Other resorts around Salt Lake are likewise upgrading. Powder Mountain underwent the largest lift-serviced resort expansion in North America this past year, adding two new high-speed lifts. Sundance added the Arrowhead lift, a new high-speed quad that will increase its capacity by 500 skiers an hour. And Cherry Peak added a new lift to expand its skiable terrain by about 400 acres and installed lights. So you’ve got more space AND more time to hit the slopes.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
An anticipated Steve Jobs opera premieres, with tailgating.
Fine arts everywhere could take a cue from Santa Fe, where going to the opera means showing up hours before the sunset showtime and tailgating like it’s Lambeau South. This year’s main attraction is the summer world premier of an opera about Apple’s late founder, called The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Look for it to pull in a younger-than-average opera crowd; its composer, Mason Bates, is a DJ best known for his synthesizer and electronica music.
Also in Santa Fe, Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin has been instrumental in creating “The House of Eternal Return,” a trippy, neon, walkable art installation in an old bowling alley that, in the words of the city’s promoters, “tells the story of a suburban family that’s been hit by a break in the space-time continuum, and who now must navigate a series of wormholes attached that transport visitors into alternate dimensions. 135 artists were involved in creating 70 distinct and immersive spaces, a 300-person music venue, a video game arcade, tree houses, an interactive cave system and more.”
Add to that the annual Burning of Zozobra in September, a wine and chile fiesta, and a green chile cheeseburger smackdown, and Santa Fe is looking like the best spot to hit in 2017 for pure, unbridled creativity
A global art destination lands a high-speed rail.
For too many, a trip to Miami means heading straight to South Beach. But the actual City of Miami — that is, the gleaming skyline across Biscayne Bay from South Beach — has turned itself into a world-class destination that needs nothing from its beaches-and-bottle-service neighbor to the east.
For starters its Wynwood Arts District, home to some of the best street art in America, has grown into a burgeoning scene of bars and restaurants that includes Alter, a new restaurant many consider Miami’s best of the decade. But add to that the forthcoming permanent home of Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art — a 37,500sqft museum girded by a 15,000sqft sculpture garden — and you’ve got yourself a legitimate world art destination.
Perhaps Miami’s signature 2017 upgrade will be the Brightline train, a high-speed rail that’ll connect Miami with Orlando (via Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Cocoa) in just three hours. So a trip here can be a gateway to all that’s great in Southern Florida, and hopefully allow you to explore Miami with significantly reduced traffic. The downtown station, dubbed MiamiCentral, will be more than just a train depot, bringing with it the city’s first legitimate food hall, Central Fare, plus bars, restaurants, and other attractions that continue to make mainland Miami the center of the action.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Pro sports finally get into bed with Sin City.
America;s biggest city without major pro sports finally gets its team when the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights begin play at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise next fall. And, sure, an expansion hockey team isn’t necessarily a first-rate tourism driver, but the arrival of pro sports signals Vegas’ arrival as more than just a city for people to go and make bad decisions. It’s now a place where you can make bad decisions and try to explain icing to your buddies.
Beyond hockey, Vegas is just planning to Vegas the hell out 2017. Look for the Backstreet Boys to begin a residency at Planet Hollywood and for a new Magic Mikeall-male revue to start its Vegas run at the Hard Rock (naturally). The Wynn is outfitting each of its 4,478 rooms with an Amazon Echo, the world’s first hotel in the world with voice-activation features in every room.
If you actually want to do something active in Vegas, the slopes nearby at Lee Canyonare probably the city’s most underrated attraction, and a ski vacation to Vegas can be cheaper and infinitely more fun than other resort towns. Or, in the summer, hit the comically rambunctious XPark Vegas, a 16-acre theme park that’ll include bungee jumping, zip lines, speedboat racing, ATV obstacle courses, and dirt-bike tracks.
A new rare guitar museum rises in a historical train station.
Do you love music. No, like, do you really LOVE music? Then your top 2017 destination is Chattanooga, which this year welcomes a new museum called Songbirds to its Chattanooga Choo Choo complex, a renovated 1880-vintage train station. The museum’s keystone exhibit is a display of 300 historic guitars, including over 30 Gibson Sunburst Les Paul guitars, 300 custom Fenders, and an extensive collection of both solid- and hollow-body Gretsches.
If this all sounds like Martian to you, don’t sweat it. Chattanooga’s still got plenty going on. Also opening at the complex is the Revelry Room, a new live-music venue, and a new location of the Comedy Catch club. Station St — where the station-turned-entertainment complex resides — will be opening a slew of new shops and restaurants to complement the new attractions. And for those who want to do more than eat, drink, and look at guitars on vacation, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship will be here in September.