Party at Pittsburgh Int’l Airport

Would you go to an airport if you don’t have to?  What is there’s a party going on?

On Saturday, Dec 1, for the fifth year in a row, Pittsburgh International Airport is holding a Holiday Open House in the post-security side of the terminal and inviting the non-flying public to join in.

Festivities will include a live performance by LoveBettie, a chance to create your own giftwrap, a visit by the National Aviary’s African penguin, a juggler, an artist doing airbrush tattos and, of course,  a visit from Santa.

Shops and restaurants will be offering special treats and discounts. And everyone gets free validated parking! Plus, there’s no sales tax on most clothing in Pennsylvania.

Beyond the party, this is a great time to see and learn about the art at the airport on a self-guided or guided art tour.

In addition to a shrine to Mister Rogers, who lived in Pittsburgh and produced his Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood program there, PIT’s art collection includes art prints by Pittsburgh-born artist Andy Warhol, a giant mobile by Alexander Calder, a Robot Repairt shop, and a large scale robotic figure named Arch.

Mr Rogers shrine at Pittsburgh Airport

Andy Warhol Wallpaper at PIT

PIT Calder Mobile

 Interested?  The party runs from 10 a. m. to 6 p.m.  To attend, non-ticketed guests must register in advance, arrive by 5 .m. and make to sure bring along a valid government-issued photo ID.

See you there!

TSA’s travel tips for getting souvenirs home from Comic-Con

TSA’s blog has some helpful information for anyone heading home through San Diego International Airport after attending Comic-Con International this week – and for those traveling with collectibles and souvenirs from this or any other special event.

TSA suggests that if you’re traveling with a collectible item that has an original seal on it that you don’t want broken, that you ship it home instead of taking the chance that the seal will broken during a TSA search.

Getting dressed up in a costume to attend an event? TSA reminds travelers that neither replica weapons nor real weapons should be placed in carry-on bags and that while both replica weapons and real weapons can be packed in checked bags, actual firearms must meet packing guidelines and be declared.

And, TSA s suggests that if you’re traveling with a lot of brochures, comic books or other books that you put them in your carry-on bag and then place them in a bin prior before sending them through the x-ray machines.

Those items can show up as dense blocks and “Packing these items in checked bags may cause alarms leading to bag searches that can cause a significant slowdown in the screening process leading to delays and bags possibly missing their flights,” says TSA.

Puppets at LAX; an outdoor park at Denver Airport

Don’t be shy.

If you’re at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday or Wednesday, July 10 and 11, make your way to Terminal 4 (post-security) to see a performance by the LA-based Bob Baker Marionette Theater.

The shows will be at 11 am and noon each day and if you’ve got a ticket to any terminal at LAX it should get you through the security line at Terminal 4 as well.


For the summer, Denver International Airport has turned its 82,000 square-foot open-air plaza between the Jeppesen Terminal and the Westin Denver hotel into a Pop-Up Park with native Colorado trees and plants and 9,000 square feet of turf.

Passengers and locals are invited to hang out in the park, which has lawn games, lunchtime fitness classes, lounge seating and a variety of scheduled music events and activities. More details here.


LAX pylons showing colors of the pride rainbow flag

Get ready for a rainbow.

In honor of LGBTQ Heritage Month, and in celebration of this weekend’s 2018 Los Angeles Pride Parade, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is setting the lights on the iconic entrance pylons at LAX to red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet – the colors of the pride rainbow flag.

They’ve also updated the icons on the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Van Nuys Airport (VNY) social media accounts to reflect support for Pride Month.

“At Los Angeles World Airports we are proud to join with Mayor Garcetti and the city family to celebrate LA Pride and promote the message that everyone is welcome in Los Angeles and to our airports,” said Trevor Daley, Deputy Executive Director for External Affairs, LAWA. “On behalf of the entire LAX family, we stand strong with the LGBTQ community locally and throughout the world.”

Very nice!



In June: Fly there, do that

I’ve brought my monthly “Cheap, free or just plain cool” round-ups to Travel + Leisure but this month there just wasn’t enough room for all the fun stuff I found, so here’s a slightly expanded list of cool and offbeat events to head to June. 

Get the Blues – for free

Chicago hosts dozens of free music festivals year-round, but the Chicago Blues Festival, June 8-10, is the Windy City’s largest music festival and largest free blues festival in the world. The party takes place in Millennium Park with four stages celebrating the Chicago-born music tradition and Chicago blues legends.

Magic and more 

The Jewish Museum of Maryland opens Inescapable: The Life and Legacy of Harry Houdini on June 24 and on opening day professional escape artist Dai Andrews who will recreate Houdini’s 1916 Baltimore stunt in which he escapes from a strait jacket while suspended upside down from a 50-foot crane.

Not free – but avocado-themed.

The Cado – billed as “an immersive, pop-up experience devoted to California avocados” – opens in San Diego sometime this month (the website isn’t clear…) for a three month stint. Tickets are not cheap: $27. But hey, avocados.

Live it up in LA

LA Live is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with all sorts of free and low-cost events starting on June 8.

Farm machinery mania

2018 marks the 100th year John Deere has been in the tractor business and a big celebration is planned for June 15 and 16 in Waterloo, Iowa. In addition to live music and an exhibition showcasing 100 years of tractors and tractor innovations at the Waterloo Convention Center, there will be a tractor pull and other activities at the John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum in town. (Admission: free).

Can’t make it to Iowa? The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History features rare and classic John Deere tractors in two temporary exhibits put together for the “Year of the Tractor.” (Admission: free).

If this museum could talk, it would slur its words


It’s appropriate that the grand re-opening of the newly renovated Oscar Getz Whiskey Museum in Bardstown, Kentucky takes place June 14, which is National Bourbon Day. The museum is home to more than 5000 whiskey-related artifacts, including real moonshine stills, a 600-piece decanter and bottle collection and a mean-looking mannequin portraying temperance advocate Carrie Nation swinging her hatchet. (Admission: free).

 Grab a drum, a spoon, or a washboard and make some music

 Logan, Ohio, home of the Columbus Washboard Company, hosts the free Washboard Music Festival on Father’s Day weekend, June 14-16. Events include a parade, live bluegrass, folk and washboard-rich music, kids activities and free tours of the last remaining full-time washboard factory in the United States. Keep an eye out for the world’s largest washboard.

Want more music? June 21 (the summer solstice) is Make Music Day around the world, with more than 4,500 free outdoor concerts, music lessons, jam sessions and other music-making events scheduled in more than 70 U.S. cities. Bonus: Come evening, many any iconic buildings and landmarks around the country will be lit orange to mark Make Music Day.

San Antonio’s Tricentennial Celebration Continues

 On June 22, the San Antonio Museum of Art opens “Spain: 500 Years of Spanish Paintings from the Museums of Madrid,” an exhibition featuring more than forty masterpieces by the likes of El Greco, Goya and Picasso. Regular adult admission, with exhibit entry, is $20, but you can see the exhibit for just $5 during hours when general admission is waived: Tuesdays 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m. to noon.

Renew your vows; break a world record

Considering renewing your wedding vows?

Niagara Falls USA, Niagara Falls New York

Renew your vows with 1,201 other couples on Goat Island, overlooking Niagara Falls (the Honeymoon Capital of the World) on June 23 and you’ll help break the Guinness World Record for the largest vow renewal ceremony. Registration is free, but all couples must bring photo IDs and their marriage certificates to the event. Participants will get a commemorative t-shirt, a Certificate of Participation and a free buffet at a local casino.  Cheers!