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dec 10 2014

Where Does Santa Claus Go For His Post-Christmas Vacation?

(Pavel Chernobrivets/Dreamstime.com)

You're not gonna believe this, but I interviewed Santa Claus.

It happened like this: About a month ago I was thinking about how much I dislike traveling around the holidays. Call me Scrooge (who, btw, I did not interview—because he is a fictional character), but I just don't like crowds. If I have my way, I take my family somewhere nice after the holidays. I started thinking about who might be an expert on post-Christmas travel and it hit me: Who works harder at Christmastime—or deserves more of a break afterward—than St. Nick?

dec 09 2014

How YOU Can Take Prince William and Kate's Royal Tour of NYC

Empire State Building in New York City

Follow in Wills' footsteps and ride to the top of New York City's Empire State Building.

(Courtesy RSchatz/myBudgetTravel)

For first-time visitors to New York City, Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton sure packed in a huge amount of Big Apple highlights in record time. A whirlwind Sunday-through-Tuesday trip had the royals zooming from Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, to the Financial District to the Upper East Side, then back to London via JFK Airport in Queens—all while remaining stately and dignified.

dec 04 2014

You MUST Try These Amazing Holiday Ice Cream Flavors from Portland

Bourbon Pecan Pie ice cream

Bourbon Pecan Pie ice cream from Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon.

(Courtesy Leela Cyd Ross)

Even as temperatures across the country start to drop, ice cream will always be in season, especially if we're talking about locally made, artisanal, and downright "mmm"-worthy small-batch pints. This month, Salt & Straw Ice Cream, based in Portland, Oregon, took inspiration from the state's winter harvest to concoct five zany new limited-time holiday flavors available now until December 30.

dec 04 2014

Holiday Fun from Hollywood to the Holy Land

Think your New Year's Eve party rocks? You haven't really rung in the New Year till you've sung "Auld Lang Syne" at Edinburgh's super-rowdie Hogmanay, a three-day festival that culminates with a jump in the icy River Forth!

(Robbie Shade/Wikimedia Commons)

My buddy Rick Crandall, host of KEZW's "Boomtown" radio show in Denver, asked me to share my favorite holiday festivals and events with his audience this week. His inspiring question led me to compile a short "2014 holiday bucket list" of sorts. I heartily recommend that you incorporate at least one of these unique traditions into your holiday plans!

nov 25 2014

Coolest Small Town Nominations End on TUESDAY!

Galena, Illinois, was one of our 2014 finalists for America's Coolest Small Town! You have until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, December 2, to get YOUR picture-perfect American town nominated.

(Dustin88/Dreamstime)

We are thrilled to see so many awesome towns toot their own horns during the online nominations for America's Coolest Small Town 2015! Congrats to Hillsborough and Washington, two towns in North Carolina that have done a truly magnificent job of rallying their supporters—and they sure have gotten our attention! But there's still time to get your town noticed—online nominations run until 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, December 2. Will your town join the ranks of Huron, Ohio; Delhi, New York; and Allegan, Michigan? Those burghs are some of the highest ranking in our nominations, and we have enjoyed getting to know a lot more about what makes them so, well, cool.

nov 19 2014

The "Starry Night" Bike Path Is Like Nothing You've Ever Seen

What's your favorite painting? Hold that image in your mind for a sec, then imagine the brushstrokes, shapes, and colors brought to life—so you could actually walk right in. Whoa. Right?

Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde has brought my favorite painting to life in a unique way that melds contemporary technology with a masterpiece of 19th-century art: Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night." The Starry Night Bike Path, a winding half-mile in the city of Eindhoven that is illuminated by thousands of LED lights and special paint, interprets the swirling shapes and colors of Van Gogh's painting. I don't know about you, but for me the work of Van Gogh is highly personal—as if the artist, with his dramatic strokes and thick layers of paint, is reaching out to me across the years, teaching me a new way to see and feel. I'm psyched that a contemporary artist is attempting to transport an audience in a similar way. Roosegaarde has spoken enthusiastically about how the path, which opened to the public on November 13, makes a statement about technology and cultural history—and is also a popular spot for first dates. What's not to love?

nov 13 2014

Eat, Drink, and Laugh in L.A.! A Whole Week of Comedy Shows and Dinner Deals

Los Angeles

You can see a wide variety of L.A.'s comedy talent firsthand for 10 bucks and under.

(Steve Allen/Dreamstime.com)

No big Hollywood-star budgets and pricey nightclub bottle service here! Yes, you can experience the talent and cuisine the City of Angels offers (hello, Mexican food) for cheap. Follow the calendar below for seven days' worth of dining and live-comedy options in Los Angeles—all within walking distance of each other. Reserve your tickets ahead of time, and consider your funny bone tickled.

Monday

nov 06 2014

Is Taylor Swift the Right "Global Ambassador" for NYC?

(NYC & Company)

We're still getting our brains around the exciting—but somewhat counterintuitive—notion that pop star Taylor Swift was named New York City's Global Welcome Ambassador. She'll be representing the "Welcome to New York" campaign, named after a hit song on her new album, 1989.

nov 04 2014

Great Getaways: Providence & Bristol

Waterfire in Providence, Rhode Island

Don't wait—there are only two more chances to see WaterFire Providence in 2014!

(Courtesy Nick Millard/GoProvidence)

Located about three hours from New York City, or about an hour south of Boston, lies Providence, Rhode Island, a city famous for it's food, tolerance, and WaterFire, a spectacle you truly have to see in order to fully understand its brilliance. A 30-minute drive from Providence, you'll find the lovely little seaside town of Bristol, a great getaway spot in its own right thanks to its quirky neighborhood shops, natural surroundings, and historic mansions you can visit. If you're looking for a great fall weekend getaway or a chance to explore a wonderful combination of foodie paradise, artsy city vibes, and historic seaside towns, Providence and Bristol are the perfect places to start.

Don't miss WaterFire in Providence

oct 15 2014

Do YOU Live in America's Coolest Small Town 2015?

How does a town get to be named Coolest by Budget Travel? Ask Berlin, Maryland, which topped our 2014 list. The folks in Berlin didn't fiddle around when it came to promoting their town's coolness on our nominations page, on social media—and they even wrote a song about their beautiful burgh!

(Courtesy Worcester County Tourism)

What does it feel like to live in America's Coolest Small Town? Ask the folks in Berlin, Maryland. In February, they topped our list, edging out Cazenovia, New York, and 13 other finalists to win the 2014 title. And they threw one heck of a victory party. (We know because we were there!)

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