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Museums, Galleries, Music and More

Travelers discover a world of wonder when they embrace a destination's arts and culture. Whether you examine the Mona Lisa's mysterious smile in Paris, walk in soldiers' footsteps on Civil War battlefields or shimmy to live music in Nashville, cultural attractions can be the highlight of any vacation.

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Venice’s Carnevale
Venice's Carnevale

Venice's Carnevale

Carnevale, in Venice, Italy, is a huge winter festival with parades, public and private masquerade balls, entertainment and music.  The annual festival starts 40 days before Easter and ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.  Decorative Venetian masks are an important part of carnevale. A jury of international costume and fashion designers vote for the best mask during the last week of the celebration. 960 1280

Frank Kovalchek, Wikimedia Commons  

Rio’s Carnival

Rio’s Carnival

This world-famous festival is held before Lent, every year. It’s considered the biggest carnival in the world. Two million people flood the streets during the 1-day event that is the culmination of a fierce dance competition between rival samba schools. Each school must have an overall theme and 6 to 8 floats, and it’s not uncommon for 1 school to be represented by thousands participants.  The first festival dates back to 1723. 960 1280

Getty  

Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival

Celebrity alert! This film festival, held in Park City, Utah, showcases new work from American and international independent filmmakers.  It is the largest independent cinema festival in the US, and comprised of non-competitive and competitive sections, including feature-length documentary films. Actor Robert Redford’s company, Sterling Van Wagenen, started the first film festival in 1978. 960 1280

Getty  

New Orleans’ Mardi Gras

New Orleans’ Mardi Gras

The New Orleans Carnival season officially starts, on January 6th and ends in February, the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras, aka “The Greatest Show on Earth,” specifically refers to the Tuesday before Lent. Most tourists center on Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, but most of the major parades originate in the Uptown and Mid-City districts and follow a route along St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street. 960 1280

Getty  

Winter Party Festival

Winter Party Festival

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force hosts the White Party Festival in Miami Beach. It’s 1 of the world’s biggest celebrations for the LGBT community. During the 6-day event are 9 spectacular dance parties with more than 10,000 guests from around the world. The proceeds from this non-stop party go to local nonprofit organizations. To date, The Task Force has donated $1.2 million to LGBT Community Projects Funds of the Miami Foundation. Kick up your heels for a cause. 960 1280

Elvert Barnes, Flickr  

Quebec City’s Winter Carnival

Quebec City’s Winter Carnival

Quebec City’s Winter Carnival is the largest and most popular winter celebration in the world. Visitors spend more than $42 million per winter in this city of winter wonder. The festival starts during the last week in January and ends in mid-February. Some of the fun festivities include the Uniprix 400-feet ice slide, dog sled racing, snow rafting, the Arctic Spas Village, outdoor dance parties, night parades, winter camping, and much more. 960 1280

Morgan, Flickr  

Frozen Dead Guys Day

Frozen Dead Guys Day

Nederland, CO, hosts this unique, annual festival, based on an old story about a Norwegian citizen Trygve Bauge, and how she brought her deceased grandfather, Bredo Morstol, to the US, preserved on dry ice and stored in liquid nitrogen.  The townspeople discovered the cryonic state corpse in 1994. During the first full week of March, the town keeps locals and tourists entertained with coffin races, a slow-motion parade, “Frozen Dead Guy” lookalike contests, snow sculpture contests, snowshoe races and a polar plunge, for those who can brave a cold swim. 960 1280

Matt Beldyk, Flickr  

Yukon Quest

Yukon Quest

Looking for a fun sporting event? In February, head to Alaska to cheer on mushers and their sled dog teams, as they make their 1,000-mile, 10- to 16-day trek, from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon in Canada. The Yukon Quest Trail follows historical Gold Rush and Mail Delivery dog sled routes from the turn of the 20th Century.  The champion wins a $35,000 purse. 960 1280

WwwBrooks, Flickr  

Ottawa’s Winterlude

Ottawa’s Winterlude

In Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec, they celebrate Winterlude or in French, Bal de Neige. Canada’s National Capital Commission runs the 3-week winter festival in February, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.  There’s no shortage of things to keep people busy. Some activities and entertainment include musical concerts, an ice sculpture competition, ice skating in the largest ice playground, or relax and chill out in the ice lounge. 960 1280

