Get us in your inbox

Chelsea in New York
Photograph: Bokic Bojan / Shutterstock.com

The 49 coolest neighbourhoods in the world

We polled 27,000 city-dwellers and asked local experts to rank the greatest places for food, fun, culture and community

Edited by
Huw Oliver
Written by
Time Out editors
&
Time Out contributors
Advertising

New normal. You’ve probably heard that phrase a lot over the past 18 months. When the pandemic hit last year, humankind entered a new era. And the day-to-day lives of city-dwellers – so used to the social aspect of urban living – changed with it.

But now, many of us have gone some way to throwing off those shackles. Border restrictions are loosening. Bars, restaurants, even clubs are reopening. And while the pandemic still rages on, we’re all tentatively reaching out to something that kind of resembles a better normal.

So, what’s that, exactly? To find out, you’ve got to look at what’s going on around you, out on the street, down the park, in your backyard. Throughout 2020 and 2021, our cities have thrived. Against impossible odds, communities banded together, hung out, made stuff. They displayed all the same energy and resilience and grassroots ingenuity that allowed them to spring up in the first place. They survived.

And now we come to our annual ranking of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods. This year, we couldn’t help but switch up our priorities. Food, drink, nightlife, culture – important. Community spirit, resilience, sustainability – just as important, especially if we are to come out of this pandemic with things we can be proud of and tell the rest of the world about.

Just like we’ve done for the past three years, we took the results of our annual Time Out Index survey (which this year polled 27,000 city-dwellers) to our local editors and contributors. They then vetted the public vote against those all-important criteria – cool stuff, but also kind stuff, forward-looking stuff – and made their final picks. Our panel of experts then ranked the lot.

The result is a love letter to the city at its most joyful and surprising. Read on to see whether your neighbourhood made the cut.

RECOMMENDED: The 37 best cities in the world in 2021

The world’s coolest neighbourhoods in 2021

However you define ‘cool’, Nørrebro has it. This diverse district, on the northern side of Copenhagen’s lakes, is a dazzling blend of historic landmarks, ultramodern architecture and food and drink joints to make this famously gourmet city proud. Even during this harshest of years, new bakeries, restaurants and natural wine bars have proliferated – and it almost goes without saying that they all put a focus on local, seasonal produce (quite a lot of it foraged, probably). This year has also seen community initiatives flourish: Car-Free Sunday made its comeback, swapping traffic on Nørrebrogade for live music and flea markets, while Usynlige Stier (‘Invisible Paths’) is a new, interactive art exhibition that brings fun and a splash of colour to the neighbourhood’s most vulnerable areas.

The perfect day: Grab a coffee (and the city’s best croissant) from Rondo, then enjoy it al-fresco in magical Assistens Kirkegård, the final resting place of Hans Christian Andersen. After that, head to Jægersborggade, where you can browse sustainable homewares, second-hand fashion, Nordic skincare products and artisan produce of basically any description. Finish with dinner at Silberbauers Bistro and a nightcap at The Barking Dog.

Plan your trip: For the chaotic brilliance of Distortion, a city-wide party that will take over the streets of Nørrebro from June 1-5 2022.

🏡 How to properly do Nørrebro, the world’s coolest neighbourhood

🌍 Four Nørrebro businesses doing good stuff for the planet

📍 Check out the best things to do in Copenhagen

https://media.timeout.com/images/105819881/image.jpg
Sorcha McCrory
Contributing journalist, Denmark

The city’s historic Swedish enclave (take note of the flag on the neighbourhood’s iconic water tower), Andersonville is now better known for its LGBTQ+ nightlife and the bars and restaurants that line the Clark Street corridor. Over the past year, the area has bounced back in a big way, welcoming new bars (Nobody’s Darling, the Bird Cage) and restaurants (Parson’s Chicken & Fish), while events like the Taste of Andersonville have done a top job of showcasing beloved local institutions. The district has always been a desirable place to live, but its proximity to beaches and coastal parks has only made it more appealing during the pandemic. Andersonville is also a community that’s looking forward, launching initiatives like Clark Street Composts – a pilot programme that could serve as a model for eco-friendly composting throughout Chicago.

The perfect day: Start off with coffee and pastries from Scandi-inspired bakery Lost Larson, before checking out the vintage knick-knacks at Woolly Mammoth or feminist literature at Women & Children First. Next, stroll along the picturesque Foster Beach, then snag a table at Hopleaf and enjoy mussels and Belgian beer. Round off your day with a drag show at the Bird Cage or a surreal performance of the Neo-Futurists’ Infinite Wrench.

Plan your trip: For Andersonville Midsommarfest, an annual street festival (June 10-12 2022) that serves as a celebration of the area’s Swedish heritage, local businesses and LGBTQ+ culture.

🗺 Take a look at our Andersonville neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Chicago

📍 Check out the best things to do in Chicago

https://media.timeout.com/images/105800431/image.jpg
Zach Long
Editor, Time Out Chicago
Advertising
Jongno 3-ga, Seoul
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Jongno 3-ga, Seoul

Historic, eccentric and very unpretentious: welcome to Jongno 3-ga, the heart and soul of Seoul. You may know the nearby palaces, galleries and other miscellaneous tourist spots, but this neighbourhood’s real charm lies in the grandfathers huddled around boards of baduk in Tapgol Park, the cart vendors selling traditional toffee on Songhae-gil, the jewellery shops for every occasion, the restaurants serving North Korean food and the many hidden cafés and beer houses. Jongno 3-ga is also home to Seoul’s vibrant traditional LGBTQ+ district: a place that has suffered more than most parts of the city over the past year (you may remember the horrific stigmatisation of Seoul’s gay community in the early days of the outbreak). Now, fantastically, the neighbourhood is bustling once again.

The perfect day: Kick off at Gwangjang Market and grab a sumptuous mung bean pancake and seaweed roll. Promenade along peaceful Seosulla-gil, which runs beside the stone wall of the Jongmyo Shrine, and savour a mugwort latte at Café Sasa. Wind up at Jongno 3-ga’s BBQ street for a blowout dinner, and if somehow you’re not too stuffed after that, grab a second dinner at a pojangmacha (street tent) serving soju, fried squid and other K-delicacies.

Plan your trip: To witness Jongmyo Shrine being linked up with Changgyeonggung Palace via a green pedestrian pathway from March 2022. The structure will bridge two of Seoul’s most enchanting sights after 90 years separated by a busy road.

🏳️‍🌈 How Seoul’s LGBTQ+ district came back from the brink

📍 Check out the best things to do in Seoul

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820337/image.jpg
Raphael Rashid
Contributing journalist, South Korea
Leith, Edinburgh
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Leith, Edinburgh

Once Scotland’s main trade port, Leith’s connection to industry stretches back centuries. Today, however, the north Edinburgh neighbourhood is better known as a cultural hotspot, home to big arts institutions and up-and-coming businesses alike. In recent years, several buildings have been given a new lease of life, including long-abandoned Leith Theatre and the nearby Biscuit Factory, which houses more than 30 creative businesses and its own performance space. The Leith Arches, meanwhile, is a two-tiered pub and events space on the old Caledonian Leith Line – complete with rotating food vendors, a programme of wellness events and the always-excellent Bross Bagels.

The perfect day: When it comes to food, you’ll want to stop by cosy Little Chartroom or the sandwich haven that is Alby’s. If you’ve got cash to splash, The Kitchin and Restaurant Martin Wishart will take you down the Michelin-star route. Next, wander around the harbourside, and drop into buzzing bars and pubs like Teuchters Landing, which overlooks the Water of Leith, or our old favourite, The Lioness of Leith.

Plan your trip: For Leith Festival and Edinburgh Mela, two events that showcase the neighbourhood’s strong local identity every June and August. But you can also get a small taste of this at The Pitt, Leith’s ever-popular weekly street-food market.

🎨 The cultural spaces breathing life into Edinburgh’s coolest neighbourhood

🏃‍♀️ Discover 7 things not to miss on Leith Walk

📍 Check out the best things to do in Edinburgh

https://media.timeout.com/images/105819882/image.jpg
Arusa Qureshi
Correspondent, Time Out Edinburgh
Advertising
Station District, Vilnius
Photograph: Go Vilnius

5. Station District, Vilnius

With self-proclaimed ‘Artists’ Republic’ Užupis now very much gentrified, Vilnius’s creative soul resides in the Station District. Here you’ll find the city’s best street art: murals, giant Tony Sopranos and sculptures jammed onto neoclassical buildings (you’ll find the latter at Kablys, a riotous nightclub with Berghain-style door policy). There’s also Loftas Art Factory, a Soviet factory that’s been turned into a sprawling community-oriented venue hosting gigs, fashion shows and screenings. The area is packed with cafés (try Love Bar for cocktails with seasonal ingredients) and low-key restaurants offering mostly international cuisine: Georgian (Chačapuri), Uzbek (Halės Plovas) and the best sushi in town (Narushi). The neighbourhood’s unique blend of bijou brutalism won’t last forever: Zaha Hadid Architects have just won the competition to renovate the station itself – with an admittedly spectacular redesign.

