travel

July: London Olympics

Description: The best of British cyclists compete for their chance to shine in the 2012 London Olympics.

The best of British cyclists compete for their chance to shine in the 2012 London Olympics.

The eyes of the world will be on the UK on July 27 for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, when Britain will show the world what it’s made of. The question is: how will they beat the epic performance in Beijing? The spectacle will be commandeered by Danny Boyle of Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting fame, so it’s likely to be a good show. If you can’t stretch to tickets for the ceremony (visit www.cosport.com to find out how to buy them) then head to one of many points in London – from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park – where the event will be beamed onto big screens. Visit www.london2012.com.

August: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Performance artists are made and broken at the renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Description: Performance artists are made and broken at the renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The cabaret, comedy, kids’ show, dance and physical theatre of the Edinburgh Fringe, once a mere appendage to the official festival that focuses on classical music, opera, theatre and dance, is now probably bigger than the real thing. August, more than any other time of year, is the most electric time to discover this city, which is bursting with creativity. Comedy is the order of the day, with a comedic who’s who (and who-isn’t-quite-yet) represented, with audiences ranging from tens to tens of thousands. Simply Britain’s best summer event. Visit www.edfringe.com.

September: Burning man, Nevada

Description: Festival goers at Nevada’s Burning Man are asked to become part of the entertainment.

Festival goers at Nevada’s Burning Man are asked to become part of the entertainment.

Once a year, tens of thousands of participants gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary tented metropolis and mecca for weirdness. Think pole-dancing workshops, cares made to look like spiders, bizarre performance art, extreme goths and sheer anarchy. It’s all about “radical self-expression” and communal participation: not watching the acts, but being the act. And forget corporate sponsorship: Burning Man wants to be everything that the mainstream festivals are not. Burning Man 2012 runs from August 27 to September 3. Visit www.burningman.com.

October: Halloween in NYC

Description: October: Halloween in NYC

Ghouls, goths, vampires, witches, zombies: a visual phantasmagoria awaits in New York for Halloween. This is the city that takes spook season more seriously than anywhere else, with a massive parade that takes over huge swathes of Lower Manhattan. Each year, the costumes get even more creative, with members of the gay community ramping up the color and conceptual element and bringing a Mardi Gras-esque flavor. Expect dancing, singing, circus acts as well as floats, puppets and pageantry. This is the last time to go crazy in the streets before the winter chill sets in. Bizarrely brilliant.

November: The Melbourne Cup

Description: November: The Melbourne Cup

2011’s Melbourne Cup

Now in its 152nd year, this is the race that captivates and unites our nation. If you’re tired of choosing a horse based on the jockey’s colors, consider researching the history of the trainer and jockey (as well as the horse) and the mood of the horse in the paddock (ears back = not good). If you can’t get into Flemington, the country town races at Ararat, Benalla, Bendigo, Geelong, Kyneton, Sale and Seymour are just as fun. Expect plenty of alcohol consumption and attention-seeking dressing, because the country doesn’t like to be out done by the big smoke. Visit www.melbournecup.com.

December: Nye in Sydney

Description: December: Nye in Sydney

When it comes to the all-time best New Year’s Eve ever, there is no place like home. The natural beauty of Sydney Harbor and the bridge conspire with the creativity of the pyrotechnic displays, the internationalism of the crowd and the balmy weather to make Sydney simply the best place in the world to see in the New Year. With hundreds of thousands congregating at key vantage points on the north and south sides of the harbor, the key is arriving early. The real early birds are settled down on their picnic blankets at lady Macquarie’s Chair by dawn on New Year’s Eve, with all the good spots usually gone by midmorning. Check for vantage points and parties at www.newyearseve.com.au.

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