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These Are The World's Friendliest Cities
Vancouver has long been rated as one of the world's most liveable cities but it's just been recognized as the world's friendliest in a new international survey. Vancouver is dripping in charms from dazzling skylines to coastlines, and now its multicultural population has been singled out for its exceptionally good nature. A poll published this week from Big 7 Travel asked its 1.5 million followers to decide the friendliest city for tourists and expats and Vancouver came out on top. Locals were praised for being "quick to offer assistance to tourists" and authors complimented the city's "community vibe" which makes "socializing in Vancouver simple." New Yorkers might often be accused of being cold but it appears that reputation is beginning to thaw as it made the cut in 47th place. While it's true that things move pretty fast in Manhattan, authors noted that there's more of a community feel in the neighborhoods of each borough and a melting pot of cultures, which invites people in. But according to the poll, it's not as friendly as Charleston, South Carolina (33rd), or Houston, Texas (19th), and it doesn't have a patch on Nashville, Tennessee (8th), which was declared the friendliest city in the US. Why? Because it boasts Southern charm by the bucketloads, a lively music scene and friendly locals with a "buzzing attitude and an eagerness to show off their city to out-of-towners." With regards to the top five, Kuala Lumpur's "friendliness towards visitors" drove the Malaysian capital into the second spot, while Bruges's "charming atmosphere" and "locals who go the extra mile to welcome tourists" placed the Belgian city in third. Taipei, Taiwan, was recognized as one of Asia’s most LGBTQ+ friendly cities in fourth place, while Hamburg, Germany's "family-friendly feel" pushed it into the fifth spot. You can view the poll's top 10 friendliest cities below and the full top 50 list here. 10th. Glasgow, Scotland 9th. São Paulo, Brazil 8th. Nashville, Tennessee, USA 7th. Christchurch, New Zealand 6th. Dublin, Ireland 5th. Hamburg, Germany 4th. Taipei, Taiwan 3rd. Bruges, Belgium 2nd. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1st. Vancouver, Canada
Hotel We Love: Point A London Shoreditch
The colorful mural in the lobby of the Point A Hotel London Shoreditch would be well suited for an urban skate park or a trendy coffee shop—the kind that sells matcha lattes. If that—plus the free digital jukebox—doesn’t tip you off to this hotel's cool factor, nothing will. The Story The Point A Hotel London Shoreditch is one of the newer members of the Point A family, which includes six hotels in London and one in Glasgow, with several more London properties in the works. The company's calling card is more bang for your buck, and it delivers with reasonable—if not astonishing—rates for centrally located accommodations. Safety comes at a premium here, with keycards required to access the hallways and elevator as well as the front entrance, a wide glass façade, after hours. The Quarters The hotel has 181 guest rooms, ranging from standard doubles to twins to handicap-accessible doubles and twins, each adorned with colorful Shoreditch-themed murals. (Accessible rooms are larger than the standards but do not have windows.) The rooms are small—86 to 129 square feet—but given the efficient use of space, it's almost easy to forget the compact size of the room. There is a drop-down desk with a foldable chair and a light that switches on right above; shelves are strategically placed out of the way. Hooks around the room hang as an alternative to closets. Amenities enhance the modern sensibility of the room: 40-inch smart flatscreen televisions, fast free Wi-Fi, and touchpad-controlled mood lighting that changes color and intensity. There are also all the standard conveniences: air conditioning, a safe, bedside USB ports, blackout curtains, and high-powered showers. The hotel has an ironing room on the first floor. The Neighborhood The hotel is smack in the middle of Shoreditch, easily one of London’s hippest neighborhoods, a mosaic of cafés, pubs, music venues, and convenient stores, plus Bunhill Fields, a very pretty, sprawling park encompassing old burial grounds. It’s a few minutes’ walk to the Old Street tube station (Northern Line) and about ten minutes more to several others--Liverpool Street (Central, Circle, Metropolitan, and Hammersmith & City lines) and Moorgate (Circle, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, and Northern