The Allure of Global Cities

I was raised in Bangalore – a city that is now a distant shadow of its current bustling self – gone are the misty mornings that I loved waking up to! Nevertheless, I continue to love the open, progressive, welcoming traits of its people that has made this city the melting pot that it is today – with an eclectic mix of local and modern culture, socio-economic sensibilities. For a layman like me, it means the best of experiences and opportunities – think fusion food, global and local music, arts, plays, opportunities to be part of world-class startups and firms, and meet people from all over the world. I presume most global cities today are made up of a similar fabric. No wonder, if asked, my first choice for a quick break or even if I had to move temporarily would be always to a big metropolitan city – I am a through and through city girl!

For a vacation, especially, I’ll take the bright lights and vibrant experiences of global cities any day!  I have been fortunate to live, work and travel to some of the best global cities –  and my favorites being – New York, London, Paris, Shanghai, San Francisco, Chicago, Barcelona, Munich and Istanbul. I would go back to these cities in a heartbeat if I could!

Cities such as these offer an immersive cultural experience that is sometimes hard to come by even in the most beautiful beaches or the heartlands of beautiful countries (which offer luxurious but standardized experiences or rustic encounters respectively that are definitely enjoyable as well in their own right, but offer a narrower glimpse into the cultural setting). Take New York for example, a 3 day city-break in New York can be packed with some of the most sought after culinary experiences, a peek into the best galleries and museums of the world, evenings filled with artistic and elaborate plays and shows, speakeasy style bars, top attractions and even a beach trip! (ex: Hamptons, Fire Island). All along, you will most likely meet / see highly accomplished people from varied cultures and backgrounds – all of which serve as food for soul, inspirations that are rather hard to find in a 2-3 day trip elsewhere!  

Apart from the soul enriching experiences, there are some obvious logistical reasons why city-breaks are my go-to vacations as well. Global cities –

  • Are well connected – It usually is very easy to get oriented in global cities that offer great public transportation and walking/ cycling facilities. Cities like London, Munich, Paris are so well connected by trains that makes getting around a breeze and also allows one to pack many to-dos in a few days.
  • Have pockets of related activities – Most global cities have activities/ attractions/ experiences that are centered in few pockets that are easily accessible by walk/ trains. In Istanbul, for example, one can cover the historical sights such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Galata Bridge all by walk in 5-6 hours, during which you can indulge in some of the best street food without having to wander away too much from these main attractions. This leaves you plenty of time to savor the many off-beaten-path, culinary and local cultural scenes
  • Are economical too – Yes, most global cities offer accommodation and dining options across a wide range – from the cheapest to the most luxurious – making it easy to fit in trips of most budget ranges

There is so much choice out there if you want to decide on your next city-break to global cities. Take the plunge – it is well worth the experience. If you need help figuring out what suits your interests and budget best, save time and use MeTripping – a handy search engine that takes into account your budget and preferences and gives out best trip options, with the best hotel and most convenient flights as well!

And, lastly, what is your favorite global city ? Do share! 🙂

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