Both bustling and naturally beautiful, Auckland is a city unlike any other. There are rainforests to hike; picturesque beaches for relaxing, swimming and surfing; and vineyards to wander through. Its hills, lakes and basins, formed by the city’s 50 surrounding volcanoes, are also there to explore. Here, you can kayak in the morning, shop boutiques and local markets in the afternoon, then savor a slice of meat pie and glass of Sauvignon Blanc at one of the best restaurants. No wonder so many amazing creatives call this place home. We caught up with our new Kiwi pals–the city’s talented indie designers and boutique owners–to get the scoop on the best places to eat, drink and people watch.
WHERE TO EAT
“There are so many places,we have an amazing restaurant scene,” explains Anna Murray of Laing Home. “But if I have to pick, Cassia in Fort Lane for modern Indian and Kiss Kiss in Dominion Road for cheap, tasty Asian fusion.”
“Anywhere in Sandringham is amazing for tasty vegetarian options,” explains Penny Sage’s designer Kate Megaw. “One of my favorite places to share a meal is Saattveek. When you can’t decide what to eat, they ask you how hungry you are, then they bring out plates of everything delicious, and don’t stop until you’re full!”
Kristine Crabb, designer of Miss Crabb, had a hard time deciding but managed to narrow it down to her top three. “My favorites at the moment are Coco’s Cantina, Madame George and Gemmayze St,” she said.
“Well, the obvious favourite is Coco’s Cantina, as it just feels like home,” reveals Greta van der Star, the talented stylist and photographer who shot Yasmine Ganley for our Q&A. “I adore the girls who run it and everyone who works there!” She adds, “I also love Conch which is South American, they do the best tacos and have an outdoor courtyard with booths, so you feel very hidden away.”
Unequivocally, it’s the Orphans Kitchen for designer Kate Sylvester. An multi-award winner restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner including a bowl of potatoes you won’t be able to stop eating.
Ruben Bryant, the owner of Good as Gold, heads to Golden Dawn when in need of a drink. Tucked away, this popular Auckland watering hole has long been a haven for the city’s creative community and serves everything from eclectic cocktails to a vast selection of beers and wines.
Anna also fancies at spot on Ponsonby Road: “Annabelles is the perfect little local!”
“On my balcony watching the cheeky Tui’s—for all you non-Kiwis this is a large honeyeater bird—fight for a spot in a big Pohutukawa tree,” admits Kate. “But If I’m feeling fancy, I like going to the Federal Delicatessen for a piece of cheesecake and an Aperol spritz.”
Sherie and Kate both love to people watch at Coco’s Cantina, especially while sitting at the outside tables.
“Avondale markets on Sunday mornings,” reveals Greta. “It has the produce side—always rammed with people filling their bags and pulling trolleys which offers a mixture of fresh veg and treats such as Samoan banana bread or breakfast noodle bowls. Then the other side is more car boot-style where you’ll see so many interesting people and their dogs rummaging through trinkets.”
Located on the edge of the Mediterranean, Tel Aviv is a haven of buttery beaches and vibrant culture. The Israeli city — nicknamed “the White City” for the surplus of white, 1930s Bauhaus-style buildings that decorate the streets — boasts a unique combination of old and new: thousands of years of history set within a young, modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere. A place you sip black coffee on a storied palm tree-lined boulevard, explore an ancient port and discover a pop-up boutique tucked around the corner of the crumbly walls, stumble across a feminist art exhibition held in a restored Ottoman-era building. Elderly men play backgammon and smoke cigarettes in open-air markets while the latest, hippest restaurant bustles feverishly in the space next door. As such, it’s really no surprise that the city is such a fertile breeding ground for all kinds of creatives, from chefs and architects to musicians, artists and designers. This juxtaposition supplies Tel Aviv — at once a beach town, a thriving arts hub, an inclusive space for both tradition and boundary-pushing ideas — with a spirited energy that fuels the need to discover and rediscover it time and time again.
With that in mind, we asked a couple of our closest local pals to give us the low down on all of their go-to places to eat, beach and sightsee in the colorful, vivacious place they call home.
WHERE TO EAT
“Oasis on Montefiori St,” says Gittit Szwarc, designer behind the multidisciplinary studio Knobbly. “It’s the vision of a mad and inspired chef, Rima Olvera. I’m a food culture skeptic in general — I eat to get through my day, usually while reading/talking/texting. I remember being a little upset the first time I ate at Oasis because I couldn’t ignore the food I was eating the way I’m used to doing. I had to stop and experience it. And the place is designed to support it, dark and minimal with weird murals in the patio from local artist Klone. It’s a place to go to experience food as art.”
