10. Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Seaport Vancouver has a competitive and creative arts scene, rugged natural beauty, and no shortage of things to do. As one of Canada’s most ethnically diverse cities, it’s also one of the country’s best food cities: After you’ve taken a cable car up Grouse Mountain, return to the city for Indian fare at Vij’s, a French bistro experience at Farmer’s Apprentice, or tagine at Moroccan-inspired Medina.
9. Barcelona, Spain
From the mountains to the beach, the historic to the contemporary, sunny Barcelona—lucky city that it is—has it all. Brush up on Catalan history at El Born Centre Cultural or take a street art tour of the trendy El Raval district. For dining, try a 40-course meal at Enigma, a restaurant by Ferran Adrià, or stay classic at Quimet y Quimet, a standing-room-only joint that’s been operated by the same family for more than 100 years.
8. Paris, France
Paris needs no introduction. Proper nouns will suffice: The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, Sacre-Coeur, Musée Rodin, Centre Pompidou, Saint-Germain, the Seine (at dusk). The city is firmly established as one of the most beautiful in the world. Dine like the French near the Bastille at Chez Paul or stroll among the statues at the elegant Luxembourg Gardens. To stay, treat yourself to a room at the exquisite Hôtel Plaza Athénée or the remodeled Hôtel de Crillon, which reopened in September 2017after a four-year renovation.
With the return of the New York-Singapore direct flight (and the lure of Crazy Rich Asians tourism), more travelers than ever will be heading to Singapore in 2019. The bustling city-state has a growing contemporary-art scene, a new hotel seemingly every eight minutes, and a commitment to start-ups and innovation (just see the Supertree Grove, above), which means if you visited once before, you may not even recognize it now. Want to relax after a day of exploring? Choose from 1,000 types of gin at Atlas bar, or check into Marina Bay Sands so you have access to that top-of-the-world infinity pool you’ve heard so much about. Come evening, dig into the city’s food-hawker culture—you can do a multi-country food crawl without leaving the hawker center.
6. Sydney, Australia
Australia’s biggest city is an ideal getaway no matter the season. Dine alfresco, swim like a Sydneysider in rock pools, and head to Bondi and Redleaf beaches in the summer (remember, that’s during our winter); in winter, explore the city’s vibrant arts and culture calendar through Vivid Sydney and make time to eat out in Paddington, check out the cool-kid ‘hood of Surry Hills, and ferry over to Manly, Australia’s answer to Montauk.
5. Hamburg, Germany
Love the canals of Amsterdam and Venice? Hamburg reportedly has more than both cities, combined. Float through the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district and past the 19th-century Town Hall, or stay on dry land to walk under the river via the Alter Elbtunnel, which has artwork lining its tiled walls. Whatever you do, don’t miss the 361-foot, $1 billion Elbphilharmonie concert venue.
4. Vienna, Austria
Artistic, exquisite, and largely shaped by its musical and intellectual foundations, Austria’s capital and largest city is packed with culture. It’s the kind of city where you could happily visit four museums in a day and still have more to see, or join fellow culture vultures for an outdoor simulcast of the latest opera—in the dead of winter. (There will always be a crowd for the opera.) Make time to get a figurative taste of royalty at Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ former summer residence, and get an actual taste of Sacher torte, a chocolate cake that’s a local treat, at Hotel Sacher Vienna‘s Cafe Sacher. Just be sure to ask for the extra decadent dessert mit schlaag—with cream.
3. Melbourne, Australia
At once sophisticated, stylish, and seemingly free-spirited, Melbourne has all of the traits you’d want in a friend—and an incredible arts scene. Visit Gertrude Contemporary for eye-popping installations by emerging Australian artists; take an Urban Scrawl street tour; and drive 20 minutes to the world-renowned Heide Museum of Modern Art. In this city, each morning should start with a flat white.
2. Kyoto, Japan
You think you know Kyoto—after all, how much can change in an imperial capital, where you can visit tenth-century temples and pass young geishas in the street? Though it’s still one of the most well-preserved cities in Japan, Kyoto has also been reborn following a 2011 earthquake, which brought a change to the foundation. “Many artists moved to Kyoto, bringing a new energy,” says Lucille Reyboz, cofounder of the Kyotographie photography festival; now the city’s leafy, machiya-lined streets are draws for their specialty crafts shops and chic concept stores. There’s a thriving gin scene along with the sake scene, and, yes, about 100 Michelin-starred restaurants still. For an authentic meal without Michelin prices, try 200-year-old ryokan Kinmata.
1. Tokyo, Japan
Topping our list of world cities yet again, Tokyo continues to thrill with its contradictions: ultramodern, neon-lit skyscrapers and tranquil temples, unmatchable street style and centuries-old etiquette. As we’ve said before, it’s like a fever dream you don’t want to wake up from. This Japanese capital has more Michelin stars than any other place on earth, and is—no surprise—one of the world’s best food destinations. For just a taste of what the city can offer, pull up a stooland dig deep into a bowl of inventive ramen at Kikanbo, or sample rare Japanese whiskey at Bar Ben Fiddich. Or let us plan your first trip for you.