50 Reasons to Travel in 2020

If your New Year’s resolution is to travel more, or you just need ideas on where to go next, we have 50 reasons for you to explore the world in 2020.
 

Illustration by Muti.

1. British Columbia has the largest night market in North America.

Photograph courtesy of Tourism Richmond.

The Richmond Night Market turns 20 this year and attracts a million annual visitors with its 120 food vendors, 200 merchants, games and midway. This year, the market is open from May 8 to Oct. 12.

Read more: Eating Your Way Through the Richmond Night Market

2. You can hobnob with royalty.

Located inside a 16th-century house in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, the Abbey Strand Apartments at Holyrood’s feature design and decor inspired by the home’s former aristocratic residents. Its nine apartments have spiral staircases, medieval fireplaces and are on the doorstep of the monarch’s official Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

3. Austin has year-round music festivals.

Illustration by Muti.

As the birthplace of South by Southwest, Austin, Texas, knows festivals. The city hosts upwards of 14 throughout the year, including Austin City Limits Music Festival and Urban Music Festival.

4. A rainforest art park exists.

Set in the rainforest in Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize, the Poustinia Land Art Park is where art and nature mix. Faces are carved on trees, an abandoned Cadillac rests and rusts, and a 400-foot stone labyrinth is being reclaimed by nature.

5. Overwater bungalows really are as cool as they sound.

The Chairman overwater bungalows, photograph courtesy of Royalton Antigua.

Snooze right above the Caribbean Sea at Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa’s overwater bungalows. These adults-only villas have butler service, personal yoga classes and a private, infinity plunge pool.

6. Portland’s hotels are getting even cooler.

The ground floor of Portland’s KEX, photograph by Jeremy Fenske

Iceland-based KEX just opened its first U.S. location in Portland, Ore., and it is flottur (a.k.a. chic). Housed in a restored 1912 building, the hotel features single and shared rooms, a sauna and a restaurant and rooftop bar helmed by chef Alex Jackson from renowned San Francisco restaurant Sons and Daughters.

7. Toronto is making theatrical dreams come true.

Illustration by Muti.

Two big musicals are making their Canadian debuts at the city’s Ed Mirvish Theatre: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hugely popular Hamilton arrives in February, followed by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in late 2020.

8. You need a ski vacation and an aprés-ski city experience.

Photograph by CFREY/Winter Park Express.

The Winter Park Express ski train by Amtrak means you can spend your days skiing at Colorado’s Winter Park Resort and be back in Denver for evenings spent enjoying the city’s more than 70 craft breweries, exciting restaurants and robust art scene.

9. Nova Scotia dedicates a whole month to lobster.

Illustration by Muti.

Year-round, the province’s South Shore is a lobster-lover’s dream, but things really kick up a notch in February during the month-long Nova Scotia Lobster Crawl, with more than 150 activities dedicated to the crustacean.

10. It’s time to get into the spirit for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

Photograph courtesy of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum.

You don’t have to cross the Pacific to experience the allure of the games. Colorado Springs’ new United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum includes torches and a Hall of Fame.

11. You can finally put that diving certification to good use.

Photograph by Shawn Jackson.

Book a trip to Roatán, Honduras, which is bordered by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the world’s second largest coral reef. In these temperate waters, divers will likely spot moray eels, whale sharks and sea turtles, plus towering coral walls.

12. California is a culinary delight.

Sushi Ginza Onodera, photograph by Wonho Frank Lee.

California is the first U.S. state to get its own Michelin Guide, an honour usually given to individual cities. Foodies can now eat at 90 Michelin-starred restaurants from Palm Springs (try the seasonal amuse bouche at Farm) and L.A. (Sushi Ginza Onodera serves traditional edomae sushi) to San Francisco (don’t miss the black cod with squid and saffron at Quince).

13. Because you’re still obsessed with LEGO…

“The Factory” at Legoland New York, photograph courtesy of Legoland.

The newest theme park on the block, LEGOLAND New York Resort (about an hour-and-a-half north of NYC), opens July 4 with attractions covering 150 acres and seven themed lands.

14. …And you really love doughnuts.

If the doughnut-glaze waterfall doesn’t get you to Krispy Kreme’s new flagship store in Times Square, the world’s largest hot light indicating fresh doughnuts might.

15. You’ve never been to the Super Bowl

Photograph courtesy of Hard Rock Stadium.

