It’s probably not one you’ve heard about.
When it comes time to create an itinerary for an upcoming trip, many of us are quick to place mainstream destinations and landmarks at the top of our list. These are usually prioritized due to their historical significance, prominence on every travel site, or cool factor as described by friends and family who’ve already been. But while there’s nothing wrong with checking out Times Square or the Eiffel Tower, for example, the real magic of travel often happens when you break from the tourist fodder to discover local-favorite spots. Enter: Time Out’s list of the Coolest Neighborhoods in the World, ready to help you satisfy your next bout of wanderlust.
The global magazine just released the list, which includes 51 different neighborhoods as recommended by Time Out’s well-traveled writers and editors, as well as 20,000 survey respondents. You may recognize a few, but it’s pretty safe to say these off-the-beaten-path locations qualify as hidden gems begging to be explored. And hey, some of them might even be in your own backyard.
The list encompasses destinations on nearly every continent — but while you may have heard of (or even be familiar with) the cities themselves, the actual neighborhoods highlighted may be a surprise. There’s Neukölln in Berlin, Germany (#15), which boasts a strip of Lebanese grocers, Turkish restaurants, new-wave coffee shops, and an airport-turned-public-park; Fitzroy in Melbourne, Australia (#27), which Time Out dubs the city’s “artsy and eclectic beating heart” with beloved retail stores, galleries, pubs, and more; and Barrio Escalante in San José, Costa Rica (#41), with the locally-given moniker of “Paseo Gastronómico” that speaks to the number of local chefs and mixologists who reside and have opened esteemed restaurants, cafes, and cocktail bars there.
The coveted #1 spot on the coolest neighborhoods list belongs to Colonia, Americana in Guadalajara, Mexico — thanks to its impressive art scene, array of food carts, and street performers. A few U.S. destinations made the list, too, though the top among them is likely one you haven’t heard of. New York City’s Ridgewood neighborhood is right on the border between Brooklyn and Queens (though officially, it’s part of the latter borough); while it may still qualify as under-the-radar, it’s been gaining attention lately. Time Out described the vibe as “old-school-meets trendy,” with a solid mix of historic sights and cool, new spots. The “sleeper hit,” as Time Out referred to it landed at #4 on the global list — and it’s in good company among the rest of the top 10:
- Colonia Americana in Guadalajara, Mexico
- Cais do Sodré in Lisbon, Portugal
- Wat Bo Village in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Ridgewood in New York City, USA
- Mile End in Montreal, Canada
- Barrio Logan in San Diego, USA
- Shimokitazawa in Tokyo, Japan
- Cliftonville in Margate, UK
- Barrio Yungay in Santiago, Chile
- Cours Julien in Marseille, France
For the full list of the coolest neighborhoods in the world — and details on what makes them such standouts, head to Time Out.