City adventurers, here’s a list for you. Take on the year in style with these 30 exciting city destinations, all inviting in their own unique ways.
There’s something about the start of a new year that gives us the travel itch, so we thought we’d put together a list of 30 hot cities to visit in 2018. Some of the destinations may already occupy a special place in your heart, but we hope you also find a few new and surprising spots to fall in love with.
We’ve chosen some for the exciting events they’re hosting over the coming year, some for their explosive new culinary scenes, and others for their startling regenerations, which have brought them back onto many a travel wish list.
What all of these destinations have in common is a wealth of comfortable vacation rentals from TripAdvisor, where you can create a city break that ticks all your boxes. Book your beach house, your condo, your cabin, your downtown loft, or whatever else suits your taste, then enjoy a private hideaway with all the amenities you need to make your stay special. And once you decide on a destination, you can book all your tours, activities, and attractions right on TripAdvisor, too. Plus, our new 24-hour cancellation policy means you can pre-book before arriving, but still have the flexibility to cancel if your itinerary changes.
Ready to compile your city travel list for 2018? Check out these top city spots that are worth visiting in the new year!
This happening hub for the creative arts always has lots going on. In 2018, look out for the five-day Santa Fe Film Festival, which takes over various venues around the city, the New Mexico Jazz Festival, and the parades and performances of Fiestas de Santa Fe, a local celebration that’s over 300 years old. You can take your pick from an array of fantastic guided adventures, including food and history tours and impressive art tours.
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To the north of Santa Fe is popular Taos. You can see the epic landscapes that inspired artist Georgia O’Keefe from a soaring hot air balloon, or even a train or chairlift ride. The most impressive attraction is still the UNESCO-rated Taos Pueblo, the huge adobe complex that’s housed locals for 1000 years. You can see this and other unmissable sights of Taos, including the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, on a three-hour driving tour by minibus. Another highlight is the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. As usual, there’s plenty going on in Taos this year: secret supper clubs, farmer’s markets, the Music on the Mesa festival—they’ve even got an annual music festival to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Music City’s calendar is as jam packed as ever for 2018, with highlights such as the Iroquois Steeplechase at Percy Warner Park and the St Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Don’t forget to take in a show at the Grand Ole Opry House and visit the Johnny Cash Museum too.
A short drive south of Nashville is Franklin, a more sedate city with a small-town feel and a charming Main Street lined with top-notch dining spots. In Franklin, you can take part in the First Friday free art crawl every month, or join a brewery tour—you can even celebrate the mighty watermelon or the humble sweetcorn: they get their own festivals at Lucky Ladd Farms. For views you simply can’t beat, treat yourself to a balloon ride over the area ending with a champagne ceremony.
Streetcar rides, river cruises, and live jazz all day and night. And don’t forget the food! You can celebrate Nola’s unique foodie scene at the Beignet Festival, the Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival, the Fried Chicken Festival, the Oyster Festival...we could go on and on. Fans of performing arts should check out the Music Box Village in the trendy Bywater neighborhood, and thrifty shoppers can seek out vintage finds along Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District. You can combine tasty Creole cooking with some live jazz at a pre-booked jazz brunch. Or, if you’re feeling particularly lively, join a jogging tour of the French Quarter.
This mountain city’s main draw is its beautiful location. There are thousands of miles of hiking trails around here, ranging from gentle to challenging—go for it on the Appalachian Trail or take it easy on the Biltmore Estate Trails and tour George Vanderbilt’s grand edifice while you’re at it. You can book your Biltmore Estate admission plus lunch in advance. Twenty minutes north of Asheville’s center you’ll find Moody Cove, where you can fly through the treetops on ziplines and take in those Blue Ridge views. In town, you’ll find an effervescent live music scene and plenty of fun events to enjoy, including a brewery walking tour.
Minneapolis is a big sporting town and has been picked to host the Super Bowl in 2018. If art’s more your thing, check out the excellent Walker Art Center, where there’s lots coming up in 2018, including a retrospective on the work of conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg. On top of that, there are some lovely lakes and parks to discover, plus an excellent craft beer scene, plus some great dining options—book a riverfront food tour and see for yourself.
“Spent 12 days at the Barrett House and loved every second there. Home is gorgeous and the views were fabulous. Enjoyed the hot tub and the hammock was so relaxing.” — TripAdvisor Reviewer
This relaxed city comes highly recommended by both locals and visitors. Try Pearl Street for its boutiques, street entertainers, family-friendly events, and summer arts festival, and be sure to drop into the Boulder Book Store for your next big read and some great coffee. From town, it’s easy to access hiking trails with wonderful views of the Flatiron Mountains, either independently or on a dedicated Flatiron group tour, plus plenty of skiing and biking terrain nearby.
