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Activities & Interests

Past travel articles organized by activity and interest.


Saturday, April 12, 2014


New YorkRow NYC is a new Times Square hotel with a bold and artsy vibe. Behind the crystalline glass facade, the lobby has a grand illuminated staircase, stainless-steel drapery, an umbrella-shaped ceiling and a rolling stream of graphic animation by artist Yorgo Alexopoulos. Dine at District M lobby bar and restaurant where a digital gallery of photos by paparazzo Ron Galella accents a menu that features items from Manhattan eateries Payard, Balthazar and Murray's cheese shop.

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mixing and mingling in San Miguel de Allende

It took a margarita, a little Mexican music and one night at a rooftop bar for Canadian news anchor Leslie Roberts to fall for San Miguel de Allende.Now holidays will find Roberts abandoning his anchor chair at Global News in Toronto for the colonial town - and top Conde Nast Traveler pick - three hours north of Mexico City. Roberts says there's an eclectic mix of expats in his neighbourhood and everyone mingles with a local population of all stripes.

Location: Mexico; San Miguel de Allende;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

'Fortune favours the bold' in NYC

Sometimes things don't go as planned - and those moments often make for the best stories. Tripping columns offer readers a chance to share their wild adventures from the road.

Location: New York City;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 22, 2014


MiamiWith its prime beachfront location and updated Art Deco design, Metropolitan by COMO is making a splashy debut in South Beach. Italian designer Paola Navone infused the interiors with a palette of pastel pinks and greens, with simply furnished ''city rooms'' facing Collins Avenue and more spacious suites with balconies and deep-soaking tubs looking out onto the ocean. Get pampered at COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, a.k.a. the spa, where facials and Indian head massages can be followed up with sun salutations on the yoga terrace or a dip in the rooftop hydrotherapy pool.

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting to the heart of Milan

Milan is known for its industrial heart, its fashion catwalks and, at this time of year, its proximity to surrounding ski hills. But designer and Italian native Enrico Marone Cinzano knows it for the handiwork of eightysomething Mario Caraceni.

Location: Italy; Milan;

Subject: cities; list; statements; tourism

Saturday, March 15, 2014


New YorkWestHouse is an art-deco-inspired Midtown hotel that makes its guests feel like posh Manhattanites. Taking concierge services to new heights, a team of in-the-know lifestyle gurus called WestHouse Attache builds tailor-made itineraries for each resident and organizes VIP access to Fashion Week, movie premieres and private yacht rentals. Shopaholics can connect with the personal shoppers of online store Net-A-Porter through the hotel's exclusive direct phone line.

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 8, 2014


LondonThe work of 16th-century Italian artist Paolo Veronese is on show at The National Gallery. Fifty paintings are on display, but Veronese's grand historical and religious works such as The Family of Darius before Alexander and The Martyrdom of St. George (on loan from a church in Veronese's home town of Verona) are the real draw. Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice runs March 19 to June 15.

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 1, 2014


LondonThematic meals, sparkling aperitifs and a striking view over the Victorian-era Reading Room make the British Museum's Great Court Restaurant a worthwhile stop. The brightly lit bistro sits beneath the curved steel and glass roof of the Norman Foster-designed Great Court. The menu, which features afternoon tea and blood orange bellinis, draws inspiration from the museum's major exhibitions. In honour of Vikings: Life and Legend (March 6 to June 22), for instance, you can nosh on dishes with a Scandinavian slant.

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Joseph Boyden's New Orleans

Cochon''Whenever somebody comes into town, my wife and I always bring them to Cochon. It's an amazing Louisiana restaurant. You'll want to book a reservation. It's very south Louisiana-style cooking, Creole cooking, but a new wave of it. They do a really wonderful rabbit. They do ribs that are delicious. They do different types of greens. You can order lots of small things to share. It's in the warehouse district, not far from the Quarter.'' 930 Tchoupitoulas St.,

Location: Louisiana; New Orleans;

Subject: cities; list; statements; tourism; travel

Saturday, February 22, 2014


New YorkMore than 40 sculptures by French artist Germaine Richier are on view at Dominique Levy and Galerie Perrotin. It's the first time in 50 years that Richier's works have been on display in the U.S. Highlights include early bronze works Loretto and Nu ou La Grosse, a series that was inspired by Don Quixote, and the five-sculpture grouping L'Echiquier, grand, the apex of Richier's career. The exhibit runs Feb. 27 to April 12 at 909 Madison Ave.

