The 12 Most Unique Movie Theaters in the World

Forget watching Netflix at home or going to a regular movie theatre, all around the world from the United States to Norway to the UK there are some extremely unique theatres to visit. Some take credit for being hundreds of years old while others use new technology to wow moviegoers. From an elementary school turned brewpub/theatre to an outdoor cinema set up in a cemetery; here are our top 12 choices for the most unique movie theatres in the world.

12. Kennedy School, Portland, OR

This one time elementary school has been turned into a 35-room hotel, restaurant, and movie theatre, all thanks to McMenamins, a local empire of brewpubs and entertainment venues. The movie theatre located in the school’s old auditorium is a mix of comfortable sofas, armchairs, and tables for two. It can fit up to 300 guests inside where second-run feature films are shown nightly.

Mommy matinees are shown during the day from Tuesdays to Thursday s where kids and their parents can come enjoy the first show, and it won’t matter to anyone if the wee ones fuss. Admission here is a steal, at just $4 per person and just $2 a child. There is a special theatre lounge and lobby to grab a drink and bite to eat before the show, or put in your order, as servers will come to your seat throughout the movie so you don’t have to miss a minute of it. Not surprisingly there are a number of McMenamins Craft Beers on tap here!

Via Lonely Planet

11. Colosseum Kino, Oslo, Norway

It is the largest cinema in Northern Europe and the largest THX cinema in the world and is dominating in structure due to its large spherical dome. The grey and cream dome looks more like a futuristic spaceship rather than a movie theatre but it was actually built in 1921.

Throughout its 90 year history, the Colosseum Kino has managed to keep up with technological advances such as sounds systems, and ticketing systems. In 1998 the theatre closed down for a period of time in which major interior and exterior renovations were made.

Via Cinemaholic

10. The Castro Theatre, San Francisco

Built in 1922 by pioneer San Francisco theatre entrepreneurs, this is one of the last remaining movie palaces in the nation that was built in the 1920’s that is still in operation. Both outside and it is breathtakingly gorgeous with the inside being just a touch more luxurious. Expect to see foamy balconies, wall-mounted busts of heroic figures and an auditorium that seat over 1,400 guests in a fantasy setting that is both lavish and intimate.

On either side of the screen are large organ grills, a large art deco chandelier hangs from the room and two dramatic staircases lead to the mezzanine and balcony. Showing here are foreign films, classic revivals, festivals and some of the most intense audiences in town.  In recent years the sound quality has been improved, new stage lighting was installed and larger and more comfortable seats were put on the main floor.

9. Electric Cinema, London

Visitors to the Electric Cinema in London should expect luxury service in this adults aimed hideout in the chic Notting Hill Neighborhood. It is one of the oldest working cinemas in the country, opening in 1910 and has run almost continuously since that time. The interior of the theater is made up of 65 leather armchairs with footstools and side tables, three 2-seater sofas at the rear and six double beds in the front row.

To make things even better, individual cashmere blankets are provided for guests. The bar opens 10 minutes before screening time, whereas the movie starts 30 minutes after screening time. Offering wine, beer, champagne and a variety of snacks; one must get their food and drinks ahead of time. On Monday mornings babies and their caregivers are invited to Electric Scream, a screening designed especially for them.

Via YouTube

8. Raj Mandir Cinema, Jaipur, India

It is nicknamed the “Pride of Asia” and is considered the crown jewel of India’s cinemas, and certainly lives up to its reputation. The theatre was created to make guests feel as though they were royal guests of a palace, a place full of style and elegance. Walking into this theatre is an experience unlike any other, high ceilings hung with huge chandeliers, lighting that changes from white to blue and walls covered in artistic artwork.

The seating here is divided into four sections, Pearl, Ruby, Emerald, and Diamond and once you are seated you will be faced with a huge screen covered by velvet curtains. This is such an experience that every single movie showing over the past 25 years has had a full house, now that is something to brag about. There certainly doesn’t seem to be any better place to take in the colorful sights and sounds of a Bollywood film.

7. Cine de Chef, Seoul, South Korea

This cinema gives a new meaning to “dinner and a movie” with its small luxurious theatre. Couples will begin their night by dropping their car off at the valet and taking the private elevator up to Cordon Bleu café for a quick meal before the show. Think upscale cuisine with a twist. Moviegoers are than put into a private screening room that seats just a handful of patrons.

The comfortable reclining chairs were designed by the same people who design seats for the United Arab Emirates Royalty and once you sit down you may never want to get back up. Footstools, side tables, and lamps complete the picture of this awesome yet small venue. Tickets start at just $54 per person for both dinner and a movie.

Via designseoda

6. Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne, Australia

Sitting on a rooftop bar watching a movie play on a large projection screen sounds like a dream come true. In fact, it is actually reality at the Rooftop Cinema in Melbourne Australia. Open daily from 11am-1am it is easy to grab a drink before the movie starts and hang around long after the credits roll. The rooftop cinema is open from December to April and prices start at $22 per person.

The seating up here is incredibly comfortable deck chairs and blankets are available to rent for just $5 for the course of the movie. Showings include art house films, classics, and recent releases. It is fully licensed up on this roof and moviegoers often bring up their cocktails and brews from the bar below. Enjoy the sky above you, the grass beneath you and an incredible view of the Melbourne skyline.

Via Time Out

5. Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA

The outdoor movie screenings here are hard to beat in terms of being unique as they are held on Fairbanks Lawn, an open grassy field inside the Hollywood Forever Cemetery; yes we did just say cemetery. Moviegoers here are responsible for bringing their own low lying chairs, blankets and pillows as well as picnics, wine and beer (note that no spirits are allowed). The Forever Cemetery is the final resting place for many, including John Huston, Peter Lorre, Bugsy Siegel and more.

The showing range from comedies to horror to old school classics and tickets generally cost $10-$15. Guests arriving at the showing will walk through the beautiful and historic cemetery before plunking down in front of the screen. There are restrooms on site to use and there are no in and out privileges. If you thought that watching a scary movie in a normal cinema was scary, wait until you watch one in a cemetery.

Via Hollywood Reporter

4. Alamo Drafthouse, Austin, TX

This quirky indie movie chain was started by a husband and wife team that had no movie qualifications, other than being devoted movie fans. Striving to create the perfect viewing experience for movie lovers there are some strict rules to follow here in order for everyone to enjoy. Some of these rules include absolutely no talking, no cell-phone usage, no unaccompanied children, no babies and no ads before the movies.

What you can expect is high quality and locally sourced food and beer that are served to your seat. This movie chain also runs some incredible events across their theatres. It once showed the Lord of the Rings Trilogy where viewers were only permitted to eat when the characters ate on screen, or how about the events when they call for every viewer to dress like a certain character. Its how movie showing should be, uninterrupted, fun and enjoyable.

Via Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

3. Secret Cinema, Unknown

Once a month moviegoers can be part of a secret audience, secret location and essentially a secret world. Secret Cinema brings together film, music, art, and theatre to create a larger than life experience in abandoned spaces. This is an entirely immersive experience where audiences must dress up as the characters or of the era of the film. They also have the chance to interact with the spectators and actors while having food and drinks, living in the world of the film before setting in to watch the film.

