My friend Jason Dietz, over at NonModern, recently posted a list of his top ten cities to visit. I loved the list. Jason is much more traveled than I am, I’ve only been to two of his top ten cities, but I thought I would “comment” on his post by posting my own list of the top ten cities I’ve visited. Like Jason, I won’t include any city that I have lived in, currently or previously. Unlike Jason though, I don’t stop at the “city” designation, and will include both smaller towns & larger metropolises — I couldn’t resist.
10. Paris, France
The nice thing about visiting a city several times is that you develop favorite spots. For me, it’s the Le Merais. It has that quaint, almost a village within a city, kind of feeling. The architecture is brilliant. Sure, there’s the Eiffel Tower & the Arc de Triomphe…but the beauty of a city like Paris is in the smaller neighborhoods.
9. San Francisco, CA
Julie and I went to San Francisco over 10 years ago. And it’s on our short list to revisit soon…with the kids this time. San Francisco was also on our list of cities that we considered moving to when we were planning to move back to the States. But it’s bloody expensive. Clam chowder and seals on a wooden float on a sunny afternoon make for a perfect date. And you can get to the wine country pretty quickly.
8. London, England
I’ve been to London too many times to count, but central London never gets old. From the shopping (Regent St. & Covent Garden), to the sites (Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park), to the museums (National Portrait Gallery), it doesn’t get much more touristy than central London.
7. Turin, Italy
My stay here was brief, about a day and a half, but I really enjoyed Turin. It’s surrounded by the Alps, and was the home of the 2006 Winter Olympics. I spent time on the Via Roma, which opens up into the Piazza San Carlo and the Palazzo Madama. Pretty architecture and some of the best tiramisu I’ve ever had.
6. Boston, MA
I toured Fenway Park and walked behind the Green Monster where the old scoreboard is. For someone that grew up a Red Sox fan it just doesn’t get any better than that. Hang out around Harvard. You’ll feel smarter, and the campus is beautiful.
5. Bath, England
Roman. Marble. Granite. Quaint. Shopping. Eating. It’s small size means you can walk central Bath in a day (easy). Almost every visitor we had while living in Wales we took to Bath for a day. When I’m asked about places to visit if taking a trip to the UK Bath is at the top of my list.
4. Budapest, Hungary
I spent 4 days in Budapest in April, 2011. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve been told that Budapest carries the nickname “Paris of the East”. I wouldn’t doubt that. To walk along the Danube in the evening in central Budapest is simply breathtaking.
3. Florence, Italy
Julie and I went on holiday to Florence a few years ago. We spent time looking at the original statue of David and the original Birth of Venus (Botticelli). Both were stunning. The streets were tiny, the fashion was stereotypically Italian, and the Ponte Vecchio (the old bridge) was a favorite of mine.
2. Barcelona, Spain
Barri Gotic (the Gothic Quarter) & tapas. Enough said.
1. New York, NY
Jay-Z does it better than I ever could. So go listen to Empire State of Mind. If you don’t want to visit New York after that then I don’t know what to tell you. It’s loud. It’s busy. You won’t see fashion like New York fashion any where else on the planet. I’ve been three for four times and I’ve never run out of new things to see and do. And if you have kids, take them the second time you go. It will give you an entirely new perspective on the city. In the evening, when the sun is down, and the lights are up, take the subway over to Brooklyn. Get off on the first stop. Eat ice cream under the Brooklyn Bridge and then walk back to Manhattan on the bridge…a memory in the making.