All Articles 10 incredible places to visit in June around the world

10 incredible places to visit in June around the world

From mountain gorilla treks to Baltic city getaways, early summer travel rewards the adventurous.

Nicholas DeRenzo
By Nicholas DeRenzoMay 2, 2024 8 minutes read
Mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
A mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Image: guenterguni/Getty Images

As June begins and the summer high season kicks off in earnest, travelers have a choice: Follow the crowds to old favorites like New York City (at its most joyful during Pride Month) or Yellowstone National Park (where you might have some competition as you grab that baby bison shot)—or venture off the beaten path. Consider, for instance, a soccer-centric getaway in Kansas City, an Indigenous-immersion trip in Québec City, or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, be one of your first friends to experience the highbrow wonders of Estonia’s Tartu, one of this year's three European Capitals of Culture. Here, 10 places to get into the early summer spirit.


Tartu, Estonia

For culture hounds

Average temp: 69ºF high, 49ºF low

One of three cities named European Capitals of Culture this year, Tartu has always lived in the shadow of Tallinn’s straight-out-of-a-storybook medieval perfection, at least among international travelers. But Estonians themselves hold Tartu in high regard: Located just over two hours from the capital, it’s widely considered the Baltic nation’s cultural centerpiece, home to the Estonian National Museum (which houses exhibits on the Finno-Ugric peoples, folk costumes, and carved wooden beer tankards) and the beloved University of Tartu Museum. The city is such a hotbed of thinkers, in fact, that it’s one of only 53 municipalities around the world to earn UNESCO’s City of Literature designation.

Come summer, the city hosts a robust lineup of events, including the Finno-Ugric Film Festival (with traditional sauna seminars and rituals), a week-long Song and Dance Celebration, and concerts that run the gamut from choral to classical to, well, Sting. In June, one of the most immersive experiences will be Music of the Bridges, which will see 100 performers—including actors, musicians, gymnasts, swimmers, circus artists, and more—taking over the city’s bridges and the banks of the Emajõgi River.

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New York City

For travelers with pride

Average temp: 80ºF high, 64ºF low

Pride Parade, West Village, Manhattan, New York
Pride Parade in the West Village
Image: Walter Wlodarczyk/NYC Tourism + Conventions

New York City bursts to rainbow-hued life in June with the celebration of NYC Pride, which commemorates the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, when LGBTQ+ protesters clashed with the police over an early-morning raid of The Stonewall Inn, kicking off the gay liberation movement. In 2016, President Barack Obama named the historic Greenwich Village gay bar the first national monument tied to gay history, and this month, Christopher Street welcomes a new visitor center just next door. If you’re in town for the massive march and street party, you can learn more about the city's gay history with Pride Tours NYC’s LGBTQ Historical Walking Tour—which, of course, stops for pictures on Gay Street.

In the works is the American LGBTQ+ Museum, which is set to open in a newly built wing at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library on the Upper West Side. Until it opens, check out the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art or drop into The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center; in addition to being a vital resource for the city’s queer youth, it hosts rotating exhibits and is home to Keith Haring’s 1989 mural "Once Upon A Time," which is playfully scrawled across the bathroom walls.

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Dublin

For literary enthusiasts

Average temp: 65ºF high, 48ºF low

Every year on June 16, Irish book lovers celebrate the legacy of novelist James Joyce with a rollicking festival known as Bloomsday; it honors his magnum opus Ulysses, which follows a single day (June 16, 1904) in the life of a man named Leopold Bloom. Get in the spirit by donning your finest straw boater hat and then see what’s on at the James Joyce Centre. In addition to hosting art exhibitions about Ulysses, the center offers walking tours every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 11 a.m., including one that retraces Bloom’s exact route, past stops like O’Connell Bridge, Trinity College, the Bank of Ireland, and Grafton Street.

While you’re in town, grab a meal at Davy Byrne’s, a classic pub that opened in 1889 and features in chapter eight of Ulysses, during which Bloom stops in for a glass of red wine and a gorgonzola sandwich (a combo that’s still available on the menu for €20). Another favorite stop for pilgrims is the James Joyce Tower & Museum (free admission), which occupies a historic Martello tower, or defensive fortification, 30 minutes from Dublin in Sandycove.

