Erika has bicycled around the Valley of the Kings to visit Tutankhamen, wept bitter tears at a bullfight in Arles, twice declined to smooch the Blarney Stone, ridden the sleeper car train between Paris and Athens, startled a sleeping nightwatchman at a Portuguese palace (he screamed) and queried the docents (in ‘I’m trying’ French) about where all the mannequins went at the Conciergerie. She lives not far from the Gold Rush discovery site in California. Follow her on Twitter at @ErikaMailman.
San Francisco Lyft users take the most rides to restaurants
Ridesharing apps are a popular mode of transportation in San Francisco, a sprawling city with so much to see and do. It's also a convenient way to hit up the city's top spots as we recently learned from data shared with us by Lyft. The information is making one thing very clear: people in San Francisco love eating out. From popular chains to local institutions to buzzy award-winners, restaurants are the top destinations for Lyft users in San Francisco. The data recorded includes rides taken between July 2022 and July 2023 and includes information about where Lyft users go for brunch, the destinations they're most loyal to and the places tourists frequent the most. It also doesn’t consider those who live within walking distance from the spots or those who choose to drive themselves or take public transit. Studying the six categories of rides provides an interesting look at where people are going. Some destinations are obvious, such as Original Joe's, the top spot frequented by Lyft users and the one loyal users visited the most. This San Francisco institution has been serving classic Italian cooking to the public since 1937, beloved by tourists and locals alike. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you'll find the destinations that have exploded in popularity over the last year, with Mission bar Dalva ranking near the very top. This longtime favorite underwent a massive transformation, reopening with a fresh new look in January last year. Buzzy Michelin-starred restaurant F
The best over-the-top holiday desserts in the U.S.
There’s a strong connection between the holidays and indulging in over-the-top, exquisite desserts! Many people incorporate cookie-making into their celebrations, and the bûche de Noël is an elaborate “yule log” made of rolled-up cake that is supremely beautiful and delicious. But even a detailed milkshake or a winter take on summer s’mores can qualify for a dessert that makes reveling in this time of year special. And if you’re looking for a Kwanzaa recipe, this lovely chocolate fruit cake recipe from Hersheyland with seven colors of fruit helps honor the holiday’s seven principles of unity, faith, self-determination, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose and creativity. Whatever your December celebration entails, hopefully, one of these destination bakeries will lure you in with a glittering sugar glow! RECOMMENDED: The best Christmas markets in the U.S.
Guide to the ultimate Pacific Coast Highway road trip
There’s a reason car commercials often feature California’s Pacific Coast Highway. It’s a beautiful, sinuous ribbon of highway that goes along the Pacific Ocean, sometimes on high cliffs that make you hold your breath. All along Highway One, you’ll find great places to stop and experience the things that make California so rad—like fresh seafood, coastal breezes, palm trees and the ever-noisy but charming sea lions. These stops are listed in geographic order, starting in SoCal and working your way north up the coast. Note: As of this writing, Highway 1 is closed between Limekiln State Park and the north end of Paul’s Slide near the town of Lucia, with no predicted re-opening date. That’s thanks to winter storms that literally took out some of the roadway. However, coastal businesses remain open. This website lets you check conditions and learn the detours that will keep you moving. RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in California
The best Christmas vacations in the USA for an epic holiday
Nearly half of Americans are planning to travel over the holidays this year—while most of us head to a family member’s house for festivites, others take advantage of the time off and use the chance to go on a vacation to a new place.; If that description fits your thinking this holiday season, hats off to you—and we've got you covered. We have rounded up the absolute best Christmas vacations in the U.S. to fulfill all motivations. Looking for snow? Hit up these beautiful cold-weather winter destinations. Want to leave the snow behind? Check out our favorite beaches in the US. If you still want to experience the magic of Christmas, just elsewhere, consider any of these quaint and quiet Christmas towns. Whether you want quality family time, a little romance with your boo or some solo to unwind out of office, the best Christmas vacations in the US will help you end your year on a high note. RECOMMENDED: The best Christmas cities to visit in the U.S.
The best places to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the U.S.