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, February 15, 2014


New YorkTen fully equipped shuffleboard courts, vintage souvenirs and flamingo wallpaper bring a touch of Boca to the Brooklyn-based Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club. The game is making a cool comeback at this refurbished 17,000-square-foot warehouse-turned indoor playground. The design is contemporary with its turquoise-coloured courts, wood floors and canvas cabanas. The cocktail menu includes craft beers, pina coladas, guava-infused rum punch and food trucks serving some of Manhattan's best street food.

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ai carrico! Havana sizzles

Parque EcolENTITY ERROR: ó is not recognizedgico Monte Barreto''This giant park in the middle of the Playa neighbourhood is one of Havana's green spaces par excellence. Until recently, this was an abandoned sprawl of weeds and garbage. A few years ago, it was cleaned up, a botanical garden established, trees planted, and paths laid out in a wonderful example of urban renewal. Today, visitors - almost all local - head here to have picnics and birthday parties, stroll through the park, laze in the shade, play ball, practise the trumpet or go for a pony ride. There are several simple eateries serving traditional comida criolla, home-cooked Cuban food, for $1 to $2 (all prices in Cuban convertible pesos).'' Calle 70 to Calle 82, between Septima and Novena, Miramar

Location: Cuba; Havana;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Five ways to cozy up to Quebec

Restaurant Initiale''In Quebec City my favourite restaurant is Initiale. The chef is the owner. It's a classic French restaurant, but done in a different way, done in a 2013 way. If we had a Michelin guide, it would be three stars in its decor, service and food. When you go there you go with a gastronomic menu pairing with wine. It's all little plates. You eat many things, about 10 to 20 plates to taste the maximum number of dishes.''

Location: Quebec City;

Subject: cities; list; statements; tourism; travel

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Santo DomingoScheduled for a mid-December soft opening, Casas del XVI shows sun-seeking travellers a more sophisticated side of the Dominican capital. The eight-room luxury hotel sits in three 16th-century houses. Private butlers prepare daily breakfasts and local guides can be hired to lead architecture- and rum-themed city tours through the UNESCO-listed colonial quarter. For a more laid back in-house experience, retreat to the Spanish-style courtyard, the pool or the cigar bar.

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, November 2, 2013

TRAVEL CONCIERGE What's a good European city to visit in fall? I don't want to be too coldThe answerOne of life's great mysteries is why travellers insist on flocking to Europe in summer, guaranteeing a vacation of overcrowded attractions amidst the sweat-triggering absence of air conditioning. But Europe has a secret cooling system plus an effective crowd-control strategy: it's called the off-season.

Location: Europe; Florence; Lisbon; Seville;

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Behind the scenes in Berlin

''We are not sauerkraut.'' So says Henrik Tidefjard of his company, Berlinagenten (, which sends travellers and trendsetters into Berlin's raw, hip and happening scenes.Sure there are the museums and monuments, but the German capital is also a thriving hub for architects, artists and musicians. ''In Berlin the creative scene is the industry,'' says Swedish-born Tidefjard, who lived in London and Barcelona before landing here in 2001. With a cheaper cost of living, no limits on bar hours and a liberal-be-who-you-are-attitude, the cultural finds are constantly evolving - and sometimes behind closed doors. ''It makes you feel like you are constantly a visitor in your own city. It never gets boring,'' Tidefjard says. Here are his favourite - for the moment - Berlin experiences:

Location: Berlin; Germany;

Subject: cities; statements; tourism; travel

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

St. John's newfound flair

Ten years ago, it was impossible to get a decent cup of coffee in downtown St. John's. At least, that's what the locals say. Thanks to Newfoundland's recent economic boom, driven primarily by the oil and gas industry, that is certainly no longer the case. It's hard to walk for a block on Water Street, the city's main drag, without hitting a slick cafe.

Location: Newfoundland and Labrador; St. John's;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Time for Taormina

The ancient Greek theatre of Taormina, Sicily, was designed with serious drama in mind - and not just the costumed kind. Perched 250 metres above the Ionian Sea, the amphitheatre's 360-degree view encompasses the still-active Mount Etna, the sparkling Mediterranean, the medieval village of Castelmola and, of course, Taormina itself.

