Luaus, big waves, and hula dancing may be the first things that come to mind when you think of Hawai’i, but our Pacific island-state is also very serious about its incredible coffee. For nearly 200 years, Hawai’i has been growing some of the world’s finest coffee beans. This month, from November 3–12, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival celebrates that heritage.
In the late 1820s, a missionary planted the first coffee trees in Kona, the sunny region that stretches down the west side of the island of Hawai’i (a.k.a. The Big Island) on the leeward side of the Hualalai Volcano. Sheltered from the area’s harshest wind and rain, Kona’s rich volcanic soil, semi-arid climate, and year-round warm temperatures make it perfect for coffee to thrive.
By the mid-1840s, the first coffee plantations had been established. Soon, Kona coffee would win international acclaim when it received an award of excellence at the 1873 World’s Fair in Venice. By the end of the century, 6,000 acres had been dedicated to growing coffee. By the time Hawai’i was annexed as a state in 1959, annual crops were worth $6.5 million. Today, about 650 farms cultivate coffee across 3,500 acres in the Kona district, producing 3.8 million pounds a year and valued at $14 million.
This month, the 10-day long Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, which began in 1970, celebrates the harvest. Farms offer guided tours, food tastings abound, and music and dancing and culture are everywhere. Each year, Miss Kona Coffee and Miss Aloha are crowned during academic scholarship pageants. The Kona Coffee Recipe Contest and Cupping Competition bring out the best and brightest in their fields. And, of course, everywhere you turn, there is plenty of that wonderful, bold, dark, and delicious Kona coffee – still known to be among the world’s finest.
It’s not difficult to find Champagne any night of the week in New York City, but during New York Champagne Week, it’s almost as if the bubbles find you. This year Champagne Week turns five, and anyone can join in the celebration from November 6-11. So grab a glass or an entire bottle and find the fizzy fun at one of these events.
New York Champagne Week-Long Public Events
The Vine NYC at Kimpton Hotel Eventi (851 6th Ave) hosts a Champagne by the glass menu throughout the week featuring Champagnes by Boizel, Bulle De Rêve, Devaux, Jacquart and La Caravelle, plus a special 5th Birthday New York Champagne Champagne Cocktail will be served up all week long.
East Village hot spot Martina Pizzeria (198 E 11th St) invites guests to grab a pie and one of the many half bottles of bubbly on the menu. Champagne Laculle by the glass will also be on the available as long as the supply lasts.
Late nights, hit Corkbuzz (13 E 13th St), New York Champagne’s die hard unofficial late night spot for the entire week. From 10 pm till close get your fizz fix at a steal with half price bottles of bubbly.
New York Champagne Week Individual Events
Bubbles & Beats at Giulietta’s Cantina Club (13 Carmine St) will have special Champagne flights and food pairings, plus they’ll have their infamous Chambongs. Wednesday, November 8 from 7 pm–11 pm. Price: Pay as you go.
Bourbon & Bubbles at Bottle Rocket Wine & Spirit (5 W 19th St) bring together a match made in heaven – Bourbon and Champagne. Join Hudson Whiskey’s National Brand Ambassador Han Shan and New York Champagne Week Founder Blaine Ashley as they host an in-store tasting party. Thursday, November 9 from 5pm-8pm. Price: Free.
Fromage & Fizz at Bedford Cheese Shop ( 67 Irving Pl) Five types of real deal Champagne perfectly paired with 5 types of cheeses – the perfect French indulgence. Friday, November 10 from 7pm-8:30. Price: $85. Call 718-599-7588 to purchase tickets.
Champagne Cocktail Brunch at Giulietta’s Cantina Club (13 Carmine St) hosts a special New York Champagne Week Champagne Cocktail Brunch accompanied by live blues. Saturday, November 11 from 1 pm–4 pm. Call 212-206-9777 to make a reservation.
Bulle de Rêve
All the fine French Champagne that will flow during Champagne Week will be quality, but while you’re out and about enjoying the celebration of all things bubbly, keep an eye for the opportunity to try Bulle de Rêve – French for Dream Bubble. The label was launched by Wine Enthusiast magazine’s 40 under 40 alum & New York Champagne Week founder Blaine Ashley along with third-generation family-owned Champagne house Champagne Lombard. This limited edition Champagne is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir 100% from the French village of Grande Montagne de Reims.