The perfect day: Start with a lazy brunch at Druska Miltai Vanduo, the Lithuanian capital’s finest bakery. Then stroll past murals and ceramics workshops to Halės Market to sample local delicacies at Roots. Kick the evening off with drinks at Peronas (literally on the station platform), before heading to Loftas for a gig.

Plan your trip: For Loftas Fest, Lithuania’s largest city music festival. The free event is hosted by Loftas Art Factory over three days every September, and its nine stages feature the cream of the region’s bands and DJs.

🏛️ Vilnius Station is getting a big Zaha Hadid glow-up – but is that good?

https://media.timeout.com/images/105819962/image.jpg
Michael Pennock Contributing journalist, Lithuania

For the past two years, we’ve picked neighbourhoods in outer boroughs (Astoria, Bed-Stuy) for our coolest neighborhood in New York, but this year it’s back to Manhattan. When it comes to green space, sustainability and community development, this part of town has been setting trends all cities could follow, from new floating park Little Island to the south and Moynihan Train Hall in the north. The High Line and Hudson River Park both provided open space for people who needed it more than ever in 2021, while new dining and entertainment openings included a waterfront location for City Winery, the new Dia and the revamped Chelsea Flower Market.

The perfect day: Take the train to Penn Station, but make sure to stop over at shiny new Moynihan building before grabbing coffee cocktails at Day Drinks. Browse Pearl River Mart, inside Chelsea Market, before heading to the newly reopened Dia Chelsea, one of the neighbourhood’s best art galleries. Make sure to walk the High Line and catch the sunset at Little Island. Dine at Cookshop, then round out your day with a party at Somewhere Nowhere (or drinks at rooftop bar Gallow Green).

Plan your trip: For ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure’, which will open at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in spring 2022. This show will bring together paintings, drawings and assorted artefacts to tell the story of one of NYC’s most famous artists.

🗺 Take a look at our Chelsea neighbourhood guide

🌳 Explore the High Line in Chelsea

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in NYC

📍 Check out the best things to do in NYC

https://d32dbz94xv1iru.cloudfront.net/customer_photos/b20db166-2aa2-4b93-bcd8-18b43b89731f.jpg
Will Gleason
Editor, Time Out New York
Advertising
XI District, Budapest
Photograph: posztos / Shutterstock.com

7. XI District, Budapest

Until recently, visitors only came to Budapest’s XI District (also known as Újbuda) for the art-nouveau Gellért Baths, but today it rivals the downtown districts in Pest. Since Covid, many locals have migrated to the greener Buda-side of the river and nowhere is hotter right now than this neighbourhood, which stretches from Gellért Hill southwards along the Danube. Tree-lined Bartók Béla Boulevard brims with bohemian cafés, bars and independent art galleries. You’ll also find super-sleek repurposed spaces, like a bar in a former bus depot, a once-abandoned open-air theatre, a concert hall on a decommissioned Ukrainian ship, plus Kopaszi Dam with its sandy beaches and riverside bars. Even one of Budapest’s best-loved alternative bars, Dürer Kert, moved here in 2021.

The perfect day: Have breakfast at Kelet Kávézó és Galéria before hiking up Gellért Hill. Once you’re back on Bartók Béla Boulevard head over to Kopaszi Dam, where you’ll find plenty of lunch options and might even be able to sunbathe a little (weather permitting). Come evening, grab a drink and catch a gig at Dürer Kert.

Plan your trip: For the Bartók Béla Boulevard Festival in mid-September. This strip is always lively, but you won’t want to miss the art exhibitions, street concerts, parties, workshops and more that take place as part of this huge neighbourhood knees-up.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Budapest

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820336/image.jpg
Jennifer Walker
Contributing journalist, Hungary
Ngor, Dakar
Photograph: Shutterstock

8. Ngor, Dakar

Life in Ngor is all about the Atlantic. From the locals unwinding and exercising in Ngor bay to the divers and surfers dotted around its coast, this lively part of the Senegalese capital sure knows how to make the most of its epic scenery. On Dakar’s northwestern tip, Ngor offers a vibrant array of waterfront restaurants and rooftop bars, although the real jewel in its crown lies 400 metres off the mainland. The picturesque Ngor Island is a labyrinth of narrow bougainvillea-lined streets, golden sandy coves, distinctive street art and one-of-a-kind architecture (exhibit A: the school shaped like a pirate ship). Community groups and businesses on both sides of the bay also organise regular beach clean-ups and plastic bans to help preserve Ngor’s beauty for the next generation.

The perfect day: Pick up croissants and coffee from Graine D’Or (a Dakar institution) before heading out to Ngor Island. Wander the cobbled streets, swim in the coves and eat freshly-grilled fish on the beach, then tame the waves with the help of Ngor Island Surf Camp. As night falls, sample fusion ceviche and rooftop cocktails at Bayékou. Delish.

Plan your trip: For Africa’s largest contemporary arts fair, the Dakar Biennale, which takes place from mid-May to mid-June 2022. (That just so happens to be when water temperatures start to rise, too.)

https://media.timeout.com/images/105819879/image.jpg
Beetle Holloway Contributing journalist, Senegal
Advertising

With its idyllic beaches, picturesque hiking trails and well-preserved country parks, no wonder Sai Kung is so often dubbed the ‘back garden of Hong Kong’. Being close to nature is obviously great, but locals also love the area as it’s far less populated than Hong Kong’s central districts. More than many other parts of the city, it’s also demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability, with an abundance of organic farms, health food shops and zero-waste stores. What’s more, you’ll find environmental community groups like Friends of Sai Kung (FSK), which conducts regular beach clean-ups, monthly recycling events and seminars on preserving Sai Kung’s scenery.

The perfect day: See the sun rise over the High Island Reservoir and take in spectacular views of the clear turquoise lake. Head back to Sai Kung Town, wander along the pier and top up on caffeine at Little Cove Espresso. Later on, browse artisan candle store BeCandle, dine at Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant Loaf On and try traditional desserts at Miss Hui Homemade Steamed Bun (one of the oldest shops in Sai Kung).

Plan your trip: To coincide with one of several kaito ferry rides that travel out to nearby islands – you’ll be blown away by the area’s array of majestic beaches.

🗺 Take a look at our Sai Kung neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Hong Kong

📍 Check out the best things to do in Hong Kong

https://d32dbz94xv1iru.cloudfront.net/customer_photos/8a92ae77-254a-4cc3-a1f6-d59c41f737a6.jpg
Tatum Ancheta
Editor-in-Chief, Time Out Hong Kong

Separated from the CBD by Melbourne’s sporting precinct, this area along the Birrarung (Yarra River) was a gathering place for members of the Kulin Nation long before the stadiums were erected. There are three distinct vibes here: Victoria Street is Melbourne’s go-to destination for Vietnamese food; Bridge Road is known for its factory outlets, both fashion and furniture; and Swan Street brims with some of the suburb’s best restaurants and cafés. And Richmond is home to one of Melbourne’s most beloved live music institutions, the Corner Hotel. It’s also a very community-minded suburb, with the Richmond Churches Food Centre distributing much-needed food to anyone who needs it for the past 30 years – including all through Melbourne’s lockdowns. Yarra Council, which includes Richmond, was one of the first local governments in the world to declare a climate emergency, and has committed to an ambitious plan to make the suburb greener for good.

The perfect day: Start your day with blueberry-and-ricotta hotcakes at Church Street café, Top Paddock, then do a bit of window (or actual!) shopping at the outlets along nearby Bridge Road. Pick up a bánh mi for lunch at Phuoc Thanh. If there’s no sport on, you can go on a behind-the-scenes tour at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In the evening, settle into the Corner Hotel for a proper pub meal and rock out to some live music. 

Plan your trip: For when the footy’s on. If the Richmond Tigers are playing, don yellow and black and join the Tiger Army.

🗺 Take a look at our Richmond neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Melbourne

📍 Check out the best things to do in Melbourne

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820365/image.jpg
Cassidy Knowlton
Editorial Director, Time Out Australia
Advertising
Neukölln, Berlin
Photograph: Jonas Hara / Shutterstock.com

11. Neukölln, Berlin

No neighbourhood better captures the dynamism of modern Berlin better than Neukölln. The past decade has seen buzzy bars, boutiques and restaurants pop up all over this southeastern district, but its multicultural atmosphere survives, with plenty of grocers and cafés run by immigrant families who have long called Neukölln home. In summer pavements overflow with clientele at bars and the local Lebanese, Syrian and Turkish restaurants. But the streets truly come alive when the community rallies around social causes: Neukölln is an epicentre for protests and demonstrations, which often start at Hermannplatz or the district’s Rathaus (town hall) and run up and down the major streets as participants holler in favour of racial justice and affordable housing.

The perfect day: Start the day with fresh pastries from Le Brot, then walk along the canal before stopping for coffee at Companion. If the weather allows, do a lap around one of the neighbourhood’s premier parks (local faves include Körnerpark and Tempelhof, pictured) and ring in the evening with Turkish treats fresh from the grill at Örnek Lahmacun Grillhaus.

