Forget ‘saving money’ in 2024. You know what your New Year’s resolution should be? Get out more. Do more stuff. See more of the world. Life is short, after all – and 2024 promises a tonne of unmissable festivals, art, food and music. There are openings and re-openings. Brand-new train routes criss-crossing countries and continents. Whacky places to party. And even if the cossie livs does have you tightening the purse strings, there are plenty of free and affordable events on this list, too.
So get your booking fingers at the ready: your 2024 bucket list awaits. This is our definitive guide to the coolest new things to do in the world next year. See you out there!
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🌃 The best European city breaks for 2024
🖼️ The world’s best museums and galleries
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The best things to do in the world in 2024
1. Set off on a cycling trail through eight European countries
The Trans Dinarica trail, a brand-new cycling route through the Balkans, will be jumping right to the top of loads of 2024 bucket lists – for everyone from avid cyclists to those of us who just love a good view. The route will follow a corridor of national parks, meandering along the Adriatic coast, through forests and inland villages, with a place to eat a hearty local dinner and get a good night’s sleep at the end of each day’s ride. The trip’s focus is on showcasing the beauty of the region sustainably, and there’ll be a whole host of mapping information and recommendations for services along your journey by the time it opens.
2. Celebrate the history and heroes of hip-hop at a huge new museum
New York, USA
Hip-hop may be a worldwide phenomenon but it all started in New York City – in the Bronx to be exact. The borough launched the careers of major names like DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, KRS-One, D-Nice, and more recently, Cardi B and Ice Spice. New Yorkers have been waiting for a spot that commemorates and celebrates the genre and its many heroes, and it looks like 2024 will be the year they finally get it. The eagerly-awaited The Hip Hop Museum is set to finally open its doors at the end of the year, bringing with it interactive exhibits with artifacts, multimedia, AI, VR and AR to teach visitors all about hip hop’s beginnings and impact across 53,000 square feet.
3. Hop on a cable car to Europe’s highest disco
You might have trekked to the other side of a city for a party before, but have you ever trekked up to the top of a mountain? While it might sound like a lot of effort for a boogie, Detour Discotheque is well worth the, well, detour. This is an ambitious and unique event that’s seen success in the remote regions of Iceland and Scotland: in 2024, it’s coming to the Swiss Alps. Performances from veteran DJs in a revolving restaurant – yes, you read that right – are scheduled, as are stays in the valley’s gorgeous Alpine villages. Sure, it’ll take you four cable cars to get there, but just look at those views.
🔎 Read about the rise of the really remote club night
4. Interact with large-scale digital art
When teamLab Borderless opened in Tokyo’s Odaiba district in 2018, it caused a furore. The world has never seen digital art of this scale before: immersive, interactive and just radical. With its boundary-pushing art, teamLab Borderless went on to clinch a Guinness World Record in 2021 for being the most visited museum in the world dedicated to a single group or artist. While the original venue closed in 2022, the art collective is about to reopen its groundbreaking teamLab Borderless museum in a new central Tokyo location come February, and they’re promising new and never-before-seen digital installations making their world debut. From the sneak peek that we’ve got so far, get ready for a next-level experience.
🖼️ Check out the best art museums in Tokyo
5. Cruise the Colombian river that inspired ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’
There are over a dozen major cruise lines that visit the Caribbean coast of Colombia, but none travel inland along the Magdalena River. That will change when AmaWaterways sets sail on Colombia’s version of the Mississippi River in November 2024. The seven-night riverboat voyage allows you to experience the region’s wildlife and towns – made famous in Gabriel García Márquez’s beloved novel ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ – from the comforts of a sailing boutique hotel. What’s on the itinerary? A floating village (Nueva Venecia), a UNESCO-designated colonial town (Mompox) and exotic bird-watching (Magangué).
