Nashville’s top ten events not to be missed in 2019

Nashville’s top ten events not to be missed in 2019

Merging country roots with popular culture, there’s something for everyone on the vibrant streets of Nashville. Whether looking to be inspired by arts, energised by music or indulged with cuisine, visitors to Music City will find themselves spoilt for choice thanks to an extensive calendar of events throughout the year. Here are just 10 events on Nashville’s calendar not to be missed in 2019.

Tin Pan South Songwriter’s Festival (26th March – 30th March)

Kicking off the line-up of must-see events across the city, the Tin Pan South Songwriter’s Festival is an experience made for every music lover’s bucket list. Entering its 27th year, the festival brings together over 400 songwriters to perform across five nights in various locations around the city, making it the largest event of its kind in the world. While music legends such as Rodney Crowell and Sacha Skarbek are known to frequent the festival, it is the extent and diversity of songs performed which makes the festival truly unique. Festival passes are available to purchase online and officially go on sale on 26th February 2019.


2019 National Football League (NFL) Draft (25th April – 27th April)

For the first time in history, Music City will be the proud host for the 84th annual NFL Draft. Running from the 25th – 27th April, the Draft is undoubtedly one of America’s most anticipated sporting events of the year, with the 2018 Draft being the highest-rated and most watched in history. The annual draft sees both leading and up-and-coming players await their selection on one of the NFL’s 32 national teams for the season ahead. As part of the event, a three-day football festival, NFL Draft Experience Presented By Oikos Triple Zero®, will provide football fans the opportunity to compete in games, experience interactive exhibits, meet and greet with their favourite players and celebrate the Draft results in Music City. True to the spirit of the city, music will feature heavily in the agenda, with top Nashville artists performing throughout the weekend. Tickets are required for seating within the NFL Draft theatre, with registration times yet to be announced.

CMA Music Fest (6th – 9th June)

Nashville comes to life in June, when the city is home to country music’s premier event of the year, CMA Music Fest. Hosted by the Country Music Association, CMA Music Fest will see country music fans rock out to four days and nights of live music held at various venues across the city including Music City Centre, Riverfront Park Stage and Nissan Stadium. Now in its 48th year, the annual event attracts an all-star line-up of established and up-and-coming country music stars, with meet and greets and Q&A sessions organised at the festival’s Xfinity Fan Fair X. All participating artists play for free, with proceeds from the festival benefitting music education programs through the CMA Foundation. Tickets for the 2019 event are available online.


Nashville Pride (22nd June – 23rd June)

Entering its 31st year of celebrations, the Nashville Pride festival is the largest LGBTQ event in the state of Tennessee. The Pride Equality Walk is the jewel in the crown of the annual festivities, with the turnout for last year’s parade numbering in the thousands. The festival grounds are located at Public Square Park, and feature multiple live music performances and DJ sets, drag shows and over 200 vendors including local not-for-profit organisations, artists, businesses and food and beverage offerings. The 2019 event is set to be even bigger than before, making it a must for visitors to Music City in June. Tickets will be available for purchase online closer to the event.

2019 Let Freedom Sing! Music City July 4th celebration and the 12th Annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival (4th July)

Experience a different side to America’s favourite holiday by celebrating 4th July in Music City! Featuring free live music, family entertainment and food stalls, the day’s festivities are topped off with one of the of the largest fireworks displays in the country, set to music from the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. For those feeling more famished than festive, the 12th annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival takes place in East Park at 700 Woodland Street on the same day. A Nashville specialty, Hot Chicken is traditionally served with bread and pickles but can also be used to spice up a salad, pasta, or even with a malted waffle for brunch. Sample some of the city’s best Hot Chicken, or watch home cooks battle it out in the amateur cooking competition for the prestigious title of ‘2019 King or Queen of Hot Chicken’! Admission is free to both events.

Live on the Green Music festival (August – September)

Running throughout August until the Labour Day weekend, Live on the Green is a free outdoor music festival held at Public Square Park in Nashville. The festival showcases the city’s emerging musical talent and highlights well-known national acts. Since it began in 2009, over 590,000 fans have flocked to Nashville to attend the event. The festival has hosted more than 190 performing artists, including Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Sheryl Crow, Alabama Shakes, Ben Folds, The Head And The Heart, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Band of Horses, Cold War Kids, Young The Giant, City and Colour and more!