line). Nearby eateries include Thai, Indian, and Italian. The Food Breakfast, or “brekkie,” is available from 9:00 a.m. in the lobby lounge or to-go. Options include fresh pastries, fresh fruit, cereal, and yogurt, plus a gluten-free selection. (There’s no kitchen for hot meals.) A case in the lobby is stocked with snacks, juices, and soft drinks that are available for purchase anytime. Espresso drinks can be made to order around the clock, too. All the Rest Point A pushes its loyalty program, and it’s advisable to sign up for the free program. In addition to 10% off all future bookings at Point A hotels, membership affords benefits like special deals and complimentary items at local restaurants, discounts at nail salons and on guided tours, and free access to the nearby DW Fitness First Spitalfields Tower gym. Rates & Deets Starting at $90 Point A Shoreditch8-10 Paul StreetShoreditch, London+44 20 7655 1720 / pointahotels.com
How to Drink Your Way Across Alaska
There are few better places to get a genuine, unfiltered sense of a city than its bars. There’s a reason people call them their “local,” after all. And in a place like Alaska, where cities and towns are remote and the urge to hunker down for a long session with friends is hard to resist, bars can sometimes seem like a stand-in for the local community center. The idea of a bar, however, has extended far beyond a slab of mahogany. These days, as creative entrepreneurs open breweries and distilleries, they’ve made a bar a central aspect of their business, providing not just a place to hang out but a place to showcase the fruits—and grains—of their labors. Like wine, spirits and beer can express terroir, a term used to refer to a sense of place—a certain je ne sais quoi, if you will. Here are eight spots along Alaska's south coast and in the Interior where you can drop in and soak up local flavor. 1. Alaska Brewing: Juneau Before “craft brewing” was part of every bartender’s lingua franca, there was Alaskan Brewing Company (alaskanbeer.com). This Juneau company was founded in 1986 by Geoff and Marcy Larson, a chemical engineer and a bush pilot, respectively. They still run it today, and over the past several decades, they’ve established themselves as solid trailblazers, racking up piles of awards (they’re the most award-winning brewery at the popular Great American Beer Festival), not to mention a robust cult following that snaps up their limited-edition brews each year. A tour of the brewery reveals the brewing process, gives a peek into how their creative beers come to be, and offers a rundown of the company's interesting history. Of course, you don’t have to go on a tour to hang out in the tasting room, where their flagship beers and a few limited edition ones, too, are available to sample. 2. Amalga Distillery: Juneau Purple Basil Gimlet at Alamga Distillery (Courtesy @amalgadistillery/Instagram) The American craft distilling industry has been growing at a steady clip, with the number of distilleries, as of September 2018, clocking in at 1,835 and counting. Juneau’s entrant, Amalga Distillery (amalgadistillery.com), is a destination for spirits aficionados and pretty much anyone who likes a well-made cocktail. Husband and wife Brandon Howard and Maura Selenak are at the helm, doing everything from distilling the spirits to serving the drinks in the vibrant bar room, a bright, downtown Juneau hangout with floor-to-ceiling windows and a mighty yet elegant still anchoring the space. While their whiskey ages, the gin, made with a variety of local botanicals, takes center stage, with gin cocktails that keep the crowd lively. Be sure to check out the shop so you can bring a bottle or two home with you. 3. Double Shovel Cider: Anchorage (Kate Bishop) While drink-loving entrepreneurs around the United States open breweries and distilleries, Galen Jones, Jerry Lau, and Jack Lau, three engineers and childhood friends from Anchorage, saw a need—or at least a gap—for something else. They opened Double Shovel, a hard cidery, in 2016, and it’s been going strong since. At the laid-back industrial-chic tasting room, you can sample a range of their ciders and get a great crash course in production from the knowledgeable barkeeps while you’re at it. Lesson number 1: Cider is naturally gluten-free. Seasonal options are on tap, and a recent summer visit offered pineapple, grapefruit lavender, and blackcurrant sour in addition to the regular options, like extra-dry and hopped. 