1. Sarasota Fall Fine Art Festival / November 17 – 18, 2018
Now in its 6th year, the Sarasota Fall Fine Art Festival transforms Gulf Stream Avenue into an outdoor gallery of original, handmade works by artisans from across Florida and throughout the United States. Together their visions and talents create a tapestry, art woven from stunning creations in painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, glass, ceramics, fiber and wearable art, mixed-media, woodworking and much more. To further explore their creative side, art enthusiasts should head to Art Ovation Hotel centrally located in the heart of downtown Sarasota. The arts-centric property cultivates local partnerships to offer an array of artistic guest experiences including group music lessons, origami lessons, live performances, IMPROV comedy lessons, paint and sketch classes, tours of the curated art installations throughout the property along with in-room instruments and leather-bound sketchbooks to help guests get in touch with their artsy side.
- Where to stay: Art Ovation Hotel / Sarasota, FL For more information, visit https://artovationhotel.com/
2. Day of the Dead Festival / October 31 – November 2, 2018
To enjoy one of Mexico’s most colorful holidays, head to Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa to experience Dia de los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta-style. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated throughout Mexico on November 1, honoring the dead with festivals and lively celebrations. At Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, located between the Banderas Bay and Sierra Madre Mountains, you can join in the vibrant festivities and experience local traditions. In addition to being in one of the country’s top culinary destinations, when you’re not out in town exploring, enjoy a tequila tasting led by the resort’s onsite tequilier (the resort produces its own brand of tequila), relax with a treatment in the Ohtli Spa, inspired by local Huichol traditions, sample local flavors with sunset guacamole and of course unwind with some much-needed beach and pool time.
- Where to stay: Marriott Puerto Vallarta / Puerto Vallarta, México (that’s right, you can experience it all right at the resort
3. Lucca Comics & Games Festival / October 31 – November 4, 2018
A little over an hour from Florence and Pisa, the medieval picturesque town of Lucca is host to the largest comic festival in Europe, The Lucca Comics & Games festival. The annual comic and gaming convention is the second largest in the world and takes place late October for four days, welcoming over 250,000 attendees a year. Travelers can expect to find attendees dressed up as their favorite comic characters while exploring and participating in over 500 events including meet and greets with authors and publishers, shows and concerts, contests, educational seminars and more. Nestled on the hill of an expansive 600-hectare estate, the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa is just 30 minutes from Lucca and is the perfect home base to unwind and recharge after the festival. The resort features 180 luxurious rooms, a spa, two restaurants, two swimming pools, on-site cooking lessons, and a variety of off-property excursions ranging from visits to local wineries, medieval towns, and more.
- Where to stay: Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa / Tuscany, Italy
4. Key Largo Uncorked Food & Wine Festival / January 10-20, 2019
While Key Largo is unofficially known as the dive capital of the world, the first inhabitable key in the sunny Florida archipelago hosts an annual food & wine festival that’s made a name for itself in the region’s small foodie community. Key Largo’s Uncorked Food & Wine Festival, which is held every January, showcases the culinary creations of South Florida’s top chefs. Guests attending the ten-day event can enjoy cooking demos, food & wine pairing classes, progressive wine dinners, wine shows, live music and more. The event culminates in a Grand Tasting with gourmet dishes from the area’s top restaurants. Foodies can keep the fun going with a seaside dinner at Playa Largo Resort & Spa’s restaurant, Sol by the Sea. With its Instagram-worthy marina views, unique twist on locally caught seafood and anything-but-traditional desserts, Sol by the Sea is the epitome of laid-back Keys’ dining. Before the clock strikes wine o’clock, guests can get their adrenaline pumping with parasailing excursions, relax in a beachside tripod hammock or retreat to Ocean Spa for a signature massage.
- Where to stay: Playa Largo Resort & Spa / Key Largo, FL
5. Art Basel / December 6-9, 2018
During the month of December, Miami Beach becomes a cultural hub filled with art, food, and entertainment, all thanks to Art Basel! Thousands of visitors make their way to South Florida to experience the beauty and unique perspectives from artists everywhere. Over 250 of the world’s leading galleries participate in this annual happening. From emerging artists to collectors, curators, critics and art enthusiasts, this is a must-visit event every year. As this event takes place over a three day period, there’s no better place to retreat to after a day of exploring than the newly renovated Stanton South Beach. Just a few miles away from the Miami Beach Convention Center (where Art Basel takes place), this hotel-turned-resort is located in the exclusive South of Fifth neighborhood away from all the city action, giving guests a rest from all the crowds to unwind and reenergize for the next day. After a $22 million renovation project, the Stanton now features 224 rooms and suites, two pools overlooking the ocean, a chic sun deck, and two restaurants including Lolo’s Surf Cantina for fresh Mexican fare and Azabu Miami Beach for authentic, high-end Japanese cuisine. Additionally, a new spa and fitness center top off the experience! Guests will be ready to tackle all Art Basel events with the Stanton as their home base.
- Where to stay: Stanton South Beach / Miami Beach, Florida
6. I Love Stock Island Festival / December 7-9, 2018
Every December, more than 20,000 locals and visitors from around the world gather for three full days of free & ticketed events that showcase Stock Island’s culinary scene, entertainment, arts, and local culture, Events vary annually, but examples of past events include lighted boat parades, shrimp boils, animal farms, artist studio open-houses and group activities where travelers can visit the area’s restaurants by bike or trolley. Fest-goers can stay in a new 100-room boutique hotel, The Perry Hotel Key West at Stock Island Marina, which opened its doors last summer on the private marina, with features that include two incredible seafood driven restaurants, onsite artist studios where guests can watch local craftsmen in action, and right-from-your-room access to nearly every water-based excursion imaginable that leaves directly from the hotel’s private marina. The festival hosts a Taste of Stock Island tour that stop at both of the property’s seafood driven restaurants, Salty Oyster and Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar. For those who still want to experience Key West’s famous landmarks and downtown’s Duval Street, the hotel offers complimentary shuttle service that runs every hour.
- Where to stay: The Perry Hotel Key West at Stock Island Marina