MCA Director Madeleine Grynsztejn Loves Lincoln Park

When she’s not running the show at one of the nation’s largest contemporary art museums, Museum of Contemporary Art Director Madeleine Grynsztejn can be seen at Lincoln Park. This area, which is also one of the coolest Chicago neighborhoods of which she is also a resident, is Madeleine’s go-to place for some R & R. “I really like to go there and unwind and walk around the lake and take a look at the city from there,” Madeleine told citybuzz.

Apart from spectacular skyline views, the park boasts an impressive resume of Picture 13renowned artists and architects that have made the it one of Chicago’s most treasured places, like sculptor Augustus-Saint Gaudens, landscape designers Ossian Cole Simonds and Alfred Caldwell, and architects Joseph Lyman Silsbee and Dwight H. Perkins. You don’t need to be a director of an art museum to appreciate the beauty of their work.

A trip to this peaceful, shoreline park would not be complete without visiting the zoo. “I love the Lincoln Park Zoo,” Madeleine said, and millions of visitors each year agree. The free, family oriented experience is absolutely breathtaking in both the beautiful animals (lions to swans) and incredible layout.

A getaway to Chicago would not be complete without a trip to the breathtaking Lincoln Park and uber-hip neighborhood.

*** Madeleine Grynsztejn is the Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art and is also a resident of the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago.

Shopping and Social Awareness at Therapy

Small independent shops are not the exception in San Francisco, they’re the rule.  And if you think any one of them couldn’t possibly stand out from all the rest then you haven’t been to Therapy’s clothing and furniture boutique in the Mission District.  Great things do indeed come in small packages, as this littlelightingblogentry one-stop shop is stocked with style from the floorboards to the ceilings, literally.

Besides the consistently friendly service and laid-back atmosphere, you’ll also find Ben Sherman and Penguin brands for men, Sam Edleman and Free People for women, original artwork from San Francisco favorite Aaron Kraten, and a dozen varieties of mod lamps and chic wall decals for every room.  Bring it all together with colorful hand-made local accessories, Betsey Johnson purses, or a clutch by Hobo International, and you literally have it all at your fingertips.

At Therapy, your purchase is always socially responsible.  The store is stocked with items that have been purchased through fair-trade, it has donated over $6800 in 2009 to local classrooms, and promotes TOMS “One For One” Movement through the selling of TOMS shoes, and supports local artists by featuring their work.  Now that is truly ‘shopping therapy’!

Shreve, Crump & Low Sparkles with History

When you first step into the newly renovated Shreve, Crump & Low jewelry store, you will quickly know you have come upon something special. Shreve’s is the oldest jeweler in North America in its Picture 10third century of operation offering everything from diamonds, pearls, and gemstones to timepieces, corporate gifts and even a wedding registry.

The store underwent a $10 million dollar renovation in the spring of 2007 and now houses some of most coveted jewelry collections in the country. Throughout its history, the store has sold antiques, stationery and fine linen and even exhibited artifacts from Rome. Most notably, Shreve’s designed a silver cup to honor Boston Red Sox hero Cy Young, which later became known as the Cy Young Award.

Today, the shop exudes luxury with its dark mahogany and marble paneling and new display cases. When you’re looking to splurge, stop by for a rare pearl from Mastoloni or a beautiful Charles Krypell design with emeralds and rubies. Visit for more information.

Move Over E-Harmony, CAS Gets Sexy and Single

For the upper echelons of San Francisco social life, intelligence is sexy.  That’s why Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences is the hottest new singles and date spot in the city.  You get to mingle, sip cocktails, dance to the best beats in the city, and enjoy the academy exhibits without the chaos of daytime school groups.  For the 21 and over crowd, it’s a real treat to have the place to yourselves and for once- and not tCASrip over strollers.

Featuring a four-story living rainforest, penguins, a floor-to-ceiling coral exhibit, and just about every other fascinating natural phenomenon, The California Academy of Sciences is the perfect setting for your social event ($60 for private VIP if you prefer), a great conversation starter for first dates, or just a great way to get out on the town without the crowded, dark bar scene.

Be sure to get to the Nightlife event early for the best experience and the least amount of wait times.  Unless you had dinner prior to coming to the Academy, tapas-style plates are available, that is – if you can pull yourself away from how bizarre it is to watch a glowing jellyfish while drinking a cosmo.

Spice Up Date Night at Fernbank’s Martinis & IMAX

salsa-nightA trip to the museum has always seemed to be a silent, introspective experience a.k.a. not a hangout spot. The Fernbank Museum has found a way to spice it up with the Martinis and IMAX Friday night movie series where guests sip on delicious cocktails, dance to live music and nibble on delectable bits all beneath the remnants of the dinosaur dynasty.

Martinis and IMAX, presented by Turner, features films such as The Greatest Places, Wild Ocean and Van Gogh’s Brush with the Ocean. This is not your average dinner and a movie; the screen is the world’s largest film format at 5 stories high and 75 feet wide. Why not opt a cocktail for a soda? Cocktail favorites include the Frost Bite Martini, Kentucky Cider and the IMAX original. And boring popcorn is replaced by restaurant worthy menu selections including specialty pizzas,  assorted appetizers and desserts.

Click here for more information.

Killer Kobe & Clientele at Beach’s Prime 112

Housed inside a former hotel and looking more like a Key West-inspired structure than anything resembling Art Deco, the hotspot foPrime 112 #2r dining south of Fifth Street on South Beach is Prime 112. Walk through the doors of this quaint yet brightly colored restaurant — seriously, it’s a cheery yellow wooden structure with white trim — and the sense of “this is the place to see and be seen” is immediately evident. Celebrities and all-star athletes love to celebrate here, seeing as the food and ambiance are amazing.

Known for the killer steaks — filet mignon, Kobe, strip, porterhouse, rib eye — they’ve got them all and then some. The seafood selections, including local swordfish, crab crusted grouper, wild salmon and Chilean sea bass, are perfect for seafood connoisseurs. And the ridiculous amount of of potato-inspired sides and other traditional fare makes ordering here that much more entertaining. Obviously, reservations are strongly recommended.

Glenn Hotel’s Divine Downtown Digs

In a city where boutique hotels are emerging like roses from the rubble, it takes much more than a comfy bed for a boutique hotel to stand out. At the Glenn Hotel in downtown Picture 6Atlanta, they are doing just that with spacious accommodations, complimentary wireless internet access, and the city’s first rooftop bar complete with unlimited views of the Atlanta skyline.

Apart from providing luxurious guest accommodations, the Glenn Hotel is trying to limit their carbon footprint by reducing overall energy usage. The location alone is walking distance from major city landmarks, which makes for great gas savings. The hotel itself is a historic landmark that was going to be demolished until investors chose to turn the eyesore into an eye-catcher.

After a night of Hawks magic at Phillips arena, a tour of the CNN center or even a day at Centennial Park, take a few steps over to the Glenn Hotel for dinner at 30 Tables- the hotel’s “Ode to Atlanta” with delectable southern treats.

Try one of the many packages available, including the Get Luckie package in which your reservation includes a lottery ticket.

More than Hoops and Hockey Pucks at the Pepsi Center

Though it’s best known as the home of thepepsi center Nuggets and the Avalanche, the 5-story, 20,000-seat Pepsi Center is no mere sports venue. Located at the edge of downtown, the site of the 2008 Democratic National Convention also hosts concerts (think Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga), ice shows, and family fare galore (the Harlem Globetrotters regularly perform here). What’s more, amenities abound—from a full-service restaurant, the Blue Sky Grill, and a merchandise outlet to private event suites and even a state-of-the-art business center and meeting space. If it weren’t for the thunderous crowds cheering on Carmelo Anthony and Chris “Birdman” Anthony, you could practically mistake the place for a grand hotel.

America’s Top Chef Exemplifies Perfection at Craft

Tom Colicchio, the head judge of Bravo’s emmy award-winning Top Chef, usually has harsh criticism for the up and coming contestants. But taking one bite of his mouth watering creations at thPicture 7e flagship Craft Restaurant, you’ll understand why he is so harsh. Every single dish at this upscale New American restaurant is absolutely served to perfection.

Deemed as the pioneer of mix-and-match mains and sides, Craft’s menu is an a la carte dream with every dish as tasty as the next. From the famous rustic Hen-of-the-Woods mushrooms to the succulent sirloin steak main and even the minor side of gnocchi would make most (Italian) chefs cry. The back-to-basics cooking style Colicchio employs lets the ingredients shine and for the diner, it elevates the experience of the simplest and most unglamorous dishes, like corn, into a shining yellow pot of gold.

The decor of Craft reflects the clean yet rustic menu. The tables, floors, and bar are made of an oak wood, but the design has clean lines as if it were a modern fusion restaurant. The tables are abnormally large, a trend, like the upscale family-style menu, that has followed to most high-end Manhattan restaurants, to accommodate all the tasty dishes.

With culinary and restaurateur imitators galore, it’s no wonder Colicchio and Craft have swept up three stars from the New York Times and numerous prestigious James Beard Awards. Oh, and don’t forget, the title of the real “Top Chef.”

Get your Couture for Cheap at Second Time Around

If you lust aftPicture 11er Oscar de la Renta, but can only really afford Old Navy, then Second Time Around may be your favorite find of 2010. Second Time Around is a consignment shop near Rittenhouse Square that only sells designer merchandise (Dolce, Betsey, Versace, and the like) that is up to snuff with the shop’s high standards. The clothing must be no more than two years old, and in pristine condition, so with standards like that you are bound to find a steal at 30-70% off original prices.

This boutique gives- and receives. If you’re looking to ditch some duds for extra closet space and some weekend martini money, stop into the shop with three or more items and see if your garb is up Second’s alley.

Insider Tip: If you become a member, there’s an added bonus of getting first dibs with the online wishlist!

Antique and Innovation at Design District’s Hibiscus Island Home

The Miami Design District’s Hibiscus Island Home is a dream come true for anyone who wants to create a haven of elegance and warmth with a sense of purpose in their home. See, the store has gone green and will only be using recycled wood in the new furniture collection that features more than 90 pieces as well as only soy-based foam in all their custom pieces.

HIH has long been a center for innoPicture 8vation as the store is a unique fusion of all things home: fabrics, furniture, and accessories under one roof. It is also has a blend of antique, vintage, and collectible furniture and accessories mixed into the store’s own Hibiscus Island Home, Island 29, and Treasured Thread collections.

HIH is filled with antique-inspired pieces from the 1920s to the present in a variety of dark and light wood finishes from dining chairs and tables, coffee tables and end tables to desks, cabinets and mirrors. Luxurious fabrics cover the throw pillows and can also be sold by the yard for the crafty.

Four Star Service at the Four Seasons

When you think of the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, the words elegant and refined immediately come to mind. This beautiful hotel that has seen more weddings and Bat Mitzvahs than any church or synagogue is the ultimate destination for saying “I do” or “L’chaim.” Four Seasons Pic

The Four Seasons, filled with rolling greens and stunning gardens, is the perfect place to stay overnight or come just for the day. Though this isn’t the spot for a twenty-something looking for a club or bar, it is the perfect place to relax by the pool or hit the spa.

Speaking of which, The Spa at the Four Seasons is an absolute must for any tourist or L.A. native. Offering the finest services, massages and body treatments, your visit to the spa will make you feel A-list worthy in a matter of minutes. If you aren’t lucky enough to ever actually spend the night, the spa offers visitors a chance to lounge by the pool before or after a service to give you the ultimate Four Seasons experience.

Just Throw It In The Bag At Tags

Picture 14Recently, many have been acquainted with Kandi Burress from Bravo’s TV hit Real Housewives of Atlanta or as a Grammy winning singer and songwriter. Now, add fashion store retailer to her repertoire. As co-owner of Tags ATL, a women’s and men’s boutique located in the cozy West Village Vinings area of Atlanta, Burress has the opportunity to express herself fiercely and  fashionably.

Since opening in October, Tags Atl has already made a name as the fashionista’s one-stop shop for the hottest deals and carries some of the area’s most trendy designs, including some of her RHOA co-star’s lines. On any day of the week patrons may bump into celebrity giants including Clean House host Niecy Nash, rapper Yung Joc and many other entertainers that reside in the Atlanta area.

Insider Tip: An online store is on the way for shoppers that aren’t in the city often, but for those who are, it’s the perfect posh spot. Click here for more information.

Wet Your Whistle at WXYZ Bar

It’s the most hassle-free place in Dallas to get a drink if you are a tired convention center attendee…and even if you’re not. The WXYZ bar in the brand new Picture 14Aloft Hotel is strategically placed across the street from City Hall and the convention center, which makes for some surefire meet-ups with travelers at the bar.

With its colorful lighting and comfy lounge couches, WXYZ might have a nightclub look, but the bartenders are low-key and personable and you don’t have to yell over anyone to order a drink. This is truly a spot to get away from the traditional “see and be seen” crowd and have a quiet conversation and a delicious cocktail. And hey, if you happen to have one too many, you can always check in to one of the hotel’s affordable rooms for close to the same price you might spend on a cab to get home.

Period Chic Meets Euro Beats at Eighteenth Street Lounge

What happens when you open a hip, Euro-infused lounge in the former home of Teddy Roosevelt?  You end up with the ultra chic, super unique hotspot known as Eighteenth Street Lounge.  Situated just south of trendy Dupont, ESL is known for its velvet ropes and hipster crowd that packs the luxe top three floors of the old school mansion club.