Music City Food + Wine festival (September)

Whether you’re a BBQ buff or just worship wine, the Music City Food + Wine festival is the stuff foodie dreams are made of. The brainchild of Grammy award-winning artists (and Nashville residents) Kings of Leon, world-renowned chef Jonathan Waxman, Music City Food + Wine Festival brings together the stars of Nashville’s culinary scene with acclaimed regional and national chefs, wine and spirits experts. The festival features interactive cooking demonstrations, engaging panel discussions, intimate tasting sessions and countless opportunities to sample the wares of a myriad of international restaurants, wineries, distilleries and breweries.

Nashville 50th Anniversary Film Festival (3rd – 12th October)

Each year, the Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) presents the best in world cinema, American independent films and documentaries by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers. Originally founded in 1969, it is the longest running festival of its kind in the United States, and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019. The festival has attracted a wide range of famous faces to its screenings over the years such as Oprah Winfrey, Al Gore and Nicole Kidman. It was also where Craig Brewer – the director of Footloose, Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan, won his first award as a novice filmmaker!


Country Music Association (CMA) Awards (November)

Hailed as the biggest night in country music, the CMA Awards pay homage to the outstanding achievements of artists and broadcasters in the country music industry. Albums and songs released between 1st July 2018 and 30th June 2019 will be eligible for awards, with nominees and winners chosen by more than 7,400 industry professional members of the Country Music Association. The annual event is held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Area and starts in style with a glamourous red-carpet entrance, while the ceremony features live performances and award presentations by the who’s who of country music. Best of all, the event is open to fans as well as stars!

Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight: NYE in Nashville (31st December)

Ring in the new year and rock out the old in Music City at Nashville’s spectacular New Year’s Eve party. The show is a free outdoor concert which takes place at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park on New Year’s Eve, with festivities kicking off at 4:00pm. The event is famous for featuring an all-star line-up of live music, and has previously played host to artists such as Keith Urban, The Kings of Leon, Peter Frampton, Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton to name a few. Partygoers can count down to the New Year as a 4.5 metre music note drops from a 44 metre height to mark the stroke of midnight. The music note drop then triggers a fantastic firework display and confetti cannons as revellers celebrate the arrival of the New Year.


More Information

Visit Music City
Official Nashville, TN Visitor and Tourism website that features discount hotels, attractions, things to do, tickets, event listings and more.

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For episodes, articles, short-form content and tips galore about Tennessee, then click here to read our destination guide!

Top 5 things to do in Baltimore in 2019

Top 5 things to do in Baltimore in 2019

Planning a holiday in 2019 in the US? Perhaps its time to look towards the bright lights of Charm City and discover an array of world-class art, culinary and cultural experiences across the city’s historic and distinct neighbourhoods. From delicious street food pop-ups, endless crab feasts, to scenic nature trails for an active reawakening, Baltimore shares its top five activities.

Celebrate Baltimore’s festivals

It wouldn’t be a trip to Baltimore without taking part in the city’s local festival scene. In July, thousands of visitors will flock to Artscape, America’s largest free outdoor arts festival featuring 150+ fine artists, craftspeople and fashion designers. With live concerts, sculptures and performance pieces including dance, street theatre, jazz, opera and standup comedy, Artscape embodies the city’s homegrown arts boom. From 1st – 10th November 2019, Light City and Baltimore Book Festival will combine forces for the first time, highlighting the city’s burgeoning arts scene, and award-winning artists, authors and performers from around the world. Famed as America’s first large-scale festival of light art, music and innovation, Light City transforms 1.5 miles of the Inner Harbor waterfront into an interactive playground of large scale light installations, street performers, concerts, an Opening Night Parade and a Closing Night fireworks finale.

© Visit Baltimore

Public markets

The Baltimore Public Market System is the oldest continuously operating public market system in the country – and continues to play a vital role in the city. Four of Baltimore’s six public markets are slated for overhauls, with two reopening in 2019. The city’s oldest existing market building, at more than 230 years old, will unveil a $3 million redevelopment of its north shed in early 2019, with its south shed opening in the summer. The south shed of the market will be converted into, a Maryland crab house and seafood restaurant led by Atlas Restaurant Group. The space, which will offer indoor and outdoor seating for 275 guests, an outdoor bar, live entertainment and a recreational area, is a nod to Broadway Market’s long history of serving local seafood. In addition, the new north shed will house ten local vendors, including: Connie’s Chicken & Waffles, Thai Street, a permanent location for the Thai street food pop-up; The Verandah, serving Indian specialties; Taharka Brothers Ice Cream, and Old Boy, a new Korean restaurant by Phil Han, owner of popular Mount Vernon cafe Dooby’s.

