What to See and Do in Airbnb's 5 Most Popular Destinations
Increasing numbers of travelers are booking vacation lodging through Airbnb, choosing to forgo cookie-cutter hotel accommodations in favor of apartment or home rentals. As the tide continues to shift, destinations have bubbled to the top of Airbnb's listings in terms of popularity. Based on the number of active listings, we've sussed out Airbnb's most popular cities and highlighted the must-see attractions every visitor should experience.
The City of Light's must-see list is lengthy. Get your art fix at the Musee d'Orsay, where you'll find Impressionist works by masters like Cézanne, Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas. Find your literary fix at the most famous bookstore in the world, Shakespeare and Company, the one-time hangout of greats like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce. Make your way to the famed, gritty Montmartre neighborhood, home to the Moulin Rouge. Later, take a walking tour of Canal St. Martin, Paris's smaller, tree-lined waterway, and explore the surrounding trendy neighborhood's bars and boutiques.
Make like a local and head to one of the city's famed markets, like Marché Bastille. Stock up on cheeses, fruit, veggies, saucisses, olives, and fresh bread and enjoy a truly local afternoon lunch.
During summer months, head to Les Berges, a pedestrian walkway on the left bank of the Seine, where pop-up bars on barges appear, live music filters through the air, and crowds of young Parisians lay out picnic baskets in the early evening. Finally, as darkness falls, book a scenic boat tour along the Seine on one of the city's romantic bateau-mouche vessels.
New York City
You could spend a lifetime in New York City and still not explore all its nooks and crannies. The city is home to some of the world's most recognizable buildings, and iconic structures, many of which are must-visits on a trip to the Big Apple. Don't leave without visiting Times Square; stop by the TKTS booth for discount tickets to Broadway shows.
Pay your respects to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. From here, admire the architecture of the extraordinary One World Trade Center building, then gape at the views from One World Observatory, on the top floors of the building.
Bypass the crowds in the major museums, and experience the exceptional art collection at the beloved Frick Museum. Gain a sense of the city's urban immigrant history at the fascinating Tenement Museum. For an outdoor fix, make your way to the extraordinary High Line, an elevated park built along former railroad ties. Today, you'll find gardens, as well as pop-up vendors hawking food, drinks and art.
Stroll through the quirky West Village, and pop into the neighborhood boutiques. Head back downtown for a walk through Chinatown and a stroll over the Brooklyn Bridge and into the city's trendiest borough.
Cross the pond to experience some of the finest art collections in the world at London's excellent museums, like the British Museum, Tate Modern, and the National Gallery. Next, check out the epicenter of government at the Houses of Parliament, where you'll also spy everyone's favorite clock tower and bell, Big Ben.
For an unusual way of exploring the Thames River, rent a bike and cycle the Thames Path, home to public beaches, The Prospect of Whitby pub (a favorite of Charles Dickens), and the quaint village of Rotherhithe. Later, catch a breather in the Kyoto Japanese Gardens in Kensington Holland Park. You'll find tranquil paths, statues, peacocks and an opera house.
For a travel buzz, head into bustling Piccadilly Circus, which has been likened to New York City's Times Square. From here you'll be in easy proximity to the city's West End Theater District, home to some of the finest playhouses in the world. You can also easily make your way to the boutiques at Oxford Street. If you are interested in stretching your purse strings, spend a morning or afternoon at Portobello Road Market in the chic Notting Hill neighborhood or the grittier (but perhaps, more entertaining) Camden Market. Unwind amidst the greenery of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
Rio de Janeiro
Rising from Brazil's stunning, green coastline, Rio de Janeiro is arguably the world's sexiest city. When you're not sunbathing on Copacabana Beach, or seeking out the Girl From Ipanema, on neighboring Ipanema Beach, you can make your way to Sugar Loaf Mountain, where a tram car will take you to the peak. Here, you can snap photos of the stunning city sparkling along the waterfront below. Next, be sure to head to the top of Corcovado Mountain, where you'll be greeted by the wide-open arms of the Christ the Redeemer Statue.
Nature lovers can admire some 8,000 species of plants in the Jardim Botânico, then bicycle around Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, a saltwater lagoon in the city center. As evening falls, head to the popular Lapa neighborhood for drinks and dancing. But use caution -- though the bohemian neighborhood is far safer than it once was, it can still be dodgy in parts.
The unfinished spires of Sagrada Familia basilica rise above the sprawling city of Barcelona, like a fairy tale church plucked from the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. Designed by Antoni Gaudí, the site is a must-see. From here, you can head to another Gaudí-designed icon, the whimsical, mosaic-covered Parc Güell. To experience the cheerful pulse of the city, make your way to Las Ramblas, a tree-lined boulevard that stretches from Plaza Catalunya and ends at the Monument of Columbus at the Port Vell harbor. Before your legs grow weary, be sure to explore the Barrio Gotico, or Gothic Quarter, an ancient section of the city center market by twisting streets, interesting shops and cafes perfect for a revitalizing coffee break.