Decadent December: What's Hot This Month

It's the most wonderful time of the year -- one for over-indulgence and holiday cheer! Prepare for the caloric onslaught of your favorite Christmas cookies, as well as the blinding lights.

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Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, HI)
Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, HI)

Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, HI)

See some of the world’s most elite athletes compete in the big daddy of Ironman events. More than 2,000 athletes from around the world will set out on a 140.6-mile triathlon race from Kona, HI. Come as a participant, spectator or volunteer because this is one competition you won’t soon forget.   960 1280

Reuters  

New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con

Gear up as the X-Men or any other favorite action hero at the largest comic and pop culture celebration on the East Coast. Showcasing the latest in comics, graphic novels, video games, anime and more, New York Comic Con kicks off at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. 960 1280

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Taste of DC

Taste of DC

What better place to enjoy Columbus Day weekend than in the city that bears the famed explorer’s name? Head to Washington, DC, for a Taste of DC, an annual showcase featuring more than 40 area restaurants and live musical performances. 960 1280

USDAgov/ Lance Cheung, flickr   

Shocktoberfest (Sinking Spring, PA)

Shocktoberfest (Sinking Spring, PA)

Experience the Unknown at Shocktoberfest in Sinking Spring, PA. Halloween revelers can take the “Almost” Naked and Scared Challenge and explore this spooky house in nothing but their, um, knickers. 960 1280

Shocktoberfest  

Acadia National Park (Maine)

Acadia National Park (Maine)

Catch a glimpse of Maine’s gorgeous fall colors at Acadia National Park this month. Each October, 600,000 visitors enter the park, but with 47,000 acres to explore, you’ll have plenty of leaf-peeping options. Looking for something closer to home? Check out our favorite fall foliage road trips. 960 1280

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Race for the Cure

Race for the Cure

On your mark, get set … join one of the hundreds of Race for the Cure events taking place in cities across the US this month. Go pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month at any number of walks and races occurring nationwide, and make it a Pinktober to remember. 960 1280

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Autumn Color Fly-Drive (West Virginia)

Autumn Color Fly-Drive (West Virginia)

Another great fall leaf-peeping option: the Mountain State. As America’s third-most-forested state, West Virginia boasts 36 state parks and 6 national parks — together, they’re home to more than 200,000 acres of fall-foliage wonder like this. 960 1280

iStock  

Austin City Limits (Austin, TX)

Austin City Limits (Austin, TX)

Head to the most extraordinary 3-day music fest of its kind in the US. Held each year in Austin’s Zilker Park, Austin City Limits draws more than 130 music acts, showcasing the best in indie, rock, country and more, across 8 stages. This year, the music fest will unfold over 2 consecutive weekends. 960 1280

Ashley Garmon  

Pumpkin House (Kenova, WV)

Pumpkin House (Kenova, WV)

Take in a display of 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins at the famous Pumpkin House in Kenova, WV. This illuminated wonder, which welcomes nearly 30,000 visitors each year, takes center stage at a Victorian house, dating back to 1891, at 748 Beech St. In times past, the house won fame for securing a visit from President Grover Cleveland; in recent years, it’s garnered national media attention for its number of glowing jack-o'-lanterns. 960 1280

  

Grand Canyon (Arizona)

Grand Canyon (Arizona)

Take advantage of off-season travel to popular landmarks such as the Grand Canyon. Each October, the 1.2-million-acre park sees half its summer crowds. Enjoy cooler temperatures (in the 70s), as well as the deepening colors of aspen, oak and birch trees that adorn this national treasure. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

MLB World Series

MLB World Series

Head to one of America’s most iconic baseball stadiums and take in the spirit of the World Series, which is expected to kick off Oct. 27.  One of our favorite stadiums remains Yankees Stadium, home to 27 World Series wins. Whatever your stadium of choice, you’re likely to have a hard time passing up all the mouthwatering ballpark food. 960 1280

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World’s Largest Corn Maze (Spring Grove, IL)

World’s Largest Corn Maze (Spring Grove, IL)

Wind your way through 33 acres of corn in the world’s largest corn maze at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove, IL. This year’s design celebrates the 200th anniversary of The Star-Spangled Banner and includes 5 mazes with shapes such as a flag, a battleship and soldiers. After you find your way out of the maze, enjoy other family-fun activities, including a pumpkin patch, hayride and zip line. 960 1280

Michael Kappel, Flickr  

Chicago Marathon

Chicago Marathon

Lace up your running shoes and head to the Windy City for the Chicago Marathon. One of the 6 major marathons, this annual race welcomes both elite athletes and everyday runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Even if you’re not participating, join runners as they cross the finish line in Chicago’s Grant Park for the post-race party, which features live entertainment and vendors.  960 1280