Picture 6Chic Washingtonians and sophisticated European partiers sit, mingle and sip as DJ’s spin hip Middle Eastern, Italian and Indian-centric beats that echo from the dark, narrow hallways of the comfortably posh venue.  Studded with functional antique fireplaces, gilded sconces and twinkling chandeliers that cast a soft glow, ESL exhibits modern glamour with touches of period décor to showcase the mansion’s turn of the century roots.

As the beats increase and the drinks flow, patrons crowd the living room-esque dance floor and overflow to the spacious outdoor roof patio in the warmer months.  Wander onto different floors for a change of scenery and music varieties – there tends to be a DJ on one floor and a jazz band or live performer on another.

Insider Tip: With live performances almost every day of the week and the lounge’s urban chic vibe, there’s usually a cover charge between $5-$15 after 10PM, Wednesday and Saturday.  Be sure to dress to impress – the discerning bouncers don’t put up with shorts, sandals or baseball caps.

Stylish to the Exotic at Pearl River Department Store

Teas, slippers, lamps, party supplies, stationary, fengshui, window blinds, ceramics, bags, lanterns, condiments, kitchenware, and chinese dolls are a few of what fills the shelves at Pearl River. Clearly,  Pearl River isn’t your average department store- or even store for that matter. As an intriguing blend between two very different cultures, Pearl River is the first Chinese American department store.

Stepping into the SoHo store, one is immediately overcome with unique colors and never-before-seen (in the West, at least) toys and trinkets. The three-story store in the middle of SoHo is constantly expanding, like the new 10,000 foot home department.  Needless to say, it’s a one-stop shop for everything you may need, Chinese or American.

Hotel Palomar – Luxury with a Twist

Picture 8After a long afternoon of flights, taxis and bustling streets, how do you feel about starting your stay with an in-room full body massage? The Hotel Palomar offers unique twists on the basic amenities most luxury hotels have to offer. For no extra change, you and your VIP (Very Important Pet, that is) can stay with you and also receive the pamper package via pet sitting, grooming, walking and massages.

Hotel Palomar is an eco-friendly hotel that up and down sets an example for a better environment. The hotel has been recognized for a multitude of green things, like design innovation, water and energy efficiency, and opening the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) registered restaurant in the city, Square 1682.

Theater Geek Chic at Pantages

Whether mixing business with pleasuPantages Picre or date night with personal enjoyment, either way you look at it, visiting the Pantages Theater for an exciting show is well worth it. Built in the 1930’s, the Pantages features some of the best live performances Los Angeles has to offer. With over 2,500 seats in the huge auditorium, this theater is the best place to go to when you’re in the mood for a piece of old Los Angeles history mixed with new and exciting features.

Currently featuring dance performances such as Stomp and Riverdance, the Pantages is always featuring the newest and most popular shows as well as live numbers L.A. has yet to see.

If you are in the mood for penguin suits and ritzy gowns, you might want to turn the other way. The dress code is far more casual than usual theater attire and the casual vibe is easily matched.

Harry Winston: Rare Gemstones and Diamonds Galore

You may know Harry Winston as the design house of Jennifer Lopez’s hugely famous million dollar pink diamond engagement ring, or as the man who owned- and donated- the most famous diamond in the world, the Hope Diamond, but this store holds much more than diamonds. On the top floor of the Fifth Avenue boutique, master craftsmen create handmade timepieces and one-of-a-kind designs. The collection of the aptly named “The Incredibles” features large and exquisitely cut sapphires, rubies, tourmalines, and emeralds in custom designs surrounded by none other than beautiful diamonds. The excellence and sheer beauty of the rare gemstones and designs makes this a Hollywood favorite for every major red carpet, wedding, or special event.

Rattlesnake: The Ritz Texas Style

Socialites, scenesters, and celebrities are the heart and soul of the Rattlesnake Bar at the Ritz-Carlton on McKinney Avenue in Uptown.  Just like the name of the hotel, everything thing you see here is ritzy and sparkling, but with some Texas cocktail flair.

To put out the vibe that you are a regular VIP, order the Dean’s MargarPicture 23ita with organic agave nectar while nibbling on spring rolls with achiote pulled pork. If that isn’t enough to get you going, sip the Caribbean Caipirinha- a spicy little number that will stir your senses with ginger beer and cachaca, a liquor made from fermented sugarcane.  When weather permits, head outside on the patio where the young and the restless are perched on comfortable couches and swarming the small bar to see and be seen.

Though the cocktails can be a little pricey, you won’t find more upscale southern charm or opportunity to rub elbows with the city’s movers and shakers-or perhaps become one yourself. Of all the stylish nightlife spots in Dallas, the crowd here is noticeably high fashion and ready to mingle.

The Bass Museum: Art Inside and Out

The Bass Museum of Art has an expansive and impressive collection of art – and the building the works are housed in isn’t too shabby either. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, the one time Miami Beach Public Library isPicture 13 now the centerpiece for today’s historic district.

Expanded a few years back, the original building and the new wing are home to a massively impressive 500 piece permanent collection that includes paintings, sculptures, works on paper, decorative objects and textiles by greats like Rubens and Boticcelli to modern art.

The Bass also has cool, fun events like Hot Nights & Cool Jazz at the Bass, complete with buckets of beer, to scavenger hunts on Family Fun Days. The traveling exhibitions feature modern art, video and photography and are definitely worth a special visit as well.

Celeb Buzz for Big D’s Fortune Denim

With Picture 7a celebrity devotees like Jennifer Aniston and Paris Hilton, Fortune Denim can make you feel like a star, even if you aren’t already. The satin waistband inside the jeans, signature details such as metallic thread and Swarovski crystal buttons, and a slimming fit make this denim ulta-posh. If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, each pair has a personal fortune sewn inside to bring you good luck!

Created by local entrepreneur Karen Noseff, Fortune Denim can be found at local boutiques like the Blue Jeans Bar, or on occasion at special events Ms. Noseff throws herself. Who doesn’t want to shop for premium denim while lounging at a wine and cheese party? Shopping is all the more fun when styles range from names like Shanghai Star to Beijing Belle.

Visit Fortune’s website to find a flattering fit and perhaps, your fortune.

Get the True London Look at Topshop

“Get the London Look” may be Kate Moss’ Rimmel tagline, but it doesn’t apply more aptly than for the much buzzed about Topshop. As the face/designer of Kate Moss for Topshop and its highly anticipated U.S. debut in SoHo, Topshop puts the likes of other trendy, discount stores like H&M and Zara to shame. It’s colorful, crazy celebrified, and seriously stylish; there’s a massive shoe boutique, accessories section, vintage galore, and a floor dedicated to men. Other stores may have guest designers, but Topshop has a resident Supermodel, Kate Moss, and an entire Picture 7floor designated to high-end designers giving fierce fashions specifically for the fashionista Topshop crowd.

And the shoe selection! Ahhh! If this was around during the SATC era you know SJP would be digging through discount heaven at the Christian Louboutin inspired sky-high stilettos and ultra designed Prada inspired heels. You can find more unique, colorful, and designed shoes at Topshop’s shoe boutique than at Saks Fifth Avenue- and that’s a guarantee.

Let’s not forget about the boys. Topman is dedicated to all things men. From Fedora wearing playboys to laid-back model glam to suits and ties, Topman has everything a stylish city guy could want. This is very smart as it allows the boyfriends/husbands some time to shop for themselves while their other (better) half peruses the other floors of goodness.

If you walk anywhere in London (including red carpets), chances are the hot girl or man is wearing something from Topshop or Topman. That’s because it embodies the London street look of tons of colors, boho vintage, and maybe one too many nods to the neon 80’s. But hey, it’s super fun and seriously fashion forward and- just wait- it will be invading the rest of America soon.

The Finest are Flocking to Birds

Whether they’re pet lovers at heart or realize Los Angeles hipsters flock there regularly, Birds is the secret gem to going out in L.A. for a guaranteed good time. The laid back atmosphere still manages to bring in a cool crowd full of wannabe writers and Hollywood hipsters.

Picture 9The three best times to visit Birds are for your birthday, an amazing happy hour, and when you are single on Valentine’s Day. For birthdays, the lovely employees of Birds will decorate the “birdcage” for the special event and fill it with balloons, drinks and utter humiliation from the guy with the microphone. If you are lucky enough to venture to the bar within the hours of 4pm-6pm, you might find yourself at your happiest. And finally, if you find yourself without a Valentine on the 14th, Birds has devoted an “anti-Valentine” themed gathering to draw in local singles to celebrate the anti-love.

Other than fun birthdays and an even better atmosphere, the food and drinks are equally as appealing. With a great martini list and even better food menu, there is no reason why you should be missing out on such a great experience in Hollywood.

Burlesque Theater Meets Indie Rock at Johnny Brenda’s

Johnny Brenda’s is a three-in-one combo that’s as cool as its location in up-and-coming Fishtown. The space resembles something of an elegant, historic theater meets burlesque club that showcases some of the coolest indie bands in Philly and the US.

One of the few small venues equipped with a balcony, Johnny Brenda’s offers a performance space that’s unique from anything offered in Philadelphia. A world-class sound system send the music of Tokyo Police Club and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth through the club with perfect quality (both of which played at Johnny Brenda’s before they made it big).

Should hunger strike half way through a show, there’s an eclectic menu made from fresh ingredients from local farmers and an attentive wait staff to the rescue. Keeping with the local theme, Johnny Brenda’s has an impressive selection of high-quality draft beer from local Philly brewers.

Kitson: Home of the Celeb Shoppers

Kitson has a virtual celeb-friendly clothing empire in Beverly Hills. There’s Kitson Men, Kitson Women, Kitson Studio, and Angelina Jolie favorite Kitson Kids that are all in a matter of feet from one another on Robertson.

Although these stores are theoretically divided, they carry everything under the sun. Besides the usual of jeans, dresses, shirts, and pants, there’s a Molton Brown-heavy Apothecary, multi-story shoe rack, sunglasses overload, and handbags in nearly every corner with the famous sequined Kitson handbags being prominently displayed. It goes without saying that there are more than the fair share of celebrities inside and outside the store.

A Slice of the Lush Life at El Chapultepec

Picture 8The smoke that hung thickly for decades has cleared, but that’s about the only difference between the El Chapultepec of yesteryear and the Pec, as it’s affectionately known, of today.

Tiny, dark, and frankly pretty dumpy, this legendary club at the edge of downtown nonetheless shines white-hot with live jazz and blues nightly, just as it has since the 1930s.

Along the way, everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Stan Getz to the Marsalis brothers has played the Pec—but musical magic seems to happen no matter who’s onstage. And the fact that there’s no cover—just a one-drink minimum—only sweetens the good vibe.

TKTS: New Big Red Booth is the Times Square Star

Not many discount ticket booths get the kind of attention that TKTS receives, like a star-studded grand opening and Jay-Z and Alicia Keys singing on its steps in their ode to New Yoooork, but this place is worth all the praise.

For years this gem of Broadway has bPicture 14een stuck un-glamorously under the Marriot Marquis, a hidden secret for the ticket savvy. Now, after some major construction, the new TKTS Times Square booth is open- and saying it’s better than ever is a serious understatement. It’s not in the heart of Times Square, it is Times Square. The booth, located under the can’t-miss red steps, has transformed Duffy Square into a Broadway fan and tourist photo-op heaven.

Thankfully, the generous discounts are still the same with up to half-off for same-day performances of Broadway favorites Chicago, Jersey Boys, Monty Python… you name it, TKTS still has it. But with this makeover, now you can actually find the booth and it’s clearly stated before you enter the long line what show tickets are up for grabs.

Discount tickets have never looked so good.

Book a Date With the Dallas Public Library

Picture 20During tough economic times and the “go green movement,” there’s no better way to save a few dollars and trees and spend the day broadening your knowledge base than by visiting the downtown Dallas Public Library.  Whether you’re a library card toting resident or just looking to browse the vast rows of bookshelves, you won’t regret spending an afternoon exploring everything this library has to offer.

Lectures with authors from the New York Times Best Seller’s List and free inventor workshops are among some of the exciting offerings, and children can get in on the fun with story time and youth poetry competitions. If books aren’t your cup of tea, check out the media library for an impressive array of CDs, DVDs, and magazines.

The Dallas Public Library isn’t just for studying and quiet whispers, either. Weekend concerts, featuring local and visiting professional musicians, are free and open to the public.

It’s All About the Extravagant at The Castro Theatre

Glowing like a beacon over the Castro District, The Castro Theatre marquee is not only a symbol of the city’s gay rights movement (as featured in the Oscar-winning film Milk), but the city’s facastro_frontvorite venue to connect with the community in a way that is colorful and meaningful.  For decades San Franciscans have come together in this lavishly decorated historic theatre for live and screen performances, even participating in cult films such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Little Mermaid sing-alongs, Dionne Warwick concerts, and every single film festival that comes to town.

The Castro Theatre is old-fashioned and intimate, right down to the original brass ticket booth out front that’s big enough for only one vendor.  Inside, the Spanish-Oriental influence is apparent in the scraffito wall murals, but the gold art deco details make it familiar.  The 1,400 red velvet seats throughout the main floor, mezzanine, and balcony are new, along with the PA, sound, and lighting systems, but have stylishly retained their early-century charm.

The theatre also functions in the mainstream, as each month it features top box office movies.  Some recent favorites have been the star-studded Nine and Milk, which ran for almost two months.

