NatGeo’s 9 Best Fall Escape Trips in the U.S.

hot-air-balloons-albuquerque-natgeo

 Take to the Skies at the Albuquerque, New Mexico International Balloon Fiesta 

WHY GO: Take in the gorgeous New Mexico landscape and delicious New Mexican cuisine while enjoying the spectacle of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which takes places every year in October.

WHAT TO EAT: Get the red chile pork ribs at El Pinto. For a classic chile relleno, visit Mary and Tito’s Café.

PRACTICAL TIP: Most New Mexican restaurants will ask whether you want red or green, for which kind of chili you want. To get both, just say Christmas.

FUN FACT: The Albuquerque balloon festival is the largest hot-air balloon festival on Earth.

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read about more places to go, see all 9  fall vacations to experience in 2016 –>  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/best-trips/best-fall-trips-united-states/

10 Awesome Music Festivals Around The World This Summer

Music, Bestival, UK, NatGeo

It’s getting hot up here in the Northern Hemisphere. With summer fully upon us, people are soaking up the sunshine, showing some skin, and planning adventures near and far, including trips to the sweatiest of summer traditions: music festivals.

Before you bust out your flower headdress and head to Lollapalooza, check out what else the world has to offer. Here are 10 music festivals across the globe that can offer a unique—and potentially more meaningful—travel experience.

Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica
July 17-23, 2016

Billed under the slogan “Our Music, Our Festival,” Jamaica’s biggest festival is held every year in Montego Bay, kicking off with an annual beach party and an all-white dress code party followed by days of music from some of the biggest acts in the homeland of reggae.

Lineup highlights: Stone Love, Beenie Man, Super Cat

Alfa Future People in Russia
July 22-24, 2016

Held in the Russian countryside, six hours east of Moscow by car, Alfa Future People is more than a massive EDM (electronic dance music) festival, with exhibitions on the latest in technology and athletic opportunities like a volleyball tournament and aerial gymnastics classes.

Lineup highlights: Armin Van Buuren, Axwell and Ingrosso, Martin Garrix

Fuji Rock in Japan
July 22-24, 2016

This event held every year at Japan’s Naeba Ski Resort might be the music festival surrounded by the most stunning natural beauty of any in the world. Hikes between stages will lead you through green cathedral forests and cool mountain streams. Or you can hitch a ride on the Dragondola—the longest gondola on Earth.

Lineup highlights: Beck, Wilco, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals

Splendour in the Grass in Australia
July 22-24, 2016

It may be winter in Byron Bay, Australia, but it is still summertime in the Northern Hemisphere! Besides, winter in Byron Bay is like winter in Hawaii, so you don’t need to leave behind your flip-flops and board shorts. Splendour in the Grass includes great live music plus additional draws like the Global Village, talks from thought leaders on science, politics, and more, and the Splendour Comedy Club.

Lineup highlights: The Strokes, the Cure, Band of Horses, Sigur Rós

Baleapop in France
August 8-11, 2016

This four-day festival with a focus on art, music, and openheartedness takes place on the stunning beaches of French Basque country in the city of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Baleapop organizers seek to foster connections between people through musical performances and contemporary art installations, while keeping the event affordable, environmentally friendly, and open to all.

Lineup highlights: Suuns, Shackleton

In the Mix in the Philippines
August 18, 2016

A brand-new festival this year, In the Mix offers the chance to experience one of the most underappreciated cities in Southeast Asia: Manila. The Philippines’ capital is widely, and rightly, known for being crowded, polluted, and hectic but there’s a rich history and culture hiding in plain sight if you know what to look for, plus some one of the warmest, most fun-loving people you’re likely to ever meet.

Lineup highlights: The 1975, Panic! at the Disco, James Bay

Dusk til Dawn Blues Festival in Oklahoma
September 2-4, 2016

If you really want to get off the beaten path, check out this all-night blues festival in tiny Rentiesville, one of Oklahoma’s few surviving historically all-black towns. Night owls dig the blues from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. for three days straight.

