I’m a New Yorker by birth, and my earliest memory is of weaving, wide-eyed, through the streets of Greenwich Village, clutching my parents’ hands as we rushed to the Blue Note Jazz Club for a Sunday brunch performance by the bassist Jay Leonhart. I’ve been a big-city gal ever since.

The world’s great cities share a frenetic pace and an endless variety of culture, cuisine, and creativity. We tap into that potent urban potion for AFAR’s first Cities Issue. In this feature, you’ll find out why we’re simply obsessed with 25 global cities. Here, contributing writer Lisa Abend hops on a bike to experience her adopted hometown of Copenhagen. We explore Tel Aviv’s warm, creative heart here. Elsewhere in the issue, you’ll discover new reasons to love cities from Kraków to Bogotá to Washington, D.C.

These days, I call California home, but New York will always lure me back. Before landing at JFK, I review my mental list of experiences I must do on every visit and new ones I’m dying to try. Here are some of my picks.

Classic

Savoring a dozen ice-chilled Fanny Bays at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal. Hearing Woody Allen play jazz clarinet at Café Carlyle. Delighting in the raucousness of Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse on the Lower East Side. Taking in art on the roof of the Met.

Off the Beaten Path

Touring the Louis Armstrong House in Queens. Walking the galleries of Snug Harbor in Staten Island. Getting lost and eating a spicy Thai dinner at Pok Pok in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Subwaying to the Bronx for the fresh air of the New York Botanical Garden.

Exploring the renovated Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. Seeing Larry David’s play, Fish in the Dark, on Broadway. Eating at Russ & Daughters Café, Dirty French, El Colmado, and the rebooted Tavern on the Green. Shopping at Rachel Comey. Swimming in the gorgeous pool in the new Park Hyatt hotel.

TRAVEL WELL,

Julia Cosgrove

Editor in Chief