4. Big Swig Tours: Anchorage King Street Brewing Co. is one of several Anchorage breweries on Big Swig Tours's swing through town. (Liza Weisstuch) Bryan Caenepeel and his wife know and love Anchorage beer. More importantly, though, they are very skilled at sharing the love. With their company, Big Swig Tours (bigswigtours.com), the husband-and-wife team takes visitors on a brewery—and brewpub—crawl, offering a behind-the-scenes look at each. Brewers are typically on hand at each stop to explain their particular beers and personal philosophies, as well as their breweri' history. And, of course, samples and snacks are offered at each stop to ensure you walk away with a complete understanding of their work. Whether you're a beer geek who likes to talk about yeast and water quality or just a committed appreciator, the afternoon is worth its weight in grain, particularly because most Alaskan beers are not available outside the state. 5. Fiori D'Italia: Anchorage Fiori D’Italia (fioriak.com) is an unremarkable compound-like building that sits at the end of a parking lot in a residential neighborhood, far from the hustle and bustle of downtown Anchorage. To call it a “hidden gem,” however, would be a huge understatement. This old-school Italian red-sauce joint looks like something out of a Scorsese movie and serves pasta dishes, lasagna, steak, and all the other classics you’d expect, but what’s more of a surprise is the massive selection of whisky—mostly single-malt Scotch—available at the bar. The restaurant is a family affair, with husband and wife Ulber and Urime, natives of the former Yugoslavia, helming the kitchen and front-of-house, respectively, and their son, Ylli, running the impressive bar. Let him make a recommendation based on what you know you like or trust him to make his own suggestion. Or just ask for the balsamic martini, a house specialty. 6. Chilkoot Charlie’s: Anchorage It’s hard to describe Chilkoot Charlie's (koots.com), a roadside attraction that looks like a huge log cabin from the outside and nothing like a log cabin from the inside. The building contains a warren of ten bars, including, but not limited to: the Show Bar, decked out with Berlin Wall and Soviet memorabilia; the 1940s-themed Swing Bar, which features DJs, a dance floor, and many martinis; and the rustic North Long, which delivers live music every night and a remarkable steak-dinner deal on Wednesdays. There are live performance spaces and dance floors too. You will, however, want to make your way back to the jukebox-equipped Bird Cage, where, most nights, you’ll find octogenarian (and Alabama native) Wanda Price perched behind the slanted, weathered bar serving drinks and wisecracks. A software salesperson turned bouncer turned salty barkeep, Wanda runs the show here. Just whatever you do, don’t ask her why there are so many unmentionables hanging on the ceiling rafters. You might end up finding out for yourself. And, for lack of a better word, regretting it. 7. Howling Dog: Fairbanks The Howling Dog Saloon tells a history of Fairbanks. (Liza Weisstuch) Howling Dog Saloon (howlingdogsaloonak.com) is the kind of place that you want to stay for long stretches of time. It’s not the drinks—they’re everything you’d expect from a dive bar—or the familiar pub grub that the kitchen cranks out. It’s everything else: the chatty bartenders, the history (it was established in the mid-1970s, and Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan dropped in during their historic 1984 meeting in Fairbanks), the décor, which tells the story of a community, and the live music, from blues to funk to country, a regular weekend affair. Oh, and there’s the sandpit in the back for beach volleyball in the warmer months. (And yes, though temps in Fairbanks can sink pretty low into the negative realm in the winter, summertime brings plenty of sun and even steamy heat.) Owner Ralph Glasgow, who’s run the place since he bought it in 2003, is often found roaming the floor, checking in with the many regulars. Ask him about rogues' gallery of locals whose portraits hang on the walls. There’s a rich story behind each character. 8. Hoodog Brewing: Fairbanks HooDoo Brewery is known for its commitment to classic-style beers. (Liza Weisstuch) In their comprehensive book, Beers of the North: A field Guide to Alaska and the Yukon, Clint J. Farr and Colleen Mondor note that a German Kolsch and American IPA are HooDoo Brewing Company's (hoodoobrew.com) most popular beers. “The German Kolsch is a testament to simplicity, tradition, and quality. Wilken uses the same hops, malt, and process found in Cologne, the beer’s birthplace,” they write. That authenticity is part of what draws crowds to this airy Fairbanks taproom. Alaskan Brewing Company alum Bobby Wilken opened the brewery in 2012 after extensive travels and brewery-hopping in Europe, which explains his mastery of German-style beer. It also explains the biergarten-style patio, which has the feel of a neighborhood gathering spot in the warmer months. Free tours are offered every Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
