DCI TOURISM STORY STARTERS
Summer 2023 Edition
Baltimore, MD – www.baltimore.org
In Baltimore, the summer season is all about fun, passion and tradition. Music can be heard throughout the city at a variety of events and festivals, including Jazzy Summer Nights at West Covington Park on the Port Covington waterfront and the Summer Sounds Series at Belvedere Square, which takes place every Friday night from late May to early September. True to the city’s Warm Welcome pledge, the 48th annual Pride parade and celebrations resume June 19–25, as the city celebrates love in all forms. Enjoy stunning water views while tasting Baltimore’s vibrant culinary scene at such spots as Loch Bar in Fell’s Point or Nick’s Fish House in Port Covington. Retreat to some of the most-alluring outdoor pools by the Inner Harbor, which boast waterfront views, cocktails and bites with private cabanas at the Sagamore Pendry Hotel and Four Seasons Baltimore Hotel.
Chattanooga, TN – www.visitchattanooga.com
This summer, Chattanooga’s music scene takes center stage. The Nightfall Concert Series occurs every Friday at Miller Park, featuring live music from local artists, along with food and artisan goods available for purchase. The weekly event is free to the public. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Riverbend Festival, June 2-4, includes a toe-tapping lineup with Maren Morris, Nathaniel Rateliff and other performers. Runners of all skill levels will come together for the 40th annual Chattanooga Riverfront Triathlon, which takes place June 25 along the Tennessee River. The Choo Choo Hotel reopens later this summer after a top-to-bottom renovation that includes the restoration of 25 vintage Pullman cars that are being repurposed as freestanding hotel rooms.
Expedia Group – www.expedia.ca – CANADA B2B MEDIA ONLY
Expedia Group recently unveiled a new plugin in collaboration with OpenAI to simplify trip planning for ChatGPT users. Now, when travellers enable the Expedia plugin (think ChatGPT app store), they can bring to life a trip itinerary in ChatGPT — how to get there, where to stay and what to see and do — all powered by Expedia Group’s 70 petabytes of travel data. When they’re ready to book, they’ll be sent to Expedia, where they can access their member discounts and rewards. AI has transformed Expedia Group from an online travel agency to a technology platform powering travel at every step of the journey for more than 154 million travellers and 50,000-plus partners globally. In addition, Expedia announced the launch of an exciting new in-app travel planning experience powered by ChatGPT. The app integration allows Expedia members to start an open-ended conversation and get ideas about places to go, where to stay, how to get there and what to see and do. The most-innovative part: At the end of the conversation, the intelligent shopping technology automatically saves the hotels discussed to a “trip” in the app, helping travellers stay organized.
Florida – www.visitflorida.com
In June, the town of Sarasota hosts the Sarasota Music Festival, where accomplished student musicians from many of the world’s best music programs compete during the three-week event. On June 11, the Deering Estate hosts its spring contemporary exhibition, Closer to Nature, which explores concepts of queer ecofeminism. This exhibition complements the number of Pride events happening throughout the state, including one of the largest Pride parades in the Southeast, the St. Pete Pride in St. Petersburg. There is also the Stonewall Pride Street Festival & Parade, an 11-hour hootenanny happening in Wilton Manors. Key West also shows its pride during a five-day celebration that includes a film festival, dance parties and shows, a street fair and the Key West Pride Parade. This year also marks the Florida Keys’ bicentennial, which will be heralded throughout 2023.
Kissimmee, FL – www.experiencekissimmee.com
As the sun beats down on the streets of Kissimmee, the summer of 2023 promises to be a season of excitement and adventure. Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, one of the season’s highlights, runs through June and allows guests to explore vibrant gardens and taste delicious culinary treats. One of the most highly anticipated additions is SeaWorld Orlando’s latest roller coaster, “Pipeline: The Surf Coaster,” offering riders an exhilarating experience of the ocean’s power. Another exciting new attraction, the TRON Lightcycle Run at Disney World, takes guests on a high-speed journey through a world with no horizons. For locals, the summer brings its own set of adventures, from lazy days spent on the shores of Lake Tohopekaliga to fun-filled evenings at the many festivals and concerts occurring throughout town.
Loudoun County, VA – www.visitloudoun.org
For nature lovers, the Round Hill/Hillsboro Appalachian Trail Festival toasts the trail’s beauty on June 10. Tailgates, picnics, rosé wine, designer hats and horses — you know it is a Loudoun summer when Polo in the Park returns to Morven Park from June 3–24 and July 8–22. The Family Reunion, the immersive experience celebrating diversity in the hospitality community, returns for a third year Aug. 17–20 at Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Chef Kwame Onwuachi, author of culinary memoir “Notes from a Young Black Chef,” hosts this multiday event aimed at developing and celebrating racial and ethnic diversity within the next generation of hospitality professionals.
