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.

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Pyramids of Giza

Pyramids of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering Cairo, Egypt. It is the only remaining member of the Seven Wonders of the World and is believed to have been built as a tomb for Fourth Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, constructed over a 20 year period concluding around 2560 BC. The Great Pyramid is the main part of a complex or set of buildings that include two mortuary temples in honor of Khufu. There are also three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives. 960 1280

JimPix / Getty Images  

Temple of Luxor

Temple of Luxor

The Luxor Temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun-Re, his wife Mut, and his son Khonsu. The large ancient Egyptian temple complex is located on the east bank of the Nile River in the city once known as Thebes, but today it is known as Luxor. For the ancient Egyptians and modern tourists, access to the temple is granted from the north, where a path lined by sphinxes once led all the way to Ipet Sut in modern city of Al-Karnak. 960 1280

Hosam Zienedden / EyeEm / Getty Images  

The Great Sphinx

The Great Sphinx

The Great Sphinx of Giza is a large half-human, half-lion statue in Egypt, on the Giza Plateau at the west bank of the Nile River near Cairo. The commonly used name "Sphinx" was given to it based on the Greek creature with the body of a lion, the head of a woman and the wings of an eagle, though this sphinx have the head of a man. It is one of the largest single-stone statues on Earth, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians in the 3rd millennium BC. 960 1280

Paul Hardy / Getty Images  

Cairo

Cairo

Cairo, which means "The Vanquisher or "The Triumphant", is the capital city of Egypt. Old Cairo was founded in 648 AD near other Egyptian cities and villages, including the old Egyptian capital Memphis, Heliopolis, Giza and the Byzantine fortress of Babylon in Egypt. Today, Greater Cairo encompasses various historic towns and modern districts. A journey through Cairo is a virtual time travel: from the Pyramids, Saladin's Citadel, the Virgin Mary's Tree, the Sphinx, Al-Azhar (the Mosque of Amr ibn al-A'as), Saqqara, the Hanging Church, and the Cairo Tower. 960 1280

danefromspain / Getty Images  

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel

The archaeological site is comprised of two massive rock temples that were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his Queen Nefertari. The Great Temple at Abu Simbel took about 20 years to build and after its completion, it was dedicated to the gods Amun Ra, Ra Harakhti, and Ptah, as well as the deified Ramesses himself. 960 1280

Jasper Sassen / EyeEm / Getty Images  

Temple of Karnak

Temple of Karnak

The largest ancient religious site in the world, the Temple of Karnak is a vast open-air museum and is probably the second most visited historical site in Egypt, second only to the Giza Pyramids. It consists of four main parts, of which only the largest temple -- The Precinct of Amon-Re -- is accessible by tourists and the general public. The key difference between Karnak and Egypt's other temples is that construction occurred over a vast amount of time; approximately 30 pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity and diversity not seen elsewhere. 960 1280

Hector de Pereda Photography / Getty Images  

Saqqara

Saqqara

Located about 30 km south of Cairo, Saqqara or Sakkara is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, featuring the world's oldest standing step pyramid. While Memphis was the capital of Ancient Egypt; Saqqara served as its cemetery. Although the earliest burials of nobles at Saqqara can be traced back to the First Dynasty, it was not until the Second Dynasty that the first kings were buried there, including Hotepsekhemwy and Nynetjer. 960 1280

Reinhard Dirscherl / Getty Images  

Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia, was recently named one of National Geographic's 10 "World Wonders" thanks to Thomas Jefferson's design. Beyond the campus' Rotunda and nearby Monticello, the rolling hills and Blue Ridge mountains serve as a beautiful backdrop for the surrounding wineries and orchards. For its size, Charlottesville is incredibly well-read (it supports two weekly papers), has a plethora of art galleries, is overflowing with restaurants and attracts big-name talent to its open-air pavilion on the Downtown Mall. 960 1280

Bob Mical, flickr  

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Centered around Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), there's no question that Savannah is an eclectic town with a never-ending supply of culture. But aside from its rich Southern history and gorgeous antebellum architecture, its home to the (too?) rich home cooking of Paula Deen at The Lady & Sons, an ever-rotating selection of craft brews at The Distillery and the decadent pralines at River Street Sweets. And if that's not enough, the beach at Tybee Island is only 30 minutes away. 960 1280

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Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Washington isn’t all politics. With nine colleges and universities, the capital is also a large college town, with a seriously diverse range of neighborhoods. U Street beckons with Ben’s Chili Bowl, and Georgetown is a great place for a pre-exam sugar high, courtesy of Georgetown Cupcake. A sports fix is also within easy reach, thanks to D.C.'s and the surrounding area's major sports arenas: Verizon Center, Nationals Park, RFK Stadium and FedEx Field. But nothing beats the National Mall, the 2.5-mile-long stretch of green where you can enjoy everything from a game of soccer to an outdoor “screen on the green” movie. 960 1280

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Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts

