CALLING ALL JEDI!
With the premiere of "Solo: A Star Wars Story," Star Wars mania has taken hold again. Multi-decade devotees and Padawans just learning the ways of the Force can feed their fandom after seeing the film at these events and destinations around the world.
NATIONAL CATHEDRAL, WASHINGTON, D.C.
The National Cathedral may seem an unlikely destination for Star Wars enthusiasts, but for those who find themselves in Washington, D.C., it's worth a visit: A grotesque on the northwest tower has been sculpted to look like Darth Vader. Bring binoculars, because it can be hard to see with the naked eye.
STAR WARS CELEBRATION, CHICAGO
The next Star Wars Celebration, an annual global convention, will take place April 11-15, 2019, in Chicago. Cast, crew, original costumes, exclusive merchandise, and hordes of Star Wars enthusiasts gather for the event. Tickets go on sale June 5.
HOTEL PELIROCCO, BRIGHTON, ENGLAND
This boutique hotel in Brighton, a seaside resort town, features themed guest rooms. One of the most popular is Lord Vader's Quarters, starting at about $110 a night (with free breakfast if you book directly through the website). Star Wars memorabilia adorns the walls, and a bunk bed makes it a fun option for a father-son trip.
DEATH VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
Death Valley National Park is the backdrop for many scenes from the original "Star Wars" (aka "A New Hope") and "Return of the Jedi." Visitors can take the Golden Canyon Hike, about two miles long, and see if they recognize the scenery. Guides and maps of notable spots are available online, and entrance is $25 per vehicle.
YODA FOUNTAIN, SAN FRANCISCO
In the Presidio, near the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge, look for the Yoda fountain at the Letterman Digital Arts Center, home of Lucasfilm, LucasArts, and Industrial Light Magic. The buildings are closed to the public, but visitors can wander the park space outside. Reviews on Yelp report that it's possible to enter the lobby to view life-size statues of Darth Vader and Boba Fett and costumes and props from the films during weekday business hours.
HOTEL SIDI DRISS, TUNISIA
The original set for Luke Skywalker's childhood home on Tatooine, in Matmata, Tunisia, was turned into a hotel in 1995. The accommodations at Hotel Sidi Driss are basic and the facility earns mixed reviews on Trip Advisor. But many fans willing to travel to Tatooine/Tunisia are eager to spend the night anyway, and prices start at about $12.
DISNEY'S STAR WARS: GALACTIC NIGHTS, ORLANDO, FLORIDA
Disney's Hollywood Studios is hosting a Star Wars: Galactic Nights event on May 27 that will reportedly feature an appearance by Joonas Suotamo, who plays Chewbacca in the new film. Last-minute tickets are still available, and they aren't cheap ($129 for adults), but there are ways to save on a Disney vacation.
REDWOOD FORESTS, CALIFORNIA
A walk through any redwood forest will remind aficionados of Endor, but sadly many of the locations portrayed in "Return of the Jedi" are no longer accessible to the public. There are still two, though — both used for the speeder bike chase scene: Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park in northern California.
VILLA DEL BALBIANELLO, ITALY
Sitting on the edge of Lake Como in northern Italy, the Villa del Balbianello is a picturesque destination. The villa appeared in "Attack of the Clones" during the lake retreat scenes (and made cameos in the James Bond film "Casino Royale"). Guided tours of the villa are available; admission to the gardens only is cheaper.
Legoland in California is celebrating Star Wars Days June 2-3 and 9-10 with character meet-and-greets, scavenger hunts, a building competition, a costume contest, and a fan gallery of Lego models and photography. In the year-round Star Wars Miniland, more than 1.5 million bricks create scenes from the first six movies. Tickets start at $95 for adults; be sure to buy online in advance to save a few bucks.
STAR WARS NIGHTS AT BASEBALL STADIUMS
Many Major League Baseball teams host Star Wars events every year. St. Louis Cardinals fans who purchase a Star Wars Night theme ticket for June 13 receive a jersey featuring the team's avian namesakes on a lightsaber and can have their picture taken with Star Wars characters around the ballpark. The San Francisco Giants are encouraging fans to come in costume for their annual Star Wars Day, on Sept. 16 this year.
FORT WORTH BOTANIC GARDEN, TEXAS
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden hosts the annual "Star Wars and Beyond: A Laser Light Spectacular" with music from "Star Wars" and other films performed by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. This year there are three performances June 15-17.
INTERGALACTIC KREWE OF CHEWBACCHUS PARADE, NEW ORLEANS
In New Orleans, krewes organize and put on parades or balls during Carnival season. The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, named for Star Wars' fuzziest hero and known for pranks, publicity stunts, and drunken antics, will put on its 2019 Mardi Gras parade at 7 p.m. on Feb. 23.
LOCAL STAR WARS GROUP EVENTS
Check for Meetup and Facebook groups to connect with nearby Star Wars fans for events and activities year-round. Fans convene annually on Star Wars Day, May 4, a date chosen for the irresistible pun "May the Fourth be with you."