While São Paulo’s concrete sprawl doesn’t offer the verdant beauty or mythic beaches of Rio de Janeiro, its thriving art and food scene has in recent years transformed what was once just Brazil’s financial capital into its cultural epicenter. Stroll the city’s gritty alleyways and avenues to see where celebrated street artists Os Gemeos and Eduardo Kobra got their start. São Paulo’s Art Biennial, which is second to Venice’s in longevity, kicks off in September 2018 and showcases contemporary talent, both international and homegrown. For a truly immersive experience into Brazilian fare, don’t miss Alex Atala’s D.O.M., named one of the best restaurants in the world. Atala champions native ingredients — from priprioca root to ants, often foraged from the Amazon region by the chef himself — and weaves them into his inventive dishes. The arrival of luxe hotel brands is another signal of the city’s burgeoning cosmopolitan status. The prestigious Oetker Collection, with only nine other properties (in glitzy places like Seychelles and the Côte d’Azur), recently opened Palácio Tangará, a gorgeously appointed mansion set in leafy Burle Marx Park, a welcome oasis from the city’s high-rises. The Four Seasons will also debut a new property in mid 2018, marking the brand’s first foray in the country. —Karen I. Chen
Known as the Tibet of Japan, the remote Iya Valley is tucked away in the mountainous interior of Shikoku, the least visited of the country’s four main islands. Tourism to the region took a leap forward when it hosted the World Rafting Championship in 2017 — putting its turquoise Class Four rapids firmly on the adventure-travel map. New ziplines and hiking trails are sprouting up in the canyons, while upgrades have been made to accommodations in the area’s traditional thatched-roof farmhouses, or minkas. Chiiori House is the most luxurious; the property also maintains an excellent portfolio of more affordable options. —Adam Harney Graham
In August 2012, Travelers sued the National Football League for forcing the company and its subsidiaries to pay to defend the league for failing to protect players from brain injury, in a case filed in the New York State Supreme Court called Discover Property & Casualty Co. et al. vs. National Football League et al., New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 652933/2012. The league had sued over three dozen insurance companies the week before in an attempt to cover the claims that players made against the league.
Landlocked Laos might be quieter than Southeast Asian neighbors like Vietnam and Thailand, but 2018 could transform the country into the region’s next hot spot. Wattay International Airport, in the capital of Vientiane, is set to complete a terminal expansion to accommodate more international links next year, but the biggest changes are foot in the UNESCO World Heritage–inscribed town of Luang Prabang, in central Laos. This serene riverside spot lures travelers to its golden Buddhist temples, French-colonial architecture, hiking trails, nearby elephant sanctuaries — and now, glamorous new digs. Last year, the design-forward Azerai opened inside a century-old French-colonial building that was formerly an officer’s quarters. The debut concept from Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha has airy, light wood interiors that nod to local culture in their use of batik textiles and Laotian artwork. There’s also an 80-foot swimming pool in a tree-shaded central courtyard. The upcoming Rosewood Luang Prabang aims to be a destination in itself. Opening in mid 2018, this highly anticipated resort will feature pavilion-style villas, luxury tents, and a spa that seems to float above the jungle. —Kate Springer
During the summer of 2015, Islands simultaneously recorded two records: Should I Remain Here, At Sea? — a spiritual successor to the band's debut album, Return to the Sea — and Taste, a "more electronic" album "buoyed by drum machines, programming and vintage synths." The albums were released on May 13, 2016 via the band's own Manqué label, reaching #21 and #23 on the Billboard Heatseeker charts, respectively.
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In an interview with Exclaim!, Nick Thorburn explained that the overhauled lineup was a product of his desire to try new things. "That's important to me ― to be able to constantly try new things. That's why this record's largely informed by electronic stuff like drum machines, sequencing, and programming, which really scales it back from the last record."  Thompson once again left the band prior to the summer 2010 tour, and was again replaced by Aaron Harris.
