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Photography by Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

With the fall finally here, it’s a good bet that you and your friends will be headed out to arguably the most traditional festival of the season — Oktoberfest. And while I think it’s safe to say most of us won’t be making the trip to Munich for the official celebration (Sept. 20-Oct. 5), there are plenty of options stateside for a real taste of Germany. Whether it’s in a small town, major city, German beer hall or vintage barn, Oktoberfest is always great fun. But we’re not talking about the generic beer garden and polka band here. We’re talking about German-American communities getting down the same way their ancestors and countrymen have been doing across the pond for centuries. I mean, you wouldn’t go to a Mexican restaurant for St. Patrick’s Day, would you? Of course not!

So let’s break out the bratwurst, slap down some sauerkraut and, of course, tap the kegs on some of America’s most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations.

Cincinnati (Sept. 19-21)

Perhaps the largest and most popular Oktoberfest in the US is smack dab in the middle of the country —not surprisingly, in a city rich with German culture. Cincinnati (or Zinzinnati this time of year) plays host to thousands of Oktoberfest supporters, young and old, each fall with the city’s signature festival. With six blocks closed down for the party, there is plenty of room for you and your friends to don some lederhosen, down a few liters of beer and stuff your faces with German cuisine. Founded in 1976, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati may be best known for earning its place in the Guinness Book of Records by setting the mark for the world’s largest Chicken Dance at the time, with 48,000 people in 1994. The traditional dance is still going strong 20 years later, along with numerous other German games and dances throughout the three-day festival. READ MORE

And the Nominees for Most Dramatic Getaway Are…

Photography by Moment Open / Getty Images

This year was a fantastic year for TV dramas, from Game of Thrones to Downton Abbey to House of Cards. Honestly, it’s hard to pick a favorite among the nominees. But the best part about some of our favorite dramatic series (aside from the writing and the acting, of course) is that they took us to a few epic, sweeping landscapes, perfect for inspiring your own dramatic adventure.

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Go behind the tent for a look at one of America’s last traveling sideshows in our brand new web series, All American Sideshow. Watch as the World of Wonders Sideshow kicks off circus season with eye-catching headliners including sword-swallower Tommy, knife-thrower Spif and “Diva of Danger” Sunshine. These daring performers share their unique take on travel while living in a tractor-trailer and entertaining the masses in towns across America.

 

When they’re not on the road, the sideshow crew heads to Gibsonton, FL. Dubbed the “weirdest place in America,” Gibtown has long been the winter retreat for the carnie and circus community. Watch as sideshow owner Ward Hall harkens back to the days when you could find yourself bellying up to the local bar with a giant, a bearded lady and the “living half-girl.”

To see even more freaky performances, check out the rest of the All American Sideshow web series, and get a look at some behind-the-tent photos.

Photography by Getty Images News

When the winter thaws and the days get warmer, many people look forward to hitting the beach, grilling outside and baking away that pasty, cold weather glow. But for those of us within fan culture, summer is the season of the con.

Although cons, short for comic and fan conventions, already take place nearly every weekend across the nation, the warm months are a prime time for nerdery. For me, the uptick of blockbuster superhero and genre flicks in theaters during the summer, along with more free time spent daydreaming or reading –not to mention extra opportunities to strike a hero pose in the sunshine — makes me want to hangout even more with my fellow fans. READ MORE

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Photography by Getty Images

There’s no better way to experience the history, soul and charm of The Big Easy than at a festival. While Mardi Gras is the most popular and well-known festival in New Orleans, the celebrations don’t stop there. With more than 400,000 attendees each year, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, also known as Jazz Fest, is the city’s second most popular festival. 

Taking place from April 25 to May 4 this spring at the Fair Grounds Race Course, this 10-day, 2 weekend festival celebrates the music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana with live music, authentic Louisiana cuisine and crafting. READ MORE

Tribeca Film Festival

Photography by Tribeca Film Festival

From April 16-27, the hip NYC neighborhood of Tribeca will welcome film fanatics from around the world for the 13th annual Tribeca Film Festival.

With more than 5,000 submissions from around the world, many of the films selected for this year’s festival will be showing for the first time as North American, international or world premieres. Starting at $9 for late-night or weekday matinee tickets, festival-goers will have the opportunity to be among the films’ first viewers. READ MORE

Fox Searchlight Pictures

So many of Wes Anderson’s whimsical films have had us wanting to escape to dreamy destinations – from under-the-sea in Life Aquatic to seaside New England in Moonrise Kingdom. And with a name like The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson’s much-anticipated film opening this weekend, we think this one might be his most travel inspiring film yet, bringing us back to a time when travel was grand and dripping with glamour.

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The White House

Photo by Thinkstock

Chances are if you’re reading this post you spent a good part of your long weekend binge-watching House of Cards Season 2. Those of you who have been sucked into Netflix’s Emmy-award-winning political thriller know the simple truth: It’s the Underwoods’ world and we’re just living in it.

Location manager Patrick Burn did a wonderful job of capturing Washington’s well-known landmarks and neighborhoods, while shooting almost exclusively in nearby Baltimore due to its tax incentives. He told Variety, “I scouted all over DC to see what we needed, and then we created our own DC in Baltimore.”

In fact, the viewers’ only glimpse of the real DC is mostly relegated to the show’s opening sequence, which features the White House as well as North Capitol Street and Nationals Park. Ironically, when Frank Underwood takes the mound it’s at the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards. Wait – you haven’t watched that far yet? We promise no more “spoilers.”

Since all of this drama and deception takes place in Travel Channel’s own backyard, we couldn’t help but wonder which real destinations could have inspired the DC you see in House of Cards.

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Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Music fans will be cozied up by the TV tonight to watch the 56th annual Grammy Awards, broadcast live from LA.  Not only will fans be sitting on the edge of their seats in anticipation of who will win the coveted award, but they will also be poised to see and hear some top-notched performances that are creating a lot of buzz.

Sunday is a big Nielsen ratings night for the popular TV show, Downton Abbey, but producers of the awards show are hoping to attract more viewers by including some exciting collaborative performances like Jay-Z and Beyonce; Robin Thicke and Chicago; and yes, a Beatles reunion with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. The remaining members of the ’60s band will take the stage to perform in a tribute to commemorate the British rockers’ first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago.

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The day has finally come. Almost a decade after the release of the first Anchorman film, Ron Burgundy and the KVWN San Diaaaaago news team are back. Yesterday marked the highly anticipated (and cameo-packed) release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, where anchorman (NOT anchorlady) Ron Burgundy and his news team take their … er… talents … to “GNN,” the very first 24-hour cable news network. READ MORE

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