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.

Lonely Planet Releases Top 10 Cities for Travelers

Lonely Planet recently released its Best in Travel 2014, which includes a list of the top 10 cities for traveling. These cities are spread across the globe and include classics as well as cities that are just coming into their own as traveler destinations. The Lonely Planet list includes some obvious choices like Paris, Cape Town, Zurich, Shanghai, Vancouver, Chicago, and Auckland but it also includes less obvious choices like Trinidad, Cuba, Adelaide, Australia, and Riga, Latvia. Check it out here and then let us know, which cities would you add to the 2014 list?Lonely Planet Downsizes

Where Will You Go For Free Museum Day?

Cartoon Art Museum - free museum day
Flickr, Kim Smith

Whether you are traveling in the U.S. or having a staycation this Saturday, be sure to include some culture. September 28 is Museum Day Live! (aka Free Museum Day), when museums all over the country open their doors without charging admission.

The annual event is inspired by the Smithsonian museums, which offer free admission every day. You’ll have to register and download your free ticket in advance, which will get two guests in free to participating museums.

A few of our favorite museums participating:

Chicago
Smart Museum of Art
The University of Chicago’s art museum is always free, but this weekend is also the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and museum-goers can also enjoy free concerts in the sculpture garden.

Dallas/Ft. Worth
American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum
Regular price: $7 adults
Serious airline nerds, frequent flyers and those on a long layover can check out this museum of aviation and American AIrlines history, just a few miles from DFW airport. Exhibits include a rare Douglas DC-3 plane.

Las Vegas
Burlesque Hall of Fame
Regular suggested donation or gift shop purchase: $5)
What’s Sin City without a little strip tease? See costumes, props and photos documenting the history, traditions and stars of burlesque dance.
Los Angeles
Grammy Museum
Regular price: $12.95 adults
Pop music lovers can check out four floors of music exhibits and memorabilia. The current exhibition features the career of Ringo Starr, including an interactive drum lesson with the Beatles‘ rhythm man himself.

New York
Museum of Chinese in America
Regular price: $10 adults
Learn about the immigrant experience in New York’s Chinatown in a building designed by Maya Lin. Current special exhibitions on the glamour of Shanghai women and the role Chinese-American designers in fashion. Follow it up with dim sum in the neighborhood.

San Francisco
Cartoon Art
Regular price: $7 adults
Take your comics seriously? This is the art museum for you, with 6,000 works of cartoon cels, comic strips and book art. Best. Museum. Ever.

Washington, D.C.
Museum of Crime and Punishment
Regular price: $21.95
Value the free admission and your freedom at a museum dedicated to criminals and police work. Fans of police procedural TV shows will enjoy the CSI lab and the filming studio for “America’s Most Wanted.”

6 Weird Ways To Get Your Food Served Around The World

Monik Markus, Flickr

Now that food trucks are a staple in pretty much every metropolis, people have to get really creative to think about how to serve food in an edgy manner. But from fries in a vending machine to sparkling water in a public fountain, there are plenty of places around the world that will make sure that you have an unforgettable eating experience.

1. Coin-operated Belgian Fries
If you want a cornet of classic Belgian fries, look no further than a vending machine. A coin-operated machine in Brussels has been specifically developed to produce fries made with beef fat. And yes they do come with an option of ketchup or mayonnaise.

2. Ice cream from a monster truck
You’ve seen food trucks, but have you ever seen a monster food truck? Czech carmaker Skoda turned a 5.5 ton van into an ice cream truck, deeming it the “world’s largest ice cream truck.” It has five-foot tall tires after all. You’ll find it touring around the UK.3. Vending machine champagne
In Berlin you can get your bubbles from a vending machine. The gourmet food vending machine at delicatessen Floris Feinkost not only has pint-sized bottles of champagne available for sale, but also Dutch stroopwaffels and flavored salts. That’s what you call one stop shopping.

4. Sparkling water from a fountain
It would seem that only in Paris would you be able to get sparkling water from a fountain (which you can do at three different parks in the city) but earlier this year even Australia tried one out, with the city of Perth using a sparkling water fountain on a three-month trial.

5. Carry-out bacon bar
A restaurant isn’t such an odd or intriguing thing, but a carry-out bacon bar is. In Chicago you now know exactly where to order your bacon when you’re having that random craving thanks to Burke’s Bacon Bar which offers up mini sandwiches stuffed with bacon. As chef Rick Gresh said, “Bacon could be the one legal drug, because once you taste it you’re hooked.”

6. The in-car rice maker
Want food on the go? For those looking for a little more homecooked of a meal while they’re traveling, you might want the new Japanese in-car rice cooker. That’s right, you can now prep your sushi rice while you drive. Could be useful when you’re running late on dish prep for a dinner party.

3 Tools For Finding Friends On the Road

Facebook.com

In the age of smartphones and social networks, it seems rare that anyone would ever be lonely. But technology doesn’t always fill the void for some good old fashioned personal contact. When you’re on the road, these tools and social sites can help you find a friend in a city full of strangers — and in some cases, you might end up saving money, too.

Graph Search
Good For:
Anyone on Facebook
In case you haven’t noticed, the search bar in Facebook now allows users to search and sort through information within your friend network. Sure, you can use it to check out which of your friends are single, but it’s also a tool that can help you find out which friends now live in certain cities or countries. Maybe one of your college buddies got a job in Washington, DC and you didn’t realize it. Or, perhaps someone you know recently visited the city. “People who uploaded photos taken in Washington” and start your detective work.

Friends of Friends Travel
Good For:
Solo female travelers
Whether you’re looking to find a place to stay or just share a cup of coffee, you no longer have to do it with random strangers. This website intentionally limits users to friends and “friends of friends,” making it easy to find trustworthy travel partners. It’s an especially good tool for solo travelers who might be a little apprehensive about using services like couchsurfing.com, which can sometimes be a mixed bag. At least now you’ll have a friend to vouch for their buddy — and you won’t have to browse thousands of couches to find them.

Grubwithus
Good For:
Hungry business travelers
For those who just want to meet up for a meal, Gubwithus can connect you with strangers who have similar interests (and I’m not just talking about a shared love of pizza). The website allows you to join different groups — options include tech junkees, book enthusiasts and ladies only — and then meetup at pre-arranged dinners. It’s a great way to not only meet new people, but also try new restaurants. Right now, Grubwithus is only available in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.