Have an Eco-Friendly Night’s Sleep at Element

Recent trends in lifestyle have been about elementsgreener spaces, relaxing environments, and soothing your spirit. Westin Hotel took note of this trend, and created the new line of Element Hotels. With a new Element open in Irving/Las Colinas by DFW airport, travelers and residents alike have a chance to try out this new hotel concept.

Complimentary nutritious breakfast is a stress-free way to start your day, or should you choose to work in your room, there are paper recycling bins in each. (Not to mention recycled materials in carpets and low VOC interior paints, which everyone can feel good about.) Full-sized, energy efficient appliances are available for making a quick snack or preparing your own meal. Bathrooms are environmentally friendly as well; rain shower heads with shower wand helps conserve water. You won’t find wasted plastic mini-bottles of shampoo and conditioner  either-those are dispensed in the shower to cut down on clutter and increase the eco-friendly nature. The Element Hotel is full of forward thinking ideas that help you sleep better at night, both literally and figuratively.

Chris’ Jazz Cafe – A Philly Institution

18843_249426678362_156002958362_3094860_813431_nIt’s impossible not to feel like a total smoooooth operator in a place like Chris’ Jazz Café. The dimly lit bar with live jazz playing at a perfect volume creates a straight-up cool atmosphere for relaxing and enjoying some music.

The bar offers less big-name brews and instead has an awesome assortment of local Pennsylvania breweries on draft. Though many go to Chris’ solely for the drinks and music, the full lunch and dinner menu has new American cuisine to munch on while you listen to the tunes. There is a cover charge of $5-$20 to hear the featured bands, just make sure to check out the café’s website ahead of time for the band schedule and cover charge prices.

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana Serves World Champion Slices

Home to a large Italian-American crowd, any old bloke will tell you that North Beach is the neighborhood to be in if you’re looking for a scintillating slice of San Francisco’s finest pizza. But with more than a dozen pizzerias within a five block 1radius, how can you tell the run-of-the-mill from the cream-of-the-crop? Leave it to the professionals. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is the dough and marinara of nine-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani — the first American and non-Neapolitan to ever claim the prize for “Best Pizza Margherita.”

With ingredients imported from Napoli each week alongside produce from local organic farmers and artisan cheese makers, Tony handcrafts his award-winning pizzas in the heart of Little Italy from the same 900-degree, wood-burning oven that catapulted him to fame. Just steps away from Washington Square Park, the full-service restaurant turns out a limit of 73 celebrated medium Margherita crusts a day, fresh-as-can-be ingredients permitting. If you’re not one of the chosen ones, you can take your pick of more than 25 other varieties, from truffle to quail egg and speck to the New Jersey-style “Original Tomato Pie.” If baked dough isn’t your cup of tea, praiseworthy antipasti, pastas, inslata, and dolci also await.


The letters “AOC” on a bottle of wine explain the origins of that particular bottle. In terms of the origins of this fantastic wine and cheese bar, you would have to thank Caroline Styne and Suzanne Goin for their take on a French restaurant, combining a selection of various wines with equally perfect dinner pairings.

Located on one of L.A’s Picture 36most happening streets, AOC originated as a true culinary competitor. And thanks to its atmosphere, menus and unbelievable catering, they remain undefeated. Though AOC is only open for dinner hours, there are still many ways to enjoy what’s on the menu. Whether you are looking for a wine and cheese tasting or an actual sit down dinner with dishes such as Clams with Wild Mushrooms or Halibut with Carrot Puree, the end result has many diners becoming regulars.

If you can’t make it during dinner hours, not to worry: AOC can cater any party or event. And if you are looking for a little more than just a meal, AOC offers “Flight & Bite” night every Monday offering two flights of wine and bite size portions for you to enjoy.

Insider’s Tip: With such rave reviews, you may want to round up the troops and head right over, but the truth is, AOC is perfect for a slighter older crowd consisting of Hollywood types and couples.

The Paley Center for Media, and More

There is no better place for The Paley Center for Media than Beverly Hills, where most of the celebrities you will be watching on their televisions probably live just miles away from the center. In the beautiful white building adorned with miniature TVs streaming video clips for those walking the streets, you can find anything from an old I Love Lucy rerun to a live event hosted by the cast of Greek. For the true television, radio and movie aficionado, The Paley Center for Media may just be everything you could possibly ask for.

Withpaley 150,000 advertisements, television and radio programs in its collection, The Paley Center is the world’s leading museum for preserving media as well as leading discussions on media trends. Just like the entertainment industry, The Paley Center is constantly changing its programs and events, from large festivals to preview parties. For the true media enthusiast, a visit to the Paley won’t only allow you to relive television’s past but also to embrace future celebrity performances. With appearances from late night talk show hosts to entire casts of television shows, there always seems to be a party happening at Paley.

Whether you choose a guided daytime tour or an event with a celebrity, it’s an unanimous vote that a Paley visit is a good visit. Thanks to free admission and convenient parking across the street, it has never been this easy to visit some of your favorite famous friends, either on screen or in person.

Colorado Ballet: Still En Pointe After 50 Years

Picture 47Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010, Colorado Ballet is perhaps the biggest jewel in the crown of the Denver Performing Arts Complex (most performances are held at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House). Though classics like Romeo & Juliet, Giselle, Swan Lake, and of course The Nutcracker are its bread and butter, the company’s been known to bring wilder stuff to the stage as well—including hoots like Great Galloping Gottschalk and Buffalo Bill’s Saloon (complete with line dancing). It’s also known for its international makeup: the dancers hail from countries as far-flung as Japan, Russia, and Cuba—while the artistic director himself, Gil Boggs, has performed around the world in his stints working with every big name in ballet from Mark Morris to Merce Cunningham.

Insider’s Tip: Make a sumptuous night of it with dinner at Restaurant Kevin Taylor, just across the street, before the show.

Posh and Indulgent at Barclay Prime

When you order a cut of beef at most steakhouses, the server just asks, “baked potato or mashed?” but when the server at Barclay Prime also gives you a selection of German and Japanese knives in order to cut your prime beef, you know you’re getting a unique and glamorous twist on the traditional steakhouse. Picture 45

Set inside the chic 1929 Barclay building in Rittenhouse Square, this new Stephen Starr masterpiece is as aged and rich as the top quality NY strip being served. Before diving in to your meal, have a martini- Mad Men style- in the mahogany, 1960’s boutique-inspired bar. After, indulge with traditional steakhouse favorites, from every cut of beef imaginable to decadent a la carte sides such as truffle mac & cheese. Yummy seafood is offered for the less carnivorous ones, along with some contemporary American treats- the Kobe Beef Sliders being a favorite. If indulgence and luxury is what you’re seeking for the evening, you will find this posh spot completely worth the trip!

Porterhouse Fit for a Prez at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse

With its start as a reputable New York institution, it’s no wonder that Bobby Van’s had to spread the love.  This long-loved classic steakhouse has made its mark on the high-end American dining circuit, serving some serious power diners throughout the years, and now with two locations in DC, there’s no reason to miss out on this cbobbyvanselebrity favorite.  Let’s just say the steaks are so good, President Obama even celebrated his first day in office with a meal at this exclusive downtown favorite.

Outfitted in rich wood paneling with appropriately masculine accents, Bobby Van’s simple design and crisp white tablecloths allow the food to steal the spotlight.  Start off with a refreshing Raw Bar Selection or a decadent taste or two of the traditional Escargot, prepared with butter, lemon, pernod, garlic and fresh herbs .

Select from a variety of hearty cuts of prime beef, from which Bobby Van’s gets its claim to fame.  Pair your luscious cut with a few family-style sides like the Creamed Spinach, Cottage Fries or Prosciutto Mac & Cheese. For those looking for a beef alternative, indulge in the Colorado Lamb Chops or the Sesame Crusted Tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes, pickled ginger and Miso vinaigrette.  Whatever you choose, be prepared to spend –after all, there’s a reason why the President himself decided to celebrate with a Bobby Van’s meal.

Betsy Ross House Showcases a US Leading Lady

Picture 8Betsy Ross was one pretty powerful woman in the making of our country, she is responsible for creating that beautiful work of art known as the American flag, and seeing her home puts it all into perspective. The Betsy Ross House in the Old City section of Philadelphia is bustling with the sights and sounds of the 18th century and is decorated in the style, adorned with artifacts from the era.

The home is open for guided tours year round, showing the workroom, two bedrooms, and kitchen of the most famous seamstress in our country. Throughout the summer months there’s something for the whole family to enjoy with historical plays, magic shows, music, and appearances by Betsy and other revolutionary icons of the time. Betsy Ross is even buried beneath the giant elm and sycamore trees that shade the courtyard. The house is now over 250 years old and is managed by a private nonprofit organization, Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

Warren Barron Brings Bridal Style to Dallas

The Big Day is approaching, and the one question on everyone’s mind is what the gown looks like. Picture 26That’s where Warren Barron of Highland Park Village takes over. According to WB, “Never again will a bride need to travel to New York in search of the perfect gown.”

