Things to Do in January

Kick off the New Year with our top picks for things to do in January. From the Rose Bowl Parade in California to National Cheese Lover's Day in Vermont, get ready for a memorable start to the year.

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National Christmas Tree
National Christmas Tree

National Christmas Tree

Kick off the month with a tour of the National Christmas Tree. Located on the White House’s South Lawn, a towering 40-foot evergreen spruce has been a seasonal fixture of the nation’s capital since 1923. 960 1280

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San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk

Keep the Christmas spirit going in San Antonio. Every December, more than a mile of the San Antonio River Walkcomes alive with over 100 underwater lights, as well as LED rope lighting crossing from one side of the river to the other. 960 1280

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Hobbit Tour

Hobbit Tour

Besides being a great time to visit (December is the start of New Zealand’s summer season), the country has a Hobbit movie set tour on upper North Island. 960 1280

Jeff Hitchcock, flickr  

Ice Fishing, Colorado Style

Ice Fishing, Colorado Style

This December, put Colorado on your outdoors adventure map: Colorado's robust winters lure ice-fishing enthusiasts to gear up and head out for the thrill of the catch. Prime spots include Wolford Mountain Reservoir, a 1,550- acre reservoir, about 100 miles west of Denver.  960 1280

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Caribbean Cruise: Early December

Caribbean Cruise: Early December

For an impromptu December getaway, set sail for the Caribbean. The first two weeks of December are your best bet for bargain prices on cruises and hotels, before fares rise come Christmas and New Year’s. Combine your warm winter escape with cool events, like the Bahamas International Film Festival. 960 1280

Royal Caribbean International  

San Francisco Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

San Francisco Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

The holiday season wouldn’t be quite the same without catching a performance of "The Nutcracker." We suggest heading to the City by the Bay to see the sparkling two-act ballet performed by the San Francisco Ballet, which first introduced Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece to American audiences in 1944.  960 1280

Erik Tomasson  

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

Rockefeller Center Ice Skating

For the quintessential N.Y.C. Christmas experience, take a whirl on the ice at Rockefeller Center. The world-famous ice-skating rink at the famed commercial complex, in the heart of Manhattan, has been a fixture of Rockefeller Center since 1936. 960 1280

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Stonehenge Winter Solstice

Stonehenge Winter Solstice

Take in the winter solstice at Stonehenge. Every year, more than 5,000 people gather at the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, to mark the time when the sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude above the horizon. Be sure to explore the new visitor center close to the ancient site, too. 960 1280

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Santa Claus House in North Pole

Santa Claus House in North Pole

Just where does Santa Claus live? North Pole, Alaska, of course. Head to this small, wintery city in the heart of Alaska to see Santa Claus House. A storefront, built in the early 1950s, it’s the spot from which the Original Letter From Santa is mailed out, proclaiming the bearer to be “on Santa’s Good List.”  960 1280

Rosie Rosenberger, flickr  

Hit the Slopes

Hit the Slopes

Hit the slopes this month at North America’s most popular ski resort. In addition to being home to more groomed terrain than any other resort in the world, Vail, Colorado, boasts the country’s largest ski school for all skill levels. For the more seasoned skier, head to Jackson Hole, where over 90 percent of the trails fall into intermediate to expert categories. 960 1280

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NOLA Christmas Bonfires

NOLA Christmas Bonfires

Add a little spice to the holiday season with a trip to The Big Easy. Come Christmas Eve, dozens of bonfires light up along the Mississippi River levee to make way for Papa Noel, as locals in bayou country call Santa. Arrive by 7 p.m. to watch the fiery feu de joie (“fires of joy”)! 960 1280

Douglas and Charlene Guilliams of Baton Rouge, LA: A Father and Daughter Photography Team  

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Come December, the City of Brotherly Love transforms itself into a Christmas Village. This annual holiday market in Philadelphia’s LOVE Park features traditional German Christmas market items, displayed by more than 60 vendors in decorated booths and tents. Get your fill of holiday goodies like gingerbread cookies and mulled wine. 960 1280