Gung Hay Fat Choy! Say goodbye to rabbits; 2024 is the year of the wood dragon. It’s expected to be a very powerful year, so start it out right with celebrations and parades. Sometimes called Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year is a more inclusive term that draws in other East Asian countries that celebrate the lunar calendar, including Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The date changes year to year, depending on the lunar calendar and this year, it falls on Saturday, February 10. Celebrations will take place before, during and after. According to China Highlights, the festival dates to an ancient battle against a monster called the Nien, which comes each year to eat livestock and people and create mayhem. To scare it away, people show red paper, burn bamboo, light candles and wear red clothes—vestiges of these tactics appear in today’s festivals, such as giving money in red envelopes. Traditionally, people clean house around the new year to “sweep away” the previous year’s bad luck and honor their dead ancestors by giving them food before the living get to eat at the reunion dinner. Firecrackers are used to scare away evil and prepare for good things in the new year, while the lion and dragon dances also bring prosperity to the new year. Superstition instructs on essential things not to do: don’t sweep on New Year’s Day or you’ll sweep away your good fortune, don’t eat porridge for breakfast or you’ll become poor in the next year, and don’t wash your clot
The best places to see the Northern Lights in the U.S.
So many of us crave to see the Northern Lights that we’re willing to book a vacation to be closer to the north where they can be seen. The phenomenon, also called Aurora Borealis, is where dramatic ribbons of lime, rose and other colors can be seen moiling in the sky, rewarding us with a sense of awe and a closeness to the beauty of our universe. The experience can be moving and leave us with a sense of gratitude for our complex universe. Also, have you met STEVE? He’s an atmospheric optical phenomenon, and his name is an acronym for “strong thermal emission velocity enhancement.” That means he is a purple and green light stripe or arc in the sky—what a life—named in 2016 by folks in Alberta, Canada, enjoying his lovely light. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland is studying the phenomenon using the fun acronym. Now, brace yourself: the Northern Lights may appear less dramatic in real life than in photographs because cameras have more photoreceptors than our eyes—don’t be surprised if you see something more gray than neon. But many people feel that seeing them, even if they aren’t as brilliant as in a photograph, is impossible to describe or match. Just another drop in the bucket list! Make sure to check each destination for weather conditions and timing to give yourself the best chance of seeing them. RECOMMENDED: The best places for stargazing in the U.S.
The 10 haunted ghost trains in the U.S. for a spooky adventure
A night train carries a very particular allure, and a haunted ghost train even more. Staring out the window, wondering if you’re going to see another entity in the reflection with you, passing through lonesome, dark stretches of forest or meadow...we love a ghost train! Maybe there’s a zombie out there trying to board when the train slows down; maybe an ax murderer is working his way forward from the caboose. Who knows? All we know is that it’s deliciously scary and we’re totally “on board” with it. Now that it’s October, the time of year is upon us when we have to buy our tickets (these excursions often sell out) and dress up to join the other passengers on the ride that may—scratch that, will—end in terror. RECOMMENDED: The most haunted hotels in America where you can stay the night
The best haunted houses in the U.S. to give you the creeps
Lights flickering, floorboards creaking, doors slamming shut, shadowy figures passing by—are all eerie and inexplicable occurrences people have claimed to witness within historic homes over the years. In these abodes, they believe spirits, ghosts or supernatural entities still linger within the walls. The idea of a haunted house spans cultures and centuries. In the tapestry of American folklore, certain homes have become famous for the tales of the restless spirits within their walls, and each has a spine-chilling story to tell. From the LaLaurie House in New Orleans, where real-life socialite and serial killer enslaved people, to the Joshua Ward House in Salem, MA, where a prominent figure in the Salem Witch Trials resided, to many spooky homes in between, America's most infamous haunted houses continue to intrigue and attract visitors. If you're looking for more spooky properties, try an overnight stay in a haunted Airbnb or haunted hotel.
The best things to do in Sacramento right now
Tradition and transformation collide with dizzying results in stunning Sacramento, where a revitalized downtown core sits snugly within an area of beautiful nature that will take your breath away. Well, give you fresh breath, although the excitement downtown might take care of the breath removal part of that, but you get what we’re trying to say. This place is brilliant, and the best things to do in Sacramento are proof. The City of Trees is the capital of the world’s seventh-largest economy, and that sums up Sacramento. Innovative museums and galleries are the norm, while organic farmers markets and fabulous restaurants keep the place buzzing. Take it away, Sacramento. RECOMMENDED: The best restaurants in SacramentoRECOMMENDED: The best hotels in Sacramento
The best fall foliage tours in the U.S.
