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All’s Fair

Photography Wisconsin Historical Society

The Art Institute of Chicago is rummaging through its photographic archives for a series of exhibits tracing the city’s history. First up is the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Architect Daniel H. Burnham planned out a miniature city for the event, and 27 million people (almost half the country’s population at the time) visited. Images by C.D. Arnold, on display through February, will make you feel like you were there too. www.artic.edu

SWEET ESCAPE

A box of chocolates makes a pretty good Valentine’s Day gift, but a trip to Belize is even better. How about both? Elevate Destinations is leading a weeklong tour of Belize to uncover the history and politics behind Fair Trade chocolate. Participants will get a peek at every step of the chocolate-making process, and there will be time for snorkeling, hiking, lounging on the beach and eating plenty of that Fair Trade chocolate. For those who overindulge and want to do penance, the trip offers a number of volunteer opportunities in the local community. www.elevatedestinations.com

VINTAGE TREASURES

The Little Nell hotel in Aspen is celebrating its 20th season by raising a glass—or several. The cozy ski resort known for its selection of fine wines (it’s won Wine Spectator’s Grand Award every year since 1997) is showing off, serving 20 vintages deemed most memorable by its two master sommeliers, ranging from Betts & Scholl’s “The O.G.” Australian Grenache to Krug Grand Cuvée from Champagne, France. Better than those flowers you got for your 20th, wouldn’t you say? www.thelittlenell.com

LUCKY 75

On January 18, San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art turns 75. SFMOMA will celebrate with an exhibit of acquisitions highlighting the museum’s long residence on the cutting edge. A 1943 Jackson Pollock, for example, serves as a reminder that in 1945, SFMOMA was the first museum to hold a Pollock show. Another exhibit comprises works by 17 artists who helped define various movements (think Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein). The celebration continues all year, with a grand gala in May. www.sfmoma.org

HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD

It will be a match made in heaven on January 15 when the ultratrendy W Hotel chain opens the doors on its latest outpost, the W Hotel Hollywood. Movie lovers, this W’s big draw is space designed for press junkets and film screenings. Celeb-spotters might have some luck at Drai’s Hollywood, the hotel’s swanky rooftop nightclub, or the SWEAT gym. With sleek décor, this place will be pure Tinseltown glam. www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels

CALENDAR JANUARY

13-31

LONDON

Performers at the London International Mime Festival think outside the invisible box—adding acrobatic feats to the usual repertoire. Best of all: They’re oh-so-quiet. www.mimefest.co.uk

14-24

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON

Rumor has it Michelle Kwan will make her comeback at the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Even if she doesn’t, expect plenty of sparkly costumes and dizzying triple axels. www.spokane2010.com

23-31

CHÂTEAU D’OEX, SWITZERLAND

Full of hot air? You’ll be in good company at the International Festival of Balloons just outside Geneva. www.ballonchateaudoex.ch

CALENDAR FEBRUARY

4-14

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is considered a preview of the Oscars, but the real draw this year will be Colin Firth accepting the Outstanding Performance of the Year award for A Single Man. www.sbiff.org

5-6, 12-14

TORONTO

Can’t make it to Africa? Kuumba, Toronto’s biggest Black History Month celebration, is the next best thing, featuring music, dance, film and theater from across the continent. www.harbourfrontcentre.com/kuumba

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