With a little bit of work, you can turn a casual appearance at another countries’ festival or sporting event into a full-blown vacation. Whether you want to witness the tennis greats at Wimbledon, dance the night away in the deserts outside Barcelona, or discover the newest tech trends hitting SXSW, there’s a global event for every type of traveler. And yes, that means you too.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of every noteworthy event in the world; that would be an incredibly tall order. These are just some of our personal favorites, vetted and stamped for approval by our local teams. So see for yourself how these Oasis picks stack up:
1. Grand Prix d’Amérique: January 29
Created in 1920 as a tribute to the United States’ commitment to World War 1, the Prix d’Amérique Opodo is the planet’s biggest trotting race. The star harness event brings together the World’s best performers over the classic distance of 2,700 meters. With pom-pom girls and acrobats also on the bill, this January fixture is known for its festive vibe and a great event for the whole fam.
2. Rio Carnival: February 9 – 14
(Rio de Janiero, BR)
There are many pre-Lenten Carnival festivals, from Venice to New Orleans to Belgium, but no one celebrates excess before pious fasting better than Rio. Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is four concentrated days of insane costumes, dancing, and debauchery which doesn’t include the initial weeks worth of pre-Carnival. It’s the largest Carnival in the world, attracting millions of Brazilians and an estimated half-million foreign visitors every year. FYI If you want to watch Carnival, go to the Sambadrome. If you want to be in Carnival, stick to the streets. Keep your ears open for blocos, foot parades in which locals dance up and down the street to the beats of a truck top samba band. Beer carts follow.
3. South by Southwest: March 9 – 18
Austin’s offbeat nature, paired with the highest concentration of music venues in the United States, makes it the perfect host to the progressive South by Southwest Music and Media Festival (SXSW), a 4-day music fest featuring more than 1,400 bands playing at dozens of downtown venues. Held every March, the music festival — one of the biggest in the country — draws scores of people from across the world and remains focused on exposing new talent to the hordes of industry professionals, writers, fans, photographers and Austin locals who attend the yearly festivities. But be sure to RSVP to everything you can. You never really know where you’re going to end up, so your best bet is just to make sure you’re on as many possible guest lists as you can be.
4. Milan Design Week: April 17 – 22
Get ready for the Oscars of design, because Milan Design Week is a big deal. Milan goes into full party mode for one of the world’s largest exhibitions of furniture and fittings from top global designers. The event’s main base is in Rho, but the fringe of exhibitions, events, and parties back in town are what really make it. Tons of galleries and smaller designers install themselves in palazzi, along with workshops and even open-air swimming pools. This all leads up to a climactic Sunday when the event is open to the public. A little tip for the trip: Milan is all about hidden places – you just have to open your eyes and look inside buildings and you’ll find plenty of precious interiors. One spot is Via del Giardini – the whole street is so beautiful and filled with amazing midcentury buildings and gardens.
5. Madrid Marathon: April 22
Madrid sets the stage for one of the most important athletic events in Spain. This 42-kilometre run through the city each year attracts some one million people who turn out to cheer on the athletes in the unique setting of Madrid. The city is transformed into a huge outdoor stadium to receive athletes from all over the world, who compete for victory against the backdrop of the Royal Palace, Paseo del Arte (Art Avenue), Puerta de Sol square, Cibeles fountain and Puerta de Alcalá arch, among others. This is yet another great excuse to come and spend a few days in Madrid. However, don’t get too carried away with what Madrid has to offer and stay up late watching football and drinking beer the night before the race.
6. Frieze Art Fair: May 5 – 7
Art lovers flock to Randalls Island Park for this dreamy display of works from 200 international galleries – and the view of Manhattan’s not bad either. Take the ferry or the bus over to the island (buy advance tickets online if you can), and plan to spend some serious time immersing yourself in the imaginative projects found both indoors and out. And don’t be shy about engaging the gallery assistants; often their seeming aloofness is just a mask for boredom, and they are happy to answer questions.
7. The French Open: May 21 – Jun 10
The French Open tennis tournament in Paris, France is one of four Grand Slam tournaments played throughout the year and runs over a period of weeks in May and June. The tournament takes place at Roland Garros and is the only major that is played on a clay surface. Originally named the French National Tournament, the first championship was played in 1891. Keep in mind that there are currently no roofs at the French Open; rain can cause problems. Bring a raincoat and something to wipe down wet seats if the clouds look a little threatening. However, it’s far more likely there’ll be sunlight and blue skies, so pack some sunblock and a hat to avoid ending up red-faced.
