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13 new and exciting things to do in the USA in 2023

Putting together your 2023 bucket list? Make sure these awesome new things to do in the USA are on it.

Scott Snowden
Edited by
Scott Snowden
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Thank The Maker that 2022 is over and done with. And with that good news, we embrace our next 12-month lap around the Sun ever optimistic that the forthcoming year will be fun, fruity and full of good fortune. Who knows what could happen, or dares to dream? Some of us might actually spring for a holiday, wouldn't that be nice? Or maybe our literal lucky numbers will come in and one of us will win one of those pesky $billion Powerball lotteries.

So let's hope for the best, keep our heads held high and allow ourselves the indulgence of at least planning some of the bucket list activities that we still haven't got around to participating in.

And these are some of the events we're the most excited to try in 2023...

Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList. You can also find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world, or take a look at our list of the best things to do in the world right now.

Best things to do in the USA

For those who don't know, and many don't, South by Southwest—often written as SXSW—is an annual event that incorporates an impressive assortment of music, film and interactive media, held every March in Austin, Texas. Since its start in 1987, SXSW has grown almost exponentially in size and length (now running for 10 days), but it has remained a testament to discovering emerging artists and creativity through a live setting. Because Austin, with its exploding restaurant scene, needs another reason to be the epicenter of contemporary culture. The event is broken down by SXSW Music with 2,000-plus acts performing across the city; SXSW Film (with screenings of anticipated movies, panels and workshops); and the increasingly popular SXSW Interactive which features speakers, panels and also a pitch competition called SXSW Pitch.

South by Southwest 2023 runs from March 10–19.

Last year might have offered us the soccer football World Cup, but the really exciting competition is this year...and that's the Rugby World Cup. Tragically, Major League Rugby has suffered from a very slow take-up in the U.S., but let's not mince words, rugby is the greatest sport on the face of the Earth. Admit it, you love watching the New Zealand All Blacks do the Haka before playing any international game. And they do that because they are so fiercely proud of their cultural heritage and consequently don't get drawn into all sorts of eggshell-walking sociopolitical codswallop and rename themselves the Commanders or Commodes, or whatever it is. The best place to watch the 2023 Rugby World is the host country of course, but that's France. So we suggest the best alternative in the US and that would be New York City. Not just because the time difference of six hours is the best you're going to get in the continental United States, but also because New York City has its own professional rugby team that competes in the national league. The Red Lion in West Village is a good place to start.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup kicks off in Paris on Friday, September 8.

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South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have announced the planned reopening of the restaurant Casa Bonita in Lakewood, Colorado, near Denver. Fans will remember that an entire episode (S07, E11) hinges on this miracle of a restaurant...and may not have believed its place existed in real life. Inside this bright pink Mexican restaurant with a tower and a fountain in front, cliff divers plummet headfirst down incredible interior waterfalls, people in gorilla suits chase customers and you can walk through an entire cave system. People line up with trays to get Mexican food, but once at the table, you can raise a miniature flag to request refills from waitstaff. The venue has a warm, yet slightly chaotic vibe, but most of all, it's damn good fun.

Casa Bonita is scheduled to reopen sometime in May, 2023.

Simply put, there's no show on Earth quite like San Diego Comic-Con. This absolutely, positively has to be experienced at least once in your lifetime. Even queuing—which there can be much of, depending on your decided-upon plan of action—can be fun: hanging out in the glorious San Diego sunshine, making new friends and chatting about common interests, shared likes and dislikes and which Dr Who is best and why. Every year the conference center is filled quite literally to bursting point with fans and followers of everything associated with science fiction, superheroes, cult movies and comic books. Where else in the world can you have a coffee and watch Darth Vader, the Silk Spectre and the Predator walk past? Comic-Con is a place for everyone, a true melting pot of diversity, attracting both the young and the old of all races and sizes. It’s a place where families can come and share the experience together.

San Diego Comic-Con runs July 20-23, 2023.

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Just sneaking in there, before the end of the year, New York opened its first legal recreational marijuana dispensary, joining New Jersey, South Dakota, Arizona and Montana, all of which passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana for those 21 and older. Fourteen other states and the District of Columbia already allow for legal recreational marijuana. The new laws mean that right now more than one in three Americans live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal. The lower Manhattan store, located at 750 Broadway, is the first of 36 recently licensed dispensaries to open. An additional 139 licenses are still to be issued by the state Office of Cannabis Management and 900 applicants currently still awaiting word.

You might not have seen The Silence of the Lambs for a while, but you certainly remember Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. However, you may not remember that the whole reason Starling is interacting with Lecter is to track down Jame 'Buffalo Bill' Gumb (played masterfully by Ted Levine) and hopefully rescue his latest victim, young Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith) before he harvests her silky smooth skin. Located in a quiet neighborhood in Perryopolis, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh, now you too can stay there, by renting it on Airbnb.

