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Destinations for 2015: Milan, Cuba, Queens and more

Updated: 2015-01-06 08:43
By Associated Press in New York (China Daily)

See Cuba before it changes. Check out the World Expo in Milan. And if you're heading to New York City to see the view from 1 World Trade Center's observatory (scheduled to open late spring), take the subway to Queens and see if you can figure out why it topped Lonely Planet's must-see destinations for 2015.

Several major anniversaries will be marked by a variety of events, including 70 years since the end of World War II, the 60th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland, the 50th anniversary of Universal Studios Hollywood and 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

Europe

The Milan Expo opens in May for six months and is expected to draw 20 million visitors. The Expo is the modern incarnation of the old World's Fairs that thrilled 19th- and 20th-century guests with new products and technology. The theme of the Milan Expo is food and nutrition, and dozens of countries will be participating. The United States will be doing its part by sending six authentic food trucks to Italy featuring regional American and ethnic fusion menus. Milan's famous opera house, La Scala, normally closed in the summer, will host performances daily during the expo.

Anniversaries

Singapore celebrates its golden jubilee - 50 years since independence from Great Britain. Vietnam celebrates 70 years since independence from France and 50 years since the first US combat troops arrived at Da Nang.

The new year also marks 70 years since the end of World War II, both the defeat of Nazi Germany and the atomic bombing of Japan that ended the war in Asia. Hiroshima and Naga-saki are planning memorial services on the August anniversaries of the bombings, along with numerous arts projects and peace-themed events throughout the year.

In New Orleans, Aug 29 is 10 years since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. "Come see the new New Orleans" is a mantra in the tourist industry there for showcasing trendy emerging neighborhoods and a vibrant restaurant scene.

Cuba

The news that the US intends to normalize relations with Cuba could lead to a rush of travelers hoping to experience the island before it loses its frozen-in-time culture to an onslaught of US chain stores, hotels and tourists. But the only way American citizens can legally visit Cuba is to take a "people to people" cultural exchange tour licensed by the US government. The tours are expensive and itineraries are limited.

Theme parks

Universal Studios Hollywood marks its 50th anniversary with two new attractions in 2015: Springfield, an immersive area opening in spring surrounding The Simpsons Ride, and Fast & Furious - Supercharged, a thrill ride opening in summer based on the film series.

Disneyland opens "Frozen Fun" on Jan 7 in Anaheim, California, with a sing-along, "Olaf's Snow Fest", and meet-and-greets with Anna and Elsa, among other attractions. The California theme park also celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, with celebration details to be revealed at the end of January.

New York City

Two big openings take place in the Big Apple in 2015: the observatory at 1 World Trade in late spring and the new Whitney Museum of American Art in May in Manhattan's Meatpacking District near the High Line and the Hudson River.

The city also got a Christmas gift from Lonely Planet, which named the borough of Queens as the top destination in the United States. Manhattan has been giving ground to trendy Brooklyn in recent years, but the elevation of Queens as the next big thing was a bit of a surprise.

Destinations for 2015: Milan, Cuba, Queens and more

Top: The theme of the Expo 2015 in Milan is 'Feeding the Planet,Energy for Life'. The expo opens in May and is expected to draw 20 million people. Above: Tourists relax at the Hotel National, overlooking Morro Castle in Havana, Cuba. AP Photos

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