The Daily Traveler: Pop-Up Ice Rinks

Our Favorite Pop-Up Ice Skating Rinks Around the World

Le Grand Palais des Glaces
Paris, France

The gorgeous, Beax-Arts Grand Palais was built for the 1900 World's Fair, but it's still turning heads more than a century later. Starting in December, the floor of the glass exhibition hall is frozen to form the world's biggest indoor ice rink, checking in at more than 29,000 square feet. Come when it gets dark to see the projections and animations that light up the massive rink. Then stay until late—starting at 9 p.m. and lasting until 2 a.m., DJs provide the music while visitors dance under stars visible through the glass ceiling. Open through March 8

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Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images


The Daily Traveler: Ghost Tours

Scariest Ghost Tours for Halloween

Explore haunted spaces, meet scary spirits, hear dark legends—and, yes, maybe learn a little history—on these ghost tours.

Boroughs of the Dead
New York City

Tour: The Ultimate Greenwich Village Ghost Tour takes guests through some of New York City's most famous haunts, including the "House of Death," (pictured) a house that is haunted by 22 spirits—including (possibly) the ghost of Mark Twain, who lived there for a year.

What Else You'll Pass: St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, McSorley's Tavern, the Public Theatre, the Merchant's House Museum, and Washington Square Park.

You Might Meet: A boy who haunts the sixth floor of Hayden Hall at New York University. He hanged himself there more than 20 years ago; now he spends his time opening and closing drawers and moving furniture around.

FYI: All of Boroughs of the Dead's tour guides are writers who specialize in horror and speculative fiction (and a few of them are actors, too)—so they know how to tell a good ghost story.

Tours meet at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, 131 E 10th St, New York, NY, 646-932-0680; boroughsofthedead.com. Tours last two hours and cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

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Photo Courtesy of Boroughs of the Dead

The Daily Traveler: Rooftop Bars Around the World


When you want more than just a cocktail, head to one of these rooftop bars, where the price of a drink gets you access to some rarified scenery.

Sonny's Soda Shoppe
New York City, New York

Don't let the name fool you—you won't be heading to Sonny's Soda Shoppe for an old-fashioned egg cream. Instead, this is where a well-heeled crowd gathers to sip cocktails and check out the view of lower Manhattan and beyond. It sits atop the modern Mondrian SoHo, but the design is meant to recall a 1950s Italian beach club, albeit with faux grass turf instead of sand.

To drink: We didn't say there were zero old-time soda fountain pleasures to be had. Sonny's Blood Orange Gelato Float combines Don Julio Añejo, Chartreuse, vanilla gelato, and blood orange soda.

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The Daily Traveler: Amazing Outdoor Film Screenings

A Hot Tub Cinema? Our Favorite Outdoor Movie Venues

Who needs a drive-in? No cars are required to enjoy these outdoor movie screenings—and, chances are, the view will be as good as the film. Enjoy a sunset screening all summer long in an historic Italian piazza, on the rooftop of a cinema in Athens, in a cemetery in Los Angeles, and yes, in a hot tub.

Bologna, Italy

When the weather warms, Cineteca di Bologna turns the city’s Piazza Maggiore into one of the most historic outdoor movie venues, with Renaissance architecture surrounding the plaza on all sides and the dome of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita rising behind the screen. Cineteca di Bologna holds 51 screenings under the stars throughout the summer, with eight nights dedicated to the “Il Cinema Ritrovato” (Cinema Rediscovered) series of classic movies. It also claims that the Piazza Maggiore's screen is one of the largest in Europe.

Coming Attractions: Jules and Jim, The Spirit of '45, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

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Photo: Lorenzo Burlando






The Daily Traveler: Extreme Amusement Park Rides

The Craziest New Roller Coasters and Thrill Rides in the U.S.

Screw up your courage and take a ride on one of this year's new crop of roller coasters, drop towers, Ferris Wheels, and other amusement-park attractions—if you can stand the record-shattering speeds, mind-bending loops, and heart-stopping falls.

Adventuredome; Las Vegas, Nevada

The small, four-person cars of the El Loco allow for tighter twist, turns, and rolls. The whole thing starts with a hairpin turn that rolls into a greater-than-straight-down dive, so riders experience what coaster nerds call a "negative 1.5 vertical G"—what a normal rider would call that feeling of floating up out of your seat. Plus, the Las Vegas Adventuredome, located in Circus Circus, is all indoors, so you can't use the weather as an excuse to chicken out.

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Photo: Denise Truscello





The Daily Traveler: Urban Gardens

You don't have to choose between bustling city life and serene nature. Next time you need a botanic pick-me-up, duck into one of these (gorgeous) public urban gardens—from Barcelona to Singapore, Rio to Rome. The roses and orchids are waiting...

Singapore

Orchids have been hybridized at the Singapore Botanic Gardens since 1859, and now more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids are on display in the National Orchid Garden (including one named in honor of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Vanda William Catherine). That’s just one of the dazzling sights here: There's also a Swan Lake, a Fragrant Garden (known to attract butterflies as well as visitors), outdoor sculptures and sundials, and a section of rainforest home to 314 plant species. It’s no wonder that the garden is Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee.

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Photo courtesy of National Parks Board (NPARKS)

The Daily Traveler: 10 Weird Tourist Attractions


An homage to Stonehenge made of classic cars. A museum devoted to instant noodles. A gnome reserve. We track down some of the world’s wackiest tourist attractions, for our amusement and yours.

Thailand’s Hell Garden
Saen Suk, Thailand
The sign that greets visitors entering this sculpture garden pretty much says it all: “Welcome to Hell.” The Wang Saen Suk’s “hell garden” depicts, in garish detail, the punishments in store for those who transgress in life. If the statues are to be believed—with impaling, transfiguration, and disemboweling all represented—the tortures for sinners are pretty gruesome, so you might want to bank a few good deeds before you visit.

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Photo: Amos Chapple / Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images




The Daily Traveler: Amazing Observation Decks

These incredible viewing platforms located atop soaring skyscrapers offer 360-degree views over cities like Paris, New York, and Shanghai.

London
Opened in February 2013, the main observation gallery at this Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper is 800 feet high—the tallest in Western Europe—which is enough to see 40 miles around the city on a clear day. (And, if it's really foggy, you'll be able to return for free). Can't tell what you're looking at? High-tech digital telescopes come with touch screens that'll give you information about 200 London attractions below. When you're finished, you can ascend even higher to the 72nd floor, which is open and exposed to the elements so you can hear the din of the city below.

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Photo: The View from The Shard 2014




The Daily Traveler: Glass-Floor Attractions


Embrace the vertigo—the view from these skywalks, glass bridges, and see-through observation decks are worth it. Check out the slideshow for dizzying images of the Alps, the Grand Canyon, New Zealand, and more.

Chamonix, France
Okay, you may not be stepping into the void, per se, but this outing does require an extra bit of courage. Visitors enter a glass cube the size of a phone booth that extends off the edge of Aiguille du Midi in the French Alps. The elevation: a staggering 12,605 feet. From there, you can see Mount Blanc and other alpine peaks, the mountain climbers trying to summit—and a 3,300-foot drop immediately below. 

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Photo © Robert Pratta/Reuters/Corbis