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Yellowstone National Park

For wildlife watchers

Average temp: 63ºF high, 34ºF low

American bison in the Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
American bison in Yellowstone's Lamar Valley
Image: MicheleVacchiano/Getty Images

Summer signals the start of high season in Yellowstone National Park, and it’s worth battling the crowds to witness nature’s cutest wildlife display: calving season. You can usually see bison calves in Lamar Valley, bighorn sheep lambs at the Calcite Springs Overlook, elk calves at Mammoth Hot Springs, and mountain goat kids near the park’s northeast entrance.

Beyond communing with iconic hoofed megafauna (from a safe distance, of course), there are plenty of other reasons to drop by America’s first national park at the beginning of summer. You can catch cutthroat trout during their spawning season, listen for songbirds, or hike to waterfalls, like the 308-foot Lower Yellowstone River Falls, which are at their fullest after winter snow has melted.

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Québec City

For Indigenous immersion

Average temp: 71ºF high, 53ºF low

Québec City is often called the most European city in North America, but before the French colonized the region, there was a robust First Nations culture along the St. Lawrence River. Come June, the city hosts KWE! Meet with Indigenous Peoples festival, in which members of the province’s First Nations and Inuit communities gather at Place Jean-Béliveau to sell crafts, lead artist workshops, and create immersive exhibits in traditional dwellings.

To truly immerse yourself in the Huron-Wendat culture that long predated French arrival, take a day trip to Wendake, an urban reserve that’s about a 15-minute drive from downtown Québec City. The lovely First Nations–owned Hôtel-Musée Premières Nations is home to La Traite restaurant, where you’ll find dishes such as bison tartare with tangy cattail heart and bannock crumble or lobster cooked in wild blueberry gin with fir jelly, wakame, and flying fish roe. The adjacent Musée Huron-Wendat welcomes a new permanent exhibition in June and offers guided tours of a traditional longhouse. And if you’re here at the end of the month, don’t miss the Wendake International Pow-Wow, which includes thrilling dance competitions.

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Reykjavík, Iceland

For active night owls

Average temp: 54ºF high, 44ºF low

The Harpa concert hall, in Reykjavik, Iceland
The Harpa concert hall, in Reykjavik, Iceland
Image: Doug Armand/Getty Images

By the time June rolls around, the Icelandic capital is rapidly approaching 24 hours of daylight, with the midnight sun reaching its sleep-disrupting peak on the summer solstice. All that sunlight means there’s plenty of time to explore the city.

This summer will see the return of the biennial Reykjavík Arts Festival, which includes performances by soprano Lise Davidsen, the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, and six-time Grammy winner Jacob Collier at Harpa, the city’s architecturally stunning concert. The festival kicks off with a large-scale puppet show called "Sea Monsters" that’ll be performed at Midbakki (or the Old Harbour), before touring around the country to spots like Husavik and Isafjordur.

If you like your art a bit, well, weirder, stick around for the June 17 launch of the weeklong Reykjavík Fringe Festival, which includes theater, circus, drag, comedy, and burlesque performances. After your late show lets out, grab a midnight snack at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, a beloved, 87-year-old hot dog stand; the flagship location on Tryggvagata street stays open until 6 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

For great ape trekkers

Average temp: 59ºF high, 45ºF low

In some countries in Africa, the safari experience involves sitting back in an all-terrain vehicle and being carted around by experts. But in the mountains of Central Africa’s Great Rift Valley, you’ll have to put in the work to see the rare and enigmatic mountain gorilla. Just a two-hour drive from the capital city of Kigali, the 62-square-mile Volcanoes National Park is home to 12 gorilla families, and you can only reach them by trekking up into the hills by foot. June marks the start of the dry season, which makes for much easier hiking conditions in the dense rain forests. Note that, because these great apes are often on the move, it’s hard to predict how long the experience will take, and treks might take anywhere from 30 minutes to nearly seven hours.