When fall foliage beckons, we have to come. There’s something so special about seeing the glorious array of autumn colors, smelling the fallen leaves and hearing the rustle as we walk paths with crisp artifacts of pending winter all around us. Heck, we even like raking them! And don’t forget that New England’s not the only place to see this spectacular display. And while a train ride provides an excellent way to enjoy the foliage, we’ve tracked down some other ways for you to indulge—from kayaking out to a covered bridge, to flying above the canopy in a helicopter, and even riding an off-season chair lift, we know you’ll find the best way to inhale autumn. RECOMMENDED: The best places to go apple picking in the U.S.
16 eerie ghost towns in America you can actually visit
America is home to hundreds of ghost towns and abandoned settlements. While they’re dotted across the county, they are ubiquitous in regions like California, Nevada and Colorado that experienced the boom and then bust of industries like mining. Visiting ghost towns in America is a chance to step back in time, taking in life as it once was. Picture tumbleweeds rolling down Main Street, once-bustling stores now sitting in eerie silence, and faded signs that hint at lives lived long ago. You can wander through old homes, buildings and streets to get a snapshot of the past, taking in stories of pioneers, prospectors, and dreamers. Like the name suggests, you may even spot a ghost along the way. If you're interested in a glimpse into the past, we've rounded up the most fascinating ghost towns in the US to discover America’s hidden history. If spooky travel is your thing, don’t forget to visit the scariest real-life haunted houses, take yourself on a ghost tour or pay your respects at the most hauntingly beautiful graveyards.
The best fall foliage train rides in the U.S. for beautiful autumn colors
We all want to plunk down on a train seat this time of year and just wistfully watch the trees go by with their red, gold, and orange foliage. As the season winds down and the weather turns colder, we crave a Hallmark moment with the trees, the sky, and the gentle rocking of the train. Sighhhh. So if there isn’t a fall foliage train excursion near you, should you be booking your trip to one? We can’t tell you what to do, but the answer is yes. Treat yourself and enjoy the majesty of Mother Nature’s yearly art installation. Ride that train! RECOMMENDED: The ultimate fall foliage road trip
All Starbucks drinks are half off today
You guys, get your besties together for half off any drink at Starbucks. If the day ends without you having had a peppermint mocha or an iced gingerbread latte, everyone will know you’re a Grinch. This great deal happens between the hours of noon and 6pm, as reported by People magazine, and is available to anyone who is part of the Starbucks rewards program. Also, the company is rolling four new holiday cold foams (so this is the perfect time to try a new drink when the cost is 50 percent off) which can top any cold drink for a small customization charge throughout the holiday season. The seasonal holiday drinks inspire these and include these flavors: peppermint chocolate cream—inspired by a peppermint mocha; sugar cookie cream—inspired by the sugar cookie almond milk latte that launched in 2021; chestnut praline cream—inspired by the chestnut praline latte, and caramel brulée cream—inspired by the caramel brulée latte. Another new rollout this year is the iced gingerbread oat milk chai (you can also get it in a hot version if you hope to hold something warm in your mittened hands). Speaking of holding the cup, people look forward to the holiday designs on the signature Starbucks holiday cups each year. This year, we’ll sip from vessels with a dash of pink along with the traditional red and mermaid green. This year’s theme is “Share the Joy,” and the four cups Bridget Shilling designed are party plaid, peppermint swirl, ribbon spool and bauble wrap. The cold cup is called a
These are the most expensive waterfront rentals in America
Picture this for you: sitting by a large picture window overlooking the waterfront, watching the waves in a bit of trance, knowing you’re in one of the most luxurious rentals in the country. It can happen! Just, you know, keep an eye on your wallet. And use your birthday money. And skip that daily latte. Ready to see these beautiful, eye-popping places? Here are the top three most expensive beachfront rentals in the US, as calculated by Floridapanhandle.com. Surprisingly, the most expensive one is in a landlocked state that we usually think of more as a desert stay than a waterfront one—Nevada. At Villa Harrah in Glenbrook, you can expect to pay $15,000 a night through Airbnb (wait a minute, isn’t that pretty much a downpayment to own a house in some states? But if you’re willing to spend that in a single night, you probably already own multiple houses). What do you get for that? Well, access to, and views of, one of the world's most beautiful lakes: Lake Tahoe. This home sits atop Zephyr Cove and thanks to its walls of windows, you can feel like you’re actually floating on the water. The house has six bedrooms, a full cinema, a spa with hot tub, sauna, salt room (no pepper room?), and even a nail and hair salon. Lake Tahoe can be chilly for swimming in summer and parts of it ice over in the winter, so there’s a pool, as well as a private pier to walk out onto the lake for spectacular vistas. And yes, there’s a sandy lake beach for warmer days. Best of all? The rental comes w
