What Are Your Favorite Streets?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by James K., Aug 22, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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    Hi there all you travel lovers.

    If you're anything like me, there are few things in life better than a great city street. That feeling you get when you're walking down an avenue lined with restaurants and shops or culture or street art or something unique is really terrific. If I had the talent and time I'd love to make a book about each city's great street. But I don't. Oh well, I can still post here!

    So, with that said, what are your all-time favorite streets? Preferably give some annotation as to why it's so good, but after I gave directions last time and someone accused me of stepping on his personal freedoms, let me just say you can do what you like :)

    I'll give three of mine:

    1. Avenida 9 de Julio, Buenos Aires. The widest street in the world (maybe) cutting an 18-lane gash in the heart of the city, with an obelisk in the middle and more photo ops than you could shake a stick at. Even my slack-jawed 7th graders are impressed when I show them pictures.

    2. O'Connell Street, Dublin. The city's main street, with bullet-holed statues, a gigantic metal spire, and incredible width (50 meters wide), it would be awesome even if it didn't intersect with the river Liffey AND feature a bunch of restaurants. Pubs too I'm sure.

    3. The Magnificent Mile, Chicago. Technically Michigan Avenue, I know. I went back to Chicago last March remembering how much I disliked the city when I had to live there, and this street is the main reason I changed my mind. Walking down it with a packed crowd on the St. Patrick's Day celebration truly was magnificent.

    So what do you fellas (and gals) have?
     
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  2. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I like all three of your choices especially Buenos Aires with the mini Washington monument. I would also add Grafton in Ireland, 42nd St. in New York and Oxford St. in London
     
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  3. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    1. [​IMG]

    2. Paris' Champs-Elysees -- Perhaps because I'm more likely to get lost on the side streets. ;)

    3. Las Vegas Blvd (The Strip) -- As much as I like it for all the extravegance, I often tried to avoid having to drive on it due to traffic congestion. After flying into Vegas, I'd almost always drive in on the Strip rather than the back roads. It's just the right way to arrive and get into the spirit.
     
  4. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Here are some we would recommend / enjoyed and enjoy:

    - Grafton Street, Dublin [ buskers, people watching and Brown Thomas ]
    - O' Connell Street, Dublin [ the Spire, the Airlink bus to DUB, the people ]

    - Oxford Street, London [ people, shops and more people ]
    - Bond Street, London [ window shopping, style ]

    - Rua Oscar Freire, Sao Paulo [ grand shops, lanes and houses ]
    - Avenida Paulista, Sao Paulo [ pure energy, pure Sao Paulo ]

    - Takeshita Dori, Tokyo [ a fashion spectacle in Harajuku ]
    - Omotesando, Tokyo [ part of Harajuku, but more for window shopping and architecture ]

    - Orchard Road, Singapore [ people, shopping, hotels and more ]
    - Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong [ simply awesome, people, shops ]

    - Bukit Bintang [ Bintang Walk ], Kuala Lumpur [ for many the heart of KL, beside the KLCC with the Petronas Towers ]
    - Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok [ the traders, the smells, the cars, the sky train, the atmosphere, it's awesome and remains awesome ]

    - Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, [ awesome skyscrapers, metro train connections, we feel this is the heart of Dubai which connects it's people and visitors alike ]
    - Royal Mile, Edinburgh [ love the atmosphere, the castle and the history of it all which correspondents well into the future of Scotland too ]

    Safe and happy travels!:)
     
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  5. Mikus33

    Mikus33 Silver Member

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    La Rambla, in Barcelona. If only for the story that accompanies it.

    2 friends of mine were taking the summer of 2006 to backpack through Europe for a few months, and I managed to squeeze 3 weeks of vacation out of my company at the time to join them. Near the end of my portion of the trip we arrived in Barcelona. Our first morning there we were walking down La Rambla as I was reading aloud from Rick Steve's guidebook that La Rambla is one of the most popular streets in the world for pickpockets. My friend, who just so happens to be a somewhat loud, somewhat cocky, blond haired, blue eyed, stereotypical American, says, "Watch them try to rip this bag from my back."