With all the quirky bacon products that have flooded the Internet, it’s pretty clear that bacon marketing jumped the shark some time ago. But bacon itself? Never. The smell, the flavor, the joy… Bacon is just one of life’s great pleasures. Which is exactly why the town of Easton, Pennsylvania hosts the PA Bacon Fest each year. One of the region’s most popular events, the weekend-long celebration attracts more than 150 vendors, 12 musical acts, multiple stages, and 80,000 attendees to this small city located just an hour from New York and Philadelphia.
PA Bacon Fest came to be as a natural extension of the Easton Farmers’ Market, which claims to be America’s oldest continuously operating open-air market, dating all the way back to 1752. Food vendors who source locally and incorporate organic, all-natural, artisan, and pasture-raised products are given top spots in the fest’s popular farm-to-table area.
The family-friendly, non-profit event (a $2 donation donation is suggested at the door) includes a pig roast, pig racing, hog calling, live music, kids’ events, and tons of food, and, as you might imagine, it smells amazing. Visitors come from across the country for chef battles, culinary demos, and hilarious costume contests. (Here’s a good one: A guy dressed as a strip of bacon wearing a “To hale with kale” sign.) As if this lineup couldn’t get any better, additional events include the Kegs Eggs & Bacon, Bacon & Brew, and Cheek to Cheek Pork & Bourbon Pairing tastings. Not for the faint (or clogged) of heart, a bacon eating contest will also be held. If you prefer to get your weekend off to a more healthy start, consider joining the Racin’ Bacon 5K road race. Whatever you do, though, come hungry; you won’t be getting out of this pork-a-palooza without needing to loosen your belt.
We love to eat at any time of year, but when apples and squash start falling off the branch and vine, we find ourselves especially hungry. Seafood, too, finds its peak in the fall; when coastal water temperatures begin to drop, oysters, clams, and other seafood is at its best. Truthfully, of course, we could probably find an excuse in any season to get together with a group of friends to explore the finer points of culinary trends. But great seafood, craft beer, international chefs, and fine wine seem like an exceptional reason to partake right now.
Apple Harvest Festival
Location: Biglerville, Pennsylvania
Date: October 14–15
Deep in the heart of Pennsylvania, not far from Gettysburg, The National Apple Harvest Festival celebrates one of America’s finest harvests. What better way to celebrate fall than with fresh-picked, crisp fruit straight from the tree? The event also includes an antique car exhibit, more than 300 arts and crafts vendors, hay rides, a petting zoo, and all the foods you can make from apples. This is country living at its best.
Location: Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Date: October 14–15
Here in New England, we take our oysters seriously, and assign them profiles based on “merroir.” (That’s like terroir, but based on where something’s grown in the sea.) Located toward the northern tip of Cape Cod, Wellfleet is well known for its delicious bivalves. The cold, salty waters off its shores yield oysters that are decidedly creamy, sweet, and briny – which has made them famous all over the world. For two days every fall, the town’s streets come alive when the Wellfleet OysterFest brings locals and visitors together to celebrate the region’s famous shellfish with food, art, music, and family fun.
Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival
Location: Newport, Rhode Island
Date: October 18–19
Even though summer’s crowds have dwindled, Newport, Rhode Island continues to stay lively, and the Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival celebrates the best the season has to offer. The free event brings entertainment, family activities, and world-famous cuisine from top Rhode Island restaurants together beside the city’s wharves and surrounding yachts. Honoring the “harvest of the sea,” the festival offers seafood specialties – such as clam chowder, stuffed quahogs, clam cakes, fish tacos, and raw oysters – all hauled from Rhode Island’s local waters.
Harvest on the Harbor
Location: Portland, Maine
Date: October 16–22
Among foodies, Portland, Maine has become a true dining and drinking destination, and its Harvest on the Harbor event brings some of the city’s favorite chefs together for dining and tasting events with a focus on sustainable and locally-sourced food. The week-long event, now in its tenth year, also highlights Portland’s dozens of awesome, local breweries. Added bonus: Harvest on the Harbor benefits Full Plates, Full Potential, a non-profit organization that works toward ending childhood hunger in Maine.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Location: Disney World, Florida
Date: November 13
Even if you’re not a “Disney person,” you can still enjoy Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, which runs from the end of August through mid-November each year. Epcot offers more than 35 international food kiosks, plus its themed dining halls, all of which are staffed by people from the countries each restaurant represents, making the food (perhaps surprisingly) authentic. The Food and Wine Festival also brings tasting events, celebrity chefs, cheese and wine seminars, and culinary demonstrations to the park. Whether you go adults-only or take the kids, it’ll be a delicious experience.
