Season to stay or stray

Where do foodies, culture mavens and adventurers go to embrace or escape the cold? To read the full story, click here


Embrace:  Make like a Melburnian and don your big coat - black, naturally - for a cultural winter and no, the AFL doesn't count. The State of Design Festival from July 20-31includes Melbourne Open House, which gives you a licence to perve at 75 of the city's most beautiful and environmentally sustainable designs - free. The city's best tagging, bombing, paste-ups and stencilling are seen on street art walking tours ($69 a person, melbournestreettours.com).

Otherwise, download free DIY tours of hot and hidden street art (thatsmelbourne.com.au.) or a guide to the city's design hot spots (audiodesignmuseum.com).

The National Gallery of Victoria's new shopfront window allows passersby to watch 'zine artists do their thing from July 11-August 8, while the Gertrude Street Projection Festival transforms Fitzroy's Gertrude Street into an open-air gallery with light projections cast across the streetscape (July 22-31, thegertrudeassociation.com).

Federation Square's Atrium showcases more than 100 Victorian wines, with winemakers on hand and live jazz on Wednesdays and Thursdays from July 6-August 4 ($25, fedsquare.com/wine). For more jazz, grab a table beneath the heaters on Hardware Lane for cool tunes (Mon-Sat, from 7pm). Chill on Ice Lounge serves drinks among 30 tonnes of icy walls in its Russell Street digs until July 16, then reopens at Southbank in August with bigger ice decor.

Do your best Torvill and Dean impersonations on the ice outside at the Melbourne Museum, then work on your apres ski skills at the Winter Festival, from August 18 to September 4. Highlights include free ice skating shows, too. (winterfestival.com.au, visitvictoria.com.)

Escape
Bare all in New York's great parks for a season of festivals, concerts and hot summer nights outdoors until September. Opera buffs flock to the Metropolitan Opera's summer recital series, held from July 11-28 across the Five Boroughs - free (metopera.org/parks). Indie groovers make for the Village Voice's July 16 Four Knots Festival, headlined this year by the Black Angels (free, villagevoice.com), while jazzsters take in the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival on August 27-28, also free. It's part of the city's massive Summerstage arts festival (summerstage.org).

Shakespeare in the Park presents Measure for Measure and All's Well that Ends Well in Central Park (free, until July 30, shakespearein thepark.org) and Lower Manhattan's River to River Festival celebrates public art and music along the river's edge (free, until July 16, riverto rivernyc.com). Meantime, the Latino Cultural Festival in Queens's Flushing Meadows is the place to go for pulsing dance, theatre and music from July 25 to August 7 (queenstheatre.org, nycgo.com).

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