Alternative ‘First Time’ Cities Ep. 2

Favourite destinations around the world are matched with lesser known places that offer an equally awesome experience when it comes to culture, food, nightlife and attractions. Here is the second match guide to find your perfect first time trip!

If you like LONDON, why not try SEATTLE?


Panoramic image of London from above the Thames

Landscape: London provides one of the world’s most iconic cityscapes. From Big Ben, the Shard, St Pauls and London Eye, to the murky Thames, historic Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the formidable Tower of London. Walk through impressive streets lined with white town houses in Mayfair, or dive into the densely packed Covent Garden and China Town for shopping, food and vibrant atmosphere.

Culture: The city is a mix of world class art galleries and museums, coupled with beautiful green spaces and a booming food and drink industry. It’s also very much a diverse, multicultural city renowned for its theatre in the West End and music – from underground indie gigs to opera and ballet. It is also very proud of its festivals – from the world famous afro-Caribbean Notting Hill Carnival – to chocolate, coffee and beer.

Points of interest: The London Eye is a great way to sample the sights from above or take a bus tour to see up close. The Tower of London is a brilliant journey through time and don’t forget to visit Buckingham Palace or walk inside stunning Westminster Abbey for a royal flavour of the city. Hit the shopping streets on Regent Street if you don’t mind crowds and for families – head to the Kensington museum district for the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the V&A.

Food: London has long had a reputation as a food capital and offers variety in bucket loads – from decadent brunches, gourmet coffee, tapas, French, Chinese to Sunday roast pub lunches, first rate burgers and steak houses. Why not head to Borough or Maltby Street market for delicious fresh produce as well?

Nightlife:  Don’t miss the huge variety of shows in the West End district, the Covent Garden Opera House or the Albert Hall. Or visit the hundreds of oldie worldly pubs and bars dotted around the entire city. Music venues are also huge – from jazz, blues, or trendier Shoreditch for pop bars, gin tastings and craft beer by the bucket load.

Did you know? The Dukes Bar in Mayfair is internationally renowned for its famous martinis and personalised cocktails. But did you also know that is was regularly frequented by James Bond author Ian Fleming and is said to be the inspiration for the classic line, ‘shaken, not stirred’.


Seattle Panorama with Mt. Rainier in the background

Landscape: Laying on the shores of the Puget Sound with Mount Rainier towering in the background, Seattle’s landscape is made up of smaller cities, each with its very own charming landscape.

Culture: It has a growing population that’s well educated, tech-savvy and the most literate city in the US. Seattle is the birthplace to Starbucks coffee but its independent coffee shops are well worth a visit. Music is also massive – there is a natural bias towards Jimi Hendrix but let’s not forget Pearl Jam, Kurt Cobain and its emerging hip hop scene.

Points of interest: Head to the Pike Place Market on the waterside for a great foodie spot. Then visit the top of the Space Needle for iconic views of the city or embrace a bit of musical history with the Museum of Pop Culture.

Food: There is a big variety of coffee shops, microbreweries and craft cider shops on offer – as well as huge number of delicious eateries. Fresh produce is everywhere, as are experimental first rate restaurants – seafood is a huge focus and the city is well known for fried oysters, clam chowder and salmon.

Nightlife: There are plenty of dance clubs and bars and the Capitol Hill and Belltown neighbourhoods are where you’ll find it. From live theatre and jazz clubs, to craft cocktail bars.

Did you know? Locals and visitors in Seattle have been sticking colourful pieces of gum onto the same wall since the early 1990s. Aptly named The Gum Wall, it’s now grown in size right along Post Alley and continues to spread. It’s a unique, bizarre and colourful must see.

Stay tune for the next episode: If you like SHANGHAI..
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