Events & Happenings:
Everything is Illuminated
Festivals of lights dazzle across North America during the holiday season. Here are several of the most brilliant celebrations.
Thinking Outside the Box Store

Local, independent stores can solve last-minute shopping woes during the holidays or anytime you're looking to buy.
Pop-Up Shops for the Holidays

It's a temporary thing at these hot spots in six cities that are taking advantage of the shopping season and some vacant space.
Brand Old

American heritage brands have reclaimed their cool status both stateside and abroad. Here are a few you should shop, or promote from the back of your closet.
Best Shopping Districts

Charming North American districts invite shoppers not just into their world class stores but to experience life at street level.
Trouble for the Funny Business?

Comics across the country help us take a serious look at the state of stand-up comedy. Turns out, times are tough in the funny business.
Take Only Memories

Children of all ages can visit Native American cultural centers, living museums that also serve as community meeting houses and cultural forums for the many indigenous nations.
It's the Great Pumpkin

Be picky this autumn. Choose your pumpkin straight from the patch.
Autumn Orchard Trips

Party like it's 1910 by taking an autumn road trip to these orchards for nostalgic activities and apples.
Best Shoe Shops

The well-shod head to these city stores for the most current and comfy footwear.
Dance, Dance, Revolution

We've tapped into the hottest spots to get your groove on. Shuffle, leap or spin -- don't walk -- to these dance destinations.
Weird Science

Marvel at these medical and scientific wonders at museums and exhibits across the U.S. where getting grossed-out is just part of the educational experience.
Facing the Music

Cultural institutions of all kinds face challenges in this economy. It's no different for music museums, as they strive to strike the right note.
The Great Pretenders

Find something you can sing along to at these clubs that pay tribute to your favorite artists.
Geeking Out and About

Take your inner dork to these niche museums for some unselfconscious fun.
Animal Festivals

Flying Dogs and Amorous Anteaters: Fun festivals where the fur frequently flies.
Streetball's Most Competitive Courts

Want to see some real basketball? Check out one of these seven U.S. courts, where even NBA stars come to test their mettle.
From Silent Sneezes to 'Avatar'

American movie-going keeps evolving, from nickelodeons, movie palaces, drive-ins -- and Odorama -- to 3D Imax.

American Kitsch Road Trips

Take stock of what's weird and wacky just off the shoulders of the national highway
When the Americans Split, Tijuana Got Hip

A new flowering of art and nightlife has taken hold in a downtown that once filled with partiers from north of the border.
On Island Time

Leave behind your landlocked lifestyle to relax on these charming North American isles.
Love Me Do

Forget the gift wrap and bow. These romantic experiences are the perfect package for putting those three little words into action this Valentine's Day.
Have Love Will Travel

Here are a half-dozen amorous itineraries in North America's most romantic cities to share with your someone special.
Boardwalk Empire

From "Jersey Shore" to Muscle Beach, a stroll down America's boardwalks proves a good way to be havin' some fun.
Something to Peak Your Interest

Don't feel like suiting up for the slopes? That's no reason to miss out on these wonderful ski resort towns where there's plenty for the non-skier to do.
Best Shopping Cities in the U.S.

In these cities, selection and price just give the consumer more buying power.
Best Holiday Window Displays

Find the holiday spirit courtesy of these stores that have really maxed out their creative credit with their window displays.
Socket to Me

Hacker spaces, workshops where inventive individuals share four walls, tools and tips, are becoming a sanctuary for people who want to do their own wiring, soldering or create a robot.
The Revolution Will Be Quilted

People are turning to their own devices and hip social groups to craft cool -- we mean it -- homespun wares.
Strange City Monuments

There may not be a specific reason, or there may be a really good one, but cities love to erect odd monuments to show some local color.
Flake Out

Sometimes all it takes is a soft layer of snow to isolate you from the worries of the world. Here some favorite places to play on your snow day.
Whatever Floats Your Boat