🍽️ Discover the best restaurants in Colombia
6. Watch world-class athletes compete in the French capital
While there’s plenty of exciting new stuff happening in 2024, this particular opportunity only comes around every four years. It’s the French capital’s turn to host the world’s greatest sporting event – and you can be sure they’ll put on a great show. Head to Paris for the Olympics Opening Ceremony on July 26, and stick around for world-class competitors in everything from skateboarding to synchronised swimming. Or wait for the late-summer commencement of the Paralympic games on August 28 and marvel at the talent of Paralympic athletes.
📍 Discover more of the best things to do in Paris
7. Dine at a re-opened London icon
Simpson’s in the Strand first opened in 1828 (as a chess club, no less) but this bastion of London luxury has been sadly shuttered since the pandemic – until now. Thanks to restauranter Jeremy King, this classic London restaurant – one of the first in the UK to win a Michelin star – is set to finally re-open in 2024. A favourite of Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, and lots of other moustachioed men in suits, the revamped Simpson’s in the Strand will be brought ‘fully into the twenty-first century’, says King. They did auction off their crockery, chandeliers and furniture last summer though, so what the place will actually look like is anyone’s guess.
🍝 Check out the best restaurants in London right now
8. Go to a new food festival on a remote Icelandic island
Everyone’s all Reykjavik, Reykjavik, Reykjavik about food in Iceland. But hidden away on Vestmannaeyjar (the Westman Islands), a new foodie hotspot is brewing. Matey Seafood Festival essentially invites top international chefs to take over its restaurants for a weekend, resulting in intricate and inventive fine dining using local Icelandic ingredients (ie lots of haddock and cod). Last year’s roster included Cúán Greene of Copenhagen’s Noma and Adam Quershi of London’s Kol. The third-ever edition of the festival will run from September 5-7 in 2024 – but really, the Westman Islands are a bit of a bucket list-worthy destination any time of year, with the famous Elephant Rock, lots of puffins, and a population of only 4000.
📍 Discover more of the best things to do in Iceland
9. Take a ride on Italy’s revamped vintage trains
Air travel? It’s over. We’re charging full-steam ahead into the era of sustainable and affordable train travel, and Italy’s revamped vintage tourist trains are a particularly exciting addition to Europe’s roster of new services. Announced last summer by Italy’s national railway network Ferrovie dello Stato Italliane, the trains will shuttle passengers from major cities to rural regions and beyond in some truly beautiful vintage carriages. There will be three types of new services (luxury, express, and the more budget-friendly ‘omnibus-regionali’). The first service – a sleeper train from Rome to the Dolomites – launches this month, with the rest to follow in 2024.
🇮🇹 Discover the best places to visit in Italy
10. Discover the next big thing at a brand-new music weekender
Home to U2, Sinéad O’Connor, Fontaines DC and Phil Lynott, Dublin is a special place when it comes to music. It should come as no surprise, then, that the city has a culture of fostering up-and-coming music acts. Cue Borderline, a newly-announced weekender showcasing ‘forward-facing’ new artists across two nights in February. These budding stars – among them Fat Dog, Spider and Lambrini Girls (honestly, those names have already won us over) – will be giving it their all on the stages of legendary music venue the Workman’s Club. This is the kind of weekend where stars are made – and you can tell everyone you saw them first.
Discover the best clubs in Dublin for a great night out
11. Visit a new creative enclave in a former high school
The gorgeous brutalist structure at Singapore’s 46 Kim Yam Road has worn many hats. It was once the headquarters for volunteers during the Japanese Occupation and later, a high school for girls. In 2024, it’s opening as a blockbuster creative enclave housing more than 50 creative and lifestyle brands from Singapore and beyond. Dine at Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded The Coconut Club, grab a coffee at local specialty coffee pioneers PPP Coffee and check in for a class at boutique pilates centre Off Duty Pilates. Some big names will be pulling off new concepts here too: think chef Keirin Buck of Le Bon Funk, Mirko Febbrile of Fico, and The Trapeze Group. You can even stay overnight in an 86-room serviced apartment.
📍 Discover more of the best things to do in Singapore
12. Check out the biggest iteration of Africa’s biggest art fair
Cape Town, South Africa
In February, South Africa’s ‘Mother City’ cements its position as the cultural capital of Africa, with the 11th edition of the Investec Cape Town Art Fair. Africa’s biggest art fair is going bigger than ever in 2024, with 112 exhibitors from 24 countries, featuring the work of more than 375 artists across more than 30 art forms. This year’s theme is ‘Unbound’, with a focus on emerging and ‘unbound’ creative voices from Africa and the diaspora. It’s a thread that will be reflected throughout the three-day gathering, celebrating the role of contemporary art as a platform for expression and diversity.
📍 Discover more of the best things to do in Cape Town
13. Party in an old airport
It’s no secret that Berliners know how to party, and they’ve even found more creative ways to do it. Two of the city’s historic buildings were recently transformed into nightclubs: an ancient citadel now home to the Zita Club, and the defunct Tegel Airport, now home to Turbulence TXL. The airport’s canteen has been turned into a massive new and inclusive party and event space, kicking off with an aptly-named ‘lift-off’ rave this past autumn. The building, famous for its striking brutalist architecture, can host up to 700 people. According to the nightclub’s Instagram, the space is ‘planning big things for the open air season next year’. Grab your grungiest, stompiest dancing shoes.
Check out the best nightclubs in Berlin
14. Get lost in an immersive ‘Dream Circus‘
Luna Park in Sydney is launching Dream Circus in 2024, an immersive experience inside a high-tech ‘Magic Box’ constructed in a 3,000sqm space. Magical characters take visitors on a dream-like adventure to the circus, underwater and beyond. Unlike shows such as Van Gogh Alive, which are projected onto flat surfaces, the Magic Box is a theatre-like set. Custom-designed 360-degree projections, motion-activated LEDs, holograms and spatially-mapped audio work with 3D sets so that you become part of the show unfurling around you.
📍 Discover more of the best things to do in Sydney
15. Discover a cultural gem at the heart of Europe
Salt mines may conjure images of gulag misery but the Austrian region of Salzkammergut, where Emperor Franz Joseph and composer Gustav Mahler had their Alpine retreats, is anything but miserable. Chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2024, this sought-after idyll will fill unique heritage locations with music, art and performance next year. Highlights include an acrobatic version of Mahler, a performance of Bruckner in a salt mine and the sounds of Notre Dame’s bells interpreted by US artist Bill Fontana in the ice caves of Dachstein.
🏔️ Discover the best places to visit in the Austrian Alps
16. Dance in a pint of beer
It’s just one of the more wacky elements to Copenhagen’s newest attraction, Home of Carlsberg: you can also brew your own beer, pick sides in a family feud, design a beer label, see where Niels Bohr lived, and taste limited-edition beers in its historic cellars. Five years in the making, the ambitious modern museum goes beyond the standard brewery visitors centre with elements showcasing science, collaboration, history, heritage and culture. Rest assured, you are also greeted with alcohol-free beer and the tour ends in the bar.
📍 Discover more of the best things to do in Copenhagen
17. Eat your way through a 12-week-long culinary extravaganza
After a pandemic-induced hiatus, one of South Asia’s most well-known arts fests – Galle Literary Festival – will make its long-awaited return to the Sri Lankan city of Galle this January. And to make up for all that lost time, in 2024 there’ll be an exciting culinary spin-off. Over 12 weekends from January to March, Gourmet Galle will host supper clubs, cooking classes and intimate dinner parties in various boutique venues along Sri Lanka’s South Coast. All chefs will design their menus using local ingredients, and locations range from beaches and hilltops to coconut plantations. Delicious.
🏝️ Discover more of the best things to do in Sri Lanka
18. Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Canada’s coolest festival
Montréal en Lumière is – literally – Canada’s coolest festival. And it’s celebrating a milestone in 2024: the trailblazing event has been creating illuminating ways to play outside and make the most of winter for a quarter century. Free outdoor activities and music will be at the heart of the downtown festival, along with over 25 international chefs, winemakers, and guests of honour from some 50 Montréal restaurants. So if you’re wanting to shake off the winter blues, make your way to Montréal: this sparkly festival is an unforgettable remedy.