Harris Theater is Like a Good DJ- Hot New Numbers Every Time

Chicagoans take theater seriously. Not that they’re obsessed with dramas, no, but the art of theater-going, yes. Here theaters range from the classics like the Goodman, Ford Center (Oriental Theater), and (of course) Chicago Theater to the king of comedy, Second City. In the middle of these two genres is the Harris Theater, whiPicture 7ch masterfully presents options worthy of the classics and funny enough for the kids at Second City. The reason the Harris Theater’s so successful in diversity is that it partners with some of the best performing arts companies, allowing the theater to be on the forefront of all things dance, musical, comedy and drama.

Just take a look at some 2010 highlights to come:

Mikhail Baryshnikov in a solo dance performance, an evening of insight with the “Master of the Musical,” Stephen Sondheim, the Harris Theater debut of Lang Lang under the baton of his mentor Christoph Eschenbach, the Chicago premiere of Orquestra de Sao Paulo with virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

The theater’s calendar is jam packed with performances making its repertoire new and fresh, especially compared to the big-boy theaters whose stage productions last for months at a time. And for those who still can’t enough of Harris Theater, there are plenty of classes and volunteering opportunities to keep everyone entertained.

Lakeside Park’s a Pleasant Escape

When exploring the outdoors of Dallas, it’s a pleasant surprise to find a place where you can do it all: take a leisurely stroll, ride your bike, walk your dog, drop in tPicture 22he fishing pole, and have a quiet picnic. Beautiful Lakeside Park not only offers all these options, but an unprecedented view of the beautifully manicured grounds along Turtle Creek between Beverly Drive and Armstrong Parkway. The Bel-Air style homes provide a breathtaking backdrop to over 14 acres of impeccable landscaping.

The walking paths lead to an iconic wooden bridge overlooking the Turtle Creek Dam; a perfect spot for a photo op or romantic moment. One artful surprise to the park’s ambiance? Giant teddy bear statues line the walking path and leave both adults and children in awe.  For a relaxing outdoor excursion, Lakeside Park is the crown jewel of Highland Park’s extensive park and recreation escapes.

Party the Night Away in B.E.D.

What a concept: go out to go to bed. At this Miami hotspot, people head out for a night of dancing and clubbing on South Beach to a place called B.E.D. where yes, there are plenty of them. Luxurious surroundings create a fabulous mood prime fPicture 4or plunging into a cocktail or two and some sexy people-watching. The acronym stands for beverage.entertainment.dining because the place has all three: premier food, killer cocktails and nightly entertainment.

There’s a theme here every night; and in true South Beach fashion, there’s no waiting until Thursday or Friday, things kick off on Monday with the exclusive Secret Society party. Celebs like music producers Timbaland and Scott Storch, Miami’s own singer Pitbull and athletes galore have been known to gather and party into the wee hours here. For something more subdued, but truly elegant, the Sunday House Brunch or Breakfast in B.E.D., as it’s called ,features DJs Sonny Daze and La Trice and yummy brunchtime eats.

Small Plates Pack Big Flavor at Masa 14

They say that good things come in small packages and at 14 Street’s newest neighborhood haunt, Masa 14, petite equals perfection.  Located just north of popular Logan Circle, the Latin-Asian eatery has received a warm welcome from locals, political hotshots and foodies alike.  Take one bite of the miso-glazed black cod, and as it melts in your mouth, you’ll understand all the buzz.

A concept co-founded by celebrated DC executive chefs Chef Richard Sandoval (of Zengo fame) and Chef “Kaz” Okochi (Kaz Sushi Bistro), Masa 14 pacPicture 8ks huge flavor into a variety of tantalizing Latin and Asian-inspired small plates – delectable little morsels that will definitely leave you wanting “just one more bite.”  That’s good news – with reasonable prices and ideal tasting portions, you can have plenty of bites from a mouth-watering menu selection that’s perfect for sharing.

While you wait for a table at the industrial, yet organically chic establishment, grab a seat at the longest bar in DC. Masa 14 boasts a 65-foot bar with extensive tequila, sake and cocktail selections.  For a refreshing start to the evening, order some spicy edamame and have one of the trendy, European bartenders concoct you a “Strawberry Lemonade” to cool off – a perfectly tart blend of vodka, fresh strawberry puree and fresh lemon juice for an extra kick.

Insider Tip: Stick around for some after-hours fun, because Masa 14 features a DJ on most weekend nights.  Pair that with a couple of cocktails and a seat at the central communal table, and you’ll be sure to leave with more friends than you came in with.

Sunrise to Sunset at The Mondrian

The best part about staying in a Los Angeles hotel is mixing your down time in the room with the best restaurants and nightlife this glamorous town has to offer. The Mondrian is the go-to hotspot for hotel guests and non-guests alike.

Picture 15Skybar at The Mondrian is constantly packed and never seems to lose its elegance or wow factor. Along with the great late night spots are even better places to eat. Asia de Cuba is one of the most popular restaurants right now and it’s the perfect spot to eat great food either on the patio or in a lavishly decorated dining room. The Mondrian is also infamous in the summer for hosting pool parties for people looking to catch some rays and celebrity sightings.

Due to its location on Sunset Boulevard, The Mondrian is the one-stop shop for all of your tanning, dining and nightlife needs.

Aloft Hotel: Loft-Inspired Luxury

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to live in a downtown loft, a stay at the Aloft Hotel just might satisfy your curiosity. Nine foot tall ceilings and exposed original columns in the historic building give off an urban feel, but with a major dose of luxury; Bliss spa products, dreamy platform beds, and 42 inch televisions roPicture 6und out the rooms.

If you’d like to get your sweat or swim on, a fully-equipped fitness center and salt water heated pool are at your disposal. If exploring downtown Dallas is on your to-do list, simply walk out the front doors and you’re on your way. The hotel is literally steps from City Hall, the Dallas Convention Center, and numerous bars and restaurants.

Staying inside the hotel can prove to be just as exciting with the WXYZ bar located in the center of the modern-chic lobby. With rooms starting below $110 per night, you can experience the big city life at its finest with only a small dent in your pocketbook.

Transform Yourself at Metamorphosis

A fresh hairstyle can transform your spirit and give you a positive outlook, even if you change it monthly.  If you have an elaborate vision for your hairstyle or need a salon that will creatively design one for you, Metamorphosis in Hayes Valley is the salon that will exceed your expectations.  With over a decade in the international beautPicture 4y industry, owner and head stylist Stas Mikhailov lives by the motto “Beauty is Power!” and will have you chanting with him by the end of your session.

The salon itself is modern, charming, and feminine, with enthusiastic stylists providing the best in customer service.  Have some white wine while the self-proclaimed “Agents of Transformation” bring out your unique beauty through style, highlights, updos, or even professional fashion consulting.  From the friendly reminder call to the next-day follow up, your personalized experience at Metamorphosis will have you coming back for a new look as often as Madonna changes her wardrobe.

2 Stores + 100s of Bright Ideas = 5 Green Boxes

HPicture 6oused in two separate storefronts on Old South Pearl, 5 Green Boxes spilleth over with the stuff of great splurging. In the larger home boutique, you’ll encounter the likes of wastepaper baskets shaped like Chinese take-out containers, floral-patterned garden tools, chunky embossed belt buckles, and all kinds of rugs, pillows, place settings, candles, and carryalls made from unexpected and recycled materials and one-a-kind chairs made from the in house design studio.

The smaller shop, meanwhile, is fashion-filled, emphasizing colorful knits and tunics in exotic prints along with a wealth of funky accessories, from cool costume jewelry to scarves and tights to crayon-bright eye frames.

Walk Along History with The Freedom Trail

You read about it in history class, but now is your chance to experience firsthand the places where the American Revolution began with a walk along the Freedom Trail. Each year, more than three million tourists visit the 2.5-mile historical landmark that points out 16 original sites related to the establishment of the country.

Picture 12Every American visiting Boston should take a walk along the famous red line with stops along Paul Revere’s house, the Old South Meeting House and Old North Church. You can print out a map and take the tour individually at your leisure, but there are also guided tours available (including an 18th century costumed guide) where you will learn how these Colonialists dared to challenge Britain and establish our democratic nation.

The best time of year for the individual tour would be April to November as the snow will cover up most of the trail during the winter months. One of the most popular tours is the self-guided audio for $15. Just pick up the audio player at the Visitor Information Center on Boston Common and get started!

Seasonal Affective Disorder? Laugh it Off at Zanies

If you think the Second City is the only place to have a good laugh in Old Town, think again. Just a block down from the famous Second City is Zanies Comedy Club where you can find the best stand-up the city has to offer. Comedians from places like Comedy Central, HBO (regular appearances by Jeff Green and Suzie Essman), late night shows and Picture 5of course, hot, new local talent perform on Zanie’s famously small stage. Recently, Zanies partnered with TBS for “A Very Funny Festival,” hosting shows with stars from TBS.

The intimate surroundings of Zanies make for heartier laughs. Here you are likely to get called upon by the comedians and after the two drinks you’re required to consume, you probably won’t care. To be fair, avoiding the two-drink purchase may be done with canned goods donations.

With a calendar full of shows, finding fun themes is oh-so-simple like “Ladies Night,” “Rising Star Challenge,” and “Best of Chicago.”

Insider Tip: Buy tickets to big shows in advance (online) as the big names do sell out and long lines form at the club, even on weeknights.

Not Your Average Movie Night at E Street Cinema

Picture 5In the mood to a catch a flick without the dreaded lines and overpriced popcorn?  Take a trip to the Landmark E Street Cinema and get ready for a killer movie night.  Although the prices are comparable to most blockbuster theatres, E Street will definitely give you more bang for your buck.  As one of the few independent theatres still up and running in the city, E Street Cinema showcases a great line-up of indie films with a passionate and knowledgeable staff that adds to the eclectic atmosphere.

For a little nostalgia, make the trip downtown and be sure to grab a ticket to a Midnight Madness showing.  The theatre shows classic 80s cult films every Friday and Saturday nights at midnight like The Rocky Horror Pictured Show, The Neverending Story, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, and Back to the Future.  The fun doesn’t stop at the film though, E Street serves beer, wine and champagne – so grab a glass of bubbly and get ready for a not-so-average movie night.

Insider Tip: The theatre validates parking for those drivers looking to avoid hefty downtown garage fees.  E Street is also easily accessible by the Metro Center and Gallery Place metro stations if you’re one to take advantage of the bonus beverages!

Stats Atl: Where It’s At Weekdays and Game Days

Many bar patrons choose their favorite bar based on the people, drinks or their favorite bartender. Stats Atlanta is the place where you can find the best of all three. With five bars housed under one roof (well, one roof and an amazing skyline-filled rooftop), everyone can find the perfect spot for the weekday happy hour or to watch the game.

Fighting for the remote at homePicture 10 to watch tonight’s game? No worries, there are 70 televisions to catch the infamous touchdown or that game-winning three pointer here. While catching up on the latest scores from your favorite teams, try one of the Stats’ American style tasting menu selections. With items like Crabcake BLT’s, Tuna Takati Salad, and Old-Fashion Meatloaf, Stats takes your usual bar options to the next level.

Stats has an added bonus for sports fans. Atlanta’s famed sports radio station, 790 The Zone, broadcasts live on game days from a private glass enclosed booth, which is a great opportunity to watch the pros at work.

Whether you’re trying to catch last night playoff recaps or having an afternoon cocktail after work, Stats Atlanta is the place to be.

Click here for more information.

Award-Winning Traditional Tex-Mex at Matt’s Rancho Martinez

Despite having only one small bathroom, Matt’s Rancho Martinez has several things that ARE big: the salsa, Bob Armstrong dip, and yummy margaritas. Located next to the historical Lakewood Theater and winner of several accolades like “Best Tex-Mex” and “Best Chile Rellenos,” Matt’s is almost a rite of passage for Dallasites and tourists alike.  You can’t say you’ve experienced Texas culture until yPicture 4ou’ve had a steaming plate of fajitas, something smothered in queso until it’s unidentifiable, and had a tall glass of sweet tea to wash it down.  Matt’s Rancho is certainly the place to experience this, and then some.

Parking can be tricky, as Matt’s can be packed on weekends, but it’s worth circling around the block a few times to taste the delicious blend of cheese, beef and fresh guacamole in the Bob Armstrong dip. One last reason to check out Matt’s? Ka-ching-its reasonable prices gives you no excuse not to indulge in all your favorites.

Pop Art & Graffiti at Andenken Gallery

You won’t find your traditional portraits here, but at the Andenken Gallery you can see much more interesting things like bodies wrapped in wooden flooring and works of art featuring the alphabet. Specializing in anything pop and graffiti, this LoDo gallery has featured some of the world’s best known modern artists. It always challenges the boundaries of tradition, making the Andenken Gallery a fun trip.

History & Luxury at The Fairmont Hotel

The Fairmont Hotel, located among the finest real estate of Nob Hill, has been a testament to San Francisco’s hospitality since its opening after the 1906 Earthquake.  Not only does the hotel offer 591 luxurious rooms and suites (not to mention a 6000 sq. ft. rooftop penthouse suite that accommodates over 100 guests), but has an impressive list of services as well.

As a FairmoSAF133_Balcony_Suitent guest, enjoy free use of Nob Hill’s exclusive Club One Health Center & Spa or spend your business trip in the finest corporate meeting space in San Francisco.  The Garden Room is, after all, where delegates from around the world drafted the 1945 United Nations Charter.