© Visit Baltimore

Mount Vernon neighbourhood renaissance

Just north of downtown rests the city’s cultural heart, Mount Vernon, once home to Baltimore’s Gilded Age elite. Let the impressive architecture and manicured public gardens transport you to a bygone era. The nation’s first monument to George Washington sits proudly at the centre of Mount Vernon Square. What once were grand mansions belonging to Baltimore’s 19th-century industrialists are now museums, galleries, shops and restaurants. Home to stunning boutique hotels including the new Hotel Revival, Hotel Indigo, and The Ivy, journey to a home away from home and soak up the city’s history.


Sport past-times and fitness classes

Home to sporting legends like Michael Phelps, Babe Ruth and Johnny Unitas, Baltimore reveals a longstanding love affair with sport. Become inspired by Oriole Park at Camden Yards, frequently ranked as a top baseball stadium in America, to cheer on the Baltimore Orioles or catch the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, two-time Super Bowl champions, whilst you’re in town. For those looking to shed their winter coat and step into a healthier regime, journey to the Movement Lab, an epic space designed to reinvent people’s workout practices with alternative anti-gravity fitness routines. Make sure you also try out Jones Falls Bike Trail, where walkers, runners and bikers journey across a scenic eleven mile trail from the city’s inner harbor to 200 acres of wetlands and picturesque Cylburn Arboretum.

© Visit Baltimore

Tastes from the ocean

A foodies’ Baltimore to-do list should always include crab. Recognised for its awe-inspiring seafood scene, there are a variety of ways seafood lovers can savor the crustaceans besides the traditional crab feast or standalone crab cake. Baltimore restaurants serve crab in quiches, sandwiches, on top of tater tots and waffle fries, and on pizza. The Land of Kush even offers a vegan “crab cake” as a weekend special. Located in the Baltimore Museum of Art and founded by John Shields and John Gilligan in 1998, Gertrude’s has been a brunch neighbourhood staple for 20 years. The restaurant was on the vanguard of the farm-to-table movement and now has decades-long relationships with Maryland farms and fisheries. The crab omelet is an all-time favourite, as is the blue cat eggs, a delicious catfish cake served with maple bacon. During warmer months, visit the museum’s sculpture garden right outside the restaurant and experience its delightful ambience. For new openings in 2019, find The Urban Oyster. Head Chef Jasmine Norton was the first female owner of an oyster bar in Maryland. The fast-casual restaurant and bar will open in February 2019 featuring a full-service raw bar and serving Norton’s signature char-grilled oysters; seasonal seafood dishes such as Maryland crab cakes on homemade potato bread; and brunch items such as a shrimp BLT on a waffle bun, an oyster benedict and a lobster roll croissant.


All images © Visit Baltimore

More information

Visit Baltimore
Get Baltimore trip ideas from the official travel and tourism website for Baltimore Maryland.

Planning a holiday to the Mid-Atlantic States? Read our destination guide for episodes, articles and tips to help get you started!

Route 66 named as the most Instagram-worthy road trip in the world

Route 66 named as the most Instagram-worthy road trip in the world

Route 66 has been named as the most Instagram-worthy road trip in the world, according to Brits.

The study, which polled 2,000 adults, found the top three routes are all located in the United States – specifically through the Grand Canyon National Park and along the Pacific Highway Coast.

The drive through the Grand Canyon parks, typically following the South Rim to the North Rim and famed for its exquisite views of the stunning natural wonder was second.

‘PCH’, also known as Route 101, came third. The route takes you on a coastal, cliff-hugging drive from San Francisco to San Diego, passing by San Jose, Big Sur and Monterey.

56% of those who took part named the US as the road trip capital of the world.

Commissioned by Hertz, the research also identified key ingredients for a successful road trip – including wide-open roads, driving past famous attractions and spotting wildlife along the way. Discovering views and taking in the scenery were highlighted as the main reasons for adults going on a road trip.

The influence of social media has had a huge impact on destinations of choice, bringing increased awareness of less well-known areas, as well as ensuring that gems such as the Route 66 are still as popular as ever.