Plan your trip: For the Popráci straw-bale rolling competition, which dates back to the eighteenth century and takes place on the second weekend of September every year.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Berlin

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820402/image.jpg
Nathan Ma
Contributing journalist, Germany
Centro, Medellín
Photograph: Marek Poplawski / Shutterstock.com

12. Centro, Medellín

As Medellín awakens from its long pandemic slumber, you’ll want to be in Centro to see the renaissance first hand, as its plazas fill and its multitude of tiny bars reopen, spilling salsa, vallenato and reggaetón out onto the streets again. This year, having emerged from an intensive renovation, Centro (aka La Candelaria, the city’s downtown area) has become a haven of leafy boulevards, cycle lanes, community led ‘pocket parks’, with hundreds of new trees planted. But the redevelopment didn’t dent the joyful chaos that defines the heart of Colombia’s second city. You can get a fancy artisanal beer at an indoor market, but still drink it out on the pavement with some salted mango biche from a street vendor. Music will ring out. An alluring mix of second-hand goods will be laid out at your feet. And the buzz very much won’t have gone away.

The perfect day: Grab a traditional calentao breakfast at a café near Plaza Botero, then wander through its huge, glinting surrealist bronzes. Mooch along La Playa, past the magnificently strange Coltejer building and take in the street’s hodgepodge of architectural styles. Head to the House of Memory, a museum of Colombia’s armed conflict that also regularly hosts grassroots protests and events like feminist erotic art festival AEFest. Onwards to La Pascasia for the evening: its ‘improvised electro’ nights are unmissable.

Plan your trip: For Baum Park (one of the region’s best techno parties), which will be back with a vengeance in May 2022. Like before the pandemic, it will be set in the stunning orchidarium of the Botanical Gardens.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105819885/image.jpg
Emily Hart Contributing journalist, Colombia
Advertising

Morning, noon or night, we still get a kick out of Dalston. Is it ‘what it once was’? No, of course not. Nowhere is. That’s the nature of time. Does it have everything we want from a London neighbourhood? Let’s take a stock check: great pubs (obviously, loads, including the Duke of Wellington); exciting restaurants (yes, opening all the time, most recently Yes Please on Ridley Road); green space for my dog (Haggerston Park, with London Fields only a short walk away); actual nightlife (Dalston Superstore will never die); avant-garde jazz (Cafe Oto, my spiritual home). Dalston also still retains its moral compass. It has vegan cafés and second-hand shops in abundance, and the highest number of streets covered by Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in London. This year, in particular, it’s shown other parts of London how progressive our neighbourhoods can be: it became the epicentre of the takeaway pint, streets were pedestrianised widely, ‘parklets’ all over the shop. Even if much else has changed over the past decade, those are things we really can get behind.

The perfect day: Kick-start your big east London day out at the Dusty Knuckle bakery (their sandwiches became a lockdown fixture for locals), then walk it off with a wander around Eastern Curve Garden. Catch an afternoon screening at the Rio before heading for a drink at enduring boozer the Haggerston. After all that it would be rude not to nip into Mangal 2 for a chicken thigh shish dinner. 

Plan your trip: For alternative music festival All Points East, in Victoria Park, which will be back to being its fully-powered original self in 2022.

🗺 Take a look at our Dalston neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in London

📍 Check out the best things to do in London

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820368/image.jpg
Joe Mackertich
Editor, Time Out London

Silver Lake could’ve landed on this list at any point in the previous two decades, so what was it about this past year that propelled the increasingly upscale neighbourhood into our top 15? The arrival of notoriously luxe market Erewhon? The return of L.A.’s prettiest patio? We’d point to the district’s ability to radiate carefree vibes in the face of lingering uncertainty. It’s a place where you can stretch out on a colourfully painted stair hike, swing by the Saturday farmers’ market and picnic with friends by the reservoir. The expansion of Sunset Boulevard’s see-and-be-seen sidewalk seating has kept the street buzzing with life: The Black Cat’s parking lot turned into an impromptu beer garden, El Cid’s terrace patio became an alfresco hangout and All Day Baby flipped from a darling diner into a corner market and back again. That’s not to say it’s just status quo in Silver Lake: the arrival of the Micro bus means you can go anywhere in the area for a dollar, and there’s been a renewed push to tear down the fences and restore green space at the area’s namesake reservoir. 

The perfect day: Pick up a loaf of sourdough and pastries from Gemini Bakehouse and bring them along to a picnic at Silver Lake Meadow. Make sure to scope out the latest exhibition at the Neutra VDL House before scoring Sonora-style tacos at El Ruso.

Plan your trip: To check out local fave the Vista, a single-screen art-deco cinema which will reopen under the ownership of one Quentin Tarantino. (Okay, it’s technically about a block outside the border in Los Feliz, but the point holds.)

🗺 Take a look at our Silver Lake neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Los Angeles

📍 Check out the best things to do in Los Angeles

https://d32dbz94xv1iru.cloudfront.net/customer_photos/134be1d4-dd59-4d53-8df1-cf55924a68e0.jpg
Michael Juliano
Editor, Time Out Los Angeles
Advertising
Dublin 8, Dublin
Photograph: Shutterstock

15. Dublin 8, Dublin

Dublin 8 captures the essence and charm of the Irish capital to a tee. With much of the city being built up with cookie-cutter hotels and skyscrapers, this nook has retained much of its original architecture. But there have been plenty of positive changes in the past year too. Lucky’s pub has been transformed into a cultural hotspot with excellent rotating exhibitions, while Pearse Lyons Distillery is taking tours around its church distillery again. The neighbourhood brims with vintage and bric-à-brac shops, street art, markets, homey cafés, and it’s also where you’ll find some of the city’s hottest foodie talent. Not to mention the Dublin Food Co-op, where locals can buy organic produce and educate themselves at sustainability workshops and other community events.

The perfect day: Cosy up in The Fumbally, a dog-friendly café and shop where you’ll find locally made treats and kickass coffee. Next, go for a walk in the War Memorial Gardens or Phoenix Park (which is home to hundreds of wild fallow deer), or take a trip round the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Come afternoon, take a tour of a distillery like Teelings, Stillgarden or Roe&Co, before finishing off with pints at the MVP, where there’s always something fun on (like live music or an open-mic night).

Plan your trip: For ‘Wild Lights’, an epic art installation that will transform Dublin Zoo with a light trail featuring more than a thousand lanterns (October 28 to January 9 2022).

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Dublin

🕒 Find out how to do Dublin in 48 hours

📍 Check out the best things to do in Dublin

https://media.timeout.com/images/105819974/image.jpg
Éadaoin Fitzmaurice
Contributing journalist, Republic of Ireland
Zoloti Vorota, Kyiv
Photograph: vvoe / Shutterstock.com

16. Zoloti Vorota, Kyiv

Where once there was a glorious entrance to medieval Kyiv, now you’ll find a fascinating neighbourhood that oozes energy and creativity. Reitarska, Yaroslaviv Val, Striletska and Honchara streets, right in the heart of Old Kyiv, are changing with meteor speed. The area around the Zoloti Volota (‘Golden Gates’ in Ukrainian) now overflows with fancy bars, bombastic street art, hidden coffee shops, designer boutiques and nostalgia-fuelled pie spots. New openings, a strong sense of community that emphasises heritage preservation and unconventional green spaces like the Square of Kyiv Intellectuals all make the Zoloti Vorota neighbourhood the go-to place to experience the forward-looking face of Kyiv (and taste it too).

The perfect day: Try the eggs benedict at local fave ZigZag, then grab a brew at stylish Kashtan Coffee, right next to a large cage housing three old ravens that have enchanted visitors for more than 15 years. Marvel at the intricate neo-Moorish Actor’s House and get your culture fix at The Naked Room contemporary art gallery. Finish with a cocktail at Kosatka, on the edge of the neighbourhood.

Plan your trip: For one of the block parties that take over Reitarska Street with DJ sets, street food and flea markets (they usually take place during the start of summer and the middle of autumn).

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820425/image.jpg
Pavlo Fedykovych Contributing journalist, Ukraine
Advertising
Noord, Amsterdam
Photograph: fokke baarseen / Shutterstock.com

17. Noord, Amsterdam

When the shipbuilders moved out of Amsterdam Noord at the end of the twentieth century, the squatters and artists moved in, creating a bohemian edge that persists to this day. Now replete with amazing coffee shops and restaurants, Noord has blossomed into a laid-back, entrepreneurial hub for those looking to escape the scrum of the centre. But it’s not just ‘edgy’ – community and sustainability are important watchwords here, with many venues built and furnished with salvaged material and kitchens serving plant-based menus. And it’s a great place to live, too: you’ll find plenty of green space tucked between the repurposed warehouses and thoughtful developments – not to mention the new metro line.

The perfect day: Start with an early lunch at Café de Ceuvel, which combines ace food with impeccable sustainability credentials. Cycle around NDSM, a vast former wharf that’s now home to galleries, pop-up shops, studios, markets and a whole load of eye-popping graffiti, before spending the evening at Pllek, a huge bar-restaurant made out of old shipping containers that has its own man-made beach.