Fall Food Festival Dates
- Apple Harvest Festival -Biglerville, PA; Oct. 14-15
- WellFleet Oysterfest -MA; Oct. 14-15
- Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival -Newport, RI; Oct. 18-19
- Harvest on the Harbor -Portland, ME; Oct. 16-22
- Epcot Food and Wine Festival -Orlando, FL; through Nov. 13
New York will play host to more than 80 culinary star-studded events benefiting the Food Bank For New York City and No Kid Hungry® when the Food Network and Cooking Channel celebrate 10 years of the New York City Wine and Food Festival.
Presented by Coca Cola, this year’s lineup includes established fan favorites as well as some exciting new additions. Whet your appetite and review some of the delicious possibilities. NYCWFF runs October 12 – 15, 2017.
Blue Moon Burger Bash:
This event will bring past winners from previous Bashes to battle new contenders in order to see whose burger reigns supreme. Celebrity judges include Lance Bass, Elvis Duran, Jaymee Sire, and BD Wong. Naughty By Nature, best known for their hits “O.P.P.” and “Hip Hop Horray” will also be performing.
A perfect option for gourmet broadway babies, the second annual Broadway Tastes features chefs – and their brunch dishes – inspired by over a dozen popular Broadway musicals. Cast members of Broadway shows will also make the scene, along with Sirius XM host, Seth Rudetsky.
Inaugural Clean & Sustainable Cooking:
The Inaugural Clean & Sustainable Cooking panel is a thought-provoking panel with Chef José Andrés, chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup and named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People;” Sam Kass, former White House Chef; and Radha Muthiah, CEO of Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. The panel is moderated by Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation.
Sustainability has never been a hotter topic in the food world. Have a seat and learn from some of the best in the business.
You won’t want to miss treating yourself to a traditional Israeli Brunch hosted by famed Philadelphia-based chef/restaurateur, Michael Solomonov. Go sweet – with Federal Donuts – or savory, at this family-style brunch at the Café Medi on the Lower East Side.
Chefs are Rock Stars and Rock Stars are Chefs:
This panel gives you the opportunity to Explore the Creative Link Between Music and Food. Panelists include Mario Batali, Award-winning Chef and TV Personality; Jarobi White, Grammy-award winning musician; and Brooke Mazurek, acclaimed chef and music writer. Moderator Isabel Gonzalez-Whitaker, Deputy Editor of Billboard, will settle in to discuss the creative parallels between food and music.
For the Family
Italian Harvest Party:
Be sure to attend the Alfa Romeo presents Italian Harvest Party hosted by Giada De Laurentiis. Giada and her daughter Jade will bring “la bella vita” to life at their festive gathering. Expect an abbondanza of snacks, pasta, pizza, beer, wine and mocktails – even a live band!
Family Ice Cream Fun-dae:
At Family Ice Cream Fun-dae, I scream, you scream, we all scream celebrity chef ice cream with hosts Mario Batali and Ayesha Curry. Choose from an array of top icy treats curated by Nick Morgenstern of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, and Rebecca DeAngelis, the pastry chef Babbo. Will you opt for Butter & Scotch or go Big Gay Ice Cream?
NYCWFF Has Something For Everyone
Breathless and hungry? Wondering how you can possibly make the most this action-packed celebration of food? Luckily NYCWFF founder and director, Lee Brian Schrager, gave us some advice: “With more than 75 events, there truly is something for everyone’s taste buds and budget. If it’s your very first Festival, I would suggest taking in one of our signature events at Pier 92 or Pier 94 and then one of the intimate dinners, late-night parties, wine seminars or interactive classes (depending on what your personal preference is). And wear comfortable shoes!”
Purchase tickets online or call (800) 764-8773.
It’s that time of year: The season when it’s perfectly acceptable for grown men to wear their underpants over their tights. That’s right. New York Comic Con is coming.
From October 5 – 8, the mother of all geek conventions descends upon New York City’s Javits Center. After watching panels on Black Panther, catching a movie or two, and seriously scaring yourself in the Jigsaw escape room, you’re going to be hungry. Very hungry.
