The Top Ten Cities to Visit in 2015, According to Rough Guide (and They Know What's Up)

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Image has been processed using digital filters) Visitors and Christmas shoppers enjoy Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas market on December 3, 2013 in Birmingham, England. Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas market is Britain's biggest festive market with over 200 stalls, many of them from the heart of Germany. German beer, Frankfurter sausages, mulled wine, chocolate and traditional craft products entice thousands of visitors every year. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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When you think of the best cities across the globe, do places like Paris, Rome, or New York come to mind? Well you would be missing out on some awesome travel opportunities according to Rough Guide’s Top 10 Cities list, which just came out. Among their top 10 places to visit this year are cities like Johannesburg, New Orleans, and Birmingham (the one in the UK, not Alabama. Sorry, Alabama).

For those of you thinking, “OK, but who is Rough Guide, and why should I care?” Rough Guides isn’t like your friend who spent a summer backpacking through Europe and who now has a travel blog with 14 subscribers — they’re actually legit (no disrespect to your friend). According to their website, Rough Guides was first published in 1982 and their guides have been so useful that they’ve spawned non-travel related guides, like the Rough Guide to World Music and even the Rough Guide to the Internet. So when these guys say you should go somewhere, it’s definitely worth looking into.

Before I present to you the Top 10 Cities, first, a disclaimer: you’re not going to see the usual suspects (like Venice, London, other places you’d hear your college's Study Abroad Office rave about) on this list. It’s more like “The Top 10 Cities Around the World That Probably Aren’t Already on Your Must-See List, But They Should Be.” So keeping that in mind, you might not have even heard of some of these places — at least, I haven’t, but I could just be a stupid American.

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So now without further ado, I bring to you, Rough Guide’s Top 10 Cities of 2015! You can check out Rough Guide’s article for more info on each of these not-to-be-missed destinations. Drumroll, please.

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1. Johannesburg, South Africa

In addition to the more well-known sites like Constitution Hill and the Apartheid Museum, more “forward-thinking museums, galleries, and shops” are slated to open next year.

2. Màlaga, Spain

You read that right. Not Barcelona, not Madrid, not Seville, but Màlaga. 2015 will see the opening of a cube-shaped museum à la Paris’s Centre Pompidou, featuring work by Pablo Picasso (who was born in Màlaga!), plus a Russian art museum.

3. New Orleans, ‘Murica

Come on, do I even need to say why you should visit New Orleans?

4. Hamburg, Germany

Because I know you’re thinking it, yes, this is where the name “hamburger” comes from. For more info, visit Wikipedia). Beef patties aside, Hamburg has a killer music and nightlife scene.

5. Nizwa, Oman

Nizwa has a rich history and in 2015 it will take over Sharjah as the Islamic Capital of Culture, so there will be lots going on throughout the city.

6. Wellington, New Zealand

Did you know that Wellington is the capital of New Zealand? If you didn’t you’re officially 150 years behind. Come for the celebrations, stay for the craft beer bars!

7. Belgrade, Serbia

It’s easy to navigate on foot, making Belgrade a great destination to squeeze into your European travels.

8. Salta, Argentina

Rough Guide says, “Stretching out beneath the scorched peaks of the Andes, sunny Salta is the definition of a pretty Argentinian city.” But with so much history and culture, it’s way more than a pretty face.

9.  Birmingham, UK

As Stefon would say, Birmingham has everything. Book lovers can pay a visit to Europe’s largest public library (how is this the first I’m hearing of this?!).  

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Hipsters will feel at home among the vintage shops and street food stalls in the industrial district.  

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They also have something called Bird’s Custard Factory, which is not in fact a custard factory (sorry). According to what I was able to glean off of Yelp using my superior powers of deductive reasoning, it’s actually a commercial space with a bunch of cool and quirky shops, restaurants, galleries, and more.

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10. Yangon, Myanmar

Here’s just some phrases from Rough Guide’s blurb: “golden pagodas,” “red-robed monks,” “fin-de-siècle architecture,” “tantalizingly exotic.” Convinced? Yeah, me too.

So if you're looking for some unforgettable places to see with all your saved up vacation days, now you have some ideas. I'll even go with you...if you pay for my airfare. I think that's a good deal. Any takers?

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Images: Getty (4); Giphy (6); 

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