The XP Guide: January Events & Experiences
January is always a jam-packed month for events and experiences. Even though we’ve barely recovered from the holidays and end-of-year celebrations, there’s no rest for the exhausted. Now, anticipation is in the air as awards season kicks off, conferences get underway, and major sporting events like the NCAA championships and NFL playoffs heat up.
Whether you’re in search of experiential inspiration for your next project or are looking to hop a flight to connect with other creators, keep reading to discover XP Land’s list of the top January events and experiences you need on your radar (and calendars).
1. The Golden Globes: Jan. 7; The Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles
The Golden Globes made a serious comeback this year, marked by an expanded voter pool and its first televised ceremony post–Hollywood strikes, drawing stars and studios keen on boosting their Oscar prospects. Highlights included Lily Gladstone’s historic win as the first Indigenous Best Actress and the continued Barbenheimer “rivalry.” The ceremony wasn’t without its lows however, including the rather flat monologue by host Jo Koy and a poorly designed seating chart — combined with a giant stage and packed room — that left producer Christine Vachon pushed out “to Siberia.” See the full list of winners here.
2. Critics Choice Awards: Jan. 14; The Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles
The Critics Choice Association is the nation’s largest film and television critics group — and the only one with its live TV broadcast. Hosted by Chelsea Handler, the 29th annual Critics Choice Awards will air on The CW this year. The show’s vibe is similar to that of the Golden Globes, with a laid-back crowd and unique awards such as Best Young Performer. While critics may not technically sway voters at other award shows, this year’s Critics Choice shindig airs just two days before Oscar nomination voting ends. See the full list of winners here.
3. Primetime Emmy Awards: Jan. 15; The Peacock Theater, Los Angeles
The Primetime Emmy Awards were originally set for September 2023 but were postponed due to the striking Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA, making 2023 the first year without a ceremony since the Emmys began in 1949. Count on Succession to likely lead the pack — and see the full list of winners here.
4. CES: Jan. 9-12; Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas
CES, aka the biggest and baddest technology conference in the world, marks the official beginning of the year for the tech industry to showcase new products and innovative projects. Companies like Intel, Walmart, Best Buy and Snap are expected to tout AI-enabled products and services while Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, and other notable auto names will be absent due to ripple effects from the fall’s United Auto Workers strike. As usual, Apple remains too cool to attend.
5. The World Economic Forum: Jan. 15-19; Davos, Switzerland
The 54th annual World Economic Forum will welcome representatives from over 100 governments, all key international organizations and 1,000 leading global companies.Attendees include leaders from the business world, religious groups, academia and the arts, along with global media outlets. According to Capgemini, “This year’s event theme, “Rebuilding Trust,” focuses on restoring trust in our future, trust within societies, and trust among nations, in a world that has gone through profound and disruptive transformations.”
6. Outstanding in the Field: Multiple dates in January; Florida and Hawaii
On our bucket list for 2024? Snagging tickets to one of XLISTER Jim Denevan’s Outstanding in the Field events. The dinners take place outdoors — in fields and orchards, along seashores — and source local ingredients to “reconnect diners to the land while celebrating the hardworking hands that feed us.” January’s events travel to Kailua-Kona and Kaneohe, Hawaii, as well as Ocoee, Anna Maria Island, Loxahatchee Groves and Homestead, Florida. Exactly the cure we’ll need for the mid-winter blues.
7. Sundance Film Festival: Jan. 18-28; Park City and Salt Lake City
The 2024 Sundance Film Festival lineup will include 90+ feature films and 60+ shorts — though, as insiders know, attendees go to Park City for vibes and parties and Salt Lake City for serious movie watching. One of the major goals of the fest this year, which happens to be its 40th anniversary, is to enhance and expand the second half of the festival. According to Sundance Director Eugene Hernandez, it’s all about IRL experiences, “We’re prioritizing a festive and formative in-person Festival in Park City and Salt Lake City through the closing weekend. With the addition of special programming and more opportunities to see all of the films in both cities during the second half of the festival, we hope you’ll join us for more days of Sundance 2024.”
8. Prototype Festival: Jan. 10-21; New York City
XLISTER and creative producer Beth Morrison’s Prototype Festival — famous for its commitment to artistic bravery and experimental approaches — showcases a broad array of performances in venues ranging from cozy black-box theaters to grand chamber-opera stages. Prototype not only enhances the touring potential of these pieces worldwide but also brings groundbreaking new creations by international artists to the forefront.
9. Under the Radar Festival: Jan. 5-21; New York City
The annual theater fest Under the Radar (UTR) celebrates artists first and foremost, from the emerging to the established. In its seven-year history, UTR has showcased 104 productions from more than 17 countries. Having premiered at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, the festival moved to Manhattan’s Public Theater in 2006 and has since expanded to venues across the city. Come for the symposia, stay for the disco.
10. Play Playground: Launching Jan. 18: The Luxor, Las Vegas
Las Vegas is hard at work to make Sin City a destination where you can act like a kid anytime, day or night. Play Playground, from Play Social Inc., is a 15,000-square-foot play space featuring 20+ larger-than-life games, two bars and a private event space. Check out Biggle Ball — where players work together to guide a ball through a huge maze for points — then soar through the air to hit the target on a lifesize Bullseye Bounce velcro wall. Don’t want to worry about knocking over a stranger’s kid in the maze? No worries, Play Playground is adults only after 5pm.
11. The Tournament of Roses: Jan. 1, 2024; Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena
The theme for this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade was “Celebrating a World of Music: The Universal Language” and featured recording artists Michelle Williams, “The Voice” champion Cassadee Pope and Jordin Sparks. Horses, performers and rose-covered floats (plus marigolds, daisies, carnations and dozens of other florals) marched down Pasadena’s five-mile route. Oh, and there was a football game, too. Michigan took down Alabama 27 to 20 in this year’s Rose Bowl, but that’s not all Michigan accomplished in 2024…
12. College Football Playoff National Championship: Jan. 8; NRG Stadium, Houston
The Michigan Wolverines completed an undefeated season 34-13 with a W against the Washington Huskies in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. According to ABC 13, host city Houston hopes to receive about $10.5 million in event-related taxes to offset the cost of hosting the championship game, though the direct economic impact of the event is estimated to be anywhere between $20 and $200 million.
13. Australian Open: Jan. 7–28; Melbourne Park, Melbourne
Even with Rafael Nadal’s long-awaited comeback postponed, the 2024 Australian Open still features a sizzling lineup, including US Open champs Coco Gauff and (world No.1) Novak Djokovic, plus Carlos Alcaraz, Ben Shelton, Aryna Sabalenka and the return of Naomi Osaka. The three-week Melbourne-based tournament includes charity matches and Kids Tennis Day during opening week, a new courtside bar and the four-day main event, Finals Festivals. Check out the full list of events and experiences here.
14. X Games Aspen: Jan. 26-28; Buttermilk Ski Resort, Aspen
While we’re still two years out from the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan, winter sports fans have the X Games Aspen to hold them over (and save thousands on flights). Spectators can enjoy both men’s and women’s ski and snowboard events, showcasing talents in SuperPipe, Slopestyle, Big Air, and Knuckle Huck disciplines. The games will feature renowned athletes like Eileen Gu, Chloe Kim, Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, Marcus Kleveland, Zeb Powell, and Alex Hall. And attendees don’t have to sit on the sidelines: Buttermilk will remain open for all levels of skiers, no gold medals required.
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