3 Stories + 1 Rooftop = Vinyl Madness

Picture 12When size matters, Club Vinyl delivers. Occupying four stories, the huge, neopsychedelic space rises from a mellow basement bar to a rockin’ rooftop patio lined with sofas and fire pits; in between, of course, are pool tables, VIP areas, and dance floors galore, complete with go-go girls and a line-up of DJs from the world over (including Amsterdam’s Mason and Montreal’s Megasoid), playing everything from reggaeton, hip hop, and Latin house to trance and electronica.

Skewing young (18+) on Saturdays and gay-friendly on Sundays, the crowd is unusually diverse—after all, there’s room for everybody here.

It’s a Creative Whirlwind of Exposure at 111 Minna Gallery

Ask anyone where the latest in San Francisco cuisine, music, performance, Picture 11and most importantly art resides and they will tell you at the famously dynamic 111 Minna Gallery in SOMA.  Gallery by day and dance floor by night, this gallery changes every six weeks to embrace the latest in local, national, and international urban art.

With gallery space that easily converts itself into spaces for as little as 50 and up to 500 people, including the bar and dance floor, 111 Minna is the cities go-to for the hottest events.  And they’re here to showcase anything and everything in the world of art.  With Emily the Strange creator Rob Reiner’s exhibit, San Francisco’s Poet Laureate Diane DePrima readings, World-Renowned DJ Vinroc, and even the EAT street food pop-up restaurant every Monday night, nothing is off topic, too outlandish, or out of range for 111 Minna’s creative initiative.

Performance Art Is Defined At Lincoln Center

With a new fountain in place of the iconic plaza fountain, it seems that things are changing at Lincoln Center. Yet, one thing that has not changed for the 16.3-acre complex is its role as the world’s leading performing arts center. Home to 12 resident arts organizations and 26 amazing performance venues, Lincoln Center is the epitome of art and performance in New York City.

One of its most famous facilities is thePicture 33 magnificent 3,900-seat Metropolitan Opera House, which is the home stage of the world famous Metropolitan Opera and the annual Spring season of American Ballet Theatre. There is also the gorgeous Avery Fisher Hall, home stage of the New York Philharmonic, and the David H. Koch Theater, home of the New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera.

Lincoln Center puts on thousands of performances of music, opera, theater, dance, and multi-media every year by renowned artists from all over the globe. It has been home to ultra cool events like the MTV VMA’s and is the new home of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Whether its orchestra concerts or authentic kabuki theater or opera performed with life-size puppets, Lincoln Center presents only the top of any and every kind of performance art.

Iwo Jima Memorial: The Picture Comes to Life

Picture 9Memorials can get repetitive at times. Sometimes, it feels like when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. This is not the case with the Iwo Jima Memorial. Modeled after the famous photo of six soldiers raising the American flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima in WWII, this huge memorial is a sight to behold.

Also known as the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, the place is dedicated to all the U.S. marines who have given their lives since 1775. The 32-foot-high figures are shown erecting a 60-foot bronze flagpole from which a cloth flag flies 24 hours every day. The faces were modeled in clay after the three surviving soldiers who raised the flag in the photo. Overall, the memorial is 78 feet high. In fact, the canteens in the statue can hold 32 quarts of water.

Seeing the memorable Iwo Jima photo as a large, three-dimensional representation, the sight is truly spectacular. If you go at night, the scene is very powerful. This is one statue that will not seem repetitive and plain.

Get Dolled Up and Party With Some Guys

Picture 7When opening night brings celebrities like the Maddens and Kendra’s baby shower together, you know this spot is going to be good. Guys & Dolls is the ultimate Hollywood lounge and nightclub. Featuring a patio as soon as you walk in with tables and bottle service, it is the perfect place for a summer night of partying. The inside, which features an open dance floor and more V.I.P tables, makes you realize why all the celebs are running to hang with their other Hollywood friends.

Though the décor is beautiful to match the beautiful L.A. faces, the door policy is strict to assure that only the most successful guys and most gorgeous dolls get through the velvet rope. With major events and premieres happening on a regular basis, Guys & Dolls’ is always filled with VIPs, the right drinks, and beautiful scenery.

Insider’s Tip: If you and friends want to venture out to this club and are unable to drop a name or get on the guest list, bottle service is a must to be escorted to the front of the line and have a table to yourselves.

Eats and Early Seats at DC Improv

Need a little comic relief?  Head to the District’s premier comedy venue, DC Improv, host to a variety of nationally touring jokesters, local celebrity headliners, and a full restaurant and bar.  As the perfect alternative to the typical night out on the town, DC Improv offers Happy Hour Trivia Nights, free of charge, as well as nightly comedy acts, Tuesday through Sunday.

Seats to early shows (around 8:00pm) Picture 31are offered on a first come, first serve basis so be sure to grab a ticket online beforehand and arrive early when the doors open, usually 90 minutes prior to the show.  Don’t worry about killing time before the cracks begin – the theater’s restaurant offers a variety of bar bites perfect for a casual night out. After all, all shows require a two item minimum per person, anyway.

For night owls looking to laugh, grab a seat at one of the later weekend shows.  Doors open at 10:00 PM for 10:30 PM performances on Fridays and Saturdays, with assigned seating based on reservation number meaning the earlier you book, the better the seat.

Insider Tip: Take advantage of DC Improv’s recession-proof, “Pay What You Can” night – a monthly series that caters to those looking to save a buck on a fun night out.  Tickets are the standard $17.00; however, guests are encouraged to pay whatever they can afford for some quality entertainment.  “Pay What You Can” tickets are only available the night of the show, on a first come, first serve basis.

French Riviera Glamour at Award-Winning Palme d’Or

Picture 10Mention the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables to anyone in the greater Miami area and the words classic, elegant, sophisticated and swanky will undoubtedly be repeated. So it’s fitting that the French restaurant Palme d’Or would be the hotel’s signature eatery. Featuring a menu brimming with French nouvelle creations by chef Philippe Ruiz, the cuisine is #1 with Zagat (it swept the Top Food, Decor and Service honors in the 2010 guide) and the Miami Herald critics have twice ranked it “exceptional.”

Stated clearly on the menu is the chef’s recommendation of at least three to four courses. Suggested options include sauteed Maine scallop, grilled duck foie gras, wild mushroom cassolette, seven-hour braised beef effilochee, and for dessert, a new twist on the strawberry shortcake.

Palme D’Or also has a wide selection of vegetarian dishes, an enviable wine list and a theater menu available only from 6-7 pm for those catching a show in the area. And how fitting since that’s what the entire Biltmore experience recalls, the glamorous Cannes Film Festival, where this restaurant deserves its own Palme d’Or for best restaurant experience.

Bryant Park Has the Best of Both Worlds

Picture 6Watch out, Central Park. Sure, Bryant Park might not be New York’s most famous park, but definitely puts up some good competition. Here, it’s the best of both worlds: tall Manhattan skyscrapers surrounding a green lawn that features some of the most iconic New York events, like Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the HBO Summer Movie Screenings.

Just one block from Times Square, the park is a popular lunch break getaway for the suits and ties, eating at Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio’s casual ‘wichcraft or at the Bryant Park Grill’s enviable patio space. For those looking to relax and soak up the few rays of Manhattan sunshine, there’s free Wi-Fi access as well as intermittent racks of books (Bryant Park is directly behind the New York Library). For those with children, the custom-built carousel is a must.

Bryant Park is always alive; every season comes a new batch of highly anticipated and high quality events. In the summer, the HBO Summer Film Festival screens free films for those on the lawn, and various concerts, including the GMA Summer Series and Broadway in Bryant Park. If you come in the winter, there are the independent merchants at the Holiday Shops as well as The Pond, a free-admission ice-skating rink that has been touted as NYC’s best.

The Buzz Around Cafe Bizou

With three locations and endless rave reviews, it’s no wonder that Café Bizou is popular all over Los Angeles, from Pasadena to Sherman Oaks to Santa Monica.

This French bistro is the perfect birthday, anniversPicture 15ary or first date location. Though elegant and intimate, it’s doubtful you can show up on a Friday night without spotting a sweet sixteen to your right and a newly engaged couple to your left. If mood lighting and a quiet atmosphere is your thing, then this place probably isn’t. The Santa Monica location may be beautiful, but with that beauty comes a whole lot of people.

Thanks to its two dollar corkage fee and prix fixe menus, the long wait you will experience without a reservation is most definitely worth it. Diners who swear by this café leave raving about the flourless chocolate cake and the Steak au Poivre as a few of their favorites.

Café Bizou truly takes French food to a whole other level, leaving the ritzy feeling behind and bringing family and friends together. With great food and great prices, don’t be surprised to find another location coming to a city near you.

Hot, Hot, Hot at 5 Degrees

Centered around an ultralounge that looks like aPicture 10 futuristic parlor—all mirrors and chandeliers, in shades of black, white, yellow, orange, Lucite, and chrome—5 Degrees aims to be as cool as its name. So does the flirty LoDo crowd, who dresses to kill before settling into wraparound booths and splurging on bottle service, mingling out on the patio, or meeting face-to-face on the small, tightly packed dance floor.

Special events are a club hallmark—from fashion shows and photo shoots to Whipped Wednesdays, as the often-themed ladies’ night is called (a recent, cheeky example: Barbie’s Birthday). In sum: keep the footwork to a minimum, the ogling to a maximum, and you’ll fit right in.

From Classic Blues to Progressive DJs at House of Blues

Tucked away in an area that oozes a “Gotham City” vibe (and yes, The Dark Knight was filmed in Chi-town), Chicago’s House of Blues stands as a gigantic blue-lit seashell (in truth, it was modeled after “Estavovski” Opera House in Prague) in between the sexy Hotel Sax, the delicious wine bar and restaurant Bin 36, and just off of Marina City.

house of blues chicagoInside, the mish-mash of bright decor and blues memorabilia houses a restaurant full of hearty home cookin’ plates of goodness, an area large of enough for 1,000 dancin’ bodies and an intimate stage – perfect for grabbing great views of your favorite stars. Having hosted a long list of greats since its opening in 1996 like B.B. King, The Who, Pearl Jam and Al Green, the “House” stays true to its roots by housing a box full of mud from the Delta Mississippi underneath its stage – how’s that for a fun fact?

Night after night, Chicagoans and tourists count on this classic for the best of yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s hot artists. And yes club kids – that means you too! Plenty of world famous DJs also adorn the HOB Chicago stage!

Insider’s Tip: If you love the HOB Chicago so much, become a member of the Foundation Room, a unique bar full of 300 year old international artifacts, three “prayer rooms” a full bar, dinner menu and great people-watching all attached to the main room. No Member’s Only Jacket included, unfortunately.

Real or Wax at The Hollywood Wax Museum

While you can spot celebrities on the street or dining at their favorite digs, nothing really beats a photo op with one of your favorite stars. The Hollywood Wax Museum, situated on the famous Hollywood Boulevard, is the only place where no matter what time of day, you can be face-to-face with Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Elvis Presley and even Judy Garland.  The Hollywood Wax Museum is the longest running wax museum and the only one devoted entirely to famous faces in the United States.

Even though posing and snapping photographs is all the fun, thePicture 7 true beauty behind this museum is how long it takes to bring these stars to life. Careful planning and authentic design go into each creation giving each wax figure a real presence- taking a team of 7 artists three months to make! The museum is constantly changing to allow for new, popular stars to be immortalized for fans in the life-like wax. This museum is perfect for the City of Stars, because it gives museum goers a chance to pose with a celebrity without having to chase them down.

Insider’s Tip: Open 365 days a year, a visit to this museum is probably best accompanied by other spots such as the Guinness World Records Museum or Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Thanks to multiple ticket packages that the museum offers, you can visit all three and get a true taste of Hollywood celebrities, world records and unbelievable sightings.

Modern Italian at Bibiana

In the mood for a little Italian?  Skip the checkerboard tablecloths and drip candles, and say “ciao” to Bibiana Osteria & Enoteca, a very chic alternative to the typical Italian eatery.  Outfitted in luxe chocolate browns and interesting metallic lighting, Bibiana’s chic interior exudes sophistication, reaching out to power diners and well-traveled patrons alike. Picture 11

A product of well-known restauranteur Ashok Bajaj, Bibiana is led by executive chef Nicholas Stefanelli, who brings a light, updated Italian menu full of traditional classics like decadent pastas and crisp pizzas, as well as unique main courses that modernize the Southern European cuisine.

Start off with the gorgeous Datteri, or Mejool dates stuffed with ricotta salata, salty pancetta and sprinkled with slivered almonds.  For a decadent entrée, try the Anatra, or roasted Muscovy duck breast with creamy celery root puree, dried cherries and rich red wine sauce.  For the adventurous diner, Stefanelli offers veal sweetbreads with rutabaga, and candied oranges, dusted with fennel pollen.

Insider Tip: For a more low-key evening, grab a seat in Bibiana’s mod lounge area and sample the small plate menu, available from 2:30-5:30 PM on most weekdays.

Rocker Jamie Jo Harris Parties at The Wall

The newest lifetime member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame is also an It Girl on the Miami social scene. Jamie Jo Harris is one part rock-chic jewelry designer, one part Kylie Minogue-esque singer-songwriter, so when she wants to let loose, it’s always on a dance floor, and more often than not it’s at W South Beach’s new hotspot The Wall.

Jamie Jo told citybuzz that if you’re Picture 33looking for a “great ‘in spot,'” then Wall is one of the elite places to go in Miami. Describing it as “very fresh and chic,” this lounge/club just opened in 2009 and is as sleek a club as the W is a hotel. Outfitted in a gold and black theme and refreshingly high ceilings covered with gold copper mesh, Wall sets the stage for a glamorous night of dancing and bottle service. The dance floor is nearly as spacious as the airy ceiling levels. The ever changing lights of purples, reds and greens against the wall is an added bonus to get you in the mood for a serious night of partying to hip hop and Top 40 mixes. If you’re lucky, you might even catch Jamie Jo behind the DJ booth, spinning the killer mix that has everyone dancing.

As one of the newest nightclubs on SoBe and with VIP events happening every week, Wall’s velvet rope is one of the hardest- and best- to get through.

