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. On Oct. 11, 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 on Oct. 9. 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 (Oct. 3-5 and 10-12). 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. 21. Sorry, Sox fans, but our favorite 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 on Oct. 12. 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  

Turkey Day Travel
Turkey Day Travel

Turkey Day Travel

Notoriously long lines and long waits: The day before Thanksgiving ranks as the busiest travel day of the year. Drive, fly or take the train -- we don’t care how you get here, just as long as you arrive in notorious aplomb and style (no fugly Thanksgiving sweaters, please). 960 1280

John Moore/Getty Images  

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

Notoriously passionate wine and food lovers descend on Southern California each November for the region’s largest festival of its kind. How notorious are we talking? Well, let’s just say any festival that lures some of the best national chefs, local culinary stars, and celebrated winemakers and brewmasters means serious gastronomic pleasure is in order. 960 1280

Ken Loyst  

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

Families decorate the graves of loved ones throughout Mexico as part of this annual national holiday. A blend of pre-Columbian and Catholic traditions, Day of the Dead may sound notoriously spooky to outsiders. But to those who celebrate it, the day offers a way to reflect and share in treasured memories of loved ones through acts of commemoration, including making altars like this. 960 1280

steve bridger, flickr  

Fun Fun Fun Fest

Fun Fun Fun Fest

The darling of independent festivals for music lovers and music-makers alike, Fun Fun Fun Fest has some notoriously serious creds. Ever since its launch in 2006, this annual festival has skyrocketed beyond its downtown Austin roots to world-renowned status, attracting artists and their fans from around the globe. 960 1280

incase, flickr  

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

A few notorious mishaps aside (like last year’s tipsy Kool-Aid Man), this annual parade signals the official start of the holiday season. A tradition since 1924, the 3-hour extravaganza starts at 9 a.m., stretching 6 miles through NYC, while offering up a whimsical feast of sights and sounds -- including Pokemon’s yellow mouse mascot, Pikachu, pictured here. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Deer Hunting Season

Deer Hunting Season

Notorious to some, delectably yummy to others, deer-hunting season begins with a bang -- sorry, Bambi -- come November. That’s because the month is prime deer-mating season: Male bucks are often so distracted by the urge to mate they may not detect the sound of Grandpa Earl’s carbine locking and loading off in the distance. Head to states like Kentucky, New Hampshire and Minnesota for the hunt. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

JFK Assassination

JFK Assassination

On a sunny autumn day in November 1963, America’s love affair with Camelot came to a shattering end. Just weeks before his assassination, JFK visited Arlington National Cemetery and, standing atop a hill, said he could spend eternity there. Today, he is one of 2 presidents buried on the 600-acre grounds, an eternal flame placed by his widow Jackie to outshine one of the most notorious moments in US history. 960 1280

Anna Fox, flickr  

Chicago’s Food Film Festival

Chicago’s Food Film Festival

Food in the theater?! The sight may be a notorious no-no to crabby old docents, but at this annual festival, the paired enjoyment of food and film -- from the comfort of a theater seat -- is a must. The annual event, now in its third year, invites audience members to actually taste some of the dishes they see before them on the big screen. 960 1280

Food Film Festival  

Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving Meal

Mmm, mmm, good! Notoriously succulent (when baked right), the turkey takes center stage at many holiday tables. America cooks up more than 45 million turkeys for Thanksgiving, plus another 22 million come Christmastime, which adds up to a whole lotta post-meal sleepiness. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month

Heroic resolve in the midst of often notorious treatment defines Native American Heritage Month. Kick off this special month of commemoration -- and appreciation -- with a visit to this dazzling waterfall, tucked in a land in the heart of the Grand Canyon that’s been home to the Havasupai American Indian tribe for nearly 1,000 years. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

The Rockettes

The Rockettes

Let’s go girls! Those sky-high kicks, those naughty smiles -- oh, it certainly wouldn’t be a notoriously fun November without the Rockettes. During the holiday season, the legendary dance company kicks it into high gear with 5 shows a day, 7 days a week. See the grand show unfold in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, presented at Radio City Music Hall. 960 1280

Getty Images  

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.
 960 1280

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

Getty Images  

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

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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  

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