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Destinations to watch in 2008

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Liverpool, England (Photo: iStockPhoto/ilbusca)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on December 10, 2007. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: airfare, Beijing, Christine Sarkis, destination, festival, hotel, India, Liverpool, Quebec City, Queretaro, St. Maarten/St. Martin, Stavanger.

The New Year heralds a fresh batch of hot destinations for 2008. This year, major festivities put three cities in the spotlight, while serious tourism infrastructure building secures other hot spots top billing. Plus, find out more destinations to keep on your radar in 2008.

Liverpool

The city once known primarily as the birthplace of the Beatles has come into its own as a European city packed with sophisticated cultural pursuits and rich history. Liverpool has been preparing for its time in the spotlight since it was named a European Capital of Culture for 2008 five years ago. The highly coveted Capital of Culture designation earns cities the chance to feature and expand their thriving art and cultural offerings, and gives visitors an entire year of special events and festivals to enjoy.

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Even without the year-long celebration in 2008, Liverpool's arts offerings impress. The city already boasts eight world-class museums (including its own Tate Museum), a major arts festival, a center for arts and creative technology, and a serious dedication to community art.

But in 2008, after years of sprucing up the city and improving its tourist and leisure infrastructure, the spirit of art will truly take center stage. Over 350 visual and performing arts, sporting, and heritage events are planned during Liverpool's year as a Capital of Culture. Best of all, the majority of events are free. Combine that with Liverpool's relatively affordable hotels and restaurants, and you've got a destination ready to give London a run for its money.

Finding ways to join the festivities is easy. Online, check the Liverpool08 website, and when you're in the city, visit the tourist information center focused on 2008 events and activities.

You should book ahead during major events to ensure availability. VisitLiverpool.com keeps track of special offers from hotels.

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