The top 19 things to do in the USA in 2019

The top 19 things to do in the USA in 2019

2019 is set to be huge year for the USA, with a spectacular range of events, anniversaries and new openings that will enhance visitors’ holidays, and provide exciting new experiences. From monumental events, such as the very first WorldPride to be held in the United States, to key anniversaries including the Grand Canyon centennial and the 150th anniversary of women’s suffrage, here are the top picks for 2019.

100th anniversary of the Grand Canyon

On 26 February the Grand Canyon will celebrate 100 years of National Park status. As one of the world’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Grand Canyon welcomes approximately six million domestic and international visitors each year – with visitors hiking the red rock of the corridor trail, strolling the canyon’s rim or swimming in the invigorating pools of the Havasu Falls. To mark the anniversary, a series of events will be taking place over the year, including the 2019 Grand Canyon Star Party, which will run from 22 – 29 June 2019. Over the dates, the Tuscon Amateur Astronomy Association and the Saguaro Astronomy Club of Phoenix will set up a series of telescopes, teaching visitors about the planets, star clusters, distant galaxies and more.

400 years since the birth of Jamestown

In 2019 the United States is set to celebrate one of its most significant anniversaries: 400 years since its birth in Jamestown, Virginia. It’s a chance for visitors to explore Virginia’s Historic Triangle – which includes Jamestown and its historic fort, Colonial Williamsburg (the nation’s largest living history museum where the townsfolk are in 18th-century character) and Yorktown, where the battle of the Revolutionary War was fought. Visitors can enhance their knowledge with the new VA History Trails app – the first app to directly connect users to over 400 historical sites throughout Virginia.

Read our informative study guide about the American War of Independence here.

50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon

On 20 July 2019 it will be 50 years since Neil Armstrong successfully landed Apollo 11’s four-legged Lunar Module on the moon – marking the very first moon landing. To celebrate the moment, cities around the U.S. will be marking Armstrong’s “one small step” with a series of exhibitions and events.

Visitors may choose to:

  • Catch the travelling exhibition Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, from 13 April – 2 September 2019. Exhibits include one-of-a-kind artefacts from the mission.
  • See thousands of model rockets launched into the air at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama – the world’s largest space museum and home of Space Camp. The rockets that took man to the moon were engineered by scientists in the city.
  • Stand beneath Saturn V, the largest rocket ever launched, and learn about the run up to the landings at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, where the Apollo 11 spacecraft lifted off.
  • Get up close to an array of Apollo artifacts under the roof of the Space Centre, Houston.

WorldPride to be held in the United States

For the first time in its 20-year-long history, WorldPride will be held in the United States. New York City is set to host the month-long event from 1 – 30 June 2019, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York City, the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. Accordingly, the event series will be dually branded WorldPride NYC/Stonewall 50, and run with a theme of Millions of Moments of Pride – a nod to the countless experiences every person encounters during the annual WorldPride celebrations around the world. Three million people are expected to enjoy the roster of events, which will range from family movie nights to Femme Fatale, a rooftop party for women. WorldPride NYC/Stonewall 50 will culminate in the largest LGBTQIA+ march in the world, on Sunday 30 June 2019.

250th anniversary of San Diego’s founding

In May 1769, the first European settlement on the California coast was established at the Presidio – where Old Town San Diego exists today. The neighbourhood is considered the birthplace of California and is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in the state, when Father Junipero Serra established the very first mission in the region. Father Serra’s mission and the Presidio were both built on a hillside overlooking the present-day Old Town (in what is now Presidio Park), and the neighbourhood will be commemorating the anniversary with a series of events in 2019.

Statue of Liberty Museum opening

The brand-new $70 million museum is an exciting new experience for anyone visiting the Statue of Liberty. Due to open in spring or autumn 2019, the museum will feature interactive displays, museum galleries and immersive theatre experiences that will showcase the history of the statue and its importance to the USA. The state-of-the-art LEED Gold-certified building will also have unobstructed views of the famous statue.

Read about the fascinating history behind the iconic Lady Liberty here.

