The last time we made this list was in the heady days of January 2020. Remember them? There’d been rumblings of a virus originating in a wet market in Wuhan, but life was pretty much normal in most parts of the world. We did our thing. We made plans. We looked forward to a whole load of new cultural stuff happening around the world that year.
Except basically none of it did. Music, art, theatre: all involve gathering loads of people together in often crowded spaces. Not good during the Panny D. Big openings were cancelled. Festival season was a write-off. We even stopped writing about going out altogether and rebranded as something called Time In. Throughout it all, our planners looked depressingly empty.
But now, happily, we live in a world where vaccines have allowed things to return to some semblance of normality. And while we skipped a 2021 edition of this definitive global events and openings calendar, we’re pretty confident that almost all of the amazing things you’ll find below will happen next year. So, Omi C permitting (someone had to start calling it that), here are the 22 best new things to do in the world in 2022, from massive new museums to huge gigs, theatre shows and art exhibitions you won’t want to miss.
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The best new things to do in the world in 2022
The Parisian townhouse where the feted (and more than occasionally controversial) French singer Serge Gainsbourg spent the last 20 years of his life is already something of an unofficial shrine to his legacy. The interior has been completely closed off to the public since Gainsbourg’s death in 1991, but next spring it’ll finally open as a museum dedicated to his life and work. The project has been led by his daughter – the actor and singer Charlotte – and the main attraction will surely be Serge’s famously eccentric living area, with its piano, art deco bar and huge collection of sculptures.
Photograph: Liget Budapest Project
2. Catch a gig at a stunning new concert hall
There may not be 4,000 holes in Budapest, but the next best thing is the perforated white roof atop Sou Fujimoto’s House of Music in City Park. Its 100 or so cavities allow natural light, trees and sound to infiltrate the two performance venues, exhibition spaces and library, which are linked by magnificent spiral staircases. A complete glass exterior aids reliance on renewable energy. Opening in early 2022, this is the standout initiative of the Liget Budapest Project to regenerate historic grounds fringing north-east Pest – a new Museum of Ethnography will follow.
Running until April 25 at the National Gallery of Victoria is an exhibition that’s the first in Australia to focus solely on the life and work of twentieth-century French designer Gabrielle (AKA Coco) Chanel. In collaboration with Paris’s leading fashion museum, the Palais Galliera, Melbourne will be the first city outside of France to host the epic touring show. More than 100 Chanel garments will deck the halls of the NGV, exploring Coco’s enduring influence on fashion, perfume, jewellery and accessory design – all with a multimedia twist that’s unique to the Aussie museum.
4. Visit a once-in-a-decade flower show
Spectacular doesn’t come close to describing the ambition of international horticultural exhibition Floriade, an event so huge it happens only once every ten years. The 2022 edition, which starts on April 14 in the Dutch city of Almere, will platform various topics under the banner of ‘growing green cities’, with countless pavilions, an arboretum, a magnificent greenhouse complex and a rich art and culture programme. The new, custom-built waterside site will also feature 40 country pavilions, live music, workshops and a cable-car ride that soars over the park. No wonder it’s known as the world’s ultimate flower show.Derek RobertsonContributing journalist, the Netherlands
Image: The Nicholas Brothers – Fayard Nicholas (left) and Harold Nicholas (right) – in a scene from Stormy Weather (USA, 1943), gelatin silver print, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Margaret Herrick Library, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
5. Discover the Black filmmakers who pushed cinema forward
Los Angeles, USA
Though you can linearly chart decades of Oscar winners, you can’t really do the same with the history of cinema: there are many stories that have pushed the medium forward, as the new Academy Museum’s collection so competently spells out. So to follow its retrospective of beloved animator Hayao Miyazaki, the L.A. museum will next focus on nearly an entire century of often-overlooked cinema. A collaboration with Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, ‘Regeneration’ dives into the works of Black filmmakers from the birth of the motion picture industry through to the Civil Rights era. Set to debut in the second half of 2022, the exhibition counts filmmakers Ava DuVernay and Charles Burnett among its advisers.
Photograph: Borre Hostland
6. Browse an art museum of epic proportions
In June 2022, the new National Museum of Norway will become the largest museum in the Nordics (and no doubt cement Oslo’s place as one of Europe’s great cultural capitals). The museum collection includes a whopping 100,000 objects, with highlights including the Norwegian Baldishol tapestry from 1150, Munch’s ‘The Scream’ and an array of Golden Age Flemish landscapes. But the standout feature of the new building is the 2,400-square-metre ‘Light Hall’ at the top, with its shimmering marble glass surrounds making it a truly dazzling setting for the museum’s many masterpieces. Smack bang in the buzzy Aker Brygge harbour area, the building has also been praised for its energy-efficiency and low ecological footprint.