By selecting the highest quality materials and gowns that practically leap off the hanger, this bridal boutique has created a destination that attracts brides from all over. Oscar De La Renta, Angel Sanchez, and the queen of all bridal designers, Vera Wang, are all on display. Trunk shows featuring well-known and hot new designers are commonplace and give the discerning bride the chance to visualize her dream gown. That plane ticket to New York City? Save the miles and put it towards the honeymoon. Your gown can be found here in town.

Sea creatures soar and delight at Seaquarium

Dolphins share the spotlight with a veteran killer whale soaring through the air and delighting audiences at their retro home on Biscayne Bay, the Miami Seaquarium. The golden dome that shades audiences where these creatures perform along with funny sea lions, is visible from the Rickenbacker Causeway that leads to Key Biscayne. It’s been a fixture in Miami’s landscape for more than three decades.

There are eight different animal shows to see here. Walking through the lushly landscaped park, it’s easy to spot pink flamingos and birds, along with ponds and tanks filled with turtles, moray eels, alligators, manatees and the meanest of them all, sharks. Dolphin interaction programs are great for getting up close and personal with these intelligent animals. A day at this attraction is a must on the list of any Miami visitor.

The Miami Seaquarium is located at 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscaynemiami_seaquarium_medium

It’s Comedy Central at Cobb’s Comedy Club

When it comes to comedy clubs, the question to ask isn’t Cobbsemptyroom“What?” or “Where?” it’s “Who?” In any case, Cobb’s Comedy Club has you covered. In its 25th year, the North Beach venue plays host to the finest funny men and women working today. From Jerry Seinfeld and Dave Chappelle to Ellen DeGeneres and Margaret Cho, Cobb’s rotating cast of headliners are Leno and Letterman regulars, many with a comedy series of their own. Let’s put it this way: a celebrated stand-up doesn’t step foot out of SFO without first making an appearance on this stage.

If you’re hungry for more than laughter, the 400-seat venue offers a full dinner menu of classic American pub food, like crispy fried calamari, marinated chicken sandwiches, and of course, a Cobb’s chopped salad. Just remember to come thirsty: with a two-beverage minimum, they mean business. Sobreity is no laughing matter.

Taverna Tony is Mykonos in Malibu

Skip the 16 hour flight, because Malibu’s got the beach and Taverna Tony is the perfect Greek escape. Complete with host Tony, this home-style experience feels like a pampered invite into a hillside Mykonian kitcPicture 93hen. Taverna Tony is the local secret loved by celebs, including Sienna Miller, Jessica Alba, Jerry Bruckheimer and Salma Hayek. It’s located in the trendy Malibu Country Mart where high-end shopping and dining are a common beach detour.

If feeling romantic sit outside on the exotic garden patio, or for a little more spice enjoy the live music and belly dancer inside. The perfect stop for a post beach party, bring friends because portions are plentiful and the menu needs lots of sampling. For a pair of dips, Taramosalata is a wonderful salty compliment to the earthy eggplant Melintzanosalata. Spanakopita or Tiropita are musts, because everyone loves a little fluffy filo. And Moussaka enthusiasts, this one is not to be missed.

For the Love of Jurassic Technology

With displays featuring chicken skins and galleries devoted to the soviet space dogs, The Museum of Jurassic Technology is the exact opposite of what you would expect from a museum visit. Unlike other museums with uptight tour guides and galleries that can send you into a snooze, this museum’s offering of eclectic and sometimes wild Picture 69exhibits combines science with conceptual art, making this place the perfect location for museum lovers and those who just want to have a good time.

Exhibits such as Rotten Luck feature decaying dice is just one exhibit of many that is unlike any other exhibit you are likely to find in a historical museum. Though the unique exhibits make for a unique visit, try not to mind the musty smell while making your way through this distinctive space.

Though this museum isn’t exactly for the faint of heart, the 5$ donation fee, (3$ for students) makes the visit worth it as it opens your eyes to what a museum can actually be. Afte, make sure to head upstairs for tea and cookies where you are awarded from your fine visiting efforts and donation.

With off the wall exhibits and masterful creations, it appears as though this museum has grabbed up all the fun from the other museums and conveniently placed it on Venice Boulevard.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Ever-Changing Exhibits

As a non-collecting institution, the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s ever-changing exhibition program embraces a range of artistic disciplines. From Andy Warhol’s pantheon of Jewish portraits to a retrospective of Where the Wild Things Are author Picture 85Maurice Sendak’s career, each presentation is timely and relevant, fostering a dialogue between museum-goers of all faiths. Partnering with national and international cultural institutions, the Museum showcases contemporary art, historical objects, film and music, literary readings, and other live performances that pertain to Judaism as both a religion and culture.

Founded in 1984, the Contemporary Jewish Museum opened its doors as the “Jewish Community Museum” in San Francisco’s Financial District with a goal of introducing audiences of all backgrounds to contemporary perspectives on Jewish culture, history, art and ideas. After much success, ten years later, the Museum hired acclaimed Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind — who won the competition to reconstruct Manhattan’s World Trade Center site — to re-envision a 1907 landmark in SoMa as its new home. Reopened in 2008 with a vibrant blue metallic steel roof surging from a Beaux Arts brick façade, the dynamic 63,000-square-foot structure marries historical and contemporary architecture.

Steps away from the SFMOMA and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, it’s a can’t-miss for culture vultures.

The Huntington Theatre Company Shows What’s Broadway Bound

The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston’s largest and most popular theatre company. Since its inception, it has transferred more than 12 shows to Broadway! The Huntington, which is located at and partners with Boston University, is well known for its seven productions each season shown to an annual audience of over 130,000.

Picture 68The Huntington recently opened the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts to support the company’s Broadway-style main stage, the Boston University Theatre. Students and their families come here to check out some of the best shows in town for a dramatically reduced rate. It is here you can find performances such as Prelude to a Kiss, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons and A Civil War Christmas Musical Celebration.

The Huntington also operates BostonTheatreScene.com, which provides all productions at the BCA or the B.U. Theatre with box office and online marketing services.

So Chic And So Good: Terzo Piano at the AIC

When the Modern Wing of the AIC unveiled in 2009, it gave the already gigantic museum an additional whopping 65,000 square feet of modern galleries designed by Renzo Piano. Thankfully, Chicago also got a restaurant out of it: Terzo Piano. Those who don’t have time to do the museum can still enjoy the fresher-than-fresh offerings from the restaurant as well as its striking views of Millennium Park and Chi-town skyline.Picture 6

With salads so fresh you wonder where the garden is, delectable flatbreads and entrees, taste anything they offer and you’ll realize Chef Tony Mantuano (of Spiaggia) can do no wrong! And after your main course, it’s simply a must that you indulge in the cava di stagionatura or the authentic cheese cave. Fresh picks of cheese from neighboring masters in Wisconsin and imported delights from around the globe are the perfect way to finish your extended lunch or dinner.

As for the decor, think Modern Wing baby. Just as the wing was designed, so was the restaurant. Stark, clean white is complemented by earth accents of subtle metal and wood: so chic and so, so good.

Sage Boutique’s Big Finds for a Small Budget

Sitting AreaWith four locations across Atlanta, Sage Boutique is a ‘must shop’ for the fashionista, whether just budding or firmly ensconced!  In a city with many high end shopping choices, Sage fills the bill with both quality and quantity ~ and get this, at prices that are shocking because they’re so affordable.

Most items are under $100 and new arrivals are stocked every Friday.  Look for labels like Alternative, Free People, Miss Oops, IT Jeans, and See Thru Soul, along with unique handbags and accessories. Sage supports the local arts community by selling jewelry made by neighborhood designers.

The friendly employees always suggest cool styles, colors or help you build on a favorite piece you already own.  At Sage, chances are you’ll leave looking like a million bucks, without spending nearly that much. The store is located at The Collection at Forsyth. Visit sageclothing.com for more information.

Italian Culinary Heavyweights Deliver at Del Posto

For an authentic yet modern, inventive Italian meal, not many restaurants in NYC deliver in style like Del Posto. With both Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich at the helm- er kitchen- from the first steps guests are greeted to a grand experience:del posto classical pianists set the mood in the ballroom of a dining room with balcony seating, three sets of marble staircases, wrought iron railings, and wooden beams in the high ceilings.

