Top us destinations 2016

Top us destinations 2016 DEFAULT

1Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The historic City of Brotherly Love is making plenty of new headlines — it recently hosted the Pope, welcomes the Democratic National Convention in July, and became the country's first and only World Heritage City.

2Natchez, Mississippi

Older than New Orleans, Natchez is celebrating its tricentennial this year with over 300 events. Where else can you can take in Native American culture, antebellum architecture, and the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race all at the same time?

3Yellowstone National Park

Now that the National Park Service is a century old, a visit to its crown jewel is long overdue. Take in the geysers, waterfalls, and wildlife. And for those reluctant to strap on hiking boots, take a Wild West tour by horseback or stagecoach.

4Birmingham, Alabama

History buffs will love the Civil Rights District, foodies can explore the exploding brewery and restaurant scene, and music lovers will tap their toes at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.


President Obama became the first sitting president to visit Alaska last year, but the average Joe can get just as much enjoyment out of its epic scenery. America's tallest peak also just received a new name — the old "Mount McKinley" is now officially dubbed "Denali," the original Native American designation.

7Northwest Arkansas

The University of Arkansas has created quite the art scene in Fayetteville, while the outdoorsy type should venture over to Eureka Springs before tackling a hike in the breathtaking Ozarks.

8San Antonio, Texas

Of course we "remember the Alamo," but the historic city has plenty of other budding attractions, like the romantic River Walk and the artsy Pearl Brewery District.

9Southern New Mexico

While urbanites will enjoy the rugged city of Santa Fe, for truly ethereal sites venture to the White Sands National Monument (pictured) and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, which features sky-high granite pillars.

10Milwaukee, Wisconsin

"Brew City" obviously contains both micro -and macro-breweries and plenty of artisan cheeses (it is Wisconsin, after all.) But for those who don't enjoy beer flights, take in the high-design Milwaukee Art Museum hovering over Lake Michigan.

Caroline PicardHealth EditorCaroline is the Health Editor at covering nutrition, fitness, wellness, and other lifestyle news.

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16 great places to go in the United States in 2016

(CNN) — From new attractions and massive additions to quirky flavors, big birthdays and booze, 2016 promises to be a good year for the curious traveler who wants to see more of America.

Here are 16 spots and events across the United States worth checking out:

1. Boeing at 100, Seattle

It's Boeing's 100th birthday, and the independent Museum of Flight in Seattle (where the aerospace manufacturer was founded) has centennial plans spanning the whole year.

In late June, the museum is set to unveil a huge Aviation Pavilion, where a number of significant Boeing aircraft will be on display.

The 3-acre, $23 million space will house the first all-metal airliner, Boeing Model 247 from 1933, and the first all-composite airliner, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Also on view will be prototypes of the Boeing 727, 737 and 747 and the World War II-era B-17 and B-29.

The Museum of Flight's new Aviation Pavilion is expected to open in late June.

The Museum of Flight's new Aviation Pavilion is expected to open in late June.

PJ Muller

2. Light City Baltimore

When the inaugural Light City Baltimore goes live, 28 light art installations will illuminate a 1.5-mile path along the city's Inner Harbor, with pop-up performances and musical acts adding to the festivities.

Organizers of the weeklong event, which runs March 28 through April 3, also hope to shine a light on their beloved city's creative and innovative communities.

Most of the artists picked in a juried competition are locals, says Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts Executive Director Bill Gilmore, and much of their art reflects the social justice concerns of city residents.

The daytime Light City U will feature sessions focusing on sustainability, health care, education and the city's creative industries.

3. Alaska's national parks

If you're seeking a spot where few have ever set foot, one of Alaska's 23 national parks may be a perfect fit.

And 2016 is the right time to celebrate some of America's most pristine landscapes as the National Park Service marks its centennial in every state.

Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve, 450 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula, can't be reached by car, only by air or sea.

Home to a 6-mile-wide, 2,500-foot-deep caldera, the site offers truly primitive camping, with no public park facilities available. Only 134 people visited in all of 2014.

Opportunities for solitude are also excellent at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest national park at more than 13 million acres.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska is the nation's largest national park.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska is the nation's largest national park.

Visions of America/UIG/Getty Images

4. At home with Van Gogh, Chicago

More in the mood for intimacy than expansiveness? Vincent Van Gogh delivers.

Perhaps the most famous bedroom in history, Van Gogh's room in Arles, France, is the subject of "Van Gogh's Bedrooms," on view at the Art Institute of Chicago from February 14 through May 10.

The in-depth study of the artist's three paintings of the room, created between 1888 and 1889 and shown together for the first time in North America, is the first dedicated to this small corner of his life.

The exhibit features more than 30 works by the artist, all illuminating his exploration of home.

5. Cleveland

There's a lot going on in Cleveland: new hotels and restaurants, rejuvenation along the Cuyahoga River with The Flats East Bank development, a $32 million Public Square redesign and the Republican National Convention in July.

But what's got us really intrigued is the marriage of two great nutritional groups: beer and doughnuts.

Brewnuts started as a beer-flavored doughnut venture and is about to become a flagship doughnut-themed bar where brews used in the baking will be available on draft. Of course, concoctions like maple bacon bourbon ale doughnuts will also be served fresh from the fryer.

Located in the Gordon Square Arts District of the trendy Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, the bar is expected to open in early spring.

