Restaurateur Nick Varano Hangs at The Bristol Lounge

Nick Varano is the owner of some of Boston’s best restaurants (Strega’s was voted Boston’s Most Coveted Table- especially considering the likes of Sopranos cast members are regulars), but when it comes to relaxing, he always comes to the Four Season’s Bristol Lounge.

Known as “Boston’s living room,” the Bristol Lounge is most certainly the living room to some of Boston’s most sociable and influential people, like Nick Varano. “It’s a great place for not just Picture 115relaxation, but conversation as well,” Nick told citybuzz.  Offering floor-to-ceiling views of the beautiful Boston Public Garden or sitting next to the fireplace during Boston’s cold winters, the Bristol Lounge makes the average lounge look stressful compared to this relaxing oasis.

On top of the incredible atmosphere is an even better menu, most notably made famous by the Bristol Burger. Using seasonal ingredients for the New American cuisine, the Bristol Lounge has a special for almost every moment of the day. Power breakfasts are followed by power lunches, then there’s the Boston tradition of a ritzy Afternoon Tea that turns into live jazz music and proper New England seafood that goes well into the evening.

“It’s the perfect atmosphere for both business and pleasure,” Nick says. “I can always count on going to the Bristol Lounge and running into a friend, colleague or even a family member… but with me, everyone is family.” Spoken like a true king of hospitality.

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*** Nick Varano is the owner of Boston’s Strega, Nico and Nick Varano’s Famous Deli Restaurants. Recently, he opened the new Bostonian nightlife hotspot: The Ocean Club nightclub.

Abbot Kinney for Everything Venice Beach

Abbot Kinney Boulevard makes high end shopping beach chic in Picture 35Venice Beach. The boutiques rule in Venice and big name brands are out, but don’t be fooled, style is less flip-flop mess and more artist casual. Here you can pick up summer dress ups and dress downs, a new favorite flannel at Steven Alan Annex, or dress your man in Stronghold jeans. Jewelry finds are always a little offbeat ranging from diamonds to antique typewriter keys. For home décor fanatics, Abbot Kinney shops like Floral and Plantation are frequent features in top design magazines.

And for those who work up an appetite from carrying around all those bags, Abbot Kinney has plenty of food options to finish off a successful day, but dining  is anything but beachy. Options are fine and plentiful for any craving from Gjelina’s truffle pizza, Wabi-Sabi crazy rolls and Lilly’s French flavors to Hal’s famous cantaloupe martini. If hunger still strikes, LA’s most notable food trucks usually wander Abbot Kinney late night.

Insider’s Tip: This is not to miss! First Friday of each month is where you can shop late, sample every truck in town and party the packed street all night.

“SEI” Hello to a First Lady Favorite

For a chic evening out, head to SEI – the Japanese-inspired hotspot known for its creative cocktails, unexpected sushi rolls and delicious Asian-fusion cuisine.  With fresh whitewashed walls and ultra modern artistic touches, SEI sets the mood for the perfect city-chic dining experience.

As one of Michelle Obama’s favorite spots (sosei much so that she had SEI cater a White House gathering), it’s safe to say that SEI’s inventive cuisine is sure to please even the most prestigious politico’s palate.  Pair a tangy Japanese Whisky Sour (egg white, fresh lemon, 5 spice-infused syrup) with a humor-infused roll or two – sushi favorites include the Fish & Chips roll (flounder, malt vinegar, French fries, wasabi tartar sauce) or the Let Us Roll (romaine, carrots, Caesar dressing).  For those looking for a more substantial dish, try the Mini Kobe Sliders with tomato jam and tempura onion rings.  For a sweet finish, dig into some Miso Orange Bread Pudding with soy ice cream.

Santa Monica Retreats at The Fairmont Miramar Hotel

Move over Canyon Ranch, The Fairmont Miramar Hotel is Santa Monica’s answer to a mind and body retreat without going anywhere! The luxury hotel’s escapist, private feel is obvious by just driving into the enclosed grounds. World renown Exhale Spa offers premium body toning in Core Fusion classes. For post class unwinding, opt for MIR186_MiscellaneousExhale signature spa treatments like the TRUE Facial and Fusion Massage. Poolside bungalows are a tanning treat with tasty snacks prepared downstairs by FIG Restaurant chefs, who have made a name for themselves by escalating fresh California flavor into upscale dining with the serenity of an outdoor garden and waterfall.

The Fairmont Miramar Hotel is also prime Los Angeles beach locale: walking distance to the Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica Beach, 3rd Street Promenade and only a short drive to Main Street, Malibu and Venice. Rooms with an ocean view are worth the splurge, but either way the sinkable bed is hard to leave at The Fairmont Miramar.

Giggles and Gasps at Buntport Theater Company

Think theater’s pretentious or all doom and gloom? Picture 23The locally acclaimed Buntport Theater Company will make you think again. This six-person troupe collaborates and hosts a variety of different projects, from original plays to monthly themed open mic nights—The Most Worthless Thing I Own, for instance—almost all of which are marked by the writer-director-actors’ characteristic brand of risky and borderline absurd wit (as the titles of recent productions Realism: The Mythical Brontosaurus and Kafka on Ice suggest). That’s not to say the Buntport Theater Company doesn’t do serious, heart wrenching work; it’s just that the company never forgets to have fun with the audience, including pint-sized playgoers (the seasonal family series tRUNks brings comic books to life).

Luxe L’Atelier

Picture 43Radek Cerny has been around the culinary world, and it shows in the sophistication of his successor to local legend Papillon—Boulder’s L’Atelier. The Czech native has cooked everywhere from New York to Vail, getting to know Paul Bocuse and Mick Jagger along the way; and in this spare, subdued “studio,” to translate the name, he distills those life lessons into exquisite contemporary French fare, from Escargots with Potato Foam to Lobster Ravioli with Beurre Blanc to the Sculptured Chocolate “Bag” filled with ice cream, fruit and topped with a mint leaf.

Insider’s Tip: To defray a bit of the cost, come on Tuesdays, when the entire wine list is half-off—or for lunch, a somewhat humbler but no less satisfying affair with housemade pâtés and breads for grilled panini.

Any Season’s a Good Season at The Four Seasons

Four Seasons poolThe name Four Seasons immediately conjures up images of a luxurious hotel filled with beautiful, well-to-do people, and the five-star Brickell Avenue Four Seasons does not disappoint. If anything, it exceeds those expectations with a fabulous location in the heart of everything that is pulsating in Miami, but offers the best of quiet serenity, too, making it the perfect place to stay for relaxing AND living it up.

Of course, in a subtropical climate like sunny South Florida, the pools (yes, there are two) are one of the main attractions. They are surrounded by gorgeous private cabanas for stylish and comfortable relaxation, and the hotel’s spa offers treatments in those cabanas as well as in-room service.

The guestrooms are luxuriously designed and feature city and bayviews, so the balconies are the perfect spot to begin or end the day. If splurging is an option, take it to the top and stay in the Presidential Suite, complete with dining and living rooms, impressive bayviews, a large soaking tub and oversized separate shower in the master bedrooms, and comfy lounging chairs throughout.

If you find the urge to get out of the hotel (although we don’t blame you if you don’t!), it’s easy to hit up one of Brickell’s many nearby hotspots for some dancing and cocktails to top off the night.

Standing Ovation for Hotel Teatro

Named for its prime location adjacent to the Denver Center of Performing Arts, Hotel Teatro is itself plenty dramatic. Since opening, it has been accumulating awards as Denver’s Best Hotel (Zagat) and continually surfacing on Travel + Leisure’s Top Hotel List for both the U.S. and the world. Picture 57

Posters and costumes from performances past line the lobby and grace even the standard guest rooms—which aren’t large but are luxuriously appointed in sandstone, cherrywood, leather, and marble, plus all the key anemities: oversized tubs, rainforest shower heads, flat-panel TVs, and complimentary Wifi, to name a few. Speaking of luxury, this boutique hotel is also home to the acclaimed Restaurant Kevin Taylor as well as its namesake chef’s all-day Italian spot, Prima Ristorante—known for a weekend brunch that’s capped off with bottomless prosecco.

Let Izba Spa Whisk You Away—Literally

Picture 42First they beat you with whisks made of birch and oak, then they rub you down with honey—it may sound odd, but you won’t knock it after you’ve tried it at Izba Spa. Izba means “log cabin,” and this beautiful Russian banya, wood-lined and painted with frescoes, indeed transports you far from the grind of City Park. Although there are more basic options, a two-and-a-half-hour deluxe package includes a dip in the hot tub, a full-body massage, and a body polish as well as two traditional sessions in the sauna—yet costs only $135. So go for broke, or you may be kicking yourself for passing up a bargain later, which will be far more painful than the  treatment itself (really, it’s very gentle).

Florida Grand Opera’s Classics Hit a High Note

The vigor and passion in the voices of Florida Picture 64Grand Opera performers is exactly what’s needed when presenting the classics this group puts on. For 69 years, this premier organization has been wowing audiences with works from Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Beverly Sills, opera greats who have all performed with the company.

The Florida Grand Opera’s latest incarnation of Bizet’s Carmen garnered rave reviews and a packed house night after night. The company also presents other well known productions, like Barber of Seville, Pagliacci and La Traviata. By far, this is the place in Miami to catch a night of electrifying live opera; the combination of powerful singing, gorgeous sets and theater make for a great night out.

M Bar and Fuse Lounge: The Atlanta Bar and Lounge Experience

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M BAR offers its guests the definitive Atlanta bar and lounge experience. From after work to after hours, the quintessential nightspot fuses the appeal of a high-energy bar and an ultra exclusive lounge. M BAR and FUSE LOUNGE are two boutique concepts sharing one intimate space.

If a more intimate high-end experience is what you’re seeking, FUSE LOUNGE serves as a VIP getaway and provides an exclusive setting with first class service.
Melding the character of the historic Castleberry Hill Arts District, M BAR dazzles even the most seasoned nightlife connoisseur. Its contemporary setting merge with signature cocktails, savory eats and Atlanta’s hottest DJ’s to create a sensational guest experience. M BAR sets itself apart from Atlanta’s traditional bars and lounges. Our VIP room, FUSE LOUNGE, is a boutique-sized getaway for intimate experiences and casual conversation. Featuring its own private bar and banquettes, guest can enjoy more discreet quaint interaction.

By now we’re sure you’re wondering what the “M” in “M BAR” stands for. It’s our signature blend of Music, Martinis, Margaritas, Mojitos and Mimosas. M BAR is well equipped to fulfill any entertainment, social or cultural craving you may have. In addition to our ambiance and cocktails, any of our signature dishes will satisfy your palette. Featuring American classics mixed with modern favorites, the restaurant caters to guests seeking a casual meal or a social dining experience. Guests boast about our famous turkey sliders, 100% lump crab cakes and our most beloved Grandma’s Apple dessert. Your trip would definitely be in vein if you don’t cap off the night with at least one of Atlanta’s most sought after cocktails: Beso del Dia White Sangria, Super Head, Monkey Love Martini, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch Rum Punch, just to name a few.

