“Where to go in 2019” articles started cropping up about the time we were setting the table for Thanksgiving. They’re always a mad array of destinations; every travel magazine, guide book, and newspaper puts out a list.
The lists are fun to read, but, really…I don’t see myself popping over to Senegal or Uzbekistan in the foreseeable future. And frankly, these are pricey trips. So, I’ve put together my own “Where to go in 2019” list. The places are interesting, practical, and affordable–but at the end, I do toss in a couple of if-I-win-the-lottery spots. (We can all fantasize, right??)
Where to go in 2019: TravelSmart Woman’s Suggestions
I’ve gleaned the research of others, and will give credit where due. They’re the ones who found the anniversaries and attractions. Each source has different criteria for how they choose destinations; I like to mix them up. The ranking is mine.
- Puerto Rico: Postpone that Caribbean cruise and soak up the history, culture, and tropical climate of our Commonwealth friends. It’s #1 on the New York Times list, too. It’s been a long road back from Hurricane Maria; simply put, Puerto Rico needs us. Many hotels required major renovation; restaurants and businesses suffered from lack of tourists. If you do take a cruise out of San Juan, consider adding a few days on the island to volunteer. Puerto Rico-based ConsumersAdvocate.org has a list of organizations that are dedicated to rebuilding in 2019. (Source: New York Times)
- New York State: It’s a big year for anniversaries in The Empire State. Seneca Falls and Brooklyn will be celebrating Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday; Jackie Robinson would be 100 years old and the Jackie Robinson Museum will open in NYC later this year. Boomers will want to visit for two 50th memorable anniversaries: Woodstock and the Stonewall Inn uprising. Get out of the city and visit The Adirondacks, Finger Lakes and Niagara Falls. Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse await! Here’s a list of ten places in New York State to inspire you. (Sources: Frommer’s, New York Times, Travel+Leisure)
- Memphis, Tennessee: The birthplace of rock ‘n roll is throwing itself a 200th birthday party in 2019, and you’re invited. Graceland is looking good after a $45 million facelift. History fans should visit the National Civil Rights Museum. located in the Lorraine Hotel, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago. Get some exercise at the Big River Crossing, the country’s longest pedestrian/bike bridge. It’s a mile across the Mississippi, and bicycles can be rented. From sunset to 10pm, catch the hourly light show. (Source: Frommer’s)
- Virginia: The colony of Virginia began 400 years ago, in English North America. It was a good news/bad news situation: The good news is that the Jamestown settlement would be the very beginning of what would develop into the United States. The bad news: Slaves were brought from Africa, right from the start. Colonial Williamsburg–along with Yorktown, part of Jamestown–is on the NYT list for 2019. The Virginia Museum of History & Culture, in Richmond, continues the story of the state, including the African-American experience. (Sources: Frommer’s and New York Times)
- Chicago, Illinois: Not on any other list, I can’t help but promote my hometown. Any time of the year, it delights. Last year, two new food halls opened: Wells Street Market in the Loop and Aster Hall in the upscale 900 North Michigan Shops (think Bloomingdale’s). In 2019, Time Out Market is coming to the West Loop. The Chicago Architecture Center is in a bigger and brighter home. You may know of its stellar Chicago River Architecture Tour (accept no substitutes) but it offers about 100 others, all over the city. Get away from Michigan Avenue and discover “my” city.
- Normandy, France: It’s the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. With the current world tension, it’s appropriate to remember those who gave their lives to protect democracy and freedom. Only a couple of hours from Paris, Normandy should be part of your itinerary if you’re going to Paris–or Europe, for that matter–in 2019. Events are planned all year; visit the Normandy Tourism website to find out more. (Source: Frommer’s)
- Canada: I know, it’s a huge country. But it’s close, friendly–and very affordable, due to the exchange rate. Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a place in Canada to find it. Go to Quebec City or Montreal; you’ll feel like you’re in France, without the jet lag. Go to Vancouver, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Go to Banff for spectacular scenery. Go to Manitoba to see the Churchill Bears. Here’s a video to get your started. Then visit the Destination Canada site. It’s all good! (Source: TravelSmartWoman.com)
- Matera, Italy: Admittedly, not easy to reach, but for fans of all-things-Italian, Matera exemplifies classic “where to go in 2019.” Located in Basilicato (the “arch of the heel of the boot”) and dating back to 7,000 B.C., caves built into the chalk cliffs housed early Man. The cave homes were abandoned in the 1950s, after the state evacuated the residents; there was filth and poverty. About 30 years later, entrepreneurs, boutique hotels, and restaurants reclaimed those very same caves. Behold, Matera is now a 2019 European Capital of Culture. There was supposed to be a high-speed train in time to get visitors to Matera this year, but in typical Italian style, the project is delayed… (Sources: Conde-Nast Traveler, Frommer’s, Travel+Leisure)
- Singapore: Maybe it’s the Crazy Rich Asians effect, but Singapore is in the spotlight. It’s also been 200 years since the British got there. The mix of Malaysian, Indian, and Chinese cultures makes for a unique experience. Then there’s the over-the-top architecture…and a $800 million garden project that will include every plant on earth. At the other end of the price spectrum, enjoy a $1.50 bowl of noodles–Michelin-starred! Visit Singapore has more information. (Source: Frommer’s)
- Egypt: Fantastic news: Egypt is open for business again! For the first time in nearly ten years–since the political unrest and overthrow of Hosni Mubarak–hotels and tours are filling up. The $1 billion Grand Egyptian Museum opening starts opening in 2019; it will display all 5,000 artifacts from King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Security is tight at tourist sites, so if you’ve always wanted to go, there’s hope you can finally get there. (Sources: Conde-Nast Traveler, Frommer’s)
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