When planning a trip, you want to make sure that you see all the major tourist attractions in a city because they’re attractions for a reason, but if you’re sick of the crowds of people, there’s plenty of other places to explore in your favorite cities.
Yes, you’re going to want to see the Eiffel Tower while you’re in Paris, but have you ever heard of Sainte-Chapelle? What about the Gelam Gallery in Singapore? Expand your horizons and check out some of these hidden gems on your next trip.
Bastakia Quarter – Dubai, UAE
While Dubai is home to towering skyscrapers and developments, the Bastakia Quarter gives the opportunity for tourists to experience what the city used to look like in the 19th and 20th centuries. If you can, take a walk through the quarter at night when all the buildings are lit up.
Muslim Market – Shanghai, China
If you happen to be in Shanghai on a Friday around midday, head over to the corner of Aomen Rd. and Changde Rd. between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to see the culinary bazaar that pops up thanks to the local Chinese Muslims who gather to cook Halal delicacies.
Casa Sayrach – Barcelona, Spain
La Sagrada Familia has been under construction for what feels like forever, so instead of looking at scaffolding, head over to Casa Sayrach to see a beautiful structure that was heavily influenced by Antoni Gaudi and is just as impressive in person as in photos.
Jimbocho Book Town – Tokyo, Japan
In an ever-growing, ever-changing city that is home to more than 9 million people, Tokyo’s Jimbocho Book Town is a book agent’s dream. The neighborhood houses nearly 200 bookstores selling books on a variety of topics and in many different languages, so you’ll have no trouble finding a secondhand treasure to read on your next flight.
Gelam Gallery – Singapore
Known as Singapore’s first outdoor art gallery, the Gelam Gallery is located in the back alleys of Kampong Glam and will give you the perfect backdrop for your photos. The two parallel alleys are decorated with 30 artworks by local and international artists, and they’re so colorful it’d be hard not to take a few pictures.
Saigon Central Post Office – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
This fully functional post office located in Ho Chi Minh City is not your average post office, that’s for sure. The Saigon Central Post Office was built during French colonial times and is considered to be one of the most impressive post offices in Southeast Asia, so take in the view while sending some postcards to your friends!
Bloedel Conservatory – Vancouver, Canada
From a distance, the Bloedel Conservatory vaguely resembles the EPCOT dome from Disney, but inside, it’s a different kind of happy place. The conservatory and apiary have three different habitats for you to experience, featuring over 200 types of bird as well as numerous other species. You can experience all types of nature in one little dome.
Khlong Bang Luang Artist House – Bangkok, Thailand
Part gallery, part puppet theater, a full-on cultural center, the Khlong Bang Luang Artist House in Bangkok is a great place to visit if you want to experience Thai culture in one small area.
Sainte-Chapelle – Paris, France
When you think of churches in Paris, you think of Notre-Dame, but what you should also think of is Sainte-Chapelle. The chapel was originally built as a private church for the kings of France, and its stain glass work is worthy of royalty, to say the least.
Gimnyeong Maze Park – Seoul, South Korea
Maintained by a professor at the Jeju National University since 1987, the Gimnyeong Maze Park is made out of foliage from all over Asia and is located between the Manjanggul Cave and Gimnyeongsagul Cave, so it’s easy to stop in at on your way. The maze is in the shape of Jeju island and contains landmarks as well as famous symbols. There are also skywalks and an observatory for afterward, so you can take in the full view!
The View From Gianicolo Hill – Rome, Italy
If you’re looking for a way to see everything in Rome in a short period, the best way is to see it is from the top of Gianicolo Hill. Take a walk up the second tallest hill in Rome to watch the sun set over the city and see everything from St. Peter’s Basilica to the Pantheon.
Times Square Sound Installation – New York City, New York
Take a moment to stop and listen to the Times Square Sound Installation next time you’re in New York City and in need of a breather. To find this art installation that Max Neuhaus installed in the 1970s, head to the intersection of West 45th & 46th street. Make sure to keep your eyes and ears open!
Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder – Amsterdam, Netherlands
In English, this 17th-century church is known as Our Lord in the Attic. It’s a canal house, house church, and museum rolled into one right in the city center of Amsterdam, so you can easily stop in to learn about the church built on the top three floors of a canal house while on your way to eat yet another stroopwafel.
Skywalk Marzahn – Berlin, Germany
If you’re afraid of heights, you’re going to want to avoid this one, but if you don’t mind standing more than 200 feet in the air, then check out the Skywalk Marzahn for a free guided tour that will show you the best view of the city.
Beylerbeyi Palace – Istanbul, Turkey
Located on the Asian side (aka the eastern half) of Istanbul, the Beylerbeyi Palace is well worth the visit if you’re looking for inspiration for your next home renovation. Used as a summer residence by former sultans, Beylerbeyi is filled with ornate chandeliers, oil paintings, and even features a stable with its own marble pool that was once used for the sultans’ horses.
Old LA Zoo – Los Angeles, California
Looking for a place to relax while visiting the bustling city that is Los Angeles? Look no further than the remains of the LA Zoo that are located in Griffith Park. You can walk through the old cages and exhibits left over from before the zoo moved to its current location—don’t forget to bring a snack to enjoy while you look at the graffiti art.
Air Panas Banjar Hot Spring – Bali, Indonesia
Bali is a serene destination perfect for relaxation, and nothing says relaxation like hot springs. The Air Panas Banjar Hot Spring is located in North Bali near the Lovina coast and features three natural pools fed by hot springs in the center of the tropical grounds.
Whitechapel Bell Foundry – London, U.K.
If you’re looking for a piece of history that connects America to the U.K., look no further than Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry was not only responsible for casting Big Ben back in 1858, in 1752 it was also the foundry that cast the Liberty Bell which now is a permanent fixture in Philadelphia.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian – Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil
From the outside of it, you would never know that this futuristic beehive-looking building is actually a cathedral, and honestly, even from the inside you probably won’t think it looks like your typical cathedral, but it’s worth the pitstop.
Maboneng Precinct – Johannesburg, South Africa
The Maboneng district of Johannesburg refers to itself as “a place of inspiration,” and it lives up to the title. The district is an area that the city has worked to rejuvenate, turning old warehouses into artists’ galleries, adding restaurants and plenty of entertainment venues, so it’s well worth you stopping in.