🎊 Discover more of the best festivals and events in Montréal
19. Sleep next to lions in a huge transparent bubble
The accommodation offering at Kent’s Port Lympne Safari Park was already pretty outstanding – where else can you enjoy a bath while being gawped at by tigers? New this year to the reserve’s fleet of unique stays is the Lookout Bubble, a double-domed transparent bubble moments away from the lion pride. You’ll fall asleep under starry skies and wake up to the sounds of wildlife. There’s a complimentary golf cart and all. If you don’t have plans for Valentine’s Day, now’s the time to start dropping hints.
📍 Discover more of the best things to do in Kent
20. Set sail on the world’s first Taylor Swift-themed cruise
There’s no shortage of themed cruises (Hallmark at sea, anyone?) but a cruise dedicated to Taylor Swift? Believe it or not, it’s never been done – until next autumn, that is. Setting off on October 21 from Miami and sailing around the Bahamas, ‘In My Cruise Era’ takes over Allure of the Seas for a week of Taylor karaoke, friendship bracelet exchanges, Taylor trivia, Taylor dance parties and, of course, dressing like Taylor. There’s also zip lining and waterslides for those not ready for the total Taylor immersion. Either way, we’re sure it’s going to be a blast.
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21. Experience a centuries-old nomadic festival
Naadam is one of Mongolia’s biggest holidays: a national festival held every July to celebrate the country’s independence and nomadic culture. It kicks off with a lavish opening ceremony – which can only be described as a sort of Olympics-meets-Eurovision fever dream – in Ulaanbaatar’s National Sports Stadium. Horses gallop around the race track, joined by contortionists, yaks, camels, dancers in national dress, wrestlers, archers and Harley Davidson motorbikes. It’s a fitting introduction to the festival that follows: expect wild horse racing, wrestling and knuckle bone shooting, a popular traditional sport that involves flicking sheep ankle bones at a target. Locals come from near and far to see the sports, decked out in their finery. In other words: it’s a great excuse to visit the isolated and beautiful country.
22. Witness two major museum reopenings in Lisbon
The Portuguese capital has a packed programme of concerts and music festivals in 2024, but it’s the reopening of two major museums that Lisboners are most looking forward to. In the first half of the year, the Gulbenkian Modern Art Centre (aka the CAM) – home to the most renowned collection of modern and contemporary art in Portugal – will open the doors of its gorgeous new building to the public once again. Meanwhile, the MUDE (Lisbon’s Design and Fashion Museum) is promised for the second quarter of the new year, after being closed since 2016.
📍 Discover more of the best things to do in Lisbon
23. Splash out on a round-the-world luxury train journey
Dreaming of travelling the world? Overwhelmed by planning? Got a massive wad of cash to splash? You’re in luck: in August next year, Railbookers is launching an epic, round-the-world luxury train journey. The trip will last 80 days, visiting 20 cities in 13 countries across four continents. You’ll travel on seven of the world’s most luxurious trains, including Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and the mega-posh Belmond Venice-Simplon Orient Express. If you don’t have the funds for the full three-month itinerary, it’s possible to customise your trip and book only one segment.
🚞 Discover the best luxury train rides in the world
24. Grab a plate at one of two new Time Out Markets
Porto and Barcelona
In 2024, Time Out Market will be opening in two major Iberian cities: Porto and Barcelona. If you’ve visited the original Lisbon market – or those recently opened in Dubai and Cape Town, or any of the four across North America – you’ll know what to expect. We bring together a curated selection of the city’s greatest food, drink and culture, giving locals and visitors a chance to sample the best of the city in one vibey space. The Barcelona market will take over the top floor of the waterfront Maremagnum shopping complex, with spectacular views over the city skyline; Porto’s market will be housed in the historic São Bento train station. Watch this space for official opening dates.