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The five largest cities in North America - and why you should visit them

It isn't hard to find cheap airline tickets. The problem is deciding on where to go. A remote seaside resort recommended by a friend of a friend? A barren wasteland with a chance to ‘find yourself'? A horrifically uncomfortable Antarctic expedition in search of penguins and ecological understanding? Or a war-ravaged industrial town with cheap bars and a poignant history?

Instead of these options, you could just go for the big cities. These represent good public transport, clean hotels, and the opportunity to completely immerse yourself in a different way of life. We've found the five biggest cities in North America and given you a brief (but hopefully convincing) summary of why you should visit them instead of the more obscure holiday destinations.

Mexico City Cathedral

Mexico City Cathedral

Mexico City

This city has more museums in it than any other city on the planet. It is a hugely important cultural and historical centre, having been the fulcrum of several great empires spanning a millennium. The city's illustrious past isn't the only reason to visit, though - Mexico City is a vibrant, constantly changing city with eclectic cuisine and a passion for terrifying rollercoasters. Local artwork covers every wall and the market area of Tepito covers 25 blocks.

New York

The most famous city in the world, New York has been a mainstay of North American tourism for a century. Approximately 40m visitors flock to the city every year - about the population of Kenya - in search of the backdrop to their favourite films. The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Times Square are all on the must-see list of any New York tourist, and make sure you come home with one of those iconic t-shirts.

Los Angeles

LA is where those films were actually made. Hollywood, and its famous sign towering over the city, is arguably the most glamorous address on Earth, while South Central's ganglands were the inspiration behind NWA's ‘Straight outta Compton' and Ice Cube's ‘Dead Homiez'. Film studio tours and open-top bus rides around Hollywood should be high on the list of any wannabe superstar.

Chicago

The Windy City has had its fair share of organised crime. Various outfits terrorised the city for most of the 20th century, and while the crime rate has fallen, there are plenty of museums dedicated to Chicago's gangsters. Chicago's cuisine has evolved to represent the city's diverse ethnicity - unusual takes on Italian classics are popular.

Toronto

Canada's largest city has a distinct architectural style. All over the city there are aesthetic quirks and peculiar buildings. If you fly into Toronto domestically, you'll probably arrive at the peculiar Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, an island airport on Lake Ontario accessible only via a very short ferry ride. The rest of the city echoes this slight eccentricity and although there's a lot of French-influenced cuisine, Toronto boasts an assortment of culinary heritages.

More Cities to Visit

Garden tombs

Delhi

Despite being a bustling, busy and changing city, the capital of India still retains many tranquil historical sites where the past comes alive. Old Delhi, Delhi: The Red Fort, Delhi Tombs are among the best.


The Parthenon, Athens

Athens

Capital of Greece, this is a great destination for the visitor. Tourist Athens includes the ruins of classical Greece, after all the image of Athens - home to the Parthenon is iconic For lovers of Greek cuisine there is a great choice of basic tavernas and sophisticated restaurants. Museums and smart shopping make Athens an all-year destination.


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