OK, so Boston isn’t exactly a “town”… but with an estimated 250,000 college students and some 80 colleges and universities, the city sometimes feels like one giant campus quad. Boston is a city with a lot of history and even more pride -– anyone who’s ever been to a Sox game can attest to that. Just be sure to avoid the city come September 1st… Boston’s notorious “moving day,” when a mass influx of students pick up the keys to their new apartments and head back to college. 960 1280

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Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

The Twin Cities is home to more than a half dozen colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota’s main campus. Go Golden Gophers! There’s always something to do when studying isn’t a priority. Head to the Metrodome to catch a Gophers, Vikings or Twins game. Visit the Weisman Art Museum, West Bank, Guthrie Theater and the Walker Art Center. Sample tasty cuisine at the hip Loring Pasta Bar and Annie’s Parlor in Dinkytown. And explore the Mississippi River, Minnehaha Falls and Lake Calhoun to witness the area’s natural beauty. 960 1280

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Chapel Hill, N.C.

Chapel Hill, N.C.

Known as “The Southern Part of Heaven” and home to the University of North Carolina Tarheels, Chapel Hill’s main strip -- Franklin Street – is the place for tailgating after parties, first-date dinners at Top of the Hill, boutique shops and Sunday strolls. As the University continues to grow and expand, so does the surrounding area: adding new shops, delis and inns to the already popular downtown Chapel Hill. 960 1280

VisitNC.com – Bill Russ  

Morgantown, W.V.

Morgantown, W.V.

Nestled in the beautiful mountains of north-central West Virginia and along the banks of the Monongahela River, Morgantown is home to the West Virginia University (WVU) Mountaineers. Students and visitors enjoy outdoor adventure all year long with nearby rafting, hiking and skiing. Named “Best Party School in the United States” by the Princeton Review in 2012, WVU is infamous for its off-campus parties and post-game celebrations held on Sunnyside’s Grant Avenue. A Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system connects the University’s three campuses and makes game-day tailgating at Mountaineer Field both easy and safe. 960 1280

J. Robinson, flickr  

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

Where else can students wake up, go for a quick hike, stop by campus for a class, and hit the slopes by the afternoon? Even if outdoor activities aren’t your thing, there’s something for you. Go for a stroll down Pearl Street, a pedestrian mall lined with shops, world-class restaurants and fire-juggling street performers. No matter what you do here, there's a good chance your activity of choice will be set against the stunning backdrop of the Colorado rockies. 960 1280

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Athens, Georgia

Athens, Georgia

You may think of the University of Georgia as a typical southern school -- and in many ways it is -- but Athens, isn't a typical college town. The historic downtown has fostered artists, hipsters and musicians such as R.E.M. and the B-52s. And if you look beyond the frat houses in the neighborhood of Five Points, you'll find old Georgia mansions and upscale restaurants. 960 1280

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Berkeley, California

Berkeley, California

You gotta take in the view of the Bay Area from atop the 307-foot-tall Sather Tower, in the heart of Berkeley’s campus. Once you descend, your next mandatory stop is Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley’s lively commercial strip with local attractions like the historic Fox Oakland Theatre. Want to see an outdoor show? Head to the 8,500-seat Greek Theatre. Keep the outdoor fun going -- pony and carousel rides, anyone? -- at Tilden Regional Park. Like any A-list college town, Berkeley is big on sports, with nearly a dozen sports facilities that cater to track and field, soccer, field hockey, water polo and more. 960 1280

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Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is Wisconsin’s capital city, and it’s also the largest city in the Dairy State. According to Forbes magazine, Madison ranks 16th in education and falls in the top 50 list of cities with the highest number of Ph.D.s per capita. The city is home to few colleges and one university, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Aside from hitting the books, students and locals can enjoy fun, local activities, which include checking out a concert on Capitol Square, taking a swim in Lake Mendota or visiting the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. 960 1280

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Tempe, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona

Located in the middle of four major cities in Arizona (Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix and Scottsdale), Tempe is known as one of the more diverse cities in the state. Step right out of the classroom into the beautiful Arizona sun. The number of pools is endless, the sunbathing is top notch and the mountainous scenery with palm trees lining the streets isn't too shabby either. Arizona State's campus is highlighted by dozens of bars and restaurants that line Mill Avenue. And that's not all, a 5-minute ride down the road will land you right in the heart of downtown Scottsdale. 960 1280

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Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Philadelphia was already on the national radar as a foodie and cultural destination, but the Pope’s visit in Sept. 2015 launched the city into the global spotlight. Just 2 months later, it received the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage City designation—making it the first US city to nab the distinction. (The fact that Independence Hall was already deemed a World Heritage Site in 1979 was part of the clincher.) Expect Philly to remain in the spotlight since it will host the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. 960 1280
Iceland

Iceland

Iceland has experienced a steady increase in tourists for the past 5 years, and 2016 should be no different. Chalk it up to a combination of new low-fare flights on WOW Air and Norwegian Air, more airlines offering direct routes (Delta), and Game of Thrones fans eager to visit film locations. Besides the must-see Blue Lagoon, don’t miss the recently opened Into the Glacier tour, which provides unprecedented access inside a glacier via a man-made ice cave. 960 1280
Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Start planning now for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, which will be held from Aug. 5-21. Tickets are still available on Rio’s official site, and hotel package deals with tickets are also available through authorized reseller CoSport. This will be the city’s first time hosting the Olympics, and massive improvements to Rio’s infrastructure are underway. Can’t get into every Olympic event on your wish list? Visit our guide of other top things to do while in Rio. 960 1280
Dubai