FUSE is the ultimate blend of intimate dining, cocktails and lounging. This boutique-style lounge, located in the rear of M BAR, is equipped to accommodate up to 80 people with 40 seated. FUSE was designed for the mature and crafted for the sexy. This space hosts a collage of design masterpieces; from our custom zebra wood walls to our walnut woodwork and floating granite bar. The feeling that radiates from this venue has been characterized as mature, romantic and mischievous, and customized for those teetering on the wild side. FUSE is the perfect venue for all occasions. Call to request a viewing with our events coordinator or join us for dinner and enjoy one or more of our delicious specialty cocktails. Ultimately, our impeccable service and attention to detail will undoubtedly make your experience a delicious memory, never to be forgotten.

Get Mellow at Willow Spa

As you are driving on Santa Monica Boulevard looking for this spa, don’t expect to find it on the first level of a high rise or accompanying a gym. Willow Spa looks more like someone’s holistic house than a “top ten” rated spa in Los Angeles, but if you can gather your bearings, one visit to Willow Spa may change the way you live and the way you relax.

Known for its Asian-willow picinspired massages, facials and scrubs, Willow Spa is similar to others offering over-the-top treatments in luxurious surroundings. Though most spas open the door for you and close it when you leave just as fast, Willow Spa explains the importance of living well, while also indulging in such treatments. One of the greatest things about this spa- other than its tropical feel and décor- are the packages they put together, such as the Thai “Balance” package that is like a small vacay to paradise, featuring a Tamarind body scrub and Flower and Milk foot soak; or the specialized Bride & Groom package that offers a week by week “to-do” spa and relaxation experience before the big “I do’s.”

If you are ready to roll your eyes about how expensive this “luxurious” treatment is going to cost you, you might want to clasp those rolling eyes and take a look at the price menu. An hour massage is less than a hundred dollars which is considered a bargain, especially in this city. So the next time you are driving down Santa Monica in bumper to bumper traffic, look for the Asian-influenced cottage offering a home away from home… or at least a well-deserved pit stop.

World Class PCMS for $23 or Less

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society takes pride in bringing local, national and international stars of the music world to stages throughout Philadelphia for affordable prices, and we’re talking world-class acts for $23 or less. Picture 30

PCMS presents more than 60 chamber music concerts, instrumental and vocal recitals, jazz and special programs per season with some of the most prestigious musicians in the world, like the Tokyo Quartet and violinist Midori. As a resident company of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, PCMS performs mainly in the Perelman Theater on Broad Street, but also presents in other venues across the city. PCMS also collaborates regularly with prominent cultural institutions, like Juilliard, and presents education programs to help bring classical music into the lives of the younger generation.

Whether you’re in the mood for piano, a string quartet or a stellar tenor, there will be something on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society season that will delight you…and it will cost less than that sirloin you ordered the night before.

Chill Out at Mynt Mojito Lounge

Sometimes it’s chill, the calm enhanced by the woody, green-accented décor; sometimes it’s wild. mynt mojito lounge denverBut whether it’s catering to the after-work or the after-hours crowd, Mynt Mojito Lounge means business when it comes to play. From happy hour ($4 martinis from 4pm to 9pm!) until the wee hours, the bar whips up 12 different kinds of mojitos, from guava to ginger, many by the pitcher; at 10pm, bottle service begins—and so does the dancing, especially on weekends when DJs spin house and techno. If you need a bite to absorb the alcohol—and keep yourself on your toes—there’s a limited menu of small plates, appropriately Latin-themed.

Two Spots for One Stop Shopping At Bloomingdale’s

For the stylish New York shopper only one stop is necessary: Bloomingdale’s. They are on top of every trend and have more brands than you’re even aware exist. In the denim department you’ll find J Brand, Joe’s Jeans, and 7 For All Mankind for miles; Rebecca Minkoff totes, and COMME des GARCONS wallets in the handbag department; Marc by Marc Jacobs ballet flats, Diane von Furstenberg clogs, and Stuart Weitzman heels of all types in shoes, and then there’s still more. For men, Bloomingdale’s has Theory, Converse, Paul Smith, and John Varvatos shoes, clothes and outerwear. They have funky home goods, they have luxury jewelry finds, they even have celeb skin secret La Mer. This is, after all, a department store- New York style.

The old world charm of the Flagship Bloomingdale’s on Lexington is enchanting, but to get down to shopping business the younger (and more European) clientele tend towards the Bloomingdale’s in SoHo. Either way, floors upon floors of designer and hard-to-find boutique brands await. And when you are done shopping for yourself, you can repent for your shopping sins by buying something for mom in the Home department – Le Creuset is available in ten colors – or for your niece in the Kid’s department – Ralph Lauren Polos for little ones come in all sorts of colors.

Yank Sing Delivers Dim Sum on the Ritz

Picture 61If the hustle and the bustle of Chinatown’s to-go only dim sum spots makes you feel “lost in translation,” but you still have a taste for the Orient, Yank Sing might be just the thing. One of only five restaurants designated “an American classic” with a 2009 James Beard Foundation award — the Oscars of the culinary world — this delightful dining spot is the definitive dim sum house.

With unflinching, rapid-fire servings of an exceptional variety of fried and steamed small plates wheeled around in carefully choreographed carts, your only worry will be to know when to stop. Luckily, you can get comfortable sitting back to overeat and taste your terrific tea at a luxe table dressed in white linens — a far cry from the flickering overhead lights and suspended poultry of Stockton Street. Better yet, with prime locations in both the Embarcadero and the Financial District, your hotel suite or business meeting may be just a hobble, skip or jump away.

Best Live Irish Music at The Black Rose

Boston’s most famous and popular Irish pub, The Black Rose, has attracted crowds of all ages from tourists to locals to Faneuil Hall. In the nation’s fairest city, people having been coming here by the droves since 1976 for the fish and chips, washing it down with a pint of Guinness, all while enjoying live Irish music. Does life get any better than this?

The name comes Picture 60from a 17th century elegiac poem entitled Roisin Dubh (the small black rose) – “Over the highways and byways the pilgrim goes aflame with the name of my small black rose.” This two-story pub has been voted one of America’s top ten Irish establishments. Both levels feature live Irish entertainment on the weekends – the upstairs gets lively with a younger crowd late at night while the first floor attracts a 30+ clientele.

The menu here offers some of the best traditional Irish fare in town, including the award-winning clam chowder, and of course Mother Sweeney’s corned beef. You never know who you might see jump up on stage and grab the mike here – some unforgettable guests have included members of the Chieftains, flutist James Galway, Tommy Makim, Liam Clancy, John Denver and even U2 back in the day.

Insider’s Tip: Don’t miss the happy hours every Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. where they feature live Irish entertainment from traditional bands like Celtic Clan, Eugene Byrne & Co. and Sunday’s Well.

The Scoop On The Latest Fashion

Scoop’s byline is “the ultimate closet.” And how else could this – Alice & Olivia tunics, Zac Posen gowns, Tom Binns jewelry, Theory blazers, Helmut Lang tees, Marc Jacobs clutches, Vince camis, exclusive Stewart Weitzman heels and flats, Ya-Ya skirts, and Acne jeans – be described? Ultimate, for starters, because that’s just the women’s section. The men’s, kid’s, and home sections meaPicture 49sure up accordingly with brands like DSquared and Chip & Pepper.

For one-stop fashion shopping there are three Scoop locations in New York City to chose from. The SoHo Scoop, which is aptly referred to as the Mega-Scoop, is where you will find current runway trends and staples alike from every hip designer you’ve ever lusted over. Translation: this store is huge and has it all. The West Village Scoop houses a concept store that is referred to as “the ultimate attic” and tends more towards Ileana Makri jewelry, Havaiana flip-flops, and Freecity hoodies. And for uptowners, well, there’s the uptown Scoop. But regardless of location, the Scoop philosophy of shopping remains the same: all the clothes and accessories are organized by trend, color, and type so that the ever time-strapped New York shopper can find exactly what they want, right along side the right pieces to compliment what they came shopping for.

Nob Hill’s Amélie Wins With Wine and Ambiance

When in San Francisco, wine and dine as the San Franciscans do. With its sleek, lacquered, red bar and dimly-lit, wine-bottle-shaped sconces, French-owned Aamelie sfmélie is a modern wine lounge with worldly flair. Its extensive wine list globe-trots from California to Europe to South America, and pairs off perfectly with delectable cheese plates, charcuterie, and favorites like Raviole du Royan — stuffed ravioli with chanterelles and Gruyère — and the indulgent grenadine caramelized onion flatbreads.

Get cozy on vintage theater seats with a glass of wine for a romantic rendezvous, mingle with chic locals at the bar, or sit down with a booth full of friends at this lively Nob Hill spot. Whether you go stag or you arrive with company, the engaging and lively international staff — all expert sommeliers — are reason enough to stop in for a wine and cheese pairing, and perhaps, sharpen your Française.

The Palm: A Classic Family Steakhouse

For years food has brought families together around the dinner table and no one values this tradition more than the owners of The Palm Restaurant.

Recognized as one of the top steakhouses in Atlanta, The Palm boasts an impressive celebrity guest list.

The dining room is uniquely decorated in classic cartoons and caricatures of local regulars, politicians and celebrities covering its walls. Old world charm and hospitality provides an inviting atmosphere while delectable primed aged steaks, jumbo Nova Scotia lobsters and Italian fare line the menu.

Get Rady For The Getty

Amongst the 110-acre property of rolling Santa Monica Mountains, the Getty Center is L.A.’s most popular and prestigious museum. Filled with paintings, sculptures and changing exhibits, every trip to the Getty seems to be different and always feels like you should come back another time to see more.

Though the art and exhibits are worth the tram and long lines, the Getty offers guest lectures, live performances and concerts for those looking for that true Getty experience.

If you are lucky enough to visit the museum during the spring and summer time, you will find that bringing your lunch and lounging in the Gardens truly makes this the best museum.

Staging a Stellar Line-Up at Actors’ Playhouse

Picture 18Housed in Coral Gables’ historic Miracle Theatre, the Actors’ Playhouse is one of Miami’s premier spots to catch stellar stage productions for both adults and children. Impeccably restored, but still maintaining the look of another era with a neon marquee announcing the latest productions and a grand glass box office, the showcased plays are just as spectacular.

The Actors’ Playhouse continues to rack up the prestigious Carbonell awards- 57 and counting- and every season expect several classics alongside original plays by local playwrights. Catch a performance here and come away with a memorable evening.

Nice to Meet You, Fred Segal

Picture 15The epitome of Los Angeles living is all rolled up into one at Fred Segal on Melrose. Only in L.A. can you sip cocktails, shop designers and spot celebrities all in the same location. The lavish store, broken up into sections such as “The Parliament” and “Fred Segal Fun and Style,” is the ultimate hot spot for celebrities, and those who adore them, to get their shop on.

The reason Fred Segal is so popular is due to its location and ability to deliver the best clothing, shoes and accessories for L.A. fashionistas. If you are in the mood to spot a celeb, it definitely comes with a price; Fred Segal is the epitome of overpriced.

If you aren’t fortunate enough to drop some cash at the store, it is definitely worth it to sit out on the patio for lunch or an afternoon cocktail. Even though it’s a clothing store, some might argue that this is a Los Angeles landmark. Let the sightseeing begin.

