Unmissable city activities

What not to miss in five great cities
 

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert


Las VegasWhat is it about cities that entice us so? Perhaps it is the blend of familiar and foreign that attracts; we identify features of our homeland, yet are drawn to unique activities and traditions that must be experienced before we board a return flight. The best cities are home to events and festivals we simply cannot miss. Oh, you’re just back from Rio? How was the Carnaval? New Orleans? You hit up the Mardi Gras? Las Vegas? Where’s my MGM poker chip? In some cities you are obliged to permit the city’s muse, its lifeblood, to lead you on a merry dance; to absorb you into its metier, to take you to its heart.

With a gamut of properties in the world’s greatest cities, HomeAway Holiday Rentals puts you right in the heart of the action. Sorting out your accommodation needn’t be a fretful affair; we have exhaustive options available in the most spectacular destinations across the globe. Even if you’re the type of traveler who makes demands - who insists on memory-foam mattresses, ice machines and a Jacuzzi in the bathroom - we’ll have a property that fits the bill. Before booking a city break, plan ahead and take a look at our collection of five unmissable city activities to inspire you for your next holiday.

 

Top five city activities you must experience


   

Rio de Janerio - Carnaval Rio de Janerio - Carnaval

The Rio Carnaval is a celebration that marks the beginning of Lent. Despite the religious origins, you can take my word for it - it’s raucous as hell. Never have you seen such barmy parades or flamboyant outfits. A key feature of the Carnaval is the Brazilian bandas, street parties that last all night, accompanied by drummers and singers. Everyone is welcome to join in, and who could resist the enticing spirit of Carnaval? Rio is enthralled by the climax of this festival, the Sambodromo runaway, where samba schools parade in a fierce dancing competition; think Saturday Night Fever, and times it by 1,000. 

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Beijing - Shichahai lakes Beijing - Shichahai lakes

A truly cosmopolitan city, Beijing boasts luxurious restaurants and modern views. To take a break from the fast-paced city life, though, we recommend you enjoy a boat ride on the famous Shichahai lakes. Composed of three such lakes, this area of Beijing offers a contrasting atmosphere to the city centre. It’s the best place for a romantic date - rent a row boat and make your way around the lake area, and admire the enormous white Buddhist stupa, built in 1271 by Kubla Khan. The area is also home to historic residences and bars, which give you the chance to relax and explore after your boating adventure.

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Sydney - Taronga Zoo Sydney - Taronga Zoo

Sydney boasts lively and thrilling events perfect for just about anyone’s holiday. Our tip appeals to animal-lovers, though. Located on a hillside over the famous Sydney Harbour, Taronga Zoo is home to over 300 different species local to Australia. Experience breathtaking skyline views and exhibits while learning more about the animals in question - never have educational and fun been such amiable bedfellows! The zoo has a selection of themes for their exhibits - Gorilla Forest and African Waterhole, for example - and you can even sleep in a luxury safari tent overnight for a nocturnal adventure amongst the residents! Another tip; keep the gorillas at arm’s length!

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Las Vegas - Big-time boxing Las Vegas - Big-time boxing

Las Vegas is a city famous for many things, among them quick weddings and quicker divorces… I jest! A gambling Mecca in the middle of the dessert, Sin City is renowned for its hypnotic luminescence and electrifying nightlife. It’s also the fight capital of the world, where the world’s finest prizefighters do battle. The MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and Thomas & Mack Center are the primary venues. There’s nothing like soaking up the infectious atmosphere of the packed bars and casinos during fight week, before settling into your seat for a night of boxing. And if you want a flutter on the result, I reckon one or two casinos will welcome your bet!

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Istanbul - Pampering Istanbul - Pampering

Unforgettable Istanbul fuses modern and historic traditions, making it a highly popular destination for globe-trotters. Explore the open markets, laden with unique products, or enjoy some delicious local cuisine at a hookah cafe. Afterwards, be sure to indulge in a spot of pampering with a hamam (Turkish bath). Considered a method of purifying the body, this is an absurdly relaxing activity; it is perfect for absolving one of the stresses of regular life. Complete with a massage and spa experience, attending a bathhouse in Istanbul is definitely an experience you won’t want to miss. Indeed, you emerge feeling weightless, body and soul. 

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