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.

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Simon Law, flickr

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Kenny Karst/DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc.

Photo By: iStock

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Ed Schipul, flickr

Photo By: Aspen Chamber Resort Association

Walt Disney World Marathon

Kick off the New Year by earning your Disney medals! The annual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend unfolds in mid-January, with four days of events that include a 5K, 10K and half marathon. Here, Adriano Bastos of Brazil crosses the finish line to win the 20th annual marathon.

Tournament of Roses Parade

Head to the granddaddy of all college bowl games this January. The famed Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, has been played annually since 1916. Cap off festivities with an even older tradition -- the annual Tournament of the Roses Parade, “America’s New Year Celebration” since 1895.

New Year's Plunge (Coney Island)

Go ahead, take the New Year’s plunge! Every year, since 1903, the Coney Island Polar Bear Club has taken a dip in the chilly Atlantic come New Year’s. All you need is a bathing suit (or wacky costume), plus a little suspension of disbelief that you are actually immersing yourself in ice-cold water in the dead of winter.

South Padre Island

Coney Island’s waters too cold for you? Take a dip in the Gulf of Mexico at South Padre Island. With average water temperatures in the 50s and 60s this time of year, you can brave the annual South Padre Island Polar Bear Dip and still feel all your toes and fingers afterward. January is also a great time to stroll the Laguna Madre Nature Trail or go on a dolphin cruise.

North American International Auto Show (Detroit)

New Year, new car! See what the leading automakers have in store at the annual North American International Auto Show. As one of the largest auto shows in North America, the annual event reveals brand-new, shiny offerings like the 7th-generation Chevrolet Corvette, the C7, (pictured), at Detroit’s Cobo Center.

Off-Season Pick: Florence, Italy

Looking for a great off-season destination? Skip the crowds, and head to Florence, Italy. Sure, it’s one of the Tuscan city’s coldest months, so just pack a scarf; with hardly any tourists, you’ll have ample room to explore Florence’s sites and attractions like the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery.

Mexico City in January

For an off-season pick closer to home, set your sights on Mexico City. January is one of the best months to visit, with thinner crowds and weather still warm enough for sightseeing. Explore any number of museums (the city is home to more than 170!), plus stroll the oldest park in North America and check out trendy neighborhoods like La Roma.

Chinese New Year (Chinatown, Boston)

Ring in the Chinese New Year in Boston’s Chinatown. Right behind N.Y.C. and L.A., Beantown’s Chinatown is the third-largest in the U.S., with roots stretching back to the 1880s. Pass through Boston Chinatown’s opening gate, flanked by two guardian lions on either side, and enjoy Cantonese cuisine served in small dishes at restaurants like Hei La Moon.

Learn-to-Ski-and-Snowboard Month

Did you know January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month? Hit the slopes in New York State, home to more than 50 ski resorts -- more than any other state in the country. Among the top draws is Whiteface Mountain; just a short drive from Lake Placid, the ski area offers diverse terrain for both beginner and expert skiers.

Golden Globes in Los Angeles

Didn’t get an invite to the Golden Globes this month? You can still hang out in the City of Angels. Take a tour to see the sites including Disneyland, Universal Studios, the Hollywood Bowl, and don’t forget to take a stroll along the Santa Monica Pier.

A Taste of Yosemite

Take a tour of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, the grand Yosemite National Park hotel that has hosted its share of famous guests through the years, from Walt Disney to Queen Elizabeth II. Visit this January for the annual cooking event, "A Taste of Yosemite," and embark on a Northern California culinary adventure.

National Cheese Lover’s Day (Vermont)

Don’t let New Year’s be the one day you celebrate this month; pencil in time for National Cheese Lover’s Day, too. January 20 marks a very special day for cheese gourmands everywhere. Celebrate with a trip to Vermont, home to cheesemakers since the 1800s, and let this Vermont cheese trail map be your guide.

MLK Day of Service

Celebrate the life of the civil rights leader during the MLK Day of Service. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., hundreds of nonprofits and volunteer centers nationwide observe the federal holiday, named in King’s honor back in 1983, as a day of giving back to local communities and shelters. Grab a hammer and lend a hand.

Elvis Presley's Birthday

Celebrate the life of another King: On January 8, 1935, Elvis Presley was born in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi. This month, Elvis’s Graceland estate hosts a three-day-long birthday celebration. Rise bright and early for the Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony on Graceland’s North Lawn, and stay for the birthday-cake cutting.

Aspen's Winterskol Fest

Raise a toast to winter in Aspen’s annual Winterskol fest. The winter tradition is more than 60 years strong, and was started by a lodge owner who wanted to enliven the Aspen winter season following Christmas. Today, the four-day winter fest includes a snow sculpture competition, a soup cook-off and a downhill race, with apple strudel at the finish line.

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