READER'S DIGEST | Melissa Klurman

Get your suitcase ready, because we came up with the definitive list of the best places to travel this year. Whether you want to stay close to home or trek across the globe, these trips will be epic!


Horse Country, Kentucky

Why you should go: The 150th Kentucky Derby and the equine culture of Lexington

We think 2024 is the perfect year to scratch the Kentucky Derby off your travel sports list, when the longest-running sporting event in the United States celebrates its 150th anniversary. Although the “First Saturday in May” celebration has had some issues in the last few years, equine culture is alive and well and being celebrated in nearby Lexington, just 70 miles east of Louisville. Known as the Horse Capital of the World, Lexington is home to plenty of stables, and you can watch the Derby’s qualifying races in April and October here. (This “shoulder season” is also a more affordable time to travel.) Plus, Lexington excels in what’s called the “horse tourism space,” since you can also visit retired steeds and even find spots to ride yourself.

You’ll also want to visit the newly created Bourbon Distillery District in Lexington for nightly food and entertainment, as well as taste aged whiskey along the Bourbon Trail, at its fantastic distilleries.

Where to stay: For a boutique hotel, try the modern Manchester, which just opened. It embraces its location with special guest programs, including private distillery tours and polo lessons. You’ll also get to enjoy two restaurants, Lost Palm (a 1960s-inspired rooftop bar) and Granddam (classic Appalachian style), plus loads of Southern charm.

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