Start your meal with the Abalone Carpaccio with Grilled Asparagus and Young Ramps or with Lidia’s Lobster Salad alla Catalana with Tomato and Celery. For your primi course, the hand made Orecchiette with Lamb Shoulder Sausage, Crispy Morels, and Minted Soybeans is worth it for the minted soybeans alone. For your secondi course, there’s no way to go wrong, but if you are feeling adventurous try the Roasted Turbot – from the Mediterranean – with Caponatina, Crunchy Fregola and Moorish Spices. To finish, the Chocolate Ricotta Tortino with Toasted Sicilian Pistachios and EVOO Gelato is a masterpiece of a dessert and the perfect ending to a beautiful Italian meal.

At Del Posto, the atmosphere and the service are impeccable, but in the end, it is all about the food – as it should be.

Spirited Performances at The Studio Theatre

Pull that curtain open and opt for an evening you won’t soon forget with an intimate performance at Logan Circle’s eclectic Studio Theatre.  Founded in 1978 with a passionate mission of bringing innovative theatre to the performing arts community, The Studio Theatre boasts quality performances with a provocative, spunky edge Picture 30that’s unique to Washington.

With both American and European works performed in four intimate theatres, The Studio Theatre prides itself on setting the stage for an intimate interaction between actor and audience. From Mamet’s American Buffalo to Nobel winning playwright Harold Pinter’s Moonlight to portraying Joan Crawford in drag in The Passion of the Crawford, grab tickets to one of the Theatre’s one-of-a-kind performances and settle in to an eclectic evening full of incredible plays from some of the best playwrights in the world.

Insider’s Tip: Depending on the night, tickets range from about $35-$65.  For risky patrons looking to save a few travel dollars, take advantage of the Rush Tickets, available for certain performances for just $30, 30 minutes before the show (select performances listed on the website).  The Theatre also offers Pay What You Can deals for specific performances, 2 hours before the show (2 ticket limit).

Eight Lounge is a Club with Staying Power

8loungeThe undeniable fact about nightclubs, is that, well, they don’t have a long shelf life. They stay hot for a few months, and sometimes burn out before making it to the year mark. Eight Lounge on Greenville Avenue has not only been alive since 2003, but is still just as popular as it ever was. Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest, with a line out front and a line at the bar. No worries though, the bar is designed to help patrons get their drinks quickly and easily.

The dress is upscale causal with a trendy vibe, so if you are looking to avoid the Dallas “scene,” Eight Lounge might not be what you are looking for. The DJ spins popular Top 40 music and an abundance of hip hop, so be prepared to shake, spin, and impress on the floor. The drinks are lower than west coast prices, but be sure to bring the credit card and plenty of bills for tipping the staff. Eight Lounge delivers exactly what you expect from a Dallas nightclub: flashy females, loud music, and flowing drinks all night long.

The Grove: Mall-ing Cali Style

Picture 92West Hollywood’s Grove kicks the regular American mall experience’s butt. Stores vary little, but here it is all about the extras and Disney-esque outdoor shopping. Water in the main fountain dances, as made famous in the blockbuster I Love You Man, and a Green Grove Trolley drives through the mall’s cobbled walkways. It’s also always good for celeb spotting and the occasional Jonas Brothers concert. If opting for a teeny-bopper day, prepare for the included screaming girl stampede.

Big brand favorites reign at the Grove. Nordstrom and the Grove Movie Theater are central for staples like Anthropologie, Sephora, Crate & Barrel, Barnes & Noble, Apple, J Crew, Kiehls, Gap, Michael Kors, and more. Restaurants are familiar chains of upscale mall fare, like The Farm of Beverly Hills and The Cheesecake Factory, but California air and fountain entertainment majorly up the décor. Or for a little more local flavor, try LA’s famed Farmer’s Market adjacent to the Grove.

Bikin’ Obama Style

Everyone these days wants a piece of the Obama touch in Chicago. His Hyde Park abode, Table 52 where he Valentine-wine & dined Michelle and of course, Michelle’s favorite boutique, Ikram. Well it’s easy to get a taste of all things Chicago plus Obama with The Obama Bike Tour by Bobby’s Bike Hike Bicycle Tours.

The tour brings riders through Hyde Park & Kenwood (to ooh and ahh over the mansions), includes political commentary with visits at the University of Chicago campus, Museum of Science & Industry, Obama’s current residence, his barbershop, and his b-ball court in Jackson Park.

If politics ain’t your thang, then the Lakefront Neighborhood Tour, City Lights at Night Tour or Kid’s Tour if you have rug rats, will probably suit you all the more.

Seeing as Chi-town was voted the most friendly biking city, you really have no reason not to discover the windy city a la two wheels! Even if you can’t bike to save your life – these tours are rated as “ridiculously easy” and “kindergarten easy!”

See Why CY Steak Sizzles

Picture 36The CY stands for Cliff Young—and you’ll see why the name should resonate so deeply with Denverites the second you enter the joint. A pioneer on the city’s fledgling dining scene in the 1980s, Young recently returned here after years in France—only to make waves all over again by opening CY Steak on the premises of Diamond Cabaret, an upscale downtown “gentleman’s club,” to use the polite term.

Location (and late-night entertainment) aside, this is a classic steakhouse; handsome in red and black, it emphasizes a cellar full of big red wines and a menu laden with throwback riches—from caviar platters and Chateaubriand carved tableside to broiled lobstertail and duck-fat potatoes. What’s for dessert is up to you.

Segway to Me Baby

Yeah it’s true that Segways will never really look all that normal. See one cruising past at high speed and it’s hard not to have a chuckle. The thing is, they’re just so darn convenient. When it comes to touring Chi-town that is. Walking tours are great but to cover major space and fast, Segways do the trick. Pride aside of course.

If you just can’t handle the Segway, bikes are just as popular and Chi-town was actually voted the #1 bike-friendly city in the US by Bicycling Magazine! So strap on your helmet and get ready to ride!

Chicago Bike ‘n Roll Tours allow tourists to see the best the city has to offer without the restrictions of roadways (i.e. double decker bus tours), or swollen feet (i.e. walking tours).

Bikes for rent are Trek and come in every option you could prefer. Tours adventure through Millennium Park, the lakefront, charming neighborhoods, famous Buckingham Fountain, Navy Pier, Lincoln Park, and much more. In fact there are 9 tours to choose from so everybody leaves happy.segway-1_jpg_595x1000_q85

Zen-Like Accommodations at the Mandarin Oriental

Looking for a little relaxation in the District?  Look in to a stay at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental, nestled off the beaten path in Southwest DC, overlooking the Tidal Basin with breathtaking views of the Jefferson and Washington Monuments.Picture 87

Known around the world for its Five Star accommodations, the Mandarin’s DC counterpart is no exception.  The hotel includes an ultra chic spa, yoga and fitness center, as well as an award-winning restaurant, CityZen, known for its exceptional Asian-inspired cuisine.

Exuding an apparent Zen-like quality and subtle Asian simplicity, the Mandarin is sure to please even the most discerning traveler.  Book one of the Premier Water View rooms, located on the corners of the hotel, overlooking the Washington Marina for a truly upgraded Washington stay.

The Mint has the Music Industry IN

Outside, The Mint looks like just another hole-in-the-wall dive bar. Picture 94The street is a random stretch of nothing, but this understatement of a venue showcases major talent. At The Mint, the show is often worth going out of the way for. Performers range from the music industry’s breaking talent to unknowns soon to be knowable. Past notables include Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Macy Gray, The Wallflowers, Jason Mraz and Ben Harper to breaking new artists like Matt Morris, new to Justin Timberlake’s label.

The Mint dates back to 1937, with a historical feel as authentic as its history. Its private back room party charm is retro with wooden walls that seep the old notes they have retained. Yet, the intoxication heightens listening to music in this dim room with golden lanterns and old leather banquets. Shows are primarily standing room, and packed.

Award-Winning Shows at GableStage

Picture 59With 148 Carbonell Award nominations and 43 wins, it’s no wonder audiences flock to see GablesStage plays, which are presented in the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

Perfecting their theatrical craft for more than three decades, the players at GableStage, led for the last nine seasons by Producing Artistic Director Joseph Adler, whose legendary and provocative productions have been making headlines in Miami since his arrival at the theater, is something no one at this venue takes lightly. Speed the Plow and  A Lesson Before Dying are some of the award-winners and this season’s comedy Speech and Debate and the drama Fifty Words could very well garner more accolades.

Travel to The City of Lights at Cafe Bonaparte

For those unable to make it abroad, but looking for a delectable European dining experience, travel no further than Georgetown’s quaint, Café Bonaparte.  Take a trip to The City of Lights at this small French bistro packed with big flavor and an authentic Parisian atmosphere.bonaparte

Breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, Café Bonaparte is equally delicious with a wide variety of traditional French favorites mixed with a few creative twists on classics.  Try a sinful savory or sweet crepe, or opt for a creative omelet to satisfy your morning cravings.

