The United States is a vast nation of contrasts, from the wild and wonderful, to the weird and wacky. Whenever you choose to travel, there’s always something new to discover. Below we listed some exciting updates and happenings across several states, so have a glance then pack your bags and head out out on an adventure to that country south of us that we share a border with.

Albuquerque (NM):
• Also known as the Flamenco Capital of North America, Albuquerque is home to the National Institute of Flamenco (NIF), which is devoted to preserving and promoting this art form. Presented by the NIF, in partnership with the University of New Mexico and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque celebrates everything to do with flamenco for nine days June 21-29, 2024 with the largest flamenco festival outside of Spain, Festival Flamenco Alburquerque. This rich history in the city dates back to the 19th century.
• August is Wine Month in New Mexico. Albuquerque, New Mexico is known for many things – the birthplace of Breaking Bad, the famed Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, green/red chiles – but its expansive and now a growing wine scene that’s home to the location where Spanish colonists began winemaking 400+ years ago, which includes boasting the oldest wine-making region in the USA, where grapes prosper from the area’s high elevation and sandy soil. Must Visit Wineries include Casa Rondeña Winery, Gruet Winery,  Pasando Tiempo Winery and The Rosé Bar.

Bardstown (KY):
• The Bourbon Capital of the World, will host the inaugural National Bourbon Week June 11-16, featuring exclusive experiences, events, and the unveiling of the 2024 Bardstown Collection by renowned distilleries.
• With only three barrels crafted per distillery and less than 500 bottles available from each, the Bardstown Collection 2024 promises to be an elite bourbon affair, enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. Featured distilleries this year include Bardstown Bourbon Company, James B. Beam Distillery, Limestone Branch Distillery, Log Still Distillery, Lux Row Distillery, Makers Mark and Preservation Distillery.

Estes Park, Colorado:
• Visit Estes Park, is breaking new ground in 2024 with its innovative use of artificial intelligence (AI). Powered by Matador Network’s GuideGeek AI software, Rocky Mountain Roamer is a new way to plan travel to Estes Park and the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
• Visitors can rely on the Rocky Mountain Roamer to obtain fast answers and instantly find the best in lodging, things to do, restaurants and bars, travel routes, safety information and more.

Hamilton County (Indiana):
• Hotel Nickel Plate brings a high-end, boutique hotel experience to downtown Fishers. Adjacent to the Nickel Plate Trail – formerly the site of the Nickel Plate Railroad, the hotel’s design draws inspiration from the historic railroad and features black brick with limestone accents.
• Grand Universe, the much-anticipated science and space experience, will break ground on the day of the Total Solar Eclipse on April 8. Once it officially opens in 2025, visitors will experience a fully operational replica of NASA’s Mission Control Center, an 8K Ultrahigh Definition Digital Planetarium and Virtual Reality Theater.
• The Smithsonian-affiliated Conner Prairie (one of the most visited outdoor museums in the country) is set to debut “Promised Land as Proving Ground” this spring. The groundbreaking experience is dedicated to immersing oneself into the many ways African culture influenced what is known today as “American” culture.

• The Commons at Hermann Park is set to open in spring 2024, featuring a 26-acre oasis with Play Gardens featuring a carousel, a 45-foot-tall Rocket Ship slide, and a splash cove.
• Head to Houston’s Art Car Parade April 11-14 to see hundreds of the city’s most outlandish folk art creations on wheels! It’s a vibrant celebration of creativity, community, and artistic expression that’s fun for all ages.
• Houston, home of NASA, is definitely renowned for innovation and being on the cutting edge. You can find this across all disciplines from arts to restaurants like a raman shop with its own OnlyFans, or the soon-to-open interactive art installations at Meowolf.

• On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will sweep across southern Indiana from southwest to northeast. Every part of the state will experience either 100% or 90% totality. Depending on the location in Indiana, the partial eclipse will begin shortly after 1:30p.m. ET, with the total eclipse occurring around 3:00p.m. ET. In preparation for the eclipse, Visit Indiana has launched a website that’s dedicated strictly to the 2024 Solar Eclipse:
• “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” takes place in Indianapolis on Sunday, May 26 when 33 engines will soar to life during The Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Leading up to the Indy 500, the city of Indianapolis hosts several events, including the AES 500 Festival Parade on May 25, which ranks among the nation’s most prominent parades.

• Top Chef Season 21 heads to “The Culinary Capital of the Midwest” with new host, Season 10 winner Krisin Kish. Great local eateries to shine throughout.
• Opening in May 2024, the $456 million expansion of downtown Milwaukee’s Baird Center will double the convention center space to total more than 1.3 million square feet.
• Milwaukee is hosting the Republican National Convention in July, an opportunity to showcase all of the vibrant, energetic offerings that this world-class city provides. (more info available on what to see and do during the convention). The convention will generate about $200 million in direct and direct economic impact.
• Held over three weekends, Summerfest, “The World’s Largest Music Festival,” features hundreds of artists on multiple stages, delicious food and so much more.