Lineup highlights: Joanna Connor, Johnny Rawls

Bestival in England
September 8-11, 2016

Held annually on the beautiful and bucolic Isle of Wight in the south of England, this midsize gathering of around 50,000 is widely considered among the best festivals in Britain. Bestival is known for its eccentric, alternative feel (jump in the world’s biggest bouncy castle!) and commitment to environmental issues.

Lineup highlights: Major Lazer, Wiz Khalifa, Diplo, Animal Collective

K-Pop World Festival in South Korea
September 30, 2016

K-Pop is hardly outside the mainstream but this festival is still unlike any other. After surviving preliminary rounds in countries around the world, finalists and fans gather in Changwon, South Korea, for high-energy, upbeat performances and to select the next K-Pop stars.

Lineup highlights: TBD

Lake of Stars in Malawi
September 30-October 2, 2016

This arts and music festival held annually on the shores of Lake Malawi in southern Africa promises a truly unique experience. Lake of Stars brings together Malawian artists with creatives from around the world for a weekend of music, dancing, and positive vibes that infuses $1.5 million into the local economy.

Lineup highlights: Freshlyground, Faith Mussa, Flo Dee

courtesy of:  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/travel-interests/arts-and-culture/…

San Diego’s Best Restaurants 2016

Best of Restaurants 2016, SanDiegoMag
Specific Cuisines:

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Best Middle Eastern

Readers’ Pick: Meze
Runner-up: The Kebab Shop
Critic’s Pick: Khyber Pass

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Best Italian

Readers’ Pick: Solare Ristorante
Runner-up: Cucina Urbana and Cucina Enoteca
Critic’s Pick: Solare Ristorante

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Best Greek

Readers’ Pick: Meze
Runner-up: Cafe Athena
Critic’s Pick: Cafe Athena

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Best Mexican

Readers’ Pick: Talavera Azul
Runner-up: Puesto
Critic’s Pick: Bracero Cocina

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Best French

Readers’ Pick: Bleu Bohème
Runner-up: Cafe Chloe
Critic’s Pick: The Marine Room

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Best Indian

Readers’ Pick: Bombay
Runner-up: Royal India
Critic’s Pick: Taste of the Himalayas

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Best Chinese

Readers’ Pick: Szechuan Mandarin
Runner-up: Dumpling Inn
Critic’s Pick: Dumpling Inn

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Best Japanese

Readers’ Pick: Sushi Ota
Runner-up: Blue Smoke
Critic’s Pick: Wa Dining Okan

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Best Thai

Readers’ Pick: Supannee
Runner-up: Amarin
Critic’s Pick: Supannee

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Best Vietnamese

Readers’ Pick: Le Bambou
Runner-up: Saigon on Fifth
Critic’s Pick: Saigon on Fifth

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Best Korean

Readers’ Pick: Manna Korean BBQ
Runner-up: Tofu House
Critic’s Pick: Do Re Mi

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Best Filipino

Readers’ Pick: Tita’s Kitchenette
Runner-up: Manila Sunset
Critic’s Pick: Tita’s Kitchenette

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Best Russian

Readers’ Pick: Pomegranate
Runner-up: Pushkin
Critic’s Pick: Pomegranate

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Best Ethiopian

Readers’ Pick: Muzita
Runner-up: Red Sea
Critic’s Pick: Muzita

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Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Readers’ Pick: Café Gratitude
Runner-up: Civico 1845
Critic’s Pick: Café Gratitude

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Best Barbecue

Readers’ Pick: Phil’s BBQ
Runner-up: Coops West Texas BBQ
Critic’s Pick: Coops West Texas BBQ

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Best Steakhouse

Readers’ Pick: Cowboy Star
Runner-up: Donovan’s
Critic’s Pick: Cowboy Star

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Best Seafood

Readers’ Pick: Ironside FIsh & Oyster
Runner-up: Truluck’s
Critic’s Pick: Mitch’s

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Best Breakfast/Brunch

Readers’ Pick: Talavera Azul
Runner-up: Snooze
Critic’s Pick: Café 21

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for other additional individual categories of:   (1) Overall, (2) Atmosphere, (3) Specific Dishes, (4) Drinks, go to –> http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/June-2016/…