Tickets are not cheap for the event and start around $75 Great British Pounds per adult. Viewers must register online to receive the secret email for which film will be next on the list. Although this is not a standalone theatre, the concept and the delivery of these movies is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Via Stevenfollows.com

2. Hot Tub Cinema, UK, USA, Ibiza

One way to get people talking is to combine hot tubs and movies, because who doesn’t love both! This company started by combining great films with amazing space, lots of hot tubs and incredible people. The mantra here is that they don’t want you to watch films but instead celebrate them. This means your movie experience will be unlike any other you have had before.

Moviegoers are encouraged to dress up, sing, dance, drink and play, as well as spending plenty of time in the hot tub. With movies such as Dirty Dancing, Free Willy, Back to the Future and other classics, tickets sell out fast. Whole tubs can be rented out by buying 6 tickets for a friend or you can buy a pair of tickets and make some new friends as you share a hot tub. There are personalized tub waiters for each hot tub and you can assure this may just be the best night of your life.

Via AWOL

1. Sol Cinema, South Wales

It prides itself as the world’s smallest solar movie theatre and we have to say this may, in fact, be the most unique movie theatre in the world. The Sol Cinema is actually a mobile cinema in a caravan that is powered entirely by the sun. It can accommodate up to 8 adults comfortably and the choice is yours as to which movie is playing. Inside comfortable benches and surround sounds create the perfect viewing experience.

Guests here will get the utmost luxury treatment complete with a red carpet, usherette service and popcorn to snack on. The idea behind this solar movie theatre came when they wanted to reduce their own CO2 emissions but also show what is achievable with solar power. Creating this small cinema allows hundreds of people to be entertained on a daily basis and gives something unique and incredible to both creators and viewers.

Via Digital Spy

Lonely Planet’s 10 Most Accessible Vacation Destinations for 2016

The world’s population is rapidly aging and this is having an impact on global business and tourism as companies are slowly starting to realize that accessibility is not just an issue that must be addressed for those with a disability. It’s a real issue that many grey nomads are putting some extra thought into before booking their next vacation. Lonely Planet agrees that with an aging baby boomer population that isn’t willing to slow down when it comes to travel, accessibility is becoming paramount. With this in mind they’ve put together this list of the most accessible vacation destinations for 2016:

10. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Snowbirds love to head south in the winter, and mexico is a popular winter destination for many including those over the age of 65. Playa del Carmen is only an hour away from Cancun airport but it’s a far cry from the lively Spring Break destination city. Accessible hotels are available and the beach is also easy to navigate with the help of special beach wheelchairs and even special equipment to help you snorkel, even if you can’t swim.

wheelchair accessible beach

9. Barcelona, Spain

The tourism agencies of Spain and especially the Catalonia region have been pushing the importance of accessible tourism for quite some time now. As a result, 80 per cent of metro stations and 100 per cent of public buses are wheelchair accessible. And unlike many old historic cities, the old town of Barcelona is cobblestone free reducing the risks of trip and falls and making it easier for those with walkers and wheelchairs.

Plaza Barcelona, Spain

8. Galápagos and Amazonia, Ecuador

After watching these nature-centric destinations on programs like Planet Earth, they may not seem like an option for those with mobility issues, however they’re a lot closer in reach thanks to Lenín Moreno, a paraplegic who was the vice president of Ecuador from 2006-2013. Moreno’s work is responsible for the inroads in accessibility in this largely inaccessible continent.

blue footed booby

7. Sicily, Italy

When one thinks of Italy, images of cobblestone streets and elevated countryside usually come to mind -not exactly the picture of accessibility. But Lonely Planet says Sicily is breaking new ground on this front and is home to a tactile museum and Europe’s only sensorial botanic garden. Two Guinness world records have also been set here by people with disabilities; the first paraplegic to dive to 59m and first blind woman to dive to 41m.

Sicily, Italy Cathedral of Palermo

6. Manchester, England

Although Manchester is indeed an old city, much of the central business district was rebuilt in the late 1900s. The result is a city with wide, smooth pavements and many shopfronts, bars and restaurants that are completely step free. Perfect for those with reduced mobility. The city’s public transit is also wheelchair friendly and offers service to just about anywhere you’d want to get to in the city.

Manchester street sign

5. Melbourne, Australia

The city of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia has been called the ‘best in the world’ for a lot of things, but it can now add ‘most accessible’ to that list as well. The city’s highly accessible public transit has received global praise and the compact central city core helps earn the city’s status as one of the most accessible cities in the world. Lonely Planet even has a guidebook dedicated to the subject titled ‘Accessible Melbourne.’

Tooykrub / Shutterstock.com
Tooykrub / Shutterstock.com

4. Ljubljana, Slovenia

The capital city of Slovenia is relatively flat, a fact that many aging travelers will appreciate. It’s also equipped with highly accessible public transit which features audio and video stop announcements on buses (because there’s nothing worse than missing your stop!) The main attraction of the city is the 16th century Ljubljana Castle, and while you wouldn’t expect anything built in the 16th century to be accessible, the castle is actually wheelchair accessible.

Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia

3. Singapore

Singapore is arguably the most accessible city in Asia and one of the most overall accessible in the whole world. You’ll find stepless access to most buildings and an endless supply of curb cuts to make sure there are no barriers for those in wheelchairs.  The city’s mass rail transit (MRT) and buses are also designed for the visually and motor impaired, making this city one were there are essentially no limitations.

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

2. San Diego, USA

Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (which just celebrated its 25th anniversary) most of the United States is very accessible, but Lonely Planet picked San Diego, California as a standout in its class. The city is easy to get around with a fairly flat grid system and public transit is easy with a fully accessible tram system. The most notable feature is the miles long beachfront promenade which offers beach wheelchairs to those who need them.

Greta Gabaglio / Shutterstock.com
Greta Gabaglio / Shutterstock.com

1. Vienna, Austria

Like Manchester but perhaps even richer in history, Vienna is a historic city that’s been refurbished to meet modern day demands. Unlike many old European cities, its cobblestones have been removed as have many curbs and central shops, cafes and restaurants are wheelchair friendly. One of the city’s most notable attractions, the Schloss Schönbrunn is fully accessible making it a must-see for everyone, no matter your age.

Schloss Schönbrunn Vienna

The Top 5 Must-Visit Destinations for Coffee Lovers

“Caffeine fix”, “cup of Joe”, “java”—whatever you call it, warm, delicious coffee has rabid devotees all around the world. Coffee’s worldwide prevalence also makes it the perfect sipper to seek out while travelling, so you can compare how coffee in a foreign city tastes to the kind you’re more familiar with back home. If you’re a coffee lover, consider a jaunt to one of these five cities; these destinations all boast coffee cultures that are certainly alive and kicking (thanks in part to all the caffeine running through their residents’ veins)!

5. Seattle, Washington, U.S.

Yes, Seattle is the home to coffee monolith Starbucks, but smaller specialty coffee shops thrive in this chilly city by the sea, too. In fact, Seattleites consume more coffee than residents of any other U.S. city! If you’re a ‘bucks devotee, then you can’t miss checking out the original Starbucks location at Pike Place Market, which opened in 1971—and is still operating in the same location today. In addition to Starbucks, Seattle is the home base for bigger roasting outfits like Tully’s Coffee and Seattle’s Best, although beloved independent coffeehouses like Café Allegro and Victrola Coffee Roasters help the city’s coffee scene really shine. Turns out nothing goes better with Seattle’s famously chilly, dreary weather than a warm cup of coffee.

