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.
National Bike MonthThe days are longer and the weather is getting warmer, so now’s the perfect time to leave the car in the garage and dust off your bike. Celebrate National Bike Month by taking your bike for a spin around the best cities for cycling in the US or plan a sip ’n’ spin weekend biking in wine country. Bathing suit season is almost here, so get on your bike now to spin your way to a perfect beach bod. 960 1280
Lotus Lantern FestivalIt’s Buddha’s birthday! One of the largest events in Korea, the Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival is a tradition that celebrates the birth of Buddha and the lanterns symbolize offerings of light, wisdom and compassion. More than 100,000 locals light up one of the city’s busiest streets as they carry illuminated lanterns in the shape of Buddhist symbols. 960 1280
Mother's DayDon’t forget about mom this month! Sure, mom would love a travel gift for her next vacation. But she would probably rather spread some quality time with you instead, so treat her to a Mother's Day escape like a fitness retreat, wine tasting, day at the spa or a fancy afternoon tea. 960 1280
Cannes Film FestivalFilm fanatics, the mother of all film festivals is here – Cannes Film Festival. This annual film festival brings Hollywood’s elite to the sun-drenched French seaside town of Côte d'Azur every year in May. If the stars on the red carpet don’t dazzle you, the picture-perfect beaches and chic resorts here certainly will. Or escape the paparazzi and head to the nearby picturesque beaches of Nice, Monte Carlo and St. Tropez. 960 1280
Cinco de MayoCelebrate Mexican heritage on Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) at over 120 official US celebrations, across 21 states, in cities such as Cleveland, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta. No matter where you are on this day, we suggest celebrating Mexico the right away -- feasting on Mexican cuisine and washing it all down with a margarita (or 2). 960 1280
Monaco Grand PrixRev your engines for the world’s greatest and most glamorous motor race! Dating back to 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix takes place on the Circuit de Monaco. A playground for the rich and famous, the Monaco Grand Prix always attracts a bevy of Hollywood A-listers, like stars Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas. 960 1280
The PreaknessBaltimore’s Pimlico Race Course hosts the second leg of the US Triple Crown – the Preakness Stakes. While the Preakness has been a time-honored tradition since 1873, you can expect something new every year like this year’s headlining musical act by Lorde, the 17-year-old double Grammy Award-winning artist. 960 1280
NYC Fleet WeekNYC hosts Fleet Week -- a celebration of the men and women in the US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. A tradition since 1984, Fleet Week features several military demonstrations and a chance for the public to step aboard select military ships. Don’t miss the parade of ships in the harbor or musical performances by the sailors and marines. 960 1280
World BBQ ChampionshipIf you’re craving a good ‘ole fashioned BBQ showdown, watch the best-of-the-best from all over the world compete in Memphis in May's World BBQ Championship in Memphis, TN. Want a taste of the action? Don't miss the Willingham family's booth -- they're the only competitors allowed to sell their Southern specialties to the public. 960 1280
Memorial DayIt’s finally here – the official kick-off to summer! Pack your new suit and plenty of sunscreen for the first beach weekend of the season. Check out our 2015 Travel’s Best Beach Award Winners for inspiration on where to go. Whether you crave a family-friendly spot, sun and solitude, or a boisterous party beach, there’s a perfect beach for you just a drive away.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day ParadeHead to the Big Apple for Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The three-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
Breeders' CupWondering where to travel in November? Start by taking in two 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
MovemberBros! 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.
The Day of the DeadFamilies 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.
Black FridayAmerica 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
Busiest Travel Days, Start Planning!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
NYC MarathonLace 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 five boroughs and head to the finish line if you’re not competing in the 26-mile run. 960 1280
NASCAR Sprint for the CupFeeling 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
Native American Heritage MonthHeroic 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.
San Diego Bay Wine + Food FestivalNotoriously 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
Fun Fun Fun FestThe 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.
Deer Hunting SeasonNotorious 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.
Arlington National CemeteryOn 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 two presidents buried on the 600-acre grounds, an eternal flame placed by his widow Jackie to outshine one of the most notorious moments in U.S. history. 960 1280
Chicago’s The Food Film FestivalFood 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.
