1YoT: Favorite Cities

We visited so many cities on our trip, and so many different types: big, small, developed, developing, liberal, conservative, dense, sprawling, young, old, clean, dirty, and everything in between. But despite visiting so many places, several stuck out above the rest, and so here they are: our favorite cities we visited on our journey.

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Seattle, USA (population: 700,000)

Seattle is such a beautiful city, and in the summer, when the sun is out, it is so much fun. The city is also kicking ass right now: Boeing and Microsoft are doing well and Amazon is taking over the world, creating 100,000 new jobs in this city alone! We really enjoyed everything here, and having lived in this city almost a year ago, I especially enjoyed introducing Inna to my old stomping ground.

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Chicago, USA (population: 2,700,000)

We didn’t know what to expect from Chicago, and we were blown away by what we found. There is so much to see and do here: we ate pizza and hot dogs, watched improv comedy, stopped by Wrigley Field, took pictures with the bean, went on an architecture tour, visited friends and family, and so much more. Everything was a blast, and we had tons of fun.

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New York City, USA (population: 8,500,000)

It might be cliché, but New York City really is the greatest city in the world. It just feels like it has everything, like it is a growing entity, alive in its own right. It has the best food, culture, art, architecture, museums, landmarks, entertainment, and so much more. We did as much as we could here (all of the above and then some) and it was awesome!

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Paris, France (population: 2,200,000)

Inna and I had been here before, but we love this city so much we had to visit again. The Eiffel Tower, the Seine, and Sacre Coeur are so romantic, it was wonderful visiting them together. We also stopped by Versailles, Notre Dame, and Hemmingway’s Paris, and it all was amazing; we can’t wait to return again!

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Florence, Italy (population: 380,000)

Without a doubt, Florence wins for most beautiful city in the world. The yellow everything is stunning, as is everything Renaissance. We love the food, the museums, and everything else here too, the best part being Inna revisiting her old stomping grounds, showing me where she spent the summer she lived here.

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Dingle, Ireland (population: 2,000)

Dingle is a fishing village where you eat seafood (caught earlier that morning), go to pubs, listen to music, and drink. This city is so beautiful and relaxing, the people so great, it was our favorite small town on our trip.

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Sydney, Australia (population: 4,000,000)

We always heard Sydney was similar to Los Angeles, and it is, the beaches, weather, and shopping in particular. But that’s a good thing, because Los Angeles is a great city to be like. All that being said, Sydney definitely has its own charm, the harbor in particular, but also the food, parks, architecture, and local culture. And Featherdale, Australia’s animal park! This city was so much fun, and we had a great time on our visit.

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Melbourne, Australia (population: 3,850,000)

Melbourne is by far the most artistic city we’ve ever visited. Everyone seems to be an artist here, whether a painter, designer, storyteller, filmmaker, chef; the creativity here is bursting at the seams. And like any other great city, the architecture, parks, and museums are great too. Not only that, the beach here has penguins, and they visit year round! We loved this city, there was so much to see and do!

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Hoi An, Vietnam (population: 83,000)

Hoi An was another super-artsy city, this one in the middle of Vietnam. Vietnam was a surprisingly artistic place, filled with colors and creativity, but nowhere moreso than here. Hoi An was also spared in the Vietnam War, preserving its history, which is incredible. Finally, this city also has delicious food, wonderful people, great shopping, and a gorgeous beach. Pretty good for a city 10-100 times smaller than others on this list.

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Bangkok, Thailand (population: 8,300,000)

Inna and I had heard bad things about Bangkok: that it was seedy, dangerous, and dirty. But we were happy to discover that it was none of these things. Bangkok is filled with wonderfulness: delicious food, great massages, gorgeous temples, superb shopping, and so much more. Add to this the friendly people always smiling, and we were so won over by this city; it is a great place, nothing like the bad rap we heard it had.

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Krakow, Poland (population: 750,000)

I visited Krakow five years ago and had such a great time, so much so that Inna really wanted to come here. But even I was blown away by what we found; this city transformed so much! Krakow is developing faster than any other city we visited, but despite this, the city is also doing a great job retaining its charm: the feel is wonderful, the history incredible, and the locals remain appreciative of it all.

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Budapest, Hungary (population: 1,800,000)

Here’s another city with a ton to do, way more than either Inna or I knew. Best were the thermal baths the city is famous for, but we also loved the Jewish Quarter (featuring the most impressive temple we visited on our trip), both castles (that’s right, Budapest has two castles), and the history, art, architecture, museums, and nightlife. This city had so much, and was so much fun!

Honorable Mentions: Ravenna, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Kiev, Rovinj, and Prague

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