And it likely won’t snow in Miami on February 2.

Read more: A Guide to Miami, Florida

16. Edmonton is crushing it right now.

The Art Gallery of Alberta in Edmonton, photograph courtesy of the EEDC Digital Library.

Alberta’s capital is receiving international attention and popping up on everyone’s “Where to Go” lists, thanks in part to its newly named Arts District, its revitalized downtown (bolstered by the Rogers Place arena) and a food scene that draws continuous accolades. Plus, the luxurious JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District, the third hotel of its kind in Canada, recently opened downtown. It boasts a spa, state-of-the-art fitness centre and four Oliver & Bonacini eateries.

17. The Northern Lights are truly magical.

Photograph by Ken Phung/Shutterstock.

Canada’s Northwest Territories is among the best places in the world to view the aurora borealis. Here, these impressive lights dance across the sky upwards of 200 nights a year, with peak season running from mid-November to April. In March, Yellowknife hosts the Naka Festival, a week-long celebration featuring northern light photography lessons, aurora presentations and cultural events.

Read more: The Best Places in Canada to See the Northern Lights

18. You love surfing, but can’t take the heat.

Photograph by CreaCart/iStock.

With its sandy bays and rugged coastlines, the United Kingdom is emerging as a top surf spot (especially in the fall). Newquay in Cornwall, England, is hailed as the home of British surfing, but beyond that, you’ll find surfers in coastal towns such as Portrush (Northern Ireland), Thurso East (Scotland) and Tynemouth (England), and at human-made spots like Surf Snowdonia in Wales and The Wave near Bristol, England.

19. Canadian Art still impresses.

Courtesy of National Gallery of Canada.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Group of Seven, Canada’s most famous impressionist landscape painters. Here are three locales in Ontario for fans of the Group to check out:

Algonquin Provincial Park: This area is the backdrop to many of the Group’s paintings.

St. Anne’s Anglican Church: You’ll find the Seven’s only religious works at this Toronto church.

National Gallery of Canada: This Ottawa museum has 100-plus pieces from the Group on display.

20. Memphis is having a moment.

Illustration by Muti.

This Tennessee city (about three hours from Nashville) is seeing big changes. Aside from an expansion of Elvis Presley’s Graceland, the city upgraded its downtown trolley system, is investing in arts and culture (including the completed renovation of the National Civil Rights Museum) and is revitalizing its neighbourhoods. There are also 29 hotels in the works around the area.

21. There are more than 500 varieties of cheese in Quebec.

Enough said.

Read more: Quebec Chef Insider: Cheese-maker Brother Patrick Flageole

22. Canada’s National Parks are aging beautifully.

Photograph by Chris LaBasco/iStock.

This year, Kootenay National Park in B.C. turns 100 and joins other centenarians like Elk Island (Alta.), Glacier (B.C.) and Point Pelee (Ont.) national parks.

23. Things are about to get a whole lot artsier in Winnipeg.

The WAG Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is set to open this year in Manitoba’s capital. This innovative space will be the world’s largest Inuit art gallery and home to the largest collection of Inuit art—the WAG currently holds in trust a collection of more than 13,000 Inuit pieces.

Read more: Where to Stay, What to Do and Where to Eat in Winnipeg

24. You want to see a residency in Las Vegas.

Illustration by Muti.

Few cities attract as many artists as Vegas. Here are some of 2020’s biggest music residencies:

Rod Stewart: The fabled singer returns to Vegas in March to perform at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

Sting: The former Police frontman has some 40 years of material to choose from when he performs at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, starting in May.

Foreigner: Beginning in January, this classic rock band will bring its greatest hits to the Venetian Theatre.

25. All roads lead to Rome.

Photograph by Stefano Valeri/Shutterstock.

Dating back to 312 B.C., the 62-kilometre Appian Way helped build an empire. At Rome’s Appian Way Regional Park, you can visit ruins, churches, catacombs and the sites of ancient chariot races.

26. Monterey is turning the big 2-5-0.

Photograph by Frankix/iStock.

Since its founding in 1770, Monterey, Calif., has survived the Mexican American War, inspired the tonalist art movement and hosted the Monterey International Pop Music Festival, a legendary event during 1967’s Summer of Love. Now, its Old Town Historic District draws visitors to First Theatre (the state’s oldest), the 1794 San Carlos Cathedral and an old, adobe-built whaling station.