6. National Blues Museum, St. Louis

When the National Blues Museum in St. Louis opens in April, you'll be able to follow the historical migration of the blues and compare music from different regions at every turn.

"From the Mississippi Delta to Canada, every place has its own unique style," said Dion Brown, the museum's founding executive director.

Visitors to the 23,000-square-foot museum can build their own blues riffs and learn how to play in a jug band. The museum's performance hall will host concerts, and artists will perform at the museum during the day.

The National Blues Museum is set to open in St. Louis in April.

The National Blues Museum is set to open in St. Louis in April.

V Three Studios/National Blues Museum

7. Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail, New Mexico

New Mexico's Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail -- with nearly 100 spots to sample -- is a tasty way to add a little spice to your life this year.

Though their exact origins are unknown, the distinctive burgers laden with cheese and green chiles have appeared on menus across the state since at least the 1950s.

At Sparky's in Hatch, a town defined by chiles, you can wash your burger down with a green chile shake.

At 5 Star Burgers -- a chain with locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos -- green chile mayo amps up the green chile cheeseburger experience.

8. Lexington, Kentucky

Though known as a hotbed for bourbon and horses, Kentucky's second-largest city has branched out into craft beer and contemporary art.

21c Museum Hotels is scheduled to open its fifth location in Lexington this spring, a sure sign that this city is putting a twist on tradition.

Housed in downtown Lexington's historic Fayette National Bank Building, 21c Lexington will be a contemporary art museum, restaurant and boutique hotel in one.

And visitors who vote beer over bourbon are in luck. The Brewgrass Trail traces the region's burgeoning craft beer movement with about a half-dozen stops in Lexington.

The 21c Museum Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky is scheduled to open this spring.

The 21c Museum Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky is scheduled to open this spring.

Courtesy 21c Museum Hotels

9. African American History and Culture, Washington

The African-American experience will finally have a home within the nation's most prestigious collection of museums.

After more than four years of construction, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is scheduled to open this fall on a 5-acre tract near the Washington Monument.

The final above-ground museum slated for the National Mall, the 400,000-square-foot building will house an array of exhibits aimed at transcending "the boundaries of race and culture that divide us."

Currently, the museum has a temporary gallery at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

10. Copa America Centenario, across the U.S.

Soccer fans are eagerly anticipating June's Copa America Centenario, the centennial edition of the South American tournament, which is being held in the United States for the first time.

From June 3 through June 26, 16 teams will play in 10 venues scattered across the U.S. from Boston to the Bay Area.

The U.S., Mexico, Brazil and Argentina will be the seeded teams. The final match is scheduled for June 26 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

11. Buffalo, New York

The renaissance of the upstate New York town of Buffalo is due, in part, to its celebration of its past as a transportation hub and site of great architecture.

The western terminus of the Erie Canal is what's now called Canalside, an all-season entertainment district where you can ride ice bikes and skate during winter.

Once a feature of one of the world's largest grain ports, the enormous grain elevators dotting the area are inspiration for the Silo City performance art space and a nightly Canalside light show.

For architecture buffs, the $50 million restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin House Complex should be complete in the fall, and visitors can see more Wright work on upcoming "All Wright All Day" tours.

Also slated to open in 2016, the Hotel Henry will give the former Buffalo State Asylum new life as a boutique hotel.

Not sure what to do first? Stop by local cafe Sweetness 7 and chat with owner Prish Moran, known as "Buffamama" to the locals.

Canalside is an all-season entertainment district in Buffalo.

Canalside is an all-season entertainment district in Buffalo.

Joe Cascio

12. Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, Birmingham, Alabama

The world's largest motorcycle collection is getting a bigger home.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum -- home to more than 1,400 motorcycles -- is undergoing a $15 million expansion, adding 84,650 square feet to its existing 144,000-square-foot facility in Birmingham, Alabama.

The expansion will allow the museum to display up to 1,000 motorcycles at a time as well as an expanded display of Lotus race cars. The expansion is expected to open in October.

13. Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Los Angeles

This spring, the West Coast will welcome its own Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The wildly popular themed land, featuring the village of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is opening at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7.

On its marquee ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, guests will wear Quidditch-inspired goggles to take advantage of its hyper-realistic 3D-HD technology.

14. Pasaquan, Buena Vista, Georgia

He called himself St. EOM and worked for three decades on a colorful art environment in his native Georgia.

The 7-acre site called Pasaquan is visionary self-taught artist Eddie Owens Martin's most extensive project, consisting of six major structures, hundreds of feet of colorfully painted masonry fence, totems, sculptures and other artifacts.

Recently restored and turned over to Columbus State University, Pasaquan is set to open to visitors in 2016, with a soft-opening mid-year and a grand opening expected in October.

Admission will be $5 for adults.

Eddie Owens Martin's folk art environment Pasaquan was recently restored and is set to open this year.

Eddie Owens Martin's folk art environment Pasaquan was recently restored and is set to open this year.

Courtesy Michael McFalls

15. Tennessee Whiskey Trail

With more than 30 distilleries across Tennessee, this state's whiskey culture has grown far beyond Jack Daniels and George Dickel. Sevennewcomers opened last year, with five more distilleries planned for 2016.

The 4-year-old Tennessee Whiskey Trail helps visitors decide which spots to explore, including standouts such as Gatlinburg's Sugarlands Distilling Co. and Corsair Artisan Distillery in Nashville.