The Javits Center is absolutely massive, and it’s so far west in Manhattan that it’s practically falling into the Hudson River. In other words, unlike other Manhattan neighborhoods, things are kinda spread out. You’re not going to want to do any extra walking, or to scout five different cafes before deciding where to eat. Luckily, we’ve done the homework for you, so you can save your feet for cruising the exhibition halls. Here are seven excellent eateries, all within walking distance of the Javits, where you can go get your grub on.
The pancakes, waffles, and fried chicken at Friedmans are good enough for any superhero – you’d never guess that the entire menu is gluten-free. The restaurant (which is named after economist Milton Friedman) also serves local veggies and antibiotic-free meats.
Gotham West Market
This giant food hall houses 10 vendors under one roof – from ramen to tacos to Blue Bottle coffee – so there’s a little something for everyone in your posse. Eater describes the fare at Gotham West Market as “interesting and high-quality food,” and there’s a bonus: cocktails, which many food halls don’t have.
Fresh local food and a cozy, industrial vibe are what you’ll find at Rustic Table, which literally has a reclaimed-wood farm table running down its center. Fresh pastries, fine coffees, and lighter fare like sandwiches are all on the menu.
Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine
If you’re a Comic Con cosplayer who still wants to catch the game, Clyde Fazier’s Wine and Dine is the right spot for you. This sports-themed restaurant in Hudson Yards features American cuisine with global flair, an extensive cocktail menu, and a serious collection of whiskeys. With its free-throw basketball court – the spot is named from the former Knicks player who’s a partner in the business – and more than 40 television screens, it’s a place where sports fans and fanboys can co-mingle.
Tavola‘s menu is based on the regional Italian fare of Puglia, Rome, and Sicily, and uses many ingredients carefully sourced from these regions, some of which are exclusively imported for the restaurant. Known for it wood-burning ovens, which were handcrafted in Naples, Italy from Vesuvian volcanic clay, this classic trattoria offers meat, fish, and pasta dishes, as well as true Neapolitan pizza.
New York is a melting pot of people and cultures, and the result is some damn good, authentic food. Larb Ubol is an authentic Thai restaurant specializing in cuisine from the country’s northeast Isan region. The restaurant’s decor is cheerful and relaxed, though perhaps a bit DIY, but don’t let that distract you: Even the hardest core Thai food lovers will be pleasantly surprised by the extensive menu and intensely delicious dishes.
Located in a repurposed printing factory, Print is dedicated to seasonal, sustainable cooking and offers a menu that’s updated daily based on available ingredients that are collected by the restaurant’s “in-house forager.” Bookend dinner with a cocktail at the Press Lounge, Print’s sister venue located upstairs in the same building, which has spectacular views of the city.
There’s never a bad time to visit New Orleans, but Halloween has got to be one of the best. In addition to all of the usual food, culture, and general wackiness the city has to offer, the annual Voodoo festival is a weekend-long music and arts adventure. More than 65 bands, immersive art installations, a beer hall, and, of course, amazing costumes are all part of the experience. The food on-site is made by some of the city’s top local chefs, but at some point, you’re going to have to eat outside of Voodoo. When you do, here are eight top picks for uber-delicious, not-too-expensive, super-chill places to go. These locals-approved restaurants might be busy, but they won’t be overrun with tourists.
It’s really hard to get pizza that tastes like it’s from New York outside of New York. But the aptly named Pizza Delicious makes it possible. Their thin crust is crispy but still doughy, and also completely satisfying. Funky toppings (sriracha pineapple, anyone?) and house-made pastas will further delight your palate.
Jack Dempsy’s Restaurant
Don’t let its hole-in-the-wall appearance fool you: Jack Dempsy’s serves up some fine New Orleans fare. With recipes passed down through generations, the fried seafood platters, po’ boys, and mac n’ cheese here are the real thing. This is Southern-style fill-you-up food – you won’t leave hungry.
Neighborhoods: Marigny, Bywater
Local, fresh, and healthy is the mission at Satsuma, which serves up scratch baked goods, fresh juices, and fine coffees, plus salads and sandwiches. With cafés in two locations – in the Bywater and the Marigny – it’s a great place to fuel up for the day.
