The season's best openings, exhibits, and festivals that are worth planning an entire trip around.

By Stephanie Wu
August 17, 2016
Alan Karchmer/Courtesy of the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Courtesy of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

The New African-American Museum in DC

September 24

The long-awaited National Museum of African American History & Culture on the Mall, by British architect David Adjaye, will open with exhibits on slavery, segregation, and historic figures like Louis Armstrong and Muhammad Ali. The debut weekend will also have a celebratory vibe: there’s a film and music festival, and President Obama will inaugurate the museum.

Courtesy of Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Food & Music in New Orleans

October 28-30

This year’s ultimate Halloween celebration is the Voodoo Music & Art Experience. Sixty-five bands will perform, with Arcade Fire and the Weeknd as headliners. A Ferris wheel and interactive art installations will serve as backdrops. You’ll be well fed, too—look for fried-duck quesadillas and shrimp po’boys.

Jinna van Ringen/Getty Images

Stargazing in Joshua Tree

October 28-30

As part of the centennial celebration for the National Park Service, Joshua Tree is hosting a Night Sky Festival with some of the best stargazing in the country. Throughout the night, photographers will capture the scene, while astronomers will point telescopes toward Venus and Saturn, as well as Andromeda and the Great Square of Pegasus—two constellations visible only in the fall.

Cecil Beaton/Getty Images

Picasso in Houston

September 15-January 8

On the heels of MoMA’s Picasso sculpture exhibit, the Menil Collection will show other, lesser-known works by the artist—this time his line drawings. The exhibition contains 90 careerspanning works pulled from private and public collections around the world, including a selfportrait and an early charcoal version of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

Iwan Baan/Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton

Modern Art in Paris

October 21-February 20

Russian businessman Sergei Shchukin’s collection of French art has masterpieces by Monet, Cézanne, Matisse, and Degas— most of which have not been seen outside Russia for years. The Fondation Louis Vuitton is bringing 130 of the works to Paris for “Icons of Modern Art,” which will also showcase some of Russia’s top artists. And the new Fondation has undergone a temporary makeover: artist Daniel Buren covered the building in colored filters that create a kaleidoscope effect.

Courtest of the Museum of the City of New York

Historical artifacts in New York

November 18

The Museum of the City of New York is opening a permanent exhibition dubbed “New York at Its Core”’—its most comprehensive examination of the city’s history to date. The three galleries trace four centuries of events, objects (like Boss Tweed’s cuff links and Milton Glaser’s original I Love New York logo design) and personalities from Alexander Hamilton to Jay Z.