Bottle Service Then Brunch At Libation

New York City is full of hot nightclubs, but not many can brag about a great brunch as well.  Libation, however, is one that can.  It’s a stylish restaurant and lounge in the evening, an out of control three floor playground set to hip-hop and DJ mash-ups at night, and the next see-and-be-seen brunch spot on Sunday afternoons.

But to do it all and to do it well is the impressive part.Picture 48 With three bars and two DJ booths on three floors, Libation is a veritable nightclub.  The dancing gets pumping at around eleven and bottle service is available all night on the balcony.  DJs fly in from Las Vegas and California to spin the latest tracks and bartenders mix specialty drinks such as the Libation Lemonade: fresh blueberries and blackberries muddled with fresh squeezed lemon juice, sugar and Stoli Bluberi Vodka.

After a long night of dancing and drinking, come back to nurse your hangover away with the Texas French Toast.  It comes with bananas, walnuts, and your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham, and-most importantly-unlimited Mimosas and Bloody Marys.  Brunch reservations are a must for Sunday, but planning ahead for a Libation double-header is worth it, because haven’t you always wondered what a nightclub would be like in the day?

The Georgian Terrace is the Grand Dame of Atlanta’s Hotels

Built in 1910, The Georgian Terrace holds a special place in Atlanta’s history, with its rich heritage and elegant charm. Once dubbed Atlanta’s “Paris hotel,” the building’s nineteen-story design features stunning architectural details, floor-to-ceiling Palladian-styled windows, white marble columns along with crystal chandeliers, making it the grand dame of hotels in the city’s glamorous midtown district.

Saunter the Italian tiled floors to your spacious, luxurious suite with classic furnishings and modern amenities including full kitchens, pillow-top mattresses with Picture 16300-thread count cotton bedding, 37-inch flat screen HD TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi. Feed your soul inside the hotel’s Livingston Restaurant and Bar, where guests can dress up for a four-course evening at the restaurant or dress down for cocktails and a light supper at the bar, while surrounded by classic architecture and early 20-century glamour.

Whether you’re a local in need of a “staycation” or visiting from out-of-town on real vacation, there’s an exclusive package catered to your specific needs, such as the Pampered Girlfriends or Romance Special.

While The Georgian Terrace first opened its doors a century ago, it still remains a notable Atlanta landmark located on the corner of Peachtree Street and Ponce de Leon Avenue across from the world-renowned Fox Theatre. It also accommodated the likes of American Idol winner Fantasia during her time in the city as the star of The Color Purple Broadway musical.

Macaluso’s: Homemade Italian Away From Home

Macaluso’s is reminiscent of a traditional Italian restaurant in Little Italy where the meatballs taste like they’re straight from Grandma’s kitchen. But there’s no red and white checkered tablecloths here, instead there are photographs of celebrity regulars like Gloria Estefan and Roger Federer, along with white linens and upscale decor all the way.Picture 10

Chef Michael Vito D’Andrea is as famous in Miami as his award-winning meatballs.  Chef D’Andrea is known for his no-nonsense, no substitutions attitude and the meatballs are known for their incredible taste, of course, especially with the homemade pasta. Mascaluso’s has plenty of other Italian faves, like sausage and peppers and meatball pizza, but the menu here is verbal only; it’s one way they keep the place feeling like home.

If you’re looking to take home some of the delicious meal, you’re in luck. Next to the restaurant is the market, Macaluso’s & Co., where lunch is served and the homemade meatballs and sausages are for sale.

Thread Lounge: Discounted Designers to New Labels

“Where did you find that- and for what price?” will soon be familiar words if you put Russian Hill’s Thread Lounge into your shopping rotation. Opened by fashion industry veteran Colleen Smith, the Polk Street shop sells high-end sample pieces and excess stock from both Picture 19independent designers and sartorial titans at greatly discounted prices. With 300 labels in the loft-like space and apparel and accessories for men, women and children, it’s a one-stop shop for all seasons and occasions. From chic yoga gear to statement-making evening wear, Thread Lounge Designer Sample Sales has you covered.

You’ll certainly be charmed by the price tags on designs by the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Trina Turk, and Joe’s Jeans, but this boutique’s biggest asset is the attire from lesser-known, up-and-coming designers, like Julie Brown and Nougat of London. Smith’s extensive stable of local and international labels makes for a wardrobe of seemingly one-of-a-kind wears that will no doubt become a talking point. Whether you pick up the most becoming blue jeans or a head-turning party dress, you’ll spur curiosity and envy in all who pass you by.

Sip Like A Socialite At L2 Lounge

Picture 7Looking for a sophisticated night out?  Head to Cady’s Alley in Georgetown where L2 Lounge, hidden discreetly in the Alley’s central courtyard, mixes an international flair with premier club status.

Catering to DC’s young elite, L2 is known for its exclusive and trendy vibe – perfect for those looking to have fun in style.  Dress to impress and make your way to this hidden gem for a hot night out.  With beautifully exposed walls, and an eye for modern minimalism, the chic décor competes with that of club’s around the world and creates a perfect backdrop to let attractive guests decorate the space.  So sip a chic cocktail or two and turn your nose up a bit –  with an international lounge like this, you may wonder if you’re even in DC.

Breathtaking Bay Views at Mandarin Oriental Miami

Using the available waterfront in Miami is always a plus and the Mandarin Oriental is one spot where ocean views are put to perfect use. Built alongside Biscayne Bay and with rooms, suites, dining and amenities (it’s got the city’s only five-star spa) Picture 10to make other hotels envious, this place has it all…and more.

Filled with floor to ceiling windows along the lobby floor, the bay views are unbeatable and breathtaking. They’re visible from just about any vantage point. Head upstairs to the room floors and find luxurious suites that feature fully furnished living rooms with hardwood floors, area rugs and a city view visible through sliding glass doors that lead to a sprawling balcony. The spa suite has a spa tub that towers over the hardwood floors, and is perfectly named the Spa Serenity Room.

For great grub, grab a bite indoors or out at the casual Cafe Sambal or something fancier at the signature Azul Restaurant. For a bit of relaxation, swing on a hammock by the resort’s private beach and nearby Brickell offers all the nightlife necessary with bars and nightclubs everywhere.

Old World Charm at The Latham Hotel

For a comfortable stay in the District, settle into a roomPicture 5 in the The Latham Hotel, nestled conveniently on M Street right in the heart of Georgetown.  With European-like accommodations and a hidden, yet elegant exterior, this boutique hotel is the perfect pick for those looking for a charming stay in the midst of a bustling metropolis.

The Latham’s quaint interior reflects simple refinement, typical of historic Georgetown.  Take advantage of the hotel’s fitness center or window shop along famous M Street before basking alongside the hotel’s exclusive rooftop pool.  Need a little more VIP service?  Order room service from famed chef Michel Richard’s award-winning Citronelle, located adjacent to the hotel (or make a reservation for an unforgettable dinner for two!).  The Latham also boasts green initiatives and pet-friendly accommodations (for a small fee and deposit).

Tom Colicchio Knows How to Get Craft-y

Ever since Tom Colicchio made his mark on Atlanta, Dallas and New York, it was about time that the Top Chef superstar brought Craft to the City of Stars, Los Angeles. Whether it’s lunch, dinner or dessert, Craft restaurant brings swanky, sexy, simple, sophisticated American classics together without ever missing the mark.

Featuring courses of octopus and Dry-Picture 9Aged sirloin, the food at Craft truly cannot be beat and pretty much everything off the menu is worth ordering. And that’s the point, everything comes a la carte, and sides like Shitaki mushrooms will blow your palate away as much as the cooked-to-perfection NY strip steak. Though Craft is known for its fish and meat, it is probably one of the only Los Angeles restaurants with a dessert menu long enough to act on its own. Between classic beignets and fabulous dessert combinations, you truly get the full culinary experience.

Though the food is outstanding on its own, the décor and ambiance of the restaurant truly make it an unforgettable experience. If a party is in your future, make sure to book the outdoor patio that can seat up to 80 people.

In the famous words of Bravo’s Top Chef, “Please pack your knives and go” to this restaurant!

Stay in Faneuil Hall at Millennium Bostonian

Faneuil Hall is one of the most popular destinations for anyone coming to Boston, so snagging a hotel room here just might be your best bet. The Millennium Bostonian Hotel is just two miles Picture 20from Logan Airport and located in the historic Blackstone Block, the city’s oldest pattern of streets and alleyways. It sits prominently in the heart of Faneuil Hall Marketplace where you can check out farmer’s markets, outdoor festivals, restaurants, shops and cafes.

The hotel just recently completed a $24 million renovation, which included the opening of its on-site restaurant, North 26, which features contemporary New England cuisine. A stay in a newly renovated standard room here overlooks the city’s famed Italian North End section and comes complete with Frette linens, high def TVs and complimentary access to the Beacon Hill Athletic Club.

Insider’s Tip: If you’re booking a romantic getaway, try the North 26 dinner package, which includes dinner, a bottle of wine and an overnight stay at the hotel.

Chanel, Halston, Dior at Rare Vintage

All New Yorkers covet vintage clothing, because everyone wants that one-of-a-kind piece to stand out in the crowd. Rare Vintage is the answer to that fashion holy grail: an entire store dedicated to hard to find, high-end designers and pieces that are simply no longer around today. From a red silk Balenciaga 1960 coat- worn by royalty!- to a limited edition Hermes ‘Security’ Kelly Bag to an owl head shaped minaudiere that looks like it came straight out of a Sex and the City episode, Rare Vintage is filled with gems from the icons of the fashion world past and present. Owner Juliana Cairone is a master of finding these rare pieces from all over the world, making frequent scouring trips to Paris and Italy, and luckily bringing back all her finds to the heart of Midtown Manhattan for fashion hungry shoppers.

Rosa Mexicano Gives Mexican a Stylish Makeover

A New York institution since 1984, Rosa Mexicano turns wimpy tacos into bold, flavorful Flautas de Pollo, making South of the Border food upscale and gourmet cuisine. Starting the tableside guacamole service trend that has exploded across America, Rosa Mexicano is the end all, be all to authentic, modern Mexican cuisine that only New York can make seriously trendy and stylish.

Rosa Mexicano is best known for its signature pomegranate margaritas, but seasoned diners (and drinkers!) know to go for a fresh cocktail made from Picture 33any of the 100 tequilas stocked behind the bar. One such favorite is the Paloma: a tequila and grapefruit soda cocktail.

The impressive interiors of New York’s two newest Rosa Mexicano outposts (Lincoln Center and Union Square) were designed by David Rockwell and feature electric-blue tiled water walls. But for that old-school Mexicana, all three of its NYC restaurants feature the award-winning tableside prepared guacamole that is not to be missed. In fact, it should be ordered before even cracking open the menu. It is made in the traditional lava-rock mortar and is well worth the $14 price tag. The rest of the menu is a journey into new territory of elevated, elegant Mexican dining from the Filete con Hongos (Filet Mignon with Wild Mushrooms) to the Jaiba Enchiladas (Jumbo Lump Crab Enchiladas).

Insider’s Tip: Make reservations early for a prime-time table. All three Manhattan locations get crowded and waiting for a table at the bar is not really an option due to the popular reputation of those pomegranate margaritas.

