Don’t mind that sound you hear. It’s just your neighbor finally breathing a sigh of relief now that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities are (almost) in the rearview mirror. But before you too can exhale, there’s something you need to know: January has reared its enticing head, bringing all kinds of merriment along with it. From lavish Beverly Hills hotel anniversaries to film festivals and TV show celebrations, this month might not have quite the pomp of December, but it still presents more than enough offerings to keep you from fully resting until February.
While the Sundance Film Festival garners most of the marquee space in January, it’s far from the only show going on. Now, if you discount Palm Springs’ movie fest as merely being a halfhearted opening act for the bigger Park City, Utah, spectacle, you’re in for quite the shock. Over the years, a who’s who of Hollywood (Ben Affleck, Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron) has stopped by to talk up their latest projects — and thousands of fans have paid to listen in. With awards for Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and the cast of American Hustle already announced for this year, we expect even more star wattage around the event. The black tie awards gala that always attracts A-listers is already sold out, but thankfully, any screening tickets still available can be purchased here. January 3-13
The United Kingdom is more than 4,000 miles from Sea Island, Georgia. From the excitement the vacation town is expressing over the new season of the PBS smash Downton Abbey, though, you’d never know it. Sea Island resort, which includes Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Cloister and Five-Star The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club, will essentially transform into an early 20th-century manor this month, thanks to three fun-filled days that would have even Violet Crawley cracking a smile. Allen Leech, who plays Tom Branson on the show, will be your guide for a pub quiz on Friday; dinner and a question-and-answer session with Leech and The World of Downton Abbey writer Jessica Fellowes on Saturday; and a costume ball and show screening on Sunday. January 17-19
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in Washington, D.C.
Atlanta and Memphis honor the late civil rights icon with a docket full of events every year. Somewhat overlooked, however, are the efforts the nation’s capital annually goes through to commemorate Dr. King’s birthday. The 2-year-old Martin Luther King Memorial is worth a visit any day of the year, but on the national holiday, the U.S. National Park Service will host a special wreath-laying ceremony. Other events around the city include those for music lovers (Let Freedom Ring! performance with Dionne Warwick at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at 6 p.m.), community servants (1,300 volunteered events happened around the city in 2013; find this year’s projects here) and parade revelers (11 a.m. peace walk starts at the corner of MLK and Milwaukee Place in Southeast D.C.). January 20
Conch and key lime pie are delicious — no one here is going to argue that. What we do get in a huff about, though, is when we hear someone say that those are the only two things cooking down on the island. If you happen to be one of those people questioning the culinary skills in the Florida Keys, those doubts will be thoroughly squandered at this fifth annual extravaganza. With a menu full of benefit dinners (Save the Turtles Grand Tasting), vino events (Wine Around Neighborhood Strolls) and elaborate spreads (20th Annual Master Chef’s Classic), there is something for every palate. And with Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Southernmost on the Beach as the host hotel, we’re pretty sure the good times will go on long after the last morsel has been savored. January 22-26
By the time late January comes around, Portland, Maine, is generally a balmy 31 degrees. But around this part of New England, they laugh at Old Man Winter’s feeble attempts at keeping folks indoors. To show just how unbothered it is with the temperature, Portland Harbor Hotel is turning up the fun by turning down the thermostat even more with a three-day, ticketed event filled with ice sculptures, chilled beer and really cool cocktails. Now in its 10th year, the Ice Bar will also showcase a live DJ, tasty bites from area eateries and, yes, even a few fire pits for those bundled-up babies who can’t take the wind chill. January 23-25
Beverly Hills Turns 100
Age is such a delicate number around Southern California that it’s not unheard of for actresses to take legal action against websites that reveal their ages without consent. Luckily, the city of Beverly Hills is embracing the fact that it has reached its centennial this year. To celebrate the January 28 milestone birthday, the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau and a select number of high-end hotels in the tony area are refashioning suites to look like they may have during a particular time over the last 100 years. With Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Beverly Hills Hotel, for instance, the space designed by Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Adam Tihany will feature lacquer finishes, shag carpet and memorabilia from Marilyn Monroe, a frequent hotel guest. The hotel’s Suite 100 package includes an overnight stay in the newly designed room, airport transfer in a vintage car, a bottle of Dom Pérignon, Monroe’s favorite meal and more. Room bookings start on January 28 for stays between March and December
Photos Courtesy of Sea Island Company and Palm Springs International Film Festival