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Trip Doctor: London's Best Walking Tours

London Walking Tours

Fox & Squirrel: Itineraries focus on arts and culture and highlight topics such as fashion and food. From $48.

Guild of Registered Tourist Guides: Tours are led by guides who specialize in everything from the monarchy to the music scene. From $213.

London Walks: With more than a dozen drop-in walks daily, it’s perfect for last-minute planners. From $14.

Amy Send your dilemmas to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @afarles on Twitter.


Photo by Christian Kerber

Chicago with Kids: Spring Break in the Windy City

visiting chicago with family

Perhaps not the most obvious choice for a spring break, Chicago can keep a family happy—if not warm and dry—when school lets out. The city welcomed us with open arms during a blustery spring break week when our 'Plan A' vacation fell through. Here are some basic tips for a terrific time with the kids in the Windy City:

If you’re planning on hitting more than a few museums and skyscrapers, buying the Chicago CityPass ($94 for adults, $79 for kids, 11 and under) not only makes economic sense but it allows you to skip the lines at most of the participating venues. The passes saved us from standing in line in the sleet outside the Shedd Aquarium one day and we felt pretty smug sweeping past the hour and a half wait at the Skydeck. Waltz up to the desk and buy the passes at the first venue you visit, and they're valid for the next nine days.

Museum of Science and Industry This magnificent edifice in Hyde Park, between Lake Michigan and the University of Chicago campus, is one of the last remaining buildings of the 1893 Columbian Exposition (you know, from The Devil in the White City!). The museum offers engaging high- and low-tech exhibits—from the physics of basketball (kids pre-set the velocity and angle of a cannon that launches a ball across the grand hall and into a basket on the far balcony) to how cow manure can be turned into fuel (From Poop to Power!). A longtime favorite of Chicago kids, the museum was fully interactive before the word involved touchscreens. You can easily find enough varied and interesting activities to fill an entire day. Don't miss the retro make-your-own-molded-plastic-souvenir machines at the submarine, farm, and space exhibits.

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Trip Doctor: Paris's Best Walking Tours

Paris Walking Tours

Black Paris Tours: Explore places made famous by notable African Americans such as Josephine Baker. From $91.

Paris Muse: Art historians and educators lead excursions to museums including the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou. From $91.

Paris Walks: Centuries-old local lore brings the city to life on itineraries such as “Paris During the Occupation.” From $16.

Amy Send your dilemmas to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @afarles on Twitter.

 

Photo by James Merrell

Trip Doctor: Rome's Best Walking Tours

Rome Walking Tours

Context Travel: The company has walking tours in 21 European cities, plus a robust collection of 50 itineraries in Rome. Outings are led by master’s- and Ph.D.-level scholars in such disciplines as archaeology and urban planning. From $75.

Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome: Food writer Minchilli leads market tours in Campo de’ Fiori and Testaccio; sample local delicacies along the way. From $195.

Amy Send your dilemmas to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @afarles on Twitter.

 

Photo by David Leventi

Trip Doctor: Madrid's Best Walking Tours

Madrid Walking Tours

Wellington Society of Madrid: Join one of the dozen walks offered by Stephen Drake-Jones, a history professor and longtime resident. You’ll get his lively perspective on topics including Hemingway’s Madrid (past clients include the writer’s niece, Hilary), the Hapsburgs, the Prado and Modern Arts museums, and the curiosities and anecdotes of old Madrid, with stops at historic taverns. From $76.

Amy Send your dilemmas to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @afarles on Twitter.


Photo by David Nicholas

Hat Tricks: A New Book on Philip Treacy and His Fashion Muses

Philip Treacy by Kevin Davies

Photographer Kevin Davies has released a behind-the-scenes documentary on daily life in one of the fashion world's most inventive ateliers. During formal visits from royals (Princess Anne) to fittings with supermodels (Naomi Campbell) and other celebrities (Lady Gaga, Grace Jones), the lively mood at a creatively cluttered London workshop is revealed in Philip Treacy by Kevin Davies, Phaidon, $60. A 20-year collaboration between the photographer and his favorite subject takes place as the milliner prepares for Ascot, Paris shows, museum exhibitions at the V&A, a royal wedding or two, and even a trip to the wilds of Connemara with his two pet Jack Russells.

Grace Jones

Grace Jones on tour, 1998. A fitting at Jumeriah Carlton Tower in Knightsbridge.

Kevin: “Grace ordered room service around 2 a.m. and everyone perked up.”
Philip: “She's a vampire, a legend, a classic Hollywood star; a delicious nightmare and sharp as razor blades.”