Great Foodie Destinations 2016 – Antalya, Turkey

 

Eats, Antalya, Turkey, NatGeo

Antalya, Turkey

Photograph by Tueremis, laif/Redux

Thanks to periods of both Christian and Muslim rule until the 15th century, the cuisine of beachside Antalya blends influences from both cultures. Surrounded by the snowcapped Taurus Mountains, the city also boasts nearby olive groves, citrus orchards, and fresh seafood pulled from the turquoise Mediterranean Sea.

Tourists dine seaside on fish kebabs, octopus, and plates of colorful mezze. With a large variety of both casual lokantas and upscale restaurants, Antalya is the ideal location for hosting this year’s Expo 2016, which covers horticulture, agriculture, and other topics. More than five million visitors are expected to attend.

What to Eat: Experience Turkish flavors in European dishes at Vanilla Lounge. The restaurant serves white bean and tahini soup and lamb, mint, and pea risotto in a sophisticated setting. For more traditional fare, seek out grouper kebabs or fried red mullet from the Mediterranean—usually available between July and October—at seaside restaurant İskele. Complete the meal with a round of mezze plates like hummus, red pepper spread, or purslane salad.

What to Drink: Raki, an anise-flavored brandy that is quite similar to Greek ouzo, is Turkey’s favorite drink. It turns cloudy when mixed with water or ice, and it’s typically consumed with a meal of mezze and grilled fish. There’s no better place to try it than at one of Antalya’s oldest restaurants like 7 Mehmet, a waterfront spot specializing in seafood.

Edible Souvenir: Jams are a key component of lavish Turkish breakfasts, and Antalya and the surrounding region are particularly well known for making the sweet spreads. Visit Yenigun, one of the country’s biggest producers, for a huge selection of jams in unique flavors like eggplant, watermelon, and rose.

Food Experience: Try catching some seafood of your own with Green Canyon boat tours. The tour company provides all of the equipment for the fishing expeditions around the emerald waters, located about ten miles from Antalya.

courtesy of:  http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/where-to-travel-for-food-in-2016

 

Best Campgrounds in U.S. National Parks – Wonder Lake

courtesy of:  http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/

National Park Week 4/16 – 4/24, FREE ENTRY + More!

Secret Vista

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016 and we want everyone to join the party!  On 16 days in ’16, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer FREE ADMISSION to everyone.

Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2016:

  • January 18:  Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • April 16 through 24:  National Park Week
  • August 25 through 28:  National Park Service Birthday
  • September 24:  National Public Lands Day
  • November 11:  Veterans Day

National parks are America’s Best Idea, and there are more than 400 parks available to everyone, every day. The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the 127 national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The others are free all of the time. Plan your visit and enjoy our country’s history and nature.

The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.
Fee-free days make parks accessible to more people. However, national parks are always economical, with entrance fees that range from $3 to $30. In addition, any fourth grade student can get a free annual pass through the Every Kid in a Park program, and active duty military and citizens with a permanent disability can also get free passes. For more information about the variety of discounted passes available, please visit the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass page.

April 16 Celebrate Obscura Day

   Are you an explorer, connoisseur, adventurer or inquisitive person?

It turns out there’s a holiday designed just for you. It’s called Obscura Day, an annual international day of curiosities invented by Atlas Obscura. The startup, which believes that “there is something new under the sun, every day, all over the world,” has been practicing what it preaches for five years with an annual celebration of “the world’s most curious and awe-inspiring places.”

This year, Obscura Day is Saturday, April 16, and Atlas Obscura has lined up a whopping 160 events in 31 states and 26 countries to celebrate. From behind-the-scenes tours of some of the world’s weirdest museums to walks, demonstrations and intrepid explorations, this year’s offerings read like a guidebook to the strange wonders this world has to offer. Here are five of the neatest adventures on tap:

Eat In a Pitch-Black Cave Beneath a Volcano (Tumbaco, Ecuador)

Hungry? Where better to sate your appetite for Ecuadorian comfort food than in pitch blackness, 30 feet below a volcano? Participants in the Obscura Day celebration in Tumbaco, Ecuador, will head to La Casa de Rafa, a restaurant that gives diners the opportunity to enjoy their food in total darkness.