For an evening out, start off with the crispy Crepe Chips topped with apples and brie before losing yourself in rich, French specialties: Beef Bourguignon, Steak Frites and Duck Confit with Orange Demi Glace. With limited seating in a cozy, upscale bistro atmosphere, Bonaparte is the perfect spot for an intimate, yet relaxed meal – and a tiny piece of Paris hidden in our very own Capital.

Insider Tip: In true Parisian style, Café Bonaparte offers equally alluring cocktails.  Take advantage of the Café’s half price cocktails every Monday.  The Café Couture (Grey Goose pear, cardamom, fresh lemon juice and honey) is an exotic concoction that will have you speaking the romance language by the end of the evening.

Tailor-Made Luxury at Hadleigh’s

Picture 82Sometimes a suit or dress shirt off the rack just won’t do. The fit isn’t always what it should be, and if it’s something you plan on getting a lot of mileage out of, then fit is key. That’s where Hadleigh’s in Highland Park Village steps in.

An atelier for those who have a hankering for custom fit and undeniable style, Hadleigh’s creates everything to be cut and sewn by hand in Italy to your specific measurements. The owners know a thing or two about meeting client’s needs as owners Ed and Gable Shaikh were buyers for Stanley Korshak, and Ed was one of the top Ralph Lauren salesmen in the country.

Besides the custom tailoring, handcrafted personal timepieces and style consulting are also available. They can even arrange worldwide shopping excursions to see the behind the scenes world of ateliers all over. These luxuries don’t come cheaply; Hadleigh’s suits range in the thousands. But, when it comes to looking dapper in that suit or crisp new shirt 24/7, you will never second guess that you look as great as you feel.

Chipper at The Charlie

You’ve seen hotel rooms with private kitchenettes, blackout shades and even a personal butler. If you think you have seen it all when it comes to living in the lap of luxury, you haven’t seen anything yet. Welcome to The Charlie Hotel.

Picture 73It may sound like an ordinary hotel but it is anything but. Located in West Hollywood, The Charlie is made out of 14 bungalows all named after famous faces such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and of course, Charlie Chaplin himself. The 14 bungalows all located on the street N. Sweetzer are the most luxurious and elegant bungalows, if you can even call them that, that anyone would be lucky enough to stay in. Whether you choose a two bedroom bungalow or a two bedroom apartment, each guest is meant to feel as though they are in someone’s home rather than a guest at a hotel.

Each bungalow features typical hotel services such as room cleaning and internet, but what separates The Charlie from others is its commitment to personal assistance, with amenities such as dog walking, weekly fresh flower deliveries and a gardener.

If a month or even a day at The Charlie sounds ideal, join the club. Celebrities such as Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were once spotted checking in to one of the bungalows. Apparently Chaplin is trying to keep the tradition alive, from one celebrity to another.

Sleek Grand Opening of Le Meridien

Picture 46What’s black and white and red all over? Philadelphia’s Le Meridien, of course! This sleek spot in the heart of Philadelphia’s business district is a new product from the luxurious Le Meridien hotels. This hot and posh hotel group has over 120 hotels in 50 different countries, so if anyone knows hotels, it’s these guys. In keeping with its worldwide tradition of upscale accommodations, Le Meridien has 10 stories of stylish rooms, a Grand Ballroom fit for weddings and meetings looking over Philadelphia’s magestic City Hall, and a chic bar and brasserie, Amuse, which offers traditional French bistro fare.

All the comfort, plus the award-winning concierge staff will guarantee that you have a great stay while in Philadelphia. Even though the place has it all, if you ever do happen to want to leave, it is less than a block away from the Convention Center and other Philly sightseeing to satisfy every need.

Get Clinked at The Back Bay Hotel

If you have ever wondered what it might feel like to get clinked, The Back Bay Hotel offers a way to do so – in luxury.  Located in the former headquarters of the Boston Police Department and owned by the Irish hotelier, this newcomer to the hotel scene has an unbeatable location near Copley Square, Newbury Street and the John Hancock Building.Picture 26

The interior is stylishly designed making it a favorite for tourists and those traveling here on business. You won’t believe your eyes when you see the hotel’s beautiful two-story glass waterfall, indoor ‘river’ and illuminated glass staircase. The rooms here are spacious and luxurious yet surprisingly affordable.

Staying true to its heritage, Cuffs, an authentic Irish pub, is one of the best places in the city for a pint of Guinness along with comfort food favorites such as fish and chips, chicken pot pie and boneless short rib. For upscale dining, try the pan roasted sea scallop in brown butter and foie gras, roasted monkfish or charred flank steak at the neighboring Stanhope Grille.

Insider’s Tip: For a unique way to see the Back Bay Hotel’s nearby sights in this bike-friendly city, ask about the Urban Adventours package complete with hybrid bicycles, helmet, locks, maps and snacks.

Suite Lounge is Simply Sweet

Orange FluteEntering Chicago’s Suite Lounge is like stepping into a cave with an atmosphere that could leave you thinking you were anywhere from Barcelona to Berlin. Stones line the wall with shadowy uplighting to create a chic and sexy atmosphere. And if you think the atmosphere is sexy, just wait until you see the martinis — like the Carrot Cake which has Kahlua, Jaegermeister, Bailey’s, butterscotch and a frosting rim -mmmm!

From the Banana Split to the PB & Chocolate, the martinis at Suite Lounge are simply sweet! And they don’t stop there, plenty of bubbly, house specialties, scotch and beer round off the menu.

The people here? They’re as beautiful as the cocktails, so don’t skim on your pre-primping routine before coming here or you’ll stick out in a bad way. The music will get the gorgeous crowd moving from time to time, but due to pressure of looking good, expect more bar mingling than dancing here. Besides, there are just way too many amazing martinis to try to leave time for much else: Bottoms up!

Explore the Past at The Museum of Biblical Art

Rich in history and with admission prices underPicture 29 ten dollars, The Museum of Biblical Art is a specialty museum for those who are interested in the mysteries of the Bible. Non-denominational, the center contains over 20,000 sq. ft. of gallery space with biblical depictions and a Bible Meditation Garden featuring a variety of native plants, trees and herbs of Israel.

In 2005, a fire destroyed nearly 2,500 works of art, including the famed “Miracle at Pentacost” painting. Not deterred by this tragedy, The Center re-opened this year with a strong mission to emphasizes Biblical figurative art illustrating the narratives of the Bible and encourage the study of classical Greco-Roman art, archaeology and architecture. Open year round and affordable, the museum not only serves as an educational and interesting afternoon, but a beautiful place to hold a wedding reception, party, or meeting.

NEUE Galerie’s Scott Gutterman Relaxes at Prospect Park

Believe it or not, Central Park is not the only park in New York City. Brooklyn native and Deputy Director Scott Gutterman of one of New York’s coolest museums, the NEUE Galerie, knows that Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is the hidden gem for a perfect urban escape.

“As much as I love Central Park,” Scott told citybuzz, “I think Prospect Park is a fantastic place. They have amazing concerts in the summer, lots of beautiful meadows, and it’s a little more rolling and winding so it gets a lot of respect from the city.” Picture 6

Located in the heart of New York’s most populated borough- yep, Brooklyn- Prospect Park is the place where true locals go to hang out. Designed by the same architects who created Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, is bigger in some ways than its more famous counterpart: a 90-acre Long Meadow, 60-acre lake and Brooklyn’s only forest. But that’s not all, Prospect Park has the nation’s first urban Audobon Center, a zoo and every summer there’s the Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Center, on top of year round tennis, playgrounds, and twilight tours that are like an urban safari, but with wine and cheese! Of course, Prospect Park is also great for a romantic stroll and the perfect excuse to get out of Manhattan and visit- for most New Yorkers- the real New York City.

*** Scott Gutterman is the Deputy Director of the NEUE Galerie on Museum Mile near Central Park. NEUE Galerie focuses on early twentieth-century German and Austrian art, including famed works from Gustav Klimt, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Otto Dix.

Scandalous to Fabulous at New Limelight Marketplace

It’s hard to believe the once infamous nightclub Limelight-that was once an Episcopal church turned into a scandalous late night party house- is now a chichi mall. There’s a doorman in a marble lobby of the new Limelight Marketplace, a chandelier on every ceiling, and exquisite – read, expensive – designer pajamas available from Olatz that you can wear in bed, while you eat artisan chocolate from Mariebelle Cacao Bar & Cafe.

