World Snow Festival

Grindelwald, Switzerland Jan. 18-23

The town square of this glacier village serves every year as an outdoor studio for international sculptors, who carve blocks of snow into monumental masterpieces. Best bets are the toboggan rides, a traditional fondue evening and the authentic Swiss closing ceremonies. 

Dakar Rally

Argentina and Chile Jan. 1-17

More than 500 racing teams go off the beaten track in South America to mark the 32nd Dakar Rally. Motorcycles, quads, cars and trucks will make the 9,000-km roundtrip from Buenos Aires in a hurry, hot-rodding across the plains of Patagonia, the dunes of the Atacama Desert and the slopes of the Andes Mountains. Best pit stop for spectators is in Antofagasta on Chile's Pacific coast, where the official rest day comes on Jan. 9.

Reel Music

Portland, Ore. Jan. 6-31

Film and music merge in this annual cutting-edge screening at the Northwest Film Center located in Portland's artsy Park Blocks. Documentaries, videos and animated films focus on sounds in cinema, from opera to jazz. 

Festival Au Desert

Essakane, Mali Jan. 7-9

If you make it to Timbuktu, you're just two hours away from this three-day jam. As performers from Africa, Europe and America explore local blues and Western African roots music, you can ride camels, attend traditional nomadic games and cap the day with a spirited round of night dancing in the desert. 

Elvis Presley Birthday Celebration

Memphis, Tenn. Jan. 7-10

This year the King turns 75. On Friday, partygoers can enjoy a slice of ceremonial cake and dance to Elvis records until midnight. Saturday night the Memphis Symphony Orchestra chimes in with an Elvis Birthday Pops program, and the Beale Street clubs put on their own rocking tributes. Sunday morning Elvis' Imperials finish up with a Southern Gospel Celebration at Graceland.

Sydney Festival

Sydney, Australia Jan. 9-30

Three weeks of Down Under drama, dance, arts and music kick off with Festival First Night, when Sydney's parks and streets come alive with free entertainment. Top single treat this year is the appearance of A. R. Rahman, a superstar of contemporary Indian music best known for his Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, at a free concert in Parramatta Park Jan. 16. 

Temple Bar Tradfest

Dublin, Ireland Jan. 27-31

The south bank of the River Liffey is home to the avant-garde, but for these five days it reverts to the traditional as toe-tapping jigs and reels rule the day, workshops concentrate on the Celtic language and sean-nós (old-style) singing and dancing prevail. Keep an ear tipped for full pipe bands on the streets of Temple Bar and then join the locals as they sing and dance their way into the night from pub to pub along the Tradfest Pub Trail. 

Winter City Festival

Toronto, Ontario Jan. 29-Feb. 11

Thaw out with three entertaining events. First bundle up at Nathan Phillips Square for Wild on Winter, which features outdoor activities from ice skating to fireworks. Then enjoy Warm Up, a program of indoor performances and discounted admissions at attractions all over town. Lastly, toast your taste buds with Winterlicious, a cavalcade of culinary events and fixed-price restaurant promotions. 

Dates may change; always check in advance to confirm.