Dubai

Dubai has built a reputation on offering the latest and greatest. It already boasts the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper, and Dubai Ski, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. Now it can add a Hunger Games theme park to the list. Set to open in Oct. 2016, Motiongate Dubai will feature a fictional District 12 and a simulated hovercraft ride. (Unlike the movie portrayal, this version of Hunger Games will be family friendly.) Operated by Dubai Parks and Resorts, Motiongate Dubai will be joined by Legoland and a Bollywood theme park in 2016. Among the new hotel openings, The Langham, Palm Jumeirah, is the latest luxury property that will take up residence on Dubai’s man-made, palm-tree shaped archipelago. 960 1280
Cuba

Cuba

Although 2015 opened the door for US citizens to legally travel to Cuba, the tourism industry, both here and in Cuba, is still catching up. Part of that is due to the fact that while restrictions have been lifted, visiting for the sake of tourism alone is still banned. Luckily there are 12 exemptions for Americans, and traveling for educational purposes through a tour operator is a popular workaround. Expect more options for 2016 as an increasing number of travel companies enter the market. So far the biggest buzz surrounds Carnival Corp., which plans on adding weeklong cruises out of Miami starting in May. 960 1280
Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle

2016 is shaping up to be a big year for castles; for starters, it’s the last year that Downton Abbey fans will be able to enjoy new episodes. In travel news, Ashford Castle in Ireland -- a 13th-century castle cum 5-star hotel that could put the fictional Downton Abbey to shame -- has just completed a 2-year-long, $75 million renovation following new ownership. The entire interior received a complete refresh of everything from the carpets to the décor, and new additions include a 32-seat movie theater. However, perhaps the most impressive addition is the brand-new spa, an ornate, airy sanctuary with 5 treatment rooms, a hammam and indoor pool. 960 1280
Wrocław, Poland

Wrocław, Poland

Every year the European Union appoints 2 different European cities with the prestigious European Capital of Culture title. The chosen cities already have a strong cultural scene, but for those under the radar, the distinction helps provide a huge tourism boost. Wrocław (pronounced Vrots-swaf) is Poland’s fourth-largest city, a picturesque place with a town square that dates back to the middle ages. Visitors can expect a jam-packed lineup for 2016, since the city promises more than 1,000 events. A sampling includes the Theatre Olympiad, an international theater festival, the European Film Awards and famed pianist Lang Lang performing with the Washington National Symphony Orchestra.  960 1280
San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian is the other European Capital of Culture for 2016, and while it’s better known than Wrocław, it’s no less of a 2016 hotspot. This resort town in the northern Basque region is heralded for its food scene -- although that’s really an understatement, considering it has not one, but 16 Michelin-starred restaurants. Besides the culinary options, visitors can look forward to a cultural schedule with a twist: the city chose “Waves of Energy” as the theme, so anticipate that all of the capital of culture events will possess this conceptual bent. Other major events include the annual Jazz Festival in July and the annual International Film Festival in Sept. 960 1280
Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka often gets overlooked in favor of its more popular neighbors, India and the Maldives, but this small island nation offers 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites, lush landscapes and no shortage of beaches or elephants. Tourism has rebounded since the decades-long civil war ended in 2009, and luxury hotels are opening at a breakneck pace. Cape Weligama, Ani Villas and Anantara Tangalle Resort & Spa are among the 2015 standouts for unrivaled quality. Anticipated 2016 openings include Shangri-La Hambantota Resort & Spa, a 300-room oasis on the southern coast offering a golf course, spa and Eco Centre, which will educate guests about the local environment. Anantara Kalutara Resort & Spa, a smaller property on the southwest coast, is set to open in January. Rooms will sport authentic Sri Lankan décor, and resort amenities include a yoga pavilion and two outdoor swimming pools. Or you can splurge on a pool villa and get your own private plunge pool. 960 1280

MYQUA  

The Final Frontier: Space

The Final Frontier: Space

There’s only one spot left on the most intrepid traveler’s bucket list: space. Virgin Galactic’s space flights are still light years away (or at least not happening in 2016). But thanks to the latest Nieman Marcus Christmas Book, those who have been nice have the chance to experience a modified version via a pressurized capsule attached to a giant high-altitude balloon that will carry passengers 100,000 feet above the Earth. The flight seats 6 passengers at a time and will take up to 6 hours, but luckily there’s a bar and bathroom on board. The trip isn’t scheduled until 2017, but the $90,000 gift starts in 2016 with a 3-night stay at Miraval Resort in Tucson, AZ, a tour of Biosphere 2, a scientific research facility with seven contained ecosystems ranging from the desert to the rainforest, and a behind-the-scenes peek at a World View test flight. Better hurry, only 10 packages are up for sale. 960 1280

Courtesy Neiman Marcus  

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