What are the most interesting places to visit when you’re on a work assignment or moving to a new country for your job? Relocation is often a move from one major business hub to another, with the same tall buildings, city center shopping, and multi-lane highways.
But once the hustle of moving and getting things in order ends, where should you go to immerse yourself in the local culture and explore great finds off the beaten path?
This timely blog from Timeout inspired us to share some of our expert thoughts and choices of the most interesting neighborhoods to visit when you’re relocating to a new place based on the local expertise of our Dwellworks Destination Services team.
Depending on the area you’ve relocated to, here are a few interesting places to dig in and explore.
When you’re relocating to the USA for work, there’s one thing you may notice about its principal cities: they're big and might have a high cost of living.
However, even in these high-end, busy relocation centers, there are interesting neighborhoods, with character and housing choices more affordable than the better-known and pricier locales.
If you’re moving or on assignment in New York City, for example, the borough of Queens offers a rich cultural identity blended with a modern trendy buzz.
Astoria, Queens, New York
Astoria, a neighborhood in Queens, is a noteworthy location that offers a residential charm with the diverse culture and cool energy of neighboring Brooklyn.
Within 25 minutes of Midtown Manhattan is the heart of Astoria, which is considered Broadway between 32nd and 35th Avenue. It's packed with dining options, bars, and interesting local businesses.
The area of Ditmars Blvd is often overlooked but shouldn't be—the 15-minute walk from Astoria Park leads you to its wide selection of amazing restaurants that satisfy any food craving.
Astoria is best known for being the primary center for the film industry in the 1920s. You can explore the area’s roots in cinema at the Museum of Moving Images and Kaufman Astoria Studios.
Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida
All the way south in sunny, tropical Florida, employees traveling or relocating like yourself may find an exciting home in Miami. As the 9th largest city in the US, Miami is a popular city known for its sandy beaches, fun art galleries, high-end restaurants, and upscale hotels.
Beyond its well-known locations, Miami is the home of an old but scenic neighborhood called Coconut Grove. Coconut Grove is the oldest inhabited neighborhood in the city and hosts several exciting activities for your own enjoyment.
These include bars, the famous CocoWalk mall, local art, regional dishes, and homegrown scenery.
If you’re moving to Mexico or are on a work assignment in one of the country’s many cities, you’re in for a treat! Mexico consists of 32 individual states—each packed with its own rich history and diverse cultures.
No matter where you relocate to in Mexico, there’s always a great “find” to explore. Take a look at the city of Guadalajara for example. Although it’s not the best-known by foreign visitors, the city stands as a precious and beloved site of Mexico’s cultural heritage.
Colonia Americana, Guadalajara, Mexico
Guadalajara is home to various neighborhoods, but its most famous is the artful Colonia Americana. The neighborhood offers creative art galleries presenting pieces made by talented Mexican artists, upscale restaurant options, and trendy nightlife during an evening out in the city.
Colonia Americana is also the site of a stunning neo-Gothic church, Templo Expiatorio del Santísimo Sacramento, which sits on a small square.
Now, if you’re moving to Mexico City or on assignment in locations like Puebla, take a moment to learn more about this culturally diverse and historic location.
The city is home to Baroque-style architecture, cobbled streets, and delicious regional dishes like pipian verde and moble poblano—a treat if you want to dive into regional Mexican cuisine!
Condesa, Mexico City, Mexico
One of the top up-and-coming, European-style neighborhoods in Mexico City, Condesa is a must-see for any expat looking to dive into the beauty of Mexican culture.
The area is considered the ideal location for young people, business workers, and pet lovers alike. Streets are lined with high-caliber restaurants, cafes, shops, and art galleries showcasing the best of the locality.
If you’re a book lover, don’t hesitate to visit the Rosario Castellanos bookstore, which features a café and theater for your entertainment. You can also visit the variety of cafes and bars along the avenues.
Although the area is mostly residential, Condesa contains a bohemian feel, attracting many visitors and artists from different regions. This neighborhood is also home to diverse communities, including residents of Jewish, Argentine, Portuguese, and Armenian heritage, among many others.
Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico
A neighborhood in the Miguel Hidalgo borough of Mexico City, Polanco is named the “Beverly Hills of Mexico” due to its upper-class, high-end vibe.
The area is filled with top-notch hotels, shopping malls, theaters, and art galleries, and is considered the best place for luxury shopping. Many of the shops and venues located on Presidente Masaryk Avenue, the most expensive street in Mexico, are upscale and lavish.
Of course, Polanco isn’t just a place for affluent shopping—it's also the home of numerous cultural and historic institutions, such as the National Museum of Anthropology and Chapultepec Castle.
Roma, Mexico City, Mexico
Named a "Barrio Mágico" ("magical neighborhood") by Mexico City in 2011, colorful and vibrant Roma is well-known for its charming hipster culture. It is also the culinary rival of Polanco, offering a thriving restaurant scene with many top-chef dining options available.
If you’re searching for a place to shop, Roma offers a variety of cute boutiques and clothing stores with the latest fashions. You can also head over to the nearby Centro Historico or Templo Mayor to explore Mexico City’s rich, multicultural history.
In an artsy mood? Take a stroll down Roma’s art galleries and look at the area’s colorful street art—all of which gives the neighborhood its trending vibe.
Relocating to the United Kingdom? No worries. The UK packs a diverse list of cities with fascinating neighborhoods—ranging from cozy and quiet to loud and bustling.
Depending on where you relocate on assignment, some cities in the United Kingdom like London have a high cost of living and high population densities. Explore some of these attractive city-living alternatives and day trips.
Chiswick, London, UK
Even the busy, commercial city of London has quaint and cozy places to offer for visitors and residents alike.
Located directly west, Chiswick is an affluent neighborhood with a cozy, village-like feel. It is surrounded by grassy, scenic parks and greenspaces and is the home of historic pubs, classic landscapes, high-end restaurants, and small shops.
The neighborhood is an escape from the non-stop energy of London. If you are traveling on assignment with your family, Chiswick is a safe and peaceful option with plenty of activities due to its good schools and family-friendly environment.
North Laine, Brighton, UK
Along the coast of the UK is Brighton, a seaside town known for its colorful, quirky vibe, bold architecture, and friendly, inclusive population.
Brighton’s famous neighborhood, North Laine is a thriving location that has a classic Bohemian feel.
Whether you’re looking for a delicious vegetarian meal or a new vintage outfit to wear, North Laine has everything you need to become acquainted with today’s UK culture. The neighborhood is a hub for restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and outdoor jewelry stalls.
Being on a work assignment in Germany can be a surprisingly diverse adventure. Germany has several beautiful and historic locations that bring together traditional and modern-day cultures.
Due to its extraordinary history, sights, and urban scene, Berlin has long been the ideal city for recent arrivals to visit and live in.
Like London, Berlin can be a challenge for the cost of living and apartment hunting, but there are options aplenty and you can make one of several intriguing neighborhoods of the city your new home!
Neukölln, Berlin, Germany
Within the city of Berlin is the funky, industrial neighborhood of Neukölln. Located in the southeastern part of the city center, Neukölln is not your standard ‘expat’ neighborhood.
The area has a cool, international feel with people from all walks of life strolling through the streets. A mix of the old and new, the streets of Neukölln are lined with vintage shops, Middle Eastern eateries, entertainment venues, and housing estates of detached homes.
Its multicultural, rapidly gentrifying urban atmosphere introduces you to Berlin’s diverse backgrounds while helping you feel right at home!
Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany
Elegant and old-fashioned, Charlottenburg is a western district in Berlin known for its upscale, affluent atmosphere. The neighborhood is home to pre-war buildings and sophisticated shops.
Its most famous building and setting, Charlottenburg Palace and Park, offers scenic views, landscaped gardens, and baroque-style architecture.
Of course, if you’re searching for a new set of clothes for your new assignment, you can always walk through its shopping boulevard, Kurfürstendamm, which houses several department stores and shops bringing you the latest in German and Global fashion.
