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Heading into Pasadena, CA, for the big game? Before Florida State University and Auburn University step foot inside The Rose Bowl for tonight’s Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship, don’t miss out on all the great restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions in and around the City of Roses.

If you’re looking for an all-American dining experience in Pasadena, look no further then Pie n’ Burger, a classic burger joint that celebrates the American traditions of burgers and pie. Not in the mood for pie? No problem! Head to Pasadena’s favorite ice cream parlor, Fair Oaks Pharmacy, famous for its simple ice cream sundaes, lime rickeys and milkshakes. And after all that eating, burn off some calories with a walk down the road to stop by The Norton Simon Museum and check out the 5 must-see pieces at the museum named for a man and his money.

When I’m traveling to Pasadena, my favorite place to stay is just 20 minutes away, in the City of Angels: Los Angeles. For a classy place to stay, check out our picks for some of the city’s most romantic hotels. Also, when staying in LA, there are so many activities and restaurants that are sure to get your heart racing and your tummy growling. Don’t miss out on some of the simple, low-budget activities in the city, as well as some of LA’s most mouthwatering meals on wheels.

And for a little more family fun after the big game, a short, 45-minute drive down the I-5 from Pasadena will land you in Anaheim, home to Disneyland, beaches, hotels, restaurants and more.

Beyond the storied cities of Northern Italy, such as Venice, Florence or Milan, lie intriguing novelettes of Italy’s culture. These hidden gems bring a nuanced feeling of richness and culture that are emblematic of living life as an Italian. Travelers who are fortunate enough to venture into these smaller Northern Italian towns will be pleasantly rewarded with beautiful scenes and activities that enhance Northern Italy’s pastoral pleasures

Belluno
Cinema Tradizionale

Belluno is a small town in the Veneto region. It sits near the Eastern Dolomite region that includes part of theSouthern Alps, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this regionally influential town is a tradition that spans 4 generations. Just a few feet away from Belluno’s center you can witness the way that films have been shown there since World War II at Cinema Italiano. The cinema’s manager, Manuele Sangalli, learned the art of being a projectionist through a tradition passed down from his great-great grandfather. He’ll take you behind the scenesand show you the fascinating process of how giant spools of celluloid film are transformed to make on-screenmovie magic!

Cortina
A Mountain of Fun

If you’re already in Belluno, why not head 45 minutes north to Cortina for some fun on the slopes? That doesn’t necessarily mean skiing. Cortina d’Ampezzo is one of Italy’s premier ski areas also in the Dolomites (There’s acommon comparison between Colorado’s Aspen). There are numerous shops, restaurants and art galleries where local proprietors will chat about politics and — of course — Italy’s wonderful cuisine. Throughout the year you can attend numerous events including an “Evening Under the Stars” where you can visit the planetarium and enjoy a celestial dinner!

Longare
Triumph and Disaster

The Longare flooding disaster marks a moment in Italy’s history when the community’s successes put it at the top of the world in civil engineering. But a freak natural accident changed the town and the surrounding region forever. In the early 60s, Vajont, Italy’s dam, channeled water away from neighboring small towns but it wasn’t large enough to save thousands from a major flood when a mountaintop crumbled into a nearby reservoir. About 2,500 people in Longare lost their lives. 2013 marks the tragedy’s 50th anniversary and Italy’s government is investing more than a million dollars to commemorate the anniversary.

Conegliano
Sip and Skate

In Conegliano, you can lighten the mood a little with a perfect mix of family and fun. This town is known for its prosecco and a castle formerly inhabited by the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto. But during the colder months, Conegliano becomes a winter wonderland. The charming mixture of lighting and scenescapes at one of Conegliano’s public areas gives the effect of being in a mini Christmas festival. In one of the most exciting seasonal transformations in the community, a mini-carnival is accompanied by a family-fun ice skating rink. Anyone daring enough to step onto the ice can rent skates for about $10.

- Colin Campbell

Colin Campbell is a multimedia journalist and a graduate of Columbia University. He currently works as a DC-based correspondent for international networks reporting on US public and foreign policy matters. When he’s away from Washington he loves traveling and learning about different cultures to make the world seem a little smaller.

Today’s Daily Escape is from Disney Adventure Park in Anaheim, California. More »

Photograph by Sean Arbabi / Aurora Photos

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