark lighting and limited amount of seating encourages guests to really enjoy the multiple performancePicture 13s. With a very limited menu at night, most people are found hanging out at one of the two bars or lining up against the wall with a ledge.

Though the setting is extremely relaxed and less ritzy than the rest of Hollywood, don’t be surprised if you find a celebrity or two among the crowd; the last celebrity spotting was Ryan Cabrera supporting his fellow independent artists.

If one of your favorite performers is making his or her debut, we recommend getting there extremely early to snag one of the five tables in the front row that are usually filled by the time anyone goes on. And if you find yourself struggling with parking on a busy night, enter into the alley on Cahuenga where you can find valet parking in the back.

1. A Show Stopping New Year at Social Hollywood 12/31/09

Social Hollywood, Hollywood’s only Mansion style venue, invites you to join in on the major social event for New Year’s Eve. Enjoy a spectacular dinner, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts prepared by Citrus’ Celebrity Chef Michel Richard. This is the same Citrus Restaurant that was voted Best Restaurant in the United States by Traveler Magazine.

With three different dance floors and music, there’s something for every taste. Top off the night with a spectacular midnight countdown show with aerialists, performance artists, pyro-displays, special effects, lighting, and much more. In Hollywood they definitely know how to put on a show.

2. Last Chance for Rare Picasso & More 12/1-12/12/09

Picasso is known for his abstract paintings, but he was also a talented ceramic artist.  Having one of the largest collections of Picasso ceramics to be offered by a private gallery, The Andrew Weiss Gallery is proudly presenting Picasso Ceramics (1947-1969). For the first time, more than 50 rare ceramic works are being made available to collectors. Picasso’s quest to master all mediums is demonstrated through this exhibition that also includes his drawings, etchings, and lithographs.

Additionally, the exhibit includes works by Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, and other 20th century masters.

3. Christmas meets Cirque Du Soliel at Hunky Santa 12/1-12/24/09

Look no further for an alternative to the traditional Santa Claus you have long out-grown. Hunky Santa and the Candy Cane Girls put on a “Vegas-Style” production complete with Cirque du Soleil styled dance routines and acrobatics combined with a fashion show vibe with the star of the show being a Santa Claus with a six-pack (they do exist!).  With no intention of replacing Santa, this is a fun way to have a grown-up spin on the holiday in a chic – and interesting- Beverly Hills style.

4. Venetian Holiday in Long Beach 12/19/09

You don’t have to go to Venice to enjoy a well-decorated, romanticPicture 11 canal. Kick start the holiday season by taking a stroll along the canals of Naples Island, where people take pride in decorating their homes that line the water. Better yet, take a romantic gondola ride to view them in style.

On December 19th, people line the bridges and streets to view the small boat parade. The larger vessels that don’t fit in the canals can be viewed from the 2nd Street Bridge and along Alamitos Bay Marina. Throughout the holiday season, Naples Island in Long Beach is a sure bet for taking in the holiday spirit.

5. Homage to LA in Dreamers Exhibit 12/1-1/3/2010

Harry Chandler’s exhibition, Dreamers in Dream City, is an homage to the men and women of Los Angeles. Chandler found inspiration in the men and women who come to this city to chase their dreams and mixed his passion to photography to create an exceptional and thought-provoking art exhibit.

View over 55 large-scale portraits created by Chandler of the most accomplished men and women in the city. Chandler uses “post visualization’ to merge past and present. His technique confirms that the effect of Dream City is timeless.

1. Miami Art Basel: Most Important Art Show 12/3-12/6/09

The Art Basel Miami Beach is deemed the most important art show in the United States as well as a cultural and social highlight for all the Americas. That is quite a description to live up to, but year after year this art show does.

As a sister to the world’s most important art show, Switzerland Art Basel, Miami Beach brings it all: top galleries, special exhibitions, parties, and crossover events from the worlds of music, film, architecture and design. With so much going on and so many quality works of art on display, it is no wonder The Art Basel Miami Beach is a favorite meeting place for the international art world.

