If you're experiencing cabin fever within your city – being unable to travel and unwind freely since the onset of the pandemic – then you're perfectly normal!
This has been the mood of the world since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns imposed to combat it.
But now the world is slowly hopping back to normalcy, albeit a 'new normal'.
While it might take a little more time and patience to travel outside of your city or country to exotic locations and places that meet your '#goals', here are some cool neighbourhoods within your city you could explore.
The Timeout annual ranking of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods has revealed 49 coolest neighbourhoods amidst a COVID-stricken world. The word 'cool' is relative and it's hard to define it while referring to a place. So, what makes a place cool?
This year, Timeout has switched priorities and altered parameters of assessment; where 'cool neighbourhoods' would earlier be defined by the quality of food, drink, nightlife, and culture, since the pandemic, more important factors such as community spirit of society, resilience, and sustainability have been taken into consideration.
Timeout conducted a survey among 27,000 city-dwellers and asked local experts to rank the greatest places for food, fun, culture and community. They then evaluated the public vote against the preset crucial criteria and arrived at these results.
Take a look at the top 10 coolest neighbourhoods in the world and guess which Singapore neighbourhood made it to the list of the top 49.
No. 33. Katong, Singapore
Singapore's Katong, has been ranked at No.33 on the list of coolest neighbourhoods.
This picture-perfect residential neighbourhood is also Singapore's original 'heritage town'. Katong was once home to many villas and mansions of the wealthy elite in the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries.
Once upon a time, it was filled with coconut plantations and was used as a weekend retreat by wealthy city dwellers. Increasingly, it became populated by a growing English-educated middle class, including Peranakans and Eurasians, and was developed into a residential suburb by the early 20th century.
Today, it is recognised for its rich cultural mix which has widely contributed to Katong's unique cuisine and wide range of restaurants.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, this town is brimming with business and local tourism and is known as the country’s best foodie destination. Culinary and shopping choices are endless, so it's not surprising that it's made it to the list of the coolest neighbourhoods.
The Top 10 'cool' neighbourhoods on the list
1. Nørrebro, Copenhagen
One of the 10 official districts of Copenhagen, Norrebro is famous for its poly-cultural society.
It is inhabited by people from all parts of the world. In fact, almost one out of six inhabitants had a non-Danish passport as of 2017.
Nørrebro is famous as a true melting pot of all things delicious, fun and vibrant. The sizzling around-the-clock nature of the neighbourhood makes it notoriously young at heart.
The sound of happy chatter on a good day in Norrebro almost makes you forget the world is in the throes of a pandemic.
2. Andersonville, Chicago
Known for its Swedish roots, historic architecture, and bustling urban main street, Andersonville is a special experience. It is famous as the “shop local capital of Chicago,” supporting the largest network of local and independent businesses in the area.
The community here is full of pride and has a commitment to equality; it is home to one of Chicago’s largest LGBTQ+ populations.
There are over 325 businesses supported by the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce membership and you can even meet the business owners face-to-face and discover how they've sustained through the pandemic.
3. Jongno 3-ga, Seoul
Full of tourist attractions and office buildings, Jongno 3-ga is a neighbourhood of contrasts.
While some parts are ultra-trendy and progressive, time stands still in some other parts as you stroll along. The building and streets of Jongno have been well-preserved for many decades.
Increasingly, young people are flocking to this part of Seoul thanks to its artistic atmosphere and energy of Ikseon-dong. This old part of Seoul has been brought to life by the new businesses especially following the stone-cold silence brought about by the pandemic.
4. Leith, Edinburgh
Leith is full of iconic areas. Add to that a diverse range of cafés, restaurants and bars and a new waterfront development that hosts the award-winning Royal Yacht Britannia and you've got one of the coolest neighbourhoods not just in Europe, but in the world.
As you stroll along the Leith Walk, you can discover a range of stores from supermarkets to independent book stores. The neighbourhood retains its strong identity in the form of bakeries, cafes and independent grocers, making it a delight to inhabitants and visitors.
5. Station District, Vilnius
The station district of Vilnius is a lively district full of culture and a great place for people to work and live.
Historical buildings of Vilnius preserve the district’s old charm and street art is aplenty.
Vilnius is home to some extraordinary bars, restaurants, concert venues and alternative events.
6. Chelsea, New York
Manhattan’s art district Chelsea will grip you with its galleries that show works from established and emerging artists. It's a fashion enthusiast's dream and a foodie's paradise.
The neighbourhood’s famous nightclubs, bars and performing arts venues can grow to be addictive and liberating, especially following the forced confinement powered by the pandemic.
7. XI District, Budapest
While most parts of Budapest have remained peaceful residential areas, when it comes to food, drinks, art, and nightlife, it doesn't fall behind any other rocking cities of the world.
Ujbuda is the 11th district of Budapest, where over the last decade, art galleries, bars and cafes have come up. A systematic urban plan to draw cultural institutions to the neighbourhood with below-market rents and other benefits led to this transformation of Újbuda.
8. Ngor, Dakar
Ngor is one of the four original Lebou villages of the Cap-Vert Peninsula. The Ngor Island is a mini-paradise where you can bask in the sun, breathe in the fresh sea air and chill out on the beaches.
The Ngor Island Surf Camp is a major attraction to wannabe surfers for reasonably priced private lessons.
This is a post-Covid break you've got to take!
9. Sai Kung, Hong Kong
Sai Kung is also known as the 'back garden of Hong Kong' thanks to its fishing villages, scenic landscapes hiking trails, beaches and islands and low-profile lifestyle.
It is famous for its finger-licking seafood dishes and the famous Hong Kong junk boats.
Sai Kung has remained unspoiled by urbanisation and to truly enjoy it, one must hit up the well-preserved nature trails.
10. Richmond, Melbourne
This inner suburb of Melbourne, Victoria is rich with eating-out options and watering holes. The live music scene is buzzing with international bands and local celebrities.
The residential area of Richmond is situated in a vibrant retail sector and is characterised by a wide range of warehouse residences renovated suitably, with high-rise flats and terrace houses inspired by the Victorian era.
There's endless shopping options, great deals and a well-established transport system which make it irresistible to the shopaholic.
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