Those brave enough to give up all visual input will trek to the cave adjoining the restaurant, located beneath a 9,000-foot inactive volcano, Ilaló. There, blind servers will act as escorts, food guides and encouragers to participants (since it’s so dark, most diners prefer to eat with their hands). The concept of dark dining began as a way to impart the sensory experiences of people with visual impairments to sighted people, but over time it’s become a food trend in its own right. These days, people can enjoy different cuisines served by people who are blind all over the world—but the experience of eating beneath a real-life volcano is still pretty unique. The experience even includes a super-secret menu item sure to add even more sensory sorcery to the experience. Click here to register.

Learn How to Rob a Grave in Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

Chicago’s Lincoln Park is a lakefront paradise filled with museums, playing fields and a zoo. But beneath the surface lurks something else—thousands of graves. The park once served as a Chicago cemetery, housing everyone from millionaires to unnamed paupers. At one time, even thousands of Confederate prisoners of war were buried in City Cemetery, as it was then called, though they were later disinterred and reburied elsewhere in the city.

City Cemetery had one major drawback: It flooded constantly thanks to Lake Michigan’s surpluss flow. The cemetery eventually was moved, but not before it became the target of graverobbers. These “resurrectionists,” as they were named, were also med students—they plundered bodies and used them as cadavers. You can learn the entire grisly tale in an exclusive tour with Adam Selzer, who specializes in Chicago ghost tours. He’ll even teach you a few tricks of the ressurectionists’ trade. Click here to register.

Commune With 500 Stuffed Frogs (Split, Croatia) 

Do you dream of spending a day with stuffed frogs doing everything from playing tennis to sewing? At Froggyland in Split, this extremely specific fantasy becomes a bizarre reality. The museum is stuffed with taxidermied dioramas that are the life’s work of Ferenc Mere, a Hungarian taxidermist who grew up near a pond full of frogs. He spent more than a decade preserving dead frogs and posing them as if they were in the midst of somewhat adorable, human-like activities.

Froggyland is stuffed, as it were, with 507 frolicking frogs—the epitome of obscure. Obscura Day visitors can spot frogs boating, taking music lessons and more. Click here to register.

Get Musical in a Mausoleum (Oslo, Norway) 

Mausoleum Concert, Oslo, Norway, Smithsonian

Norway is home to a hell-raising black metal culture—a sound born in the 1990s that’s influenced by ancient Norse religions and a desire to return to Pagan ways. And what could be more metal than performing a concert in a bleakly beautiful shrine to death?

For Obscura Day, a Norse museum will give a mausoleum-bound concert to a few lucky listeners. It will take place at the Emanuel Vigeland Museum, an art museum that features Vigeland’s elaborate religious decorations within a 2600-square-foot mausoleum. It’s covered in frescoes that portray what the museum calls “human life from conception till death, in dramatic and often explicitly erotic scenes.” Okay, so the performers aren’t exactly terrifying—Ole and Silje Huleboer aren’t a metal band and their sound is decidedly indie-folksy. But the contrast of sweet music with deathly imagery should be about as metal as it comes. The concert will take place after a museum tour. Click here to register. 

Step Into a Velvet Painting (Los Angeles)

The fine art of the velvet painting is long gone—or is it? Velveteria, a shrine to the cheesy ’70s-style wall art, begs to differ. It’s home to a rotating exhibit that taps into its owners’ 3,000-artifact-strong collection. You’ll find everything from dogs playing poker to Barack Obama on the retro paintings, which have become quite the collectors’ item for anyone with an eye for kitsch.

Visitors to Velveteria’s Obscura Day celebration will tour the facility with its curator, learn the stories behind some of the most eye-catching paintings, and even experience the masterpieces under black lights. Click here to register.

Read more:  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/