Throughout the century, socialites and travelers have favored Afternoon Tea Service in The Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar, which serves the best in sustainable fine dining and local wines. Then experience a tropical rainforest and exotic Asian cuisine in the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar.

Seasonal packages are also available, like Valentine’s Day after hours “Wine and Dine Tour” at the California Academy of Sciences.  Whatever your interest in staying at the Fairmont, this hotel is sure to provide the highest quality of service.

Vetri’s Osteria is Italian at its Best

Marc Vetri’s name in Philadelphia is known across the city, whether you’re talking about his flagship and namesake restaurant, or the charming and rustic Osteria. Homemade pastas, thin crust pizzas, wood grilled meats and fish are always in season, making Osteria the perfect place to dine year-round – the ultimate perk being that the menu changes every three months.

Although the Italian menu may be a bit hard to read, the descriptions are universally delectable. Pizzas range from “le pizza tradizionale,” i.e. the Margherita, to Vongole Pizza, with cockles, cherrystone clams, mozzarella, parsley and anchovy pesto. Antipasti plates range from farm-fresh vegetables dressed with bright vinaigrette and local cheeses, to house-cured salumi. And pastas are endlessly creative, straying deliciously far from Momma’s spaghetti and meatballs.

This passionate food is served up along side a 100 bottle Italian wine list from every region of the country. It’s the perfect place to try Marc Vetri’s infamous Italian cuisine without worrying about a fully booked reservation list.

The Grub at Joe’s is ALWAYS in Season

Even though Joe’s Stone Crab’s famous stone crab claws are only iPicture 6n season for part of the year, this landmark spot has a menu to rival any place in town… and then some. Greats like baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, aviator Amelia Earhart and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor have all dined at Joe’s and Miami’s social elite still flock to the spot to get their fix of the freshest stone crab claws and a veritable smorgasbord of delectable sides like coleslaw, creamed spinach and hash brown potatoes.

Although they’re known for their seafood, the roasted chicken at Joe’s is unbeatable. By all means save room for dessert, the key lime pie is beyond incredible and is a perfect ending to the meal. The wait at Joe’s is long since reservations aren’t taken, but you’re in luck, because there’s always Joe’s Take Away.

Betty Cupcake’s Sweet Spin on Fashion

Mother and daughter team Evelyn and Jacque Silverman grew up in a household with five unique women, which gives them an edge on what women really want when it coPicture 6mes to clothes. They dreamed up Betty Cupcake, a Snider Plaza boutique that caters to women from their 20’s all the way to their 60’s(!), with style that crosses boundaries, time, and generations.

With hard to find designers like Whitney Eve (designed by MTV reality star Whitney Port,) and unique jewelry pieces that will spark instant conversation, Betty Cupcake is anything but typical. Owner Jacque will make recommendations that almost always are a perfect fit and garner major compliments from friends and foes alike, so don’t be afraid to ask for her advice. Browse the shabby chic shop and find wardrobe staples that both you and your mother will love. But don’t feel like you have to share, there’s enough here to fill everyone’s closet.

Hyde Park Art Center: Obama’s Neighborhood Gem

Never before did Hyde Park gain such a name than in recent times, thanks to none other than the President of the United States. Reigning from Hyde Park, President Obama has heavy ties to his old neighborhood, just south of the downtown “Loop.” An eclectic mix of mansions and apartments, rib-joints and bistros, the South Side is certainly up-and-coming. But you can’t really make it until you’ve got some cool art on the scene and alas, there’s the Hyde Park Art Center, which has actually been around for 70 years.

Its mission siKiekebeninstall1-webnce it opened in the 1930s (it’s actually the oldest contemporary art venue in Chicago) is to “stimulate”  and provoke the unexpected.  Today it continues to do just that with a wide range of classes, lectures, workshops, camps, exhibits, and not to mention, fun, flirty, cocktail-enriched galas.

The HPAC always stays true to its roots, however, and aims to unite artists and the community. Their Not Just Another Pretty Face bridges the gap between patrons and artists by involving them together directly. If you think you’ve got a cool idea and want to see it materialize through the eyes of a verifiable artist, then this is the program for you.

A Century of Music at This Great American Hall

The Great American Music Hall has been described many ways: opulent, warm, friendly, even sanctified.  Whatever your adjectives, this place is just plain fun, from the smiles at the red velvet-draped front door to the energy of the crowd buzzing off the ceiling frescoes.  Having hosted such diverse big names as Duke Ellington, Billy Joel, The Grateful Dead, and Van Morrison, this gracious Victorian hall has charmed San Francisco throughout the twentieth century.

MusicHall2This 5000 square foot concert hall has seen many changes since its opening in 1907. Constantly upgrading the sound system and restoring anything that begins to lose luster, the Great American Music Hall takes pride in providing you with the best intimate music experience.  You can even book the venue for private wedding receptions, product launches, holiday parties, and bar mitzvahs.

When spending the evening here you have no choice but to leave the hustle of the city behind, grab a drink at the restored Victorian bar, and let go of your troubles on the oak dance floor.  Why not enjoy one hundred years of history and modern entertainment all in one evening?

Perks Aplenty at Peaks Lounge

You’d think downtown Denver would be bursting with bars boasting panoramic views of the skyline and the Rockiegallery_57s beyond. Incredibly, you’d think wrong: Peaks Lounge, at the top of the Hyatt Regency, is the one and only—and well worth the price of admission (that is, the hefty drink tab).

Long, narrow, and lined with cozy banquettes, it draws as many canoodling locals as tie-loosening conventioneers, who soak up the sunset glow along with martinis accompanied by complimentary cocktail nibbles. But should something a little more alcohol-absorbent come in handy, the small menu of appetizers and desserts is quite a bit better than it has to be.

Ravaging The Food World Like An Animal

With pig ears onAnimal Pic the menu and bacon chocolate for dessert, it’s no wonder this place is called Animal. The absurd combinations may have customers questioning, but it all turns to delight when they find themselves licking the bowl clean.

Powerhouse chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook took their friendship out of the culinary classroom and onto one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles. The two chefs who have taken the culinary world by storm delivering dishes full of ethnic flare and out of this world creations.  Eaters will vouch that everything is good on the menu and you truthfully cannot go wrong.

What makes this dining experience unlike the rest is that you find yourself in a trendy location with terrific food. Unlike happening spots with not so happening food, the ambiance and food go hand and hand and make this dining trip worth venturing to again.

Jersey Chasers Score at The Fifty/50

Wondering where the elite echelon of sports stars hang out while in the Windy City? Without a doubt it’s at the Fifty / 50, a bar which brings the sexy back to the Ukrainian Village ‘hood (if it were ever there in the first place). Now it definitely is, from Tony Romo to Pierre Thomas of the Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints. Even the investors are sports stars; Curtis Granderson is an investor (of the New York Yankees), and owners Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner roll in the same circles as these big boys.

Alas, jersey chasers – the doors to the Fifty / 50 are basically your pearly gates. The food will give another inkling as to why the jocks flock here: the menu is based on fried foods, smoked foods and sandwiches (and beer of course). Read: dieters this is not your place, unless you’re happy dining in the eye candy. And worry not, feasting on the likes of athlete superstars is not restricted only to the evening hours, this place is a brunch hotspot as well.

Ladies, suggest this place to a guy and you score. Guys, suggest this place to the ladies and they’re happy (albeit because they’re wondering who they’ll see). Either way you flip it, 50% chance plus 50% chance equals 100% happiness.

A Taste of Miami at Ames Hotel

The Ames Hotel, just around the corner from City Hall, is fresh and new off a grand opening in November. As the child of the masterminds behind Rockwell and Morgans Hotel Groups, of Mondrian and Delano fame, the acclaimed modern, sophisticated design shines through at thiPicture 6s New England hotspot.

The boutique property has just 114 rooms, but if you are looking to splurge, stay a night in The Apartment, the Ames’ take on a traditional Presidential Suite, which offers the ultimate in luxury- silk rugs, a velvet chaise and Egyptian cotton linens. While the Ames is a bit more traditional than its South Beach sister properties, it still mimics their style with a white-on-white décor.

Hollywood stars can almost always be found at a Morgans Hotel and the Ames and its on-site restaurant, Woodward, seek to be no exception, especially with the continuous filming going on around town. The Ames Hotel’s introductory rates are typically less than $200 per night, which just might be the best deal in town.

Sparkling Sushi Sasa

There are only two contenders for Denver’s best sushi—and they’re polar opposites. One is Sushi Den, a dark and rollicking madhouse on Old South SasaflyingfishcarpaccioPearl. The other is Sushi Sasa. Opened by former Sushi Den employee Wayne Conwell just north of downtown, it’s spare and serene, all pale hues and hushed conversations—the ideal setting for precise, pristine pieces of toro, needlefish, Spanish mackerel, and more. But then, that’s to be expected: order omakase, and you’ll be treated to all sorts of stunning surprises from the kitchen as well—think sea bass in black bean sauce and wasabi cheesecake.

It’s those contemporary global influences that so distinguish Sushi Sasa and compel its clientele of sophisticates to crowd in constantly; reservations are strongly recommended.

City Bar Infuses Great Drinks

Even though Happy Hour no longer exists in Boston, don’t tell that to the patrons of City Bar at the Lenox Hotel. The hotel bar is packed nightly with an after-work crowd who come for the one-of-a-kind Infusions Diabolique, hand-infused spirits spiked with natural ingredients, like the popular Angelique tequila infused with mango, lime and pineapple.

Picture 7

Of course, there are also a variety of martinis (including a refreshing basil gimlet), single malts, ports, liqueurs, champagnes, beer and wine on the menu, but the infusions are a must here. If you get hungry, order up some snacks, which come from the neighboring City Table. A late night eclectic menu consists of duck confit spring rolls, chicken drumettes with Diabolique rum along with citrus and rosemary marinated olives.

City Bar also has a second location at the Westin Boston Waterfront on Summer Street where you can still get the same great drinks if you can’t make it over to Back Bay. Check out for more information.

Twirls, Tutus and Tights at the Miami City Ballet

Dancing couple 2Master ballet choreographer George Balanchine had a protege once, his name was Edward Villella and he is now the artistic director of the Miami City Ballet. Even though Villella has made a name on his own, with an induction into the Dancer’s Hall of Fame in 2004, it’s no wonder a major chunk of the troupe’s repertoire — which numbers 88 ballets — are Balanchine-choreographed pieces.

The troupe’s international blend of dancers have performed with the Paris Opera Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, The National Ballet of China and the San Francisco Ballet, to name a few. This season, on top of the Balanchine pieces, there are nine world premieres in the mix. Check them out this season as they leap, twirl and float across the stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Downtown Miami.

Ski Cross Country in the Middle of the City

There’s only one way to burn 500 calories per hour, obtain a rosy glow to your skin, find new beauty in an already gorgeous city and learn to love winter– and that’s with cross country skiing in Chicago. Many Chicagoans are finding this sport to be their new weekend addiction; and with a plehtora of breathtaking trails to liven up an otherwise dull winter’s day, it never gets old.

To get started on your path, Warren Park and the Mortem Arboretum and Heller Nature CenterXCountrySkiing_HighlandPark in Highland Park (rentals are only $12) are great options. Northerly Island is also a favorite and features a Saturday cross country skiing program that’s fully free- with rentals included!

Although city cross country skiing may take a little extra effort on the front end (travel time to trails, equipment rental, bundling & buckling up), the rewards are tenfold. The freshness of the outdoors surges some serotonin into the system and who says apres-ski fun is only for downhill? No one! Besides being fun, this great workout engages all the major muscle groups along with others that often times get ignored. So you’ll be feeling good and looking good as a toned ski bunny.

If you find yourself getting totally addicted, buy your own equipment and take on the entire city like plenty of residents are already doing across Chi-town!

The Pentagon’s Secret Five Star Experience

The Pentagon. Those two words are enough to conjure up images of “Top Secret” signs hanging on closed doors, like the kind shown in movies. Well, those doors are actually not as closed as you might think. By making a reservation in advance, the symbolic building known as the headquarters of the Department of Defense opens up via a guided tour.Picture 7

The tour takes about 90 minutes and covers nearly two miles, visiting numerous displays and memorials that have had a significant place in our nation’s history. All the tours are free, and there’s an option to go it alone on a private tour or in groups of five or more. You can also visit the Pentagon Memorial, which honors the victims of 9/11, any day of the week without a reservation.

Just seeing the unique architectural design is an amazing experience as well. As the largest office building in the world, it’s virtually a city in itself with 23,000 employees, 4,200 clocks, 691 water fountains, 284 restrooms, two cafeterias and six snack bars located throughout the 6,5000,000 square foot floor area. The most amazing thing is that, despite having 17.5 miles of corridors, it takes seven minutes- at most- to walk between any two points in the building.

Garbarani Goes Fashion Forward

From high end designers like Elie Tahari and Robert Rodriguez to boutique clothing lines Splendid and Black Halo, Garbarini has a fashion forward mix that would make even New York boutiques blush. With the posh Cherry Creek North as its backdrop, Garbarini offers stellar service to accompany the up-to-the-moment selections of jean, shoes, purses, and evening wear. Its incredible collection has caught the eye of Denver’s fashionistas as well as Comcast’s “Best In the City” awards.

