Visions of paradise, seats of power, and cities of sin; travel is about discovery of every kind. Get some paper to create a bucket list and set your travel mode to ‘ON’. From Japan to USA and Croatia to Dubai, here are 10 streets that will make you gawk in amazement, question your place in the world, and wonder why you hadn’t visited before.
1. Stradun, Dubrovnik (Croatia)
“Shame!” Bell rings. “Shame!” Bell rings.
Does that scene ‘ring a bell’? If yes, then the main thoroughfare of Stradun in Dubrovnik, Croatia may look familiar. This street was where Cersei Lannister performed her infamous Walk of Atonement in Season 5 of Game of Thrones.
Not nearly as crowded and claustrophobic as portrayed in the scene, Stradun is the main street of the old town of Dubrovnik.
The city’s iconic grey and brown architecture played a starring role in the series as King’s Landing. Today, it is a must-see destination for many Game of Thrones fans. Just a short walk away are the buildings, docks and coastline that were featured across all 8 seasons.
Don’t miss Fort Lovrijenac, which was the Red Keep and Girona Cathedral that was depicted as the Great Sept of Baelor (where the Walk of Atonement began on the steps).
However, few locations captured as much intensity and drama as Stradun did in that unforgettable scene. Now, you can walk the same path as Cersei did, albeit with better hair and more clothes.
2. Las Vegas Strip, Nevada (USA)
Whether or not you gamble, you will almost certainly recognise this street the moment you see it. The Las Vegas Strip of the City of Sin has been featured in countless movies, TV shows and still images.
About 6.8km long, the Strip is straddled by all the major resort hotels and casinos. Virtually everything worth doing in Vegas can be done on this long, straight stretch of brightly-lit road. Over 42 million people make the journey here from all over the world every year.
One of the most unique things about Vegas is the brilliant and colourful signboards. You will get to see the truly iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, part of the landscape here since 1959.
Las Vegas is also the world’s playground so it’s also a great place to people-watch. Celebrities, actors and entertainers from near and far come here to party with their fellow rich-and-famous.
3. Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo (Japan)
Organised chaos. That is how many see Shibuya Crossing with its 4 different pedestrian crossings at one of Tokyo’s busiest intersections.
A flood of people is a good description, too. Up to 3,000 pedestrians make their way across the junctions every 2 minutes when the lights turn green. A quarter of a million are estimated to use it every single weekday. On the weekends, the number surges to 390,000.
It’s wonderful to be a part of the experience and many tourists record themselves walking across each of the 4 crossings. If you want a better view, though, the floor-to-ceiling windows of the second-floor Starbucks in the Tsutaya building (pictured above) are ideal.
The crossing’s location at the Hachiko exit at Shibuya station puts it smack in the middle of trendy bars and clubs, and a stone’s throw from excellent shopping at the Shibuya 109 shopping mall.
Shibuya station is also the location of the popular Shibuya Tokyu Food Show. You may also want to visit the famous statue of Hachiko the Akita dog immortalised in stone in 1934 for its loyalty.
4. Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. (USA)
Perhaps you don’t know the name of this street but you probably know the most famous address here: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, The White House. Besides being the official residence of POTUS, this political heavyweight is also home to the United States Capitol and the J. Edgar Hoover Building (FBI headquarters).
Pennsylvania Avenue runs for about 9.3km but the 1.9km stretch from the White House to the United States Capitol building is considered the most significant.
It is where some of the most important decisions for the planet have been made for decades. Regardless of whether you see those decisions as negative or positive, there is no denying that this is truly a seat of world power.
The area is peppered with art galleries and museums. Within walking distance are the Washington Monument, Smithsonian Institute, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Lincoln Memorial, all of which have been depicted in film and TV innumerable times themselves.
5. Avenue de Monte Carlo, Monte-Carlo (Monaco)
The playground of the rich and famous, Monte Carlo is known for its opulent casinos, fleets of supercars and superyachts, and as the setting for numerous glamorous movies. Avenue de Monte Carlo is a relatively short strip but one that’s laden with sights you will never see twice.
Arguably the most famous of these is the Casino de Monte-Carlo. It has been associated with fictional superspy James Bond and served as the location for scenes in Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye.
At its eastern end are the boutiques of Valentino, Gucci, Hermes, Maison Goyard and Prada. Dine at the restaurants and cafes overlooking the French Riviera (if you can afford it)— the view from atop the escarpment looking over the blue seas may just be worth every penny.
