The 8 Breakout Places to Travel in 2008

Dubai, Johannesburg, and Beijing made the cut.


What were the breakout places to visit last year? Here's the list, courtesy of my favorite online travel site, TripAdvisor, which offers traveler reviews and opinions of hotels and vacations.

1. Dubai, UAE—Regularly swarmed in 2008 by celebrities—even Michael Jackson, who surfaced here in 2008. Beat the desert heat at Ski Dubai, an "engineering marvel" with 25-story-high indoor slopes.

2. Las Vegas, Nevada—See Vegas; think bargains. 2008 made Sin City more affordable than ever, with deals everywhere on hotels, airfare, even show tickets. (Gambling—still pricey.)

3. Chicago, Illinois—If Chicago's Grant Park had a roof, the party for the 2008 election of Barack Obama would have blown it off. Stroll through the park to see outdoor sculptures like Agora, "a fascinating collection of torso-less pairs of legs."

4. Johannesburg, South Africa—109 worldwide contestants competed here for the Miss World 2008 crown. For more gorgeous views, check out Jo'burg's Lion Park, "a once in a lifetime experience."

5. Wasilla, Alaska—Beyond Sarah Palin fever, this tiny town boasts the Iditarod Museum as well as what members call "by far the best Thai food in Alaska."

6. Le Val, Provence, France—Population 3,412...make that 3,420 when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie bring the kids to their $60 million château. Members call nearby Aix-en-Provence a Travelers' Choice Top 100 Destination.

7. Beijing, China—Hosted a worldwide sports spectacular in summer 2008 and brought victory gold to swimmer Michael Phelps. Members call the nearby Great Wall of China "the best experience in Beijing."

8. Oslo, Norway—Opened in April 2008, the Oslo Opera House won the culture award at the World Architecture Festival in October. Another Oslo must visit: Aker Brygge, a shipyard reincarnated as a shopping mall.

  • Kimberly Castro

    Kimberly Castro is the managing editor of Money and Health at U.S. News. You can follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, circle her on Google+, or email her at

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