Literally Unearth The Ice Age at The Page Museum & La Brea Tar Pits

Ever secretly fantasized about being an archeologist? Well, The Page Museum may be the closest thing to living out your dreams.  The museum is at the Rancho LPicture 10a Brea Tar Pits, which is world famous for having the largest and most diverse collection of extinct Ice Age plants and animals in the world. Think 40,000 year old mammoths, saber-tooth tigers and pre-historic sloths, just to name a few.

For those who don’t want to get down and dirty, the museum has dramatic exhibits of prehistoric animals. At the Page Museum Laboratory, you can see (real) archaeologists unearthing, cleaning and repairing fossils. Outside in Hancock Park, amazing life-size replicas of several extinct mammals whose fossils are in the ground below will bring the whole experience into perspective.

Silver Lake Sets a New Standard for LA Cool

This is definitely not the Hollywood Hills that you’re used to seeing. Known as “The Williamsburg of the West,” Silver Lake has been home to many famous musicians, artists and hipster elite a la Katy Perry, Beck and Tom Waits, much like its BrooklynPicture 18 counterpart. As upscale as it is quaint, Silver Lake is the place to go for off-the-beaten-path boutique vintage shops and amazing multi-ethnic cuisine. With a thriving indie music scene, and many up and coming artists, Silver Lake puts the hip into hipster.

Silver Lake is also home to some of California’s most impressive modern homes (like Kiefer Sutherland’s bachelor pad) and sprawling picturesque landscapes and city views that only the Hills and the Silver Lake Reservoir can provide. Silver Lake is an awesome locale for someone who is eager to experience the “real” LA, the LA most people didn’t even know existed. Hey, if it’s good enough for Agent Jack Bauer, then it’s good enough for everyone.

The Academy of Natural Sciences: T. Rex to Asian Butterflies

The Academy of Natural Sciences, established in 1812, is the oldest natural science museum in North and South America, chock-full of permanent and touring exhibits, family programs and activities. All 4 stories of the Academy are wonderful for all ages and feature a variety of permanent exhibits that would delight any child. If they like a little adventure, more than 30 dinosaurs and other Mesozoic reptiles reside in Dinosaur Hall, including a 42-foot long Tyrannosaurus Rex! For the daintier types, the Butterflies! exhibit showcases live butterflies from Central and South America, East Africa and Southeast Asia in its tropical garden. And everyone can enjoy The Live Animal Center, which holds over 100 live birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates. Ceiling-to-floor observation windows let you look behind the scenes, where staff and volunteers feed, groom and upkeep all of the animals.

Check out the website before heading over, because the visiting exhibits are ever-changing and always exciting.

Fresh Fish with a Philly Twist at McCormick & Schmick’s

Next to the towering City Hall at the top of South Broad Street, the self-proclaimed “fresh fish authority,” McCormick & Schmick’s stands proud in the heart of Philadelphia. Over 30 varieties of fresh seafood is flown in daily from around the globe, and although these restaurants are located across the nation each one offers local specialties.

In Philly, it’s the classic fried oysters and chicken salad for lunch as well as a selection of microbrews from Philadelphia’s own Yards Brewing Company that make this seafood joint unique. M&S has grown a reputation over the years for their famous Happy Hour – offering bar food six nights a week for only $1.95. And it’s hard not to be curious about this clever take on the classic Philly cheesesteak – The Philly Tuna Cheesesteak features Ahi Tuna, Onions, Peppers and Melted Provolone.

This downtown hot spot is a great place to eat before a show (since it’s located on the Avenue of the Arts) or meet with friends for a drink. The dark mahogany walls, handcrafted stained glass ceilings and mosaic tiled floors will have you sitting back and relaxed in no time.

Christiane Amanpour Stargazes at Hayden Planetarium

As CNN’s chief international correspondent and anchor, Christiane Amanpour is a journalism star. She has interviewed some of the toughest figures in international news and reported breaking stories from crisis hotspots like Afghanistan and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

When Christiane needs a break from the chaos, she heads over to the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. Taking a Journey to the Stars (the scientific stars, of course), the beauty of the gigantic stars in space tends to put situations on little earth into perspective. The show, narrated by none other thPicture 6an Whoopi Goldberg, features extraordinary images from telescopes and never-before-seen visualizations of physics-based simulations of the life and death of stars, stellar formations, and other heavenly bodies in space.

Christiane isn’t the only journalist who raves about the planetarium, National Georgraphic Adventure and the New York Times say the mind-blowing visuals makes this “easily the most beautiful planetarium show.”

If feeling inspired after the show, the planetarium’s prime Central Park West location makes this one of the few places in NYC to actually see a few stars at night.

*** Christiane Amanpour is one of the leading journalists in news as CNN’s chief international correspondent and anchor of her own show, Amanpour. Her excellence in covering the toughest international breaking news stories has been awarded with a myriad of acclamations including 9 News Emmys, 4 Peabody Awards and an honor by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Brenda’s Comfort Food Has French Soul

On the outskirts of the Civic Center district lies San Francisco’s favorite breakfast and brunch hole-in-the-wall, Brenda’s French Soul Food.  On any given day Brenda’s produces a line of adoring patrons around the block, waiting in anticipation among the smells of buttery Cajun shrimp and grits with salty warm biscuits.  ConsPicture 5idering this gem is among the Top 5 Bold Newcomers from the New York Times and one of Travel & Leisure’s Top 50 US Restaurants of 2009, the hour wait is no surprise.

Since 2007, Brenda Buenviaje has charmed the city with her closet-sized open kitchen, a total of seven tables, and an old-fashioned diner-style counter.  Her New Orleans fare never rises above $10 and the portions are served with a heavy hand and plenty of love. And that’s exactly what you’ll get here, along with the best beignets west of France (try the Godiva chocolate or paprika crawfish).  Wash it all down with Brenda’s special watermelon sweet tea and you’d swear you’re in the French Quarter.

54 Mint Wine Bar’s Italian Charm

SOMA’s new 54 Mint Wine Bar is technically a three-in-one punch of vineria (wine bar), ristorante, and alimentari (food store), but really it’s all imported deliciousness. As the only distributor of some of its Italian fine wines to the straight-from-Italy sheep’s milk cheese and handmade Italian plates, 54 Mint serves up an authentic Italian meal that tastes even better coming from the hand of the heavily accented servers.

This hotspot is the work of native Umbrian owners Alberto Avalle (of NYC’s Il Buco fame) and Claudio Ricciolini- and 54 Mint can’t be a better ode to their homeland. Even the famous Umbrian olive oil is sprinkled into nearly every dish and is even displayed beautifully for customers to buy.

During good weather, make sure to hit up the patio for some great people watching in the trendy SOMA district.

History Lessons at Historical Museum of Southern Florida

Who says you can’t have a history lesson while vacationing in another city? Well that’s exactly what the Historical Museum of Southern Florida in Downtown Miami provides as one of the largest private, regional historical museums in the countryPicture 11. Housed in a fortress-like structure, the museum is home to an impressive collection of objects, prints and photographs that depict the influence that Native Americans as well as Caribbean residents had in forming and shaping South Florida.

The history of the founding individuals as well as the history of the aviation, maritime and tourism industries in South Florida will leave you with a sense of knowledge of how the southernmost area of the Sunshine State came to fruition.

The Brown Palace: Luxury Set in Stone

Only three decades younger than 150-year-old Denver itself, The Brown Palace is not only a historic downtown landmark, but a living treasure. The can’t-miss triangular maPicture 6ss of red granite and sandstone has accommodated famous guests from the Beatles to nearly every US president since Teddy Roosevelt—not to mention the champion steers who parade through the lobby during the National Western Stock Show every year.

The amenities are through the stained-glass atrium roof—think afternoon tea in the lobby, pre-embargo Cubans in the swanky cigar bar, “altitude-adjustment” facials at the spa and artesian well water in every room. Of course, the prices are sky high too, but you get all you’ve paid for and then some.

An Unbelievable Point of View at POV Roof Terrace

In the mood for a sexier side of DC?  Head up to POV (“Point of View”), DC’s trendiest rooftop bar and lounge, situated just across from The White House at the new, boutique W Hotel.  Anticipation will rise as you make your way up to the 11th floor terrace, accompanied by an attractive, clipboard-bearing staff member.  Be sure to do a little star gazing on your way up – the shimmering constellations on the elevator ceiling resemble the same pattern as that on the night of July 4, 1776!

Doors open and….WOW.pov Once you’ve recovered from the mind-blowing views where you can literally touch The White House and the glowing Washington Monument is spectacular. Grab a seat at one of the comfy, red velveteen banquettes and sip one of NYC cocktail guru Sasha Petraske’s sinful concoctions as you spy on the neighbors. After a few drinks, patrons swear they can see the lights flicker as the Obamas say goodnight to Washington.

With fresh juices poured from glass beakers and a customized ice program (certain drinks get ice spears vs. chiseled from a block), there’s no doubt Petraske’s creations are a true marriage of both science and art.  Be sure to try his famous Dark & Stormy, made with zesty homemade ginger beer.

Insider Tip: Be sure to make a reservation beforehand (smaller parties should use – the hotel reserves a certain amount of seating for their guests whether they show or not, and the line halts at the elevator.

Piercing Fine Jewelry at Venus by Maria Tash

Ever wonder where the likes of Britney Spears, Jessica Alba, and Christina Aguilera get their, um, naval jewelry? Celebrities, including men (Mickey Rourke is a client), go to the custom, classy, one-of-a-kind designs for pierced body parts at Venus by Maria Tash.

Picture 9Belly button rings, nose piercings, and even multiple earrings tend to look more trashy than classy, but not with Maria Tash’s designs. All her jewelry is made of the finest metals and stones like 18k white gold, diamonds, and even rare opals. Her famous “floating”naval piece highlights the top part of the piercing  so your belly button is bare with a glimmering piece highlighting it on top. The jewelry also comes with some bells and whistles, like the internal threading that guarantees no tearing of the piercing, custom post lengths for different sized bodies, and custom designs that are interchangeable and can be updated at any time.

If you don’t have a piercing, that’s not a problem. Upstairs, Venus by Maria Tash offers a relaxing, clean, and very private piercing area that is more like a spa than a piercing parlor (Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon had all her daughters pierced here) as well as pierce-free jewelry like rings and necklaces.

Santa Monica Museum of Art: A Museum With A Twist

An untapped treasure, SMMoA, also known as the SanPicture 8ta Monica Museum of Art, is one of those must-see places for the art extraordinaire or those who love to browse. On the walls of this unique and beautiful place, you will find the work of local, national, and international artists who take massive risks in their art and interpretation. The relatively new museum, started in the mid 1980’s, features highly unique exhibits and showings in contemporary art for those looking to be inspired by the original and innovative.

Unlike average gift shops, the website offers some of the most interesting take home gifts, from salt and pepper shakers to revamped sweaters and tees. In a town full of new and exciting things, SMMoA is the perfect destination for any L.A. explorer.

Tobacco Road’s Act is a Century Strong

Nearly a century Tobacco Road has been open, in the same location, making it a Miami institution for live music. It first opened its doors during the prohibition Tobacco Road interiordays and obviously things have changed a bit since then with the addition of legalized alcohol and some of the best live music in Miami.

They’ve been playin’ the blues at this place for years now, featuring an undisputed line-up of local musicians as well as established blues and rock acts that grace two tiny indoor stages (ground floor and second floor) and out on the patio. There’s always a reason for a party at Tobacco Road, whether it’s a blues festival or to celebrate yet another birthday- whether it be Gloria Estefan’s or another notch toward the century marker!

Reviews and Romance at the Palace of Fine Arts

Known for its natural beauty, the Palace of Fine Arts in The Presidio is even more famous for its performance lineup.  Almost every name in history has come here to speak, dedicate, and inspire: Truman Capote, Francis Ford Coppola, Jay Leno, Joan Baez, and Jane Fonda, to name a few.  With personalities such as these and over 1000 continental-style seats, you will be comfortable at every function.

New Camera 027Fortunately, you don’t have to book yourself a ticket to enjoy the venue.  There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting by the Palace’s Corinthian columned rotunda and lagoon, brimming with bright flowers and peaceful swans.  This setting has long been the symbol of the Palace of Fine Arts and draws thousands of people each year to its romantic backdrop.  It is, after all, San Francisco’s top choice for outdoor weddings.

The Palace of Fine Arts is sure to charm you as you watch lovers stroll hand-in-hand and parents helping their toddlers throw breadcrumbs to the birds.

Discover Classics and Newbies at MOCA North Miami

After more than a decade of showcasing the icons of contemporary art as well as displaying exhibitions by up and comers, the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami’s yearly exhibition schedMoca Exterior 1ule continues to feature innovative shows. The museum’s permanent collection is a representation of installations like “Paradise Lights” by Jack Pierson, a neon sculpture that adorns MOCA’s exterior walls and is a piece to admire at the Museum’s many special events.

Among the other collection pieces are mixed media works, oil on canvas, digital media and photographs by contemporary artists Nan Jume Paik, Jose Bedia and Enoc Perez. Programming is a major focus here too, with the museum open late on Wednesdays for MOCA by Moonlight and plenty of art classes and lectures on the weekends.

Alan Avery Art Gallery is For the Art Lover

As one of the oldest and largest art galleries in the Southeast, the Alan Avery Art Company has some of the best artwork for collectors and art enthusiasts alike. From sculptures to paintings to photographs, this art gallery is eye candy for the contemporary art lover.