The journey is part of the destination on these pleasure vessels that convey you across North America's beautiful waterways.
Ghouls Night Out

We've rounded up the spookiest spots across the country where ghosts of the past are present.
Urban Farming

Cities are making admirable efforts to cultivate urban food programs and public gardens to promote both local food security and sufficiency.
An Eco Education

Colleges and universities find innovative ways to promote green technologies and sustainable practices.
Make a Grand Entrance

Beautiful cities act as gateways to our glorious national parks. Here are a few that shouldn't be passed over.
Put a Lid on It

Hat shops have weathered fashion's favor and disregard to come out on top during hard times.
Too Cool (Just) for School

Don't bury your head in your books in these towns that provide plenty of extracurriculars for students and residents alike.
Fall Foliage in City Parks

Fall has blown in. Here are seven city parks where you can watch the season turn over a new leaf, in living color.
Autumn in an Arboretum
One of the best places to enjoy autumn is an arboretum. Here are 10 in the U.S. that'll leave you speechless.
When You're Unemployed

Take a mental health day from your unemployment with these almost totally free things to do in your city.
Go Jump in a Lake

These lakeside cities have offered generations of Americans serene options for lazing.
America's Coolest Cities

These trendy metros offer abundant nightlife and cultural diversions, which contribute to their cool factor.
Disneyland for Grown-ups

Disneyland is great for kids. But what about the grown-ups?
10 Things I Miss About Disneyland

The House of the Future is a thing of the past. Here's a look back at that defunct Tomorrowland attraction and other gone-but-not-forgotten rides.
Surfing USA

Here are five spots, from Hawaii and California to Texas and Florida, where beginners and veterans can search for that perfect wave.
America's Best Music Cities

Find stellar performances of musical genres ranging from rap to tejano in these U.S. cities that know how to carry a tune.
The Wheel World

You'll look sweet on a bicycle built for you -- especially if it's designed by one of these custom bike builders.
Best Cities for Bicyclists

These North American cities are hubs for bikers who push the pedal not only as an alternate form of transportation, but as a lifestyle.
10 Surprising City Adventures

You don't need to get outta town to experience nature at its most adventurous. These urban activities make city living a little more thrilling.
You Don't Spray?
America's changing attitudes toward street art are opening up new avenues of expression and energizing cities, big and small.
Great Outdoor Cities

In these North American cities, the great outdoors melds with urban life for a solid dose of vitamin D and fun.
Scenic Summer Drives

These spots offer travelers some of the open road's best views.
Summer Better than Others

These aren't your regular arts and crafts camps. Send your kiddos to these fun destinations for an unusually good time.
In with the Old

Take your antiquing to these little towns to score big.
Word on the Street

Great boulevards connect us to our past and, in their preservation, help define the future of the American city.
America's Prettiest Towns

These places offer natural beauty, a unique identity or a combination of the two.
Walkable Bridges

These bridges in five U.S. cities are great for walking, even if you're not heading anywhere in particular.
Hendrix: 40 Years Later

2010 will be a banner year for the sound and vision of the Seattle-born guitarist.
Rail-World Adventures

Trains are more than just a way to get to work. In the Northeast Corridor, they're also a perfect way to start a day of urban exploration.
America's 25 Richest Counties

The country's fattest paychecks are brought home to these high-end suburbs.
Crazy About Cars

What do Americans love almost as much as cars? Car shows. Here are some rip-roaring events to watch for.
Wired Cities

Raleigh takes the lead in our annual list of the most broadband-connected U.S. cities.
Field Guide to Late-Night Talk Shows
NBC's recent programming debacle put the spotlight back on late-night TV. Here's how to score audience tickets.
U.S. Guitar Makers

Two legendary U.S. guitar makers offer the chance to get close to musical history and, in one case, see how an instrument is made.
Best/Worst Cities for Commuters

When it comes to commuting some cities are stuck in traffic, while others walk, bike and even ski to the top of the list.
Romantic Small Towns

