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Canary Wharf is to London what Lower Manhattan is to New York – a financial powerhouse characterized by towering skyscrapers and finely pressed suits. Global banks and media houses attract some 100,000 workers daily. It is actually one of two main financial centers, sharing the title with the City of London. (See our video tour of the City of London here.) In fact, the second tallest building in the UK, One Canada Square, calls Canary Wharf home. Canary Wharf has historical roots in shipping, and for 160 years was one of the busiest docks in the world. The docks were finally closed in 1981 after the port industry began to decline. Its current iteration is the vision of Michael von Clemm who first came up with the idea to convert Canary Wharf into a bank office and business district in the late 1980’s. As one of the poshest districts in town, be sure you’re caught up on our basic tips for London etiquette.

Canary Wharf and London from above Canary Wharf in London on the horizon of the Thames

Located on a little peninsula along the north of the River Thames, Canary Wharf and Docklands can be found in the east of London on the Isle of Dogs. Its northern borders stretch from Limehouse in the west to London City Airport in the east. For information on what else is in the area check out our video tour of Hackney and the East End. This article will discuss the places in Canary Wharf and Docklands mentioned in the video, including Cabot Square, the West India Quay, the Thames Barrier, Island Gardens, and the Greenwich foot tunnel. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Central Park in winter Central Park looks beautiful in any season, but the winter snow makes it extra idyllic

New York may be a city of millions that seems perpetually catered toward the young twenty something demographic, but that is an egregious oversight. There are plenty of reasons why people of all ages enjoy the benefits of being a New Yorker (or at least a temporary one). Lest you think the best hotspots are trendy bars and clubs, remember that New York’s best sights and activities are classics, whether it’s a spirited jaunt around a skating rink or a sampling of hot chocolate. Best of all, these activities are perfect for each member of your party! Here are some of our favorite family-friendly activities for wintertime in New York! (Don’t forget activities you can do with your family all year round, or activities for rainy days in New York City!)

1. Ice Skating

Image of Central Park’s ice skating rink Many people come to Central Park in the wintertime just to glide across its famous rink

A classic wintry day on the town, children love to glide (though you can expect more slipping and sliding from novices) across smooth ice.

  • The best rink combines wide skating space with a scenic view. Perennial favorites include the rinks at Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center (which are surrounded by loads of shopping and dining opportunities) as well as the open greeneries of Central Park and Lakeside at Prospect Park. (Why stop there for Central Park? Explore more of the parkland with our helpful guide to Central Park). Read the entire story here…»
 

Welcome to one of London’s best-kept secrets – the East End! In this video tour we’ll show you a glimpse of all that this thriving neighborhood has to offer, including a bit of the history, culture, and of course the local hot spots. Starting as a series of villages outside of the City of London, local docks brought high demand for workers and with them the seed of urban development. This has blossomed in the last few decades, making London’s East End and the greater neighborhood of Hackney a haven for art and culture.

Canal in the East End Take a walk along one of the East End’s many canals

The East End can be found (understandably) in the eastern section of London. It’s bordered by Bishopsgate to the west, the River Thames in the south, the River Lea in the east, and Regent’s Canal in the north. This article will discuss the places mentioned in the video, including Shoreditch, Hockston, and Spitalfields. Not sure how your London street smarts compare? Our tips and etiquette guide for visitors might help you out. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Overlooking the East River, Williamsburg is a hip neighborhood and full of vitality

Brooklyn has always marched to the beat of its own drum, with a rich array of cultural enclaves, artistic and architectural triumphs and outdoor attractions separate from its New York siblings. (Check out this Brooklyn guide for further proof.) Recent years, however, have intensified the borough’s popularity. Although the neighborhood of Williamsburg has existed since the early 19th century, the past decade has made it the poster child for Brooklyn’s widespread recognition.

Welcome to Williamsburg, in Brooklyn

Williamsburg lies in the westernmost area of Brooklyn. It is situated north of Bedford-Stuyvesant, south of Greenpoint, west of Bushwick, and east of the East River. Originally an industrial epicenter, Williamsburg is now associated with the hipster and indie music scenes. Like much of Manhattan, the borough abounds with celebrities, from current residents like actors Ed Westwick and Zoe Kravitz to those born or raised in the neighborhood pre-reinvention, like author Henry Miller, award-winning star Barbra Streisand, and singer Barry Manilow.

Williamsburg’s proximity to Manhattan makes it an attractive option for anyone living in the city. The Williamsburg Bridge connects the Brooklyn district to the Lower East Side of Manhattan (discover our neighborhood guide of the Lower East Side) while multiple subway lines run underneath the neighborhood. When staying in New York City, don’t rule out the outer boroughs – Williamsburg might just be the perfect fit for you! Read the entire story here…»

 

Empire State building skyline sunset The sun sets behind New York and the Empire State Building

Congratulations, you’ve made it to New York City, the largest city in America and the center of art, business, and culture. Your days are jam-packed dawn till dusk with exciting activities and your nights are a blur of lights and Broadway shows. But if you haven’t yet planned to visit these great places to watch the sunset, you’re missing out! From New Jersey to Queens and Harlem to Wall Street, these five places are the absolute best spots to watch the sunset in the city that never sleeps.

1. Hudson River Park

One world trade center sunset See the sunset light up the One World Trade Center

Stretching all the way from 59th Street to Battery Park, Hudson River Park is the second-largest park in Manhattan. One of its most defining features is its five mile long bike and running path, and the free kayaking at Pier 40 is always a crowd favorite. It’s a great place to do yoga or just meditate on the meaning of life. But if you come for the attractions you’ll stay for the view – you can see all of Jersey City and the Statue of Liberty from any point in the park. Of course, if you really want a view you should check out these apartments with a great view of New York. Read the entire story here…»

 

Holiday greetings from New York Habitat Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year from New York Habitat!