The charming Montefiori St is home to another excellent restaurant, this one at a boutique hotel. “Hotel Montefiori is a great option if you’re more into French-inspired classics, and is the place for an over the top breakfast/brunch,” adds Hila Chemony ofVender.
For the best hummus — a classic staple of the Israeli diet — in town, both Gittit and Hila recommend Abu Hassan in Jaffa. “Get the “Hummus Masabakha” (hummus with chickpeas cooked for 8 hours) with a brown egg,” Gittit says. “It’s only open until 4PM, the good stuff usually runs out by 2, it’s super crowded and noisy with communal seating, and you’ll be in and out in 15 minutes — the original hummus experience.” Check out Garger Hazahav (which means “the Golden Chickpea” in Hebrew) in the funky Florentin neighbourhood, too. “They have amazing hummus, delicious sides and a cool casual vibe,” describes Hila.
Unequivocally, the Teder.“It’s located in a courtyard surrounded by a complex with mainly artist and designer studios and there’s always some unoccupied room or corridor being taken over by an exhibition, pop up shop or music label, as well as live shows in the main area,” Gittit says. “You can find a quiet spot to sit with friends or take your drink and walk around to see what’s happening.”
The four-level complex itself is called Beit Romano and, along with the Teder, Hila suggests exploring the whole place. “The Romano restaurant on the second level is a great spot for dinner and drinks.”
One of the most wonderful things about Tel Aviv is its diversity. And the Great Synagogue, built in the 1920s and located on Allenby St, is a great spot to go at night to people watch, Hila says. Have a drink at Port Sa’id just across the street and settle in for the evening.
“Casino San Remo in the Noga District in Jaffa — a cafe by day and bar by night,” Gittit adds. “It’s casual but not too small, so there’s a wide range of people of all ages and walks of life who feel at home there in different hours of the day.”
The White City’s coastline, with gorgeous yellow sand beaches looking out at jewel blue water, is hard to beat. “Beit Haetzel beach right on the edge of Tel Aviv and the beginning of Jaffa is simply beautiful,” Hila says. “If you’re into surfing (or surfers) you should head to Hilton beach, and don’t miss the Independence Garden right above it.”
Gittit recommends the laid back Ajami beach, just south of Old Jaffa.
WHERE TO SHOP
The best shopping district? “The Noga District!” Gittit says. “It’s where my studio is located. Most of the designers’ spaces there function foremost as studios and second as shops, which means you’ll usually be talking to the designer herself when you enter. You can find some conceptual-yet-wearable stuff atMagpie Goose (with whom I share studio space),HOKO, Juliett andNaomi Maaravi, strong clean basics atKAV, and you’ll be breathing sea air the whole time.”
For an eclectic experience, Hila suggests wandering the flea market in Jaffa — the Shuk HaPishpushim. “It is a fun way to spend half a day between the independent designer shops, galleries, cafes and a great place to find flea market finds.”
Noga District, in between Tel Aviv and Jaffa
Flea Market, Jaffa
WHERE TO SIGHTSEE
“Try and find a nice bike (or rent one of the city’s) and spend a day going from the Jaffa flea market and up Rothschild Blvd,” Gittit says. “I feel like cycling is the best way to feel the city.” Another superb way to take in Tel Aviv’s culture is going to watch local bands perform. “There’s some really amazing stuff happening here this year,” Gittit adds. “Girl punk duoDeaf Chonky, glam rock bandthe White Screen, political punk fromAntigona Rex, lots of interesting electronic and stoner rock stuff!”
“Tel Aviv’s historical neighborhoods are absolutely gorgeous,” Hila says. “Neve Tzedek or Old Jaffa are a must, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (and the new wing especially) has great exhibitions throughout the year.”
Neve Tzedek, southwestern Tel Aviv
Old Jaffa, Jaffa
ONE MORE THING YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO
For Gittit, when anyone visits Israel, they must take a trip out to the Dead Sea. It’s a two-hour drive, but so worth it. “It’s such a surreal and intense place unlike anything else on Earth,” she says. Staying strictly in Tel Aviv, though? Find an Airbnb in North Jaffa and make it your home base. “Tel Aviv can be really intense and Jaffa is the more laid back and arty part of the city, so that’s where I tend to spend more time.”
And, before you go, a coast-to-coast walk along the beachfront is essential. “Starting up north at Reding, going all the way through Tel Aviv Port, the boardwalk and into Jaffa’s Old Port and Old City,” says Hila. “Tel Aviv’s beach is always an option, no matter the season, time or mood.”
