7 things to know before your next USA trip
The new year heralds a bonanza of hotel openings, new exhibitions and compelling reasons to visit the Land of Stars and Stripes.
From Broadway blockbusters in New York to luxe LA hotels and glamping, the United States is rolling out the welcome mat for Aussie visitors in 2019.
IF YOU DREAM OF FLYING THERE IN STYLE
Start saving those frequent flyer points. Delta Air Lines is poshing up the travel experience between Australia and the US with the launch of its upgraded Boeing 777 on the Sydney-LAX flight, from April 18. Retrofitted with Delta One suites, the world's first all-suite business class, this is just the ticket for milestone birthdays or anniversary trips.
IF YOU LIKE TO BE ONE OF THE FIRST TO CHECK IN
The nation's capital will welcome its first Conrad hotel when Conrad Washington, DC, opens in the first quarter of 2019. Design-forward and focused on the best cuisine and high-end retail, this hotel will raise the bar.
Detroit's resurrection continues with the opening of Detroit-branded Shinola Hotel. Doors of the 129-room hotel, fashioned like a private London club, are set to open in December 2018.
Fans can cheer on the Los Angeles Lakers then walk a few minutes to their five-star hotel when Park Hyatt Los Angeles at Oceanwide Plaza opens in late 2019. The hotel will be adjacent to the Staples Center.
The Celino South Beach, Miami, will connect two former hotels and one apartment building in vintage Art Deco style to create a beachfront property that drips old-school glamour. Pass the martini shaker.
While you're harking back to a golden age of travel, book a room at the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport in NYC's Queens. Slated to open in 2019, the hotel is a dream for fans of mid-century modern decor, and aviation geeks.
IF YOU WANT TO WAVE THE RAINBOW FLAG
In June 2019, NYC will host WorldPride, the first time the global LGBTQ event has been held in the US. With three million attendees expected over the 30-day event, festivities will peak June 25-30.
At Newseum, one of Washington DC's most impressive attractions, the anniversary will be marked with an exhibition that examines the events of 50 years ago and their legacy today.
IF YOU WANT ENTERTAINMENT
Need a good reason to fly to Vegas? Lady Gaga's megawatt residency at Park MGM Las Vegas is it. From December 28, 2018, to November 8, 2019, LADY GAGA ENIGMA will belt out her hits on 23 select dates. Tickets are less than $US80 (about $111).
On the East Coast, another diva story comes to life when The Cher Show opens on Broadway on December 3, 2018. Featuring three actors as Cher, the show takes audiences through six decades of hit music, heartbreak and triumph over adversity.
When the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens on LA's Museum Mile in 2019, it will be the world's first large-scale museum dedicated to the art and science of movie-making. Expect immersive experiences, experimental displays and real insights into movie-making.
Meanwhile, Qantas Holidays can get you seats in the stands at major league baseball games, NFL, ice hockey, basketball, as well as more niche interests such as monster trucks or UFC.
IF YOU PLAN TO JUMP ON THE LATEST TRAVEL TREND
Camping is having a moment. From the city-slicking version on NYC's Governors Island to Montana's luxe spots to sleep under the stars, it's about getting back to nature but not too far away from Wi-Fi and hot water.
Try the new, new glamping: yurts and tipis. Adventure travel hounds are seeking out indigenous accommodation experiences. Yurts and tipis can be found in North Dakota's Cross Ranch State Park, Lake Metigoshe State Park and Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.
The other big trend is the search for wellness and transformation. According to travel group Skift, with all the "permanxiety" (permanent anxiety) floating around, travellers are hungry for peaceful retreats, spiritual wellness and opportunities to change their lives while on holiday.
IF YOU DIG MUSEUMS
2019 is a blockbuster year for museums and galleries. The National Children's Museum will open in downtown DC in May. The vast play space will highlight hands-on STEM learning.
Expect big things (like dinosaurs) when NYC's American Museum of Natural History celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.
Revel in the Art Institute of Chicago's blockbuster exhibition,Manet and Modern Beauty, May 26-September 8.
IF YOU LOVE A COMEBACK STORY
The iconic Pacific Coast Highway along California's Central Coast has reopened after 18 months of intensive repair and restoration due to severe mudslides. Rent a car, put on some tunes and hit the road for the scenic drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Since the October 2017 fires, Napa Valley has five new hotels, seven new museum exhibits, a new film festival, a new winery, 12 new wine tasting rooms, and four new restaurants.
A year after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is waiting with open arms for visitors to return. Go in January and see Lin-Manuel Miranda perform in a fundraising production of Hamilton. The sunny island is part of the US, and is easily reached from major US cities.
50 YEARS OF APOLLO
One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. July 16 is the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon, prompting exhibitions and festivals across the country. In Huntsville, Alabama, there will be moon landing re-enactments and a photo exhibition at the US Space and Rocket Center; at Space Center Houston, take command in the Simulation Control Room; Denver will celebrate with ApolloPalooza from July 13-20, featuring astronauts and historians. The National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC will mark the occasion with special programs from July 16-20.
MEMPHIS IN MAY
The month-long Memphis in May International Festival will honour Memphis on the 200th anniversary of the city's founding. The event, always a highlight on the Memphis calendar, is expected to kick into even higher gear for the bicentennial. Book early for tickets to the Beale Street Music Festival on the opening weekend.
Two of the most popular US holiday destinations are celebrating the 60th anniversary of statehood. On January 3, 1959, President Eisenhower declared Alaska the 49th State in the Union; seven months later, on August 21, Hawaii became America's 50th State. Visitors can expect celebrations (we're betting on fireworks) to mark the milestones.
100 YEARS OF HILTON
Raise a glass to Hilton Hotels & Resorts' centenary in 2019. One hundred years ago, Conrad Hilton opened the company's first hotel in Cisco, Texas. A century on, with more than 5,500 hotels in 106 countries, it's a truly global hotel company with firm roots in the US.
ICE CREAM CENTENARY
More into ice cream than cake? Have both. Leopold's, Savannah's favourite family ice-creamery, turns 100 in August. Its annual birthday block party will be bigger and better than ever in 2019, with birthday cake ice cream filled with rainbow sprinkles, free fun for kids, marching bands, choirs and more.