Three Perfect Days: Newark
Story by Richard Morgan | Photography by Ricky Rhodes | Hemispheres, March 2019
America's third-oldest major city—it predates Philadelphia by nearly 20 years—is also its most unsung. Newark began, in 1666, as the last Puritan utopia in the New World, and 353 years later, it's full of the kind of minor miracles not taught in Sunday school. In the shadow of New York City, it has found its own light. Its arenas teeter between pro hockey and Korean pop. Presidents have been staying in its hotels since the days of Woodrow Wilson. There are swaths of town you need to understand Portuguese to navigate. Now, buoyed by renaissance and more than $2 billion in development, Newark isn't even Newark anymore. It's Nork—which is how the locals say it. If you're not even pronouncing its name correctly, what else don't you know about this city?
Diving into Newark's rich history
Beans at T.M Ward Coffee
In the beginning, there was coffee. Fragrant roasted beans, piled high in open burlap sacks, exude come-hither aromas at T. M. Ward Coffee. The variety is extraordinary: Lunch With Elvis tastes like peanut butter and banana; World Cup is a mix of Brazilian and French roasts; and the one simply called Wow lives up to the name. I go for a cup of the 1869 Blend, which has been served here on Broad Street since the shop was founded in the blend's namesake year. It's smoky and muscular. I picture Thomas Edison starting his mornings with the same brew, when he set up his first workshop in an empty factory here.
But a day of Newark's history should start even earlier, so I walk up Broad to Market—which was, in the 1920s, the busiest intersection in the country, even more bustling than Times Square—and duck into the Old First Church, where the city began in the mid-17th century. At the time, being a member of the church was synonymous with being a Newarker. Later, Aaron Burr's father was a pastor, and the college that became Princeton University held its first commencement there. And it's said that slaves on the Underground Railroad would listen to sermons by creaking open trapdoors in the nave, which is as old as the Constitution.
In that same worship space, alone, I kneel and pray. In the silence I hear a whisper become a shout: my growling stomach. Coffee alone is not a breakfast! So I take a cab to Caffe Espresso Italia, a decades-old mother-and-son Italian operation, to order its famous balsamic mozzarella dish, a bowl of peppers and mozzarella soaked in balsamic vinaigrette. God's will be done.
"What do you make?" owner Maria Pugliese asks me, as she fields a request for her sauce recipe from a fellow patron. "I'm a writer," I say. "So I guess I make words." She tosses me a look only mothers give. "Everyone makes words," she says. "Me? I make food. I make sauce. Not everyone can do this. What can you make?"
GlassRoots instructor Jason Minami
My make-or-break move is GlassRoots, where I join a small class—me and a father and son—as our instructor, Alix Davis, walks us through creating our own paperweights over the course of a few hours. First we sign waivers. Waivers? We're making paperweights!
The introductory lesson involves spooling 2000°F molten glass onto a white-hot metal rod. "That's it?" I ask Davis. "Oh, I got this. I used to spool cotton candy at a cart at the state fair." Two minutes in I realize I most definitely do not have this. "Oh no!" I shriek. "I got too much on the stick!"
Davis is a paragon of calm: "It's OK. Just pull it out of the furnace and we'll see what we can do." I rally. "OK, I'm taking it out now and … Oh no! I made it worse!" My molten globule hits the wall of the furnace hellmouth, sticks to it like gum on a shoe, and then stretches and splashes and lashes everywhere in molten ribbons and blobs and puddles (oh, hi waiver!). Imagine making a smoothie without the blender's lid—and the blender is full of radioactive lava taffy. After I somehow manage to sculpt my molten glob into a sphere, sparks shooting all the while ("Am I doing it? I can't tell because I'm blinded by fear!"), I turn to the son—a high school junior who is next up to make a paperweight—and put a swaggering hand on his shoulder. "Heads up," I tell him. "It's a lot harder than I made it look."
As we're wrapping up, Davis says something thrilling: The best way to recover from sweaty glassmaking is a salty meal, preferably something like… But I'm already out the door. I know the spot.
The No. 5 Sandwich at Hobby's Delicatessen & Restaurant
The corned beef sandwich at Hobby's Delicatessen & Restaurant is so good that Brendan Byrne, the former New Jersey governor, brought one with him to the White House in 1979 for the signing of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Every little bit helps.
