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Image of Saint James Park View of the Saint James Palace in the oldest park in London, Saint James Park!

Parks play a vital role in what makes a city unique and London is no exception! London has an abundance of parks and squares, so residents and visitors do not lack precious green space. Not only do parks offer a retreat from city life, they are incredibly beneficial to the city’s economy, healthy lifestyle and vacation tourism. The parks also preserve ecological biodiversity, which benefits the environment, and also promotes outdoor living to encourage well-being! These ten parks in London showcase exactly why having parks can be so advantageous for the city and overall population.

1. Hyde Park

Did you know that Hyde Park, one of the most well-known parks in London, is the eastern side of the continuous green space that is shared with Kensington Gardens? Hyde Park, the more well known of the two, is often mistaken to be the entire park! With many entertaining activities to do in Hyde Park, such as play tennis or soccer, swim, horseback ride or to just take a stroll; this 142 hectare park has something to for everyone. Outdoor enthusiasts, consider staying in the neighborhood of Westminster to get optimal access to Hyde Park! There are multiple London landmarks within Hyde Park for locals and tourists to visit. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk is 7-mile walk through Hyde Park and its neighboring parks to see famous buildings and locations associated with the Princess. Another attraction in Hyde Park is the Speakers’ Corner. This is an alluring open-air place of public speaking where people are free to discuss and debate. Dynamism provides thousands of people the experience of the many great aspects of Hyde Park, every day. Read the entire story here…»

 

Photo of Midtown East Midtown East from across the East River

There’s no denying that New York City’s skyline is the most recognized skyline in the world. That skyline would not be the same without the towering icons of Midtown East, including Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building, the United Nations Headquarters and more. This article continues our Live Like A Local series, in which we discuss how to experience New York like a New Yorker. For more from this series, consider checking out our neighborhood tips on nearby Chelsea and vibrant Hell’s Kitchen.

Welcome to Midtown East:

Located east of 5th Avenue and west of the East River between 42nd and 59th Streets, Midtown East is historically one of the most commercial districts in New York. Every day the population fluctuates from 200,000 during the day to just over 40,000 at night. Due to its proximity to Grand Central and its reputation for being the flagship of business it is also hugely convenient. Combined with Midtown West, Midtown East is the largest commercial, entertainment, and media center in the world. Famous residents include fashion icon Ivanka Trump, New York Yankees star Derek Jeter, and international supermodel Angie Everhart.

Midtown east is easily accessible via public transit, including multiple bus lines, the Metro-North Railroad, the 4, 5, 6, 7, S, E and M trains, as well as by car via the FDR drive. Don’t worry about timing your visit – there’s something going on all year ‘round! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of Notting Hill Townhouses Notting Hill, London is known for their beautiful townhouses, built in the 19th century.

Possibly one of the most transformative neighborhoods of London, Notting Hill has a rich history that encompasses multiple cultural aspects of art and music that make this neighborhood so charming and unique!

Notting Hill, London welcomes you!

Notting Hill is located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and is in close proximity to the Kensington and Holland Park neighborhoods. While these three neighborhoods are rich with modern conveniences, such as shopping and restaurants, Notting Hill has a much more dynamic antiquity. The neighborhood was considered less than desirable up until the 1980’s but has now become one of the most sought after areas of London! This area is known for its bi-weekly markets on Portobello Road and the annual Notting Hill Carnival! While those events attract tourists and locals alike, this neighborhood has a rich history in music and art that is less well known with tourists but are all the more enjoyable!

In this article, we will explore the art and music scene in this distinctive neighborhood! To get a better understanding of the neighborhood as a whole, learn to live like a local in Notting Hill, London! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of handmade baskets Provence’s markets are known for their handmade goods, including these woven baskets

The Provencal region has beautiful beaches, beautiful residents, and a beautiful artistic legacy. It also happens to be the home of some of the country’s best shopping, particularly for produce, spices and handmade crafts. (To get you started, why not take a look at the southern French cuisine you’ll find in the area?) While it may be difficult for you to peel yourself away from the amazingly blue waters, trust us: the marketplaces are worth a few hours of your time – or multiple visits! C’est magnifique!

