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January 23, 2011

What is your favorite city?

Even the most transient travelers often find a city or town that connects deeply with their soul. Sometimes, the bond is so great a choice is made to settle in a location that comforts, intrigues or excites us more than the any other place we've been. Whether you call it home or fondly reflect on memories from afar, inspire us with the details of your favorite city and tell everyone why (for you) it's the one place that's just right.

Share your thoughts and help shape the dialogue in a meaningful way. Your contribution makes all the difference in building a stronger Design is Love community. Remember, participation is caring.

01.09.11 / 10:13 PM
We could spend hours debating this topic since all of us here at Design is Love have wildly different needs when it comes to the ideal city. Some of us like tons of activity to stimulate our creativity and others seek a city where you're more likely to find a quiet street to enjoy a bit of solitude. Add in discussions of food, culture, language and atmosphere and we'd never agree on one place. So, instead of offering up a collective answer, we'll each share our personal ideas on which latitude and longitude you should immediately plug into the GPS as a must-see.
01.10.11 / 10:28 AM
This is an opinion that I always find hard to get across, especially if you are talking to someone who's had bad experiences in the city that you love the most. I'm very partial to boston/cambridge, good food, good drinks, good transit. But for day trips, there's more to do than there is to take in during one day. I like that during the day there is a lot of activities that don't revolve around finding a restaurant or bar, but will leave you with a ton of choices when it is time to eat. Favorite place I've eaten recently... Charlies Kitchen 10 Eliot Street, Cambridge.
01.11.11 / 8:59 AM
I am at the point in my life where luckily I don't have to really choose a single place. After school I would love to live in a bunch of different cities before having to actually settle down. I most recently fell a little in love with Columbus, Ohio. Columbus has a lot going on for it in terms of the creative community and just a very welcoming place with lots of great people. The other city that I would love to live in for a bit is Copenhagen. I have read about it as just being a place where the people are really happy, I think Denmark is the second happiest country in the world.
01.22.11 / 7:09 AM
Manhattan. I drive across the bridge, see the skyline, feel a sudden rush of peace and calm. Home again, home again. With the exception of the people I love (I don't associate them with places at all... more with feelings), everything that connects to my soul is there. I can get lost and no one knows it... I don't know it! I find the people there very fun and direct and helpful and friendly. The simulation feeds my shark-like appetite. You walk out the door and there's a cab. Man makes brilliant things as a testament to the gifts we've been given. That's the good of possibilities to which I pray. Manhattan is, to me, the shining start of what we can do. Slowly the energy there is becoming focused. Someday, something will emerge unknowingly from those skyscrapers and set the world on a different course—something unrelentingly lovely. I hope I'm there when it happens.

Paris is a close second... another place where I can wander and discover freely. Though is has great history and puts that history in very pointed context—it lacks the awesome possibility of NYC... it's comparatively static.

It's up to you, New York, New York.
01.22.11 / 7:55 AM
What's my favorite city? I would have to say that out of every where in the world I lived I love Venice. When we get off the train at the train station in Venice and walk through the door it's breath taking. The canals and walking bridges are so interesting with architecture, amazingly every where you look and not a detail spared. I wish we as Americans took the time and care in our environment. The artisan mentality of old Europe would make our generation unstoppable.
01.22.11 / 7:57 AM
Betcha you thought I would say NYC ~ I lived there for 25 years ~ and Yes, I do still like a city that never stops.....
But there is something about CHICAGO that makes me so HAPPY when I spend time there...walking up and down Michigan AVENUE is surreal....you can pop in Crate and Barrel, then stop in THE Drake for a drink..walk across the street and walk on the sandy beach ,swim and ride the waves ...something about the Art Institute and the new installations ..ah...I tell you - the city spread out along the shores of the lake is amazing ! Also FABULOUS food, the people are REALLY NICE and casual. I went out to Chicago this summer just so I could kayak and look at the city ! I guess a close second would be Melbourne ...but the 26 hour flight ....it's a longgggg one.
01.22.11 / 8:10 AM
Boston is my favorite city - a study in contrasts.

Fast: zipping taxis, speedy fixie gear skinny pant-clad couriers, and fresh new music.
Slow: a flower opening in the public garden, still bronze statues, and ancient burying grounds.

Still: cobblestone streets, staunch buildings, preppy.
Moving: cheap trains, minds always turning, street food exchanging hands.

Old: museums full of classics, library after library, a river that begs you to sit beside her for an old fashioned picnic, old, oak bars lined with whiskey and oyster trays.
Young: the tidal wave of new design, writing, technology.

I lived all around Boston for 9 years with out a car and walked and bike EVERYwhere, soaking up the flavor. There are elements of Boston in the Greater Hartford area, but nothing so vibrant and gripping as my favorite city.
01.22.11 / 8:14 AM

Venice is incredible, agreed! My two favorite moments were having fresh-made bellini on the water and emerging from a tight alley into a little courtyard and looking up to see an old woman the MOST incredibly leathered Italian face. I snapped her photo.
01.22.11 / 9:36 AM
Barcelona. There is an energy + a vibe that lives in the architecture and the nightlife and the history is contageous. It was literally Gaudi's playground. And there's nowhere like it on earth.
01.23.11 / 7:29 AM
As someone who hasn't done much international travel I'm going to keep my response within US borders. For the better part of my life my family has vacationed in a small town in central Maine. Every summer we drive up and spend a week in a cabin without running water, sitting on the lake, reconnecting with nature in a way only possible when you visit a place where an outhouse is the only option when you "gotta go." Until this fall Maine had represented a experiential departure to a simpler way of life.

Then this fall we visited Portland, Maine, which was a profound experience. I've never been a big city guy. All the noise, movement and activity in NYC quickly overwhelms me. Boston had been my favorite until we discovered the Old Port section of Portland. Never have I felt so comfortable in an urban setting. Small, eclectic stores to peruse, a great arts scene, and unbelievable restaurants line the paved (and cobblestone!) streets. Everywhere you walk people smile and say "hello"...and there's "Support Local" stickers in every shop window. It's got big city appeal in a small setting, and for me, it's a perfect fit.
01.23.11 / 8:39 AM
Born and raised in the 'burbs, every city visit offers a marvelous experience. Pick a favorite? I'm not sure I can. Paris and Venice make the top 5, for the history, glamor, and soulfulness. Amsterdam and Stockholm both have an appealing youthful vibe, that perhaps appeals more as I get older! Seattle's laid-back attitude and London's exuberance both satisfy. But one city truly tempted me to stay forever - Sydney. Beautiful, fun, exciting, brash.
01.23.11 / 11:36 AM
i thought long & hard about my response and changed my answer close to 37 times. towards the end of my internal debate, it was a constant shuffle between venice, italy / new orleans / kinsale, ireland and québec, canada.

when i woke up this morning all i could think about was québec. my winner. specifically the old city. it has an unmistakeable charm about it and i was able to lose myself without getting lost, just like on the streets & canals of venice. there are beautiful old churches and stunning architecture. street performers juggling in the courtyards & artists selling their work in charming cobblestone alleyways as music was always in the background, which reminds me of why i loved new orleans.

the food is amazing. it's so good and the people are very, very friendly. like in ireland, if you had a question or needed help with something, someone was there to help with a smile on their face.

even though it doesn't have beaches, there is the st. lawrence river and a wonderful boardwalk to appreciate it. i refuse to be land locked. the final aspect of québec that i'd like to mention is that it has seasons, which is a requirement of any place i'm willing to call my favorite.


We'll post the topic to start the conversation. Where it goes is up to you.

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