150th anniversary of women’s suffrage

The state of Wyoming will be commemorating 150 years of women’s suffrage in 2019. In 1869, Wyoming Territory approved the first law in United States history granting women the right to vote; the following year, the first woman to cast a vote in a general election in the U.S. (and the world) was from the small town of Laramie, Wyoming – a full 50 years before women got the vote nationwide. When the region was invited to join the Union on the condition that women’s suffrage was revoked, Wyoming’s legislature said, “We will remain out of the Union one hundred years rather than come in without the women.” By 1920 when women got the vote nationwide, women in Wyoming had already been voting for half a century.

Three Michelin stars land for the first time in Washington, D.C.

The region of Washington is set to be one of the USA’s hottest dining destinations, and one of the great gastronomic capitals of the world, thanks to the D.C. area’s first ever three-Michelin-star restaurant, The Inn at Little Washington. The 40-year-old restaurant and inn, which is located 90 minutes from D.C. and is detailed in the new 2019 Michelin guide, features patterned carpets, heavy drapes and plush upholstery, and is celebrated for Chef Patrick O’Connell’s modern interpretation of classic French cooking. The Michelin guide arrived in Washington, D.C. four years ago, and is one of the only cities to have a Michelin guide in the U.S. – others include San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. Michelin’s everyday dining 2019 Bib Gourmand list has seen the number of restaurants listed in Washington, D.C. jump from 22 to 39, cementing the region as one of the hottest culinary destinations.

200th birthday anniversary of Herman Melville

August 2019 marks 200 years since the birth of Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick. Visitors may experience the celebrations by taking the new Massachusetts Whale Trail, which was introduced in 2018. The trail links close to 40 museums, historic sites, attractions and excursions dedicated to whales, and helps visitors make the most of one of the USA’s most beautiful coastlines. Visitors may also take the self-guided New Bedford walking tour of the places that inspired Melville’s book.

50th anniversary of Woodstock Festival

August 2019 will mark 50 years since the first Woodstock festival, one of the world’s most iconic festivals, which was first held on a dairy farm in Bethel, a town in the Catskills in New York State. Close to 400,000 attendees saw the likes of The Who, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Jimi Hendrix perform over the weekend, with a film of the concerts released the following year.

60th anniversary of Hawaii and Alaska becoming U.S. states

On 3 January 2019 Alaska will celebrate 60 years as a U.S. state – it was the 49th stated to be admitted into the union in 1959, closely followed by Hawaii, which was admitted on 21 August as the 50th state. The anniversaries will put the spotlight on the two states: visitors may choose to tour Hawaii’s volcanic islands, laze on pristine beaches or learn to surf at Waikiki, while Alaska is home to Denali, America’s highest peak, along with plenty of wildlife and outdoor pursuits.

New York City neighbourhood of Hudson Yards is unveiled

All eyes are on the imminent revealing of Hudson Yards, one of the most exciting development projects to hit New York, and the world, in decades. The new neighbourhood on Manhattan’s Far West Side will sit atop the still-operating rail yards of 10th and 11th avenues and 30th and 40th streets – home to one of New York’s first freight lines, the Hudson River Railroad. On completion, Hudson Yards will consist of 14 acres of public space, glossy sky scrapers (and one of the city’s highest open-air observation decks – opening in early-mid 2019) and a public plaza. Vessel, a series of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs designed by British designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick, will be the centrepiece of the plaza, and is due to open in early 2019. The restaurants, food halls and high-end boutiques are likely to debut in March 2019, with several other skyscrapers following after.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening

Disneyland (California) and Disney World (Florida) will be unveiling new 14-acre Star Wars-themed attractions, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, in summer and autumn 2019. The eagerly anticipated attractions will give guests complete immersion in the Star Wars story, with guests departing on a Star Wars adventure by boarding a starship filled with characters telling the story of the journey through the galaxy. The openings will feature two new attractions and give visitors the opportunity to meet their Star Wars heroes before boarding a Star Destroyer or flying the Millennium Falcon.

