Things to Do in May

While you wait for summer’s official arrival, there are still plenty of things heating up in May. Don’t miss May’s must-dos like the Kentucky Derby, National Bike Month, Cinco de Mayo and more.

Photos

Colosseum

Colosseum

Rome's most enduring icon is undoubtedly the Colosseum. 960 1280

Sborisov / iStock / Thinkstock  

Colosseum Interior

Colosseum Interior

Built between A.D. 70 and 80 A.D., it was in use for some 500 years and held nearly 50,000 spectators.
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Gonzalo Azumendi, Getty Images  

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Peru's Machu Picchu is thought to have been a sacred center for the nearby Incan capital of Cusco. 960 1280

Vitmark / iStock / Getty Images  

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, built at the peak of the Incan Empire in the mid-1400s, featured advanced tiered construction and stone architecture. 960 1280

Carlos Matos, Getty Images  

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

The genius and adaptability of Mayan culture can be seen in the ruins of Chichen Itza, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. 960 1280

Robivamos / iStock / Thinkstock  

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

The most familiar ruin at the Chichen Itza site is El Caracol, a sophisticated astronomical observatory, as shown here with the Pyramid of Kukulkan, or El Castillo (The Castle), in the background 960 1280

DEA / M. SEEMULLER / Getty Images  

El-Deir Monastery

El-Deir Monastery

Structures carved into stone and the El-Deir monastery helped Petra, Jordan earn its fame. 960 1280

Reynold Mainse / Design Pics / Perspective / Getty Images  

El-Deir Monastery

El-Deir Monastery

El-Deir, built during the first century, is the second most visited building in Petra.
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Emad Aljumah, Getty Images  

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is actually a succession of walls spanning approximately 4,000 miles. 960 1280

bjdlzx, Getty Images  

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is the world’s longest manmade structure.
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Keith Levit, Getty Images  

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Agra, India's Taj Mahal is a mausoleum commissioned for the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. 960 1280

Turtix / iStock / Getty Images  

Taj Mahal Gateway

Taj Mahal Gateway

The Gateway to the Taj Mahal rises nearly 100-feet high and separates the gardens from the forecourt.
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Nancy Brown, Getty Images  

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer

The Christ the Redeemer statue has loomed over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from upon Corcovado mountain since 1931. 960 1280

Christian Adams / Getty Images  

Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer

Brightly illuminated at night, the Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado is like a beacon over Rio de Janeiro. 960 1280

Jon Hicks, Getty Images  

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, welcomes more than 2.6 million visitors per year. 960 1280

Dean Franklin, flickr  

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

John Roebling designed the Brooklyn Bridge hoping it would be perceived as a great work of art. It now is.
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Frederick Bass / Getty Images  

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

It doesn't matter where in the world people come from, one glimpse of this and they know they're in Washington, DC.
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Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images  

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is the first non-building structure to receive the "Distinguished Building Award." 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Space Needle

Space Needle

Seattle's 605-foot-tall Space Needle is designed to withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour.
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Tim Miley / Moment / Getty Images  

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Built during the Great Depression, New York City's Empire State Building is a work of determination and pride. 960 1280

Sylvain Sonnet/Stone/Getty Images  

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

It took 5 years to complete the mammoth Hoover Dam on the Nevada-Arizona border.
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Getty Images  

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

This latest installment of filmmaker Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy created a huge surge of tourism in New Zealand, where about 150 locations were used for Lord of the Rings’ scenes. The mecca of all Hobbit tourism is Hobbiton, private-farmland-turned-movie-set. You can tour the 44 hobbit holes set in the picturesque rolling hills of Matamata’s countryside to see how the furry-footed creatures live. 960 1280

Jeff Hitchcock, flickr  

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

While this film version shows very little of Russia or its famous landmarks (much of the action takes place on a theatre stage), it still inspires opulent travel of the old world sort. The scenes of Anna Karenina traveling in a lavish train car through the snow-covered open landscapes of Russia leave us dreaming of a similar trip: a luxury train ride on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, touring historic St. Petersburg and dynamic Moscow. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Life of Pi

Life of Pi

Praised as the next Avatar due its stunning cinematography and special effects, this film adaptation of Yann Martel’s fantasy-adventure novel has sparked renewed interest in Taiwan. With mesmerizing scenes filmed at Kenting White Banyan Garden, Kenting National Park and Taipei Zoo, Taiwan is likely to be on many lists for top destinations in 2013. 960 1280

Harry Huang, flickr  

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Ever booked a trip just for a meal? You might after seeing this film. This documentary follows Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master, considered to be the world’s best sushi chef. But good luck trying to get a reservation at his restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, in Tokyo; reservations must be made at least a month in advance and meals start at $300 a person. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Hunger Games

Hunger Games

Super fans are insatiable when it comes to experiencing anything to do with Suzanne Collins’ novel about 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, even flocking to the backwoods of North Carolina to see the film locations. Hunger Games Fans Tours is even offering immersive adventure weekend trips where participants learn basic survival skills like archery, shelter-building and special-effects camouflage. 960 1280

VisitNC.com  

On the Road

On the Road

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include this long-awaited film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel, which inspired a generation to get “on the road to nowhere.” Retrace Jack Kerouac's steps, visiting Beat landmarks across America, from New York's West Village to San Francisco's Jack Kerouac Alley. Keep the spontaneity theme going -- but skip the hitchhiking. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Skyfall

Skyfall

We’ve been envious of James Bond’s spy life ever since his exotic travels to Thailand in The Man with the Golden Gun and Sardinia in The Spy Who Loved Me. The 23rd Bond flick, Skyfall, is no less wanderlust-stirring, with dangerously alluring scenes shot in London, Scotland and Shanghai. 960 1280

Giancarlo Liguori  

Lincoln

Lincoln

History buffs and the Academy Awards alike can’t get enough of this film about our 16th president. Capturing the renewed interest in Lincoln destinations, tours are popping up this year in key cities such as Washington, DC, and Richmond, VA, retracing Lincoln’s steps and revealing history-rich locations. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon fishing in Yemen? Not so fast, warns Yemen’s tourism board after it saw a surge of interest in the activity following the release of this British romantic dramedy. While it's not exactly advisable for the average tourist to visit this Middle East country in the midst of recent civil unrest, if salmon fishing is what you’re after, try the much safer Seattle or Alaska. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

To Rome With Love

To Rome With Love

In recent years, Woody Allen’s films have inspired some serious wanderlust. In 2012 Allen followed up Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris with his latest tale of love abroad, To Rome With Love. The film showcases several stories of seduction in one of the most irresistible cities in the world -- Roma! 960 1280

Thinkstock  

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

A group of British seniors check in to the newly restored Marigold Hotel in Jaipur, India, with visions of an exotic retirement, but arrive only to find the hotel on its heels. Proving that travel adventures aren't only for the young, this film shows India's dynamic and transformative appeal for all. Judi Dench's character echoes this sentiment: "India hits you like a wave. If you resist, you will be knocked down. But if you dive into it, you will be alright." 960 1280

Getty Images  

Twilight: Breaking Dawn II

Twilight: Breaking Dawn II

Cinematic merits aside, Twilight left us smitten -- and not with hunky werewolves or bloodsucking vampires but with its stunning filming locations in what is the last installment of Stephenie Meyer’s popular vampire saga. From the unspoiled La Push Beach, WA, to Alaska’s rugged Denali National Park, you don’t have to be a Twihard to feel the pull of these natural wonders. 960 1280

La Push Beach, Dave Morrow, flickr  

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