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Top U.S. Destinations for 2016
There are almost unlimited travel options, and a lot of them are in the United States. Lonely Planet suggests these destinations, many of which are celebrating milestones in 2016:
Philadelphia. It is the 40th anniversary of the film “Rocky,” so you can celebrate by running up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philly also will host the Democratic convention in July, and it was recently named the first – and the only -- World Heritage City in the United States. There are lots of historic sites to visit. And lovers of food and craft beers will find plenty to keep them from getting hungry or thirsty.
Natchez, Miss. This beautiful antebellum jewel is celebrating its 300th birthday this year with more than 300 special events, including a Native American powwow, a balloon race and a big tricentennial party. Don’t miss the spring and fall pilgrimages, where people in pre-Civil War dress conduct tours of the gorgeous old mansions throughout the city.
Yellowstone National Park. One of the most famous and beautiful of the U.S. National Parks turns 100 in 2016. The huge park features hot springs and geysers, including Old Faithful, as well as impressive scenery and the chance to see a wide variety of wildlife. Spend some time in the park’s Wyoming and Montana gateway towns, which are also celebrating the park’s centennial.
Birmingham, Ala. Former gritty, industrial sections of the city are becoming home to excellent and unusual restaurants and bars. If you like history, you can explore the Civil Rights Institute and the 16th Street Baptist Church. And music lovers should visit the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
Alaska. Jack London, who helped put the far northland on the map, died 100 years ago, and you can celebrate his memory by visiting the nation’s northernmost state. Walk across the Arctic Circle; explore Denali, the country’s highest mountain; see the northern lights; go fishing for salmon; or try camping and backpacking in the miles and miles of wilderness.
Somerville, Mass. Right outside Boston, Somerville is home to hot new restaurants and breweries. It also boasts Fluff Fest, which is dedicated to Marshmallow Fluff, a local creation. And while nearby Boston has many serious museums and art galleries, in Somerville you can visit the Museum of Bad Art and the Tiny Museum.
Northwest Arkansas. Blessed with natural beauty and many interesting, sometimes funky towns, Northwest Arkansas has something for everyone. Destinations include Fayetteville, home of the University of Arkansas; Bentonville, home of Walmart; and Eureka Springs, which boasts some of the best hiking in the Ozarks.
San Antonio, Texas. History buffs can visit the Alamo and the city’s cluster of five Spanish colonial missions. Foodies will find much to celebrate, from Mexican-influenced cuisine to brewpubs. And connecting everything is the beautiful 15-mile River Walk.
Southern New Mexico. This lesser-known part of the state, close to the Mexican border, includes stark and beautiful wilderness and scenery. Visit Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, or look for aliens at Roswell.
Milwaukee, Wis. Home of the Cunninghams from “Happy Days,” Milwaukee has come into its own, with food and brewery tours that celebrate its German heritage and a beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. Don’t miss the stunning Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum.