Open air swimming in Havn, Copenhagen
Photograph: Astrid Maria Rasmussen

The 40 coolest neighbourhoods in the world

We polled thousands of city-dwellers and grilled local experts to rank the greatest places for fun, food, culture and community

Grace Beard

It’s that time again. Every year, we ask thousands of city-dwellers to tell us the coolest spots in their cities. What are the places locals love and visitors flock to? Where are the exciting new openings across food, drink and culture? Where are people going out, hanging out and having fun?

For the sixth year running, the results are in. Over 12,000 people had their say in this year’s shortlist, naming the neighbourhoods in their hometowns where everyone wants to be right now. Then, we narrowed down the selection with the insight and expertise of city editors and local experts who know their cities better than anyone else. To create and rank the final list, we considered factors including community and social ventures, access to open and green space, and thriving street life.

In 2023, our neighbourhoods are more global than ever before. The rise and rise in post-pandemic digital nomadism has led to an explosion of brand-new community spaces, multi-purpose culture centres and more cafés than we can count on two hands. But while most of these neighbourhoods have experienced a transformation over recent years, they remain resolutely local at heart. Slick new developments and cool cafés might bring in new crowds, but neighbourhood stalwarts – from old pubs to family greengrocers – keep it real. 

The world’s coolest neighbourhoods this year are, therefore, places with big personalities. Each area’s diversity is reflected in its food, culture and festivals. Community is key: locals have banded together to rebuild their neighbourhood after disaster, to protest the demolition of much-loved cultural venues or simply to create spaces where people can come together and have some fun. Be it at an all-nighter or on a nighttime bike ride, these neighbourhoods are where the city comes to play. 

So, ready to explore? These 40 spots are the world’s coolest neighbourhoods to be in right now. See you out there.

🏘️ The world’s coolest streets in 2024
🌆 The world’s best cities in 2024

The world’s coolest neighbourhoods in 2023

1. Laureles

Medellín, Colombia

Colombian singer Karol G hasn’t released any hit songs about Laureles like she has about nearby El Poblado, but it feels like it’s only a matter of time. The neighbourhood is home to the famed nightlife strip known as La 70 – where every bar and restaurant floor can turn into a dance floor with the right song – and Estadio Atanasio Girardot, Medellin’s main fútbol stadium and concert venue. And while you might think all of this would make Laureles a bit noisy and hectic, the neighbourhood actually has a pretty laidback reputation. The area outside of La 70 offers tranquillity in the form of parks, tree-lined streets, yoga studios and countless coffee shops. And with the area’s vastly improved restaurant scene and central location, it’s easy to see why digital nomad-friendly highrises such as Indie Universe and Los Patios Cool Living are springing up there. But don’t expect this area to be overrun by expats and tourists like Poblado. Laureles still has a traditional Colombian neighbourhood feel, despite its growing popularity. Fruit vendors push their carts through the circular streets like they have for decades – only now they might know a little more English than they used to.

The perfect day Rise and shine in the new Living by Armóniko, then grab your morning coffee from Rituales Café, which proudly serves coffee cultivated in La Sierra – a reborn Medellin neighbourhood that overcame a violent past. Enjoy a healthy lunch at Saludpan and an authentic Mexican dinner at Chilaquiles before ending your night dancing salsa in the basement of the no-frills Tíbiri Bar.

Plan your trip Colectivo SiCLas meets at Carlos E. Restrepo Park every Wednesday for a lively nighttime bike ride that draws 400 to 500 people on average. Don’t have a bike? They’ll lend you one.

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Colombia
Luis Gomez
Contributor, Medellín

2. Smithfield

Dublin, Ireland

Smithfield represents the Dublin that refuses to disappear. This Dublin 7 neighbourhood is a space where tradition and activism meet, where long-standing stalwarts co-exist alongside exciting new ventures. You’ll not only find The Cobblestone, a historic pub known as the home of traditional Irish music in Dublin (which saw thousands of musicians march in protest when it was threatened with being knocked down in 2021) but new businesses like Third Space. This social enterprise café serves homemade sausage rolls with bacon jam, all-the-while making the neighbourhood a better place to live. Though the old Smithfieldian haunts (thankfully) remain, the once-empty spaces that sat beside them are today filled with independent bars, vegan-friendly restaurants, artisanal cafés and sourdough pizza shops – deeming the area a must-visit for anyone swayed by no-frills, post-industrial charm.

The perfect day Wake up at The Generator before crossing the square to grab a flat white and Cardi B (a cardamom-infused brioche bun) from Proper Order. Then, walk towards Phoenix Park to spot some deer (or if you’re lucky, catch a sight of the president’s Bernese Mountain Dogs, Bród and Misneach). From there, head for Token, the retro arcade that serves excellent vegan eats. Catch an indie film at the Light House Cinema, then head to Fish Shop, the tiny seafood restaurant (with a killer wine list) where fish and chips are made with high flair. Finally, choose between grabbing a snug at Frank Ryans or making a night of it at The Complex, the live arts centre famous for warehouse raves (sober or otherwise) and art exhibitions.

Plan your trip The Smithfield Fleadh (pronounced ‘flah,’), held on the last weekend of August, is the time to visit for two days of live Irish music, local art and hazy, summer evening pints.

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Dublin

📍 Check out the best things to do in Dublin

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Dublin
Kate Demolder Contributor, Ireland

3. Carabanchel

Madrid, Spain  

Once known as a proper working-class area outside Madrid’s ring road, Carabanchel has turned into the city’s latest version of SoHo – it’s now buzzing with trendy art galleries and cutting-edge creative spaces. You've got locals who've lived here for donkey's years nipping to the traditional food markets crossing paths with artists who've moved to escape the city centre hustle at spots like the Nave Oporto studio. Yes, like any up-and-coming neighbourhood, the spectre of gentrification is hovering about: the area keeps attracting modern art and design hotspots, like young architects' collective Casa Antillón and Madrid’s biggest and boldest art gallery Veta. But the old-school local joints are still going strong – pop into tapas spot La Casa de los Minutejos for the best pig's ear in town. The area's green spaces have had a facelift too, like the stunning gardens and palace of Finca Vistalegre, recently open to the public.

The perfect day Start with a banging brekkie at Merinas, a new café that also puts on art shows. Head to Sabrina Amrani Gallery for some culture, then discuss the art over a glass of wine and a cheese board at La Grifería. Follow it up with something a bit heartier, like the traditional gallinejas (fried intestines) at Casa Enriqueta. In the afternoon, try some home-brewed beer at Patanel – then grab another at El Observatorio Musical, where you can wander through rehearsal spaces and watch the sunset from the rooftop. Up for a big one? Catch a rock gig at the legendary Gruta 77.

Plan your trip Carabanchel is home to the Pradera de San Isidro, the main event of Madrid's celebrations for its patron saint every May 15. You've got free concerts, traditional food stalls and family-friendly activities for a solid ten days.

🏘️ Discover more great neighbourhoods in Madrid

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Madrid

📍 Check out the best things to do in Madrid
Marta Bac
Directora editorial, Time Out Madrid

4. Havnen

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen’s city architect Camilla van Deurs describes Havnen, Copenhagen’s harbour, as the city’s living room – and we can’t disagree. It’s the place where the city comes to play, whether that’s on boats, floating rafts, paddleboards, kayaks or in its swimming pools. People swim, take solar-powered Go Boats out on the water, rent the free Green Kayak to look for trash as they paddle, and even go urban fishing. ‘Havnen’ is arguably any space by Copenhagen’s harbour, from Sydhavn in the south to the architectural hotspot of Nordhavn in the north, but it’s liveliest around Nyhavn. Here, the Royal Danish Theatre and its hangout space Ofelia Plads overlook the water, and the Kissing Bridge leads to the brand-new Opera Park. But the whole area is seeing a host of new openings, including much-hyped bakery Hart Bageri Holmen and the new ‘urban oasis’ at Papiroen. It’s no wonder everyone wants to be waterfront right now. 

The perfect day Wake up at Kaj Hotel, a floating houseboat hotel, and start your day with the excellent sourdough bread at Hart Bageri. Wander up the harbour from here to Opera Park and head to La Banchina for lunch. Take a dip in the harbour next to it and let off steam in the restaurant’s sauna. Go Boat your way around the harbour in the afternoon, then retire to Rosforth & Rosforth or Den Vandrette for drinks and dinner. 