What sets Alan Avery Art Company apart from others, besides its heritage, is the owner Alan Avery’s experience. As a trained artist, he has an eye for technique that makes his collection, filled with upcoming regional artists to international celebrities, above and beyond the rest.

Visit for more information.

Boeings & Rockets at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

It’s a dream come true for the lover of flight. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center has it all from the birth of flight to the space race and beyond. As an annex to the highly acclaimed Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, The Center consists of the Boeing Aviation Hangar, James S. McDonnell Space Hangar, and the Airbus IMAX Theater. Highlights include the fastest jet in the world, the Lockheed Blackbird, and the Space Shuttle Enterprise in its entirety.

Combined with the National Air and Space Museum, there’s nothing airborne that these two museums don’t have.

Enjoy the Open Air Market of Atlantic Station

Live, Work, Play is the motto of Atlantic Station, midtown’s one stop shop for eating, shopping and entertainment. In lieu of making your usual trip to the department stores go to the one place where can you find a painting for the living room, shea butter lip balm and a one of kind necklace to top it off at the Open Air Market.

The Open Air Market features local vendors including artisans, independent artists and jewelry designers from the Atlanta area. The special holiday market features seasonal items such as outdoor gear, holidays specialties and gourmet candies. Not only does it have incredible and unique shopping finds, it also is convenient with its downtown location and plentiful Atlantic Station parking.

This is the perfect place to fine one of a kind pieces you can’t find at any chain store.

Yes, There’s Still Fabric on Fabric Row!

Fabric Row in South Philadelphia has broadened over time to so much more than textiles, yet still holds its reputation for the best fabric in the region. The Row is now amarlemsteinsn eclectic mix of shops ranging from third-generation fabric stores to a nightclub that boasts the best DJs in Philadelphia.

As far as fabric goes, Marmelstein’s is one of the oldest (opened in 1919) and most well-known shops in the region. Most of the shops are known for a specialty market, so if you’re looking for something specific like bridal fabrics, trimmings, or upholstery, calling around will be very helpful.

When it’s time for a bite to eat and a break for your feet, stop in at Famous 4th Street Delicatessen. It’s been open since 1923 for a reason, and their gargantuan sandwiches are a great meal for two people.

Other fun things to do on Fabric Row: dance to beats from ?uestlove of The Roots at Fluid Nightclub, get inked at Philadelphia Eddie’s Tattoo Haven, get a cup o’ Joe at Redhook, and check the threads at Wilbur Vintage.

This little section of South Philly will surely steal a bit of your heart.

W Hotel is Wicked Cool

Looking for the newest, coolest and hippest place to stay in Boston? The W Hotel has it all covered. From high tech modern amenities to a lively lobby “living room” that resembles a disco after dark, the W is already making a name for itself in the city.

Picture 10The all glass hotel, located smack dab in the Theater District directly across the street from the Citi Performing Arts Center, opened in November with 123 private residences if you can’t resist the urge to ever leave. The rooms here are spacious and modern with floor to ceiling windows, flat screen TVs and a docking station for MP3 players.

The underground bar, Descent, is popular with a younger crowd, while an older crowd flocks to W Lounge where you can also play a board game or check your email with the free high speed Internet access.

Be sure to book a reservation early at the popular casual restaurant, Market, as there are often long waits. If you’re looking to work off the calories you put on last night, head over to the on-site fitness center Sweat, or relax with a massage at Bliss, New York’s hottest spa, which finally made its Boston debut.

A Life of Luxury at the Mark Hopkins Hotel

Opened during the height of the roaring twenties, the landmark Mark Hopkins Hotel in Nob Hill is every bit as stunning as it has always been.  The Intercontinental Hotel Group is known for having the most luxurious hotels in the worl, and the Mark Hopkins is no exception- it’s an impressive match to those of Paris, Rome and Rio de Janiero.

For your stay, this hotel offers a room for every occasion: standard rooms with estate furnishings and city vistas, business and executive rooms with office amenities, terrace suites with outdoor citMarky and bay views, or a two bedroom presidential suite complete with Jacuzzi and parlor.

For the truly decadent world traveler is the $7750 per night Penthouse Suite with three glass-walled views of the entire city, original 1926 carved wood walls and bookcases, a plush living room, Italian marble bathroom, and personal service fit for royalty.   Not to worry there are standard rooms and town cars are complementary for all guests.

Dining at the Mark Hopkins will start your day in style with a continental breakfast buffet that is reminiscent of a fine dining experience.  Of course, the famous Sunday Champagne Brunch at the hotel’s Top of the Mark is not to be missed.

Drinking and Laughter at Uptown Atlanta Comedy Corner

There’s no better way to spend an evening than drinking, mingling with friPicture 12ends and enjoying good food. Why not do all those while being entertained by the nation’s funniest comics at Uptown Atlanta. They have themed nights depending on special holidays or occasions, so every act is always fresh and new.

Uptown Atlanta’s patrons don’t just come for the jokes, the menu is quite tasty as well. From finger foods to full entrees you won’t be laughing on an empty stomach.

Located in the heart of the city, minutes from the Georgia Dome you & your friends can head over to the comedy club after a Falcons, Hawks or Thrashers game but reservations are recommended for the weekends shows. It’s a great place to see your favorite comedians from BET’s Comic View and Comedy Central.

New Name- Willis, New Adventure- The Ledge

Where can you stand on top of $150 million dollars at 1,353 feet in the air, while overlooking four other states and swaying back and forth by six inches? Answer: The Willis Tower Skydeck .

theledge1Although it has been hard for Chicagoans to embrace the change of America’s tallest building from being called the Sears Tower to the Willis Tower, the love for the new and improved observatory atop it all has been taken in with loving arms. The Skydeck’s new addition is called  The Ledge and that pretty much says it all. The Ledge consists of all glass and peters over the city of Chicago for those who dare step into its case. From there it extends 4.3 feet from the Skydeck leaving guests on top of the world.

Insider Tip: The Willis Tower, as it has always been, is a major hotspot for visitors in Chicago- and the long line reflects that. Skip the hours wait by paying 30 bucks for the express ticket and go straight to the elevators and up, up, up. Trust us, it’s money well spent.

The Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Has It All


The Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel is a world of modern sophistication in the epicenter of Atlanta’s music and artistic scene. Discover a sense of arrival as you mingle with friends or co-workers in our inviting Atlanta luxury hotel lobby, showcasing an alluring fireplace, a floating 442-gallon salt water aquarium and dramatic backlit onyx ceiling and wall. The boutique Midtown Atlanta hotel is home to one of midtowns great dining experiences, Briza Restaurant, and local hotspot Rooftop 866. With its central location, this luxury hotel is steps from Georgia Tech, Piedmont Park and surrounded by attractions, restaurants and nightlife. The Renaissance Atlanta Midtown is among the premier hotels in Midtown Atlanta offering charming ballrooms and outdoor Terrace Space, accented by seating areas, cabanas and inspiring views ideal for intimate weddings or elegant affairs.

Busy Bees at JFK Center for the Performing Arts

Created in 1971, this memorial to PresidentPicture 20 John F. Kennedy highlights more than 3,000 multimedia performances a year, making it the busiest arts facility in the nation. Complete with an Opera House, Concert Hall, Family Theater, Atrium, Terrace Gallery, Rehearsal Room and more, the facility offers workshops, family performances, ballets, musical events and festivals.

For the holiday season you can catch the famous Nutcracker ballet here and it seems for every other national holiday there is a performance, or two, at the JFK Center.

The JFK Center is more than a massive performance arts venue, it is also a living memorial, with sculptures and special exhibits to the beloved President.

Veteran Conductor Elevates the Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra is internationallyPicture 11 regarded as one of the best symphony orchestras in the world, but more likely you’ve heard them as the orchestra in Walt Disney’s Fantasia.

Putting on seasonal performances and even an annual concert series at the historic Carnegie Hall, the Philadelphia Orchestra is lead by veteran Conductor Charles Dutoit, who has an impressive resume previously conducting the Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. Basically, this conductor has seen and heard it all.

The Philadelphia orchestra has released dozens of album recordings, including the work of Beethoven, Rimsky Korsakov, Saint-Saëns, and Mozart. When not touring internationally,  the Philadelphia can be heard at the historic Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Philadelphia.

Wine and Dine on a Grand Ship at Moshulu

Picture 4This four-diamond restaurant and Philly favorite transformed a huge pre-war ship into a beautiful dining room and restaurant. Multi-level, open air decks give Moshulu diners an unparalleled experience of Philadelphia’s gorgeous skylines and some of the city’s most delicious dishes.

Chef Ralph Fernandez, who worked at the ultra-luxurious Pierre Hotel in New York City,  is one of the most talented chefs in Philadelphia. Using South Seas flair and cooking up entrees like Thai Filet Mignon & Shrimp and Moshulu Chicken Cobb Salad, Chef Fernandez creates a delicious new American menu with French, Southwestern, and American influences. Pair the entrees with a glass of wine from the 180 strong wine list that has won many awards.

1. Chow Down at DC’s Restaurant Week 1/11-1/17/10

When else can you get a taste of 180 of DC’s finest restaurantsPicture 12 at reduced prices? The 16th annual Washington DC Restaurant Week presents you with a week of heaven, allowing visitors to savor 3-course lunches for $20.10 and 3-course dinners for $35.10.

Participating restaurants specialize in all sorts of cuisines from French to Southern and the roster features some of DC’s best restaurants like Bourbon Steak and Cafe du Parc. This is a great excuse to treat yourself to some of the capitol’s finest cuisine without feeling guilty.

1. Chicago Sketch Fest 1/7-1/17/10

One of the biggest draws in Chicago’s theaPicture 3ter scene is sketch comedy and 2010 marks the ninth year for the Chicago Sketch Fest. The 100+ participating comedy troupes, including homegrown Chicago talent, and troupes as far afield as Seattle, Austin and Denver, will offer audiences close to 150 shows over the festival’s eight day run.

This year’s theme? “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  As with improv, sketch comedy is satirical, but unlike improv, sketches are scripted.  So ready yourself for sharp wit, biting commentary and humorous takes on today’s world, courtesy of some of the funniest people in the country.

1. New Year, New Mummers Parade 1/1/10

Picture 19Start your new year off right with the people of Philadelphia at the Mummers Parade. Each year, the crowds flood into the streets to gawk at the extremely elaborate feather and sequined decorated floats as they drive by during this mystical celebration.

The parade itself is divided into 5 separate divisions ranging from the small comics with their clowns, floats, dudes, wenches and humor to the fancy brigades with their Broadway show style using fancy props and intricate choreography.

1. Cheer on Cowboys or Rebels at the Cotton Bowl 1/2/10

Root yPicture 9our team to victory at the 74th Annual AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Oklahoma State University will go head to head with the Ole Mississippi Rebels at this year’s Cotton Bowl Classic. The first classic was envisioned by the late J. Curtis Sanford, a Dallas oilman and business executive, and the first of many games was held at the Fair Park’s Cotton Bowl Stadium. But this year they’re upgrading with the recently finished Cowboys Stadium hosting the classic game for the first time.

The Cotton Bowl halftime show will star the Rebel Band and the Cowboy Band, as well as a finale that will include 11 high school Marching Bands from across the country, and the world famous Kilgore College Rangerettes, who are making their 60th consecutive visit to the Cotton Bowl.

Get your tickets early, because the stadium will be packed with excited Cowboys, and ruthless Rebel fans.

1. Whole Week of Celebration for MLK, Jr. 1/9-1/18/10

In honor of what would be Martin Luther King’s 81st birthday, and the 25th anniversaryPicture 11 of the national holiday created to celebrate his work and life, a wonderful, week-long roster of events is being presented by The King Center.

The Center, founded in 1968 by the fallen leader’s wife, Coretta Scott King, is a premier site for people to learn, share and celebrate the principles Martin Luther King, Jr. dedicated his energies to.

From the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s concert, “A King Celebration” at the King Chapel of Morehouse College to the Salute to Greatness Awards banquet and a Health and Wellness Forum, the week is jam-packed with exhibits, seminars, concerts, and children’s activities for all.

1 The Marade: The Largest MLK Celebration in U.S. 1/18/10

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Other cities have Martin Luther King parades, but in Denver, they have a marade. One part march, one part parade, the annual MLK Marade is one of the largest celebrations of the civil rights leader- even beating out Washington D.C.!
One of the coolest aspects about this celebration is that everyone can join. Participants just have to meet at memorial at City Park at 9am, the marade begins at 10, and after reaching the Civic Center Park everyone is served cake.
The Marade is both in the spirit of MLK’s nonviolent change and of sweet celebration.

1. Attend the Golden Globes 1/17/10

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The Golden Globes Award Show is one of the events that gives LA its glamorous image and makes the world envious that they aren’t on the red carpet. Well, every award show needs an audience and that means every year Golden Globes tickets go on sale.
There are two ways to see the show, by buying tickets online or grabbing a bleacher seat. Golden Globes ticket purchasing requires a good amount of research and possibly a few scams or two, so the bleacher seat is a safer bet. The Golden Globes are held at the Bevery Hills Hilton Hotel, so of course they offer a package for a weekend stay at the luxurious hotel complete with front row seats to the red carpet. Tickets are limited, meaning one most buy them early and be willing to pay the price. But, we’re sure every penny is worth it to see- and possibly talk to- the most beautiful and famous people in the world.