2. Chicest NYE Party at Mondrian 12/31/09

Many Hollywood types head to the warm beaches of Miami for New Year’s Eve and many of them will be headed to the elegantly chic Mondrian Hotel on South Beach. Ring in 2010 with class and luxury poolside or in a private cabana with you and your friends. An open bar runs all night from 9pm until 2am, while multiple DJ’s spin until 4 am. The Mondrian shows you how to have a New Year’s Eve party Miami style.

3. Celebrate Art Week at Art Miami 2009 12/2-12/6/09

Art Basel may be the big art event in town, but Art Miami 2009 has longevity on its side. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Art Miami is the City’s original and longest-running contemporary art fair. As the anchor of Miami Art Week, Art Miami always delivers with a wide variety of outstanding pieces of art from 80 contemporary art galleries and prominent institutions from all across the globe.

4. Like Broadway at Miami Ballet’s Nutcracker 12/11-12/23/09

The Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is a cultural spectacular to see this holiday season. With a cast of more than 100, awe-inspiring sets and costumes, magical special effects, incredible music, and exquisite dancing by international ballet stars. The Miami City Ballet Company’s reputation has been enhanced with one of their dancers making the cover of Dance Magazine.

The dates are limited to make sure you plan ahead to see this stellar performance- and star dancers- this holiday season.

5. Sea Winter Nights & Lights 12/19/09-1/2/2010

It even snows in Miami for the holidays- albeit fake snow. At the Miami Seaquarium in late December, the annual Winter Nights and Lights Celebration will be celebrating this special time of year. Complete with a nightly snowfall, extended park hours and holiday themed shows and exhibits, this is the perfect place to grab the family and get in the spirit of the season in a unique way.

1. Celebrate German Style at Christkindlemarket 12/1/09-12/24/09

ChristkindelSanta-ClausThe Christkindlmarket is a German holiday tradition that has become a Chicago institution. Possibly the most popular holiday market in Chicago, the Christkindlmarket gives a unique shopping experience with an added twist of German food, drinks, and holiday entertainment.

Apart from your typical market fare that includes hand-blown ornaments and young designers showing their creations, there are a wide variety of German products like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, beer steins, and popular Hummel figurines. With all the special events and shopping at Christkindlmarket, it’s no wonder that 2009 makes it its 14th year and continues to grow every year.

1. Watch President Obama Light the Nation’s Tree 12/3/09-1/1/2010

No tree lighting can compare to the all-star line-up for the National Christmas Tree Lighting in Washington, D.C. They’ve got all corners covered with performances from mega-stars Sheryl Crow and Jordin Sparks, folk-pop songwriter Ray Lomantagne, jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, and even International Irish phenomenon Celtic Women at the event.

Of course, the main stars are the First Family themselves where Obama will give one of his soon-to-be famous speeches and the entire family will help light the energy-efficient national tree. This is a highly-anticipated event, so tickets are a must.

If you can’t make it for the big day, there will be free performances throughout the holiday season until the New Year.

1. NYE’s Most Elite Party at Loews Hotel 12/31/09

New Year’s Eve is always magical, but at the Loews Hotel party it is truly something special. The evening is actually three parties in one, with live bands, performers, and different DJ’s throughout the Penthouse, Regency Ballroom, and Sole Food. Included in the evening is five hours of Butlered hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast at midnight, and show-stopping décor with a 360-degree view of Philadelphia’s skyline to ring in the New Year right! Catch the fireworks and be part of the stunning crowd at his incredible soiree.

1. Ring in a Classy New Year with the ASO 12/31/09

ASOTwo-time Grammy Award-Winning vocalist Sylvia McNair joins the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra offering a classy way to ring in the New Years.  McNair has produced over 70 recordings and has accepted incredible invitations to perform for The Pope John Paul II, Hilary Clinton, and The U.S. Supreme Court. Arrive at 6 pm for a delicious three-course feast and then relax to favorites like “The Can-Can” to “Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

1. Tim Burton’s Debut at the MoMA 12/1/09 – 12/31/09

You did not read that wrong, the famed visionary filmmaker Tim Burton has an exhibition open at the Museum of Modern Art. Highly-anticipated by many publications across the U.S., Tim Burton’s art work ranges from never-before-seen sketches from his childhood to his major Hollywood success.

