Five ways holiday travelers annoy business travelers

holiday travelers and business travelersOn December 23, 1999, I was trying to get from Madison, Wisconsin to Boston Massachusetts. On paper, it didn’t look hard. I had to catch a short fight from Madison to Chicago and another flight from Chicago to Boston. Unsurprisingly, it was snowing in Madison. It was also snowing in Chicago. Flights were canceled quickly and routinely, and crowds backed up in the gate areas. I was starting to wonder if I would make it home in time for Christmas. I finally made it back some time on Christmas Eve, but it was stressful … and yet another taxing holiday experience in what had become a blur of them.

Holiday season travel is rarely enjoyable for anyone, but it can be particularly brutal on business travelers. The pressures of family holiday obligations converge with business demands, and it all comes on the back of a full year of hitting the road, which can mean 40 weeks or more of round trips and enough miles to have nailed platinum status by the end of the second quarter. The one thing business travelers cling to is efficiency. Even if it doesn’t buy much in real impact, it feels better to get through security faster, board the plane smoothly and make a quick exit from the plane and airport upon arrival.

And holiday leisure travelers just make that exponentially more difficult.The folks who travel once or twice a year – or even less frequently than that – tend to throw a monkey wrench into the finely honed travel operations of road warriors. They fumble for documents at airport security checkpoints, take forever to order something as simple as a slice of pizza (how do you choose from both those toppings?!) After a while, the white-collar traveler, perpetually exhausted anyway, begin to hatch conspiracy theories about how leisure travelers are all in cahoots, intent on making his life miserable when all he wants to do is get home and rack open a bottle of holiday cheer.

So, let’s take a look at five ways you can annoy business travelers this holiday season. I’m not suggesting that anyone on either side of this dynamic engage in any behavior modification … because we all know that isn’t going to happen. But if you decide to try – to annoy either less or more – this is how you can go about it:

1. Your kids: I know this is a tough one. If the end-to-end air travel process is difficult for adults on a good day it’s even harder (a) during the holidays, (b) for adults with children and (c) for children. It really does suck. Do what you can, and make an honest effort. Don’t let your kid “cry it out” or practice his first step. You can give up on good parenting for a few hours without causing any lasting damage. Please try to avoid saying, “It’s only for a few hours; we don’t travel often,” to a weary business traveler.

2. Your awareness: is the airport security line moving forward without you? Do you wait until you’re at the x-ray machine to realize you need to remove your coat and shoes? You could turn around to see the eyes rolling, but that would just consume even more time. This also goes for your trip to the food court. Be ready ahead of time, or expect someone to say something.

3. Spread out: take extra seats in the gate area – for your bags or anything else. And then, let your kids play on the floor between seats, so nobody can walk by. The gate area is crowded already, and this is just a heroic way to make a bad situation worse.

4. Camp near a power outlet: it’s hard enough to find a place to plug in, and business travelers are desperate for the short supply. So, be sure to take up this prime real estate … even though you don’t plan to use it at all.

5. Sense of entitlement: assume the same sense of entitlement that road warriors have. And, I’m actually encouraging this one. Nobody really has a right to feel this way, but it is a formula for some incredible street theater!

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Top 10 farmers markets in U.S.

There’s an innate pleasure to eating seasonally, especially this time of year, when berries, stonefruit, peppers, corn, and tomatoes are at their peak. Farmers markets are one of the best ways to enjoy these ingredients, not only because they afford the chance to connect with growers, ranchers, fishermen, and food artisans, but also because they’re a window into the soul of a community.

I’ll be the first to admit I can’t afford to buy all of my groceries from my local market, and I get toilet paper and other household essentials from generic grocery chains. In our present era of food-related pretense, being on a first-name basis with your local farmer has become a form of culinary oneupmanship. Forget all that. The best reason to shop local and grower-direct, besides supporting family farms and local food security, is that you have access to fresh food, which is higher in nutrients, and often just tastes better. The bonus is usually a lively scene, with music, cooking demonstrations, tastings, and seasonal events.