Plan your trip: For DGTL, during the Easter weekend, when the NDSM wharf is transformed into an electronic music playground with a big line-up (next year has Nina Kraviz, the Blessed Madonna and Honey Dijon). It also has ambitions to become the world’s first circular music festival.

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Amsterdam

📍 Check out the best things to do in Amsterdam

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820508/image.jpg
Derek Robertson
Contributing journalist, the Netherlands

After a difficult stop-start reopening, Montrealers seemed to unanimously agree that they'd get out there and make the most of 2021. Villeray was the place to do just that: its streets and gemstone parks became oases where locals would simply gather and make the most of one another’s company – exactly what the city needed after a long and lonely lockdown winter. If you didn’t meet up with friends for beers, food and a spot of culture at one of Jarry Park’s impromptu festivals? What can we say, pretty much everyone else did. Being so central, as diverse as districts come and with a burgeoning food and drink scene, Villeray was an obvious (and deserved) coolest neighbourhood this year.

The perfect day: Get a feel for Villeray by grabbing coffee along Place de Castelnau before a visit to Jean-Talon Market and a spot of shopping on Plaza St-Hubert. Round off your day either with a picnic pizza from Vesta, a box of panzerotti and natural wine to go from Knuckles, or a drawn-out dining session at Tapeo, Tandem or Moccione – all before a nightcap at Bar Le Record, of course.

Plan your trip: For any of the events at Jarry Park, whether the high-stakes tennis matches at the National Bank Open or for ice skating and cross-country skiing in winter.

🗺 Take a look at our Villeray neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Montreal

📍 Check out the best things to do in Montreal

https://media.timeout.com/images/105817993/image.jpg
JP Karwacki
Editor, Time Out Montreal
Advertising

The oh-so-trendy heart of Sydney’s eastern suburbs wasn’t always the well-heeled foodies’ playground it is in 2021. Go back a century, and you’d find yourself in the city’s vice-ridden ganglands, surrounded by the slums of Sydney’s rag trade. The underworld ‘razor warriors’ of yesteryear would barely recognise the leafy streets of Surry Hills today, lined with chic cafés, boutiques and some of Sydney’s most revered restaurants and bars. At the end of 2020, Sydney’s al-fresco dining boom, launched to help venues impacted by indoor capacity limits, saw the area’s vibrant hospitality scene explode onto the streets, making an already popular destination one of the buzziest ’burbs in town. As Sydneysiders chomp at the bit to exit lockdowns for good in October, these outdoor dining rooms are being expanded – just in time for our hot vax summer.

The perfect day: Surry Hills can be summed up in two words: ‘brunch’ and ‘dinner’. Java junkies from across the city flock here to get next-level brews at Single O, Artificer and Sample Coffee, while people will queue for 45 minutes (or more) on a Saturday morning to taste the legendary scrambled eggs and corn fritters at Bills or to snag a table at Four Ate Five. If money is no object, Firedoor, the innovative electricity-free kitchen of Lennox Hastie where every dish is cooked over an open flame, is a gourmet experience well deserving of your cash.

Plan your trip: For a show at the Belvoir Theatre, one of Sydney’s oldest independent companies, known for its daring takes on the canon. After a difficult two years of on-again-off-again restrictions, 2022 will be the year not just for Belvoir but for playhouses across Sydney.

🗺 Take a look at our Surry Hills neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Sydney

📍 Check out the best things to do in Sydney

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820783/image.jpg
Maxim Boon
Editor, Time Out Sydney
Ancoats, Manchester
Photograph: Shutterstock

20. Ancoats, Manchester

What makes Ancoats, the onetime home of Manchester’s cotton mills, so damn magical? For one thing, the almost cliched blend of past and present which is visible on every street, with super-stylish new developments springing up on roads named after notorious street gangs from the city’s past. Apartments now inhabit those mills, while some of Manchester’s very best places to eat and drink fill the ground floors – many with a focus on fresh, locally sourced produce. Venues like Hope Mill Theatre and St Michael’s put on top-notch live shows, catering to a community that really has come together over the past year. Most notably, Ancoats charity 42nd Street and The Horsfall gallery created an online festival that celebrated the voices of more than 130 young people during lockdown.

The perfect day: Visit Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, Mana, for a lunch you’ll never forget, before strolling around Cutting Room Square and taking in all the public art. Come evening, try a musical at the Hope Mill Theatre.

Plan your trip: To take in the brand-new Mayfield Park, Manchester’s first city-centre public park – and the first to be built in the city for more than a century. It opens in autumn 2022.

🗺 Take a look at our Ancoats neighbourhood guide

📍 Check out the best things to do in Manchester

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820504/image.jpg
Rob Martin
Correspondent, Time Out Manchester
Advertising
Sagene, Oslo
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons / Helge Høifødt

21. Sagene, Oslo

Oslo is growing fast, and one particular neighbourhood has held onto its distinct character better than most. With its cosy cafés and restaurants, historic buildings, large parks and one seriously impressive neo-Gothic church, Sagene feels very far removed from the city’s slick new developments. But this part of town isn’t just living in the past – the district is also home to Sagene Bryggeri, Norway’s first climate-neutral brewery, and Geitmyra, a sustainable gardening and cookery school for kids. Recently, Sagene has started attracting much younger residents, and given how central, affordable and – yes – cool this place is, we can totally see why.

The perfect day: Start with breakfast at family-run café Kaffegram. Roam among the colourful baroque apartment blocks of the Rivertzke Kvartal, explore Vøienvolden Gård (the city’s best-preserved farm), stroll up the Akerselva river and have lunch at organic deli Ekte Vare, right next to Sagene church. Finish your tour with some local Sagene beer at Mysterud Bar.

Plan your trip: For the Friluftskonserten concert series from Oslo Philharmonic, which will finally take place again at Myraløkka park in June 2022.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Oslo

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820929/image.jpg
Rodrigo Braz Vieira Contributing journalist, Norway
Old Xuhui, Shanghai
Photograph: Something

22. Old Xuhui, Shanghai

Its tree-lined lanes might have you thinking this is a sleepy side of town, but don’t be mistaken: Old Xuhui is alive and flourishing. This has always been one of Shanghai’s buzziest neighbourhoods, and these days it’s filled with sleek coffee shops that double as natural wine bars by night (like newcomers Dosage and Reception). Merry punters pack out terraces before dancing the night away in moody underground clubs (ALL consistently pulls the country’s top experimental electronic talent). Meanwhile, boulevards brim with boutiques from the city’s thriving creative scene and exciting, modern restaurants like Oha Group’s Guizhou-inspired hotpot restaurant Maolago, which has its own vegetable garden on the roof.

The perfect day: Begin with brunch and people-watching at restaurateur Craig Willis’s latest project Something. Then do a spot of shopping at secondhand store Déjà Vu and sustainable label Klee Klee on Anfu Lu before swinging by Labelhood, which champions cutting-edge Chinese designers. Grab dinner at vegan hotspot DuLi, where local ingredients and flavours take the spotlight.

Plan your trip: For Common Gathering, in April, when more than 200 emerging local designers descend upon Shanghai Culture Square. If you can’t make it down for the biggie, organisers Common Rare host other markets throughout the year.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105821040/image.jpg
Rupert Hohwieler Writer, Time Out Shanghai
Advertising
Centro, Mexico City
Photograph: Victor SG / Shutterstock.com

23. Centro, Mexico City

Why is Centro the coolest neighbourhood in CDMX in 2021? During the pandemic, the heart of the country shut down. But then we got inventive. Museums joined forces and launched Contigo en la Distancia: a page where they shared VR tours, printable board games, videos of talks and past concerts. Meanwhile, LGBTQ+ bars like Marrakech Salon turned their once-packed spaces into kitchens – a move that allowed them to survive the crisis. It was also a thrill to be able to enjoy Centro without feeling quite so hassled. The Alameda Central, the Zócalo and Madero Street are usually busy places, but no longer. It was the ideal opportunity to organise marches, and one cause that really brought us all together was the protests against the closure of the Trevi apartment building (and gentrification more broadly). 

The perfect day: Have breakfast at one of the stalls in the Plaza Garibaldi market – from pozole to quesadillas, you’ll find the very best of Mexican cuisine here. Next, take a walk down Alameda Central, from the Palacio de Bellas Artes to the corner of Metro Hidalgo, dropping in all the museums as you go. If you’re in the mood for a dance, try La Purísima, one of the city’s most famous LGBTQ+ bars.

Plan your trip: For – fingers crossed – two of the most important annual events in CDMX: Pride (in March 2022) and the Day of the Dead (in November). Both start at the Angel of Independence and end up at the Zócalo. Colour, music, joy: what more could you want?