    Fast forward to that night where we found ourselves back on La Rambla. The World Cup was going on, and the bars were packed. We came across a guy we had met at the hostel who told us that Burger King served beer. We found this hilarious, and decided to check it out. We went in, ordered our food and drinks, and the place was completely empty. The only people there were a couple girls from Texas we had met at the hostel, my two friends, and me. We sat there, chatted, and ate our food. When we got up to leave, my friend could not find his backpack. No one else was in there, so we couldn't figure out where it went. We asked the people working there if he had left it on the counter while ordering, but they hadn't seen it. Finally, the girls from Texas realized they had seen a couple come into the restaurant and sit down at a table behind us. They didn't order any food, and eventually got up and left. The Texas girls didn't think much of it, until then. My friend thinks he had set his backpack down on the ground beneath his chair, and they had grabbed it at some point and taken off. We told the employees about what happened, and they told us there was a couple that comes in there and steals things all the time, like it was no big deal. My friend was ticked, to say the least. At the time I was too. In his bag was his wallet with all his credit cards/money, passport, camera (he had taken most of the pictures as his was the newest and smallest camera), and his journal with notes of everything he had done (He had been in Europe for about a 1.5 months at that point).

    That evening we talked to the Police (thank goodness the Texas girls spoke Spanish), but found that it would be better to file the police report the next day. The next day was spent at the police station and the US embassy completing paperwork for his new passport.

    To this day, I still wonder if/hope there are random pictures floating out there on the internet from his stolen digital camera. At the time I was ticked, and I'm still disappointed about all of the missing photos, but to me, now, it really is an entertaining story about someone who kind of seemed to get almost what he was asking for. And we all learned a great lesson about how to be much smarter about how we travel, albeit at a quite high price.

    It seems a lot of people who I've talked with who have been to Barcelona have been robbed/mugged/etc or know someone who has. (granted the sample size is quite small, and most involve drinking). Yet, I can't wait to get back. It's a beautiful city.
     
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  6. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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    Heyyy thanks for reminding me that I forgot the Rambla. It's funny how you mention pickpocketers, since the picture of me from the Rambla shows me with my right hand in my pocket around my wallet. I had a sweaty hand by the end of the afternoon, but I had my wallet still!
     
  7. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Because you named several of my favorites I'll just quote those:
    I first visited these in the mid-1960's. They've all changed, especially Bukit Bintang, but they're all still wonderful.

    I'd add:

    - Grande Rue, Saint-Paul de Vence, France. This village was first inhabited well over 2000 years ago but was developed in today's form in the mid-1500's. 26 years of living here part time has never diminished my fascination with these streets, as so many artists from Matisse, Chagall, Miro and others saw it. Yves Montand was the mayor when i arrived, James Baldwin and Roger Moore among our most famous residents. Tourists it has, but the beauty and charm remain incomparable.

    - Doma Laukums, Riga, Latvia. Strolling around Riga cathedral, perhaps having a beer and listening to the music or just looking at all the buildings and people is bringing the Hanseatic League to life in the 21st century, in a way. There is nothing else quite like it.

    -Tsverskaya Street, Moscow. In any season this street encloses the soul of Moscow. Staying in a hotel here and wandering embodies the Russian experience in a single street, ending at Red Square, of course.

    The problem with this thread is that there are so very many choices. All this and I haven't even mentioned Avenida Atlantica or any others in Rio de Janeiro nor...[now I'll stop for I'd go on all day]
     
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  8. James K.

    James K. Silver Member

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    No please go on all day! I liked the examples you gave. Makes me want to go to Riga
     
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  9. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    As Mrs jbc is prone to say, I love a willing audience:

    -Bank Street New York- one of few streets ever built to avoid cholera
    - Hang Bac street in Hanoi- (actually the entire "36 streets") showing what Vietnam was like in the 14th century until probably the 19th.
    - The walk to access the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It is really a climb but has spectacular views shared with pilgrims heading up for devotions.
    300px-Potala_Palace2.jpg
    You can see the stairs in this photo. Considering that the base is a bit over 12,000 feet one can get winded easily.
    - any street in Cuzco, Peru- shows as close as we'll see what life among the Incas really looked like.
     
  10. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    So many streets..

    Just some of my faves...

    Whitehall, London. I haven't done this in some years, but on visits to London I used to make it a point to get to the Westminster tube station early in the morning (easy after a "sleeper" - ha ha - from Scotland or even off a transatlantic flight) then emerge, gopher-like, into Parliament Square, then walk up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square as the city started coming alive. So much symbolism in such a small area - the Cenotaph, Downing Street, Horseguards, the Admiralty... you really know where you are, and no mistake.