Plan your trip For long nights and lazy days, it’s got to be summer. But if you’re in the mood for challenging yourself with a bracing winter swim, the city opens new public saunas this winter.

🧳 How to spend the perfect weekend in Copenhagen

📍 These are the best things to do in Copenhagen

Laura Hall
Contributor, Copenhagen

5. Sheung Wan

Hong Kong

Once a neighbourhood known for its coffin shops and funeral-related services, Sheung Wan is now one of Hong Kong's liveliest districts. This is the only place in Hong Kong where you can find a mix of historic temples, antique stores, and dried seafood stalls alongside contemporary art galleries, Melbourne-style cafes, stylish boutiques, and contemporary restaurants. You’ll find hipsters and their pets in chic cafes, while older generations explore bustling wet markets and seafood stalls that stretch all the way to Sai Ying Pun. You’ll never go hungry in this district, with options to chow down on affordable dim sum or sit down for an indulgent omakase or global cuisine at Michelin-starred restaurants. Conveniently just one MTR stop away from Central, you can book accommodations in any CBD hotel or stay nearby at boutique venues like The Sheung Wan by Ovolo or check into The Figo, where your four-legged friends are also welcome.

The perfect day Start your day at Tai Ping Shan Street and grab coffee and breakfast at one of the many pet-friendly cafes. Soul Fresh is a great choice for smoothies and fluffy pandan cake. Visit Pak Sing Ancestral Hall and pray to be blessed with true love, or head to Man Mo Temple to wish for success. Explore the area’s many contemporary galleries, or if you're into history, visit Liang Yi Museum, which houses a collection of Ming and Qing Dynasty furniture. Capture some Instagram-worthy shots of the area’s murals, created for the 2023 HKwalls street art festival. For dinner, do your best to bag a table at Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant The Chairman, and finish off with well-crafted cocktails at Mostly Harmless

Plan your trip Experience the neighbourhood’s creative side at Art Month in March. Contemporary galleries host exhibitions while local bars and restaurants organise pop-ups to celebrate the festivities. 

🗺 Check out our Sheung Wan neighbourhood guide 

☕ Visit the best cafés in Sheung Wan

🍽 The best restaurants in Sheung Wan
Tatum Ancheta
Editor-in-Chief, Time Out Hong Kong

6. Brunswick East


Move over Brunswick, Fitzroy and Carlton – this eclectic (and increasingly cool) Northside neighbourhood is ready to emerge from the suburban shadows. Sandwiched between Lygon Street and the lush trails of Merri Creek, Brunswick East is fast emerging as a vibrant go-to hub for multicultural eateries, live music venues and cosy bars that you’ll find yourself returning to again and again. It’s serviced by two major tram lines, which makes for an easy hop between top-notch watering holes like Bahama Gold, Noisy Ritual and the B.East. Brunswick East today feels like a community-focused urban village – a far cry from the area’s industrial past, which can be seen in remnants of old textile factories.

The perfect day Kick-start your day the way all good Melburnians do, with coffee and carbs from the legends at Wild Life Bakery (pro tip: arrive early to snag a sourdough loaf for later). You’ll want to allow plenty of time to hit the shops, especially Lygon Street Nursery and Northcote Pottery Supplies (don’t let the name fool you, you’re still in the correct postcode). All that retail therapy can be hungry work, so head to CDMX, home to what Time Out Melbourne’s food and drink writer has declared ‘the best tacos in the city’. Then settle in for a vinyl sesh at Waxflower – natural wine in hand, of course.

Plan your trip There’s always something going on at CERES, a sustainable oasis located alongside Merri Creek. Equal parts community garden, environmental education centre, urban farm and social enterprise hub, you can easily while away a whole day here. Check out their website for upcoming workshops and events.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Melbourne

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Melbourne
Leah Glynn
Melbourne Editor

7. Mid-City

New Orleans, USA

Not far from the French Quarter – accessible via streetcar, by bike or on foot along the Lafitte Greenway – is Mid-City, which sits midway between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. The spotlight shines on Mid-City during the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival at the Fairgrounds, but it’s a top neighbourhood any time of year. The area is home to a tight, diverse local community that bonded through having experienced extensive flooding following the 2005 levee failures and expanded with an influx of Latinx workers who helped with the rebuild. You’ll find artsy crowds and colourful houses in the Bayou St. John area, historical landmarks along Bayou Road, and centuries-old oaks in City Park. The neighbourhood, particularly along Carrollton Avenue and the surrounding blocks, boasts classic bars, restaurants, breweries and sno-ball stands. Many businesses – and families – have proudly made Mid-City their home for generations.

The perfect day Stroll around City Park and wake up with a cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde, then visit the impressive New Orleans Museum of Art and its Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Browse local art, jewellery and gifts at Home Malone before heading to Parkway Bakery & Tavern, a must for one of the best po’boys in the city. Afterwards, rent a kayak and paddle around Bayou St. John, or pick up some Italian sweets at Angelo Brocato. Grab a pre-dinner drink at Finn McCool’s or a glass of wine at Swirl, then check out Mandina’s for traditional Creole-Italian specialities and fried seafood platters. For something a more refined, try French spot Cafe Degas. Wrap up the night with some live music from the intimate stage at Chickie Wah Wah. To rest your head? The charming Canal Street Inn is a longstanding gem on the Canal Streetcar line.

Plan your trip Along with Jazz Fest and Bayou Boogaloo – there’s always a festival happening in the ‘hood – the holiday season is particularly special with City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks and Lafitte Greenway’s Supernova.

📍 Check out the best things to do in New Orleans

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in New Orleans

Gerrish Lopez
Contributor, New Orleans

8. Isola

Milan, Italy

Fun fact: the name Isola – island – derives from the fact the district was ‘cut off’ from the rest of Milan from the railway line that runs by it. And before the 2015 Expo, many people wouldn’t have had a reason to cross that railway line. Seven years and a whole requalification later, Isola is claiming the title of Milan’s coolest district. Just north of the city centre – you can walk to Parco Sempione and the fancy Brera area in around 20 minutes from here – this lively, high-energy quarter is home to colourful street art, excellent bars and restaurants (hello Bob, Frida, Ratana, and Casa Ramen), and indie shops and galleries that are becoming a rarity in other parts of the Italian city (check out Ambroeus for vintage wares and Key Gallery for creative inspiration). But Isola isn’t just your standard hipster enclave – what makes this neighbourhood stand out is how it maintains its local heart, with all that edgy and new balanced out by the old and unpretentious. A longstanding weekly outdoor market provides the community with fresh produce, the local butcher or florist know everyone’s name, and architecture ranges from elegant 1920s buildings to case di ringhiera, a type of traditional housing common throughout Milan. 

The perfect day Pastry shop L’Ile Douce is the best spot to start your day – order a traditional Milanese brioche with an espresso, and watch the neighbourhood slowly wake up. Keep an eye out for street art as you mosey around the streets, then stop for lunch at Deus Cafe, which is part café, part workshop, and part cycle store. The afternoon could be spent exploring artistic tombs and monuments at Cimetero Monumentale; checking out Milan’s ‘Vertical Forest’ Bosco Verticale, or vintage shopping at Room 37 or Live in Vintage. Being in Milan, you can’t skip aperitivo. Go to Bob for well-mixed cocktails or E…brezza for wine, then try snagging a seat at Ratana for contemporary takes on traditional Milanese cuisine. Jazz club Blue Note is where you want to end the evening – check their calendar to see who’s playing. 

Plan your trip For the Salone del Mobile, aka Milan Design Week, held annually in April. The neighbourhood holds exhibitions, pop-ups and performances under the Isola Design Festival banner, all of which are open to the public.

🧳 How to spend a weekend in Milan

📍 Check out the best things to do in Milan

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Milan
Marianna Cerini
Contributor, Milan

9. West

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam West has it all. Hip, cosy and creative, the area is a unique blend of Dutch heritage and international energy. Bordering the tourist havens of the Jordaan and Museumkwartier, Amsterdam West remains resolutely local-centric, despite the area being jam-packed with the sort of aesthetic and architectural qualities you regularly associate with Amsterdam. Roads like De Clercqstraat, Kinkerstraat, and Overtoom are lined with tall, narrow brick buildings and packed with boutiques, multicultural eateries and trendy cafés. But go one road over and you’ll find peaceful residential streets and canals worth idly exploring for hours. This range is echoed throughout the neighbourhood: you have Museum Het Schip, a living tribute to the Amsterdam School style of architecture; there’s Westerpark, a community space that’s both a gorgeous bit of public green land and a renovated industrial area filled with venues, bars, and businesses; as well as De School, one of Europe’s premier nightclubs that’s on the bleeding edge of electronic sounds.