What makes a city romantic? Here are eight cities and towns in North America that offer distinct answers of their own.
The Legacy of the Winter Games

Long after the athletes are gone, these North American Olympic cities still carry a torch.
Valentine's Day Nation

With regional distinctions like any holiday on the calendar, Valentine's Day is the holiday we love to love. And, sometimes, hate.
Miami Spiced

Sightsee and sunbathe in style.
Cheap Thrills

10 $20 Day Trips: Because staying in your house forever won't help anything.
Hunker Down With a Hobby

January is National Hobby Month. Do you think that's an accident? Unlikely.
Adrenaline Rush

Skydiving, mountain biking, rock climbing: You can do it all this winter -- indoors, and without leaving these major U.S. cities.
Revisiting Robert Johnson

He was the definitive voice of the central American music, as much a phantom as a flesh-and-blood icon. Now, 100 years after his birth, he's coming back to light.
Giving Credence to Vintage Music's Revival

What's better than a musical journey through the past? For some top musicians, it's bringing their hit albums of the past into the present -- onstage.
Boys of Vintage Summer

Interviews with members of the Vintage Base Ball Association (in vintage parlance, base ball is two words) and other aficionados of the early manifestations of the national pastime. It's not just about wearing old uniforms and wearing a handlebar mustache; it means playing the game according to old rules.
Urban Oasis, Complete With Sand

Places to get away from it all, even if 'it all' is just down the interstate.
Festival Cities Off the Beaten Track

The Pageant of Steam? Autopalooza? There's more than one way to celebrate summer, and more than one place to do it.

Bars & Nightlife:
Mixed Blessings

These bars are turning to their own devices, recipes, ingredients and customers' imaginations to create fresh, craft cocktails.
Top U.S. Bartenders

Bottoms up. Here are several top bartenders from across the country who know what to do with the tools of their trade.
American Distilleries

Idaho vodka? Philadelphia gin? Drink deep, America, from the lush bluegrass of Kentucky to the Oregon spruce forests.
Notorious Dive Bars

Get your spirits with a splash of local color at these dive bars where customers slum it and soak up some low culture.
Best Bars for First Dates

Charm your date at one of these spectacular bars, sure to make a great first impression.
C'mon Get Happy

Not content with just food and drink, we've found some bar specials that bring a little something extra to the table.
The Manhattan Project

Dream of downing your cocktails in style a la "Mad Men"? Here's a guide to posh bars across the country that'll make you feel like you've stepped into the set.
U.S. Soccer Pubs

Watch the World Cup at these American pubs that take the world's sport seriously.
Five American Breweries You Need to Try

Many U.S. beer makers put a tasty twist on tradition. Swing by these microbreweries for a sip, or pick up a six-pack at your local market.
From Beer to Eternity

Amid all the brouhaha at the breweries, the history of American suds manages to offer a consuming education.
Top 10 Sports Bars in the U.S.

Because some sporting events were meant to be experienced on a grander, more social scale than your living room.
Old, Historic and Notable Bars

The spirits of America can be found in these seven historic bars and taverns that just get better with age.
Top 10 Irish Pubs

Check out these 10 top Irish pubs, where it's easy drinking green.
Should Old Libations Be Forgot?

The U.S. has a long and complex history with alcohol in general and cocktails in particular. Some classics are coming back, but maybe in the end it's about the drinker, not the drink.
The Spirits Move Them

What makes a great bartender? Two parts talent, one part service, one part improvisation, one part empathy. Shake well. A survey of some of the world's best.
Bartenders in TV and the movies

From Woody in "Cheers" to Lloyd in "The Shining," a slideshow ode to the one behind the bar.
The Bar Code: Ingredients for a Great Watering Hole

Atmosphere, location and business vision are key. Good stiff drinks don't hurt either.
Saloons we love (from the movies)

From Rick's place in "Casablanca" to the Penman Inn in "Local Hero," a survey of the watering holes that leave a lot to the imagination (sinced that's where they started).
Cinema al Fresco

It's summer. Why go out for a good time just to be cooped up inside again? Six cities offer alternatives to the indoor movie.

