Experience these New York City Holiday Events

It’s always an adventure to spend the holidays in another city or country. New York City is one of the must have experiences during the holidays. The holiday season starts as early as Thanksgiving and ends with the famous ball drop in Times Square.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The annual pageant always has giant balloons and floats, marching bands, performances and celebrities joining in on the fun. Every last Thursday of November the streets along Central Park West, Columbus Circle, Sixth Avenue, Central Park South, 38th Street, to Herald Square is lined with people awaiting the grand spectacle.

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Photo by: Anthony Quintano (Flickr)
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Photo by Shinya Suzuki (Flickr)
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Photo by slgckgc (Flickr)
Photo by slgckgc (Flickr)
Photo by slgckgc (Flickr)

*Central Park West to Herald Square

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

One of the most spectacular sights you can witness is the lighting of the 78-foot, 10-ton Norway Spruce tree with over 45,000 LED lights. This yearly event is free and everyone is welcome to watch. Atrip to Rockefeller Center wouldn’t be complete with a skate at the Rink.

Photo by Anthony Quintano (Flickr)
Photo by Anthony Quintano (Flickr)
Photo by Angelo Amboldi (Flickr)
Photo by Angelo Amboldi (Flickr)

*Rockefeller Center on 49th St between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

New Years Eve Ball Drop at Times Square

Almost everyone turns to Time Square to witness the ball drop as we enter the New Year. The tradition has spread throughout the world and it such wonderful sight to witness.

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*Times Square Manhattan, NY 10036

7 Weekend Getaways from San Francisco

San Francisco is considered a hub for artists, business and leisure but even then the hustle and bustle can be much and travelers and locals alike seek a nearby getaway for rest and relaxation. We have 7 suggestions for you to try in the proximity of San Francisco.

Sausalito

A quaint small waterfront town is an idealic place to get some rest and relaxation. The main attraction here are the beautifully decorated homes that align a series of docks. Also worth visiting are the Point Bonita Lighthouse and the Nike Missle site.

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Napa Valley

Take in the vast expnse of the Napa Valley which is home to wine caves and features olive oils, tomatoes, and cheeses as well.

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Sonoma

Sonoma is a popular wine country and wedding destination. The Gundlach Bundschu Winery is the oldest family winery here. Also highlighted are the farm-to-table restaurants, spas, and parks.

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Santa Barbara

A picturesque view is what you’ll be getting when you make a trip to Santa Barbara. Sunny skies and lush gardens and wine country welcome you as you cascade through the quaint downtown.

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Carmel by the Sea

A seaside twin filled with art, wine and history, Carmel by the Sea boasts of a lovely beach side which runs fro Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach.

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Half Moon Bay

The coastal town of Half Moon Bay gives you resorts and day spas for that rest and relaxation you’ve been seeking. Don’t forget to try horseback riding at Sea Horse Ranch.

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Mendocino

The combination of an amazing ocean view, art galleries, hiking and whale watching on the Mendocino Coast is enough for anyone to want to make a trip here for the weekend. With only less than three hours drive from the city you’ll be far enough away to be in paradise.

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Search for accommodations in San Francisco 

Parades – Experience American Culture in Revelry

To experience the American holiday spirit, parades make for the best visual choice. As a cultural melting pot, the U.S. gathers the quintessence of all cultures in its parades. We are going to present to you the most famous U.S. parades. If you happen to be near any of them, you have to make sure to drop by and enjoy the festivities.

Mardi Gras Parade

It has been said if you haven’t been to the Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans, Louisiana, you haven’t been to a real parade. After you go to the Mardi Gras Parade, you may never find another one as interesting again. Mardi Gras is a traditional holiday celebrated in the South. Mardi Gras is French meaning Fat Tuesday when people have a feast on greasy food the day before fasting. Mardi Gras usually lasts for two weeks. Meanwhile there is a parade going on everyday. The parading procession walks down the road slowly with floats and performers throw beads, coins, cups and toys into the crowd, pushing the parade to a new high. Anyone who has been to the Mardi Gras Parade would say it is “the carnival of the earth”.

