Public holidays are the perfect time of year to think about an extended break from work or a short weekend away from home. But with so many destinations, where are the best places to go for specific holidays? Whether you want to hang out and relax or join in the festivities, there is a perfect destination for you.
1. Mardi Gras – New Orleans, Louisiana
Image via flickr by PhelanRiessen
Since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has had a complete revamp of its infrastructure. Much of the destroyed areas have been rehabbed, and the city is once again back to normal. However, there is no better time to visit than March, when the city celebrates Mardi Gras. Head down to Bourbon Street and experience the chaos firsthand. Go to the night parade if you’re feeling a bit wild, or take the kids to the day parade. Make sure you soak in authentic Cajun food while you’re there. You won’t regret it.
2. New Year’s Eve – New York City
Image via flickr by andrewcparnell
If you want to be in one of the most festive New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world, book your flight for New York City. Times Square is the center of the New Year’s party; watch the crystal ball drop and countdown to zero, only this time do it in person. While the area is crowded, you can try your luck getting on television or simply people watch in this culturally diverse event. When you’re done, explore the city. From museums to restaurants to sporting events, New York has something for everyone.
3. San Sebastian Day – San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Sebastian Day is one of the biggest festivals of the year in Puerto Rico. Taking place annually on the third weekend in January, it is the best place to take in every bit of Puerto Rican culture. San Juan is crowded with live music, art, food and drink, and a huge parade. The city tends to be crowded during the festival, so check out Royal Holiday Villas in Humacao about 45 minutes from San Juan. The beaches are amazing and you can avoid the hectic pace in the city before and after the festival.
4. Fourth of July – Washington, D.C.
To express your American patriotism, no place is better than the nation’s capital. The day starts off with the Independence Day parade which has marching bands, floats, and military units walking through the streets. Head over to the Smithsonian afterwards for the Folklife Festival which has artists, musicians, and food from across the country. At the end of the day, no Fourth of July would be complete without fireworks. Watch from Lincoln Memorial, and see the fireworks over the reflecting pool in front.
5. Groundhog Day – Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Punxsutawney is the perfect destination if you want to experience some true Americana. The holiday, which takes place on February second, is centered in this town, two hours east of Pittsburgh. Go to Gobbler’s Knob, the main park in town, to see if Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog, sees his shadow. You can also walk around downtown for some shopping or dining. Bring the kids as well, for the groundhog petting zoo and Groundhog Day Parade.
No matter what your idea of the perfect holiday is, celebrating them in a new place with new friends creates memories. Why do the same predictable event each year, when you can experience a slice of American culture elsewhere? So, make this next holiday experience something you’ll remember by relaxing somewhere different.
Dylan Adams is a writer and travel enthusiast from Tampa, Florida. He attended the University of South Florida and loves visiting different beaches around the world.