In Toronto you can find a bit of everything. In fact 49% of the population is foreign-born, making it the most international major city in the world. Diversity and colorful local neighborhoods have their own flair. This vibrant culture has given growth to independent shops, galleries and “art” hotels. It’s a wonderful mishmash!
Over 30 million visits to museums and galleries a year: London’s art and creative scenes are the most active in the world in terms of people. There’s always something on and London doesn’t shy away from investing in grand projects. Let’s not forget the Olympics!
287 is the number of theaters in Buenos Aires, beating out a close second-place, London, for most theaters in the world. The breadth of performances is breathtaking, from the Teatro Colon for the country’s best opera and classical, to Corrientes Avenue – often called the Broadway of Buenos Aires – the scene is the best in Latin America.
With 55,500,000 visits to cinemas, Paris is the moviegoer capital of the world. It’s easy to see why: Paris has always been at the heart of creativity and art, inspiring its inhabitants and visitors alike. France’s national love of cinema is still alive and its independently run cinemas seriously helped the careers of filmmakers like Jean Cocteau and Francois Truffaut.
You could spend an entire year visiting museums in Moscow – at 365; it has the most in the world. Russia’s long and exciting history is constantly on display and many of their museums are at the forefront of artistic experimentation.
Los Angeles’ over 500 live music venues makes it, arguably, the best music scene in America (and maybe the world). From hard-kicking rock to lulling classical, Los Angeles has the best of just about everything.
While it might be getting a bit chilly outside, there’s something romantic about the changing of seasons with its fiery foliage, vivid sunsets and long shadows. Changing temperatures make for cozy evenings spent together outside or around campfires. But for the seasoned explorer, the season means dramatic framing of iconic landmarks. Here are 10 of our favorite.
The complicated road system winds along the Truong Son mountain range through bumpy village roads and through stunning nature reserves, rice paddies, and sugarcane farms far away from overcrowded cities. It was once used to facilitate the movement of troops and supplies from North to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Vietnam’s mountainous northwestern provinces are a bumpy ride through dramatic karst rock formations and remote hill-tribe villages. Isolated and far from any developed highway system, the payoff are the stunning temples and night market of Luang Prabang in Laos.
Surrounded by sloping rice terraces, Vietnam’s Sapa Valley combines dramatic mountain scenery and rich cultural diversity spread out among its many hill-tribe villages. At 1,500 meters above sea level, you’re up among the clouds staring across misty expanses.
No limit of choice here: junk boats – that are really closer to floating palaces – drifting languidly through the stunning limestone karst formations of Ha Long Bay dot the turquoise waters as far as the eyes can see. Sporty travelers can kayak into hidden caves and camp on uninhabited islands.
Described by Marco Polo as a “gilded city alive with tinkling bells and the swishing sounds of monks’ robes,” Bagan’s overgrown, forgotten temples are still as imposing as they were centuries ago, with over 2,000 temples scattered across the expansive dry landscape flanked by balloons hanging in the distance.
The “Rose City,” carved and built into pink sandstone cliffs, is part manmade, part natural wonder. Emerging after a deep narrow gorge, stumbling across Petra feels like entering another time and place, forgotten by civilization.
7. Borobudur, Java, Indonesia
Frank Douwes @ Flickr (CC by 2.0)
The stunning 1,000-year-old Buddhist temple is nestled in an idyllic landscape of rice-terraced hills framed by volcanoes. The grand structure seems to “emerge” – in all its grandeur – in the early morning wrapped in white shrouds of mist.
History’s greatest monument to undying love, the Taj Mahal’s architectural harmony is unmatched in scale and awe. Constructed out of pure, white marble and adorned with precious inlay jewels, it shines in the sun and sparkles in the moonlight.
5. Luang Prabang, Laos
Mills Baker @ Flickr (CC by 2.0)
The ancient town, a colorful mishmash of Lao and French architecture, sits sleepily at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan. Surrounded by verdant mountains, its an unmatched example of a town harmoniously joined with its stunning natural surroundings.
4. Paro Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan
Nagarjun Kandukuru @ Flickr (CC by 2.0)
Perched on the cliffs of the Himalayas in Bhutan, the complex was built in 1692 at the site of a cave where Guru Padmasambhava supposedly meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days, and three hours. Ascending the mountainside, one passes thousands of prayer flags, crosses over steep waterfalls to finally stare down upon the Paro valley.
Japan’s highest mountain is a place of spiritual and national importance scaled by over 300,000 people a year. It forms a serene backdrop to the idyllic landscape outside of Tokyo best viewed and contemplated from afar.