The perfect day Wake up in the traditional surrounds of Hotel Alp before grabbing a coffee at Back to Black. From here, stroll into Westerpark to soak up some nature. For a delicious brunch, visit Dignita and then head south to explore Bilderdijkstraat, a perfect street for snacking and shopping. When that’s done, reward yourself with some drinks at a wonderful bar like Cafe l’Affiche or Bar Mimi, before feasting on out-of-this-world pizza at nNea (book ahead!). To polish off your day, either go for a boogie at De School or, if you want something more laidback, catch a classic movie at Lab111 and then spend some time discussing it at the vibey Bar Strangelove.

Plan your trip There’s no bad time to be in Amsterdam West, but when autumn arrives and the nights get longer, the area sparkles with lights that make it extra magical to meander around.

🧳 How to spend a weekend in Amsterdam

📍 Check out the best things to do in Amsterdam

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Amsterdam
Callum Booth
Contributor, Amsterdam

10. Tomigaya

Tokyo, Japan

Even though it’s less than 15 minutes’ walk from Shibuya Crossing, Tomigaya seems a world apart from the frenetic pace of the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing. Here, the multi-storey buildings and crisscrossing train lines of central Shibuya give way to low-rises and quiet residential streets. The pace feels more relaxed and the businesses are more independent and mom-and-pop. Despite Tomigaya’s unassuming low profile, there’s no shortage of trendy cafés and stylish stores here, burrowed in side streets among fantastic restaurants and local grocers. But what makes Tomigaya even more appealing is its proximity to one of Tokyo’s largest green spaces, Yoyogi Park, which hosts everything from food festivals to cultural celebrations. 

The perfect day Start off at Beasty Coffee for fresh roasts and matcha terrine, or Minimal for artisanal chocolate and a whimsical plated dessert. Come lunchtime, family-run Katsudonya Zuicho makes a reliable katsudon (deep-fried pork cutlet and egg on rice) while Taberu Fukudaitoryo’s Bib Gourmand-rated spicy pork vindaloo is one of Tokyo’s best cheap eats. Start the evening with a cocktail at The Bellwood – in fact, hang around until 11pm and you’ll get to try the bar’s modern take on ramen. Rest your head at the newly-opened Trunk Hotel Yoyogi Park, which has a gorgeous rooftop infinity pool overlooking one of Tokyo’s greenest spaces.

Plan your trip At any time of year, there’s always an event or festival happening over at Yoyogi Park. But there’s no better time than spring, when the park’s cherry blossoms burst into full bloom between late March and mid-April.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Tomigaya
Lim Chee Wah
Editor-in-Chief, Time Out Tokyo

11. Baltic Triangle

Liverpool, UK

15 years ago, what is now known as the Baltic Triangle was nothing more than a collection of largely abandoned shipping warehouses. But thanks to a huge regeneration project, they’re now populated by some of the best restaurateurs, artists and creatives in the city. Only a short walk from Liverpool's iconic Albert Dock, the Baltic – as it's often affectionately termed – is where you’ll experience the city’s younger side, as lots of 20-and-30-somethings call this corner of Liverpool home. Skateparks, independent coffee shops and small galleries occupy the space between street art-adorned warehouses. There's also a budding food scene in the area, including the newly-opened Manifest, which has already been give the nod from Michelin. But most Liverpudlians make their way to the Baltic post-dinner, as the neighbourhood is bursting with options for a really good night out.

The perfect day Wake up in one of The Baltic Hotel’s boutique bedrooms, then grab a pastry from nearby coffee shop Baltic Bakehouse. Spend the day browsing the neighbourhood’s fantastic shops, starting at independent florist Mary Mary Florals, then heading to vintage emporium Red Brick Market and finishing off with Dorothy, an eclectic studio-gift shop hybrid. For dinner, fill your boots with street food at the Baltic Market. If it’s a warm evening, head to the Botanical Gin Garden or book yourself in for a tribute night at Camp and Furnace. Still raring to go? 24 Kitchen Street is an iconic spot for late-night dance music.

Plan your trip If you want to experience the Baltic Triangle like a local, book your trip in May to coincide with The Baltic Weekender, a dance music event spanning almost every bar and club in the area. 

📍 The best things to do in Liverpool
Alice Porter
Contributing Writer, Liverpool

12. Cours Julien

Marseille, France

A hotbed for graffiti in the early ‘90s when hip hop took root in Marseille, Cours Julien is as happening as ever three decades later. Street artists have adorned the staircase that leads to this Quartier des Créateurs, just up the hill from bustling Vieux-Port and multicultural Noailles. The cobblestone streets are chock-a-block with vintage boutiques, indie designers, live music venues and eclectic cafés that are popular with the city’s booming creative class. Once home to Marseille’s wholesale produce market, Cours Ju serves up a smorgasbord of eats and drinks, from Lebanese mezze at Asabiya to natural wine at bar/bistro Livingston. Tuck in on tree-lined patios that buzz from morning to night – and if you want to explore further, Cours Julien’s popularity has spilled over into Notre-Dame-du-Mont, the neighbourhood that directly sides up against it. Stroll Rue Fontange to get a taste. 

The perfect day Perk up and people-watch at Black Bird Coffee. Shop for vintage treasures along Rue Trois Mages, artisan jewelry on Rue Pastoret, and records at Cave à Vinyle. Grab a Pain Pan sandwich and watch locals play pétanque beside the majestic Palais des Arts. Sip cocktails at Verre à Cruise followed by a locavore meal on the stairs at Limmat. Finish off the night with a show at Espace Julien.  

Plan your trip Shop alongside chefs and locals every Wednesday morning at the Cours Julien Farmers’ Market. Stock up on organic produce, cheese, bread and olive oil for beach picnics, home-cooked meals, or edible souvenirs.

📍 The best things to do in Marseille
Alexis Steinman
Contributor, Marseille

13. Arts District

Los Angeles, USA

Once a railway hub, Downtown LA’s Arts District has since adorned its century-plus-old buildings with vibrant murals, added sidewalk seating and made space for a surprising amount of greenery for a formerly industrial area. A little less arts and a little more luxe these past few years, the neighbourhood now beckons Angelenos for its booming craft brewery and restaurant scene. Tuck into Michelin-starred meals at Hayato, Kato and Camphor, try unexpected riffs on Korean cuisine at Yangban and indulge in two of the very best meals LA has to offer at superb siblings Bestia and Bavel. Getting here is easier than ever, with the recently reopened Metro A and E Line station only a few blocks from the neighbourhood’s closest thing to a walkable center, roughly the intersection of 3rd Street and Traction Avenue.

The perfect day Fuel up with a gourmet twist on street tacos at Ditroit before admiring the art inside a former flour mill at mega gallery Hauser & Wirth. Toast to happy hour at neighbourhood hangout Everson Royce Bar, get a breezy taste of Mexico City atop LA Cha Cha Chá and then go for a joyride along the instantly-iconic new Sixth Street Viaduct. If you need to crash for the night, consider Soho Warehouse or one of the enviable Aribnbs in the area.

Plan your trip Make sure your visit falls over a Sunday when Smorgasburg sets up over 90 food and shopping vendors at ROW DTLA.

🗺️ Take a look at our Arts District neighbourhood guide 

📍 Check out the best things to do in Los Angeles

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Los Angeles
Michael Juliano
Editor, Los Angeles & Western USA

14. Chinatown


Chinatown encapsulates the multifacetedness of Singapore. On the one hand, this culture-rich precinct is home to multiple temples, traditional pastry shops, calming tea houses, and hawker hotspots like Amoy Street Food Centre and Hong Lim Food Centre. But at the same time, it’s teeming with chic nightlife haunts and gay bars – along with some of the best new cafés and restaurants in town. A fresh set of art studios (check out the colourful WOAW Gallery), vintage stores like The Née, and independent boutiques selling everything from pottery to soy candles have emerged in recent months, adding even more flavour to Chinatown’s charming mishmash.