Photo credit: Pixabay skeeze
Photo credit: Pixabay skeeze

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Speaking of the best U.S. parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the most nominated. It is an annual parade organized by department store chain Macy’s. Originated in 1924, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the second oldest Thanksgiving parade in America. The parade starts at 9 a.m., lasting 3 hours. It is televised live on NBC. Cartoon balloons are the distinguished feature of  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. You will spot Snoopy, Angry Birds, SpongeBob and more among the floats. The parade also invites the cast of Sesame Street and artists like Panic!At The Disco, Train and Mariah Carey to perform.

Photo credit: Flickr martha_chapa95
Photo credit: Flickr martha_chapa95

Village Halloween Parade

New York City will host the 42nd Halloween Parade this year. It was first organized by Greenwich Village in 1974. By holding this large-scale parade, New York wishes to stimulate the imagination and creation in citizens. Monsters, wizards, aliens, pirates and cartoon characters are standard for Halloween parades, but people’s imagination is far beyond these. People always have original ideas and they try every means possible to make them true. Watching the spooky walking costumes in the street might make you think of the song “Welcome to the Black” by My Chemical Romance. Village Halloween Parade has become the most expected event in New York and is called “the carnival of New York”.

Photo credit: Flickr editrixie
Photo credit: Flickr editrixie

The Rose Parade

The Rose Parade was founded by the social club Valley Hunt Club in 1890. It is hosted on January 1 every year in Pasadena, California. The Rose Parade has a different theme each year, changing with the era. The best marching bands and the best floats present a fresh and novel show. The Rose Parade chooses a person or a character as its grand marshal every year who brings happiness to people and encourages people to be a better person.

Photo credit: Flickr Prayitno
Photo credit: Flickr Prayitno

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Chicago is the best city to experience St. Patrick’s Day. When the day comes, even the Chicago River becomes green. Later, marching bands, floats and performers will raise the holiday atmosphere. The first Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in 1834. It attracts one million people every year, equivalent to half of the popularity of Chicago. The gentle green water and the furious green crowd advance side by side, forming a magnificent scene.

Photo credit: Flickr Events Yorkshire
Photo credit: Flickr Events Yorkshire

The District: Must Visit Monuments in Washington D.C

The State Capital, Washington DC holds many of the landmarks and monuments that are symbolic of the country’s history as well as freedom. Along with the monuments the district also holds the three branches of government making it a central figure in American politics. Make sure to visit these areas to make the most of your visit to the capital.

  • Lincoln Memorial

Built to honor then president Abraham Lincoln, the memorial is symbolic of the impact that Lincoln was able to give to the United States of America. From the symbolic columns to the inaugural speech one cannot help but feel the amount of history that the monument represents.

Photo credit: Pixabay MonicaVolpin
Photo credit: Pixabay MonicaVolpin
  • The Washington Monument

Erected in commemoration of George Washington the Washington Monument is an obelisk that is considered as the tallest of its kind as well as being the tallest stone structure. With various memorial stones coming from various groups also added to the solemnity of the structure.

Photo credit: Pixabay Swan44
Photo credit: Pixabay Swan44
  • The Three Branches of Government

No visit to the capital is ever complete without visiting the US Capitol, the US Supreme Court, as well as the White House. Make sure to book guided tours to fully enjoy your visit. Some tours (like the case viewing for the Supreme Court) have limited slots so be sure to book in advance.

US Capitol Flickr Nicolas Raymond
US Capitol Photo credit: Flickr Nicolas Raymond
US Supreme Court Flickr www.GlynLowe.com
US Supreme Court Photo credit: Flickr www.GlynLowe.com
White House Flickr www.GlynLowe.com
White House Photo credit: Flickr www.GlynLowe.com
  • The Holocaust Museum

A very solemn memorial, the Holocaust museum is a must visit for anyone who plans to go to Washington DC. The museum provides guided tours that explain the events that led to the holocaust as well as its impact during its time.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  • National Museum of Natural History

Administered by the Smithsonian Institution, the museum offers various collections of specimens and artifacts from geology to human origins and western cultures.