150th anniversary of the First Transcontinental Railroad

One of the most iconic events in America’s history was the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in Utah on 10 May 1869. The First Transcontinental Railroad connected the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, and opened for traffic on 10 May 1869, when President of the Central Pacific, Leland Stanford, drove the gold ‘Last Spike’ into the railway, completing the 1,912-mile continuous line which would connect east and west. Anniversary celebrations known as Spike 150 will take place over the weekend of 10 May 2019, while a travelling exhibition The Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West will celebrate the ‘meeting of the rails’ with a groundbreaking collection of photographs and stereographs showing the railroad’s construction. They will be on display at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City from 1 February – 26 May 2019.

New Orleans Sazerac House Museum opening

Cocktail lovers should head to New Orleans in spring 2019 when Sazerac House Museum, a museum dedicated to the heady whiskey cocktail, will open. The three-story museum will be located in a historic building that’s been empty since the 1980s, and trace the history of cocktails as well as the influence of Sazerac on the city, as well as cocktail culture in general. Sazerac is regarded as a close cousin of the Old Fashioned, and is the official cocktail of NOLA.

90 years since the first Academy Awards, plus plenty of film anniversaries

The first Academy Awards – also known as the Oscars – was first held in Hollywood in May 1929. In 2019 a number of legendary films will also be celebrating anniversaries, including:

  • The 80th anniversary of the film release of Gone with the Wind. The Civil War-era film, which was adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s novel of the same name, traces the life of Scarlett O’Hara during her life in Georgia. At the 12th Academy Awards it received 10 awards and 13 nominations.
  • The 50th anniversary of the film Easy Rider. It was filmed in Monument Valley, a red-sand desert region on the Arizona-Utah border, and has inspired generations of riders to take to the open road. Specialist guided biking companies including EagleRider will be offering two Easyrider Movie tour trips for select dates in 2019.
  • The 50th anniversary of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. The iconic film stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The film was based on a true story and was shot in Utah’s Zion National Park, Grafton Ghost Town and Snow Canyon State Park.

Hamilton: The Exhibition opens in Chicago

Following the global success of the musical Hamilton, on 6 April 2019 Hamilton: The Exhibition will premiere in the city of Chicago. The new interactive exhibition, which will feature an audio tour narrated by the musical’s author Lin-Manuel Miranda, has been designed to immerse visitors in the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, giving visitors the chance to experience how Hamilton lived, while also chronicling the American Revolution and the creation of the United States of America. The eagerly anticipated exhibit will open on Northerly Island in a free-standing structure approximately the size of a football field, before moving on to tour selected U.S. cities for the rest of the year.

Heading to city famous for hot dogs, jazz and 1920s gangsters? Read our guide on How To Spend 3 Days In Chicago to help plan your visit.

Tiger Woods Golf Course opens

In 2019, Big Cedar Lodge, a 4,600-acre lakeside retreat in Missouri, will open the first public-access golf course from golf legend and 79-time PGA Tour winner Tiger Woods. The course is the work of Woods’ design firm TGR Design, the Payne Stewart family and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, and will showcase the region’s natural beauty with a dramatic 19th hole known as The Rock. The walkable course will culminate in an unforgettable natural cavern system, all of which will help cement the area as one of America’s top golfing destinations. Elsewhere on Big Cedar Lodge, guests can enjoy fishing, boating and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, a 10,000-acre nonprofit wildlife preserve.

Monuments and memorials in Washington, D.C.

March 2019 will see the reopening of the Washington Monument, the city’s famous 169-metre-high obelisk which was built to commemorate George Washington. As part of the $10.8 million project, the monument will reopen with a visitor experience and lift, taking visitors up the world’s tallest obelisk. Elsewhere in the city, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial is opening in June 2019. The memorial, built to honour the 34th president of the U.S., will span four acres and feature a unique stainless-steel tapestry and bronze sculptures.

More Information

Brand USA
The official guide for traveling the United States of America.

