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What’s new in Mississippi River Country in 2024

Here are some of the new attractions, events, and places to stay you shouldn’t miss on your next visit to Mississippi River Country.

Family shopping at Mall of America in Bloomington Minnesota
Photo credit: Mall of America

There’s always a lot to explore in the states of Mississippi River Country, from exciting outdoor attractions to fun events to one-of-a-kind places to stay. Here’s a look at some of the new additions to the region that you shouldn’t miss.


  • The Louis Hotel: A boutique hotel located in a 100-year-old building in downtown Wilson in Arkansas’ Delta region, The Louis opened in 2023 and offers 16 king rooms and cottages featuring bed and bath linens made from cotton grown in the town.
  • Fayetteville Ale Trail: Several new breweries have been added to northwest Arkansas’ Fayetteville Ale Trail, which includes two dozen breweries (and one cidery) in Fayetteville and the surrounding communities.
  • Pinnacle Mountain State Park: This scenic park near Little Rock—a popular destination for climbing, hiking, and mountain biking—opened an innovative new visitor center that includes indoor and outdoor exhibits, trail access, and more.


  • Millennium Park: Located on Chicago’s lakefront, this iconic attraction is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2024—it’s home the iconic Cloud Gate statue (known as “The Bean”), gardens, live music venues, interactive fountains, play areas, and more.
  • NASCAR 2024 Chicago Street Race: NASCAR racing returns to the streets of Chicago in July for the second year of this unique competition that also features a lineup of global music superstars.
  • Upcoming events: It’s not just 2024—Illinois has a lot to celebrate in the coming years, as well, including the opening of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago (2025), the centennial of Route 66 (2026) and the Presidents Cup golf tournament at Medinah Country Club (2026).


  • Year of Music 2024: Louisiana is celebrating its contribution to America’s music scene (it’s the birthplace of jazz, Cajun, and zydeco) with special events, concerts, and more throughout the year.
  • Grand Isle State Park: The only Louisiana state park on the Gulf of Mexico, Grand Isle State Park recently reopened and is a popular destination for fishing, birding, and kayaking.
  • Shrimply Delicious Food Trail: This food trail west of New Orleans includes more than three dozen stops that serve up delicious concoctions featuring local Gulf shrimp, including shrimp etouffee, shrimp & grits, shrimp po’ boys, and more.


  • Minnesota Zoo: The Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley (just south of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul), home to nearly 5,000 animals and a variety of award-winning exhibits, is adding a new attraction—the Treetop Trail will be the world’s longest elevated pedestrian loop and give zoo visitors a bird’s eye view of animal habitats and wildlife.
  • Minnesota State Fair: One of the largest state fairs in the country, Minnesota’s annual state fair—nicknamed the “Great Minnesota Get-Together”—welcomes more than 1.5 million guests every year and brings top-notch acts to its Grandstand (2024 acts include country star Blake Shelton, Chance the Rapper, and comedian Nate Bargatze).
  • Mall of America: This iconic shopping center/entertainment venue/restaurant hub/etc./etc. in the Twin Cities suburb of Bloomington always has something new happening—with more than 500 stores, 60 restaurants, and iconic attractions, there’s a lot to see. Upcoming and recent additions to the mall include Vuori, Chanel, the Museum of Illusions, and a series of summer performances from Cirque du Soliel.


  • B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center: This iconic attraction in the blues legend of Indianola in the Mississippi Delta tells the story of B.B. King’s life, music, and connection to the Delta—as well as the newly restored Club Ebony, one of the South’s most important African American nightclubs.
  • The Sound Amphitheater: This new outdoor performance venue in Gautier on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast seats 8,000 in a state-of-the-art theater in a beautiful natural surrounding and welcomes musical acts from across the country
  • New places to stay: Mississippi has seen the addition of stylish and welcoming places to stay in recent years, including Hotel Tupelo in Tupelo, The Threefoot Hotel in Meridian, and The Inn at Cedar Grove in Vicksburg.


  • New attractions in Pigeon Forge: Head to Pigeon Forge in the eastern part of the state to find two new fun attractions that are scheduled to open this fall—the Crayola Experience, a 30,000-square-foot (2,800 square meters) entertainment center with hands-on activities and the world’s largest collection of Crayola products; and the NERF Action Xperience, an action park with blaster battle zones, obstacle courses for kids and adults, and more.
  • Tennessee Night Sky Trail: Stargazers will marvel at the sites along the state’s new Night Sky Trail, which features nine serene spots in northeastern Tennessee.
  • New places to stay: Marriott’s Aloft Hotel is set to open in downtown Memphis featuring tech-savvy amenities like robotic bellhops and mobile keys. The newly renovated Hotel Chalet at the Choo Choo in Chattanooga invites visitors to spend the night inside a restored train carriage. Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville (in the Smoky Mountains) is opening 28 new treehouses and entertainment cabins in early 2024.


  • Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park Resort: This waterpark in Wisconsin Dells (“the Waterpark Capital of the World”) will become home to the tallest waterslide in the United States—“The Rise of Icarus” is a 145-foot (44-meter) slide that will open this summer alongside five new waterslides and a new outdoor children’s play area.
  • St. James Social: Highlighted as one of the country’s top places to visit by Conde Nast, St. James Social in Bayfield (on Lake Superior in northwestern Wisconsin) is a hotel, social lounge, and bar that has been recently renovated. Guests can enjoy luxury suites, a lakeview sauna, a rooftop lounge, and more.
  • Circus World: This National Historic Landmark in Baraboo, which shares the story of more than 100 circuses that have called Wisconsin home, celebrates its 65th anniversary in 2024 with a variety of shows and special exhibits, including aerialists, animal acts, acrobats, and more.