Top 15 Rising Star Destinations
The Gogobot team has chosen a list of fifteen destinations poised to take off or ripe for rediscovery in 2013. Our editors have included one Wild Card Destination to hit before the crowds discover how cool it is.
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Red Square and the Kremlin are not the only reasons to stop in the former capital of the U.S.S.R. Ride the justly famous, ornate Metro to the Bolshoi or the cobblestoned Arbat district. Restaurants are world class. While exploring this passionate, mysterious metropolis isn’t cheap, EasyJet’s new budget service in Europe just reduced the cost of getting there for many travelers.
- Recommended hotel:Hotel National, A Luxury Collection Hotel
San AntonioTexas, United States
Austin gets a lot of press, but San Antonio is giving it a run for its ten-gallon hat as Texas’s coolest city. The Alamo, site of the famous 1836 battle, will delight history fans. Next, stroll along the Riverwalk, a network of pedestrianized riverside walkways packed with bars, restaurants and shopping. Don’t miss Fiesta, a 10-day celebration each April, run entirely by non-profits who use the party to fund philanthropy throughout the year.
Love the landscape the hilly roads, and the beautiful flowers during summer that embrace the fields. The old Hispanic houses are awesome. - Ruffa Taylor
- Recommended hotel:Riverwalk Vista
Hogmanay celebrations at New Year’s, world-class performing art at the Edinburgh and Fringe Festivals, incredible kilt-swirling music at the Military Tattoo, and a national dish guaranteed to challenge the bravest taste buds make Edinburgh an exciting destination year-round. It wins rising star status for 2013 thanks to its mix of creativity, great nightlife, and Scottish pride.
This magical city not only carries the long and tortured Scottish history with the utmost pride and eloquence, but is young and fun and surprisingly cheap. - Katy Logan
- Recommended hotel:The Howard
Travelers rave about the historic temples, Geisha shows, and cherry blossoms that conjure cinematic images of Japan. Its Buddhist meditation retreats, ume plum blossom season, and traditional ryokan hotels are all poised for discovery. A big, chaotic city in its own right, Kyoto rewards the traveler who is ready to do a little digging.
Spend a day or two hopping between wonders like the stunning Kiyomizudera temple and the Fushimi Inari shrine, but don't neglect a wander up Hiei-zan (a mountain in the city's north), or an evening of geisha-spotting and haute kaiseki cuisine in the precincts of Gion. - Matthew Crompton
- Recommended hotel:Hotel Monterey Kyoto
PittsburghPennsylvania, United States
Last seen as the epicenter of Andrew Carnegie’s steel industry, this old industrial center is making a stealthy comeback. At the intersection of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, Pittsburgh has an easygoing charm embodied in its friendly residents, quirky neighborhoods, and homemade dishes like pierogies and chipped ham. Go in 2013 for the downtown Cultural District or the Carnegie Museum, and, depending on the season, a Steelers, Penguins, or Pirates game.
What a fabulous city! Pittsburgh boasts a lively arts and cultural scene, world class educational institutions, professional sports teams, and many ethnic neighborhoods. - Leigh Virkus
- Recommended hotel:Morning Glory Inn
Salt Lake CityUtah, United States
Mountains to the east and west mean Salt Lake City is a hotspot for outdoor sports, whether skiing, cycling or hiking is your preference. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and major monuments of the Church of Latter Day Saints are located at Temple Square. Visit anytime to enjoy SLC’s restaurants and eclectic shops downtown, in Trolley Square, or the hip 9th and 9th district.
- Recommended hotel:Marriott Salt Lake City City Center
Boracay Island, in the center of the Philippine archipelago, is a white-sanded island that rivals the best Pacific beaches. White Beach offers all the Caribbean delights from lounging on a beach chair to diving and snorkeling, and Bulabog Beach is closer to wind and kite-surfing opportunities. With plenty of bakeries and international restaurants, Boracay deserves a more prominent place on the list of island paradises.
One of my favorite places in the world! Expect to have the fun experience of getting your feet wet to board and disembark the boats along the shore, and being greeted at your resort with a tropical drink and a shell necklace. - Melisa Henderson
- Recommended hotel:Monaco Suites de Boracay
Europe’s more flamboyant capitals garner bigger headlines, but the ancient streets, outdoor cafes and Grand Place square of Brussels, with its statuesque buildings illuminated at night, woo visitors who like a quieter pace. Hobnob with Eurocrats, saunter past the surreal Atomium. Did we forget the breweries, chocolate, and waffles? A modern European destination, ready to step into a more prominent place.
