Culture Calendar: 5 Events Worth Traveling for in February

Feb 3, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Ever noticed how travel can make you enthusiastic about activities you’d be unwilling do at home? Like standing in line for a museum or joining a noisy crowd at a festival? Maybe it’s because diving into the culture of a place is one of the best ways to discover it — and for creating memories that will linger long after the jetlag fades.
To help you seek out those unforgettable experiences, each month we’re rounding up the best festivals, exhibits and cultural events taking place around the world. Get your calendars out and start planning your next trip — these are the best reasons to travel this month.

Sapporo Snow Festival (February 1 – 12)

In 1950, a group of Japanese high school students built six snow sculptures during the winter in a local park. Since then the annual Sapporo Snow Festival has grown into one of the country’s biggest winter events, featuring more than 200 ice and snow sculptures spread over three sites (including the original park). Around 2 million people come to view the impressive constructions, which can reach the size of small buildings; some of the larger ones this year include a half-scale replica of Sweden’s Stockholm Cathedral and a 135-foot wide, 55-foot tall reproduction of Japan’s Yakushi-ji Temple. Other attractions include skating rinks, snow tubing, a mini-golf course made of snow and an ice bar. 

Children look at the 15-metre-tall snow statue of "Attack on Titan" during the first day of the 67th Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo, Hokkaido. (Photo credit should readbyESS/AFP/Getty Images)
Children look at the 15-metre tall snow statue of “Attack on Titan” during the first day of the 67th Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo, Hokkaido. (Photo credit should readbyESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Henri Michaux: The Other Side (February 2 – May 13)

Artist and poet Henri Michaux is best known for the strange and sometimes frightening work he produced under the influence of psychedelic drugs. Yet he experimented with hallucinogens for just ten years, a relatively minor portion of his prolific six-decade career that drew admiration from the likes of Francis Bacon and Allen Ginsberg. For “Henri Michaux: The Other Side,” Spain’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has gathered more than 200 career-spanning artworks — many of which have never been shown before. Some are influenced by his travels to distant destinations like Japan and Ecuador, others reflect another kind of trip altogether. 

Rio Carnival (February 9 – 17)

Carnival — a period of revelry in the final days before Lent — is celebrated in Catholic countries around the world. But none can compare in size and spectacle to Brazil’s Rio Carnival, which draws more than a million visitors to the city. When people aren’t partying at one of the many costume balls or street parties, they’re focused on the central event of carnival: the parades at the Sambadrome stadium. For several days, samba schools representing various neighborhoods and favelas compete to put on the most eye-popping, over-the-top pageants. Tourists can even take part, although wallflowers need not apply — the performers’ outfits are often as revealing as they are spectacular. 

Mardi Gras (February 13)

Louisiana was purchased by the United States in 1803, but citizens of the former French colony retained the tradition of carnival and gave it their own spin. In New Orleans, the masked balls and parades begin in early January, build up to a fever pitch and culminate during Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday. In the week leading up to the holiday there are daily parades featuring marching bands, elaborate costumes and even Hollywood celebrities; people line the streets to drink, dance and catch beads and trinkets thrown from the floats. Don’t plan to get much sleep: it’s the biggest celebration of the year in a city famous for its love of a good time.

Zulu Tramps march in the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club's 2017 Zulu Parade on February 28, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
Zulu Tramps march in the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club’s 2017 Zulu Parade on February 28, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

Chinese New Year (February 16 – March 2)

Pretty much all of China goes on vacation during the two-week Spring Festival that begins with Chinese New Year. It’s a time when extended families reunite to eat (and eat and eat) and exchange red envelopes stuffed with cash, collectively creating the world’s largest annual movement of people. If you’re willing to brave the peak travel season, you’ll be rewarded with a smorgasbord of cultural festivities around the country. Some of the most popular events include the Ditan Temple Fair in Beijing, Hong Kong’s fireworks display over Victoria Harbor, and Nuanquan Town’s unusual tradition of throwing molten metal against a wall to create a dazzling shower of sparks. 

Featured image of fireworks over Victoria Harbor during Lunar New Year celebrations in Hong Kong. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY/AFP/Getty Images)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.