The deli was founded about 100 years ago —long before Newark's game-changing 1967 riots—and is such a throwback that it has a small bar from the days of three-martini lunches. I ask Marc Brummer, one of two sons who run the family business, what's good. He pats his belly and says, "This is menu development and quality control." He sits me down for a No. 5—a half-pastrami, half–corned beef sandwich that is a sumptuous dive into a salty, juicy, blissful abyss. In between lip-licking bites, I ask what it's like to eat deli food every day for almost 60 years. He says he lost 40 pounds, and when I pause to stare him into honesty, he smiles: "I can put it on ya deliciously, and I can take it off ya deliciously." (Hobby's has had a vegetarian menu since 2014.)
The owners pf Dan's Hats & Caps, Daniel J. Phillips and Daniel J. Phillips II
I waddle out of Hobby's and into Dan's Hats & Caps, an old-school haberdashery selling dozens of varieties of newsboy caps, fedoras, and Panama hats. I continue on to Art & Artifacts of Newark, which is equal parts art gallery and renegade garage sale, showcasing and selling vintage typewriters, a massive dollhouse, a large model of the inner ear, a Chinese parasol, and a life-size plastic zebra. For starters. This hodgepodge belongs to Matthew Gosser, who scavenges from various abandoned or derelict sites across the city. Sometimes he gathers the bits and pieces into sculptures, like one of a massive robot in The Thinker's pose. I look at his trove, treasures untold, and wonder how many wonders can one storefront hold? Looking around here, I think—wait, haven't I heard this before? Sure, there's no silverware-studded candelabra, but in the jungly chaos of his collection's tribute to the city's giddy weirdness, Gosser is Newark's Little Mermaid, celebrating every whozit and whatzit galore.
"My Black Pepper Gibson comes in a tumbler, and after just one spicy sip I know it's going to tumble me."
But there comes a time to put away childish things and pick up an adult beverage, so I take a cab to an unassuming gray door in the side of a plain concrete warehouse near elevated railway tracks and press the buzzer. Shortly, I'm welcomed into the All Points West Distillery, which specializes in pot-still whiskey and has the most mixology-minded bar in Newark—a city that has had alcohol in its veins since at least 1951, when the first Anheuser-Busch plant outside of St. Louis debuted. At the bar, I order a Black Pepper Gibson, which comes in a tumbler, and after just one spicy sip I know it's going to tumble me.
Sure enough, after that drink the night gets hazy, except for a flash of biting into an incredible bacon cheeseburger at Krug's Tavern, a divey joint dating to 1932, and of me slapping the bar as I extol its virtues. As I crash onto my bed in a two-story room at Hotel Indigo, a converted 1912 bank tower, I think of Newark's molten past and how beautifully it has all cooled.
The cherry blossoms are in bloom at Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jersey
As much as Washington, D.C., is celebrated for its annual cherry blossoms, Newark might out-flower the nation's capital, with 4,300 cherry trees, some of which were planted as far back as 1927. Bloomfest (April 14), a free, family-friendly event in the North Ward's Branch Brook Park, is the capstone to festivities that include bike rides, walk-run races, and Japanese cultural demonstrations. Can't make it? Don't sweat the timing. Last year, the festival started before the trees fully blossomed, and then the flowers returned in November, after an unseasonably warm first half of October.
Exploring Brick City's modern side
Black Swan Espresso
I grab an oat milk cold brew from Black Swan Espresso and stroll as I drink my breakfast. (I know, I never learn.) Up, up, and away to modern Newark! I dip into Fortress of Solitude, a legendary comic book shop, and browse the $1 comics up front and the shelf of comics by local artists—Newarky titles like Salvagers, The Were-Spider, and Nightwasp, "the man who is hardly ever afraid." I buy a copy, in hopes I can pick up a few pointers.
A Kool & the Gang display at the Grammy Museum Experience
Newark has the East Coast's only Grammy Museum Experience, and deservedly so. New Jersey is home to many music icons, from Jon Bon Jovi to Bruce Springsteen, but Newark in particular has been a bountiful garden of talent. Naughty by Nature hip-hop-hoorayed here. When Gloria Gaynor belts out "I will survive," she might as well be singing about her hometown. The museum, which opened in the fall of 2017 in the Prudential Center (also home to the New Jersey Devils hockey team), is broadly, brilliantly interactive: I play drums with Max Weinberg and rap with Wyclef Jean, but the highlight is sound-mixing Whitney Houston. I drop all the knobs to zero except one, vocals, and set that to maximum. I say a prayer with every heartbeat as I listen to what was first heralded in the nearby New Hope Baptist Church choir as simply The Voice.
Falling in love is so bittersweet/This love is strong, why do I feel weak?
Chef Vonda McPherson at Vonda's Kitchen
The next best thing to church with Whitney is lunch with Vonda. Chef Vonda McPherson's restaurant, Vonda's Kitchen, is a favorite of Newark native Shaquille O'Neal, who made peace with his biological father at a table here and who uses McPherson as his personal chef when he's in town. Cissy Houston, Whitney's mother, sits at the same table almost every Sunday. McPherson even catered the Super Bowl.
For her part, the chef aims to dispel the notion that all soul food is unhealthy, on behalf of all the souls who have given this cuisine its simultaneous heft and lift. "I wanted to live up to more—to local art, to local pride," she tells me in the art-filled, sunlit space. "Home cooking isn't just about the cooking; it's about the home."
Tucking a napkin into my collar, I let some of the long-buried North Carolina drawl of my childhood slip out as I am led along the righteous path of buffalo mac 'n' cheese, crispy fried chicken, and earthy collards. Some meals serve calories; some serve flavor. Vonda's serve love.
No cab or stroll this time—I just straight-up float on cloud nine back to the Indigo, where I meet Emily Manz, who runs a tour called Have You Met Newark. (Audible, which has its global headquarters here, includes the tour in its employee orientation. The audio entertainment company is fully committed to Newark's growth and even subsidizes employees living in the city and provides free tickets to concerts and games at NJPAC and the Prudential Center.) Manz, a wide-eyed young convert to Newark, leads me on a brisk downtown stroll, singing various praises about revival and renaissance. We enter a clothing store off Halsey Street called Off the Hanger—although there's no signage out front—and browse the goods, including shirts that read "Newark Vs. Everybody," while an on-site tailor stitches vibrant African patterns along the lapels and pockets of a stylish denim trench coat. We then visit the Newark Print Shop—I'm sorely tempted to try my glassblowing hand at silkscreening—and finish up at the cavernous Gallery Aferro, a modern art playground with a residency program upstairs.
"Home cooking isn't just about the cooking; it's about the home."
The Lucent Technologies Center for Arts Education, a school affiliated with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center
There's no better place to decompress from such a flurry of activity than the rear garden at 27 Mix, where I have a light dinner of salmon tartare with avocado, edamame, and matcha. I wash it all down with a refreshingly sweet-tart Ironbound Hard Cider, made on a farm in the New Jersey Highlands. Breezes and songbirds duet, accompanied by orange trumpet vine blossoms. The subtle symphony gives me an idea: Clement's Place, a kind of nightclub that's tucked into the Neoclassical former offices of an insurance company and is affiliated with Rutgers University's Institute of Jazz Studies, which is home to the world's largest jazz library. The shows are packed—free food and booze will do that—and the multiethnic audience of young and old and straight-laced and queer feels like an impromptu riff on the city's creative possibilities. Musical notes flutter across the room like kisses, and I go to sleep at my new hotel, the Tryp by Wyndham, with jazz's perfume on my pillow.
Discovering a diverse international influence
The lobby and restaurant at Tyrp by Wyndham
I wake up at the Tryp, a sleek cosmopolitan hideaway that opened last year in the heart of downtown Newark. As I leave the lobby, I pass one of those signs that tells me Paris is 3,631 miles away and Jerusalem is 5,699 miles away. But it also tells me the Ironbound is 0.1 miles away. "What's that?" I ask the front desk.
The answer—"It's basically Portugal"—is intriguing. I recall a Brazilian-American friend (a native Newarker, no less!) who raved about a sandwich here, and I make it my mission to find it. Ten bites and five napkins later, the verdict is in: The Cheese Tudo from Hamburgão is up there with the best sandwiches I've ever had. Two slices of potato bread somehow harness hamburger, ham, bacon, lettuce, tomato, corn, mayo, mozzarella, a fried egg, and crisp potato sticks. I chase it down with a Brazilian guaraná soda, which has twice as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.
I walk off breakfast in the neighborhood's parks, packed with families, and try my hand at bocce with some of the old-timers. It turns out I'm as good at bocce as I am at glassmaking. But afterward I still treat myself to some pineapple sorbet at Nasto's, an 80-year-old spot that's famous for its Old World desserts, like tartufos and reginettas.