Bacchanal describes itself as “a wine laboratory where food music and culture collude with Holy Vino,” and it’s a wonderful place to gather. With live jazz in the courtyard seven nights a week, patrons pick their poison from the “Old World” wine shop (yes, there are cocktails, too), then move into the dining rooms or backyard to enjoy the Mediterranean-meets-NOLA menu. This is a popular destination with locals and tourists alike; expect a wait most evenings.
The ribs, brisket, slow-cooked pork, juicy chicken and house-made sausage at The Joint are all smoked right out back. Add some proper sides and fixins, sit back, and enjoy the shack-like décor. This isn’t just some of the best BBQ in New Orleans, it’s some of the best anywhere.
Juan’s Flying Burrito
Neighborhoods: Uptown, Garden District, Central Business District, Mid-City
If you have a hankering for some really good Mexican, head to Juan’s Flying Burrito, which calls itself “the world’s first Creole Taqueria.” This crowd-pleaser serves interpretative traditional Mexican mixed with local ingredients, so if your squad is on a Margarita kick, this is the place to go. And with locations in four neighborhoods, you’re never too far from one.
Neighborhood: Garden District
For more than 90 years, Casamento’s has served up traditional New Orleanian fare alongside Italian classics. Joe Casamento, an Italian immigrant who opened the space, covered the eatery floor to ceiling in tile, and the original décor still remains. (Be sure to make a trip to the rest room here, which will through the incredible kitchen.) Eat anything you want off the menu, but if you don’t order the chargrilled oysters, you’re a fool.
Café du Monde
Neighborhood: French Quarter
There are plenty of great spots to eat in the French Quarter, but the famous Café du Monde really shouldn’t be missed. Opened in 1862, this New Orleans institution retains an old time-y feel, as servers in paper hats deliver plates of beignets and dark-roasted chicory coffee round the clock. It’s impossible to resist these squares of fried dough topped with mountains of powdered sugar. Is it touristy? A bit. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go.
Summer may be behind us here in the Northern Hemisphere, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave its good vibes behind. If you’re looking for a getaway, there are still plenty of good times to be had. Whether the festival circuit is your thing, you’re overdue to connect with nature, or you just have vacation time to use up, consider one of these off-the-beaten path adventures. From a celebration of cetaceans to famous bluegrass fiddlers, there’s a lot to do at these lesser known – but highly entertaining – festivals around the globe.
MASS MoCA Fresh Grass Festival, North Adams, Massachusetts
Located on 16 acres in bucolic, western Massachusetts, MASS MoCA revitalized the desolate industrial town of North Adams when it opened in 1999. Since then, the massive museum has grown to 28 buildings encompassing 500,000 square feet (with another 200,000 left to build out). This month, it hosts the bi-annual Fresh Grass Festival (September 15–17), where every inch of the museum’s campus becomes a pickers paradise, with fiddlers, mandolinists, singers, and more performing across stages and galleries. Pop-up shows and pros jamming out with fans are par for the course – which means you could be rubbing shoulders with names like Brandi Carlisle, Shovels and Rope, Del McCoury, and Son Little, among loads of other talent.
Life Is Beautiful, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Life Is Beautiful Festival, a three-day romp (September 22–24) through downtown Vegas, may change your whole perspective on the City of Sin. Forget gambling in daylight-dismissive casinos, this celebration of music, art, food, and ideas brings together acts like Gorillaz and Chance the Rapper, with food by Vegas’s top chefs. Dozens of artists from around the country also descend on the city, transforming its walls into a mind-blowing – and massive – outdoor gallery. If dusty fields and muddy tents just aren’t your thing, this urban extravaganza might be; it brings the full festival vibe – plus trendy cocktails (hey, it is Las Vegas, after all) – without all the dirt.
Galway International Seafood and Oyster Festival, Galway, Ireland
Oyster-loving Europeans have known about the Galway International Seafood and Oyster Festival (September 22–24) for a while, but news of its popularity is just starting to spread stateside. Shucking contests, tasting events, and celebrity chefs are all on the agenda – and we’re pretty sure people are throwing back a few pints of Guinness, too.
The Social Festival, Maidstone, England
Some of the electronic music scene’s brightest stars will show up at The Social Festival (September 29–30), which describes itself as “bringing a taste of Ibiza to the south east of England.” Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, The Social is spread out across four giant arenas with a lineup that includes Carl Cox, Black Coffee, The Martinez Brothers, and festival founder, Nic Fanciulli. No matter the stage, electronic music fans are guaranteed a place to dance their asses off.