On the first floor, formerly the main dance floor, there are Havianas and Hunter boots in every color imaginable, on the balconies there are flower arrangements from Barbara Scott (that might break the bank if you’re not careful), and rows of dainty handmade jewels from Tina Tang. And in the once co-ed bathroom that posted naked pictures of porn stars, you will find classy Brocade home furnishings fit for a modern princess.

In short, the Limelight Marketplace has it all for the ultimate upscale New York, however ironic, shopping experience. But lost on this irony the Limelight Marketplace is not. Many of the boutique stalls are set up around little bars that serve wares instead of alcohol: at Alexander West you can order a custom (bespoke!) men’s dress shirt and at Petrossian you can order ten different types off caviar – if that’s what you’re into. There are mannequins dressed as club kids on the main floor and there are antique bobbles from Old Hollywood on display in front of an enormous stained glass tryptic on the balcony. Shopping at the Limelight Marketplace is truly a unique experience – especially if you have experienced it in its former gritty glory.

Worth the Venom at The Viper Room

The Viper Room in the infamous West Hollywood area of Los Angeles is known for cheap drinks, dark lighting and headlining bands that only true fans have ever heard of. All the appeal is due in part to its landmark location and the fact that it is a true Hollywood staple in the music scene.

Unlike other music venues that promise intimate performances in crowded corners, a trip to The Viper Room actually feels like you are watching a performance in your backyard. With booths lining the walls and spaces that can hold no more than 200 people, Viper Room devotees vouch that a performance at The Room will beat all others.

Though it can’t get much better than paying between $10-20 to see your favorite musician or band, The Viper Room has made up for semi-expensive parking by offering insanely cheap drinks, especially for Hollywood. Five dollar drinks are served from the hours of 11pm-2am nightly, which means you can get trashed while standing inches away from the bands who taught you how to. Along with the novelty of cheap drinks comes the souvenir mug, a Viper Room purchase that you can fill up and take home with you.

While the rest of West Hollywood is buying $20 drinks and paying cover at the club, those at The Viper Room are enjoying themselves as they get to experience old Hollywood in a new way. With cheap drinks, cheap admission fee and up close and personal performances, The Viper Room is a Hollywood-must, especially for all those fun loving music fanatics.

A Touch of France at Bistrot la Minette

If you’ve never experienced France, try the next best thing and look no further than Bistrot la Minette. Even the most experienced French culinary aficionados will be impressed by the amazingly authentic creations by chef Peter Woosley, cooking up Picture 44classic bistro dishes, from Œuf du Pêcheur (mussels with a poached egg and tarragon cream sauce) and Escargots, to Roasted Chicken and Steak au Poivre. The equally divine dessert selection is the perfect end to an evening, with tartes and pastries galore (Oh la la!).

On a nice night, sit outside in the Garden Courtyard, whose dazzling European feel not only takes you away from the buzz of the city, but also won Best Outdoor Dining in 2009 from Philadelphia Magazine. Better yet, go on a Monday or Thursday night, when the Bistrot shows French films as you wine and dine in the courtyard. For larger parties, reservations can be made for the rustic farm-inspired private dining room, offering a separate menu for up to 20 guests. Could this place be more charming?

AIC Rocks Mummies to Matisse

Majestic lions guard the entrance where a slew of steps will pump up your heart rate and Greek columns will draw your eyes up toward the heavens: The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) has an entrance that serves as its own destination. But inside, the museum guards treasures that could take weeks (or months) to truly appreciate. Yep, thousands of pieces to gawk over that span over 5,000 years of artistic creations from Africa to around the world, and back again.

This is the art museum for all personalities: classic, modern, kinky, crazy, beautiful and scary – it’s all here. From Van Gogh, Chagall, Matisse and Picasso – there’s enough European Impressionism to tempt the craziest of Thomas Crown affairs. Past Europe, dig into mummies and ancient Egyptian collections like the coffin and mummy of Paankhenamun – dating back from the Dynasty 22 (c. 945–715 B.C.) – no big deal. Far more than just framed pieces and mummies, African masks, Iranian tiles, statues, headbands, photography, jewelry – it’s all here.

Interior and furniture designers tend to freak over the miniature rooms which allow guests to geek out over period rooms from around the globe, like the French Provincial Bedroom of the Louis XV Period of the 18th century.

Bottom line: This is a must see – especially with the Modern Wing addition (only an extra 65,000 feet more to discover!)

Le Bernardin for Award-Winning Seafood Perfection

A 4 star restaurant that has been named the #1 restaurant in New York by New York Magazine, New York Times and Zagat’s Guide; has won more James Beard Awards than any other restaurant; and has been awarded the highest number of Michelin stars: 3, Le Bernardin is the premier French restaurants in New York City – and arguably the world – and certainly one of the most elegant dining rooms in the country.

Picture 67The philosophy of Le Bernardin is, very simply put, the fish is the star of the plate. With the focus on seafood, Chef Eric Ripert (whose name and restaurant may sound familiar from multiple Top Chef appearances) has created an ambitious yet uncomplicated dinner menu that is broken into three courses: almost raw, barely touched and lightly cooked. Chef Eric Ripert’s favorite dishes are the Tuna made of Layers of Thinly Pounded Yellowfin with Foie Gras and Toasted Baguette; the Crab with Stuffed Zucchini Flower with Peektoe, King Crab and “Fine Herbs – Lemon” Mousseline Sauce; and the Surf and Turf of Escolar and Seared Kobe Beef with Sea Bean Salad and Eggplant Fries.

Le Bernardin is one of those restaurants that is the special occasion as it will probably be the most memorable dining experience of your entire life.

Insider’s Tip: As Le Bernardin’s reputation precedes itself throughout the globe, make sure to make a reservation well in advance and bring a heavy wallet; such perfection is priced accordingly.

Cutler Majestic Theatre’s Historic Night on the Town

Since 1903, the Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College has been providing year round cultural programs to both college students and visitors. The historic college located in the Theater District owns and operates the theater, which offers a wide-range of performances Picture 54that include opera (La Traviatta; Madama Butterfly), theater (Divas by Boston’s Gay Men’s Chorus), dance (Stomp) and music (New England Conservatory). Inside, you will find beautiful murals painted by New York artist William de Leftwich Dodge, whose works can also be found on display at the Library of Congress and Boston Public Library.

The theater is listed in both the Massachusetts and National Registers of Historic Places, and has also earned the prominent status as a Boston Historic Landmark. Over the past few years, it underwent some renovations that were approved by the Boston Landmarks Commission.

The Majestic has both historically appropriate stage systems and the most modern technologies for stage and video productions, which is why it is known around town as being a 21st century theater inside a 19th century building.

Franklin Square Boasts Beauty and History

Picture 41William Penn laid out 7.5 acres of land in the heart of Philadelphia back in 1682, and he would probably be very proud of what it has become by 2010! Located in Historic Philadelphia, Franklin Square has been completely renovated, and is now open as an amazing spot for families or anyone who wants to see a little more green in their busy day.

There’s a mini golf course and a carousel for kids (or the kid in you), with a Stephen Starr snack shack, Squareburger, selling hot dogs, fries, burgers, and milkshakes made with one of Pennsylvania’s claim-to-fame items, Tasty Kakes! Besides these activities, the Square is fit for strolling, with interspersed benches and walking paths leading straight to the piece de resistance, the water fountain. Built in 1838, the fountain is a huge marble masterpiece, placed right smack in the center of the park for your viewing pleasure.

Luxurious Lester Lampert

Picture 97Lester Lampert, located on Oak Street in the Gold Coast lives amongst neighbors such as Harry Winston, Hermes and Bvlgari to name a few. But yet it’s possible you’ve not heard the name before — if you’re not a jewelry connoisseur or a Chi-town native. Well, Lester Lampert is both.

One visit to his retail space of dreams, which doubled its original size in 2005, is enough to make anyone weak in the knees. The sparkles, the baubles, the diamonds! But it’s Lester’s unique designs that have gotten him where he is today. Chosen as the designer of the Field Museum‘s most noteworthy gems, Loyola University’s stained glass windows and more Chicago icons, one look and you’ll understand why.

Word of the wise: This is not a store to skip. It is a must visit when in the Windy City…if you like gorgeous things that is.

Basement Bash at Cafe Saint-Ex’s Gate 54

Red DrinksHipsters and serious dance aficionados beware – there’s a new party in town.  Hidden along trendy 14th Street in the heart of the U Street Corridor, lies Café Saint-Ex, a European aviation-inspired restaurant/bar with a few secrets to share.  Named for the French aviator and author of A Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Café Saint-Ex is more than just an eclectic neighborhood eatery.  Travel below to the depths of the establishment to Gate 54 for a music-infused mecca – packed to the brim Thursday through Saturday and pulsing with DJ-generated beats sure to get those hips moving.

