Top 5 Places to Go in 2015
5. Cleveland, Ohio
Though Ohio may not seem the ideal place for a dream vacation, the state’s second largest city has upped its revitalization efforts, making it more of a cultural hub than ever before. West of the Cuyahoga River is the up-and-coming neighborhood of Ohio City, which is home to the historic Westside Market - an indoor bazaar offering anything from pierogies to gourmet popcorn. Adjacent to the market is the Great Lakes Brewing Company, the first brewpub in the state of Ohio which offers all-American food and free tours. Three new breweries have since opened in the 2010s, including Market Garden Brewery and Distillery, Nano Brew Cleveland, and the Slovenian-owned Lasko Brewery. If you’re looking to venture closer to the city center, Uptown is a vibrant area located in the Cleveland’s University Circle. The neighborhood is home to classic attractions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art - which offers free admission on the first Saturday of every month - and the Cleveland Botanical Garden.
4. New York City
Although New York City is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., there are still plenty of ways to avoid stretching your wallet as a tourist. If classical music with a view of the skyline sounds peachy, be sure to check out the New York Philharmonic’s free concert series in Central Park on June 17 and 18. Or, if you’re a fan of watching movies in an open-air environment, check out the weekly screenings at South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan. If you’re looking to escape Manhattan for a day, Brooklyn Flea's Smorgasburg is a weekly food festival that takes place on Saturday afternoons on the Williamsburg and DUMBO waterfronts. A wide array of bite-sized delicacies are sold by vendors offering everything from Mediterranean to Moroccan cuisine at reasonable prices.
3. Quebec City, Canada
If you’re looking to experience European charm but avoid the pricetag of a trans-atlantic flight, think no further than Quebec City. Quainter than the more urban Montreal, Quebec City is a UNESCO designated world heritage site with a rich historical background - boasting a 19th century chateau, cathedral, and fortress. Be sure to wander the narrow cobblestoned streets of Old Québec, which is home to numerous shops and houses some of the city's most notable sites, including the Citadel, the Quartier Petit-Champlain and the Notre-Dame Basilica. In addition, an indoor arena called the Videotron Centre is currently under construction and is set to open this September. The city is looking to adopt an NHL team, so the arena will likely feature ice hockey as well as concerts and other indoor sports.
2. New Orleans, Louisiana
A city well-known for its vibrant culture and French influence has made a startling recovery since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. The annual French Quarter festival in April, dubbed by the organizers as “The World’s Largest Block Party,”has become the city’s second largest public celebration boasts more than 1,500 musicians, an array of Cajun and Creole street food, as well as local vendors. The best part? It doesn’t cost a thing. During the last weekend in April, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will transform the historic Fair Grounds race course into a multi-stage bash including the likes of Elton John, the Who, and Lady GaGa. Though day passes cost $70, the ticket charge also covers access to a variety of craft workshops, art exhibits, and marketplaces.
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
Few places other than Iceland offer the chance to explore forests, lava fields, hot springs, and deserts all on one landmass. Within limits of the capital city are an array of natural wonders including the Elliðaárdalur Valley recreation area, Mount Esja, and the Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach. Although the presence of the Northern Lights cannot be predicted, the newly opened Aurora Center in Reykjavik offers visitors a chance to explore the history and science behind the phenomenon, even when they are not visible. The low cost Iceland-based WOW Air began offering flights from Boston Logan International to Keflavik International on March 27, 2015 for as low as $99 one way. There are of course, extra fees for checked bags and other amenities but overall, fares are still startlingly cheap.