1. Hawkeyes v. Yellow Jackets at Orange Bowl 1/5/10

Fill up the ice chest, gas up the grill and get ready for the 25th Annual FedEx Orange Bowl. As always, it’s aPicture 20n all day event at Landshark Stadium with the Budweiser Tailgate Party beginning at 11:30 in the Northwest Parking Lot as fans get revved up to watch the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets go head-to-head with the Iowa Hawkeyes.
But this isn’t any ordinary tailgating party. The Orange Bowl is known for motivating their fans with interactive games, sports memorabilia, contests, and more. Budweiser also brings in some of Miami’s hottest local talent to get the party started. Don’t want to dirty up all your dishes? Not a problem, as delicious food and a wide variety of beverages will be provided.

1. NYC Ballet Winter Season Begins 1/5-2/28/10

If you weren’t able to see the ultimate ballet, The Nutcracker, this pasPicture 11t holiday season, there’s no reason to feel like you missed out. The highly acclaimed New York City Ballet’s winter season begins in January and the repertoire is filled with many different performances.

The season will kick-off with Balanchine’s gorgeous A Midsummer Night’s Dream and in the month of January will also include Romeo + Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, and All Russian. A highlight of the season- and the month- is on January 22nd. In honor of founder George Balanchine’s birthday, the one-night performance will feature dance inspired by three countries that most influenced the legendary founder.

1. Comic Greats at SF Sketchfest 1/14-2/2/10

Picture 13“Weird Al” Yankovic, an evening with the Reno 911! Department, and a Sketchfest tribute to Conan O’Brien are some of the main events at the Ninth Annual San Francisco Sketchfest. The comedy festival is always one of the highlights of the year taking over various venues across the Bay area. Check out hilarious local comedians as well as comedic celebrities performing improv, stand up, and more.

1. NHL Classic at Fenway Park 1/1/2010

What better way to start 2010 than to put oPicture 14n your hat and gloves and head over to Fenway Park for the 2010 NHL Winter Classic. For the tenth year, the baseball field at legendary Fenway Park will transform into a hockey rink for the big game. This year’s match is the Philadelphia Flyers against the hometown favorite Boston Bruins.

Do the Flyers stand a chance against the Bruins? See for yourself at the game.

2. Drive Off to the Washington Auto Show 1/27-1/30

Picture 10700 new vehicles, giveaways, live entertainment, celebrities and special appearances galore makes the Washington Auto Show an event that will delight car lovers and families alike.

But what your eyes will really turn to are the new innovations in alternative fuels featured in the Green Car Pavilion. As the auto show’s tagline stakes out “Change Happens Here.”

Check out what’s new for 2010- and beyond- at the Washington Auto Show in January.

2. Kick off 2010 with the New Year’s Parade 1/1/10

Brush off the hangover and head downtown for the ComePicture 16rica Bank New Year’s Parade to start the New Year off right. As a precursor celebration to the Cotton Bowl, the parade will star the Oklahoma State Cowboy Marching Band, Ole Miss’s Rebel Marching Band, and the cheerleaders from both schools. As usual, the parade will also feature the world famous Kilgore Rangerettes as well as 35 high school bands and drill teams from across the country that have been invited to participate in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Music Festival.  There will also be many floats to view.

The parade starts in the Dallas Art District, and will conclude in Victory Park, next to American Airlines Center.

2. Wine & Food Paired By Experts at Boston Wine Festival 1/8/10–1/31/10

Picture 19What was your new years resolution? Hopefully it wasn’t to shed those pesky extra pounds leftover from Thanksgiving. On January 8th, Boston Harbor Hotel will be kicking off the event of the year, the annual Boston Wine Festival.

Boston hosts the nation’s longest running wine festival, now in its 21st year, and founder Chef Daniel Bruce is proud to be part of it. This year, Chef Bruce has invited some of his favorite boutique wineries to join in on the festivities. Forget the gym, and prepare to send your taste buds soaring.

2. 100 years of Colorado Art Debuts 1/21-4/4/10

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100 Years of Colorado Art is the culmination of a longtime dream for Kirkland Museum Collection Director & Curator Hugh Grant. Seeing as Colorado is ranked highly for art among the 50 states, Grant is showcasing the state’s talent from 1875 through to today (so, yes, technically it’s over 100 years of Colorado Art.)
The exhibit showcases 350 different Colorado artists with techniques as diverse as Colorado’s history. You can find surrealism, impressionist, and pure abstraction as well as drawings, lithographs, etching, engravings, woodcuts, and more. 100 Years of Colorado Art is a great celebration of Colorado Art- with a celebration reception kicking off the exhibit on January 21st.

2. Worldwide Affair at Miami Int’l Art Fair 1/7 – 1/10/10

It’s a worldwide affair at the Miami International Art Fair as galleries from every continent contribute the best in contemporary art. All mediums of contemporary art will be represented at this four-day evePicture 21nt. The fair also includes a lecture series featuring prominent experts in International Contemporary Art. This year one of the must-see exhibits is “Next Generation” as it draws attention to artists of the future.
The fair will open with an Invitation-Only Collector’s Preview Party on January 6. Passes can be requested at the website, and are limited, so don’t wait.

2. Have a Feast During NYC Restaurant Week 1/25-2/7/10

Picture 10New York City is known for having one of the best culinary scenes in the world and Restaurant Week is a time for all New Yorkers to take advantage of the incredible talent without gasping at the bill. For just $24 for lunch and $35 for dinner, people can enjoy a gourmet three-course meal that has been put together by industry heavyweights like David Burke, Mario Batali, and Bobby Flay.

Some 200 restaurants participate in the two week long event including award winning restaurants like Tabla, Megu, Nobu, Rosa Mexicana, Spice Market, and the list goes on and on and on. Reservations begin on January 12th so make sure to book for the coveted restaurants early- and frequently!

2. Day On, Not Off for MLK Day 1/18/10

Picture 18Each year, the Greater Philadelphia Day of Service has been the largest MLK event in the nation with this year being The 15th Annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. Last year, 65,000 volunteers served in 900 service projects and launched the MLK365, a year-round volunteer program providing many opportunities. Join the movement and make this MLK day one to remember!

2. Hear Best of the Best at Chicago Music Awards 1/24/10

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The 29th Annual Chicago Music Awards will honor the depth and diversity of the city’s and the country’s music scene, both past and present, in a wonderful event at the Alhambra Palace. Stars like Kanye West and the Smashing Pumpkins, Lou Rawls and Buddy Guy have been honored in past years.
For 2010, the roster ranges from the amazing vocalist Etta James to Bruce Korosa, a true polka legend. Dinner will be offered to attendees at 4PM, followed by the red carpet appearances of the honorees at 5:30PM and an amazing show at 7PM.  The CMAs are hosted by Martin’s International Culture, a not-for-profit organization founded by Ephraim Martin, and dedicated to the celebration of Chicago’s incredible musical heritage.

2. Summer Fun in Winter at Atlanta Boat Show 1/13-1/17/10

Celebrate summer fun in the middle of the winter at the 48th annual Atlanta Boat Show in Hall C at the Georgia World Congress Center. The GPicture 20WCC boasts 1.4 million square feet of exhibition space and is walking distance from the beautiful Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons.

The expansive Boat Show offers a wealth of displays and activities, from all make and manner of boats and accessories to the Let’s Go Fishing Center – a special exhibition for anglers of all ages and skill levels.  The Center boasts a 5,000 gallon aquarium stocked with native fish that has pro-fishermen casting a variety of lures.  There’s even a catch-and-release trout pond for kids to introduce them to the fun of fishing!

2. FADA LA Art Show 1/20-1/24/10.

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The Fine Arts Dealers Association (FADA) presents the 15th annual LA Art Show. At the venue downtown, there’s over a hundred galleries from all across the world who have come to showcase what’s new and hot in painting, sculpture, photography, video and more. This translates to over 15,000 works from periods as diverse as historical to modern art. To kick off the internationally acclaimed event, there’s an Opening Night Gala and all throughout the weekend there are various events, displays, and activities to get you inspired.

2. Unmask Your Passion at Zinfandel Fest 1/28-1/30/10

“UnmPicture 11ask Your Passion” may be the theme for the Zinfandel festival, but you’d be surprised how many people turn out to celebrate this niche wine. Every year the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers, or ZAP, puts on the sell-out tasting event that features nearly 300 wineries filling the pallets of over 10,000 guests. The four-day event will allow you to taste all the sides of Zinfandel- bold, celebratory, independent, unpretentious, refined, elegant, versatile, and diverse.

3. Tournament of Roses: Rose Parade & Rose Bowl 1/1/10.

The Tournament of Roses is so big that it’s broken into two major events, with each having their own nPicture 17ickname. The Rose Bowl Parade is affectionately known as “America’s New Year’s Celebration” and the Rose Bowl Game as “The Grandaddy of Them All.” Celebrating the culmination of the college football season, the Tournament of Roses brings together the top of the Big Ten and Pacific-10 teams and is consistently the highest attended football game.
If you’re not a fan of football, but still want to celebrate, the Parade is an internationally televised event featuring universally loved floats, marching bands, and celebrities. So get up and smell the Roses!

3. All Things Cowboy at Nat’l Western Stock Show 1/9-1/24/10

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Colorado is technically the West, but it’s usually known for chic skiing than down and dirty cowboys. With over a hundred years under its belt, the National Western Stock Show is trying to change that perception.
The Stock Show has everything you could want: a rodeo, horse show, special events like a parade and Mexican bull riding, and a livestock show that’s so large it’s known as the Superbowl of Cattle Shows.  They even have a Martin Luther King, Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo to celebrate the holiday that occurs during the show.
With ambitions of being the world’s premier center for America’s western heritage, each year this event gets bigger and better.

3. Transport Yourself at Art Deco Weekend 1/15 – 1/17/10

There’s just something about the open road that fills people with passion: top down, seats back, wind in your face, mPicture 22usic blaring, and no deadlines. This paints the picture of the American Dream: Freedom. The 33rd Annual Art Deco weekend invites you to participate in celebrating the technology of transportation, because without it, this fantasy could have never become reality.

Art Deco Weekend was started in ’76 to raise awareness and appreciation of the arts and culture of the Arts Deco Era (1925 – 1945). The events of this year’s weekend celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Antique Automobile Club of America will include, a film series, theatrical performances, dance performances, a Saturday morning parade, and many more.

3. Start 2010 Right with New Year’s Day 5K 1/1/10

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Start the New Year on the right foot and join in Chicago’s 24th annual 5K run/walk, benefiting the Lakeview Citizens Council.  Beginning at the south end of the beautiful Lincoln Park neighborhood, the run/walk course winds north on a lakefront bike path to Diversity Harbor, and concludes at the North Avenue Field House.  A cadre of approximately 1,500 runners and walkers will help financially aid the Lakeview Citizens Council, a non-profit neighborhood organization.  And then there’s the party! Held at Sedgwicks Bar & Grill (1935 N Sedgwick Street) participants can eat, drink and be very merry, with trophies and raffles galore.

3. 75 Years of Elvis on Exhibit 1/8-8/22/10

Seventy-five years ago a man with big hair Picture 9and sexy moves got the nation “All Shook Up.” To commemorate the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birth, the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibit One Life: Echoes of Elvis begins at the beginning of January. Echoes of Elvis explores the singing legend’s impact on art and pop culture through the works of artistic masters like Andy Warhol, Ralph Wolfe Cowan, Red Grooms.  Even though he is gone, this exhibit will capture the rock ‘n roll of Elvis Presley.

3. Eat Well at Philly Restaurant Week 1/17-1/29/10

Picture 16It’s time to shed those pesky extra pounds you put on over the holidays, but you’ll want to hold off on your New Year’s resolution for at least a month, because the event of the season is coming up. On January 17th, TD Bank will present City District Restaurant Week. More than 40 of Philadelphia’s most popular restaurants will be joining in on the 12-day event to prepare delicious entrees to send your taste buds soaring at prices that will leave you smiling.

3. AJFF Gala & 10 Year Anniversary 1/4/10; 1/13-1/24/10

The 10th annual Atlanta Jewish Film Festival – Atlanta’Picture 21s largest film festival- kicks off with an extraordinary collaborative event on January 4th with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Guest conductor Richard Kaufman leads the orchestra in a mélange of Jewish-themed film scores – from Schindler’s List to Masada – that will be presented with montages of stills from each movie profiled.

This year, the AJFF will showcase 50 international, independent and studio films that focus on storytelling, and the universality of themes in the human condition.  Screenings will be replete with guest speakers – actors, directors, authors, academics and other experts – who will lead audience members in a lively dialogue and in-depth examination of the featured films.

3. NYT Art & Leisure Weekend 1/7-1/10/10

Picture 9The New York Times Art & Leisure Weekend is an incredible opportunity to learn from major stars of the film, television, culinary, and dance worlds- that are interviewed by some of the most prestigious journalists in the world from the New York Times.

Each seminar is better than the next covering all aspects of art and entertainment. Listen in as Frank Bruni interviews the stars of Top Chef, Journalist Patrick Healy interviews Natalie Portman, Journalist Bill Carter interviews Jimmy Fallon, Journalist Jason Zinoman interviews the makers of Cirque du Soleil and much more. From soap opera stars to chefs, this an incredible way to spend a glamorous New York weekend– and possibly get a few tips from the pros.

