Unique Events in January: South Africa events and vacation rentals

The excitement and constant activity of the holidays is past, but there are still plenty of things to look forward to in the first month of the year.

Some of the world's most famous entertainment-related events take place in January, and music and street festivals are also on the agenda.

Of course, January is a prime time for winter sports, with the world's best athletes taking to the ice and snow for championship-caliber events.

Finally, auto fans can get a taste of futuristic designs at one of the world's original and most famous auto shows.

Here are the Best Events taking place during the month of January...

Sundance Film Festival

Best Events in January: Sundance Film Festival Rocky Mountain Estates

image via chris runoff

The Sundance Film Festival is one of the most notable independent film festivals in the world.

Drawing the best up-and-coming film makers, as well as screening independently financed projects made by established directors, Sundance is one of the main events on the festival calendar for true film buffs.

Held in Park City, Utah, it is possible to combine a trip to some Sundance screenings with a ski vacation.

In fact, the festival was moved to the wintertime early in its existence so that attendees could ski during the event.

US Figure Skating Championships

Top Events in January: US Figure Skating Championships January Event

image via Queen Yuna

The US Figure-Skating Championships are being held in the later part of January.

The best skaters in the country will take to the ice during this week-long competition in an effort to position themselves for the upcoming World Championships and Olympic Games.

The championships will feature both men's and women's individual competitions and pairs competition.

The 2013 event will be held in Omaha Nebraska.

Everyone will be watching closely as next year's championships will double as the US Olympic trials.

New York City Restaurant Week

Event Ideas in January: New York City event estates and events

image via stevendepolo

New York City is one of the best places in the world to eat out.

Some of the world's best chefs come here to open restaurants.

Of course, the city is not a cheap place to eat out, but during the Winter Restaurant Week, guests can score a fixed menu at some of the city's hottest restaurants for $35 ($24.07 for lunch).

It can be hard to make reservations, as this is a great value that draws lots of hungry foodies, but there are hundreds of participating restaurants and you can make reservations online in advance of your visit.

Kaapse Klopse

Unique Events in January: South Africa events and vacation rentals

image via FGZ!

This unique minstrel festival takes place in Cape Town, South Africa each January.

Musicians, many dressed in colorful costumes and with painted faces, take to the streets during parades and other carnival-like events.

There are also costume competitions and plenty of audience participation, with some parades resembling giant street parties.

North American International Auto Show

Fun Events in January: Midwest vacations and events

image via Michelin Media

This large auto show is held in Detroit, Michigan.

It lasts for about two weeks in the second half of January.

Attendees can see some of the most buzzed-about vehicles in the world.

Both production cars and concept cars are on display, and awards are handed out for car and truck of the year, as well as in other categories.

Despite its name, the show is not limited to American-made cars, so European and Asian cars are also seen on the show-floors, making this a truly international festival.

Harbin International Snow and Ice Festival

Where to go in January: Harbin China Asia January vacation estates and events

image via Rincewind42

This festival in the Northern Chinese city of Harbin, is one of the largest winter-themed events in the world.

It features huge ice carvings and even an ice castle.

Held in January, but lasting throughout the winter (until the sculptures melt away or become unsafe).

The ice and snow statues and structures are impressive, even though the temperatures are quite figid in this part of the world (just south of Siberia).

What events are you looking forward to this January?

Let us know your favorite events in the comments section...