Home & Leisure

San Antonio's Day of the Dead celebration is a lively one

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SAN ANTONIO -- As I made my way past the steps leading down to the river level of the Paseo del Rio and headed toward La Villita, I found myself surrounded by an army of black-clad figures, faces painted a luminous white, giving them a skull-like appearance. It might have been a scene from "The Walking Dead."

It wasn't the "Walking Dead," ...Read more

Tall tales in Lompoc: Where history meets the sea

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LOMPOC, Calif. -- I thought I'd seen everything.

Then I discovered a remarkable collection of the world's oldest pictorial art hiding out in Lompoc, a modest hamlet perched on the wave-dashed coast of California, north of Santa Barbara.

Murals are what I mean, 36 huge paintings on the walls in the Old Town district, an art whose origins reach ...Read more

Legoland to close popular Star Wars attraction in January

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SAN DIEGO -- Just as the Death Star exploded into stardust in the movie "Return of the Jedi," the popular Star Wars attraction at Legoland California will also soon evaporate.

Jan. 6 is the last day visitors at the Carlsbad theme park will be able to tour Star Wars Miniland, an extensive outdoor collection of more than 2,000 Lego brick models ...Read more

Living it up at L.A. Live

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L.A. Live has replaced Hollywood Boulevard as the bejeweled bellybutton of Los Angeles.

What's your pleasure? High-stakes basketball? Red-carpet concerts? Stunning views? This downtown destination has them all. Maybe I'm biased, but I'd say it rivals New York's Times Square for things to do, places to go, celebrities to see.

Jack Nicholson is ...Read more

5 great reasons beyond football to visit Madison, Wis.

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MADISON, Wis. -- It's tough being a football fanatic in a state besotted with basketball. While I love roundball at my alma mater, the University of Kentucky, my real passion began as a kid watching the Texas Longhorns and Dallas Cowboys slug it out on the gridiron.

Recently, my friend Rebecca, a University of Wisconsin graduate and fellow ...Read more

Exploring Cincinnati's culinary scene

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I need to get my Cincinnati fix on a regular basis -- say at least once or twice a year. Usually, one of the visits is devoted to exploring the Queen City's cultural attractions (it has more than you might think) and the other to checking out favorite restaurants (again, more than you might imagine.)

This time the trip was mainly for the ...Read more

Chicago hotels are riding the wave of Warhol-mania

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CHICAGO -- Andy Warhol predicted everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, but it's doubtful that even the prescient pop artist could have foreseen the ripple effects of the Art Institute's current exhibition.

"Andy Warhol -- From A to B and Back Again" set in motion a flurry of whimsical hotel packages, along with spawning restaurant dishes and...Read more

How to eat your way through Appleton, a Wisconsin city full of sweet surprises

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APPLETON, Wis. -- Don't expect apples to be jumping out at you in Appleton. I found one on a recent trip, and it was a doozy. But others like it might be gone by the time you get here. We'll circle back to my singular apple, but first consider that this city, hugging the Fox River, was named for someone named Appleton -- not because it was once ...Read more

Splashy KAOS club at Las Vegas resort is shutting down

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What's going to happen to that towering nude Damien Hirst sculpture now that the KAOS club at Palms Casino Resort has shut down? The 60-foot-tall headless "Devil With Bowl" (2014) will continue to reign over the pool area at the Las Vegas resort, even though the splashy KAOS has vanished.

Parent company Red Rock Resorts Inc. pulled the plug on ...Read more

Southern California by train

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We've all heard the expression "Nothing is sure but death and taxes." To that, I'll add: for non-Californians, driving in Southern California is sure to be a harrowing experience. With its spiderweb of freeways and drivers who appear to be in qualifying heats for the Indy 500, even the stoutest of us can turn into cringing, white-knuckled ...Read more

For views of the Rockies you can't see any other way, ride Amtrak's Zephyr

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"Welcome to Moooooon River," the conductor announced as our train curved into a canyon running parallel to the Colorado River. I quickly realized what he meant; as we rode alongside the Colorado River, our train was mooned by countless whitewater rafters -- athletic young men, families of four and retired couples.

"Moon River" was just one of ...Read more

Stay hip to booming Austin, Texas, where there's something new every year

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As I cleaned my plate of ropa vieja -- eggs plus brisket plus roasted salsa equals no duh -- my friend Albert thanked his out-of-town visitors for inviting him to brunch at our newly opened hotel, the Carpenter, instead of one of our regular old haunts.

"I only check out new places when y'all come to town," he said. "It's gotten too hard to ...Read more

Rafting the Colorado through the Grand Canyon

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August 15, 1869: The red sandstone cliffs rose more than 2,000 feet on either side, shutting out the sun for most of the day, while before us the mighty river, lashed to a foam, rushed on with indescribable power.

-- John Wesley Powell, first person to explore the full length of the Grand Canyon's Colorado River

Exactly 150 years after Powell ...Read more