Ireland may be a small country, but it has plenty to offer you and other traveling professionals on assignment. Along with its gorgeous landscapes, Ireland has numerous exciting cities, friendly residents, and a strong economic infrastructure, allowing you to have the best quality of life possible.
Its capital and largest city, Dublin is one of the most popular destinations for employees to relocate to. Dublin is a great place to immerse yourself in the old and the new in Irish culture.
The city is filled with Georgian architecture, statues dedicated to famous literary figures, shops, restaurants, and of course, pubs.
Stoneybatter, Dublin, Ireland
Dublin’s coolest neighborhood is Stoneybatter. This area is a hub for modern Irish culture, with both high-end and low-key dining and shopping options.
Many folks in the neighborhood have a strong sense of communal pride and friendliness extended to outsiders that are unmatched anywhere else.
Along with its laidback cafes, Stoneybatter also has a thriving nightlife scene, which includes drinks at a local bar or dancing to lively folk music at a pub.
Restaurants in the area also serve a mix of diverse cuisine with a few traditional Irish favorites.
Ballsbridge, Dublin, Ireland
On the other hand, if you’re relocating to Dublin and want to settle in a quieter, cozier setting, Ballsbridge is the right place to be.
Ballsbridge is an affluent suburban community characterized by its charming village vibe. Stylish and classy, the neighborhood is home to Victorian architecture and tree-lined streets.
There are also a ton of delicious, high-end restaurants that serve traditional Irish cuisine as well as American, Asian, and other diverse foods to cater to your palate.
The area is considered family-friendly, as is the case in most of Ireland’s diverse urban and suburban neighborhoods.
Relocating to France for work obligations has a few incredible benefits. From quality healthcare to stunning properties, France is a dream come true for any traveling employee.
The country’s renowned capital, Paris is an ideal place for those looking to access some of France’s most magnificent sights, fashion, art, and culture.
Haut-Marais, Paris, France
For a neighborhood even “auter” than Le Marais, try exploring the Haut-Marais (“Upper Marais”).
As the name suggests, the Haut-Marais is the super-fashionable section of Le Marais—where stylish residents walk the streets and set the tone. The neighborhood has countless amazing shops, boutiques, organic and traditional restaurants, art galleries, and some of the most high-end housing in Paris.
The calm atmosphere of the Haut-Marais is the reason why celebrities covet the area and are often spotted at upscale restaurants and cafés. The home of the Picasso Museum and adjacent to la Place des Vosges, the Haut-Marais has some of the city’s most interesting hidden streets and places to eat, stay, and live.
Belleville, Paris, France
Belleville is the opposite experience of the Haut-Marais. While the Haut-Marais is fashionable and sophisticated, Belleville is edgy and bold.
Once the site of legendary battles and calls to revolution, the neighborhood is now an under-explored modern-day treasure trove of Parisian culture.
Belleville hosts monthly street food markets, street art, galleries, and family-owned cafes. The area is also diverse and rich in culture—part of the village within the city houses a small Chinatown, with Asian eateries and shops.
There’s also an underground nightlife scene that brings the neighborhood to life after hours. If you’re looking to make friends with a mix of people and have a night of fun, Belleville has the right vibe.
For many expats, work assignments to Asia-Pacific often mean Singapore or Hong Kong. Singapore is increasingly a destination of choice. Why? For its stable government, low crime rate, low taxes, quality education system, and eco-friendly vibe.
In short, Singapore is a popular destination for many relocating employees, with foreigners making up 30% of its population.
For housing options, “vertical living” in high rises and expat neighborhoods are standard choices—all of which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make friends from different backgrounds and walks of life.
Little India, Singapore
If you are lucky enough to find yourself in this part of the world, take a ‘local vacation’ to Singapore’s Little India.
Little India is one of Singapore’s most gorgeous and diverse districts. Located east of the Singapore River, this neighborhood combines the modern and hip with the old and traditional.