1. Aix en Provence

Image of a flower market Place de l’Hotel de Ville in Aix en Provence is famous for its flower market

Old Town serves as the central hub for many of the markets in Aix, with Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday being the most popular. (You can get a sense of what a Provencal market is like here.) Place de Prêcheurs is the setting for fruit and vegetable vendors (perfect for vegetarians looking to cook meat-free dishes!); Place de l’Hôtel de Ville is where you can pick up a fresh bouquet for your beloved and browse older tomes for your library. Craftier folks will find the markets for textiles and antiquities precisely to their liking at the Cours Mirabeau and Place de Verdun, respectively. If you are in town during the month of December, don’t pass up the opportunity to tour the exquisite Christmas markets. Aix en Province has a lot more going on that just its markets, however – see what else you can accomplish in this city, even in a 48 hour trip! Read the entire story here…»

 

Picture of Eiffel Tower carousel The famous carousel outside the Eiffel Tower

Traveling is a joy – it broadens horizons and brings people together to share stories and laughs. The experience is made all the more memorable when you travel with your family. But when everyone is paired off into different hotel rooms it can sometimes feel like you’re not traveling together at all. The solution? A vacation rental with enough space for the whole crew. In this post we’ve chosen a few of the best examples of family-friendly apartments in Paris everyone is sure to love.

1. Three-Bedroom vacation rental in Bastille

Paris -2820 A literary haven in Bastille (PA-2820)

Walking into this charming Bastille apartment is like stepping into the secret library in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Colorful books on every subject are artfully tucked into whitewashed bookshelves stretching across multiple walls throughout the apartment. They pop like pieces of candy against the neutral hardwood floors and pale furniture, encouraging everyone who sees them to pick one up and flip through Paris’s rich culture. This dual-story apartment is located on the third floor of a four story walk up (find out why Paris has so many stairs!), and has a king, queen, and twin bed between its three bedrooms. The neighborhood itself is one of the most historic districts in Paris, within walking distance of the Notre Dame Cathedral as well as the Musee du Fumeur and Pont de Bercy. The closest metro stations include the Bastille and the Gare de Lyon. Read the entire story here…»

 

Once known as “Lambehitha,” or “landing place for lambs,” the Lambeth district is located in central London. From its early Viking days as a lamb trading port, this region has since developed into one of the most iconic areas in London and the world. Although initially a marsh, Lambeth is now home to everything from the London Eye to Waterloo. It is presently one of the most visited areas of London, along with the popular West End, and is a great place to visit for any intrepid traveler.

Westminster Bridge at sunset with the Big Ben The Westminster Bridge connects two of London’s major neighborhoods: Lambeth and the City of Westminster.

The district of Lambeth is located along the south bank of the River Thames, opposite Westminster. (In fact, the two were linked by a horse ferry across the Thames until the opening of Westminster Bridge in 1750, followed by Blackfriars Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge.) It’s a great place in which to look for an apartment with a view of the Thames or just go for a walk along the river. Within the context of London Lambeth is centrally located with a wealth of culture all its own. Read the entire story here…»

 

picture of Big Ben in winter Big Ben on a snowy London Day

There’s nothing quite like seeing the joy in children’s faces as they frolic in the snow. Of course, wintertime cannot be entirely devoted to those white flakes. The answer? London. Centuries of history spread out across 3 districts offer countless activities for you and your family during the winter season. Some of these activities take advantage of snowfall, while others are best for chilly days where you cannot bear to be anywhere besides indoors. Here is a list of our favorite things to do for families in the wintertime.