The exhibition contains over 700 examples of art from drawings, painting, photographs, concept art, storyboards, puppets, maquettes, costumes, and moving image works. If you love his movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Batman, and Edward Scissorhands, you will definitely be intrigued by the brain- and art- behind the famous movies.

1. Celebrate the Season at the Festival of Lights 12/1/09-12/31/09

The Holiday Festival of Lights may be located at the tourist favorite Fisherman’s Wharf, but during the holidays the local San Francisco people know this is the place to celebrate the season. With an incredible display of lights on the facades of buildings as well as decorations along the inner and outer lagoon, you literally walk into the spirit of the season.

Not only does this area boast an impressive Christmas tree and lights, it also is a great place to get your shopping done with four major shopping outlets at your disposal.

2. One of the U.S.’s Best NYE Parties at Drake Hotel 12/31/09

NYE08-Chicago-SceneIf you’re unsure of what city and what location you would like to ring in the New Year, then look no further than the luxurious Drake Hotel and its famous New Year’s Eve party. The party, run by Chicago Scene, has been voted as one of the top 10 NYE parties by AOL Citysearch and is always sold out.  The evening is complete with four ballrooms of entertainment, Chicago’s top cover bands and DJ’s, open bar, champagne toast, hors d’oeuvres, and 45 (!) bars and bartenders so you never have to wait for a drink. Now we know why this is one of the best parties in the U.S.

1. Discover the Art District’s Architecture 12/1/09 – 1/8/09

dallas architectureThe largest urban arts district in the US is now complete with the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts.  The performing arts center is a masterpiece of work from four Pulitzer Prize winning architects: Norman Foster, Rem Koolhass, I.M. Pei, and Renzo Piano.

At this exhibit there are also other important buildings to the civic history of Dallas that can be viewed at the authentic living museum of architecture in the Dallas Arts District. The buildings are placed into a larger context within the astonishing architectural splendor. Take a guided walking tour and enjoy examining the District’s evolution- for this month only!

1. The Society Event: Denver Debutante Ball 12/22/09

debutanteWith the signal of the traditional Trumpet Fanfare, the party will begin at the 54th Annual Denver Debutante Ball. The post-debs and their escorts will move to their places along the grand staircase and the debutante escorts will take their place at the waiting area. As the Master of Ceremonies calls her name, each girl will descend the staircase on the arm of her father.

This event is always the talk of the town and sticking to tradition, the 54th edition will be held at the Brown Palace Hotel, the only venue the event has ever been held.

2. Join the Celebs at the Rockefeller Tree Lighting 12/2/09

The holiday season hasn’t begun until the tree is lit at Rockefeller Center in NYC. This year is destined to be as momentous as years past, with celebrity guest performances including living legend Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, and even The Muppets! Stars and thousands of on-lookers always surround the world’s most famous Christmas tree.

Make sure to get there early if you want to see the performances starting at 6:45pm and lighting of the tree at 8:55pm sharp!

1. Elegant NYE Atop the Prudential Building 12/31/09

top-of-the-hubCelebrate the arrival of 2010 in elegant style at the Resolution Ball, held in Boston’s historic Back Bay. At the Skywalk Observatory of the Prudential Building, guests will enjoy the spectacular 360-degree view of greater Boston, matched only by the stellar live music, food, drinks and joie de vivre of the event. Party favors and VIP goody bags abound at the city’s premier New Year’s Eve party.  Formal dress is required, but black tie is optional.

2. 9 Different NYE Celebrations at Willard InterContinental 12/31/09

Washington’s most luxurious and historic hotel is bringing in the New Year in style- nine different styles to be exact. The Williard InterContinental NYE Gala has nine different themes from New Orleans Jazz to Tokyo to Vienna with a top shelf open bar, champagne toast, elaborate food dinner, and some of D.C.’s best DJ’s to help bring in the new year. This event always sells out, so make sure to get your tickets early.