Christmas Village in Philadelphia  

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days

Learn dog sledding in... Chicago? Yep, for outdoor winter adventure, head to the Windy City’s Northerly Island, site of the annual Polar Adventure Days. Beginning in early December, the family-friendly event includes a toddler zone with outdoor “ice fishing,” an REI winter activity station and a dog-sledding demo with huskies. 960 1280

Chicago's Polar Adventure Days  

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

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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

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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

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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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Get Lost in a Corn Maze (Spring Grove, IL)

Get Lost in a Corn Maze (Spring Grove, IL)

Wind your way through 33 acres of corn in one of the world’s largest corn mazes at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove, IL. 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  

Scarborough Renaissance Festival
Scarborough Renaissance Festival

Scarborough Renaissance Festival

Travel back to the 16th century at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. This annual fest in Waxahachie, TX, kicks off the first weekend in April, drawing crowds upwards of 200,000 to view some 200 performances, like this round of jousting and horsemanship. See more ideas for where to travel in April. 960 1280

Scarborough Renaissance Festival   

The Final Four Championship

The Final Four Championship

See the best in college basketball face-off on the court at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. Hundreds of spectators will converge on the stadium to watch the Final Four Championship. Who will be crowned 2015’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Champs? 960 1280

Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service/Getty Images  

Earth Day at Yosemite

Earth Day at Yosemite

Celebrate Earth Day in one of America’s most treasured national parks. Timed in conjunction with National Park Week, Yosemite celebrates the planet’s big day with bike rides, junior ranger day walks, and even an Earth Day cake and lemonade, yum! 960 1280

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King’s Day in Amsterdam

King’s Day in Amsterdam

Enjoy a ride along Amsterdam’s canals, and don your brightest orange, for the Netherlands’ annual King’s Day. The national holiday celebrates the Dutch royal house (and current King Willem-Alexander) with plenty of “orange madness,” in keeping with the Dutch national colors. 960 1280

passer-by, flickr  

Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

Show your Boston pride, and find something for everyone to enjoy. The annual Boston Marathon kicks off with a fitness expo featuring more than 200 exhibitors, followed by a 5K set to draw an estimated 10,000 participants as well as a relay challenge -- all topped by the grand celebration of city spirit on Patriot’s Day. 960 1280

Reuters  

Masters Golf Tournament

Masters Golf Tournament

Tee up for the granddaddy of all golf tournaments. The 78th Masters Tournament kicks off the first of 4 major championships, with plenty of betting odds. Will Tiger Woods beat out Rory McIlroy for the green jacket? Head to Augusta, GA the first week in April to find out! 960 1280

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Coachella

Coachella

Get your music fill at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The annual 2-weekend, 3-day fest kicks off in Indio, CA, with more than 150 performances set for 2014. OutKast, Muse and Arcade Fire headline this year’s show. 960 1280

Reuters  

Alaska's Arctic Man

Alaska's Arctic Man

Go fast, or go home! Prepare for the ultimate adrenaline rush at Alaska’s Arctic Man -- one of the world's toughest downhill ski races, and an exciting snowmobile race, all in one. Skiers begin at a summit elevation of 5,800 feet and drop 1,700 feet to the bottom of a narrow canyon where they’re met by their snowmobiling partner. 960 1280

  

Annular Solar Eclipse

Annular Solar Eclipse

Get out some cool solar shades, and head to the Land Down Under for an unforgettable show: In late April, the Moon passes between the Earth and the sun, creating a sight you don’t see every day. View the solar eclipse across Australia, in between checking out these equally exceptional Australia world heritage sites. 960 1280

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New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Love jazz? Join fellow music lovers at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Held every year since 1970, the annual Jazz Fest, as it’s called, showcases nearly every music genre, from blues to R&B, and everything else in between. It’s all performed across 12 stages during the last weekend in April. 960 1280

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Redneck Yacht Club

Redneck Yacht Club

Wanna channel your inner redneck? Head to Daytona, FL, for the Redneck Yacht Club’s downhome, rowdy roundup of fun: The Daytona Tune-Up Jeep and ATV Weekend features obstacle courses, mud holes and winding trails and hills, and, for the kids, an ATV challenge track, across hundreds of acres of trails. 960 1280

  

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