Nightlife is an important aspect of any city’s make up. When I talk about nightlife I don’t just mean clubs and bars (though they are of course important), but all the entertainment: ballets, plays, concerts, operas, shows and cultural activities that occur at night. In that regard, there’s no place like home! Melbourne has a rich and varied nightlife, we have better pubs and bars than Sydney and a fantastic selection of performing arts. Check out the Comic’s Lounge for a cheap and fun night out, it pulls in some of the big names in comedy, but actually some the new up and coming comedians are best.
Outside of Australia, I rate some of the European cities pretty highly. London is great for everything from traditional pubs, to cutting-edge nightclubs, with everything from the Royal Ballet and musicals in between. Berlin is my personal favourite, this gritty and arty city has the most vibrant and exciting nightlife in the world. It’s perfect for scruffy people like me, I can wear what I like and still get in the club, yipee! A lot of the places are hard to find for tourists so it helps to go out with a savvy local who keeps up-to-date with what’s hot. Plus, the prices are really reasonable compared to other Western European cities. However, for those really know how to party the ultimate choice is Belgrade in Serbia. It’s a city that never sleeps, the locals are energetic and fun, and in the summer much of the clubbing action moves to barges called ‘splavs’ anchored at the riverbank.
What are your favourite cities for nightlife?
So Vogue recently named Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood and Tokyo’s SHIMOKITAZAWA neighbourhood the most trendy in the world. I think that this is a pretty subjective topic but I mean there is something to it when it comes to fashion, music, and global culture. Also the development of parts of a city really have a significant impact on how they are viewed in the rest of the world and for tourism purposes. Toronto is a booming city with all of the great cultural aspects of big cities but without some of the negatives. Although the gentrification has really popped the real estate prices way up.
3rd place went to SÖDERMALM / STOCKHOLM / SWEDEN which according to Vogue ““Cool” and “Stockholm” are essentially synonymous. Think: Acne Studios, long-lit summer nights, minimalistic armchairs. Imagine, then, how hip its coolest neighborhood must be. Enter Södermalm, an island just to the south of the city’s center, where one can find top-notch vintage boutiques like Grandpa (which also sells Swedish labels including Rodebjer and Dagmar) to a comprehensive ‘zine shop, cheekily named Papercut.”
I’d love to check these places out. I’m a sucker for new places and to go live there and see what they each have to offer both the resident and the tourist.
Sampling local food is one of the joys of travelling. We all like to discover new restaurants, but sometimes our budgets just can’t stretch to that three-course meal with a view onto the Pacific. That’s where street food comes in, if you want a truly authentic experience, make like the locals and hit the road, your wallet and taste buds will thank you for it!
In my experience South East Asia can’t be beaten, it has a great choice of street food. My personal favourite is George Town in Penang (Malaysia), it’s foodie heaven with hawkers lining the streets and designated food courts. Thanks to a large transient male population from India, China and elsewhere in Asia during the 19th century, the locals have a huge range of food to choose from day and night. The food includes delicious soups, noodles, satays, dumplings and fruit juices of numerous varieties. Eating out in Penang is an amazing experience in itself, it can be as social or low key as you want it to be.
There are hundreds of other cities around the world that have delicious street food. Some people are nervous about hygiene, but often these stalls are cleaner than many restaurants because you can see the food being prepared. If in doubt, go to a place that looks popular and has a high turnover of customers.
Ok, so this is a completely subjective topic, and for my part I’d have to be loyal to my home country and say that Sydney has some pretty spectacular views of the harbour. However, Istanbul would come pretty close to the top of my list. It really is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been too, the sun setting over the old city with the silhouettes of minarets and palaces in the foreground is a sight that will stay with me forever. The old cliche of east meets west applies here, where else can you sip a tea in Europe whilst looking at Asia over the water? It didn’t surprise me when it won this year’s Travellers’ Choice Award on Tripadvisor. If you want to see the gorgeous city view take a boat trip on the Bosphorus or head to one of Istanbul’s many terrace bars.
The Istanbul skyline
The best of the rest:
Prague – fairy tale spires, cobbled streets and Charles Bridge, simply stunning.
New York – the modern day world capital with an instantly recognisable skyline has been a drawing board to some of the world’s leading architects.
Paris – the ‘City of Light’ is home to some of the world’s best artists and it’s obvious why.
Luang Prabang, Laos – the Mekong flows past remnants of French colonial architecture in this sleepy city encircled by mountains.