Outdoor entertaining is a popular pastime. The addition of decking, shade awnings, a barbecue and jacuzzi can transform any backyard into an outdoor oasis. Add thousands of people to the equation, though, and what you get are great public spaces; areas where people gather en masse to enjoy the very best in food and live entertainment. This article lists some of the world’s most spectacular outdoor entertaining areas.
This is Barcelona’s most well-known entertainment precinct, encompassing three pedestrian streets over a distance of one and a half kilometres. It boasts a huge variety of outdoor eateries, shops, pubs, markets, exhibitions, bazaars and live entertainment. The activity goes on night and day, so luckily, when it all gets too much, there are plenty of places to sit and rest.
Stroget in Copenhagen is the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe. A collection of car-free streets, Stroget is a staggering 100,000 square metres of upmarket stores, souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, markets and lively street performers. It hosts a quarter of a million visitors a day in summer and around half that number in winter.
Boulevard St Laurent
This is the main drag in Montreal, Canada, where people gather 24 hours a day to enjoy the food, live music, bargain shopping and vibrant cultures of Montreal’s 14 different nationalities. Encompassing Chinatown, Little Italy, the French quarter, the garment district and the seaport, Boulevard St Laurent is a hive of activity all year round and virtually impassable in summer, when numerous festivals take over the streets.
Acland Street, St Kilda
Melbourne’s famous Acland Street is one of Australia’s best outdoor entertainment areas, featuring a wide variety of shops, bakeries, cafes and live music from its many street performers. Bustling at most hours of the night and day, but less hectic than similar streets overseas, Acland Street is the perfect place to take a relaxing stroll and enjoy great al fresco dining and live local entertainment.
Madrid’s famous and historic Plaza Mayor is the ultimate outdoor entertainment centre. A huge city square with arcades running off it in all directions, Plaza Mayor’s beautiful old porticos are lined with shops, restaurants, bars and al fresco cafes, where you can sit under a brightly coloured shade awning, sample tapas and sip Spanish wine. In its time, Plaza Mayor has hosted bullfights, soccer matches, orchestral symphonies, royal coronations and, in earlier times, public executions. Today it is used to hold exhibitions and markets, including a huge Christmas market in December.
New York’s famous Central Park would have to be one of the world’s most extensive outdoor entertainment areas. Spread over 843 acres, it is home to all kinds of attractions including a carousel, several fountains, a large boating lake, an old fort, skating rinks, baseball fields, tennis courts, a swimming pool and a 6.5 acre zoo and wildlife centre. In summer it hosts a number of outdoor festivals, featuring Shakespeare in the Park and concerts by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Add to that thousands of walking trails through hundreds of acres of parkland and you have the perfect outdoor entertainment for the whole family.