The perfect day Kick off the day at Pearl’s Hill Terrace, starting with a brekkie of fresh shokupan (milk bread) and coffee at Japanese bakery Paaru. Then it’s time to explore Chinatown’s weird and wonderful gems – we’re talking a taxidermy studio, pottery spaces, and even a tattoo parlour that conducts tattoo art jamming sessions using faux skin. Fuel up on affordable local delicacies at one of the nearby hawker centres before visiting the iconic Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, then weave through Pagoda Street to soak in the atmosphere of Chinatown’s street stalls. End things on a high note at White Shades, a four-storey boozy wonderland with cocktails, modern fusion dishes and alcohol-infused gelato. Newly-opened hotel Mondrian Singapore Duxton is a great base to head back to after a day of adventure.

Plan your trip Chinatown is vibrant all year round, but during the Chinese New Year you’ll experience it in its full glory. Larger-than-life lantern displays and performances take over the street, while festive bazaar stalls offer traditional snacks and paraphernalia.

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Singapore

📍 Check out the best things to do in Singapore


15. Fort Greene

New York City, USA

Northwest Brooklyn's Fort Greene – bordered by the Brooklyn Navy Yard to the north, Prospect Heights to the south, and neighbors Downtown Brooklyn to the west and Clinton Hill to the east – is home to a creative nucleus of cultural landmarks, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Center for Fiction and the Pratt Sculpture Park. Along its main arteries – Fulton Street, Lafayette Avenue and Dekalb Avenue – you’ll find wine bars like Place des Fêtes, great casual restaurants like Habana Outpost, local shops like Greenlight Bookstore and plenty of flea markets. Among the neighbourhood’s characteristic Brownstones, walk-ups and rowhouses, these local businesses give this historic enclave its own laidback, community-oriented vibe. Everything here is centered around the sprawling, 30-acre Fort Greene Park, which acts as a public square with regular community get-togethers, markets and sporting events. Fort Greene’s buzzy vibe is offset by its fascinating history: the area exists on the site of a former Revolutionary War fort, and its eponymous park was founded by Brooklyn-born writer Walt Whitman. 

The perfect day Wake up at The Ace Hotel and pop into the Center for Fiction to peruse its bookstore and grab a coffee. Then make a beeline for the GreenMarket at Fort Greene Park and do some shopping at Green in BKLYN for eco goods and at Su'juk Fort Greene for knick-knacks and furniture. Get brunch at Café Paulette, then make your own dainty creation at Urban Glass. Cool off with a happy hour wine glass at Place des Fêtes before dinner at Miss Ada. Finish off with a boogie at Roller Wave or a show at BAM.

Plan your trip In May every year, BAM throws Dance Africa, a full week of live performances, film screenings, festivals, dance parties, markets and bazaars that you can take full advantage of while in Fort Greene. It's the nation’s largest festival dedicated to African diasporic dance and music – don't miss it!

🗺️ Take a look at our Fort Greene neighbourhood guide

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Fort Greene

📍 Check out the best things to do in NYC

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in New York
Shaye Weaver
Editor, Time Out New York

16. Leith

Edinburgh, Scotland

Head to this northern corner of the Scottish capital any night of the week and you’ll find the docks buzzing. Connected to the centre of Edinburgh via the pub-lined Leith Walk, Leith used to be the city’s main trading port – now, those industrial buildings have been given a new lease of life: take the old Biscuit Factory, which is now an arts venue hosting vintage night markets. And while this neighbourhood has been hot news for a while, it’s only going from strength to strength – thanks to indie arts festivals like Hidden Door at Leith Theatre, innovative restaurant spots catching the attention of foodies and, finally, finished tram works. Sure, Leith is undoubtedly more polished than it used to be. But the sense of pride and community fostered by long-time locals and creatives keeps its unique spirit ticking on. 

The perfect day Start with a pastry at Twelve Triangles, one of the area’s many independent bakeries. Take a lazy morning stroll along Leith Walk before exploring Leith Farmers Market (Saturdays 10am to 4pm). Head to the newly Michelin-starred Heron for a late lunch, then wind down your day at one of Leith’s many small-batch breweries (Moonwake’s tropical pale ale will not disappoint). If you want to dance, Leith Arches throws a variety of DJ events, including the ever-popular La Beat Northern Soul Club

Plan your trip Obviously, August in Edinburgh is pretty special thanks to the annual Fringe Festival  – and Leith is actually far enough away from the madness of the festival that you can still enjoy it without being trampled on by crowds. Just remember to pack an umbrella.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Edinburgh
Chiara Wilkinson
Features Editor, UK

17. Enmore

Sydney, Australia

Whether you’re after international flavours, live music, comedy, or a party that stretches into the wee hours, Enmore is where it’s at after dark. Squeezed between the late-night circus of Newtown and last year’s coolest neighbourhood pick, Marrickville, this neighbourhood is where students, boomers, millennials and everyone in between comes to hang out. This March, the local council designated its buzzing thoroughfare Enmore Road a ‘special entertainment precinct’, which ensures the revelry remains undisturbed by noise complaints. Relaxed rules help the area’s venues skip bureaucratic hoop-jumping: they can host entertainment without council approval, extend trading hours, and offer late-night footpath dining. The street is a global buffet – you’ll find world-beating Italian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Sri Lankan, Pakistani, Japanese and Nigerian restaurants here. And there’s a boozer for every mood, whether you want something a little bit country, retro, sophisticated or a humble pub courtyard. 

The perfect day Sleep in and start the day late. Our dinner picks: Colombo Social for Sri Lankan, Osteria di Russo & Russo for Italian, or Queen Chow for Cantonese. Grab a gelato at Cow and the Moon before a show at the Enmore Theatre, where you’ll catch local and international music and comedy acts. Finish with several nightcaps at any of the ace small bars (Enmore Country Club, Bar Louise, Fortunate Son, Jacoby’s). For kick ons, pick between pub royalty: the Queens or the Duke. Soon you’ll be able to hit up new live music venue, the Trocadero Room. If you need a late-night snack, hit up Faheem’s.

Plan your trip Head to Enmore during April and May every year for the Sydney Comedy Festival, and schedule your eating and drinking around stand-up shows at the Enmore Theatre.

🗺️ Take a look at our Enmore neighbourhood guide

📍 Check out the best things to do in Sydney

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Sydney
Alice Ellis
Sydney Editor

18. Costa da Caparica

Almada, Portugal

Across the 25 de Abril bridge from Lisbon lies a stretch of beachside tranquility that some call ‘Capifornia’ in a nod to its surfing waves, long sandy beaches and good weather. Costa da Caparica has always been a summer destination, but in recent years it has welcomed a new, international crowd who are reshaping and revitalising the area. Community is the word: people know each other, help each other and, above all, come together. Take Nico Bernars, a French kite-surfing teacher who moved here five years ago and created Instagram page @opacaparica, now followed by practically everyone in the area for news of the latest community events, parties and get-togethers. Or Claire Taibi, who runs a platform for the women of Costa da Caparica at Every day here, cool stuff is created and small businesses sprout from beachside encounters between members of Costa da Caparica’s creative community, from DJs to surfers.

The perfect day No day in Caparica is complete without a dip in the sea. Settle in comfortably on the Praia do Castelo, where you can while the hours away at multipurpose beach club Irmão. Before leaving, stop at Pussy Galore, a small counter at the entrance of artist Ben Rix’s shop The Wet Patch. This innovative hole-in-the-wall serves an unusual but irresistible combination: banana ice cream and natural wines.

Plan your trip Never before has this area been so lively all year round, but it's still in the summer that Caparica shines, with its beaches and lively terraces. 

📍 The best things to do in Lisbon

🇵🇹 Check out our guide to where to visit in Portugal

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Lisbon
Vera Moura
Directora Editorial, Time Out Portugal

19. Hyde Park

Chicago, USA

Notable for being the home of the University of Chicago and President Barack Obama, Hyde Park embodies the spirit of a small town while providing all the amenities of a bustling metropolis. You’ll find some of the city’s best restaurants, plenty of culture – from the wondrous Museum of Science and Industry to the Hyde Park Art Center – as well as world-renowned architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wander down 53rd Street to explore a variety of charming boutiques and outstanding places to eat, or spend an afternoon soaking up the beauty and splendor of Jackson Park. This multicultural neighbourhood truly fosters a sense of togetherness, exemplified by local businesses like Silver Room – a neighbourhood institution bringing the community together through art and culture.

