Sat., Dec. 2
NCAA FOOTBALL: ARMY VS. NAVY
LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD,
This is the 107th game between the two military academies. The greatest of all college rivalries couldn't be more even. Navy has won 50 times, Army 49, and there have been seven ties. At stake is the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, awarded to the academy (including Air Force) with the best record in head-to-head competition. The Midshipmen, 8-3 this season and on a three-game win streak, have already beaten Air Force and seem a lock to prevail. But that won't keep Army (3-8, five straight losses) from trying to kick Navy butt. The action takes place at Lincoln Financial Field (1 Lincoln Financial Field Way).
Web site: http://www.phillylovesarmynavy.com/
Tickets: Sold out. Call a ticket broker.
Do: In the heart of downtown Philadelphia is Independence National Historic Park, Web site the soul of our national heritage. Independence Hall (Chestnut St., between 5th and 6th Sts., Web site), constructed between 1732 and 1756, was home to the Second Continental Congress (except during the winter of 1777-78, when the city was occupied by the British). Within is the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed, the design of the American flag was agreed upon, and where George Washington was commissioned as commander of the Continental Army. The building has been restored, as much as possible, to its Revolutionary War-era appearance. The Liberty Bell, several blocks away (Market St., between 5th and 6th Sts., Web site) was first rung July 8, 1776, to announce the public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
Stay: There's a price for freedom. Stay in downtown Philadelphia at the 3-star Sheraton Society Hill Hotel (1 Dock St.), where rooms start at $254, or the 3-star Comfort Inn Downtown/Historic Area (100 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd.), with rooms from $258.
Eat: Chow down at Barclay Prime (237 S. 18th St., in the Barclay Hotel), the city's most elegant steakhouse. Web site Ask for 21-day, dry-aged 16-ounce New York strip steak or the Kobe cheese steak.
Sat., Dec. 2
NCAA FOOTBALL: SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME,
GEORGIA DOME, Atlanta
Talk about a tough conference-five of the SEC's 12 teams are ranked in the top 25. This game, which could go a long way toward determining the national championship, pits No. 4 Florida, led by Coach Urban Meyer and star QB Chris Leak against No. 5 Arkansas, with Coach Houston Nutt and sensational sophomore TB Darren McFadden, at Atlanta's Georgia Dome (1 Georgia Dome Dr. NW).
Web site: http://www.secsports.com/
Tickets: Sold out. Head to your friendly ticket broker.
Do: Head to Vaknin (905 Juniper St.), one of Atlanta's premier art galleries, to see All Eyez on Me, the largest and most important collection of hip-hop photography ever assembled. You'll see a panorama of photos, from rare street shots of Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg to iconic performance images of Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Wu-Tang Clan and Notorious B.I.G., among dozens of others. They are the work of 23 photographers, including George Dubose and Annie Leibovitz. Web site
Stay: Stay in downtown at the 3-star Holiday Inn Select Atlanta Capitol Conference Center (450 Capitol Ave.), where rooms start at $116, or at the 3-star Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center (800 Spring St. NW), with rooms from $119.
Eat: Reserve a table at Bone's (3130 Piedmont Rd. NE) for finest steaks and chops in the Southeast. Web site Order the 14-ounce filet mignon or the 20-ounce porterhouse.
Sat., Dec. 2
NBA: LOS ANGELES LAKERS AT LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS,
STAPLES CENTER, Los Angeles
The battle of Los Angeles, Chapter One. Is this the year the long-suffering Clips, led by coach Mike Dunleavy and the sparkling F Elton Brand and G Sam Cassell, become the darlings of L.A., toppling Phil, Kobe and the Lakers? If they do, it will be like the Angels acing the Dodgers, the Mets dunking the Yankees. Will Jack Nicholson dare show his face at the Staples Center (1111 S. Figueroa St.)?
Web site: http://www.orleansarena.com/
Do: Where is the season's first auto show? Fittingly, in Los Angeles, where the car is king. Head to the Los Angeles Convention Center (1201 S. Figueroa St.) to see the debut of more than two dozen new cars, trucks and SUVs, including the Ferrari F430, the Pontiac Solstice GXP roadster, the Mazda CX-7 SUV and the Saab 310-horsepower 9-5 Aero BioPower, which runs on bio-ethanol. More than 1,000 vehicles will be on display at the 100th anniversary of this annual event. Tickets
Stay: Stay downtown for surprisingly little. Book a room at the 4-star Wilshire Grand Hotel (930 Wilshire Blvd.), where rooms start at $128. Or try the 4-star Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel (711 S. Hope St.), with rooms from $129.
Eat: Enjoy a superior slice of beef on the patio of Nick & Stef's Steakhouse, arguably the city's finest. Web site Order the 20-ounce bone-in rib eye or the 12-ounce New York cut.
Fri, Dec. 1; Sun., Dec. 3
NCAA SOCCER: MEN'S COLLEGE CUP,
ROBERT R. HERMANN STADIUM, St. Louis
With defending champion Maryland eliminated, and Indiana-which won the title the two previous years and four times in the last eight-knocked out, too, the national title is up for grabs. Will the new champ be Virginia, which won four straight times, from 1991-94, and tied for a fifth in 1989? Longtime soccer powers UCLA or Santa Clara? Or a long shot like Northwestern? The final four teams will head to Robert R. Hermann Stadium (Laclede Ave., on the Saint Louis University campus) Fri. Dec. 1, for the semifinals, culminating Sun., Dec. 3, with the championship match.
