Color in cities is like the special seasoning in chicken fried steak. Without it, you basically just have a bland piece of breaded beef. Gross.
Some cities are the opposite of colorful. If you’ve ever driven through central California in the summer, and you’ve had the misfortune of passing through Bakersfield, you know what I mean. Everything is the same weird shade of beige. It’s probably the 120 degree weather baking everything and lack of rainfall that does it, but either way, Bakersfield is not what anyone would consider vibrant. Sorry, residents of Bakersfield, but you know it’s true. Love your Carl’s Jr. though.
Most cities aren’t vibrant year round. That’s OK, you can’t be fabulous 100% of the time.
For certain times of the year though, some cities pop with multicolored spendor.
If you have a hankering to see cities that shine with prismatic hues, check out one of these 10 awesome destinations.
Washington D.C., USA
Washington D.C. isn’t always pretty. In fact, some times of the year it’s flat out boring. Most of the city is constructed out of white Georgia marble, which is beautiful, but not necessarily colorful. However, there’s one time of year when the city turns incredible shades of pink: the Cherry Blossom festival! Once per year, the cherry trees bloom, shrouding the entire capital in hues of pink, pink, and more pink!
Amsterdam isn’t usually top of mind when thinking about colorful cities. The Netherlands are famous for their tulips, so if you visit during tulip season, you’ll see every color of the rainbow in tulipy goodness. But that’s not all the vibrancy Amsterdam has to offer. The buildings themselves are painted wonderful pastel colors that bring happiness year round.
Nicknamed the pink city, this town in India is famous for its, well, pink! The Hawa Mahal looks like something straight out of a movie set with its symmetrical bay windows and bright pink paint. The rest of the town has complementary yellows, oranges, and reds too!
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a city I’d love to visit, but I haven’t been yet. That doesn’t mean it isn’t famous for its color. One particular neighborhood named Bo Kaap is world-renowned for its brightly painted houses. Try not to get vertigo walking through the streets while being bombarded with colorful goodness!
Cinque Terre, Italy
An ancient town built on towering cliffs that rise above the Mediterranean Sea, Cinque Terre is my dad’s favorite place in the world. He visited a couple years ago, and the pictures he showed me blew my mind. The multicolored buildings stand proudly against the teal of the sea. I’ve heard the food is great too!
Tokyo is the OG when it comes to cherry blossoms. The city is covered in cherry trees that bloom in way more spendor than Washington D.C. But there’s way more to Tokyo colors than just the cherry trees. From the ultra-vibrant signage to the neon lights that blaze at night, there aren’t many places more vibrant year-round than the world’s most populous city.
Strasbourg isn’t usually on most people’s list of cities to visit in France, but I couldn’t recommend it more. The buildings themselves aren’t very colorful, but these French folks love to garden. Every house and apartment has flowers under almost every windowsill. From fist-sized roses in the spring to Christmas markets in the winter, there’s no absence of color year-round.
I’m pretty sure the Caribbean is a cornucopia of color no matter where you go, but I can personally vouch for Nassau. My wife and I visited for our honeymoon, and we had a great time. The buildings are painted gorgeous pastels, and the sapphire ocean brings beauty no matter where you are on the island.
Disney’s new movie Encanto brought some well-deserved love to Colombia, and Guatape looks like Encanto in real life. Not only are the houses and the buildings painted incredible colors, but the town also has an insane looking rock dome that towers above it. If you love color and climbing stairs, visit this awesome city.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Some places are on this list because of the stuff they plant or the colors they paint on their buildings. Bora Bora is just naturally-colored splendor. Turquoise water surrounds this heaven on earth. Reefs house exotic sea life that you can peep underneath your glass-floored hut. Lush green mountains rise above the white sandy beaches. Be right back, I’m booking my flight right now. Anyone want to give me a loan?
The world is a beautiful place. Well, except for Bakersfield. Bakersfield isn’t beautiful. But if you live in Bakersfield and you want to see what colorful locations look like, try one of the amazing places on this list. Your eyes will practically pop out of your head in disbelief at how amazing some places can be.