*** Jamie Jo Harris is a singer-songwriter and founder of jewelry line, Belle Coeur. Jamie Jo’s latest album, In Violet, features the hit single “U Turn Me On,” featuring none other than legendary vocalist Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees.

Fleming’s Prime Affordable Steaks

Imagine finding a steakhouse in Boston that offers quality beef at affordable prices. That’s exactly what Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar does night after night and wins “Best Steakhouse” in Boston year after year. Located across from The Boston Park Plaza Hotel in the Theater District, this elegant restaurant that has a dark wood interior with high ceilings and an open spacious dining room, was the first East Coast location for the West Coast brand.

Start off with a glass of wine from itsPicture 13 Wine Spectator award-winning collection of 100 vintages by the glass to go along with some Blue Point oysters. There is a good selection of seafood for those who don’t like beef, but for the true carnivores, the bone-in ribeye and bone-in New York strip should not be missed. For the ultimate indulgence, try the house specialty, Fleming’s potatoes, served with cream, jalapenos and cheddar cheese, which are large enough to share with the entire table. The walnut turtle pie should be the grand finale of the evening. Visit flemingssteakhouse.com
for more information.

Insider Tip: If you sit at the bar, don’t miss the amazing deal of five for $6 until 7 p.m. promotion, which includes a choice of five cocktails, five glasses of wine and five appetizers.

Hotel Indigo Midtown is an Urban Nature Oasis

Hotel Indigo first unleashed its unique magic at this Midtown Atlanta location in 2004 and the charm has definitely caught on. Different from most hotels, Hotel Indigo is all about creating an urban oasis, whether it’s with fresh greenery in the guest rooms, the hotel’s perfect 1.618 ratio design as found in nature, or changing up the hotel’s look, feel, sound, and taste for every season.

Brightly colored throughout in soft blues and greens,Picture 7 there’s nothing drab here. There are many comfortable spaces perfect for lounging, because the goal really is to evoke a lazy Sunday at home on the patio, and Wi-Fi just makes it better.

Guest rooms are stacked with shabby chic charm; they are also cheery and brightly covered. No space is wasted so rooms are purposely compact. Spa touches haven’t been abandoned though- the bathroom might be tiny, but the pressure in the shower isn’t.

Venturing outside is easy thanks to its convenient Midtown location just across from the Fox Theatre and its close proximity to quite a few nice restaurants. Those who cherish the simple things in life without giving up convenience will easily fall for the Hotel Indigo’s considerable charm.

Gold Room is New and On Fire

Picture 17Before the law ended the good times at the Gold Club, the infamous strip club that scored national headlines, everybody who was anybody was there, and that’s exactly the vibe that the Gold Room resurrects. Still in the exact location that ironically boasted a church after its closing, there’s plenty of prayer-worthy, vintage inspired debauchery on the menu- sans strippers.

Taking its current inspiration from New York and Las Vegas, the Gold Room, with its sexy, dark velvet décor, aims to deliver the ultimate “ultra lounge” experience, even allowing VIPs to look down on the action from the window-encased second floor. It boasts a one of a kind champagne bar and an expansive signature cocktail menu to cure the most luxurious of palates. And, for entertainment, it’s not unusual to catch an aerialist with minimal golden clothing and dancers, outfitted in golden, vintage ensembles with flaming torches, on Saturday nights.

Monday nights are hip-hop cool with producer/music exec Jermaine Dupri typically doing a stint in the DJ booth. LeBron James and Sean “Diddy” Combs have dipped in then but others like Lenny Kravitz, Fred Schneider of the B52s, The Black Eyed Peas’s will.i.am and even Ms. “Tardy for the Party” herself, Kim Zolciak of Real Housewives of Atlanta fame, have popped in on other nights.

This time around, everything that glitters is golden.

The Interactive Institute of Contemporary Art

Formerly The Boston Museum of Modern Art, The Institute of Contemporary Art has made a prominent name for itself in the city since its inception in 1936. Located on Boston’s waterfront, even its beautiful building is a work of art. Among the artists whose work was introduced to U.S. Picture 16audiences by the ICA are Cubist Georges Braque, Expressionists Oskar Kokoschka and Edvard Munch (The Scream), as well as Andy Warhol.

Here, you will find access to contemporary art as well as artists and the creative process, encouraging audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in new art. The museum hosts numerous courses, talks and films for families, teens and educators each month so be sure to check the calendar of events to find out what is currently going on. For young adults, don’t miss the teen filmmaking program Fast Forward where participants become the producers of their own documentaries.

Insider’s Tip: Every Thursday night, the museum offers complimentary admission from 5 to 9 pm for Target Free Thursday Nights.

A Chicago Classic: The Rosebud

Chicago is known for its restaurants, but some stand out far above others, and one of them is Rosebud. For 30 years, this landmark restaurant has attracted famous Picture 12Chicagoans and the visiting elite for its dreamy ambiance of shiny wood floors, mahogony framed mirrored walls and white linen covered tables. With impeccable service and mouth watering steaks, the Rosebud has gained such a fan base that it now has several addresses including a specialty Italian restaurant on Chicago’s bustling Rush Street, a trattoria, an express shop and several suburban locales.

It’s hard to believe that back in 1977, it was just a mundane grocery store. What’s easy to picture is the array of guests who have frequented the place: Tony Bennett, Oprah Winfrey and even magical ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra. From the starting line-up of the Bulls to the Bears, this place tends to be crawling with stars and big wigs. Just check out the “Wall of Fame” if you need assurance while there.

Celeb watching aside, this is a place to indulge so don’t hold back and get that 14 oz. Italiano steak – delicioso!

Fillmore at Jackie Gleason Theater is South Beach’s Gem

The gem of South Beach performance spaces, the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater, has had several name changes, but the quality of performers and the elegant, commanding presence of the space is everlasting. The grandiose theater is treasured by locals and the many performers who grace its stage.

So beloved is the Fillmore,Picture 11 it recently underwent a massive renovation to restore it to its original beauty, and added some modern touches that brought it into the 21st century. The exterior is all Art Deco, with geometric lines and blue pastel coloring. The interior, though, is a cross between 1920’s elegance and a modern club scene, like the ornate grand crystal chandeliers that are hued with purple lighting.

Any artist would want to grace such a majestic stage, and they do, from all genres and eras. Where else does legendary singer Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young,  indie rockers Arctic Monkeys, and comedian Chelsea Handler of the “Chelsea Lately” late night talk show appear in the same venue? It all comes together at the Fillmore Miami Beach.

Spice Up the Abode with Sleek Beau Living

For most people, sprucing up their home’s interior and exterior is a welcome change, and with the sleek furnishings offered at Beau Living, it almost becomes an art form.Picture 5 The large showroom located on Miami’s up and coming Biscayne Boulevard, houses a massive amount of furnishings- sofas to pillows to artwork- for every room in the home.

The mission of the Sebaaly family, owners of the store, is to work directly with the manufacturers to provide the latest styles their customers are seeking out. The featured designs are streamlined and clean and run the gamut to include funky yet functional chaise lounge chairs, chairs and ottomans, as well as  sofas and sectionals with unconventional designs. For the exterior, the cool daybeds, seating sets, and sofas are reminiscent of what’s found around a hip, cool lounging area surrounding a South Beach hotel pool. They also sell artwork and accessories for the home.

See The Next Big Thing at Miami’s Improv & Dinner Theater

With the hottest comics around, including Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres and Robin Williams, getting their start at the Improv Comedy Club, chances are today’s comics at Miami’s Improv are the next big thing.

Housed inside the classic open-air shopper’s paradise, Mayfair Shoppes, the Improv packs them Picture 13in on a weekly basis with stellar line-ups featuring the best in the funny business. For example, joker Gabriel Iglesias has appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend as well as the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, while LA-based Darren Carter is a favorite on the comedy club circuit for combining comedy, sketch and impersonations into his act. To see up and coming comedians, the Improv Comedy Jam, held several times a month, is a great show to catch.

Also considered a dinner theatre, the grub here is good too, with an impressive menu of appetizers, entrees and drink specials to please any palate. Overall, it’s a great place to unwind at the end of a busy workday and laugh hard and eat hearty.

A Steakhouse that Serves up Dancing? That’s Prime

Located on the third, fourth and fifth floors above Umbria Prime steakhouse, which takes over the first two, this three-story dance mecca caters to a 25 and older clientele. Up until around midnight, 30-somethings come here to party while a younger late-night Picture 10crowd stays until the doors close at 2 a.m.

Prime the Nightclub has hosted internationally famed DJs spinning a mix of house, top 40s and mashup every Friday and Saturday night. The chic stylish younger crowd flocks to the ultra lounge with vodka bar and VIP lounge with table service. But what makes this place so great is that dinner is served downstairs nightly until 11 p.m., so if you feel like snacking late night, simply venture downstairs for a quick bite. Visit umbriaprime.com/nightlife for more information.

Insider’s Tip: If you decide to dine at Umbria Prime, you will receive a complimentary $20 admission to the upstairs club.

Dallas Fish Market is a Great Catch

Something smells fishy in downtown Dallas- in a very, very good way. Located at the Texas historic landmark Busch-Kirby Building, Chef Randy Morgan offers creative seafood dishes made from fresh deliveries from all over the world. The menu is whimsical and changes from week to week, always offering a new adventure. Picture 14

The Wine Lounge offers 24 wines on tap so you can taste all that Dallas Fish Market has to offer and determine which will become your signature. If you can’t decide, ask Wine Director George Calderon for his recommendations.

With delicious dishes like Black Truffle Wrapped Chilean Sea Bass and Grilled Farm Raised Scottish Salmon, a nice glass of wine and a side of Baked 4 Cheese Mac and Cheese, you’ll feel like you’re off the coast of Maine instead of dining on Main Street.

The Masterpiece That Is The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum is one of the most prized buildings and museums in New York City, and is often considered a masterpiece inside and out. Filling the famous rotunda halls with its highly-acclaimed contemporary art permanent collection and exhibitions, the Guggenheim always offers a unique and interactive experience to art.

Picture 25The Guggenheim Museum was integrated during the first half of the 20th century from several private collections. These private collections were so wonderfully different from each other that visitors have the opportunity to enjoy an enormous range of pieces from various historical as well as artistic periods: Mapplethorpe’s 200 finest photographs and objects, the Bohen Foundation’s room-sized film/video art works, and there’s an entire gallery dedicated to Kandinsky. The museum’s diverse and brilliant works reflect the course of modern art from the mid 1800’s to the present day via sculptures to light shows to paintings.

The Guggenheim is now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in the landmark Frank Lloyd Wright building, with many groundbreaking anniversaries and exhibitions to come.

Newbury’s Stephanie Sokolove Unwinds at Bella Santé Spa

Stephanie’s on Newbury restaurant is as iconic as ritzy Newbury Street itself, and when namesake owner Stephanie Sokolove is not enjoying her award-winning patio and sophisticated comfort food, she goes to fellow Newbury Street business Bella Santé Spa.

Picture 19“When I think of unwinding it is all about getting pampered,” Stephanie Sokolove told citybuzz. “For that I turn to Bella Santé Spa.” Similar to Stephanie on Newbury’s numerous accolades, Bella Sante Spa is a multi award-winning spa, receiving the most ever “Best of Boston” nods for its massages, skin care, and nail salon than any other spa in Boston. It’s known for the Swedish-based Bella Santé Massage and the Bella Santé Spa Facial, which includes a double exfoliation process and mineral infused fabric mask.

“The service is exceptional, the treatments are divine,” adds Stephanie. “And there is one located on Newbury Street, right down the street from my restaurant, so sometimes I am able to sneak away for a massage after work.” That sounds like a divine day, indeed! Visit bellasante.com for more information.

*** Stephanie Sokolove is the Owner and Executive Chef of the iconic Newbury Street restaurant Stephanie’s on Newbury, which has won her the nickname of “Queen of Patio Dining.” Stephanie just opened the Stephanie’s on Newbury sister restaurant, Stephi’s on Tremont, in Boston’s South End. Stephanie is known for her upscale, sophisticated take on American comfort food.

Hotel Monaco Modernizes a DC Landmark

Picture 31In a city known for its historic significance, how refreshing to find a boutique hotel that combines both old world charm with contemporary luxury, all in the bustling hub of Penn Quarter.  The Hotel Monaco, a AAA Four Diamond Kimpton Hotel, is housed in the original Post Office Building, marked by its grand marble exterior and central location in the heart of downtown.  Designed in 1839 by Robert Mills (known for his design of a little something called the Washington Monument), the building was remodeled into what is now The Hotel Monaco, complete with vibrantly chic décor and the well-known Poste-Modern Brasserie.

Settle into your home away from home, complete with 24 hour room service, in-room spa services, pet-friendly accommodations, and fitness center. The central location makes it just steps away from downtown’s Verizon Center, Washington Convention Center and central metro stations.  The Hotel Monaco also lays claim to an admirable “green” policy that is showcased throughout the hotel’s operations and eco-friendly programs.

Insider Tip: For a taste of Washington, take advantage of Hotel Monaco’s complimentary wine receptions.  Mingle with politicians and polished professionals as you sip a little vino at your chic new digs.

Pan Asian Perfection at Zentan

Housed in the chic Donovan House hotel, one would expect nothing less than equivocally sophisticated cuisine from its in-house restaurant, Zentan. With global Asian cuisine designed by famed chef, Susar Lee, Zentan brings a polished touch to delectable Asian staples: light crudos, inventive sushi rolls, authentic noodles and even hearty entrees.

With an elegant, yet modern minimalism, Zentan exudes Eastern sophistication, washed in deep chocolate hues and set aglow by contemporary platform chandeliers covered in twinkling, Picture 30oversized pillar candles. Loosen up with a punchy Spicy Thai Martini, spiked with thai chili-infused vodka, nigori unfiltered sake and St. Germain, and finished with a splash of cran for an Asian-fusion-inspired libation.

