With but one month of summer left, why not put those vacation days to good use and take advantage of the best events the world has to offer?
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Melbourne Art Fair (Pictured above)
Check out the work of nearly 1,000 artists in this super-cool city's big, ornate Victorian Royal Exhibition Building. Stay at the Cullen, named for (and filled with work by) Australia's bad-boy artist Adam Cullen.
The city is already a huge open party in August; make it more so by catching this free, 1.3-mile beer garden featuring 2,000 beers from 88 countries.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
In a city known for its open-mindedness (and politics), the annual parade here is considered one of the world's most exuberant. And the route might as well be a walking tour through some of the city's most beautiful sites—beginning at the iconic Prinsengracht Canal and winding along the other waterways and the Amstel River (you can even participate on one of the boats/floats). This year will be the last to allow illicit substances—the government banned marijuana sales to foreigners, starting in January.
Mexico's Baja peninsula might not be the first place you think of as a gastronomic hub, but it's becoming one of the world's new culinary epicenters (even Anthony Bourdain is calling it the new Tuscany for its emphasis on local, simple food and regional vintages). At this annual fiesta, which celebrates the harvest of grapes from places like the Guadalupe Valley, two weeks are devoted to wine tasting, sampling artisanal products, epic meals, and plenty of fresh seafood. In between feasts, consider surfing or deep-sea fishing.
Cooperstown, New York
Sample Belgian and Belgian-style beers from more than 50 breweries worldwide at Ommegang Brewery, amid upstate New York's rolling hills. Camp out on-site or stay nearby at the grand Otesaga Resort Hotel.
Rock out to hot acts like Bon Iver, Best Coast, and the Black Keys at this bash in Medieval Park, the oldest part of the capital. Eat organic food from young local chefs at a festival that's won awards for its green-friendliness.
Los Angeles, California
The festival brings not only the country's top chefs, such as Scott Conant and Hubert Keller—and TV star Giada de Laurentiis—but also the opportunity to partake in exclusive lunches and dinners at restaurants like Susan Feniger's Street and the Montage Beverly Hills. The host is celeb chef Wolfgang Puck; proceeds benefit St. Vincent's Meals on Wheels.
You'll spend no more than $10 per item as you sample offerings from gourmet chefs and famous food carts based in this foodie capital. Pair your mouthfuls with local wines, craft beers, cooking competitions, and live music.
Road trip deep into the Ozarks to visit Walmart heiress Alice Walton's gleaming new temple to American art. Peruse the 600-work permanent collection plus two exhibitions, one on the Hudson River School (through September 3) and another on its founder, Thomas Cole (through August 13).
Near Detroit, Michigan
Feast your wheel-lovin' eyes on more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, and special-interest vehicles at the world's largest one-day celebration of classic-car culture. Then hit Detroit's historic Corktown neighborhood to discover the city's hipster renaissance.
Providence, Rhode Island
This gritty New England mill city put itself on the art map with a summer festival that, in addition to offering live music and a scavenger hunt, sets its three rivers ablaze with hypnotic nighttime bonfires. Stay at the 1922 landmark Biltmore Hotel and dine at regional darling Al Forno.
Telluride and other cities, Colorado
Join 1 million spectators amid stunning mountain backdrops for "America's Tour de France" and see if Levi Leipheimer can defend his 2011 title. Then rent a bike and hit the town's bounty of trails.
Olympia National Park, Washington
It might seem less than perfectly green at first—motorbikes heading into a pristine rainforest. But consider these riders as eco-warriors on wheels who take a route that passes cascading waterfalls, beautiful forest growth, and snowcapped mountains in the distance. When you're not making tracks, nights are spent camping under the stars, eating meals (like fresh oysters) prepared by the local Skokomish tribe, and drinking craft beer by the campfire.
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Line up with 600,000 others along the main streets of this architecturally cutting-edge Dutch port city to watch a phalanx of Formula 1 stars screech, career, and stunt their way through a 3.5-kilometer course.
Stroll through the city's grand old Arsenale shipyards and lovely Giardini parks for the world's largest architecture show, featuring 65 projects from various international design stars (past participants have included Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, and Rem Koolhaas).
Juvenile? Definitely. Fun? Absolutely. On the last Wednesday of every August, more than 40,000 people convene for one of the world's biggest food fights, pelting each other with overripe red tomatoes. The tomatina-throwing lasts one hour, and participants are encouraged to wear goggles and gloves (plus, one imagines, clothing that can be thrown away afterward). The town is also a short hop from Valencia, one of Spain's best eating cities, and home to starchitect Santiago Calatrava's gorgeous city of Arts and Sciences.
THROUGH SEPTEMBER 8
Queens, New York
Show up on Saturday afternoons in the big courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art's funky PS1 outpost in Queens, then dance all day to music curated by hot labels like XL, DFA, and True Panther Sounds.
—Tim Murphy and Ondine Cohane
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