Queen Mary: Board a Ship like Royalty

You may know her from your history textbooks or your grandfather telling you about WWII, but today the Queen Mary is referred to as a hotel and attraction rather than a ship for soldiers.

Most Southern Californians will tell you to experience one of the Queen’s many tours on the history of the boat and submarine excursions. When visiting this Queen MaryLong Beach destination, it’s crucial to visit restaurants such as Observation Bar and Chelsea Restaurant for perfect seafood and even more perfect ocean views. If you are looking to remain at sea as long as possible, the boat offers some surprising amenities, such as a fitness room and a spa.

Though the boat itself is quite spectacular, the Queen Mary also doubles as a great hotel. People will argue that staying on the boat and just visiting are completely different experiences. With such great amenities and a concierge experience that makes you feel as though you are sailing your own yacht, you may never want board on land again.

The next time you want to hit the high seas, you might as well do it like royalty.

Aja: Where Trendy South Meets East Cuisine

Aja is where Kim Zolciak and Kandi Burrus had their joint b-day bash on the Real Housewives of Atlanta, but if highfalutin, pseudo-celebs isn’t your thing, Aja Restaurant and Bar is a hit with all trendy Atlanta diners.

Housed in the former Emeril’s location in Buckhead, its two story frame is adorned with red and black Asian-inspired décor and wall art, of which a 10-foot brass Buddha – straight from Thailand – sits in the middle of the dining room as the main attraction. In the sleek open space, the second floor overlooks the downstairs lounge area where guests can people-gaze from up top.

You can’t have a modern Asian kitchen without the pan-Asian flavors of Dim Sum on the menu, which is just a sample of the 20 diverse cuisines including Chinese (Peking Duck), Thai (Thai Red Curry), Indian, Vietnamese and Japanese. Serving lunch and dinner, enjoy a sushi roll on your work break inside the private dining room, or sip signature Mai Tai’s during after hours while taking in the views of the beautiful Buckhead skyline on the sprawling outdoor lounge, where relaxing is the norm.

Described by its owner as a club-cum-restaurant – this hip establishment takes on a nightclub vibe in the late evening, as an in-house DJ spins your favorite mixes on Friday and Saturday nights.

Insider’s Tip: Offering new weekly specials every week ranging from ½ price bottles of wine on select nights and $5 sushi rolls during limited times, be sure to call ahead or check their website for exclusive discounts.

Change Your Stripes at Fancy Tiger Boutique

Clothes may make the man (or woman), but accessories make the clothes—which means Fancy Tiger may just make your day. This extra-funky, staunchly indie Baker District boutique does sell plenty of frocks—many using recycled or organic materials—but it specializes in the small stuff, from suspenders and fedoras to combination handlebar/shoulder bags, laser-cut jewelry, and even handmade stationery; its adjacent craft-supply outlet also offers classes in needlefelting, embroidery, and more.

Cooler still, as part of the citywide First Friday Art Walk, it hosts Denver Made, an evening trunk show featuring local designers and libations to the tunes of live DJs.

Carnegie Hall: The World’s Premier Stage

Practice, practice, practice – and a lot of talent – is the only way onto the world’s most prized stage, Carnegie Hall, but for those who enjoy listening to world class talent, buying a ticket to one of the amazing concerts is equally as impressive. Pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff made his debut on Carnegie Hall’s main stage, as well as hosting performances from cellist Yo-Yo Ma, opera legends Maria Callas and Luciano Pavarotti, conductor Leonard Bernstein to jazz artists Ella Fitzgerald. With its largest hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium, open since 1891, Picture 7Carnegie Hall is the premier classical music performance space for legends of yesterday and today.

The Isaac Stern Auditorium is what comes to mind when one thinks of what a classical concert auditorium should look like. Beautiful, with a striking curvilinear design and five levels of seating that holds up to 2,804 people, its renowned acoustics is one of the reasons why Carnegie Hall has been a favorite for audiences and performers for over a century. There are also smaller halls that are ideal for intimate performances, recitals, chamber music concerts, discussions, master classes and more.

With over 200 concerts a year, Carnegie Hall is the place to go for classical music as well as performances from popular artists, like country singer Reba McEntire and Broadway star Patti LuPone. There are also major international and national festivals, like JapanNYC led by Artistic Director Seiji Ozawa, that take place throughout the year, offering concerts as well as films, lectures, readings, museum exhibits, and more.

Prix Fixe Perfection at Marcel’s

When it comes to elegant dining, look no further than well-known chef/owner Robert Wiedmaier’s Marcel’s in popular Foggy Bottom.  With classic French training and a Belgian heritage, Wiedmaier serves decadent dishes with an authentically European flair – a refreshing nod to traditional cuisine that is hard to come by in a sea of contemporary dining establishments.

Although Chef Wiedmaier’s return to traditional French Picture 23favorites is perfect for those looking for a rich sauce to accompany a decadent cut of meat, Marcel’s does keep it fresh with modern dishes for those looking for a lighter take on the evening.  From juicy lamb medallions wrapped in phyllo with spinach and duxelles, to Hamachi crudo with pink grapefruit and cilantro puree, Marcel’s is sure to please even the most discerning palate.  The tempting prix fixe dinner menu is organized in a choice of three, four, five or seven courses (one look at the menu and you will most likely opt for seven!).  Whichever you choose, with just one bite, you’ll understand why this award-winning French gem earned The Washingtonian’s “100 Best Restaurant’s of 2010” honor.

Insider Tip: Along with its several prix fixe course selections, Marcel’s also offers a Pre-Theatre three course selection before 7 PM for just over $50.  Valet park your car at the restaurant and a sharp Mercedes will chauffeur you to the Kennedy Center for an elegant evening out.

Bill’s Bar Hits a Home Run for Rowdy Red Sox Fans

Lansdowne Street is filled with bars and clubs, which become Bill's Barcrazy busy after a Red Sox game. If you are looking for a place to listen to some good old rock ‘n roll then head on over to the popular Bill’s Bar. This intimate bar is long and narrow, so be sure to get here way before a Red Sox home game lets out or you won’t be able to get in.

The walls here are lined with pictures of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Janis Joplin. Drinks are some of the cheapest in the city and depending on which night you come, you can catch a live band or listen to a DJ spin some tunes. It does get exceedingly loud in here at times, so be prepared for a lively atmosphere. Don’t miss the uniquely designed bathrooms – the men’s room is done in honor of Elvis and the ladies room has dozens of pictures of Marilyn Monroe.

Barbounia’s Where the Mediterranean Meets NYC

If you’re looking for an authentic Mediterranean restaurant with marvelous prices and a fantastic atmosphere, you’re only a cab ride away. Nestled in Gramercy, Barbounia allows its customers a glimpse into a Mediterranean dream. The restaurant is dimly lit and is decorated with towering pillars, ornate arches, and lavish floral arrangements.

The menu boasts many flavorful dishes from the region, specifically the countries of  Greece, Morocco, southern France and southern Italy. Such dishes include the Lamb Terracotta, which is Lamb Kebabs served with pepper chutney, pistachios, and tahini wrapped in an oven baked flat bread, and their pan-seared Yellow Fin Tuna served with creamed potatoes and vegetables. While enjoying their meal, customers can also sip on some of the many cocktails offered, including the Barbounia-tini made with fresh aloe-vera juice and foam. But that’s not all, Barbounia also offers a champagne brunch on Sunday where you can get a never ending flow of champagne cocktails for only $12!

Livin’ the Beach Life at Hotel Erwin

Picture 5Hotel Erwin, the boutique hotel situated in Venice, is the perfect place to stay when you want to get a little sun and beach front location without all the hustle and bustle of the Venice Beach boardwalk.

This hotel is extremely chic and brings a whole new element to the beach. With great views of the boardwalk and Abbot Kinney, guests rave about the location and amenities. A great amenity is the restaurant Hash, featuring a mouth watering breakfast and lunch with favorites such as Cap’n’s French Toast and Venice Benedict. Another plus is the rooftop bar, High Lounge, where guests and patrons can get ocean front views during the evening.

Mixed in with the henna tattoo parlors and cotton candy stands, there is an amazing hotel just waiting to be visited. The next time you are at Venice Beach, you should definitely deal with Erwin.

The Story of US! At the National Constitution Center

No trip to Philadelphia is complete without experiencing a bit of US history. Sure, maybe the last time a museum trip was on the agenda was back in fifth grade, but The National Constitution Center, newly minted in 2000, will not bring back bad memories of elementary school trips with your smelly teacher Mrs. Fernberger. Quite to the contrary, the National Constitution Center will remind you why its so great to live in the United States.Picture 9

The National Constitution Center tells the story of us – as in you, me, and the United States, and the importance of the Constitution in our every day lives. One of the most intriguing exhibits is Signer’s Hall, a room featuring life-sized, cast bronze sculptures of the 39 signers of the Constitution and the three dissenters. Wandering among the statues and taking pictures with famous signers like George Washington and Ben Franklin gives visitors that eerie experience of being a part of history.

The Center is always hosting national exhibits, guest speakers and national events, so be sure to check their website before visiting. The lobby is spectacular and often hosts special events, like when Bono was awarded the Philadelphia Liberty Medal. The expansive space features 85,000 square feet of beautiful limestone from Indiana.

Legendary Domingo Leads the Washington National Opera

Picture 7Absorb all Washington has to offer with an elegant evening at the Washington National Opera (WNO).  Founded in 1956 and recently bestowed with the distinction of “The National Opera” by Congress, WNO brings updated classics to the Kennedy Center’s Opera House stage.  Led by none other than operatic legend, Placido Domingo himself, WNO brings exceptional performances with standards envied by some of the top houses in the world.

Grab a ticket or two and make it a formal evening out at the infamously standing-room-only Kennedy Center Opera House for a truly unique Washington experience.  The world class company performs classic and contemporary pieces with an emphasis on Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi and Puccini.  Popular past performances include: The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart), Madama Butterfly (Puccini) and Rigoletto (Verdi).

Insider Tip: Although many patrons associate the opera with black tie attire, WNO audiences tend to lean towards business attire, with semi-formal and formal patrons intermixed throughout, so dress to impress as you like!

Nothing Standard About This Rooftop

Picture 7The rooftop bar at the Standard Hotel is the ultimate place to be seen in Los Angeles. The “who’s who” of L.A. gather to this swanky bar as often as possible during the summer time to enjoy their time around the pool. The rooftop bar is a place where the drinks are refreshing and the amount of beautiful people is overwhelming.

Those who choose to gather Downtown usually engage in a dip in the pool or lunch by the water. But if you choose to venture out at night, don’t be surprised to witness a “famous” L.A. DJ spinning or a celebrity or two walking by.

Though some may ask why the Rooftop bar is consistently so popular, the reason is a perfect combination between beautiful people and beautiful views. Overlooking Downtown LA, filled with high rises and skyscrapers, views during the days and nights are anything but standard.

The Latest Momofuku is Ma Peche in Midtown

Ma Peche, David Chang’s newest Asian fusion restaurant and the first to venture outside of the East Village, is now open for business.  The restaurant is in Midtown’s Chambers Hotel, but don’t let the new neighborhood or the high ceilings in the hotel lobby fool you.  ma pecheMa Peche stays true to the Momofuku brand of exclusivity that is brought about by dim lighting, community seating and chefs working within an arms reach.  Oh, and they don’t take reservations.

