Sydney’s Surry Hills and Richmond in Melbourne are among a list of foodie hubs and cities ranked by Time Out’s list of ‘coolest neighborhoods’ for 2021.
Nørrebro, Copenhagen topped the global media brand’s list in 2021, which was compiled through a survey of around 27,000 people living in cities around the world and narrowed down by Time Out’s global editorial team.
In the wake of COVID-19, Time out says community spirit played a major role in the selection of the upper districts.
“The pandemic was pretty devastating for cities and cultural and hospitality businesses,” Caroline McGinn, Time Out’s global editor-in-chief told CNN Travel. “But each of these places has its own story to tell about how people came together to support each other – and invent new grassroots culture along the way.
“Andersonville in Chicago, known for its thriving LGBTQ + scene and green spaces, came in as number two on Time Out’s list, while historic Jongno 3-ga in Seoul, South Korea took third place.
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Number four went to the Edinburgh district of Leith, a former industrial area of the city that has a budding creative scene and a growing list of the best restaurants.
Rounding out the top five is the artistic station district of Vilnius, Lithuania Time out praises the city’s street art and bar scene.
Number one neighborhood Nørrebro was recommended by Time out not only because of its busy old and new businesses, but for the latest community initiatives, from a car-free Sunday program to an interactive art exhibition called Invisible Paths (“Invisible Paths.”)
Copenhagen was also recently recognized as the world’s safest “city, by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index (SCI). This week the city Noma restaurant was also crowned as the best in the world.
“Ratings are not the whole story, it’s also about the mood,” McGinn said, explaining that Time out editors feature the list with an important localized perspective.
“Neighborhoods are dynamic, they change quickly. And that can be a really good thing: looking at some of the cool ideas that really came true quickly during COVID-19.
“Time out also says sustainability was at the forefront of its decision-making: number two voter Andersonville, Chicago, was celebrated for its eco-friendly composting program Clark Free Composts, while Sai Kung in Hong Kong (number nine) was praised for its zero-waste stores and environmental group, Sai Kung’s friends .
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McGinn said Time out the study emphasized how cities have been affected by the pandemic differently, but a unifying factor was “a major shift towards localism and hyperlocalism, which has come to stay.”
“People hung out in their neighborhoods, depended on them for nourishment, community and social life and in many cases fell in love with them,” she said.
This was one of the reasons why Australia’s very own cities Richmond in Melbourne and Surry Hills in Sydney came on the annual list.
A “very socially conscious suburb”, according to Time out, Richmond was rated as the 10th ‘coolest neighborhood in the world’ to be recognized for its own work Richmond Churches Food Center, which has been distributing goods and food for the past 30 years to anyone who goes without.
On top of that, Richmond’s council, the Yarra Council, was one of the first local governments in the world to declare a climate emergency and commit to ambitious plan to help combat the effects of climate change.
Time out also highlighted must-visit businesses and landmarks for every neighborhood. This was another area where Richmond received some credit, celebrated for its thriving live music culture, largely driven by local and beloved live music venue Corner Hotel.
Such local places are “the soul of our cities,” McGinn said.
Sydney’s Surry Hills also slipped into the list in 19th place, recognized as the “oh-so-trendy heart of Sydney’s eastern suburbs”. Surry Hills became home to some of Sydney’s most revered restaurants, cafes and shops, and was hailed for its cultural edge and innovation under COVID-19 restrictions.
During 2020, the suburb took al-fresco dining trends to new heights and launched a number of beautiful outdoor eateries to evolve to help the struggling local hospitality scene.
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“When Time out curating the best in town, our editors are on the hunt for pleasant surprises: off-radar, new, local places that do not have a smart marketing department but are wonderful. We are looking for all the obvious things – taste, authenticity, excellence – but also the secret sauce, venues where the atmosphere and experience really fluctuate and definitely work for this place and this time. “
‘Deep sense of community’
Thomas Spelling, co-owner of Nørrebro coffee bar and bakery Rondo, which was highlighted by Time out, said the area benefited from a strong sense of community.
“I think that is part of the appeal about Nørrebro,” he said CNN Travel. “It’s mostly a residential area, and many of the businesses have strong ties to the neighborhood.”
His comments were repeated by the team at The barking dog, a Nørrebro bar also named by Time out as a local highlight.
“We could not be more proud to see Nørrebro on the list. Not only is the bar in Nørrebro, part of us from the company also lives here. Some of us have a hard time finding a reason to leave the area most days,” stood there in an email.
“Nørrebro is full of diversity, adventure and crafts. There is a deep sense of community among residents and businesses that speaks of the constant development of the neighborhood as a whole.”
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Time Out’s Top 10 coolest neighborhoods
- Nørrebro, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Andersonville, Chicago, USA
- Jongno 3-ga, Seoul, South Korea
- Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
- Station District, Vilnius, Lithuania
- Chelsea, New York, USA
- XI District, Budapest, Hungary
- Ngor, Dakar, Senegal
- Sai Kung, Hong Kong
- Richmond, Melbourne, Australia
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