Get Outta Town
Vacation time: Summer festivals worth the trip out of town
Austin is well-known for its plentiful events. From the biggies like ACL and SXSW to the smaller festivals, it seems like there's something going on almost every weekend.
But we aren't the only ones in the Southwest who know how to party. If you are looking to combine travel with your summer fun, check out these five summer festivals around the Southwest.
This town has a similar vibe to Austin, but on a smaller scale: laid-back and a bit hippie, with a love of good food and outdoor fun. While it may be famous for being a ski resort, there's something happening just about every week in the summer. Check out the Telluride Yoga Festival going on July 10-13; this yoga retreat held in the spectacular mountain setting features world-renowned instructors, intimate class sizes, meditation sessions and guest lecturers. The festival has been going on since 2007 and attracts more than 700 participants each year. If you're a music lover as well, combine this with the Ride Festival (July 11-13), a music event with a thoughtfully curated program of Americana and rock musical artists, as well as soon-to-break new talent.
Where to Stay:Hotel Madeline is a luxurious yet comfortable hotel that is completely at one with its setting in Mountain Village. Nestled up above the town of Telluride, the hotel is easily accessible via the free public gondola system — and you get amazing views to boot. Right now the Hotel Madeline is offering a special where you can get the third night free when you book two nights.
Las Cruces, New Mexico
If wine is your thing, you might be interested in checking out Las Cruces, nestled in the Mesilla Valley between the Organ Mountains and the Rio Grande River. Over Labor Day weekend (August 30-September 1) the New Mexico Wine Harvest Festival takes place, and Las Cruces celebrates with wine tastings, grape stompings, live entertainment, wine seminars and children's activities, all in a relaxed atmosphere. The Mesilla Valley is also the chile capital of the world, so consider popping into the Hatch Chile Festival, which is held the same weekend. White Sands National Monument is less than an hour away (with a hot-air balloon and film festival in September), and the area is known for its top-notch golf.
Where to Stay:Hotel Encanto comes recommended by many, and is situated around a cozy courtyard overlooking the striking valley. The hotel exudes Spanish Colonial grandeur; and its special Wine Weekend Getaways make it even more attractive for oenophiles.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
With a brand-new tourism publicity campaign, a lot of people are taking a second look at Oklahoma City. For those of you with a more literary bent, the Oklahoma Storytelling Festival from August 21-23 is the place to be. For over 30 years, this must-see festival celebrates the art of storytelling with special performances, nationally acclaimed storytellers, workshops and more. The city's arts reputation is also gaining notoriety with more than 250 museums, including the Contemporary Arts Center, Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Where to Stay: The Bricktown neighborhood downtown is the spot to be these days. The Aloft hotel is perfectly chic, with all the typical hip Aloft decor and features in a location that's easily walkable to top museums, restaurants and other city attractions.
If you want to stay in the Lone Star State, head out west to Marfa — just about as far from Austin as you can get and still remain in Texas. Marfa's now-famous Film Festival is happening July 2-6, when the remote landscape made famous in the film Giant will host 48 films from 17 different countries, including shorts, features and music videos. This film fest attracts international press, industry professionals and talented filmmakers from around the world — and it's a great place to celebrate Fourth of July as well.
Where to Stay:El Cosmico is a groovy combination of vintage trailers, teepees and camping grounds from Austin's own Liz Lambert, whose Bunkhouse Group manages the San Jose Hotel and Hotel Saint Cecilia. The 18 acres of nomadic grounds includes lots of communal space and an outdoor stage, and hosts its own Trans-Pecos Music Festival in September.
Just 40 minutes outside the city of Tucson, in another gorgeous mountain setting, is the Canyon Ranch resort. Though it's known for offering hundreds of classes, workshops and culinary experiences every month of they year, in July there is a special Canyon Ranch Cooks event. This is geared at helping culinary-minded guests enhance their cooking skills under the mentorship of both Canyon Ranch chefs and with a special guest, celebrity chef Carla Hall, co-host of The Chew.July 6-12, participants will take part in diverse professional demonstrations and hands-on lessons on practical skills and techniques. At the same time, they can take advantage of all the other fitness, spa and spiritual offerings the resort has on the schedule.
Where to Stay: The beauty of this event is that it's all on-location at Canyon Ranch. Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, this is one of Arizona's original health and wellness resorts featuring upscale guest rooms set on 150 magical acres in the Sonoran Desert.