Tease your palate with a starter of Zentan’s signature Singapore Slaw – a crunchy concoction of over 19 (yes, way too many to list!) ingredients, including a to-die-for salted plum dressing. Don’t pass up the Crudo Platter – a sampling of fresh yellowtail, salmon, charred scallop, and big eye tuna, each presented with unique flavor profiles. The chef recommends savoring from left to right for a gradual, yet increased savory experience – and one that you will definitely not regret. Sushi lovers will forever crave the Fire Dragon roll after one bite – a colorful spool of spicy tuna, barbeque eel, avocado and tobiko.

Insider Tip: For the best of both worlds in the warmer months, enjoy a selection of Zentan’s small plates at the Donovan House’s rooftop lounge, ADC (“Above DC”). Breathtaking views of DC, exceptional Asian cuisine, and a swanky venue – what’s not to love?!

Have a Devilishly Good Time at Purgatory

Three levels, three different styles of music, three different bars to place your order. Purgatory in Dallas is massive in size and comprised of the naughtiest and nicest places of the afterlife all under one roof: Hell (lowest level), Purgatory, and Heaven (the top level). Picture 18

Hell produces a bumping hip-hop beat and showcases concrete bars and urban accents. The Purgatory level features a Ladies Lounge and martini bar where females can reconvene without their dates and engage in girl talk. The 37,000 watt cyber light system in Heaven is visually stimulating and moves to the beat of the popular Euro-techno music.

If you want to go the VIP route and lounge in style with your entourage, the Upper Heaven level can be reserved for bottle service, food service from adjoining Pandora restaurant, and private conversation. With so many levels and features to choose from, you’re sure to find one style that meshes with your mood of the night.

Say “Oui” to the Dining Room at Hotel St. Germain

Picture 15Fine french cuisine isn’t always the easiest to find. That’s why the Dining Room at the Hotel St. Germain is such a Dallas gem; it boasts a seven-course gourmet experience that utilizes the freshest of ingredients and meats. Crystal and china accents make the tablescapes eye catching and exude a rich Parisian feel. The champagne bar is a delight when celebrating any occasion, or no occasion at all.

If seafood is your fare, try the pan-seared sea scallops with lobster sauce and caviar-an utter treat. If you are a meat-lover at heart, beef tenderloin with roasted artichokes and fingerling potatoes will have you saying “Merci!”.

If all this sounds very luxurious and refined, it is. Jackets are required for men, so prepare to dress to impress. Afterall, why not look tres chic while indulging in a little bit of France down south?

The Citi Center is Boston’s Center Stage

Picture 5If you’re looking to check out a show while in town, chances are you’ll be heading over to the Wang Theatre where Louis XVI’s opulence and the Roaring Twenties come together at the Citi Performing Arts Center. Formerly known as the Wang Center, the 3,600-seat venue hosts a variety of theatrical performances from comedy shows and theater performances to dance productions and the famed Nutcracker ballet.

The center opened in 1925 and today boasts one of the five largest stages in the country. The theater has seen numerous performances, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Riverdance, The Kirov Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Whitney Houston, Harry Connick Jr., Dave Matthews, Lady Gaga, Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera.

While many guests choose to dress up for their special night out on the town, others can also be seen wearing more casual attire. Because there is no specific dress required here, you could see everything ranging from evening gowns to jeans. There are several parking lots located adjacent to and across the street making it easy to get in and out of after a performance.

Brass Monkey: A Real Bar in the Middle of Meatpacking

There are many bars and clubs in Meatpacking, but finding one that’s “normal” very hard. Meet Brass Monkey, a classic watch-the-game-on-big-screens-beer-and-shots type of place. Picture Brass Monkey

Since opening in the trendy district in 2004 (a lifetime in Meatpacking years), the bar has become a neighborhood favorite. Its open brick walls and rich wood interior creates a friendly and warm atmosphere to watch sports or just hang out. It has one of the most extensive beer lists in the city, with more than fifteen draught beers on tap and over 75 imported beers, ranging from Chimay to Stella Artois to Hoegaarden.

Despite its laid back vibe, that doesn’t mean Brass Monkey falls through the cracks. It has received rave reviews from the likes of the New York Times and celebrity appearances from A-listers Glenn Close to MTV’s The City cameos. In the summer, make sure to check out the killer rooftop deck with incredible views of the Hudson and the Highline.

Brooklyn Academy of Music Gives Art With A Bam!

Picture BAMCommonly known as BAM, this leading arts venue does just that. With a Fort Greene district named after it, the Brooklyn Academy of Music is compromised of various venue that are more avant-garde and unique than the next. It’s the oldest continuously running performance art center that just keeps getting stronger, in 2008 it had a record-breaking attendance of 550,000!

The main building contains its major venue, the Howard Gilman Opera House. The theater, designed by the famous theater-architect company Herts &Tallant, contains 2,109 seats under its soaring ceiling and has seen legendary performances by Enrico Caruso and Vanessa Redgrave. There are also the BAM Rose Cinemas, where one screen shows classic movies and the other three show first-run and independent films. For night owls, there is the BAMcafé, a restaurant that offers free music performances on Friday and Saturday nights. Every exhibition, screening and performance is carefully chosen to further the BAM goal of the preeminent place for progressive art, and its popularity shows that it achieves its goal every night of the week!

BAM’s Harvey Theater, located a few streets away, is smaller and offers a different, more intimate experience, having originally been a traditional playhouse housing Shakespearean revivals, vaudeville reviews, and musicals. BAM also organizes multiple festivals, from DanceAfrica to BAMcinemaFEST, art exhibitions, and educational programs.

Classic Opulence at Taj Boston

Boston’s a city rich in history and the 5 Star Taj Boston is no exception. Since opening its doors in 1927, the Taj (formerly the Ritz-Carlton) has been welcoming numerous guests, celebrities and the “Who’s Who” of America to its Back Bay location.

The 273-room hotel has an unbeatable location at the corner of Arlington and Newbury Streets, making it the perfect place to start a day of luxury shopping down ritzy Newbury Street or peaceful sightseeing across the street at the Boston Public Garden. It’s also a short walk from Picture 24other attractions, from the Theater District to Copley Square.

The classic hotel, which underwent a complete renovation in 2002 to celebrate its 75th anniversary, updated its already award-winning services and amenities like overnight shoe service, courtesy car service and 24-hour assistance. The Taj keeps with the old world luxury feel; dozens of chandeliers hang from each hallway, antiques compliment every room and every bathroom is equipped with a luxury marble bathtub.

Be sure to have a drink at the famous lobby bar with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the beautiful Public Garden and Swan Boats in the warmer months. Afternoon tea here, served in The Lounge, has been a tradition since the hotel’s opening and comes complete with fine china and silver trays.

The Bluebird Theater’s Still Singing After All These Years

Picture 10From the Fillmore Auditorium to the Ogden Theatre, East Colfax Avenue is bejeweled with historic concert venues. But the Bluebird Theater, at almost 100 years old, is the crown gem.

Like the infamous neighborhood itself, the location has had its ups and downs—including a run as a porn house—but since 1994 it’s been welcoming the nation’s coolest up-and-comers (and even some of its more beloved down-and-outers) from a wide range of musical genres. Neither the main floor nor the balcony has seating (though both have bars), so sport comfortable footwear—unless, of course, you’d rather put on your dancing shoes, a must on New Year’s Eve when the local legends of Slim Cessna’s Auto Club return to town.

Another Starr: Butcher & Singer

Channeling a time when martinis at lunch were the norm and no self-respecting woman left the home without her coif in full pompadour, Butcher & Singer serves steak and seafood in Picture 14high fashion. If you are one of those that agree there can never be too much Mad Men in our lives, Butcher & Singer is your opportunity to walk right onto that set and light up a cigarette.

The stars at this Starr restaurant are steaks and seafood, just as any classic steakhouse should. Prime steaks are prepared a la carte from the beautiful open kitchen. Seafood highlights are cold-water lobster, classic surf and turf, freshly caught fish and Lobster Newberg. And for lunch, the Butcher Burger has won Philadelphia battles with its grilled onions, English cheddar, and homemade Russian dressing serving the knockout punch.

Luminous Aura in Dallas

When Avi Adri opened up Aura, he knew hePicture 16 was crafting a nightclub that Dallas could really sink its teeth into. After a string of highly successful special events and an endless line of beautiful club-goers parading through the doors, Aura is now the celebrity hotspot in the city.

Who knows? You may catch a glimpse of Paris Hilton, Shaq, or one of the local reality TV stars that frequent the fully-stocked bar. The club features amazing light shows and DJ’s with international connections and fame. Along with that comes the music you can’t stop dancing to….at least until 2:00 a.m. when Aura shuts its doors.  The next time you and your entourage get ready for a night on the town, Aura should be first on your list of the places to see and be seen.

Black Tie to Broadway at Music Hall at Fair Park

If you love theater, dance, and the thrill of the arts on a live stage, the Music Hall at Fair Park is the place to be. Favorites like Phantom of the Opera and new hits Legally Blonde: The Musical are just two examples of big nPicture 18ame shows that recently called the Music Hall their home. The ability to house a full scale orchestra and opera makes it possible to watch Miss Saigon and Les Miserables without missing a moment of the action or impeccable sound. Even the popular TV show, “America’s Got Talent” chose the Music Hall at Fair Park for its live taping for broadcast.

Besides being a hub for culture, the Music Hall provides ample space and service for black tie affairs, luncheons and banquets. Easily accessible to both north and south Dallas, this is one venue to explore, enjoy and be fully entertained.

A Rainbow of Amenities at the Hotel Monaco

There’s colorful and then there’s colorful.Picture 6 The difference is clear at the Hotel Monaco. Every room, from the lobby to the themed suites, is awash in red, yellow, and turquoise, checkers, stars, and stripes.

In keeping with the riotous design, this downtown Travel & Leisure award winner also presents a bright palette of perks—including complimentary social hours, shoe shines, yoga equipment, pet friendly accommodations and even pet goldfish.

Although there’s an Aveda spa and salon on site, it offers some services in the privacy of your own room. And the signature restaurant, Panzano, just so happens to be one of the best modern Italian spots in Denver.

French Charm in the Heart of Union Square at Petit Auberge

Luxury, exceptional customer service and convenience don’t have to come from a big corporate hotel.  Look past the over-starched bellhops and stay at Union Square’s Petit Auberge, ranked one of the top 75 hotels in the US by Conde Naste Traveler.

Like a French B&B you might discover Picture 8down a back alley in Paris, Petit Auberge’s tucked away, downtown location is convenient for all the sightseeing San Francisco has to offer all while acting as a peaceful escape from the high-traffic city scene.  Anyone who’s ever gone out for a day of sightseeing in San Francisco knows that it’s also like spending a full day with Jillian Michaels; the hills and excitement will surely leave you exhausted, and you’ll look forward to the crackling fire, wine and hors d’evoures that await you back at Petit Auberge.

Even honeymooners searching for joie de vivre can find it in the hotel’s luxury Petit Suite with a private entrance and deck, hand-painted French king bed, and champagne and chocolates.  In the morning, enjoy a fully stocked gourmet breakfast, and out the beveled glass French doors are only two blocks from Chinatown, Union Square shopping and the Nob Hill cable cars.

Major Landmarks Along Boston’s Irish Heritage Trail

It has been said that Boston has more Irish people than Ireland, so what better way to celebrate its historic roots than a walk along the Irish Heritage Trail throughout downtown Boston and Back Bay.

Along the way, you’ll find the Boston Irish Famine Memorial that include eight narrative plaques that recount the 150th anniversary of Picture 16the country’s historic famine. Stop by the Boston Public Library’s Irish collection, which houses over 13,000 items, including materials on the formation of the Irish Free State, the Abby Theatre and Seamus Heaney. The Colonel Shaw Memorial is the city’s most prized public art, which took 14 years to complete, depicting the state’s 54th Black Infantry Regiment which fought valiantly in the Civil War.  End the day with a stop by Fenway Park, which was built by Irish immigrant Charles E. Logue.

The Trail is divided into three sections with 20 sites located in downtown Boston and Back Bay, covering more than three miles and over 50 other landmarks in Boston neighborhoods. Other highlights on the walking tour include the Rose Kennedy Garden, Kevin White statue, James Michael Curley statues and the Boston Massacre Memorial.

Vita: Eat. Drink. Listen.

Picture 5An early bloom in the blossoming East Highlands, Vita has endured in the light of its special perks. Funky and arty with the works of local painters, it boasts one of the city’s few rooftop terraces, thronged on warm evenings with couples taking in a stellar view of downtown at sunset; inside, jazz combos keep the mood cool several nights a week.

Despite the Italian name, the menu skews contemporary American, with an emphasis on entree-worthy small plates like seven-hour pork braised with cherry peppers and a mini-osso buco over blue cheese polenta, many of which go for $5 or less during happy hour. Speaking of deals, bargain-bin buffs take note: the entire selection of wines by the bottle is offered at half-price on Tuesdays.

The Non-Denominational National Cathedral’s Rich History

The most interesting thing about D.C.’s National Cathedral is not its beautiful windows or architecture, but its rich history that dates back to America’s first president and stays relevant to today’s biggest moments.

Picture 140The idea of a non-denominational cathedral that was equally open to all was first conceived in 1791 by Major Pierre l’Enfant, who was commissioned by President George Washington.But it would have to wait until 1907, under Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, to come to fruition.

The first services were held in 1912 and the Cathedral was quickly accepted as a place for services of national focus, and services have been held daily since its opening. Memorable services include the dedication of Woodrow Wilson’s tomb in 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1968 sermon (which would be his last), and the National Prayer and Remembrance service on September 14th, 2001.

Visit the National Cathedral and experience a piece of the history of Washington D.C. On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons visitors can enjoy tea, scones and tarts on the 7th floor of the West Tower. With a great view, it’s a nice way to stop and take it all in.

Exotic Locales Call for Calypso Styling

Picture 8With a full name like “Calypso St. Barth,” this store that has become a global brand lives up to its namesake posh inspirations. After walking away with any of its beautiful clothing, it’s impossible not to look like the luxurious, mystical sea nymph. Specializing in boho chic, flowy beach wear, Calypso has all your vacation (a.k.a. Hamptons) styling needs.

