Rising above its associations with the annual hot-air-balloon festival, Albuquerque will this year set out to prove itself as a fully-fledged destination. The Sawmill District, just north of the historic Old Town, is being revived as a creative center, anchored by the arrival of the Hotel Chaco. The design of this boutique property, which opened in April, is inspired by the state’s indigenous culture, with handmade Navajo wool textiles and pueblo-inspired motifs. Come spring, downtown ABQ will also see the arrival of a new entertainment hub: the $40 million One Central, which will have a sleek bowling lounge, as well as upscale stores and restaurants. And just outside town, visitors will soon be able to experience the striking Sandia Mountains in a nail-biting new way. The proposed Mountain Coaster, an alpine sled-style ride that plunges riders down the mountainside in a total vertical drop of 380 feet, is due to open this fall. Getting to Albuquerque is becoming even easier, thanks to new nonstop flights from major U.S. cities via Southwest, United, and Alaska Airlines. —Melanie Lieberman
Leaf-peeping and a thriving farm-to-table food scene (the country’s first CSA sprouted here) lure out-of-towners to the bucolic far western corner of Massachusetts. But the arts have long been their own major draw: Tanglewood, the Clark Art Institute, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival all call the area home, as does MASS MoCA, a popular modern art destination housed in a circa-1800s textile mill in North Adams.
On October 22, 2008, jetBlue opened its new primary hub at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Terminal 5, or simply T5. The mostly new terminal, costing approximately $800 million, partially encircles the historic TWA Flight Center, the former Trans World Airlines terminal designed by Eero Saarinen, which remains closed. According to the plan, passengers will eventually be able to check in for flights in the landmark building, then transfer to the new structure via the original passenger departing-arrival tubes from Saarinen's original terminal and its 1969 addition by Roche-Dinkeloo.
Until now, Zambia has had little recognition as one of Africa’s great safari destinations. Yet experts know it as the birthplace of the walking safari — as well as the home of some of the most highly trained guides on the continent. In South Luangwa National Park, visitors can expect to see more animals than baobab trees, while Liuwa Plain National Park is the setting for the world’s second-largest wildebeest migration, when tens of thousands of the creatures head across the plain from neighboring Angola. Last year saw the arrival of Liuwa’s first permanent camp: King Lewanika Lodge, a six-villa safari lodge overlooking a watering hole where hyenas and antelope gather. —Mary Holland
Those with a predilection for high-thread-count sheets will soon be able to luxuriate at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, a ritzy boutique property with Carolina charm. In the meantime, discerning visitors can bunk at the swank Westin Poinsett, a historic hotel that was rescued from the wrecking ball in the late '90s, laying the groundwork for Greenville’s great Southern revival. —Rachel Tepper Paley
Last summer, the museum expanded its artistic footprint by over 130,000 square feet, making it the largest contemporary art space in the country. The new Building 6 houses long-term installations by artists like James Turrell, Louise Bourgeois, and Jenny Holzer. Two new museums are still in the works for North Adams, both spearheaded by former Guggenheim director Thomas Krens. At the Global Contemporary Art Museum, curators will work directly with artists to acquire and commission site-specific pieces, while the Extreme Model Railroad & Contemporary Architecture Museum will showcase works by the likes of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, all built in miniature as part of an elaborate model train system. Design is also top-of-mind at Tourists, a modern take on the roadside motel that’s set to open this summer. The resort — situated on 55 acres at the convergence of the Appalachian and Mohawk Trails — will have 48 rooms, each with floor-to-ceiling windows that put the focus on surrounding vistas. —Fiorella Valdesolo