The menu at Ma Peche changes daily depending on what local farmers have on the chopping block.  That’s code for: this restaurant serves a lot of meat, and has no vegetarian options.  Mainstay entrees include spicy pork two ways, ribs with carrots and spaetzle, and mussels with crab paste and beer.

After the meal is over and the reasonable tab is settled, stop by the Milk Bar at the front of the house.  Offerings include Cereal Milk soft serve and Crack Pie.  They call it that because, well, it’s really addictive.

Owner/Curator Amanda Fernandez-Leon Swears by The Restaurant at the Setai

“Picking a favorite restaurant in Miami is like picking your favorite star in the sky: an impossible feat,” Amanda Fernandez-Leon, owner and curator of Calix Gustav Gallery, told citybuzz. “But there is one restaurant that truly never fails- this is not just a restaurant, it’s The Restaurant at the Setai.”

Located in arguably the best hotel in Miami, Picture 22The Restaurant at the Setai is pan asian cuisine that exceeds all expectations and prior experiences. As a Miami trendsetter and owner of one of Miami’s most avant-garde galleries, Amanda has a spot-on taste for what’s cooking in Miami, and especially for what’s sizzlin’ at The Restaurant.

“The menu is massive and intimidating for newcomers,” Amanda warns, but follow her favorites and you’re sure to have as fabulous experience as she does. “The Pecking Duck Salad with the sweetest shallots you’ll ever taste; nothing says Dim Sum like the melt-in-your-mouth Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns; the Pork Belly with dreamy Kimchi is unreal; the Lamb Curry is my pick for my last meal on Earth; and [finally] the Tandoor Jumbo Tiger Shrimp, so succulent it’s naughty,” Amanda recommends. With food that delicious and with so many options, she adds this advice, “Ladies, I don’t recommend wearing a tight dress.” Point taken.

*** Amanda Fernandez-Leon is the owner and curator of one of Miami’s most avant-garde galleries, the new Calix Gustav Gallery, in the trendy Wynwood Arts District. With an unbelievable taste for the unique, she has also established herself as a trendsetter in both the culinary and fashion worlds. Always decked to the nines, Amanda can be found giving tours at her gallery as well as dining at restaurants that are on the verge of becoming the next big thing.

Taylor-Made Refinement at Restaurant Kevin Taylor

Picture 58Luxury is Kevin Taylor’s middle name, so you can bet that his long-standing signature restaurant in the Hotel Teatro is a bastion of all the finer things in life. The elegant yet warm decor of this recipient of countless accolades (including the AAA Four Diamond and Mobil Travel Guide Four Star Awards) sets the mood for Taylor’s style of New French with Southwest and Asian flourishes: laden with traditional delicacies like foie gras, lobster, and truffles, it’s also graced with fresh, food-forward accents, from lavender flowers and corn shoots to maitakes and poppy seeds. Also befitting the upscale setting, all rich upholstery and silver sparkle, is formal, white-glove service.

It all makes for a prime spot to throw private parties, with seating in the extensive wine cellar- the list here is pricey but top rated- and a customized menu. Meanwhile, anyone who wants the full Kevin Taylor experience should consider the seven-course tasting- a veritable four-hour banquet to make any occasion special.

Simply Divine at Devon Seafood

In the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast and two blocks of the Magnificent Mile, Devon Seafood is the Devon3MidWest’s answer to the freshest daily catches, delicate flavors and all the wine you could want. With over 600 wines and Champagnes on the menu, including plenty of rare boast-worthy bottles, there’s absolutely no risk of not finding the perfect accompaniment.

Whether it’s Maryland style jumbo lump crab cakes, ahi tartare with fresh asparagus and herbs or scrumptious Georges Bank scallops, Devon Seafood has been mastering its changing menus since opening in 2006.

The chic interior competes with the “oohs” and “ahhs” gushing about over the cuisine. Looking like it could very well be an interior design boutique or hipster furniture shop with its lush velvet chairs, feather covered lamps, stone covered walls and perfectly colored wood floors, guests work up an appetite just by checking out the place’s digs.

When the plates arrive, however, it’s all about the catch of the day and yet, you’ll probably be back for the catch of tomorrow as well. For that, one has to thank executive chef, Scott Barrows. Thank you, thank you very much.

Family Fun Aboard Boston Harbor Cruises’ Whale Watching Tours

Now that the warmer weather is finally here, it’s time to start planning some fun activities for the summer. What better way to explore the coastal region than with a trip aboard Boston Harbor Cruises’ whale watching tours. Board the three-hour cruise at Long Wharf located between The New England Aquarium and Marriott Hotel.

Once aboard the 400-passenger catamaran,Picture 23 you can take in the view of humpbacks, minkes, finbacks and white-sided dolphins from one of three outside decks. Inside, there is a climate-controlled cabin with free WiFi, and a galley for food and beverage purchases. The tour guide from the Whale Center of New England will narrate the cruise where will point out everything from whale behavior and migration patterns to the local ecology. Whale sightings are guaranteed, but if you don’t see one, Boston Harbor Cruises will give you a free ticket for a future cruise.

Insider’s Tip: Don’t forget binoculars, sunglasses and sunscreen for this outdoor event. April through October is the best viewing season. Reservations are recommended and can be bought easily online.

Boyds – Dressing Philadelphia for 70 Years

Boyds is a clothing store in the heart of Rittenhouse Square that opened seventy years ago and continues to offer the finest and most exclusive clothing from around the world to its customers. Built Picture 8on a firm foundation of customer service and attention to detail, Boyds is the go-to place for the finest clothing in Philadelphia.

Inside the mood is classy, with Oriental-style rugs, high ceilings, thick Greek columns and detailed crown moldings. Boyds has a men’s and women’s department that offers the best designers available, from Catherine Malandrino to Armani, Hugo Boss and Alberta Ferretti. Accessories, Boyds has it covered, with Manolo Blahnik’s straight out of SATC and classy handbags that beat the trend, like Lanvin and Gucci.  The services department is unparalleled, offering free alterations from the best European tailors state-side.

Don’t worry about figuring out how to get there – Boyds has always offered free valet parking for store visitors. And if you get hungry while you shop, pop into Boyds’ cafe Raw for a soup and salad or some refreshing sushi. Because there is nothing wrong with a wasabi lobster roll on the side of your Ike Behar.

Diverse Drama & Dance at Deco Colony Theater

Whether it’s laughing the night away at a comic’s jokePicture 4s or watching dancers soar and leap across the stage, Colony Theater is the place to catch a wealth of diverse entertainment. The calendar is packed with something for everyone with groups like Miami Lyric Opera, Miami Contemporary Dance Company and New World School of the Arts Music Department presenting world-class performances. The venue has also become a hot bed for controversial plays and shows by Latin American artists, making headlines in the past year with attention-grabbing presentations.

Watching a show here is like stepping back in time. The marquee and Colony Theater lettering are in Art Deco style and the look continues inside throughout the foyer with a multi-patterned terrazo floor, vintage chandeliers and a grand stage framed in Deco-inspired moldings. The theater may be inspired by the roaring 20s, but what’s showing inside is fresh, new and in the moment.

Get Wild at Ultrabar

For club-goers looking for a wild night out, head to Ultrabar, one of the city’s best multi-level nightclubs.  With themed events on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Ultrabar is known for its modern vibe, throbbing beats and neon beams.  ultrabarTake advantage of the club’s drink specials and loosen up – a night at Ultrabar will certainly be a wild (and late) one.  Rock out to hip hop, mashups and electropop from well-known DJs – each stationed on separate levels.  Start in the Main Room with Top40 hits and move on up to The Bedroom level for a few Latin beats to heat things up.  Take your night to the next level on the top Chroma floor with some hip hop for a night you won’t forget.

As the District’s self-proclaimed “elite” nightclub, Ultrabar welcomes those looking for a little extra attention with VIP table service.  Voted “Best Bet for Dance Floor Action” by the Washington Post, serious partiers will not be disappointed by this multi-tiered music mecca.

Insider Tip: Dress to the nines and get a little extra VIP service by visiting the website before you hit the line.  Grab a FREE PASS on the site and flash it at the door for free admission before 11 PM (or reduced, thereafter) and skip that dreaded line!

Experience the Familia that is Mia Francesca

You know you’re a success when you’re rocking 16 locations in Chicagoland. Such is the story of Mia Francesca, not your average run of the mill Italiano eatery.

With name recognition by all Chicagoans, one would think the restaurant had been thriving for the past century. Au contraire, only having been open since 1992, Chef Scott Harris opened the original location on N. Clark Street and hence created a sensation. Not that he came out of nowhere, mind you. Chef Scott Harris was no stranger to finePicture 21 cuisine having worked in The 95th, Ambria, Cucina Cucina, Harry’s Café, Sole Mio, Trattoria L’Angelo di Roma and Petthany’s in St. Croix.

But it was his rustic Italian comfort food, homemade pastas and sauces, delicate but pungent salads and cozy Euro-style ambiance that gained him name-status fame and the “Critics Choice – Rookie of the Year” award by Chicago Magazine.

From his first opening to the next 15, all corners of Chicago and its food-loving suburbs called for Mia Francesca locations of their own, and Harris delivered. He stuck to the same rustic Italian menus and paired with more notable chefs to make each restaurant stand on its own. What you can count on at any of its locations is a casual atmosphere with the cuisine of a restaurant charging triple what you’ll find at Mia Francesca- mamma mia!

Paradise Spa Escape at Four Seasons Westlake Village

For the ultimate spa day getaway The Four Seasons Spa in Picture 12Westlake Village is incredible. Just one spa treatment grants an all access pass to paradise.

For the perfect day, massages are just the beginning. Dive deeper into the zen with a stroll through the gardens, greenhouse, Asian inspired gazebo and koi pond. There’s no need to ditch the plush robe for uncomfortable day clothes as the spa has a private pool just for patrons. For lunch, enjoy smoothies and sandwiches served poolside, while catching up on your perfect LA tan or relaxing in the robe. The meals are deliciously upscale spa-y health food that leaves you satisfied, and not famished. Cap the day with a steam, sauna, and whirlpool dip before showering and heading home. Returning to reality is hard, but this relaxed rejuvenation is truly hard to forget.

Insider’s Tip: Book treatments when traffic is in your favor because it’s a 40 minute drive out of the city, but book early enough to maximize the day there.

Dine in the City’s First Japanese Brasserie at Basho

Picture 8The city has finally introduced its first modern Japanese brasserie known as Basho. Located near Fenway Park, Basho is the latest from Jack Huang, owner of the popular Douzo in the Back Bay. The restaurant offers an innovative interpretation of modern Japanese cuisine using Western styles, methods and ingredients with signature dishes, like flavored Sushi and Sashimi (traditional Japanese flavors added directly to the seafood), lobster miso bouillabaisse and foie gras teriyaki.

