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Chicago

Corn Cob Towers -- Marina City -- In Chicago

Laura Motta

Why would you visit Chicago in the winter? Before you balk, or proclaim that the city is simply too cold for sightseeing before June, hear us out. The windy city lives up to the moniker in February or March, but a visit in the coldest months can reveal the friendliest, least crowded, and most affordable sides of America’s second city. We visited in January, courtesy of Hilton Hotels and their incredibly affordable Chillcation package, and experienced it firsthand. So bundle up and follow our advice for a stimulating, brisk walk around downtown Chicago…

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Lobby of the Palmer House Hilton Hotel Chicago

Laura Motta/Palmer House

Tis the season to head to the city of Chicago — if you can bear the cold, and if you’re looking for great value, that is. Yes, this time of year brings low temperatures, but it’s also the time that brings amazing savings at the city’s many excellent hotels. I recently had the opportunity to visit a trio of the city’s Hilton properties — the historic Palmer House, the Hilton Chicago, and the Conrad — to explore a savings package that all three are currently offering called, fittingly, Chillcation.

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By Greg Keraghosian for Yahoo! Travel

What Does Your State's Name Really Mean? This Atlas Tells You

Images courtesy: Atlas of True Names

Fans of Ron Burgundy and Anchorman can rejoice at the knowledge of what San Diego’s name really means: St. Heelholder.

That is, according to the Atlas of True Names, created by cartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust. Part science and part entertainment, their map displays the cities, countries, oceans, and mountain ranges in their original, etymological names. So, if you live in Missouri, you actually live in the Land of the People with Dugout Canoes.

The Veronica Corningstones of the world may call foul at some of these names, which don’t take into account literal translations. San Diego does mean Saint Diego, but the authors took things a few steps further and converted Diego into the original name James, which converts to the Biblical name Jacob. And in the Bible, Jacob was born holding his twin brother Esau’s heel.

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Field Museum

Flickr / Jessica

Can’t wait for the Jurassic Park sequel, “Jurassic World,” to hit theaters in June? Have your own prehistoric adventure at one of these fun-packed dinosaur destinations.

The Field Museum, Chicago
Home to “Sue,” the largest, best-preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurs rex ever found, The Field Museum is a must see for budding paleontologists and adventurers. After you’ve gawked at Sue’s 42-foot long frame and 58 dagger-like teeth, explore the museum’s dinosaur collection, part of the Evolving Planet exhibit. $31 adult, $25 students, $21 children 3-11.

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unique souvenirs - best museum gift shops

Clockwise from left: Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Anthropology, Museum of Modern Art, Musical Instrument Museum, Dali Museum, Musical Instrument Museum

Most vacations aren’t complete without a little shopping, whether for yourself or for friends and family back home, right?

A survey conducted by the U.S. Travel Association revealed 63 percent of travelers said their vacation wasn’t complete without including some shopping. For a one-stop shop experience, whether you’re looking for a gift for a loved one or a memento of your trip, museum gift shops hold the key. There you’ll find handcrafted, high-quality souvenirs, in a wide range of prices. We’ve gathered some suggestions from a few great museums. (Some items you can even order online without leaving home, but what fun is that?)

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MGM Grand Hotel and Casino amenities for fitness

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

Each year, countless Americans make the New Year’s resolution to work on their wellness and get healthier. We’ve already told you about the ways you can stay healthy on vacation, but for those who’d like to incorporate a healthier lifestyle right down to their hotel stay, check into one of these wellness-and-fitness-focused rooms to maintain that resolution.

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D Hotel del Coronado – Facebook

Facebook/Hotel del Coronado

We love lacing up our skates in the winter — it’s a great way to stay active and warm up even as the temps drop below freezing. Even more, we love doing so at rinks with great views, whether it’s mountain vistas, starry skies by the beach, or historical monuments in the background. Here are some of our favorite places to try to land that triple axel. (Remember to layer up and bring some thick socks!)

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Hotel Lincoln - Chicago

Hotel Lincoln

It’s not too late to make holiday travel plans — especially when you can score a great hotel deal. Two Chicago hotels are offering sub-$200 rates right now, encouraging visitors to enjoy the best of the Windy City’s twinkling lights and steaming cups of hot cocoa. Whether you’re looking to do some shopping or some ice skating, these themed packages will hit the spot.

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C Brian Munoz leavenworth.org Leavenworth Washington

Take time this holiday season to stop and smell the chestnuts roasting on an open fire – literally. In cities around the country, December becomes a feast for the senses with electric light shows, warm music, and even warmer drinks. From millions of twinkling lights and festive treats to a cookie treasure hunt, here are five of our favorite holiday strolls that deliver a delightful winter escape.

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Palms Casino Resort

Are you attracted to cities like a siren? Whether you love popping in and out of museums in the nation’s capitol or romping along neon-studded Las Vegas Boulevard, cities across the U.S. are offering plenty of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals this year. You’ll find discounts as steep as 90 percent off, and rooms as low as $39 per night. 

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CanopyPortlandLobbyImage_HR

Last month, Hilton Worldwide announced its latest foray into the lifestyle category with Canopy by Hilton, a new concept from the international hotel behemoth that will localize the guest experience. Poised to open its first set of doors in 2015, we spoke with Gary Steffen, the brand’s global head, who shared five things you should know about Canopy by Hilton.

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andrew

If Andrew W.K.’s hits “Party Hard” and “Party Party Party” are any indication, the rock star definitely knows how to have a good time. In true festive fashion, he recently served as Stoli Vodka’s Resident Professor of the Party, celebrating 35 years of nightlife at The Pyramid Club in Manhattan on October 28. During an exclusive interview, Andrew tipped his party hat to us by sharing his top 10 places to throw it down in America.

See below for Andrew’s top picks, and check out the ScenesbyStoli website to nominate your favorite bars and nightlife destinations if they didn’t make his list!

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JW Marriott Chicago

Four years ago, JW Marriott Chicago opened its doors, snug in Chicago’s Loop and only a few blocks west of the lakefront and Michigan Avenue. To celebrate its anniversary, the 610-room hotel on West Adams Street has unleashed a major deal, slashing the standard nightly rates of up to $309 down to $110.14.

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Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1 to honor the deceased. The festivities run from October 31 through November 2 and are also observed outside of Mexico in other Latin American countries such as Guatemala and Ecuador — as well as in regions with large Latino populations, such as the U.S. If you haven’t yet had the chance to see the revelry in person, these stunning photos will give you a taste of the lightheartedly macabre celebration.

DayoftheDeadZocaloAn observer took this colorful photo bursting with fresh fruit and bright sweets in Mexico City’s Zócalo, the city’s main plaza located in the historic center.

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skinnystix_10_14_2014-002

Jenny McCarthy is a Chicago girl at heart, but now, her heart belongs to Boston-born hubby Donnie Wahlberg. And it’s no secret she loves to eat, so we had to ask what her favorite spots are back home as well as in Donnie’s hometown. Check out Jenny’s restaurant recommendations, must-shop stops, and more in our exclusive interview.

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