Greater Louisville, KY – www.gotolouisville.com
Louisville manages to stretch the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” into a monthlong celebration of special events, distinct culinary traditions and, of course, bourbon-laden cocktails. Celebrate America’s most-time-honored thoroughbred horse racing event at one of the city’s signature festivals, including Thunder Over Louisville, the largest annual fireworks display in North America, coupled with a world-class air show on the banks of the Ohio River. Jefferson, Indiana, located directly across from the river to the north of Louisville, is where the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival, Abbey Road on the River, takes place Memorial Day Weekend. More than 20,000 music fans worldwide gather for this five-day event, which is packed with peace, love and music from the ‘60s and ‘70s, coupled with food and beverages, retail and craft vendors, interactive art and a children’s area.
Greater Miami, FL – www.miamiandbeaches.com
The 23rd annual Miami Fashion Week (MIAFW) sashays into motion May 30–June 4, with catwalks scattered throughout the city. On the heels of the MIAFW, the 27th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF) takes center stage June 14–18 in Miami Beach. Created to promote Black talent, the festival provides a platform for emerging artists and entertainment content. The highly anticipated International Ballet Festival of Miami returns for its 28th season July 22–Aug. 13 at various venues throughout Miami and Miami Beach. The festival showcases more than 100 dancers from ballet companies from around the world and includes modern and contemporary dance ensembles. During Miami Hotel Months (June through September), hotels and resorts offer great deals, including discounted stays, resort credits and complimentary meals, while Miami Spa Months (July and August) offers up to 50 percent off treatments at top luxury spas.
Orlando, FL – www.visitorlando.com – CANADA MEDIA ONLY
Orlando, the destination with fireworks 365 days of the year, is hosting a special spectacle for July 4, with celebrations at iconic parks, such as Disney World, Universal Studios and LEGOLAND. Summer is also a fantastic time to experience the thrill of Central Florida’s eco-tourism. The natural springs at Blue Spring State Park, De Leon Springs State Park, Rock Springs Run State Preserve at Kelly Park and Wekiwa Springs State Park offer incredible outdoor adventures that must be experienced with such companies as Epic Paddle Adventures and Get Up and Go Kayaking. The Alfond Inn at Rollins, an award-winning boutique hotel in the heart of historic Winter Park, unveils its renovated 112 existing rooms and suites and will add an additional 71 luxury guestrooms and suites in August. The upgrade includes additional meeting space, a lobby café and a new spa with seven treatment rooms. A variety of Canadian carriers offer direct flights from Hamilton (YHM) to Orlando (MCO and SFB), including the addition of low-cost airline Swoop, beginning twice a week on May 6.
Redding, CA – www.visitredding.com
With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, Redding, which sits below the Oregon border in Northern California, has certainly earned its reputation as California’s sunniest city. During the summer, the city is teeming with outdoor adventure and is a great home base for exploring the region. Turtle Bay Exploration Park, a 300-acre cultural center located along the Sacramento River, features a museum with fascinating exhibits that includes wildlife, history, Native American heritage and more. Turtle Bay also has a program to house animals that can no longer survive in the wild with a habitat that includes porcupines, skunks, foxes, birds and other creatures that are able to interact with humans. The iconic Sundial Bridge, the world’s largest working sundial, is for pedestrians only and connects the park with the botanical gardens. Enjoy fly fishing, tubing and kayaking along the Sacramento River. Nearby Whiskeytown Lake, which has several beach areas, offers an array of activities, including sail or pontoon rentals as well as kayaks and paddle boards. Shasta Lake, about 20 minutes from downtown, is another recreational area for boating.
San Antonio, TX – www.visitsanantonio.com
The Alamo City is home to several theme parks, including Six Flags Fiesta Texas, which will debut a new ride this summer. KID FLASH™ Cosmic Coaster, Texas’ only racing roller coaster, features two trains positioned side by side on parallel dueling tracks and allows guests to race to the finish simultaneously. SeaWorld San Antonio welcomes Catapult Falls this summer, the world’s first launched flume coast — the steepest drop for a flume ride with speeds of up to 30 feet a second. For those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground, Mission Adventure Tours has added a “History Through Art” walking tour, highlighting San Antonio’s fabulous collection of public art installations and historic sites, including the recently restored San Pedro Culture Creek and its art-filled pathway of colorful murals.