Visit the best basement party since college, but opt for a more sophisticated vibe this time. Travel below to the depths of the establishment to Gate 54, the restaurant’s eclectic basement lounge, for a music-infused mecca – packed to the brim Thursday through Saturday and pulsing with DJ-generated beats sure to get those hips moving. Café Saint-Ex boasts noteworthy Brazilian Nights every third Thursday of the month.  Sponsored by Peroni and complete with authentic Caipirinha specials, Saint-Ex will transport you to Rio within the walls of the restaurant’s eclectic basement lounge, Gate 54. So grab a few drinks and see where the night leads after some Euro-infused revelry.

Wine, Pies, and Good Times at Coal Vines

Picture 77If you venture into the uptown scene in Dallas, you know that Coal Vines is the hip hangout where pizza and wine are accessories to a great time. For several years now, Coal Vines has provided a meet-up spot to grab cocktails and a slice of pie before a big night out or a late night patio date. Wines of cabernet, chardonnay, merlot, pinot noir or sparkling…there is no shortage of the perfect sip to go along with coal oven baked pizzas. If pizza won’t hit the spot, perhaps Rigatoni or Fennel Crusted Salmon will do the trick.

Though it’s a small venue and there isn’t much room to move around, the space reverberates a neighborhood vibe that is comfortable and familiar. Whether it’s a first or last stop on your night out, Coal Vines can rev up or wind down any excellent time.

Iconic Gibsons Steakhouse is Good Enough for Johnny Depp

If there is one iconic restaurant in Chicago, it may just be Gibsons Steakhouse. This is Chicago at its best: mouth watering steaks, a bar that never runs dry and serves nothing but premium liquors and wines, celeb sightings to watch for and enough people watching to compete with your appetite.

Rounding off the “Viagra Triangle,” yes, the ‘hood really is called that because of the Ferrari driving white-haired men and their hot young things, Gibsons Steakhouse is the place to be. In case you don’t want to call its digs the V Triangle, it’s also known as the Gold Coast area where Rush Street and State Street become one. Gibsons Steakhouse is literally packed from Monday through Sunday, partly because of the financial district heads who dine there or the ladies who lunch (and linger until happy hour), but the place gets jumping early and ends late. If you want to snag a good table, you’ll want to head there at 4ish on a weekday!

As for the Johnny Depp connection? Gibsons Steakhouse was a favorite eating place for Depp when filming the mobster flick: Pubic Enemies. Johnny liked the place and its service so much, he left a $4,000 tip! So if it’s good enough for Johnny, you better believe you’re going to love Gibsons.

Location & Beauty at The Boston Harbor Hotel

Location, location, location just may be the best way to describe The Boston Harbor Hotel. Situated at bhhextRowes Wharf overlooking the ocean, this landmark five-star hotel is just steps from Faneuil Hall, the North End and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Be sure to request a harbor front deluxe room (with separate sitting area) for a beautiful view of the private boats, yachts, dinner cruises, and party boats pulling in and out of the wharf.

The waterfront hotel offers 230 guest rooms, including one- and two-bedroom suites as well as a luxurious Presidential Suite with butler service upon request. Award-winning Chef Daniel Bruce (the mastermind behind the 20-year-old Boston Wine Festival) offers small and large dishes paired with wine at Meritage The Restaurant. From its attentive service to the elegant accommodations, The Boston Harbor Hotel remains a standout in the city.

Insider’s Tip: Don’t miss the Summer Series here, which runs from June to September and includes Tuesday night R&B and soul bands, Wednesday night classic entertainment, Thursday night blues barge (complete with floating stage) and Friday night outdoor Movies by Moonlight series.

Going in the Right Direction at East/West

In any direction you go, you will find that all the fun is happening at East/West lounge. Thanks to its new renovations, including swanky furniture and a tequila room, it’s hard not to want to venture over any free chance you get.

Picture 7Once awarded “Best Gay Bar in Los Angeles,” East/West keeps to its reputation, offering a lounge feel with club perks such as insane drink menus and table service. With drinks consisting of The Naughty Peach and Lemon Love, you will probably feel as though you belong in a sweaty Miami nightclub. Though East/West prides itself on not being that typical nightclub, the line to get in certainly reminds you that are you in L.A.- and if you want to get in, you’ve got to wait.

In the land of the overpriced, East/West actually throws customers a bone every so often by offering 2-for-1 drink specials and happy hours. Not only does this lounge provide cheap drink opportunities, they also dedicate certain nights to certain performers. If you check their weekly events section online, you are sure to find music video nights and spinning DJs.

Overall, East/West truly hits the nail on the head by taking the perks from a club and throwing them into a lounge. By creating a cool and comfortable setting with drinks you would find in a nightclub, East/West seems to be going in the right direction.

Broadway’s Best at The Orpheum Theatre

Take one glimpse at the majestic carved doors of San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre and you’ll see the sparkle of an architectural gem. Designed in the 1920s by renowned theater architect Picture 56B. Marcus Priteca as a showcase for the silent films and vaudeville productions of impresario Alexander Pantages, the elaborate Spanish-style Civic Center cathedral boasts all the ingredients required to cook up an evening of glitz and entertainment. From the baroque, vaulted ceilings to walls brimming with folkloric lion figurines, the palatial venue is well-deserved of its designation as a San Francisco Historical Landmark.

Though the theater’s delicate balconies endured years as a first-run movie house, it’s been reinvigorated by some of the nation’s most acclaimed Broadway shows. These days its rich red carpets and chairs accommodate crowds of musical enthusiasts for the box office record-breaker Wicked, but this beautiful building has also set the stage for Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Rent and The Lion King. No doubt, it has a long history to come as host to the most prized performances.

Douzo Sushi Does it Right

Picture 67In its first year Douzo Restaurant & Sushi was named “Boston’s Best Sushi” by the Improper Bostonian and has become a hot spot for sushi lovers ever since. Located in Back Bay, the restaurant offers an inventive twist on traditional sushi favorites. You will still find the usual suspects on the menu such as Tuna Tartar, Raw Oysters and Kobe Beef Carpaccio, but you can also uncover some surprises, including Monkfish Pate, Torched Style Yellowtail and an Eel Avocado Roll.

If you’re feeling a little daring, try the Omakase special, which is the chef’s choice from the sushi bar. Entrees include Lightly Battered Shrimp Tempura, Sirloin Steak with Black Pepper Sauce, Thinly Sliced Prime Rib in a Sukiyaki Sauce, Black Cod Misoyaki and Grilled Duck with Cranberry Teriyaki Sauce.

Douzo (which means “please come in”) offers its modern Japanese cuisine in a modern setting, with sleek white and dark contrasts to ceiling fixtures and walls and large tables for all the sushi plates. Douzo has a varied wine list, including a red, white or sake flight and a good array of cocktails like the Lychee Martini and a Tokyo Cosmo to get your night started right after dinner. Visit douzosushi.com for more information.

Sandy Lake Park: Picnic with a Punch

Picture 27Thrill seekers, Sandy Lake Park is not for you. For the rest of us, this treasure of an amusement park has been delighting all ages for decades. With smaller scale exciting rides, like the Space Shuttle, Scrambler, and Tilt A Whirl, it’s almost like taking a trip back in time to childhood as you wait in the short lines to climb aboard.

Rides, however, are just the tip of the iceberg. Miniature golf, giant swimming pools, face painting, paddle boats, pony rides, and an arcade are all at your disposal. In fact, the arcade will certainly bring back memories with the original SkeeBall game and other “vintage” games that require skill. Frank Rush, who works tirelessly at the park to make sure families and groups alike have the time of their lives, can tell stories of the park that make everyone smile. The perfect place to host your next family picnic under the covered pavilions, Sandy Lake Park is a gem that continues to shine year after year.

1. Bill Cosby Hosts the Playboy Jazz Festival June 12-13

Picture 69Adding to Hugh Hefner’s already “eclectic” range of tastes, this June marks the 32nd year of the star-studded Playboy Jazz Festival.  Not only will Bill Cosby be presiding over the event, but the legendary lineup contains some of the biggest names in jazz, including George Benson, Manhattan Transfer, Marcus Miller, Los Van Van and Chick Corea.  For the diehard jazz fan, there are also a few silver screens reserved to give some intimate coverage of each and every artist at the festival.  This is going to be a great event, because there’s no better way to listen to jazz is in full Hef style: with a tobacco pipe and a room filled with bunnies.