Location: Sicily; Taormina;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What mid-size U.S. cities are worth seeing?

concierge@globeandmail.comAssuming your been-there-done-that list includes New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and New Orleans, there's a much wider travel menu available south of the border that highlights one undeniable fact: America is the home of great cities, from gritty metropolises to old-school charmers and reinvigorated hipster hangouts.

Location: United States;

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, September 7, 2013

South London has its day in the sun

Visitors to London have long stuck to the north side of the River Thames, where storied sights such as Buckingham Palace, Leicester Square and the shops of Mayfair have charmed millions of tourists.

Location: Great Britain; London;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Go on, show Detroit some love

Last week's bankruptcy filing is only the latest in an assembly line of bad news that Detroit's been steadily pumping out since the 1950s, when its population started to decline from a high of just less than two million to its current 700,000. Detroiters are used to it. So if you visit, don't expect to find a lot of moping. And, really, you should visit.

Location: Detroit; Michigan;

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sweat like a local in Manhattan

If you're going to exercise endlessly and eat piles of kale salad, I suggest pairing the righteous behaviour with the sights and sounds - and high standards - of New York. This paradise for type-A personalities is packed with fitness studios offering any workout you can imagine and many on a drop-in basis, meaning they're accessible to out-of-towners. Complement your choice of classes with some of the world's most inspired healthy meals and you've got a DIY wellness retreat. Here are five itinerary ideas fit for every personality.

Location: New York;

Subject: cities; list; physical fitness; tourism; travel

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Take in Berlin - before it's too late

Berliners are worried. For more than two decades, they have lived in the least expensive capital city in Western Europe and one that has been at the cutting edge of alternative culture.

Location: Berlin; Germany;

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Arrive as a stranger. Leave as an expert

Exploring a new city is an art and a science. To really take pleasure in the adventure, you must achieve a blend of impulsiveness and purposefulness - an organized spontaneity. By all means, make a list of things to see or places to eat, just don't lock yourself into an itinerary. As you're researching hotels and reading up on museums in preparation for your big summer getaway, consider incorporating some different strategies into your usual planning. Whether visiting Paris or Phnom Penh, these tips will help you see a new locale - or even a perennial favourite - in exciting and enriching ways.

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, April 27, 2013


concierge@globeandmail.comThe question Where can I find the best bookshops in New York?the answerSince I had a few spare hours on a recent New York visit - and I share your page-sniffing fondness for bookish pursuits - I investigated a couple of options for you. But first, I touched base with a local whose tips for travelling literary-types would fill several highly readable volumes.

Location: New York City;

Subject: books; cities; shopping; tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The capital of contradictions

''Oh, because you're a writer,'' said the middle-aged Italian woman, with a look of relief.Just moments earlier, as we stood waiting at a dusty bus station, she had adopted a look of utter bewilderment and almost offence as I replied to the often-asked question of how long I had been in Ulan Bator: three weeks.

Location: Mongolia; Ulan Bator;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The case for Cleveland

The sunlight - if you can call that muted glow actual sunlight - is quickly fading, returning the late-winter sky to its customary gun-metal grey. It's happy hour on Friday and the folks streaming into the Happy Dog, located three kilometres from downtown Cleveland, begin to disrobe in a perfunctory burlesque performance: First come the gloves, then the scarves and finally the puffy coats and wool sweaters. The knit caps, however, stay firmly affixed.

Location: Cleveland; Ohio;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The question I've never been to Budapest. Is it worth going?

concierge@globeandmail.comThe answerI've never been to Budapest either and, for me, that's an excellent reason to go. The Eastern European city and Hungarian capital has transformed since the Soviet days, but travellers sometimes liken it to Prague before the tourists took over.

Location: Budapest;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blue collar has never tasted so good

If ever there was a city that could be said to dwell in the shadow of another, it would be Philadelphia. Mention Philly's dynamic restaurant scene and some foodie is sure to note that superior options exist a short train ride away in Tribeca. Point to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a culture snob will direct your attention to the MOMA. Speak of the funky Northern Liberties neighbourhood and be prepared to hear all about the rehabilitation of the Lower East Side.

Location: Pennsylvania; Philadelphia;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, March 23, 2013


concierge@globeandmail.comSEVILLE''Spring here is like a pleasant summer elsewhere: Hot enough to wear sandals and sit outside on restaurant terraces, but without the killer heat,'' says Shawn Hennessey (, a blogger and foodie tour guide who's lived in Spain's fourth-largest city since 1993.

