If urban vibes, fast-paced city life and a melting pot of cultures are what you seek, these places like New York are for you.
New York, New York. The concrete jungle where dreams are made of is home to countless iconic buildings and is a global centre for art, culture, dining, fashion and shopping. This metropolis thumps with creative energy and is a delight to every urban wanderer.
If you want the culture of the Big Apple minus the high costs or you’re looking to explore somewhere new, consider these alternative cities. These destinations offer their own unique local flavours in architecture, culture, entertainment and food.
Read on to find out insider tips on the most happening areas in each city and the best way to get around. When you’re ready to fly, make sure to use our exclusive coupon deals for more savings.
Image source: Visit London
The capital of England is rich in history dating back to the Roman times, which is evident in its iconic architecture. This populous hub is now home to some of the world’s finest art, culture and dining scenes.
- Top 5 areas: Greenwich, South Kensington, Bankside, Belgravia, Bloomsbury
- Must see and do: Watch a play at the London Theatre, check out museums and galleries, visit historic buildings, cruise the River Thames
- Best way to get around: You can easily get around by taking the tube or by hopping on a bright red bus to see the sights. An Oyster card is a convenient and cashless way to travel around via the city’s public transport network.
London flights from $1,160 return
Valid for travel on select dates from January - February 2018 with Emirates. Sample fare is from Melbourne.
Image source: Discover Hong Kong
2. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a thriving metropolitan city and a top holiday destination for travellers looking for delicious local cuisine, enduring cultural heritage and cheap shopping options. Whether it’s just for a stopover or as a trip itself, this Asian hub is worth a visit.
- Top 5 areas: Tsim Sha Tsui, Lan Kwai Fong, Mongkok, Lantau, Causeway Bay
- Must see and do: Visit Lantau Island and the Big Buddha, shop at the Ladies’ Market, take the tram up to The Peak, watch the Symphony of Lights, take a harbour cruise
- Best way to get around: You can take taxis, use the MTR railway network, buses or trams to get around Hong Kong. The Octopus card allows you take public transport and also make purchases at convenience stores.
The world’s largest city has the best of both Japan’s tradition and it’s modernity. It offers so many dining, entertainment and sightseeing options that you could not possibly visit them all in a lifetime.
- Top 5 areas: Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ginza, Akihabara, Harajuku
- Must see and do: Watch the tuna auction at Tsukiji Fish Market, stroll around perfectly landscaped gardens, shop until you drop, eat sushi and ramen, ride the bullet train
- Best way to get around: The subway is the most convenient way to move around central Tokyo. High speed bullet trains also connect Tokyo with other Japanese cities, making day trips easy.
The Lion City is modern with a touch of old school. What this island-city lacks in size, it makes up for as a global financial centre with a multicultural population and eclectic street food scene.
- Top 5 areas: Little India, Katong, Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Harbourfront
- Must see and do: Wander around Singapore Botanic Gardens, shop on Orchard Road, take in the view from atop the Marina Bay Sands, eat all the hawker centre food you can manage
- Best way to get around: Most key attractions are within walking distance to an MRT (mass rapid transit) station. An EZ-Link card makes it easy and convenient to get around.
Singapore flights from $314 return
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Image source: Choose Chicago
Chicago is known for its many architectural marvels and skyscrapers. Sports fans will love the historic museums, and some of the world’s most prolific chefs have their restaurants in the Windy City.
- Top 5 areas: Chinatown, Andersonville, Little Italy, Uptown, Lincoln Park
- Must see and do: See The Bean at Millennium Park, attend an event at The Chicago Theatre, check out the Shedd Aquarium, take a canal cruise, stroll along Navy Pier, watch a Cubs game at the iconic Wrigley Field
- Best way to get around: Most attractions are a short walk from each other but you can also opt for buses and the L-trains. Get the CTA visitor pass for unlimited rides on all trains and busses.
Image source: Tourism Toronto
Toronto’s melting pot of cultures is evident in its cuisine, sights and sounds. You can eat your way around the world without having to leave the city.
- Top 5 areas: Kensington Market, Chinatown, The Distillery, Greektown, Liberty Village
- Must see and do: Take in the view from atop the CN Tower, watch a Maple Leafs game, take a day trip out to Niagara Falls, explore Casa Loma, eat foods from around the world
- Best way to get around: Get around the city by the TTC’s network of subways, buses and streetcars. You can also explore Toronto by bike on designated cycling routes.
Image source: San Francisco Travel
7. San Francisco
This fog-shrouded city is known for the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the brooding Alcatraz prison, colourful Victorian homes and distinctive skyscrapers.
- Top 5 areas: South of Market, Union Square, Marina, Civic Center, Embarcadero
- Must see and do: Walk, drive or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, ride a cable car, visit Alcatraz, have a cultural experience in the many museums, art galleries and Academy of Sciences
- Best way to get around: Buses, cable cars, trains and taxis are customary. Visitor passes are the more economical option if you are staying for more than one day.
Travellers around the world flock to Seoul for its grand temples, districts of shopping malls and delicious Korean barbecue, all available around the clock.
- Top 5 areas: Gangnam, Myeong-dong, Insa-dong, Hongdae, Itaewon
- Must see and do: Shop at Dongdaemun Market, visit the Royal palace, eat Korean BBQ, wander along the Cheonggyecheon stream
- Best way to get around: The subway system is modern, extensive and takes you everywhere. Buying a pass will be cheaper and more convenient than other transport options.
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