Basho (Japanese for “a place where things happen”) also offers a variety of cocktails – think house infusions and homemade simple syrups using fresh, local herbs- along with traditional Japanese sake, wine and beer. The interior boasts soaring ceilings with a minimalist vibe set in a relaxed, yet chic scene. If you are feeling social, grab a seat at one of the communal tables, or for more private dining there are intimate corners. Basho also has an outdoor patio with retractable awnings as well as a sushi bar, raw bar and sleek, wraparound liquor bar. Visit for more information.

The Elephant Theater: Big Drama, Little Space

Hollywood is Movieland, where the screen reigns. But this city that’s full of artists needs an outlet for exploring its craft. Here comes The Elephant Theater Company, celebrating its 15th season, that offers the highest quality theater with an “off-broadway” intimacy.

Familiar or fresh, Picture 2the faces in this company are known on Theater Row and are bound for the silver screen. Original plays are common, with writers ranging from TV Network regulars and seasoned Elephant playwrights like Timothy McNeil to New York City’s critically-acclaimed off-Broadway theater company, LAByrinth. Key players around town, like casting director Chris Game, can also be seen showing their full range of artistry. Plays cover the full comedy to drama spectrum and subjects are equally up for grabs. The annual one act series of relationship oddities, Love Bites, is hilarious.

At the Elephant Theater, the work reigns and specificity makes beautiful comedy. The highly respected industry mag Backstage West awarded it “Favorite Theater Company to See.”  In addition, The Elephant has won numerous honors from LAWeekly and countless others for exceptional direction by artistic director, David Fofi. What’s playing always changes, so to spark interest the roster is worth a peek.

Tavern on Camac: Nightclub, Piano Bar and Restaurant in One

Philadelphia is known for pioneering on many fronts throughoutPicture 10 history, and not to be forgotten is the evolution of Philly’s Gayborhood and acceptance of gay rights in its community. The Tavern on Camac in Washington Square West is one of the premiere LGBT spots in the city and is proudly open 7 nights a week to anyone and everyone.

The Tavern on Camac (T.O.C.) is basically divided into three parts – the restaurant, the piano bar and the nightclub. The restaurant, called Terra, serves up new American cuisine with everything from arctic char to sliders and quesadillas. Ascend Lounge is the dance party upstairs, and the only thing you will be wishing is that the dance floor was a bit bigger to accommodate all the fabulous dancers.

Which leaves us with the Pièce de résistance – the piano bar. Whether you’re singing Britney Spears or the best of My Fair Lady, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the best choir ever to sing together. And whether it’s the stiff drinks talking or just the nostalgia from the piano riffs, you’ll be having a great time no matter what.

Sleep in the Lap of Luxury at the W Hotel DC

Plan your next DC stay with a bit of flair in mind. Book a room at the luxuriously chic W Hotel, one of the newest hotspots on the DC hotel (and nightlife) scene. Overlooking the statuesque White House, the W is a favorite amongst trendsetters, politicos and celebrities looking for a fresh scene – to stay or be seen. As the former Hotel Washington, the new home of the W brings with it a rich history, having hosted guests like Elvis and Duke Ellington.

With a modern, yet sophisticated flair, the W incorporates cutting edge décor with an ideal location to make this overnight hotspot the perfect place for those looking to experience the w.hotel2District in style. Marked by its cool elegance and almost South-Beach-meets-Washington vibe, the W brings a bit of whimsy into the Washington mix with room classes marked with cheeky labels like the Wonderful, Spectacular and Fabulous rooms, and the WOW and Extreme WOW suites.

Besides the award-winning Bliss Spa and state-of-the-art fitness facilities, the W brings more than just ritzy digs. Travel no further than the lobby or rooftop terrace for some of the best dining and nightlife in the city. Grab a pre-dinner cocktail in the chic lobby bar, The Living Room, before indulging in an exceptional meal at Jean-Georges’ elegant J&G Steakhouse.Then start your evening out in style at POV, the ultra lounge located on the top floor of the hotel.

Insider Tip: In the warmer months, make your way to POV’s rooftop terrace. Guests of the hotel have guaranteed access to some of the hardest tables to nab at one of the hottest spots in the city – the view alone will make the room rate worth it.

Buena Vista Bistro’s Revolving Menu

Don’t expect to be handed a paper menu when you enter this place, they’re non-existent. No printed wine list either, because everything available at Buena Vista Bistro changes daily. That’s why this place fits in perfectly with the bohemian Buena Vista neighborhood that neighbors the heart of the Miami Design District.Bistro food

Small, intimate, dark and moody, the restaurant’s interior suits the French-inspired cuisine. There are no menus, but there is a big chalkboard and mirror, so when something’s out, the eraser comes out and it’s off the board. What graces that infamous board? Goodies like the Endive and Blue Cheese Appetizer, and  Jumbo Scallops, Escargot a la Provencale, Ratatouille and Grouper in Beurre Blanc for entrees. Desserts are always a surprise, along with the daily delectable concoctions that are devised here.

At night, Buena Vista Bistro comes alive, being voted the Best Late Night Dining by the Miami New Times. So whether taking a little delicious detour from the Miami Design District or enjoying a reasonably priced French meal after most restaurants have been emptied, Buena Vista is that perfect French bistro.

Quietude on Colfax: The Holiday Chalet

Picture 16Built in 1896 for a local jeweler, the brownstone mansion that now houses the Holiday Chalet is an oasis of gentility on raucous East Colfax. Though its nine rooms have been renovated to reflect the bed-and-breakfast’s Victorian origins, they’re also fully equipped with modern amenities (including Wifi and individual kitchens).

Still, the emphasis is on bygone civility, from full breakfast in the antique-filled tea room to ice cream socials in the flower-lined courtyard (which also contains a grill for barbecue-minded guests). And you can even dress for such occasions at She She, the on-site boutique of Chalet owner/fashion designer Crystal Sharp.

Get Ready to Party at The Estate

If you are looking for a rocking night on the town, then head over to The Estate nightclub tucked away in The Alley just off Boylston Street. This insanely busy baroque club caters to a 20-something crowd on the weekends. The Estate, Boston’s best version of aPicture 18 New York style club with house DJs, offers a beautiful crowd, expensive drinks, high end table service and risque dancers. There are four bars here and a balcony that oversees the enormous two-story dance floor with opulent chandeliers, full length mirrors and sumptuous leather chairs. VIP guests like Paris Hilton and other celebrities have reserved the upstairs Shag Room for some extra privacy. Check out the scedule at

Insider’s Tip: Chic and fashionable dress is required at The Estate, which is open Thursday through Sunday. Expect long lines on popular Friday and Saturday nights so try to get your name on the guest list to ensure a quick admission.

Intimate Space, Big Talent at New Theatre

Explosive and provocative theatre with a twist is Picture 14what’s being presented at the intimate space that is the New Theatre, and it’s been happening here that way for 23 years. The quality of plays continues to get stronger as the playwrights and artistic and managing directors constantly collaborate to bring award-winning theater to South Florida.

Lovers of live theatre will recognize New Theatre playwright Nilo Cruz, who wrote the Broadway hit Anna in the Tropics, as one of the many writers churning out hits here. There are many surprises here, regularly offering seasons that feature classics like Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew alongside an original work by local favorite Michael McKeever, who has been exciting audiences with his original plays for years.

In other words, there’s something for every taste here, and that’s always been the theatre’s forte.

Lacroix’s Haute Cuisine in Beautiful Rittenhouse Square

Every now and then you have one of those moments where you think “I don’tPicture 13 know what on Earth I just ate, but it was delicious and I want more!” And even when they tell you what it is (kampachi who?) just smile, nod and be thankful that the glorious morsel is in your mouth! Lacroix provides exotic flavor blends that will wow even the most adventurous of palates in one of the most luxurious and beautiful settings in Philadelphia.

Overlooking the haute Rittenhouse Square, Lacroix provides a serene loft above the bustle of the streets. The staff is exceptional, as is the sommelier (handsome and French, just the way he should be).

It seems futile to suggest entrees because everything will leave you speechless and thrilled. If you’re not in town for dinner, the brunch is legendary. From the towering raw bar with exceptional caviar selections to the crisped corn beef and potato hash with, ahem, poached egg on top (awesome!) all bellies will leave full and delighted.

Luna: Fashion of a Goddess

Picture 13Options are endless when searching for the perfect outfit, but there’s no reason to settle for cookie cutter when you can have unique at Luna boutique. In the heart of prestigious Buckhead, this chic and sophisticated women’s specialty shop has one-of-a-kind finds from custom-made jewelry, belts and handbags to designer tees, distressed jeans and snappy dresses – making it an Atlanta fashionista go-to spot. Luxury brands such as Trina Turk, Velvet, J Brand and Citizen adorn the racks. Headed to a cocktail party, vacation in Cancun or Saturday picnic? The right ensemble suited for any occasion is behind these vintage-wooden glass doors.

The garden inspired backdrop with hints of ivy etched along the walls sets the tone for a tranquil-like shopping experience. Unique fabric gazebos serve as dressing rooms to round out the courtyard feel and al fresco décor. Attentive staff make size exchanges, clothes swaps or needed style advice a breeze, and is just one of the few perks to expect during your visit.

For all the couture goddesses who are unable to leave the abode, journey through cyberspace to unearth select inventory online and fill up that virtual shopping cart.

Island Hopping, Catalina Style

When you and your significant other are looking to spice things up, you might want to ditch the Picture 12typical Palm Springs or Napa Valley getaway. Catalina Island is the perfect place to relax without turning in your sneakers and map. Offering amazing hikes, great museums and restaurants worth visiting twice, the trip by land, sea or air is definitely worth it.

Activities on the island include golfing, scuba diving and boat tours. If you are of the less adventurous breed, the island offers some great boutiques and clothing stores for the shopper extraordinaire.

Though weekend getaways are always worth it, the island will most likely always be home to a wedding each and every weekend. So if you are thinking about booking a trip but want to avoid the wedding craze, the website offers hotel packages and accommodations to make your stay extra special.

Whether you decide to fly or choose to drive, the trip to Catalina is worth it.

The Grand, Palatial Warner Theatre

Picture 22The Warner Theatre is one of Washington’s most beautiful historic venues with its crystal chandeliers and intricate, decadent interior facade. Originally built as a movie palace in the 1920’s, walking in the doors makes one nostalgic for the glory of the entertainment of last century. But once inside, the Warner Theatre is incredibly up-to-date with performances from comedians like Jimmy Fallon, musicians such as Norah Jones, Broadway shows and much more.

If you want to take the experience of Warner Theatre on another level, opt for the Grand Suite seating and view the performance in true style. Check the Warner Theatre’s website for a complete list of all the upcoming performances.

The Warner Theatre makes the experience of any entertainment performance that much more grand and special.

An Urban Oasis at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Picture 11Looking for a little peace and quiet from the sounds of the city? The 23-acre urban oasis that is the hip, wi-fi equipped Denver Botanic Gardens at York Street is a great place to think, write, read, and enjoy spectacular plants, flowers, and shrubs from all over the world.

Despite the mile high climate, altitude and geography presenting unique challenges to the horticulturists, the Denver Botanic Gardens is one of the top-ranked gardens in the United States. There are innovative designs with drought tolerant plants that showcase native and adapted plants. Highlights include the city’s first publicly accessible green roof, where visitors can literally stand on top of the future of innovation in green energy.

