Discover Something New at Home this Holiday Season

Traveling “home” this holiday season? Don’t fall into your old routine. Your high school hangout may be an easy go-to, but if you don’t live there anymore there’s a good chance you’re missing out on some great new local spots. (Plus, be honest: you already know what all your classmates are up to from Facebook.)

We turned to local writers to help you rediscover your hometown over Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. Each city guide features a great new restaurant to try while you’re in town, a cool neighborhood that wasn’t on the radar last year or a store where you can pick up a keepsake to bring your old home back to your new home. We’ll also catch you up to speed on the hot topics of conversation in each city, so you’ll come back savvy enough to join the local sports banter or eat your holiday weight in Cronuts.

Click your city below to learn what’s new since the last time you went home:

Boston fans celebrate world series winChicago skyline

Detroit skylineSanta Monica Pier

NYC skylinePhiladelphia City Hall

Portland Oregon signGolden Gate Bridge

St. Louis ArchUS Capitol

AIR Chicago Radio Station Launches Monday at O’Hare, Midway Airports

Just in time for the holiday season-amazing how that works!-this Monday will see the launch of AIR Chicago, “the first 24-hour-a-day airport radio station dedicated to keeping O’Hare and Midway travelers in tune with Chicago Department of Aviation information, airport traffic, weather, business news, smooth jazz music and much more.”

Travelers can access the stations through

Orbitz has predicted that O’Hare will be the busiest airport in the country over Thanksgiving, while Clear Channel estimates 85 million travelers pass through both O’Hare and Midway airports annually.According to a quote in a press release, local dignitaries are pleased:

“On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, we are proud that O’Hare and Midway, in partnership with Clear Channel, are the first airports to offer a radio station specifically devoted to keeping passengers in touch with real-time information,” said Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation. “AIR Chicago is a great example of our efforts to provide a ‘best-in-class’ experience for the millions of travelers who fly through our busy transportation hubs.”

And if you’re heading back to Chicago for the holidays and looking to discover something new, check out AOL Travel’s guide to what’s changed in the past year.

If You’re Not Already Convinced the U.S. Needs to Upgrade Its Travel Infrastructure, this Video Should Convince You

The U.S. Travel Association released a video this week called “What Could Travel in America Look Like?”, complete with Michael Bay-style, slo-mo American flag waving and music from that part of the movie where the hero is at his most dejected.

It’s a bit over-the-top in parts, but the argument put forth by travel industry heavy hitters is spot on. About our transportation options to-and-from airports, Jonathan Tisch, Chairman of Loews Hotels and Resorts, says, “We as a nation are sadly not competitive.”

Check out the video below.

New York City Expected to be Top Thanksgiving Destination

Thanksgiving Day Parade
Associated Press

Whether it’s for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, to visit relatives or just to do a little drinking, New York City is expected to be the top U.S. travel destination this Thanksgiving, according to TripAdvisor. If you’re planning on being part of that in-crowd, here are some dining and entertainment options for you.

And if you’re heading home to New York City, here are new places for you to check out.Thanksgiving Dinner

That same TripAdvisor report said that 16 percent of Americans will eat at a restaurant on Thanksgiving, largely to avoid cooking. The Refinery Hotel’s Refinery Rooftop $25 continental breakfast comes paired with a view of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. At The Maritime Hotel’s La Bottega, chef Lucia Piscopo is putting an Italian spin on Thanksgiving dinner with dishes like sautéed Tuscan black kale and offers a vegetable lasagna.

Entertainment

Looking to get away from the relatives for a spell (or at least get everyone out of the house)? The New York Pass can get you into 80 attractions. It comes in one- ($85), two- ($130), three- ($160) or seven-day ($210) increments. If the options are overwhelming, make use of one of its itineraries, which are based on neighborhood or theme. The New York Pass also includes fast-track entry to 15 marquee sites.

Airport Dining

Not only are U.S. airports are continuing to increase their health dining options, they’re getting tastier too. Restaurants by OTG in Delta’s gates in LaGuardia Airport (concourses C and D) feature collaborations with famed New York chefs Michael White (Cotto), Andrew Carmellini (Victory Grill) and Anne Burrell (Vagabond Burger Bar). And if you’re traveling with kids, the iPads on every table should keep them occupied, at least until boarding time. Then, you might want to follow these tips for flying with kids.

And this May, Delta unveiled a revamped terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which features Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack and Blue Smoke on the Road. Terminal 2′s dining options are undergoing a similar overhaul. While renovations aren’t slated to be finished until next summer, some temporary eateries opened in September.

Thanksgiving Parade in New York