2. A Benefit Rock & Roll Style for Autism Speaks 12/12/09

autism-speaks1The Hard Rock Café Boston welcomes local and much-loved Boston band SlipKid back to the venue to raise awareness and money for Autism Speaks. The Who tribute band, fronted by music industry veterans Gary Cherone on vocals, his brother Markus on lead guitar, Paul Mangone on bass, Dana Spellman on drums and Jeff Calder on sound boards and programming, celebrate The Who’s energy, music and Žlan. A silent auction held throughout the evening will be “in concert” with Slipkid’s wide-ranging playlist, benefiting America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization.

2. See Billy Crystal’s Record-Breaking 700 Sundays 12/16/09-12/20/09

700sundaysFamed performer Billy Crystal will arrive in Atlanta with his Tony Awarding Winning Broadway blockbuster, 700 Sundays. In this two-act play, Crystal performs as several characters that have influenced who he’s become today.

In its opening week, the play broke the house record for highest weekly gross at the Broadhurst Theatre in NYC and continued to top its record with each week. Now, Atlantas are part of an exclusive six-city tour to enjoy this record-breaking play.

2. SFWA Does Wine Holiday Style on 12/10/09

The San Francisco area is known for its wines and so it’s no surprise that they are celebrating the holiday season with a little vino. The elite San Francisco Wine Association is hosting their second annual Holiday Showcase wine event where participants will enjoy award-winning vintages, meet local vintners, and will even take home a special gift.

The event mixes both the low-end and high-end SF vintners so even if you have no aspirations towards being a sommelier, you can definitely can get into the spirit of the holidays with this wine event.

2. Lights are Big in Grand Prairie Texas 12/1/09 – 12/31/09

prairie lightsPop in your favorite Christmas CD and buckle up for the world’s largest drive-thru light tunnel at the Prairie Lights in Grand Prairie, TX. These two miles of winding roads are lined with scenic displays made up of more than 3 million lights.

After singing your favorite carols, grab a cup of hot cocoa at the concession stand and head over to the walk-though lighted wonderland “Holidays Around the World”. Don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the 10-minute choreographed light show “Holiday Magic” created by Josh Barnett’s Lightasmic, new to the park this holiday season.

2. Embrace Modern Art with EMBRACE! 12/1-12/31/09

imagesWatch as 17 artists from Denver and around the world transform the Denver Art Museum’s Hamilton Building with installations created specifically for its space.  Experience the “installation insider moments” as artists make the creative decisions required for the works. Take the opportunity to be part of the project, influence the artists, and embrace modern art in the making!

2. Get Gorky at Philly’s Museum of Art 12/1/09-12/31/09

The Philadelphia Museum of Art always has an incredible array of exhibitions and throughout the month of December enjoy the Arshile Gorky highlight exhibition. Arshile Gorky is known for transforming American art by moving it toward abstraction as showcased in the works on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibit includes painting, sculpture, prints, and drawing- some of which are being shown here for the first time! So make sure to check out this exception American artist before it disappears in the new year.

3. Lights Galore & More at Atlanta’s Holiday in Lights 12/1/09-1/3/2010

18Celebrate the 2009 Holiday season in the winter wonderland that is now downtown Atlanta. Every year, Crawford and Company employees volunteer their time to install a dazzling winter scene in the 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park.

After strolling through the site, warm up with a nice cup of cocoa at restaurants in the Luckie Marietta District. Don’t forget your ice skates, because one of the parks most popular attractions is Atlanta’s only outdoor ice skating rink.