It is amazing walking through the city, which is the best way to visit it, taking a look at great arts and crafts shops, eating the fine chocolate, spending half an afternoon at the Museum. - Manuela Nadin
- Recommended hotel:The Dominican
Lists of Great North American destinations often bypass Mexico City, but travelers here invariably discover a city that’s safer, more exciting, and far more beautiful than they imagined, and the word is beginning to get out. The Colonia San Rafael neighborhood is an up-and-coming arts enclave (think New York’s Soho circa 1984) while Frida Kahlo’s old home, Coyoacán, chicly mixes past and present. The many permutations of familiar tacos and tamales can command any gourmand’s attention, and are best combined with a visit to a new, high-end mezcaleria which is re-imagining the formerly working class spirit.
Americans are so lucky to have this metropolis in their hemisphere. It's staggering. The center is as gorgeous as any European capital, the arts scene is astounding, the sprawl is boggling. - Zora O'Neill
- Recommended hotel:Condesa DF
BrooklynGreater New York City
It used to be that all boroughs but Manhattan were also-rans, but these days Brooklyn offers a more authentic look at life in New York than many parts of Manhattan. Yearning for a pastrami sandwich in Jewish New York? Edgy arts programming? Super authentic Russian food? Try any one of Brooklyn’s many diverse neighborhoods: Williamsburg (it’s not just hipsters), Bushwick, BAM, Brighton Beach.
Despite the gentrification and assortment of modern shops, bars, and boutiques, there is still an industrial grit that emanates throughout Brooklyn. - Frances Nguyen
- Recommended hotel:Nu Hotel
Punta CanaDominican Republic
Want a deeply cultural experience? Head elsewhere. Punta Cana is an unapologetic beach destination worth noting for its all-inclusive packages, proximity to the United States, and gorgeous natural landscapes. Restaurant culture has improved in recent years, with unique eateries opening at boutique hotels and even some local independent choices.
It has the best beaches on the island (think soft white sand, towering palm trees, and lots of secluded spots), and some of the newest/updated resorts in the DR too. - Liza Prado
- Recommended hotel:Sanctuary Cap Cana
MinneapolisMinnesota, United States
A culinary scene focused on local delicacies, eight miles of heated skyways to protecting pedestrians from harsh winters, and a thriving cultural landscape anchored by the Guthrie Theater and Walker Art Center make Minneapolis a great American destination for 2013.
From the Guthrie to the Walker to the Orchestra Hall there is always something exciting going on. Lots of cute cafes and restaurants as well as indie music and bookstores. - Rachel E.
- Recommended hotel:Nicollet Island Inn
Bacchanalian festival Vappu and the spectacular Tall Ships Races punctuate the year in this northern European capital. Food culture has long eclipsed basic herring, with restaurants showcasing local, artisanal foods. Summer is especially dynamic, bike trails stringing together outdoor cafes, and thawed out attractions like fortress Suomenlinna.
I loved just wandering around the center of town and discovering little shops or cafes. I think if I could choose to live anywhere in the summer, I'd definitely choose Helsinki. - Rachel E.
- Recommended hotel:Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka
Athens may seem to be a counterintuitive choice given the recent economic troubles, but in a city this rich with history (even its metro system features sculptures from antiquity) there is always something worth visiting. In defiance of tough times, Athens’ cultural traditions have flourished. Outdoor cinema is as popular as ever, a new and edgy cycling culture has sprung up, and alternative art galleries/bars and record shops have opened. Get past the Acropolis into little known neighborhoods like Anafiotika, known as the “hidden island” of Athens. Worth visiting for the spirit of the locals.
From the central plazas in the city, to of course the Acropolis, and out of town to little restaurants on the bay as you head north, everything - everything - is worth exploring. - Lee
- Recommended hotel:Magna Grecia Boutique Hotel
New OrleansLouisiana, United States
This perennial favorite makes the list of rising stars for its lesser known joys. You may have collected a few Mardi Gras beads, but how far past the French Quarter have you ventured? Downriver is a funky music district on Marigny's Frenchmen Street. Magazine Street is a tangle of cool shops, local restaurants, and galleries. And who is ever done discovering the joys of Creole cuisine?
An early morning walk along the waterfront followed by chicory coffee and powder sugar-dusted beignets is the way to start any day here right. - Sara Benson
- Recommended hotel:Hotel Monteleone
The cosmopolitan center of Hobart, Tasmania’s capital, is a charming small city with some excellent museums and restaurants. Tasmania takes great pride in its environmental legacy. Some 37% of its area is protected in reserves, national parks and world heritage sites. Tasmania offers fine wines, fresh seafood and some of the most unusual wilderness excursions on the planet.
Hobart and Tasmania, in general, was one of the best places that we ever visited. We're the kind of travellers that like to mix urban adventures with wild adventures with a side of delicious food. Tasmania delivers on all accounts. - Justin Mortensen
- Recommended hotel:Franklin Manor