Looking for more than just a beach break? Here are the best destinations for a 2017 escape.

 

New York

Whether you’ve got two days or two weeks, there’s always so much to see and do in New York – it is, after all, the city that never sleeps. Can’t get tickets to Hamilton? No worries, head to Ellen’s Stardust Diner where the staff – mostly Broadway hopefuls – sing while they bring you food and drinks. Brooklyn may no longer be under the radar but it’s still worth a visit for cult stores, such as fashionable favourite Catbird, bars and people watching.

 

Las Vegas

If you want a getaway that’s packed with things to do, make Vegas top of your list. The infamous Strip with its themed hotels and casinos, now also boasts world-class restaurants and designer boutiques. Then head to the regenerated Downtown area for a different vibe – think hipsters and galleries. And, for complete contrast, a helicopter tour of the nearby Grand Canyon is a must.

 

Miami

Photograph: Shutterstock / Kamira

Miami’s art scene has become a big power player in recent years. The annual Miami Art Basel is wall-to-wall with celebrities and collectors, and the PAMM (Perez Art Museum Miami) is a must-visit for anyone interested in modern art. It’s not all culture and glamour though, the food scene in Miami is thriving with the city’s food trucks still the best place to get all kinds of delicious options, including Cuban, Mexican, barbecue and Korean.

 

Bangkok

Photo via drukair.com.sg

Thailand’s capital is where Asian tradition and Western modernity meet. As a result the city is fast changing with plenty of new things to see and do. The Rattanakosin district is the heart of the old city where you’ll find the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew – the temple of the Emerald Buddha. From there head to Chinatown, which is having a bit of a cool moment and is, of course, a great place to experience street food including local specialty mango sticky rice.

 

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia city skyline. Image via wall.alphacoders.com

Two of the most popular pastimes in Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it is affectionately known, are shopping and eating. Luckily the city does both these things incredibly well. From the vast air-conditioned malls to the central market with its artisans and antique dealers, there is something to suit every budget. As for dining, street food or hole-in-the-walls are hugely popular thanks to their cheap, tasty, no fuss approach.

 

Singapore

Photo Credit : Kenny Teo / Flickr

Singapore’s location means it has often been considered a stopover destination, but the city deserves a visit in its own right. Go to the lush Botanic Gardens or discover the flashier side of things at the Marina Bay. Make sure to take a trip to a Hawker centre, a Singaporean food hall, for some Southeast Asian delicacies. And head to Tiong Bahru, once known for its colonial influences – and high property prices – and now something of a hipster enclave with cool bars, shops and restaurants.

 

Hong Kong

Photo Credit : Trey Ratcliff / Flickr by Commons

This former British colony and now independent territory of China mixes both the British and Chinese elements of its heritage to create something unique. To really see the city take a harbour cruise or brave the Peak Tram that goes to the top of the 552m Victoria Peak. If you want Michelin-starred dining, then Hong Kong certainly has options, but that doesn’t mean every meal has to have a white linen tablecloth. Yat Lok has one Michelin star and serves arguably the best – and the best-priced – roast goose in the city. Be ready to queue and be prepared for short, sharp service. No leisurely lunch here.

 

Cape Town

Breathtaking beaches, stunning wildlife and rich green forests are just three of the reasons to visit South Africa’s Mother City – and that doesn’t even begin to take in the art galleries, wine regions and world-renowned restaurants. The area around Bree Street is currently the coolest and most Instagram-worthy part of town. Or take one of the tour options originating from Cape Town, which would see you head out to meet the meerkats at Oudtshoorn or do some penguin spotting at Boulders Beach.

 

This feature originally appeared in Independent.

 

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