Culture Fix: 3 unique museums from around the world
This month, we take a look at three museums that share one thing in common—their specificity. Focusing their curatorial efforts on video games, antique race cars, and Glasgow's history of transportation, respectively, these three museums outclass more general museums through their old-school attention to detail. COMPUTER GAME MUSEUM Berlin goes geeky with this ode to the playful side of technology. If you think Pong was the first video game—and, more importantly, if you care about such things—Berlin’s newest (and nerdiest), the Computer Game Museum, is for you. Rebooted in January after a decade-long force-quit, this surprisingly informative history of the medium contains over 300 consoles and 14,000 games in its archives. All your favorites are here—Mario, Donkey Kong—as well as the real granddaddy of them all, the 1951 Nimrod. Guests can test tongue-in-cheek prototypes, such as a human-size Jumbo Joystick or PainStation, which ups the ante with a Pavlovian twist: It doles out heat, shock, or a tiny whip whenever you miss the ball. Admission $11. MUSEUM OF THE AUTOMOBILE Turin’s titans of industry get a shiny new pantheon. In Italy, Ferraris and Lamborghinis may not be as revered as Michelangelos and Botticellis, but the race is closer than you’d think. It’s no wonder Turin's Museum of the Automobile, which reopened in March after a major renovation, treats cars like works of high art. Nicknamed the Detroit of Italy, this Alpine city embraces its industrial heritage with a collection of over 200 vehicles from across the globe, including the first Fiat, built in 1899. Witty, conceptual pieces range from a forest of international street signs (Australia: koala crossing) to an installation that places some of the most notoriously speedy race cars (Fiat 500 Sporting Kit, Lancia Delta Integrale) behind bars. Admission $11. RIVERSIDE MUSEUM An architectural master drops anchor along Glasgow’s Clyde River. Every “starchitect” worth her blueprints needs a world-class museum to call her own. Zaha Hadid may have found her Bilbao-like moment with the June opening of Glasgow, Scotland’s Riverside Museum, a zigzag-roofed snake built along a previously dingy stretch of docklands. The collection of vintage trams, carriages, and steam locomotives isn’t roped off. Instead, it’s spread out in its natural habitat: re-created street scenes from different periods in Glasgow’s history, from the Edwardian 1890s through the gas-guzzling 1980s. Outside, the zinc-and-glass building looks onto the Clyde River and the Glenlee, a 19th-century sailing vessel that now serves as a maritime museum. Museum free; tall-ship admission $8. What's your favorite highly-specific museum? Let us know below! MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: Greece's new Acropolis Museum opens New Dali Museum opening in St. Petersburg Mexico to debut the largest underwater museum in the world
Two Ways to Save on a Vacation This Winter
There are two types of vacation strategies in the winter: get as far away from the cold as possible, or embrace it. And which of these travel deals appeals to you depends on your preference. For beach weather Winter is high season in the Caribbean, but that doesn't mean there aren't deals to be had. A new promotion through the USVI tourism board gets you a $300 credit on airfare per couple when you book a six-night package to St. Croix, and that sixth night is free. There are a dozen resorts participating in the program, including The Buccaneer and The Palms at Pelican Cove. Hurry, though, you need to book by January 31 and for travel between January 27 and March 24. For an island that's a bit chillier Even though winter in England is decidedly less sunny than the Caribbean, that's no reason to stay away. And if you book an airfare and hotel package through British Airways, you'll get two hotel nights free thanks to a deal through BA and Visit Britain. The deal is valid on trips to London, Manchester, and Newcastle, England and in Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland, with 13 hotels to choose from. Book now until March 31 for trips through the end of March.
