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Two Aussie Suburbs Made Top 10 Of The ‘World’s Coolest Neighbourhoods’ List, As We Should

Two Aussie Suburbs Made Top 10 Of The ‘World’s Coolest Neighbourhoods’ List, As We Should

Where you live matters – but in 2020, we learned just how vital our villages, neighbourhoods and towns really are.

Each year, Time Out surveys thousands of people around the globe, “to discover the world’s coolest neighbourhoods: the places that represent the spirit of the greatest cities on earth. These are the places to be for food and fun, art and culture, atmosphere and personality.”

After speaking to thousands of locals and cross referencing with their global network of editors, the list features 40 neighbourhoods deemed the world’s coolest right now. But they admit that in 2020, they wanted to choose candidates a little differently.

Their usual criteria still stands – the people; the food, drink, arts and culture; affordable rent and living costs; that hard-to-define buzz that magentises people to a city – “but this year, more than ever, they are the areas where people, community and businesses have helped each other through shared tribulations: places that represent the soul of the city,” Time Out explain.

Unsurprisingly, Australia didn’t just make the top 10 cut once, but twice. Here are the 10 coolest neighbourhoods in the world right now.

#10 Marrickville, Sydney


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Sydney is a ‘city of villages’ but those villages can be quite culturally defined. “Marrickville, on the other hand, is a true melting pot, and this diversity is surely the X-factor behind its ascent as Sydney’s trending suburb,” explains Maxim Boon of Time Out Sydney.

Peppered with great cafes and bars, authentic holes-in-the-wall and trendy restaurants, Marrickville thrives off its juxtapositions and sense of inclusivity. Despite this former industrial pocket gentrifying, the migrant communities, artists and queer creatives that made it hip, honest and interesting have stayed firmly put.

#9 Haut-Marais, Paris


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Sandwiched between Rambuteau, Temple and Saint-Sébastien Froissart metro stations and just to the north of what you already consider the cool area of Paris, the Marais, sits the less touristy and therefore even cooler Haut-Marais.

It’s not short on stylish addresses, with upscale restaurants, contemporary art galleries, boutiques and cafes popping up there over the last few years.

“And at night… to Parisians, it feels like this neighbourhood practically invented the cocktail bar. Little Red Door, Bisou, Candelaria: head down any one of the Haut-Marais’s winding streets and you’ll find mindblowing drinks that’ll make every night out feel like an occasion,” says Houssine Bouchama of Time Out Paris.

#8 Dennistoun, Glasgow


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“Dennistoun feels like a secluded island in Glasgow’s East End,” explains Malcom Jack. “Over the last decade or so, an influx of young people – mainly students from nearby Strathclyde University – has altered the demographic of this low-key, historically working-class neighbourhood.”

This area has good cafes and pubs, art galleries and music venues, but also fosters a sustainable community spirit by way of initiatives like Zero Waste Market and Alexandra Park’s Food Forest. This pocket of Glasgow is as independent as they come.

#7 Shaanxi Bei Lu/Kangding Lu, Shanghai


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“A hundred years ago, this sleepy neighbourhood in Jingan district was part of the Shanghai International Settlement. Fast-forward to now and it’s quickly morphing into a buzzing destination of new cafés, bars and restaurants,” says Time Out Shanghai.

Beyond the low-rise lane houses and authentic noodle shops there is a petit natural wine bar with lines down the street, an all-day roller skate rink, a Japanese-American diner, an exciting new food and drink complex and much more to come.

#6 Wedding, Berlin


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Wedding takes a much slower pace than hip mainstays Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Mitte.

“North-west of the city centre, its multicultural, multigenerational community stays loyal to local businesses, from independent grocers to upstart street food spots,” explains Nathan Ma.

You’ll find delis, vegan-friendly Italian, homestyle Taiwanese and Michelin-starred spots to dine in this down-to-earth area rooted in history.

#5 Yarraville, Melbourne


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Melbourne unsurprisingly slides into the top five with the westside suburb of Yarraville.

While Melbourne has had a tough trot during the pandemic and many of its world-class cafes, restaurants, bars and live music venues are on hold, Time Out acknowledges that community spirit has never been stronger, and the neighbourhood that best embodies that is Yarraville.

“Two lockdown stories sum it up. Firstly, Yarraville local Lee Smith-Moir started adding adorable ‘happy signs’ on walking tracks in the area to cheer up locals during the state’s second lockdown. Then there was skater Belle Hadiwidjaja, who has been roller-skating through the streets in rotating costumes to keep families entertained on their daily walk. Not only that, but for a relatively small suburb, the cross-section of food, drink and things to do here is pretty remarkable,” says Rebecca Russo.

#4 Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York


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Known as Bed-Stuy, this historic area in Brooklyn filled with brownstones enjoys “leafy residential streets that pulse with a sense of community and tradition: lively conversations between neighbours on stoops, blocks that feel like extended families and rows of ancient Victorian brownstones,” according to Will Gleason. But this year, it became “New York’s greatest incubator of the future.”

Always a cultural hub of the city’s Black population, Bed-Stuy served as an epicentre for Black Lives Matter protests, creating mutual aid networks like Bed-Stuy Strong to protect its most vulnerable members during the height of the pandemic. Meanwhile, local businesses got to work strengthening community bonds and opening their doors in safe and creative ways.

#3 Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong


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Sham Shui Po is one of Hong Kong’s oldest districts (known for its textiles industry) but has recently been given new life by young creatives. Now, old and new coexist beautifully.

You’ll find traditional street-vendors, historic buildings and fabric shops alongside Michelin-recommended eateries and family-run noodle shops, as well as create hubs, contemporary cafes, sustainable initiatives and the centre of the neighbourhood’s reinvigoration, Wontonmeen.

Wontonmeen is a hostel that normally houses clued-up tourists and artists exhibiting in the area, but “since the pandemic, it’s been converted into a studio allowing musicians to record videos and perform online gigs. Parts of the hostel also run as a shelter for the homeless, gravely affected by the outbreak, and its downstairs café, Runners’ Foods, regularly cooks for them too,” explains Tatum Ancheta.

#2 Downtown, Los Angeles


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Similarly to Sydney, Los Angeles is a city of villages and with that comes the sense that there is no clear, main hub for the entire city.

However, “this became the most painful year in L.A.’s recent history – and in a city with no single, central gathering place, Downtown became its supportive soul,” writes Michael Juliano.

“It wasn’t without strife, but there was a palpable pivot toward unity the day that thousands streamed through Downtown’s streets [for Black Lives Matter]. In a year of isolation, DTLA – like no other neighbourhood – has consistently brought us closer to our community,” Juliano says.

#1 Esquerra de l’Eixample, Barcelona


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Split into two distinct sections, Barcelona’s Eixample is a sprawling area known for its streets of stylish boutiques, bars, and restaurants nestled around iconic square Plaça de Catalunya along with Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.

While Dreta de l’Eixample is the district that usually gets all the attention thanks to its luxury shops and stunning modernista buildings, “in 2020, all eyes are on Esquerra de l’Eixample,” according to Borja Duñó.

“Residential and down-to-earth, this left side of the Eixample has a characteristic architecture where each block of flats features its own interior courtyard. During Barcelona’s strict lockdown, these spaces became focal points for the city’s energy – as in the pop-up Hidrogel Sessions, in which residents dressed up in costumes and organised mass dance parties from their balconies,” he says.

(Lead Image: Unsplash / Marcus Lenk)

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