    The Strand, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, California. The Strand is a pedestrian street that runs along the edge of the beach from Manhattan Beach's northern limit (the "El Porto" neighborhood) all the way to Redondo Beach to the south, passing by hundreds (thousands?) of houses you'd have to rob a bank to buy, past a couple of piers, some honkytonk commercial bits, and all the while with the wide golden South Bay beach and the waves beyond on the other side. Surfers, people riding bikes and skateboards, people walking their dogs or kids, old people on scooters... the air, the sound of the surf, the grit of the sand under your feet.. oh my. I grew up there and rode my bike along the Strand until my folks were apoplectic at 1 AM; kissed my first girlfriend and tried - valiantly but in vain - to stand on my neighbor's 8'6" wood surfboard for periods exceeding three seconds, all on the Strand or next to it.

    Washington Street, San Francisco. It's the essence of SF in my book - from the Barbary Coast, past the Pyramid, through Chinatown and up Nob Hill, down into Polk Gulch and then back up into Pacific Heights then Presidio Heights... all estates, from Chinatown flop houses to consulates and mansions in the west. Vistas, secret gardens, smells... gorgeous, fascinating, emblematic.

    The Royal Mile, Edinburgh. Four streets really - Canongate, High Street, Lawnmarket, Castlehill. It's horrendously touristy, true, but for good reason. It starts off at Holyrood Palace, where Mrs. Q stays when she's in town; then makes its way uphill for a mile or so to the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, passing as it does the architectural abomination that is the Scottish Parliament complex, John Knox's house (oh really?) and St. Giles Cathedral, the old Scottish Parliament building (redeployed as the Edinburgh courthouse and main police station, where I spent several hours one night having been arrested for unpaid parking tickets, released only after I threatened to get the US consul out of bed.) Then past the Heart of Midlothian in the middle of the street, site of prior executions of guilty parking scofflaws, and up past a bunch of places selling you tartan knickers (we have your name) and Pakistani bagpipes, oh, and also selling beer, and eventually arriving at the castle, beyond which is military territory overlooked by a rampant lion. But it's what's off to the side of the Royal Mile that counts - dozens of "lands" and "closes" and "wynds" - little passages and narrow alleys that open into tiny hidden squares, or blocks of recently renovated flats, replacing tenements that were, in the 17th century, some of the tallest buildings in the world, and where the occupants of the upper floors would shout "Gardyloo" before throwing out the contents of the chamber pots or kitchen slops, onto the unwary pedestrians below. A thousand years of history, some of it royal, some of it sh**ty. Like no other place.
     
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  11. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Your descriptions are truly superb. Thanks. You mentioned two of my favorites also.

    The Strand was a haunt of mine for some time, although I was living in RPV at the time mostly watching from the other side. I nearly mentioned the Palos Verdes Drive South through Portuguese Bend because there really is nothing urban like it in the world AFAIK. I remember the slides as a child because my father had built some of the houses in the area that disappeared. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Bend is the wiki if anybody wants to know some bizarre LA history.

    Washington Street was another I thought about, but mostly because I lived for some years at the corner of Washington and Gough so looked down on fog much of the year. That street goes through almost all of the SF history.

    Thanks very much for writing these Gardyloo.
     
  12. Tad's Broiled Steaks

    Tad's Broiled Steaks Silver Member

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    Too many to list, maybe? Many in Tokyo, and this thread makes it easy because most don't have a name~. To be more vivid, ones where you can find a tofu shop near a kushiyaki stall, across from a convenience store but not too far from another convenience store. Throwing the tofu shop variable in makes it a bit more difficult, unless you're in a much less-touristy/residential area. There's one on the opposite side of Nezu station, I always stop by.

    Jl. Mangga Besar VII in Jakarta, because at night it flows with street stalls, durians, cobras, and who knows what else. Well, durians aren't a reason to like it, but other people liking durians might be...

    How about favorite intersections? there's one in Narita city, by the AEON Shopping Centre that has 3-4 kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) places...it may not be the greatest quality, but damn do I wish NYC had more of those that are ALSO reasonable.
     
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