Long revered for its music scene, Nashville has a new creative industry to boast: Fashion. We’re lucky to work with a few amazing people from the city’s tight knit creative community and we’ve discovered that constant good vibes and a true collaborative spirit are always in the air. On top of this positive energy is a beautiful city that offers a vibrant downtown and easy escape routes to gorgeous parks, lakes and vineyards. What more could you ask for? To narrow things down, we asked the experts to give us the lowdown on the best places to eat, drink, take in the outdoors and people watch.
Bonus: We also got the deets on the rad city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is only a two-hour drive away. It’s home to a couple of our favorite boutiques and are closely involved in the Nashville fashion community.
Above from left to right: Elise Joseph, Ivy and Josh Elrod, Brittney and Jessica Wooten, Patrick Woodyard, Ceri Hoover and Han Starnes. Photo by Zachary Gray.
WHERE TO EAT + DRINK
In a city like Nashville there is no shortage of amazing eats and one-of-a-kind restaurants, so deciding where to go can be, well, difficult. But don’t bother with Yelp or Trip Advisor because we’ve got something even better: local experts.
“Rolf and Daughters (above)… for both. They have a special drink called the Absinthe Father with bourbon, ginger, lemon and a rinse of smoky absinthe, and it’s delectable. Order the sourdough with seaweed butter, a few small plates and finish with a big bowl of the garganelli verde,” says Elise Joseph, owner of Goodwin boutique.
Han Starnes designer behind beautiful label Han Starnes and Ivy and Josh Elrod, owners of boutique Wilder, all noted this cool restaurant as the place to hit up.
Ivy and Josh also recommended the Little Octopus (above) –a bright and airy spot that serves tapas-style bites and creative cocktails – as a great place to grab a bite. Matt and Carrie Eddmenson, owners of imogene + willie confirm: “We had an amazing sit down dinner at Little Octopus that was next level!”
Lindsay Clark, who heads up sales and customer service, crowd-sourced a top five from the whole Ceri Hoover team: “The Grilled Cheeserie, Five Daughters Bakery (below), Steadfast Coffee, The Treehouse, and Salt & Vine.”
With such a massive and influential music community, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of beautiful venues to see live music in Nashville. The Ryman Auditorium (below) is a favorite of many: “It’s our ‘Mother Church’ here in Nashville – it’s truly magical,” says Elise. She also adds that her “most intimate music experiences have been at The Basement. Two very different vibes, but both equally cool and special.”
“Two words: THE RYMAN,” say Matt and Carrie.
Han reveals, “The Ryman will always have a special place in my heart.” Lindsay and the Ceri Hoover team also listed The Ryman and The Basement as their top places to go and noted 3rd and Linsley as well.
Looking for a long, hot summer? Nashville is your place. When the sun is shining it’s easy to spend your whole day outside soaking up the rays. “I love going to Beaman Park, just north of Nashville. It really feels out of the city, but isn’t too far of a drive,” says Han. “Also, Shelby Bottoms Park in East Nashville is pretty great on a sunny day.”
The perfect outdoor day for Patrick is “rollerblading along one of Nashville’s many greenways or taking a bike ride with friends to Mas Tacos’ patio for a bite and cocktail.”
The Ceri Hoover team lists their favorite ways to spend Nashville’s beautiful days: “Percy Priest and Radnor Lake (below), Live on the Green music festival, and Arrington Vineyards (above). Live on the Green is a free, environmentally-friendly outdoor music festival that showcases Nashville’s emerging artists and many well-known national acts. That’s right, free. Then there is Arrington Vineyards, which also has live music every weekend from April through November. Wine, music and the outdoors… we’re in.”
Elise reveals that she, too, loves “the Ganier Ridge Trail at Radnor Lake (below). It’s near the center of town but feels a million miles away from everything. I go here to hike with my husband and always see beautiful wildlife. It’s so peaceful and impossible to leave without feeling refreshed.”
“We used to live on the east side of town and we really enjoyed spending time in Shelby Park,”says Matt and Carrie. “It has a great dog park with plenty of room for the dogs to run around and the walkway there is something to marvel. We also enjoy hanging outside at Cheekwood Botanical Garden, but then again, Shelby Park is free!”
Ivy and Josh are on a mission to keep cool in the comfort of their own home. “We’re trying to build a pool in our backyard. Until then: windows down.” Simple yet effective.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT HONKY TONK
It’s almost like the elephant in the room. The Honky Tonk Central has a reputation, so we got the real down low.