Whether it’s roses or chrysanthemums that tickle your nose, the Denver Botanic Gardens has three sites and changing events and exhibits that keep people coming back through the seasons.

Lobster With a Side of Gorgeous Views at the Washington Harbour

Picture 10Sick of being inside all day? Take a walk along the public boardwalk and soak in the gorgeous views of the Potomac River. With plenty of shops and restaurants, the recently renovated Washington Harbour offers everything for a relaxing Sunday afternoon to a romantic Friday evening.

The various restaurants range from American grill to Mexican, but they are primarily known for seafood. Many are located along the water, letting diners enjoy the views with their food. Not only are the waters beautiful, but the fountains, docked boats and backdrop of the Kennedy Center make the views truly spectacular, especially at night. There are also many bars along the water, offering a unique nightlife experience.

Sightseeing cruises depart here as well, making it easy to get inspired and explore more of Washington. The crowd is always bustling at this historic Georgetown hotspot so you’re sure to meet new friends or run into some old ones.

1. Wine and More at Toast of the Town May 24

Picture 26Taking place in one of the premier wine and food capitals of the world, the Toast of the Town wine tasting festival is the place to go for wine enthusiasts or those just looking for a good time. There are over 500 world-class wines for people to taste. There is also music paired with gourmet dishes from New York’s top restaurants. The festival is organized by, which means many of the knowledgeable editors and writers of the site will be mingling and wine-tasting with the crowd. From wine experts to novices, everyone here will be enjoying the spectacular evening.

1. Faneuil Hall Street Performers Festival May 29-31

30356975.StreetPerformerSure, there’s a street festival nearly everyday at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, featuring world class jugglers and entertainment. But once a year Faneuil Hall holds a special free, three-day festival celebrating the street performers who perform there daily- and this year they’re pulling out all the stops for the Faneuil Hall Marketplace Street Performer’s 25th Annual Festival.

This year will feature Inca Son, world-renowned performers who will share the sights, sounds and culture of Peru and Latin America, with the audience as they headline three-dozen musical and variety acts. The festival will also feature Wacky Chad; Jungle Jim’s Wild Balloon Show; Colin the Quirky juggling bagpiper comic; and the USA Breakdancers.

During the festival the Faneuil Hall Marketplace will be open for business as usual, with all shops, restaurants and venues remaining open.

1. Rock Out at DC Chili Cook-Off May 22

Every May dozens of the best chili cooks in the DC area Picture 18will make their yearly pilgrimage to the DC 101 Chili Cook-Off to compete for the title of Best Chili in DC.  For the last 31 years the DC101 Chili Cook-Off has been DC’s largest one-day rock festival, and this year is no different. On May 22, the Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains and Switchfoot will take the stage at the historic RFK stadium. And don’t forget about the winner of the Last Band Standing competition. A month long affair that has seen 12 of the area’s top local bands going head to head, one band will finally get the prize of playing a set at the Chili Cook-Off. Enjoy the best in rock all while enjoying a delicious bowl of DC chili. As per usual, proceeds will benefit the National Kidney Foundation.

1. ATL’s Largest Street Fest: Sweet Auburn Springfest May 7-9

Picture 16The Sweet Auburn Springfest 2010 is the largest street festival in the Southeast and is expected to attract as many at 500,000 attendees this year. It’s a celebration of Auburn Avenue, the street that links the Martin Luther King National Historical site and the Center for Civil and Human Rights.

The Sweet Auburn Spring Festival celebrates all cultures and features art, food and music from all over the South, even the world, but the entertainment aspect can’t be overlooked. Every year Springfest features up and coming artists from the greater Atlanta area, including Macon, Augusta and Chattanooga. Throughout the years, Springfest has helped non-established acts find their way to stardom. Former performers include, Usher Raymond, India Irie, Raven Symone and Outkast.

1. Viva Italia at Italian Market Festival May 15-16

Picture 31Taking place in America’s oldest and largest working outdoor market, the Italian Market Festival is a huge, multi-block festival that takes over the heart of South Philadelphia. With the traffic closed off, the streets are lined with vendors offering every Italian delicacy possible, including fresh sausage and peppers, antipasto salads, roast pork sandwiches, cheeses, cured meats, an infinite array of pastries, famous mango roses, and more. There are also gift and cookware shops as well as street-side merchants selling specially prepared foods just for the festival. Nearby restaurants also extend their table service to the sidewalk so that customers can enjoy the festival atmosphere while dining. In addition to the food, there will be two days of free concerts on three different stages featuring classic rock and party band favorites. If that wasn’t enough, rounding out the weekend is a half ball tournament along with other competitions and games.

1. Massive Memorial Day Parade May 29

Picture 7As one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation, the Chicago Memorial Day Parade is definitely one worth attending. Gracing the streets of Chicago since 1870, the parade honors all those who sacrificed their lives in defense of our country and is a day to be thankful for what we have. This year, participants include area high school Marching Bands, Drum and Bugle Corps, many Veterans’ groups, JROTC and the military. The parade draws about 10,000 spectators every year. The event begins with the wreath laying on Daley Plaza’s Eternal Flame at 11, and parade officially starts there at noon.

1. Cinco de Mayo Festival May 8

car1Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over the French army in 1862,  and oddly enough, no one celebrates it quite like the people of San Francisco. The annual celebration is one of the city’s most spectacular, featuring various Latin American cultures with traditional music, dance, food and artistry. Every year tens of thousands of San Francisco families flock to their local Mission neighborhood centers to celebrate with family friendly, free events that support the MNC.

But this year, the party is getting started a little differently. This year the MNC will host their first ever Black Tie VIP Dinner Gala, and will honor locals in the community who have supported the MNC over the last 50 years.

1. Food, Entertainment & Racing at LA Marathon May 16

Picture 8Experience the streets of Los Angeles in a completely different way at the LA Marathon. The usually congested streets are blocked off for runners and bikers as they race past some of LA’s most famous landmarks and diverse neighborhoods.

As the largest marathon expo in the world, over 1,000,000 spectators come to cheer on over 25,000 runners every year. The main marathon is 26.2 miles long with block parties spaced along the route. Spectators can enjoy food and entertainment at the block parties as they watch the runners pass by. This year, the route goes from Dodger Stadium and ends at the Santa Monica Pier. Other events include the Finish Line Festival, the Health & Fitness Expo and the Win Forever Motivational Dinner with Pete Carroll.

1. Miami Dance Festival is Back! May 1-29

Picture 15The Miami Dance Festival and the Momentum Dance Company is back. The Momentum Dance Company has been going strong for over 25 years and features eight very talented members who participate in over 60 performances a year.

This year’s festival features seven other dance companies and several special guests, who will perform a diverse collection of dancing styles from all over the world. Kicking off the festival this year is the Brazz Dance Theatre, who will blend modern dance with traditional West African. The festival will also feature: Ballet Flamenco La Rosa performing an interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in La Dama Macbeth, A Miami/Mumbai evening with Guest Artists Geeta Dias and NeSh Dance, Momentum Dance Company joining with Shakespeare Miami for an informal evening of poetry readings and improvisational dance based on Shakespeare’s poetry, and master classes with Momentum Dance Company.

1. Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival May 14-16

Picture 11The B-52s, Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe, Los Lonely Boys and Bowling for Soup; there’s only one festival in Texas that can handle all of these great acts, and that’s the Wildflower Arts and Music Festival. Over 70,000 guests will celebrate the festival’s 18th anniversary with three days of music. But that’s not all, the festival also features a Kidz Korner and dozens of buskers and acrobats, a Petting Zoo and the Laser Spectacular Show. This year the laser show is entitled The King of Pop and will pay tribute to none other than Michael Jackson.

1. Spend Memorial Day at Downtown Denver Arts Fest May 28-31

Picture 6Originally known as the Celebrate Colorado Artists Festival, this fine arts and craft festival has still kept its original vision of promoting local artists from Colorado and connecting them to the community.

In its 12th year, the festival is held over Memorial Day Weekend at the Denver Pavilions. This year, more than 125 artists will be featured and over 150,000 people are expected to attend. The festival is free of charge, and attendees are welcome to buy any of the art they see. Just last year, visitors spent over $500,000 on the featured artwork. There will definitely be something here for everyone.

2. 60’s is Alive at Greynolds Park Love-In May 16

Picture 16The spirit of the 60’s is alive and kickin’ in Greynolds Park this summer. Celebrating the history of Greynolds Park as the center for flower power during the 1960’s in Miami, this year’s Love-In will feature live music, vintage clothing and 60’s memorabilia. Over 5000 tie dyed attendees are expected to be on hand for music legends “The Grass Roots” who will be performing with their original lead singer Rob Grill. The event will also include a kid’s zone, food and drink areas, and arts and crafts. As a day of free love- and plenty of peace signs- the Greynolds Park Love-In will do just that.

2. A Green Mother’s Day at Santa Monica Fest May 8

Now in its nineteenth year, the Santa MonicaPicture 9 Festival highlights the connections between community, culture, business, environment and art. It takes place over Mother’s Day weekend and every year is a great place to bring Mom for a relaxing day filled with music, dance, visual arts, food, information and, of course, shopping!

The festival celebrates Mother Earth and focuses on preserving the environment. As a near zero-waste event, the vendors feature earth-friendly artistic wares, while local eateries bring fresh foods. There are also art workshops using recycled and re-purposed materials, as well as talks, discussions, and entertainment that focus on environmental sustainability. It’s a fun and educational experience for Mom and the family.

2. Rare to Famous Wines at Philly Wine Festival May 8

Picture 32Philly wine lovers, unite. This is the festival for you. Featuring nearly 200 of the world’s finest wineries, this event is a must for wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts. The festival will have some of the world’s most famous wines as well as hard-to-find vintages and rare blends, including Allegrini, Michele Chiarlo and Robert Mondavi. The winemakers or local representatives will be at the tables to answer questions and discuss wines.

The festival will feature signature dishes from some of Philly’s best restaurants, including The Capital Grille, Barclay Prime and Penne Restaurant & Wine Bar. There will also be cheese, crudite, and light hors d’oeuvres for guests to enjoy. A portion of the ticket sales and 100% of the silent auction proceeds will go to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

2. Puppets Get Risqué at Avenue Q May 18-23

Picture 20The 2004 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book is coming to Atlanta. Avenue Q tells the laugh-out-loud story of Princeton, who wanders the fictional Avenue Q looking for his purpose in life, as the song “What Do You Do with a BA in English?” explains. With clever and catchy songs, Avenue Q is, according to Entertainment Weekly, “one of the funniest shows you’re ever likely to see.” It’s risqué, off color and down right hilarious.

And did we mention that the entire cast is played by puppets? But beware, these aren’t your Sesame Street muppets, there’ a sex scene in this musical- puppet style!

2. Taste of the North End at the Aquarium May 14

events_im3This year’s 16th annual Taste of the North End Celebration will take place in the New England Aquarium. Experience cuisine as diverse and exquisite as the wildlife you are observing. While snacking on delicious food from over 25 local restaurants, you can also explore the coral reefs of Australia and the Bahama Islands, meet harbor seals, African penguins, and observe one of the most spectacular collections of jellyfish in America. Not only is this killing two birds with one stone- checking off a must-see on the Boston attraction list as well as sampling incredible dishes- this year’s proceeds will support the programs and services offered by the North End Community Health Center.