Hermanus Whale Festival, Hermanus, South Africa
This town on the southernmost tip of Africa leaps to life each year when it hosts the Hermanus Whale Festival (September 29–October 1) to celebrate, respect, and preserve marine wildlife. Sporting events, family activities, craft shows, an eco-village, and musical entertainment are all on the docket, but whale-watching, of course, is the main event. Ecologically-sensitive tours on land, air, and sea provide nature lovers and eco-tourists with thrilling views of majestic Southern Right whales as they return to their part-time home along the Cape Whale Coast.
As far as locations to drink beer go, Munich rates pretty high on the bucket list. After my first night there, I woke up with a large bruise between my thumb and index finger – from lifting and swilling liters of beer at the Haufbrauhaus the evening before. (How do those beer maidens do it?) I also ended up on the lap of a man in lederhosen. On stage. In an Oompah band. But that’s another story.
If you’re headed to Oktoberfest, you’ve probably already sussed out the 15-plus beer tents that are part of this massive festival. But there’s so much more to Munich than beer. If you decide to take a short break from drinking, there’s plenty else to take in.
Munich is the capital city of the German state of Bavaria, and the country’s third largest city. Home to centuries-old buildings and cutting-edge architecture, it houses a fascinating array of art and culture. In the city center lies the Marienplatz, a great place for a stroll and some fabulous people-watching at one of the many cafes. Located in the Altstadt (Old Town), this square houses landmarks including the neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (New Town hall). The building’s famous glockenspiel, a cuckoo clock of sorts, is built of chimes and life-size figures. Twice a day – at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. – the glockenspiel reenacts fanciful stories from the 16th century.
St. Peter’s Church has been standing since the 11th century, and after many renovations and additions, it tells the story of time itself. Climbing the tower’s 299 stairs is worth it for a stunning view of the city. If the workout leaves you hungry, check out the Viktualienmarkt (Farmers’ Market) next door to find some delicious, local eats.
Considered a seminal symbol of the city, the Cathedral Church of Our Lady is also located in Munich’s Old Town. Dating back to 1468, this Gothic masterpiece was heavily damaged by air strikes during World War II, but has since been rebuilt. Climb the south tower – topped by an onion dome – for fantastic views of the city and even, on a clear day, the Alps.
Not far from the Marienplatz, the Odeonsplatz is lined with ornate 19th century buildings like the Feldherrnhalle, which was built in the 1840s in honor of the Bavarian Army. To the west, the bright yellow Theatiner Church, was built in 1662; it’s all-white interior will amaze you. The Residenz Munich is an impressive and stately palace that was built for the monarchs of Bavaria; today it’s a museum open to visitors who can peruse its lavish interiors and royal artifacts. The adjoining Hofgarten (courtyard) is a peaceful place to sit and take in the views, or relax. Beyond it lies the entrance to the Englischer Garten, a huge urban park with miles of walking trails, as well as a lakeside beer garden (just in case you start craving a brew).
West of the Englischer Garten, the Nymphemburg Palace sits on a 500-acre estate. Originally the summer residence of Bavarian monarchs, highlights include intricately painted ceiling frescoes, rococo furnishings, and expansive baroque gardens.
But Munich’s alluring – and enduring – design isn’t limited to ancient history. Marvels of modern architecture abound. The Allianz Arena – the 75,000-seat home to the Bayern Munich soccer team – was built by renowned architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, with an inflatable plastic exterior that changes color. Other sporty design includes Olympiapark, site of the 1972 Olympic Games, which was remade into a beautifully landscaped sports facility with bicycle paths, concert venues, and restaurants.
With a such a broad and rich history, it’s no surprise Munich has its share of world-class museums featuring everything from medieval to modern art.
The futuristic BMW Museum, with its gleaming silver exterior, will delight car lovers with vintage and cutting-edge cars, as well as history of design. The Deutsches (German) Museum, is a 540,000 square foot homage to humankind’s technological achievements and understanding of science. At the Judisches (Jewish) Museum, visitors can engage in a rich and vast display of Jewish history, art, and culture that goes well beyond Germany’s borders. The Pinakothek der Moderne, meanwhile, is one of the world’s largest spaces dedicated to art, architecture, and design of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Boston’s answer to SXSW, Inbound is a future-forward business conference hosted by marketing and sales software firm, Hubspot. With inspiring keynotes, innovative talks, educational breakout sessions, entertainment, and tons of networking (plus cool parties), the event draws nearly 20,000 attendees from more than 90 countries, taking over the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, and unleashing a host of smart, techie types on the city.