Visit the U.K.'s Winter Wonderlands!
Sophie Gackowski writes for HomeAway UK For most tourists, the United Kingdom's best visited in spring, summer or autumn—after all, who wants to risk its tempestuous winter weather? But the truth is, things can only look up after the winter solstice in December: days are longer, the sunshine makes an overdue appearance, and light frosts make forests sparkle in white. Come winter, there's much more to our fair isle than pretty scenery, though it certainly takes pride of place: festivals, winter sports, shopping opportunities and celebration days make up the exciting agenda. Where will you find your winter wonderland? Pick up skills in Snowdonia, North Wales. Make no mistake: come winter, Snowdonia's an icy mistress, and not one to be underestimated. As challenging as the Welsh National Park can be during winter, however, it's a beautiful place for a holiday—there's plenty to do amidst the blanket of snow. Take your pick of ice-climbing operators in the area, and you could learn to use ice-axes and crampons, finally making your way up its majestic, snow-capped mountains. Enjoy winter walks and wildlife, Cornwall. It doesn't usually get as cold in Cornwall as the rest of the U.K., and snow isn't nearly as common—for this reason, it's a fantastic spot for those looking to get outdoors and explore. Thousands of wintering birds can be found as the Tamar Estuary, while Bodmin's Cabilla and Redrice Reserve is home to hundreds of roe deer. Walking amidst the patches of newly bloomed snowdrops has to be one of winter's simplest pleasures. Ski the Nevis Range, Scottish Highlands. When there's a great shower of snow in Scotland, head for the hills. Even seasoned skiers know the Highlands offer some of the world's best winter sports opportunities—when conditions are right. Glenshee, the Cairngorms and Glencoe are all great options, but the Nevis Range is by far the most spectacular. Enjoy coastal vistas from slopes over 3,800 ft, and some incredible off-piste terrain—all just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Glasgow. Hit the High Street, London. Hit up any of the United Kingdom's major cities in winter, and you're sure to find one thing: sales, sales, sales! In London, shopping's taken to a whole new level: everything from High Street brands to luxury designer labels are slashed dramatically in price following Christmas, so if you're brave enough to join the crowds, bag yourself a bargain at one of the capital's most famous stores like Selfridges, Liberty, Harrods or Harvey Nichols. Follow Sophie Gackowski on Google+
More Places to go
Cave City is a home rule-class city in Barren County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 2,240 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Glasgow Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Monroe County is a county located in the Pennyroyal Plateau region of the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,963. Its county seat is Tompkinsville. The county is named for President James Monroe. It is a prohibition or dry county.
Bowling Green is a home rule-class city and the county seat of Warren County, Kentucky, United States. Founded by pioneers in 1798, Bowling Green was the provisional capital of Confederate Kentucky during the American Civil War. As of 2019, its population of 70,543 made it the third-most-populous city in the state, after Louisville and Lexington; its metropolitan area, which is the fourth largest in the state after Louisville, Lexington, and Northern Kentucky, had an estimated population of 179,240; and the combined statistical area it shares with Glasgow has an estimated population of 233,560.In the 21st century, it is the location of numerous manufacturers, including General Motors and Fruit of the Loom. The Bowling Green Assembly Plant has been the source of all Chevrolet Corvettes built since 1981. Bowling Green is also home to the state's second-largest public university, Western Kentucky University. In 2014, Forbes magazine listed Bowling Green as one of the Top 25 Best Places to Retire in the United States.