12 Cities To Visit Before Your Life Is Weighed Down By Responsibility

12 Cities To Visit Before Your Life Is Weighed Down By Responsibility ©iStock/JANIFEST

It’s no secret that travel isn’t easy on the wallet, especially when that wallet belongs to a 20-something. But money spent pushing your cultural boundaries is never money wasted, and studies consistently find that people who spend money on experiences instead of material possessions are happier. So with no further ado, here are the must-see cities to visit ASAP:



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See the Mona Lisa’s smile and the bells of Notre Dame. Frolic in front of the eiffel tower, and strut down the Champs d’Elysses. Love really is in the air in Paris; for a big city, the pace is blissfully slow. See the sights, but take some time to enjoy leisurely breakfasts and evening glasses of wine at one of the many open-air cafes. Don’t forget to say bonjour to everyone you meet. French pride is real.



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Once most famous among millennials for being the threatening town where Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Will Smith had to escape from to avoid the pull of a life of delinquency, Philadelphia is so much more than that. Its public parks fill with performers, its back alley jazz joints host some of the most up-and-coming improv musicians, and its craft breweries and independent local restaurants are a delight for foodies. Indulge in your less refined tastes as well: join in the city’s passionate debate about who offers the best cheesesteaks, Pat’s or Geno’s. Grab one for both, and then pick your team wisely.

New York City.


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See what all of the hype is about. Take in a baseball game (and make sure to wear the appropriate team gear, because New Yorkers do NOT take it well if you don’t root for the home team). Pack a picnic in Central Park, and give your regards to Broadway. This is the city where people go to try their hand at the big time, and you can feel the energy and excitement in the air wherever you go.

Las Vegas.

Go while you can take advantage of the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” motto. Do something a little crazy; dance on a table, take a limo down the street, wear something you wouldn’t ordinarily wear, blow $100 on the blackjack table. But not too crazy. Let’s be honest: it’s 2015. The photos will probably end up on Facebook.


It’s called maximum city for a reason. Mumbai is a whole lot of city. There are throngs of people (ok, and cows) everywhere, and the colors, sights, and smells will gang up on you to totally overwhelm your senses, in the best way possible. It’ll make you think New York is like an open countryside village town.



Put on your best Kate Middleton-inspired outfit and saunter through Buckingham Palace. Then, take in a Shakespeare play at the restored Globe Theater and hit up one (or five) of London’s famous pubs for a pint (or five). London’s combination of old-world class and modern charm is worthy of a hearty “cheers!”



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Jerusalemites know that life is precious, and they’re not going to waste a single minute of it. The popular pedestrian-only central square full of restaurants, bars, and cafés regularly boasts impromptu dance parties, or people playing “human chess” on the life-sized board. The food is fresh, from stressed hummus joints to locavore restaurants with rotating menus. And the rich history and ancient architecture is simply amazing.



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Bienvenidos a Miami! Welcome to one of the most diverse cities in the United States. Miami is a must for anyone into the music scene; the clubs are hopping all year round with DJ personalities and hip, creative local bands and artists. The weather is perfect, the beaches are beautiful, and the southern location means you can time your trip to catch some sunshine when the snowflakes have you down.

Rio de Janeiro.

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Speaking of parties and sunshine, RIO. Brazil’s most populous tourist destination, this bustling seaside metropolis is still on a high after hosting the world cup in 2014 and is preparing to host the summer olympics in 2016. From the lush rainforests to the spirited samba music, Rio de Janeiro feels like a tropical getaway and a city slicker’s dream vacation all rolled into one.



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As China begins to court more tourists, the city these days is feeling way more welcoming than forbidden. The capital of China, Beijing is home to breathtaking relics of its ancient past as well as modern infrastructure testifying to its vibrant future. Walk along the Great Wall of China, trawl its massive malls for a totally different take on fashion, and learn about real Chinese food (hint: it’s nothing like your favorite takeout place).

New Orleans.


New Orleans is back, baby. The city is a party for your senses from start to finish. From great food to great music, from the historic but hip French Quarter to City Park, even bigger than New York’s famous Central Park, you’re in for a treat. And don’t forget to always ask for hot sauce when you’re out at restaurants. On everything. It’s the New Orleans way.



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You know you’re going to leave with great stories when you travel to a city whose unofficial motto is “keep Austin weird.” Austinites are passionately supportive of their numerous local businesses, including funky cafés, restaurants, and shops all over but especially in the trendy SoCo district. Their affinity for the little guys extends to independent films and emerging musicians, all on display at the annual SXSW festival that’s got something of a cult following among creative types.

If you choose any of the cities on this list for your next big vacay, you definitely won’t be disappointed. Whether you’re going solo or as a team, you’re sure to make memories that will last a lifetime. Bon voyage!

Jessica Levy is a freelance blogger and content writer. She’s also a politics junkie, a fledgling foodie, and a frequent traveler. She has lived in Morocco, Israel, India, and Barbados, and never wants to be cold again. Follow her on Twitter!