📍 Check out the best things to do in Mexico City

https://media.timeout.com/images/105809548/image.jpg
Gil Camargo
Editor, Time Out Mexico City

Everyone in Barcelona knows that once you move to Gràcia, you’re very unlikely ever to leave. Why would you, when you’ve got everything on your doorstep? Forget supermarkets and malls – this is the realm of independent bookstores, designer boutiques, restaurants, theatres and live music venues. If there’s a trend that takes hold of Barcelona, more often than not it will start here: for example, bulk-buy and vegan stores were a thing in Gràcia well before they became widespread throughout the city. Newcomers also find it hard to leave because of the neighbourhood’s strong sense of community. Belonging to a local association, decorating the street for festivals: this sort of thing is the norm, not the exception. All shaded squares and narrow residential streets, the area’s layout also very much lends itself to that. Tempted to make the move yourself? We certainly are.

The perfect day: The pandemic hasn’t stopped a whole load of cool openings landing in the area – places like Muriel, a restaurant-slash-exhibition space, and El Noa Noa, a speciality coffee shop where you can also buy indie magazines, books and prints. You’ll want to check them out first, then hit up Heliogàbal, a local institution where emerging artists play intimate gigs.

Plan your trip: For the various summer festivals that take over Gràcia’s streets in mid-August. Expect lavishly decorated streets and smile-inducing live music.

🗺 Take a look at our Gràcia neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Barcelona

📍 Check out the best things to do in Barcelona

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820426/image.jpg
María José Gómez
Directora, Time Out Barcelona
Advertising
Saúde, Rio de Janeiro
Photograph: Sergio Shumoff / Shutterstock.com

25. Saúde, Rio de Janeiro

To the north of the city centre, Saúde’s cobbled streets and alleyways offer a slice of respite away from Rio’s frenetic downtown. Visitors will discover charming old bars, beautiful Portuguese architecture and fascinating sites such as Pedra do Sal, whose history weaves together slavery, African heritage and samba. The revitalised port area is home to the UFO-like architecture of the Museum of Tomorrow, the MAR art museum and huge street-art murals along the Olympic Boulevard. In 2021, the bars of Largo de São Francisco da Prainha started hosting open-air music performances every Sunday afternoon – and these fast became one of the cultural highlights of the week.

The perfect day: Start by climbing the beautiful hill of Ladeira de João Homem to admire the views from Morro da Conceição, then visit Casa Omolokum for a warm welcome and lazy Afro-Brazilian lunch with spicy caipirinhas. Close the evening with live music, dancing and Brazilian barbecue at Bafo da Prainha.

Plan your trip: For the triumphant return of Junta Local, an organisation which has been championing local food produce in Rio since 2014. Their sorely missed markets (halted at the start of the pandemic) will take place at their new Saúde HQ in January 2022.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro

https://media.timeout.com/images/105821029/image.jpg
Tom Le Mesurier Contributing journalist, Brazil
Kemptown, Brighton
Photograph: Michaelasbest / Shutterstock.com

26. Kemptown, Brighton

Kemptown’s free spirit, popping nightlife and awe-inspiring architecture have long made it a go-to for visitors looking to get to really know Brighton. But with a full-scale regeneration of the beach in this eastern part of the city now under way, it’s set to become just as much of a must for outdoorsy types as it is for clubbers. The open shingle beach is being planted with native species aimed at helping wildlife thrive, while a new boardwalk will also make the area more accessible. Throw in the forthcoming open-air swimming pool, just a short hop from the sea, and you’ve got the ideal destination for a city break in 2022.

The perfect day: Kick things off with breakfast at Egg and Spoon. The kedgeree is incredible and you can stock up on Antipodean baked goods while you’re there. Work it off with a walk along the Undercliff Path, backed by chalk cliffs and with sweeping views across the water, then head to The Hand in Hand, Brighton’s original and best brew pub, for a pint.

Plan your trip: To splash about at the National Open Water Swim Centre, which is set to open on Kemptown beach in summer 2022. This 50-metre heated lido will be fringed with a coffee shop, craft-beer bar and sauna, making that trip of yours even more necessary.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Brighton

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820527/image.jpg
Joe Minihane
Correspondent, Time Out Brighton
Advertising
Sololaki, Tbilisi
Photograph: Shutterstock

27. Sololaki, Tbilisi

Linked together by a tangle of streets off Liberty Square, Sololaki is the atmospheric heart of the Georgian capital. Its sepia-toned past is brought to life with romantic vine-covered ezos (courtyards) shaded by dancing sheets drying on the line, and warm, yeast-laden spires of steam that flow out from basement tones (traditional bakeries). The area’s art-nouveau buildings once housed Georgia’s finest thinkers, writers and artists of the nineteenth century, but are now home to Tbilisi’s coolest cafés, bars and pop-up restaurants. Watching over it all is Kartlis Deda, a monumental statue of a woman on Sololaki’s lush ridge, with a chalice of wine for guests and a sword for enemies – call her the unofficial matriarch of Tbilisi.

The perfect day: Start your day with a stout cup of kava at Linville, an elegant café decked out in flowery wallpaper and mismatched velvet furniture. Spend the afternoon moseying your way toward the Writer’s House on Machabeli, an early-twentieth-century mansion that once functioned as a collaborative space for Tbilisi’s literati. Hungry? Get your fill of khinkali dumplings at Amo Rame, then cap it off with an evening at Dadi Wine Bar for a glimpse into Tbilisi’s blossoming wine scene.

Plan your trip: For the annual Tbilisoba festival, in October, which is a celebration of Tbilisi’s food and arts scenes. It moved online this year, but is set to pick back up in 2022.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820637/image.jpg
Melanie Hamilton Contributing journalist, Georgia

Miami’s mini Manhattan continues to grow and evolve – and not just upwards. Earlier this year, phase one of The Underline – a 10-mile linear park – opened in Brickell, adding tons of outdoor space for exercising, community events and public art to the dense city centre. Dubbed the Brickell Backyard, the development is dotted with diverse habitats and butterfly gardens created with help from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Happy hour boomed in 2021 as Brickell welcomed two of its most popular after-work spots back to the neighbourhood. Beloved raw bar River Oyster reopened in a spacious new location up the road, freeing up its original spot for a revival of Tobacco Road – Miami’s oldest bar, which Kush Hospitality Group cleverly resurrected this past winter.

The perfect day: Whether hungover or just plain hungry, a stuffed croissant from B Bistro + Bakery is the perfect start to the day. Follow it up with a shopping trip to Brickell City Centre, an outdoor mall with just the right amount of cover to shield you from the elements, and a waterfront spin class at Riverside Miami, where studio RedBike pops up on select evenings.

Plan your trip: To check out the new Floridian outpost of one of L.A.’s hottest supper clubs, which opens early next year. Delilah will be a sprawling, tropical-themed space where punters can arrive by yacht to experience dinner and a show.

🗺 Take a look at our Brickell neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Miami

📍 Check out the best things to do in Miami

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820378/image.jpg
Virginia Gil
Editor, Time Out Miami
Advertising
Ouseburn, Newcastle
Photograph: Shutterstock

29. Ouseburn, Newcastle

Not only does Ouseburn have its fair share of excellent places to eat, drink, see art and dance the night away, it’s also an area bursting with community spirit. This is summed up by the Ouseburn Trust, which works in partnership with local authorities, volunteers and the business community to improve day-to-day life for locals, while also helping to preserve the area’s rich heritage and threatened ecosystems. Like many neighbourhoods, Ouseburn is a place of contrasts, and so you’ll find lush green spaces rubbing shoulders with vibrant contemporary developments everywhere you look. But where it stands out is in its ability to please basically any kind visitor: whether you want history-packed walks, cutting-edge art galleries or endless good food and drink, you’ll be very well catered for.

The perfect day: Grab a piping hot cup of coffee from Zee’s Beans and wander down to Ernest for brunch. Head to Ouseburn farm (free entry) to make some furry pals or take in an exhibition at the Biscuit Factory. Head to Kiln and grab a few plates from their vast meze menu, before strolling down the river to Tyne Bar for a few pints. Wind up the night with a gig at Cobalt Studios.

Plan your trip: For This Is Tomorrow (June 3-5 2022), the largest music festival in the north-east of England. Of course, even if you don’t make it down then, you’re sure to be able to catch a good concert or DJ set at any other time of year, too.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Newcastle

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820922/image.jpg
Daniel Dylan Wray
Correspondent, Time Out Newcastle
Barranco, Lima
Photograph: Shutterstock

30. Barranco, Lima

With its nineteenth-century palacios, murals, palm trees, cevicherías, cocktail bars, street markets and art galleries, Barranco is easily Lima’s most bohemian neighbourhood (also, its coolest right now). The small clifftop district overlooks the Pacific, and in a city notoriously hostile to pedestrians and cyclists, this is one of the easiest parts of town to navigate on foot. And now the mayor has installed a small network of bike paths, you can get around on two wheels pretty safely, too. Because this is Lima, food will be central to your experience here, and you can choose anything from cheap AF street food to fine dining at Kjolle, run by the world’s top-rated female chef (if you care about those kind of awards), or Central, run by her husband and routinely ranked in the world’s top ten restaurants.

