Drop the tug-of-war rope about where to have your next family vacation. Between Broadway performances, amusement parks, shopping havens and world-class surfing, these five destinations cater to each member of the gang. Suit up for your next getaway at one of these all-encompassing cities.
1. New York City
Embrace the New York State of Mind in the largest city in the U.S. Here, you can buy a ticket for Broadway to see a world-class performance, stroll through Central Park where kids can ogle at the Alice in Wonderland sculpture and peek from the top of the Empire State Building all in one day.
To quench Dad’s history thirst and kids’ item for show-and-tell, snap a photo in front of Ellis Island, the gateway for immigrants during the late 19th and 20th centuries. Youngsters might also enjoy exploring dinosaur fossils at the American Museum of Natural History. Of course, as a cultural melting pot, New York City serves up food options suitable for even the pickiest of palates.
The Eternal City is sprawling and uniquely layered. The Roman ruins provide a historic backdrop against the ebb and flow of modern urban life. In the middle of the city, visitors take a guided tour of the Colosseum before admiring the stunning Pantheon. Don’t miss Michelangelo’s iconic painting in the Sistine Chapel or a view from the Spanish Steps.
Delicious food is around every corner in Rome. If Mom and Dad desire a romantic evening for two, fine dining is waiting in Via Veneto and Piazza Barberini. Teenagers might flock to the hipster neighborhood of Trastevere for a blend of boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Rome is famous for its pizza, so a slice or three is a must. At the end of the trip, have Junior toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain – legend has it that this ensures your return to Rome.
3. Rio de Janeiro
As the crown jewel of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro packs something shiny for whole family. The main attractions of the city are its 23 beaches. Ipanema Beach offers song-worthy shores and fascinating subcultures while Copacabana Beach will bring soccer zealots long after the cries fade from the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Grumari Beach is a lovely, quieter spot for sun-seekers to avoid the crowds.
Outdoorsy types can’t get enough of Tijuca National Park, the largest urban rainforest on the globe. Here, the gang can go hang gliding, hiking or wildlife-watching. The best views will come from Corcovado, Brazil’s highest mountain. Once the sun sets, you can enjoy the samba at places like Rio Scenairum, which stirs up caipirinhas, the national cocktail of Brazil.
4. Hong Kong
Between street-market shopping, amusement park rides and dim sum, Hong Kong covers all of the bases. A good place to get your bearings is Victoria Peak, where travelers gaze across the water-slashed skyline of one of China’s largest metropolises. Head to Ladies’ Market for new clothes, or bring the kids to Hong Kong Disneyland. At the Wong Tai Sin Temple, you can experience the Taoist temple. Organized chaos can be found amid the opera singers and fortune tellers at the Temple Street Night Market.
Since cuisine is a cornerstone of culture, delight in some dim sum in the Central District – Lin Heung Tea House is a crowd favorite. Chungking Mansions is also home to dozens of South Asian restaurants.
If your family is up for outdoor adventure, look no further than Sydney. This Australian city doubles as a playground for surfers and hikers alike. Carving the waves is a requisite at Bondi Beach, and if you don’t know how to surf, sign up for a two-hour lesson at Let’s Go Surfing. In the Olympic Village, Urban Jungle Adventure Park is a staple. Of course, no trip to Sydney is complete without a visit to Sydney Harbor, considered one of the world’s most beautiful.
After soaking in artwork at the Museum of Contemporary Art, you’ll meet all of your shopping needs at Oxford and Williams streets. Come the month of January to witness Sydney Festival, Australia’s largest cultural event. Can’t get enough art? Live music knows no bounds in the variety of major concert venues, but only The Basement has seen the likes of Prince and Georgie Fame.