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Lauren Mack

Lauren Mack

USA contributor

Lauren is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in 150+ publications, including Time Out USA, Time Out New York, Seeker, Thrillist, Savory Traveler, BestColleges, The Daily Meal, Culture Trip, Cheapflights.com, Trip Savvy, Lonely Planet, Newsweek International, ThoughtCo, and more. Lauren has traveled to 54 countries on five continents and has spent 200+ days at sea. She's called Miami, Beijing, Taipei, and New York home. Countries at the beginning of the alphabet (Argentina, Australia, and Andorra) are at the top of her bucket list. #WhatLaurenAte

Articles (28)

The 7 most haunted Airbnbs in the U.S.

The 7 most haunted Airbnbs in the U.S.

If you're a fan of all things that go bump in the night, read on. These scarily good Airbnbs put the 'boo' in booking – admit it, you laughed. We've scoured Airbnb's most eclectic and eerie listings to find the most haunted Airbnbs in America, from creepy castles to spooky spare bedrooms and mysterious mansions. These rental haunted houses feature charming creaking floorboards, whimsical wainscoting, and vintage vibes along with chills, thrills, and frights from spirited ghost hosts that are straight out of the best Halloween movies of all time. Probably not for the faint-hearted. Prepare to be spooked. You might not rest in peace in these haunted homes, but you're bound to have a memorable night preparing for paranormal activity, seeking the supernatural, and greeting ghosts. Or if you're among the skeptical, these Airbnbs will have you make or break what you believe. But beware, bookings go as quickly as ghosts playing tag, so secure these haunted hotbeds ASAP. RECOMMENDED: The 10 most unique Airbnbs in the U.S. Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in and review every Airbnb featured, we've based our list on our expert knowledge of the destination covered, editorial reviews, user reviews, hotel amenities and in-depth research to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

The best underrated summer travel destinations in the U.S.

The best underrated summer travel destinations in the U.S.

Why is everyone vacationing in the same place? I often wonder this during travel spikes, scrolling social media to see people with nothing in common having the same experiences. Are we all spring skiers now? Is everyone actually having fun, or are we just yielding to a trend? It’s time we all dig a little deeper, skip the cookie-cutter trip and set off somewhere different. Forget what everyone else is doing! Let’s explore our own interests—and while we’re at it, do it where it’s not so crowded. To help you find the perfect underrated summer travel destination, we tapped our network of writers with plenty of experience discovering cool places. We’re showing new sides to cities and regions you already know and sharing choice spots that might be new to you. From wine tasting your way through Boise, Idaho, and encountering wildlife in Oakland, California, to ferry hopping in Southeast Alaska, these aren’t your typical summer escapes. A little less popular and still very exciting, these underrated U.S. destinations are calling your name this summer.

The weirdest museums in the U.S.

The weirdest museums in the U.S.

There are more than 35,000 museums in the United States, with exhibitions that range from art to history to science and everything in between. Some museums are traditional treasure troves with artifacts of times gone by, while others are downright weird and devoted to singular items, issues and topics—from potatoes and funeral history to, yes, mustard. From bottles to underwater diving to SPAM, we visit and admire the absolute weirdest museums in the U.S. that are sure to leave you intrigued and entertained. RECOMMENDED: The best weird and alternative museums around the world

The best speakeasies in the U.S.

The best speakeasies in the U.S.

Back in the "Roaring Twenties," people had to be quite stealthy to get their hands on some booze. As Prohibition ruled the land, creativity was needed to find a place to let loose and party. And so enter speakeasies. These underground drinking designations often had secret entrances and were only known through word-of-mouth.  After Prohibition lifted and people could drink freely once again, many speakeasies closed. However, a few from those days are still in operation, like the Back Room in New York City. There is also a large crop of modern, clandestine speakeasies that are hidden away in all sorts of places: behind a fake storefront, in a barbershop, behind bookcases, and more. These modern clandestine operations pay homage to the 1920s with creative takes on classic cocktails and moody interiors. From New York City to Los Angeles and many cities in between, here are the 25 best speakeasies in the US. RECOMMENDED: America's coolest secret restaurants

Time Out’s favorite airport lounges in the U.S.

Time Out’s favorite airport lounges in the U.S.

At Time Out, we’re all about helping you see the world on the cheap and leading you to the best travel deals whenever possible. But sometimes, even the thrifty seek a bit of luxury on vacation, a place to comfortably kick their feet up before it’s time to squeeze into that basic economy seat. I mean, who can turn down a $99 flight to Europe? Not us! For that, we love an airport lounge. These once exclusive domains for the most privileged passengers have dramatically changed since American Airlines opened the first in NY’s LaGuardia Airport in 1939. What started as an invitation-only club for folks to enjoy a pre-board cocktail has evolved into a massive network of areas for travelers to rest, work, refuel and idle before a flight. Today, there are more lounges than ever, offering all kinds of amenities (pickleball, anyone?) and greater access for all. Headed to the airport soon? We asked Time Out editors and frequent contributors to share their favorite lounges in the U.S. Whether you're lounge-curious or a pro looking for a new respite when you fly, you'll find helpful intel for your next trip below. 