1. Culinary Fireworks at Taste of Chicago June 25-30

Picture 98It’s hands down the biggest event of the summer in Chicago. The Taste of Chicago takes over Grant Park year after year featuring samples from hundreds of restaurants in what many deem as a culinary capital in America. Specials guests like culinary rock stars Giada De Laurentiis and Mario Batali will be there as well as an entire rock pavilion, the Patrillo Music Shell, who will have the likes of Rob Thomas, Gavin Rossdale, Broadway in Chicago and the Steve Miller Band on its stage. This festival goes through the July 4th long weekend, where it ends with a bang- literally. A magnificent fireworks display from Navy Pier, North and South sides converge on Grant Park making this event the kick-off to a fantastic Chicago summer.

1. Madama Butterfly Kicks Off Summer Opera Series June 26-30

Picture 105Puccini’s classic Madama Butterfly kicks off Central City Opera’s Colorado Summer Musical Festival. It has a reputation as one of the premiere summer musical festivals in the state, which is a reputation that’s well deserved. Showing performances amongst Colorado’s beautiful mountain setting, Central City Opera still keeps the quality of its performances with internationally acclaimed artists, visually stimulating sets, decadent costumes and a professional live orchestra. Other summer headliners include Orpheus in the Underworld and Three Decembers, along with many other short festival extras and events.

1. Shakespeare in the Park June 16-30

One of the best things about summer-Picture 101besides the good weather- is being able to enjoy amazing theater in the great outdoors. Dallas puts on a fabulous Shakespeare in the Park Summer Series that begins in June and goes through to July. In June, though, you have the choice of two great Shakespearean plays. The first to open the series is Cymbeline, a tragedy/romance loosely based on the legends of the early Celtic British King Cunobelinus. Later in the month, and on through July, is one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, Comedy of Errors. Moving into a different direction, this is short and slapstick happy in a story that deals with mistaken identities and a flurry of puns and wordplay.

1. Feel the Love at the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair June 13

Picture 80Famous for its top notch music scene (Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Metallica, Janis Joplin- just to name a few) and its “summer of love” appeal, the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair is a phenomenon like none other.  It was developed by Harvey Milk, the first openly Gay District supervisor who was played by Sean Penn in the 2008 eponymous Gus Van Sant movie. The annually held fair promises to feature plenty of arts and crafts, live music, food booths, and idyllic hippie hand-holding circles. It’s been going strong for 28 years, so it’s safe to say that there are very few places a person could go on June 13th that would have more cultural diversity than the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair.

1. Play Me, I’m Yours Street Pianos June 1-30

Picture 89People in cities all over the world- London to Buenos Aires- have been spotting pianos in the street. They’re available for looking, touching, playing, and even decorating, and it turns out that it’s all actually part of Luke Jerram’s artwork.  Now, he wants people to participate and create music right in the streets of New York, so he has installed over 130 pianos in parks, train stations, bridges, markets, and ferries all over the city.  The majority of these pianos are already world travelers, having been as far around the globe as Sydney.  When the event started, there were only fourteen pianos, and now there are many more, so don’t be surprised when there’s a mysterious waltz coming from around the corner.

1. Summer Series at the Ritzy Boston Harbor Hotel June 17-30

Picture 95No one puts on seasonal events like the landmark Boston Harbor Hotel. Nearly every single night in the summer offers a different performance and theme for travelers and Bostonians alike to enjoy. On Tuesday nights enjoy the Summer Soul, where various R&B bands and artists sing classics from Marvin Gaye to Gladys Knight live under the stars. On Wednesday it’s Timeless Tunes, featuring classic music entertainment from the 60’s all the way to the 90’s. On Thursday it’s Blue Barge, where you guessed it, local and national blues artists sing their souls out on stage. And on Friday, it’s Movies by Moonlight, where guests can enjoy movies from classics from The Maltese Falcon, All About Eve to Raiders of the Lost Ark, while enjoying the award-winning cuisine from BHH’s Chef Daniel Bruce.

1. Blockbusters for Free on Flicks on 5th June 9-23

Picture 93Summer is known for major Hollywood blockbusters, and in Atlanta you can see the past year’s biggest movies outside for free at Flicks on 5th Street. In June you’ll be able to see the action-packed Sherlock Holmes, the hilarious The Hangover and Oscar award-winning The Blind Side, and still more major movies continue into July. The movies are every Wednesday and start around nightfall, which is approximately 9pm. So cuddle up with your honey and grab some appropriately priced candy from the store- or a free popcorn bag for viewing under the stars- and head over to a free fun summer event.

1. Chow Down at Coral Gables Restaurant Week June 7-20

Picture 74From June 7th to June 20th, more than 25 restaurants in Coral Gables are offering a massive discount with sumptuous three course prix fixe menus.  The roster includes an eclectic selection of international flavors, including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, the Mediterranean Por Fin Restaurant and Lounge, Le Provencal Bistro and many other Coral Gables hot spots. After you and your crew have eaten like royalty, walk it off with a leisurely stroll down Miracle Mile, which has tons of amazing shops. If you can’t decide what kind of feast you’d like to partake in, head to Taste of the Gables on Friday, June 4th, which kicks-off Restaurant Week with samples of all the best meals for the days to follow.

2. Calder to Warhol at SFMOMA’s 75th Anniversary June 25-30

Picture 81The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is celebrating its 75th anniversary with an enormous exhibit of over 1,000 iconic works by artists like Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, and easily the most recognizable, pop-artist Andy Warhol. There will also be plenty of sculptures on the beautiful rooftop garden, which has been described as a gallery with no ceiling.  The SFMOMA’s massive permanent collection is still impressive, and for those who are a little baffled as to why a line of Campbell’s soup cans counts as art, there’s the “Making Sense of Modern Art” mobile tour, which can help viewers read between the lines of those Marilyn Monroe prints.

2. Fill it Up at Philly Beer Week June 4-13

Picture 78As America’s best beer-drinking city and a stone’s throw from Penn State – the school known as the biggest party school in the country – one would expect Philly would have a pretty impressive selection of alcohol.  Well, with Philly Beer Week, visitors can get a taste of the drinks that make Philadelphia such a wild place at night.  With all kinds of events, from the showcase of the finest breweries at the Opening Tap event, to the nearly philosophical Forum of the Gods, which is nothing less than an afternoon of spirited beer-talk (and drinking), this festival is sure to quench any beer lover’s thirst.

2. Free Concerts Galore in Central Park June 1-30

Anyone who lives in NYC knows thatPicture 91 Central Park is the place to go for amazing free concerts in the summer.  They have a wildly eclectic selection that ranges from The New York Philharmonic to Miley Cyrus.  Good Morning America will be Partying in the USA with Miley on the 18th and then there’s Sarah MacLachlan on the 11th, Alicia Keys on the 25th, and the Jonas Brothers on the 21st.  While GMA’s concerts are in the morning, they’re also broadcast on national television, which kind of balances it out.  Also, don’t miss Summerstage’s Melody Gardot and The New York Pops on the 1st, because as the largest independent pops orchestra in America, they know how to have a good time, too.

2. Father’s Day at Rodeo Drive’s Concours d’Elegance June 20

Picture 72Calling all car connoisseurs, in honor of Jaguar’s 75th anniversary, Rodeo Drive is the place to be this Father’s Day for the Concours d’Elegance.  Not only will attendees be able to see over 100 collector cars from Jaguars to muscle cars to hot rods to Woodys, but this event is also the premiere of Jaguar’s new classic, the XJ.  This is the perfect event for dads who really dig the finer points of auto appreciation, because it was recently named one of the “300 Unmissable Events & Festivals Around the World” by Frommer’s Magazine.  If your family is not as pumped about horsepower as you, Rodeo Drive is filled with plenty of shops and sightseeing for the rest of the family- so you can enjoy those beauties in peace.

2. Photography Exposed at the Denver Art Museum June 1-30

Picture 104The Denver Art Museum’s newest exhibition digs deep into its art pockets with Exposure: Photos from the Vault. It literally is just that, featuring over 50 of the best photographs from the nearly 7,000 (!) piece collection to choose from. Highlights include iconic images by Ansel Adams and Chuck Close alongside recent acquisitions from up-and-comers Petah Coyne and Shirin Neshat. Not only is this exhibit showing the best of DAM’s photography collection, it also includes many works that have yet to go on view at the landmark museum. Check out the beautiful and the quizzical images all through June.

2. CSO Closes with 3 Week Beethoven Festival June 2-20

Picture 99While other major symphony orchestras may close its season with a grand finale, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra closes with a three-week homage to the greatest composer of all-time, Beethoven. There are a whopping 28 events packed into these 18 days, that feature symphonies led by principal conductor Bernard Haitink (who is also celebrating his four-year tenure as principal conductor of the CSO), pre-concert chamber music that is free to the public, film screenings and more. What makes this event so special and unique is that while Beethoven’s music is often performed, it is performed individually, and this is a rare occasion where the familiar and less familiar works will be performed in a complete cycle.