27. You can now get away from it all in Whitby, Ontario.

Quebec-based Groupe Nordik recently opened its third Nordik Spa-Nature in a tree-strewn park in Whitby, about an hour east of Toronto. The spa boasts seven outdoor pools, eight saunas, a saltwater pool to float in and relaxation areas.

28. You can’t get enough of the mouse.

Illustration by Muti.

New rides are heading to California’s Disneyland Resort and Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort.

At Disneyland Resort:

At Walt Disney World Resort:

29. You want to eat poutine in Montreal…

Photograph by Alice Wong (@alicelovesadventure).

…And try its bagels. When it comes to food, Montreal is a serious culinary-overachiever. Dine on French specialties and international cuisine, and visit the city’s many bakeries and markets.

30. You’ve always wanted to attend a powwow.

Powwows are celebrations of North America’s Indigenous culture, where members of the community gather to sing, dance, feast and honour their ancestors’ traditions.

Kamloopa Powwow (Kamloops, B.C.)

Experience storytelling, song and dance in traditional regalia at this celebration of First Nations’ culture. (July 31 to Aug. 1, 2020.)

Manito Ahbee Festival (Winnipeg, Man.)

Join more than 800 dancers and some of the nation’s top drum groups at this festival. (May 13 to 17, 2020.)

Tsuut’ina Nation Pow-wow (Bragg Creek, Alta.)

Held at Redwood Meadows Pow- wow Grounds outside of Calgary, this event features traditional, fancy, grass, chicken and jingle dance styles. (July 24 to 26, 2020.)

31. There’s a place in Oregon called Boring that is home to a Bigfoot museum.

Illustration by Muti.

Yes, it’s really called Boring, but the North American Bigfoot Center helps shake any assumption about the town’s name. This new museum was created by researcher Cliff Barackman, who travelled the world for years searching for sasquatches on Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot.

32. You want to celebrate American Thanksgiving, Pilgrim-style.

Illustration by Muti.

Grab your buckle hat and head to Plymouth, Mass., to celebrate American Thanksgiving and the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower reaching New England. From Nov. 20 to 22, Plymouth will celebrate with a parade honouring the 1620 crossing and a candle-lighting procession led by descendants of the ship’s original passengers dressed like their pilgrim ancestors.

33. You’re in need of alone time.

Photograph by Paul Williams/Alamy.

The Orkney Islands, located off Scotland’s northeastern coast, are made up of 70 islands and islets, two-thirds of which are uninhabited. Take in the wildflowers and UNESCO sites on a hike or coastal walk, stroll the city of Kirkwall or enjoy a tour and tasting at a whisky distillery.

34. You love beer so much, you want to bathe in it.

Illustration by Muti.

Located about three hours from Portland, Ore., in the tiny town of Sisters, is Hop in the Spa, North America’s first beer spa. While this concept is relatively new to North America, Europeans (mostly Eastern) have been bathing in beer for centuries. The therapeutic benefits come from the hops, which are packed with skin-brightening and soothing vitamin B.

35. You’re hungry for a culinary escape.

Photograph by Roberto Valdivia.

Rumour has it Mazatlán, Mexico, is on track to receive a UNESCO creative city in gastronomy designation by 2021. The city is rediscovering its culinary roots and connecting innovative chefs with its bounty of fresh sea and land produce.

36. Historic buildings are being reimagined.

Photograph courtesy of Powerhouse Brewing Company.

Housed inside the former Kellogg’s Plant, 100 Kellogg Lane in London, Ont., is Canada’s largest indoor entertainment complex. Here’s what to experience:

Powerhouse Brewing Company: Take a brewery tour and sample some of its craft beer, such as the Deep Cycle Porter.

The Factory: This massive adventure centre features ziplining, escape rooms, a trampoline park and an arcade.

Paradigm Spirits Co.: Enjoy a sip at this speakeasy, which serves spirits made from the same grains as Kellogg’s cereal, before taking a cocktail workshop.

37. Your happy place is going on a long bike ride.

Clean your drivetrain and adjust your brakes, because by the end of 2020, you will be able to cycle 1,200 kilometres of un- broken trail from New York City to Canada and from Buffalo to Albany on the new Empire State Trail.

38. Galway is showing off how cool it is.

Photograph by David L. Moore/Alamy.

Galway is set to flaunt its artsy side as the 2020 European Capital of Culture. The Irish city’s year-long program includes a sheep symposium with a food fair and tapestry exhibition, music and theatre festivals, and a mirror installation in an ancient bog.