Web site: http://www.stlouissports.org/soccer/
Do: Playing-or even watching-sports can make you thirsty. Very thirsty. We can help: Between matches, head to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery (12th and Lynch Sts.) for a tour and a tasting session. The tour begins with a visit to the stable where the famous Budweiser Clydesdales reside. It proceeds through the 100-acre brewery, where you'll observe the brewing process. Then comes the good part-the hospitality room, where you can sample your favorite Anheuser-Busch products. Web site
Stay: Stay downtown at the 4-star Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark (1 S. Broadway), where rooms start at $99, or the 4-star WS Hotel & Spa (400 Washington Ave.), with rooms from $108.
Eat: Reserve a table at Al's Restaurrant (1200 N. 1st St.), the city's best steakhouse. Web site Order the 14-ounce prime New York strip steak or the steak Siciliano.
Various airlines are offering flight deals to Jacksonville. Tickets are limited, so hurry: http://www.orbitz.com/
If the BCS is the grand opera of college football, then the conference championships are the overture. Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium (1 Alltel Stadium Pl.) hosts the 2006 Dr Pepper ACC Championship between No. 16 Georgia Tech, led by double-threat QB Reggie Ball and either No.18 Boston College, No. 20 Wake Forest or Maryland, Sat., Dec. 2. Tickets After the game, drive 41 miles southeast to St. Augustine, Fla., the nation's oldest and perhaps most charming city. Visit Castillo de San Marcos (where construction began in 1672) Web site and Fort Matanzas (completed in 1742) Web site-testaments to the might of the Spanish empire in the Americas. Web site
Various airlines are also offering flight deals to Kansas City. Tickets are limited, so hurry: http://www.orbitz.com/
Prefer the Big 12 to the ACC? Then head to Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium (1 Arrowhead Dr.) for the 2006 Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship between No. 23 Nebraska, led by QB Zac Taylor and WR Maurice Purify and either No. 11 Texas or No. 13 Oklahoma, Sat., Dec. 2. Tickets Before the game head to the American Jazz Museum (1616 E. 18th St.), in the heart of the city's historic jazz district where luminaries such as Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald made their reputations. Web site
Sun., Dec. 3
It's a big NFL Sunday. A perfect excuse for a road trip. Visit Denver's Invesco Field (1701 Bryant St.) to see the AFC West-leading Broncos host NFC West-leading Seattle, a strong team grown stronger since the return of RB Shaun Alexander and QB Matt Hasselbeck. Tickets (Click on: Tickets) Or travel to East Rutherford, N.J.'s Giants Stadium (50 State Hwy. 120) to see the NFC East-leading Giants face the rival Cowboys and former Giants coach Bill Parcells. Tickets: Sold out. Seek out a ticket broker. Or trek to Nashville's LP Field (1 Titans Way) to see Tennessee take on Peyton Manning and undefeated Indianapolis. Tickets: Sold out. Find a ticket broker.
Thu.-Sun, Nov. 30-Dec. 3
HOLIDAY ALE FESTIVAL,
PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE, Portland, Ore.
Think of this as a giant tailgate party without the football game. Each year Portlanders gather at night in downtown Pioneer Courthouse Square (701 SW 6th Ave.) to sample a variety of hearty winter ales and celebrate the holiday season. They're protected from the elements by a clear-walled tent, the better to view the city's holiday lights. Gas heaters keep everyone toasty. This year's fest features 30 brews, including Belgian beers, Scotch stouts, barley wines and local microbrews. Some are spiced with honey, others with cranberry, ginseng or espresso beans. There are also food vendors and crafts stands, and a root beer garden for minors. Web site Between tastings, head to the Rose Quarter (1 Center Court) to see the F Zach Randolph and the Trail Blazers host Orlando, led by Grant Hill and Dwight Howard, Fri., Dec. 1 Web site and Atlanta, with G/F Joe Johnson, Sun., Dec. 3 Web site
Fri.-Sun., Dec. 1-3
TENNIS: DAVIS CUP FINALS,
OLYMPIC STADIUM, Moscow
Back in September, Russia beat the U.S. 3-2 behind Marat Safin (who toppled Andy Roddick in straight sets) and Mikhail Youzhny (who defeated James Blake in four sets) to advance to the Davis Cup Final against Argentina at Moscow's Olympic Stadium (). Argentina, led by David Nalbandian and Jose Acasuso, eliminated Australia 5-0 to reach the final. Does Argentina stand a chance on Russia's home court? Tickets Between matches, tour Red Square, the iconic public square we remember from the Soviet era as the site of saber-rattling military parades, where Lenin's mausoleum is located. Web site Then visit the 130-acre Kremlin, a walled fortress of palaces, armories and churches, and for centuries the center of Russian government. Web site
(16, Olympiyskiy Prospect, Moscow)