Based on my ten years of working at markets in various states, below are my picks for the top ten farmers markets in the nation. I’ve based my criteria on their “green,” growers only (i.e., vendors must sell their own product and adhere to sustainable practices) policies, diversity and quality of product, and community involvement. If a visit to one of these markets isn’t on your Labor Day travel itinerary, not to worry. With over 5,000 markets operating throughout the U.S., there’s sure to be one near you.1. San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market

Top honors go to this thriving market for its gorgeous food displays, Bayside location, and nationally-acclaimed educational programs. Taste olive oil, cheese from Andante Dairy, June Taylor’s heirloom fruit preserves, and Marshall’s Farm Honey, and ogle the exquisite produce from Knoll Tairwa Farm and Dirty Girl Produce. Afterward, stroll the adjoining Ferry Building Marketplace and visit permanent shops from some of the state’s top food artisans.

2. Union Square Greenmarket, New York

The ultimate urban market boasts everything from Blue Moon’s spanking fresh Atlantic seafood, and artisan cheeses from Cato Corner Farm and Bobolink Dairy, to farmstead maple products and a staggering array of apples and cider from Upstate. Go with ample empty shopping bags; you’ll want souvenirs.

3. Santa Fe Farmers Market, New Mexico

Alongside pristine, high desert-grown produce, you’ll find Native American growers from local pueblos selling grassfed buffalo and heirloom crops descended from 300-year old indigenous seed stock; dried posole, and more varieties of dried chile than you knew existed. Come with an empty stomach, so you have room for tamales, bomber breakfast burritos, or goat milk fudge.

4. Boulder Farmers Market, Colorado

Regional farmers prove that a short growing season can still be spectacular in the form of red sunchokes, fingerling potatoes, maroon heirloom carrots, and peaches to die for from Morton’s Orchards. A kaleidoscope of cut flowers and an adjoining prepared food section make this bustling market a colorful-and delicious- community hot spot.

5. Berkeley Farmers Market, California

Although just 13 miles across the Bay from San Francisco, this revered urban market has a distinct flavor all it’s own. Grab a rustic loaf from Brickmaiden Breads, pâté or charcuterie from Fatted Calf, cheese from Redwood Hill Farm, and some produce, and you have the ultimate picnic.

6. Dane County Farmers Market, Madison, Wisconsin

Even in frigid winters, this college town market keeps on, providing hearty fare such as artisan brats and sausages, rabbit, delicate Fantôme Farm chevre, honey, and sweet, Northern European-style baked goods. This time of year, expect an abundance of produce, including cherries, elderberries, foraged hickory nuts, and other wild foods.

7. Seattle “U-District” Market

Seattle’s most popular neighborhood market is “farmers only,” meaning it’s limited to food products. It hosts over 50 regional growers who gather to sell free-range eggs, hard cider, hazelnuts, a multitude of berries, foraged mushrooms and other wild foods, goat meat, fresh and smoked salmon, and native geoduck clams.

8. Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market, Washington DC

Credited with teaching Washingtonians to add produce to their agendas, this immesely popular, yearround market offers a regular “Chef in Market” program, and sells everything from ice cream and handcrafted soap to meat, seafood, pasta, and cow, goat, and sheep’s milk cheeses. Most of the product comes from the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and is grown, raised, or caught within a 150-mile radius.


9. Austin Farmers Market, Texas

This beloved market is limited to local (within 150 miles) farms, and boasts a distinct Southwestern flavor. Pick up Creole pralines, pecans, heirloom zipper, cream, black-eyed, and purple peas, then dive into locally made empanadas and Oaxacan and Cuban food.

10. Kapiolani Community College (KCC) Farmers Market, Honolulu, Hawaii

Co-sponsored by the Hawaii Farm Bureau and the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at KCC, Oahu’s most thriving market requires growers to be in attendance, and provides locals and tourists with a real taste of the islands. Purchase grassfinished beef from Haleiwa’s North Shore Cattle Company, farm-raised moi (a tasty, white-fleshed fish once reserved for Hawaiian royalty), Molokai purple sweet potatoes, vanilla beans grown by the Big Island’s Hawaiian Vanilla Co., and produce like taro, lilikoi (passion fruit), and guava. Finish up with a plate lunch of kalua pig and lau lau, and prepare to tackle a hike on nearby Diamond Head to burn off the calories.