Along Ferry Street, the Ironbound's main drag, the small, independent shops offer curiosities: dress shirts at Mel Gambert, tchotchkes at Portugalia, and cork accessories—handbags and wallets—at CS Cork. For the folks back home, I get a box of Brazilian brigadeiros (truffles made with condensed milk and cocoa powder) at Gio Docinhos, the most potent collection of sweets in the city.
Maybe it's the sense of farawayness I get from exploring Newark's international side—the African-print shirts and homemade shea-butter lotions at Ancient African Formula are otherworldly—but I find myself pulled toward Burger Walla and its absolutely perfect lamb burger with goat cheese, spicy tomato pickle, and caramelized onions. (It's great with curried cauliflower and chickpeas, pan-fried to order.) Farther east I go, to the world's largest Tibetan art collection, at the Newark Museum, which was visited by the Dalai Lama in 1990. The wisdom has clearly accrued over centuries of reincarnation, as the Tibetan display includes a playpen for children to exorcise their museum demons.
"Newark has the energy of emergence, which is the true energy of beauty."
As I leave the museum and cross Military Park, I pass a mariachi band in periwinkle outfits. "Where are you going?" I ask. "To a party," they reply. "Can I come?" "No," they say kindly. "But if you like this music, maybe try the flamenco at Mompou." Back to the Ironbound!
Mompou, it turns out, isn't Portuguese or Brazilian; it's Spanish, specifically Galician tapas (although the bottled water is from Rioja). It's a getaway within a getaway that reminds me of the tango show tune "Hernando's Hideaway." A glass of wine, a fast embrace!
Everything on stage—the guitar strings, the drums, the clapping hands, the lilting voice, the flurry of ruffled skirts—combines, pitter-patter-style, into the loudest lullaby you've ever heard. And the dancer! Such statuesque grace that the only sign she has exerted herself at the end of her incredible routine is the quiver of her clavicle as she holds her triumphant final pose. I nibble on 24-month-aged jamón ibérico until I realize I'm late for dinner.
Chef Marcus Samuelsson
If there's one man who will understand how taken I am with Newark's multi-cultural renaissance, it's Ethiopian-Swedish celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who I meet at Marcus B&P, the bistro he opened last year in the Hahne & Co. building, a mammoth former department store that was renovated after 30 years of dereliction.
"As an immigrant, you know how it is to feel neglected," he says, rapid-fire, as I munch on a salad grown at AeroFarms, a nearby converted steel mill that's now the world's largest indoor vertical farm. "There's a soulful sensibility that you can turn into a sense of place. A kitchen can be poetic justice. I've always been a fan of B-sides. Prince. Bob Marley. Grace Jones. David Bowie. They were my style teachers as well as my English teachers. Newark is a B-side city. It's where all the personal poetry is hidden. It has the energy of emergence, which is the true energy of beauty." He pauses to take a sip of water. "Don't come and ask me, 'Is Newark good now?' People want credible, predictable travel, and Newark is an incredible, unpredictable place. That's how you get Queen Latifah.
That's how you get Redman. Look, Rome is great. But who was the last global artist to come out of it?"
Rolling Cigars at Jimenez Tobacco
It's nighttime now, and I'm winding down my last evening at Jimenez Tobacco, an ornate, family-run Cuban cigar speakeasy where the only female master blender in the country oversees a boutique operation that refuses to sell other brands (the shop's own 23 varieties, aged 10 years, will suffice). It's the kind of upscale dive where the broke can feel baroque. Smoke curls playfully around me, as if it's about to pull a quarter out of my ear.
I'm a few daiquiris in and shooting the breeze with Peter, the manager-son, whose Cheshire Cat grin is infectious.
"Why are you Peter and not Pedro?" I ask.
He smiles and shrugs: "I came to this melting pot, and I melted." He roars with laughter. He's a true raconteur,
with a smidgen of racketeer to him; he makes his Cuban guayabera seem like an open tuxedo shirt, cuff links and all.
"Shhh!" I stage-whisper.
"Won't we wake up your mother?" He waves dismissively at the staircase that rises to her bedroom. "She raised three boys. She can sleep through anything."
As I saunter home, a flamenco lyric echoes in my mind: "El querer es cuesta arriba, y el olvidar cuesta abajo; quiero subir cuesta arriba aunque me cueste trabajo." Wanting is uphill, forgetting is downhill; I want to climb uphill despite the work.
