Where Will You Travel In 2023? Discover ‘100 Cities, 5000 Ideas’

With 2023 on the near horizon, you may already be pondering possibilities for your new year’s vacays. Dig into this gold mine of enriching travel details: 100 Cities, 5000 Ideas, a new 400-page book published this month by Disney Publishing Worldwide. Showcasing urban diversions, this latest star of National Geographic’s popular 5000 Ideas series is a lively “where to go, when to go, what to see, what to do” edition packed with heaps of helpful highlights.

Author Joe Yogerst has lived and worked as an editor, journalist and photographer in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, as well as a prolific writer for notable newspapers and travel magazines and 34 National Geographic books. He utilizes his fine-tuned nomadic antenna to search for far-flung scoops and secrets, bringing insight and ingenuity to this ambitious project. “There’s nothing I like more than wandering aimlessly through a new city, map and phone in hand,” he says. “Discovering where a side street leads or what’s on the other side of a park or piazza. Ambling along a famous boulevard in the dead of night when most residents (and other travelers) are snug in their beds. Finding an obscure but captivating museum, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with divine cuisine, or a neighborhood festival that only the locals know about.”

His sleuthing sojourns have uncovered remarkable rendezvous. “Many of my fondest memories are urban adventures both planned and off-the-cuff,” voices Yogerst. “Sleeping atop the Great Pyramid of Giza with the dazzling lights of Cairo at my feet — and a stray black-and-white cat as my unexpected companion. Catching Keith Urban and Steve Tyler jamming together in a tiny Nashville honky-tonk. A Mexican family inviting me to share midnight tamales and tequila in an Oaxaca cemetery during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). My first-time bungee jumping off the Harbour Bridge in Auckland and the relief I felt on that first return bounce.”

Yogerst explains that in plotting 100 Cities, 5000 Ideas, it was impossible to feature “every city that begs attention — there are literally thousands of worthy candidates.” Ultimately, he shone spotlights on a varied sweep of “metropolitan personalities. Big and small, old and new, expensive and frugal, far off the beaten track and familiar to even those who have never visited,” he says. “Some cities simply can’t be ignored — all-time greats like London, Tokyo, Sydney and the Big Apple. Others are urban upstarts, places like Dubai [in the United Arab Emirates], Auckland [in New Zealand], Ulaanbaatar [in Mongolia] and Nairobi [in Kenya]. These destinations have exploded in both population and travel potential over the past half-century. Still others are among my personal favorites: spunky San Juan in the Caribbean, canal-laced Bruges in Belgium, exotic Luang Prabang [in Laos] on the Mekong River and multi-cultural Montréal.”

Six chapters — spanning the United States, Canada and the Caribbean; Latin America; Africa; Middle East and Central Asia; Eastern and Southern Asia; Europe — are chock-full of bold-faced sightseeing recommendations and colorful photographs. Especially interesting are Yogerst’s observations about the quirky and quixotic, the surprises and stunners.

Bulleted sidebars accentuate fun facts and finds, such as spirited gatherings, hidden treasures, art beat treats and local flavors.

Cognizant that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains of concern, particularly for those with immunocompromised health who may be unable to travel right now, this book can also be an engaging armchair-traveler escape. Readily peruse the well-organized, tightly woven words. Learn about other communities, jumping from Santiago, Chile (“one of South America’s most exciting cities in terms of culture, charisma and culinary flair,” writes Yogerst) to Vienna (“one can hike the Vienna Woods or trip the light fantastic at a Viennese ball,” continues Yogerst, “but what Austria’s capital really excels at is sitting — in one of its many concert halls, coffeehouses and cavernous churches”).

Be inspired to consider eye-opening experiences that might never have otherwise been on your radar. Spy historical gems in India’s Mumbai. Gaze at Hanoi’s red wooden Welcoming Morning Sunlight Bridge, as you walk to the Temple of the Jade Mountain on an isle in Hoàn Kiếm Lake in Vietnam. On the outskirts of French Polynesia’s Papeete, peer near Venus Point, where Captain James Cook and his scientific team, in 1769, recorded the transit of Venus across the sun, during his first voyage around the globe.

Cheer at an Argentinian soccer game in Buenos Aires’s gargantuan River Plate Stadium. Meander Paris’s Père Lachaise Cemetery, where Frédéric Chopin, Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde and scores of other renowned figures are interned in ornate tombs amid a leafy setting. Step down into London’s Churchill War Rooms, a hush-hush underground government bunker during World War 2, now a museum. Marvel at the magical Yuletide season in Berlin, which displays more than 70 merry holiday markets between late November and the end of December. Swim in the chic infinity pool atop Singapore’s 57-story casino-hotel Marina Bay Sands, which boasts the world’s largest overhanging cantilever deck. Stroll the larger-than-life, almost mystical pathway of Kyoto’s Sagano Bamboo Grove in Japan. Grab tickets to Chicago’s Second City comedy club, where famed comedy giants, such as Dan Aykroyd, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Bill Murray and Nia Vardalos stretched their early make-‘em-laugh wings.

Foodies will be pleased with Yogerst’s sweet and savory suggestions. Join a tasty dim sum tour through San Francisco’s Chinatown. In New York City’s borough of Queens, head to Jackson Heights neighborhood for authentic Indian fare and to Astoria neighborhood for a smorgasbord of options, including Colombian, Egyptian, Greek, Japanese, Peruvian and Tibetan cuisines. Reserve a table at Stockholm’s Den Gyldene Freden, one of the oldest continuously operating restaurants in the world, founded in 1722. Find out about Addis Ababa, the entryway to contemporary Ethiopian culture and life, which serves a dynamic dining scene, redolent with thick injera bread, curry-like wat dishes and sautéed tibs meats. Sample mouthwatering chocolate-based mole sauce in the markets of Guadalajara, Mexico.

Yogerst has traveled to more than 160 countries. His children, he reports, “seem as obsessed with big cities as their father. I remember my oldest daughter, who must have been six or seven at the time, standing in the middle of [Manhattan’s] Times Square and proclaiming: ‘This is my kind of town!’ That’s pretty much how I feel about cities, too.” This book can be your launch pad for exploring more of them.

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