St. Petersburg is a superbly sunny destination in the gorgeous Tampa Bay area. The world-renowned Salvador Dalí Museum, impressive inside and out, is located here, as is pretty Fort de Soto Park, with its palm-studded sandy beaches. Catch some eye-popping street art out and about or visit some of Dale Chihuly’s incredible glass sculptures at the Chihuly Collection. Once you’re done with the artworks, why not head out onto the waves on an exciting speedboat adventure?
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 list puts Detroit at number two in the top 10 cities to visit, and we have to agree. The Detroit renaissance is truly inspiring, with creative industries thriving locally and formerly derelict buildings now abuzz with new life. Grab a ride on the bike-share scheme and get to know this rapidly evolving city on two wheels. Don’t miss the Motown Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the Henry Ford museum. You can get to know the old neighborhood of Corktown in detail on a two-hour guided walking tour.
The Mile High City is easily explored without a car. Try the bike-sharing system and seek out some of its characterful areas: there’s buzzing LoDo (Lower Downtown) for its bars and restaurants, the River North Art District for street art and free visual arts events, and the Five Points neighborhood for its jazz history and soul food. Be sure to grab your Mile High Culture Pass for discounted entry to various attractions.
Looking for a picture-perfect Florida city vacation? Try this laid-back boating community known as "The Cape," with miles of canals to explore and stunning sunrises to be seen over the Caloosahatchee River. There’s also the Sun Splash Family Water Park, golfing, tennis, and easy access to pretty Sanibel Island and the surrounding Gulf beaches.
“This apartment is just a perfect solution for a stay in Salt Lake City. The photos on the website are completely accurate—it's as classy and well equipped as they show. You arrive to find generous supplies for breakfast, and a pantry well equipped with basic items like herbs and spices to make it easy for you to prepare your own meals.” — TripAdvisor Reviewer
This place has been billed as one of the country’s top five new foodie cities, and offers everything from the ultimate lunchtime sandwich to fancy fine dining. You can burn off your last (undoubtedly excellent) meal hiking and biking around lovely Mill Creek Canyon. If you’re a crafter, come in August to learn a new skill at Craft Lake City DIY Festival. And if you’re involved in the Sundance Film Festival in nearby Park City in January, don’t forget to swing by and see everything SLC has to offer. You can see the city’s main sights on a narrated trolley tour or escape into the mountains on a Big Cottonwood Canyon tour.
A short distance from Salt Lake City is Provo, a pleasant spot on Utah Lake. Make the most of the water sports and fishing on this freshwater lake or follow the surrounding hiking trails, winding past picturesque waterfalls, caves, and peaks. Had enough of the outdoors? Get back inside and enjoy the collection at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and the exhibits at the fascinating Crandall Historical Printing Museum.
Jacksonville is one of the better value destinations in America. You can dine cheaply at its casual eateries and there are miles of beaches and waterways to discover on foot, by bike, by boat, or by board. The bars are affordable and there’s some great nightlife and a live music scene to keep you entertained in the evenings. Not to mention affordable, spacious rental options no matter the size of your group.
In North Port, twenty bucks will buy you a full day of relaxation at Warm Mineral Springs, a geothermal sinkhole whose waters maintain an 85-degree temperature all year round. This child-friendly city has plenty of parks, and you can sail down the beautiful Myakka River to spot birds. A short drive takes you to the Gulf of Mexico, where you’ll find scenic beaches for shelling and sunbathing.
Seattle fully deserves its place on this list (arguably every year), with its foodie tours, fantastic late-night music scene, and busy schedule of events. There’s the Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival in the spring, the Seattle International Film Festival over May and June, and this year the city’s also hosting the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. Head to the hip Ballard neighborhood for its awesome Sunday farmer’s market or choose a night out in edgier Belltown for drinks and live music. If you’re visiting in June, grab your tickets for the Capitol Hill Block Party music and arts event. If you’re a newbie in this great city, you can see the key sights in one go on a Seattle minibus tour.
Expect artisan coffee, craft beers, and an array of carefully coiffed beards in this trendiest of trendy American cities. If you’re visiting in 2018, you’ll find plenty in store, including the city’s larger-than-life Mardi Gras celebration, the family-friendly Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, the Waterfront Blues Festival, and the first ever Portland’s Folk Festival. Fill up on tasty local eats on a best of Portland food tour or try a small-group city tour with several wine-tasting stops in the Willamette Valley.
It’s hard not to pick up on the infectious energy of this quietly cool city. Here you can have a meal sourced fresh from a local ranch, then catch a ballet performance, before staying up into the small hours in a buzzing local bar. It’s also home to the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, which has a new production of Macbeth on the roster for this year. Drop into the Boise Art Museum in its impressive Art Deco home to see its 2018 exhibitions from multimedia artists such as Jo Hamilton. You can also discover the best breakfasts in Boise on this friendly brunch tour.
