City Destinations For the Next Decade
Lisbon will be quite busy over the upcoming decade. It will be building a new airport, will finally have a high-speed train link to Madrid, and its downtown district will be in redevelopment mode in the hopes of being recognized as a World Heritage Site. In the last couple of years the city has added two new world-class collections with the openings of the Orient and Berardo museums, and this year's MUDE Design and Fashion Museum will continue to expand and revitalize its neighborhood. The Baixa quarter already has the world's best-rated hostels and with the recent openings of Vincci Baixa and Gat Rossio hotels, it's welcoming new stylish, design-conscious accommodation which will hopefully serve as catalysts for an energy-boost in the decaying downtown. Lisbon already has all the ingredients to make it one of Europe's must-go destinations, and over the next decade it should be ready to be served on a full platter. Perhaps more so than any other city, Lisbon will be transformed into an appetizing new destination.
2 | NEW YORK
A decade after the September 11 attacks, Ground Zero will finally be more than one huge hole on the ground. It will remember the victims of that horrifying event, and will honor the spirit of New York and the nation with the new Freedom Tower. Local media reports point to 2018 as the date of the unveiling of the entire project of the new World Trade Center, although the September 11 memorial is expected to be completed in 2013. Not that New York won't have anything new until then. This is after all, the city that never sleeps, and there is always a "hot new neighborhood" to explore. With the pedestrianization of much of Midtown (Herald and Times squares) and the opening of the High Line (which will be expanding), Manhattan is becoming more visitor-friendly than ever, and now even Brooklyn is a tourist attraction due to Williamsburg's thriving art community. Our prediction for "next hot neighborhood" however, goes to Manhattan's Lower East Side, which in part thanks to the opening of the New Museum two years ago is becoming one of the places to be in the Big Apple. Ten years from now it just may be to the eastern side of the island what the Meatpacking District has become on the west side.
3 | RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio de Janeiro will host not one but both of the world's top events over the next decade. It will be a host city of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and two years later it becomes home to the 2016 Summer Olympics -- and as Brazil's leading newsmagazine Veja has pointed out in a recent cover story, for Rio, 2016 begins now. With the international spotlight focused on the city, Rio is working hard on its image. Not on its stunning natural beauty because nature already took care of that, but on cleaning up its streets (including the much-reported crime which spills from its shantytowns) and building new infrastructure. That includes planting 24 million trees, expanding the subway, doubling the number of policemen on the streets, and building new sports facilities. When all is said and done, Rio will be transformed into an even more marvelous city. Not that it lacks anything at the moment to attract visitors, as everyone agrees it is one of the world's most beautiful cities.
|Rio de Janeiro|
Athens' post-Olympics makeover continues, and visitors can now be just as excited about seeing the city's contemporary attractions as its ancient wonders. One that combines the two is the shining new Acropolis Museum, which as reported here at UCityGuides, took around three decades to become reality. Pick up a copy of the free 2Board Magazine at the city's airport (which was given the Best Airport Magazine Uward), and you'll be presented with a city that does not come featured on your guidebook. It has fabulous new restaurants and even more fabulous hotels including the new Fashion House that we recently highlighted. All of it shows a city embracing the best of the modern world as it incorporates it all into its timeless attractions. Over the next decade you just may forget about escaping to a Greek island because you'll be too busy in the great Greek metropolis.
5 | WARSAW
The last decade solidified Prague and Budapest's place in the great European travel itinerary, and throughout the next ten years you'll add a third Eastern European city to that list -- Warsaw. You'll be hearing a lot more about it, especially in 2012 when it hosts the opening game of the UEFA Euro 2012, and you'll discover a city that's greatly underrated. Sure it was almost completely destroyed in WWII, but its old historical center has been immaculately rebuilt. It was even recently voted one of the 7 Urban Wonders of the World, and when Poland celebrates ten years of European Union accession in 2014, its capital will be a completely different city. Visit it together with Krakow, and you'll be experiencing the newest gems of the new Europe.
6 | ISTANBUL
Whether or not Turkey becomes part of the European Union any time during the upcoming decade, Istanbul will already be one of Europe's (and Asia's!) greatest cultural cities. That title will be made official next year, when it becomes 2010's European Capital of Culture. It will offer a variety of cultural events throughout the year, but they're just an excuse to discover a city that's much more than the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, or the Grand Bazaar. It offers what are arguably the world's most stunning rooftop bars and restaurants, reminding you that this is actually a city to see and be seen (even its modern art museum, the Istanbul Modern, offers city views from its stylish café overlooking the Bosphorus). While Istanbul will be tempting you with next year's special cultural events, it is the city's vibrant life that will make you want to return in the future.
7 | HELSINKI
Copenhagen and Stockholm may be the most popular Nordic capitals, but Helsinki is also demanding some attention. It will be the World Design Capital in 2012 and since its growth spurt after the 1990s it has been transformed into a vibrant, sophisticated city. Being chosen as an upcoming world design capital was a recognition of the city's innovative spirit which has led to the creation of global brands such as Nokia, and the excellence of the city's research and educational institutions. Before, during, or after 2012, be sure to make your visit coincide with the Helsinki Design Week to see the best of the city's design-conscious spirit.
Berlin just celebrated 20 years of the fall of its infamous wall, and the eyes of the world will continue to be on Germany's capital over the next decade. It's one of the world's edgiest cities and the new Berlin will continue to be new for years to come. We just welcomed the opening of the Neues Museum, and new openings and celebrations are already scheduled for next year. It will be the unofficial "year of science" in the city, with the 300th anniversary of the Charité medical school, the 200th anniversary of Humboldt University, and the 100th anniversary of the Botanical Garden marked by a number of exhibitions and festivals. Those events will be added to an already full schedule which includes the Berlinale, the DMY International Design Festival, and the Art Forum every year.
9 | SEVILLE
Barcelona has become one of the world's top cultural cities, Bilbao is still enjoying its post-Guggenheim renaissance, Valencia has been revived after an America's Cup and Calatrava boost, and Madrid continues to boom despite the global economic crisis. So Spain's other cultural capital, Seville, is now also attempting to enjoy its time in the spotlight. New riverside developments show a city moving in the direction of contemporary sophistication, and projects such as the CAAC (Andalusian Contemporary Art Center) have awaken the city from the long siesta of the past decades. It's now a much more forward-thinking city with a cosmopolitan edge, including ambitious new restaurants and chic hotels, as well as ambitious new architecture popping up in the skyline. Those include the Metropol Parasol marketplace by Jürgen Mayer, and the upcoming Torre Caja Sol and Zaha Hadid's University of Seville Library in 2012. That all means the time to see rejuvenated Seville is now but there's more in the near future.
10 | NAPLES
It suffers from an image problem, but Naples currently has a growing contemporary art scene and some interesting new developments. It's a city living on the edge and "edgy" can also be used to describe its most recent art galleries. A standout is Museo Madre which after a 2005 renovation by architect Álvaro Siza Vieira has exhibited the works of many of the world's top artists from Jeff Koons to Francesco Clemente, while its internal courtyard is often the stage for concerts and theater performances. To accommodate the growing number of culture vulture visitors, the city finally has a number of more sophisticated hotels, such as the Romeo Hotel which opened early this year. There is more to come soon, preventing visitors from automatically escaping to Capri or the Amalfi Coast and choosing instead to discover all the wonders of the city.