Want to go where the locals are, rather than the tourists? Here’s a list of list of quirky destinations that are a bit more unfamiliar and undiscovered.
10. Seattle, Washington
Seattle, birthplace of one of the biggest coffee corporations in the world, isn’t exactly unknown – but instead of having lunch at the original Starbucks, pop across the street to Pike Place Market for a taste of something truly fresh. With its selection of 80 restaurants, you won’t go hungry, apparently a trip to the various seafood vendors is your best bet, famous for their clam chowder and fresh fish.
Visiting groups can make the most of the market with a selection of guided tours, ranging from historical walks to chef-led experiences. Visit pikeplacemarket.org/tours-market for the list of licensed tour operators.
9. Portland, Oregon
For year-round entertainment in this historical shipping port, head to Pioneer Courthouse Square, known colloquially as ‘Portland’s Living Room’. Maybe because it’s relaxing, or the ideal meeting place – either way, there are often events and activities happening, from summer markets and concerts to winter’s Christmas tree display.
This community space is free to explore, but specific events might be ticketed. Check the calendar on the website: thesquarepdx.org/our-events/
8. Brighton & Hove, UK
The Royal Pavilion, Pride parade, the Palace Pier – all this and more can be enjoyed by groups on a trip to Brighton & Hove. Fans of comedy and theatre should make a stop at The Marlborough Pub & Theatre, a not-for-profit organisation supporting LGBTQ+ art and culture. Plus, its vibrant history includes a murder on the site in 1900… and tales of a poltergeist haunting its rooms.
Groups interested in attending a show at The Marlborough can book up to ten tickets at a time through their website. See what’s on here: marlboroughtheatre.org.uk/#whats-on
7. Copenhagen, Denmark
Christiania – the ‘city within a city’ – isn’t as well known as other Copenhagen areas. This self-governed commune established in the 1970s is currently home to around 1000 people. Living up to its history, Christiania has its own rules; the locals prefer it if tourists don’t run around taking photos, but that shouldn’t put you off. Visitors pile in for the craft sales, street art and eateries.
6. Malmö, Sweden
Beautiful city parks aren’t the only reason to visit Malmö. An artist’s dream can be found at Möllan, a neighbourhood known for being diverse and bohemian. The area is filled with produce and craft markets, surrounded by restaurants and small shops selling food from all over the world.
5. Orlando, Florida
For something more scenic, groups can visit Lake Eola Park in Orlando, located at the heart of the city. Spend a Sunday at the farmers’ market, explore the lake in a swan-shaped paddle boat and stop in the beer garden for an evening drink. Open from morning to night, there are often events to attend – just check on the website.
The historic Eola House has a number of rooms that groups can book for meetings and occasions. To make an enquiry, groups can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Lisbon, Portugal
Take in Lisbon from up high at Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, the hilltop viewpoint named after a beloved poet who spent a lot of time here overlooking the city. The uphill trek is worth it to capture the sunset over the city’s ornate architecture.
3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Groups can visit Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens all year round with its seasonal flower shows and calendar of exhibitions. They offer self-guided and expert tours for groups to study the greenhouses, plant collections and sustainable techniques. Find out how to book on the website’s Group Tours page.
2. Helsinki, Finland
Finland’s capital has been awarded City of Design status by UNESCO, and it’s easy to see why. Groups shouldn’t miss a visit to Temppeliaukio Church, built from solid rock with a shining copper dome. Often used as a music venue because of its excellent acoustics, the church is a wonderful sight for the religious and non-religious alike. During the summer, free guided tours are available, while private group tours can be booked from 60€. Visit the website at temppeliaukionkirkko.fi/en/ for more information.
1. Spokane, Washington
History and natural beauty come together in Spokane, a region known for its Native American heritage. Alongside the Spokane River Gorge and its cascading falls, groups can spend an evening at Kendall Night Market, open from 5pm-9pm in the spring and summer months. Here, visitors can shop for local produce and artisan food and listen to live music while they stroll around the stalls.
Explore the full list of quirky city destinations at comparethemarket.com/life-insurance/content/alternative-bucket-list.