“I don’t really have much to do with honky tonk – it’s not really my scene, but if I do go down to Broadway I love popping in to Robert’s Western World,” says Han. Elise has similar feelings, “Tourist trap! Locals tend to avoid the swarms of bachelorette parties and hang in neighborhoods like East Nashville or Germantown instead. If you’re really wanting the Broadway experience, head to Robert’s Western World for dancing, beer, live music and a really fun time.”
“Musicians on every corner and in every bar, neon lights, The Bachelorette/Bachelor Capital of America! Anything and everything. The energy is crazy on Broadway – there is something for everyone, from music, to shopping, drinks, museums, etc.,” explains Lindsay. She does note that her favorite part is “Acme Feed & Seed.”
Patrick echoed Elise and Han’s pick. “Robert’s is consistently at the top of the list for Broadway bar hopping.” Matt and Carrie add that their favorite part of Robert’s Western World is the “Recession Special. It’s a bologna sandwich with chips and a PBR for like a dollar or something!”
“Comfortable,”says Elise. “There’s a slowness to the south that really can’t be replicated anywhere else. Nashville is my hometown, so it’s great to see people from all over the world moving here and broadening the style horizons.”
Han agrees. “I think it used to be really motorcycle/denim/boots — but I think in general it’s progressing to be a bit more experimental as the town grows.”
Ivy and Josh explain that “Nashville has the third highest concentration of fashion designers per capita in America after NYC and LA. There stands to be a 9.5 billion dollar fashion industry in middle TN by 2025 (currently at 5.9 billion and swiftly growing). But it’s weirdly true that everyone still wears cowboy boots.”
“We have everything from the stereotypical (rhinestone cowboy boots) to the innovative (budding fashion brands) that influences the city’s style,” adds Patrick.
“I’m not sure ‘Nashville Style’ can be described, but if I had to take a stab at it I would say that it’s a mix of blue jeans and sports coats, dresses and cowboy boots. We can just settle for good ol’ jeans and tees,” Matt and Carrie chime in. Lindsay sums it up: “Fresh, new-Southern. A total mix of fashion.”
BEST PLACES TO PEOPLE WATCH
“I always enjoy people watching at coffee shops like Barista Parlor (above) – so many people coming and going. The Gulch is also a bustling area, where you can probably spot a photo shoot happening around the corner,” says Elise.
Han goes for Centennial Park, one of the city’s greatest treasures. It can be spotted by the iconic Parthenon which also serves as Nashville’s art museum. Patrick also loves this spot: “Centennial Park, hands down. On any given day you can catch folks taking iconic landmarks, live outdoor music, and even the occasional Nisolo team bubble ball soccer match.”
“Well Wilder (above) of course! And Opry Mills Mall,” say Ivy and Josh. We couldn’t agree more. Boutique shopping often doubles as people watching and is such a rad way to meet new people, discover style and get inspired.
“We just stayed at the amazing Thompson Hotel in the Gulch a few weeks ago. We had the best time sitting on the couch, eating homemade ice cream people watching in the lobby! That might to be the best place to people watch (this week anyway),” admit Matt and Carrie.
Just over two hours south east of Nashville and home to Uncommon Deux – a rad concept shop run by sisters Brittney and Jessica Wooten – Chattanooga is not to be missed. They describe their hometown: “An up and coming city for young entrepreneurs, creatives and tech innovators. It’s a small city snuggled between mountain sides and rivers.”
“There are a ton of great locally owned coffee shops and juice bars, The Local (above) and Wildflower Tea Room are favorites of ours,” reveal Jessica and Brittney. The Local seems like that perfect spot to kickstart your Monday morning or cure those hungover Saturdays.
Nashville isn’t the only place to see great live music. Jessica and Brittney tell us that “big name acts travel to Chattanooga” and that the best places to go are “Track 29 (above) and Revelry Room.” Both venues are small and intimate which makes seeing your favorite bands all the more special.
When it comes to people watching, “the Southside (up and coming neighborhood with shops, art galleries, music venues, local eateries)” is the place to go.
So, ready to book your plane ticket? While you’re waiting for that trip shop the Nashville boutiques and designers at home right here. Don’t miss our unreal flash sale, February 15 – 28. Two weeks, up to 60% off. Ready, set, go >
In Houston, at any given moment, you can feel like you’re in a different part of the globe. World-class art? Check. Covetable style? Check. Enviable international cuisine scene? Double check. Diverse, cultured and, of course, laden with signature southern charm, Houston’s unique qualities make it a seriously special place, not to mention a haven for creatives and entrepreneurs. We’re packing our bags already, but before we hop on that plane, we asked some of our local fashion friends to give us some tips on where to go and what to do in the Bayou City.