16 great farmers’ markets

Farmers’ markets are not only a great way to sample a community’s natural bounty, they’re also a unique setting to experience its culture. While each farmers’ market is different, a really good farmers’ market brings a sense of community to the cities and municipalities where they operate. Wondering where you can experience some of the freshest produce, tastiest snacks and friendliest people across the country? Check out our picks for 16 of our favorites below.

Saint Louis – Soulard Farmer’s Market

The Soulard Farmers Market began in St. Louis in 1779, making it the oldest continuously operating farmers market west of the Mississippi. In addition to the fresh fruit, produce, baked goods and flowers, the market includes a craft and flea market in the two wings of an old train terminal. A bit “Old World” in atmosphere, shoppers can buy live chickens, barter with vendors and enjoy a festive, energetic atmosphere all year round.

Indianapolis – Indianapolis City Market
The Indianapolis City Market was built in 1886 and today includes an arts market on Saturday, a farmers’ market on Wednesdays, cooking classes and ethnic theme events that may focus on the foods of Asia one week or the spices of the Middle East the next. The common thread through it all is that homegrown goodness of corn, tomatoes and other produce from the soil of Indiana.

Madison, Wisconsin
The Madison Wisconsin Farmers Market fills the grounds of the state capitol building and draws a huge crowd to the pedestrian-only mall and shops nearby. Fresh produce is only part of the fun. One Saturday, Wisconsin’s famous dairy cows may be on display; at other times there might be an iron man competition underway. Since it’s the state capitol, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to sign a petition or happen to see an up-and-coming politician working the crowd.

Kansas City – City Market
Kansas City’s City Market
overflows with activity weekend mornings all year when as many as 10,000 people have been known to shop for produce and bedding plants one more, artwork on another and bargains from the community garage sale another weekend morning. Valet service is available for big purchases. Some of the city’s most prosperous farm-to-table restaurants have found a naturally successful home here.

Des Moines, Iowa
All products sold at the Des Moines Farmers Market must be grown within the state of Iowa and that means 160 or more booths carrying the freshest produce grown in some of the world’s best farmland. There are also hand-made items, such as dried flower arrangements, seed murals and wheat weaving. A miniature train for children is a standard fixture and most Saturday mornings, you’ll find musicians, clowns or dance troupes performing.

Woodstock, Illinois

Voted the best farmers market in the state of Illinois in 2008, the Woodstock Farmers Market could easily be called a “producers market” because everything must be grown, raised or made by the seller. Located on the town square of this historic community, shoppers are accompanied by folk music performed live from a nearby gazebo on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.

Holland, Michigan

The Holland Michigan Farmers Market literally overflows with blueberries, cherries, strawberries and other fresh fruit from the fields of western Michigan. The market also carries farm fresh cheese, eggs, herbs and spices. In the craft area, handmade furniture is an unexpected treat. But just wandering the aisles, munching on freshly baked Danish and feeling the breeze from Lake Michigan is a treat in itself.

Columbus, Ohio – North Market
Columbus Ohio’s North Market comes with its own kitchen and James Beard-award winning chef to prepare meals right on the spot from items bought at the market. In addition to fresh dairy products, including ice cream, and prepared foods from international vendors, the North Market sells just the right utensils and cookware to bring any meal together.

Lincoln, Nebraska – Historic Haymarket
The Historic Haymarket in Lincoln, Nebraska was originally a place where livestock and produce were sold in the state capitol, but now it is the site of the trendiest restaurants and retail outlets in the city. Every Saturday morning from May to October, the activity jumps another notch when more than 200 of the Midwest’s best farmers bring their produce. It’s also the best place in the city for Kolaches and coffee.

Little Rock, Arkansas – River Market

As polished as any supermarket, the Little Rock Arkansas River Market, located in the historic Quapaw Quarter, is a year-round destination for ethnic cuisine, entertainment and in the summer months, some of Arkansas’ famous tomatoes and watermelons. Something is always happening at the adjacent park overlooking the Arkansas River, and just a few blocks from the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library.