• First Quiet Trail in North America: The Niobrara National Scenic River received an official “Quiet Trail” award from Quiet Parks International in recognition of the river corridor’s pristine natural soundscape largely free from man-made noise. The Niobrara is the second Quiet Trail in the world and the first to be designated in North America. Hundreds of springs and wetlands throughout the Sandhills—one of the largest grass-stabilized dune regions in the world – drain into the Niobrara River, and more than 230 waterfalls are featured in the river’s western stretch. Six major ecosystems converge in the river valley in a unique way, resulting in a special mix of about 160 plant and animal species.
• North Fork Riverfront Project: The City of Norfolk continues its $14 million riverfront renewal project to bring more recreation to the north fork of the Elkhorn River. Eight 18-inch whitewater rapids-style drops have been added between the First Street railroad bridge and the Norfolk Avenue bridge. Further changes will offer more ways to enjoy the water, whether by kayak or at a new beach. The ongoing project also includes plans for an amphitheater with a permanent stage, festival space and entertainment spaces for young people, including playground-style equipment. An abandoned railroad bridge has also been moved downstream and incorporated into the trail system.

New Hampshire:
• Riverwalk Resort’s much anticipated expansion is set to be completed in the spring of 2024. The development includes 66 additional luxury units, an expansion of the on-site winery Seven Birches (the new space will span 10,000 square feet over two stories), a new day spa, a Grand Ballroom, and the unveiling of a second restaurant Rhythm Tap & Grille, an upscale American grille.

South Carolina:
• The first PGA Tour event in Myrtle Beach history, takes place May 9-12, 2024, during the inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club.
• The Notebook premiered 20 years ago on June 25, 2004! Two decades later, it is now a Broadway musical, “set jet” to South Carolina to visit the iconic film locations in and around Charleston.
• New and renovated boutique hotels opening: The George and Compass Hotel North Myrtle Beach.

South Walton (FL):
• The renowned Digital Graffiti Festival returns to Alys Beach May 17-18, 2024. Artists create an immersive, interactive art projection and architecture experience that has earned it recognition as one of National Geographic’s “24 Unconventional Art Destinations Around the World.”

• Escape to the enchanting night skies of Northeast Tennessee along the new Tennessee Night Sky Trail, where nine breathtaking spots await stargazing adventures.
• CaveJam is a new three-day camping festival this Memorial Day weekend at The Caverns, offering live music with new glamping accommodations.
• Opening spring 2024, Appalachia Ridge, another new camping and glamping resort, will blend luxury and heritage of the region.
• July kicks off the start of the Copperhill Special train ride experience, an unforgettable eight-hour excursion in a historic train car covering 94 miles of stunning rivers, mountains and flourishing spring foliage.

Tupelo (MS)
• Located adjacent to the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tupelo, the upcoming Chickasaw Heritage Center will break ground this summer – creating an opportunity for Chickasaw citizens to reconnect and for visitors to interpret the rich history of the Chickasaw people.
• Can’t help but shake, rattle, and roll to the Tupelo Elvis Festival, June 6-9! Don your blue suede shoes ready and celebrate the King of Rock n’ Roll’s roots with live music, contents and impersonators galore!

• In the summer, families visiting the Waterpark Capital of the World, Wisconsin Dells, will find the tallest waterslide in the nation. Sitting at 145 feet tall, “The Rise of Icarus” will be unveiled at Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park Resort, along with five new waterslides and additional water features.
• Nearby, another popular Wisconsin Dells waterpark will complete its multi-million-dollar renovation: Kalahari Resorts and Conventions will be welcoming more families this summer with 237 new guest rooms, a completely redesigned Spa Kalahari & Salon, refreshed food and beverage offerings and new attractions.
• Trek Bikes (one of the most trusted cycling brands in the world which was founded in Wisconsin) will unveil their new Trek Trails Powered by OTM.

Columbia (MO):
• African American History Trail Expansion: The city will be expanding its existing African American history trail with the acquisition of the McKinney Building. This will be a long-term project enhancing the city’s commitment to Black history and black-related stories.
• Unbound Book Festival (April 18-21, 2024): With a mission of bringing together readers and writers to create a diverse community, this Festival brings internationally and nationally-known authors to Columbia for a weekend author readings, panel discussions, book signings, and literary workshops.
• Mosy Firefly Music Festival (Summer 2024): The Missouri Symphony (Mosy) holds thisl annual festival to enrich the local community through music education, professional performances, and diverse experiences, featuring top symphony composers from across the United States and spanning various genres. Exact dates have not yet been announced for 2024, it is usually held between mid-June and July each year.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.