Ready to fill your bucket list? Then plan your next big trip around some of 2014’s biggest and best events. From the World Cup in Rio and Mardi Gras in New Orleans to St. Petersburg’s White Nights and the wildebeest migration in Kenya, we’ve rounded up the most memorable events of the year ahead
January in Utah, the Philippines and Hong Kong
After sunning themselves in Barbados over the holidays, Hollywood’s A-list decamp to Park City for the two weeks of screenings and parties at Sundance. Kicking off on January 16th, movie buffs can skip the party-packed first week for the film focused second half, and the unorganized can pick up day-of tickets from 8 a.m. each morning. For farther flung adventures, go Far East and join the colorful and joyful Ati-Atihan celebrations in the Filipino province of Aklan. Running until January 19th, the religious festival is a riotous nine-day display of costumes, parades and dancing, culminating in an unforgettable masquerade ball and procession. From here, sun yourself on Boracay for a week then hot foot it to Hong Kong for part of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebrations. Expect to fight the crowds whether you’re wandering the night markets in Kowloon or dining on trendy Lan Kwai Fong Road, and don’t miss the fireworks display over Victoria Harbor on January 31st.
February in Sochi, NJ and Venice
Almost seven years in the making, the Winter Olympics finally kick off in Sochi on February 6. The city on the Black Sea — a longtime summer retreat for wealthy Russian urbanites — has been transformed into a winter wonderland with two Olympic parks on the coast and in the mountains. If you missed out on the first two rounds of sales, a special Fan2Fan service allows the resale of most tickets, or try Cosport for resales in the US and Canada. Whatever tickets you nab, don’t forget to complete your official spectator’s pass asap. For sporting pursuits closer to home, the Superbowl XLVIII kicks off at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium on February 2. Eight teams are still in the running for the Big Game, but that hasn’t stopped the frenzied scramble for tickets. Get yours via the official site or on Stub Hub. Alternatively, save your travels until the end of the month and book a bucket-list trip to Venice for the grand carnival. Beginning on February 22, there are 10 days of opulent masquerade balls, society parties and masked processions. Hotel rates peak around this period and some of the most famous balls are off limits to mere civilians, but the real pleasure of carnevale is people watching in the plazas and canals.
March in Texas, India and New Orleans
While Europe’s endless music festivals are crammed into the warm summer months, Austin gets things going early with South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 7. Transformed from a weekend showcase of new bands to a powerhouse celebration of film, music and new technology, the event now attracts more than 10,000 revelers each year. Registration for tickets is open now. A world away in India, Holi is the celebration of winter’s last lunar cycle, but it’s really known as one enormous explosion of dyes and bright powders. Celebrated across the country, it’s almost impossible to avoid the color fights, but some of the most famous gatherings at Juhu Beach and Colaba in Mumbai. For another riotous mix noise and color on home turf, jet to New Orleans for the start of Mardi Gras on March 4. An unapologetic display of drinking and debauchery, especially on Bourbon Street, you can avoid the thick of the fray by paying to watch the parade from the grandstand or getting to the start of the route early; the famous Krewe of Zulu start at S. Claiborne and Jackson Ave at 8 a.m.
April in Bangkok, SoCal and Amsterdam
If Holi is the world’s most famous color fight, Thailand’s Songkran festival takes the prize for the globe’s biggest water fight. Officially a celebration of the Thai New Year with roots in Buddhist cleansing rituals, today’s incarnation is more supersoaker than holy water. The northern hill city of Chiang Mai is home to some of the country’s biggest water battles, but you’re likely to get soaked wherever you are in the country, so protect your valuables, try not to imbibe the water and join in! In a more arid setting back in Cali, Coachella is a buzzing weekend music and arts festival in SoCal’s Colorado Desert. This year’s line up includes headline shows from OutKast, Muse and Arcade Fire, plus a host of indie favorites like Haim, the Knife, Disclosure, Chvrches and more. Tickets go on sale on January 10. Or, for a city break with a difference, travel to Amsterdam to see the city turn neon orange during the daylong King’s Day celebrations on April 26. Known as Queen’s Day since the last male monarch left the throne in 1890, events this year will mark the ascension of new King Willem-Alexander with a 24-hour citywide parties that take over the streets, parks and markets.
May in Kentucky, Cannes and St. Petersburg
An unofficial start to the summer, the Kentucky Derby means colorful hats, early-season garden parties and a run on spearmint and bourbon for the all important mint julep concoctions. The 140th Derby gets underway at Churchill Downs on May 3 and tickets are available now. Or catch a different collection of show ponies at the 67th annual Festival de Cannes from May 14. The glitz and glamour of the 10-day film festival is hard to access without some A-list connections, but if you’re after star sightings, head to the red carpet at the Palais des Festivals or take a turn up and down the Cote d’Azur’s famed seaside promenade, La Croisette. By the end of the month, St. Petersburg emerges from its dark winter for a brief season of near 24-hour daylight known as the White Nights. Though the evening sky shines brightest later in the summer, the Stars of the White Nights arts festival begins on May 23 and runs through a program of classical opera, ballet and dance at the Mariinsky Theater before an end-of-season concert in beautiful Palace Square.
