- Last Updated: 4:55 PM, September 9, 2009
- Posted: 12:00 AM, May 5, 2009
NEW York City may be the Big Apple, but it's just as easy for a visitor to take a bite out of London. The British capital retains many of its 19th-century buildings, but it's more modern than old-fashioned, and rather than keeping newcomers at bay the way so many European cities do, London appeals to everyone.
First-time foreign travelers bond with its common tongue and similar culture, and jaded travel sophisticates keep coming back for its fine restaurants, hotels, and booming artistic scene. There's always something new to see in the ever-shifting palette of London life, even if you think you know it well. London shares more than heritage with New York. It shares nightlife brands (Nobu, Bungalow 8), resident celebrities (just where is Madonna living these days?), shows ("The Lion King," "Mamma Mia," and many of our plays), and other cultural trends that bat back and forth across the Atlantic in an endless dialogue.
Perhaps no other world city, aside from New York, is home to such a dizzying array of people from so many disparate homelands. London's multicultural mix adds immeasurably to its attractiveness, and makes it about far much more than kings and queens.
For many visitors, though, none of that will matter, because it's easy to submerge yourself for days on end in its collection of the best museums in the world. Which reminds us: That's one way in which London differs from her sister city: There's so much free stuff to see and do -- museums are just the start -- that when you reach the bottom line of your budget, it turns out you can actually enjoy far more than you think you could for a similar price in other cities. To boot, a weakening pound means that finally, even commoners like us can enjoy a decent hotel or a good meal out in between all the freebies.
YOUR GUIDE TO THE GUIDE: