Artistic inclinations
Wellington, New Zealand
Toi Art Gallery at Te Papa
Ongoing

New Zealand’s national museum completed an ambitious expansion in March. With 35 percent more space, curators can exhibit new commissioned works (a project by contemporary artist Michael Parekowhai takes the honors first) and display more items from the national collection by New Zealand artists such as Rita Angus and Ralph Hotere. Even better? Entry is free.

Facing the past
Birmingham, Alabama
The Legacy Museum
Opening April 26, 2018

On the site of a former warehouse that once imprisoned enslaved African American people now stands The Legacy Museum. It confronts the brutal history of the slave trade, the Jim Crow South, and present-day mass incarceration in the United States head on with interactive, data-driven exhibits. Nearby is The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the country’s first memorial to victims of lynchings.

Magic in the mountains
Mont-Tremblant, Canada
Tonga Lumina
June 8-October 14, 2018

Follow illuminated and audio clues—footsteps, totems, and more—as you seek the fabled giant of mountain town Mont-Tremblant who has woken from his slumber. The visionary multimedia company Moment Factory produces this interactive mile-long illuminated night walk.

More artistic inclinations
Berlin, Germany
10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art
June 9-Sept 9, 2018

The theme for this year’s biennale takes its cue from Tina Turner’s 1985 “We Don’t Need Another Hero,” displaying art reacting to today’s global shifts in power while still rejecting “the desire for a savior,” according to its statement. Led by South African artist Gabi Ngcobo and a team of fellow curators, artists will present their works in four permanent venues throughout Berlin, chosen for their historical and modern significance.

It cost roughly $1.1 billion to build the super-modern St. Petersburg Stadium, where World Cup games will be held.

Travel GOOOOOAAALLLLLLs
Russia
21st FIFA World Cup
June 14-July 15, 2018

The world’s largest sporting event returns, uniting billions of soccer fans ready to root for their country’s team. Russia hosts in upgraded or brand-new stadiums in numerous cities, including Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd. Buy tickets for specific matches, or if you’re in St. Petersburg for the June 26 game, consider booking a berth on Azamara’s 12-Night Baltic & World Cup Voyage. While the ship is docked, you can spend a day at the State Hermitage Museum and then cheer from the stands.

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Racers line up to row at a Hong Kong dragon boat contest.

Take me to the river
China
Dragon Boat Festival
June 18, 2018

This national holiday in China commemorates the life of third-century B.C.E. poet Qu Yuan. Locals celebrate by eating rice dumplings, drinking wine, and rowing in competitions of intricately decorated boats. If you’re in Beijing, try to stake out a spot at the Shunyi Olympic Water Park to watch the races, or head to the Miluo River in the Hunan Province, where the holiday is said to have originated.

Let there be light
Jerusalem, Israel
Festival of Light
June 27-July 5, 2018

This annual festival features innovative light artistry projected around and on the ancient walls of Old Town Jerusalem, visually tying past, present, and future together. Local and international artists convene to create installations like 2017’s “Dundu,” an illuminated puppet requiring five puppeteers, and “Cathedral of Mirrors,” a 3D motion-sensor LED display. With the burgeoning boutique hotel scene, lead by places such as the Orient and Villa Brown, there’s never been a better time to go.

Portraits of the King (of Pop)
London
Michael Jackson: On the Wall
June 28-October 21, 2018

Since the 1980s, the King of Pop has become one of the most oft-depicted cultural figures in contemporary visual art. In honor of what would have been his 60th birthday, curators at the National Portrait Gallery examine his impact in an exhibit of works by more than 40 artists, including Andy Warhol and David LaChapelle.

Sing out loud
Riga, Latvia
XXVI Latvian Nationwide Song & XI Dance Festival
June 30-July 8, 2018

For the country’s centenary, listen to more than 10,000 voices united in song during the All-Latvian Song Festival at a specially reconstructed open-air venue in the country’s capital.

July Fourth at the Arch
St. Louis, Missouri
Fair Saint Louis
July 4, 6, 7, 2018

Celebrate Independence Day at what is dubbed “America’s Biggest Birthday Party.” This year, the free three-day shindig—featuring an air show, epic fireworks displays, and live music—returns to the Gateway Arch for the grand opening of its $380 million renovation.

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Put on your dancing shoes
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires International Tango Festival
August 9-22, 2018

The globe’s greatest tangueros convene in tango’s birthplace for two weeks of free events. Learn from them, dance with them, or watch them compete and perform at venues throughout BA, culminating in the World Championship.

Here comes the sun
Cusco, Peru
Inti Raymi
June 24, 2018

Peru has always been a top South American destination, and it’s not hard to see why: stunning ruins, delectable food, and, of course, alpacas make it an amazing place to visit. And once a year, you can witness Inti Raymi, an annual festival of the sun that falls around harvest and the winter solstice.

Give back
Everywhere/Johannesburg/Porto
Mandela Day
July 18, 2018

Honor what would have been the 100th birthday of one of the world’s greatest humanitarians by spending a day helping others. Head to Johannesburg for a variety of events, or, if you want to see musicians like Wyclef Jean and Steven Tyler play a tribute concert in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, head to Porto, Portugal. But really, you can be anywhere to make the world a better place.

Men painted for the tiger dance during the Onam festival

Tiger beat
Kerala, India
Pulikali
August 27, 2018

Get off India’s tourist track and head southwest to witness a boisterous parade. For more than 200 years, men from the Thrissur District of Kerala have painted their bodies and faces as tigers for a wild procession through town during the Onam harvest festival. In 2016, the first “tigresses” took part.

>>Next: 18 Places to Go in 2018