Where It's At (and When)

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What's the easiest way for travelers to learn about the coolest, quirkiest local events? These six websites handpick the best of the bunch.

Some 300 writers and editors sift through hundreds of events, plucking ones that'll appeal to young urban sophisticates. Versions of the website and weekly e-mail are available for New York, San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, Miami, and London. Like what? Anything and everything, though always with an edge: a collaboration between German techno artists and American DJs in Brooklyn, a stage show in London with Rik Mayall, star of the cult classic The Young Ones.

An anonymous editor keeps a blog and tracks events "for Angelenos interested in more than just driving, flirting, and (net)working," as the site's motto says. The focus is on intellectual happenings in Los Angeles, with calendars devoted to literature, science, culture, and politics. Like what? An opening reception for artist Damien Hirst, readings by French authors, foreign-film festivals.

The "guide to free booze" doles out the latest nightlife info, listing drink specials and hipster parties in Chicago, L.A., New York, and San Francisco. Each scene is rated on a scale of five glasses, with five as the coolest. Like what? Surprisingly, many classy events make the list: gallery openings, DJ nights, lounges with promotions for new vodka.

Since 1996, tech firm Laughing Squid has run an online calendar and e-mail for the San Francisco Bay area known as the Squid List. Most days, there are more than a dozen recommendations, from the bohemian to the avant-garde. Like what? Music, drama, underground comedy, rarely shown films--if it's left of mainstream, Squid List knows about it.

This is a weekly e-mail guide to New York's most progressive, under-the-radar happenings. Like what? The New York City Juggling Festival and an end-of-season party thrown by an "interactive dance" troupe.

Currently available for New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Oh My Rockness is a roster of small-venue concerts for fans hoping to hear the next big thing. Billed as an Indie Rock Show List, the site does an admirable job of covering all genres. Like what? As long as your favorite musicians don't sell out Madison Square Garden, you can find out where they're playing.

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