3. Spend An Evening with Project Runway’s Nick Verreos 12/09/09

Nick Verreos was one of America’s favorite designers during his season of Project Runway, and now he is one of DC’s favorite designers. Join him at the FIDM where he will talk about the inspirations behind his designs that have been worn on the likes of Eva Longoria-Parker and Heidi Klum as well as what’s next in fashion. If that’s not good enough, he will also give the audience a front row, special viewing of the FIDM’s Debut 2009 that showcases its top design students’ work. A reception will follow the talk from the charismatic designer and TV star.

3. Christmas From 4 Corners of Globe in Chicago 12/1/09-1/3/2010

Christmas around the worldThe Museum of Science and Industry gives Chicagoans a two-for-one holiday deal, a Christmas spectacular from all around the world and a Holidays of Light exhibit as well. This 67 year-old tradition lights up the museum with decorations, holiday singers, and dancers. At the center of it all is a giant 45-foot tree with more than 50 trees representing Chicago’s ethnic communities. Throughout the entire season there are plenty events to celebrate each unique holiday!

On top of it is the Holidays of Light exhibition in its ninth year. Not your typical “light” show, this exhibit enlightens its visitors with showcasing the customs of cultures that celebrate holidays other than Christmas during the holiday season. The Museum of Science and Industry brings plenty of cheer from all across the globe to the heart of Chicago.

3. Romance in the New Year at Nana’s 12/31/09

the_bar_at_nana.pngFeast your way into the New Year with an eight-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Anthony Bombaci at one of the “Top 10 Romantic Restaurants in America” as honored by  The evening includes a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Brut champagne per couple, live entertainment, dancing, a balloon drop, and party favors.  Hilton Anatole’s award-winning Nana will host three different party options to ring in the New Year. We’ll put money on it that someone will get engaged when that ball drops!

3. The Botanic Gardens Blossom with Light 12/4-12/31/09

botanical gardensView The Denver Botanic Gardens’ winter beauty as it is highlighted by millions of colorful lights this holiday season.  Placed throughout the path will be complex ice sculptures, to further highlight the mystical winter scene. Warm up with a cup of hot cocoa, grab a set of Holospex 3-D glasses, and set off on foot to enjoy the enhanced light show!

3. Enjoy All Things Holiday at Longwood Gardens 12/1/09-12/30/09

The world-famous Longwood Gardens puts on an incredible holiday season spectacular. The Gardens located at the historic Kennett Square has elegantly decorated trees, beautiful poinsettas, an outdoor light display, ice-skating, organ sing-a-longs, strolling choirs, and hand bell concerts throughout the holiday season. If that’s not everything you’ve ever wanted in an outdoor holiday event, we don’t know what is!

3. Get Social at the San Francisco Social 12/18/09

Celebrate with a good-looking crowd for a good cause at the 2009 San Francisco Social event at the luxurious Fairmont Hotel. The San Francisco Social benefits the city’s largest public arts institution, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The fourth annual event hosts hors d’oeuvres, top shelf open bar, famed DJ Chris Harnett, and an afterparty.

If this year’s event is like any of the previous, it will be filled with hot, young San Francisco socialites coming together over a little bubbly for a good cause.

3. 31 Amazing Nights of Light in Boston 12/1/09-12/31/09

hub2The Shops at Prudential Center will sparkle and glow every night through the month of December in celebration of the warmth and spirit of the season. Thirty area organizations, with support from the City of Boston and the Center’s media partners, will each take a turn in lighting the top of the Prudential Tower.  The new Tower Lights program is a beautiful visual homage to the most important tidings of the month – the true value of family and friends, the significance of sharing, and the merits of caring.

4. Taste Decadent Gourmet in Philly 12/1/09-12/31/09

The Decadent Gourmet Tour title says it all. This is one tour that you don’t need to be a tourist to enjoy. It is 2.5 hours of culinary adventure starting with an extravagant cheese tasting, tea tasting, and finally a chocolate tasting. Through the various courses, attendees will be able to taste Philly’s finest in these genres from some of the city’s hidden culinary gems. If the way to your heart is through your stomach, then you might fall in love with Philly after this tour.