Along with its vibrant Hindu and Buddhist temples, churches, and mosques, the streets are also lined with shops, art houses, and vendors selling delicious traditional Indian foods, spices, and silks.
Holland Village, Singapore
If you’re searching for a thriving expat community in Singapore, look no further than Holland Village.
This neighborhood is a hotspot for expats and young Singaporeans wanting to enjoy a night of fun. Options for activities range from buzzworthy dining options to trendy local nightclubs.
This location is always bustling with people and maintains a charming European feel due to its past history as a Dutch commune.
Holland Village is also gaining a reputation for being a creative space with art galleries, music, and other artistic pieces showcased regularly by Singapore’s most talented artists.
For traveling employees moving to Hong Kong, the city shares similar benefits to its more southerly neighbor, Singapore, such as quality healthcare, low taxes, and a great educational system.
Hong Kong is also the home of a diverse population and retains its position as a popular location for expats in Asia Pacific, especially those working in finance and banking.
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Known for its down-to-earth vibe, Sheung Wan was once a district lined with Asian eateries, antique shops, and temples. Today, the area offers some of the best modern cafes, restaurants, bars, and boutiques in Hong Kong, successfully mixing the traditional with the modern.
Around Hollywood Road, you’ll find an endless array of art galleries, shops, boutiques, and laid-back eateries. On Upper Lascar Row (also called Cat Street), there is a unique marketplace selling trinkets, pendants, fabrics, and other handicrafts, reflecting the area’s colorful culture.
One of the area’s most interesting focuses is the Man Mo Temple. Built in the mid-19th century, this historic building is considered a national monument and features a lavish interior that’s worth exploring. Overall, the rich mix of tradition with modernism gives Sheung Wan its beauty and charm.
West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong
From museums to art galleries, the West Kowloon Cultural District is the central site for cultural venues. The area is also packed with an array of hotels, retail stores, and dining options of your choosing.
Take some time to explore M+, a stunning building that hosts the world’s biggest art gallery and includes modern-day paintings and video games. Along with visual art, you’ll also come across a variety of dining options offering delicious Cantonese dishes or picturesque sceneries in the beautiful lawns at the Art Park.
After a meal, make sure to check out the Xiqu Centre to immerse yourself in local culture. This building is the top location for Chinese entertainment, featuring Cantonese opera and theatre. To explore the West Kowloon Cultural District, you can travel via the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), bus, car, or taxi.
Australia is a friendly and accommodating country for traveling employees and expats. Every year, many cities in Australia are ranked as desirable locations to relocate to, and with a wide selection of housing accommodations available, it’s no wonder so many want to move here.
The country is well known for its sunny climate, outdoor activities, quality healthcare, and unique wildlife. Most of all, Australia’s population is one of the friendliest and most laidback in the world.
As with other countries on this list, Australia contains a fun treasure box of cities and neighborhoods to roam about as you settle into your new home.
Marrickville, New South Wales, Australia
Everyone knows about the beaches of Sydney, Australia, but consider an exploration of Marrickville. This area near the Sydney Central Business District mixes the local—warehouses, new restaurants, and businesses—with a family-friendly atmosphere.
If you’re on the search for historic homes, as well as neighbors from new immigrant populations and an appreciation for the indigenous culture, Marrickville is the place to start.
It is currently a hub of independent artists and annually hosts the Marrickville Festival, where residents can enjoy live music, international foods, and entertainment.
Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia
Surry Hills is a neighborhood that tops as a quintessential foodie destination in Sydney and all over Australia. Here, you’ll explore small, independent dining shops serving a blended variety of local and international foodie favorites, high-end restaurants with top-notch service, and culinary experts adding their flair to national dishes.
If you’re in the mood for international cuisines, you’re in luck! Surry Hills is filled with different foods that’ll satisfy your taste buds. From Middle Eastern to American, French to Italian, there are plenty of dishes to explore in this area.
Surry Hills is also the home of a vibrant café culture. Many local residents and expats alike enjoy heading to the neighborhood for a quick brunch with their friends and family.