The top U.S. destinations for Christmas in every state
Each state offers something different for how it celebrates the holidays, putting its own regional flair on traditions you associate with the place—like ice skating in New York City or visiting the Cleveland house used in A Christmas Story. Thrillist looks at the most popular holiday destinations, broken down by state, based on a study by Cloudwards about where people want to travel this time of year. Internationally, that destination is hands-down London (New York comes in third and is the only U.S. city in the top 13), and if we look at just where Americans want to travel internationally, that #1 spot is Vienna, followed by Quebec City and then Paris. But if we focus our attention strictly on U.S. destinations, we learn a lot about where we all want to go. Disclaimer: this survey doesn’t include data from South or North Dakota. We know you have great ways of celebrating, too! For starters, the number one place is Branson, Missouri. Home to an Adoration Parade (living nativity), an Ozark Mountain Christmas Pass with live shows, lights, Christmas trees and more, plus a beautiful historic downtown, Branson has a lot to show the holiday traveler. Second on the list (well, actually a tie with Branson) is Chicago for that wintry, big-city Christmas with candy lanes aglow. The Christkindl Market along with many light displays make this a great destination. Third is Leavenworth, WA, which shows up on our list of US cities that make you think you’re in Europe. Its German feel gets a
These are officially the best states to live in for 2023
Are you getting restless and looking for a new place to live? 2024 could be the year of a big change. After all, there are 50 states to choose from, with such variety that sometimes you might even feel like you’ve relocated to another country. Each year, WalletHub analyzes the states across various metrics corresponding to liveability—the things we want to access and enjoy where we live. Those 51 metrics fell under the categories of affordability, economy, education & health, quality of life and safety. For instance, under affordability, there were five submetrics including things like median annual property taxes and median annual household income. Whoops, sorry, you caught me yawning. Let’s find some more fun metrics. How about miles of trails for biking and walking per total state land area? Or the number of bars per capita? You may be surprised by some thoughtful data points like the wealth gap (the difference between the highest and lowest quintiles of mean household income—hold on while I look up quintile), the share of live births with low birthweight, and the percentage of physically inactive adults. All very interesting! You will want to consult each of your five quintiles on this. Before we get to the list, which is really why you’re here...you’re probably scanning past this paragraph right now to find out if your state is in the top 10...let’s instead talk about a few key takeaways. The state with the highest rate of home ownership? That’s West Virginia (the lowest
This could be the most popular wellness trend in 2024
Are you ready to jump into (for realz) one of next year’s biggest wellness trends? It won’t be easy, but it might help boost your circulation and energy levels, plus reduce inflammation. Take a page out of a polar bear’s book and join the cold plunge therapy craze. According to Yelp’s 2024 Trend Report, interest in this activity jumped 521 percent since 2022. The company analyzes search trends yearly to identify which habits are growing and where people’s interests are leaning. Across millions of Yelp reviews posted by more than 33 million users, certain keywords and phrases emerged as leaders, and that’s why we’re all going to have to take a deep breath, lower ourselves into the icy water and find some calm in our shivering. It’ll definitely be...chill. According to Yelp, lots of places are introducing cold pools, like gyms, spas, hotels, and physical therapy centers. Whereas that small, icy bath in the corner of a hotel’s spa might’ve once been an interesting oddity, it’s now becoming more mainstream. And of course, you can do an open-air plunge in northern cities like Seattle. The key is to go slowly, shiver (your shivering actually provides much of the benefit), and get out after just a few moments. Pregnant women and anyone with a heart condition should find another way to experience an adrenaline surge. We can attest that trying this really is exhilarating, and you feel a sense of accomplishment for having engulfed your body in something so cold you initially resist it.