“The first evening we were there we had a fire and made s'mores in the fire pit while watching a beautiful starry North Carolina sky. It was very relaxing and enjoyable. Hosts Mariam and Dave are the best! Thank you!” — TripAdvisor Reviewer
The Raleigh dining scene is really booming. Local chef Ashley Christensen was crowned Eater’s Chef of the Year in 2017, so when you’re here make sure you try one of her well-loved restaurants. For a fascinating day out, try the interactive exhibitions and aquarium at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
Classy, laidback, and easy on the eye—that’s Savannah. Time your 2018 trip with the spectacular azalea season in March to see the town bursting with blooms, then stay for the Savannah Music Festival later in the month. Architecture and history tours are available at most times of the year and there’s a lovely beach at Tybee Island within easy reach. This is a great city for walkers and there are plenty of bookable tours available: daytime historical walks, evening ghost walks, food walks, you name it.
When in San Jose, seek out the peaceful Japanese Friendship Garden, the Winchester Mystery House with its stunning Victorian craftsmanship, Silicon Valley’s iconic Lick Observatory, or the bustling waterfront area of nearby Cannery Row in Monterey. A fun way to learn about local history and culture is on a San Jose scavenger hunt around the city. Neighboring Santa Clara also has plenty to offer, from its Spanish missions and gardens to the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail. There’s plenty happening in 2018, from sporting events to food and drink festivals.
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Sacramento was featured heavily in Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed 2017 movie release "Lady Bird," so this is a great vacation choice for cinema geeks. Tour the film’s key locations, such as Tower Bridge and the neon-lit Gunther’s Ice Cream parlor. You can also soak up the old-world charm of the Old Sacramento district or head to hip Midtown for craft brew sampling and farm-to-table dining. Hikers will love the trails around the American River Parkway. A fun group activity is a scavenger hunt around the riverfront and Old Town, or you might prefer to see the sights from a Sacramento River cruise.
Live music comes first in lively Austin, whatever the season. In 2018, there are plenty of events scheduled, including SXSW, Austin City Limits, and the Levitation Music Festival. If theater’s more your thing, check out the program at the Austin Playhouse, with upcoming productions including Shakespeare in Love in the spring. Don’t forget to stop for the brisket and chipotle coleslaw at La Barbecue restaurant. For something a little different, book your place on a bat-watching bike tour and watch the little critters take off for their evening feed from Congress Avenue Bridge.
Time to take in some cowboy culture in Oklahoma City. This is the "horse show capital of the world" and there’s plenty to look forward to over the coming year, including the lauded deadCENTER film festival, the PASEO Art Festival, and the annual Memorial Marathon. Sign up and go for it! Why not pre-book your admission to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum? Or for something completely different, take to the air on an indoor skydiving experience.
This place is experiencing a bit of a hipster movement, powered by its fashionable, creative residents and abundance of outdoor concerts. Check out the Columbus Museum of Art, which has some exciting 2018 exhibitions on the way, including a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. If you’re a fan of comic and cartoon art, time your trip for September’s Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. The Short North neighborhood (walking tours available) is where you’ll find all your trendy artisan shopping needs met, and you can get hands on with a class or workshop at the Columbus Idea Foundry.
The capital city of New Hampshire has a few gems to explore. Start with the gleaming gold dome of the New Hampshire State House and take a walk around its grounds, before learning about space and aviation at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. You can get back to nature again with a day of apple picking at Carter Hill Orchard.
It’s time to discover Olympia! Walk among the cascades and trails of Tumwater Falls Park, watch the boats come in at Percival Landing, try the interactive exhibits and family activities at the excellent Hands On Children’s Museum, sign up for wine and coffee trails, or hop in the car and zoom off to enjoy the Washington coast.
“I highly recommend staying at this beautiful two-bedroom home. [Hosts] Conoly and Matt did a great job accommodating our extended stay and helped make it a great experience in Greenville, SC. Perfect location as well!” — TripAdvisor Reviewer
Greenville’s getting a lot of press, and with good reason. This once quiet Southern town has had something of a revival, now boasting hundreds of events per year, fantastic food, drink and shopping, and a lively yet relaxed vibe that’s made it more popular with visitors than ever. Why not tour the downtown area and follow the Swamp Rabbit Trail on a guided Segway tour? Put Greenville on your travel list—you won’t be disappointed.
Milwaukee has a craft brewing and restaurant scene that continues to flourish, with plenty more happening in 2018. Be sure to visit the East Side neighborhood, with its cluster of museums, and try the Milwaukee River Walk, taking in 16 bridges and some charming watering holes. You can taste the famous Milwaukee cheese curds all over this city—if they’re done right, they’ll squeak when you chew them. There’s also the Anime Milwaukee festival and the ever-popular Summerfest music festival to look forward to. Learn to take the perfect Milwaukee shot by booking a photography walking tour taking in the lakefront, local architecture, and gardens.
Here’s the full list.
Note: this post was created in 2018, referencing cities that had exciting years ahead of them.