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The Thinking Person's Vacation

Not that you asked, but some of the smartest people in America have chosen their favorites from among the nation's 58 national parks. Read more...

Perfect Getaway: Downtown L.A.

Most ghost towns don’t become boomtowns, but you can barely walk a block in formerly forlorn downtown Los Angeles without evidence of a real and lasting transformation. From the Staples Center to the South Park neighborhood to the Arts District along Broadway, loft dwellers, tourists, and workers are filling stores, restaurants, and bars. Long-abandoned architectural marvels are reborn as nightclubs (the Edison, Exchange LA), while historical theaters and banks are turned into hotels, bookstores, or boutiques. And late next year, Disney Hall will get an upscale neighbor when Eli Broad’s contemporary art museum opens.

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Perfect Getaway: Where Passion Is Always in Fashion

With February comes the pressure to celebrate—or the freedom to ignore—Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re blissfully paired, or happily flying solo, journey to the city that celebrates the lives and works of a romantic couple for all—Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The artist duo famously married, cheated (he with her sister; she with Leon Trotsky), divorced, and remarried throughout their volatile 25-year relationship. Read more...

Perfect Getaway: Taste the High Life

Ski purists who dream of uncrowded slopes, short lift lines, and views to the way, way beyond will find them in southwestern Colorado. A seven-hour drive from Denver, Telluride’s remoteness ensures a dedicated focus on out-of-towners. The city’s core, a National Historic Landmark, is lined with Victorian buildings that recall its mining boomtown past—and Butch Cassidy’s first bank robbery in 1889. Read more...

Travel: Old-Fashioned Awe and Reverence

News from this month's First-Class Travel e-newsletter! Click here to make sure you're signed up. Read more...

Perfect Getaway: A Little Auld Twang Syne

Everything you’d ever want in a city comes together with a dose of weirdness in Austin, making it a fun, almost-warm winter getaway. Like a Southern-fried Portland, this progressive city celebrates all things local, handmade, and artistic in its stores and bazaars. Smart folks from the University of Texas and high-tech businesses coexist with enough musicians to keep the state capital’s more than 250 music venues humming. Read more...

Perfect Getaway: Nashville, Tenn.

A downtown renaissance, a booming culinary scene, and a month-long arts celebration make “Music City” the must-see town this fall. And the recent return of ABC’s “Nashville” for its sophomore season puts the spotlight on the city’s famed live-music venues—historic Ryman Auditorium (aka “The Mother Church of Country Music” and the first permanent home of the Grand Ole Opry), the Bluebird Cafe, and Tootsies Orchid Lounge. Read more...

Perfect Getaway: Yucca Valley & Joshua Tree

Like a rare flower that blooms in unexpected places, the high-desert towns of Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree bring travelers surprising delights. Situated on a stretch of Twentynine Palms Highway about 30 miles north of Palm Springs, these adjacent communities offer the serenity of their remote location, extra-starry skies and, because of their 3,300-foot elevation, temperatures 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the valley floor Read more...

Perfect Getaway: Roughing It Right

Much has changed in this former mountain-man town, where a clean bed and hot coffee once were the height of luxury. Life and leisure are decidedly more upscale in Jackson Hole, the Teton County valley that surrounds the town of Jackson. Read more...

Perfect Getaway: Oceanside

Just across the San Diego County line, this city with a beachy vibe and a small-town feel is giving its neighbors another reason to visit. It marks its 125th birthday with fireworks the night before the nation celebrates its 237th. On Independence Day, downtown will host a craft-and-produce market with more than 150 vendors, kids activities, and music Read more...

OC Guides

Guides

OC Guides
  • Best of 2014: Nutty Brûlée

    No one can resist breaking into the sugary crust of crème brûlée, and this one packs an extra surprise with its abundance of silky-smooth chocolate-hazelnut custard below—thanks to the addition of Nutella. This sinful dessert is incredibly rich and best shared with a friend. $8
    704 E. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach, 949‑673‑7173, theslidingdoorcafe.com

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  • Best of 2014: Honey Bee Chicken

    You’ll fall in lust with the chicken pieces at BBQ Chicken at Diamond Jamboree in Irvine. Fried in olive oil for a crunchy exterior, they’re tossed in a sweet honey sauce making them all the more delicious. $11 to $21

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  • Best of 2014: New York Pizza

    Seal Beach’s A Slice of New York makes pizza the way it’s supposed to be—with a thin, chewy crust that oozes cheese and can be enjoyed the New Yawker way: folded in half.
    142 Main St., 562-493-4430, asliceofnewyorkpizza.net

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  • Best of 2014: Bird-Watching

    When the throngs of beachgoers are too much, spend a day with the birds. Here, with the wind whipping off the ocean and herons, egrets, ducks, and more soaring above, you'll get a chance to be the amateur ornithologist you never knew you wanted to be. Free
    3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, 714-846-1114, bolsachica.org

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  • Best of 2014: Green Cleaners

    Sold from her website and a refitted retro travel trailer, these earth-safe cleaning products are Marilyn Nowak of Coto de Caza's propriety formulas. Products for laundry, surfaces such as glass and wood - even an ecological drain cleaner - all have dispenser bottles and bulk refills $8 to $48
    Resuming in September at Great Park Farmer's Market, Sand Canyon Avenue and Marine Way, Irvine, 949-292-1648, lilgreenwagon.com

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Style Stuff

  • Hot Shop: Popping With Petals

    Petals and Pop would be at home in a Paris street scene. Blooms and foliage spill onto the sidewalk from old aluminum buckets and vintage German pickling jars. Inside, a floor-to-ceiling library ladder slides along the shelves of this flower and home goods store, providing access to vases, table linens, garden and kitchen tools, specialty chocolates, and cookbooks. Read More
  • Ruffle Some Feathers this Fourth of July!

    We're all familiar with the food truck craze, but now there's a new kind of truck to get excited about. Pekok Within Boutique is Orange County's first fashion truck to hit the streets. The peculiar name is intended to encourage customers to embrace the idea of peacocking, or "Pekoking": using fashion as a means to attract attention and distinguish oneself. The new business is taking part in the Fourth of July event at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina July 4th from noon to 10 p.m. and July 5th from 1 to 10 p.m. Read More
  • Here Come the Brides!

    Looking for wedding inspiration — something that will set you apart from the crowd? Then keep from 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3, open. That's when Something Lovely Wedding returns to Orange County, with an impressive collection of more than 30 high-end wedding resources here in SoCal. Read More
  • Brea Mall is Home to O.C.'s Second Kiehl's Store

    In addition to getting a newly renovated mall, Brea now has bragging rights to a Kiehl's boutique. Elevating the skin and hair-care routines of loyal customers since 1851, Kiehl's chose The Brea Mall as the lucky landmark to expand the chain's presence, making it the second Orange County location (the other is at South Coast Plaza). Paying homage to Kiehl's East Village New York roots, the store brings a modern Big Apple apothecary to north county, blending antique fixtures with modern neon flair. Read More
  • California Cool: Oliver Peoples Launches WEST Sunglass Line

    This being the land of perpetual sun, it's no surprise that sunglass brand Oliver Peoples decided to launch a new line inspired entirely by coastal California. Read More
 
 
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