The perfect day: Begin with a spot of surfing in the Pacific (plenty of options for all levels). Recover with a lunch of ceviche or any of Peru’s other spectacular seafood dishes. Spend the afternoon pottering around Barranco’s leafy streets before going on a nighttime bar crawl.

Plan your trip: To make the most of the sizzling summer temperatures. In January, February and March, you can expect the mercury to hit the high 20s (celsius) daily – which is great news if you want to escape the depths of winter in your home country.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820532/image.jpg
Simeon Tegel Contributing journalist, Peru
Advertising
Chamberí, Madrid
Photograph: Shutterstock

31. Chamberí, Madrid

Few neighbourhoods capture the eclectic spirit of Madrid quite like Chamberí. It’s always been known for its food scene, and today you’ll find a buzzing area where young families, breakfasting at the latest speciality coffee shop, live side by side with grandparents, perched on their elected benches (and more often than not riffing on the latest outrageous La Liga score). Homey and yet central, criss-crossed with wide avenues and charming alleyways, and with no end of museums, concert halls and excellent sports facilities, Chamberí has emerged from the pandemic in all its splendour. No wonder it bagged the most votes from locals in this year’s Time Out Index poll. We must say we love it too.

The perfect day: Stock up at the Vallehermoso market (our go-tos are Tripea, Kitchen 154, Craft 19). You’ll also want to visit the idyllic Sorolla Museum – its garden is especially romantic – and, for full immersion in Madrileño culture, catch a play at the Teatros del Canal.

Plan your trip: To get first in line at Don Panko, Spain’s first katsu restaurant, which has just opened its doors. Delicioso.

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Madrid

📍 Check out the best things to do in Madrid

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820372/image.jpg
Marta Bac
Directora, Time Out Madrid

Prague’s inner suburbs have really come into their own recently – and especially Vinohrady. This gridiron of grand nineteenth-century tenements, interspersed with lush green spaces, is just minutes from Wenceslas Square but feels a world away. The area has taken on a cosmopolitan vibe of late, with international yopros, Erasmus students and digital nomads all settling in. Several excellent independent shops and cafés cram the buzzing community hub of Jiřího z Poděbrad (JZP) square, which also hosts a popular farmers’ market that draws foodies from across the Czech capital (and is overlooked by the unusual Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord). Close by, restaurants of all descriptions serve imaginative, well-priced menus, both local and international.

The perfect day: For breakfast, try Marthy’s Kitchen and then explore the revamped National Museum, followed by lunch at Martin’s Bistro. Hit the JZP farmers’ market, with an afternoon break at cosy Mama Coffee, before ascending the nearby TV Tower. Finish with dinner at Vinohradský Pivovar, a contemporary beer hall. In summer, watch the sun set over Prague Castle from Riegrovy Sady park.

Plan your trip: For the nationwide Zažit Město Jjinak (‘Take back your street’) festival in September. Each year, Vinohrady really embraces the festive spirit, with markets, food stalls, live music, theatre and more.

🗺 Take a look at our Vinohrady neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Prague

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820452/image.jpg
David Creighton Contributing journalist, Czech Republic
Advertising

Crowned Singapore’s first official ‘heritage town’ in 2011, Katong is not only picture-perfect – thanks to the pastel storefronts on every corner – but also full of soul and charm and atmosphere. From Peranakan home museums filled with antiques to ice-cream shops with a dazzling selection of flavours, eclectic past meets eclectic new in this seaside neighbourhood. The languorous past 18 months may have seen several major shops and malls close across Katong, but its sense of community persevered. It remains a shining jewel amid the Singaporean sprawl.

The perfect day: Start off with a seaside stroll or cycle at East Coast Park before an iconic local breakfast of fresh, hot kaya buns, soft-boiled eggs and milk coffee made with a sock at Chin Mee Chin Confectionery. Spend a lazy afternoon picking up records at Choice Cuts Goods + Coffee or a loaf of sourdough at Micro Bakery, then squeeze in a spot of thrift shopping at A Vintage Tale.

Plan your trip: For the grand opening of a new 15km-long natural trail set to stretch right across East Coast Park – taking visitors from Gardens by the Bay East all the way to Changi.

🗺 Take a look at our Katong neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Singapore

📍 Check out the best things to do in Singapore

https://media.timeout.com/images/105821937/image.jpg
Delfina Utomo
Editor, Time Out Singapore
Anjos, Lisbon
Photograph: Goncalo_Castelo_Soares / Shutterstock.com

34. Anjos, Lisbon

Cultural diversity, big institutions that draw crowds from afar, an endless array of exciting new openings: Anjos is a heady mix of everything we’d want from a neighbourhood. Few places feel quite as alive as this district, just north of historic Alfama, with its landmark cafés, cultural associations and restaurants serving food from across the globe. Avenida Almirante Reis is already one of the city’s most popular cycling routes and Anjos70 has paved the way for several other contemporary flea markets to flourish across the Portuguese capital. During the day, the smell of roasted coffee is always in the air. At night, you could sip craft beers, try traditional small plates, or take part in community quizzes. You’ll definitely want to stick around – and maybe even for good.

The perfect day: Kick off with a hearty breakfast at Maria Food Hub. Retrosaria Rosa Pomar is a mecca for those who like to knit or crochet – and their rich programme of workshops is well worth checking out. If you need a lift, Thank You Mama serves very good speciality coffee, while Pif could well be the most beautiful wine bar in Lisbon.

Plan your trip: To take a walk in the brand-new Jardim do Caracol da Penha park (expected to open by the end of the year). On the other side of the avenue, you’ll also find the soon-to-reopen Desterro Hospital, which now holds accommodation, offices and a cultural events space.

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Lisbon

📍 Check out the best things to do in Lisbon

https://media.timeout.com/images/105821431/image.jpg
Mauro Gonçalves
Editor Executivo, Time Out Lisbon
Advertising
Daikanyama, Tokyo
Photograph: MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN / Shutterstock.com

35. Daikanyama, Tokyo

With its rep as a highbrow neighbourhood fuelled by the proliferation of brunch spots, third-wave coffee stands and designer boutiques, you’d be forgiven for thinking Daikanyama might be a little pretentious. It isn’t. This lush-green area is filled with businesses where owners know their patrons by name (like our fave takoyaki stand Tempu) and relaxed hangouts like Spring Valley Brewery – built on disused Tokyu Line tracks – that make it more welcoming than snooty. Most importantly, the district is a mash-up of all of Tokyo’s best bits. You’ve got the niche art galleries of Roppongi, the underground music venues of Shimokitazawa, the lively bars of Shibuya and the stylish stores of Ginza – all in one place. There’s something for everyone, at every price point, but nothing here feels out of place.

The perfect day: Sip Yemeni coffee from dainty ceramic cups at Mocha Coffee before perusing art and design books at Daikanyama T-Site. Next, swing by Kyu Asakura House: the perfectly preserved 1919 former residence of Tokyo councillor Torajiro Asakura, with its stunning traditional architecture and a Japanese garden you can tour for just ¥100 (less than a dollar). Finish off with a drink at Débris, a neon-lit speakeasy with a secret entrance in a congee shop.

Plan your trip: To take in the once-unextraordinary courtyard of Daikanyama Loveria, which is set to be transformed into a magnificent ten-storey building designed by starchitect Kengo Kuma. Come 2023, there’ll be shops and apartments, all tucked inside Kuma’s signature timber frame (intended to emulate a living tree).

🗺 Take a look at our Daikanyama neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Tokyo

📍 Check out the best things to do in Tokyo

https://d32dbz94xv1iru.cloudfront.net/customer_photos/3d733c4f-4115-45d8-90f2-b7f23c2d5403.jpg
Emma Steen
Writer, Time Out Tokyo
Haut-Marais, Paris
Photograph: Connie Ma / Wikimedia Commons

36. Haut-Marais, Paris

Think you know the Marais? Think again. This isn’t the tourist-crammed Rue des Rosiers we’re on about: this is the artsy triangle that covers the often-overlooked area between Rambuteau, Temple and Saint-Sébastien Froissart. And why exactly do we – and so many other locals – rate it? These past few years, all sorts of super-stylish hangouts have popped up almost out of nowhere. There’s Enfants du Marché, an excellent wine bar-cum-restaurant tucked inside the Marché des Enfants Rouges; contemporary art galleries like Suzanne Tarasieve, Emmanuel Perrotin and Thaddaeus Ropac; countless vintage shops and concept stores with an ethical bent (bonjour Merci). And perhaps most significantly, for us at least, the neighbourhood has been at the forefront of Paris’s mixology scene for going on a decade now. In fact, two of the best bars in the world (according to us) are to be found in the area. Santé to that!

The perfect day: Take a quick tour around the Marché des Enfants Rouges, making sure to try some of the dishes at Enfants du Marché, like the mussels with gorgonzola (paired with some fine natural wine, of course). Walk it off with a trip around mammoth concept store Merci before winding up at Bisou, the menu-less cocktail bar where the staff will make you basically anything you fancy.

Plan your trip: To taste your way around a Lebanese food market that’s set to open here in February 2022. It’s the brainchild of renowned chef and activist Kamal Mouzawak – founder of NGO Make Food Not War – so you can expect great things.

