Mad About March
We’re mad for March, absolutely, certifiably mad. Men’s basketball tops our list, plus spring break, a new cruise and, of course, St. Paddy’s Day. See what else we’re mad about this month!
Spring BreakEven if you’re years out of school, spring break can still be a a great excuse to get away. Just imagine lots of sun, sand and Absolut-ly good times with friends! Check out these spring break party spots to plan your warm-weather escape. 960 1280
St. Patrick’s DayEveryone’s Irish on March 17th. In celebration of Ireland’s most famous patron saint, don your best shamrock green, and head to one of these St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world. 960 1280
Napa Valley MarathonLooking for an inspiring place to get active? Few locales can beat sunny, scenic Napa Valley. 2014 will mark the 36th anniversary of the annual Napa Valley Marathon -- a 26.2-mile course bordered by world-class vineyards. 960 1280
HanamiGet ready for some “flower viewing.” From the end of March to early May, cherry blossoms (known as “sakura”) bloom all over Japan. The practice of hanami goes back centuries; today the tradition of flower viewing continues as thousands of people fill parks each year to hold feasts under the flowering trees or take boat rides nearby, like here in Tokyo’s Inokashira Park. 960 1280
Merrie Monarch FestivalThink “hula,” and you probably also think “Hawaii.” The person who helped ensure that long-standing association is Kalakua, the last reigning king of Hawaii, who revived the hula after it had been banned under Christian missionary influence in 1830. Celebrate the hula -- and the “Merrie Monarch” who fought for its preservation -- in this annual weeklong festival in Hilo, HI. 960 1280
MSC Preziosa CruiseAll aboard! March 2014 will mark the 1-year anniversary of this luxury cruise ship owned and operated by MSC Cruises. The maiden voyage starts from Saint-Nazaire (in western France) to Genoa, Italy. The ship will feature 1,751 cabins, as well as 21 bars, 4 principal restaurants and much more. 960 1280
HoliPaint the town red … and yellow … and whatever other colors you can get your hands on. This annual spring festival of colors, marked by Hindus worldwide, celebrates spring’s abundant colors. Participants throw colored powder at each other … and go wild. 960 1280
Las FallasOne onlooker described this annual fiesta in Valencia, Spain, as “a cross between a bawdy Disneyland, Fourth of July and the end of the world.” Each year, the town oversees “Las Fallas” (which literally means “the fires” in Valencian), a 5-day celebration involving the creation and burning of ninots (“puppets” or “dolls”). Pyromaniacs welcome. 960 1280
Spring EquinoxAh, the first day of spring. On the equinox, night and day are exactly the same length (12 hours) all over the world. (The term “equinox” means “equal night” in Latin.) Celebrate the first day of spring at Mexico’s Kukulkan Pyramid (pictured), where locals and tourists come to recreate the parties that accompanied the equinox celebrations thousands of years ago (minus the cutting out of hearts!). 960 1280
SXSWHead to the largest music festival of its kind in the world! 2014’s South by Southwest festival in Austin features a conversation with Edward Snowden and a keynote address by actress Lena Dunham. 960 1280
Kentucky DerbyOn your mark, get set … it’s off to Louisville for the granddaddy of all horse races. In time-honored tradition, the 140th annual Kentucky Derby -- the first leg of the Triple Crown -- kicks off the first Saturday in May. Settle into your seat at Churchill Downs racetrack on Central Avenue, sip a mint julep and enjoy the "Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports." 960 1280
Mother’s Day Tea at The PlazaMom is always fussing over you, now’s your chance to turn the tables -- in style. Treat Mom to afternoon tea at The Plaza’s Tea Room. A tradition since the hotel opened in 1907, tea at this NYC landmark has inspired scenes in popular films and novels, including Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Mom can enjoy a selection of sandwiches and savories from the Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages and The New Yorker menus. 960 1280
Cannes Film FestivalLa lumière, la caméra, l'action! Slip on some shades, and head to the French Riviera for the largest annual showcase of cinema in the world. Don’t have a ticket to events inside the Palais des Festivals et des Congres building where the festival is held? Pas de probleme! Enjoy open-air shows at the Cinema de la Plage, and for celebrity sightings show up extra-early outside the Palais. You may just spot Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman or Steven Spielberg on this year’s red carpet. 960 1280
Indianapolis 500Rev up for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Part of the Triple Crown of Motorsports (with the Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans right behind) this annual race is quite possibly the largest single-day sporting event in the entire world, attracting roughly 400,000 spectators. Head to Indianapolis the last weekend in May, and prepare for a high-speed show around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval circuit. 960 1280
Brighton Festival, EnglandEnjoy a 3-week celebration of music, theater, dance, art and film at the 47th annual Brighton Festival. Held each May in the southeastern English city of Brighton and Hove, the gathering is the largest multi-art form festival in all of England: More than 370 performances from artists such as Sinead O’Connor and 3-time Grammy winner Lucinda Williams, are slated for 2013. 960 1280