Photo credit: Flickr www.GlynLowe.com
Photo credit: Flickr www.GlynLowe.com

TIP! Make sure to check out guided tours as well as museum hours for visits! Given that the museum is free of admission more often than not the place is packed with people.

Not the Typical Rodeo: Must See Unusual Places to Visit in Texas

The great state of Texas has a lot to offer. From historical sites to arguably the best barbecue joints, Texas is a must visit place whenever you visit the USA or if you plan on having a road trip with friends and family. Texas has a lot more to offer especially for those who would want to visit offbeat, off the grid, wacky and unique attractions. That’s why here’s a shortlist of must visit wacky and outrageous Texas attractions.

  • Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame

Relive those old western films in this homage to the “Wild Wild West”. From viewings on collector pieces to interactive cowboy exhibits the Cowboy Hall of Fame has everything for anyone who wants to be like John Wayne.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
  • Stonehenge II and Easter Island heads

A replica monument for those who can’t go to the real thing. This scale replica stands in an empty field which is perfect for a side stop during a road trip.

Stonehenge II Flickr Andrew Nourse
Photo credit: Flickr Andrew Nourse
Easter Island heads Corey Taratuta Flickr
Photo credit: Flickr Corey Taratuta
  • Sparky Park

Another place for eccentric art, this abandoned electric sub-station is now the home of various eccentric pieces of art made from the very same pieces of the station. It’s a quirky place to bring family especially the kids.

Photo credit: Flickr lee leblanc
Photo credit: Flickr lee leblanc
  • Barney Smith’s Toilet Art Museum

I know not the most appealing art museum to visit but then again art is free expression. This is precisely what retired plumber Barney Smith did to express himself through art on toilet lids. Believe us it’s worth it to drop by and enjoy the art work while chit-chatting with the artist himself.

Barney Smiths Toilet Art Museum Flickr juliegomoll
Photo credit: Flickr juliegomoll
  • Starship Pegasus

What better way to cap off a roadtrip than to have a photo op with an intergalactic vessel. This former eatery and entertainment center is perfect for those random stops during a long road trip.

Photo credit: Flickr Beth Felice
Photo credit: Flickr Beth Felice

The Must-Attend U.S. Music Festivals

Being the largest music industrial market, the U.S. is the most chosen place to host numerous music festivals every year. Some of the music festivals become annual events because of their extreme popularity around the world. Whether you like rock, country, R&B, hip-hop or electronic, you can always find the one you want to attend from the following list of the most famous U.S. music festivals with all themes.

Bonnaroo 

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Bonnaroo Music Festival was founded by Superfly and AC Entertainment which has been held on a farm in Tennessee every summer lasting 4 days. With jazz rock and folk rock as its base, it has gradually become a diverse music festival. Arctic Monkeys、Elton John、Nine Inch Nails、Paul McCartney、The White Stripes、Metallica、Red Hot Chili Peppers, these familiar names are driving nearly 100 thousand audience to Bonnaroo every year. After experiencing the hot wave of music, you can go to art booths, food stands, the movie tent or the ferris wheel to clear your mind.

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CMA Music Festival 

Jason Aldean performs at Nissan Stadium on Thursday, June 9 at the 2016 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville.
Jason Aldean performs at Nissan Stadium on Thursday, June 9 at the 2016 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville.

Organized by the Country Music Association, CMA Music Festival is held in Nashville, Tennessee every year. Besides all the fascinating mini concerts, this four-day music festival includes autograph session, meet-and-greet sessions and gatherings of fan clubs. With over 400 musicians attending CMA each year, music lovers from all countries catch the festival to take a close encounter with their favorite musicians.