2. Allure of the Automobile Extended! June 1-27

Extended through June by popular demand, The Allure of the Automobile at the High Museum of Art presents 18 of the world’s rarest and most brilliantly conceived cars from the 1930s to the mid-1960s, including masterpieces by Bugatti,Picture 25 Duesenberg, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Ferrari. The exhibition traces the evolution of the motorcar, examining the contrasts between European and American design, and significant changes in automotive styling and engineering before and after World War II.

The featured automobiles have won awards at prestigious events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, broken records on racetracks, and were previously owned by such noted car enthusiasts as Clark Gable and Steve McQueen.

2. Adam Sandler & More at Summer Short Play Fest June 3-27

Picture 75Want to go to the theater, but don’t have time to sit through Othello for three and a half hours? Then the Miami Summer Shorts Festival is definitely the perfect option.  With the world premiere of award-winning Lisa Loeb and the Sons of Anarchy writer Marco Ramirez’s new musical, and new work by Christopher Durang, Adam Sandler, Rolin Jones and a reprise of Rich Orloff’s Matterhorn, these shorts sure know how to deliver the most entertainment in the least amount of time.  This festival covers its bases with dramas, musicals, farces, comedies and even mysteries, so there’s bound to be something to suit everyone’s tastes.

2. Thousands Come out for Cambridge River Fest June 5

Picture 97Every year the Cambridge River Festival attracts nearly 200,000 people to the quaint area just outside of Boston. Now in its 31st year, the Cambridge River Festival features jazz, folk, Latin and world music performances as well as dancers, art demonstrations and family art-making activities. All this music and fun can work up an appetite, and to feed the thousands that came down, there are over 100 specialty food purveyors. Best of all, this event is free and is on whether it’s raining or shining.

2. Jazz Around Town at DC Jazz Festival June 1-13

Picture 109With over 100 performances in over a dozen places in the city, it’s safe to say the DC Jazz Festival is taking over the nation’s capital for the first two weeks of June. This is DC’s largest music festival and one of the most highly-anticipated events of the summer. Venues go from famous jazz joints like Georgetown’s Blues Alley to clubs like Tryst. Other events within the festival include the all-day jazz extravaganza- that’s free- at the Lisner Auditorium as well as the Jazz ‘N Families Fun Day and Jazz Under the Stars.

3. Head to the Star-Studded American Black Film Fest June 23-26

Picture 76Not only showcasing the best films worldwide from African-American artists, the American Black Film Festival is a hotbed for some of the biggest stars in Hollywood.  Lee Daniels, the director of Precious and the recipient of six Oscar nominations this year, including Best Director, is this year’s honoree.  Hollywood superstar Spike Lee will be teaching a class for aspiring filmmakers, and tons of other stars are booked to attend, like Idris Elba, Steve Duncan, and 3,000 other industry insiders as well.  Be sure to dress Miami chic, as this event is practically red carpet at night.

3. Take a Cruise With the Summer Sailstice June 20-21

Picture 85San Francisco celebrates this holiday that is actually a global holiday- the Summer Sailstice. Bringing everyone together who loves water and wind in the hair on a beautiful sailboat, this is the event to celebrate that summer sunshine and proximity to a beautiful bay. Gathering everyone onto Treasure Island, the fellow sailors will enjoy live music, big boat races, boatbuilding contests and looking for buried treasures for the kids. Enjoy a weekend of sail and the sand for the Summer Sailstice.

3. First U.S. Luc Tymans Exhibit at DMA Begins June 6

Picture 103Jointly organized by the prestigious San Francisco MOMA and the Wexner Center, Belgian artist Luc Tymans will be showing his first U.S. retrospective work at the Dallas Museum of Art starting on June 6, 2010. The New York Times has already raved about this exhibit. Luc Tymans is known for his deceptively simple figurative paintings that evoke strong thoughts and discussions in its simplicity. The exhibition will go in chronological order of his career, highlighting the fluid progression of his famous painting style. Enjoy it in Dallas before the exhibit heads over to the SFMOMA.

3. Join the Tradition at Capitol Hill People’s Fair June 5-6

Picture 106The aptly named People’s Fair really has become a favorite summer tradition in Denver, even receiving a “Top of the Rocky” Award by the Rocky Mountain News Readers. The CHUN Capitol Hill People’s Fair celebrates the diverse Denver urban community with a premiere arts and crafts festival, delicious culinary bites, entertainment from talented musicians, and other things to do with the family. It’s a great way to spend time with friends and family- and best of all, it’s all for free.

3. Cocktails in the Garden June 1-30

Picture 94Every Thursday night enjoy a refreshing mojito while surrounded by even more delicious leaves at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Even with the added liquid enjoyment, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is breathtaking in the evening. Enjoy a beautiful nighttime skyline on the Canopy Walk, sample delicious dishes and live chef demos at the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen, or relax with the sound of the falling water at the Cascades Garden. Oh, and not to mention, every month there’s a new theme at the Garden and live DJs spin tunes to create the mood of that theme.  This is the perfect way to get in that Atlanta sightseeing, all while having a night out on the town, too.

3. Dragons Down the Charles River June 12-13

Picture 96It’s a 2300 year Asian tradition, but in Boston the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival takes on a life of its own. The nation’s longest running Dragon Boat Festival features killer races down the Charles River, but for those who are along for the ride, so to speak, there’s plenty to do onshore. In Cambridge there are arts and crafts demonstrations and tons of tasty Asian food. And anyone can come by and join in on the weekend of fun, because it’s free admission to this festival. For those looking for an extra special experience, buy a ticket with a group of friends for the 2010 Festival Banquet at the Heila Moon Restaurant and get into the spirit before the day of the big race.

3. Renoir Pays a Visit to the Philly Museum of Art June 17-30

Picture 79The Musée d’Orsay is collaborating with the Philadelphia Museum of Art to bring the work of painting superstar Pierre Renoir to Philly for a limited time.  While he’s best known for his works, Le Moulin de la Galette and Luncheon of the Boating Party, the consensus of the art world is that his most innovative time was near the end of his life. Pretty impressive, considering he was one of the originators of the impressionist movement.  This exhibit features these later works and the way Renoir used color in a way that influenced artists for generations to come, and the exhibit will feature several artists, such as Picasso, who were notably influenced by Renoir’s later years.

3. Arshile Gorky Begins At MOCA June 6-30

Picture 73Wild abstract expressionist Arshile Gorky’s paintings are headed to Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) this June.  Gorky’s paintings, which have been lauded as having a style and sense of color comparable to Picasso, are gritty and chaotic, and this retrospective is perfect for starting up deep conversations about pain and heartbreak, especially since Gorky died of suicide at a young age.  The colorful paintings that were at the extremely popular retrospective in Philadelphia are now making their way to LA, and will be available for intense contemplation starting in the first week of June.

3. India v. USA at Polo Cup on National Mall June 11-12

Picture 112Believe it or not, America’s Polo Cup World Championships, held in the heart of DC on the National Mall, is one of the world’s premier televised charity polo sporting events and the largest one of its kind in the DC area. Every year Team USA goes up against a different nation, and this year it’s India. But there’s a whole lot more than one game; this is a weekend extravaganza. The celebration kicks off on June 11th with an exclusive VIP party. On Saturday, the Championship and Fashion Show begin with a Bollywood style introduction that’s answered by an American rock anthem. The game is always intense both on and off the field, as the men duke it out with their horses while the women face off in a fashion hat frenzy to win the title of Best Hat and Best Dressed. It’s a chic European event in the heart of our nation’s Capital.

3. Proving Blues Capital Status at Blues Fest June 11-13

Chicago may be most known as the Picture 100Windy City, but in the Summer it’s got the Blues- big time. The Chicago Blues Festival is not only one of the largest free blues festivals in the world, it’s also one of the largest of all of Chicago’s Music Festivals. In three days covering six stages, there will be well over a half a million blues fans, proving that Chicago is in fact the Blues Capital of the World. Past performers have included greats like B.B. King, Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt and the late Bo Diddley.

3. Party With Prince Harry at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic June 27

Picture 92Some of the biggest names in Polo are competing in style on the historic Governor’s Island, in what has to be one of New York’s move posh and prized events of the summer: Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic.  Not only will HRH Prince Harry be there, who started this annual match to raise money for underprivileged South-African children, but he’ll be facing off with Nacho Figueras, the face of Ralph Lauren Fragrances, in this one-day only event.  Not to mention the fact that the VIP list last year included Madonna, Kate Hudson, Marc Jacobs, Chloe Sevigny and LL Cool J, and this year will be just as fabulous as years past. But no worries, the “common” guest can spring for a table, or have a champagne picnic on the beautiful lawn and feel good about it, because it’s all for a great cause.