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The best places to travel in February

By Mark Ellwood
February 13, 2018, 12:20:45 PM EST

There are ample reasons to plan a trip in February—shucking off the doldrums of Dryanuary, perhaps, or taking a romantic Valentine’s Day-inspired break. It’s also the month in which Mardi Gras most often falls, so carnivals are popular across the world—and this year is a particularly momentous milestone for the spiritual home of Mardi Gras, New Orleans. Here are our pick for the six best places for a vacation in February, whether you’re looking for a dose of winter sun or a stint on the slopes.

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New Orleans

If you’ve always wanted to immerse yourself in a classic Mardi Gras, 2018 is the year: it marks the tricentennial for New Orleans, originally founded three hundred years ago on what’s now Jackson Square in the French Quarter (the same site where the Louisiana Purchase was officially absorbed into the nascent USA 75 years later). The raucous parade of floats, helmed by the traditional krewes, takes place on February 13—look for the Krewe of Rex, known as the king of the Mardi Gras, and its tricentennial-themed float, L’Ancienne Nouvelle-Orléans. When you’re woozily surfacing on Ash Wednesday, expect a startling contrast: the rowdy vibe is utterly dispersed, and the Crescent City is blanketed with a somber quiet. Spend that day browsing the art installations of the fourth iteration of Prospect, the avant-garde arts festival that began here almost a decade ago to help rebirth the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

South Korea

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This month, the Winter Olympics (last spotted in Vladimir Putin’s favorite weekend getaway spot, Sochi) will resurface in South Korea—specifically the east coast hub of PyeongChang. From February 9-25, skiers, skaters, and everyone in between will descend on this small town in the Taebaek Mountains, which finally snared the games after failed bids for the 2010 and 2014 games. Of course, the last time the Olympics touched down in Korea was in 1988, when Seoul was the site of the summer games; the capital city is just 80 miles away, so if the medal tables end up unfavorable, it’s an easy trip for a few days. In Seoul, explore the rehabbed warehouse district of Seongsu, or try a cocktail or two at one of the world’s best bars, Charles H (named in honor of a forgotten American drinking legend).

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