Few spring scenes inspire instant happiness like the cherry blossoms in full bloom on a sunny day on the National Mall. You’ve got to see them. A stroll around the Tidal Basin (despite the number of tourists) is absolutely necessary if you’re in DC over the next few weeks. Those pinky-white blooms scream “spring is here!” like nothing else. This year is particularly special because it’s the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the United States.
If you’re in DC this weekend, you’ll find a surprising number of free events that coincide with the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The opening ceremony will be held on Sunday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and will feature Grammy-nominated singer Sara Bareilles, plus other local and Japanese performers. While the event is free, you still need to register online for a ticket. READ MORE
There’s no better place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than Boston (well, OK, besides Ireland). Boston has one of the highest concentrations of Irish pubs (and people of Irish descent) in the US, and St. Paddy’s Day celebrations date back to the days before the American Revolution. But if you’re not interested in fighting through the throngs of people day-drinking along the parade route in “Southie,” put on all the green clothes you can find and head to Faneuil Hall for some family fun.
From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Faneuil Hall will feature free live entertainment on the West End Stage. Performers will include bagpipers, Irish step dancers and other Irish musical groups. We know you’ve been practicing your jig for just this occasion! READ MORE
by Amanda DiGiondomenico
To celebrate that extra day we’ve been granted this leap year, many travel destinations — from Orlando to South Africa – are trying to make those extra 24 hours worth your while. Instead of wasting away your leap day, let these 5 travel ideas inspire you to make the day something to remember.
One More Disney Day
For starters, Disney wants your leap day to be extra magical, so they are officially calling leap day, “One More Disney Day.” To commemorate the day, Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando’s Disney World and Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, will be open 24 hours straight. Once the gates open at 6 a.m. on Feb. 29, Mickey fans can have the run of the park until the rides shut down at 6 a.m. on March 1. The lines will probably be short in the wee hours of the morning, offering maximum opportunities to ride.
Leap at Martha’s Vineyard
If peace and quiet are more your speed, then head to Martha’s Vineyard for a little rest and relaxation. But don’t take yourself too seriously there; at the Vineyard Square Hotel you can score a free bottle of wine if you bring a photograph of yourself leaping over something. So let loose, find the closest leap-able object and bring someone who has a camera.
As our country’s history of racial inequality and segregation recedes slowly into the past, generations of future Washington, DC visitors will find it hard to fathom a time when African-Americans did not have the same rights as white Americans. But the civil rights movement isn’t just history. It’s part of the recent past, especially for those who can still recall a time when they had to move to the back of the bus, attend different schools and drink from separate water fountains.
We all learn about Lincoln and Jefferson in school, but none of us were alive to witness their accomplishments. That’s what makes the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial so unique. For many visitors, the struggle for racial equality is an all-too-recent memory. It’s deeply personal, especially for those who lived through the marches and heard the speeches of the civil rights movement.
Jim Abercrombie, a DC resident who has visited the memorial many times since it officially opened this past August, says, “[The memorial] means more to us because of the struggle we saw [MLK] go through to try to bring people together and have peace, and he finally got recognized for it.”
This Sunday at 9|8c, Hollywood photographer Mike Muller and his crew get up close and personal with some of the world’s most frightening creatures. The guys travel to the Beqa Lagoon in Fiji, where 8 different shark species roam the waters. Mike sets out to photograph them all, even the elusive tiger shark, nicknamed the “wastebasket of the sea” because of its reputation for eating anything … and everything.
Watch what happens when Mike’s crew attempts to take their Hollywood studio more of 60 feet beneath the water’s surface … lighting equipment and all. Mike’s tech team must find a way to pump 3,600 watts of electricity through long cables into the depths of the ocean, risking their lives for the perfect shot. Meanwhile, throngs of hungry sharks are ready for their close-up, having come to feast on the enormous (and bloody) chum bucket that “Shark Whisperer” Brandon Paige brings to the ocean floor.
Check out some of Mike’s incredible photos from the trip, and be sure to tune in Sunday, Dec. 18, at 9|8c.
Tonight at 9|8 c, catch an all-new episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover. With only 32 hours before his flight out, Tony takes the Eternal City by storm. Watch as he embarks on a high-speed tour of the city’s sights in a classic Fiat 500, gets a lesson in Italian breakfast etiquette and challenges a Roman chef to make a Hawaiian pizza that Tony actually enjoys. Also, learn all about Rome from the people who know it best: the locals.
Don’t worry about making note of all the pizzerias, salumerias and gelaterias that Tony visits and recommends in the show. If you want to replicate his trip, just take a look at our Episode & Travel Guide and read through our selection of Tony’s travel tips from the episode.
For an extra dose of Tony after the show, check out this missing scene in which he rants about airport security inefficiency.
We hope you’re as excited about the first episode of The Layover as we are at Travel Channel. There are only 3 days left to go! To get you ready for the premiere, we’ve pulled together a selection of our favorite Tony Bourdain travel tips and trivia from his Singapore layover. Did you know prostitution is legal in Singapore? Or that noodles for breakfast is totally normal? Speaking of noodles for breakfast … check out this clip from the show, where Tony meets his friend K.F. Seetoh to sample the food at Sinapore’s Changi Village Hawker Center.
Also, make sure you watch the sneak peek and click through our behind-the-scenes photos to get a taste of where else Tony’s layovers will take him.
In his first shot at the world-renowned Boston Marathon, Kenyan runner Geoffrey Mutai shattered the course record to finish in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 2 seconds. Each year 500,000 spectators line the streets of 8 Massachusetts towns to cheer on runners from all over the globe. Boston’s marathon is the oldest in the world, and there are strict standards to qualify. But each year 25,000 runners attempt to finish the winding, hilly 26.2 miles, including the infamous “heartbreak hill.”
It might be a difficult race, but many marathoners say that the crowds in Boston make it worthwhile. The marathon is held on Patriots Day each year — a holiday for many in the area. Bostonians take advantage of their day off, grab their cowbells and blow horns, and spend the day partying and cheering on the runners.
If you’re planning on shipping off to Boston for the race next year, make sure you plan ahead. Check out street closings, and take public transportation if you have the option. Head to the parts of the route where the runners need the most encouragement — heartbreak hill in Newton and the last few miles of the race in Kenmore Square are some of the best spots. If you know a runner, track their progress to be sure you don’t miss them.