The perfect day Start your morning with breakfast at Valois, a cafeteria-style restaurant that’s been around since 1921, before heading to Jackson Park. Highlights of the 551-acre green space include the stunning Garden of the Phoenix and Yoko Ono’s ‘Sky Landing’ installation. Follow that up with a tour of the historic Frederick C. Robie House and dinner at chef Erick Williams’ award-winning Southern restaurant, Virtue. If you need a place to crash, boutique hotel SOPHY is just a stone’s throw away.

Plan your trip Late March to early May is typically cherry blossom season in Chicago and Jackson Park, which boasts nearly 200 pink and white trees, is the best place to see the gorgeous blooms.

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Hyde Park

📍 Check out the best things to do in Chicago

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Chicago
Jeffy Mai
Editor, Time Out Chicago

20. West End

Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow has changed. Whatever bad rep this portside city might once have had, it’s now one of the UK’s most exciting places to be – and nowhere in the city is cooler than the West End. With a healthy mix of students, families, and creatives, the community here is ever-evolving and ever-involved. It’s gorgeous to look at too – make sure to stop and take in the view of the gothic University of Glasgow, which towers above Kelvingrove Park. On the West End’s streets, you’ll find trendy vegan coffee shops that share storefronts with decades-old second-hand bookshops – and it’s this blend that keeps the neighbourhood feeling fresh without losing its long-held local charm. It also boasts some of the city’s best eateries, such as local favourite Paesano on Great Western Road.

The perfect day Start your day at Starry Starry Night for a bit of vintage shopping, before heading to Kelvingrove Art Gallery for paintings by Rembrandt, Dali and more. Grab a churro from Loop & Scoop and eat it in the exotic surroundings of the Botanic Gardens. Dine at the iconic Ubiquitous Chip, and then finish off your night with a drink in Brel’s outdoor fairylit beer garden. Retreat back to a suite in the luxurious Alamo Guest Housewith a view of the park to boot. 

Plan your trip GlasGlow is an annual event that runs for a fortnight from the end of October into November. The Botanic Gardens are lit up, creating a colourful wonderland for you to explore while you indulge in great local street food and hot chocolate.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Glasgow
Annie McNamee
Contributor, Time Out London and UK

21. Sea Point

Cape Town, South Africa

Sea Point has long been popular for the five-kilometre seaside promenade and public gardens that draw a refreshingly diverse crowd of locals and tourists. It’s a beautiful slice of Cape Town, but Sea Point is much more than the promenade – leave it behind and discover the vibrant multiculturalism of this 200-year-old suburb just west of downtown. It’s long been home to a Jewish community (the city’s only eruv is here), and today draws a happy mix of young professionals, pan-African migrants and digital nomads. Beyond the seaside promenade, the colourful Main Road is the heart of the action – a space for soaking up street boutiques, on-trend eateries and – of course – admiring the sparkling Atlantic Ocean winking back between the high-rises.

The perfect day Start with coffee at Paris Cape Town for the best croissants in town, then head to the promenade for a wander through the urban park. Pack your cozzie for a dip at the Sea Point Pavilion pool. For lunch, try the global food truck flavours at the Mojo Market, before a slow window-shop along Main Road. Grab coffee and macarons at Coco Safar to fuel up for an afternoon’s kayak adventure from Three Anchor Bay. Have sundowners on the terrace of The Winchester Hotel before dinner at Three Wise Monkeys, one of the best ramen and noodle bars in the city.

Plan your trip Autumn (March-May) is the ‘secret season’ in Cape Town with mild temperatures, little wind, fewer crowds and lower prices.

🏘️ Discover more great neighbourhoods in Cape Town

📍 Check out the best things to do in Cape Town
Richard Holmes
Contributor, South Africa

22. Neukölln

Berlin, Germany

Once a small village on the outskirts of Berlin, Neukölln is now the city’s most exciting district by far. Walk down any of the three main avenues – Hermannstraße, Karl-Marx-Straße and Sonnenallee – and you’ll see family-owned green grocers next to third-wave coffee shops, each a part of the neighbourhood’s distinct Multikulti feel. Neukölln celebrates these differences, and fights for them too: you’ll often find protests and demonstrations outside Rathaus Neukölln or on Hermannplatz. Come rain or come shine, there’s plenty to do – from art exhibitions at the Kindl Brauerei to a stroll across Tempelhofer Feld. And for a night out, Neukölln is unmatched. Natural wine, cheap beers, late-night dancing? You want it, Neukölln’s got it, and with style to spare.

The perfect day A Middle Eastern brunch spread from Azzam is hard to beat. Once you’re done, walk up Flughafenstraße with a pit stop in Slina and Ironic Gallery for some top-tier shopping before taking in Tempelhofer Feld from the the Herrfurthstraße entrance. Once you’re done, drop by Barra to dig into a farm-to-table meal to die for, before bar-hopping up Weserstraße until the early hours of the morning.

Plan your trip To get an insider’s glimpse into the neighbourhood’s culture scene, don't miss the annual 48 Hours Neukölln festival in late June, where hundreds of arts organisations open their doors for visitors.

🧳 How to spend a weekend in Berlin

📍 Check out the best things to do in Berlin
Nathan Ma
Contributor, Berlin

23. Haut-Marais

Paris, France

There’s a reason this is the fourth time we’ve named Haut-Marais the coolest Parisian neighbourhood. This spot, sandwiched between the touristy Marais and the more boho 11th, just keeps on stacking up some of the capital's coolest places. In the zone roughly contained by Rue de Beaubourg, Rue de Turenne and Rue des Haudriettes, you can find everything from top-notch art galleries like Perrotin and Thaddaeus Ropac, fashion havens like Merci, the best cocktail bars in the city, and  Paris’s oldest and buzziest food market Enfants-Rouges, home to the legendary sandwich bar Alain Miam Miam and the prime slabs of meat at The Butcher of Paris (to name a few).

The perfect day Wake up in a hotel dedicated to French literary royalty Maison Proust, then grab breakfast with a Taiwanese twist at Petite Île bakery. Swing by Broken Arm to pick up some snazzy threads, then have lunch at Les Enfants du Marché. Digest while flicking through the art books at Ofr. When cocktail hour arrives, take a tour (responsibly, mind) of some of the city's top bars: Little Red Door, Cambridge Public House, Candelaria, and the already-legendary Bar Nouveau, led by cocktail wizard Remy Savage. If you're up for it, end your night at the iconic club Les Bains.

Plan your trip Around a dinner reservation at Datil on Rue des Gravilliers. This newly-opened restaurant is run by local chef Manon Fleury, who teamed up with chef Laurène Barjhoux to create a predominantly plant-based menu.

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Paris

📍 Check out the best things to do in Paris

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Paris
Houssine Bouchama
Rédacteur en chef, Time Out Paris

24. King’s Cross

London, UK

It might seem strange to bestow the Coolest Neighbourhood award on an area one year after Time Out moved its headquarters out of it, but here we are. It’s the year 2023 and, for our money, King’s Cross is London’s coolest neighbourhood. Balancing cutting-edge, high-end consumerism with grittier, tried-and-tested nightlife, King’s Cross is a good example of a bit of the city that now has a little something for everyone. You have old-school clubs like Egg, new music venues like Lafayette, and trad boozers and backstreets acting as a nice counterweight to the slickness of new developments. It’s still a sprawling, irregular mess, jutting out from the train station, straddling the Regent’s Canal like a big, grubby blob. But its alleys and piazzas – some steeped in Victorian history, others shiny and new – are now home to a brilliantly eclectic selection of shops and restaurants. Not to mention its transport links are, obviously, god-tier.

The perfect day You’d start with a bit of brunch at the mega-sized Caravan in Granary Square, before going for a wander around the shops of Coal Drops Yard (not overlooking the brilliant Honest Jon’s kiosk). After that you’d pay a visit to the British Library, and then maybe see what’s on at King’s Place. Along the way you’d pop into some of the area’s genuinely great old-school pubs, including the Queen’s Head on Acton Street and The King Charles I at the foot of Cally Rd. Dinner at Dishoom, then later, depending on the weather, you’d either wander down to the Standard hotel to grab a few stiff drinks on their spacious and increasingly buzzy rooftop bar or get to Spiritland, the audiophile venue, for a bit of (very high-fidelity) music. And finally, if you rave, there’s Scala and Egg. Heavyweight nightclubs and no mistake. 