Calypso started in the tiny Caribbean island of St. Barth with a focus on women destined for exotic locations like Rajastan, Marrakesh and Bali. Calypso has become most famous for its beaded caftans, colorful tunics and stunning silk dresses that perfectly compliment the finer destinations in the world. But this store completes the look with beach complimentary thong sandals, wedges, long, golden necklaces, leather bangles, large sunhats, and no fancy traveler would be complete without the pink leather European Destination Guide. The look is the perfect, unintentional chic styling that can take you straight from the beach to a seaside five-star brunch.

For those who need the perfect outfit for a weekend in the Hamptons, winter getaway to St. Barth’s or even casual wear for the warm New York City summers, Calypso is the go-to place for the posh beachanistas.

Biennial and Beyond at The Whitney

Many museums claim to be one of the leading institutions of art, but very rarely can one stake claim as the preeminent museum, but so is the case at the Whitney. Its specialty? Americana, baby. With installations, sculptures, photography, paintings, and film starring Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and up and coming designers, The Whitney is known for its innovative collections and is one of the most beloved museums by in-the-know New Yorkers.

It’s fitting that the highly regarded American art museum has an equally fabulous American heritage. The Whitney was started by none other than American royalty, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. The sculptor/socialite found it nearly impossible for emerging artists to find an exhibition space, so in 1931, The Whitney Museum of American Art was born.

Its most famous exhibition is the annual Whitney Biennial from February to May; it’s become so popular that it’s now regarded as one of the leading art exhibitions in the entire world. Focused on contemporary art, The Biennial stays true to the Whitney’s foundations and is a grand debut for many emerging artists and an incredible showcase for the more famous ones. The Biennial is in its 75th year and is getting more diverse and innovative with age.

For those wanting a great taste of American art that’s surprising, thought-provoking and beautiful in the same breath, there truly is no better place in the world than The Whitney.

For Swank and Steak, It’s Always Elway’s

Picture 14Although it may have owed its early fanfare to the popularity of its namesake, retired Broncos quarterback and co-owner John Elway, this Cherry Creek steakhouse has endured on its own merits: a swanky white-cloth setting, a legendary local bar scene, and a solid (if spendy) repertoire of chops, luxury seafood, and other modern American classics.

In fact, its success has spread downtown, with an even fancier, leather-swathed and wine-walled outpost in the Ritz-Carlton—where the day begins with power breakfasts and ends with sightings of sports celebs hunkered down over ribeyes and crab legs.

Artfully Arrange Your Space at The Arrangement

Picture 17When Dallas shoppers set out to find rustic elegance for their homes, for over two decades they have sought out The Arrangement. The home furnishings store boasts its collection of “one-of-a-kind, elegant pieces, rich in our native western heritage.” But don’t be fooled, if western isn’t your taste, there are plenty of Tuscan and modern mountain-inspired pieces to round out your abode.

The sky is the limit when it comes to decorating with The Arrangement, since custom pieces can be ordered and made specifically with your floor plan or architect’s vision in mind. Distressed chocolate brown leather, buttery soft pillows and hand painted pottery will excite even the most discerning decorator. Whether you’re adding a bit of Texas flair or creating an entirely western themed space, The Arrangement will transform any room into a masterpiece.

Lizard Lounge Sizzles at Night

Sure, a name like LizPicture 9ard Lounge may not scream “really cool hotspot” that hosts some of the hottest parties and best DJs from around the world every week, but that’s exactly what this Dallas nightclub is all about. From record releases to themed parties to international DJs, Lizard Lounge is the place to go to dance to some of the best mixes in Texas.

Known for harboring electronica talent, Lizard Lounge also gives up-and-coming Dallas spinners a chance to show their stuff- and usually with great reviews. Channeling Lizard Lounge’s inner Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, on Thursday and Sunday Lizard Lounge transforms into Hyde-ish “The Church,” a Neo Gothic, Industrial and Electro party. It sounds crazy, and yes, it is absolutely nuts.

Revisit Retro at The Continental Mid-town

Picture 41You’ll want that martini shaken, not stirred, at this swanky lounge. In the three-story chic Continental Mid-town (that’s also home to a famous Stephen Starr restaurant), enjoy the velvet booths in the retro lounge, or take in the view from the rooftop patio.

Step up to the unique bar constructed of rubber Pirelli flooring to order a mouth watering Buzz Aldrin that’s tang, peach vodka and triple sec; or perhaps a classic Dean Martini of Ketel One Vodka and an olive (a.k.a. Chelsea Handler’s signature drink).

Hungry? No problem! Munch on a divine bar menu including calamari salad, lobster mashed potatoes, and seared ahi tuna.

Fine-Tune Your Cultural Side at The National Symphony Orchestra

Picture 10

For a true taste of Washington sophistication, claim a coveted seat at a show-stopping performance by the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO).  Officially founded in 1936, this world-renowned fleet of over 100 musicians calls the landmark Kennedy Center home, bringing musical bliss to dedicated patrons year round with over 175 concerts a year.

Feeling a little culturally void?  Add some refinement to your life and open your ears to the profound talent of a significantly well-tuned group of musicians.  Led by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach, the NSO brings both traditional and contemporary pieces to the Kennedy Center stage.  With talent spanning from around the globe, the NSO’s performers bring true excellence to a variety of shows at prestigious state and inaugural occasions, special pops and holiday performances, as well as several international concerts, representing the nation’s capital with exceptional instrumental fortes. Click here for more information.

Second City is First for Improv

Picture 4Chicago’s Second City alumni list reads like a who’s who of today’s Hollywood comedic hard-hitters: Bill Murray, Jim Belushi, Stephen Colbert, Jeff Garlin, Mike Meyers, Bonnie Hunt, Chris Farley, Tina Fey and oh-so-many more are among those to have once graced the stage (and still do on special occasions). That said, who knows who tomorrow’s stars are, but you’re sure to find at least one of them on the stage at Second City at any given time. This is after all, the best improv-based comedy school and theater in the world.

Always pushing the envelope with witty humor that plays on everything from American politics to the flu, the Second City packs in audiences every day of the week, so buying tickets in advance is always recommended. On top of the stand up gigs, shows with a modern twist, a la Taming of the Flu, are performed on the main stage. Aside from the main stage, shows take place at the Skybox Theater and Chicago E.T.C.

For those who don’t want to stop the experience as a spectator only, classes are available. Who knows, maybe the next star is you?

In for a Swanky Night at Bimbo’s 365 Club

Picture 36With nightclubs, jazz venues, bars, and its own Vegas-style light show, North Beach is where San Franciscans have always gone to party.  And in the heart of this “Little Italy” lies Bimbo’s 365 Club, as much a favorite today as it was when Rita Hayworth was a high-kicking chorus line girl. Everyone who is anyone has since walked through these doors, including Chris Isaak, Robin Williams and Jill Scott.

When you walk into Bimbo’s, expect an evening of classic lounge acts, supper club entertainment and a dramatic art deco theme that is entirely reminiscent of the swankiest big band era nightspots. One of Bimbo’s famously plush events is its corporate and private parties for swanky Silicon Valley guests like Cellular One, Oracle, and Yahoo!.  The venue offers tiered seating, dramatic lighting, fine dine table settings and a dance floor next to the concert stage.

Whether you’ve been a regular for years or it’s your first time here, Bimbo’s is the classic nightspot for the upscale traveler.

Get Your Outdoor Fix on the Katy Trail

Dallas might not be known as the most scenic of cities, but the Katy Trail defies that stigma and brings nature, fitness and skyscrapers together in a beautiful way. Stretching from downtown to the SMU area in the Park Cities, the trail provides a path for joggers, waPicture 19lkers, skateboarders, bikers, rollerbladers, dog-walkers and baby strollers to move smoothly through the Dallas landscape.

The most recent addition, Snyder’s Union, overlooks the Trail at Carlisle Place close to Lemmon Avenue. It features a circular granite seating area covered by a dramatic trellis to reveal a beautiful view of Lee Park. If you take the trail north toward Park Cities, stop off on Knox Henderson at the Highland Park Pharmacy for a Vanilla Coke, Limeade, or several other old fashioned sodas to quench your thirst. 5K’s and walk-a-thons are not uncommon, so keep an eye out for opportunities to experience the nature on Katy in a variety of ways.

Opera Company of Philadelphia Is Toast of “Opera Town”

Picture 27The Opera Company of Philadelphia, or OCP, knows Philly has always been a town dedicated to the arts, and even more so an Opera Town. Gearing up for its 35th Anniversary next season, OCP is continuing to do exciting full-length operas of traditional and new repertoire along Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts.

OCP performs at the beautiful Academy of Music and in the Kimmel Center’s smaller Perelman Theater, letting patrons see large-scale productions as well as more intimate shows. With a focus on developing talent, the performers in OCP’s productions are all top notch. For example, in 1980 OCP began a long-standing relationship with Luciano Pavarotti, establishing a competition that seeks out the best young voice talent.

In addition to the performances, OCP features pre-concert lectures and Opera-enrichment programs in hopes that the love of opera will carry on through the generations. The Opera also puts on a full-length opera every year with the students at Philadelphia’s renowned music school The Curtis Institute of Music.

Tuxedo Wearin’, Soprano’s Stylin’ at Acappella

Picture 11Ever wonder where those classic Italian restaurants that are always in gangster films exist? Look no further than Acappella. Featured in the first-ever Soprano’s episode, the food, service and ambiance make you feel like you are in a scene from The Godfather.

The menu is filled with authentic and traditional Northern Italian cuisine, from veal to lobster to pasta. Be sure to try the Bandiera Italiana, consisting of fettuccine with wild mushrooms, cavatelli with pesto, and green and white “hay and straw” pasta with fresh plum tomatoes and herbs. Everything is fresh, and the pastas and desserts are homemade. There are also seasonal specialties, such as wild rabbit, wild boar and buffalo meat in the fall or winter. The wine list is impressive as well, with plenty of domestic and imported wines, including specialty Italian wines.

With sixteen foot high beamed ceilings, oversized columns, brick walls, Italian tapestries, and tuxedo wearing waiters, the experience is unique and very Italian. Like the motto says, “We will make you a dish you can’t refuse!”

A Literary Landmark: The Tattered Cover

Picture 9The name evokes dusty shelves and cobwebbed corners, but the Tattered Cover Book Store is a sprawling, gleaming, three-location Denver institution—and its owner, Joyce Meskis, a local hero. No mere literary retail outlets, the trio of stores are veritable community centers, boasting in-store coffeehouses and hosting everything from film and lecture program series to book clubs for adults and kids alike to the city’s best readings (think Dave Eggers, rising star Joshua Ferris, and Barack Obama!). Yet another bonus: a mind-boggling magazine selection.

But it’s Meskis’ involvement in the community beyond the bookstores’ walls that really stand out, from making donations to local charities through the Tattered Cover Gives Back program to her participation in the annual citywide literacy promotion event One Book, One Denver.

The Joule Hotel Speed Dials Martinis & Neiman Marcus

Picture 14Historic doesn’t always conjure up images of sleekness and sophistication, but in the case of the Joule Hotel in downtown Dallas, it does that and much more. With 129 masterful rooms and amenities like a full martini station and direct dial to Neiman Marcus from your guestroom, it’s easy to see why The Joule has quickly become popular.

Revamped from a 1920’s Neo-gothic building structure, the hotel now houses the PM Lounge, award winning-Charlie Palmer’s restaurant, wine bar, poolside café, and a sumptuous wine shop. The heated rooftop pool and high-tech fitness center are guest favorites, as well as the Joule Art Collection that can be seen throughout the property. This hotel may have historical roots, but modern charm and delicious dining rounds out an already spectacular landmark.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Modern Music

For over a century, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has been bringing sweet sounds to the masses and putting Dallas on the map with thriving musicians. Working with greats like Tony Bennett, John Legend, Kenny Rogers, LeeAnn Rimes and even Ben Folds Five, the DSO dabbles inPicture 4 a little of every genre. Whether its Mozart & Handel or indulging in the DSO’s compilation of 50’s Dance Party classics, the DSO has a friendly, helpful staff to guide you along the way if you’re new to symphonic scrutiny.

Educational programs and community concerts are two offerings that are not to be missed-The Dallas Symphony Orchestra “believes that with the proper training and education, every child has the potential to be the next Mozart or Beethoven.” The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has a special arm, DSO Kids, that includes special events and even training to let the music become a family affair.

An organization of this caliber with such rich history receives patronage from Dallas’ finest, and when you experience the otherworldly sounds of the DSO, you’ll be oh so glad you turned off your iPod to experience it firsthand.

Exclusive Mynt Lounge an Icon on the Scene

Inching ever closer to an epic status is Mynt Lounge; around for seven years (with no itch in sight!), it’s still going strong. Located juPicture 7st close enough to the heart of South Beach, the place is abuzz with supermodels, celebrities and the local beautiful people. A perfect complement to such crowds, where Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton and Mickey Rourke (to name a few) have all partied, is a tough velvet rope rule whose policy has made it one of the hottest- and hardest- clubs to get into.

Once inside, live performances and stellar DJ’s are a nightly occurrence; and more often than not there’s a VIP event held at this exclusive nightclub. No matter who you are, everyone who gets past the velvet rope is treated like a star at this staple in SoBe.

Tacos, Rockies-Style at El Taco de Mexico

There are as many taquerias as there are mountain peaks around Denver, bETDMtacosut as with the Rockies, a few rise above all the rest. El Taco de Mexico is one of them. The women behind the counter are as notoriously no-nonsense as the food is simple: tacos and burritos alike serve as lessons in Mile-High Mexican 101, with their perfectly cooked meats and stellar sauces—namely the smokiest of salsas and purest of green chiles, thin and smooth. Throw in an extra-cinnamony horchata to wash it all down, and you’ll still leave with nearly as many pocket pesos as you came in with.

New Museum’s Lisa Phillips Dines at Gemma

As the director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, Lisa Phillips knows a thing or two about the “renaissance,” as she calls it, of Bowery Street. The New Museum, is after all, at the center of that explosion of art on Bowery with its Guggenheim-esque new building that opened on December 1, 2007.