Nork, the little utopia that could, is done with its downhill moments. It's unforgettable now.
The Portuguese enclave Ironbound
Where to stay
Tryp by Wyndham Newark Downtown
Opened last spring in a 1920s building with Art Deco flourishes, this 101-room hotel is brimming with hometown pride. Look for elevator-landing murals of Newark natives (such as Queen Latifah and Frankie Valli) and a giant acrylic lightbulb in the lobby, a nod to Thomas Edison, who first publicly demonstrated an electric lightbulb in Military Park—about 500 feet from the hotel's front door. From $145, wyndhamhotels.com
Hotel Indigo Newark Downtown
Occupying the 1912 former headquarters of the First National State Bank, this 108-room property welcomes guests with a lobby mosaic mural of Edison's ticker-tape writer, contributed by local glass studio GlassRoots. The bank's teller desks have been transformed into the check-in counter, while the original vault was incorporated into the design of the on-site restaurant, The Ainsworth. From $145, hotelindigo.com
Ready to explore more? Watch the Hemispheres Travel Show episode on Newark below.
Following the devastating wildfires in Australia and powerful earthquakes that shook Puerto Rico last week, we're taking action to make a global impact through our international partnerships as well as nonprofit organizations Afya Foundation and ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency).
Helping Puerto Rico recover from earthquakes
Last week, Puerto Rico was hit with a 5.2 magnitude earthquake, following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake it experienced just days before. The island has been experiencing hundreds of smaller quakes during the past few weeks.
These earthquakes destroyed crucial infrastructure and left 4,000 people sleeping outside or in shelters after losing their homes. We've donated $50,000 to our partner charity organization Airlink and through them, we've helped transport disaster relief experts and medical supplies for residents, as well as tents and blankets for those who have lost their homes. Funding will go towards organizations within Airlink's partner network, which includes Habitat for Humanity, Mercy Corps and Americares, to help with relief efforts and long-term recovery.
Australian wildfire relief efforts
Our efforts to help Australia have inspired others to make their own positive impact. In addition to teaming up with Ellen DeGeneres to donate $250,000 and launching a fundraising campaign with GlobalGiving to benefit those impacted by the devastating wildfires in the country known for its open spaces and wildlife, our cargo team is helping to send more than 600 pounds of medical supplies to treat injured animals in the region.
Helping us send these supplies is the Afya Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit that seeks to improve global health by collecting surplus medical supplies and delivering them to parts of the world where they are most needed. Through Airlink, the Afya Foundation will send more than $18,000 worth of materials that will be used to treat animals injured in the Australian fires.
These medical supplies will fly to MEL (Melbourne) and delivered to The Rescue Collective. This Australian organization is currently focused on treating the massive population of wildlife, such as koalas, kangaroos, and birds, that have had their habitats destroyed by the recent wildfires. The supplies being sent include wound dressings, gloves, catheters, syringes and other items that are unused but would otherwise be disposed of.
By working together, we can continue to make a global impact and help those affected by natural disasters to rebuild and restore their lives
Australia needs our help as wildfires continue to devastate the continent that's beloved by locals and travelers alike. In times like these, the world gets a little smaller and we all have a responsibility to do what we can.
On Monday, The Ellen DeGeneres Show announced a campaign to raise $5 million to aid in relief efforts. When we heard about Ellen's effort, we immediately reached out to see how we could help.
Today, we're committing $250,000 toward Ellen's campaign so we can offer support now and help with rebuilding. For more on The Ellen DeGeneres Show efforts and to donate yourself, you can visit www.gofundme.com/f/ellenaustraliafund
We're also matching donations made to the Australian Wildfire Relief Fund, created by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network. This fund will support immediate relief efforts for people impacted by the fires in the form of emergency supplies like food, water and medicine. Funds will also go toward long-term recovery assistance, helping residents recover and rebuild. United will match up to $50,000 USD in donations, and MileagePlus® members who donate $50 or more will receive up to 1,000 award miles from United. Donate to GlobalGiving.
Please note: Donations made toward GlobalGiving's fund are only eligible for the MileagePlus miles match.
In addition to helping with fundraising, we're staying in touch with our employees and customers in Australia. Together, we'll help keep Australia a beautiful place to live and visit in the years to come.