Taste dozens of whiskeys in one place at the third annual Tennessee Whiskey Festival in May.

The elder statesman Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg is marking its 150th anniversary this year. Take a sampling tour and look for echoes of Jack, who often ate lunch at the nearby Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House.

16. Pearl Harbor at 75, Oahu

December 7, 2016, marks 75 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II.

To mark the anniversary, the National WWII Museum has organized a seven-night educational tour from December 1 to December 8 in Hawaii.

The trip includes a four-part symposium on the events leading up to the attack and site visits led by historians.

Participants will also be guests at a ceremony at the USS Arizona commemorating the attacks. If booked by January 12, the trip is $8,750 for double occupancy ($8,995 after January 13).

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TripAdvisor's Top U.S. Destinations on the Rise in 2016

The top travel destinations on the rise in the United States.


December 8, 2015, 10:02 PM

• 3 min read

— -- If you are planning to take a vacation in the new year, you may want to consider visiting these destinations, which have been growing in popularity over the years.

TripAdvisor released their findings the hottest destinations on the rise in the United States in 2016.

The top picks were calculated from an algorithm that measured the "year-over-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveler feedback and interest in accommodations, restaurants and attractions, across destinations worldwide," according to a press release issued on Tuesday.

“Our well-traveled community has helped us identify the destinations around the world that are gaining in interest and popularity,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “We hope these destinations inspire those planning their travel for 2016 to book trips to these locales that feature excellent hotels, restaurants and attractions, and also provide a great vacation value.”

According to TripAdvisor's data, the number one destination on the rise in the U.S. is Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where travelers have commended the city's beautiful scenery, the delicious food, and the year-round outdoor recreation options at the the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Other top picks range from the mountainous regions of Colorado to the sandy beaches of Hawaii.

Here are TripAdvisor's Top 10 "Travelers’ Choice™ Awards for Destinations on the Rise:"

1. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

2. Orange Beach, Alabama

3. Destin, Florida

4. South Lake Tahoe, California

5. Jackson, Wyoming

6. Estes Park, Colorado

7. Anchorage, Alaska

8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

9. Portland, Maine

10. Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

TripAdvisor also released their picks for the top destinations on the rise worldwide, where Tulum, Mexico took the number one spot.

ABC News

The Frommer's' Best Places to Go List for 2016

Frommer's' Best Places to Go in 2016
Mendocino County
Frommer's Editors

Every year when Frommer's decides which destinations to include on our eagerly awaited Best Places to Go list, we ask our global team of traveling experts to name their favorites. It's never an easy matter. How can you settle on just 16 places when the world is so full of wonders?

Yet we did. Some of the spots that received our award this year made the list because they are entering a golden age. Some are marking occasions that make 2016 the best time to go in many years. Some must be seen before they the spotlight falls upon them and they are changed forever. Others should be seen because they're at risk. And some are simply so cool we can't believe they aren't more popular. Whatever the reasons, these are the places that—in no particular order—are worthy of your visit now above other times. We hope your lives are changed for the better for visiting them.

This image: Albion, Mendocino County, California

A herd of kangaroos in New South Wales, Australia.
Glen Wright/Flickr

Suddenly, Australia got affordable. Just a year ago, a flat white (milky coffee) in Australia could cost the equivalent of 7 American dollars. But head Down Under in 2016 and you may now be able to pay half of what you're used to at home. Leading economists, looking at the decline of Australia's mining industry, among other factors, are predicting that the Aussie dollar will be trading at 50 cents to the American dollar by the end of 2016. So if you've ever wanted to experience this dazzling continent, in 2016, you may finally be able to fit it into your budget. Part of that new accessibilty is due to increased competition among air carrriers, which is leading to unprecedented price cuts in airfare to both Australia and nearby New Zealand, a cheap flight away from Sydney.

Mendocino County, California

If you were to design a place that has all the things you dream of finding in an ideal rustic coastal getaway, you'd come up with Mendocino County: undeveloped coastal drives, country bistros and eccentric roadhouses, sloping houses in cozy villages, redwoods you can drive through, and an ocean dashing itself madly against crags—President Obama recently added its Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands to the California Coastal National Monument. Add to that a cosmopolitan population of artists and entrepreneurs that places a pleasant emphasis on wineries (there are more than 90), handmade cheese, and boutique breweries, and you've got an antidote to the twee self-importance and overpriced bombast of Napa and Sonoma, just south. Mendocino is a throwback that still has an edge, possessing the saltiness of a seaward community and the sophistication of a modern-minded escape. It's a less frenetic Big Sur for people who'd rather relax. Get to it by flying to Santa Rosa, or better yet, fly into San Francisco and make the scenic 2 1/2-hour drive. With every mile, you may be plotting your own permanent escape to this patch—just close enough to the city to be lively, just far enough to be both wild and winsome.