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Where to eat in Paris now

Daniel Hadida, a 25-year-old cook from Toronto, was already on track to a bright career before he moved to Paris last summer. In three years at Nota Bene, one of Toronto's better restaurants, Hadida had risen from prep cook - that's just one step above dishwasher - to tournant, one of the kitchen's highest positions.

Location: France; Paris;

Subject: biography; cities; list; restaurants; statements; tourism; travel

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tribeca is for tots

I'll take Manhattan any time for a quick and rewarding holiday. But as I have learned the hard way, not all of New York is suitable for young families. We were rendered sleepless by the mania of midtown. Although Brooklyn is fun to explore, it's nonetheless a 'burb limited by long commutes to most major attractions. But here's the deal: Tribeca is for tots.

Location: New York City;

Subject: children; cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Drafted in Boston

Boston has always been a city of beer: Drinkers here have been fiercely loyal to their homegrown suds for more than two decades. Samuel Adams, one of the first American craft breweries when Jim Koch opened it in 1984, is now the country's largest, churning out 5.5 million kegs a year. In 1989, Cambridge Brewing Company became the city's first brewery-restaurant - and it's still top of the charts for local hopheads.

Location: Boston;

Subject: beer; cities; review; tourism; travel

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A new Belfast, born of ghosts

About 30 minutes into my walk through the new four-storey, 150,000-square-foot Titanic museum in Belfast, disappointment began to set in.Where, I wondered, are the artifacts?

Location: Belfast; Northern Ireland;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Get your yule on

ClevelandVisions of sugar plums: This Ohio city nails Christmas. Die-hard fans of A Christmas Story will be pleased to know that Ralphie's yellow clapboard house has been restored to exactly as it appears in the 1983 movie, both inside and out - right down to the tacky leg lamp in the window. There are tours daily, as well as an on-site gift shop selling Red Ryder BB guns, pink bunny pyjamas and talking action figures ( Afterward, head over to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens (, where horticulturists create a winter wonderland every year with ''snow'' (real stuff outdoors, fake stuff indoors) on the trees and 3,000 holiday-themed plantings that go way beyond poinsettias. Kids can hop aboard the Garden Express, a train that rides through the children's garden, and make last-minute requests to Santa at the wishing tree.

Location: British Columbia; Cleveland; New York; Nuremberg; Ottawa; Reykjavik; Whistler;

Subject: christmas; cities; list; tourism; travel

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A powerhouse reinvents itself. Again

The top of the new Museum Aan de Stroom in the dockyards gives one a comprehensive view of Antwerp. The medieval cathedrals merge with Flemish rooftops and commercial buildings along the Scheldt, the river that brought the world to this city in the mid-15th century. This is an unconventional city that pushes Golden Age icons up against modern design and, as a result, buzzes with life. Where else would you find a Gothic church with a Madonna dressed in couture?

Location: Antwerp; Belgium;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A design guy's tour of Amsterdam

We were trying to find a place for lunch when we rounded a corner and ended up walking down a cobblestone laneway lined with nearly naked women. The way the ladies lounged in doorways, smiled and comfortably held my gaze was unfamiliar and interesting, but it was not the time to ponder the merits of legalized prostitution. I was shoulder to shoulder with my 21-year-old son and we had clearly taken an unexpected turn. Laughing, we agreed we didn't even look out of place among the wildly eclectic mix of people on the street, and started to work our way out of the red light district.

Location: Amsterdam; Netherlands;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Copenhagen cool

On a grey, windy Sunday afternoon, customers seeking warmth file into Grod, a restaurant specializing in porridge. In the tiny dining room, which resembles a sparsely furnished basement apartment, regulars pull their stools up to wooden tables. They laugh and chat over belated breakfasts of oatmeal topped with apples and flax seed, or savoury barley risotto with ribbons of kale and pink, pickled radish.

Location: Copenhagen;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I wanted somewhere exotic, that I hadn't been to before, somewhere I had trouble finding on a map - and somewhere safe: I'd be travelling on my own.Someone suggested Singapore, the island just off the coast of Malaysia, and since it fit the bill on all accounts, I started packing. I was entering a rare rip in the domestic time-space continuum: I had time off work, my husband didn't and the kids were at their grandparents. No way was I puttering at home that week.