Visit at the right time of the year and the avenue becomes part of the Circuit de Monaco, a section of the Formula One Grand Prix race.
6. Hollywood Boulevard, California (USA)
Hollywood Boulevard has been at the epicentre of all things glitzy for over a century. Virtually every business along its stretch is tied in some way to the entertainment industry. Some of the most memorable scenes ever shot in movies were taken either on or from Hollywood Boulevard, too.
Perhaps the most famous destination here is the street-within-a-street known as the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Contrary to popular opinion, Stars on the Walk of Fame are not presented on merit but bought; they cost about S$55,000 each.
This is also where you will find the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where the first Academy Awards were held and the iconic cylindrical Capitol Records Tower. Down the street is Frederick’s of Hollywood, the Hollywood Wax Museum, Madame Tussauds Hollywood and Bob Hope Square (famously at the “corner of Hollywood and Vine”).
You even get the best view of the Hollywood Sign from Hollywood Boulevard.
7. Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Paris (France)
Pronouncing the name correctly (shonz ellie-zay) is half the battle for what is often described as the most beautiful avenue in the world. It is a fitting reference to the Elysian Fields, a vision of paradise from Greek mythology. The construction is almost as old, having been first laid in 1667.
Just 2km in length, Avenue des Champs-Élysées sits between the Place de la Concorde on one end and the Arc de Triomphe on the other. The odds are that if you have seen any movie set in Paris, you have seen all three already.
What it lacks in length, it makes up in girth; the road stretches 70 metres in width. On either side sit luxury boutiques of some of the world’s biggest brands. You will find the flagship stores of fashion icons Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Massimo Dutti and Dior; Guerlain perfume specialists; and jewellers Tiffany & Co., Bulgari and Cartier.
Every Tour de France ends with a sprint down this street. Museums such as the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Palais de la Découverte and the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton are also located here.
8. Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai (UAE)
Dubai’s glitzy skyscrapers and fleets of supercars may dominate the headlines but the street to be on is Jumeirah Beach Road. Running parallel to the beach with a view of the cream of the world’s prime real estate, this is the road that leads to the tallest building, the Burj al Arab.
It offers breathtaking views of not just the blue waters but also the amazing feats of engineering and architecture that sit on them. In particular, you’ll want to see The Palm Jumeirah. This is a manmade island in the shape of a crest around a branching palm.
The road ends at Jumeirah Beach Residence, a luxury 7,000-apartment complex. Along the way, there is a mix of old Dubai with the new. There are both small single-story shops selling ice-cream as well as opulent shopping centres such as the Mercato Mall. This mall has replaced one of its escalators with a slide!
9. La Rambla, Barcelona (Spain)
At just 1.2km, La Rambla may not be nearly as grand as the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, but it is no less beautiful. This verdant arbour is a striking sight, pushing aside the manmade structures on either side to create a serene avenue in central Barcelona.
La Rambla’s northern end meets Plaça de Catalunya, the large square that is the cultural and approximate geographical centre of the city.
The magical beauty of the Font de Canaletes fountain can be found at Rambla de Canaletes. Philatelists and coin collectors will revel in the weekend markets at the Royal Square (Plaça Reial).
Fans of the finer arts will enjoy the Liceu Opera House at Rambla dels Caputxins— which was previously a Capuchin monastery— and the Rambla de Santa Mònica arts centre.
Those seeking the treasures of nature will prefer the open-air flower market at Rambla de Sant Josep (or de Les Flors). La Rambla is a hive of activity till the wee hours with its cafes, bars, kiosks and street performers.
10. Orchard Road (Singapore)
Singapore’s world-renowned premier shopping destination is such an integral part of the city state that locals simply call it “Orchard”. 2.5km long, it is a bustling thoroughfare lined with some of the best department stores, boutiques, flagship stores, restaurants and nightclubs in the country.
Gigantic retail specialists dominate the landscape here. Among them are Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Plaza Singapura, ION, Orchard Central and Tang’s. There is also Lucky Plaza, which somehow seems to be caught in a time warp and unchanged from the 1990s.
However, it isn’t all a shopping frenzy; Orchard Road is also home to the Istana. The word means ‘palace’ and it is the name of the official residence of the President of Singapore.
Tourists should head down to the Singapore Visitor Centre located inside Orchard Gateway. Not only will the friendly team provide all the information you need, they’ll also prepare a free itinerary according to your interests and schedule.
Orchard Gateway also houses [email protected], the best place for some quiet time between retail therapy.
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