Canadaos Capital, Flickr  

Hwacheaon Sancheoneo Ice Festiva

Hwacheaon Sancheoneo Ice Festiva

This annual festival takes place in Hwacheon, located in South Korea’s Gangwon province. This virtually untouched region is known as the first area in Korea that freezes over in the winter, and the river is covered with a thick layer of ice. Visitors can try ice fishing with their bare hands; view an exhibition of ice sculptures that take over 20 weeks to prepare; and sample raw and grilled mountain trout. The winter festival runs for almost the entire month of January. 960 1280

Korea Tourism Organization  

Valencia’s Las Fallas

Valencia’s Las Fallas

 Visit Valencia, Spain! Las Fallas, which means “the fires,” is a 5-day celebration that attracts more than 3 million flame-loving revelers. The focus of this annual fiesta is the creation and destruction of puppets, or ninots, designed to poke fun at corrupt politicians and Spanish celebrities, or they usually depict satirical scenes and current events. The ninots are set ablaze on March 18th at midnight, the day known as La Crema. One of the ninots is spared from destruction by popular vote. Other activities include bullfights, parades, paella contests and around the city. 960 1280

yourtheone, Wikimedia Commons  

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo Snow Festival

This famous festival is held in Sapporo, Japan, over a 7- day period in February. It is 1 of Japan’s largest and most distinctive events. Millions of people visit Sapporo for the International Snow Sculpture Contest, to view the impeccable, frozen art in Odori Park and Susukino. And much like any major winter festival, an annual beauty contest is held to crown a new Susukino Queen of Ice. 960 1280

City of Sapporo  

white river state park, kayaking, indianapolis, indiana
White River State Park

White River State Park

Spanning across 250 acres of downtown Indianapolis, White River State Park is a little piece of tranquility in a bustling capital city. The park hosts plenty of fairs and festivals all year long and has lots of green space for locals and tourists to enjoy on a sunny day. Inside the park, you’ll find numerous other attractions, including the Indianapolis Zoo, Victory Field and the Eiteljorg Museum. 960 1280

Courtesy Lavengood Photography  

Indiana War Memorial Plaza

Indiana War Memorial Plaza

The Indiana War Memorial Plaza contains so many tributes that it single-handedly makes Indianapolis the US city with the second-most monuments dedicated to veterans (based on number per acre). The plaza contains 2 museums, 3 parks and 24 acres of memorials in total.  960 1280

Don Klumpp/Getty Images   

Hinkle Fieldhouse

Hinkle Fieldhouse

Hinkle Fieldhouse is home to the Butler University basketball team, the Bulldogs, as well as a sports landmark in its own right, thanks to its role in the 1986 feature film Hoosiers. The venue was the stage for the dramatic state championship game and final scene, in which small-town Hickory High School defeats a much larger school from South Bend. The movie was loosely based on the run made by Milan High School in the 1954 Indiana state basketball championship. 960 1280

Michael Hickey/Getty Images  

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Art lovers should definitely check out the Indianapolis Museum of Art while visiting the city. The museum has a collection of more than 500,000 works of art. It also features national and international traveling exhibitions throughout the year. Take a stroll through the 100-acre Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, located adjacent to the museum. Or visit the Oldfields-Lily House & Gardens to get a glimpse into the lives of Indianapolis’ most interesting and prominent families. 960 1280

Serge Melki, Flickr  

Lucas Oil Stadium

Lucas Oil Stadium

Lucas Oil Stadium is home to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and the site for Super Bowl XLVI. The multipurpose facility, which has a retractable roof, seats more than 67,000 fans. Ranked as the NFL’s best artificial surface in both 2009 and 2010, the field has hosted the Big Ten football championship and the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball championship. 960 1280

Josh Hallett, Flickr  

Circle Centre Mall

Circle Centre Mall

Go shopping at the Circle Centre Mall, which features more than 100 places to shop and dine. The indoor mall also has a movie theater located on the fourth level. City Market, Shadeland Antique Mall, Castleton Square, Fashion at Keystone and Broad Ripple Village are other options where you can get your shopping fix. 960 1280

Jim Grey, Flickr  

The Canal Walk

The Canal Walk

Jog along the Central Canal or take a stroll through the 250-acre White River State Park. The Canal Walk, a 3-mile loop, is a popular urban respite for fitness enthusiasts and serenity seekers. This downtown waterfront is dotted with paddleboats, gondolas, bicycles and Segways. The one and only urban state park in the city hosts popular festivals. In the summer, the Lawn has a waterfront stage and seats 8,000. It’s the perfect spot to see first-rate concerts. 960 1280

Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association  

NCAA Hall of Champions

NCAA Hall of Champions

Indianapolis is big on college sports because it’s home to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Sports fans will enjoy a trip to the NCAA Hall of Champions. On the first level, all 23 NCAA sports are represented. Current team rankings, video highlights and artifacts donated from schools nationwide are on display. The second level, a fully interactive area, includes a media room to watch current games and a 1930s-style basketball gymnasium. Admission is $5 or less. 960 1280

Intiaz Rahim, Flickr  

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

The 284-foot-tall State Soldiers and Sailors Monument, located in the center of Indianapolis, was erected in honor of Hoosiers who served in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the US Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Get a spectacular view of the city from the monument’s observation deck for $2. The Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum is located in its basement. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

This racing facility has a capacity of up to 400,000 people and hosts both the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400. It was also the site of the US Grand Prix for Formula One from 2000 to 2008. Make sure you stop by the Hall of Fame Museum and the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort, both of which are located on the grounds of the speedway. 960 1280

Reuters  

Indianapolis Zoo

Indianapolis Zoo

Looking for a fun trip for the family? Visit the Indianapolis Zoo, which is located in White River State Park. Open since 1964, the zoo has grown into a world-class attraction that sees a million visitors each year. It plays a major role in worldwide conservation and research, too. While you’re there, stop by the stunningly beautiful, 3.3-acre White River Botanical Gardens. 960 1280

Josh, Flickr  

Conrad Indianapolis

Conrad Indianapolis

Looking for a luxury hotel when visiting Indianapolis? Try the Conrad Indianapolis, which was chosen as one of Condé Nast Traveler’s picks for top US hotels. It offers travelers fine dining, the luxurious Evan Todd Spa & Salon, and a fantastic location in the heart of the city. The Westin Indianapolis, the Omni Severin Hotel and the Canterbury are a few other hotel choices. 960 1280

Conrad Hotels & Resorts  

Victory Field

Victory Field

Opened in 1996, the home of the Indianapolis Indians (a minor league affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates) sits smack-dab in the middle of downtown. It has been recognized as the best minor league ballpark in America by Baseball America and Sports Illustrated and is a must-see for baseball lovers. 960 1280

Courtesy Carl Van Rooy Photography  

MacNiven’s Restaurant and Bar

MacNiven’s Restaurant and Bar

Grab a beer and food at MacNiven’s, a Scottish-American restaurant located in the heart of the Massachusetts Avenue Arts and Entertainment District in downtown Indianapolis. The pub offers hearty fare with an impressive craft beer selection. Try the Slippery Noodle Inn, too. It’s Indiana’s oldest bar and the home of the blues in the Hoosier State. 960 1280

Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association  

Café Patachou

Café Patachou

Café Patachou is just one of several amazing restaurants in Indianapolis. This popular spot prides itself on using locally grown and often organic ingredients to make all of its delicious dishes. Other popular restaurants in Indy include R Bistro, Naked Tchopstix and Iozzo’s Garden of Italy. 960 1280

@Stacy Newgent/swellphotoblog.com  

Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Completed in 1999, Bankers Life Fieldhouse (formerly called Conseco Fieldhouse) is the home court for Indianapolis’ pro basketball team, the Indiana Pacers. It was voted the No. 1 venue in the NBA in 2005, 2006 and 2007, according to Sports Business Journal surveys. 960 1280

VisitIndy.com  

St. Elmo Steak House

St. Elmo Steak House

St. Elmo Steak House has been a landmark in downtown Indianapolis since 1902, serving delicious steak, seafood and chops. If you’re looking for lighter, fast-food fare, we suggest you head to Bazbeaux Pizza, Boogie Burger or King David Dogs. 960 1280

Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association  

The Vogue

The Vogue

Located in Indy’s Broad Ripple neighborhood, Vogue is one of the most popular nightclubs in the city, featuring DJs who spin '80s, dance and Top 40 music. The former porn theater packs in the crowds for big dance parties. It also hosts national touring singers, rappers and bands. Club Tropicana, Blu Martini, Pepper 2, Tiki Bob’s Cantina, Subterra Lounge, Greg’s and Mineshaft Saloon are just a few other hot spots. 960 1280

mofrofans.com, Flickr   

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Indianapolis is home to the largest children’s museum in the world. Built in 1925, the 472,900-square-foot facility has tons of exhibits for kids young and old. 960 1280

Courtesy Lavengood Photography  

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Founded in 1989 by local philanthropist Harrison Eiteljorg, the museum that bears his name houses numerous collections of art and cultural objects. It is situated in downtown Indianapolis and prides itself on offering different exhibits that not only entertain, but also engage visitors. 960 1280

Courtesy Lavengood Photography  

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