Worldwide icon-chevron-right In pictures: the beauty of empty cities around the world

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Trafalgar Square in lockdown
Photograph: Andy Parsons

In pictures: the beauty of empty cities around the world

City streets are falling silent all over the planet. Here are the most eerily beautiful pictures of cities in lockdown

By James Manning and Time Out editors
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Right now, more than a billion people around the world are living a very different life to usual. Social distancing and self-isolation measures have transformed our cities. Bars, restaurants and cultural venues have been shuttered. Public transport is suspended or reduced. Many institutions are closed to the public (though you can still tour some major landmarks online). In some countries, even going for a stroll requires official permission.

The result, in dozens of the world’s greatest cities, is a city that looks, sounds and even tastes very different to usual. Check out these striking images of empty streets and other usually busy places around the world, and get a glimpse into what happens when the human world suddenly becomes human-free.

Striking pictures of empty city streets

oculus
oculus
Photograph: Courtesy @edmeetsgrace/Instagram

New York

News City Life

With many NYC companies asking employees to work from home, the city's streets and transportation hubs (including the Oculus at the World Trade Center, pictured) are weirdly empty.

Empty Piccadilly Circus during London lockdown
Empty Piccadilly Circus during London lockdown
Photograph: Andy Parsons

London

News City Life

More than nine million people live in London, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the UK capital right now: normally crowded places like Piccadilly Circus (pictured) are empty following a compulsory lockdown order.

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Sensoji Temple walkway is empty as snow falls
Sensoji Temple walkway is empty as snow falls
Photo: instagram.com/tobiraphoto

Tokyo

News City Life

The governor of Tokyo urged citizens to refrain from unnecessary outings this past weekend, and the city took her advice – Tokyo became a ghost town, right in the middle of sakura season.

Empty streets in Chicago during coronavirus
Empty streets in Chicago during coronavirus
Photograph: Courtesy @smithdidit

Chicago

News City Life

Major Chicago attractions like Millennium Park, the Chicago Riverwalk and the 606 are all but desolate these days.

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Orchard Road
Orchard Road
Photograph: Kashmira Kasmuri

Singapore

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Even before PM Lee Hsien Loong asked the nation to stay at home, many of Singapore’s streets and attractions were already eerily empty.

coronavírus
coronavírus
Photograph: Manuel Manso

Lisbon

Things to do

Portuguese citizens have entered isolation, and the streets are deserted except for queues outside supermarkets, pharmacies and post offices.

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Deserted Melbourne Street
Deserted Melbourne Street
Photograph: Twitter/@br19800

Melbourne

News City Life

Australians have been told to stay home and practise physical distancing, which means many of Melbourne’s usually bustling streets are pretty much empty.

Avenue du Parc
Avenue du Parc
Photograph: @micomophoto / Michel Cordey / Instagram

Montreal

News City Life

Areas of the city that were once full of locals and tourists are now empty, including whole boroughs like Downtown.

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Sydney Opera House during shutdown
Sydney Opera House during shutdown
Photograph: Maxim Boon

Sydney

News City Life

Some areas remain reasonably populated, but by and large, Sydney’s usually bustling city streets are pretty much empty.

Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
Photograph: Time Out Boston

Boston

News City Life

With so many venues and businesses closed up, Boston's streets are at times completely empty.

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Wynwood Walls in Miami, deserted
Wynwood Walls in Miami, deserted
Photograph: @fuegzzz

Miami

News City Life

Empty streets and desolate beaches are a sign of the times: Miami’s busiest places are practical ghost towns.

See more eerily empty places

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