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Paris

📍 Check out the best things to do in Paris

https://d32dbz94xv1iru.cloudfront.net/customer_photos/4f9aa895-b787-449f-b3b9-f8e299bed18e.jpg
Houssine Bouchama
Rédacteur en chef, Time Out Paris
Advertising
Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi
Photograph: Creative Family / Shutterstock.com

37. Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi

Al Bateen is as laidback as neighbourhoods come. From the yachts and boats bobbing in Marsa Al Bateen to the buzzing cafés dotted throughout the area, this is the perfect place to unwind in. You’re never far from the serenity of the sea, and Al Bateen beach is one of the UAE capital’s most popular stretches of sand. Plus, if you’re the type who likes mooching around galleries, you can get your culture fix at Etihad Modern Art Gallery and the Zayed Heritage Centre, which tells the life story of late president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Not so into your history? You may well discover something appealing among the neighbourhood’s array of edgy coffee shops and restaurants.

The perfect day: Morning person? Kick-start your day with breakfast at Tashas – expect a wait but the flavour-packed hummus toastie and silky smooth Spanish latte are well worth it. Next, grab a book and the factor 50 and make for the sand at Al Bateen beach. Round off your day at one of the coolest haunts in town: ANNEX, a rooftop bar with creative cocktails and always-banging beats.

Plan your trip: To make the most of Expo 2020 Dubai: the blockbuster world exhibition currently dominating cultural life in Dubai (just an hour’s drive away). It runs until March 31 2022.

🗺 Take a look at our Al Bateen neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Abu Dhabi

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820460/image.jpg
Zoe Patterson News Editor, Time Out Abu Dhabi

Right where the Douro River meets the ocean, Foz is the place to get away from the bustle of central Porto. The streets are wide enough for running and cycling, and the beaches ideal for family walks, surfing lessons or just kicking back solo on the sand. Edgy restaurants and concept stores are cropping up here all the time, though Foz retains its historic architecture, ancient monuments, storied bakeries and traditional markets. With its narrow streets, exuberant locals and typical Portuguese azulejos (blue-and-white tiles), Foz Velha (Old Foz) has its own special charm.

The perfect day: Start the day right with sweet Portuguese treats from Tavi, which overlooks the sea. Later on, dine at Pedro Lemos’s eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant, where each dish is a work of art. Crown your gourmet day out with a trip to Indústria Club, whose DJ lineup is among Portugal’s best.

Plan your trip: For the traditional Paper Costume Parade, at the end of August, which is part of the Feast of St. ​​Bartholomew celebrations. For months, seamstresses craft the dazzling paper costumes that are donned by hundreds of paraders along the streets of Foz. The procession ends with a holy dip in the sea.

🗺 Take a look at our Foz neighbourhood guide

📍 Check out the best things to do in Porto

Ana Patrícia Silva
Jornalista de Música, Time Out Porto
Advertising

Smack bang between Harvard and MIT, Cambridge’s Central Square is an effervescent nightlife hub filled with students, creatives, academics and townies alike. Along Massachusetts Avenue, you’ll find timeworn taverns and shiny craft breweries, restaurants serving everything from tapas to traditional Tibetan food, live music venues renowned for jazz and indie rock, and nightclubs playing salsa, chart hits and underground techno. Living up to Cambridge’s socially conscious rep, the neighbourhood also has a string of sustainably minded businesses, including several vintage stores, an open-air farmers’ market and Daily Table: a nonprofit community grocery store.

The perfect day: Browse second-hand stores like Cheapo Records, Boomerangs and The Garment District, before grabbing a bev at Artifact Cider Project or the brand-new Blue Owl Rooftop. Tuck into something at newcomer Cloud & Spirits or longtime plant-based fave Veggie Galaxy, then finish your day with a show at Middle East or a boogie at Havana Club.

Plan your trip: For Cambridge Dance Party, on the last Friday in June, when tens of thousands pack Central Square’s streets for a public rager featuring live DJs and a light show in front of City Hall.

🗺 Take a look at our Central Square neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Boston

📍 Check out the best things to do in Boston

https://media.timeout.com/images/105799608/image.jpg
Olivia Vanni
Food & Culture Editor, Time Out Boston
Mount Pleasant, Vancouver
Photograph: LeonWang / Shutterstock.com

40. Mount Pleasant, Vancouver

While the creek that fuelled Vancouver’s nineteenth-century brewery boom is long gone from Mount Pleasant, this historic neighbourhood remains the city’s go-to spot for craft beer – it’s easy to hit half a dozen tasting rooms in an afternoon on foot. The otherwise nondescript industrial and office buildings of this ever-evolving area are festooned with multi-storey murals, while its classic brick warehouses and storefronts are home to great vintage stores, galleries and artists’ studios. The neighbourhood vibe is perhaps best captured by Dude Chilling Park, so named after a guerrilla art installation mimicking an official city sign kept appearing with this name. Locals rallied to make the sign official, and it now has public art status.

The perfect day: Line your stomach with a peanut butter and jelly doughnut, plus locally roasted coffee, at 49th Parallel before strolling down Main Street to the cluster of breweries between 8th and 2nd avenues. Finish your night with craft cocktails at The Narrow Lounge or catch a show at the Fox Cabaret.

Plan your trip: For the Vancouver Mural Festival, in August, which culminates in an epic street party with multiple stages across Mount Pleasant.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Vancouver

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820926/image.jpg
Christina Newberry
Contributing journalist, Canada
Advertising
Jamestown, Accra
Photograph: Danilo Marocchi / Shutterstock.com

41. Jamestown, Accra

The vibrant neighbourhood of Jamestown sure has rich history, but it’s the people, the food, the art that make this a truly magical place to live right now. Throughout the pandemic, the community in this area of the Ghanaian capital has rallied together like never before, and we can’t imagine having spent it anywhere else. There are many monuments and architectural masterpieces here – see, notably, the Ussher Fort and the Jamestown Lighthouse, built in the 1930s. To really get a feel for Accra’s oldest neighbourhood, you’ll want to climb up the latter’s 92ft tower, painted red and white and attached to a gallery. The views at the top are spectacular.

The perfect day: Play it by ear. Start your morning with a wholesome breakfast at Jamestown Café, but then wander and see where the neighbourhood takes you. Our treats are packed with popular restaurants – each has its own atmosphere, and none will fail to please. As the sun sets, have another mooch and spend the evening at one of the community’s several iconic pubs.

Plan your trip: For Chale Wote street art festival, in July and August, which invites artists from all over the world to exhibit their works throughout the neighbourhood.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820516/image.jpg
Maajoa Asabea Yeboah Contributing journalist, Ghana
Centro, Oaxaca
Photograph: Jess Kraft / Shutterstock.com

42. Centro, Oaxaca

Mountains, mezcal and memelas: the magic trio that keeps Oaxaca firmly in the running as one of our favourite cities in the world. In Centro, the historic heart of the city, you’ll find a vibrant community of artists and a disproportionate number of talented chefs. Expect the Oaxacan knack for culinary greatness to surpass your wildest dreams, and to share your food over locally made mezcal and endless good stories. With an abundance of craft markets and art galleries on every street, it’s also the place to get your culture fix. There are countless opportunities to learn from and support indigenous artists here, and if you’re in town, we really recommend taking an art class. You can count of there being plenty of breathtaking landscapes to inspire you.

The perfect day: Hit up Mercado Sánchez Pascuas, then take your fresh fruit and breakfast tacos down to El Llano, a beautiful park with panoramic views. Stick around there for a few hours, then head to El Anhelo, an independent bookshop and cultural space with a rich events programme.

Plan your trip: For July’s Guelaguetza Festival: a technicolour celebration of indigenous culture – all epic dance moves and dazzling costumes – that’ll really make you fall in love with the city.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Oaxaca

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820927/image.jpg
Amara Amaryah Contributing journalist, Mexico
Advertising
Mouassine, Marrakech
Photograph: cktravels.com / Shutterstock.com

43. Mouassine, Marrakech

Everything old is new again in Mouassine, Marrakech’s most fashionable neighbourhood in the sixteenth century. Back then it was populated by wealthy merchants, royalty and Jewish settlers, who built its stately riads, mosques, shrines and fondouks. Recently renovated, it is now experiencing a renaissance, with new design shops, bars and restaurants rubbing shoulders with traditional craft stores and antique shops. Two historic riad gardens have also been revived: Le Jardin Secret, by acclaimed landscaper Tom Stuart-Smith, and the Dar el-Bacha palace, which has an ornate café at its heart. During lockdown, Mouassine’s private gardens came into their own, while the community banded together with initiatives like Henna Café’s soup kitchen. When visitors return, this will be the place to be – particularly the vast new roof terrace of Riad El Fenn.

The perfect day: Start with a single-origin coffee and a plate of pastries at Bacha Coffee, then browse the surrounding shops and fondouks. Lunch at L’Mida, spend the afternoon in Le Jardin Secret and finish with dinner at El Fenn.