Photo by: ctj71081 via Flickr
Photo by: ctj71081 via Flickr

4. Melbourne, Australia

It’s not all vegemite sandwiches down under—Australia’s got some good things brewing when it comes to coffee. Nowhere is that truer than the hip city of Melbourne, Australia’s unofficial coffee capital. Café culture is strong here, with the vibe of coffee shops shifting depending on their locations in Melbourne’s diverse neighborhoods. One thing that unites the city’s coffeehouses, though, is their focus on fostering community; you’ll often find long, communal tables in Melbourne’s coffee shops so patrons can sip their coffee while enjoying one another’s company. For a taste of the best that Melbourne has to offer, head to the Captains of Industry café off Somerset Place. Once you down your flat white, feel free to stick around for a while and pick up some grooming tips from the dapper men that hang out here—there’s even a barbershop and bespoke shoemaker upstairs!

Photo by: Captains of Industry - Gentlemans Outfitter and Cafe
Photo by: Captains of Industry – Gentlemans Outfitter and Cafe

3. Istanbul, Turkey

In Istanbul, they don’t serve up your “typical” cup of American-style coffee, so don’t even ask for it. Turkish coffee is famously rich, dark, and flavorful thanks to a unique brewing method. Turkish baristas grind their beans very finely into a meal, then boil the coffee in a specially designed Turkish coffee vessel called a cezve. The result? A full-bodied, thick cup of joe that’s certain to jolt you awake. Just make sure you don’t consume the last few sips of coffee left in your cup — since the coffee beans are ground so finely, quite a bit of grinds will collect in the bottom of your cup. For coffee sipping with a view, head to Galata Konak Café. The café’s terrace is situated on the top floor of a historic building, affording café goers great views of the Galata Tower, Bosphorus, and Golden Horn.

Photo by: Galata Konak Cafe
Photo by: Galata Konak Cafe

2. Vienna, Austria

Café culture is a point of pride in Austria’s capital; in fact, UNESCO listed the city’s coffee shops as “intangible heritage” in 2011. And with good reason—the stylish Viennese deck out their cafes with inspired furnishings and finishes, making them great spots to while away an afternoon in. On your trip to Vienna, accompany your stint of people watching with a cup of Melange, an espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth concoction that’s especially popular in Vienna. If you’re looking for a Viennese coffee shop that’s just a tad out of the ordinary, head to Cafe Neko, a “cat café” that opened in 2012. Here, you can stroke and play with a handful of rescue cats while you sip on some coffee—talk about a purrfect combination!

Photo by: American in Vienna
Photo by: American in Vienna

1. Rome, Italy

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and drink lots and lots of coffee. Café culture is strong here, where shots of espresso are served up alongside cups of black coffee that may be slightly sweetened. And if you don’t want to be taken for an ignorant tourist, don’t order milk- and cream-based coffee drinks, like lattes, outside of breakfast time. To Italians, that’s a big no-no; they think milky coffee drinks later in the day contribute to indigestion. A must-stop destination on your Italian café tour? Antico Caffè Greco, an historic café off of Via dei Condotti, which opened in 1760 and owns the distinction of being the oldest bar in Rome. Goethe, Wagner, Byron, and even Casanova were reportedly regulars there. It’s time to add your name to that illustrious list!

Photo by: Italy Travelista/Nancy Aiello Tours
Photo by: Italy Travelista/Nancy Aiello Tours

Top 10 Destinations Around the World for Homestays

A homestay can be an incredibly rewarding experience both for the homeowners and visitors. Typically, students use homestays as safe, affordable accommodations when traveling on a tight budget. But it’s also a great way to practice language skills in a comfortable environment and receive insider information on the best areas to explore in their travel destination—homestays are especially suited to solo female travelers. There are homestays all around the world to suit almost any type endeavor, from remote villages to vivacious cities, the following are 10 alluring destinations ripe with homestay options ideal for enjoying a fulfilling sojourn abroad.

10. Yuvacali, Turkey

In Turkey’s southeast region, in the village of Yuvacali, visitors receive a raw experience of what daily life is like for local Kurdish families. Traditional life means hard work for families living here, most only survive off a few dollars a day. Though struggling financially, these families offer a culturally rich experience for anyone interested in a unique holiday. A handful of families in the small village offer accommodation under the starry skies of Yuvacali in a nomadic canvas tent adorned with vibrant paintings or in a traditional, mud/brick house. Guests help out on the farm, learn to cook traditional dishes on an open hearth, and enjoy swapping stories with locals. This is no five-star hotel (in fact, it’s far from it) and families here, though extremely friendly, present an opportunity to work together, not offer hotel-like services. If you’re up for the challenge of helping out, Yuvacali has plenty to offer any curious, open-minded traveler.

Village in Turkey

9. Tighza Valley, Morocco

Throughout Morocco, there an abundant number of opportunities to experience a homestay with a local family. One particularly magical place is within the breathtaking Tighza Valley where many Berber families open their homes to foreign visitors, offering simple, clean rooms within family owned homes. The arid valley, dusted with cacti and leafy green foliage, is within the high-reaching Atlas Mountains, far from the turbid, bustling cities of Fez, Marrakesh, Casablanca, and Rabat. This is rural Moroccan life at its finest: simple and scenic. Within the valley, most guests take to the alpine trails, hiking throughout the valley and enjoying mountainous routes filled with endless snap-worthy scenes: Berber women cultivating fields, shepherds watching after flocks of goats and sheep, and boisterous children playing imaginative games. Life definitely happens at a slow pace, which is not for everyone, but the Berber people are exceptionally welcoming and on point with keeping guests occupied and well-fed.

Atlas Mountains, Morocco

8. Old Havana, Cuba

Becoming familiar with the words “casa particular” or “casa particulares” is a great advantage when traveling to Cuba for an independent holiday. The term means “private house”, and upon booking, will land you either a private home or room. The Cuban government issues special permits for renting out privately owned homes, or rooms in family homes, and they are advertised through bright blue signs out front with the words “Arrendador Divisa”, it’s a rental permit showing which casas are legal. Prices vary and depend on the travel season, area of Cuba, amenities offered, square footage, and so on. One of the best places for casas is in Old Havana, where friendly owners give a healthy measure of gossip and tips on the lay of the land. You’ll get great insider information on Old Havana’s top music clubs, festivals, and bars, and most often the owner will treat you just like family.

Old Havana, Cuba

7. Lisbon, Portugal

In Portugal, “Solares de Portugal” is an interesting idea introduced to bolster tourism within houses laden with charm and unique character, calledTurismo de Habitação”. The concept is aimed at preserving rich heirlooms of the country’s cultural and architectural heritage. This type of accommodation is not a guesthouse or hotel, but a genuine homestay. Accommodation comes in various forms such as rustic farmhouses, elegant estates, and grand country homes restored to their original luster for welcoming guests from around the world. Most homestays can be found in Lisbon, but others are in Porto, Faro, the southwest islands, and other small Portuguese cities and towns. The Solares exemplify hundreds of years of Portuguese culture and history (a large part of the magnificent 17th and 18th centuries manors are owned by descendents of the original owners). Taken quite seriously as a representation of their country, the Portuguese are dedicated to providing exceptional experiences to foreign visitors.

Breakfast in Lisbon Portugal

6. Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

If you’ve ever had the desire to explore the deepest reaches of the Amazon Rainforest, a Brazilian homestay could be an idyllic experience. Easily planned in Manaus, you can book a trip and be paired up with an indigenous family. You’ll score a room in an eco-lodge or camp under the forest canopy—it’s entirely up to you. Lodges are simply constructed from locally sourced, natural building materials and designed in traditional style. Think “fancy” thatch hut with some modern conveniences and you’re not far off. Ideal for intrepid spirits, planning a trek through the lush, magical landscape is authentic, eye-opening, and lands you where wildlife is richest. Friendly indigenous guides offer a healthy dose of insight on the rain forest ecosystem and teach guests survival tips in a natural environment. You’ll also be treated to some amazing local eats and be privy to some Amazonian cooking secrets too.