Read more: Three Days in Galway, Ireland

39. The eco-curious in you wants to explore.

Photograph by Galyna Andrushko/Alamy.

With 29 national parks, more than 50 wildlife refuges, eight biological reserves and a series of protected areas, Costa Rica, albeit small, comprises more than five per cent of the earth’s biodiversity and is a haven for curious eco-warriors.

Read more: Where to Stay, What to Do and Where to Eat in Costa Rica

40. Nashville is the place to learn about music.

There’s a reason Nashville is called Music City. Adding to its long list of attractions is the new National Museum of African American Music. Opening this summer, the museum celebrates 50-plus genres of music and has five galleries and a theatre.

Read more: Nashville Behind-the-Scenes: Museums, Art Galleries, Music Venues and Locally Owned Stores

41. Because… Champagne.

Photograph by Gautier Stephane/Alamy.

It’s all about bubbles in the city of Reims, the heart of France’s Champagne region. The area is full of vineyards, wine shops and historic sites to explore—and plenty of vintages to sip.

42. On May 12, Manitoba is celebrating its sesquicentennial.

It’s 150 years old.

43. You need to know what a meat and three is.

Photograph by Sarah Conrad Juniper.

This famed Southern dish consists of one meat, like fried chicken or country-fried steak, and three vegetable sides—think collard greens, potatoes, corn or mac and cheese (considered a veggie in the South). Find your favourite combo in Atlanta at local eateries such as The Busy Bee and The Colonnade Restaurant.

Read more: The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Atlanta

44. You need some artistic inspiration.

Pablo Picasso’s “La Soupe,” courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

North American museums are host- ing some big-deal exhibits this year.

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism at the Portland Art Museum. This exhibit (June 13 to Sept. 27) features works from Mexico’s avant-garde movement.

Norman Rockwell: American Freedom at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
On until March 22, this travelling exhibit is the first devoted to the painter’s Four Freedoms series.

Picasso: Painting the Blue Period at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Works from the artist’s most celebrated era will be on display from June 27 to Sept. 20.

45. Saint Lucia rules the wellness scene.

Photograph by Jenelle Ernest.

This lush, Caribbean island is home to natural mineral and mud baths, and a variety of award-winning well- ness resorts, including Sugar Beach, Stonefield Villa Resort and Marigot Bay Resort and Marina.

Read more: Finding Wellness in Saint Lucia

46. You want to escape your kids…

Photograph courtesy of Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort.

Aruba’s adults-only Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort caters to couples with a “romance concierge” who can arrange everything from dinners on the beach to a sunset boat trip. This resort is also a TAG (Travel Advocacy Group) property, meaning it’s LGBTQ+ friendly.

Read more: A Guide to Aruba

47. …But you also love hanging out with them.

Photograph by Kamira/Shutterstock.

Head to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Areas such as Cancun and Riviera Maya cater to kids with just about every activity imaginable—think adventure parks, cenotes (natural swimming holes), waterfalls and jungle ziplines—and plenty of resorts feature kid-friendly amenities.

48. Sometimes, you just want to shop.

Not only is Barcelona packed with big-name brands, the city’s tourism board has curated activities for the style-savvy with its Barcelona Shopping City program. Take a guided shopping tour to modern ateliers, local shops and historic establishments, or sign up for a workshop to learn how to make jewelry, silk fans or perfume.

49. You want to be creeped out.

Illustration by Muti.

Ghost stories abound in Canada, but the East Coast has some particularly spine-tingling tales.

Capitol Theatre, Moncton, N.B.

When a cold wind blows through this theatre, it’s said to be caused by Alexander Lindsay, a firefighter who died here in the 1920s.

L’Anse aux Meadows, N.L.

Legend has it a ghostly Viking ship still sails the sea headed toward L’Anse aux Meadows (North America’s first Norse settlement). Locals have reported hearing— usually in June—people screaming and Viking horns sounding near the town’s shore.

50. Catching a glimpse of these rare creatures is priceless.

Photograph by Steven J. Kazlowski/Alamy.

British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, a 6.4-million-hectare area that runs along the central and northern coasts of B.C., is the only place in the world where you can see white Kermode bears, a.k.a. Spirit Bears.

[This story appears in the January 2020 edition of WestJet Magazine.]

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