4. SF’s Only NYE “A-List” Event 12/31/09

Ring in the New Year with luxury and fun at the A List event at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square.  This is a huge event, with 15 of San Francisco’s best DJ’s, live art display, theme-based props, a fashion show, and even stilt-walkers and exhibitionists.

The theme is “Passport to the World” with rooms themed for the US, Europe, Asia, the North Pole and beyond. And after all the craziness this party has to offer, you may feel like you’ve been partying all around the globe.

4. The Boston Ballet’s Beautiful Nutcracker 12/1-12/27/09

Nutcracker_11292008Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky’s exquisite music and the stunning choreography of Mikko Nissinen mend together in a holiday celebration for young and old alike. The Boston Ballet, one of the world’s preeminent ballet companies, once again presents the captivating story of the adventures of Clara and her Christmas gift, a unique nutcracker fashioned as a dashing soldier. Magic abounds in their adventures making it the perfect complement to the season.

4. Award-Winning ICE! Debuts in DC 12/1/09-12/31/09

The award-winning spectacular ICE! will debut for the first time ever at the D.C. area Gaylord National Resort. The extravaganza is two-million pounds (!) of sculpted and colored ice carved by forty international artisans to create a living winter wonderland. More than just amazing works of art, they actually encourage you to slide down the ice! ICE!, also known as Christmas on the Potomac, is a great way to celebrate the winter with your children or the child in you.

4. Best of the Midwest Awards Gala 12/1/09

Best of MidwestThe Midwest Independent Film Festival is the nation’s only film festival dedicated to this year and on December 1st they are holding their annual Best of Midwest Awards Gala- or BMA’s. It’s fitting that a night filled with awards is set at the multiple award-winning Rockit Bar & Grill. Here you can celebrate the awards of some of the Midwest’s finest talent and rub shoulders with them too!

4. NYE with New Yorkers- Not Tourists- at Capitale 12/31/09

New York is famous for many things, including the Times Square Ball Drop, but most New Yorkers shudder at the thought of spending their special night in the middle of tourist central. Instead, most New Yorkers are out at the clubs, where they are warm and treated to incredible drink specials.

Capitale, voted the #1 event space in the country, is having an incredible NYE event with a six-hour open bar, appetizers, buffet, an assortment of desserts, and a champagne toast at midnight. Party at the super-chic Capitale where the likes of Eva Mendes, Beyonce, and Jay-Z have been spotted.

4. Ring in at the Ritz this NYE 12/31/09

New Years eve ritzThe ultra-luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel invites you to enjoy an evening of theater, where you are part of the show, along with some of Colorado’s most talented performers to ring in the New Year. The 8th Annual White Rose Gala runs the event around a central theme and this year it’s “Heavenly Bodies”.  Join in on the fun with rays of light, gods and goddesses, and angels. Ladies are encouraged to wear white evening gowns or white accents, while men the attire is Black-Tie or all white formal.

5. Rock Out at Sonny’s Rocks Grand Opening 12/2/09

sonnys_rocks_diamondsEnjoy live music, sparkling cocktails, and some serious bling at Sonny Rock’s Grand Opening event. Sonny’s Rocks is revolutionizing the way jewelry is sold and invites you to join in on the excitement! Sonny’s not only changed their name and look, but also the pricing and product mix. Denver Nuggets star player Chauncey Billups and Regis University men’s basketball coach Lonnie Porter are joining in on the fun, and will be signing autographs and sharing information on the Porter Billups Foundation, a beneficiary of Sonny’s Rocks. Enter to win prizes and enjoy the bubbly at Sonny’s.

5. Grammy Winners Galore at Vocalese 12/9/09

ATTHow many Grammy Winners can fit in a room? Well Vocalese has quite a few! Living legend Jon Hendricks is brought together with the eight-time Grammy winning jazz/pop harmony vocal group, Manhattan Transfer, and the Grammy winning jazz vocal ensemble, The New York Voices, to make for an unforgettable evening. This group adds swinging poetic lyrics to some of the most sophisticated and complicated instrumental solos in jazz.