Picture 6When Lisa isn’t at the forefront of all things innovative, she heads up a few blocks on Bowery to the New Museum’s antithesis, Gemma. “This is where I spend most of my time and eat most of my meals,” Lisa told citybuzz of the East Village area.

Gemma’s an Italian restaurant that’s as rustic as you can get in ultra-modern New York City. There’s the classic thatched red wine bottles, wooden table tops and copper covered bar that evoke a feeling that Dorothy is no longer in the East Village anymore. The menu is filled with tried and true favorites like delicious wood-fired pizzas and soft gnocchi with a hearty Bolognese sauce. The easy setting and reliable food leaves diners like Lisa Phillips with the impression that, as the New York Times stated,”Gemma has an unlabored panache that makes an evening go down very easy.”

*** Lisa Phillips has been the Director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art since 1999.

All-Inclusive Atlanta Philharmonic is so Next Gen

Picture 26Less than a decade old, the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra’s youth represents its modern approach and audience. The volunteer, non-profit Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra differs in that its all-inclusive members either identify with the LGBT community or are LGBT-friendly.

Conducted by Mirna Ogrizovic-Ciric, a Berry College professor who was born in Croatia but grew up in Serbia, the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra’s main goal is to share beautiful music that is inclusive of all. To that end, the group has delighted audiences by performing compositions from heavyweights such as Mozart, Bach, Beethoven and Haydn.

Guest soloists have been as impressive as its classical repertoire and include pianist Paolo André Gualdi, who grew up in Italy and has received great praise in Europe and the U.S., as well as Martin Gueorguiev, a cellist who earned first prize at Bulgaria’s National Competition for German and Austrian Music. When it comes to spreading beautiful music in Atlanta, the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra remains in a class of its own.

Love It at the Lovitz Comedy Club

Picture 24Looking for a laugh with a famous face to match? Look no further than the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at Universal City Walk. Along with the famous actor/comedian, many famous faces have passed through to deliver some of the best laughs Universal City has ever seen. With three levels and out of this world audio, the experience at this comedy club is truly unlike any other.

The reason this club is a rising gem is also due to its appearances and live tapings. Thanks to Pilot Jake and the rest of the girls from The Bachelorette, the comedy club turned into a group date experience where all the girls went on stage to perform some original routines.

Though this comedy club has brought in some pretty hysterical people, don’t expect the decor to be as A-list as the comedians. Taking a more laid back approach, the beach set meets Full House decor sets the mood for a, errr, unique experience. With a fun ambiance and even funnier performers, this comedy club is sure to keep the laughs roaring in.

Bahdeebahdu, Need We Say More?

Picture 16Bahdeebahdu is an explosively imaginative studio for design and the development of art, sculpture and furnishings. Bahdeebahdu is unlike any other gallery in the area, showcasing the works of Philadelphia’s favorite “Luminary” Warren Muller. Muller creates functional lighting sculptures by following the mantra “everything is up for grabs.” Found, recycled and salvaged objects turn into light sculptures that are featured in this gallery, along with various places around the city like theatres and restaurants.

Bahdeebahdu also houses works by interior designer RJ Thornburg, Muller’s lifetime partner and self-proclaimed Fabulist. RJ has been designing for twenty-five years and has left his fun and easy-going design mark all over Philadelphia (from bakeshops to internationally renowned hotels).

Beta is Alpha for World Famous DJs

Picture 11Owned by online EDM store Beatport and famed for its Funktion-One sound system, Beta is all about the house music—and the clubbers who thrive on it. Beyond the giant dance floor and equally spacious patio, the sustainably designed downtown club has an upstairs lounge with bottle service and a bird’s eye view of all the action. And the action is considerable—Westword named Beta Best Dance Club of 2009 for its lineup of DJs known locally, nationally, and even globally a la powerhouses Armin Van Buuren and Felix Da Housecast. Like any good nightclub, there’s a bevy of scantily clad dancers and amazing light displays, but the unique layout of Beta allows such close access that you can literally touch the superstar guest DJ’s while dancing to their amazing mixes.

Kodak Theatre is Hollywood’s Crown Jewel

HoPicture 11me to the Academy Awards and American Idol, The Kodak Theatre epitomizes Hollywood fame and entertainment. Since its opening in 2001, The Kodak Theatre has been known as Hollywood’s “Crown Jewel,” has been the marching ground for celebrities and their golden Oscars.

Though the Academy Awards are definitely a big deal, the theatre will also be bringing in a circus favorite around the world in 2011: Cirque Du Soleil. With the awards and elaborate shows, it’s hard to imagine that the theatre is ever going to have a slow day. When the Oscars and other award shows aren’t being filmed and the other events have yet to debut, the Kodak Theatre offers guided tours for those who want a real Hollywood experience.

With events, tours and Academy Awards, the Kodak Theatre is a true gift given to Hollywood.

It’s All About Legs at Hugo’s Frog Bar

Chicago’s Gold Coast is a mecca of fine dining and celeb sightings. Where Rush Street turns into State Street- what Chicagoans call the Viagra Triangle for its reputation of older men with arm candy dates- is a scene of classic Chicago restaurants where Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House stands out above the crowd as one of the best spots for seafood you’ll find west of the Atlantic.

But before you even get to the mouth-Picture 15watering menu options of crab, lobster, oysters (for the aphrodisiac lovers) and fresh fishes, it’s all about the legs. Oui, les frog legs that is. Lathered in garlic and delicious spices, the frog legs at Hugo’s are so scrumptious that even the pickiest of eaters tend to become leg lovers post visit. If you save enough room after the legs, the menu is chalk full of more seafood options and of course, plenty of turf for meat lovers as well.

Equally as notable as the delicious cuisine here however, is the charm of the ambiance. The ol’ maritime interior and swingin’ vibe leave patrons in a jolly good mood as they sip dirty martinis and their conversations begin to spill from one table to the next.

Viagra not included.

Honor and Remember at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

As a tribute to the men and women who died in the controversial Vietnam War, Maya Linn designed this memorial with a simplicity that she hoped would “allow everyone to respond and remember.”  Divided into three memorials, each one is special and evokes a powerful message.

The memorial consists of the Three Soldiers Statue, VietnamPicture 5 Women’s Memorial, and the most well known of them all, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, which lists the names of those who died as a result of the war. The latter is made of two long, black granite walls that reflect the surrounding trees, grass, and other Vietnam monuments to create a peaceful and serene atmosphere. There are 58,261 names currently inscribed in the Memorial Wall, with one wall pointing towards the Washington Memorial and the other at the Lincoln Memorial.

The Three Soldiers Statue is a bronze sculpture and was built to complement the Memorial Wall, with the three soldiers looking towards the wall in tribute. Also visit the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, which depicts three uniformed women with a wounded soldier. Visiting this site is a moving and powerful experience, regardless of one’s personal experience to the war.

Something for Everyone at Boston’s Premier Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts is Boston’s oldest, largest and best-known art institution, which is home to one of the world’s most comprehensive art collections. Here, you will find Impressionist paintings, art from Europe, Africa, and Asia, Egyptian collections, a Greek and Roman sculpture gallery and early American art. You could spend an entire day here exploring everything the museum has to offer.

When the museum opened in 1876,Picture 20 there were just 5,600 works of art. Today, more than one million visitors come here to view the collection that boasts nearly 450,000 pieces. Come and visit a special exhibit, listen to a gallery talk, meet an artist and learn some of their unique techniques, watch a film, take in a concert, or take a self-guided audio tour of the property.

Saturdays and Sundays are popular for the champagne brunch at the fine dining upstairs restaurant known as Bravo, which also features live entertainment. It is also open for dinner Wednesday through Friday evenings. The museum also offers reduced tickets for students and seniors.

Sophisticated Revelry at Josephine

For a night of swanky partying, be sure to hit Josephine – one of the newer hot spots on the K Street club scene.  Opened in February 2008, josephine2Josephine is a favorite amongst exclusive club goers and the international party crowd with its chic décor and pulsating beats.

Travel to a different world within the District as you step inside this little slice of nightlife heaven, with vibrant, damask-printed columns and plush, custom-designed furniture vignettes, perfect for table service (a popular choice amongst regulars).

For a more intimate setting within the club, spend some time catching up over cocktails in the Gold Room – a smaller portion of the space, complete with an oversized gilded bar and trendy mirrored cocktail tables.

With exclusive DJ’s and some serious tunes, even the most conservative Washingtonians can’t help but dance beneath sparkling chandeliers to hip mash-ups, throbbing house music and rhythmic hip-hop beats. A crowd that’s dressed to the nines floods the dance floor until 3am on most weekend nights, so come prepared for a very chic dance party.

Insider Tip: Like most DC hotspots, Josephine operates with a guest list (and a discerning eye for fashionable guests) so be prepared for a hefty cover if you’re not on it.  Plan ahead and sign up on their website prior to arriving.  If you sign up before 9 PM, your name will be valid for the list that evening from 10pm – 11pm.

A New Concept in Styling at Concepto Salon

Picture 19Mother and daughter duo Justina & Gina greet clients with a smile as they walk in the door of Concepto Hair and Body along Coral Gables’ chic Miracle Mile.The friendly, down to earth service is an added bonus to its innovative, sophisticated services.

Mom Justina honed her skills in New York City and brought her big city salon smarts to open Concepto, and daughter Gina joined and followed in her footsteps. Along with an impressive list of color and styling options as well as treatments and relaxers, one of the most innovative services they offer is eyebrow threading. It is an eyebrow shaping technique where cotton thread is used to remove hair from the root, creating a clean, natural arch; it’s ideal for people allergic to waxing and can also be incorporated in other areas where hair removal is needed. For those who are going to the salon to keep their hair, Concept specializes in straightening services, perfect for the humid Miami climate.

This unique treatment combined with the homey atmosphere makes Concepto stand out in high end Coral Gables.

Oscar Worthy Performances at the Goodman Theater

Picture 7Move over Broadway, Chi-town’s theater district is much to do about everything these days. With the world premiere of many hits such as Nathan Lane’s The Addams Family, many theaters in the Windy City are coming out with major productions; and one of the city’s most classic theater is leading the way: The Goodman Theater.

Going strong since 1925, here is where you’ll find less glam, glitz and songs and more intellect, inspiration and the good kind of drama.

Recently however, they’re starting to push the envelope for even more attention, especially with February 2010’s premiere of Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s Chicago directorial debut with the world premiere of The Long Red Road and many other world premieres soon to follow. For those desiring more enrichment still, The Goodman Theater offers nationally recognized programs to all ages of Chicago’s community.

Independent Hotel’s Home to Philly’s Finest Mural

independent2The Independent Hotel is a 24-room boutique hotel in Philadelphia’s chic and gay-friendly Midtown Village neighborhood. Like in the best boutique hotels, no two rooms are alike, minus the similarity of the sweet 32” flat panel TV that hangs in every guest room. And like all great things in Philly, the Independent is chock-full of history and belongs to the National Register of Historic Places.

The staff is accommodating and the rooms are like a fine European hotel – chic and comfortable without an overabundance of amenities. The attention to detail was spent on finer things, like the luxurious mattresses and sumptuous toiletries.

Philadelphia is very proud of its Mural Arts program and the over 2,700 murals that are sprinkled throughout the city – the home of one mural by Kim Senior residing at 30-feet tall is in The Independent’s expansive and stunning lobby. It sets the tone for this stylish hotel as soon as you enter the lobby.

Butlers to Modern Luxury at Historic Jefferson Hotel

RePicture 7-opened in August 2009 after an extensive two year renovation, the new Jefferson Hotel is remaking its mark on DC after almost 80 years of high regard as one of Washington’s premier hotels.  With nods to classic Jeffersonian elegance, embellished with chic, contemporary accents, the Jefferson showcases modern luxury at its best.

Once greeted by your personal butler who oversees all aspects of your stay, settle into your new home with a calming cup of afternoon tea in the Greenhouse or Book Room – an interesting part of the hotel that houses authentic documents signed by Jefferson himself, along with an extensive collection from contemporary authors who have frequented the hotel.  The hotel also boasts one of the best new restaurants in the city, Plume, along with the ultra chic bar, Quill.

Along with the highly regarded dining facilities, the Jefferson wins praises for its superb service and extensive amenities.  Aside from the 24 hour fitness center with on-staff personal trainers, the fabulous spa, and the exceptional concierge service, The Jefferson even has classic black accessories on hand, just in case you forgot that favorite belt or pair of dress shoes.  Complimentary local and long distance calls don’t hurt either.

Kung Fu & King-Sized Collection at the Asian Art Museum

If you think of Asian Art as just orchids, bamboo, and cast iron teapots, Picture 5you haven’t been to the Asian Art Museum in the Civic Center – and you need to go! Not only does the museum have priceless artifacts like the oldest Chinese gilt-bronze Buddha in the world (photographed in textbooks everywhere), but they offer some pretty cool interactive programs such as yoga inspired by the sculpture poses, storytelling for the kids (“How Ganesha Got His Elephant Head”), and learning the art of Japanese Tea Ceremonies.

The museum even has exhibitions for the night owls with their Thursday night after-hours parties called MATCHA.  Observe the Shaolin Temple monks demonstrate some high-kicking kung fu while you listen to Shanghai Jazz.  Always changing and never a dull moment, this Asian Art Museum will keep you exploring  over 6,000 years of history.

Black History Always Shines at The Apex Museum

Picture 16Black History doesn’t begin or end in February at The APEX Museum. Open year-round, APEX, which stands for African American Panoramic Experience, is Atlanta’s only museum dedicated to African American heritage and culture. Located in the historic Auburn Avenue district, a one-time hub for African American-owned businesses as well as many churches and civic organizations, APEX presents history from the unique African American perspective.

Established in 1978 by filmmaker Dan Moore who was spurred to action after attending a moving banquet honoring legendary Morehouse president Benjamin E. Mays (who mentored Dr. King), APEX packs a lot in a small space. Visually intriguing, APEX features several exhibits on a regular basis that date back to Africa and come full circle to today. As a result, ancient Africa, African American inventors and business owners all co-exist under one roof.

Celebrity visitors include Halle Berry and Gladys Knight, but stars aren’t the only ones amazed by the APEX’s awesome line-up of historical contributions.

