William Shakespeare entered stage right in this charming medieval town 450 years ago and everywhere you look, Stratford celebrates him still. Get thee to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s newly renovated theater for a performance of the Bard’s work, performed by some of the world’s best actors. The retro yet ultramodern Royal Shakespeare Theatre on the River Avon hosts five Shakespeare plays a year, among its various productions. When not at the playhouse, Shakespeare’s birthplace is nearby, as is the Holy Trinity Church where he’s buried. If you’re going to stay overnight, the Arden Hotel is across the street from the theater, featuring modern amenities and rooms that offer views of the river. The theater season runs from April to November, but best to book in advance. Tickets for shows can be as little as $5 and up to $50. Rooms at the Arden Hotel begin at $200 per night. Admission for Shakespeare’s birthplace is $14 for adults, $9 for kids.
Snow lines the streets of this Utah ski town in January, but still, the country’s best young filmmakers show up in droves; hipsters line up outside the tiny local theaters waiting to get in; and studio impresarios roam, looking to sign new talent. Hot coffee and cool cocktails flow in the restaurants and bars. Some of the best little films of the last 20 years have come out of the Sundance Film Festival, including Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Blair Witch Project and 2012’s Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild. But being one of those cozy and comfortable with a room and a ticket to the screenings requires planning ahead for next year’s 10-day fest. Buying a festival pass allows you the most freedom to choose the films you want, but individual tickets can be available up to the day of the screening, with high risk. The Waldorf Astoria in Park City is the official hotel of the festival and is close to some of the theaters, with top-notch amenities available for individuals and groups staying for a weekend or for the duration. And of course, the slopes are nearby, too. Individual tickets for screenings are $15. Festival passes range between $300 and $3,000. Rooms at the Waldorf Astoria start at $650 per night.
The intriguing future is traded for the glorious past at Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival April 25-28. This year’s fest includes screenings of The Birds, On the Waterfront, The Great Escape, The Seventh Seal, and South Pacific. Screenings often include conversations with surviving directors, screenwriters, members of the cast, or film historians. As part of the classic movie experience, screenings are held in some of L.A.’s great surviving movie palaces, like the Chinese Theater, the Cinerama Dome or the El Capitan. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel remains the festival’s headquarters, but high-end stays at the nearby Loews Hollywood Hotel, The W or The Redbury are all available as well if you book by January. Individual tickets are $20 with festival passes beginning at $250. A night at the Roosevelt starts at $344.