People Watching

One of the most relaxing and interesting attractions for travelers is people watching. To see the clothes, the customs, the interactions, and the hobbies of the people in a new country while sipping on espresso or wine is truly an experience. Lonely Planet’s Bluelist spotlights the Best Places for People Watching.

Washington Square Park, NYC (New York City)
Park yourself on a green bench and observe the odd but delightful mix of the princes and paupers of New York converging on this park in the village. Particularly fascinating is watching homeless men defeat any and all takers on the park’s chessboards

Parque del Buen Retiro, Madrid (Madrid)
Find a spot near the large pond in the center to watch romance bloom all around you. But be warned, gratuitous public affection has become a kind of obsession among Spain’s youth, although half the fun is watching the older generation gasp in horror

The Louvre, Paris (Paris)
In a museum where there as many languages spoken as at the U.N., watch culture clash as the French raise their noses, Americans raise the voices, and the hundreds of Japanese tour guides raise their umbrellas to the disdain of everyone.

Tangier, Morocco (Morocco)
Every day, on the exact same path, at the exact same time, hundreds of foreign tourists take guided tours through this port town a stone’s throw from Europe. Watch as street vendors agressively prey on unsuspecting visitors, and their wallets.

South Beach,Miami (Miami)
Perhaps this qualifies more under ogling rather that watching. Regardless, upon arrival, you can observe and feel the palpable divide of who belongs on the beach tanning and who does not. More than likely, you belong to the latter.

Red Light District, Amsterdam (Amsterdam)
There is little seedy about this area anymore as sleaze has begrudgingly become a most unusual, but extremely effective tourist draw. The disparity between the unfazed locals and the shocked and awed tourists is sheer entertainment.

Speaker’s Corner, London (London)
This monument to free speech gives you the opportunity to hear speeches that range from inspiring idealism to crackpot insanity. Go to Hyde Park and watch the very amusing dialogue between the speakers and hecklers, or feel free to enter the fray.