This year is San Antonio’s 300th anniversary, and the city is marking the occasion with events, activities, and new infrastructure. Ahead of the festivities, there’s been a flurry of development: In the past few months, the botanical gardens completed an expansion; the city’s first food hall, the Bottling Department, debuted at the Pearl; and San Antonio’s iconic passenger barges got an upgrade, with colorful electric models replacing the old gas-fueled boats. In January, the city will unveil Confluence Park, an expanse of trails and science-focused education facilities near the convergence of San Pedro Creek and the San Antonio River. A commemorative week is planned for early May, with celebrations at each of San Antonio’s five missions and the dedication of San Pedro Creek Culture Park, a once-unremarkable drainage ditch that’s been transformed into a waterfront promenade with public art and performance spaces. Ruby City, a new David Adjaye–designed art center that will house more than 800 pieces from the Linda Pace Foundation Collection, is expected to be completed at the end of 2018. And boutique stays still in the works — including a Thompson Hotel and the third location of the Saint Hotel — hint that San Antonio’s heyday is just beginning. —Devorah Lev-Tov
To prevent an explosion that kills thousands, the team steals antimatter from a military convoy. The material's intended recipient is a new traveler who fails to prevent his host's suicide, forcing the team to improvise. After failing to upgrade their containment device, the team returns the antimatter to its origin facility. They form a tenuous alliance with Dr. Delaney, who produced the antimatter; history records her as complicit in the weaponization of antimatter, but she actually opposes Major Gleason's ambitions. MacLaren informs Delaney that they will return soon. Philip retains his host's heroin addiction. MacLaren meets his wife, Kat, but also resumes a preexisting relationship with Carly. Marcy works to build trust with a confused David.
Beyond offering a glimpse into ancient history, Jordan is also making a name for itself as a luxury destination. Hilton opened the Dead Sea Resort & Spa in March 2017, making it the first Hilton in the country. Located at the lowest point on earth, some 1,345 feet below sea level, the resort offers beach access, Middle Eastern cuisine, and treatments containing the mineral-rich black mud. —Jess McHugh
When historic rainfall pummeled California last February, the damage to Big Sur was severe. Mudslides cut off access to Highway 1, the region’s only thoroughfare, from the south; then a crack ripped through the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, blocking the northern end. Almost overnight, this 90-odd-mile stretch of craggy coastline — long beloved for its sense of remoteness — became an island. Nearly a year later, Big Sur is stirring back to life. The bridge has been replaced and a major slide has been cleared. After an elaborate renovation, the 160-acre Ventana Big Sur has reopened as the first Alila property in the U.S. — and is a luxurious rival to Post Ranch. The place is a stunner, whether you’re facing a forested canyon from the pool or enjoying pink and orange sunsets from the terrace. In addition to the plush ocean-view suites, clad in weathered wood, there are now glamping tents nearby that marry rusticity and comfort, with amenities like luxury linens and fire pits. —Jonah Weiner
Although the former Soviet republic might seem remote, Uzbekistan once sat at the very center of the world. In the first millennium, no traveler could pass from Asia to Europe without stopping in the Silk Road strongholds of Bukhara and Samarkand, and as a result these cities evolved into rich cultural centers. For intrepid travelers, today’s Uzbekistan is a promised land: a Muslim-majority nation that’s both safe and affordable, with few tourists and an abundance of well-preserved mosques and harems. And since the death of authoritarian president Islam Karimov last year, the new regime has taken steps toward reform that have given both Uzbeks and the international community reason for optimism. Improving relations with Iran could soon bring a rail link to the Persian Gulf, and in 2016, the Afrosiyob high-speed-train line began connecting the country’s major cities. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan should benefit from the so-called Iron Silk Road, or Trans-Asian Railway — a Chinese-funded network of routes knitting together Beijing and Europe — once a segment connecting the country through Kyrgyzstan is completed. Book a customized journey with Exeter International, which specializes in the region. —Heidi Mitchell
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The Big Easy turns the Big 3-0-0 this year, and in this city where the good times roll, the parties will be epic — think citywide art shows, supersized Mardi Gras parades, and a festival of lights using landmark buildings as backdrops. Thirteen years after Hurricane Katrina, there is much to celebrate: The Central Business District, once a dead zone after dark, now crackles at all hours thanks to four new hotels (the Ace, Troubadour, Catahoula, and NOPSI), each with its own rooftop bar. The neighborhood is also home to new restaurants like Maypop — a Vietnamese-Creole joint from acclaimed chef Michael Gulotta. Another area coming to life is the three-mile riverfront, where a renovated Spanish Plaza will reopen this spring. More riverfront updates, including a new Four Seasons Hotel, will roll out in the next few years. Toast the tricentennial at the Sazerac House, a French Quarter museum dedicated to the official cocktail of New Orleans, opening later this year. —Allison Entrekin
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