Cape Floral Region, South Africa

There are some intense botanical explanations why the Cape Floral region, on the extreme southwestern tip of Africa, is so significant. But we can simplify its appeal: It's gorgeous. The region is home to more than 9,000 plant types, some 70% of which can only be found there. In this place, which is just 0.5% of Africa's area, 20% of the continent's plant life is represented; its diversity thrives on an ultra-rare mix of Mediterranean climate and fire-dependent regeneration. Cape Floral is also endangered, quickly losing its specificity thanks to habitat loss and invasive species as development grows around it. The only-found-here blooms and fynbos shrubs are why UNESCO World Heritage, which inscribed the area in 2004, just decided to roughly double the size of the protected region to 2.7 million acres spread around South Africa's Western Cape. Beyond the flora, the craggy views over the South Atlantic Ocean are mind-boggling. You reach this truly unique ecosystem by flying into Cape Town—which as any previous visitor will tell you, is its own bonus.

Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, South Island, New Zealand
Tourism New Zealand
Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, South Island, New Zealand

In just a few years of hard work, the South Island of New Zealand completed a major tourist initiative by cobbling together the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, a stunning and cheerfully hospitable new tourist track from old stock routes, miners' treks, and rail lines. You can start in Aoraki at Mt. Cook, which sets a perfect standard for "awesome." Then the ride wanders (over 4 to 5 days) past pristine lakeshores, great sweeps of tussock grasses and stands of mountain beech, weird rock formations, Lake Ohau (pictured), ancient caves, and country pubs. Your destination is a pretty seaside town and the surprising sight of Victorian-era streets and original buildings from the 1880s. Your local hosts along the trail are happy to greet you and warmly organize food and lodging—after all, they pitched in to create this route for tourists—so come meet them under wide landscapes and huge skies....before the hordes find their way here.

Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Take a quick ferry from the island of St. Vincent and you'll find Bequia ("BECK-way"), the Caribbean as it once was—and as you dreamed it could be. Beaches with no one but you. A weekly Thursday night barbecue with free steel pan music at the Frangipani Hotel. Perfectly clear water. Local "dollar van" shuttles still lazily crossing the island. Glasses of strong rum punch at open-air bars. It's such a throwback the locals, just 4,800 of them, still whale—it's the only place in the Americas where it's still permitted (although they are gradually trading whale hunting for whale watching), and when one is harpooned, it's a festival event that reminds a visitor of what life used to be like in the Caribbean. The major resorts and gold duty-free shops haven't gotten a foothold here yet—most people stay in boutique hotels or on yacht-sized boats—and although we knew that times always change, other than for the whales, we hope they won't catch up here. Yet this idyll sits on a precipice:the new Argyle International Airport, on the nearby island of St. Vincent, is poised to ratchet up visitors fourfold. See Bequia now before it's consumed by the homogeneity of mass tourism.

Charlottesville, Virginia
Leonard Phillips. Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Charlottesville, Virginia

The October 2015 discovery of the remains of a Jefferson-era chemisty lab in the walls of the University of Virginia's ancient Rotunda Building reminded us of Charlottesville in general: There's always something interesting to discover, if only more people would look. Sure, there's Thomas Jefferson's bespoke mansion Monticello (pictured), a bucket-list U.S. heritage site if ever there was one. But in these rolling green hills there's also a thriving student scene, a music scene that consistently surprises, and even a wine trail of some 30 wineries. There's the Kluge-Ruge, the only museum in America dedicated to the dense messaging of Aboriginal Australian Art. In 2016, UVA's Fralin Museum of Art mounts a retrospectives of both Navajo weaving and artist Jacob Lawrence. Even the sites in the area cover history from every angle: Patrick Henry's farm and grave, the farm where Booker T. Washington was a slave and formed into a great man, and Appomattox, the fateful surrender spot of the Civil War, are all within easy driving distance. Make a special detour for one of the city's most unusual attractions: a burgeoning subculture of gas stations that have been converted to truly recommendable eateries, from the fried chicken at the Exxon Mobil's The Chicken Coop on Route 29 in Lovington to the Preston Avenue Shell's stewed apples. It's by virtue of being immensely diverse, unexpectedly delicious, and a delight hidden in plain sight that we choose Charlottesville as a Best Place to Go for 2016.

The Liuli Museum in Shanghai, China
Bjarke Liboriussen/Flickr
Shanghai, China

To understand why the post-colonial mega-city of Shanghai is finally taking center stage as a destination for Americans in 2016, just learn the Mandarin word for mouse: lăoshŭ.  This year, mainland China gets the biggest lăoshŭ of all in the form of Shanghai Disneyland, the brand's sixth global theme park resort. Unlike modest Hong Kong Disneyland (2005), it's bigger and bolder than any Disney park ever built in America—there's a ride inside the castle! There's a Tron ride! So legions of non-Chinese Mouseheads are already making plans to cross the Pacific to try the park for themselves. And just to prove how mainstream Shanghai has gotten, one of Royal Caribbean's biggest new cruise ships, the 4,905-passenger Quantum of the Seas, is now sailing to Japan and Korea out of nearby Baoshan.

But it's not just pop culture that's taking the spotlight in Shanghai: the city has made a commitment to promoting high culture as well, and has gone on a museum-building binge only rivaled by Abu Dhabi. Among the new cultural monuments (many designed by the world's most sought-after architects) are contemporary world art museums—including the impressive Yuz Museum and the Power Station of Art, home to Shanghai's Bienniale—plus  institutions dedicated to Chinese art and natural history. Pictured is the Liuli Museum, which focusses on glass art. In 2017, Dreamworks is expected to open its $2.5 billion campus, the Shanghai DreamCenter, which will not only house the company's Asian offices, but also a huge entertainment complex with a Legoland, an Imax theater, other performance venues, shops, restaurants, clubs and bars.