San Francisco, CA – www.sftravel.com – CANADA MEDIA ONLY
San Francisco is the place to be this summer, as the destination celebrates various milestones throughout the city via music, arts and culture. The Centennial Season of San Francisco Opera culminates June 16 in a special concert honouring the company’s illustrious 100-year history. Tracing its history through musical milestones and landmark productions, the concert includes selections spanning 17th-century Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi through the music of Bay Area composer John Adams. SFJAZZ celebrates its 40th anniversary and the 10th birthday of the SFJAZZ Center — the first stand-alone structure in the country built specifically for jazz. It presents hundreds of concerts from artists and musicians who have inspired and guided the organization for decades. The Creativity Explored exhibition celebrates its 40-year legacy of community, empowerment and dignity by supporting San Francisco-based artists with developmental disabilities. Its artists have seen their work exhibited in museums, galleries and art fairs in more than 14 countries, with artists earning more than $2.2 million from their art pieces.
San Luis Obispo, CA – www.visitslo.com
Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, along California’s Central Coast, the city of San Luis Obispo is all about community. The annual Concerts in the Plaza returns every Friday evening, June 23–Sept. 8 from 5–8 p.m. With the historic centuries-old Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa as the backdrop, featured acts for these weekly free concerts include an array of musical genres, from blues and jazz to soul and funk. Eighties teen queen Molly Ringwald takes the stage with her band, The Molly Ringwald Project, on July 21, playing a medley of ‘80s rock and dance tunes. The downtown Farmers’ Market, occurring every Thursday night along Higuera Street, celebrates its 40th anniversary. Founded in 1983, it has grown to become one of the largest and most-popular alfresco markets on the Central Coast, featuring local farmers selling produce, live entertainment, food stalls, artisan goods and more.
Seattle, WA (Business Events Media Only) – www.visitseattle.org
Baseball’s brightest stars and sports fans worldwide descend on Seattle for the 2023 MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, coupled with a week of accompanying events. As MLB All-Star Week nears, Visit Seattle is partnering with regional hotel partners to plan for the influx of visitors. The organization is focused on creating enriching activities for fans to experience Seattle, to patronize businesses in and around the city and to learn about Seattle’s diverse communities and neighborhoods. Additionally, the Seattle Convention Center’s new state-of-the-art convention center, the Summit, which opened earlier this year, continues Seattle’s commitment to uplifting minority voices through its public arts program. New studio artworks adorn the Summit’s interior in an ongoing process involving curators followed by a selection panel. This project affords the opportunity for more artists to showcase their work in the Summit and to expand diversity, equity and inclusion further.
St. Louis, MO – www.explorestlouis.com
Thespians can enjoy free alfresco performances at the Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park from May 31–June 5, and Counterpublic’s second edition will run through July 15 — a civic exhibition that weaves contemporary art into the life of St. Louis for three months every three years in order to reimagine civic infrastructures toward generational change. One of the nation’s largest public art platforms, will animate six miles of Jefferson Avenue with free art installations, performances, screenings, and parties. It supports Osage Nation’s efforts to rematriate Sugarloaf Mound, the last remaining intact mound and oldest man-made structure in the city.
Tuolumne County, CA – www.visittuolumne.com – CANADA MEDIA ONLY
Summer in Tuolumne County has California’s best activities and trails! World-famous whitewater rafting offers everything from float boats to Class 5 runs on the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers. The wild and scenic Tuolumne, named the No. 1 rafting river by The San Francisco Chronicle, is California’s premier wilderness whitewater destination. All-Outdoors has specialized in running trips on 10 of California’s most-popular rivers. River experiences for every level, from beginner to advanced, include runs on the Main Tuolumne and the Upper Tuolumne/Cherry Creek. Tuolumne County also offers some of the most fun on two wheels around. Road biking and mountain biking are evolving fast in the county, and whether you’re starting out or are a seasoned veteran of the cycling world, a trail exists with your name on it. From meandering railroad grades to single-track downhills, find your favorite one in Tuolumne County Trails or Groveland Trail Heads.
U.S. Virgin Islands – www.visitusvi.com
The U.S. Virgin Islands is one of the most-festive places to be in the summer, with St. John Carnival taking place June 25–July 4. The second of three carnivals held throughout the year, St. John Carnival commemorates and celebrates the islands’ emancipation on July 3. Carnival goers can expect a colorful gathering of music, food and events, including J’ouvert, the parade and a food fair. After much anticipation, The Westin Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef and Morningstar Buoy Haus Beach Resort are slated to open just in time for summer. Set on Morningside Beach, a mere 15 minutes from Cyril E. King Airport, these two distinct yet interconnected properties showcase innovative designs by architects Kollin Altomare and The Johnson Studio. In addition to striking culinary and public space concepted by Sixteenfifty Creative Intelligence, both resorts will have access to the Flying Frenchman, a private catamaran.
