There are certain things every man must cross off his travel bucket list. When you’re young, that probably meant scoring fake designer gear at a Beijing market or stumbling home to your Munich hostel after too many beers at Oktoberfest.
Now that you’re older, wiser, classier, you’re ready to travel like a gentleman. Your new bucket list involves cultural institutions, fine dining, expertly mixed cocktails and, of course, world-class shopping. Here’s where to do it all in 10 of our favourite cities.
With its bridges, canals and colourful homes, Amsterdam stands out as a picturesque capital in a continent of picturesque capitals. Step one to exploring the city is getting around like a local – rent a bicycle and peddle through Nine Streets and the Jordaan neighbourhood for shopping, restaurants and art galleries.
Stopping at Suitsupply in its native country is a must if you’re in the market for a suit. For culture, drop into the Van Gough Museum and the Rijksmuseum and, when jet lag catches up with you, grab a cup of revivifying coffee at one of Amsterdam’s famous ‘brown cafes.’
Hong Kong’s mix of East and West, of feng shui and big finance, makes it one of the most unique cities in the world. Start with your home away from home: the Ritz-Carlton. Not only is it a beautiful five-star spot to lay your head at night, it’s also home to Michelin-starred restaurants and Ozone, the highest bar in the world. Most of your explorations will be done in Central, where you can drop in on Il Sarto for exceptional Italian-inspired men’s tailoring. Take in the view of Hong Kong’s famed skyscrapers from The Peak or, if that’s not high enough for your thrill-seeking tastes, from a helicopter.
As a major hub city for many airlines, Frankfurt can feel more like a layover than a final destination. But spend even a little time in the city and you’ll quickly discover it has a special charm all its own. Sampling cider at Frankfurt’s traditional cider houses in Sachsenhausen is a must, as is shopping in The Zeil (often compared to NYC’s legendary 5th Avenue). Art fans should visit the MMK museum of modern art and anyone who isn’t afraid of heights should take in the sweeping skyline views from the 650-ft Main Tower.
What would we tell visitors to a city so close to our heart? First, the coffee can’t be missed. Nowhere has a coffee culture quite like Melbourne, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you skipped it. Once you’ve got your caffeine fix, put the excess energy to good use with a journey through the Paris end of Collins Street. Dinner afterwards will be South-East Asian cuisine at Chin Chin, followed by rooftop drinks at Siglo. Don’t forget to take in an AFL game at the MCG while you’re in the city that invented it.
The Standard sets the standard, if you’ll forgive the pun, for accommodations in New York City. Few hotels have built a loftier reputation, thanks to its first-class service and an infamous bar that’s always home to a famous face or two. For culture, because NYC certainly has no shortage of it, visit the world famous artworks at the MoMA and the Guggenheim. For entertainment, cheer on the Yankees in their $2.3 billion Bronx stadium. For a sizeable injection of the city’s immortal cool factor, head downtown to explore the hip Bowery District (the birthplace of American punk music).
Paris makes it on everyone’s travel to-do list, but it’s easy to mistake it for an outmoded destination. Can Paris keep up with the younger, more forward-thinking cities looking to take its crown? The answer is a definitive yes. Sure, you should still make the classic stops like the Louvre and the rue Saint-Honoré (where you’ll find a number of museums and upscale boutiques), but you should also take in the youthful energy of St. Germain and pick up an unexpected souvenir – like a helmet from Les Ateliers Ruby.
Travel to Milan and a certain degree of glamour is expected. It is, after all, one of the fashion capitals of the world and located in a country known for its celebration of the good life. A trip to Milan is not the time for cutting costs. Stay at the Bulgari Hotel, steps away from the famous La Scala Opera Theatre and many of the city’s most fashionable shops. Drop in on the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, and splurge on a custom suit at A.Caraceni. When you’re ready for a break from all the shopping, take in the atmosphere of the Milan Derby at the San Siro.
In contrast to Milan, where you’re going upscale and classic, Tokyo is all about the new and the now. Hit the Harajuku area for some of the wildest independent fashion boutiques in the world. Nearby, Shibuya is another major fashion and nightlife centre. For a raucous (probably sleazy, potentially dangerous) night out there’s also the Roppongi district. The world’s largest and busiest fish market, Tsukiji Fish Market, is another a popular stop for tourists (particularly if jet lag is keeping you up during the wee hours of the morning).
Canada is often overlooked as a destination, or at least considered best kept for outdoorsy types who want to rough it in the country’s bountiful wilderness. Vancouver, however, is an urban metropolis that can hold its own with the best of them. The SoMa district is a mecca of fashion, art and design boutiques, plus the restaurants and cafes that come along with them, and Yaletown is where Vancouverites go to party the night away. Of course, you shouldn’t miss out on that wilderness completely, so stop by Kitsilano Beach and take a day trip to Whistler.
Switzerland has something to suit every taste. From a home base in Zurich, a day trip in the Alps is only an hour away. For a dose of the old, take in the historical architecture at Altstadt. For a dose of the new, enjoy the nightlife of Niederdorf (located in the old town). For something that will inspire jealousy in you, check out one of the world’s most expensive private watch collections at the Beyer Watch & Clock Museum. And then, for something that will inspire jealousy in others, take a stroll down the Bahnhofstrasse and pick up a Swiss watch of your very own.