January: Harbin Ice Festival. You’ll find this festival in northern China, near the country’s eastern border with Russia. Due to its climate and northern location, the city hosts the world’s biggest snow sculpture festival throughout the month of January. With more visitors coming every year, this winter wonderland festival is getting bigger and better. Head to Sun Island and Ice and Snow World to view the illuminated sculptures.
February: Winter Olympic Games. In what’s sure to be the can’t-miss event of 2018, South Korea is on the world stage hosting the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. The games begin with the opening ceremony on Feb. 9, and end with the closing ceremony on Feb. 25. Buzzed-about competitions include: alpine skiing, figure skating and ice hockey.
March: Holi Moo Festival. On March 2, Hindus in India (primarily Northern India) participate in the “Festival of Color,” which celebrates the start of the spring harvest and triumph of good over evil. Tradition calls for throwing colored powder and water over each other in the streets, as well as having parties and dancing. The Holi Moo Festival is held in Delhi and provides an organized space to celebrate with performers, street food, bags of colored powder, and water sprinklers.
April: Songkran Chiang Mai. In April, you can celebrate Thai New Year, also known as the Water Festival, in Chiang Mai. The weekend festival (April 13 - 15) is Thailand’s most popular holiday. Locals and visitors alike participate in “water battles,” which signify positive blessings to get rid of bad omens from the previous year. Note: Thai New Year is a fun event to experience in any Thai region. You can also celebrate Songkran in Laos, Burma and Cambodia.
May: New Orleans Jazz Festival. Held over two weekends in the spring — 2018 dates are April 27 to May 6 — is NOLA’s famous Jazz & Heritage Festival. This year also marks the city’s tricentennial, making it an even extra special time to visit. And while this year’s lineup hasn’t yet been announced, headliners from last year included Stevie Wonder, Pitbull, Alabama Shakes and Snoop Dogg.
June: White Nights Festival. Russia’s White Nights Festival is one of the best music and arts festivals happening in 2018, and it happens to take place in the summer, which is the best time to visit St. Petersburg thanks to warmer weather and longer daylight hours. The festival runs from late May to early July, which makes June the height of the celebration. Featured events include the Stars of the White Nights, a ballet performance and opera festival, and Scarlet Sails, a riverbank party that signifies the end of the school year. Expect fireworks, performances, live music and more.
July: Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival. Located in the middle of the Malaysia’s Borneo jungle, the Rainforest World Music Festival is a bucket-list festival in 2018. Head to the island for the three-day event (July 13 - 15) and immerse yourself in the country’s indigenous cultures by listening to traditional and contemporary music at one of the coolest festivals in the world.
August: SailWeek Croatia. Grab your closest friends and book yourself a yacht for SailWeek. While it’s not really a “week” anymore, the famous boat-party events are organized group sailboat charters for the summer season along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. Chose from a “party” or “adventure” itinerary and your skipper takes care of the rest. Charters run from Saturday to Saturday, May through September. Pro tip: You can avoid the (super) young crowds by going at the end of August, once universities are back in session.
September: Oktoberfest. Believe it or not, the best time to go to Munich’s Oktoberfest festival is when it all kicks off in September. This year the festival starts on Sept. 22 and runs until Oct. 6. If you’re looking to attend, make your beer tent reservations as soon as possible. In 2017, almost 7 million people attended the festival.
October: Sculptures by the Sea. Visit Sydney in late spring for Bondi Beach’s famous art installation, Sculptures by the Sea. It’s the world’s largest, free public sculpture exhibition and features over 100 works by both local and international artists. The sculptures are scattered from scenic Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach coastal walk, just outside of central Sydney. The 2018 festival will be held from Oct. 18 to Nov. 4.
November: Day of the Dead. Day of the Dead is an incredible festival to travel to Mexico for. Whether you’re in touristy Cancun or up-and-coming Oaxaca, this Mexican tradition is celebrated throughout the country. On Nov. 1 and 2, locals honor those who’ve passed away through colorful celebrations with alter offerings, food, parades and decorated cemeteries.
December: Art Basel Miami Beach. Celebrities and trendsetters flock to Miami in early December for Art Basel’s Miami Beach show, which in 2018 will be taking place Dec. 6 - 9. You’ll find sculptures, paintings, digital art and more at the galleries in the convention center. Throughout the city you’ll also encounter public art installations, special exhibits and stylish parties. It’s also a great time to visit Wynwood, an up-and-coming art neighborhood of Miami, as new murals are painted in anticipation of the event each year.