– The above was written by Diana Lambdin Meyer, Seed contributor



Washington D.C. – Eastern Market

Casualty of a fire that ripped through the stalls in April of 2007, the historical Eastern Market has made a comeback and continues to serve meats, poultry, breads and gourmet goodies throughout the week in the South Hall, where many employees of nearby Capitol Hill migrate for lunch. On the weekends, stalls extend to the surrounding outdoor areas and offer antiques, crafts, photography, handmade jewelry and other collectibles. On our last visit, we purchased some vintage fruit labels and stocked up on distinctive greeting cards for less than a dollar apiece.

Santa Monica, California – Virginia Avenue Park
There are several markets that sprout up over the course of the week in this beach city. The best is the Saturday one in Virginia Avenue Park where weekly appearances are made by local restaurateurs featuring the best of their menus.

New York, NY – Union Square Greenmarket
One of the best markets in New York City is the Union Square Farmer’s Market, which extends the length of the west side of the square. Stalls are filled with local fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, poultry, fish, spices… just about anything you can imagine. At the tail end, you’ll find tables with artists selling their wares. We picked up some local goat cheese and wine, plus a hilarious comic-book version of the Grimm brother tales, handed to us directly by the author.

Chicago, IL – French Market
Inspired by European markets, the French Market was recently developed as an effort to promote community in the city. It’s located adjacent to the Ogilvie Transportation Center. The vendors sell delicious pastries and prepared foods as well as produce, meats, cheese and seafood. Grab some mussels and delicious Sicilian sandwiches before hopping on a train to the Chicago suburbs. Make sure to stop by Chicago’s world-renowned Green City Market while you’re in town.

– The above was written by M. Fuchsloch, Seed contributor

Portland, OR – Portland State University
Portland has long relished in its status as one of the country’s most eco-conscious, sophisticated food cities, and the town’s wealth of farmer’s markets certainly doesn’t disappoint. Each Saturday the shoppers of Portland flock to the grounds of Portland State University, home to Portland’s biggest and most famous of the city’s six recognized downtown markets.

San Francisco, CA – Ferry Building and Plaza
No list of farmers markets could be complete without mentioning this titan of the food world. Ground zero for the birth of slow food and much of the current revolution in local, organic eating sweeping the nation, San Francisco and the Bay Area is king and its historic Ferry Building and nearby Plaza Farmer’s Market is the capital building. Stop by for delicious favorites like locally produced cheeses, more mushrooms than you’ve ever seen and some tasty gelato.

The Best Cities in the Wold for Drinking Beer

Deciding on a top ten list of anything is usually pretty difficult. Unless you’re talking about, say, the top ten numbers one through ten… narrowing down and choosing only ten of whatever often takes a great deal of effort.

When it comes to the world of beer, with the vast array of choices out there, things become extremely problematic. Luckily, choosing ten of the best cities in which to drink a beer isn’t quite so difficult. While there are no definitive answers to the best places in the world to sip a brew — and beer culture in certain areas changes from year to year — there are certain cities that deserve special attention. In no particular order, here are 24 outstanding beer cities you should definitely try to visit with your mate — or your bar mate.

Portland, Oregon, USA
Portland is a beer lover’s paradise. Often referred to as “Beervana” or “Beertown,” the city boasts a collection of production breweries and brewpubs totaling a whopping 31 — more breweries per capita than any other city in the world.

Well-known craft breweries Widmer Brothers and Pyramid call Portland home, as does near-cult status brewery Hair of the Dog, and popular craft breweries Rogue Ales and Deschutes Brewery operate brewpubs practically around the corner from one another. In addition to such a proliferation of great brewing operations, Portland is fairly well-regarded for its beer culture and gastronomy, making the city’s title of “Beervana” difficult to refute.

Brussels, Belgium
If Portland is leading America in the fine art of beer gastronomy, Brussels is certainly leading the way in Europe. While its sister to the south, France, is content with basking in the fame of the grape, Belgium has taken on the glory of the grain. The country is world-renowned for its unique beer specialties, many of which use spontaneous fermentation by wild yeasts and bacteria, and there’s no better place to enjoy Belgium’s famed beers and Cuisine à la Bière than its capital city, Brussels. However, if you’re looking for a “beer vacation,” be sure to check out this essential guide to Belgian breweries by region.