Amazon Eco Lodge

5. Lake Titicaca, Peru

Peru is home to some of the greatest archaeological treasures in the world and exhibits some truly fascinating history. The entire country has something to offer: the finest specimens of Inca ruins, Pacific Coast beaches, Amazon River rafting, sand-boarding, incredible national parks, and magnificent cross-country train rides. There are a host of options for budget accommodation in Peru, but a homestay experience offers more; enjoy a vacation with a ton of insight into one of the most culturally and historically prosperous countries in the world. There are several homestays around Lake Titicaca (the highest lake in existence) providing authentic accommodations with the added value of a tour of the floating reed islands, local dining and Andean musical evenings, and a look at pre-Inca ruins and centuries-old agricultural terraces. If city living seems more interesting, there are many host families in colorful Cusco and in the capital city of Lima.

Lake Titicaca, Peru

4. Brest Oblast, Belarus

There are a large number of homestays and farmstays in the Brest region of Belarus, a cosmopolitan town situated in the southwest bordering Poland. Here you’ll find historical monuments, war memorials, charming galleries, and Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park. If you’re traveling from the capital city of Minsk, prepare to disembark into a town far more influenced by its EU neighbors than the Soviets. Cozy, comfortable Brest homestays are run by friendly families eager to show guests surrounding attractions, cook traditional meals, and facilitate independent outings including hiking and fishing trips, cycling tours, and other outdoor pursuits. Visitors will find that Belarusians have an innate love for the natural world so expect to spend quality time exploring surrounding landscapes. Most homes are two stories and have anywhere from two to six bedrooms with shared bathrooms. Some sport saunas, outdoor fireplaces, canoes, and fishing boats so check amenities thoroughly.

Brest, Belarus

3. Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney, Australia

Australia has scores of homestay organizations typically helping students find a safe and comfortable place to live while studying abroad. Many programs are government endorsed, aimed at helping students acclimate in a healthy and safe environment while providing a reliable place to practice their studies. Though those scenarios are typical, homestays are also an option for anyone wishing to travel in Australia while staying with local hosts. There’s a dizzying array of options in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney along the southeastern stretch and even more in the west and northern territories. Australian homestays are popular because of their relatively inexpensive rates compared to hotels while also offering an authentic local experience in the Land Down Under. If you’re using an organization to book accommodation, succinctly communicate your desired experience; some families offer more of a bed and breakfast whilst others set aside ample time to spend with guests.

Circular Quay Sydney Australia

2. Sa Pa, Vietnam

If Southeast Asian culture is appealing, there are Vietnamese families offering homestays across the country. From lively cities packed with people and an endless flurry of activity, to verdant farmlands and rice paddies where slow and steady is the pace, what’s up for grabs in Vietnam is fairly unique to many other countries. In the old town of Sa Pa in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains there are stunning agricultural terraces that define the landscape where host families wait with open arms; Vietnamese people are extremely welcoming, hospitable, and chatty. Families embrace you, ply you with food and drink, introduce you to all the neighbors. They will even show you around the area. There’s almost no beating the incredible pride Vietnamese people feel when hosting foreigners. Enjoy Sa Pa’s beauty through climbing and hiking within the mountains, exploring hill tribe markets, volunteering at the local school—there are plenty of fulfilling activities available.

Sa Pa, Vietnam

1. Kerala, India

Tucked into the southwest tip of India is delightful Kerala, a world away from the typical, chaotic India. A lovely coastal town nestled on the shores of the Arabian Sea, Kerala is a laid back plexus of gleaming backwaters and flourishing tea and spice covered slopes. Tame your inner wild child with a hefty dose of Kerala, breathe in the salty air, gaze upon peaceful temples, and smell the endlessly spiced aromas. Festivals and celebrations, wild elephants, and exquisite boathouses will reel you in. Most accommodations are heritage homes, unique in architectural design with anywhere from one to twenty-plus rooms led by easygoing locals for nominal fees—choose a smaller abode for a more personal cultural exchange. Hosts are easygoing, offer rides to and from town and usually provide bicycles for exploring. Sanctuaries and synagogues, beaches and bayous; Kerala is an arresting blend of attractions with piles of things to do and see.

Kerala India

The 6 Best Australian Cruises for 2015

Cruising in Australia and New Zealand is simply magnificent. Cruisers have the chance to explore the wonder and excitement of the land Down Under and make lasting memories. Whether you are looking to cruise for several weeks on a familiar cruise line, with loads of amenities and fine dining or whether you are looking for something a little more adventurous; you can find it here. All of these cruises depart in 2015 or early 2016 and offer exciting ports, offshore activities and the promise of lifetime memories. Read on to discover the six best Australian cruises of 2015.

6. New Zealand Cruise- Celebrity (12 Nights)

Celebrity cruise lines are loved all over the world for their destinations and fully loaded ships. On November 2, 2015 the Celebrity Solstice will leave Sydney for a 12 night cruise around New Zealand. This ship is packed full of adventures and is one of the most decorated ships at sea. Cruisers will enjoy the top deck lawn club where you can sink your toes into the grass or the serene spa where you can relax. Specialty award winning restaurants, a hot glass show unlike any other show on board a cruise ship and a passion for amazing customer service are just part of the daily life aboard this ship. Although this ship does not dock at a lot of its ports, the ones it does dock at offer plenty of offshore excursions and activities.

Leah-Anne Thompson / Shutterstock.com
Leah-Anne Thompson / Shutterstock.com

5. Great Barrier Reef Cruise- Coral Princess Cruises

If you want to stay away from the big cruising companies and experience something entirely unique, Coral Princess Cruises is who you want to book your next cruise through. Specializing in small, personalized and friendly cruises along the Great Barrier Reef; this company focuses on nature based expeditions. You will still find incredible food and all the amenities you want though. Cruising the Great Barrier Reef means a combination of exploring the underwater marine life and the historic towns such as Cooktown. As much time as possible will be spent snorkeling, scuba diving or on glass bottom boats exploring the incredible marine life and coral that lives here. The longer cruises offer guests the chance to explore private tropical islands as well.

Photo by: Roy Luck
Photo by: Roy Luck

4. Tasmania Cruise- Royal Caribbean International (7 Nights)

For those new at cruising you may want to stick to a slightly shorter trip, just to make sure you love it as much as we do. This seven night cruise on the Voyagers of the Seas ship is the perfect introduction to cruising and the land Down Under. Starting off in Sydney, this cruise stops in Melbourne and Hobart, giving passengers the opportunity to explore the different cities. This is truly a family friendly ship with onboard activities such as rock climbing, ice skating, mini golf and more. Adults can relax in the adults only area, relax at the spa or work out in the fitness center. Off the ship you can explore the historic city of Melbourne’s dynamic and eclectic urban scene. Hobart offers unspoiled nature, great food, wine and a city full of life.

Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

3. Southern Safari Cruise- North Star Cruises

This adventure cruise is certainly one of a kind and departs in January 2016. North Star Cruises caters to those passengers who are looking for a little more discovery and adventure than just an everyday run of the mill cruise. The Southern Safari Cruise takes a journey along the Southern Coast exploring Kangaroo Island to Ceduna. The coast boasts an endless horizon of white sandy beaches, uninhabited islands and sheltered bays. There are plenty activities to do along the way including cage diving with great white sharks, snorkelling with seals and dolphins, hiking in the Coffin Bay National Park and exploring the many small islands. The ship itself is gorgeous and even features a helicopter, perfect for exploring the sea and land from above.

Kangaroo Island

2. New Zealand Discovery- Holland America (13 Days)

Embarking from Sydney on Nov 22, 2015 is Holland America’s Noordam ship on a 13 day cruise around Australia and New Zealand. With eight ports of calls, an exquisite ship and the professionalism of Holland America, this cruise is for someone who really wants to explore New Zealand. The ship itself is packed full of amenities such as numerous lounges, pools, spas and fitness centers. The port of calls all offer something a little different and unique. Visit Napier, the center for gourmet food and wines in NZ or take a tour in Rotorua, a thermal wonderland of fiery heat, sulfuric air, steam and magical waters. Days at sea can be spent watching the waters for signs of dolphins, seals and other amazing creatures.

CristinaMuraca / Shutterstock.com
CristinaMuraca / Shutterstock.com

1. Auckland to Melbourne- Crystal Cruises (15 Days)

If you have ever wanted to bring in the New Year smack in the middle of the Sydney Harbour; this is the cruise for you. It departs December 21st from Auckland, NZ and travels on a course exploring the vast wonders of both Australia and New Zealand. This is truly a luxury cruise where the utmost care is taken in regards to personalized service, exceptional cuisine and respect for a quiet cruising experience. One of the most luxurious ships on the sea, the onboard amenities include grand lounges, a full-service fitness facility, casino, spa, 360° teak Promenade Deck, two pools, a jacuzzi, and award-winning cuisine and entertainment. Port of calls includes, but is not limited to, Auckland, also known as ‘city of sails’, Tauranga which features thermal hot pools and springs and Wellington; New Zealand’s capital city. The shore excursions are plentiful and to make things even more luxurious many of them feature a Private Option.

Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock.com
Vytautas Kielaitis / Shutterstock.com

15 Favorite Museums from Around the World

What’s one of the first things you check out while visiting a new city? If your answer isn’t ‘a local museum’ then you definitely need to read this list! We’re exaggerating a bit, but while a museum might not be your first stop, it’s long been a favorite activity of travelers and tourists alike. It’s a great way to explore the history and culture of any city or country and help get a better understanding of its people. Many museums also feature beautiful architecture making them a must visit for those photography enthusiasts. With so many amazing establishments all around the world, choosing a museum can be difficult (although you can always visit more than one) so here’s a quick look at some of our favorites from major cities around the globe:

Museum of Anthropology –Vancouver

Located on the University of British Colombia (UBC) campus, the MOA is home to more than 40,000 ethnographic objects from around the world including the South Pacific, Asia. Europe, Africa and the Americas. The museum offers educational school programs, facility rentals for special events, a Native Youth program, and serves as a research facility for UBC students. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver, the museum is easy to get to by car or public transit. Admission is $16.75 CAD for adults and children under 6 are free. Museum of Anthropology Vancouver resized2

Royal Ontario Museum –Toronto

The Royal Ontario Museum or ‘The ROM’ as it’s affectionately known, is located near downtown Toronto and is among the world’s leading museums of natural history and world cultures. With constantly changing exhibits and galleries, one visit to the ROM is never enough as this facility strives for dynamic education and entertainment. Adult admission is $16 CAD, $13 for children age 4-14, or visit on Friday’s after 4:30pm for special discount rates.

Niloo / Shutterstock.com
Niloo / Shutterstock.com

The Guggenheim –New York

With so many amazing institutions to choose from in this city, it’s hard to pick just one to visit; but The Guggenheim Museum located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side is a real stand-out. Most notable for its unique architecture, the ‘teacup’ design was created by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Opened in 1959, visitors to this art institution can experience special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, film screenings, performances, lectures and tours. Admission is $25 USD for adults and children under 12 get in for free.

f11photo / Shutterstock.com
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

 Field Museum of Natural History –Chicago

Where can you meet a scientist to learn about nature and history, or sleep over among creatures from prehistoric times? Chicago’s Field Museum has all this and much more. This museum inspires curiosity about life on Earth while exploring how it came to be and how we can work to make it a better place. With traveling exhibits on subjects from Indigenous peoples, to prehistoric mammals, even the history of chocolate…there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Basic admission to the Field museum is $18 USD for adults and $13 for children.

Jason Patrick Ross / Shutterstock.com
Jason Patrick Ross / Shutterstock.com

Los Angeles County Museum of Art –Los Angeles

Also known by its acronym; ‘LACMA’ is the largest art museum in the western United States today. The museum boasts a collection of over 120,000 objects ranging from antique artifacts to modern objects of today, which represent the entire geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. It’s clear that this museum strives to be best in class. Located in the heart of LA, it’s situated on 20 acres known as Hancock Park. General admission to LACMA is $15 USD for adults and children under the age of 18 are free.

Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum –Rio

Another museum that may be most famous for its recognizable architecture, the MAC Niterói is located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and serves as one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the 16 meter high structure includes 3 floors and is surrounded by a beautiful reflection pool. Inside you will find many works of contemporary art from influential Latin artists as well as those from around the world. Adult admission is $10 Brazilian Real or about $3.20 USD, with children under 7 in for free.

lazyllama / Shutterstock.com
lazyllama / Shutterstock.com

The British Museum –London

Founded in 1753, the British Museum located in London brings history and art to life in England. This was the first national public museum in the world and offered free admission to guests since its beginning; a tradition that continues even now. Nearly 6 million people a year come to visit this museum and explore the interesting architecture and fascinating exhibitions which range from ancient mummies, to works of aboriginal art, to ancient Greek statues. The British Museum London

The Louvre –Paris

One of the most recognizable museums in the world, no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Louvre. This French landmark is the largest and most visited museum in the world drawing nearly 10 million visitors each year. Museum exhibits are grouped into 8 categories including Egyptian Antiques, Islamic Art, Sculptures, and Prints and Drawings. All-access admission is €16 or about $17.50 USD.

cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com
cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com

Vatican Museums –Rome

What world-wide list of museums would be complete without including the famous museums of the Vatican in Rome, Italy. The collection is made up of 54 galleries with the world famous Sistine Chapel being the very last gallery in the museum. The galleries display works of art built up by the Popes through many centuries including some of the most renowned sculptures and pieces of Renaissance art in the world.  Admission to the Vatican Museums is €16 or about $17.50 USD for adults and €4 or about $4.50 USD for students. Vatican Museums Aerial Rome

State Historical Museum –Moscow

Many people know Moscow’s Red Square as the home of the world famous Saint Basil’s Cathedral, but this colorful landmark isn’t the only sight worth seeing in the square. The State Historical Museum is also a most recognizable structure with its grand size and deep red color. The museum is an homage to all things Russian history and the total number of objects in the collection is said to be in the millions. Admission is 300 Russian Rubles for adults which is about $5.30 USD.