Restaurants & Dining:
Restaurant Rooftop Gardens

A handful of urban chefs are growing everything from exotic herbs to tomatoes and corn -- on the roof.
Outdoor Dining Destinations

Reserve a table at these 10 outdoor dining restaurants where the food competes with the view.
Best American Ice Cream Shops

Here are 10 of the country's best ice cream shops where you can beat the heat this summer or just enjoy a cool treat, regardless of the weather.
Top U.S. Burger Joints

However you prepare it, there's no denying that the hamburger is a staple of the American culinary tradition. Get one hot off the grill at these equally hot spots.
Best Pizza: What, no Brooklyn?

To one food writer, a list of America's best pizza can't be complete without a representative from the borough that sets the standard.
America's Best Pizza Restaurants

Here are the crusts and pizza pies from coast to coast that leave us sighing, 'that's amore.'
Macarons Take the Cake
Bite into these bitty French cookies that are the newest trend in chic treats.
Top Mother's Day Brunch Spots

Mom will adore these lovely and diverse locations that offer scrumptious eats on her special day.
Top Easter Brunch Spots

Traditional breakfast favorites, Southwest specialties, and Creole classics are just a few of the delicacies served up for Easter brunch.
15 Classically American Sandwiches

From the cheese steak to the lobster roll, Americans make some amazing sandwiches. Here's where to find the best.
Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S.

Every restaurant has to start sometime. Check out the new kids on the block.
Top 40 Cheap Eats

Fancy meals at top-rated restaurants are so fun, but sometimes you want to eat at a great spot that won't break the bank.
Pass the Salt...and a Megaphone

New design styles, high ceilings and hardwood floors are making restaurants noisier. Here's how to find a quiet table.
Revolving Restaurants: A Throwback to the Future

Ready for a revolution? Then visit a restaurant perched up high and watch the world go around.
Top 40 | Restaurants in the U.S.
From veteran restaurateurs to the "rookies" that made the grade, we salute the top chefs that give us the ultimate in dining.
Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S.

Every restaurant has to start some time. Check out the new kids on the block.
Top 10 Heart-Healthy Restaurants in the U.S.

Dining out at a restaurant doesn't mean you have to abandon your diet.
Best Places to Kiss

Can't afford an expensive meal or trip this Valentine's Day? Consider canoodling over snacks and cocktails at one of these sexy spots.
Most Romantic Dining in the U.S.

Just in time for Valentine's Day: These romantic restaurants don't play hard to get (though reservations might).
Service First

In tough economic times restaurants are expected to deliver more than your food.
Giving Beer Lovers Freedom of Choice

For the daring, discerning beer palate, it's easy to go with the flow at these 10 brew palaces, some with more than 100 drafts on tap.
The Real Haunts of 'The Real Housewives'

From the boîtes with beaus to the sites of fights, we've got the locations, locations, locations that matter to the ladies who lunch -- and punch.
Surfing USA

Let's surf again, like we did last summer. Five great locations where beginners and veterans can track down that perfect wave.
Crime Tours

A slideshow looks back at criminal acts of the past and their consequences. The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the Denver Mint robbery, and the exploits of the Axeman of New Orleans are just some of the bad behaviorists featured here.
Perfect Places for People Watching

Break out your binoculars. These 10 destinations offer the best spots to practice the art of people perusal.
Giving Credence to Vintage Music's Revival

More and more, the legacy stars of rock and pop are revisiting their catalogs, playing their hits on tour for a whole new audience, and another generation.
Pedal-powered towns

Austin. Boise. Boulder. These cities (with populations of 10,000 and up) and others stand out as some of the best cycling towns in the U.S.
Tours Off the Beaten Track

Hunting for ghosts? Looking for history? These tours offer insights with an inventive perspective.
Adult Playgrounds

Indulge your fantasies at rock-star camp, James Bond school and other places where big kids go to play.