San Francisco, California, USA
For any lover of American craft beer, San Francisco could be considered the Mecca of the American beer world. It was here that Fritz Maytag purchased the floundering Anchor Steam Brewery in the mid-1960s, reviving not only the brewery but several near-extinct beer styles, and re-introduced Americans to styles like Barleywine, Winter Warmer and IPA.

It’s no surprise, then, that San Francisco is thought of by many as the birthplace of the “craft beer revolution” in America, with Maytag the founding father. Maytag and his brewery are still churning out popular beers today, alongside many of the other breweries and brewpubs that have sprouted up, such as the popular 21st Amendment Brewery.

Bamberg, Germany
No guide to good beer locale can truly be complete without the inclusion of Germany’s historic city Bamberg. The city, located in the Franconia region of Bavaria, survived Allied bombings in the Second World War, and its Altstadt is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Köln, Germany, Kobes (waiters) in the city’s Brauereien, keep the 200ml glasses (Stangen) coming until you signal you’re finished by placing a coaster over your drinking vessel.

But the city’s biggest attraction for beer lovers: it’s traditional specialty Rauchbier, or smoke beer, which uses malt dried over beechwood fires. The beer takes on a deep smoky flavor that pairs perfectly with smoked dishes, and nowhere can this specialty be enjoyed fresher or in greater quantity than in its historic hometown.

Dublin, Ireland
Brewed and imbibed the world over, the prototypical Irish stout was first brewed up in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. The brewery celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009, having been founded in 1759 when Arthur signed a 9,000-year lease for the spot at St. James’s Gate. While every batch of Guinness stout brewed around the world uses a little of the original, visitors to Dublin know that it’s best consumed at the source, served up from a cask at one of the city’s classic pubs.

Köln (Cologne), Germany
Cologne is another one of Germany’s cities with its own special beer tradition: Here it’sKölsch, a pale, subtle top-fermented ale that drinks as easily as a light lager. Perhaps it’s because it goes down so well that theKobes, waiters in the city’s various Brauereien, keep the small 200ml glasses (called Stangen) coming until you signal you are finished by placing a coaster over your drinking vessel.

And because Kölsch is protected by an appellation, the city is the only place in the world to truly enjoy this delicacy, and to enjoy it fresh at that.

Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Though the American South lagged for quite some time behind the rest of the country in embracing craft beer, it’s catching up quickly. Next to Asheville, perhaps the greatest city in the South in which to enjoy beer is Georgia’s capital, Atlanta.

Two award-winning production breweries operate in the city, Atlanta Brewing Company and Sweetwater, and brewpubs and great beer bars are scattered throughout. But for a real treat? Head to Decatur, where you’ll find one of the nation’s premier beer bars, the Brick Store Pub. Here you’ll find constantly-rotating taps, a second bar dedicated to Belgian beer, an extensive bottle list, and a wonderfully eclectic, beery atmosphere.

München (Munich), Germany
Not to mention Munichin a list of great cities in which to drink beer would be like leaving hops out of the libation — sure, it can be done, but it just wouldn’t seem right.

Though the traditional beer culture in many of Germany’s cities seems to be slowly withering away, the famous beer halls of Munich’s Altstadt, especially the (in)famous Hofbräuhaus, provide a jovial atmosphere full of kitschy charm stoked by huge liter mugs of beer freshly brewed on-premises. Then there is what is undoubtedly the most famous marriage-ceremony-turned-beer-festival in the world, the annual Oktoberfest celebration. Sure, there may be some cities in the world better-suited than Munich in which to enjoy beer, but there are none more well-equipped for drinking it.

— The above was written by Lonnie C. Best, Seed contributor.


