September just may be our favorite month of the year — the weather is still summer(ish) while the vibrancy and freshness of fall fills the air. It’s also a great time to travel. Not only is it is considered “shoulder season” when savvy travelers can snap up deals at even the most luxe locales, there’s a slew of happening activities around the globe. Here’s a look at a few top events to mark on your September travel calendar:
Chicago Gourmet (September 27 to 29)
Foodies all over the Midwest and beyond flock to this Bon Appétit-sponsored, wine- and food-filled festival in the Windy City. Ticket prices for a one-day pass are $159, and you’ll get access to live cooking demonstrations, tastings, seminars and book signings by local and international star chefs. Oenophiles will adore the popular Grand Cru events ($199 for the two-hour event) where sommeliers serve tastings of some of the best wines in the world.
Where to stay: Walk over the Chicago River (via the Wabash Avenue Bridge) from the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago to the city’s iconic Millennium Park where the annual event is held.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (September 5 to 12)
Designers from around the world will debut their Spring 2014 collections at New York City’s Lincoln Center during eight days of fashion, glamour and general fabulousness. While it may be difficult to score a seat at a high-profile runway show inside the tents (big, buzzy shows are strictly invite-only) there are plenty of events (shopping parties, independent designer shows, restaurant specials) all over Manhattan. Even the people-watching around Lincoln Center is worth a trip as the world’s chicest descend on the city en masse.
Where to stay: The Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, New York is located on Columbus Circle (at 60th Street), just a few blocks south of the tents. Fashion-types, models and VIPs can be found lunching or imbibing at the hotel’s Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant Asiate, which affords stunning views of Central Park.
America’s Cup (September 7 to 21)
In September, sports fans have a lot to keep them occupied — the start of the NFL season, the U.S. Open finals and college football — but this historic sailing event takes place only every three years making it a must-watch, especially since the competition is in San Francisco. (Fun fact: It’s also the first time since 1995 that the U.S. has hosted.) Since July, international teams have been battling to win the chance to compete against the reigning cup holder, Oracle Team USA, in the finals. Spectators can get excellent scapes of the races at America’s Cup Park on Piers 27/29.
Where to stay: The St. Regis San Francisco — the Five-Star hotel is the event’s official resort sponsor — is a 10-minute cab ride away from the action, plus it has a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star spa to de-stress with nautical-themed services, such as the Relaxation Regatta Treatment (a sea salt bath followed by a Swedish massage with cranio-sacral work and reflexology), after watching nail-biting competition between the super fast AC72s catamarans.
Oktoberfest (September 21 to October 6)
The name is a bit misleading since most of Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest actually takes place in September. Get there for the start of the festival to witness a parade through city streets and the tapping of the first keg of beer by Munich’s mayor. While you’ll be served only brews that are made in Munich, there’s much more to this fest than drinking beer in big steins. Held at the city’s Theresienwiese fairgrounds, which has been the same location for 200 years, Oktoberfest features carnival-like rides, concerts, and the best of bratwursts.
Where to stay: Get an additional dose of history and stay at the luxurious, centrally located Hotel Bayerischer Hof, which opened in 1841. Once you’ve had your fill of the rowdy crowds, retreat here for fine food at one of its five restaurants, including high-end Atelier with dishes such as skate wing with beans and green almond or red shrimp with fennel and celery.
25th Macau International Fireworks Display Contest (September 14 to October 1)
The annual contest will celebrate its 25th year next month, so countries are sure to pull out all the stops. More than 100 countries have participated in years past, displaying their light shows accompanied by music at the Macau Tower shorefront for an unforgettable experience. This year, you can expect countries such as Spain, South Africa, Australia and Canada on the list of performances starting at 9 p.m. on their respective nights, and special contests for photos, drawings and trophy design will add to the festivities.
Where to stay: Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Altira Macau is the tallest building on Taipa Island, affording pristine views of the fireworks shows over the Macau Peninsula. The luxury hotel’s restaurants will be offering special meals (choose from prix fixe options, a seafood hot pot and more) from September 28 through October 1, so you can dine while admiring the dazzling lights outside the windows.
Photos Courtesy of Huge Galdones Photography, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and Istock-Björn Kindler