Plan your trip Christmases at King’s Cross are becoming increasingly vibey. Coal Drop’s Yard might also be the most convenient place in the city to buy non-bait gifts. There’s always, also, a ton of festive events going on, including (that old favourite) curling. You’ll also get to walk the canal path in winter, something that’s an oft-overlooked, magical experience.

🗺️ Take a look at our King’s Cross neighbourhood guide

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in King’s Cross

📍 Check out the best things to do in London

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in London
Joe Mackertich
Editor, Time Out London

25. Hannam-dong

Seoul, South Korea

Just a short distance from Seoul’s first special tourist zone, Itaewon, lies Hannam-dong, a vibrant area of Seoul that has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. Attracting a diverse mix of visitors who flock to this hotspot on weekends, it’s known for its stylish boutiques, chic cafes, and innovative dining establishments. The neighbourhood also boasts a thriving creative community, with galleries showcasing the works of local artists. Despite its growing popularity, Hannam-dong maintains its authentic charm, featuring charming alleyways and tucked-away bars and cafés waiting to be discovered. Whether you're seeking unique shopping experiences, culinary delights, or a vibrant cultural scene, Hannam-dong offers an unforgettable urban experience in the heart of Seoul.

The perfect day Start your day with coffee and cakes at Avek Cheri, then swing by nearby Nonfiction to pick up new scents for yourself or your home. Explore the neighbourhood's fashion stores, including Depound, Beaker Shop, and Elborn. Afterwards, get a dose of culture at Leeum Museum of Art, and finish the day with a three-Michelin-starred meal at nearby Mosu for a contemporary Korean fine-dining experience you won't forget.

Plan your trip Art enthusiasts, take note: International auction house Sotheby's has recently opened a new space in Hannam-dong, which will host various exhibitions, talks, and workshops.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Seoul

Jocelyn Tan Contributor, Seoul

26. Coral Gables

Miami, USA

Coral Gables is cool in a way not many places in Miami are. One of the country’s first planned communities, this ‘City Beautiful’ has a more classic glamour than that of the flashy velvet-roped spots on Miami Beach. With its impressive tree-lined boulevards and almost entirely Mediterranean Revival-style architecture, the neighbourhood is fiercely historic in a place notorious for bulldozing so many of its beautiful, time-worn landmarks. Its downtown is anchored by Miracle Mile, a manicured business district where you’ll find plenty of independent shops and some of Miami’s best restaurants – including several that recently earned nods from the Michelin Guide. Though perhaps its biggest claim to fame is being home to the University of Miami, one of the nation’s top private universities, cheekily nicknamed ‘Suntan U’ for its fancy country club vibes back in the 1940s. Soon Coral Gables will follow in the footsteps of New York’s High Line with a seven-mile cycling and recreational path, complete with public art and other amenities. 

The perfect day Check in at the THesis Hotel, a modern spot where you’ll find two farm-to-table concepts helmed by acclaimed Miami chef Niven Patel. Grab a cosy, casual Cuban breakfast at Tinta y Café before perusing the well-stocked shelves at longtime purveyor Books & Books. For an action-packed happy hour, hit up the Rathskeller, UMiami’s energetic on-campus bar, before exploring the glistening grounds on foot. End your day with dinner at contemporary American restaurant Beauty & The Butcher, followed by a rooftop nightcap back at THesis’ Mamey on 3rd.

Plan your trip The Gables’ unofficial season kicks off with the iconic Biltmore Hotel’s annual New Year’s Eve ball and fireworks show. The cooler months of January through March are a great time to visit – on Saturdays, make yourself a picnic at the Coral Gables Farmers’ Market at Merrick Park.

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Coral Gables

🏘️ Read our Coral Gables neighbourhood guide

📍 Check out the best things to do in Coral Gables
Falyn Wood
Editor, Time Out Miami

27. Richmond District

San Francisco, USA

The Richmond District, spanning 50 blocks in the northwest section of the city, is a microcosm of what makes San Francisco so special: natural beauty, rich culture, and incredible cuisine from every corner of the world. Bordered by Ocean Beach and rugged coastline, plus Presidio and Golden Gate Park (packed with world-class attractions and museums), stunning scenery and cultural experiences abound here. The area is made up of two sub-neighbourhoods: Inner Richmond on the eastern edge, packed with bakeries, shops, bars and restaurants (including some of the best dim sum in the city), and Outer Richmond, closer to the beach and more residential (though Geary Boulevard and Balboa Street are both vibrant corridors). Booming with new openings, the Richmond District is one of the most exciting places to eat and play in San Francisco right now. Just don’t forget your hoodie.  

The perfect day Join the line of customers waiting to devour flaky croissants at Arsicault Bakery, or head to James Beard Award-nominated Breadbelly for its bright green kaya toast and creative Asian coffee drinks. Afterward, stroll along Clement Street, stopping into local favorite shops like Green Apple Books. Dim sum calls for lunch – the top spot is Dragon Beaux. Walk off the calories in Golden Gate Park before dinner at the newly opened neighbourhood hotspot Pearl 6101. End the night with a movie at the historic Balboa Theatre before crashing at your Airbnb steps from Ocean Beach.

Plan your trip Time a visit with one of the annual music festivals in next-door Golden Gate Park: Outside Lands takes place in August and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass arrives in September. 

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in San Francisco

📍 Check out the best things to do in San Francisco

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in San Francisco

28. Vinohrady

Prague, Czech Republic

A 15-minute walk away from Prague’s busy Wenceslas Square is the hip neighbourhood of Vinohrady, which gets its name from its history as a site for vineyards. It’s now home to picturesque squares like Jiřího z Poděbrad and Náměstí Míru, which sit between steep streets packed with Czech and international restaurants, independent coffee shops, beer bars and green spaces. Overlooked by the neo-Gothic Church of St Ludmila, Náměstí Míru is a seasonal must-visit during Christmas time, when it’s adorned with markets, festive decorations and, very possibly, snow. As well as a close-up view of Žižkov Television Tower, this hilltop ‘hood offers spectacular vistas over Prague’s most beloved landmarks, including Prague Castle.

The perfect day Get coffee and brunch at Cafefin as you people-watch in Jiřího z Poděbrad Square. Check out what’s happening at the popular square of Náměstí Míru before settling down for a local Czech lunch – we recommend Lokál Korunní or Vinohradský Parlament. Take a peaceful walk around Riegrovy Sady, where you can catch the sunset the city. For dinner, book a table at Vinohradský Pivovar and accompany your meal with a local brew.

Plan your trip Four days a week, from Wednesdays to Saturday, Jiřího z Poděbrad Square hosts one of Prague’s most famous farmers markets.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Prague

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Prague
Yaren Fadiloglulari
Contributing Writer, Prague

29. El Clot

Barcelona, Spain

Despite being bounded by two of Barcelona's main roads, La Meridiana and Gran Via, this small enclave has retained its old-school character – which makes it stand out from tourist-friendly neighbouring districts Poblenou and Eixample. There’s a tranquility to the area thanks to its pedestrianised streets and the large Parc del Clot, a stretch of green built around industrial ruins. The municipal market, one of the city's oldest, is a hub of local life and the perfect place to buy high-end products at prices lower than you’ll find in more gentrified areas. This is the homeland of traditional bars such as Bar Rovira, vermouth cellars with personality like Celler Panotxa, and local businesses, whether they take the form of a bookshop such as Pebre Negre or a gluten-free bakery like Casa Lupita.

The perfect day Begin at Gran Clariana, a green space that was created by burying the traffic junction at Glòries. Resist the temptation to lounge in one of the inviting hammocks and make your way to La Farinera del Clot: a former flour factory transformed into a cultural centre. In the afternoon, venture across Gran Vía to explore the nearby Museu del Disseny. Sink a vermouth at the traditional Bodega Sopena, but be mindful not to overindulge, as you'll be continuing with a reasonably priced tasting menu at Lanto

Plan your trip During the first three weekends of November, El Clot will be in the midst of a lively celebration. Over 40 local associations come together to put on a grand festival, complete with traditional activities like 'castells' (human towers) and 'gegants' (giants).

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Barcelona

📍 Check out the best things to do in Barcelona

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Barcelona
María José Gómez
Directora, Time Out Barcelona

30. San Miguel Chapultepec

Mexico City, Mexico

San Miguel Chapultepec is a neighbourhood that does both. It’s fairly chilled but still has the buzz of the CDMX scene, largely due to its proximity to the popular Roma and Condesa areas. The vibe is cosy and bohemian, and it’s beautiful to look at: the area is characterised by its tree-lined streets and colonial houses. Plus, it's right next to Bosque de Chapultepec, one of Mexico City’s largest parks, which offers a slice of peace and quiet right in the heart of the Mexican capital. 