1. Visit the city’s museums

Image of the Natural History Museum The National History Museum is just as famous for its architecture as it is for its exhibits

The metropolis of London is not short on museums, many featuring priceless artifacts! For marine fanatics, the HMS Belfast stores nine decks worth of history, from the ship’s mechanics to the ways in which sailors lived aboard the vessel. Want to know more about London’s iconic double-decker buses and black taxis? You’re in luck: The London Transport Museum seeks to educate the masses on the importance of London’s public transportation system. The National History Museum, one of London’s most prominent galleries, boasts exhibits dedicated to geology, ecology, zoology, paleontology as well as a wildlife garden. (And don’t miss the most complete Stegosaurus known to humankind.) For astronomy, engineering, and medicine, the Science Museum cannot be matched. A day of kitschy fun can be found at Madame Tussauds, where you and the kids can pose with the lifelike wax figurines of your favorite celebrities! And for the child in all of us (or the children in your party), there’s the V&A Museum of Childhood, which displays toys and other playthings as a testament to the boundless imagination of kids. South Kensington is home to many other museums; check out our guide to the district here. Read the entire story here…»

 

Photo of Eiffel Tower under the snow Exploring the Eiffel Tower in the snow is magical

Often when we think of winter activities for kids we think of Christmas – visiting Santa and baking cookies – but what is there to do once all the Christmas decorations are down and the presents are unwrapped? Contrary to popular belief, there are lots of things to do with your family for a winter holiday vacation well after the holiday season has drawn to a close. This is especially true in Paris, where wintertime is a season of bustling activity! Although there is no shortage of kid-friendly activities in the City of Lights, these are a few of the ones we think are the best.

1. Go Ice Skating

The ice skating rink outside the Hotel de Ville. Ice Skating in front of City Hall? Don’t mind if we do.

Unlike in the United States, many of the city’s winter ice skating rinks stay open for weeks and months after the holidays. Popular indoor skating centers include the Patinoire Pailleron and the Patinoire Sonja Henie. However, the most famous and popular of all ice rinks in Paris is hands down the Patinoire de L’Hôtel de Ville, the ice rink in front of City Hall. Be sure to admire the surrounding architecture, as much of Paris was redesigned in the late nineteen hundreds in the Haussman style. In fact, that’s part of why Paris has so many stairs! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of brownstone steps Central Harlem’s rich history means it is home to the traditional brownstone apartment

Welcome to Central Harlem:

Perhaps no neighborhood in New York can match Harlem for its artistic and cultural output, thanks to the works of its African-American community. The Cotton Club at 142nd and Lenox made icons of bandleader/composer Duke Ellington and singer Lena Horne; activist Marcus Garvey is immortalized by the eponymous park; and famous residents have included the likes of Maya Angelou and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Central Harlem is north of Central Park, south of the Harlem River, west of 5th Avenue and Harlem River Drive, and east of Morningside Park and Edgecombe Avenue (guide to the neighboring districts of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights here). Although an area of historical significance for centuries (the Continental Army successfully prevented the British from invading New York during the American Revolution), Harlem became world-famous thanks to the period known as the Harlem Renaissance. The era, linked to the 1920s, witnessed an explosion of literature and the arts from the district’s black population. Read the entire story here…»

 

Photo of people rallying against illegal hotels in front of New York’s City Hall People rally outside of New York City Hall to protest against illegal hotels in the city. William Alatriste, New York City Council

On January 20th 2015, the New York City Council conducted a hearing on short term rentals and the legislation affecting them. This controversy affects all New Yorkers, since illegal rentals can result in safety and noise concerns, as well as overcrowding and a decrease in building services, not to mention eviction of the leaseholder and their guests. New York Habitat attended the hearing, since the agency actively monitors the status of laws affecting apartment rentals in order to provide the most reliable service possible to clients.

Changes are coming to the way the city deters illegal rental activity, which will have a large effect on city residents and tourists alike. Therefore, it is important for all New Yorkers and their guests to understand the controversy and outcome of the hearing.

What is the status of short term rentals in New York as of January 2015?

Image of the facade of New York City Hall in Manhattan New York City Hall in Lower Manhattan

New York property laws set the length of time and manner in which a unit can be lawfully rented, and limit the conversion of units from permanent residences into transient hotels. These regulations were put in place in order to protect the safety, privacy, and quality of life for residents and tourists alike, as well as to curb the city’s affordable housing shortage. Read the entire story here…»