Among the best places to stay is Singita Kwitonda Lodge, which boasts an on-site tree nursery to help with reforestation and views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga, and Muhabura volcanoes. The area also recently welcomed the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, which honors the primatologist and conservationist whose life was depicted in the film Gorillas in the Mist; the research center includes a café, exhibits on primate conservation, and a shop where 100 percent of profits go back to the great apes.

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Kansas City, Missouri

For soccer fans

Average temp: 85ºF high, 66ºF low

Soccer match at the CPKC Stadium, in Kansas City, Missouri
Soccer match at the CPKC Stadium, in Kansas City, Missouri
Image: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Earlier this year, Kansas City welcomed the opening of CPKC Stadium, the world’s first stadium dedicated to a women’s sports team. The Kansas City Current joined the National Women’s Soccer League in 2021, and if you visit during the month of June, you can watch them square off at home against the Seattle Reign (June 9), the Chicago Red Stars (June 14), or the Houston Dash (June 28). Sports lovers should be sure to make a special pilgrimage to the memorabilia-filled Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, too.

This summer will also see the opening of the Rock Island Bridge, a first-of-its-kind project that transformed a historic steel railroad bridge into an entertainment district. Suspended about 60 feet above the Kansas River, the new district includes a restaurant, a coffee shop, a bar, and live music. Until it opens, check out the Kansas City Power & Light District, which is named after the adjacent Art Deco 1931 skyscraper and is home to ax-throwing bars, indoor mini golf, sports bars, and more.

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Boston

For rowdy rowers

Average temp: 77ºF high, 59ºF low

In 1979, Boston became the first American city to host a Hong Kong–style dragon boat festival, a traditional holiday that occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar. The event, which celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, sees teams of 22 piling into 40-foot-long canoes and racing along the Charles River, with spectators watching between the Western Avenue Bridge and the John W. Weeks Footbridge.

Visitors can continue their exploration of Boston’s East Asian community with a guided tour of Chinatown that might include stops at an herbalist’s shop, a dim sum restaurant, and a cha chaan teng, or a Hong Kong–style diner. In addition to the tried-and-trues, the neighborhood is also filled with excellent newcomers like Somenya, a Japanese soba shop, and Nan Xiang Express, a fast-casual soup dumpling spot. For something more highbrow, drop by the Museum of Fine Arts, which has one of the finest Chinese art collections outside of Asia.

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McMinnville, Oregon

For pilgrimage-making gourmands

Average temp: 75ºF high, 49ºF low

Dinner at ōkta, in McMinnville, Oregon
Dinner at ōkta
Image: Management/Tripadvisor

If you’re the kind of person who’d travel for a meal, the Willamette Valley—which produces some of the best pinot noirs in the country—recently welcomed the McMinnville Tributary Hotel and its acclaimed restaurant, ōkta. The restaurant is dedicated to the Pacific Northwest’s micro-seasons, with an ever-changing tasting menu that might include ingredients like geoduck clams, venison, Douglas fir, and hazelnuts. Think of it as Oregon’s answer to Copenhagen’s Noma.

Equally craveable, though decidedly more casual, is the James Beard–nominated Hayward, inside Mac Market, a food hall of sorts inside a 1929 shoe grease factory. Here, chef Kari Kihara is obsessive about sourdough fermentation and whole-animal butchery, and her recent “TV Dinner” series has seen her creating inventive special menus inspired by shows like The Sopranos and Twin Peaks. While in the area, stop by wineries like Remy Wines, owned by Remy Drabkin (be sure to look into her Wine Country Pride nonprofit).

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Nicholas DeRenzo
Nicholas DeRenzo is a freelance travel and culture writer based in Brooklyn. A graduate of NYU's Cultural Reporting and Criticism program, he worked as an editor at Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel and, most recently, as executive editor at Hemispheres, the in-flight magazine of United Airlines. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Afar, BBC Travel, Wine Enthusiast, and more. Follow him on Instagram at @nderenzo to see his many, many pictures of birds.