Lovely for a walk - especially in spring. Littered with cafes and restaurants, you can sit for a drink or just soak up the sun.
Take a book or munch on a Gianduiotto di passeggio from the Da Nico gelateria in the summer.
Wistful in winter: take a midnight walk in the freezing cold and take in the sound of the Giudecca Canal.
Go to the water bus (vaporetto) stop Zattere, or walk up from the Accademia stop; www.actv.it/english/home.php
Lyon is fantastic for shopping with wide, pedestrianised streets (Rue Victor Hugo, Rue de la Republique) boasting chain stores like Zara, H&M, Go Sport and Primtemps cutting through the centre of the main district.
Just off Place Bellecour is the so-called “golden triangle” formed by Rue Emile Zola, Rue du Président Edouard Herriot and Rue Gasparin, whose boutiques rival Paris for designer shopping. Among Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Max Mara and Cacharel are several affordable shops selling homewares, jewellery, shoes and men and ladies’ clothing.
Lyon is also great for antique shopping: there is the Auguste Comte district, the Cité des Antiquaires dealers, the canal flea market, and plenty of secondhand bookshops and bric-a-brac stalls. Elsewhere, there is a large shopping mall in the modern part of Lyon, Part Dieu, which has 300 shops including Galeries Lafayette.
A manic maze of a market. Loads of really cheap everythings. It's quite an experience but not one to be undertaken with a hangover or when feeling weak. All the crap that you don't really need but end up buying from the street stalls is here but cheaper. Handicrafts, clothes, chickens, leather goods, dogs, snakes, food, jewellery. Shop yourself out.
There's a Metro stop just by it but any taxi driver will know.
Siam Square is a magnificent shopping area frequented by locals and tourists alike. The multi-story halls house hundreds of local stalls selling everything from fake football shirts to cockroaches. A must see in Bangkok. And of course, it is incredibly cheap, the cheapest I found in my whole stay in Thailand. Go there!
Near the World Trade Centre
Singapore may be a modern business hub, but elements of its original melting-pot culture remain if you take time to search them out. When bored of the malls of Orchard Road, head to the free museum in Raffles Hotel (third floor) to see photographs and memrobilia of a bygone age: Charlie Chaplain, Elizabeth Taylor, Lord Mountabtten and more including images of streets with rickshaw drivers, coolies and colonials. Chinatown has some charm, but has sadly been made "more Chinese" over the last decade. The nearby Telok Ayer area (where you will find Singapore's oldest Taoist temple next to a tiny park) has some good cafes and restaurants including the budget Lotus Cafe. Porta Porta Restaurant on Stanley Street and Aoili on Boon Tat Street offer inventive and authentic Italian and French food (the set lunches are modestly priced at around S$20 to $30). If you want organic vegetarian food, two doors from Aioli is Yogi Hub.More authentic than Chinatown is Little India, but ignore the infamous Komala Villas Restaurant (now serving poor quality Indian vegetarian food in a bad atmosphere) and head for Sri Saktivillas Restaurant on Cuff Road for fantastic food at cheap prices. On the next street - Upper Dickson Road - is Kulfi Bar where you will find some of the creamiest Indian ice-cream in an amazing variety of flavours (the colours and tastes of the beetroot and pistachio are unforgettable.)Fort Canning Park (not far from Orchard Road) and the Botanical Gardens offer green and pleasant distractions. See the Spice Garden at Fort Canning and the Orchid Gardens at the Botanical Gardens.On Hill Street is the charming Armenian Church of St Gregory the Illuminator. It has a circular design, a marvellous atmosphere and is a national treasure. And for a taste of a more authentic Singapore life, head to the heartlands of Toa Payoh, Tampines or Clementi. Among the Housing Development Boad apartment blocks you will find shops, food centres and coffee shops with economy prices and a genuine local flavour.
Underneath Waterloo Bridge on Southbank, directly in front of the NFT, there is a daily sale of second-hand books, at great prices.
The selection is infinitely varied, and it's very easy to find some little gems in amongst the randomness. Be prepared to search though, there's no genre (etc) organisation!
I moved from Europe a year ago to BA, and found my home in Palermo. The centre for the best art, creatives, music and fashion. The boutiques here are amazing, for men Felix is my favourite, combining Paul Smith casual wear with BA street style to fantastic effect, they have the most amazing jeans for 20 odd quid. When I go back to London all my fashiony friends continually rave about it. They also do a very nifty line in exclusive Nikes.
