US events and festivals around the world give travelers the chance to add something out of the ordinary to their vacation itineraries. Whether you're in Minneapolis for the Aquatennial, attending the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, or sampling the fare at Taste of Chicago, these festivals connect you with the local population and help you experience your destination in a new way. Events in Europe, the US, Australia, and elsewhere give you the chance to explore the music and food of a new country, or to celebrate one of your favorite holidays in a new way.
New Year's Eve is one of the best international holidays in terms of festivities, and cities around the globe are guaranteed to have parties that celebrate their own traditions. New York City is famous for the ball dropping at Times Square, while both Beijing and Washington DC show off exquisite fireworks displays. If you're just looking to party, destinations including Las Vegas, Milan, and Rio de Janeiro won't disappoint. And if you can't decide where to go, you can even take a cruise and ring in the new year in multiple cities along the way.
St Patrick's Day is also famous for being among the best international holidays for parties, and while cities in Ireland such as Dublin and Galway are known for the quality of their celebrations, there are plenty of destinations around the world to celebrate Irish culture if you're not in the Emerald Isle when March 17 rolls around. The English city of Birmingham has one of the largest events in the world, while Chicago is known for dyeing its river green, and New York City demonstrates its commitment to its Irish heritage by shutting down Fifth Avenue for the annual parade, no matter what day of the week March 17 falls on. Other US events include the parades in Boston and Savannah, both known for their St Patrick's Day parties. In the Southern Hemisphere, Auckland and Sydney are famous for their lively and welcoming events that celebrate the warmth and hospitality of the Irish.
Many of the best festivals and events are unique to the cities they're held in, and they often revolve around food, drink, music, and dancing. If you love live concerts, you can attend US events such as Bumbershoot in Seattle or the bluegrass festivals in West Virginia and Kentucky. Among the best international holidays for connecting with local culture is the Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebrated in Mexico, as well as US and Canadian cities with a strong Latino population. This day set aside to honor friends and family who have passed away includes traditional foods, masks and artwork, and often folklorico dancing.
International athletic events are also extremely popular. If you're interested in sporting events in Europe, the Tour de France and its annual finish near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris is sure to be thrilling, as are professional soccer games in many countries. The Olympics are perennially popular, and the upcoming games in London and Sochi are sure to be a draw. The World Cup, to be held in South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014, is the most popular sporting event in the world. These events and others prove that whether you're interested in soccer, bluegrass, or fine cuisine, you're sure to find plenty of festivals around the world to celebrate your interests and the unique culture of your destination.