20. Spot Giant Pandas in China
In 2016, giant pandas were removed from the endangered species list, and China would like to keep it that way. This year, the country plans to consolidate the creatures' known habitats into one unified national park system spanning nearly 10,500 square miles across Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi provinces—about the size, in total, of Massachusetts. —Nicholas DeRenzo
19. Follow in James Bond's Footsteps in Jamaica
When No Time to Die hits theaters on April 8, it marks a number of returns for the James Bond franchise. The 25th chapter in the Bond saga is the first to come out since 2015's Spectre; it's Daniel Craig's fifth go-round as 007, after rumors the actor was set to move on; and it's the first time the series has filmed in Jamaica since 1973's Live and Let Die. The Caribbean island has always had a special place in Bond lore: It was the location of one of creator Ian Fleming's homes, GoldenEye (which is now a resort), and the setting for the first 007 movie, 1962's Dr. No. Looking to live like a super-spy? You don't need a license to kill—just a ride to Port Antonio, where you can check out filming locations such as San San Beach and colonial West Street. Remember to keep your tux pressed and your Aston Martin on the left side of the road. —Justin Goldman
18. See the Future of Architecture in Venice
Every other year, Venice hosts the art world's best and brightest during its celebrated Biennale. But the party doesn't stop during off years, when the Architecture Biennale takes place. This year, curator Hashim Sarkis, the dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning, has tasked participants with finding design solutions for political divides and economic inequality; the result, on display from May to November, is the intriguing show How Will We Live Together? —Nicholas DeRenzo
17. Celebrate Beethoven's 250th Birthday in Bonn
Catch a Beethoven concerto in Bonn, Germany, to celebrate the hometown hero's big 2-5-0.
16. Eat Your Way Through Slovenia
When Ana Roš of Hiša Franko was named the World's Best Female Chef in 2017, food lovers began to wonder: Do we need to pay attention to Slovenia? The answer, it turns out, is definitely yes. This March, the tiny Balkan nation about two hours east of Venice gets its own Michelin Guide. —Nicholas DeRenzo
15. Star- (and Sun-) Gaze in Patagonia
Come December 13 and 14, there will be no better spot for sky-watchers than northern Patagonia, which welcomes both the peak of the Geminid meteor shower and a total solar eclipse within 24 hours. —Nicholas DeRenzo
14. Explore Miami's Game-Changing New Park
About 70,000 commuters use Miami's Metrorail each day, and city planners aim to turn the unused space beneath its tracks into an exciting new public space, a 10-mile linear park aptly named The Underline. Luckily, the Magic City is in good hands: The project is being helmed by James Corner Field Operations, the geniuses behind New York's High Line. “Both projects share similarities in their overarching goals," says principal designer Isabel Castilla, “to convert a leftover infrastructural space into a public space that connects neighborhoods, generates community, and encourages urban regeneration." When finished, Miami's park will be about seven times as long as its Big Apple counterpart. The first half-mile leg, set to open this June, is the Brickell Backyard, which includes an outdoor gym, a butterfly garden, a dog park, and gaming tables that call to mind the dominoes matches you'll find nearby in Little Havana. “We envision the Underline dramatically changing the way people in Miami engage with public space," Castilla says. —Nicholas DeRenzo
13. Kick Off the NFL in Las Vegas
Former Raiders owner Al Davis was famous for saying, “Just win, baby." His son, Mark Davis, the team's current owner, is more likely to be shouting “Vegas, baby!" Swingers-style, as his team becomes Sin City's first NFL franchise, the Las Vegas Raiders. After years of threats and lawsuits, the Raiders have finally left Oakland, and this summer they're landing just across the highway from the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in a 65,000-seat, $1.8 billion domed stadium that will also host the UNLV football team, the next two Pac-12 championship games, and the Las Vegas Bowl. Construction is slated to be finished July 31, just in time for the NFL preseason—and just in time to lure football fans from the sportsbooks to the grandstand. —Justin Goldman