Back in North America, Canada is an opportune country to relocate to as an expat. The country provides a high quality of life for its residents but it’s also spacious, culturally diverse, and has a famously active outdoor lifestyle.
Surveys say that residents in Canada are some of the happiest in the world, mostly due to their government benefits and work-life balance. Many neighborhoods in Canada are peaceful and welcoming, a must for traveling employees with families.
Mile End, Montreal, Canada
One breakout neighborhood located in Montreal is Mile End. This neighborhood is among the hippest, artsiest places you’ll ever find. Multi-culturalism is a huge understatement in this area—people from different cultural backgrounds bring their history, customs, and unique retail offerings to every corner of Mile End every day.
Art and creative expression are constantly celebrated here, and many musicians and artists alike don’t hesitate to show off their experimental, DIY artistic pieces. The neighborhood also has an entrepreneurial spirit as many indie shops, cafes, bookstores, and vintage stores can be found here.
As for nightlife activities, Mile End takes on more of a club-scene feel. Coffee shops, lowkey bars, and brewpubs are a common staple for those in the after-hours scene.
Dundas West, Ontario, Canada
Dundas West is a gem of a neighborhood that’s worth an exploration. Initially intended as a military route, today, the location serves as a place for immigrant communities and recent arrivals to mingle and bring their vibrant contributions to the capital city.
The area is the home to prominent Jewish, Chinese, Portuguese, and Irish communities—their influence can be seen in street names and local dining options. Dundas Street is also the site of the distinguished Art Gallery of Ontario, which contains more than 90,000 pieces of art.
Other features of this vibrant neighborhood include specialty stores, bakeries, and eateries that cater to a diverse palate.
This area is between Trinity Bellwoods and Queen Street West.
With its low-cost living, luscious natural environment, and rich culture, there’s no denying that Costa Rica is the country of pura vida (simple life). The country is a tropical paradise for many but it’s also a relatively easy place to relocate to and settle in.
Expats can enjoy a high quality of life by visiting its beautiful beaches and befriending locals and other globally mobile colleagues in their communities. If you’re relocating to Costa Rica, amazing, memorable experiences await you.
Escazú, San José, Costa Rica
Heading to San José? Be sure to check out Escazú, an upscale yet endearing location for all who visit the area. Fun adventures are an expectation in Escazú, especially for those moving here for an assignment or in a “work from anywhere” program.
This neighborhood has everything you need to enjoy a day out in the city. Some of the best local bars, restaurants, and shops in all of Costa Rica are located here.
For your shopping needs, head over to Multiplaza, Escazú’s huge shopping mall that features three floors, clothing, handicrafts, and a US-style movie theater.
Also, take time to visit Escazú Centro, where you’ll find quaint Costa Rican churches, traditional-style buildings, and unique narrow roads.
Rohrmoser, San José, Costa Rica
A western residential suburb of San José, Rohrmoser is a populated district that’s experienced strong growth in the last couple of years. It’s a quiet suburban area becoming equally well-known for its thriving commercial and residential options.
With two popular mini-malls, supermarkets, shops, and restaurants, Rohrmoser is the ideal place for expats with young families. Upscale shopping and art galleries are common activities among residents in this area.
Families with children also have access to quality education in a variety of institutions, such as public, private, and magnet schools. At night, the peaceful neighborhood comes to life with local bars and nightclubs playing Latin beats and pop music.
La Sabana Park is five minutes away and offers exciting hiking trails, picnic areas, and cultural events.
The list of interesting neighborhoods on an international scale is endless! No matter where you relocate to for a work assignment or business travel, you’ll always come across an exciting “find” when you explore your new city and nearby attractions.
Are there any neighborhoods or cities that you find especially exciting to explore? We’d love to get your feedback on your ‘finds’ and include them in the digital content we make available to all the professionals and their families who we assist with their moves.
At Dwellworks, our local network of 1000+ experts in 17 countries and hundreds of cities worldwide is a resource to the globally mobile workforce. We’re here not only to help people find a place to live that matches their budget and personal/family needs but also to welcome them to a new culture.
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