The capital may be set on banks of the Potomac, but it’s never had a reputation as a great waterfront city. That could all be about to change, thanks to the $2.5 billion, 24-acre District Wharf, which opened in October just south of the National Mall. The shiny new InterContinental Washington D.C.-The Wharf offers access to the development’s new parks, music venues, 50-plus shops, and 20 restaurants — which include projects from area chefs like Fabio Trabocchi, Mike Isabella, and wunderkind Kwame Onwuachi. This is also set to be a banner year for culture: the Freer and Sackler galleries, sister museums that champion Asian art, recently reopened after a 20-month renovation, the National Gallery of Art will host the first-ever show dedicated to Cézanne’s portraits from March to July, and the Kennedy Center continues its inaugural season of hip-hop programming curated by Q-Tip. —Brooke Porter Katz
The Quisby $50+ Wyndham Garden Hotel Baronne Plaza $93+ The Whitney Hotel $99+ B on Canal $106+ Pelham Hotel New Orleans, La $116+ International House Hotel $118+ Royal St. Charles French Quarter/Downtown $119+ Royal Crescent Hotel $120+ Holiday Inn New Orleans-Downtown Superdome $122+ Chateau Hotel $122+ Holiday Inn Express New Orleans - St Charles $122+ Wyndham New Orleans - French Quarter $126+ French Market Inn $136+ Bienville House $141+
Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, the two small colonial towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo have become the hottest vacation destinations in Mexico in recent years. With wide, pristine beaches, lively nightclubs, glam resorts, and a farm-to-table food scene, the oasis of Los Cabos is drawing tourists in record numbers. As a result, the hotel scene is booming, with a clutch of new developments and renovations completed this year along the Tourist Corridor, including the sleek Chileno Bay, an Auberge Resort, and a stunning beachfront Solaz resort.