8. Fiesta de San Isidro: May 11 – 15
This May, the Spanish capital presents its most festive and welcoming side. This month, Madrid honors its patron saint, San Isidro Labrador, offering the very best of the city and showcasing its trademark hospitality. Between 11 and 15 May, Madrid celebrates a series of festivities in honor of its patron saint, with music, shows, and a whole host of activities for the whole family. And on Saturday and Sunday, treat yourself to a bottle of wine under the Fireworks and Music in Retiro. Just pack a bottle and a blanket, lay back and enjoy.
9. Arte BA: May 24-27
(Buenos Aires, AR)
ArteBa is one of Latin America’s largest contemporary art fairs. Taking place over the course of three days, the annual Buenos Aires’ event attracts over 120,000 art junkies from across the planet and provides visitors the chance to hobnob with the Argentine elite, artists, and celebrities.
10. Roma Wine & Food Week: May 27 – June 11
Roma Wine & Food Week is an initiative held over a period of 6 days with over 200 events fully dedicated to food, wine, and culture. During these 6 days a wide variety of activities, like cooking classes, wine tastings, new product launches and much more, are taking place at various locations in the city. It’s all dedicated to all you wine & food lovers so make sure you don’t miss out! Check out the website for each days’ events and venues.
11. Wimbledon: July 3 – 16
Taking place at the All England Club in South West London since 1877, Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It now attracts over 500,000 spectators for two weeks every year and has some very old-school rules about what the players can and can’t do. This event attracts premier tennis players from all over the world, London accommodations readily sell out, and the event is attended with lots of global media coverage. And here’s a tip: make your life easier and get to the Championships by shuttle bus from Southfields tube station, which is on the District Line. Be prepared to shuffle up and share your taxi during peak times, though – it’s faster, cheaper and you may make some picnic buddies for lunchtime.
12. Bastille Day: July 14
France’s famous summer national holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789. The evening before the holiday, Parisians dance at Place de la Bastille. At 10 am on the 14th, crowds line up along the Champs-Elysées as the President reviews a full military parade. By night, the Champ de Mars fills for the firework display. You didn’t hear it from us, but there are several terrace restaurants that offer a great view of the Bastille Day Fireworks up close, namely: Les Ombres, Monsieur Bleu, and the Maison Blanche.
13. Monegros Festival: July 22 – 23
A one-day desert festival in the middle of summer! Basically the Spanish equivalent of Nevada’s Burning Man, twenty years of thousands of electronic music fanatics making the pilgrimage can’t be wrong. If last years is any indication – Public Enemy, Underworld, NERO, Justice, The Bloody Beetroots Live, Justice – then we’re sure to be trading the seaside for a day of kicking up the dust in no time. Remember to bring comfortable shoes to dance and walk long distances though. Sacrifice your image for comfort you won’t regret it.
14. Austin City Limits: Oct 6-8 / 13 /15
SXSW may get more shine, but if the mayhem of downtown Austin in spring isn’t quite your cup of tea, head out to Austin City Limits in October for three days of non-stop tunes…and some Texas barbecue. Situated in Austin’s gorgeous Zilker Park, ACL draws artists from a wide swath of music genres to fill its lineup of roughly 130 bands. ACL expanded to two weekends in 2013, so there really is no excuse for missing out on the fun. And here’s the icing on the cake: plenty of Austin’s best eats will be at ACL’s own food court, ACL Eats, so take full advantage. Favorites include Chi’Lantro BBQ, Burro Cheese Kitchen, East Side King, Micklethwait Barbecue, Peached Tortilla, and Torchy’s Tacos.
15. L.A. Auto Show: Dec 1-10
(Los Angeles, CA)
Tokyo drift your way into the Convention Center for the ten-day LA Auto Show with cars that would even make Bond drool. If you’re a car nerd, get behind the wheel to test drive one of the cherry rides, while celebrities meet and greet at the manufacturer exhibits. For families, check out the Kids’ Fun Zone for 12 and under, featuring bounce houses, face-painting, video games and more. With the world and North American debuts from Jeep, Porsche, Volkswagen and more, rev up for the machines of the future. Weekdays and early mornings are least crowded while weekends get pretty busy on the convention floor.
16. Art Basel: Dec 6 – 10
Miami Beach is better known for the 24-hour party than cutting-edge art, so it seemed odd when the organizers of Switzerland’s annual sophisticates’ jamboree, Art Basel, chose Miami for its first American sortie in 2001. Despite the widespread initial cynicism, by last year the fair was pulling in 70,000 collectors and there were more than 250 galleries across the main fair. Art world figures from as far as New York, Berlin and Tokyo quickly discovered the joys of schmoozing over cocktails on the sand and alfresco power dining, not to mention a pre-work swim. A little tip: come with a plan. There are literally too many events, exhibits, and parties to navigate, so have a to-do list and check it twice because you probably won’t make it to half of them.