3. Celebrate MLK, Jr with Star Studded Concert 1/17/10

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Reflect on the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the 27th Annual Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement Concert. With music and dance, this touching tribute celebrates a nationwide spirit of change.  This year’s concert will star American Idol winner and Grammy Nominee Ruben Studdard.  The concert will also show historic film footage from the 1960’s to reflect on the civil rights movement.

3. Personal Lessons at Celebrity Chefs Culinary Program 1/23-2/20

Clear the schedule for the next four Saturdays as the popular 15th Annual Celebrity Chefs Culinary Program is coming to Boston. DesigPicture 26ned for both novice and experienced cooks, a session with one of the culinary pros can change your kitchen forever. This year executive chefs from each of the Fairmont’s highly acclaimed restaurants as well as the owner and executive chef of Boston favorite Tremont 647 will be giving their knowledge to participants.

Each two hour session features a famous guest chef, sampling of dishes paired with matching wines or spirits, and a copy of all the recipes from the entire course.

If you’d like to come in just for a weekend, the luxurious Fairmont Copley Plaza offers a Celebrity Chefs Weekend Package specifically designed for this event.

3. Get Wow’d at the WOW Dance Festival 1/14-1/31/10

Picture 9Now in its tenth year, the Women on the Way Festival (WOW) celebrates the diversity and variety of San Francisco performers. But there’s a catch: the performers are only female.

Three venues over three weeks rotate from dance to theater to music to comedy, all of which are done by talented female artists. Sexy, talented, and innovative, these performances are always entertaining.

4. MLK Weekend Harlem Style 1/16-1/17/10

Picture 7In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., NYC Discovery Walking Tours is hosting a special tour through the prominent African American neighborhood of Harlem. Highlights of the tour include Blumstein’s, where the famous assassination attempt on Dr. King happened in 1958. Visitors will also see the legendary Apollo Theater and Lenox Lounge, where Billy Holiday performed. The MLK, Jr. Harlem Walk is a great way to see a cultural diverse neighborhood of New York and celebrate the memory of MLK, who walked those same exact streets 50 years ago.

4. Everything’s New at artLA 1/28-1/31/10

The sixth annual artLA is completely getting a makeover to kick off the new decade. The highly accPicture 18laimed art show has a new director, new location, and new selection committee that will make this show unique from all the rest. ArtLA focuses on contemporary art and is meant to inspire not only art lovers, but also collectors, curators, and the artists themselves. ArtLA is a great venue for LA based exhibitors and also features a wide range of international galleries from Auckland to Berlin.

4. See NYC in Boston at In The Heights 1/12-1/24/10

Picture 27Finally, a musical about the importance of family, home, and finding where you belong in this world, 4 time Tony Award winner In the Heights is welcomed to the stage at Boston’s Opera House.

This is the story about a lively community in Manhattan’s Washington Heights that is on the brink of change. In The Heights takes the rock element of Rent, but adds a twist of hip-hop and salsa to make this coming of age story inspiring, energetic, and completely unique from the other Broadway hits.

4. Catwalk Meets Canvas 1/23/10

Art Partners, the social and volunteer arm of Atlanta’s High Museum, and Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead are joining forces to presentPicture 15 the 2nd Annual Catwalk Meets Canvas.  The event is a delightful mélange of art and fashion, with up-and-coming artists exhibiting recent works, a fashion show, and an intimate marketplace comprised of the top 12 boutiques, designers and spas in Atlanta.

Guests will enjoy the complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres and the music of DJ Joel Rabe of Lethal Rhythms Inc., as they interact with the creative contributors to this soiree.  The highlight of the evening is at 8PM – a fashion show presented by Saks Fifth Avenue.

4. Celebrate Winter at Snow Days 1/29-1/31/10

grantparkBundle up and bustle down to Grant Park for a free 3-day festival of snow!  Both adults and children will find plenty to amuse and amaze them, as Grant Park at S. Balboa and Michigan Avenue is transformed into a wintry wonderland.  A national competition featuring twenty-seven snow sculptures will grace the area, created by artists from as near as Chicago to as far away as China.  Local high school students will present their own snow sculpture exhibition, giving guests a glimpse at Chicago’s up-and-coming artists.  Dog-sledding demonstrations and snowboard rail jams will thrill onlookers and plenty of food and beverage stands will be there to slake thirst and stave off hunger.

4. World Premiere of When Tang Met Laika 1/22-2/27/10

Sci-fi meets forbidden love at the Denver Center Commissioned World Premiere of When Tang Met Laika. Set after the fall of Communism, aWhen_Tang_Met_Laika_419n American astronaut and female Russian cosmonaut begin a love affair thousands of miles above the earth on the space station. But when ghosts from the past and the politics of the people below interfere, the two space lovers must decide whether their relationship should be brought back to Earth or end in space.

This unique play was commissioned by the Denver Center Theatre Company and the Magic Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation New Science & Technology Plays Initiative and is on a limited month-long run.

4. Family Friendly Films at KidFilm Festival 1/23-1/24/10

Picture 16Enjoy films fit for the whole family? The 26th Annual KidFilm Festival is the place to be.  With genres ranging from animated features and shorts to children’s features and shorts, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for at this two day festival. Organized by USA Film Festival, a year-round film and arts organization, KidFilm is the oldest and largest family film festival in the U.S.

Last year’s festival featured a modern telling of Mark Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper” as well as a sing-along version of the great American classic “The Wizard of Oz”.  What great films will be modernized at this year’s festival? Head over to Angelinka Film Center to find out.

4. Have a Splash of Science with Your Cocktail at Exploratorium 1/20/10

Picture 6In one of the coolest science-meets-reality exhibits, for one night only the Exploratorium is hosting mixologists from across the city for the Science of Cocktails. Hands-on as always, bartenders from hotspots like 83 Proof and Orson will be mixing the drinks, while guests will be participating in experiments about alcohol, inebriation, hangovers, and cocktail mixing.

Not only will guests be learning from the experiments, they can also get a free bartending lesson as the masters show the secret behind their craft. This is one event where drinking is both fun and for a good cause as this event will raise funds for the Exploratorium Museum.

4. Get a Makeover at Home Show 1/16– 1/24/10

Picture 15Has remodeling your home driven you to the point of wanting to tear it down and just start over?  The Philadelphia Home show has the relief that you’ve been looking for.

Host Ty Pennington always has helpful hints, and the latest in home décor, but welcomes co-worker Paul DiMeo of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to share his thoughts and opinions as well. There will also be more than 500 experts there to share the hottest trends and tips in home design and décor.

4. Original Miami Beach Antique Show 1/21 – 1/25/10

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Just can’t get rid of your great-grandmother’s marble vase for fear it’s worth more than 5 dollars at a yard sale? Dust off all your old trinkets and take them down to Miami Beach Convention Center because the original Miami Beach Antique Road Show is making a stop in its hometown for a 5-day show. Internationally recognized experts will be on site to provide appraisals. Don’t miss the chance to find out just how much your favorite treasure is really worth.

4. All the Capital Celebrates MLK Jr 1/10-/18/10

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech resonated and transformed the world from the stage at Lincoln Memorial in DC. So what bPicture 8etter way to celebrate this historic man’s birthday than in the nation’s capital.

There are a plethora of events taking place to commemorate MLK’s life and work all across the capital. The Choral Arts Society will be kicking off the celebrations for a tribute on January 10th, a Georgetown tribute, an observance at the Department of Interior, and of course a service will be taking place where it all started at the Lincoln Memorial. There’s also a film festival and a holiday weekend family festival in the days leading up to the big holiday. Phew!

5. American Icons at New Portrait Unbound Exhibit 1/23-5/30/10

An exhibition of new works by California-based photographer Robert Weingarten is being presented at the High Museum of Art from January 23 through May 30, 2010. This exhibit will feature twenty-one large-scale Picture 17digitally-created portraits of American icons, and represents a bold departure from traditional camera portraiture.

Weingarten, whose career as a photographer commenced at the age of 54, has developed a unique oeuvre of composite images that capture personalities, rather than simply revealing physical appearances.

5. Treasures at the Washington Antique Show 1/8-1/10

The Washington Antique Show, benefiting children and families throuPicture 19gh the Thrift Shop Charities, showcases 44 of the best antique dealers from across the U.S. and Europe. With this year’s theme, Flights of Fancy, the array of treasures in decorative art, vintage jewelry, porcelain, ceramic and more are to be exquisite and beautiful. It’s one of the longest running antique shows in the U.S. and has consequently earned a reputation of quality and prestige.

For those looking to complete a collection or pick up something that makes them smile, the 55th Annual Washington Antique Show is a great place to go.

5. Kick off Summer Early at Cubs Convention 1/15-1/17/10

There’s nothing like scenes of cheering for the Cubs at Wrigley Field in the summer for ChicagoanPicture 7s to get through the winter. Now in its 25th year, fans can kick off the summer in the heart of winter at the Chicago Cubs Convention. This event offers a smorgasboard of treats for Chicago fans- and most Chicagoans are very, very enthusiastic about their team. Fans can rub shoulders with current and former Cubs stars as well as broadcasters and executives, then they can divulge in all the Cubs memorabilia at the convention. Go Cubs!

5. Get Pumped for MMA Expo 1/9/10

The Mixed Martial Arts Expo has announced its expansion into thPicture 14e U.S. and what better way than through a co-location agreement with the Philadelphia Sports Extravaganza? Being the fastest growing sport on the planet, it’s only a matter of time until the MMA Expo makes its debut in the U.S. This high-energy event promises for a great weekend with the tournaments, exhibitors, and the most prominent competitors in the business.

MMA brings an entirely new flavor to the already action-packed Philadelphia Sports Extravaganza.

5. Get Jazzy with DWS at Swing! Swing! Swing! 1/26/10

Pianist Jeff Hellmer serves as guest conductor for thPicture 20e Dallas Wind Symphony Swing band for an evening of Big Band Music. Twice named a finalist in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Hellmer’s latest CD “Peak Moments” was declared an “exciting addition to the modern jazz piano catalog” by the All Music Guide. At Swing! Swing! Swing!, the lineup includes favorites such as “It Had to be You”, “Tuxedo Junction”, “One o-clock jump,” and many more. DWS’s sound combined with Hellmer’s creativity promises for a night to remember!

5. Last Chance for Inspiring Portrait of Life 1/1-1/18/10

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Portrait of Life: Children’s Lives in Art is one of the more inspiring exhibitions to come to the Museum of Fine Arts every year. Now in its sixth year, the children of Boston join in on a collaborative project with other kids in Nagoya, Japan to bring the one-of-a-kind exhibition.

In Boston, children were inspired by the MFA’s animal images and in Nagoya, students explored the idea of whom and what they think is beautiful. Nearly 700 students participated in this year’s exchange that is enlightening for both children and adults. Make sure to catch this exhibit before it ends on Martin Luther King Day.

5. Art Goes HD at Citizen 1/7-2/21/10

Brooklyn-based Cliff Evans is a leading video artist and for his Denver debut he is making a splash with Citizen. The solo exhibition is a three-channel HD projePicture 8ction of multi-screen, photo-animation videos that are at the same time humorous and critical of American culture. Upon entering the exhibit, one is taken to another environment that’s full of rhythm, sound, motion, and some of America’s most recognizable personalities.

Don’t miss the solo exhibition Denver debut of this critically acclaimed artist when it debuts in January.

5. Music from Around the World at globalFEST 1/1/10

Picture 6Music fans love to be the first to “discover” bands and for seven years globalFEST has been a festival that showcases artists from all over the world whoare on the brink of U.S. success. All the acts are unique in their style and culture as they generally represent music that is different from what we hear Stateside.

In January, such diverse styles as French Gypsy jazz with breakbeats, Argentine club sounds, Afro-Colombian music, Central Asian avant rock, New York salsa, and so much more will be playing. This festival always brings unique music that you can discover before all your friends.

5. Go Glam Hollywood at Film Noir Festival 1/22-1/31/10

The Eighth Annual Film Noir Festival proudly changes the City by the BPicture 5ay to Noir City. Held at the majestic Castro Theatre for ten days in January, the festival will be showing noir style films in this year’s theme of “Lust and Larceny.”

So grab a fedora hat and look around the corner cautiously as you enjoy the black and white crime dramas of the 40s and 50s.

5. Meet the Greats at photo l.a. 1/14-1/17

The 19th annual photo l.a. is one of the leading photo-based events in the country- and for gooPicture 19d reason. Not only are attendees given access to never before seen photographs and exhibitions, throughout the weekend people can attend seminars from photography stars. For example, renowned, surreal photographer David LaChapelle, who has photographed everyone from Pamela Anderson to Marilyn Manson, will be hosting a seminar as well as well-known curators who will be hosting collecting seminars. This event is for those who want to see and learn the incredible art form.
Don’t miss the opening reception that is hosted by David LaChapelle and Christopher Lowell.

5. Shakespeare in the Park 1/15- 1/17/10

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You don’t have to wait for summer to enjoy Shakespeare in the Park. The company will kick-start 2010 with a three-day production of The Taming of the Shrew in ritzy Coconut Grove.
This Shakespearean classic is about Petruchio, a newlywed man whose actions lead the audience to believe he’s quite insane, when he’s only worried that marrying a headstrong woman will inevitably lead to cuckoldry, making him the center of public ridicule. (Cuckoldry – having a wife cheat or be publicly domineering.)
Along with the production, Children’s tea with Story hour will be January 16 at noon.