Shenandoah Apple Blossom FestivalTake in the small-town charm of Winchester, VA, in this 6-day celebration of spring. First held in 1924, the annual festival packs a wallop of more than 30 events into its lineup: band competitions, dances, parades, carnival, a 10K race, the coronation of Queen Shenandoah and so much more, attracting crowds in excess of 250,000. 960 1280
Whale Watching, Stellwagen BankDid winter come and go without you getting a chance to see whales? There’s still time: Between May and September, more than 400 orcas swim in the waters around Canada’s Vancouver Island. Or head to the Azores, the Portuguese archipelago about 1,000 miles from Lisbon, where sperm whales gather from May to October. Closer to home, Stellwagen Bank, a submerged sandbank between Cape Cod and Cape Ann in Massachusetts, attracts the endangered North Atlantic right whale to its waters. 960 1280
Atlanta Food & Wine FestivalWhen chef Mark Abernathy of Arkansas restaurants Red Door and Loca Luna kicks the bucket, he wants to skip heaven and head straight for this food extravaganza. Such is the praise heaped on this annual fest by critically acclaimed chefs. Now in its third year, the gathering celebrates the best of Southern cuisine’s past and future, with cooking and cocktail demos, tasting tents and seminars on everything from the history of the Southern cocktail to Southern beer culture. 960 1280
National Bike MonthDust off that old bike, or buy a new one: It’s National Bike Month. Cities nationwide, including Austin, Boston, Santa Barbara, and Portland (pictured), are among the cities actively participating in the event. In San Francisco, you’ll find “energizer stations” this month, with food, drinks, red blinky lights and reflective leg bands available for bikers participating in the month-long public awareness campaign. Sounds like a great way to get free stuff -- and get in shape! 960 1280
Cinco de MayoCelebrate Cinco de Mayo (meaning "fifth of May" in Spanish) right here in the United States. Nationwide, there are more than 120 official US celebrations, spanning 21 states, in cities such as Cleveland, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta. The holiday stretches back to the first few years of the American Civil War, when Mexican-American communities sought to commemorate the causes of freedom and democracy. Head to downtown Denver for one such celebration: Here, members of a Mexican folkloric dance academy perform at the city’s Civic Center Park.
Vesak (Buddha Day)Seeking enlightenment? Celebrate Buddha’s birthday this May. Or take in the festivities as Buddhist devotees mark the occasion in Southeast Asian countries from Nepal to the Indonesian island of Java (pictured). Here, Buddhist monks pray at Borobudur, a 9th-century temple (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) that is Indonesia’s single most visited tourist attraction. 960 1280
Carlsbad Caverns National ParkHead to this amphitheater at Carlsbad Caverns National Park for a grand show: Each May Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from a large, rocky passage within Carlsbad Cavern in search of a tasty mix of insects for dinner. In case you’ve happened on this wondrous sight in southeastern New Mexico with your family (and your kids have questions), a park ranger gives an informative talk as visitors wait for the bats to come out. 960 1280
May’s Must-Dos 12 Photos
Lollapalooza (Chicago)Head to Chicago's historic Grant Park for a 3-day, ultimate jam session featuring artists from a variety of genres, including alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock and hip-hop. Past performances have included Charlie XCX, Tyler the Creator, Kings of Leon, Eminem and Lorde. 960 1280
La Tomatina (Bunol, Spain)Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes are the star of this annual tomato-throwing festival. La Tomatina, possibly the world's biggest food fight, has been held in the town of Bunol in the Valencia region of Spain since 1945. Let loose and start throwing, just make sure to bring a pair of goggles -- more than 100 tons of over-ripe tomatoes will be thrown into the streets!
Happy Birthday, Hawaii!Do your patriotic duty, and honor the Aloha State with a visit this month -- August 21 marks Hawaii?s admittance as the 50th state. Lap up the waves on Oahu's North Shore; and for culinary fare, we've got the inside scoop on 4 ways to eat like a local on Oahu. 960 1280
Elvis Week (Memphis, TN)Shake, rattle and roll! Memphis, TN, marks its annual Elvis Week celebration each August. There's always something for Elvis fans, including the big draw each year, the annual Elvis Tribute Artists contest. Who will be crowned the King? 960 1280
Maine Lobster Festival (Rockland, ME)The annual Maine Lobster Festival kicks off this month, and you won't want to miss a moment of it! Over the course of the 5-day festival, more than 20,000 lbs. of lobster will be served -- lobster rolls, lobster wraps, lobster Caesar salad? Did we say lobster? Plus, see the annual Lobster Crate Race, cooking contest and the Maine Sea Goddess coronation! 960 1280
Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival (Seattle)Get a full dose of culture during Labor Day weekend. Head to Seattle for this music and arts fest -- it's one of the largest in North America. Bumbershoot began in 1971; today the annual gathering draws artists in film, music, spoken word, theater, dance, visual arts and more. Like we said, it's big. 960 1280
US Open Tennis Tournament (Queens, NY)The stars of tennis hit the court for one of the oldest tennis championships in the world. First held in 1881, the US Open is the fourth and final tennis major of the year’s Grand Slam tournaments -- and the only one held in North America. The cash prize can has been more than $24 million. See the high-stakes action in Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY.