In their ninth annual barometer of municipal virility, the travel gurus at Lonely Planet are back with a list of the cities they believe are most worthy of your tourism dollars in 2014. Among the eclectic mix, published this week, are some predictable favorites, a few “reinvented classics” and a sprinkling of cities on the up and up.
Scroll down for a complete look, as well as a sampling of other highlights for 2014.
No. 10 Auckland, New Zealand
The only Kiwi city to crack a million people, Auckland is typically seen as a mere gateway to the wonders of New Zealand’s oft-filmed backcountry, but Lonely Planet said this cosmopolitan town has undergone a facelift in recent years, boasting inventive restaurants, funky art centers and an edge once reserved for its smaller sister city, Wellington.
No. 9 Adelaide, Australia
Adelaide is known as the Plain Jane of Australia. It’s never been loud (like Sydney), flashy (like Brisbane) or hip (like Melbourne), but it has quietly emerged as a hotbed for foodies and winos, a hub for major festivals and a gateway to the wilder Australia. Lonely Planet said the redeveloped Oval in the heart of town would add a touch of flare to the austere city center in 2014.
No. 8 Chicago, USA
Come for the baseball, come for the museums or come for the comedy and music scenes. Lonely Planet believes 2014 is the year when the Windy City will really take center stage as it celebrates several historic milestones, all while looking squarely toward the future.
No. 7 Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver is like eye-candy for urban folk who are always itching to get out into the country, according to Lonely Planet, which means you can expect a best-of-both-worlds mix of big city looks and small town vibes.
No. 6 Shanghai, China
Lonely Planet placed Beijing on its list last year, so it’s only natural that Shanghai would make the cut in 2014. The venerable guidebook said that, “if China is the world’s industrial motor, Shanghai is China’s high-performance V8.”
No. 5 Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich will step into the spotlight in 2014 as host of the European Athletics Championships. Beyond the sports and spandex, the city recently liberalized its rules governing opening hours, adding a new element of “nocturnal hedonism,” as Lonely Planet put it.
No. 4 Riga, Latvia
“Hipster-chic cafes have spread like wildfire,” Lonely Planet said, noting that Riga had finally reclaimed its rightful title as the cosmopolitan cornerstone of the Baltic two decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain. To celebrate its newfound cool, Riga will proudly wear the title of European Capital of Culture in 2014.
No. 3 Cape Town, South Africa
The city below Table Mountain is known for its natural beauty, but the buildings themselves are about to get a facelift, as Cape Town becomes the World Design Capital in 2014. Lonely Planet said architects would likely begin the long overdue process of bridging the gap between the city’s disparate populations.
No. 2 Trinidad, Cuba
This “sherbet-tinged, time-trapped UNESCO World Heritage Site” will turn 500 next year, and a series of fiestas and cultural events will ensure the occasion doesn't go by unnoticed.
No. 1 Paris, France
It’s out with the cars and in with the pedestrians and cyclists as Paris pushes to make its car-clogged streets a vision of the past. Lonely Planet said the “rebirth” along the Left Bank and elsewhere would make the world’s most beautiful city “even more beautiful.”
Top Country In 2014: Brazil
Lonely Planet said all eyes would be on Brazil in 2014 as it hosts the FIFA World Cup and prepares for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Top Region In 2014: Sikkim, India
Sustainability is the name of the game in Sikkim, India, where eco-tourism has breathed fresh life into an overlooked Himalayan wilderness, according to Lonely Planet.
Best Family Destination In 2014: Denmark
Cheap it's not, but Lonely Planet said Denmark is chockablock with enticing theme parks like Tivoli and Legoland that will delight kids of all ages.
Best Value In 2014: Greek Islands
Bargain hunters take note: Lonely Planet said harsh austerity measures, low visitor numbers and high unemployment have driven prices down on Greece’s famed isles as hoteliers attempt to lure tourists back after tough years of bubbling unrest.
Mark Johanson is the travel editor at the International Business Times. He has traveled to and written about more than 30 nations and territories on every continent except...