12. Celebrate the Suffragettes in Washington D.C.
All eyes are on the ballot box this year, but the electorate would look quite different if not for the 19th Amendment, which was ratified 100 years ago this August. Many D.C. institutions, such as the National Archives Museum and the Library of Congress, are honoring the decades-long struggle for women's suffrage with exhibits. In particular, the National Museum of American History unveils Sarah J. Eddy's portrait of Susan B. Anthony this March, before putting on a 'zine-inspired show on girlhood and youth social movements this June. —Nicholas DeRenzo
11. Go for a Ride Through Mexico City
If you want to get somewhere quickly in Mexico City, try going by bicycle. During peak traffic, bikes average faster speeds than cars or public transportation—which might explain why ridership has gone up almost 50 percent since 2007. And riding on two wheels is getting safer and easier. In 2019, the city announced plans to invest $10 million (more than it had spent in the last six years combined) into the construction of about 50 miles of new paths and lanes. Now, you can cycle on a two-mile separated path along the Paseo de la Reforma, from Colonia Juárez and Roma to Chapultepec Park and Polanco. Future plans include a route along the National Canal between Coyoacán (where Frida Kahlo once lived) and Xochimilco (with its floating flower farms). “The goal is to finish the six-year [presidential] term with 600 kilometers of bike infrastructure," says Roberto Mendoza of the city's Secretariat of Mobility. Time to start pedaling. —Naomi Tomky
10. Consider the Mayflower's Legacy in Massachusetts and Abroad
Before they came to America in 1620, the religious separatists now known as the Pilgrims lived in England and the Netherlands. This year, the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing will be commemorated not only by those nations but also by a fourth: The Wampanoag, the confederation of tribes that live in New England and whose role in this world-changing event has been at best left out and at worst distorted.
“We're challenging the myths and stereotypes," says Aquinnah Wampanoag author Linda Coombs, a board member of Plymouth 400, Inc., which is planning cultural events such
as an Ancestors Walk to honor the native villages pushed aside by settlers, as well as
an indigenous history conference and powwow (plus an $11 million restoration of the replica Mayflower II).
Kerri Helme, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag nation and cultural programs manager at Plimoth Plantation, says that “people want to hear the whole story." She notes that it's a commonly held belief that the Pilgrims were welcomed by the natives, when in fact their first encounter was violent, since the English had been stealing the Wampanoags' food.
“The Wampanoag are key players in all of this," says Charles Hackett, CEO of Mayflower 400 in the U.K. “It's a whole other aspect of this history." In England, a Mayflower trail will connect Pilgrim sites in towns such as Southampton and Plymouth, and in Leiden, the Dutch town where the Pilgrims took refuge before embarking for the New World, the ethnology museum will run an exhibit about the natives.
“The most important thing for us, as the Wampanoag people," says Paula Peters, a former Wampanoag council member, “is to be acknowledged as a vital tribe comprised of people that, in spite of everything that's happened, are still here." —Jon Marcus
9. Discover Lille's Design Scene
Previous World Design Capitals have included major cultural hubs such as Helsinki and Seoul, so it came as a shock when Lille, France's 10th-largest city, beat Sydney for this year's title. Judges cited Lille's use of design to improve its citizens' lives; get a taste for yourself at spots like La Piscine Musée d'Art et d'Industrie, a gallery in a former Art Deco swim center. —Nicholas DeRenzo
8. See Stellar Space in Rio de Janeiro, the World Capital of Architecture
Rio de Janeiro is renowned for the beauty of its beaches and mountains, but the Cidade Maravilhosa's man-made structures are as eye-catching as its natural features. For that reason, UNESCO recently designated Rio its first World Capital of Architecture, honoring a city that boasts such landmarks as the stained glass–domed Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading, the fairy-tale Ilha Fiscal palace, and the uber-modern Niterói Contemporary Art Museum.
