The USA is home to so many incredible experiences from coast to coast and rural to urban. Travellers are invited to explore ever changing landscapes and discover diverse communities. www.GoUSA.in spotlights five U.S destinations that should be on the radar for 2024.
1. Kansas City, Missouri: Swiftmania set to drive record numbers
Kansas City is now firmly on the map thanks to one of the hottest new relationships to emerge in 2023. Queen of American pop and country music singer, Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce, has everyone rushing to the City of Fountains. Featuring over 200 water installations throughout the metro, it is a true sporting mecca, home to everything from soccer to pickleball. Preparations are underway to host Triple Crown Sports’ inaugural ‘PickleCon’ competition this August, one of America’s fastest growing sports, as well as the hotly anticipated FIFA World Cup in 2026. The city is also set to welcome the National Women’s Soccer League, Kansas City Current, for their debut at the new CPKC Stadium in 2024. The 11,500-seat venue will be the world’s first stadium purpose-built for a women’s professional sports team and is set to be the new tailgating hotspot. Off the field, visitors can enjoy the city’s thriving barbecue scene, with restaurants smoking everything from pork, beef and chicken to jackfruit, mushrooms and fish. For those visiting in autumn, The American Royal is the largest BBQ competition across the globe, with more than 600 teams competing and tens of thousands of spectators/tasters!
2. Santa Fe, New Mexico: America’s melting pot of creativity
With the breathtaking backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Santa Fe is both mystical and eclectic. The land has become renowned for its healing qualities and is a spiritual haven while its varied terrain has lured artists from all over the world. Native American, Spanish and Anglo-American cultures seamlessly blend forming a thriving creative community. Santa Fe is home to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (showcasing the ‘Making a Life’ exhibition until March 2024) as well as the fantastical Meow Wolf – which is a completely immersive art experience called ‘House of Eternal Return’ which has over 70 rooms created by local and community artists. The city is also home to eight Native American pueblos and the Santa Fe Indian Market, one of the largest and most prestigious Native American art shows in the world featuring artists from over 200 tribes (taking place on 17 – 18 August 2024). However, to truly appreciate the arts, culture and culinary landscape, look no further than the Art + Sol winter festival.
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: where old meets new
The birthplace of the U.S. and the first World Heritage City, Philadelphia is steeped in history, yet equally exudes a contemporary and vibrant culinary and arts scene. The Michelin Green Guide hails Philly as “an open-air museum” thanks to the 600+ sculptures and statues and over 4,400 outdoor murals. In late 2024, the Calder Gardens Museum is set to open, celebrating the impact that three generations of Calder family have had on Philadelphia. The city also has a strong culinary stake – dubbed a true epicurean’s heaven – foodies can find everything from street food, markets, fine dining to BYOB restaurants. Famed for its iconic cheesesteaks, hoagies, soft pretzels and water ice, the roast pork sandwich is arguably the real deal with DiNic’s Roast Pork drawing a line around its Reading Terminal Market outpost (one of the oldest and largest public markets in America) every day. For those with a sweet tooth, the Philly Tastykake comes in every flavour, from butterscotch to peanut butter.
4. St. Pete/Clearwater, Florida: From endless beaches to street art
Tucked away on a sun-drenched peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico lies St. Pete / Clearwater – a collection of 24 communities which perfectly weaves the great outdoors with an incredible art scene. Visitors are spoilt for choice with an award-winning 35 mile stretch of coastline on which to kick back and relax including National State Parks: Honeymoon Island (ideal for nature lovers looking to spot eagles, great horned owls and gopher tortoises or hike the three mile trail through one of the last remaining virgin slash pine forests) and Caladesi Island (one of the few untouched islands along the Gulf Coast and only accessible by boat). St. Pete is also an artistic enclave which is home to eight museums and 532 pieces of stunning street murals with Downtown St. Pete preparing for the 10th anniversary of the SHINE Mural Festival in October 2024. Visitors can also check out The Dali Museum’s unparalleled collection of Salvador Dali’s works, including the recently launched, Dali Alive 360° Dome, a multi-sensory immersive experience enveloping visitors in 360 degrees of light and sound. Another must-visit is the Imagine Museum which features contemporary glass art exhibits from around the world or the Chihuly Collection, the first installation of Dale Chihuly’s art.
5. Asheville, North Carolina: The majestic mountainous city
Nestled in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, surrounded by more than a million acres of protected wilderness and the tallest peaks in the East, Asheville prides itself on its Appalachian history and heritage. Combining music and the great outdoors, each summer, the Folk Heritage Committee invites visitors and locals alike to join in celebrations at ‘Shindig on the Green’, a free festival to support the preservation of traditional bluegrass music, dance and storytelling of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. For those looking to connect with nature, the mountain city boasts spectacular hiking, biking, water rafting and horseback riding trails, as well as the chance to get up close with wildlife, from bird watching to foraging bears and herds of elk. This spring, guests will be able to sleep under the stars in AutoCamp’s newest luxury airstream campsite, opening just 15 minutes north of town, along the banks of the French Broad River. Spoilt for choice, campers can also check into the new LOGE Asheville, set to open its first location in the Southeast next summer. Taking over the iconic landmark roadside motel, The Mountaineer Inn, the renovated property will include outdoor fire pits and bike racks in each room.