Who would have predicted Shanghai's mainstream appeal just 15 years ago? The invasion of major U.S. travel brands, plus this intense focus on contemporary art, can only mean that masses of travelers will suddenly feel more at home if they go there—and that's a new chapter for China.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Visit Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

It used to be that Abu Dhabi was the UAE's also-ran town, the runner-up to the excesses of sister city Dubai, a two-hour drive north. But money solves everything, and cash is being poured into attractions that will put the coastal city on the map in other ways. For the first time, a museum branded to Paris's Louvre will open on the Saadiyat island district. Several French museums, the Louvre included, are shipping some of their cache of masterpieces to the delayed Louvre Abu Dhabi, opening in late 2016—among them Edouard Manet's The Gypsy and a storehouse of decorative treasures from Eastern and African cultures. It has cost Abu Dhabi $1.27 billion just to license the Louvre name and borrow the art. And that's not all: In addition to the new McLouvre, over the next five years, Saadiyat—Arabic for "happiness"—is importing even more culture in the form of a Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim and a new National Museum designed by Norman Foster, the architect who revitalized London's own national museum. All this joins shopping malls, beaches, and super-luxe hotels such as a St. Regis.

Abu Dhabi wants to be interesting, but some say its methods have made it so for the wrong reasons: There have been accusations that the UAE is simply buying its way into culture and that many of these projects were only made possible by exploiting migrant labor. But it's also true that a corner has been turned, and Abu Dhabi may soon be as recognized as Dubai. Whatever the means it used to get there—even the White House was built by slaves, then things changed—Abu Dhabi is joining the world culture it is so desperate to belong to, and now it's up to international observers to judge whether the city is truly prepared to play at the international level. 

White robed congregation members get ready to take part in a Holy Week procession in Zamora, Spain.
Zamora, Spain

If the name Zamora sounds familiar, it may be because much of its population abandoned the town in the 17th century and established several other Zamoras across the Americas. That was a blessing in disguise. It means visitors today get to see a perfectly preserved, open-air museum of Romanesque architecture—one of the most stylistically unified and evocative medieval towns in all of Spain. And one of the least visited…until now. But in late 2015, a high-speed AVE rail line opened, meaning that travelers can now zip to this exquisite burg in just 85 minutes from Madrid. Many will likely come for the Holy Week processions (pictured), some of the largest and most spectacular in Spain. But year-round, it's a joy to explore the town’s 12th century cathedral with its squat Byzantine-influenced dome and the 22 other Romanesque churches from the 12th and 13th centuries. Zamora is also the western gateway to the Toro wine region along the Douro River—an area only officially recognized in 1987 despite making wine since the 10th century. This year, the international and Spanish wine press alike have ranked Toro, with the Rioja and the Priorat, as the greatest producer of Spanish red wines.

Visitors admire fields of pink flowers in Hokkaido.
Satoshi Sawada/Flickr
Hokkaido, Japan

The debut of a high-speed rail line is also the reason we're choosing Hokkaido. In March 2016, a shinkansen (bullet train) will open up what was Japan's last frontier to visitors, making this area far more accessable than it ever was before. The northernmost of Japan's four islands, Hokkaido accounts for 22% of the land mass of the nation but only 5% of its population, meaning there's a lot more open space here than in other parts of this crowded country. Much of the untamed land, which ranges from extinct volcanoes to meadowlands awash in flowers (pictured) to crystaline lakes, is protected by Japan's national and prefectural park systems. Visitors come here to bathe in hot springs, hike, and cycle. The area is also beloved for its skiing, some of the best on the planet due to a weather system that consistently blows in snow from Siberia (and it's a famously dry, light snow, great for those who like to schuss through powder). February sees the city of Sapporo's world-famous winter festival, featuring massive snow and ice sculptures.

Bogota, Colombia
Eduardo Zárate/Flickr
Bogotá, Colombia

El Cartucho, one of Bogotá's most infamous and dangerous drug markets, is now a public park. And El Candeleria, the once-dilapidated neighborhood that surrounded the market and sheltered its denizens, is in the throes of a joyous renaissance, its exquisite and colorfully-painted Spanish colonial and art deco buildings now housing bustling cafes, new hotels, hip boutiques, and museums. As the capital of a country that was, just 15 years ago, dominated by narco-guerillas and convulsed by a bloody civil war, Bogotá is the poster child for rebirth. But because of its sprawl, its Seattle-like weather and its reputation as a biz city, it hasn't gotten as much of a tourism resurgence as, say, beachy and postcard-perfect Cartagena.

So let's change that, because if ever a city deserved to be played in, it's Bogotá. Wreathed by the Andes mountains (and thus a great jumping-off point for nature lovers), its historic core is a charmer, filled with exquisite works of architecture (including the Catedral Primada en Navidad, pictured) and top-flight museums. Among the latter are the glittering Museo del Oro and  the exuberant Museo Botero, dedicated to the corpulent characters created by native son Fernando Botero. Several areas, most notably the Parque de la 93, are flush with sophisticated restaurants and sexy nightspots. And there's now a raft of direct (and affordable) flights from the U.S. to Bogotá from JetBlue, Avianca, and United Airlines.