"Rio is an old city by New World standards, having been founded in the mid–16th century," says architectural photographer Andrew Prokos, who took this shot. "So the city has many layers of architectural styles, from Colonial and Rococo to Art Nouveau, Modernist, Brutalist, and contemporary." In the case of this museum, which was designed by perhaps Brazil's greatest architect, Pritzker Prize winner Oscar Niemeyer, Prokos was intrigued by how the 24-year-old building interacts with its surroundings. "The upward slope of the museum complements the slope of the Pão de Açúcar across the bay," he says, "so the two are speaking to each other from across the water." – Tom Smyth
7. Join the Avengers at Disneyland
This summer, Disney California Adventure unveils its Marvel-themed Avengers Campus, with a new Spider-Man attraction, followed later by an Ant-Man restaurant and a ride through Wakanda. If the hype surrounding last year's debut of Disney+ is any indication, Comic-Con types are going to lose their fanboy (and -girl) minds. —Nicholas DeRenzo
6. Listen to Jazz in Cape Town
Cape Town's natural wonders draw visitors from all over the world, but there's a hidden gem beyond the mountains, beaches, and seas: music. Much as jazz was born from America's diverse peoples, Cape jazz combines the traditions and practices of the city's multiethnic population, creating genres such as goema (named after a type of hand drum) and marabi (a keyboard style that arose in the townships). Cape Town has hosted an International Jazz Festival for
20 years (the 21st edition is this March 27–28), and now UNESCO is giving the Mother City its musical due by naming it the Global Host City of International Jazz Day 2020. The theme of the event—which takes place on April 30, features an All Star Global Concert, and is the climax of Jazz Appreciation Month—is “Tracing the Roots and Routes of African Jazz." During the dark days of slavery and apartheid, music became an outlet through which repressed people could express their struggle for freedom. What better way to mark a quarter century of democracy here than with a celebration of that most free style of music? —Struan Douglas
5. Take a Walk Around England
Many hikers love walking around England—but how many can say that they've truly walked around England? When it's completed, the England Coast Path will be the longest managed seaside trail in the world, completely circumnavigating the coastline, from the fishing villages of Cornwall and the beaches of Nothumberland to the limestone arches of the Jurassic Coast and the sandy dunes of Norfolk. Much of the trail is already waymarked (the 630-mile South West Coast Path is particularly challenging and beautiful), with new legs set to open throughout the year. If you want to cross the whole thing off your bucket list, be warned that it's no walk in the park: At around 2,795 miles, the completed route is 605 miles longer than the Appalachian Trail and about the same as the distance between New York and Los Angeles. —Nicholas DeRenzo
4. Get Refreshed in the Israeli Desert
Six Senses resorts are known for restorative retreats in places like Fiji, Bali, and the Maldives. For its latest location, the wellness-minded brand is heading to a more unexpected locale: the Arava Valley, in the far south of Israel. Opening this spring, the Six Senses Shaharut will offer overnight camel camping, off-roading in the surrounding desert, and restaurants serving food grown in the resort's gardens or sourced from nearby kibbutzim. While the valley is said to be near King Solomon's copper mines, the Six Senses is sure to strike gold. —Nicholas DeRenzo
3. Say konnichiwa on July 24 at the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, which plays host for the first time since 1964.
The Japanese capital plays host for the first time since 1964. This year, softball and baseball will return after being absent since 2008, and four new sports—karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding—will be added to the competition for the first time. Say konnichiwa at the opening ceremonies on July 24, which will be held at renowned architect Kengo Kuma's New National Stadium. – Nicholas DeRenzo
2. Score Tickets to Euro 2020
Still feeling World Cup withdrawal? Get your “football" fix at the UEFA European Championship. From June 12 to July 12, 24 qualifying national teams will play games in stadiums from Bilbao to Baku, culminating in the semi-finals and final at London's hallowed Wembley Stadium. Will World Cup champion France bring home another trophy? Will Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal repeat its 2016 Euro win? Will the tortured English national team finally get its first title? Or will an upstart—like Greece in 2004—shock the world? —Justin Goldman
1. Soak Up Some Culture in Galway
Galway has long been called “the cultural heart of Ireland," so it's no surprise that this bohemian city on the country's wild west coast was named a 2020 European Capital of Culture (along with Rijeka, Croatia). The title puts a spotlight on the city (population 80,000) and County Galway, where more than 1,900 events will take place throughout the year. Things kick off in February with a seven-night opening ceremony featuring a fiery (literally) choreographed celebration starring a cast of 2,020 singing-and-drumming locals in Eyre Square. “This is a once-in-a-generation chance for Galway," says Paul Fahy, a county native and the artistic director of the Galway International Arts Festival (July 13–26). “It's a huge pressure. There's a heightened sense of expectation from audiences, not just from here but from all over the world." Art lovers will no doubt enjoy Kari Kola's illuminating work Savage Beauty, which will wash the Connemara mountains in green light to coincide with St. Patrick's Day, or the Druid Theatre Company's countywide tour of some of the best 20th-century one-act Irish plays. Visitors would also be wise to explore the rugged beauty of Connemara on a day trip with the charismatic Mairtin Óg Lally of Lally Tours, and to eat their way across town with Galway Food Tours. But beware, says Fahy: “Galway has a reputation as a place people came to 20 years ago for a weekend and never left." —Ellen Carpenter