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100 things to do before you die: city strolling

Thursday, August 24, 2006

75. Fifth Avenue, New York Fifth Avenue is the spine of the New York borough of Manhattan, cutting it in half and forming the centre of the grid pattern of the city. Everything is east to west, so it is very user-friendly. Fifth Avenue stretches 138 blocks from Harlem to Greenwich Village, running through the heart of midtown and along the eastern side of Central Park. It is a symbol of wealth and has wildly expensive real estate.

The Empire State, NY Public Library, Rockefeller Center and St Patrick's Cathedral are all on Fifth Avenue. It also has the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum of Art, the world's best toy store, FAO Schwarz, and Apple Computer's 10-metre glass cube serving as an entrance to its underground flagship store.

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76. Miami, Florida The sprawling city of Miami has much evidence of the nationalities which have made it a vibrant melting pot, in neighbourhoods such as Little Havana and Little Haiti. Half the city's population is Hispanic and events in Havana or Caracas are as closely followed as those in Washington DC.

In 1979 Miami Beach's Art Deco Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district has the largest collection of art deco architecture in the world, made up of hundreds of hotels, apartments and other structures erected between 1923 and 1943. Mediterranean, Streamline, Moderne and Art Deco are all represented. Walks with knowledgeable guides are a wonderful way to learn all about it.

77. London Monopoly Even though Monopoly was created in the United States, the version which was sold in Australia had streets, railway stations and utilities from London. For many Australians it was where they learnt a little about real estate, making and losing money, how to avoid imprisonment and something about the geography of England's capital city.

In London you can walk around the streets so well known thanks to all those games. Old Kent Road to Mayfair — they are all there. If you don't fancy walking, there are organised tours taking in all the streets, including a few surprises in the Change and Go To Jail segments.

78. Tokyo shopping, Japan Tokyo is expensive, there is no doubt about that. But there's no harm in strolling through the Akihabara district. Known as Electric Town, it is one of the world's largest shopping precincts for new and used electronic, computer, anime and otaku goods. It all began after WWII with a black market in radio components and these days major manufacturers often try out their new products here.

The electronic mecca covers five city blocks and is quite chaotic with the sounds of recorded sales jingles and hawkers flogging motherboards and electronic gadgets. As soon as you leave Akihabara Station, there's no doubt you are headed for a retail hit.

79. Champs-Elysees, France Enjoy walking on the Champs-Elysees, discover the wonderful shops, restaurants and nightclubs of Paris. It runs two kilometres through the eighth arrondissement, from Place de la Concorde to Place Charles de Gaulle, place of the Arc de Triomphe.

Its name refers to the Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed in Greek mythology. It is also called La Plus Belle Avenue du Monde, the most beautiful avenue in the world.

80. La Ramblas, Spain La Ramblas, in old Barcelona's main artery, is Spain's most famous street. Once a drainage channel, the broad, tree-lined pedestrian boulevard, flanked by narrow traffic lanes, is crowded from dusk till dusk with locals and visitors. It shows the extroverted side of the city, with street performers, flamenco dancers, fire eaters and human statues. There are pavement cafés and restaurants, which some think are over-priced but which offer good people-watching positions. Font de les Canaletes at the upper end of La Ramblas has wonderfully pure water and folklore has it that those who drink from it will return to Barcelona.

For further information:

75. Fifth Avenue
NYC and Company — Convention and Visitors Bureau
Ph: 0011 1 212 484 1200

76. Miami Beach
Art Deco Walking Tour
1001 Ocean Drive
South Beach FLA 33139
Ph: 0011 1 305 672 2014

77. London Monopoly

78. Tokyo Shopping
World Expeditions
Ph: 1300 720 000
Fax: (02) 9279 0566

79. Champs Elysees
Get Set Travel Group
French Travel Connection
Ph: (02) 9966 1177
Fax: (02) 9966 1455

80. Barcelona La Rambla
World Travel Group
Ph: 1300 36 1500


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