A vineyard in Chianti, Italy.
Francesco Sgroi/Flickr
Chianti, Italy

Let’s raise a glass to Grand Duke Cosimo III. In 1716, the royal oenophile decreed the boundaries of Chianti and established an organization to oversee the production of vino, making this the oldest demarcated wine region on the planet. The 300th anniversary of the formal creation of the Chianti wine industry is expected to be celebrated with a slew of festivities, though—this being Italy—none have been announced yet. We’re expecting, however, to see far-bigger-than-usual September harvest fests in the towns of Greve, Vagliagi, and Panzano. The country’s cyclists are a bit more organized than its tipplers, and they’ve announced that one stage of the Gira de Italia race (considered the second-most important classic tour after the Tour de France) will be held in the heart of Chianti Classico territory, with racers zooming from Radda to Greve.

A Mongolian woman and her baby on the steppes of Mongolia
John Pannell/Flickr

Vast tracts of wilderness are hard to come by on our increasingly crowded planet, one of the reasons we're urging travelers to head to the rapidly transforming nation of Mongolia, a massive (603,909 square miles) landlocked nation that's wedged between Russia and China. Mining operations of all varieties have recently added dozens of new roads into what was once wilderness, making it easier than ever for visitors to get around, but also breaking up what had been pristine and untouched natural areas. It's an epic, once-in-in-lifetime trip—but it's also a place that will be radically changed within in your lifetime.

So what's worth appreciating in the wilds of Mongolia? For one, the globe's last intact grasslands—on the scale that used to cover the American prairies. You'll find these on the Eastern Steppes and Central Grasslands (the latter is an easy hop from the country's quirky capital, Ulaanbaatur). Also the Kham Khati, a region of uninhabited mountains, larch forests, bogs, and rivers that's beloved by hikers and birders. Or the famous Gobi Desert, which is actually only 3% sand—most of it is semi-arid terrain—and is home, in its southern end, to the densest concentration of snow leopards on the planet. Mongolia's glacier-covered Altai Mountains are a favorite region for trekkers and climbers. Most compelling for visitors, though, is getting to know the nomadic Mongolian tribespeople who are warmly welcoming, still live in gers (and you will, too, if you visit), and remain extraordinary horsemen.

A boy tries to catch a soap bubble in the rynek (market square) of Wroclaw, Poland
Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr
Wroclaw, Poland

Why are we sending you to Lower Silesia? Because Wroclaw, its capital, will be a European Capital of Culture in 2016 (along with San Sebastian, Spain), and UNESCO's World Book Capital City for the year. Residents of Wroclaw have spent the last three years putting together what promises to be a lollapalooza of high art. Some 1,000 events are planned, many of which will draw the biggest names on the world stage: Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis will perform, as will guitarist David Gilmore of Pink Floyd; famed directors Robert Wilson, Peter Brook, and Tadashi Suzuki will take part in a "Theater Olympiad"; and renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang will play with the Washington National Symphony Orchestra. On top of all this will be the European Film awards ceremony; a retrospective of the work of architect Mies van der Rohe; a choir fest that promises draw singers from across Europe; and installations created by visual artists in backyards across the city, among many, many other treats. But even if these events weren't taking place, we'd urge you to visit this surprisingly charismatic city, with its handsome market square (pictured, it's the second-largest in Poland after Krakow), many museums and historic sites, and happening café scene.

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England
Visit England
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England

We hate to reopen fresh wounds, but 2016 marks the 400th year since Shakespeare died. (Sorry—too soon?) Just like many of the characters in his plays, old William continues to haunt everyone else, and his birthplace/burial place, Stratford-upon-Avon, refuses to let the milestone pass unsold. This death will be brimming with life: Hotels will offer special anniverary packages; the Royal Shakespeare Company will roll out new productions of his CymbelineA Midsummer Night's Dream, and Hamlet starring hot young actor Paapa Essiedu; and the 15th-century Guildhall (one of only a dozen so old in England that survive) will emerge from a restoration with a new attraction: Shakespeare's Schoolroom, in which the Bard was educated. On April 23, the actual anniversary of his demise, the town breaks out into a full-fledged party, with a day of free outdoor events, acrobatic shows, and fireworks. You'd almost suspect they're glad he's dead. Forsooth, it's touristy—and it dares to contradict Bill's famous words, "profit grows where there is no pleasure taken."

A gnarled tree at the edge of a cliff at Canyonlands National Park.
Jose Fong/Flickr
The National Parks System, United States of America

And last, but certainly far from least, Frommer's would like to urge travelers to help celebrate the US National Park's 100th birthday in the best way possible—by enjoying one yourself. With 409 parks in the system—and the parks range from historic sights to nature areas (such as Canyonlands National Parks, pictured) to important monuments (hello, Lady Liberty!), and more—there's likely a park closer to you than you'd imagine.

Every park will celebrate the centennial in its own way. Many parks are making 2016 the endpoint of important projects: Improved and new trails are debuting in nature areas; new exhibits are rolling out (in the case of Bryce Canyon, a $1 million makeover of its museum); and structural improvements will be unveiled (like the spiffed-up Gardiner Gateway at Yellowstone, which was America's very first national park). Be on the lookout for conventional and unconventional celebrations at each park—talks by documentarian and "Mr. National Parks" Ken Burns, concerts, special walks, lectures. On May 21 and 22, it's the "BioBlitz," a hands-on census of sorts in which average citizens like you (including a lot of kids) help scientists track biodiversity by going into parks across the nation and counting every living thing they see. And throughout the 2015–16 school year, fourth graders and their families will get free admission to all the parks.