Artists, families and professionals all mix together here, making for a buzzing and diverse community. As for visitors, there's a fab food scene, design shops, local art galleries and plenty of parks for a nice day out.

The perfect day Start your day with a breakfast full of local flavours at Café Papagayo. Check out the Museo Casa de la Bola and La Casa Estudio Barragán before heading over to Mercado El Chorrito for some traditional grub at lunchtime. Take a stroll through the sprawling Bosque de Chapultepec for a chill afternoon. Wrap up the day with a light dinner at Deli Lou and soak up the nightlife at Bar El Mickey

Plan your trip Hit up San Miguel Chapultepec in October to experience the annual music and art festival in Bosque de Chapultepec.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Mexico City
Mauricio Nava
Director Editorial, Time Out Mexico City

31. Exarcheia

Athens, Greece

A historically radical neighbourhood, Exarcheia is becoming more and more of a tourist hotspot – but its character of resistance is not yet lost. It’s still a place where activists and anarchists gather, whether that’s at hangout spots like Strefi Hill or at any of the bars and cafes that line its streets. The area is home to one of Greece’s oldest universities in the shape of the Athens Polytechnic, cultural venues from museums to record stores, and great food and drink (we recommend the vegan eats at Cookoomela). The start of construction on a new metro station in the central square last year marked a turning point in the area, with many fearing that the spirit of the neighbourhood will be eradicated. Exarcheia’s central square has a long history of being a place to gather and stage demonstrations. So if you want a taste of Greece’s anarchic underground culture, visit Exarcheia now. 

The perfect day Grab breakfast at Raraou Cantina, followed by coffee in Selas, then take a stroll through the neighbourhood. You’ll spot buildings with their windows cemented shut – these are former squats. For a dose of culture, mooch around the Archaeological Museum or one of the many record stores such as Le Dsk Noir, Art Rat Records or Dirty Noise. For recreation and some fresh air, you can either go to the city’s main park Pedion Tou Areos or the famous Strefi Hill. For dinner you have plenty of options: go Greek at Atitamos, Rozalia or Avli. Bars are uncountable in Exarcheia, but our tip would be I Skala, a small bar on the second floor of an apartment building.

Plan your trip For those who would like to witness the revolutionary spirit of the neighbourhood, visit on November 17, the anniversary of the 1973 student uprising against the Greek junta.

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Athens

📍 Check out the best things to do in Athens

Quentin Goerres Contributor, Greece

32. Bebek

Istanbul, Türkiye

There’s plenty to see in Bebek, but it’s the jaw-dropping Bosphorus view that'll stick in your mind. The coastline of this waterfront Istanbul neighborhood is particularly special come sunset – head to the lush Bebek Park for the best golden hour views, where you’ll find locals taking a break from their seaside walks to meet up for a chinwag. Bebek feels like a permanent holiday where life is lived in the slow lane: you’ll regularly see residents grabbing an ice cream from their local grocer and strolling along the strait. Alongside its beauty, Bebek boasts fantastic restaurants, cafés and shops, both upscale and old-school. In recent years, more and more visitors are flocking to Bebek from tourist hotspot Taksim Square – so join the crowds on Bebek Caddesi and get a feel for this buzzing enclave.

The perfect day Start your day at Mangerie, which offers a killer Bosphorus view and a breakfast menu loaded with goodies like grilled sausage and menemen. After that, breathe in some fresh sea air with a stroll along the shore, then pop into Evin Art Gallery, which has been linking artists and collectors since ’96. For an early evening cocktail and dinner, head to Lucca. If you manage to nab a table outside, people-watching along Bebek Caddesi is an absolute treat. Staying the night? Bebek Hotel by the Stay is a solid choice.

Plan your trip Bebek's lively all year, but spring is the perfect time to enjoy the coast and the area’s alfresco culture. 

📍 Check out the best things to do in Istanbul
Seda Pekçelen
Managing Editor, Istanbul

33. Ponsonby

Auckland, New Zealand

Spread across a hill overlooking the city centre, Ponsonby wasn’t always the food and shopping destination it is today. The home of artists, bohemians and Pacific Peoples in the 1960s and 70s, who all contributed to the creative culture of the area, Ponsonby was drastically reshaped by gentrification in the late twentieth century. It’s now one of Auckland’s most affluent areas, but plenty of designers and creators still call this corner of the city home. At its heart is the mile-long Ponsonby Road, which is lined with independent boutiques and galleries showcasing artists and designers from around New Zealand. Restaurants range from vegan Thai to Korean and Peruvian, showcasing the full spectrum of Auckland’s diversity. Ponsonby thrums with activity round the clock: in the mornings you’ll spot locals picking up loaves of sourdough from Daily Bread, in the evenings they’ll be heading out for cocktails at speakeasy-styled Deadshot bar.

The perfect day For breakfast head to Orphan’s Kitchen to devour a homemade crumpet drenched in honey from the cafe’s rooftop. Spend the day browsing New Zealand made wares at the Poi Room, and local labels like Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester, and Juliette Hogan. For high end fashion without the high prices, shop for second hand designer threads at Tatty’s or Encore Designer Recycle, then rummage through antique homewares in Flotsam and Jetsam. In the evening, go for a glass of New Zealand wine at Beau’s Wine Bar, followed by dinner at one of the eateries in the warren-like Ponsonby Central. To experience one of the neighbourhood’s historic 1920s villas firsthand, check into Hotel Fitzroy for the night. 

Plan your trip Visit Ponsonby in December to see Christmas lights sparkle up and down leafy Franklin Road, in a locally famous display of festive community spirit. 

📍 Check out the best things to do in Aucklund

Petrina Darrah Contributor, New Zealand

34. Zhongshan

Taipei, Taiwan

Nestled between Datong District and Xinyi District, where Taipei 101 stands tall, Zhongshan District tells the captivating story of Taipei's evolution. Once a trade hub along the Tamsui River, today it’s a bustling mini-metropolis adorned with skyscrapers. Still, the neighbourhood retains echoes of its colonial heritage, which can be seen in places like the Tsai Jui-Yueh Dance Research Institute and Cafe Monument – but modern architectural edifices, like Fu Fu Hua He and the Miramar Ferris Wheel, dominate the skyline. This harmonious fusion lets visitors explore traditional Japanese and Baroque structures alongside contemporary marvels. And then there’s the food: from ramen at Menya Itto and Kikanbo to pasta at Rosemary and spicy Indian fare at Mayur Indian Kitchen, the options are endless. For those craving Taiwanese stir-fry, Chang'an East Road Section 1 is a treasure trove not to be missed.

The perfect day Begin with breakfast of egg cakes and soybean milk at Wuming Breakfast, then stroll around the Lin An Tai Historical House and Museum. Visit the eco-friendly Hsing Tian Kong Temple and treat yourself to fried shredded pancakes at Shanxi Noodles for lunch. Spend your afternoon exploring the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan or MoCA Taipei – and if you’re still hungry, try the waffles at Melange Cafe. As night falls, unwind with some natty wine at RVLT Taipei or have a laugh at Two Three Comedy. Don't miss Datong District's Ningxia Night Market and the vibrant cargo marketplace at Dadaocheng Wharf for the perfect Taipei experience.

Plan your trip Behold an out-of-this-world fireworks display at the Taipei Summer Festival, held from July to August.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Taipei

Ken Chao Contributor, Taipei

35. Bonifacio Global City (BGC)

Manila, Philippines

Bonifacio Global City (BGC) is Manila’s vibrant food, shopping and nightlife hub. Situated conveniently in Taguig, this commercial district serves as an ideal launchpad for exploring the rest of the city. App-enabled Moovr e-scooters or rentable bicycles allow easy navigation, so you can embark on a street art tour of the area at your own pace (there’s a mural on almost every street here). For an education in art and science, check out contemporary art haven Metropolitan Museum of Manila and the interactive Mind Museum. There’s handmade Italian dishes at A Mano, crafted by chef Amado Forés, the son of globally renowned chef Margarita Forés. Gallery by Chele, led by pioneering chef Chele González, serves delicious tasting menus dedicated to Filipino produce. As night falls, enjoy live performances at one of BGC’s weekend events; indulge in cocktails at The Back Room, a 1920s-style speakeasy; or sink a glass of vino at Dr. Wine, a popular local hangout with an extensive wine list.