Location: Singapore;

Subject: cities; liquor; tourism; travel

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Five cities, five scoops

MIAMIRana FloridaCEO, Creative Class Group, urban theorist at Richard Florida's think tank, creativeclass.comWhat I wish you knew: Miami, where Richard and I spend winters, isn't just fun and sun. It has a great quality of life, with green spaces, walkability, diversity and a burgeoning arts scene. Anyone can take in a performance at the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, home of the New World Symphony - just lie in the grass in its amazingly designed public park and watch the wallcast. Or check out the Rubell Family Collection, one of the world's largest privately owned contemporary art collections - it includes works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol - housed in an old Drug Enforcement Administration warehouse.

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kiev: strumpet city, solemn city, summer city

I was sitting in the champagne bar of the hotel when I finally caught the baffling spirit of Kiev. Not that I had had much to drink. I was just thinking about the city and looking forward to a small glass of sparkling wine.

Location: Kiev; Ukraine;

Subject: cities; list; tourism; travel

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Capital of cool

Berlin had never really turned my head. Until now. The city is erupting as a cyclonic centre of culture, cuisine and coolness. Not to mention the fact that it holds Europe's purse strings. Could it be that the vibe, that edgy energy you hear about pulsing through the city, is for real?

Location: Berlin;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Viareggio: quintessential 1930s seaside resort

The problem with relinquishing control of travel planning - especially to a partner who doesn't know you all that well - is that it's a gamble. It's not that I'm a control freak, or that I lack an adventurous spirit. But when you've spent months dreaming of the enchanted mountainous forests, rugged shorelines and iconic pastel-hued fishing villages of Italy's northwest, of indulging in really good pesto and driving stretches of Tuscan coastal highway, it makes you want to reach back to that moment when you absently glanced at the map and said, ''Sure, Viareggio looks fine, book it,'' and snatch it back.

Location: Italy;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


$175 for the 175thChicago is turning 175 this year and Affinia Chicago has a $175 (U.S) rate for its Celebrate Chicago package, which can be booked through June 30. The deal includes two cocktails at the rooftop lounge; a gift tin of Garret's Popcorn; four ride vouchers to explore Navy Pier; and a $10 Chicago Transit card. To book, visit or call 1-866-246-2203 and mention promo code CELCHI.

Location: Chicago;

Subject: anniversaries; cities; tourism; travel

Monday, February 13, 2012


On the ground''The bigger the city, the bigger the attitude,'' declares Travel + Leisure in naming New York the rudest city in the U.S. The Big (Crab) Apple, which last held the title in 2009, came first in the most recent vote by the magazine's readers. Following in order on the grumpiness meter were Miami, Washington, Los Angeles (a previous three-time champion) and Boston. Meanwhile, New Orleans, Savannah and Charleston, all smaller cities, ranked in the top five for friendliness.

Location: Great Britain; United States; Utah;

Subject: airlinies; behaviour; cities; etiquette; marketing; solar eclipse; tourism

Thursday, October 13, 2011


The sun has just sunk into the shimmering Rio de la Plata as my girlfriend and I clamber out of an intercity bus into the lengthening shadows of Buenos Aires. We walk briskly for the nearest ATM, at times breaking into a jog.

Location: Argentina; Buenos Aires;

Subject: cities; tourism; travel

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Je t'aime, Montréal

As we sit beneath a canopy of trees in Montreal's Parc La Fontaine, my tour guide pours me a paper cup full of sparkling cider and gently knocks it - ''Salut!'' - against the side of his own. We had been leisurely cycling through residential streets, parks and alleyways all morning, and this informal picnic of effervescent cider and delicious, gourmet salmon wraps is the perfect coda to my introduction to the city.

Location: Montreal;

Subject: bicycling; cities; restaurants; tourism; travel

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I spy Barcelona

I should have known when I spied my three kids and husband slumped over and barely conscious on the hotel lobby couch that jet lag was going to put a damper on our plans.

Location: Barcelona; Spain;

Subject: children; cities; family life; tourism; travel

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Potts Point: a village within a city

Around the corner and a world away from Kings Cross - Sydney's notorious red light district - lies Potts Point: a leafy haven for the cafe set, architecture buffs and well-heeled Sydneysiders.

Location: Australia; Sydney;

Subject: cities; neighbourhoods; potts point; tourism; travel

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Transport yourself to the past

Location: Chicago; Florence; Glasgow;

Subject: cities; events; tourism; travel

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