In 1931, Charlie Chaplin made a silent film “City Lights”, a film that succinctly captures the idea and attraction to ‘city lights’. A tramp falls in love with the blind girl. His noble struggle to help her recover from medical issues, places him unfairly in prison. When he came out, he looked for her and found that she was a florist with perfect eyesight. At first, the girl didn’t recognize him, but when she finally did, the film ends with them holding hands.
The film takes place in the big city which has since become a critique of society, something Chaplin often depicted. But to most viewers, the story represented hope – something they believed can only be found under city lights. Even to this day, the perception of ‘city lights’ has not changed. When we look at the city lights, we can feel the myriad of possibilities before us. The future feels better and life more secure.
Today, all around the world cities dazzle visitors and citizens with their bright lights. Given that it’s New Year’s eve soon, we’ve found that people generally like to be a part of bright city celebrations. Cities are marvelous- the beacon of optimism for many of us looking for our place in life. Even if you don’t plan to move to one of them, the cities will attract you with their lights as an open invitation to stay.
From Paris to Tokyo, these are our selection of some of the brightest cities in the world with incomparable charm:
Paris, being the City of Love, is probably the one destination on everyone’s list. Its gorgeous banks by the Seine and Eiffel Tower are probably the most iconic sites shown in the media. However, at night, Paris shines brightest under the thousands of incredible lights reminding us of the famous cabaret and Moulin Rouge.
It becomes the city of Victor Hugo, Proust, Matisse, Picasso, Edit Piaf and many others from all over the world who found inspiration under its lights. Notre-Dame Cathedral is the picture to remember with illuminated facades and spires. While traditional French restaurants will offer you some authentic diners with cheese and a bottle of vine. The Seine is also beautiful in the evenings, so you can take a cruise on the river.
Tokyo started as a small fishing village by the name of Edo. Now, it is the capital of Japan and the where the Emperor resides. Tokyo was twice leveled to ruins in the modern history and because of this, it mostly consists of contemporary designed buildings. Although the city has numerous parks and gardens, the most people know it for its neon lights at night. We can freely say that that is the time the whole Tokyo comes to life.
Shibuya is a great place to start partying since this district is more welcoming to foreigners. Ginza, on the other hand, offers more sophisticated entertainment with fine dining and high-class establishments. This is also the place you want to see for its neon lights, being the one of the most extraordinarily lit. Tokyo Tower is the must-see location because of its incredible look at the city, and 3 million visitors annually.
As a former colony of the British Empire, the Western influence is undisputed. Being one of the world’s most significant financial centers brings business and trading here every day, but still, the city offers amazing sights. Its nightlife is rich and welcoming to all who value beauty, elegance, and class.
The world’s largest permanent light and sound show, the Symphony of Lights is otherworldly performance taking place nightly at the Victoria Harbour. You can attend night races at the Happy Valley Racecourse, or join the hum of Night Market on Temple Street. The rooftop terrace of the Sevva’s Taste Bar will let you enjoy the view on city lights with the sounds of jazz and first-class cocktails.
America’s Windy City, home of Al Capone, architectural haven and Oprah Winfrey, Chicago is one of those places you don’t want to miss. Being among the biggest cities in the USA, it offers a variety of landscapes and tours throughout the day. In addition, while some cultural sites like museums and galleries are not open at night, it has other charms like blues clubs, theatre and improv. One of the first cities in the world to host ‘lights’, the great Expo and being so close to industrial Michigan, Chicago was affront of all the glitz and glimmer of major cities. Being the town of mixed cultural heritage brought by many immigrants, this place will engulf your senses.
City Lights at Night is a tour which will have you pedaling to different landmarks like Millennium Park and light show of the Buckingham Fountain. Wednesdays and Saturdays are reserved for fireworks at Navy Pier. Chicago Theatre District offers top-billing shows and concerts, while Broadway in Chicago playhouses will entertain you with the most famous New York musicals.
Being the most famous city in Australia is not easy. A lot of pressure is placed that way on the city to does not disappoint anyone who visits it. Although it has its undeniable charm during the day and many attractions to see, at night Sydney turns into the magnificence. Indoor and outdoor LED lighting could be seen everywhere being that Sydney upholds the environmentally friendly principles.
Every Saturday you can enjoy the fireworks at the Darling Harbour, or have a nice dinner in one of its many restaurants by the waterside. Sydney Observatory offers nighttime tours equipped with 3D space theatre for the cloudy skies. And for entertainment, besides fusion cafes and bars, the city offers rich theatre life from Walsh Bay to Sydney Opera House.
Saint Petersburg is a Russian port on the Baltic Sea and the second largest city after Moscow. During the day, Saint Petersburg is filled with tradition and historical monuments. The Hermitage, the largest art museum in the world is situated here, as are many foreign consulates and businesses.
Under the city lights, Saint Petersburg offers a variety of cultural entertainment from all over the world. Mariinsky Theatre is a great start if you wish to experience the classical Russian ballet and opera. Young people like to visit the JFC Jazz Club to listen to some international musicians and enjoy an entertaining evening. However, if you want to mingle with the elite, stop by the Kandinsky Bar in the Hotel Astoria for some expensive whiskey and delightful desserts.
In the end
Not all city lights are the same. That is why you have to see them all and experience that energy. Every traveler looks for a part of themselves in the other cities and leaves another small piece behind. Sometimes we are all that blind girl from Chaplin’s film, waiting for our chance to see the light. Moreover, there are times when we are nothing more than the Tramp, searching for good sides of this world.