Amsterdam, Netherlands
Alcohol isn’t the drug most associated with Amsterdam, but maybe it should be. Because of its central location, the Netherlands capital is practically overflowing with English and Belgian beers. It’s also got cobblestone streets, scenic waterway views and beer bikes. Wait, beer bikes? Yep, in Amsterdam you can rent a bicycle that fits 10 to 20 people – and a full bar. So you can do your sightseeing and beer-guzzling at the same time.


Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Underdog Asheville beat out brew king Portland in a battle for “Beer City USA” in 2009 and some Pacific Northwesterners will never forgive them. But they should. Along with a big city-worthy music scene, a drop-dead-gorgeous mountain backdrop and good old southern hospitality, Asheville has one brewery for every 10,000 of its citizens, including the rocking Highland Brewing Company. That puts it right at Portland’s heels with the second most breweries per capita in the U.S.

Boston has a history rich in both rebellion and beer drinking. Heck, the rebellion may have started with beer drinking, as colonists met in taverns to plot against the English.

Bonus: Asheville also holds three annual beer fests – Brewgrass, Oktoberfest and Winter Warmer – throughout the year.

Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Boston has a history rich in both rebellion and beer drinking. Heck, the rebellion may have started with beer drinking, as colonists met in the taverns to plot against the English. Some of those old bars still stand today, like the historic Green Dragon and the Warren Tavern, the oldest tavern in the state.

After the Revolution, Boston saw a surge of Irish immigrants – and Irish pubs, many of which are still pouring Guinness. But Beantown’s culture of revolution isn’t stuck in the past. Boston kicked off the microbrewery trend with one of the country’s first craft brews, Samuel Adams.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
As arguably the most European city in North America, Montreal boasts brew houses that resemble British pubs and French taverns and beers that rival the best Irish stouts and Belgian wheats. At Le Cheval Blanc, the city’s oldest brewpub, try a Canadian specialty like a maple or cranberry ale. Also like Europe, Montreal patrons like to stay out late – most bars don’t open until late afternoon and stay open well into the wee hours of the morning.

San Diego, California, USA
A sunny, semi-tropical paradise where serious craft brewers mingle with Corona-swigging surfers, San Diego was named the country’s top beer city by Men’s Journal. There are a mind-boggling 24 breweries mentioned on the San Diego Brewers Guild’s Web site. One such brewer, Green Flash, is named for the phenomena purported to appear over the horizon at sunset as you sit sipping a cold one and noshing on fish tacos.

Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
The Rockies don’t just taste like Coors anymore, thanks to a certain broken bicycle. Before it swept the nation, New Belgium Brewery’s toasty amber Fat Tire was dreamed up in a Fort Collins basement. Host of the Colorado Brewer’s Festival, where else can you swig brews from up-and-comers like Big Horn Brewing Company (home of the Buttface Amber Ale), tour the first wind-powered brewery and also visit the home of the country’s most famous beer maker, Anheuser Busch Brewery, all while surrounded by Old West storefronts and purple mountain’s majesty?

Madison, Wisconsin, USA
It can get cold in Wisconsin. Real cold. Fortunately, Cheeseheads have a history of warming their spirits with beer, wine and spirits. Like many U.S. cities, Madison has seen a rush of microbreweries in recent years, like Ale Asylum and The Great Dane Brewing Company. But lest you think the progressive college town’s suds scene is getting snooty, remember you’re in a state where sports bars still outnumber gastropubs by a long shot. Wisconsinites drink beer because it’s their state mascot, because of their region’s deep German roots and because, well, they really like beer.

— The above was written by Cheri March, Seed contributor.


Portland, Maine, USA
Portland is home to six microbreweries, including the award-winning Shipyard Brewery. Gritty McDuff’s in-house restaurant features outside seating which is dog-friendly. The state as a whole is home to a tremendous number of craft breweries, creating a beer culture that runs through the taps of the finest restaurants and the coolers of the simplest convenience stores. Be sure to pick up a six-pack to enjoy on the Casco Bay Lines sunset cruise, which allows discreet imbibing.