The Top 6 Hikes in Hawaii

The Top 6 Hikes in Hawaii

Hawai‘i offers some of America’s most exciting and varied hiking trails, with routes traversing volcanic craters, jungle ridges, bamboo forests, waterfalls, sandy beaches and rugged coastlines.

Each of the six islands offers travellers something unique and enticing, giving hikers the chance to explore scenes that have been used as the backdrops of Hollywood blockbuster films, including Jurassic Park, or spot whales from the shore.

Comprising beginner trails, moderate treks, and more challenging routes, the volcanic archipelago is a haven for those looking for a walk with a view, as well as an opportunity to find out about the culture and history of the islands.

Lāna‘i

Where: Pu‘u Pehe

Level: Easy

kvb-waimea_canyon-091315_0Situated between Mānele Bay and Hulupo‘e Bay, hikers can climb to the Pu‘u Pehe viewpoint to see the giant 80-foot islet rising from the sea. The 20-minute walk to the viewpoint is particularly well rewarded at sunset and some lucky visitors will even see spinner dolphins off the coast. Dubbed as ‘Sweetheart Rock’, the landmark boasts a wealth of Hawaiian culture and folklore.

O‘ahu

Where: Lē‘ahi (Diamond Head)

Level: Easy – Moderate

Offering travellers panoramic 360 degree views from the top of the iconic state monument, Diamond Head is a must do hike whilst in O‘ahu. The trail consists of stairs, tunnels and old military bunkers before reaching the 760-foot summit, which offers views of Waikīkī, Wai‘anae, the Pacific Ocean and the Ko‘olau Mountains. Visitors can learn about the history of the dormant volcano, including how the trail was originally built in 1908 by the US army as a military base, and the background of why the crater was given the name Diamond Head.

Island of Hawai‘i

Where: Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Level: Easy – Difficult

Home to two volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, the national park offers hikers the chance to explore over 150 miles of walking trails. The 333,000-acre park includes a number of easy routes such as Crater Rim Trail to Waldron Ledge, moderate hikes including Pu‘u Huluhulu, and challenging routes such as the Kīlauea Iki Trail. Visitors will have the chance to see volcanic craters, steam vents and sulphur crystals up close, whilst spotting native birds and animals in the rainforest.

Moloka‘i

Where: Hālawa Valley

Level: Moderate

hawaii-volcanoes-national-parkThe hike to Mo‘oula Falls is approximately 1.7 miles each way, passing by rivers, native wildlife and fauna. Hikers will also see ancient Hawaiian temples as they pass deep inside the valley, believed to be relics from when Polynesians first settled on the island.

Kaua‘i

Where: Waimea Canyon

Level: Moderate

On the southwest side of Kauai in Waimea, the canyon is dubbed ‘The Grand Canyon of the Pacific’. Stretching 14 miles long, one mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep, the Canyon offers numerous trails for hikers to traverse, including the Iliau Nature Loop and Kukui Trail.

Maui

Where: Haleakalā National Park

Level: Moderate – Difficult

08561Visitors can join a guided tour or take part in a self-guided hike in Haleakalā National Park. Hikes vary from a short half hour circuit, to a three-day camping trip, offering visitors the chance to explore some of the park’s 30,000 acres. The volcanic crater, towering at over 10,000 feet above sea level, is known as ‘the house of the sun’. Hikers can marvel at the spectacular light show as the sky fills with an array of colours during sunrise and sunset or take advantage of the stargazing opportunities at nightfall.

More information

Go Hawaii
The Official Hawaiian Islands Tourism Board

 

Got the hiking bug? Join our adventurous presenters to discover the best treks around the world in this epic episode of GlobeTrekker.

Best Treks

How will Hurricane Irma affect the tourism industry?

How will Hurricane Irma affect the tourism industry?

The path of destruction of Hurricane Irma up Florida’s Gulf Coast and the islands of the Caribbean is expected to disrupt the region’s thriving tourism sectors – just months ahead of the busy winter travel season – when Northern Hemisphere holidaymakers typically seek out the more tropical climates.