Plan your trip: Marrakech was hammered by the pandemic, and there are few big events on the cards just yet. However, just before Covid hit, Mouassine was fully renovated, with streets relaid and shopfronts done up. What better excuse to head out for a trip in 2022?

📍 Check out the best things to do in Marrakech

https://media.timeout.com/images/105821065/image.jpg
Paula Hardy
Contributing journalist, Morocco
Dubai Marina, Dubai
Photograph: Sriya Pixels / Shutterstock.com

44. Dubai Marina, Dubai

From waterfront food trucks to flashy fine-dining establishments, discreet izakayas to sky-high rooftop bars, Dubai Marina is home to some of the city’s most on-trend places to eat and drink. And best of all, pretty much all of them come with a jaw-dropping view. Starting a health kick post-lockdown? You’re in the right place, too. Here you’ll find more than seven kilometres of waterside running and cycling tracks to whizz around – and you can hire a bike from one of several rental stations if you want to pedal without fully committing to the Lycra lifestyle. Add to that all the excellent vegan cafés, yoga studios and the fact it’s just a short stroll to the beach, and there’s surely no cooler neighbourhood in town.

The perfect day: Throw on your gym wear and head to The Platform for an early-morning HIIT class. Head for heights? Reach speeds of up to 80km/h on the world’s longest urban zipline, which soars across the Marina. Fuel up with a trip to Jason Atherton’s Marina Social for superb views and a slab of beef Wellington, before popping over to brand-new hangout KŌYŌ for drinks and kabuki-style entertainment.

Plan your trip: To ascend Ain Dubai, the world’s largest observation wheel, which opens on October 21. You could also time your trip to make the most of Dubai Expo 2020, which runs until March 31 2022.

🗺 Take a look at our Dubai Marina neighbourhood guide

📍 Check out the best things to do in Dubai

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820462/image.jpg
Amy Mathieson Managing Editor, Time Out Dubai
Advertising
Kadikoy, Istanbul
Photograph: YoncaEvren / Shutterstock.com

45. Kadikoy, Istanbul

All over the world, the pandemic has made people acutely aware of what they really want from their neighbourhoods. And in Istanbul, that meant more and more locals flocked to Kadikoy. With its ribbon of seaside featuring both green space and a bike path, and its abundance of stylish coffee shops with streetside seating, Kadikoy might be the city’s most liveable district. By day, cafés burble with conversation. By night, streets are full of revelry as people spill out of bars onto the pavement. Artist workshops and tattoo parlours dot the alleyways of Yeldeğirmeni, while Moda’s tea gardens offer a shaded place to soak up sea views. From morning through to night, no other neighbourhood in Istanbul is quite as exciting – or fulfilling – as Kadikoy.

The perfect day: Start your day with a full breakfast spread at Naga Putrika, where organic produce is served under a leafy canopy, before strolling along the recently revitalised Moda Seaside Park. Finish the day at Fahrī Konsolos, a one-man bar featuring Istanbul’s most innovative cocktails.

Plan your trip: For Yaz Festivali, a big summer celebration run by Kadikoy municipality, which puts on gigs, movies and other performances throughout the neighbourhood’s seaside parks.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820503/image.jpg
Katie Nadworny Contributing journalist, Turkey
Poblacion, Manila
Photograph: Shutterstock

46. Poblacion, Manila

Just around the corner from Makati’s Central Business District, you’ll find Poblacion: a treasure trove of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and speakeasies. Once best known for its red light district, the area today brims with old apartments-turned-businesses and hostels that draw an eclectic mix of locals and visitors from the 15 other districts that make up Manila. The pandemic has made most indoor dining a no-go even now, but an array of outdoor galleries, rooftop bars and open-air art spaces mean it’s still pretty easy to have fun here. While several institutions have been forced to shut down over the past year, cherished haunts like Agimat Foraging and Kitchen Bar and Alamat have survived – expect tasty pulutan (Filipino tapas) and thoughtfully crafted cocktails.

The perfect day: Try goto, a form of porridge with tripe in a ginger-garlic broth, at Goto Monster. It may sound daunting, but is just the thing if you’ve had a heavy night the day before. Then stroll around the Makati Poblacion Park, and explore Makati Museum and seventeenth-century St Peter’s Church. Finish your day at Agimat Foraging Bar, before grabbing a nightcap at Z Hostel.

Plan your trip: For Bailes Delos Arcos (Dancers of the Arch), on June 29, a festival that involves dancers from select families in Barangay Poblacion jiving in honour of the area’s patron saints.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Manila

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820638/image.jpg
Shirin Bhandari Contributing journalist, Philippines
Advertising
Ari, Bangkok
Photograph: Kittipong Chararoj / Shutterstock.com

47. Ari, Bangkok

There were times in the past when we thought Ari had too many people, too many condo developments, too many built-for-Instagram coffee shops. But over the past year or so, we’ve come to realise that this area has everything a properly liveable neighbourhood should: charming tree-lined alleyways, families who’ve lived here for generations, an amazing variety of food options, and easy access to markets and green space. And if that weren’t enough, the district has become even more appealing during Covid. Since March 2020, the Ari community has banded together to care for their own. When food was scarce, a tiny mobile grocer popped up. When lockdown restrictions prevented many face-to-face encounters, virtual gatherings became a thing. The cafés and galleries that made Ari such a hit pre-pandemic have remained resilient throughout the crisis. And now Thailand is beginning, tentatively, to open up to the world again, we’re hopeful many of the neighbourhood’s creative and eco-friendly initiatives will be able to inspire just as many visitors as locals.

A perfect day: Grab Bavarian-style breads from Landhaus or miso caramel-filled croissants from Qraft. Next, take a wander through the neighbourhood’s leafy streets and check out Numthong Gallery, which has excellent rotating contemporary art shows. Hungry again? Try the old-school Thai dishes at Puengchom or northern delights at Ong Tong. And if you fancy going hard? Stroll down the main road to Aqua, a courtyard compound that brims with buzzing bars.

Plan your trip: For basically any time of year. Ari is a very residential sort of place, and you shouldn’t expect to find many blowout festivals or other big events here. Instead, come whenever the weather beckons, and you’ll find laidback vibes that persist year round.

🗺 Take a look at our Ari neighbourhood guide

https://media.timeout.com/images/105804676/image.jpg
Top Koaysomboon
Editor-in-Chief, Time Out Bangkok
Koregaon Park, Pune
Photograph: Julia Mustivaya / Shutterstock.com

48. Koregaon Park, Pune

Aka the Oxford of the East, Pune is a student city par excellence. And with its cheaper cost of living, decent weather, proximity to nature and relative lack of traffic, it’s no wonder so many people – of all ages – have moved here from Mumbai over the past year. The hottest neighbourhood in town right now is Koregaon Park, whose array of breweries, small food shops, antique stores and chic cafés have proved a particular draw – not to mention the ‘meditation resort’ of Osho Ashram. If you’re looking for a break from the urban chaos of Mumbai, this is your ’hood.

The perfect day: Kick off with a hearty breakfast of smoothie bowls and eggs at Chafa Café & Studio. Take a walk around the city’s quiet lanes and kick back among the plush bungalows surrounding Osho Ashram. Drop by Savya Rasa for an indulgent south Indian meal and follow it up with a trip to the boho market on the main street. As the sun sets, you’ll notice the streets getting busier – head down to The Daily All Day for an aperitif and end your night with beers and steak at Botequim Cervejaria.

Plan your trip: For Ganesh Utsav, a ten-day cultural festival in August that features bright lights, musical processions and plenty of larger-than-life icons.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Pune

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820924/image.jpg
Kasturi Gadge
Contributing journalist, India
Advertising
El Arrayán, Santiago
Photograph: Matt Maynard

49. El Arrayán, Santiago

This mountain-fringed enclave is where Santiago stops and the Cordillera de los Andes begins. Down in the smoky city below, citizens are currently divided over the important rewriting of their constitution. But up here in Arrayán, a neighbourhood that time forgot, arriero cowboys can still be seen riding through the streets, and hitchhikers are often picked up by friendly locals. At around 1,000 metres above sea level, the inhabited lower swathe of the valley is warmed by the raco Andean winds in winter and cooled in summer by the river that tumbles through the cactus-studded Los Nogales Nature Sanctuary.

The perfect day: Start at dawn with a stiff hike up Cerro Pochoco, which has epic views across to the sacred Inca burial site on Cerro El Plomo. You’ll want the prize-winning empanadas from Rosalia’s afterwards. Next, stroll along the Mapocho river to the skatepark, frequented by kids from both sides of Chile’s uneven tracks. Grab dinner on the plaza in the botanical surrounds of fusion restaurant Mastica, then head over the road to dive bar Taberna Sátira for live music and a nightcap.

Plan your trip: For Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day), on September 18, when Chileans head to Parque Las Rosas for traditional kite-flying. Order the caldillo de congrio speciality stew at local institution Dona Tiña while you’re there.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105820560/image.jpg
Matt Maynard Contributing journalist, Chile
Recommended

    More on coolest neighbourhoods

      You may also like
        Advertising