Americans really love this one thing on Thanksgiving
What are Americans most excited about at Thanksgiving? You can probably guess. Setting aside food, the thing that Americans most look forward to on Thanksgiving Day won’t be a surprise—it starts with a P. According to a poll by photo book maker Mixbook, the most cherished Thanksgiving tradition is a parade. These parades come in all varieties: boats drifting down waterways at night decorated with lights, small town parades with marching bands and community groups, and even the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with its huge floats and balloons that require multiple humans to keep them from shooting into the sky. Mixbook has created a ranked list of the top 80 such events (which also include football games, ice skating in Central Park, and other holiday joys), based on surveying 3,000 Americans about their preferences for 2023. We’ll bring you through the top 10! 1. 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade, Philadelphia, PA This parade has been around since 1920 and draws tons of spectators to see floats, giant balloons, and performances along the parade route. 2. America's Thanksgiving Parade, Detroit, MI Just slightly younger, this parade was first held in 1924. One special aspect is the Big Heads made of papier-mâché. 3. Ameren’s Thanks-for-Giving Parade, St. Louis, MO Established in the mid-1980s, this parade is not just a celebration but also a way for local charities to gain visibility for their work. 4. Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade, Silver Spring, MD The only p
This airline just launched an in-person retail store at a major U.S. airport
It’s kind of a genius idea. Delta Air Lines has created a retail store at JFK Airport in New York City and online, where purchases help passengers earn SkyMiles status, as reported by Travel + Leisure. The Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) can be attained by shopping at the Window Seat Shop, which carries handcrafted goods from local businesses, such as a skateboard made in Nigeria, as well as in-person experiences, like a hot air balloon ride. At JFK, the store is in Terminal 4. Online, you can find it at thewindowseatshop.com. It opens to all SkyMiles members today. The catch? It’s only open for one month (well, half a month, given today’s date!). So you’ll need to rush to complete your holiday shopping to take advantage of the dollar-for-dollar match for the MQDs to be applied towards 2025 elite status. The rollout of this store comes after legit tension surrounding Delta’s changes to its milage status rules and limits to its lounge use. Let’s be real. You’ll have to do a lot of shopping to achieve status. You might need a bigger cart! Here are the status levels: 5,000 MQDs for Silver Medallion status10,000 MQDs for Gold status15,000 MQDs for Platinum status28,000 MQDs for Diamond status Of course, you can also earn MQDs through booking Delta or partner flights through the airline’s website (not other low-cost aggregators), with $1 for 1 MQD matching. With an eligible Delta credit card, passengers earn MQDs, but not at that one-for-one match point (for some cards, use
You can now order food and drinks from your seat on Amtrak
Although it’s always fun to stand up and walk through the train cars to the dining car or snack bar car, sometimes you find the scenery outside the window so riveting that you don’t want to move. If that’s the case for you, Amtrak’s got an answer. The company is experimenting with letting passengers order its food remotely to be delivered right to their seats, as reported by The Points Guy. Right now, the service is only available on certain Acela trains in the northeast traveling between Boston and Washington, D.C. The test program lets you either swing by the cafe car to pick up your meal or have it brought to you. The food prices will be the same for walk-up customers, with a 50-cent service fee for ordering online and an additional $2 fee for seat delivery. One big benefit? If you’re unsteady on your feet and don’t want to carry, say, a hot coffee that you might drop or spill, this delivery service is a great idea. It also keeps you from cooling your heels if you’re waiting for food that requires time to prepare. Fred Gazzolo, Amtrak's vice president of product development and customer analytics, told The Points Guy that, "Our customers who are traveling with family, have reduced mobility, and are seniors report that the at-seat delivery option is important and has improved their onboard experience." The specific trains trying out this service are on the Washington, D.C. to Boston route (trains 2160, 2170, 2250 and 2254) and the return trip (trains 2163 and 2253). A few h
Airbnb rolls out new features to help guests find better listings