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Rodrigo Braz VieiraContributing journalist, Norway
New York, USA
When visitors head to a Broadway show next summer, they may want to consider getting there a few hours early. That way, they’ll be able to spend some time exploring the brand-new Museum of Broadway, the first-ever institution dedicated to the history of the Great White Way. The new museum will be divided into three parts. First, a map room will lay out how the city’s theatre scene migrated across the city over the years before landing in Times Square; the second will illustrate the development of the Broadway art form through various artefacts and works of art; and a third, the ‘backstage’ area, will dive into the working professionals that make the shows happen every day. It’s certain to be an informative and entertaining peek behind the curtain.
Already bored of going out out again? Sticky floors, sweaty ceilings and overpriced cab home not quite cutting it? How about a ‘party at the edge of the world’ to spice things up? Detour Discotheque has got you covered. In the fishing village of Þingeyri, in the Westfjords of Iceland, you’ll soon find a pop-up club night based on the discos of 1970s New York (from April 29 to 30). The capacity will be limited to just 160, so it’s very intimate. A line-up of DJs from Iceland, the USA and UK will be providing the tunes, and the room will be decorated with a gigantic spinning mirror ball (of course). The first in a series of parties in remote locations around the world, it’s sure to be a night out like no other.
Photograph: Chris Stowers Photography
9. Book a show at this colossal new theatre
Seven years late to the date, the NT$5.4 billion (£147 million), 59,000-square-metre Taipei Performing Arts Centre will no doubt wow visitors when it finally opens in summer 2022. Looking like an industrial cake with a giant silver sphere bulging towards an adjacent metro station, this arresting structure has been turning heads for years as construction has plodded on. An 800-seat playhouse lies snugly in the ball, while two equally surprising box-like protrusions house another 1,500-seat ‘grand theatre’ and 800-seat ‘multiform theatre’. But the best thing about this outlandish venue, designed by architects Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten, is a looped walkway that links all three auditoriums with windows into hidden spaces (and which can be freely accessed by the public). We can’t wait for the show to start.
Photograph: Uzbekistan Ministry of Tourism
10. Retrace the Silk Road... by train
Tashkent to Khiva, Uzbekistan
Next year you’ll be able to retrace the fabled route of Marco Polo through Uzbekistan, from glitzy capital Tashkent to the sand-dusted city of Khiva in the west, all by high-speed rail. The extension of Uzbekistan’s railways will put Khiva – whose 94 mosques and 63 madrasas make it a Unesco World Heritage Site – within easy reach of visitors. And you know what else is cool? Both the new Silk Road Samarkand museum and the national State Museum of Arts are also set to open in 2022, no doubt shining further light on the region’s rich trading history.Huw OliverInternational Commissioning Editor, Time Out
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Just 90 minutes by train from Copenhagen is dinky, charming Odense. This place is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, and as of this month, it is now home to the brand-new architectural wonder that is the HCA Museum, an affectionate tribute to the fairytale master. With its inventive biographical exhibits – including theatrical imaginings of his memoirs and inanimate projects that come alive (much like in his stories) – this thoroughly fun museum would no doubt have delighted the ‘Little Mermaid’ and ‘Snow Queen’ author himself.Alex Hayward
Photograph: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com
12. Go large at an 11-day music bash
Remember when tickets went on sale for Primavera 2022? It really felt like mass hysteria. But there’s a reason why there’s so much hype. For starters, the festival always turns Barcelona into one, huge beachside party (and draws a fun audience from all corners of the globe). But next year it’ll also be bigger than ever: the 2022 event takes place across two weekends in June, with bonus concerts scheduled in between and an extra DJ event at the end. That means an 11-day sun-kissed bender with music’s hottest names. The organisers have got together a pretty diverse programme: the Strokes, Tyler the Creator, Pavement, Gorillaz and Dua Lipa are all lined up, along with DJs Jamie XX, Jeff Mills, LCY and Shanti Celeste. Ooft.
Photograph: Julian Abrams
13. See the world’s most awe-inspiring immersive theatre
You have to go back eight long years, to sprawling Hollywood epic ‘The Drowned Man’, for the last major London event by immersive theatre gods Punchdrunk. But the wait is very nearly over. Outdoing themselves for sheer scale and ambition, new show ‘The Burnt City’ (March 22 to August 28) takes place in not one but two former military arsenal buildings, and will be a (sort of) adaptation of two Greek tragedies set during the Trojan War. It’s hugely exciting that Londoners will soon be able to step back into Punchdrunk’s awe-inspiring worlds, less works of theatre than full-blown waking dreams.
Next year the eye-popping, kaleidoscopic installations of roving interactive museum Color Factory will rock up in Chicago this spring. Its largest-ever exhibition will take over Willis Tower, giving Chicagoans a chance to load up their Insta feeds with a big splurge of fluorescent lighting. Previous shows have featured candy-pink rooms and NASA-themed ball pits, so expect a wildly in-yer-face mix of classic Colour Factory replicas and new rooms themed around Chicago itself.
