My City Wayfinding

12 Tips for Navigating CULTURED's Favorite Cities, From the Creatives Who Live There

The past few years have been a time of revenge travel—in other words, the post-lockdown urge to get out of town and, specifically, to take trips that had to be canceled during the pandemic. To help you get the most out of your time away, CULTURED kicked off a new column this year, "My City," which presents in-the-know tastemakers’ guides to the metropolises where they live and work. From the best place to beat the crowds in Venice to the touristy activity beloved by one native New Yorker, these tips will help you squeeze the most out of the world's most dynamic locales. Enjoy a sample below—and bon voyage

Collage courtesy of Laura Bailey.

Laura Bailey, photographer and model

“The best Manchester research as a tourist is undertaken simply by walking absolutely everywhere and chatting with locals: in cafes, at the pub, on the street. Getting lost is a good idea, as is letting go of the default speedy London angst and brittle armor and embracing strangers with curiosity and a smile.” 

Portrait of Myriam Ben Salah by Saskia Lawaks. Image courtesy of Ben Salah.

Myriam Ben Salah, director of Chicago's Renaissance Society

“I go to Chicago’s Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool often. It’s a hidden Victorian garden in the Lincoln Park neighborhood—it is very quiet, one only hears the birds and the small waterfalls. It’s gorgeous in the fall when the trees are red, orange, purple. I usually smuggle a glass of wine and stare at the tropical lilies.” 

Portrait of David Castillo by Michael Adno for The New York Times. Image courtesy of Castillo.

David Castillo, founder of David Castillo Gallery

Miami is always thought of as such a young city but it also has very established and beautiful sites that are easy to visit. Fairchild is a magnificent garden and Vizcaya—or, even farther afield southbound, the Deering Estate—offers a view of Miami’s past that is deeply connected to its present with concerts, artist residencies, and more.”

Portrait of Tony Parker by Anthony “Antsoulo” Hilliard. Image courtesy of Parker.

Tony Parker, sales director of UTA Artist Space

“Who throws the best dinner party in town? Mack Wilbourn [president of Mack II, Inc., a quick service restaurant management company], absolutely the legend himself, has been a pillar in the Atlanta community for decades and I’m so proud to have his support. Barack Obama was in his house—even Muhammad Ali—and he’ll tell you I’m his favorite guest!"

Gisela Capitain in front of a Rauhfasertapete (rough fiber wall paper) from the former DDR (East Germany) and a photograph by Christopher Williams. Portrait by Christopher Williams and courtesy of Capitain.

Gisela Capitain, founder of Galerie Gisela Capitain

“The best Hotels are the Excelsior Ernst and the Wasserturm Hotel. Cologne is small, so stay in the center.”

Portrait of Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel by Chloé Magadelaine and courtesy of Lafayette Anticipations.

Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, director of Lafayette Anticipations, Fondation des Galeries Lafayette

“I organize an informal Galette des Rois tournament every year, open to everyone. For those unaware of this French seasonal specialty, just imagine butter with marzipan. If the croissants ranking in Paris lines up with the Galette des Rois grades, I’d advise by order of priority: Sain Boulangerie, Tapisserie, Atelier P1, French Bastards, and the classic but never disappointing Du Pain et des Idées.” 

Image courtesy of Pedro Mendes.

Pedro Mendes, co-founder, Mendes Wood DM

“Ilhabela is my refuge. It’s a national preserve three hours from São Paulo that is home to a great artistic and intellectual community.” 

Image courtesy of Yana Peel.

Yana Peel, global head of arts and culture at Chanel

“In London, the unparalleled shows at the National Theatre are best bookended with a visit to the National Theatre’s in-house Lasdun Restaurant.”

Photography by Jacopo Salvi and courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia.

Cecilia Alemani, curator of the 2022 Venice Biennale

“I love Sant’Elena, which is a 1920 neighborhood just behind the Giardini where La Biennale happens. It was built during the Fascist time and feels very different from the rest of Venice. It’s a residential area, with few restaurants and a nice small hotel called Indigo.” 

Portrait of JJ Martin by Amina Marazzi Gandolfi. Image courtesy of Martin.

JJ Martin, designer and founder of La DoubleJ

“I love to pop into an empty church here in Milan from time to time, like San Maurizio al Monastero that has this crazy beautiful, soaring painted ceiling. When there’s no congregation, and no one else around, it’s so peaceful. I like to meditate in there when I can."

Portrait of Ebony L. Haynes by Elliot Jerome Brown Jr., 2020. Image courtesy of David Zwirner.

Ebony L. Haynes, senior director, David Zwirner / 52 Walker 

“An underrated Saturday afternoon activity is New York City double-decker bus tours.”

Emmanuelle Luciani by Emile Barret. Image courtesy of Luciani.

Emmanuelle Luciani, curator and founder of the art agency Southway Studio

Marseille is history, but above all, it's alive. I can't explain it, but the people are alive. I love the south of Marseille, and I think it's a part of the city that people need to visit. It has a completely different attitude. I recommend staying at Jogging Samena or Jogging Le Corbusier.”