Boots, Buckles, Booze at Grizzly Rose

Denver may not be a cowtown at heart anymore—but on its fringes, country-and-Western culture still Picture 11thrives. Voted Country Club of America by the Country Music Association, Grizzly Rose is its headquarters.

The sprawling honkytonk has it all: a roster of concerts ranging from Grammy darlings like Taylor Swift to venerable old-timers like The Bellamy Brothers (along with the occasional ’80s hair band), a mechanical bull, cheap (and sometimes even free) beer, line dancing and two-stepping—as well as free weekly classes for the slickers.

On top of all of Grizzly’s activities, there’s some of the greatest people-watching in the city: nowhere else are you likely to find cowboys whooping it up with hipsters and confused but gung-ho tourists.

Movies & Music for Thousands at Trocadero Theatre

This rockin’, spacious venue is located in Chinatown, but doesn’t feel a thing like Beijing. Occupying an old burlesque house where W.C. Fields and Mae West once performed, the Trocadero Theatre gives the vibe of a 40’s pin-up lounPicture 7ge while playing host to up to 1,200 people!

Past acts include Phoenix, the Scissor Sisters, and the French Kicks and now it hosts the best bands in independent music. With grand mirrors, pillars, balconies, and exquisite moldings, the old flavor of the place still remains for the trendy, young, hipster crowd.

With a venue so big, the Trocadero Theatre has tons of options from comedy acts to indie bands. Kick back with friends on Movie Monday and watch popular films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Office Space, and Fight Club. Arrive before 7 for your personal bag of popcorn and brew on the house.

The Walnut: America’s Oldest & Most Popular Theatre

The Walnut Street Theatre is the oldest theater in America, having just celebrated its 200th birthday last year, and is one of the most subscribed to and most successful theater companies in the nation.

With performances ranging from the classics like Oliver and Fiddler on the Roof, to the intimate shows put on in the 80-seat Independence Studio, Walnut Street serves up an eclectic and exciting mix of productions throughout the year.

Soup to nuts (or nuts to nuts since we’re talking about the Walnut) the Theatre has its hand in all aspects of the performance. The Walnut’s fabrication and wardrobe department is located above the main stage, and creates all of the looks for actors on stage, including hair and make-up. They also have auditions in New York and Philadelphia for the main stage performances that have launched the careers of Kathryn Hepburn, Jane Fonda, and Marlon Brando, to name a few.

Ooh La La, Le Provencal C’est Magnifique!

Picture 7The classics of French cuisine and wine are expertly represented at the beacon that is Le Provencal restaurant in Coral Gables. For years, the place was nestled in a corner of Miracle Mile, and now finds itself a new home in the center of the ritzy street. The menu though, prepared by Chef Christian Antoniotti, hasn’t changed a bit. It’s still chock full of traditional French fare including bouillabaisse du Provencal- a fish, mussels, sea scallops and shrimp stew; duck leg confit with chestnuts; endive salad with walnuts and roquefort cheese. Pair the meal with a wine from their impressive selection (the list includes reds, whites, and sparklings) from the USA and around the world. The look and feel, from the food and wine to the simple decor, is all French bistro done at its finest.

It’s All About The Fung Shui Views at Mandarin Oriental

Occupying the top eleven floors of a 48 story building in the Financial District, and bumping windows with the famous Transamerica Pyramid, The Mandarin Oriental hotel is the third tallest building in San Francisco.  The unobstructed views are so awesome they give you binoculars at check-in.

Arriving by taxi but traveling by Picture 18cable car, this hotel’s location is perfect for the business traveler looking for some tourism in the agenda.  The financial district is the hub of the city’s enterprise, but surrounded by the most popular destinations: Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, and North Beach are all within several blocks.

Your time within the luxurious Mandarin Oriental will not be wasted, with Silks Restaurant offering Pacific Rim fine dining, and the Mobar Lounge serving appetizers and Asian-inspired cocktails.  Of course, if the stay is strictly business, there’s a 24-hour staffed business center and event space for your stay-connected needs.

Guest rooms nestled in the top ten floors are colored with clay and chile red hues, dressed with fresh orchids, and a perfectly fung shui’d window and raised bed design that allows you to enjoy the city skyline without even getting up for your binoculars.

Lose the Blues by Finding Them at Blue Chicago

Although it’s true that ol’ Blue Eyes once sang, “Bet your bottom dollar you’ll lose the blues in Chicago,” the city remains one of the best in the world for finding the blues… music that is. Here it Picture 14penetrates out of alley ways, bars and subways. With so many blues clubs and street performers to enjoy it can be hard to filter down which to visit on any given night. When in doubt, always pick Blue Chicago.

Seven days a week, Blue Chicago has live performances pulsating from within its bricked walls and dark room. There you’ll find up-and-comers amongst the most famous blues musicians to have ever sung a tune. Whether you’re there to sit in a dark corner, sip whiskey and sway back and forth, or get your butt on the dance floor and sweat (plenty of sets worthy of shaking your booty), Blue Chicago packs the house night after night. So just as Frank Sinatra advised, “you’ll lose the blues in Chicago,” it  comes full circle. A night of blues music just may be the ultimate way to — lose them.

Insider Tip: Sunday – Thursday cover charge is $8 cash only and Friday – Saturday is $10 cash only.

Cutting Edge Art at Iconic Dorsch Gallery

Picture 24Brook Dorsch moved his namesake Dorsch Gallery to the Wynwood Arts District 10 years ago, before there was an arts district. But just like how he’s got an eye for cutting edge art, this pioneer’s got an eye for location. The (very) recently renovated Dorsch Gallery has gone from newbie to icon status.

Close to two decades in the biz and Dorsch is still presenting thought-provoking art exhibitions, and in these warehouse digs he’s expanded to presenting concerts, film festivals and a host of cultural events. Expect the unexpected with installations featuring four stand-up concrete slabs, sculptures that seem to protrude from the ground, and geometric paintings that boggle the mind and trick the eye. He’s always got a stellar line-up of shows that are great to catch at the beginning or the end of a cultural outing to the Wynwood area.

Salsa is Smokin’ Hot at Cafe Cocomo

Voted one of the ten best places in the country to “dip into the salsa scene” by USA Today, Café Cocomo, in the revived Potrero Hill neighborhood, is the hottest place to get your Latin dance on west of Miami.  With the same beat-induced sexy atmosphere as clubs likPicture 26e the Copacabana in NYC and the Conga Room in LA, San Francisco offers one of its own.

There’s room for every salsa lover at Cafe Cocomo, with two levels of indoor and outdoor dancing.  All levels from beginner to ballroom star are welcome here – it’s all about having fun!  And with lots of seating in the outdoor patio that features waterfalls, tiki huts, and an island-style bar, you can take a rest from the crowd and enjoy the stars.

Cocomo even offers lessons for anyone who can’t get enough at the Thursday and Saturday dance parties.  Whether you’re out to add some spice to your nightlife, or looking for a killer ballroom routine, be prepared, because this salsa party is HOT!

Hand-Pick Your Own Catch of the Day at Kellari

For those who like a little interaction and personalized touch to their orders, look no further than Kellari.  At this new downtown authentic Greek restaurant, patrons take matters into their own hands with fresh seafood hand-picked and cooked to order using true Mediterranean methods.

Specializing in fresh seafood straight from the Picture 22water, Kellari features a gorgeous fresh fish display, showcasing fifteen varieties of seafood, ranging from the native seas of Greece, Spain and Portugal, to the more familiar waters of the Atlantic.

Forget you’re in DC for a bit and start off with a bottle of authentic Greek wine and a few generously-portioned “mezedes,” or Greek small plates intended for sharing.  The crispy eggplant and zucchini Kellari Chips serve for a great beginning: coated in a decadent, golden batter, fried until crisp and served with a rich tzatziki dipping sauce.

Once you’ve had a bite to eat and settled into one of the warm, inviting booths, take a trip up to the impressive fish display.  Knowledgeable servers will provide ample information on each species’ native origins, textures and flavors, and corresponding preparation methods to help you make the best decision for a memorable dining experience.  Savor your hand-picked gorgeous masterpiece, grilled whole and served simply with olive oil, fresh lemon wedges and dusted with fragrant herbs – a truly unique rustic treat, and one that will take you all the way to the Mediterranean, even if just for a night.

1. Patience Pays for Golden Seat at Oscars! March 7

Picture 19There’s no debate that the Oscars is the event in Hollywood. The whole world sits in front of their screens, mesmerized by the world’s most beautiful and talented actors and actresses as they compete for the ultimate award: the golden Oscar. But if you’re in LA you may have the chance to see all of this in person! For those who planned in advance (or those who want a heads up for next year), registration for bleacher seats closed on September 2009. But if you have a lot of patience and get there early, there is a possibility patience can pay by waiting in line for a golden ticket to the bleachers. Of course, there are plenty of Oscar themed parties across Los Angeles where you can enjoy the 82nd Annual Academy Awards Show from the comfort of a swanky lounge or killer house party.

2. Post Valentine Comic Venting at Love Hurts March 1

Picture 6If you’re still suffering from the Valentine’s Day blues, dust them off at the start of the month with “Love Hurts: An Expert Panel on Love, Sex and What Shoes Not To Wear on a First Date.” One part panel, one part mixer, the relationship “experts” are none other than comedians who can make even the most pathetic dating mistake absolutely hilarious: Greg Behrendt, Joel Stein, Sascha Rothchild and Lori Gottleib.

Not only will this be a fun love event, all proceeds go to a good cause. The event is hosted by 826 LA, a non-profit dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills.

3. True Celtic Celebration at Irish Fair & Music Fest March 6-7

Picture 5They say when one door closes another one opens. Well that’s the case for the St. Patrick’s Day. The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade was cancelled in LA, meaning you’ll just have to celebrate it for not one, but two days at the LA Country Irish Fair and Music Festival. Enjoy a truly Celtic weekend filled with local Irish dance groups, clan gatherings, sheep herding demonstrations, highland-style athletic games, food, products and lots of music on multiple stages. Of course, there will be the fair share of beer as well! There’s not better way to truly experience some old time Irish celebration than at the LA County Irish Fair.

4. Roam Traffic-Free Streets for LA Marathon March 20-21

IncrediPicture 18ble weather, beautiful people, what’s there to hate about LA? Traffic! Well once a year the cars clear for runners and bikers for the 25th annual LA Marathon. Unlike many major cities where the marathon is a one-day event, in LA it’s a weekend long event. On Saturday, check out (or join!) the manageable 5K race at Dodger Stadium. After the hearty run, there’s the Win Forever Motivational Dinner hosted by none other than legendary sports figure, USC head coach Pete Carroll.

Of course, let’s not forget the big day. On Sunday, the marathon, with a brand new course this year, will start at Dodger Stadium and end, where else, than the beach at Santa Monica Pier. The course runs through some of LA’s most diverse neighborhoods and famous landmarks, and an added bonus will be the “Block Parties,” or live performances space along the route to entertain the spectators.

5. Griffith Observatory Star Party March 20

Picture 21This month may be the month for the ultimate Hollywood star party, the Oscars, but for those who can’t get a ticket to that event, there’s one for another kind of star: The Griffith Observatory Star Party.  Held once a month, the curious public and the Los Angeles Astronomical Society meet to talk the sun, moon, planets, stars and other celestial objects. Not only is it free, you also get to pick the brains of knowledgeable astronomers- and get to use their equipment! Yes, you can try out to telescopes to see your favorite star or planet with your own two eyes.

1. Dallas’ St. Patty’s Day Parade is like Mardi Gras March 13

Picture 8Now in its 31st year, the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade is so large and so crazy that it’s billed as “Dallas’ version of Mardi Gras.” And with a comparison like that, you know it has to be huge: celebrities, thousands of participants and lots of surprises.

With 100,000 people expected in attendance, over 1,500 people will march down the two-mile route with grand floats, outrageous costumes and tons of party spirit. Every year celebrity judges decide what float and what group gets the honor of awards like “Best of the Best” and “Most Irish Animal.”

After the parade, the fun doesn’t stop, as the official after-party begins at the Granada Theater and lasts all night long.

1. Celebrate Chicago’s 173rd B-Day! March 4

Chicago is onPicture 4e of America’s most celebrated cities and on March 4th the Chicago History Museum is throwing the city a major birthday party. In collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, this is the real deal. All day there will be musical performances, including members of the Latin School Jazz Band and Chinese musician Kerry Leung, as well as a very special birthday cake courtesy of famed Bleeding Heart Bakery. There’s free admission and all are welcome to join in on the celebration!

1. Denver Film Society Roots for Its Own at Oscars Party March 7

Picture 24The Oscars are one of the biggest cultural events every year, but in Denver they are especially special in 2010. Three of Denver Film Society’s films are up for the golden statuette, including Precious, The Cove and a documentary short.

The Party with Oscar at the innovative Museum of Contemporary Art offers the select few a true Hollywood experience, complete with a red carpet. Throughout four floors of the MCA’s unique galleries, patrons will be sipping champagne, snacking on gourmet hors d’ouerves and watching the Academy Awards on well placed viewing screens all over the museum. If this venue and event isn’t fabulous enough, the MCA also offers one of the best skyline views of the gorgeous city.

1. Sundance Caliber at DC Indie Film Fest March 4-14

Picture 13Hailed by Washingtonpost.com as the “Sundance of the east coast,” this award-winning film festival is the place to be for all the film lovers out there. Showcasing more than 100 feature, short, animation, and documentary films by local, national, and international filmmakers, this festival is an indie film paradise. Many of these films have even won awards at the Academy Awards, Sundance, Toronto and Cannes.

At each program, participants can view a range of films, each of which is followed by a question and answer session with the filmmakers and executives. The festival also offers a Music Festival, Master Classes, Seminars and Workshops conducted by industry professionals. The festival also presents the “Independent Summit on the Hill” on the first day, where filmmakers and policymakers discuss the state of the industry on Capitol Hill.

1. St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival March 13

Picture 19What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than to spend it at an exciting parade and festival? This year marks the 158th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in San Francisco, which draws huge attendees from all different demographics and ethnicities. With historic ties to the city, this is the parade that you must see if you are in the area, with more than 5,000 participants from all over the country.