While views and scenery were important for older travellers, millennials are more focused on having a ‘new experience’. More than two thirds of millennials admitted the places they see on Instagram affect their choice of location, compared to just 13% of adults over 38. In fact, 30% said they are unlikely to visit somewhere if they’ve never seen photos of it on Instagram. Hashtags and location tags have become a new way to research the next travel destination and 4 in 10 millennials use the platform to discover new points of interest and places to visit.

The survey, conducted via OnePoll in December 2018, also found an average of 12 photos a day are taken on a holiday or a trip. 57% of respondents said they were most likely to take a photo of a landscape or cityscape while on a trip. Double the number of millennials compared to the over 38s are likely to take a photo of their food.

It seems that photographs make memories, with 36% of millennials saying that they would struggle to remember their trip if they didn’t post a photo of it, compared to 19% of over 38s. Furthermore, one in 10 admitted to visiting somewhere purely because they want to share it on Instagram.

Twenty per cent of respondents would like to combine creating their own route with a structured drive.

The top 10 most Insta-worthy road trips:

  1. Route 66 – U.S
  2. Grand Canyon – U.S
  3. Pacific Coast Highway –U.S
  4. West Coast Perth to Broome – Australia
  5. South Island Circuit – New Zealand
  6. Great Ocean Road – Australia
  7. Cowboy Trail – Canada
  8. The Argyll Coastal Route – Scotland
  9. Ring Road – Iceland
  10. Snowdonia – Wales

If you’re craving some genuine and kitschy Americana, look no further than the iconic Route 66. Read our comprehensive Route 66 Destination Guide here, which includes articles, episodes an tips galore!

Want to learn even more about the history, myths and legends behind this incredible road trip? Read out Route 66 Study Guide here.

Or travel with us around #9… incredible Iceland! In the first episode of our brand-new series, Tough Trucks – Iceland, we take viewers on a spectacular scenic journey with host Laura Guiauchain along the highways and back roads of the Nordic island country… across black desserts, bare volcanic rock and through rivers.

Travel trends: What will shape travel in the USA in 2019?

Travel trends: What will shape travel in the USA in 2019?

The way we travel is changing, and changing fast. New flight routes mean that lesser-known corners of the United States are easy to reach; new sports are emerging; and even the way we eat and socialise is evolving – food halls are now cool new places to hangout. These things and more, are set to shape the way we travel in the USA in 2019.

Strengthening of existing airline routes

Following a long list of new flight launches in 2018, 2019 will see airlines strengthening their routes and increasing flight regularity. Some examples include British Airways’ London to Nashville flight which will be increased from a three-times-weekly service to a daily service in summer 2019 – the airline’s fastest new route to increase to a daily service in 10 years. Delta is also increasing travel options to the U.S. from summer 2019 with a daily flight from London Heathrow to Portland International Airport (up from the four-times-weekly flight) which is the only nonstop link from the UK, plus a daily service to Detroit’s Wayne County Metropolitan Airport. In March 2019, Virgin Atlantic will introduce a double daily route for the UK’s shortest transatlantic route between London Heathrow and Boston.

Low-cost long-haul flight expansion

Meanwhile the increase in the availability of flights from low-cost airlines – namely Norwegian Air and WOW air – is making family travel to the U.S. more affordable. In 2018 Norwegian increased its service of London to Fort Lauderdale flights, improving access to Florida’s east coast and theme parks, while December 2018’s new seasonal route from Wow Air, which links London and Orlando three times a week until April 2019, has made the region more accessible for those travelling on a tighter budget.

The trendy way to road trip

The U.S. has long been synonymous with epic road trip holidays, but 2019 will see an alternative way to gain momentum: the camper van. RV holidays have been a favourite for Americans for decades, but thanks to #vanlife – one of the biggest wanderlust-inspiring hashtags on Instagram over the last few years – holidaymakers have also started to take note. The hashtag sees couples, solo travellers and families pack up their belongings and live out of a van or RV, with the U.S. front and centre of the awe-inspiring pictures. It’s increased interest in RV and camper van trips, with the U.S. being the perfect playground for initial adventures.

Luxury hotel scene continues to thrive

There are a huge number of luxury hotel launches in the U.S. throughout 2019. Chicago will welcome the opening of Nobu Chicago and the Hoxton Chicago (both opening in the up-and-coming meatpacking district), while Nashville will see the opening of Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels Nashville, which will open in the historic Music Row neighbourhood in December 2019, with the Margaritaville Nashville Hotel due to open in the SoBro neighbourhood in autumn 2019. Other stylish city openings will include the West Hollywood Edition, Hard Rock New Orleans, and the first Shinola hotel, which will open in Detroit. California will also see a host of luxury openings, with hotels ranging from the Four Seasons Napa Valley to the Rosewood Montecito.

