November Culture Travel Guide

Shoreline Of Pushkar Lake
You need to see it to believe it: a camel beauty pageant happens this month on the holy shores of Lake Pushkar in India. (Corel)

Whistler, British Columbia
One of North America's most celebrated ski areas, Whistler gets into the celebratory spirit each November with Cornucopia. Canadian chefs, who've risen to the top of the culinary pinnacle, tackle the mountain with cooking demonstrations and dinner pairings with noted wineries. The ski area does not usually open until later in the month, but you can go for long walks in the mountainous passes.

Kansas City, Missouri
Recognized as one of the best art museums in the United States, Kansas City's Nelson-Atkins Museum holds a collection of over 33,500 works of art. The impressive Bloch Building, unveiled in 2007, was designed by renowned architect Steven Holl, who created a slender extension on the original 1933 Beaux-Arts building. Twin layers of glass walls, bathed in light, emerge from the ground and integrate the museum campus into the landscape of the surrounding Kansas City Sculpture Park. Admission to the Nelson-Atkins is always free.

Big Island, Hawaii
Join in the festivities surrounding America's only coffee harvest at the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival in November on the Big Island of Hawaii. Wake up with the judges as they award the finest cup of coffee. You can also partake in a coffee bean picking contest, watch hula performances and a parade, view art inspired by vistas on a coffee plantation, and watch Miss Kona Coffee be crowned.

Yucatan, Mexico
A mere hour's drive south of Merida will take you to some of Mexico's finest Mayan ruins. This hillier region of the Yucatan attracts fewer travelers than the better known sites of Chichen Itza and Tulum since it is farther from the resort towns of Cancun and Riviera Maya. The rounded pyramid at your first stop, Uxmal, stands majestically on high ground. At the Nunnery Quadrangle, four buildings behind the pyramid, serpents and heads of jaguars can be seen on the facade.

The Grand Canyon
During winter at the mile-deep Grand Canyon, it's not uncommon to start in down parkas at the South Rim (7,000 feet) and two hours later be sweating in tank tops and shorts. Temperatures on the shores of the Colorado River are often 30 degrees warmer than at the rim. An added bonus, this tourist mecca is virtually uninhabited in the off-season. Check out the guided hikes offered by Discovery Treks for a planning-minimal way to experience this national treasure.

Park City, Utah
While most ski areas in the country stay green in November, the snow comes early and often to Utah. Indeed, the town of Park City seems to be running as smoothly as most high speed quads these days. While many ski resorts remain stagnant or are losing money, the three ski areas that make up this Wasatch Mountain locale—Park City, Deer Valley, and the Canyons—have been going strong over the past several years. This stems from the deluge of snow, close proximity to the Salt Lake City Airport (a 45-minute drive on the winding up-and-down I-80), and of course the fame that comes from hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2002.

London, England
Tired of seeing the The Nutcracker Suite this time of year? Then jump on a plane and head to London. Not only is winter the most affordable time of year to fly and stay here, but the West End features some of the best musicals of all time. Shows that have graced the stages there have included: Cabaret, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Billy Elliott: The Musical, Dirty Dancing, and the hit Broadway musical Wicked.

Burgundy, France
Food aficionados who savor the wine and cheese of France should not miss Burgundy's biggest fair, Foire Internationale et Gastronomique in Dijon. More than 500 exhibitors present the region's best sustenance with additional tastings from another European country. In 2009, Greece brings its culinary offerings to the table.

Capetown, South Africa
Sitting at the southernmost tip of South Africa, Capetown can certainly match Sydney, San Francisco, and Rio with its beauty. Table Mountain, often draped in a tablecloth of clouds, forms a spectacular backdrop. The exquisite beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay (remember, November is the start of summer in South Africa), and the precipitous cliffs of Chapman's Peak and Cape Point are just a short drive away. You should give yourself at least a week to explore Capetown and its peninsula, to try the award-winning wines in Stellenbosch to the north, and to cruise the famous Garden Route, a five-hour drive amidst forest, lagoons, and coastal towns, including the surfing mecca of Plettenberg Bay.

Lake Pushkar, India
One of the globe's truly unique events, the Pushkar Camel Fair, occurs on the holy shores of Lake Pushkar, surrounded by the sand dunes and hills of northern India. Over a five-day span in November, more than 25,000 camels get sold. Others are dressed in veils and covered in jewels to walk in the camel beauty pageant, while the stronger of the camels must race each other. Outside the fairgrounds everyone in the county sets up booths to sell spices, food, silk shawls, and animals, to create one of the last genuine caravan sites.

Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at

Published: 25 Jun 2007 | Last Updated: 21 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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