Elena Ermakova / Shutterstock.com
Elena Ermakova / Shutterstock.com

ArtScience Museum –Singapore

What first might look like some sort of lotus flower structure is actually Singapore’s ArtScience Museum, located at the Marina Bay Sands Resort. This newer attraction opened in 2011 and is the world’s first ArtScience museum; featuring 21 gallery spaces in over 50,000 square feet. Inside you’ll find permanent galleries as well as intriguing temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year. All access admission to the ArtScience Museum is $25 Singapore Dollars or roughly $18 USD for adults and $12.50 USD for children. ArtScience Museum Singapore

Hong Kong Museum of Art –Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Museum of Art seeks to preserve the cultural heritage of China while promoting locally produced works of art. Established in 1962, the museum’s collection contains over 16,000 pieces including paintings, calligraphy works, and antique treasures. Located in historic Victoria Harbour, a trip to the Hong Kong Museum of Art is a great way to learn more about the history and future of Chinese art. Standard admission is $10 Hong Kong Dollars or about $1.30 USD.

e X p o s e / Shutterstock.com
e X p o s e / Shutterstock.com

Tokyo National Museum –Tokyo

Located in Tokyo’s Ueno Park, the Tokyo National Museum is a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Established in 1872, this is the oldest national museum in Japan as well as the country’s largest art museum. The museum collection focuses primarily on Japanese art and antiques but also includes art from other Asian countries and along the Silk Road. Adult admission is 620 Japanese Yen or around $5.20 USD while those under the age of 18 get in for free.

cowardlion / Shutterstock.com
cowardlion / Shutterstock.com

Museum of Contemporary Art –Sydney

Located in The Rocks district on the edge of Sydney’s famous Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art first opened its doors in 1991. The MCA operates with the goal of exhibiting, interpreting and collecting contemporary art from all over Australia as well as around the world. The permanent collection includes over 4,000 works by Australian artists, while the museum also features ever changing temporary exhibits. Regular admission to the MCA is free of charge, though special temporary exhibitions may require a small charge.

Jean-Philippe Menard / Shutterstock.com
Jean-Philippe Menard / Shutterstock.com

National Gallery of Victoria –Melbourne

Located in Melbourne’s CBD, the National Gallery of Victoria -or more commonly known as the NGV, is the oldest public art museum in Australia.  The organization operates 2 distinct sites: On the South side of the Yarra River you’ll find the NGV International where you’ll find an extensive collection of art from all over the world including Asia, Europe and America. North of the river in Federation Square is the NGV Australia, also known as The Ian Potter Centre where you find both aboriginal and non-aboriginal art from all over Australia from the colonial period to present day. General admission to either site is free of charge. National Gallery of Victoria Melbourne resized

8 Cities that Have Public Transit Figured Out

Remember the days when you couldn’t catch a bus past midnight, the days where the sun and rain wreaked havoc on the faded schedule taped to the post at the bus stop, and the days of the graffiti filled subway stations? When we think about public transportation these are often the memories we recall but we are here to show you that public transit systems have been taken to a new level. Replacing these memories are those of clean stations, touch screen kiosks, 24 hour service, and robots helping you on the way. These systems are fast, efficient and cost effective and most of them even have Wi-Fi. With subways, buses, trams, streetcars and bicycles; the possibilities for getting around are endless. Welcome to the new world of public transit. Sit back, relax and read on to discover the eight cities that have really excellent public transit.

8. Melbourne, Australia

Boasting the largest tram network in the world and the innovative bike share program it’s no surprise Melbourne makes the cut. The bike share program was initially affected negatively by the introduction of a mandatory helmet wearing law. Since that law, Melbourne has offered free helmets and helmet rental opportunities that has increased the use of this program. The myki card is an added bonus to this transit system. Easily purchased at over 800 retail locations, stations and ticket offices, this card calculates the lowest fare available to you every time you “touch on touch off” a train, tram or bus. Melbourne is also home to the City Circle Tram; a free historical tram experience taking you past many of Melbourne’s landmarks.

melbourne tram

7.  Vienna, Austria

Surprised to see Vienna pop up on this list? After you’ve discovered one of the most affordable, cleanest, efficient, safe and rarely overcrowded public transit systems you will change your mind. Vienna boasts a system that is made up of subways, local trains, trams and busses. Flat fare tickets that can be used for any of the above modes of transit makes it just that much easier. Tickets are easily purchased throughout the stations, at stores or even on the bus and tram. Rarely waiting more than five minutes for service and a late night bus that runs throughout the night and into the wee hours of the morning is why Vienna is the model of so many public transit systems in Europe.

Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com
Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com

6. Paris, France

In a city designed for exploring the “hidden” nooks and cracks, Paris does a fine job of providing ways to do exactly that. One of the greatest public transit methods Paris has put in places is Velib; the biggest bike sharing program in the world. Free for the first 30 minutes, self-serve, available 24/7 and ease of access all contribute to this overwhelmingly popular choice of transport in the city. For those non-bikers, Paris also offers the 16 line metro, commuter rail, buses, boats and the RER. Along with being one of the world’s safest and most efficient transit systems, Paris takes their public transportation very seriously and is adding to their tram with the opening of four new lines in the past two years.

paul prescott / Shutterstock.com
paul prescott / Shutterstock.com

5. Munich, Germany

The U-Bahn and the S-Bahn are both run by the Munich Transit Authority which might explain the cleanliness, safety and on time performance this public transit system prides itself on. Ease of access along with only having to validate your ticket once rather than at every transfer or stop reduces congestion on this busy system. With the central train station located next to historic downtown it’s easy to connect to the rest of Europe in a timely fashion. Not to be forgotten is the amazing fact that trains in the central area depart every two minutes. With a fare that won’t stretch your wallet, this city has truly made it easy to get around.

s-bahn and u-bahn munich

4.  Tokyo, Japan

Known as having one of the best public transportation systems in the world, Tokyo uses a combination of trains, subways and buses. It is important to note that during rush hour, Tokyo subways are often packed full, being a testament to how efficient the rail system is. Once in the station, one will notice not only the cleanliness of it but the ease of where to go with floor markings to tell you where to stand. Once on the train you will sink into your heated seat and read the digital message in both Japanese and English on what the next stop is. Tokyo’s rail system in uncanny in its reliability and punctuality. Exactly what one wants in a public transportation system.

Stephen Bures / Shutterstock.com
Stephen Bures / Shutterstock.com

3. Hong Kong, China

With approximately 90% of all travel in Hong Kong being done by mass transit it is imperative that this city has public transit figured out. Luckily for all those transit users, Hong Kong has gone above and beyond with their system. The subways system is responsible for most of this travel and their trains travel on time, every time. While on the train, don’t fret about losing that phone call because 3G cellular network is available on all commutes, even underground. The Automated People Mover in Hong Kong’s airport is also a futuristic transportation method we just have to mention. Designed to take passengers to gates, immigration, customs, baggage claim and the SkyPier; this driverless people mover is a lesson in efficiency.

Alan49 / Shutterstock.com
Alan49 / Shutterstock.com

2. Taipei, Taiwan

The Taipei MRT subway system in not only one of the most expensive systems in the world but has been voted the safest and most reliable for numerous years in a row. LED screens offer passengers times of trains in both Mandarin and English while announcements are made in four different languages. The cleanliness is unchallenged by the prohibition of eating, drinking or gum chewing in any of the stations and cars. An honorable mention must go out to the high speed train aka “the bullet” which can reach upwards of 300km/hr and connects passengers to some of the bigger cities in the western part of the island. Make sure to eat before you board as eating is also prohibited on the bullet train.