There's also a fabulous Addidas shop and then there are great bars for afters. For girls I reccomend Mishka "shoes for princesses". But there are a host of others, particulaly "Lupe". Most importantly check out the Palermo maps, they are the bible.
Music wise nothing beats the clubs and record shops in Europe, but Make sure you check out Club 69, Thursdays at Niceto (from 1am for me the best club in South America... and I've been to loads) make sure you stay for the show at 4am, and also Rumi (bit posher but still good) on Wed night.
A stone's throw from the town hall square, the Danish Design Centre showcases all that is hot in Danish design. There's always an exhibition on and their shop is guaranteed to tickle your fancy with its wealth of cutting edge design wares.
Entree: 40 kroner (20 for students)
H.C. Andersens Boulevard 27. Just south of the Town Hall.
Tel +45 3369 3369
These two neighbourhoods in the inner city are trend central. Sydney's inner-city is always interesting, but Darlinghurst and Surry Hills are an easy walk from the city centre. I just love wondering round the back streets finding a mixture of cafes and art galleries and interesting shops. There is also something about the architecture. The old stone houses, and the new apartment blocks – it's a great, exciting mix.
The main shopping street of Surry Hills is Crown Street, and it is here you will find inventive homeware stores. Some of Sydney's best restaurants are here as well.
Walk up Oxford Street from Hyde Park, and on the left is Darlinghurst, and on the right is Surry Hills
There are hundreds of happening districts to explore after you've wandered around Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku and the like in your guidebook. You can take a subway a few stops out from Shibuya to Shimokitazawa - an alternative studenty type area with lots of music shops and live venues but well away from the tourist trail. Or else try Daikanyama with a more refined tree-lined kind of neighborhood feel, plenty of cafes and boutiques. Take the subway to Ebisu to get there.
Shimokitazawa - private subway from Shibuya
Daikanyama - Ebisu subway
On the top of the grand department store Kaufhaus des Westens, aka KaDeWe, there is the most fantastic set of food halls I have ever been to. Even more vast and wondrous than Harrods. The fish halls are spectacular and the range of international food unbelievable. A foodie paradise! The rest of the store isn't too shabby, either.
Kaufhaus des Westens
Huge US-style mall near Copacabana/Botafogo with trendy shops and places to eat and drink. Excellent place to while away the time (and spend all your money) if you're stuck for something to do during a rainy afternoon. Try Osklen (www.osklen.com) for super-trendy designer surf wear.
A good place to pick up some more unusual souvenirs - lots of craft stalls here, none of the usual tourist tat - and at decent prices. Or you can just wander around and check out the people, then stop off for a cake from the shop around the corner, just over from the tourist info office. Then, head up to the harbour bridge pylon to check out the views.
The rocks, Darling Harbour
Casa del Popolo is the very best venue for new music, and a lovely place to have a beer and some veggie food in the afternoon. (Try the back garden.)
And Dante Hardware, on Rue Dante near Jean Talon Market, is something you'll only find in North America: a store that is half fine cookware, half hunting rifles! Not to be missed.
Casa del Popolo: 4873 Boulevard St-Laurent; tel: (514) 284 0122;
Dante Hardware: 6851 St Dominique (on the corner of Rue Dante); tel: (514) 271 2057
The Greenmarkets are the New York version of Farmers' Markets. The biggest and best is at Union Square (14th Street) - with multiple stands offering everything from fruit and vegetables to baked goods, meat, fish, milk, butter, ice cream, cheese, you name it! - much of it organic. A great way to support small farmers, get delicious organic food and see a fascinating part of the city.
www.cenyc.org/HTMLGM/maingm.htm lists the location of all the Greenmarkets. The Union Square Greenmarket runs along the West and North Side of the square. (Subway: Union Square - L,N,Q,R,W,4,5,6)
I recommend Sarnano for its beautiful mountain views. In the village there are lovely friendly shops. There's the Centro Storico and the market on Thursday. Not far from there is water rafting that you can do if you dare, there's hang gliding to face a vertigo fear and maybe stay at Villa San Raffaello to look at the fields to see some racing deer. This town is safe enough to let your kids go around, I would know because I do and I'm 11. I think it's perfect for children of any age and there's a water park and beaches near to Sarnano.
Notes from Madrid is a blog about Madrid written by a bunch of city-savvy expats. It includes everything from where to shop, eat, drink, and go out (neighborhood by neighborhood) to information on museums, parks, excursions outside the city, even what to avoid in the city.
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