There’s no feeling like the thrill of getting swept up in the current of a new city, until you feel like you’re getting swept away. Instead of succumbing to the exhaustion, seek out an urban oasis and find your balance. Here, in a few places famous for the neon lights of their late-night party scenes, we’ve found the best ways to slow down and chill out.
Seoul, South Korea
Rock out in peace at Seoul’s new Hyundai Card Music Library. Visitors dive into 10,000 vinyl records (including rarities from Led Zeppelin), every issue of Rolling Stone ever, and a large-scale work by JR, perhaps the most punk-rock street artist alive. —Andrew Richdale
The perfect Lima sunset can be found at El Malecón park. The entire park, a six-mile stretch of cliffside greenery, offers stellar views of the Pacific Ocean. Hit the patch along the neighborhood of Miraflores, though, and that vista is set to music. Around sundown, locals of every stripe gather for mellow, impromptu jam sessions with drums and acoustic guitars. —Andrew Richdale Chicago, Illinois
Avoid the cacaphony of Chicago’s legenday bar scene and pick your bar based on decibel-level: from whispers-only to a bit more boisterous.
Cape Town, South Africa
You could parachute onto Cape Town’s New Church Street without any plans and still have the best evening of your life: Just follow the cheering crowds pouring out of some of the city’s most popular restaurants and bars. Then find your escape hatch from the noise, at a French countryside retreat in the eye of Cape Town’s nightlife storm. La Grenadine (from $110) is a peaceful family-run hotel that consists of six cottage-like rooms. Situated behind a large wooden gate at the end of a long driveway, the hotel is run by a pair of charming French transplants (with moral support from their kids and pet shar-pei). The place feels as though they constructed a movie-set version of the South of France—complete with brick and stone walls, a loft with a record player perched above the kitchen, and a row of rooms tucked under an awning in a garden. Consider it your own little slice of Provence in one of the coolest corners of Cape Town. —Mark Byrne
Mexico City, Mexico
Spend a day crowd-dodging in the hippest neighborhood of the largest city in North America. It may be one of the coolest neighborhoods, but you can still fly under the radar and avoid (most) of the mob.