Gear up for Hayao Miyazaki’s upcoming ‘final’ film at the world’s first Studio Ghibli theme park, set to open in autumn 2022 near Nagoya (about three hours by train from Tokyo). The attraction will feature five main features, all packed with rides based on the studio’s most famous flicks; you can also expect shops, exhibitions and gardens, all themed around hit anime like My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away. The artist’s impressions all look marvellous – we won’t be surprised to find something thoroughly magical in Ghibliland.
This production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s megahit ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is being staged not in the famed nearby Sydney Opera House but out on the open water of the city’s harbour (from March 25 to April 24). Lloyd Webber famously gives the go-ahead to very few brand-new productions of ‘Phantom’, and this bespoke reimagining is helmed by two of Australia’s most respected theatremakers, director Simon Phillips and set designer Gabriela Tylesova. It’ll premiere in March and run for a month.
You doze off in ever-magnificent Prague, then wake up 800 kilometres away in EU capital and waffle-and-beer-paradise Brussels. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, in 2022 this is set to become a reality, thanks to a new batch of sleeper trains run by the Regiojet network. Spurred on by the climate emergency, it’s the biggest extension to Europe’s night-train network in years and part of a huge continent-wide drive to revive the good old-fashioned sleeper. Not only will Regiojet’s new route run between Prague and Brussels via Dresden, Berlin and Amsterdam, but all the trains will have free wi-fi, coffee and breakfast, too. Swanky, huh?Ed CunninghamContributing writer
Belfast, Northern Ireland
It’s a big year for Thronies. Not only is a new Game of Thrones prequel scheduled to land on our TVs, but there’s a brand-new Westeros pilgrimage to saddle up your dragon for. The official Game of Thrones Studio Tour is opening on February 4 in North Ireland’s Linen Mill Studios outside Belfast. Basically the Seven Kingdoms’ answer to London’s Harry Potter studio tour, it will offer props, costumes and sets, including the entirety of Winterfell’s Great Hall. We cannot wait to find out what they’ll be selling in the shop.
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons / AshyCatInc
19. Check out King Tut’s enormous new pad
When it finally opens in November 2022, the Grand Egypt Museum will be the biggest museum in the world dedicated to a single civilisation. It’s located in Giza, within snooping distance of the great pyramids and a 40-minute drive from the capital, Cairo. The foundation stone was laid in 2002 – but the Arab Spring of 2010 created widespread unrest and work was put on hold. An army of builders is now back on-site round the clock and working towards an opening next year. Costing $1 billion, this megastructure won’t be far off the size of the Louvre in Paris. The museum’s rotating display will comprise 50,000 artefacts, but most importantly, this will be the first time that all 5,000 pieces of King Tutankhamun’s funerary treasure will be displayed in the same place – death mask included.
Photograph: Irma eyewink _ Shutterstock.com
20. Discover a cultural jewel at the heart of Europe
Novi Sad, Serbia
Travellers have been making the pilgrimage to EXIT Festival for years, but 2022 represents a paradigm shift when it comes to Novi Sad. Serbia’s second-largest city will wear the crown of European Capital of Culture for the year and the Vojvodina beauty has gone all in, revolutionising NS ahead of more than 1,500 events (featuring a whopping 4,000 artists). Ever fancied checking out an exhibition in an abandoned pasta factory? The Mlin Cultural Station awaits. Novi Sad’s gorgeous architecture and unique history have long made it a major destination-in-waiting. In 2022, the rest of the world will finally cotton on too.John Bills
Photograph: Istanbul Modern
21. Explore Istanbul’s revamped waterfront
The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art was an icon of the Karakoy waterfront, before it was relocated temporarily to build a new state-of-the-art complex, designed by legendary architect Renzo Piano. The return of the Modern is set to enliven a seaside stretch that has also seen the recent opening of Galataport, a multipurpose development with a long pedestrian promenade along the Bosphorus, as well as a bevy of shops and restaurants. With its expanded contemporary space, the Istanbul Modern will have the flexibility to host more cutting-edge exhibitions. The space will also contain a library, a cinema, a design store and several event spaces.
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Katie NadwornyContributing journalist, Turkey
Photograph: Time Out Market Lisboa
22. Grab a plate and get stuck in at Time Out Market Porto
You may already know about our Time Out Markets. In Lisbon, New York, Montreal, Chicago, Boston, Miami and most recently Dubai, we’ve got fully stuck into the hospitality business, inviting renowned chefs and bartenders to help locals and visitors get to know their surroundings a little better. In 2022, much to our excitement, we’re planning another Portuguese location – this time, in second city Porto. Time Out Market Porto will be housed in the historic São Bento train station – look at it! – with a new 2,000-square-metre space set to host 15 restaurants, four bars, four shops, a café and even an art gallery. As travel bounces back properly next year (fingers crossed), we can’t wait to see you there.