After the parade, enjoy the events at the Festival, including live performances and entertainment, arts and crafts exhibitors, food and beverage concessions, children’s rides and inflatables, cultural displays, a petting zoo and pony rides, and a number of non-profit booths representing the Irish community. Many of these events showcase Irish culture and history, so everyone can learn a thing or two.

1. NZ to India at Philly Int’l Flower Show March 1-7

Journey around the globe with breathtaking stops in India, Brazil, the Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand and Singapore at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Under the theme “Passport to the World,” attendees will see thousands of plant and floral design entries of local enthusiasts as Picture 7well as international experts in hundreds of different categories.

As the world’s largest indoor flower exhibition, don’t miss out on the free gardening presentations (there’s 150 held throughout the week), as well as dozens of educational displays that explore the newest gardening trends. To compliment the fabulous exhibits, enjoy shopping, great food, and live performances that will take audiences to as many different lands as the flowers do. All proceeds from the show, including tickets and sponsorship contributions, go to support The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and its acclaimed urban greening program, Philadelphia Green.

1. Atlanta’s Awesome St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 13

Picture 10There’s not better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Atlanta than attending a parade, especially when that parade will be the largest and best attended St. Patrick’s Parade & Festival since the first was held is 1858. The 2010 Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade will be comprised of over 200 elements, including clowns, military units, bagpipers & drum corps, Irish dancers, high tech firefighting equipment, police units, drill teams, dogs, horses, antique cars, dignitaries from Ireland and local government leaders. Not to mention the thousands of fresh faced on lookers who are sure to be lining the streets.

After a day of events throughout the city the parade ends at Fabulous Underground Atlanta with vendors, food and free entertainment, which should result in plenty of music, dancing and drinking.

1. NYC’S First Official Oscar Party March 1-7

New York is usuallyPicture 10 the first on every trend, but this time they’re following a great one that has been going on across the US for years: an official Oscar party. On March 7, NYC & Company will be hosting the first ever “Oscar Night and the City,” NYC’s Official Oscar Night American celebration. Located at the prestigious Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, this event is as glamorous as the one in Hollywood with a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception and an official broadcast viewing party where you can have either a “starring role” or “supporting role,” depending on your tickets.

For those who can’t make the Oscar bash, NYC & Co is hosting events for the entire week leading up to the broadcast with an Oscar-winning movie marathon featuring NYC-themed films and several exhibits, all at Lincoln Center.

1. Model Mayhem at Miami Int’l Fashion Week March 18-21

Picture 17Miami is known for having a ton of good looking models roaming South Beach, so during the upcoming Fall/Winter 2010 Miami International Fashion Week, get ready for a lot of eye candy! The 12th annual event is held in Miami’s trendy Wynwood Art District where they will transform the Shops at Midtown into “Fashion City,” with large runways and sponsors lounges to house the fashion elite.

As the largest International and Hispanic fashion event in the US, Miami Fashion Week features Latin fashion as well as beauty, music, cuisine and art. Other international designers and entertainers hail from Spain, Italy, Australia, UAE, Pakistan, Mexico, Canada, Malaysia among others

To top off an incredible week, the Miami International Fashion Week will close with the Miami Moda & Music Awards, a celebrity fashion and entertainment awards show.  Caliente!

1. St. Patrick’s Day Parade Boston Style March 14

Picture 29It’s hard to find a city richer in Irish heritage than Boston, which is why it’s a great place to spend St. Patrick’s Day. To kick it off join the estimated 600,000 people expected to turn out for this year’s 109th St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 14. This three-hour celebration will feature floats, dozens of local marching bands, and pipe bands from Ireland and across the United States. The groups will assemble at the Broadway MBTA station and then march their way through the city finishing in Andrew Square.

A little insider tip, the best place for viewing the parade is to head out early and stake out some nice turf along Broadway.

2. Dallas’ Only Official Oscar Night Party March 7

Picture 19It’s every movie star’s dream to win an Oscar. For everyone else, just being at the Oscar’s would be a dream come true. USA Film Festival rolls out the red carpet to make that happen with the official Oscar Night America Dallas. On March 7th, watch The Academy Awards in style, from your seat at Studio Movie Grill. Sip on champagne while you experience the thrills and excitement as the event is telecast on the large theater screen. Dinner will be served, as well as a live auction featuring movie memorabilia. The same official program will be provided as the one at the presentation at Kodak Theatre in Hollywood!

2. Celebrate Oscars with Miss America March 7

Picture 5Still looking for somewhere to watch the Oscars and remain as fashionable as your favorite starlets? Look no further than the Traverse Arts Project and The Radisson Warwick Hotel, who will host their 2nd Annual Red Carpet Party on the biggest night in Hollywood. Hosts include Robert “Sandy Beach” Hitchen, reigning Miss America Pageant winner Michelle Dupree and award winning composer Joseph Hallman.

The event will feature a viewing of the 82nd Annual Academy Awards live from Hollywood. The hotel’s elegant Gold and Silver VIP Levels include all-access with open wine, beer, and vodka bar, as well as gourmet food all night long. The hottest Oscar party isn’t in tinsel town this year, it’s at the Radisson Warwick Hotel.

2. Hometown Classic Golden Gloves Tournament March 11-31

For the next monPicture 7th starting March 11, Chicago’s best amateurs will be duking it out at the annual Chicago Golden Gloves Tournament. Since 1923, this has become a Chicago classic event with such past, big name winners as Joe Louis, Cassius Clay and numerous US Olympians. Through a series of bouts, those who have the skill and those who do not will be weeded into a team that will represent Chicago at the National Golden Gloves Championships in May. For those who love a good fight and want to see some up and coming talent, this is the sporting event of the season.

2. Best of SF at Switchboard Music Fest March 28

Want toPicture 20 hear the newest local artists from San Francisco? Be sure to check out the Switchboard Music Festival. Featuring musicians primarily based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the festival consists of an eight-hour marathon concert with big name artists as well as younger, less established groups with great potential. Much of the music is also focused on blurring the lines between genres. This festival is great for those who want to hear new and interesting music from up and coming local artists; its unpredictability makes the festival fresh. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite artist here.

2. Everyone’s Irish at St. Patty’s Day Parade March 17

Every othPicture 11er city has their St. Patrick’s Day Parade situated nicely on the weekends, but in New York, they shut down the streets of New York to party in the middle of the week! On Wednesday March 17, the self-proclaimed oldest (since 1762), biggest and best St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the WORLD takes over Manhattan. Starting at 44th street and moving uptown on 5th Avenue, the parade passes landmarks like St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the American Irish Historical Society before ending at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 86th Street and 5th Avenue.

The parade is always a loud and lively event, and regardless of your nationality, a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” pin will always be greeted with a warm reception here!

2. Sports Star Waiter Dinner for a Good Cause March 4

Picture 25Meeting celebrities (or dreaming of meeting them), may be a guilty wish for many of us, but at the 2nd annual Sports Affair: Celebrity Waiter Dinner, you can feel like a star among the stars. Back by popular demand, this event is attended by some of Denver’s hottest athletes, including Denver Nugget J.R. Smith and former Denver Bronco Reggie Rivers. The evening not only includes star athletes, attendees will have dinner, entertainment, and both a live and silent auction. The best part? The Celebrity Waiter Dinner is all for a good cause: the proceeds will go to the Make A Wish Foundation.

2. Oscar Night at Lucca Back Bay March 7

Picture 31This March, Oscar fever will sweep the nation. After the biggest box office year in the history of U.S. cinema, this year’s ceremony is sure to go down in history as one of the most memorable. So the only question is: where are you going to watch it? Why not watch the ceremony in style.

On Sunday, March 7, Lucca Back Bay is hosting a party to celebrate the hottest night in Hollywood. Executive chef Anthony Mazzotta will prepare a regional Italian menu specific to the changing seasons. Watch Hollywood’s brightest stars walk down the red carpet from Lucca’s lounge; separated from the main dining room the lounge features a substantial bar filled with a varied selections of scotches, bourbons and the finest Italian wines. It’s a night that promises to be filled with fun, friends, and plenty of little golden men named Oscar.

2. Celebrate St. Paddy’s at Nat’l Shamrock Fest March 13

With 1Picture 140 stages, 40+ bands and DJ’s, and dozens of party areas, this is what you’ll find at the National Shamrock Fest, the largest Saint Paddy’s festival in the Mid-Atlantic Region. This day long street festival is full of live music, food, drinks and dozens of activities for all ages. To be more specific, there are carnival rides, games, strolling entertainers, Shamrock Pub Games, tons of beer trucks, dozens of craft vendors, and much more. This year, there will even be an attempt to break the world record of chest bumps at the festival to raise money against cancer. The music consists of Rock, Irish, Blues, Retro and Folk music. Come and join over 40,000 people at this fun festival.

2. Laughing Skull Comedy Fest March 3-7

Picture 13Nearly 60 of the nation’s most hilarious stand up comics are coming to Atlanta for The Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, with 12 comedians giving their best work at each show every night of the week. There will be different headliners closing each show throughout the week and even a few surprise guests to spice things up.

This festival is also part contest, where after each of the preliminary shows Wednesday through Friday, two winners will be selected that move on to the semi-finals on Saturday night at 8pm and finals just a few hours later. Only one comedian will survive as they compete to the comic death: four comedians will enter, but only one will leave.

Just remember,18 and older to enter, as things may get a bit racy!

2. Miami Int’l Film Festival March 5-14

Picture 20If you’re getting the box office blues after an incredible December month, head over to the Miami International Film Festival, or MIFF as its known. The ten-day festival features 115 world-class short and feature films from 45 countries, including 5 world premieres, 22 North American premieres and 14 U.S. premieres.

And with any premiere comes a great premiere party. To kick the festival off, the MIFF always opens with a fashionable Opening Night Celebration and ends on March 13th with an Awards Night Wrap Party.

3. Movies & Music at CIMMfest March 4-7

Picture 9Movies and music go hand in hand and the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival celebrates the partnership. Created by filmmakers and musicians, the CIMMfest (as it’s affectionately known) showcases cutting edge films, videos, exhibitions and concerts from all over the globe. It was a huge hit in its inaugural year last year, world premiering Camera War, Richard Bellia’s first US show and much more. This year, it’s destined to have even bigger special guests and better music and movies

3. Shamrockin’ St. Patty’s Day Parade March 13

Picture 26For nearly 50 years- 48 to be exact- Denver has been celebrating the Irish holiday of St. Patrick’s Day with a big ol’ parade. This year’s theme is Shamrockin’ and every event and celebration will have an element of homage to Ireland’s contribution to the music scene. Case and point: the parade’s Grand Marshals will be the highly-acclaimed Irish foursome The Bridies.

Not only is this a rockin’ theme, Denver is home to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the nation with over 10,000 marchers, 230 entries and nearly 200,000 attendees!

3. Guittard & Ghirardelli at Int’l Chocolate Salon March 20

Picture 30There may never be a world made completely out of chocolate, but the 4th Annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon comes pretty close. Experience the finest in artisan, gourmet, and premium chocolate from over 70 chocolatiers, confectioners, wineries and other culinary artisans, ranging from Amano Artisan Chocolate to Guittard Chocolate Company to Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

With the floor space recently increased by 66%, this place is the premier chocolate show on the West Coast. There is also a Chocolate Chef Competition and TasteTV Wine Competition. Other highlights include demonstrations, new product launches and flavor combinations, fair trade and organic offerings, chef and author talks, a live chocolate body frosting demonstration, and book signings. Whether you’re a chocolate aficionado, fanatic, buyer, or just someone who is curious, be sure to pay a visit.

3. 240 Years of St. Patrick’s Day Celebration March 14

Picture 6Join in on one of the longest running St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country. The first documented St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Parade in Philadelphia was held in 1771, celebrating over 240 continuous years of celebrations. And throughout those years this festivity has honored the cultural traditions and historic significance of the Irish, both in America and abroad.

With the theme “St. Patrick, model of unity for the church and the world,” the parade will featuring thousands of marchers and dozens of bands and floats, highlighted by flags and traditional Irish music this years parade is sure to be one of note.

3. Diverse Art at Intersections Arts Fest March 5-7

Picture 15If you go to one art festival this year, make it the Intersections Arts Festival. Hosted at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, this new arts festival features visual art, film screenings, literary readings, as well as dance, musical, and dramatic productions by more than 30 artists and cultural institutions. There is a strong focus on the intersection of diverse races, ages, and cultures through art.

Pick from a diverse range of events: a world premier from Washington hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon, a concert from legendary folk singer and activist Tom Chapin, a high-voltage performance by the hip-hop dance ensemble DCypher Dance, an exhibition introducing the work of artist José Allen, literary events hosted by the Folger Shakespeare Library, and much more. There are also plenty of interactive performances, classes, and happenings. Be sure to check out the café, lobby performances and late-night dance parties as well.

3. Prestigious AIPAD Photography Show March 17-21

Picture 15In conjunction with the Association of International Photography and Art Dealers, the annual AIPAD Photography Show New York is one the most important international photography events.

In its 30th year, more than 70 of the world’s best fine art photography galleries will be coming together at the Park Avenue Armory to show off museum-quality work from contemporary, modern and 19th century photographs to photo-based art, video and even new media art forms.

For those who want to celebrate the show in true high art fashion, a Gala Preview will be held on March 17th to benefited the John Szarkowsi Fund, which is an endowment for photography acquisitions at the beloved MoMA in New York.

3. Oscar’s Official Party in Atlanta March 7

Picture 14It’s Oscar season again, and what better way to watch the awards than with all the glamour and excitement of Hollywood. On March 7, the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre will host Atlanta’s only official Oscar party. While tens of millions of cinema lovers glue themselves to their television sets to learn who will receive the golden statuettes, the Oscar Night America attendees will be watching the events with champagne, dinner and a massive screen in a first-class affair. After a year full of so many great films and the first time in decades that 10 films have been nominated for Best Picture, it is really anybody’s game. So come out to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and watch the awards the way the stars do, in red carpet style.