CMA

Coachella 

Coachella

Coachella Festival is an annual music event hosted in Indio, California lasting 2 to 3 days. As the largest local music festival, Coachella never fails to assemble an amazing lineup. AC/DC and Drake were invited last year. Several stages take turn to host visual and aural feasts, taking audience to the heaven of music. Besides live music, art is another feature of Coachella Festival. Local and international artists are eager to participate and showcase their works in one of the most popular worldwide event. What’s worth mentioning is Coachella uses a different activity to promote environmental friendly initiatives.

Ozzfest

Ozzfest

Centering on heavy metal and hard rock, Ozzfest has a U.S. tour every year. Marilyn Manson, Disturbed and Slipknot are the frequent guests of Ozzfest. Creator of Ozzfest, Ozzy Osburne, has performed at Ozzfest with his wife and son ten times. Since heavy metal and hard rock are the visual pioneer of music industry, Ozzfest no doubt brings massive aural and visual impact. When your soul stirs with the music, you will have the profound feeling of “rock never dies”.

Sasquatch! 

Sasquatch Flickr k.par.photo

Sasquatch! Music Festival takes place on the Memorial Day weekend in Washington, lasting three to four days. Even though Sasquatch! has a focus on indie rock, it covers a wide range of music genres. Because of the high demand on tickets in 2014, the organizer made an exception and extended the event to two weeks. You can choose to camp near the venue to make the most of the festival.

Warped Tour

Warped Tour has toured the U.S. every summer since 1995. It’s a rock music festival with the largest scale and longest history in North America. Rock is Warped Tour’s forever theme. Other music elements have been added gradually. Here is a fun fact about Warped Tour. Each year, there is a designated “BBQ Band” who cooks for other bands and crew in order to have the chance to perform at Warped Tour. Warped Tour rapidly became a hot issue since the first tour. Its fire has spread to Australia, Japan, Europe and other places. Warped Tour will perform in 41 cities in North America with big names like Mayday Parade, New Found Glory, Sum 41 and Yellowcard in the lineup. Rock kids must not miss out!

The scene today at #vanswarpedtour Cuyahoga Falls #warpedtour Photo @dahermike

A photo posted by Vans Warped Tour (@vanswarpedtour) on

The Smoke House: Texas’ Top Barbecue Joints and Restaurants

You may have tasted the best barbecue in your neighborhood and it may be good or great but nothing speaks of original barbecue than good old Texas grillin’. Be it ribs, smoked sausages, or tender brisket nothing beats the Texas grill. Here’s a short list of must try places to get your BBQ fix.

  • Black’s Barbecue, Lockhart 

A Texas treasure. There is no other way to start a list on the best Texan BBQ joints but with the BBQ institution of Texas. Maintained by a single family since its founding, Black’s offers mouth-watering and traditional barbecue that is sure to rival any neighborhood best.

Black's Barbecue

Visit them

215 North Main St Lockhart, Texas 78644

  • La Barbecue, Austin 

This food trailer offers one of the best BBQs and grills in all of Austin with brisket and ribs that are second to none in Austin.

La Barbecue

Visit them

Aztec Food Park 1906 E Cesar Chavez Austin, TX 78702

  • Franklin Barbecue, Austin 

Widely considered as the best barbecue in all of Texas, this barbecue institution is a must try for any barbecue junkie out there. Be sure to go early to avoid the avid fans and the lines that follow.

Franklin Barbecue 2

Visit them

900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702, USA

  • Cooper’s Old Time Pit Barbecue 

Straight from the pit, Cooper’s values their meat quality whose flavor is only enhanced by the sauce that comes with it.

Cooper's Old Time Pit Barbecue

Visit them

604 West Young Street Llano, TX 78643

  • Corkscrew Barbecue, Spring 

Be early! This is a no frills barbecue joint. Go grab your meat and pick a place to sit so you can enjoy the succulent beef and turkey that this barbecue joints prides itself on.

Corkscrew Barbecue

 Visit them

26608 Keith Street, Spring, 77373