By Jimmy Im
The 2012 Mayan Doomsday is upon us (insert maniacal laughter). You’d think most travelers would make plans to avoid archaeological Mayan sites on Dec. 21, but it’s in fact the other way around — and with good reason.
“End of the World” packages and tours have skyrocketed with the upcoming Dec. 12 date, which Hollywood deems the end of the world (according to experts, the Mayan calendar simply indicates Dec. 21 starts a new life cycle). There’s so much popularity around this date that Mayan-civilized countries once at the top of their game (including Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and, of course, Mexico) have seen a growth in hotel and tour bookings for next December. READ MORE
This week, big-name acts rocked out at Jazz Fest, One Word Trade Center became NYC’s tallest building, and Queen Elizabeth II continued her tour of the UK to mark her 60th year as monarch.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival …
The 42nd annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival kicked off with performances by the Beach Boys, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Buffet, along with many local musicians like Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. This weekend is set to be just as epic: Zac Brown Band, Ziggy Marley, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, the Foo Fighters, the Eagles and local bands like Rebirth Brass Band are all slated to perform. READ MORE
Whether you are actually celebrating the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla … or just looking for an excuse to eat tacos and have a margarita and a few cervezas, there are plenty of free celebrations going on around the country Saturday for Cinco de Mayo. On the 150th anniversary of the battle, the celebrations are sure to be crazier than ever, so don’t miss out! Check out a few of our picks for great, free celebrations:
Yes — Omaha! The Nebraska celebration includes the coronation of a queen, concerts, carnival games, rides and, of course, Mexican food!
The annual celebration in Denver is one of the biggest (believe it or not!), with almost 400,000 people joining in the celebrations over the past few years. Admission to Civic Center Park is free, and attendees can enjoy the traditional Mexican music played by various mariachi bands, taste Mexican tamales and tacos, and participate in the Green Chili Bowl Cook-Off. READ MORE
This week, giant puppets (yes, you read right) put on a show on the streets of Liverpool, England. Over 600,000 people turned out for the 3-day performance. Entitled “Sea Odyssey,” the show was a tribute to the Titanic, one of the many commemorative events held this month for the 100th anniversary of the ship’s tragic end.
Titanic Recreation …
A 30-foot-tall Little Girl Giant wandered the city of Liverpool with her dog Xolo, looking for her father who drowned when the Titanic sank. Luckily, her 50-foot-tall uncle was there to comfort her. The production, which ended with the giant puppets boarding a boat out of the city, was staged by the French street theatre company Royal de Luxe. It took 110 puppeteers and multiple cranes to operate the enormous marionettes. READ MORE
On April 17, visitors milling about on the National Mall in Washington, DC, got to snap some quick photos of a once-in-a-lifetime event –Space Shuttle Discovery’s very last flight. It wasn’t flying solo though; the space shuttle was mounted to a 747 carrier aircraft as it was transported to its final resting place at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Now that’s an awesome photo-op! Discovery replaced Space Shuttle Enterprise, which has now been loaded onto a 747 to be flown to JFK International Airport on Monday, April 23. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City will become the new home for the Enterprise.
This week also marked the start of the 100-day countdown to the 2012 London Olympic Games, sparking celebrations around the world. BMX Riders got air at the “100 Days Out” event held in Times Square; torch bearers unveiled a garden planted to resemble the Olympic rings — made out of over 20,000 flowers and plants — at London’s Kew Gardens; and Coca-Cola hosted a giant celebration in front of the famed Bird’s Nest in Beijing. Only 98 day left to go! READ MORE
Each year, half a million spectators line the streets of 8 consecutive Massachusetts towns to cheer on the 25,000 runners attempting to finish the winding, hilly 26.2 miles that make up the Boston Marathon. Held on Patriots’ Day — a Massachusetts holiday commemorating the beginning of the American Revolution — Boston’s marathon is the oldest and one of the most famous in the world.
But the marathon, in recent years, has obscured some other – much older – Patriots’ Day traditions.
Get a free dose of history this weekend at one of the many battle reenactments and demonstrations going on in the picturesque towns of Lexington and Concord. This Saturday, watch as 300 British and Colonial troops demonstrate the “Bloody Angle Battle.” Or get an up-close look at Parker’s Revenge when the Lexington militia company ambushes a group of British soldiers. Hartwell Tavern and the Captain William Smith House –2 historic sites that have been restored to revolutionary-era glory — will also be free and open to the public this weekend. READ MORE
There’s no better time to visit San Francisco than in April, after the rainy season has ended and before the summer fog settles over the city. You don’t have to be religious to have a hippity hoppin’ good time this weekend at the city’s annual Spring Celebration and Easter Parade.
Now in its 21st year, the event runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. this Sunday, April 8. Not only will kids get to meet the Easter bunny himself (you’d think he’d be too tired after all those basket deliveries!), but they’ll also get to ride ponies, play with all kinds of adorable furry creatures at the petting zoo, bounce around in inflatable houses and test their climbing skills on the rock wall. READ MORE
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
by Jimmy Im
It’s not all about tacos and margaritas anymore.
Last week in Cancun, spring-break revelers flooded the bars and clubs for a Mexican-style St. Patrick’s Day, while Jersey Shore‘s Snooki and JWoww filmed scenes for a new show at Beach Palace Resort. But while nightlife remains an iconic fixture of the destination, Cancun has been luring a new type of traveler: foodies. From March 15 to 18, hundreds of visitors participated in the inauguration of the region’s first food and wine festival, a boon for Cancun’s growing culinary scene.
The Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival proved that Mexican gastronomy is no joke — in fact, traditional Mexican cuisine has been named to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list — as almost 30 world-renowned chefs from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the US brought their culinary flair to the region to celebrate the local cuisine and introduce their own techniques to an emerging culinary destination.
Headlining the event was Ferran Adria from the highly touted elBulli restaurant, universally known as the world’s best restaurant for several years. (It closed in 2009.) While the festival honored Ferran at a gala reception and dinner, more than 30 culinary events were also open to the public.
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