11 of 20
Despite what ABC's "Nashville" would lead you to believe, Music City is not all cowboy boots and big hair. Sure, country music heritage is around every corner, but the city is also home to blues, rock and Americana artists such as members of the Black Keys and White Stripes leading man Jack White. Aside from the diverse music, you may be surprised to find that Nashville's eclectic food and cocktail bar scene—one of the best in the South—ranges from rustic and charming in that American-flag-on-the-wall way to experimental takes on what Southern cuisine even means. Here's how to spend two great days in Nashvegas.
12 of 20
With a population of around 1.7 million, Budapest is not a very big city as far as capitals go. Split down the middle by the Danube River, the Hungarian capital is made up of what had historically been three cities: Buda, Pest and Óbuda. The layout is similar to Paris' Arrondissements, with a ring of 23 districts spiraling out of the historic center. Budapest is an eclectic mix of personalities and each district has its own. In the I District, you'll find cobblestone streets leading to the famous Buda Castle, as well as hidden medieval and Ottoman relics. The Old Jewish Quarter in the VII District is brightened up by street art on the once-empty firewalls between the famous ruin bars and hipster cafes. Most Hungarians speak English and the local currency will make you look like a millionaire as 1000 Hungarian Forints is worth around $4, and you might feel like one too since this is one of the cheapest capitals in Europe.
13 of 20
Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is nestled in a narrow valley below the Dinaric Alps. The city, which was founded by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, is a charming mix of Western convenience and Balkan charm. Visitors come to feel the spirit of Old World Europe along narrow cobblestone streets, in cafes with traditional stove-cooked coffee, and to share a moment with locals over homemade liquors. What many tourists immediately notice is that this is a place of extremes. Barkeeps pour inexpensive drinks as the call to prayer sounds at nearby mosques. Girls in tight miniskirts clutch the hands of friends in headscarves. Those extremes mimic the tides of history. The city's multi-dimensional charm is addictive. It gets under your skin. It captivates. Tourists leave only to return again.
14 of 20
Key West is an island of drifters, dreamers, free spirits and those simply drawn to the sea and the end of the road. The southernmost city in the Continental United States—and geographically closer to Cuba than it is to mainland Miami—Key West has always played to the beat of its own drum. Only eight square-miles with a melting pot of 25,000 residents, it's an inclusive place with the motto, One Human Family, so come as you are. You'll quickly realize it's hard not to be lured by the salt breeze, the endless horizon and the laidback locals on this anything-goes, Bohemian island.
15 of 20
Chattanooga, Tenn., is dubbed the Scenic City. And for good reason. Straddling the transition of the Appalachian Range and the Cumberland Plateau, "the Noog" sits in the shadow of Lookout Mountain and is cleaved in two by the Tennessee River. With such an embarrassment of Mother Nature's riches, it is perhaps no surprise that it has earned a reputation as a hub for outdoor activities. But, this quintessentially Southern city at the junction where U.S. Highways 24, 59 and 75 meet, and about two hours north of Atlanta, has more to offer than access to the great outddors. With a bustling downtown boasting shopping, a wide range of restaurants, a developed riverfront area, a vibrant arts district and the wonderland that is the massive Tennessee Aquarium, you could spend a weekend in just the city center. So do both. Immerse yourself in Chattanooga's culture and then head off into its outskirts for some time spent amid the area's striking scenery.
16 of 20
Apartment blocks standing to attention in rows and utilitarian infrastructure are the battle scars of Seoul's hasty development in the decades after the 1950-53 Korean War. But in this sprawling capital of 10 million, enclaves of intriguing architecture, green spaces, vibrant art and a flourishing international food and craft beer scene more than make up for the swathes of concrete. The city is split into two by the Han River. The older part—encompassing the central area and the main tourist attractions—is located north of the water, while Gangnam, where Korea's one-percenters live, is south. Here, in this massive metropolis, lagging neighborhoods find themselves gentrifying at a pace as astounding as the high-tech country's Wi-Fi speeds, and the city buzzes 24/7. Visit as soon as possible to glimpse a metropolis in a constant state of change—you're sure to want to return to see how it develops.
17 of 20
Don't be surprised if someone in Prishtina stops you on the street, asks where you're from, and tries to invite you for a coffee. The capital of Kosovo is one of the most welcoming places in Europe, where a stranger is just a future acquaintance and hospitality is taken seriously. This spot has emerged from the destructive wars of the 1990s and become a bustling city teeming with trendy 20- and 30-somethings, cafes, clubs and restaurants. It's still rugged; cars park on the sidewalks, construction is ubiquitous, and you'll see the occasional carload of U.N. troops. But make no mistake, Prishtina is safe and welcoming.
18 of 20
Visitors are coming to the Magic City in record numbers to explore award-winning restaurants, craft breweries, innovative art festivals, and renowned outdoor attractions. And this trend has every chance to continue as Birmingham was recently announced as the host of the 2021 World Games. You might say there's a cultural renaissance underway and the city is eager to invite visitors to experience the new South. With an overabundance of Southern hospitality and charm, world-class cultural and sporting attractions, and historical importance to boot, the city is poised to entertain and surprise you.
John's City Diner
19 of 20
Hanoi is caught between two Vietnams: a pre-war village and a modern city rising from the ashes. Depending on the neighborhood, you'll find old women dumping buckets of snails onto the sidewalk to cook or couples in colorful tracksuits doing calisthenics on manicured lawns. Packs of motorbikes zip around the skyscraper-laden center and into the winding streets of West Lake and the Old Quarter, where ancient buildings abut hip coffee shops and art galleries. Colorful apartments in French Provençal style shine through thick fog, creating a sense that a discovery might be behind any door. Narrow, winding streets give way to flea markets that sell clothes, spices and silver trinkets; and old men crouched over bowls of steaming hot soup on the sidewalk. A vibrant young crowd—most of Hanoi's population was born after the American war in 1975—and bourgeoning art scene may have emerged, but a piece of Vietnam's capital will always live in the past.
20 of 20
Today, this "City of Neighborhoods," as it's called, is home to a global citizenry, where over 140 languages and dialects are spoken on the 243 square miles of city streets. It's the most populous city in Canada (over 5 million in the Greater Toronto Area) and often referred to as Hollywood North, because it is the filmic body double of many U.S. and European cities. It's also a financial powerhouse, an academic hub thanks to the University of Toronto, and home to internationally recognized artists and writers including David Cronenberg and Margaret Atwood. There are still remnants of that British stiff upper lip—the city was dubbed "Toronto the Good" after all—but should you accidentally bump into a local on a crowded city street, chances are he or she will apologize to you … and then help you find your destination.