The most romantic places in the USA

The most romantic places in the USA

Love may have no bounds, but there sure are many romantic places to remind us how much we adore our special someone. Indulge your love language of quality time by taking a trip to the most romantic places in the U.S. Whether you get starry-eyed among the stars in Alaska, take a long walk hand-in-hand on a sun-drenched secluded beach in Florida, or get carried away on an air balloon ride in Albuquerque, New Mexico, these 14 classic, romantic rendezvous in the great outdoors are the most romantic getaways for Valentine's Day, date nights, proposals and beyond. RECOMMENDED: The most romantic hotels in the U.S.

The best weekend trips in the U.S. for 2024

The best weekend trips in the U.S. for 2024

We love a European vacation as much as the next person, but perhaps less so these days. Despite the many flash sales luring us abroad, there’s just too much to see and do right here in America. The rise in low-cost airlines expanding their routes throughout the U.S. has also refocused our wanderlust, nudging us toward short escapes closer to home. And with limited time and budgets, a weekend getaway in the U.S. is just the vacation we all need right now. Our picks bypass the obvious choices, say New York or L.A., in favor of smaller cities with booming art scenes, lesser-known towns with incredible restaurants and coastal spots with plenty of room to spread out on the sand. You’ll find fewer crowds and plenty of small-town charm at these unexpected destinations. Looking for someplace to go in 2024? These places should absolutely be on your travel radar this year. RECOMMENDED: The best cities to visit in the U.S.

The best places to celebrate Mardi Gras in the U.S.

The best places to celebrate Mardi Gras in the U.S.

Show us your beads! Mardi Gras, the carnival celebration synonymous with parades, king cakes, and purple, green, and gold beaded necklaces, is here. French for "Fat Tuesday," Mardi Gras was first celebrated in ancient Greece and Rome and then in Paris in the Middle Ages. Thanks to French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, Mardi Gras arrived in the U.S. in 1699 and winter has never been the same. The pre-Lenten Christian celebration begins as early as the 12th night of Christmas (January 5). It continues until Fat Tuesday (this year, February 13), the day before the start of Lent, a period of 40 days of sacrifice and reflection observed by many Christians. Get your krewe together and get ready to party. From the epicenter of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, to the U.S.'s oldest Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile, Alabama, to one of the most extended celebrations in Orlando, Florida, these are the 13 best places to celebrate Mardi Gras. Laissez les bon temps rouler (Let the good times roll)! RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in New Orleans

Set off on the ultimate Route 66 road trip—here's how

Set off on the ultimate Route 66 road trip—here's how

If you’re itching to hit the road, look no further than one of America’s oldest highways, Route 66. This iconic 2,451 stretch of freeway, completed in the 1930s, connects the Midwest with the West Coast and passes through eight states (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California). Slow-pacing it through prairies and deserts might not be the first choice for folks looking to explore the U.S. without depleting their PTO bank, but it makes for a delightful, classic American road trip experience if you can swing it. It helps that many of the points of interest you’ll pass on your way west have embraced the nostalgia—think big neon signs and old-timey gas stations with retro soda fountains. How quaint! For the ultimate Route 66 road trip itinerary, follow below.

The best winter carnivals in the USA

The best winter carnivals in the USA

Each winter season ushers more than a change in temperatures; it welcomes in the winter carnival season. These outdoor—and often multi-day—festivals put on winter competitions and contests and bring celebratory foods, drinks and good times. Many winter carnivals in the U.S. have evolved annual traditions that were originally founded to provide a warm communal respite amid wintry conditions. They’re based in college and mountain towns, cities and regions, yet they all create an inviting atmosphere. For years, these carnivals have served as a place for common and unconventional winter sports and activities that adults and children can join in or watch from the sidelines. From the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, which is known as the oldest winter carnival in the USA, to the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, the longest-running carnival of its kind in the U.S., these winter carnivals across the U.S. prove that wintertime can be frosty fun. RECOMMENDED: The best winter vacations in the U.S.The most spectacular snow and ice festivals in the U.S.

The best winter festivals in the U.S. to see ice do magical things

The best winter festivals in the U.S. to see ice do magical things

Some places, you don’t want to break the ice—like the winter festivals held around the country where master ice carvers spend weeks creating full-scale, frigid creations from massive blocks of crystal-clear ice blocks. And while sculptures are often the star of the show, these events held at parks, hotels, and downtowns across the country typically have enough going on for a full day of fun with ice slides, performances and even sometimes fireworks.From a 20,000-square-foot depiction of A Charlie Brown Christmas in ice form to full-blown LED-light ice castles primed for exploring with tunnels and mazes, these art winter festivals in the U.S. are where man meets Mother Nature—and you’re sure to be blown away. RECOMMENDED: The best ice rinks in the USA

The best Christmas markets in the U.S.

The best Christmas markets in the U.S.

If you're looking to shop local over big box retail giants this year, look no further than the best Christmas markets in the U.S., where you're sure to get your crew unique gifts while getting into the holiday spirit.   Christmas markets began in Europe centuries ago to celebrate and prepare for the season, and the tradition later spread to America. Each market has its unique set-up and vendors who sell everything from handmade decorations and ornaments to artwork to seasonal food and drink (mulled wine is the go-to choice to keep you cozy while you shop!)  Bundle up and explore the expansive Christmas markets in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Meander through the sparkling lights and aisles of wooden stalls selling custom gifts while listening to live Christmas music and indulging in festive fare like bratwursts, glühwein (mulled wine) and hot cocoa. The best Christmas markets in the U.S. have a little something for everyone.  RECOMMENDED: The best Christmas light displays in the USAThe best Christmas vacations for an epic holiday