Perhaps you've heard about the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass observation deck that will jut out from the edge of the canyon 4,000 feet over the Colorado River. The Skywalk is scheduled to open to the public some time in March, and promises to be one of the most interesting new places to visit this year.
But did you also know that an outdoor digital art gallery is coming to Dallas? And that a complex of nature walks and museums is opening in Las Vegas? Or that a Shakespeare festival in Washington, D.C., is putting fresh spins on the bard's timeless plays, including a real Supreme Court justice presiding over a trial of Hamlet?
A Web site called SixNewThings can help you keep track of these and many other new attractions. Every month, the site highlights six new things in 70 cities and regions around North America, from attractions to restaurants and the arts.
The site also offers an uber-list of what its editors deem to be the 12 "Most Intriguing New Things for 2007." The list, released in February, includes the Grand Canyon Skywalk, Las Vegas Springs Preserve, the Dallas digital gallery, and the Shakespeare festival, along with a new building for Manhattan's New Museum of Contemporary Art; Colborne Lane, a restaurant in Toronto; the Rosewood Mayakoba resort in Mexico; a new David Mamet musical; Kansas City; the Creation Museum; Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park, and England's Manchester International Festival.
All 12, said Jeff Herrington, executive editor and co-publisher of the Dallas-based Web site, are "things that caught our eye, that are really interesting and intriguing to the smart savvy, adventurous traveler."
Not all of the local monthly listings are quite as noteworthy as the Skywalk. Herrington admits that "it's sometimes a little bit of a stretch to find" six new things every 30 days in all 70 regions the Web site covers - including places like Winnipeg, Canada, and the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. But he added that "we really do go for diversity, from a really high-end posh new restaurant, to something sports-related, to a great but simple Korean restaurant in a strip mall getting great reviews."
The site does not get paid for listings, but it does accept advertising and recently stopped charging for reader subscriptions. Users now sign up on the home page and can go to the region that most interests them. Readers are encouraged to send in tips.
The Web site's 70 destinations include eight in Canada (Winnipeg, Vancouver/Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City and Montreal); Mexico; the Bahamas and Caribbean; major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami and Chicago; medium-size cities like Denver, Indianapolis and Charlotte, N.C.; regions such as Boise-Northern Rockies, which includes Idaho's Sun Valley and Montana's Kalispell; and resort areas like California's Napa-Sonoma and Carmel-Monterey regions. Herrington says listings for a few smaller domestic markets will be replaced this year by international cities such as London, Paris and perhaps Shanghai.
While some readers will want to keep an eye on news about their home base or places where they regularly vacation, the big 12 hits can serve as inspiration for future trips or as a way to stay current on what people will be talking about in travel this year.
Here are SixNewThings.com's 12 "Most Intriguing New Things for 2007."
- A new building for Manhattan's New Museum of Contemporary Art at 235 Bowery, scheduled to open late 2007. "The architecture is so out there and wonderful," Herrington said, "and it has a great potential for economic development for the Lower East Side and the Bowery." The building will be comprised of a silvery stack of zinc-plated cubes.
- Colborne Lane, 45 Colborne St., Toronto, opening this spring. Chef Claudio Aprile is renowned for his unorthodox approach to food and has in the past created ingredients like mozzarella foam.
- Rosewood Mayakoba, opening this fall 30 minutes from Cancun. "The suites are on individual islands on an archipelago; you're taken to your room on a skiff; and most of the materials are indigenous to the region," Herrington said.
- "A Waitress in Yellowstone," a musical by David Mamet premiering late this year in the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, Calif., in the Los Angeles area. Herrington says it's remarkable that Mamet, known for his brash dialogue, would offer a musical, and that it would debut in "L.A., the city he has skewered."
- Victory Media Network, an outdoor digital art gallery opening in late March in a retail and residential complex called Dallas Victory Park. "This is the first permanent outdoor digital gallery," Herrington said.
- Las Vegas Springs Preserve, a complex of nature walks, existing gardens and museums opening in phases, all built around the city's old natural springs. "It's the antithesis of everything else you think about Las Vegas - no neon, no gaming," Herrington said.
- Grand Canyon Skywalk, scheduled to open to the public in late March on the Hualapai Indian Reservation on the western rim of the canyon, across from Grand Canyon National Park.
- Kansas City, Mo. "We can't think of any other city with as much going on this year," Herrington said, including an addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; a second Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the Copaken Stage; and the new Power & Light entertainment, residential and shopping district. An interactive attraction, the College Basketball Experience, is scheduled to open as part of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in the new Sprint Center arena.
- Creation Museum, opening May 28 in Petersburg, Ky. The museum presents a literal telling of the creation story told in Genesis in the Bible. It includes displays that assert that the earth is only a few thousand years old and that Adam and Eve were the first humans. "This is a museum basically saying that evolution is an interpretation, not scientific fact," said Herrington. "We're not passing judgment on it. But this isn't an exhibit in the basement in the suburbs. It's a multimillion-dollar facility. It could be hugely successful or it could flop."
- "Shakespeare in Washington," a six-month celebration in Washington that started in January. The 500 performances and 16 plays include a show featuring tiny ninja toys, "Romeo and Juliet" by the Kirov Ballet, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy taking part in a mock trial of Hamlet, and a Native Alaskan theater group's interpretation of "Macbeth." "There are Shakespeare festivals all the time, but it's the sheer innovation of the stuff," Herrington said.
- Seattle's new Olympic Sculpture Park," which opened Jan. 20, with free admission and views of the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier and Puget Sound. "It's a fabulous combination of the sculpture and the park," Herrington said.
- Manchester International Festival, June 28-July 15 in England, which includes cutting-edge events from a circus-opera to a competition in which participants get 15 minutes to create a work of art. This is one of the few attractions outside North America that the Web site highlights.