2. KFOG KaBoom! Concert & Fireworks May 22

Kaboom_8694KFOG 104.5 is the bay area’s leader in “World Class Rock” and its annual KFOG KaBoom is just around the corner. Every year KFOG sponsors a concert for its loyal fan following, the nicknamed Fogheads, with music the listeners love. This year, following the event’s move to Candlestick Park, they’ve added new attractions, including an expanded section for children and a wine tasting hosted by Wente Vineyards.

This year’s show will feature headliners Melissa Etheridge and the John Butler Trio. And after the shows, as per tradition, KFOG will unleash a fury of fireworks that are synchronized to a classic rock soundtrack. Last year’s fireworks were set to the music of John Williams, ACDC, REM and others, but you’ll have to attend this year’s show to see what the crew from KFOG has in store.

2. Viva Cinco in the Park! May 8-9

Picture 11There’s no better place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Denver than at Cinco in the Park. With three large stages of live entertainment, 350 exhibitors and food venders, a children’s carnival, free samples and giveaways, and interactive sponsor exhibits, there is an endless amount of things to do to get into the Cinco de Mayo spirit.

The band Conjunto Atardecer will headline the entertainment, which ranges from festive mariachi to duranguense to ballet folklorico. There will also be a multitude of events this year, including a rock climbing wall, a home run derby park, a freestyle soccer competition, and a tricked out DJ car. To top it off, there will also be the Green Chili Bowl Cook Off, which features 10 of Denver’s best Mexican restaurants, a celebrity judging panel and a public voting process.

2. National Flower Mart 2010 May 7-8

Picture 20Every year, the National Cathedral in Washington puts on a festival and flower show for families and gardeners. This year’s Flower Mart will feature plant sales, landscape exhibits, boutique booths and garden tours. There will also be plenty of activities for children, including a rock wall, moon bounce, mini-Ferris wheel and a century-old restored carousel. And there is sure to be plenty of fabulous music, and entertainment as well.

The food selection is as varied as the flowers, with vendor stations all around the Mart, including gourmet pizza, BBQ, lobster rolls and plenty of sweet baked goods. And this year the Cathedral offers a special treat on top of that. The first tower climb of the year will be during the Flower Mart. Brave the climb up the 333 steps to the bell-ringing chamber, 300 feet above the ground, where you will enjoy a demonstration of the bell ringing- not to mention the spectacular view of Washington from one of the city’s highest points.

2. Rock Out at Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival May 29-30

Picture 18Some of the most popular nightclubs and bars are located around the intersection of Belmont and Sheffield and serve as a testament to its central role for all that’s happening in Chicago’s trendy Lakeview neighborhood. With its reputation for nightlife, food, and music, it comes as no surprise that the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival is a reflection of the atmosphere and style that the neighborhood is famous for. The festival boasts some of the best local musical talents in the Midwest. This year, the bands include the Trippin Billies, Wedding Banned, Rock Candy and more. The festival also features arts, crafts, fashion, and a variety of food and drinks. It usually brings out a young crowd, so there will be plenty of partying and dancing here, too.

2. Kick Off the Summer at Mayfest May 1-2

It’s four days of fuPicture 13n for every member of the family at the Mayfest. It’s one of the largest and most diverse festivals in Texas and this year is no exception. There are three stages devoted to live music, each stage featuring several local acts every day and Saturday will feature dance and performing arts all day on four separate stages. Once you’ve seen all the entertainment you want, there’s still the Trinity Haunted House, a Frisbee Dog Show, The All American Lumber Jack Show, and the art and gift market area which features over 40 booths of handmade crafts and gifts. All that fun and entertainment is sure to work up and appetite, and have no fear, this year’s Mayfest will host over 25 different food vendors ready for tastes of all types and ages. If you’re looking for a great way to kick off the summer months, look no further.

3. Party at Cinco De Mayo Festival May 1-2

Picture 10Celebrating Mexico’s victory over French forces in Puebla, Mexico in 1862, this free festival takes place during one of Mexico’s most important holidays. The Cinco de Mayo festival is located along LA’s oldest street that was first settled by Mexican immigrants in the 1780s, and today attracts thousands to partake in traditional food, drinks, music, entertainment and art. There are plenty of twirling folklorico dancers, mariachi music and sizzling Mexican food to be found here. The vendors also offer a variety of authentic items and carnival rides and games. There are also community-service oriented booths and arts and crafts stations. This year, the headliner is still being kept a secret, but other groups that will be playing include Roncovacoco and La Santa Cecilia.

3. ATL’s Caribbean Carnival 2010 May 29

Picture 22Since 1988 groups from diverse Caribbean islands have been coming together every May to put on a celebration of West Indian Culture, with a carnival. This year’s carnival will feature costume bands, Steelpan, and Masqueraders, all dancing and making music while parading through the streets of downtown Atlanta. And afterwards the festivities continue at the festival village, which will feature arts and crafts, authentic Caribbean foods and live entertainment.

The celebration snakes through the best parts of Atlanta. The carnival begins at Civic Center Marta Station, proceeds on West Peachtree to Peachtree St. then turns left on John Wesley Dobbs, hangs a right onto Fort St and enter Village, and ends at corner of Auburn Ave/Fort Street. A day of food, fun, and plenty of music, the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival is fun the whole family can enjoy.

3. Cambridge Science Festival May 1-2

4552516733_36a4bf23b0The Cambridge Science Festival, a nine day event, is a celebration of science, technology, engineering and math. The festival kicks off on April 24th at the Cambridge Public Library, with a free Science Carnival, where attendees can make blue slime, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first laser, make ice cream with liquid nitrogen, and many more fascinating exhibits, all of which explore the different aspects of science in a fun and exciting way.

After that the festival continues for the next week with events tailored specifically towards kids, teens and adults that culminates with the Let’s Rock the World Treasure Hunt, an all day geology-based treasure hunt. Participants must find the way using clues hidden throughout Cambridge, each of which leads to the next. Its free to enter and prizes will be awarded to the select few who find all ten clues.

3. Eclectic Ninth Avenue Int’l Food Festival May 15-16

Picture 28New York is famous for its street fairs, and none of the street fairs are more known than the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival in Hell’s Kitchen. Started in 1973, this food festival attracts more than a million people every year. The festival reflects the cultural and ethnic diversity that is Hell’s Kitchen. Besides the standard zepplois, funnel cakes, mozzarepas, and egg creams, there is a smorgasbord of unique foods that will only be found here. From Argentinian to Cajun to Moroccan to Peruvian food, the list here goes on and on.

There are also over 200 street fair and flea market vendors selling various items. There is a stage with live entertainment on 55th Street on Sunday, featuring international music and dance like Egyptian belly dancing, Arabian scarf dancing and German folk dancing. If you’re bringing the family, there is also a children’s pavilion featuring games and activities. There is no admission fee, and the festival raises money for community groups in the neighborhood.

3. Rock Out With Denver Day of Rock May 29

Picture 12In just one day, catch 20 bands on four stages in downtown Denver. Each stage will feature local acts capped off with a national headliner. This year, the bands include Five For Fighting, Fishbone, the Aggrolites, the Romantics and the Fixx. Best part about the festival? It’s all free!

The rock festival is hosted by Concerts For Kids and geared towards a family setting with a variety of kids-oriented entertainment, like face paining, chalk drawings, Rock Band on Wii, a demo and more. Participating restaurants offer food and beverage specials to ROCKSTAR wristband holders and local businesses will be offering interactive stations near each stage.

3. Celebrate Cinco De Mayo May 2

Picture 21The Maru Montero Dance Company is one of the most recognized and celebrated Latino Dance companies in DC, and this May they are putting on the annual Cinco De Mayo festival on the National Mall. Thousands will gather to enjoy the day-long activities, which will feature live music and dance, arts & crafts workshops and children’s games. On the main stage the Maru Montero Dance Company will offer live entertainment all day, including salsa, merengue and mariachi. There is never a dull moment at this festival.

3. Find the Unexpected at Art Star Craft Bazaar May 15-16

Picture 33Quirky and unique is what you’ll find at the Art Star Craft Bazaar, an outdoor retail art/craft show that is juried by Philadelphia’s Art Star Gallery & Boutique. Featuring over 100 local and national artists, shoppers can find a variety of exceptional and high quality handmade goods made from fabric, clay, glass, wood, paper and more. Anything and everything will be found here, including house wares, paper goods, dolls, prints, ceramics, clothing, accessories, paintings/drawings, sculpture and many other unique objects. There will also be music throughout the festival with a line-up of various local bands. For food, there will be plenty of pizza and hot dogs, as well as vegetarian/vegan food from local eateries like A Full Plate Café and the Soy Café. The first 250 guests each day will get a free tote bag filled with various goodies.

3. 99th Annual Bay to Breakers Race May 16

Picture 25For nearly a century, fitness fanatics have been participating in San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers footrace. Around ten thousand people will participate in the 7.46 mile race, but don’t let the fact that you’ll be competing against world class athletes deter you, who will be gunning for the blistering course record of 33 minutes. There’s also plenty of costumed runners, who have been participating since 1940, as well as some who are simply out for a day of running and walking through the beautiful course as it snakes through San Francisco. The race begins on the north side of downtown, near the bay, and heads west to finish at Ocean Beach and its breaking waves, hence the name.

3. Laughs and More Laughs with Conan O’Brien May 19-20

Picture 19With Conan O’Brien  finally back on TV with his new TBS show, it seems that we can get back to getting our late night doses of laughter. Yet, for those who don’t just want to see him on a TV screen, Conan is also currently touring the nation on his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour. Already receiving great reviews and an enormous turnout, the tour showcases Conan at his best. Joined by his sidekick Andy Richter and classic characters like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Conan does stand up, interviews, videos and more in his show. If you’ve missed Conan on late night or are just looking for some great laughs, Conan’s tour is for you.

3. The Classy Mainly Mozart Festival May 1-31

For the past 17 years the Mainly Mozart Picture 17festival has promoted classical music with a series of concerts that feature the best in classical chamber music. This year boasts eight concerts that will feature the music of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and, of course, Mozart himself.

But this year is special, not only will the festival host a free concert of Mozart’s greatest works specifically for children, but will also feature world renown soprano Esther Jane Hardenbergh who will take part in a special voice focused concert. This year’s festival will have everything loyal fans expect, but remain fun and exciting for first timers.

3. Get Outside at Grapevine’s Outdoor Adventure May 21-23

Picture 14Non-stop performances on five stages, scuba diving, BMX stunts, trampoline acrobat stunts and kayaking. Put them all together and you’ve got a very eventful weekend at the Main Street Outdoor Adventure in Downtown Grapevine. This fun-filled festival is set in the Historic Downtown Grapevine, and highlights everything one can enjoy outside, with three days full of “grillin, chillin and thrillin.” The festival is a celebration of all things outdoors and will feature gunfighters of the Old West, music from rock and R&B to bluegrass and country, as well as grilling demonstrations. Main Street Outdoor Adventure will also feature traditional festival food like funnel cake and corn dogs as well as two wine tasting pavilions.