Christian Stan, at 27 Jan. 18, in News, Special, Where to go next

This year, some of our favorite cities around the world are firing on all cylinders, bringing new museums, cultural events, hotels, and restaurants to their well-heeled patrons. From a beloved American city celebrating its 300th in style to an old-world stalwart that’s emerging as Europe’s next cultural capital, these are the metropolises and municipalities you’ll want to explore in 2018.


Move over Miami—the Americas have a new art-world darling. This year, Buenos Aires is claiming the cultural spotlight as the first host of Art Basel Cities, a new global initiative from the giants behind the world’s biggest art fairs that will spotlight the Argentinean capital’s local arts scenes.

The multiyear partnership kicked off in November with the launch of the Art Basel Cities House, a venue set among the galleries and cafés of the chic Retiro district that will host events and workshops throughout 2018. The art cognoscenti are already marking their calendars for September, when Art Basel Cities will host a weeklong program directed by curator Cecilia Alemani of High Line Art in New York. The event will highlight more than 80 galleries across Buenos Aires, as well as emerging art and design districts like La Boca and Barracas.

Adding to the events are expansion projects throughout the city, the largest of which is a $200 million port improvement that aims to turn Buenos Aires into South America’s premier cruising hub. Next door, Puerto Madero is gentrifying with the Alvear Icon, a slick new hotel created by the owners of the city’s grande dame, Alvear Palace. And in Barrio Norte, the new 113-room MGallery by Sofitel is opening this summer between two 18th-century structures, embodying the city’s heady mix of old and new.


The Big Easy is turning 300 this year, and it’s celebrating in appropriately big style. The Southern Creole city—which was founded in 1718 by the French-Canadian explorer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville—will honor its Tricentennial with a year’s worth of events, openings, and citywide improvements, from a much-needed makeover of Bourbon Street and a $100 million riverfront revitalization to the debut of the Sazerac House, a museum devoted entirely to the locally revered cocktail.

Celebrate by checking into the recently reopened Pontchartrain Hotel, the Garden District’s circa-1927 grande dame that has been reborn as an elegant blend of old NOLA and new luxury with restored Charles Reinike murals and antique furnishings. The local culinary scene is heating up, too, with Top Chef Nina Compton’s Caribbean-eclectic Compère Lapin and James Beard Award finalist Isaac Toups’s Cajun-fusion Toups Southleading a smart revival in elevated dining. And keeping the tricentennial party going well into the future are two major developments: The Louis Armstrong International Airport’s $917 million César Pelli–designed terminal and, across town, a Four Seasons hotel and residences that will revitalize the city’s former World Trade Center complex.


This year, Mexico City becomes the first destination in the Americas to be named the World Design Capital. The honor is not to be taken lightly: The yearlong event will not only draw world-class exhibitions and innovators, but will also cement the Mexican capital’s standing as a mecca for the arts.

The 2018 program will focus on socially responsible design, with an emphasis on creating more livable, international cities. Utterly international—if not always livable—Mexico City has given the design faithful plenty to hold dear in the last few years, with contemporary museums like the avant-garde Museo Jumex and fairs like Zona Maco adding to the long-revered local scene established by such institutions as Casa Luis Barragán and Casa Azul. Design is also part of the package at hotels like Las Alcobas Mexico City—a Yabu Pushelberg creation that will debut a host of renovations later this year—and Hotel Habita (, a sleek boutique in upscale Polanco.

Even the culinary scene comes with a touch of the inventive, whether it’s “living mole” at Enrique Olvera’s recent revival of Pujol or mezcal cocktails topped with ants at Fifty Mils, the new speakeasy-style bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City.


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