From listening bars in New York to reimagined bathhouses in Tokyo and over-the-top nightclubs in London, today Time Out - the global media and hospitality brand that inspires and enables people to experience the best of the city - shares the most exciting city trends for 2024 from around the world.
For this new global report, Time Out’s city editors - from London to Sydney, via Singapore, Montreal and Lisbon - shared their thoughts about the hottest urban and cultural trends on the horizon for this year and where you can get in on them. Time Out’s global network of local editors know cities like no one else because every day, they curate and create the best of the city to help people go out better.
Will Gleason, Time Out’s Content Director, Americas: “No one has their fingers on the pulse of urban culture quite like Time Out’s local editors in cities around the world. That’s why it is so fascinating to hear about the exciting new developments and cultural trends they are seeing emerging in their cities – these trends show that cities never stand still and there are always great new things to do. It was especially encouraging to see so many positive trends around supporting local artists, sustainability and nurturing vibrant nightlife ecosystems. If you weren’t already excited about 2024, you will be now.”
- Dining out is more spectacular than ever
Restaurants are adding some razzle-dazzle outside the dinner plate, with classy-yet-discreet touches and little flashes of glamour like fancy glasses of bubbly and boozy jell-olive jigglers (as seen at Café Mars in New York). More restaurants have open-concept kitchens which turn dinner into a show – a trend for example observed in Montreal – and there is also a rise of experiential dinner theatre with multisensory, interactive elements such as at Absurdities in Singapore where each course transports guests to a new culinary dimension. Those fancying drinks in unusual environments should head to Tokyo where an increasing number of traditional bathhouses are getting a modern makeover with Komaeyu even featuring a craft beer bar.
- More people are travelling by train within cities
With an eye on sustainability, many cities are making new investments in their public transportation networks, with new lines opening in cities such as Porto with the new Yellow Line, safety and improvement works on the LA Metro as well as the opening of the LAX People Mover and a new fast and frequent metro service opening in Sydney to complement the city’s existing train network. Finally, the new Brightline train from Miami to Orlando will be a great opportunity for both locals and tourists to explore Florida.
- Cities are investing more in free public art
Innovative and engaging art can increasingly be found in public urban spaces, with more investment in local artists, meaning it doesn’t always take pricey museum admissions to see some of the world’s most exciting art. In Hong Kong, there has been a surge in public art installations including in new property developments and on outlying islands with the Sai Kong Hoi Arts Festival. Meanwhile, in Boston too, there is more investment in local artists within new buildings as well as in other spaces. In many cities, free public art can also increasingly be seen in restaurants including Dubai’s Zenon offering innovative art as part of the dining experience, and Time Out Market Dubai’s new mural by Dina Saadi, a Syrian artist based in the city. Finally, Melbourne sees a waterfront revival with the Greenline Project revitalising 4km between Birrarung Marr and the Bolte Bridge along the banks of the Yarra River which is expected to deliver more public spaces for art and events.
- Listening bars and dens are becoming more popular
More nightlife options involving drinking are also incorporating other, unique and multi-dimensional elements - think wine bars that double as listening lounges with vinyl decks, giving visitors an intimate feeling and helping them to experience new genres. In New York for example there is the Dolly Parton-inspired listening bar Jolene Sound Room, and the Tokyo Record Bar is an homage to vinyl in Japan, bringing together music, food and booze.
- Immersive experiences are here to stay
What may have once seemed like a passing fad is showing remarkable staying power, with pop-ups settling in for the long haul. More immersive experiences are in the pipeline in Chicago and in Madrid even major city museums are now taking advantage of this new technology in their exhibits to showcase the city's great works of art. In Tokyo, the new teamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum will offer interactive, dazzling art.
- Unused spaces are being reimagined as cultural hubs
Across the world, neglected areas are getting a major glow-up, with old, unused warehouses and other buildings being repurposed for arts and culture. In Istanbul, unused areas with a rich cultural background are being transformed and brought back to life as new, vibrant cultural hubs. In Sydney, the disused White Bay Power Station will open to the public for the first time in 100 years for the city’s 2024 Biennale while the wharves at Walsh Bay will become a Sydney Festival hub during January.
- Restaurants are providing fresh takes on classic culinary traditions
While there’s always a lot of innovation happening in the restaurant scenes in cities around the world, many dining destinations are also emphasising past local cuisines and interpreting them in new ways with an eye on comfort and continuity. London is seeing a return of the gastropub, whilst in Barcelona, that means a return to traditional Catalan and Spanish cuisine with a renewal of well-known dishes. In Los Angeles, diners are also returning to classic dishes and tried-and-true dining genres like comforting Italian-American red-sauce joints.
- More city events are taking place at night
From food markets to outdoor festivals and film screenings, more city events and activities are taking place at night. In Hong Kong, there are efforts to boost nightlife culture, including the return of night markets to keep punters entertained after the sun goes down. In Bangkok, outdoor night-time activities continue to be popular with plenty of late-night dining options and outdoor cinemas emerging on random rooftops alongside citywide night festivals like the Awakening light event and Galleries’ Night turning the city into an open museum. In Australia’s New South Wales, there are initiatives to stimulate the nighttime economy with reforms such as banning the ability for individual noise complaints to shut down venues or live music performances.
- Thrifting will continue to be a major urban trend
Thrifting is on the rise in cities across the globe, and it's not just clothes that thrifters are searching for. In Singapore, thrifting is becoming increasingly popular among young people in their late teens to late 20s who are more open to snagging second-hand furniture for their new homes. New Yorkers also love a good deal, and better yet, a freebie with whole Instagram accounts dedicated to the art of stooping and thrifting the coolest outfits.
- Over-the-top nightlife destinations are making a splash
After years of micro clubs and virtual venues, nights out are set to go big in 2024 with notable new destinations opening in cities across continents. In Madrid, many clubs are expanding from the city centre to the suburbs while in Lisbon new clubs are opening that double as everything from cultural centres to tattoo parlours. In Hong Kong, immersive new nightlife venues are emerging such as Ark11 which has a futuristic spacecraft-like design and in London several new nightclubs are opening offering high-tech sound systems, fancy visual light systems and top-tier DJs, including HERE at Outernet, Drumsheds and KOKO Electronic.
For more information, and to read more Time Out’s Top 10 City Trends for 2024, visit: timeout.com/things-to-do/the-most-exciting-city-trends-around-the-world-for-2024