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Trendy New York Restaurants in Cultural Spaces

Ethiopian chicken tacos at American Table

Food-world luminaries are making sure New York’s culture class doesn’t go hungry. At Lincoln Center, Marcus Samuelsson’s American Table dishes up inventive pre- and post-show treats, including a sensational Ethiopian chicken taco (pictured). Michael Oliver and Andrew Carmellini’s chipotle calamari and pizza popcorn are earning bravos at the Library at the Public, at NoHo’s Public Theater. Over in Queens, Hugue Dufour’s late, lamented Quebecois diner has been reborn as M. Wells Dinette inside MoMA PS1, where rabbit terrine and whelks in garlic butter are elevated to an art form.

Photo by David Alexander Arnold

Chiang Mai's Wat Gate Quarter

Chiang Mai: Deck 1

History and hipsters coexist on the leafy, laid-back streets of Chiang Mai’s Wat Gate quarter.

A former home base of the 19th-century teak exporter East Borneo Company has been revived as 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, a hotel whose 30 suites are decorated with four-poster beds, claw-foot tubs, and bright orchids. Book a room on the second floor for a well-shaded veranda. 2 Na Wat Gate Soi 1. $$$

The open-air Hinlay Curry House serves terrific (and super-affordable) Indian dishes such as aloo gobi, pumpkin curry, and flaky rotis. Save room for the house-made coconut ice cream—a perfect salve for the tropical climate. 8/1 Na Wat Gate; 66-53/324-621. $

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4 Great New Books for Travelers

The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France

Looking for some good reads while you're on the road? Here are some new travelogues written by travelers, for travelers.

The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France, by John Baxter (On sale now, Harper Perennial Press). Following the 2010 decision by UNESCO to declare French formal dining a part of humanity's "intangible cultural heritage," Baxter journeys around the country to recreate the type of meal UNESCO deemed so significant. Full of humor, insight, and mouth-watering details, The Perfect Meal is a delightful tour of "traditional" French culture and cuisine.

 

The International Bank of Bob

The International Bank of Bob: Connecting Our Worlds One $25 Kiva Loan at a Time, by Bob Harris (On sale March 5th, Walker & Company). Hired as a freelance writer to tour the most luxurious destinations on earth, Bob Harris could not get over the disconnect between the ultra-deluxe hotels and the impoverished laborers who built them. Afterward, Harris loaned his earnings to individuals around the world through Kiva, a charity that uses the Nobel-prize-winning approach of micro-financing to lessen poverty. Heartwarming and fascinating (and also laugh-out-loud funny), The International Bank of Bob chronicles Harris's globe-trotting journeys on which he meets the recipients of his $25 loans.

 

Here, There, Elsewhere

Here, There, Elsewhere: Stories from the Road, by William Least Heat-Moon (On sale now. Little, Brown and Company). An anthology of nearly thirty previously published travel stories, this collection by the best-selling author of Blue Highways explores the notion of discovering the "elsewheres" of the world. Journey with him as he searches for Faulkner in Mississippi, chats with Japanese World War Two veterans in Nagano prefecture, and witnesses Mayan magic in the Yucatan.

 

Access All Areas: Selected Writings 1990-201

Access All Areas: Selected Writings 1990-2011, by Sara Wheeler (On sale now, North Point Press). Another anthology, Access All Areas compiles smart and engaging travel essays by Wheeler in celebration of her fiftieth birthday. The prolific British travel author (and member of the Royal Society of Literature) has selected an eclectic mix of pieces that reflect her many varied experiences while traveling. At times tragic, and at other times hilarious, Wheeler's Access All Areas covers almost all areas of the world, from pole to pole, with stops in Poland in between.


Peter Schlesinger is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

From top: photos courtesy of Harper Perennial; Walker & Co., a division of Bloomsbury USA; Little, Brown and Company; and North Point Press

Spring 2013 Arts Calendar Highlights

spring performing arts

Coming attractions on the arts calendar: reinvigorated classics and celebrated traditions. Here, some of the highlights.

New York City: The two-month-long Season of Cambodia festival is a collaboration between the Phnom Penh–based nonprofit Cambodian Living Arts (a T+L Global Vision Award winner) and dozens of cultural institutions citywide. Dancers, sculptors, puppeteers, and others will showcase Khmer heritage, both traditional (Royal Ballet of Cambodia) and contemporary (rock band Dengue Fever). April 9–May 25.

Amsterdam: It’s an artistic double Dutch: both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum reopen this spring after major makeovers. The former, closed for 10 years, has added an Asian pavilion; Rembrandt’s Night Watch now takes pride of place among Vermeer’s pensive maidens and Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress. At the latter, van Gogh’s sunflowers and self-portraits come home again to Gerrit Rietveld’s Modernist building.

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