2017 Domestic Travel Trends
Last year the U.S. National Parks, Philadelphia and Denver were among trending domestic destinations. This year we’ve identified an equally diverse group based on emerging food scenes, developing downtowns and a booming hotel expansion.
Palm Springs, California
Although Palm Springs has never fallen out of favor, it has received renewed interest from trendsetters and celebrities. As such, nine new hotels are in the works, joining the buzzy likes of Ace Hotel and Swim Club, Saguaro Palm Springs (pictured) and Arrive. Newcomers include The Kimpton Rowan Hotel, which will introduce the area’s first rooftop pool. Elsewhere, the SilverRock Resort in La Quinta, already home to an Arnold Palmer golf course, will be undergoing a $420 million expansion that adds a five-star resort and spa. Meanwhile, four hotels are being renovated, and the historic Colony Palms Hotel is getting a spa makeover. There are also plans for seven new restaurants and bars in 2017; keep an eye out for Truss & Twine, the latest venture from the owner of popular Workshop Kitchen + Bar.
From a restaurant boom to enterprising entrepreneurs, Detroit is providing new reasons to visit Motor City. For example, Mabel Gray (pictured) was a 2016 James Beard "Best New Restaurant" semi-finalist; it's the second Detroit restaurant from former Top Chef contestant James Rigato. Mabel Gray only seats 45 and is much in demand; make reservations well ahead of time. Shake Shack is continuing its nationwide reach by opening its first Michigan location at Campus Martius Park. Third Man Records Cass Corridor is the third outpost owned by Jack White of the White Stripes; this combination record store and performance space is about to add a vinyl record pressing plant. On the hotel front, Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney is a recent hotel addition in the heart of the city. Shinola, best known for high-end watches and bikes, also plans to open a downtown hotel next year.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe’s food scene has been steadily moving beyond conventional Southwestern fare. Recent restaurant additions include Milad Persian Bistro, the city’s first Persian; Sabor Peruano, the city’s first Peruvian; and The Root Cellar, a speakeasy pub beneath The Hive Market gift shop. La Lecheria is another newcomer, specializing in artisan ice cream; try locally inspired flavors such as green chile. However, Santa Fe is also elevating Southwestern food. Try some of the best at Eloisa, a James Beard semifinalist for best new restaurant in 2016. Eloisa is also among a handful of local restaurants incorporating Native American ingredients into their menus, which looks like it's becoming a bigger trend. In culture news, Meow Wolf, an art collective that creates over-the-top immersive experiences, finally moved into a permanent location last year, funded by George R.R. Martin (yes, the Game of Thrones creator). Its current interactive experience, House of Eternal Return, involves wandering through a surreal 20,000-square-feet mansion while trying to figure out why the fictional occupants abruptly left.
Legions of fans flocked to Prince’s hometown following his unexpected death last year, and expect this wave to continue. Besides visiting his old haunts, you can now tour Paisley Park, Prince’s former home and recording studio. Tickets are on sale through March 31 and only available online. First Avenue is another must-visit for fans. Prince didn’t just perform at this iconic live music venue; scenes from Purple Rain were also filmed here. The Dakota Jazz Club is another spot where Prince would watch other artists and occasionally perform. Don’t miss independent record store Electric Fetus, where Prince shopped the weekend before he passed away. Visit these sites and more on a self-guided tour, or join a tour group such as WaconiaVille Tours.
Sedona is best known for its red rocks, spiritual retreats and golf courses, but a food and wine scene is quietly emerging too. Starting with the former, Mariposa, which specializes in Latin-American type fare, has been attracting crowds since opening in 2015. It’s owned by the same chef behind the old-guard Dahl & Di Luca, an upscale Italian restaurant that draws crowds of its own. The Hudson also joined the scene in 2015, and since then this neighborhood eatery has filled its seats from well beyond the neighborhood. Cress on Oak Creek is another recent newcomer, and has garnered praise for both its food and enviable location along a creek. As for wine, it’s been produced in the Verde Valley for just under a decade, but its roots date back to the 17th century. Hit the Verde Valley Wine Trail for its seven wineries and eight tasting rooms. Of note, Wine Spectator has recognized both Page Springs Cellars and Burning Tree Cellars. Or visit the annual Sedona Winefest to sample everything in one place.