The Getaway
Check Out the Coolest Neighborhoods in the World

Nothing beats a city vacation when you know where to find all the coolest pop-ups, the trendiest bars, the hottest restaurants, and the best thrift stores. When you’re traveling, it’s always best to look for the places with a buzz – places with a bit of life which will mean your days (and nights!) there will be filled with stories.

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01 Soho, London

Soho is the beating heart of central London – known as one of the most vibrant parts of the city Soho knows how to show London a good time. Whether you’re looking for a drink, dinner, or a dance, there really is no comparison. Even though the area started out with a sleazy reputation, as London’s red-light district, Soho is now known as a mecca for swanky nights on the town, trendy record stores, and cafés. Many legendary clubs, pubs, restaurants, and bars, such as Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and The French House, call Soho home.

Eveining picture colorful Chinatown, with reflections due to rain. Izzet Keribar / Getty Images

02 Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

Since the 1970s, Shimokitazawa has been the hub of Tokyo’s subculture scene. Because of this, it’s the perfect location to spot some trendy Tokyo locals and find some new fits for yourself. Whether you’re looking for a thrift store, some records, or antique stores, this is the place to go. The area is also known for its thriving art scene, and there are plenty of theaters, galleries, and izakaya bars to enjoy.

People leisurely spend weekend in Shimokitazawa. The district is famous for independent fashion shops, cafes, decorations, and theaters Wiennat M / Shutterstock.com

03 Wedding, Berlin

Wedding, Berlin is hip, and there is no doubt about it. For years, Wedding has been the up-and-coming neighborhood in Berlin. Unlike Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, it’s a little less on the tourist route, which is great for people looking for a more authentic view of the city. With eclectic architecture, and an unparalleled offering of restaurants, bars, dance studios, and galleries, you’ll always have something to admire in Wedding. You can even take a dip in the local lake, Plötzensee, but if you’re looking for a more traditional hang, you can hit up any number of craft breweries instead.

street view in Mitte district Eddy Galeotti / Shutterstock.com

04 Haut-Marais, Paris

Just between the famous Marais and Place de la Républic, you can find the bustling neighborhood of Haut-Marais. Formerly a quiet district, Haut-Marais has since become home to many designers and artisans who contributed to its development as a creative hot-spot. Here, crooked streets give home to museums, art galleries, ateliers, and one of the best shopping districts in the city. Haut-Marais has become a melting pot of cultures, and if you’re on the hunt for some food, there are some amazing places to have a bite to eat. L’As du Fallafel is one of the many amazing places to grab a bite – but mind the queues as it’s incredibly popular!

Vintage toned street style fashion image of a young Parisian woman walking the city center, on the narrow streets of Le Marais. She is wearing a black leather jacket, carrying a tote bag. Shot with wide angle large aperture prime lens for more shallow depth of field in motion, capturing the magic hour sunlight. lechatnoir / Getty Images

05 Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Sheung Wan offers a welcome break from the financial hub of Hong Kong. Known as the hipster neighborhood, there’s nowhere quite like it for trying to up your levels of cool. For finding fresh fits, there’s a plethora of vintage shops as well as cafés to indulge your sweet tooth. However, there is also a lot on the table if you also want to take in some history. For example, you can visit the Man Mo Temple, which is one of Hong Kong’s national monuments.

Busy Hong Kong Market on a Rainy Day PamelaJoeMcFarlane / Getty Images

06 West Queen West, Toronto

West Queen West has reinvented itself as Toronto’s art and design district. West Queen West is the best place to visit for restaurants, independent boutiques, street art, galleries, and cafés. If you’re looking for a spot of shopping, look no further than Queen West Street, and there’s nothing quite like a spot of brunch or take-out coffee afterward, which you can enjoy in Trinity Bellwoods Park.

The Queen-Spadina area has become the Greenwich Village of Toronto, with renovated Victorian buildings housing boutiques and restaurants Spiroview Inc / Shutterstock.com

07 Embajadores, Madrid

Embajadores is home to some of the most diverse cultures in the city. A true melting-pot, this welcoming atmosphere has given birth to a bustling and fascinating city spot. Here, traditional Spanish housing sits next to huge street murals – so you can admire both old and new artistry in the city. If you’re going for a visit, don’t miss the weekly flea market, the Rastro.

View of flea market in Lavapies Quarter in Madrid. It was long considered the most typical neighborhood of Madrid JJFarq / Shutterstock.com

08 Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York

Bedford-Stuyvesant, or Bed-Stuy for short, is not only famous for its galleries, restaurants, and bars but for its community spirit and activism. Bedford-Stuyvesant's historic brownstones and tree-lined blocks are also an anchor to New York’s Black community, and the area played an important part as a hub for the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. Local businesses help to build a fantastic sense of community in the area – and whether you’re looking for some fried chicken from Peaches HotHouse or some vintage from Harold and Maude vintage, you’ll be sure to find a smile there too.

09 Hongdae, Seoul

There is nowhere quite like Hongdae for a night out. Upbeat and lively, you’ll be able to find a place to dance no matter your taste – be it techno, hip-hop, karaoke, or live music, Hongdae has it all! If you fancy a different kind of fun, hit up the arcades where you can try out any number of games, from retro classics to total VR immersion. Hongdae is also famous for its street performers and mural artwork so keep an eye out when you’re walking around to catch some cool performances.

Hongdae Area (Hongik University Area) is known for its indie spirit, urban street arts, underground band musicians and also for its bars, restaurants, food stalls and shops Maremagnum / Getty Images

10 Downtown, Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles is at the forefront of the area’s resurgence. Unsurprisingly, there is some amazing architecture in LA’s biggest cluster of tall buildings – Disney Concert Hall being just one example. Downtown is also leading the way as one of LA’s only pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, which means it can offer fantastic art walks and street festivals you couldn’t enjoy in other areas of the city. If you’re headed Downtown, come with an appetite as you’ll want to visit Grand Central Market, home to many artisanal food sellers.

Inside Grand Central Market Robert Landau / Getty Images
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