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Sweden’s ICEHOTEL Will Now Be Open Year-Round Thanks to Solar Panels

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Every year since the winter of 1989-1990, sculptors have erected a seasonal hotel made entirely of ice from the Torne River in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. And each year, when spring came, the ice installation would melt. This year, however, brings a new era for the famous hotel, as contemporist reports. In addition to the seasonal hotel, there will be year-round lodgings made of ice.

During warmer weather, the ICEHOTEL 365 will be cooled using solar panel technology. The 22,600-square-foot hotel—with each room sculpted by a different international artist—will be kept at around 23°F year-round. Since the city is so far north, about 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the summer brings near-constant daylight. According to the hotel, by the end of the summer, the solar panels will harvest the equivalent of 100 consecutive days of sunshine.

The hotel will have concrete outer walls, but the inner walls will all be made of ice. The power created by all the approximately 6500 square feet of solar panels will be able to power restaurants, offices, and the warm rooms that allow guests to defrost from the icy rooms, in addition to keeping the structure from melting. The hotel notes that as climate change makes winters shorter, this system will keep the ICEHOTEL from being forced to close earlier and earlier.

And now if you can’t get a reservation in the winter, you can schedule a visit for any other time of the year.

[h/t contemporist]

All images courtesy ICEHOTEL

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Planning a Trip? These Are the Best Times to Beat the Crowds in Every Country
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If you’re in the midst of mapping out your next big vacation, you may want to consider more than just which cities have the best weather during the summer. Thrillist found this map made by LastMinute.com that details the high, low, and in-between seasons in countries throughout the world, showing when you’ll be elbowing a million other tourists to get to hotspots and when you’ll be the only visitors in town.

The GIF is color-coded to show when the high (red), low (green), and in-between (yellow) seasons fall for travel in each country throughout the world. The timing varies for every region, with some European countries seeing high levels of tourists for more than half the year and in-between levels most of the rest of the year, while other countries (particularly cold ones like Canada) have relatively long low-tourist seasons.

Don’t immediately book a flight for December in Moscow though—there’s often a very good reason why people stay away from particular destinations during certain months (like average temperatures that are below freezing). Indonesia doesn’t see many tourists between October and May because much of that time period constitutes monsoon season. Plenty of countries don’t get tourists in the dead of winter. But if you are willing to tough out or risk bad weather, you’ll be rewarded by fewer crowds and likely better deals.

[h/t Thrillist]

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National Geographic Ranks The 25 Happiest Cities in the Country
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Feeling unhappy? Maybe it's time to move. National Geographic recently released rankings of the 25 happiest cities in the U.S. The results: Eight of the 25 locations are in the Golden State, but the honor of No. 1 happiest city goes to Boulder, Colorado.

The rankings are based on 250,000 interviews conducted in 190 metropolitan areas between 2014 and 2015. The survey—developed by Dan Buettner, author of the new book The Blue Zones of Happiness, and Dan Witters, a senior scientist at Gallup—looked for data points that are correlated with life satisfaction and happiness, like whether or not you exercise, if you feel safe in your community, whether you feel like you live within your means, and whether you feel like you are reaching your goals.

A map of the U.S. showing which cities made the top 25 happiest cities index.
Courtesy National Geographic

Of course, all that isn’t necessarily the result of your geographical location. But you don’t see cities like Los Angeles or New York—where wealth is also clustered—on the list, so presumably San Franciscans are doing something a little differently.

Take a look for yourself. Here are the 25 happiest places in the U.S., according to the results.

1. Boulder, Colorado
2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
3. Charlottesville, Virginia
4. Fort Collins, Colorado
5. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California
6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
7. Provo-Orem, Utah
8. Bridgeport-Stamford, Connecticut
9. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
10. Anchorage, Alaska
11. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida
12. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California
13. Salinas, California
14. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
15. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii
16. Ann Arbor, Michigan
17. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
18. Colorado Springs, Colorado
19. Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire
20. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California
21. Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Virginia/Maryland/West Virginia
22. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota/Wisconsin
23. San Diego-Carlsbad, California
24. Portland-South Portland, Maine
25. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

You can grab a copy of November’s National Geographic to read more about the world’s happiest places.

The cover of Dan Buettner’s The Blue Zones of Happiness and the cover of November 2017’s National Geographic.
National Geographic

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