11 Awesome Sights You Can Only See This Year

Each year we find plenty of reasons to travel -- like checking off bucket list destinations and staying at a new hotel that just opened. While many of those wanderlust to-dos can be accomplished in any year, there are some events special only to 2016. From a wild butterfly migration and historic site anniversaries to highly anticipated museum openings, these are 11 awesome sights you can only see this year.

1. The Rio Summer Olympics

Yes, the Summer Olympic games come around once every four years, but 2016's is sure to be a blast. Taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5 to 21, the games are expected to attract hundreds of thousands of fans. When you're not watching your favorite sport, the city has plenty of other activities to offer like stellar restaurants, nightclubs, and museums.

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2. The Monarch Butterfly Migration

Flickr
Flickr

Each year Monarch butterflies migrate south, but 2016 is set to be a special one. More than three times as many butterflies are expected to pass through Michoacán and Mexico, making it a spectacular site to see. "[The goal is] 225 million monarch butterflies returning right here to Mexico every year," U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the Mexico News Daily.

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3. The Opening of Light City

Courtesy of Light City
Courtesy of Light City

Baltimore, Maryland will host a new international festival and interactive initiative "Light City," which can be found in Charm City from March 28 to April 3.  Paying homage to the city's historical significance as the first to light its streets with gas lamps, the first large-scale, international light festival in the U.S. will feature 28 original innovative art installations --  placed along a one-and-a-half-mile waterfront art walk -- from local, national, and international artists, 50 concerts and 100 live performances, all complimentary.

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4. The Relocation of the Tsukiji Fish Market

Flickr
Flickr

The Tsukiji Fish Market has been a staple for Tokyo locals and tourists alike. Starting as early as 3 a.m., fishermen arrive with their catches while wholesalers, food-processing firms, and large retail chains wait to make their purchases. Now after 81 years, the world’s biggest wholesale fish and seafood market is set to move to its new location by March. Book a trip to be one of the last to set foot in the historic market -- or one of the first in the new one!

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5. Shakespeare's 400th Anniversary

Herry Lawford/Flickr
Herry Lawford/Flickr

2016 marks 400 years since Shakespeare's death, so it only makes sense to commemorate the great playwright in a big way. King's College London has coordinated a program of performances, screenings, concerts, and exhibitions that will run for the entire year. Guests will be able to see everything from his will to some of his classic plays performed live.

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6. The Transit of Mercury

Flickr
Flickr

Get out your telescopes! A transit of Mercury across the Sun is set to take place on May 9 and there are some key spots where you can get the best views of this rare astral event. While it can be seen in North and South America, western Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa, the best locations include western Morocco, the Canary Islands, and Chile's Atacama desert. The last time it occurred was back in 2006.

7. The opening of the National Blues Museum

Paul Sableman/Flickr
Paul Sableman/Flickr

Music lovers rejoice! Beginning in April, a new museum is opening in St. Louis, Missouri fully dedicated to the history of Blues music. When the doors open guests will be treated to interactive technology and artifact-driven exhibits, a theatre, special event space, and more.

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8. The Copa America Centenario

Flickr
Flickr

If you can't wait until 2018 for the next World Cup, you're in luck. This June soccer fans can take in the Copa America Centenario, the centennial edition of the South American tournament. Bonus: the tournament is actually being held in the United States for the first time. Sixteen teams will play in 10 venues all over the country including cities like Boston and San Francisco

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9. The Pearl Harbor Anniversary

Bryan Dorrough/Flickr
Bryan Dorrough/Flickr

December 7, 2016 marks 75 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This major wartime event was the catalyst to involving the United States in World War II, making it one of the most significant moments in the country's history. To mark this special anniversary, the National WWII Museum has a weeklong series of events scheduled from December 1 to December 8 in Hawaii. You can book a pre-planned trip for around $9,000, which includes a four-part symposium led by historians and special access to the ceremony at the USS Arizona commemorating the attacks.

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10. The Carmel-by-the-Sea Centennial

Flickr
Flickr

If you've never been to this stunning beach town, 2016 is the year to do it. Carmel-by-the-Sea in Monterey County, California is celebrating its Centennial Anniversary this year with year-long special events and celebrations throughout the city. Events include Monterey Symphony concerts, art festivals, winemakers' celebrations, historical exhibits, lectures, and more. The year of celebration will culminate in a Centennial Parade on Saturday, October 29.

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11. Namibian Giraffe Conservation

Courtesy of Country Walkers
Courtesy of Country Walkers

You can only see (and be an active part of) the collaring of Namibian giraffe in the name of conservation in 2016. Country Walkers Safaris has created a special once-in-a-lifetime experience for those who are eager to be involved in wildlife conservation in Africa. The nine-day journey in Namibia gives guests the opportunity to actively participate in the preservation of Africa’s natural beauty and wildlife on a unique safari that focuses on the conservation of its most iconic species.

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