15 Places To Visit In 2015

Explore a city in transition, savour the island life and discover a province’s natural charms


 

St. Lucia

St Lucia’s gorgeous beaches may be what lure you there, but it’s the eco adventures that will ultimately win you over. Zip-line through the rainforest, hike the interior Piton Mountains (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), snorkel the pristine coral reefs teeming with marine life and wander right into the centre of Soufriere Volcano—the world’s only drive-in volcano.

Nassau, Bahamas

Pristine beaches and crystalline waters are enticement enough to visit the Bahamas. But after four years of buzz around the massive US$3.2 billion complex being built along Nassau’s Cable Beach, there’s a new reason to visit in 2015. Opening in late spring, Baha Mar is more than a resort—at three-million-plus square feet, it encompasses four separate hotels, countless dining and nightlife options and the Caribbean’s largest casino.

Ireland

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If you’re thinking 2015 is the year for an epic road trip, we have four words for you: Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. At 2,500 km long, it runs along the country’s entire west coast and is the world’s longest defined coastal touring route. Plus, it delivers on everything a road-tripper could want: jaw-dropping views, picturesque towns and friendly people at every stop.

Toronto

Toronto is no stranger to the mega-festival. From one of the world’s largest Pride celebrations to North America’s biggest Caribbean carnival, the city knows how to party. And this year the party gets even bigger when Ontario’s capital hosts the Pan American Games from July 10 to 26. Tens of thousands of athletes and spectators will descend on Toronto to take part in the action, which includes not only sporting competitions, but also cultural celebrations ranging from massive public concerts to intimate theatrical performances.

Kauai, Hawaii

With its lush botanical gardens, deep canyons and cascading waterfalls, “The Garden Island” is the perfect destination for the traveller with eco adventure in mind. Take a stand-up paddle yoga class before hiking the 18-km Kalalau Trail to the Napali Coast. Visit Waimea Canyon, a.k.a. “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” tour a coffee plantation or walk through the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

Twillingate, NFLD.

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Photo by Terry Adey

Colourful houses, rugged coastlines, hospitable people and 10,000-year-old icebergs quietly floating by—the community of Twillingate, located on Iceberg Alley and accessible via a series of causeways and bridges, is the quintessential Newfoundland outport. If you go in spring or summer you could spend your time whale watching, gazing at icebergs that have broken away from the glaciers of western Greenland, hiking spectacular coastal trails—or, if you’re lucky, all three.

Chicago

You can’t go to Chicago without noticing its architecture—that iconic skyline, the diversity of the buildings and the countless references to Frank Lloyd Wright. Starting on October 1 and running to January 3, 2016, the city is hosting a massive festival—The Chicago Architecture Biennial—that will be both a brainstorming session for leaders in the field and a public celebration of the city’s many stunning structures. It will be a vibrant time to visit and get your fill of marble foyers, iron gates and neoclassical facades. 

Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Craving an inspirational island getaway? Trust us, a trip to Salt Spring Island delivers. Boasting some of the best weather on Canada’s West Coast, Salt Spring Island is the largest and most-visited of British Columbia’s Southern Gulf Islands, and yet this gorgeous spot, with its forested hills and sparkling lakes, still exudes a peaceful island vibe. Unwind with a stroll along a tranquil beach, then delve into an internationally acclaimed arts scene that features a heady mix of artists, galleries and studios galore.

San Diego

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This year marks the centennial of a big San Diego attraction—the 1,200-acre Balboa Park, originally built to host the Panama-California Exposition of 1915. The celebration was all about the newly completed Panama Canal. This one takes a look back at the last 100 years. What does that mean for visitors? Great events and exhibits all year long, including a ramped-up San Diego County Fair.

Fort Worth, Tex.

With a newly revitalized downtown, Fort Worth is upping its cultural game. Take in a world-class show at the Bass Performance Hall, enjoy great shopping and nightlife in Sundance Square and delight in the city’s burgeoning culinary scene at the second annual Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival in March. It’s not just about cowboys in this incredibly friendly city.

Loreto, Mexico

If busy resort towns aren’t for you, book an escape to this laid-back fishing village, a new WestJet destination starting in February. Savour an authentic Mexican experience in Loreto, rich in more than 300 years of history. Stroll through ancient monuments, enjoy the calm waters of the Sea of Cortez in a kayak or panga boat and chat with a local chef as he or she prepares your fresh catch. Here, you can unplug from life’s distractions amid the Sierra de la Giganta mountains.

New Brunswick

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Image courtesy Tourism New Brunswick

From the reversing rapids of Saint John to Moncton’s Magnetic Hill, if you’re a fan of the extraordinary, then a trip to New Brunswick will not disappoint. The recent opening of the causeway gates on the Petitcodiac River have seen a return of the Bay of Fundy’s tidal bore (a strong tide travelling upriver against the current) to the stretch of the river between Moncton and Riverview. The resulting swell is attracting professional surfers worldwide who are eager to ride the 29-km wave. New Brunswick tops our list for a scenic phenomenon fix.

Mesa, Ariz.

For baseball fans, a trip to Mesa, Ariz., to watch some spring training (starting in March) is really a must. Mesa has been the spring training home of the Chicago Cubs since 1952. It is now also the location of baseball’s newest stadium, Cubs Park. Built to resemble famed Wrigley Field with its familiar green scoreboard and brick walls, Cubs Park offers a comfortable afternoon (70 per cent of seats are in the shade) and drew an astonishing average of 14,000-plus fans per game when it opened last year. This baseball mecca is less than 30 minutes from Phoenix on the handy Metro Light Rail.

Disneyland

It’s the 60th anniversary this year, and you know that’s going to mean a big celebration. Attractions and events will be announced in early 2015. For now, all we can do is trust it will be worth the wait. With Disney, it always is.

Glasgow

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Scotland’s largest city has transformed into one of the most exciting cultural hubs in the UK thanks to its vibrant arts and shopping scenes. If those aren’t reasons enough to visit, 2015 is also the “Year of Food & Drink” in the city and throughout the rest of Scotland, with events scheduled all year long. 

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