San Antonio, Texas, USA
With its pedestrian-friendly climate and the Tex-Mex cuisine that invites pairing with good beer, the Riverwalk of San Antonio is a great city for beer drinking. Whether sitting and sipping beer while people watching, or strolling after sampling the offerings at any of the local brew pubs, the beauty and beer of San Antonio make a combination not be missed.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

In New Orleans, it’s not unusual to find great beer deals, such as “buy one get three free”; you can save enough on beer to cover your flight and hotel.

Nawlins is the undisputed home of amazing food, great music and parties that never end. The Quarter is the center of all of this. To-go cups are common, making it easy to continue the party as the mood motivates movement. It is not unusual to find great beer deals, such as “buy one get three free”; you can save enough on beer to cover flight and your hotel in a heartbeat.

And let’s be honest, even if The Big Easy weren’t that awesome, the city would still make this list, thanks exclusively to the incredible Abita Brewery.

Key West, Florida, USA
Key West has “end of the world syndrome.” As the Southernmost point of the North American continent — and home to the country’s southernmost brewery — Key West boasts an eclectic group of locals and visitors, which translates to a (nearly) judgment-free zone. It is also another one of the few places where beer is offered in to-go cups, allowing you to wander the streets and sample the music in any of the open-air venues before committing to going in to any one of them.

Seattle, Washington, USA
Seattle is also known for having a bit of the “end of the world” syndrome. While the climate is not as bad as it is reputed to be, it is not quite as welcoming as that of Key West. Regardless, the weather is more than compensated for by the music and microbrew culture. Seattle itself is home to a slew of brew pubs and six breweries, including the now bi-coastal Red Hook Brewery.

Burlington, Vermont, USA
There is much to be said for the atmosphere of a college town. It doesn’t fit the pattern of “end of the world” syndrome, but it still has an atmosphere of acceptance. Even better, Burlington is strongly influenced by the presence of Magic Hat Brewery (located in nearby South Burlington) and is host to the annual Vermont Brewers Festival. Located on the banks of Lake Champlain and surrounded by Vermont’s trademark mountains, Burlington is a perfect beer-love nest.

Northampton, Massachusetts, USA
NoHo, as locals call it, is far from your average college town. Local schools range from the University of Massachusetts to two of the Seven Sisters. You will be hard-pressed to find an establishment that doesn’t have at least one beer you’ve never tried, with plenty of street performers to entertain you from site to site. A short drive will take you from the city’s center to the Northampton Brewery and restaurant to cap off your visit.

Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Every city on this list celebrates its beers. To that end, Baltimore hosts Baltimore Beer Week, which, appropriately, is a ten day celebration. The city proper boasts several breweries, and the bars in town pride themselves on the variety of craft beers on tap. Just remember that when the bartender calls you “Hon,” it’s not flirting – it’s just the city’s trademark hospitality.

— The above was written by Cate Kulak, Seed contributor.

If you’ve been counting, you’ll see we’ve only listed 23 cities. So what happened to City Number 24? Well, we meant to include 24, but when we looked over our research, some of our <burp> notes were too hard to read. So we’ll just close with this: whatever city you’re in, enjoying with friends or family and a cold beer — that’s the 24th city on the list.

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Winter festivals in the Midwest

What is it about snow that just makes us want to play in it? A fresh, fluffy layer of snow means snow angels and snowmen, building forts and having snowball fights. And for some people, it also means making really, really big snow sculptures like these found on WebUrbanist.com.

To see some smaller, but no less impressive, snow sculptures in the Midwest, check out one of the area’s many winter festivals.

In Ohio, the Toledo Zoo Frozentoesen offers a whole month of special winter events at the zoo, including ice carving, free admission days, and animal interactions.

The Madison Winter Festival, which takes place from February 19 to 21 in Wisconsin, goes beyond just spectator sports. In addition to ice and snow sculpting, the event features some pretty hardcore winter sports like cross country skiing, speed skating, 5k races, snowshoeing, and bike racing over snow.

In Michigan, head to Bavarian-themed Frankenmuth for Snowfest. Held January 27 to February 1, the fest features snow and ice sculpting and a huge warming tent with traditional German food, music and drinks. And as someone who has been there I can say that not only is the event a very fun time, but you’d be surprised how quickly a few pints of beer and some really badass snow sculptures can make you forget the bitter cold.