Many happy returns, National Parks! You are a cornerstone of travel in the United States, and may you thrive forevermore.


Destinations top 2016 us

Best Places to Travel in 2016

To compile our annual list of the best places to travel in the upcoming year, T+L editors thoroughly and meticulously consider a variety of factors. Which under-the-radar gems are most exciting to our network of contributing writers and global correspondents? Which destinations are our A-List travel specialists fielding requests for? Which classic vacation spots are starting to emerge—but for entirely new and compelling reasons? Which global events and changes in travel restrictions have made certain destinations easier to get to?

This year’s list ranges from the Andaman Islands, off India (which impressed even the most discerning ocean-lover, Jacques Cousteau), to an unspoiled stretch of the Caribbean, and nine other beach destinations with sun, sand, and beautiful views. For food lovers, we’ve got everything from Ghent, Belgium (where a group of young chefs is leading the culinary revolution and plans for a massive food hall are under way), to the canal town of Aarhus, Denmark, which is stepping out of Copenhagen’s shadow with three Michelin-starred restaurants of its own.

Related:Best Places to Travel in 2017

Closer to home, once-overlooked spots have proven themselves worthy of another glance. The bike-friendly town of Richmond, Virginia, has standout architecture, a burgeoning art and food scene, and a brand-new design hotel. Detroit’s renewal has been on our radar for a while, and with signs of life springing up in its abandoned buildings—including a hotel that set up shop in a historic fire-department headquarters—it’s finally earned a much-deserved spot on this list. And in San Antonio, the Roman and Williams–designed Hotel Emma, in a former brewhouse, sits at the heart of the restaurant- and shopping-packed Pearl district.

In the geopolitical sphere, the recently signed nuclear deal between Iran and the UN security council has opened up opportunities for Americans to more readily visit the cosmopolitan capital of Tehran and the mosques of Kashan. And while Cuba  was on last year’s list, a spate of new cruises that dock in Havana—all thanks to eased travel restrictions for Americans—mean the destination is continuing to blossom. Cruise ships are also heading to Batumi, in Georgia, with its gorgeous botanical garden. It’s a Black Sea port that’s gaining attention from the big cruise brands given the safety concerns in Ukraine.

Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway close to home, a farther-flung bucket-list trip—or even a multi-stop tour that combines, say, the art- and design-filled Taipei, the classic Chinese retreat of Hangzhou, and the hip surf community of Canggu, Bali—consider the 50 incredible destinations on this list a road map for your planning and inspiration in 2016.

Flip through the slideshow for the full list, and share your thoughts (and travels) with us on social media with the hashtag #TLBestPlaces.—Stephanie Wu

Start Slideshow

Top 10 Travel Destinations 2016, You Should Visit Before You Die

While it's probably considered more productive to work on your New Year's resolutions, it's definitely more fun to map out your 2016 vacation plans instead. For those of us looking to add to our Passport stamps this year, luxury travel network Virtuoso has unveiled its Annual Virtuoso Luxe Travel Report for 2016. From the up-and-coming travel spots to visit this year to the hottest international getaways, here are all the places to jet off to in 2016.


1) Cuba

Now that U.S. travel sanctions have been lifted from Cuba for the first time since 1962, Americans are eager to jet set off to the unknown Caribbean island. The up-and-coming travel destination tops the list of emerging places to visit this year for its old-fashioned charm, culture and well-preserved Spanish architecture. Plus, Chanel is set to take its resort runway to the island hot spot next May—meaning the fashion set just may have a new vacation favorite. Nervous about venturing to Cuba for the first time? Read this Cuba travel diary here.


Trip Experience To Try: Travel like a Cuban local by taking a specially curated tour which guides you through Cuban culture, people, art and more—especially helpful for first-time travelers. Try one of Virtuoso's recommended Cuban tours here.

2) Iceland

For a truly unique island vacation experience, Iceland ranks as this year's second hottest off the beaten path destination. With an incredible mix of waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes and black-sand beaches, the diversity of vacation experiences is endless. From sailing trips to whale watching, volcano tours and the hottest tourist attraction, The Blue Lagoon, there are plenty of things to do for every type of traveler here. 

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Trip Experience To Try: Visit the Iceland Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, a set-in nature spa that's located in the heart of Iceland. From an outdoor spa, waterfall, in-water massages, saunas, lounges and plenty of dining, it's the ultimate serene vacation experience. 

3) Croatia

Credit this one to the Game of Thrones craze (many of the shows scenes have been filmed in Croatia), but the European country is rising as one of the hottest new travel spots. Coast lining the Adriatic Sea, the picturesque destination offers plenty of beach relaxation, ancient towns to explore, picturesque views and Instagram-worthy travel experiences. 


Trip Experience To Try: Stay in Villa Dubrovnik, a 5-star Mediterranean-style villa offering incredible views of the ocean. The hotel is located in the heart of Old City, which can be explored on vaporetto speedboat rides that are included in your room rate. Plus the Villa Spa is not to be missed. 

4) Myanmar

The Southeast Asian country is home to gilded pagodas, bustling street bazaars and beautifully designed ancient Buddhist temples. Myanmar's diverse culture lends a travel experience that offers a wide array of activities for travelers to experience while visiting. 