The perfect day Start your day with breakfast at Bonifacio High Street or Burgos Circle, then escape the heat at one of BGC's many malls – we recommend SM Aura or Uptown Mall. End the day with an exquisite omakase dining experience at Mecha Uma before going big at Revel At The Palace, where you'll likely see celebrities and influencers dancing the night away, or at LGBTQ+ hotspot Nectar Nightclub

Plan your trip Visit Manila in the final quarter of the year to revel in Filipino Christmas spirit – it’s the longest Christmas celebration in the world, starting from September through to early January. Come mid-November and witness BGC come to life with its annual tree-lighting ceremony and festive displays.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Manila

Zaira Cruz

36. Downtown

Montreal, Canada

Montreal’s downtown core is in the midst of a boom. Poised between the deep blue St. Lawrence River and Mount Royal’s urban mountainscape, downtown has long been a draw for retail therapy and major events like the Montreal International Jazz Festival. More recently, despite all the cranes and construction, the heart of Montreal is officially cooler than ever. Free activities and initiatives have been created to bring the community together – in summer, a giant chess board, outdoor art installations and circus acts; in winter, a gigantic illuminated skating rink, disco bumper cars and food pop-ups. With a population of creatives and young professionals, along with some of the best new (and highest) rooftops, hotels and restaurants in town, downtown is the place to be.

The perfect day Wake up at the Great Gatsby-inspired Honeyrose and start the day with an authentic Italian coffee from Café Olimpico. Do a little shopping at the new Nike flagship store and stop for lunch at Chef Antonio Park’s much-anticipated restaurant Yama. Pop across the street for a session in downtown’s hidden spa at Four Seasons—or take in a cutting edge art exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain. Cap it all off with dinner and unbeatable views at Hiatus, the city’s highest rooftop restaurant.

Plan your trip Contrary to popular belief, winter is one of the best times to experience downtown Montreal thanks to events like Montréal en Lumière, which turns the core into an open-air play zone with light installations, street food and music.

🗺️ Take a look at our Downtown neighbourhood guide

🍽️ Tuck into the best restaurants in Downtown

📍 Check out the best things to do in Montreal

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Montreal
Isa Tousignant
Contributor, Montreal

37. Dotonbori

Osaka, Japan

Two words: foodie paradise. Osaka has long been known as Japan's Kitchen and Dotonbori is the epicentre of this culinary renown, offering up a smorgasbord of lip-smacking street food and world-renowned sushi restaurants. But it’s not just about the grub: Dotonbori is a shopper’s paradise too, with everything from high-end fashion stores to quirky souvenir shops. For entertainment, catch a live performance at the Dotonbori ZAZA Comedy Theatre or enjoy a traditional kabuki show at the Minami-za Theatre. The neighbourhood is also home to some of Osaka’s most iconic landmarks: the giant mechanical crab of Kani Doraku showcases the essence of the neighbourhood's quirky core. By night, prepare to be dazzled by the mosaic of neon billboards that illuminate the Dotonbori streets as you drop into the hippest bars, clubs and izakayas (Japanese pubs) in town.

The perfect day Wake up at chic art hotel MOXY Osaka Honmachi then pop over to the retro cafe Arabiya for a pastry and coffee. Shop ‘till you drop at the sprawling Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade, before treating yourself to some takoyaki (grilled octopus balls) for a light lunch at Acchichi Hompo Dotonbori. Ease into the afternoon with a ride on the Dotonbori canal cruise before exploring the neon paradise of Dotonbori by night. Dine at Chibo for a world-class serving of okonomiyaki, a type of savoury pancake and an Osakan speciality. Finish up with a drink at Sake Bar M300.

Plan your trip Taking place three times each year, the Dotonbori Cosplay Festival is a whimsical event that takes over the busy streets. And for further future planning, make sure to visit Time Out Market Osaka, the first Asia-based market opening in 2025. 

📍 Check out the best things to do in Osaka

🏘️ Discover more of the best neighbourhoods in Osaka

38. The Annex

Toronto, Canada

The Annex has changed. After the closure of the iconic Honest Ed’s department store changed the area’s landscape, the neighbourhood is now finally emerging from years of construction with a fresh new look. The developing Mirvish Village hub brings new retail spaces, more housing, plus a music venue and park to Queen Street West’s uptown younger sibling. Combined with long-standing favourites like Hot Docs Cinema, pubs where professors, students and professionals stand shoulder-to-shoulder to grab a pint and a new addition to Toronto’s Michelin Guide, the Annex is making a comeback in 2023 – and is Toronto’s coolest place to be right now.

The perfect day Start out at what might be the tiniest coffee shop in Toronto, Coffee Pocket, and then meander along Bloor Street West, popping into eclectic gift shops selling incense, homewares and books. Catch a film at Hot Docs Cinema, then stop for a drink at one of the many local watering holes like The Lab pub or the Writer’s Room for a skyline sunset. Hungry? Nab a sexy red banquette at Michelin-starred Mimi Chinese and finish the night with a tableful of traditional Chinese dishes with a spicy twist.

Plan your trip For the return of the Hot Docs festival in 2024. Spring is also when the new developments in the area are slated to be completed, so the Annex will be buzzing with new activities and events. 

📍 Check out the best things to do in Toronto

Lydia Hrycko
Contributor, Canada

39. Song Wat

Bangkok, Thailand

Song Wat is a blink away from Yaowarat, Chinatown’s buzzy main drag, but it’s distinctly more quiet and relaxed – exactly the ticket for a chilled weekend. An important trading quarter in the early 1900s, modernisation led to a decline in Song Wat’s relevance – until now. The Song Wat community, an alliance of old merchants, second-generation shopkeepers and new entrepreneurs, has made it their mission to transform this aging trading quarter into a hub of millennial-led businesses. Sandwiched between long-standing businesses and legendary food stalls, cool cafes, hip hostels, chic art galleries, and restaurants serving contemporary, drool-worthy fare have found a home in this pocket neighbourhood. You can sip a slow-brewed coffee from a minimalist cafe then taste noodles from shops that are probably older than your parents. After years of revamping the neighbourhood, the Song Wat community is celebrating its efforts with a self-funded guidebook that shares the main street’s storied history and offers tips on how to make the most of this charming ‘hood.

The perfect day Get up early and grab buns from a street food stall to break your fast like a local, before moving on to Song Wat Coffee Roaster for an artisanal caffeine kick. Slurp aromatic beef noodles at the popular Rong Klan Nuea then check out art shows by local talent at Play Art House. Wrap up your day with a preprandial cocktail at Opium, the rooftop bar at one-Michelin-starred Potong, before tucking into the restaurant’s Thai-Chinese cuisine.

Plan your trip Come in October-November for your chance to explore the neighbourhood at its liveliest during Song Wat Week, a ten-day event when shops host special events and activities such as walking tours and drink deals.

📍 Check out the best things to do in Bangkok
Top Koaysomboon
Editor-in-Chief, Time Out Bangkok

40. Cantonments

Accra, Ghana

‘Parte after parte’ starts in Cantonments. A residential neighbourhood packed with embassies near to Kotoka International Airport, Cantonments acts as a gateway between the world and the rest of the city. Nestled in the heart of East Accra, and connected to other prime parts of Accra like Osu and Labone, Cantonments harmoniously combines modernity with the diverse cultural melting pot that defines Accra. Its residents range from diplomats and expats to young professionals, who you’ll find dining out in any of the area’s great local restaurants. Social initiatives such as the Rotary Club of Accra contribute to the area’s growing reputation. 

The perfect day Breakfast doesn't have to break the bank in Accra. Start your day at a local food vendor and treat yourself to Ghana's favorite breakfast, waakye (cooked rice and beans), at Auntie Munie Waakye. Then, it's time for some culture: nearby galleries and museums include the WEB Dubois Memorial Centre, Goethe-Institut and Berj Gallery. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at Bistro 22, known for its fusion cuisine, and end your day with a top-tier dinner at The Honeysuckle or Vine. Popular nightclub Twist is your go-to if you want to carry the night on.

Plan your trip December is a busy month in Ghana as the diaspora returns for Christmas season. Flights might be pricier, but the festivities and parties that take over town at this time of year are more than worth it. 

📍 Check out the best things to do in Accra and Ghana
Tina Charisma Contributor, Accra
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