It’s no surprise tech cities are surging in interest as vacation destinations. Due to the rising fascination with cutting edge gadgets, more and more travelers are seeking out places to stay connected, visit futuristic attractions and relax at high tech hotels . What’s more, tech-minded travelers can enjoy all sorts of innovative entertainment in a smart city, whether it’s watching a roboto prepare orders at a food counter or find virtual reality systems in their hotel rooms. Here are five of the most technologically advanced destinations to consider exploring on your next urban vacation.
Despite being best known for classic landmarks like the Tower of London, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, London has emerged to become one of the world’s leading tech centers. That notion is never more evident than in East London Tech City, the location for one of the world’s largest technology clusters commonly known as Silicon Roundabout. While Facebook, Google and Amazon and other world leading tech companies maintain corporate offices in the capital and largest city in the U.K., visitors might be more interested in tech related attractions like the brightly lit Piccadilly Circus, the breathtaking ArcelorMittal Orbit in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Pyramid Tower at Tate Modern, Science Museum and the Coca Cola London Eye Ferris wheel, along the River Thames. Of course, visitors can also stay connected with free Wi-Fi at many connected hotels like Eccleston Square, Hub by Premier and Montcalm Marble Arch, restaurants like Inamo and Circus, and public places throughout the city. Another example of the surging high tech growth in London is the presence of several state-of-the-art buildings and structures that have been recently completed. Among the most notable are the Lloyd’s of London building, 30 St. Mary Axe (the Gherkin), Heron Tower (city’s tallest), the iconic Shard and the interior revitalizations of King’s Cross Station and the British Museum.
The Bay Area may have Silicon Valley, but New York City has its own sizable share of cutting edge technology and its Silicon Alley is second only to Silicon Valley in importance. Some of the city’s top landmarks are quite obvious, such as Times Square, with its glittering spectacle of sights and sounds, the solemn 9/11 Memorial Museum and the majestic One World Trade Center. The nation’s largest city is the home to a large number of well known startups, such as Foursquare, Kickstarter, Shutterstock, Soundcloud and Spotify, and high profile presence from major tech companies like Google, Apple and Facebook. While visitors have many tech related attractions to choose from, some recommended tech-related spots to see are the New York Hall of Science, the Eyebeam Museum of Art and Technology Gulliver’s Gate, Spyscape and the redesigned Whitney Museum of American Art. Two other exceptional New York attractions that opened earlier this year are Hudson Yards, with its futuristic, 16-story structure the Vessel and EcoPark at Pier 35, with tremendous views of the East River and Brooklyn Bridge. Of course, in the city that never sleeps, visitors will always find something new and interesting to discover.
Quite possibly the world’s most important city for high tech, San Francisco has experienced incredible growth as a result of the current tech boom. Although it’s not technically part of Silicon Valley and not closely associated with the early dot com days, San Francisco helped lead the Bay Area way out of the recession era, in part through the creation of new businesses, new jobs and the enormous addition of more office space. While many of the biggest tech attractions may be further south, at the headquarters of the world’s most famous tech companies like Google, Facebook and Apple, and other tech friendly spots like Levi’s Stadium and the Computer History Museum, the City by the Bay has plenty of tech-related attractions and and its own share of famous businesses. Top choices include AT&T Park, the first professional sports venue with continuous universal wireless access, the kid friendly Exploratorium, Bay Lights light sculpture, San Francisco of Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and Chase Center, the new home of the Golden State Warriors. Further examples of the infusion of cutting edge technology can be found all across the city in local businesses, hotels, restaurants and bars, as well as the ever-changing skyline. This includes Twitter, Airbnb, Uber and Lyft, the Apple Store and Lucasfilm at the Presidio of San Francisco, tech infused accommodations like Hotel VIA, Hotel Zephyr, Inn at Union Square and the InterContinental San Francisco, high tech dining at CafeX, Eatsa, Creator, and One65, and innovative new buildings like Millennium Tower, One Rincon South Tower and Salesforce Tower, tallest in the city.
As the capital and largest metropolis of one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries, Seoul is also the world’s most connected city. After all, South Korea currently offers the fastest internet speeds on the planet and free public Wi-Fi can be found most anywhere in the city that’s home to half of the country’s population. But as part of Global Digital Seoul 2020, wireless service is expected even better next year, with coverage at every single public space in the city, including on moving subway trains and public buses. Already the home of such prominent companies as LG, Hyundai, Kia and Samsung, Seoul also has a strong American technology presence, with leading companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and even Apple, the direct competitor of Samsung, all occupying office space. Although there many Apple Stores in Seoul (think Samsung), the capital city offers many hi-tech attractions, including Samsung D’light, SK Telecom’s T.um Experience, e-Sports Stadium, Times Square shopping mall, virtual reality cafes and the Digital Pavilion, amid a city full of towering, state-of-the-art structures, like 63 Building, N Seoul Tower and Lotte World Tower and Mall. Another building to look for in the near future is Tower Infinity, described as the world’s first invisible tower, an illusion created through the use of leading-edge optical technology. Next year, look for the Robot Science Museum to be partially built by robots!
A world leader in innovation for decades, Tokyo has often been cited as the world’s leading city for technology. Home to the some of the recognizable names in consumer and professional-grade electronics, such as Sony, Nikon, Canon, Hitachi, Toshiba and Panasonic, Japan’s capital and largest city is awash with high tech attractions, brilliant lights and an ever growing legion of smartphone users. Despite having the world’s largest metropolitan population with more than 36 million residents, Tokyo’s highly efficient public transportation allows travelers and residents to move about the city to enjoy attractions like the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Sony ExploraScience, the discount electronics stores in Akihabara, teamLab Borderless digital art museum, the Ginza district and Times Square of Tokyo – Shibuya and of course, the Pokemon Center Mega store, as well as famous Robot Restaurant. Even with all of its grand achievements as one of the world’s leading high tech centers, Tokyo will be even more impressive as it prepares to host the next Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, described as the “Olympics of the future”.
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About the Author & Owner of TrendingTravel.org
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who has covered national/international travel for CBS Local and all things San Francisco for CBS San Francisco. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University and a member of the Freelance Council of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW).
Randy is also a veteran of the United States Army, having served stateside and in Germany. He is a lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.