ThanksgivingMmm, mmm, good! Perfectly 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.
The RockettesLet’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 five shows a day, seven days a week. See the grand show unfold in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, presented at Radio City Music Hall. 960 1280
When the 2012 Summer Olympics get rolling in July, millions of visitors will descend on the British capital. The first event ticket application window has closed, but officials plan to release more during the winter. While you’re in London, don’t miss the Making of Harry Potter studio tour at Leavesden Studios, where all 8 Harry Potter films were shot. The tour officially opens in spring 2012. 960 1280
Necker IslandNecker Island
Sir Richard Branson’s exclusive island getaway in the British Virgin Islands suffered a devastating fire in summer 2011 that destroyed the resort’s Great House. Actress Kate Winslet famously helped save Branson’s 90-year-old mother from the inferno, carrying her down slippery stairs in the midst of hurricane-force rain and wind. The Great House is scheduled to be rebuilt by the end of 2012, and in the meantime, 7 luxurious Balinese homes dot the island and are currently open for business. 960 1280
TitanicNorth Atlantic Sea
April, 15, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the maiden voyage and sinking of the Titanic. At least 2 companies are offering memorial cruises with itineraries that include key ports of call, as well as experts, family members’ descendants and memorial services at the wreck site. Two expedition ships will go a step further, offering guests the opportunity to dive to the wreck in submersible vehicles. Cost is approximately $66,000 per person for divers and $12,000 for non-divers. Visitors to the Titanic’s embarkation port of Southampton can tour the Sea City Museum, which is slated to open in 2012. 960 1280
According to legend, the world will end in 2012 because the ancient Maya calendar, which spans 5,000 years, mysteriously ends on Dec. 21. Belize will host several events on and around the predicted apocalypse. The ruins of Xunantunich will be the location of Belize’s main event on Dec. 21, where festivities will include a concert and light show on the ruins, plus a fire ceremony to usher in the next 5,125 years. 960 1280
2012 will usher in epic levels of fanboy drool in anticipation of the first installment of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films, set for release in December. Why not celebrate with a jaunt to the island nation where it all began with the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy? Visitors can ride a jet boat or fly in a helicopter to tour the trilogy’s shooting locations. Then hop over to the town of Matamata on the north island where Jackson is currently filming in nearby Hobbiton. 960 1280
This city in northern Portugal has been dubbed the European Capital of Culture in 2012. Building on an already robust arts scene, 2012 will see the city showcasing the work of creative artists from Portugal and across Europe. Don’t miss a tour of the medieval old city, a Unesco World Heritage Site, where you can wander a maze of red-roofed, colonnaded buildings, palaces and a central castle. 960 1280
If you haven’t been to NYC lately, 2012 would be a good time to visit. The Conrad New York, slated to open in early 2012, is the city’s newest all-suite luxury hotel. Located in the heart of lower Manhattan's Battery Park City, the future hotel boasts views of the Hudson River, is adjacent to the Hudson River Park and is a great base from which to explore lower Manhattan neighborhoods like SoHo and TriBeCa, as well as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. 960 1280
Celebrating its first year of independence since the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, Curacao is a cosmopolitan Caribbean island where flavors of both Europe and the West Indies mingle with white sand beaches, turquoise seas and vital coral reefs. Take a spin around the capital, Willemstad, where gabled colonial architecture is splashed with playful Caribbean color, then grab a snorkel and mask and take a dip in the Curacao Underwater Marine Park. 960 1280
Travel to the middle of the New Mexico desert to tour Spaceport America, the world’s first commercial spaceport. Follow the Sun Tours offers exclusive public access to the site, with tours that include visits to the vertical launch area and vertical mission control building, as well as construction areas like the airfield, spaceport operations center, fuel storage complex and iconic terminal hangar facility. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic plans to begin flying paying customers into space from the facility before the end of 2012. 960 1280
We can’t ignore the fact that this little gem on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula and its capital city, Muscat, is on all sorts of 2012 must-see lists, including those from Lonely Planet and National Geographic. While neighboring oil-rich countries are erecting skyscrapers, Oman is adding an opera house and planting desert gardens amid the capital’s white stone buildings. We want to go to there. 960 1280