Surfing holidays to become more popular

Following the announcement that surfing will be recognised as an official sport in the 2020 Olympics, all eyes are on America’s hottest surf destinations. The sport has quickly been gathering global recognition over the last decade as a fun way to enjoy the ocean, with physical and mental benefits to boot. Popular California surfing destinations will thrive: Huntington Beach, half way between Los Angeles and San Diego and officially dubbed Surf City USA, it is the site of the U.S. Open competition, and many of the city’s schools offer surf lessons as standard. Meanwhile, two wave parks constructed with state-of-the-art technology to create artificial waves now exist in Texas, with more to follow elsewhere – meaning surfing is no longer just the domain of coastal cities.

Music-focused travel leads the way

Music continues to be a key driver for travel to the U.S., whether it’s visiting for live concerts, or on pilgrimages to iconic music cities. New British Airways flights into Nashville and New Orleans over the last few months have opened up the Deep South, while the increase of services to Nashville is set to make the city an even-more popular destination for music lovers, particularly with new behind-the-scenes music experiences with Imagine Recordings, and the first-ever guided Music Row Walking Tour, which takes in prolific recording studios and publishing houses, launching in 2018. Elsewhere, new hotels in New Orleans will make NOLA’s jazz music scene more accessible, while Delta’s daily flight services and a shiny new Shinola hotel opening will put Detroit, the birthplace of Motown and techno, back on the map.

Packrafting goes mainstream

Packrafting – travelling by an inflatable raft that folds away into a backpack – is one of the coolest new ways to travel and reach undiscovered parts of the world, and the sport is already a firm favourite among U.S. locals (the American Packrafting Association reports that 76 percent of its members picked up the hobby in the last few years). While packrafting is relatively unheard of in Europe, U.S. states are filled with packrafting adventures. Visitors can paddle through the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska with Kennicott Guides, or see the Grand Canyon National park on six-day hiking and packrafting trip with Wildland Trekking in Arizona. The method of travel is set to become even-more popular in 2019, as travellers look to discover harder-to-reach terrain.

Food halls are the new food trucks

While food trucks remain popular with visitors to the UK, the way locals and visitors are consuming food is set to change. According to a report by commercial real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield, there were about 70 food halls in the country in 2015. By the beginning of 2020 it’s estimated that this figure will have tripled. This is thanks, in part, to the likes of Time Out Market – the brand opened its first food hall in Lisbon in 2014, and has since brought the concept to Miami, New York, Chicago and will be opening in Boston next year (it will be one of two food halls opening in the city next year). New York is home to 12 food halls, while Austin has four – with more on the way in both cities. The food halls (as opposed to food courts) are often cool and contemporary settings, with modern furniture, neon signs, and food outlets from some of the city’s top chefs – ensuring a quality and inexpensive dining experience.

The rise of solo travel… and the sharecation

Solo travel will continue to increase in popularity in 2019, with several companies and hotel groups easing booking and comfort for solo travellers – from Busabout, hop-on hop-off coach trips, to cool new hostels making solo travel affordable, without a single supplement. Coinciding with the trend for solo travel in the U.S. is the rise of the sharecation. Intrepid Travel reports that the group’s U.S. trips are more popular with solo travellers than any other destination – in 2018, 70% of passengers on Intrepid Travel’s U.S. trips travelled on their own (popular tours included Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Hawaii).

Holidays on horseback

Next year sees the launch of several new luxury ranch-style retreats that will put horse riding at the front and centre of their activity program. The Lodge at Blue Sky in Utah and Bishop’s Lodge in Santa Fe are just two of the retreats, while tour operator Ranch Rider reports on the trend of using horse riding as part of a wellness regime, thanks to its ability to clear minds and reduce stress. The company’s yoga and riding retreat in Arizona is returning for a second year in a row thanks to demand from travellers.

More Information

Visit The USA
Visit The USA focuses on inspiring travelers to experience the country’s vibrancy, culture and infinite possibilities unlike anywhere else in the world.

Want to learn more about USA? Watch our episode Empire Builders – America to learn about the buildings and structures that have shaped this nation’s history and identity.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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