WHERE TO EAT
In a place like Houston where there’s an amazing restaurant on literally every street corner, it’s hard to know where to go to tuck in. Luckily for us, we had the experts narrow it down.
“For Vietnamese, go to Huynh,” says Cecilia Marquez, creative director of inspired boutique Saint Cloud. “For Szechuan, go to Cooking Girl or Mala.” She also notes Cuchara for Mexican and Hugs & Donuts (below) for something sweet. “I could keep going….we really like to eat and drink here!”
Both Kate de Para, the designer behind minimalist label Evens, and Trang Nguyen, co-founder of Rice Village boutique Myth & Symbol, dig Oxheart (above). The menu is always fresh and the service is on point, Kate insists — probably why it’s such a popular spot. “Make sure to get a reservations at least a month in advance,” Trang advises.
“I always love to visit 13 celcius for wine and Public Services for sherry or a whiskey drink,” Kate says. Public Services (above), with its art deco furnishings in Houston’s historic 1884 Cotton Exchange building, is also Cecilia’s go-to, while Trang recommends Anvil, which boasts a 100-strong list of classic cocktails alongside eight house originals.
It’s a general consensus — if you go to Houston, you gotta visit the James Turrell “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace (above). The two-level pyramid installation, sitting on top of a hill next door to the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, has an LED light sequence that projects up towards an opening in the ceiling at sunrise and sunset. The way that natural light and the projection play off each other is nothing short of spectacular.
Trang and Cecilia both also list the Menil Collection, an art museum comprised of four buildings (who of which are dedicated to individual artists) and Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern (below), one of Houston’s earliest underground water reservoirs, built in 1926 and filled with tall concrete columns that are reminiscent of the cisterns of ancient Rome. The cistern is set within the lush, 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park.
A trip to Houston wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Canino Farmer’s Market (below), though. Kate recommends visiting this local treasure, which has been supplying the city with fresh fruits and vegetables since 1958.
Texas has a longstanding musical history and Houston has been home to more than a few of the greats (Kenny Rogers, Lyle Lovett, and somebody called Beyoncé, to name a few). Checking out a show in the Bayou City is a must and there are plenty of places to do it. Trang says to hit the newly opened White Oak Music Hall (above), a massive venue that is made up of three, multi-level performance spaces and spans more than five acres.
“Look, it’s hot as hell here and we’re all sweating together so we want as little fabric touching our bodies as possible,” Cecilia says. “That being said, Houston is a city where people want to look put together so we have perfected the art of being comfortable AND looking amazing at the same time. The keys are stunning accessories, great shoes, and breathable fabrics.”
“I’d describe Houston style as super eclectic — at least in the art scene,” Kate continues. “There will always be something a little bit punk about the way people blend upcycling with high end design around here which I love.”
Houston’s style can be hard to define because it’s such a big and diverse city, Trang says, but one thing is certain: “We are the anti-New York: lots of colors and patterns,” she states. “Houston can be hot and humid so we all have a year-round summer wardrobe.”
HOW TO HAVE A PERFECT DAY IN HOUSTON
With so many things to do and sights to see, how does one have a perfectly Houston day? Simple, Kate says: “It would go like coffee at Catalina, take a stroll around Sixth Ward, head to Menil Park and laze around with friends on a blanket, lunch at Brasil, walk to Tomo Magazines to browse some print media, maybe pop into Reeve’s Antiques to drool over some gorgeous MCM design or La Corazon for some cool Central American imported inspo, and hopefully have friends over for cocktails, a simple dinner and good conversation.”
For Cecilia, her day revolves around her dogs and good grub. “Get up, grab a matcha latte from Morningstar Coffee & Donuts, take my dogs to Jonny Steele Dog Park (we call this place Disneyland for dogs — it’s amazing), take the dogs to meet friends for breakfast tacos at Guadalupana, hit up Tomo Mags for some hard-to-find publications, go to an afternoon yoga class and then head over to Boheme for a frozen mojito on their sprawling patio. For dinner, meet friends at Weights + Measures and then an after dinner drink (or two) at Public Services.”
Trang’s perfect day packs in a lot of culture — something Houston is filled to the brim with.
“Checking out the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (they have a great [Yayoi] Kusama exhibit going on), then walking over to Hotel Zaza for a drink (and Volcano fries) and finally to the Miller Outdoor Theatre across the street for a show.”