November is the ideal time to go on vacation. With the holidays looming around the corner, for many, it’s the last chance of the year to take a break from your job and get in a change of scenery before the family commitments pile on. With this in mind, we’ve asked our editors to pick their favourite getaways from around the world.
Our choices range from baltic cold to sunny and pleasant, so there’s sure to be at least one destination that’ll pique your interest.
Queens, New York, United States
By: Keith Estiler
Yerrr! If you’re trying to experience cultural diversity this holiday season, your best bet is to go to Queens, New York. Its nicknamed the “World’s Borough” for a reason with roughly 800 languages spoken in the entire district. And if Queens were to secede from the rest of New York, it’d be the fourth largest city in the U.S.
What to eat: Queens is the most ethnically diverse borough in all of New York City (perhaps the world) and as a result, there are just too many joints to name. For those looking for true local spots in the sprawling region, some personal recommendations include Sammy’s halal truck on 73rd & Broadway, Tito Rad’s Grill for homestyle Filipino grub on Queens Boulevard, Hamido’s on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria for reasonably priced Mediterranean seafood, and The Cast Iron Pot 3 in Flushing for all you can eat Korean BBQ.
All of these places are open late, too. What to bring: Depending on the length of your stay, bring $121 USD for an unlimited monthly Metrocard or $32 USD for a weekly card, because there’s a lot of spots to check out and swipe it forward for the holidays.
By: Jeff Yeung
Whether you’re a seasoned explorer of the wilderness or just want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life this holiday season, Iceland is your ideal destination. With Reykjavik — the country’s heartwarming capital city — as your base, embark on an inspiring road trip around one of the world’s most scenic islands.
From starry night skies graced with the Northern Lights or long stretches of volcanic black-sanded beaches to massive torrential waterfalls, there’s plenty for those with a passion for photography or nature. Once you’ve satisfied your wanderlust, head over to the Blue Lagoon and relax in the most Instagrammable spa on the planet, followed by a feast of cultural Icelandic cuisine such as fermented shark and skyr in Reykjavik’s up and coming food scene.
What to eat: Fermented shark or Skyr
What to bring: A long-exposure-capable camera to capture the Northern Lights and waterfalls, and a nice warm jacket — winters can drop to -10 degrees Celsius
By: Charlie Zhang
Beyond the city capital of Tokyo, Japan, lies small rural towns where life is quaint, slow and traditional; Takayama is one such place. It’s an old town located in the mountainous Hida region of Gifu, Japan.
Takayama’s charm comes from its narrow walkways lined with short brown wooden homes, shops, sake breweries, restaurants and cafes. Many shops offer unlimited tastings for as little as $1 USD and they let you see their brewing processes. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can rent a bike to cycle in the countryside sprawled with shimmering green rice fields and wild forestry.
What to eat: Takayama’s ramen is characterized by its soy base and curly wheat noodles. Masago Ramen is a great spot that serves this. It’s run by the grandson in law of its original founder, mastering one specific dish over the course of three generations, about 70 years.
What to bring: Definitely bring a warm jacket in the winter as the city sits on a high altitude and collects a good amount of snow.
Minas Gerais, Brazil
By: Emily Jensen
Minas Gerais is a favourite amongst residents of bustling Rio and São Paulo for a quiet getaway. The state is famed for its waterfalls and hiking, as well as baroque Portuguese-style architecture in towns like Ouro Preto and Tiradentes. But one of its crowning jewels is the Inhotim, located in Brumadinho. The sprawling, open-air museum and botanical garden is a playground of art, architecture and nature, with installations by the likes of Yayoi Kusama and Hélio Oiticica dotted throughout its 247 acres.
What to eat: You can eat pão de queijo almost anywhere in Brazil, but the emblematic cheese bread made of yuca flour originally hails from Minas, so eat as much of it as you can here. Try it with many other local products like cachaça and coffee at the Mercado Central in the capital city of Belo Horizonte.
What to bring: Bus is your best bet to get around Minas, so bring ample reading. The Complete Stories, by Brazil’s premier short story-writer Clarice Lispector, ought to get you through any length of road trip.
By: Jason Dike
Paris is home to a million cliché’s, but some of them do ring true — the main one being that the city is an incredibly picturesque city to visit. There’s more than enough to do in the day time, with lovers of print magazines sure to enjoy the vintage magazine shops, while the plethora of menswear stores — ranging from the Broken Arm to Tom Greyhound Paris — ensure there’s plenty for the shopper.
There’s a cafe/bar/restaurant on every corner, although the somewhat brusque manner of the waiters will throw newcomers off. There’s no shortage of places to stay, but lovers of newer hotels will enjoy the Hoxton Hotel.
What to eat: Jah Jah by Le Tricycle. A vegan Rastafarian restaurant isn’t the typical Paris-based eatery, but there’s no denying just how good Jah Jah is. A highlight is the vegan wings, which will make you wonder why you ever bothered to eat meat.
What to bring: A good pair of gloves. The late-night bar scene is very fond of outside seating, which isn’t always conducive to warm hands. A personal favourite is Dent’s Margate gloves, which combine classic design with touchscreen capabilities