You want to take a vacation this summer, but you’re not sure where to go. We’ve got you covered. After researching the top 10 cities that are stealing the spotlight this year, we found that each one has its own distinct glitz, glamour and appeal. Take a look at the cities that have risen in popularity in 2010, and be the first to get there before the rush.
What might seem like a hedonistic tourist haven for all illegal vices is actually more of an artsy, outdoorsy town that thrives on its canals, museums and cool neighborhood vibe. Forego the Red Light District for a serious bike ride or an afternoon of tulip-gazing, or absorb the creative and open-minded atmosphere in the Jordaan. In the summer, parties like the Holland Festival and the Roots Music Festival light up the city.
Its residents will tell you that it doesn’t rain much, but that’s only because they appreciate every ray of sunlight that peeks through the clouds by jumping into a kayak or hiking up a mountain – until the showers start again. Thriving on coffee, music, environmentalism and local beer, Seattle wins the award for positive vibes and authenticity. Grab a craft brew at a bar in Pioneer Square, or pick and choose your produce at Pike Place for a taste of Pacific Northwest panache.
Any mention of the United Arab Emirates fuels chatter of the new Sex in the City movie, but alas, it was not filmed here (nor in its supposed setting, Abu Dhabi). But that doesn’t mean this place isn’t full of luxury, consumerism and flair enjoyed by Carrie and her gals – its love for all things over-the-top breeds the Dubai Shopping Festival, boutique hotels and pulsating clubs and bars. Chill out by watching the dhows (wooden boats) float down the waterway, or blast your credit card in Dubai’s entertainment complexes and shopping centers.
Some say that Sydney is as good as Australia gets, but whether or not that’s true can be left for the adventurous traveler to decide. This is Australia’s oldest, largest, and most diverse city, and boasts super active multicultural residents who spend their time surfing, climbing, diving and lounging. Jump on board this highly awakening ride to experience a trip full of excitement. Carpe diem, mate.
While not as green or as quaint as Galway, Dublin’s high on the list of searched places this year. Maybe it’s the old bars steeped in history (and whiskey), or the metropolitan vibe that keeps this friendly and compact city moving, but we tend to think it has a lot more to do with Dublin’s welcoming residents who master in the art of socializing, and make the Dublin Castle, Georgian townhouses and museums seem like secondary experiences.
Minneapolis has been called the “artiest town on the prairie,” and for good reason. Its ever-emerging theaters, galleries and art museums elicit an appreciation for all things creative. Quaint coffee shops, organic and ethnic eateries, and awesomely charitable natives make Minneapolis an easy choice for summer travel.
From high-reaching buildings to wide, sweeping avenues and a vast Mediterranean shoreline, Barcelona is big, both in size and character. A hybrid of Gothic and Modernist elegance, this Catalan city splits its time between being artful, cosmopolitan and chilled out on the beach. All its grandeur aside, Barcelona can sometimes be best enjoyed in the small courtyards and markets that teem with life.
Come on over and reinvent yourself, everybody’s doing it. Whether you’re a cast member wannabe of The Hills, or just looking to surf the waves of Malibu, you’re free to be and do whatever you please in LA. Its mash-up of culture elicits an undeniable feeling of youth, and from aspiring screenwriters in Hollywood to red carpet royalty on Rodeo Drive, you’re bound to meet a refreshing variety of individuals.
Paris is the love of writers, romantics, shoppers, people-watchers and artists. The City of Light masters the glow of multiple personalities (in the best way possible) and prides itself on possessing some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks. Arguably though, the best way to experience Paris is by simply letting it unravel in front of you.
Montreal has its own little Euro-charm going on, bringing food, art and history together around every corner. Pairing rich beer culture with imaginative nightlife makes visiting here after sunset a thrill. With a thriving indie music scene and some seriously cool-looking buildings of all shapes and colors, Montreal is a multi-dimensional delight.
A dark horse for this list, Manila is intriguing in its formation and evolution. More an anthology of 12 neighborhoods than one central hub, Manila projects its Chinese and Spanish histories in the most contemporary fashion possible. For a taste of its past, explore Intramuros – the walled city filled with historic landmarks built in 1571, and for a glimpse of its present, revel in the shopping, eating and drinking of the commercial center, Makati.