REUTERS / Kamil Krzacynski  

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2013
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Head to the Big Apple for Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The 3-hour event starts at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, but better come early (and wear warm clothes); crowds start arriving hours earlier to stake out a spot. If a 5 a.m. wakeup call’s not your thing, these NYC hotels offer great views of the parade’s lineup of floats, clowns and more. 960 1280

Reuters  

Breeders' Cup

Breeders' Cup

Wondering where to travel in November? Start by taking in 2 days of action-packed thoroughbred horse races. The annual Breeders’ Cup World Championship kicks off this month at California’s oldest racetrack, Santa Anita Park. Better grab your tickets fast, though; attendance is usually much higher than other stake races in North America.
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Reuters  

Movember

Movember


Bros! Ditch the razor for a month-long celebration of some fierce facial hair. Movember (the month formerly known as November) unfolds with dozens of runs and gala parties nationwide to raise awareness of men’s health issues. That spells one perfect excuse to finally try out that wicked handlebar ’stache. 960 1280

  

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

Remember Día de Muertos aka Day of the Dead this month! This 3-day Mexican holiday dates back thousands of years to a traditional Aztec festival dedicated to the Queen of the Underworld. Honor the dead with personalized alters, parades and special events around the world, including LA, Tucson, Missoula and in Metepec, Mexico (pictured). 960 1280

Mario Vazquez/AFP/Getty Images  

Buffalo Trot

Buffalo Trot

The average Thanksgiving Day meal is 3,000 calories. Get a calorie-burning start at a turkey trot. Our vote is on the Buffalo Turkey Trot, the oldest continually running public footrace in the US, spanning nearly 5 miles down Buffalo’s Delaware Avenue. If you’ve already consumed your wondrously delish meal, we compute you’ll need to run this stretch roughly 6 times. 960 1280

Julio Gonzalez, flickr  

Black Friday

Black Friday

America at its finest, folks. Yes, you too can trample over terrified cashiers in pursuit of a bargain HD TV. If you prefer something a little more orderly this Black Friday, head to some of America’s best shopping malls. Our top pick: Mall of America, home to more than 180 retailers. Bring your ID and some good walking shoes. Plus better remember where you parked! 960 1280

Mall of America  

Pirate Ship arrives for Pirate Celebration

Pirate Ship arrives for Pirate Celebration

Ahoy matey! Grab your best pirate hat and eye patch for the Cayman Islands Annual Pirates Week Festival. The 11-day celebration includes parades, 5k races, live music, food and fireworks. Don’t miss the children’s pirate costume competition, the underwater treasure hunt and the Miss Festival Queen Pageant. 960 1280

David C Tomlinson/Getty Images/Lonely Planet  

Busiest Travel Days, Start Planning!

Busiest Travel Days, Start Planning!

Start planning around the busiest travel days of the year – the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after. Kayak.com reports that while airfare begins to rise this time of year, there’s a brief dip for a few days during the second week of October. For more travel tips, check out our Top 10 Survival Tips for Holiday Travel. 960 1280

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NYC Marathon

NYC Marathon

Lace up your sneakers for the New York City Marathon. More than 50,000 people compete in the world’s largest marathon. Cheer on the participants as they race through the city’s 5 boroughs and head to the finish line if you’re not competing in the 26-mile run. 960 1280

Getty Images  

NASCAR Sprint for the Cup

NASCAR Sprint for the Cup

Feeling the need for speed? NASCAR enthusiasts will feel it in droves at one of the country's best NASCAR racetracks, the Homestead-Miami Speedway. This month, the motor racing track hosts the annual NASCAR Sprint for the Cup, in which racing’s top drivers will compete for the championship trophy – it all unfolds in the Ford EcoBoost 400 season finale. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Annual Oyster Cook-Off & Craft Beer Weekend

Annual Oyster Cook-Off & Craft Beer Weekend

Head to Gulf Shores, AL, for the Annual Oyster Cook-Off & Craft Beer Weekend. Watch as all-star chefs and amateurs compete for a chance to win up to $20,000 in cash and prizes. Celebrity judges will select winners a few categories including Rockefeller, Cajun and create your own raw oyster dish. An oyster shucking contest, bloody mary invitational and live music are also part of the 3-day event. 960 1280

The Hangout  

American Indian Heritage Month

American Indian Heritage Month

Celebrate America’s first pioneers during American Indian Heritage Month. Among the hundreds of memorable cultural sites nationwide is Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. The 1,758-acre site, in Stanton, ND, preserves the historic and archaeological remnants of the Northern Plains Indians. 960 1280