3. St. Patty’s Day Not Complete Without Whiskey Tasting March 17

Picture 1Once the green beer filled parade festivities are over, it would be nice to spend your St. Patrick’s Day learning…. about whisky. Join the “Master of Whiskey in New England,” Brad Jarvis, for a special Irish Whiskey Tasting on St. Patrick’s Day. As an expert, Brad Jarvis will introduce the contrasting flavors between the two major styles of the Southern and Northern regions of Ireland and explain the subtle differences between blended, pure pot still style (the only whiskey variant still made exclusively in Ireland), peated and in-peated, single malts, and much more. Take a taste tour of various whiskies spanning several regions from a single table all while serving up the finest whiskeys New England and the world as to offer.

3. The Ultimate Ultra Music Festival March 26-27

Picture 21Miami is known for its red hot party scene and it gets even hotter during the Ultra Music Festival. In just two days and two nights, 16 stages featuring more than 200 DJ’s, bands and producers will perform the best electronic music for more than 100,000 music lovers from all over the world. The UMF is a legendary event in itself and this year it returns to the historic location at Downtown Miami’s oceanfront Bicentennial Park. Still going strong in its 12th year, the UMF will have everyone on its feet morning, noon and night.

3. North Texas Irish Festival March 5-7

Picture 20A week before the official St. Patrick’s Day holiday, Texans can begin to start the party thanks to the North Texas Irish Festival. In its 28th year as a staple in Dallas, this festival features world-class entertainers including Irish dancers, musicians, Celtic storytellers and horse performers on nine stages throughout the weekend celebration.

This year the theme is Celtic Music of the Eastern Coast of Canada, so don’t be surprised to see a Maple Leaf or two mixed in with all the green. On top of a great way to celebrate, this festival also offers workshops for those who want to bring the Irish spirit home!

4. Chocolate Lovers Rejoice at Festival March 6-7

Chocolate, chocolate, andPicture 17 more chocolate. That’s what you’ll find here at the annual two-day Chocolate Lovers Festival in Old Town Fairfax. There are plenty of events to participate in: buy chocolates from vendors at the Taste of Chocolate; create a work of art using chocolate as the medium at the Chocolate Challenge; devour the chocolate chip pancakes at the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast. There are also historic re-enactments, children’s activities, craft shows, open houses at historic buildings and many more chocolate themed events. Some of the events do require a fee, while other ones are free to all visitors. Whether you’re bringing a date or the whole family, there’s plenty to do here.

4. New & Improved Arteamericas Art Fair March 26-29

Picture 22Every season there is a major art fair in Miami and March is no exception. Arteamericas, Miami’s renowned International Art Fair, focuses on the best art coming out of Latin America. Now in its 8th year, this art fair is under new management and a renewed sense of enthusiasm. The four day fair showcases the region’s best-known art galleries and as well as lectures, concerts and a few promised surprises in between. From traditional, modern and contemporary art to painting, sculptures and multimedia, this is quickly becoming the place for Latin American Art.

4. One Day to Taste Whiskies of the World March 27

Picture 29If St. Patrick’s Day was not enough to get your fill of Whiskey, then head over to the Whiskey of the World, or WoW, Expo.  At this, though, they have much more than Irish whiskey; bottles are imported from all over the world, including Scotland, Canada and Japan. WoW celebrates the “water of life” with brand names and some of the world’s best independent bottlers as well as some of the rarest bottles in the world.

Apart from the whiskey, the Expo offers an assortment of food and hors d’eourves as well as luxurious spirits, like handcrafted vodkas, gins and other liqueurs. For those who love a great big Jack on the rocks, just consider this a dream come true.

4. Chi-Town’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 13

Picture 16It’s that time of year again that Chicago paints the city green – or at least in Grant Park- for Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Held every year on the Saturday leading up to the holiday, this is truly a family affair for people and families regardless of their ties to Ireland. The official grand stands to view the parade are at the beautiful Buckingham Fountain, where you’ll find floats, marching bands and even bag pipers in kilts.

For an added hue of celebration, at 10:45 a.m. the Chicago River will by dyed green near Wacker Drive between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive.

4. Allen True’s Colorado West Takes over Denver March 1-28

Picture 27Colorado artist Allen Tupper True is invading Denver this March with dozens of works of art. The three-part exhibition illustrates all of True’s talent, with his illustrations at the Denver Public Library, 13 oil paintings at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) and three murals (along with several study murals) at the Colorado Historical Society. If this wasn’t enough, there’s even a walking tour of True’s murals throughout downtown Denver.

There’s so much True in Denver because he was one of the state’s premiere native-born artists and his work represents the everyday American West life in Colorado that is hard to find anywhere else. True’s work is a great way to get a glimpse of the past, as well as admire one of the state’s most respected artists.

4. 2 in 1: Atlanta Marathon & Sightseeing March 21

Picture 15On March 21, the best long distance runners in the nation will flock to Atlanta to showcase their skill in the ING Georgia Marathon. The marathon is a two for one for visitors of the city: a great event as well as an excuse to see all of Atlanta.

The staging area for the start and finish is in Centennial Olympic Park in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Participants will then run downtown through Georgia State University, over the Jackson Street bridge, and then onto the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District by the house where Dr. King was born. The course continues weaving its way through the Poncey-Highland, the Agnes Scott College campus, by quaint Decatur Square. Runners will then tear through the Emory University campus, and through the Druid Hills and Virginia-Highland neighborhoods. The race finishes with a run through Midtown across to the Georgia Tech campus, and the runners will return downtown via Marietta Street to cross the finish line in the park!

After a champion is crowned the real fun begins in Centennial Olympic Park where there will be plenty of food and fun to go around for the whole afternoon.

4. Rock ‘n Roll Dallas Half Marathon March 14

Picture 22Who says a marathon is all work and no play? Okay, most marathons are only fun after you’ve finished (and survived!), but the Rock ‘n Roll Dallas Half-Marathon is completely the opposite. Dotted along the 13.1 mile course, there are 20 local bands who will be rocking it out and giving the gifted runners a unique playlist to their marathon running. More than that, there will also be Spirited Cheer Squads if runners need an extra boost. After it’s all done, runners and spectators alike will be able to cool down with a post-marathon concert at the Finish Line Village’s main stage. If this race doesn’t sound cool enough, the run is all for a good cause: The Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the Official National Charity.

4. American Idiot- Broadway Style- Opens March 24

What happens when you takePicture 2 a Tony Award-winning director and a Grammy Award-winning album and put it together on stage? The new musical American Idiot. Based on Green Day’s politically charged hit album, this rock opera is moving to the big stage of NYC after an amazingly successful run in Berkeley, California. It is about a group of young, working-class men who come to America from the Middle East and find themselves in the confusion of post-9/11 America. It’s the same great storyline in NYC, but with a twist; Michael Mayer, the director of the smash Spring Awakening, will also be directing this cutting edge musical.

4. Family Concert Series with BSO March 3-27

Picture 2Classical music thrives in Boston this spring, especially in the hearts and minds of its young men and women. In March, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will join forces with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras to offer a new series for families. This new partnership allows the BSO to expand its family offerings, and demonstrates both organizations’ commitment to fostering an appreciation of classical music for the next generation.

The first concert will be a performance by the 120-student Boston Youth Symphony, was sold out back in November. Throughout March there will be various “Driving Forces” concerts performed at the BSO, with the final concert on March 27 that will feature the Young People’s String Orchestra made up of aspiring young students just 7-12 years old.

So for a night of classical music performed by some of the world’s finest youth and professional musicians, look no further than BSO family concert series.

4. BrAVA Philadelphia! Gala Concert March 31

The city oPicture 8f Philadelphia has produced some of the world’s most brilliant opera stars, thanks in large part to the Academy of Vocal Arts. Enjoy as many of them return to Philadelphia to celebrate AVA’s 75th Anniversary.

International superstar mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato leads a lineup of AVA singers, including tenors James Valenti, who debuts at the Metropolitan Opera in March, Stephen Costello, winner of the 2009 Richard Tucker Prize, and Michael Fabiano, star of the feature film The Audition, plus many more great up-and-coming artists.  This star-studded event will be one of the most high quality performances of the year.

5. The Coolest Acts Around at UniverSoul Circus March 1-7

Picture 18With the new show “We Play… Too Much!”, UniverSoul Circus sets the stage for generations of families to come together, sing songs, and even dance in the aisles to hits that span the last six decades. With tracks ranging from Motown classics to today’s Top 40, the most amazing acrobatic routines will be performed in front of a large audience. In the line-up are Chinese aerialists performing a synchronized aerial dance never seen before in the United States; the hottest stunt acrodunk players in the world; an entourage of contortionists who bend and twist their bodies beyond human limits; as well as a daring tiger act.

Where the audience is always part of the show, fans are forewarned, because under the Big Top of hip hop, you never know when you might wind up doing your thing in the center of the ring. Ringmaster Anthony Luewellyn a.k.a “Tony Tone” returns to lead an all star cast of performers that is unlike any traditional circus.

5. Carnaval is Massive in Miami March 1-14

Picture 24Many think of New Orleans and Venice when it comes to Carnaval, but the celebration in Miami is the largest party in the Hispanic Market. With ten events spanning the end of February to the beginning of March, thousands of people come together for such events like the Golf Classic, 8K Run, Cooking Contest, Domino Tournament, Soccer Carnaval 5v5, Miss Carnaval Miami and more.

The two most famous events are the Carnaval on the Mile (March 4 & 5), where Coral Gable’s Miracle Mile is shut down for the famous walk of shops and cafes, and Calle Ocho (March 14) with 23 blocks of activities for children and adults, including clowns, magicians, sports team, food and merchandise for mom’s. There are plenty of events for every taste during Carnaval Miami.

5. Take the Plunge at Icy Polar Plunge March 7

Chicago may be known as the “Windy City,” but during the winter it feels more like the “Icy City.” Instead of cursing the cold, Chi-town embraces it everyPicture 11 year with the Polar Plunge and Melt Down Party. Starting as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, this has become a sort of rite of passage, where over 1,200 participants bear the cold and jump into the frigid Lake Michigan.

Those who raise $100 for the good cause just have to get in for a good splish/splash (the brave go all the way under!) and then afterwards participants are treated with a commemorative t-shirt, towel and admission to the “Melt Down Party” with music, free food and of course, a cash bar. It’s the Chicago tradition that keeps on giving well after you’ve dried off!

5. The National Marathon March 20

RPicture 18un through the best neighborhoods of Washington, DC in the National Marathon. Certified as the official qualifier for the Boston Marathon, this 26.2-mile race begins at RFK stadium and provides runners and spectators with gorgeous views of monuments, the National Mall, and much more. The run features six of the city’s eight wards, such as the heart of Adams Morgan and the beautiful Poplar Point.

The marathon raises funds for local youth organizations that use sports to build character, encourage physical fitness, and enhance education. Whether you are a devoted runner or just want to watch, be sure to check out this exciting marathon.

5. Asian American Film Festival March 11-21

Be sure to come down to the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the nation’s largest showcase for new Asian American and Asian films. The festival has Picture 28been a launching point for Asian American independent filmmakers, and presents about 120 works in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Jose. Created in 1982, this festival has been a vital source of new Asian cinema.

There are plenty of events as well, like panels, talks and live performances. Be sure to attend the opening night gala, where all the stars and filmmakers will be to mix and mingle.

5. PDP Presents SCUBA’s Nights of Dance March 19-20

The Philadelphia DancPicture 9e Projects and the SCUBA National Touring Network for Dance combine for a weekend of performances that is innovative and one-of-a-kind.

The PDP Presents 2010 SCUBA program will feature: The BodyCartography Project, which is a somatic for of movement; Megan Mazarick who creates highly conceptual and nuanced themes from American life; and Jacinta Vlach/Liberation Dance Theater that uses inspiration from Latin/African Diaspora, Contemporary and Urban Vernacular.

SCUBA, now in its eighth year, is a co-operative enterprise that supports the growth and expansion of the country’s next generation of contemporary dance artists through touring and the development of relationships with other artists and presenters.

5. London’s Infamous Equus Premieres March 1-21

Picture 23Equus, the scandalous play that had Harry Potter fans in a bundle when a fully nude Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) starred in the West End premiere, makes its way to the Big D. While this touring production doesn’t have a major movie star in its lead role, the story is still as captivating as ever.

Equus is about a seemingly normal, young man who has a passion for horses, but inside harbors darkness. One night, the young man commits a violent crime that no one can believe came from such a quiet boy. Equus unlocks the mystery of this dark and complicated teenager.

5. Eat Out for Boston Restaurant Week March 14-26

Picture 19Besides all the drinking this month for St. Patrick’s Day, Boston has a two-week holiday known as “Restaurant Week.” From March 14-19 and 21-26, dozens of restaurants across the city will be offering signature dishes at a ridiculously low rate: two-course lunches for $15.10, three-course lunches for 20.10 and three-course dinners for 33.10. Participating restaurants include some of Boston’s best, like The Cafe at Taj Boston, Capital Grille, Ginger Park and Mooo. For two weeks in March, there’s no better excuse to eat a three-course lunch and dinner every single day.

5. Eat Up at Denver Restaurant Week Mar. 1-Mar. 5

Picture 28If you haven’t started fasting in preparation for restaurant week then you better get started. For two weeks, 225 participating restaurants will be serving almost 300,000 meals at the ridiculously low multi-course dinner price of $26.40 for one and $52.80 for two. The only thing that you need to worry about is how fast your fingers can dial to make reservations and how you are going to pack it all in. Some of the standout participants are Baur’s Ristorante, Restaurant Kevin Taylor and Q’s Restaurant.

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5. Pier Antiques & Fashion Alley is NYC’s Largest Show March 13-14

Antiques Picture 3and fashion are two of the best exhibition markets and so when New York combines both of them under one roof, the result is massive. The Pier Antiques Show & Fashion Alley features over 500 shops and galleries showcasing major designers and decorators from all over the country. In its 35th year on the Hudson River, The Pier Antiques Show is New York City’s largest antiques, art, style and collecting event. Find everything from jewelry and vintage designers to ceramics, folk art, furniture and more in one weekend.