Travel is booming this summer in the United States. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 47.7 million Americans are expected to travel for the Independence Day holiday, which is 40 percent more than last year and the second-highest number of all time after 2019.
If you are among those who want to hit the road, we found the best places to travel in July, ranging from a new one-of-a-kind park in New York to a James Bond-themed dinner in London.
As Italy reopens to vaccinated Americans (unvaccinated tourists must show proof they contracted COVID-19 and recovered or provide a negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure), we’re longing to return to Florence.
Mere steps from the famous Ponte Vecchio, Hotel Lungarno — Lungarno Collection welcomes families with summertime activities like Renaioli boat jaunts in the Arno, hot-air balloon rides ending with a champagne toast and picnics in the Tuscan hills. Another incentive to stay here is the Family Getaway Special, which gives you a second room for half off, or reserve an entire floor for your brood.
Hudson River Park recently introduced Little Island, a 2.7-acre green space made of 132 uniquely shaped concrete tulip structures sprouting from the water. The free park requires timed entry to experience its 350 species of flowers, trees and shrubs, and the 687-seat outdoor waterfront amphitheater. Artist-in-residence PigPen Theatre Co. will curate a lineup of New York songwriters, musicians, poets and performers for the Storytelling Festival (July 21-25).
Stay in Walker Hotel Greenwich Village, which sits less than a mile away from Little Island. After a day at the park, retreat to the boutique hotel’s sunken lobby with glowing stairs, the intimate Society Café for fresh American cuisine or your inviting room with art deco flourishes.
Cool off with the family this summer at Baha Mar Resort’s new Baha Bay, a beachfront waterpark that opens July 2. But you must be a guest of Rosewood Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt or SLS if you want to hurtle down 24 water slides, blast through a dueling water coaster, careen around on raft rides or catch the current at the 500,000-gallon wave pool. When you want to dry off, gamble at Baha Bay’s Gaming Pavilion, the world’s first outdoor casino inside a waterpark.
Time your visit for the July 17 grand opening of Grand Hyatt’s Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant serving locally and sustainably caught seafood and premium dry-aged cuts. He also will unveil Marcus Up Top, a rooftop cocktail bar with beach views and live music.
If you want to sprawl out, escape to the 8,000-acre Biltmore estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A summer ticket will grant you entry to America’s largest home (built by George Vanderbilt, it boasts 35 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms); access to the immaculate 80-acre gardens and 20-plus miles of trails; complimentary tastings at the onsite winery; and more.
While you can’t stay in the Biltmore House, The Inn on Biltmore Estate is the next best option. The 210 rooms’ furnishings and décor take inspiration from Biltmore’s grounds, gardens, art and architectural details. Don’t miss the elegant Dining Room at Inn on Biltmore Estate, a fine-dining experience featuring estate-raised and local ingredients.
The city roars back to life with the return of summer festivals. Enjoy the Grant Park Music Festival’s beloved classical concerts (July 2-August 21), Windy City Smokeout’s country music and barbecue (July 9-11) and Lollapalooza’s 170-plus bands (July 29-August 1).
Favorite attractions are also back. The Willis Tower’s Skydeck Chicago, the highest observation deck in the United States, recently reopened after an extensive renovation with a new lower-level Chicago-themed museum and a revamped 103rd floor with interactive stations and Instagrammable backdrops.
Embark on a popular architecture river cruise with The Langham, Chicago. The Langham Loves Chicago’s Architecture package includes two passes on the Chicago Architecture Center-led tour along with a stay in the Five-Star hotel, which itself is a midcentury modern landmark from architect Mies van der Rohe.
Don’t fret if you haven’t yet made plans for the Fourth of July. Head to Vegas for a holiday spectacle. At 11 p.m. PDT July 4, a coordinated fireworks display will launch from the rooftops of ARIA Resort & Casino, Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the brand-new Resorts World Las Vegas, The STRAT Hotel, Casino & Skypod, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas and Treasure Island Las Vegas.
For a unique vantage point, take Maverick Helicopters’ July 4 Stars & Stripes flight. You’ll fly over the Strip in a luxury helicopter and land 2,900 feet above the valley for unparalleled views of the fireworks.
The long weekend also will mark the return of live entertainment with Dave Chappelle hitting the stage at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Bill Burr eliciting laugh at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Miley Cyrus making throngs dance at Resorts World.
While the new Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth won’t debut until October, it’s offering a sneak peek of its Caribbean paradise in Paris.
Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel hosts Plage Concorde Le Guanahani, a summerlong pop-up on its bright terrace complete with sand, chic beach chairs, colorful towels, fruity drinks and refreshing treats like housemade ice cream and sorbet; vanilla ice cream sandwiches with pecan cookies and salted caramel dipped in dark chocolate and served on a stick; and affogato (ice cream doused with espresso).
On July 3, the Institute of Contemporary Art will launch “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech,” the first museum exhibit devoted to the work of artist and designer Virgil Abloh, the founder and creative director of fashion brand Off-White and artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear.
See the exhibition like a VIP with the help of Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston. Its New Boston: Art + Fashion Experience package includes a pair of “Figures of Speech” tickets, a limited-edition sweatshirt from the exhibit, two art-inspired cocktails at the hotel’s Trifecta lobby bar and accommodations at the sleek property.
SingleThread Farms Restaurant is one of the hardest reservations to land in Sonoma. But there’s another way to experience its exquisite farm-driven fare: go to San Diego.
Fairmont Grand Del Mar will host a SingleThread and Relais & Châteaux pop-up July 16 and 17. Chef William Bradley, who oversees the Grand Del Mar’s Addison Restaurant, will collaborate with SingleThread chef Kyle Connaughton and co-owner/head farmer Katina Connaughton on an eight-course tasting menu that spotlights California’s seasonal ingredients, including tomatoes, Japanese greens and orchard fruits from SingleThread’s summer harvest.
If you can’t wait for the October release of the 25th 007 film, attend The Milestone Hotel & Residences’ The Art of Bond dinner series. Each installment honors a different flick in the James Bond oeuvre, and July 17 will be “An Evening with Dr. No.” Start with champagne and canapés, hear movie anecdotes and take a masterclass with the Five-Star hotel’s head mixologist to learn how to make three iconic Bond cocktails — including a shaken-not-stirred martini. Then you’ll move onto a five-course menu inspired by Ian Fleming’s spy novels.
If you can’t make it this month, roll the die on the September 25 “Casino Royale” dinner.
In the 1860s, Santa Fe’s first archbishop built a chapel and lodge on a parcel of land. Later, it served as a Pulitzer family home and hosted several U.S. presidents over the years. On July 1, it debuted as Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection, a refuge that stretches across 317 acres and sits next to the Santa Fe National Forest.
Enjoy the great outdoors with the hotel’s horse rides and fly-fishing offerings. Or tap into Santa Fe’s artistic tradition with a walking tour of Canyon Road galleries or the Artist-in-Residence program’s outdoor painting events, ceramic classes and interactive experiences with chefs, vintners, songwriters, authors, naturalists and other arts experts.