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Trip Experience To Try: Experience the Belmond Governor's Residence for a luxe stay in Yangon, Myanmar. The secluded colonial-style mansion hotel dates back to the 1920s and boasts lotus pools, fan-cooled verandas and pagodas for guests to enjoy. 

5) Antarctica

The vast white sheets of ice, glaciers and water of Antarctica make for the ultimate wilderness getaway. Take a cruise to enjoy all the best parts of the South Pole bearing continent from icy kayak rides to wildlife tours and more. 

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Trip Experience To Try:  Experience the arctic climate and gorgeous icebergs on a cruise along the continent's coast. Peruse Virtuoso's luxe cruise options to Antarctica here


1) Italy

For the second year in a row, Italy tops the list of most sought after global vacations. Whether you're looking to soak in the sun along the Amalfi Coast or explore the culture of Venice, Rome, Milan and Florence—Italy is the perfect spot for a well-rounded trip of relaxation, food, shopping and culture. 

Park Hyatt

Where To Stay: For the city dwellers: The Park Hyatt Milan, located in the heart of Milan the 5 star hotel is located just steps away from the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Duomo. For the beachside dwellers: Punta Regina Positano.

2) France

Whether you're exploring the heart of it all in Paris or escaping to the beaches of St. Tropez, there's always a stylish trip waiting in this Euro hotspot. Looking for a trip that's a little more unique? Try visiting the scenic countryside in Provence. 

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Where To Stay: For Paris Dwellers: La Reserve Paris, For Your St. Tropez Getaway: La Réserve Ramatuelle, scheduled to reopen for the season on April 22, 2016, For The Country Lovers: Domaine de Manville in Provence. 

3) South Africa

Rising as a must-visit destination for those craving both adventure and relaxation, South Africa boasts a truly robust vacation experience. Travelers can experience a safari to see the country's incredible wildlife or take a canopy tour to take in the views from above. The country has access to all the outdoor activities that are probably lingering on your bucket list, from diving with sharks to riding ostriches or simply enjoying the incredible rocky beaches of Cape Town.


Where To Stay: The Lodge at &Beyond Phinda Homestead, a private house that mirrors that of a luxurious safari lodge. Guests have the whole place to themselves with the luxury of a private chef, personal game drive vehicle and ranger. 

4) Mexico

For the beach bums at heart, Mexico boasts an array of picturesque islands and villas to relax in the sand. Whether you prefer the beaches of Tulum or exploring the ancient Mayan and Aztec ruins, there are plenty of vacation hotspots to hit throughout the country. 

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Where To Stay: Banyan Tree Cabo Marques in Acapulco, you can always count on Banyan Tree for offering the most glamorous of lodging to its travelers. Bask in your own private villa—and pool—in the scenic hotel thats located along a cliffside perched atop  the exclusive Punta Diamante enclave. 

5) Australia

Touch down in the Land Down Under for a truly diverse, sunny vacation. From snorkeling in The Great Barrier Reef to visiting the iconic Sydney Opera House, there is plenty of wildlife and culture to be explored here. 

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Where To Stay: COMO The Treasury in Perth. The first COMO-owned property Australia just opened its doors in October 2015. Spanning the top three floors of three Victorian-era buildings, referred to locally as the State Buildings, the luxe hotel features COMO Shambhala wellness therapies, shops, and restaurants including Chef David Thompson's newest culinary endeavor, Long Chim.

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World's best places to visit in 2016-17, according to U.S. News & World Report

(CNN) — With the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is one of seven natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's also the world's top travel destination, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2016-17 best destination rankings, released Tuesday.

"It's a once in a lifetime vacation, and it's been in the news recently because of coral bleaching," said Erin Shields, travel editor for U.S. News, in a statement. "Travelers need to see it soon because there might not be as much left."

The Great Barrier Reef is facing rising sea temperatures that have led to mass coral bleaching, Australian scientists say.

When sea temperatures rise, tiny algae living in the corals, called zooxanthellae, are expelled, turning the coral white. The reef covers an area of 344,400 square kilometers and includes about 600 continental islands, 3,000 coral reefs and 150 inshore mangrove islands.

Grand Canyon National Park was named the top U.S. destination, while the British Virgin Islands took the top Caribbean spot and Vancouver earned the top Canadian spot.

Rome was the top spot in Europe while Cape Town, South Africa, topped the Africa/Middle East list. Bali was the top Asia spot.

For Central and South America, Galapagos Islands came out on top while Oaxaca was named the No. 1 spot in Mexico.

U.S. News analyzed more than 250 destinations using a methodology that combines expert analysis and traveler opinions.

Best places to visit 2016-17:

25. Budapest, Hungary

24. Argentine Patagonia, Argentina

23. San Francisco, California

22. Bali, Indonesia

21. British Virgin Islands

20. Grand Canyon National Park, U.S.

19. Washington, D.C.

18. Cairo, Egypt

17. Hong Kong

16. Amsterdam, Netherlands

15. Yellowstone National Park, U.S.

14. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

13. Sydney, Australia

12. Barcelona, Spain

11. Cape Town, South Africa

10. Maui, Hawaii

9. New York

8. Rome, Italy

7. London, England

6. Cusco, Peru

5. Tokyo, Japan

4. Florence, Italy

3. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

2. Paris, France

1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

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