Wayne0216 / Shutterstock.com
Wayne0216 / Shutterstock.com

1. Seoul, Korea

Bigger subway cars, cleanliness, and the fact that it moves 8 million people a day is something to boast about. Coupled with the LED screens that tell passengers when the next train is coming and announcements in both Korean and English, this system is way ahead of the times. Going even one step further are the heated seats, digital touch screen kiosks in stations and colour coded buses. Free Wi-Fi in the underground stations and cars plus the addition of digital TV’s in the subway cars just seems like an added bonus. And there is one more thing that pushed them into first place; Robots that help passengers find information in the underground stations. Robots….can you believe it?

meunierd / Shutterstock.com
meunierd / Shutterstock.com

8 Awesome Markets in Australia

In a country/continent as big and diverse as Australia they’re able to grow, produce and make many products themselves year round. The best place to find fresh home grown produce and unique local products is by visiting one of the many markets that take place all around the country in cities big and small. No matter where you are in the country there’s bound to be a market held close by. To help get you exploring here are 8 awesome markets in some of the major cities around Australia:

8. Capital Region Farmers Markets –Canberra, ACT

Held every Saturday from 7:30-11:30am at EPIC (Exhibition Park in Canberra), it’s worth the drive out to these markets which feature the freshest produce in the capital sold by local producers. You’ll find fruits, vegetables, baked goods, meat and seafood, nuts, gourmet foods, flowers and plants all from local area growers. Come for breakfast and be sure to grab a flat white from the coffee stand and a sizzling sausage from The Brathaus.

EPIC Canberra resized

7. Cairns Night Markets –Cairns, QLD

The Cairns Night Markets and Food Court is world famous and a must do if you’re in northern Queensland. There are 130 stalls selling a wide variety of items but the focus is mostly on souvenirs and other aussie-made goods. Bring your appetite to these markets because the food court has a lot to offer including a few Chinese buffets where you pay for a plate and load up as much as you can. These markets are located on The Esplanade in the city center and are open 7 days a week from 5pm-11pm.

cairns-night-market

6. Adelaide Central Markets –Adelaide, SA

The Adelaide Central Markets are located in the heart of Adelaide city center and are conveniently open Tues-Sat. This place is a foodies dream with bakeries, delis, fresh foods, meat and seafood, cafes and more. You can have a meal and then shop for the rest of your week and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find whatever you’re looking for at one of the 80+ stalls. This market is an Adelaide institution and is South Australia’s most visited tourist attraction so make sure you check it out.

centralmarket

5. Brisbane MarketPlace –Brisbane, QLD

The Brisbane MarketPlace in Rocklea is a unique venue with 2 distinct weekend markets: The Saturday Fresh Market and the Sunday Discovery Market. On Saturdays from 6am—noon you’ll find over 190 stalls selling everything fresh including fruits and veg, meats and seafood, bread and baked goods, gourmet products and deli items plus much more. Then, on Sundays from 6am-noon you can come to the Discovery Market to explore new and second hand items, collectibles, books and more…come early and be prepared to haggle!

brisbane marketplace

4. Perth Home Grown Markets –Perth, WA

Perth City Center is home to many fantastic markets but one that stands out in front is the Perth Home Grown Market happening every Sunday from 11am-4pm in Forrest Place at the Murray Street Mall. The aim of this newer market is to provide the best quality local produce and local made products to the people of Perth. You can expect to find tasty home baked goods, organic teas, oils, pickles, hand crated goods in addition to fresh local produce.

perth home grown

3. The Night Market (Queen Vic Market) –Melbourne, VIC

Never wonder what to do on a Wednesday night again because the Night Market at the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne is the place to see and be seen. These eclectic markets run every Wednesday night during the summer (Nov-Mar) from 5-10pm. It’s the perfect place for food, fashion, bars, music, shopping and more. While at these markets make sure you grab a glass of sangria, it’s legendary.

Photo by Jonathan Khee
Photo by Jonathan Khee

2. The Rocks Markets –Sydney, NSW

The Rocks Markets are nestled in the charming historic area of Sydney’s city center known as The Rocks and run every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm. This quaint open air market consists of vendors lining the streets selling their wares in a very relaxed environment. The main highlights of these markets are the many artisan crafts including one of a kind clothing, handmade jewellery and original art. If you’re looking for souvenirs in Sydney, we suggest skipping the junky magnets and checking out these markets instead as you’re sure to find a timeless treasure.

The Rocks Markets

1. Mindil Beach Sunset Market –Darwin, NT

From the last Thursday in April to the last Thursday in October Mindil Beach is taken over by stalls and pedestrians all checking out the many offerings these markets have. Every Thursday night from 5-10pm and Sunday nights from 4-9pm most of Darwin heads to these unique evening markets which take advantage of the beautiful sunsets of the Northern Territories. Food is the biggest attraction here and you can find colorful cuisine like Thai, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian and more. This market also allows BYO so bring your cooler full of cold ones, grab some food and park yourself to watch the colors as the sun goes down.

sunset market

10 Things to See and Do in Melbourne Australia

The city of Melbourne Australia is home to over 4 million people making it the second most populated city in Australia, coming in second only to Sydney. Located on the bay of Port Philip, Melbourne has so much to offer it’s no wonder why it’s currently rated as the Most Livable City in the World. While Sydney tends to get the majority of international attention, many travelers find that it’s Melbourne that holds a special place in their hearts after they’ve returned home.

 

10. Take Public Transit

You’ll probably be able to cross this off your list without even trying while you explore this dynamic city. Melbourne has one of the best public transit systems of any major city in Australia and quite possibly the world. The city’s trains, buses and world famous trams are an easy and affordable way to get around and the timetables and routes are easy to figure out. You can ride with ease by purchasing a myki card (available at many news agencies or the Melbourne Visitor Center in Federation Square) which allows you to pre-load your card with cash and swipe on and off of any tram, bus or train. There’s also a free tourist tram that does a loop around the city center.
tram

9. Catch an AFL Game

AFL (The Australian Football League) is huge in Melbourne, mostly because the league was founded in the state of Victoria and a majority of the 18 teams are based in the state. The Footy season runs from March until end of September when it concludes with the Championship game known as the ‘Grand Final’. The best place to catch a game in the city is at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG) or as the locals call it, just “The G”. This mega stadium is the largest in Australia and the 10th largest in the world and seats 95,000 with an additional 5,000 standing room. The MCG is located in Yarra Park in East Melbourne and can be easily reached by train, tram or bus.
AFL

8. Eureka Skydeck 88

If you’re interested in seeing Melbourne from a different angle take a trip up to the Eureka Skydeck where you’ll get the best views of the city from the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform. It’s a breathtaking view during the day or at night with 360° floor to ceiling views of the city and beyond. You can even step outside onto The Terrace to feel the high winds and use the free high powered binoculars. If you’re feeling brave you can also purchase admission to walk on ‘The Edge’, a glass cube extending 3 meters out from the building almost 300 meters above the ground. To get to Eureka Tower follow the bridge over the Yarra River from Flinders Street Station and it’s only a 5 minute walk before you’re there.
Eureka tower(1)

7. National Gallery of Victoria

After checking out the Eureka Tower visit another one of the great attractions on the Southbank, the National Gallery of Victoria. On the South side of the river you’ll find the NGV International where you’ll find an extensive collection of art from all over the world including Asia, Europe and America. North of the river in Federation Square is the NGV Australia, also known as The Ian Potter Centre where you find both aboriginal and non-aboriginal art from all over Australia from the colonial period to present day. The National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest public art gallery so it’s definitely worth spending some time at.
national gallary of victoria

