After traveling to more than 40 countries and countless cities around the world, a question that I receive frequently is, “which city is your favorite?” Well it’s certainly not easy to choose. But, after much introspection, I have done it. Here, in order, are my top five favorite cities in the world:
(1) Jerusalem- Jerusalem is both the holiest city in the world and one of the most visited. One of the most fascinating things about this magnificent city is that because it is at the heart of three major religions, you will see so many different cultures represented here. You can stroll down a 2,000 year-old Roman road to the Western Wall, visit the Jerusalem Museum with its priceless pieces of Jewish art, shop for clothing and spices at the Jaffa shuk, and take in the amazing view at the Tower of David. Everyone should visit Jerusalem at least once in his or her life. There is no other place like it.
(2) Honolulu- There are obviously a countless number of reasons to visit the tropical paradise that is the island of Oahu. Honolulu is my favorite spot because it is the center of Hawaii’s art, history, and culture. Additionally, Honolulu is the biggest city in Hawaii, so while you can still experience the small-village traditions of the island, you can also find big-city fun and entertainment. Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular spots, but if you venture beyond it you will find secluded tropical beaches, waterfalls, and mountain hiking paths. It is incomparably gorgeous.
(3) San Diego- Southern California really has a style and pace that is all its own, does it not? I think that this is best represented in the city of San Diego. Two excellent spots for families in San Diego are the famed zoo, and Balboa Park, the latter of which is the most photographed place in the whole city. One of my favorite picturesque spots in San Diego is Sunset Cliffs. As the name eludes, this is the perfect place to be at dusk if you want to see a magnificent natural light show. I’ve also sat upon the cliffs to watch California Grey Whales swim by on their way to the Sea of Cortez. San Diego is so warm and pleasant and charming- it is almost like a little piece of the Mediterranean transplanted into the United States.
(4) Buenos Aires- Tango shows, traditional coffee shops, historical museums, gorgeous gardens, towering monuments, amazing places to shop, a kosher McDonalds… what’s not to like about Buenos Aires? Buenos Aires has a unique flair to it- one that is completely charming and sophisticated. However, one of the most interesting parts of Buenos Aires is one that is neither particularly fashionable nor very charming. It is called Once, and instead of reflecting the typical Buenos Aires sass, this area is rather dark and gritty. However, it is here that a multi-ethnic and diverse Jewish life once thrived. And walking through the streets here today, you’ll still hear echoes of it.
(5) Bangkok- Sometimes I feel that regardless of how long I were to spend in Bangkok, there is no way I could see everything it has to offer. Bangkok is a city of extremes; towering, extravagant temples, and tiny, hidden whispered secrets that are waiting for you at every turn. It is a city where the past has not just met with the present, but collided with it. Both old and new exist and thrive here. The Temple of the Dawn, Wat Pho, and Chinatown are just a few of my favorite places to visit. I’ve also gotten up close and personal with both crocodiles and elephants here. But it’s not just the sites of Bangkok that are so amazing. Everywhere you go, you are assailed by exotic scents, tastes, and sounds. It is an amazingly immersive and memorable experience.