This combination can only result in Vocalese, one of the most technically difficult and musically rewarding singing styles in jazz, and makes for an exciting, energy-filled evening.

5. Da Vinci That’s Never Been Seen on Display 12/1/09-12/31/09

Be one of Picture 8the first to view Da Vinci works that have never been seen Stateside! The Leonardo Da Vinci: Hand of the Genius exhibition is made of 50 works, including more than 20 sketches and studies, and also features works that have never been displayed in the U.S. before.

This exhibition is an incredible collection of Da Vinci works from collections of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Vatican Museums, the British Museum, and the Musee du Louvre.

5. Indoor/Outdoor Ice Skating at River Rink 12/1/09-/12/31/09

The Blue Cross River Rink at Penn’s Landing, with its location overlooking the Delaware River, is an ideal place to take in the fresh winter season. Now in its 16th anniversary season, this Olympic sized rink is a  holiday favorite for the month of December and beyond.

But if you’re not a fan of the cold, this rink has a solution for you. There is also an indoor facility, complete with a snack bar and game room, so you can enjoy the experience without getting your fingers cold.

5. ICA Thursdays Free Only This Month 12/4-12/31/09

ICABoston’s newest museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, opens its doors gratis for one evening a week only in December through Target’s sponsorship of Free Thursday Nights.  Home to a vast array of works from emerging and established artists, the ICA offers patrons an assemblage of outstanding works in all media. The waterfront museum, designed by award-winning architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is, at once, contemplative and dynamic, mirroring the spirit and sense of the installations housed within.

5. Holiday Window Shopping in Style 12/1/09-12/31/09

It’s always fun to see how stores get into the holiday state of mind, but New York’s retailers take it to a new level. Shopping doesn’t even need to be done to get a full entertaining experience from Fifth Avenue. The likes of Cartier, Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, and Barney’s are known for the extravagant holiday windows and displays. Not only are the windows and mannequins all dressed up, some of the retailers decorate the outside buildings and sidewalks. You can’t help but get into the season with a walk along Fifth Avenue in December.

5. Celebrate Beethoven’s Birthday to His Music on 12/16/09

Entertain--MusicSure, Beethoven’s birthday may not be a national holiday, but it’s always good to have an excuse to hear exquisite music. A string quartet made up of Ann Shein on the piano, Earl Carlyss on the violin, Darrett Adkins on the cello, and Jerome Barry as the baritone voice, will bring Beethoven’s music to life. Tickets do sell fast so make sure to book ahead.

5. Poets do Photography at Poetography Exhibit 12/1/09-12/31/09

Leaving My Found Eden: A Poetography Exhibit showcases award-winning graphic designer, poet, and photographer Ron L. Zheng. Poetography is a unique art where the photographer’s accompany each photograph with a few thought provoking versus.

This exhibit showcases Zheng’s vision of the different elements of life from loss, regret, missed opportunities, and separation from loved ones. Each photographic is beautiful and the poems are truly inspiring.

Start The Weekend Early at First Thurdays Art Stroll

artNestled between Friday’s Happy Hour and Wednesday Hump Day is Atlanta’s First Thursdays Art Stroll. Atlanta was once a city that was pedestrian friendly, however with new outdoor attractions like Atlantic Station and the revamped Underground Atlanta, its giving Atlantans an excuse to park the car and walk. The First Thursdays Art Stroll allows you to not only enjoy the artwork created by local artists, both student and professional, but also appreciate the art of the city.

Started by the Central Atlanta Progress Organization, this is part of the city’s initiative to bring the public & private sectors together for better downtown living. From 5-8PM on the first Thursday of each month, art lovers from all walks-of-life can tour historic buildings including the Fairlie-Popular District. Create your own path throughout the downtown scene, but be sure to visit a few hotspots along the way: Rialto Center for the Arts, Paige Harvey Art Studio, and the Museum of Design Atlanta (the only museum in the Southeast dedicated to design).

Grab your friends, park your car, and talk a stroll under the lights of Atlanta’s skyline for the First Thursdays Art Stroll.