6. Shopping

From the food to the fashion to the architecture it’s clear that Melbourne is an all-around trendy city and may even be the fashion capital of Australia. Because of this, there’s no shortage of amazing places to shop with choices ranging from mega shopping centers to hidden laneway boutiques and everything in between.  If you’re looking for a real American style mall check out Melbourne Central in the CBD with over 300 stores, or for a smaller scene try Chapel Street in South Yarra where you’ll find eclectic second hand shops and exclusive Australian designers. Luckily there are also tons of trendy cafes and restaurants where you can refuel after all that shopping.
Royal Arcade

5. The State Library of Victoria

So much more than just a place for reading, the State Library of Victoria is ‘a great emporium of learning and philosophy, of literature, science and art’ according to its founder Sir Redmond Barry. One of the best things to do at the library is to check out one (or all) of their 3 galleries which include permanent and temporary exhibitions featuring amazing works of art. One of the most notable galleries to see is the Dome Gallery which is a beautiful sight in its self with high domed ceilings and detailed balconies but the Dome is also home to the permanent exhibition ‘The Changing Face of Victoria’. This collection features artifacts, photos, maps and stories of the people and places that have shaped life in Victoria over the past 200 years.
National Library of Victoria

4. Dinner in Chinatown

A visit to the infamous Chinatown Melbourne which runs along Little Bourke Street is a must when you’re visiting the city. Dating back to the gold rush days of the 1850’s, this is the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world. A vibrant rainbow of colors and smells await you here as does a wide selection of restaurants. If you’ve never tried soupy dumplings before head to Hutong Dumpling Bar on Market Lane and prepare for your next food obsession, or for something spicy visit Dainty Sichuan on Bourke Street.
chinatown Melbourne

3. Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne is truly an oasis in the heart of the city. It’s a longstanding cultural treasure that’s been in operation for over 165 years and is one of the world’s leading botanic gardens. Escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city streets while enjoying the diverse flora and fauna in the 38 hectares of the Melbourne gardens. The Royal Botanic Gardens also offers several tours if you’re looking to get a more in-depth experience while visiting the gardens including the very interesting Aboriginal Heritage Walk. On this tour you’ll explore the culture of the Kulin nation, experience a traditional smoking ceremony and learn about traditional uses of native plants throughout the gardens. This tour is well worth the $25 adult admission. Getting to the Botanic Gardens is easy with the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle or take a tram to Shrine of Remembrance/ St. Kilda Rd where it’s a short walk into the gardens.
Royal Botanic Garden Melbourne

2. Queen Victoria Market

‘Vic Market’, the ‘Queen Vic’, or even just ‘The Market’ whatever you call it the Queen Victoria Market has been a Melbourne institution since 1878. Open 5 days a week, this bustling market is spread over 2 city blocks and offers fresh Australian produce, meats, seafood, sweets, gourmet foods, even clothing and souvenirs…there isn’t much you won’t find here. Come hungry because the market has a food court with a wide range of ethnic take-away cuisine as well as the Deli Hall where you can pick up meats, cheeses, sausages and pastries. We recommend you bring a reusable bag with you here because you’re almost guaranteed to leave with something.
queen vic market

1. Night Out on the Town

You may be tired from all that sightseeing during the day but while in Melbourne it’s essential to spend a night on the town at least once. This city is all about hidden gems and you’ll find the trendiest bars tucked down little laneways or hidden behind unassuming doors. Berlin Bar on Corrs Lane in Chinatown has 2 distinct themes…on the one side, the opulence of West Berlin and on the East Berlin side; army bunker chic. For wine, delicious snacks and great views visit Siglo cigar bar on Spring Street which is upstairs above its sister bar Supper Club. It’s a pretty busy spot so it may take some time to get your drinks but it’s worth the wait!
melbourne street night

10 of the World’s Oldest Active Sports Stadiums

Sporting events over the last century have been an integral part of the human experience. They have inspired millions of athletes and fans all over the world. As a result, some of the most fantastic architectural creativity has gone into the construction of sporting arenas. These stadiums are a tribute to the memory of the players and fans alike, harboring the ghosts of spectacular victories and devastating defeats. They are dedicated to the unrelenting pursuit of pride and greatness.

1. Melbourne Cricket Ground (Melbourne, Australia)

The oldest continuously operating sports arena in the world is also one of the largest, with a capacity of over 100,000. Built in 1854, it has grown into an enormous spectacle, hosting events for one of the fasting growing sports in the world. It also boasts the world record for the highest light towers in a sports arena.

Melbourne Cricket Ground
Neale Cousland / Shutterstock.com

2. Churchill Downs (Louisville, Kentucky)

The grandfather of American horse racing venues, Churchill Downs is a truly historic landmark. It has been in operation since 1875, and has played host to hundreds of breathtaking high stakes finishes in the crown jewel event of the Triple Crown.

Churchill Downs
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

3. Anfield (Liverpool, England)

Home to the world famous Liverpool Football Club, Anfield is one of the world’s sports meccas. Constructed in a stalwart square shape in 1884, the stadium has undergone several modern upgrades, but has stayed true to its original form.

Anfield Liverpool
mrmichaelangelo / Shutterstock.com

4. Old Trafford (Manchester, England)

The name says it all. The home ground of Manchester United, Old Trafford is one of the oldest and most fabled sports arenas in the world. Many famous players and key events in English and world football have graced its pitch. Built in 1910, it has become one of the most advanced and appealing stadiums in the world.

Old Trafford Stadium
Debu55y / Shutterstock.com

5. Fenway Park (Boston, Massachusetts)

Constructed in 1912, Fenway Park is the oldest major league baseball stadium in America. Fenway is famous not only for the Boston Red Sox, but also for its unique architectural features. Its left field wall, known as the Green Monster, is the product of limited building space and strange angular dimensions.

Fenway Park
JASON TENCH / Shutterstock.com

6. Wrigley Field (Chicago, Illinois)

Wrigley Field ranks just behind Fenway Park as the second oldest MLB ballpark, built in 1914. Its field is a vast green expanse shadowed by remarkable views of the Chicago skyline.

Wrigley Field
Richard Cavalleri / Shutterstock.com

7. Wimbledon (London, England)

Known as the cathedral of professional tennis, Wimbledon was erected in 1922 at the site of the All England Racquet Club. It only plays host to public events for two weeks out of the year, during the Wimbledon grand slam tournament. Its new center court is a marvel to behold, featuring comfortable 360 degree seating under a retractable roof.

Tennis

8. San Siro (Milan, Italy)

The San Siro, named after its neighborhood in the city of Milan, Italy, is the home of two world famous football clubs, AC Milan and Inter Milan. Built in 1925, it underwent a major renovation in 1990 when Italy hosted the World Cup. Its brilliant and unique features draw thousands of visitors every year, including sports fans and architecture buffs.

San Siro
Bokic Bojan / Shutterstock.com

9. Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)

Home to the University of Alabama’s legendary football team, Bryant-Denny was built in 1929, and has hosted over 200 home wins for the resident Crimson Tide. It is the home of the most national championships in NCAA football, and the legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

Bryant Denny Stadium

10. Notre Dame Stadium (South Bend, Indiana)

One of the most historic sites in college football, Notre Dame Stadium, built in 1930, is one of the most recognizable stadiums in the world. Its field, surrounded by its huge bowl-shaped coliseum, has hosted countless legends in college football.

Notre Dame Stadium