It’s that time of the year again! The streets of New York are filled with shoppers looking for the perfect Christmas gift, Paris’ Champs Élysées look better than ever with all these Holiday lights, ice-skating rinks are popping up all around London and villages in Southern France are filled with traditional holiday markets!

Our entire team wishes you all Happy Holidays! May your new year be successful, prosperous and healthy!

 

Stairs along the Seine Stairs separate the busy city from the quiet Seine river.

“Why isn’t there an elevator in my apartment building? I have to walk up multiple flights of stairs!” This is the cry of the beleaguered traveler who, after a long flight, is dismayed to note that he or she will have to carry heavy bags up several stairs before taking a well-deserved nap. Fear not, beleaguered traveler! We hear you! You’re not alone in your lament! In this article we hope to help you understand why your building was designed without a nice, roomy elevator, and why this might actually be a good thing.

But first, strap yourself in for a teensy bit of history.

1. Upward Mobility and the Social Standing of Stairs

Hassmann-style Paris boulevards The grand style of Haussmann’s rebuilding of Paris

Paris was a pretty dismal place in the mid-nineteenth century. Medieval streets twisted aimlessly through dark, leaning buildings and roads were often barely wide enough for one cart to pass through. In 1853, Napoleon III appointed George Haussmann to open, unify, and embellish Paris. The sweeping style and delicate filigree that characterizes Paris today is largely a result of that work. But with a new architectural order came a new social order, at the center of which was a building’s stairs. Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square is an iconic – and popular – open urban space for Londoners

With centuries’ worth of history and the arts across 32 boroughs and the titular City, London truly earns its distinction as Europe’s financial and cultural powerhouse. Covering over an estimated 600 square miles, there’s an infinite number of places to explore the full depth of London’s vibrancy. The West End of London, including the neighborhood of Bloomsbury, packs much of this energy into a relatively compact area – perfect for exploring! (Another neighborhood worthy of exploration? South Kensington, of course!)

Welcome to Bloomsbury / West End

An unofficial designation, The West End used to refer to the region west of Charing Cross in the 19th Century but now refers to the entertainment district and shopping areas from Covent Garden across to Oxford Street. Considered to be the epicenter of London’s commercial and entertainment industries, there are plenty of shopping opportunities and live theatre here. Many UK film premieres take place in the region’s Leicester Square, while Covent Garden entices tourists and locals with its shops and marketplaces. For a better picture of the area, take a look at our video guide of the West End! Read the entire story here…»

 

The Notre Dame Christmas tree by the Seine See the Christmas tree in the plaza in front of the Notre Dame

The trees have lost their leaves and each morning is now greeted with a dusting of frost. Lights gleam off the lingering ice as the smell of King Cake drifts through the air. Winter is falling over Paris, but the city itself is more active than ever. From holiday markets and ice skating to parties and events, there’s no better time to visit Paris than during the Christmas season.

In this article we’ve covered the most interesting and exciting events in the city, so be sure to let us know what you think!

Holiday Markets:

The holiday markets along the Champs Elysées Holiday markets along the Champs Elysées are a great place to pick up last-minute gifts. Photo: Steve Shupe.

A city in a snow globe, there’s nothing more romantic than roaming the holiday markets in Paris as crisp winter winds ruffle artfully placed hats. Although little markets spring up all over the city, these are some of our favorites.

  • As the most iconic street in Paris, the Champs Elysées is a prime attraction during the holiday season. In fact, it’s the only street that makes our list of the Top 10 Must-See Sights in Paris! The Christmas market at the Champs Elysées consists of one hundred chalets from the Vosges region. This arts and crafts market offers a wide selection of gifts and holiday food, including everything from arts and crafts to mulled wine and crepes. It runs from November 14th through January 4th, and be sure to stop by at night to see the Big Wheel illuminated. Read the entire story here…»
 

London streets light up for Christmas The city of London lights up for the holiday season

It’s that time of year again! Snow is glistening and Jack Frost is nipping at your nose. Christmas spirit has settled over London like fresh snow as the city lights up like a Christmas tree. In this article we’ve compiled all the best things to do for the holiday season, including holiday markets, outdoor ice skating, seasonal must-sees, and of course all those great Christmas activities you can’t live without.

Holiday Markets:

Hyde Park holiday market, with rides and ice skating The Winter Wonderland holiday market in Hyde Park

Hotly anticipated every year is the first day the holiday markets open. Glittering little shops spring up throughout the city, all of them great places to pick up a hot cocoa or a present for that difficult-to-shop-for relative. But of all the markets in town we’ve tracked down the very best. So be sure to visit one or two this holiday season!

  • A gorgeous park any day, Hyde Park looks like it’s straight out of a snow globe around Christmas. For that reason it has one of the best holiday markets in the country. The whole attraction is called Winter Wonderland but the market section is known as the Angels and Yuletide Christmas market, known for its unique stalls offering handmade gifts and hot cider. You can buy tickets to Winter Wonderland’s Christmas circus and ice sculpture garden, as well as to the biggest outdoor ice skating rink in the whole United Kingdom. The Angels and Yuletide market itself is, of course, free of charge. It runs every day from November 21st to January 4th, but the best time to come is just before dusk so you can watch the sun set over the park as the shops light up one by one. Read the entire story here…»