Peter Baer, flickr  

Washington Nationals
The World Series

The World Series

Every October, sports fans sit on the edge of their seats to watch tense playoff games and the World Series, in anticipation of which team will be crowned the champs of Major League Baseball. 960 1280

Patrick McDermott  

Presidential Debates

Presidential Debates

In a different nail-biter, the contentious US presidential race kicks into high gear this month, with both candidates racking up thousands of miles campaigning and debating all over the US. 960 1280

Win McNamee  

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman

As autumn brings cooler weather, we’re dreaming of somewhere warmer in the Caribbean, like Grand Cayman. In October, 1 lucky winner can enter to win a trip for 2 to this sunny spot to enjoy fun activities, including a swim with stingrays. 960 1280

Jo Ann Snover  

Columbus Day

Columbus Day

We celebrate Christopher Columbus’s spirit of exploration on Columbus Day, such as the Knights of Columbus (pictured) did at this special celebration in Washington, DC. This year’s holiday marked the 100th anniversary of President William Howard Taft unveiling the National Columbus Memorial. 960 1280

Win McNamee  

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer survivors and supporters in search of a cure converge on the National Mall in Washington for the Susan G. Komen Foundation's annual Race for the Cure. The foundation raises awareness and funding for breast cancer research and services. 960 1280

� Joshua Roberts / Reuters, JPEGTOII2/MED  

NY ComicCon

NY ComicCon

Zing! Pow! Bang! We may not be obsessed with New York Comic Con, but we know thousands of fans who enjoy this unique convention, which allows them the chance to rub elbows with their favorite sci-fi characters and chat with like-minded people who also enjoy talking about their favorite comic-book superheroes. 960 1280

Daniel Zuchnik  

NFL Football

NFL Football

NFL football is another reason why we’re obsessed with October. The season is in full swing , bringing cheers, jeers and tailgating fun. 960 1280

Frederick Breedon  

Fall Festivals

Fall Festivals

What’s not to love about the wonderful fall and harvest festivals in October? It’s the perfect time to take the kids for a hayride, as well as embark on a trip to explore a corn maze or go an adventure in search of the perfect pumpkin. 960 1280

  

Great American Beer Festival

Great American Beer Festival

Aside from Munich’s Oktoberfest, beer is also king at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Tip back a cold one as you sample quality beers that have been entered in the annual beer competition, while professional judges decide which breweries win the gold, silver or bronze medals across 75 beer-style categories. 960 1280

Photo © Brewers Association.  

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Rock out to some of the world’s best indie and alternative rockers -- like Radiohead, Jack White and Esperanza Spalding -- at the Austin City Limits Music Festival this October. 960 1280

  

Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage

It just wouldn’t be October without a fun leaf-peeping road trip to see the colorful foliage in prime locations, including Natchaug State Forest in Connecticut, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Kettle Moraine State Forest in Wisconsin. 960 1280

Greg M. Cooper  

Halloween

Halloween

Boo! We’re obsessed with Halloween, things that go bump in the night, costumes, candy, glowing jack-o’-lanterns and other places where we can get our “spook” on, like Knott’s Scary Farm. 960 1280

  

Ironman World Championship

Ironman World Championship

It’s the ultimate test of mind, body and spirit. Thousands of spectators converge on Kona, HI, to see triathletes swim, bike and run to the finish line to win the annual Ironman World Championship. 960 1280

© Hugh Gentry / Reuters, JPEGTOII2/MED  

College Football

College Football

Before the New Year’s Eve college bowl craze begins, football fans bundle up in their warmest gear to catch their favorite college football teams in action. 960 1280

Streeter Lecka  

San Francisco Fleet Week

San Francisco Fleet Week

The sky is the limit if you’re looking for a fun fall getaway. Be one of thousands of spectators who come out to enjoy the air show -- one of the final events of a busy Fleet Week in San Francisco. 960 1280

© Robert Galbraith / Reuters, Reuters Picture Stream/MED  

Monsters

Monsters

October is full of ghosts, ghouls, vampires, witches, zombies and other creepy creatures. We’re also obsessed with the people who make these monsters. 960 1280

  

NYC Food Film Festival

NYC Food Film Festival

Raise a beer, sample food and be the first of a select few to see critically acclaimed cuisine-related films at the annual NYC Food Film Festival. 960 1280

  

Taste of Fall

Taste of Fall

Enjoy the lip-smacking, obsessively good tastes of October, including pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, beef stew, candy corn and apple cider. 960 1280

David Smith  

National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month

We recognize National Hispanic Month in October. The rich culture is brought to life through special events, including this Fiesta Musical at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC. 960 1280

Mehgan Murphy  

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