We always love hearing what Airbnb’s learned from its data tracking and how it’s improving the home rental site, notably including trying to combat racial discrimination across the platform. It recently shared its Winter Release, which included mention of three new rollouts to its website, all geared to help guests better understand what they can expect from their rental before they book it. The idea is to minimize the occurrence of guests showing up to feel like the space was not as cool as it looked online. 1. The Guest Favorites category now lets guests select a rental based on its accrued ratings, reviews and reliability, according to Airbnb. This is a selected list of 2 million homes out of the 7 million currently offered worldwide. They average over 4.9 stars out of a high of 5 stars. Two-thirds of these homes are offered by Superhosts, who have gotten rave reviews for reliability—for not canceling last minute, helping guests perform an easy check-in and providing clean spaces and good communication. Photograph: Courtesy Airbnb 2. Airbnb has revamped its ratings and reviews page with new features that help guests know more about the house, its quality and possible failings. Right now, there are 371 million reviews across all the holdings, and the new tweaks to the system will let guests find more relevant reviews. They can sort reviews now by how recently the review was written and by the rating. A new chart will let guests easily see how many stars, from how many gue
Get $4 one-way tickets with Amtrak’s winter sale
Winter + trains = wonderland, if we’re doing our math right. And Amtrak’s making the sweetness even sweeter with a winter flash sale. You can save big on travel from December 4 to March 15, so long as you book by November 15. That gives you a week to research and find the best rails to sigh and dream on. Can we recommend the California Zephyr, which travels between Chicago and Emeryville, CA, just across the bay from San Francisco? Along the way, you’ll see incredible landscapes in Nevada and Utah and travel through snowsheds in the Sierra range and train your way over the dramatic Colorado Rockies. This winter sale doesn’t have a specific percentage off but offers “ultra-low fares” for most routes for coach and Acela business class seats. For example, if you want to travel from Baltimore up to Boston to see it in its winter finery, you can do that for as low as $28 coach or $62 Acela business class, one way. That makes it possible to do a relaxed jaunt, whereas the same trip in a car would last about seven hours and have you gripping the steering wheel and worrying about ice on the road. The train ride is usually six hours but can be seven, depending on delays. If you’re a New Yorker longing to go to Washington, D.C. for a trip, it can be as low as $17 for coach or $59 Acela business class, one way. That’s a fabulous weekend journey for hardly any money! On the West Coast, go from Sacramento to Seattle for $70—or start your trip at the very bottom of California in Los Angele
This is the most magical Christmas town in the U.S., apparently
Check out any store today, and you’ll see vestiges of Halloween décor overpowered by the rollout of Christmas. It’s always fun to see an evil clown hovering right near Santa Claus! But that’s a sign that pre-Thanksgiving, we are already ramping up to arguably the most celebrated holiday in the U.S. And to help us designate a place to hunker down and experience snowflakes drifting past the window frame and smoke rising from both chimneys and hot cocoa mugs, Country Living has created a list of the 30 most magical Christmas towns in the U.S. It’s always entertaining to see which city lands the honor of being most magical—on our list of best Christmas towns, it’s Stowe, Vermont, and on our list of the cities that most look like they’re in Europe (because after all, Germany is the heart of the Christkindl markets), it’s Tarpon Springs, Florida. So we’ll be curious to see what takes first place on this list: take a look! And don’t forget to leave out cookies for that puffy-cheeked gentleman and his reindeer entourage. 1. Middleburg, Virginia This town gets fresh snowfall, a key component to looking Christmas-y. And its annual parade of hunters dressed in red on horseback accompanied by their hound dogs is pretty picturesque. There’s a Christmas Sleigh store open year-round and Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery to get your handcrafted holiday cider. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Visit Middleburg VA (@visitmiddleburg) 2. Gruene, Texas Decked out in holid
One of the country's coolest nighttime art festivals is happening this month
One of the country’s coolest art festivals starts in a few nights—it’s Scottsdale, Arizona’s Canal Convergence. Set on the edge of the city’s canals, the free nighttime event is billed as “water – lights – art” and showcases incredible large-scale, light-based outdoor art, much of which is immersive and participatory in nature. Best of all? The art is reflected in the water, so you get twice as much of it! Photograph: Halie Sutton for Experience Scottsdale Canal Convergence includes plenty of drop-in events, such as mask making, a one-hour walking tour of the displays with knowledgeable Scottsdale Arts staff, and even a “Dress Up with Crummy Clothes” dress-up space that lets you play fashionista while learning about how upcycled fashion works. Erika Mailman This year’s theme is “play” (hey! Just like Katy Perry!), so much of the art will integrate play into the public’s interaction with the pieces. Artists hail from all over the world, as well as locally. One of the pieces you can see is “Light Forest,” by L.A. based Liquid PXL. This consists of 16 10-foot pillars emitting synchonized light and sound that you can walk through along Soleri Bridge; the pillars “perform” a 15 minute light show. Another piece, “Spectrum Swing” by New Orleans artist Lindsay Glatz, invites participants to sit down and swing under rainbow light sculptures, trying to activate the colors—something that is only possible when all seven swings are in use. Photograph: Andrew Pielage for Scottsdale Ar