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For years, Glacier National Park’s educational signs predicted that its eponymous ice sheets would be gone by the year 2020. A recent change to the park’s signs concedes that this doomsday scenario hasn’t come to pass—yet—but that doesn’t mean you should sleep on a visit this year. Recreate the opening scene from The Shining with a drive along Saint Mary Lake and board a red bus from the 1930s for a trip along Going-to-the-Sun Road, a mountain-hugging highway that traverses the park’s heavenly terrain. (You’ll spot plenty of glaciers and mountain goats, too.) Also, check out the days in 2023 when the National Park Service has announced free admission!

It might seem like a long way off now, but November 2023 is going to be a treat for all petrolheads in the U.S. as the Formula One experience will descend upon Las Vegas for what promises to be a thrilling nighttime race through the streets and around the strip. The last time the Formula 1 carnival paid a visit to the Silver State was in 1982 when the track was contained entirely within the grounds of Caesars Palace, but this new 3.8-mile-long street circuit looks a thousand times better. It features three main straights, 14 corners and one chicane section, with top speeds expected to reach over 212mph over the course of 50 laps. The cars will only go down one side of the strip, but the upshot is that it provides nearly 50ft of width for overtaking.

The Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix is the weekend of November 18, 2023.

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Museum has moved into a new venue in Kendall Square in Cambridge and features 57,000 square feet of galleries, classrooms, performance spaces and a two-story seating area where people can meet and discuss ideas. The MIT Museum’s collection encompasses more than a million objects, prints, rare books, drawings, photographs, and films that reflect the wide interests of the MIT community from the Institute’s founding in 1861 to the present day. On-site exhibitions and galleries display MIT history (including infamous student pranks), science and technology, architecture and design, plus one of the world's largest collections of holographic art. Visitors can also take in demos, workshops, performances, seminars, debates and more.

If you're the type that prefers to see the great outdoors from the luxury of being indoors—well, almost—then you're more than likely a keen glamper. Consequently, you'll be pleased to hear that Autocamp is unveiling a new glamping resort coming to Zion National Park. You can choose to stay in either a decked-out canvas tent, a retro-style 31ft Airstream trailer, an X-Suite—which looks similar to a converted shipping container—or a BaseCamp suite, which combines a tent and an Airstream. The 16-acre site site is in Virgin, Utah and opens in May, but you can book now. It’s not actually within the park limits, but it offers direct access so there's no need to drive through the front entrance.
AutoCamp is opening sometime in May, 2023. 

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San Francisco has the biggest and the most vibrant Chinatown of any city in the US and consequently offers the best Lunar New Year party in the country. Celebrations have been taking place here since the 1860s and while back in those days the party was a somewhat scaled-down affair, today it's more of a week-long festival. And this year will be no different with the flower market fair running over January 14 and 15, the actual Chinese New Year/Choy Sun Doe Day on the 22nd, plus there's the basketball jamboree on the 28th. The all-important Miss Chinatown pageant and coronation ball is on February 3 and the Chinese New Year parade runs over February 4 and 5, with the Chinatown YMCA run wrapping things up on March 5.

For 2023, Lunar New Year falls on Sunday, January 22.

If you've never been to the Smithsonian Institution in our nation's capital, then 2023 is the perfect time to make the trip. Within the world's largest museum, education, and research complex, the National Air & Space Museum is frankly the highlight. Inside, you can see Poe Dameron's T-70 X-wing fighter from the Star Wars sequels, a Lockheed SR71, the Apollo 13 Command Module, The Spirit of St. Louis, the Enola Gay and so very much more. If you're even remotely interested in science, aviation or spaceflight... this collection, which is arguably the greatest in the world, is going to leave you in awe.

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Along with other events on a similar scale, like the Glastonbury music festival or San Diego Comic-Con, you really ought to do Burning Man at least once in your life. The organizers behind Burning Man want you to be very clear that is not a festival, rather it is a community and global cultural movement. Regardless, it draws tens of thousands of visitors from around the world every single year to a temporary city built to host the event. No entertainment acts are booked, what happens to you is totally up to you. There is no corporate sponsorship and event-goers are encouraged to bring unique items—perhaps from home if you're not from the US, or even just something you've made, created or cooked—to trade with. You are entering a "decommodified" space where participants value who you are, not what you have.

Burning Man 2023 runs from August 27 through September 4.

Time Out Market United States

Time Out’s expansive food-and-culture destinations are what happens when your go-to guide to the city’s best restaurants, bars and things to do becomes an actual place. These are the spots we’ve curated with the same fuss, care and curiosity we bring to our editorial—and there’s probably one near you right now.

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