Barbados – www.visitbarbados.org
Embrace an off-roading adventure through Sol Rally Barbados (Sol RB), a June 9–11 festival that invites spectators to enjoy the most-dynamic three days of rally driving in Barbados and attracts competitive drivers from throughout the world. FABA Fest, an acronym meaning “For Alumni, By Alumni,” is a first-of-its-kind festival highlighting Black excellence and reuniting alumni from Historically Black College Universities (HBCU) during Juneteenth weekend, June 15–18. With its palm-laden beaches and African diasporic culture, Barbados is the idyllic backdrop for the significant gathering. The event includes live entertainment, empowerment sessions, curated gatherings and events. The wildly popular Crop Over Festival, a 200-year-old tradition that historically marked the end of the sugar cane season, is a 12-week festival in celebration of rich culture and includes live entertainment, extravagant costumes, art, Bajan foods and more. Popular festivities in the Crop Over calendar are Soca on de Hill (July 30), Foreday Morning Jam (Aug. 5) and Grand Kadooment Day (Aug. 7).
Belize – www.travelbelize.org – CANADA MEDIA ONLY
You can’t visit Belize during the summer and not attend a lobster festival! The festivities begin as soon as Belize’s lobster season opens July 1. Indulge in various lobster cuisines in Caye Caulker, San Pedro and Placencia for an energy-packed block party with live music and colourful art. Back for its second year, Belize International Music and Food Festival presents a dynamic two-day international music and food festival that showcases local and international musical artists as well as exceptional local cuisine on Belize’s biggest island! Local food vendors dish out mouth-watering foods and provide a unique opportunity to sample Belize’s diverse cuisine at one event. Enjoy a wide selection of musical performances and genres — such as reggae, Afrobeats, dancehall, Soca, punta and Latin beats — and a host of local artists and DJs. A diverse culinary landscape of exquisite food and beverages from local businesses complements the two-day event, providing an opportunity to become immersed in Belize’s culture.
Israel – https://israel.travel
The nation of Israel is celebrating its 75th anniversary of the birth of the modern state of Israel. Israel packs a range of experiences and attractions that go beyond what most travelers imagine. This summer, celebrate the largest LGBTQ+ pride event in the Middle East, Tel Aviv Pride, showcasing how welcoming Israel is to diverse visitors. Other summer events include the Jerusalem Film Festival in July and the Red Sea Jazz Festival in August. A visit to Israel is a chance for travelers to experience the Negev Desert Wine Route, featuring innovative growing techniques at estate wineries housed in the nation’s largest — but least-well-known — wine region. The destination offers a chance for religious travelers to connect with the Holy Land, while historians can connect with any of its nine UNESCO heritage sites. Trendy and new accommodations, such as Soho House Tel Aviv, are open, making Israel even more attractive to travelers who want a truly transformational and once-in-a-lifetime journey.
Monaco – www.visitmonaco.com/en
The tiny principality along the Riviera has a jam-packed summer calendar with world-class events that appeal to jetsetters, the glitterati and other well-heeled travelers. Grimaldi Forum, June 8–11, hosts Top Marques, an exclusive international supercar show and the only event of its kind in the world, where enthusiasts and luxury automobile fans admire and purchase the latest models. From Sept. 27–30, Port Hercule will host the Monaco Yacht Show (MYS), an annual international trade exhibition devoted to the world of luxury yachts. Every June, international names flock to the red carpet for The Monte-Carlo Television Festival, the essential celebration of the small screen. Throughout July and August, the Monte-Carlo Summer Festival features huge music acts, such as Alicia Keys, James Blunt and Christina Aguilera. The historic Fort Antoine also hosts outdoor performances throughout the summer. The former fortress, built near the beginning of the 18th century, is now an open-air theater.
Vienna – www.wien.info/en
The Vienna Festival, at City Hall Square from May 12–June 21, is a mix of powerful home-grown productions, world premieres and international works. On May 2, Women at Work: 150th Anniversary of the First Women’s Pavilion at the Vienna World’s Fair opens at the Vienna Museum of Technology, showcasing the female-led occupations that had emerged during the great wave of industrialization during the 19th century. Starting June 7 at the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), Glitz and Glamor. 200 Years of Lobmeyr (a traditional Viennese fine crystal glassmaker and chandelier manufacturer) showcases unsurpassed hand-craftsmanship. Also at the MAK, starting June 21, 1873 Vienna World’s Fair Revisited. Egypt and Japan as Europe’s “Orient” is another special exhibition devoted to the 1873 World’s Fair.