June in Rio, Cusco and England
Rio de Janeiro steps into the sporting spotlight this summer when the World Cup opens on June 12, two years ahead of the Olympics. Group A’s Brazil and Croatia will be the first teams to kick off at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, while the all important final will play out at the iconic Macarana stadium on July 13. The first wave of tickets are already sold out, but there are resale options through vendors like Viagogo. On the same continent but a world away from the sporting revelry, Cusco’s Inti Raymi celebrations begin on June 24. This vibrant winter solstice festival attracts a mostly Peruvian crowd who gives thanks to the Inca God Inti through nine days of banquets, dancing and lavish costumes. Or, if you’re only going to attend one music event this year, make it Glastonbury, the UK’s original muddy music fest on 1,500 acres of Worthy Farm. Ticketing has become stricter over the years, but there’s still hope of scoring your five-day pass during the resale of canceled tickets in the Spring. Just remember to register now.
July in Wimbledon, Siena and Denmark
Though Wimbledon officially starts on June 23, the best matches are during the second half of the tournament in early July. All eyes will be on Andy Murray following his historic win in 2013, and even if you missed the ballot entries, there’s still a chance of scoring day-of tickets through the single-file queue that opens at 8 a.m. every day. Alternatively, come armed with plenty of Pimms and strawberries and join locals on Murray Mound (formerly Henman Hill) to watch the matches on big screens outside the courts. On the continent, the spectacularly beautiful Tuscan city of Siena transforms itself into a purpose-built horse track for Il Palio on July 2. Held in the rotund Piazza de Campo, the main race starts at 5 p.m. and lasts just two minutes, so arrive early and stand well back. Finally, get a summer music fix at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, which opens its gates on June 29 and keeps partying until July 6. Held on the island of Zealand less than an hour from Copenhagen, the camping experience is a well-oiled Danish machine, with options to have your tent pitched in advance and to sleep in a designated Silent & Quiet zone.
August in Nevada and London
The hottest month of the year brings some of the world’s coolest events, including Nevada’s renowned Burning Man festival. From August 25 until September 1, more than 60,000 festival goers help construct, and then dismantle, the temporary desert city of Black Rock, around 100 miles north of Reno. In between there are daytime raves, interactive art events, sculpture construction and endless classes and workshops on offer. Get acquainted with the 10 principles in advance and register for tickets from January 16. Over the same weekend in London, Notting Hill Carnival gets underway along Westbourne and Ladbroke Groves. The procession is an eye-popping display of bright costumes, coordinated dances and wild drumming. Fight for room at one of the streetside pubs and be prepared to walk a long way home as tube stations frequently close due to crowding.
September in Munich and NYC
Oktoberfest is celebrated worldwide, but for the most authentic experience, arrive in Munich at the tail end of September for the start of the 16-day folk (really, beer) festival. The main events center around Theresienwiese Fairgrounds, where big top–style tents are filled with sud-sinking festival goers dressed in traditional lederhosen. Beware the extra strong tipples — all official Oktoberfest beers are 2% stronger than normal. Back in NYC, the city's fashion elite will return to the tents at Bryant Park for the SS15 collections from September 4. Expect to see leggy models prowling the streets, editors power lunching in Balthazar and iron curtains replacing velvet ropes at the enduring hotspots like Le Bain, Dream Hotel and Le Baron.
October in NYC, Ibiza and Tanzania
Each October, New York City nightlife centers around the 1,000-some bands in town for CMJ, the five-day industry conference and festival in Manhattan and Brooklyn. From October 21-25, venues small and large will be inundated with all-night shows from emerging artists, cult favorites and big name acts only fitting for the city that never sleeps. But across the pond, even the world’s most notorious nightlife island has to rest at some point — which, lucky for endless summer seekers, isn’t until October on Ibiza. The Ibiza Closing Parties mark the blow out celebration of the island’s peak season, featuring house legends from John Digweed to Paul Van Dyk. Party animals should check back here later in the year for a full listing of each club’s shutdown showcase. A world away, over two million animals of a different sort — namely wildebeests, gazelles, and zebras — complete the final leg of their four-month migration from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, a natural feat considered to be one of the new seven wonders of the world.
November in Berlin and the UK
November 9 marks 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the city is poised to celebrate with 12 months of cultural events. Highlights include a seven-mile light installation of helium balloons tracing the route of the original wall from Bornholmer Strasse past Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie to the Oberbaumbrücke, plus art and architecture tours charting the changing profile of the city. If you're in the United Kingdom in early November, don't miss the fireworks displays on Guy Fawkes Night on November 5. Originally a celebration of the foiled attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, today the evening is a family-friendly event, with two of the biggest fireworks displays in Lewes, East Sussex and at North London's Alexandra Palace.
December in Miami, Amsterdam and Rio
Now in its 12th year, Miami’s Art Basel has become the end-all be-all of modern and contemporary art festivals, attracting internationally acclaimed gallerists, curators, collectors — and more recently, a scene-seeking contingent of DJs, models, and hipsters. Whether you’re going for the art or the revelry, be sure to book early, as the city’s perennial hotspots tend to fill up in a Miami minute. Another coastal city to the north, Amsterdam, sets aglow this time of year for their annual Light Festival, where streets and canals alike are adorned in 30 illuminated installations from artists all over the world. And by New Year’s Eve, all eyes are on a light show of a different sort: The world-famous fireworks on Rio’s Copacabana beach, where nearly two million people flock to see the 20-minute pyrotechnics show.