I had so much fun last week sharing about my favorite small cities in the world, that I thought I’d share my absolute favorite big cities with you today:) Why not?!
Most capital cities, or just big cities, are going to be touristy, so you just have to accept that and move on to let the good times roll. But being touristy just goes to show that the city is worth visiting, for there are so many wonderful things to do and see. Cities have a synergy all their own, and are exciting and truly delightful if you embrace the craziness with open arms.
Here are a handful one some of my absolute favorites:
Cape Town, South Africa
I spent a summer in Cape Town during college, immediately following a 10 week class on the history of South Africa. For that reason alone, my experience here was deeply profound and moving. Purely from an aesthetics standpoint, Cape Town is just stunning. Truly a gem in Africa. Table Mountain stands majestically as the focal point of the city, houses nestled between the mountain and ocean. There is the lively Victoria and Albert Waterfront, and the most beautiful beaches dotting the shores, a favorite being Camps Bay. You can drive all along the coast and just marvel at the landscape. Not the mention, the people in South Africa are truly alive and kind and welcoming. From Cape Town there are so many fantastic day trips, like wine tasting in the famed Stellenbosch region, and drive along the famed Garden Route.
I know this is being cliche, but for the rest of our lives people will be cliche with Paris…it is just that AMAZING of a city. I’ve been to Paris a handful of times now, and it just never gets old. The architecture here is so dreamy, and for miles the lovely parks, the well dressed Parisians, and the quaint eateries will keep you occupied with your head in the clouds. If you are a hard core museum lover, they have some of the very best in the world (starting with the famed Louve). If you love food, before you can utter the word “croissant” you will be surrounded by some of the most famous chefs and foods in the world. If you love romance, a picnic at the Eiffel tower will be just the ticket. And if you love history, like me, you have your pick of thousands of years of riveting stories:) Ahhh Paris, you win every time.
Prague, Czech Republic
Going to most big cities, I usually have an idea of what i’m going to see. Not this one! It was 2004, and some friends and I randomly decided to go stay in the city. We had no idea what to do or see, but were immediately swept up in Prague fever. The city is an absolute delight, like a giant music box that comes to life with scenes grander than your imagination. I felt like I had been transported to a fairy tale, and suddenly I was trying new foods (like goulash), feating my eyes on Prague’s famed astronomical clock, and just getting lost in the cobble stone streets. One of my favorite memories was sitting on the Charles bridge with my friends, playing the card game hearts, for hours on end. One of the neatest things about our time here was that we rented an apartment in the city, and stayed in an old building with so much history! (random side note, I also finished the book “Redeeming Love” in this city, which kinda sorta changed my life! If you’ve read it, you know what i’m talking about!)
Don’t even get my started on Edinburgh, it was kind of elixir of life for me:) I’m not a “big city” kind of girl in terms of permeant living, but I think I told Kevin over and over on our trip, “I could live here!”. While Edinburgh is a big city, the appeal is that it feels like a small one. We walked everywhere! Being a Harry Potter lover, it honestly felt like we were at Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Hogsmead all at the same time. Speaking of Hogwarts, we visited the very coffee shop that J.K. Rowling sat in while she wrote H.P. and out the window is a perfect view of the Edinburgh castle, in which Hogwarts was fashioned after. If you love castles, architecture, good food, and hilarious people, and TONS of history, this is your Jam. At least, it’s mine:)
San Francisco, California, USA
This is my absolute favorite big city in the whole USA. There is some kind of magic this city owns like a boss. It’s incredibly unique, built on rolling hills over looking the SF Bay, basking in the gorgeous golden hues of the Golden Gate Bridge. I grew up coming to this city often, and believe I’ve been at least once every year my whole life. Where else can you ride a cable car, walk the pier with sea lions howling below you, take a ferry out to Alcatraz island and tour the old prison (where Al Capone was jailed), drive down the windiest road in the US, marvel at the view of the city from Coit Tower and eat your heart out in chocolate at the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory? I know, that wasn’t a very fair question, but still, come on! The fog and mist that sits on this city just adds to the mystery and appeal! SF, you own this California girl’s heart:)
Maybe I’m a little bias with this one, as I am half Swedish and have been there numerous times to visit family. But I don’t think so. This is one of the cleanest, most adorable big cities you will ever find. First of all, Swedes are so cool. Come on, they invented IKEA H&M, the Swedish meatball and pancake! haha! But really, Stockholm is something special. The old city, Gamla Stan is colorful, quaint, completely walkable and just so…clean. Stockholm is spread out over 14 islands in an archipelago, so is surrounded by water, which makes it unique and equally stunning. There are beautiful parks, fantastic architecture, and tons of history for you to brush up on (because honestly, do any of us know anything about Scandinavian history?). Not to mention a favorite, the Pippi Longstocking Museum, ha! The suburbs outside the city feature quaint little neighborhoods, dotted with yellow and red houses, and fantastic forests and lakes to picnic and swim in. I love Stockholm, and will forever be proud that it’s a part of my heritage:)
There are So many more, but we’ll start here:)
I seriously have so many more “small cities” to share with you too,
that hopefully i’ll do a Part 2 on that post!!
What are YOUR favorite big cities?
and speaking of big cities…Kevin surprised me with tickets to Seattle on my birthday, so we are currently in the Emerald City ready for our first day of exploring!! If you have any suggestions of what to see, feel free to leave them below!!