This year’s solid lineup of speakers includes Michelle Obama, Bozoma Saint John (Uber chief brand officer), Judd Apatow, Brené Brown, John Cena, Mario Batali, and Billie Jean King. It’s as good a reason as any to visit Boston, where there’s plenty of history, culture, and food to keep you busy should you need a break from the intense, intellectual stimulation.
The convention center is conveniently located just two miles from Logan Airport, but it’s also not far from some of Boston’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods like Fort Point Channel, where the Institute of Contemporary Art offers a stunning collection in a visionary building that overlooks Boston’s waterfront. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston contains more than 450,000 works, including pieces from the tower of Babel and the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, located in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood (and walking distance from the MFA), is a local favorite. Housed in a Venetian-style palazzo, sights to enjoy here include classic paintings and sculptures, but also gardens, textiles, and furniture. What it doesn’t have? Thirteen of its original artworks, which were stolen in 1990 by a pair of thieves disguised as police officers. These pieces, by masters including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Manet, and Degas, are worth more than $500 million. The heist remains an unsolved mystery.
Boston is filled with beautiful parks and neighborhoods to stroll through, and Boston Common and the Public Garden are among its prettiest and most famous. Pull up a bench and reflect on the conference, or just watch the world go by. Nearby, on Newbury Street, is some of the city’s best shopping, where high-end retailers like Tiffany and Co. and Marc Jacobs co-mingle with funky local boutiques as well as tons of bars and cafes. If design is your thing, check out Restoration Hardware’s stunning renovation of the Historic Museum of Natural History.
If you can’t catch a baseball game while you’re in town, consider a tour of Fenway Park; built in 1912, the stadium is filled with old-time-y charm, nostalgia, and artifacts. (Plus it has really good hot dogs.) Of course, Boston’s history goes back a lot further, and if it’s Revolutionary-era lore you’re after, follow the Freedom Trail, a two-and-a-half-mile, self-guided walking tour that will lead you past 16 significant historic sites, like the Old North Church (the launching point for Paul Revere’s famous ride), the site of the Boston Massacre, and Faneuil Hall. Yes, it’s a tiny bit hokey (there’s a chance you’ll run into costumed reenactors) but it’s fascinating to think about how people lived back in the day when our country was formed.
Another extraordinary historic spot to explore is Bay Village. This often overlooked (even by locals), but incredibly charming, neighborhood is a hodgepodge of 19th-century row houses and early 20th-century Art Deco office buildings built by the movie studios that were headquartered there at the time. Grab a sandwich from Mike + Patty’s and wander through the crooked, cobblestoned streets.
Don’t let anybody (*cough, New Yorkers, cough*) tell you Boston’s food scene isn’t up to snuff – in fact, it’s superior. There are Best New Boston Restaurant lists, Best Boston Restaurant lists, Best Restaurants in Boston lists, and well…you get the point. Frankly, they’re all very good, but there are a few standouts offering various takes on regional cuisine.
Puritan & Co. in Cambridge has a contemporary twist on classic New England fare; think swordfish pastrami and pan-seared scallops with chanterelles. Likewise, Townsman downtown offers seafood towers, charcuterie, and fresh, upscale versions of New England classics. The casual KO Pies at the Shipyard is a destination as much for its meat pies (try the Irish beef stew) as it is for its location among East Boston’s boatbuilding yards. Nearby, Cunard Tavern offers rooftop views and a regional menu influenced by global flavors.
Regionally speaking, we’re serious about oysters. And while most of the restaurants listed above offer excellent varieties, a few notable Boston eateries have developed menus built around the bivalves. Connoisseurs will enjoy B&G Oysters (owned by Chef Barbara Lynch), Row 34, and Island Creek Oyster Bar.
After all that walking, eating, and drinking, there’s a possibility you’ll wake up the next day in need of a hearty breakfast. I wholly recommend Blackbird Doughnuts‘ incredible gourmet confections with a tall cup of coffee. You’ll need to get back to Inbound, after all, to figure out how to make the world a better place, or at least your own business.