Just over a month ago, Florida announced a record-setting number of visitors with more than 60 million tourists vacationing in the Sunshine State since January and nearly 113 million in 2016, spending $109 billion overall.

Although the extent of the damage is yet to be determined and has been deemed incalculable in the short-term, it is clear that travel brands will suffer from quite dramatic fallout this year – especially smaller tour operators and local, family-run businesses dependent on tourist traffic for business.

Furthermore, many of the impacted islands rely on tourism more than any other sector as a source of income – and dependent on how quickly infrastructure can rebuild, how many cruise lines choose to cancel or change itineraries, and how soon travellers chose to return to the area – the fourth quarter of 2017 will be a slow one.

The lowdown:

  • State officials estimated that 5.6 million residents and tourists have been evacuated north since the storms hit.
  • Some of Florida’s biggest attractions have announced temporary closures, including Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, Legoland and Sea World.
  • More than 3000 flights in to and out of Florida have been cancelled. Airlines are expecting to return to normal operations this week.
  • Approximately 20 cruise lines have Miami as a port of call, and many have made statements saying they have revised their itineraries or cancelled them altogether. Multiple companies even sent ships full of employees and evacuees out to sea.
  • Several popular port destinations including Anguilla, Barbuda, St. Martin, St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands have suffered extensive damage that will most likely keep cruise traffic away for the foreseeable future as cruise ports, hotels and airports recover.

 

 

main image: Satellite image of Hurricane Irma, image by Antti Lipponen, Flickr creative commons

The gentrification battles of Boyle Heights

The gentrification battles of Boyle Heights

Located just a few miles east of downtown and just across the river from the arts district, Boyle Heights is a district of Los Angeles where 90 per cent of the population of 100,000 is Hispanic.

Churros, image by Andres Reyes, Flickr creative commons

Churros, image by Andres Reyes, Flickr creative commons

In recent years, the district has gained a reputation for being home to the best Mexican restaurants and street food in town. A visit to El Mercadito, the central market on 1st Street, feels like Mexico proper. The breadth of items for purchase is overwhelming with colourful stalls selling everything from cowboy boots and hats to first communion dresses and me vale madre potion – an herbal concoction believed to calm the nerves. And that’s not to mention the food: churros, mole, tamales, palanquetas (nut bars) and bunuelos (fritters covered in sugar and syrup) are just a few of the essential “must trys”. The dueling mariachi bands entertaining clients in the upstairs restaurants are the icing on the pastel.

The charm of El Mercadito – and Boyle Heights in general – is that it isn’t touristy, unlike Olvera Street in the downtown district, long the preferred destination for travellers seeking a taste of Mexican life in LA.

Street murals, image by Laurie Avocado Flickr creative commons

Street murals, image by Laurie Avocado Flickr creative commons

However, Boyle Heights is changing. With the influx of coffee shops and art galleries in recent years, local activists are resolutely fighting against new developments in fear of what they might foreshadow: a wave of gentrification and the threat of displacement. The locals have termed the process “art-washing”.

In May of last year a non-profit art gallery called PSSST was preparing to open in the neighbourhood. Instead, on what should’ve been opening day, the gallery faced a crowd of protesters gathered in front of the building, beating drums, waving posters and chanting slogans such as “We don’t need galleries, we need higher salaries!”

Local street food vendors, image by Ray S, Flickr creative commons

Local street food vendors, image by Ray S, Flickr creative commons

This would not be the last protest in the district against the ‘hipster hangouts’ popping up. Recently, PSSST announced its shuttering. In a statement on its website they reasoned: “Our young non-profit struggled to survive against constant attacks… our staff and artists were routinely trolled online and in person.”

The anti-gentrifiers have been criticised for using confrontational tactics to push their case forward – personally singling out people for public condemnation and physically chasing unwelcome visitors out of the neighbourhood.

The Eastside has long been a centre of Los Angeles’ protest movements, whether it was residents marching against the Vietnam War in the 1970s to more recently demonstrating for immigrant rights.

 

main image: Streets of Boyle Heights, image by jondoeforty1, Flickr creative commons