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London and New York are two of the world’s great metropolises. Both are cultural melting pots, defined by industry, cuisine, architecture and people. This list of differences runs long, but when it comes down to it, the cities are quite comparable. Both are defined by a network of underground subways, rich cultural attractions, and neighborhoods bursting with character. Whether you’re strolling the streets of Notting Hill or the West Village, you’re bound to fall in love with each place. London and New York aren’t the same in all respects though, so let’s take a look at how they stack up to one another.

RELATED: Smackdown! New York City vs New York Las Vegas

Left: courtesy of Compass and Twine | Right: shutterstock

Public transportation
First things first: You have to get around, and when it comes to public transportation, there’s really no comparison between the London Underground (affectionately known as “the tube”) and New York’s subway system. Even though the tube is the older of the two—built in 1863 vs 1904 for the NY subway—it remains exceptionally cleaner and more enjoyable to ride. On the NY subway, rats roam the tracks, weird smells can permeate throughout the train cars and conductors yell over muffled speakers to get out of the way of closing doors. In the Underground, cars and stations are better maintained, clear signage allows passengers to navigate the lines with ease, and the staff are just friendlier. Of course, the highlight for visitors is always the pleasant “Mind the gap!” announcement. All things combined, London’s Tube is sure to be a more pleasurable experience.
WINNER London

Left: Courtesy of Compass and Twine | Right: shutterstock

Green space
The Central Park vs. Hyde Park argument could fairly sway either way. Both provide the largest green space within their respective cities and serve as a beautiful refuge to escape the bustling streets and concrete. Central Park edges out Hyde Park in terms of location. As its name suggests, it’s more centrally located, while Hyde Park is a little more out of the way from the city center. However, overall, London offers a bounty of beautiful green spaces at every turn, like Regents Park and Kensington Gardens. Historically, Londoners—and Brits in general—have put more of an emphasis on weaving beautiful parks and gardens into their urban layouts, and it shows.
WINNER London

Photos courtesy of shutterstock

Weather
London is renowned for its dreary, gloomy weather. Days can go by without a solid dose of sunshine. But did you know that when measured in inches, New York City actually gets more rain than London? Nonetheless, a cloudy climate can take a toll on your emotional state, and it’s nice to have the breadth of seasons New Yorkers get to experience. Warm summers mean you can lay out at the parks by the rivers or dine al fresco most days at one of the city’s many sidewalk cafés. Spring and fall are arguably the best times to visit New York, with ideal temperatures and changing foliage.
WINNER New York

Left Flickr CC: GateC21 | Right courtesy of Compass and Twine

Food
Both cities offer a tremendous array of world class, multi-cultural cuisines and dining experiences. London definitely gets the “Most Improved” award. Long chided for bland and unimpressive eats (particularly in pubs), the city’s really catapulted to the top of the world’s culinary stage in recent decades. New York City, however, is untouchable. With its melting of global influences, there’s an eating-out culture in New York that craves the best of the best. Attracting top chefs from all over the world, you can find everything from great Thai street food at Pok Pok NY in Brooklyn to the world’s best restaurant, 11 Madison Park, in the Flatiron District. Up in Midtown, French chef Eric Ripert sets the perfect garnishes atop his seafood tasting-style plates at Le Bernardin; while down in the West Village, Chef Daisuke Nakazawa selects the finest pieces of fatty tuna to plate for his patrons at Sushi Nakazawa, just like the great sushi master Jiro Ono showed him how to do back in Japan. New York takes the cake on this one.
WINNER New York

Left Flickr CC: Benoit | Right Flickr CC: angela n.

Arts & Culture
In both cities, arts and culture abound. For the performing arts, London’s rich theater history dates back to well before Shakespeare, and the city’s own Andrew Lloyd Weber continues to shape modern day musical theater—in both the West End and Broadway. However, Broadway seems to be the pinnacle stage for performance art these days, for both actors and audiences alike. Similarly, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center offer equally acclaimed stages for orchestra, opera, ballet and more. In looking at the topic through a different lens, London pulls ahead when it comes to the visual arts. With more museums and art galleries than New York, the quantity and quality of pieces in institutions like the British Museum and the Tate Modern are unrivaled—plus many London museums are free!
WINNER Tie

Photos courtesy of Compass and Twine

Drinking
A tricky topic since each city has a notable drinking culture, but very different styles. London kills it in the happy hour department. There’s something charming and comfortably consisted about the pub experience. Everyone goes out straight after work for a pint, because most pubs and drinking establishment close around 11pm— unless you want to head to a club. Pubs truly are great local watering holes; each has its own character and you can run into the same neighborhood faces over and over again. Thursday and Friday business lunches can often extend straight into happy hour, without ever going back into the office. How great is that? New York, though, has an incredible array of sports bars, hotel bars, wine bars, cocktail lounges, secret mixology places, speakeasies and more. At any hour of the day or night you can find  an amazing place to imbibe.
WINNER Tie

Left Flickr CC: Kieran Clarke | Right Flickr CC: Eric Chan

Football
No contest, but we’ll discuss it anyways. With regards to American Football, New York City has two teams, the Giants and the Jets. The Giants have actually done alright for the city over the past few years, but New Yorkers remain endlessly disappointed in them nonetheless. The Jets, on the other hand, have floundered for years and have problems that extend well past their quarterback issues. Both teams play in New Jersey—so then there’s that. Across the pond, football of course refers to soccer (in the US vernacular). London is home to multiple major—and successful—club teams, which perform at the highest level in the Premier League. Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are banner institutions continuously attracting some of the greatest players from around the globe. West Ham United and Crystal Palace aren’t too shabby either. They all play in London and have been around since the late 1800s. A close comparison? We think not.
WINNER London

GRAND WINNER
You’d be hard pressed to find two more formidable opponents for a City Smackdown. Both New York and London serve as cultural and global business centers, held together by an elaborate web of transportation options. When all else fails, food is usually the deciding factor, and NYC has that one in the bag—dirty water dogs and all. On the other hand, London has a history and sophistication that stands second to none. All things considered, London really is just a heck of a lot cleaner, and that’s enough for us. London for the win!

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Tagged: New York

Compass + Twine
Sarah Driggs and Lindsay Ridenour are the story-tellers behind the NYC-based luxury travel blog, Compass + Twine. Follow along on Instagram @compassandtwine as they unearth some of the best hotels and travel experiences around the globe. From scenic landscapes to local cafés, they reveal the true character of a destination, always highlighting the best place to stay on compassandtwine.com .
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Will and Kate are expecting! We love babies almost as much as we love London.

In case you’ve somehow managed to avoid every single news outlet this week, let us fill you in: Prince William and Kate Middleton are expecting a royal baby. (Say it with us: squee!) All this chatter has put us in a London state of mind. Here are a few things we love about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s hometown:

  • With a population of 12 million, London is the largest city in Europe.
  • Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms (including 78 bathrooms!), and more than 50,000 people visit each year.
  • London was not the first capital of England. That honor goes to the city of Winchester, which had the title from 827 to 1066.
  • London Heathrow Airport is the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic, and the third for total traffic.

Thinking about heading to London? Check out our full London Travel Guide. Cheers, mates!

Tagged: Uncategorized

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When the tulips pop to life on the Mag Mile, there's no better time to take a Chicago vacation.

By Jeanenne Tornatore

Spring and fall are two of my favorite seasons to travel. Not only are there fewer crowds and mild weather in many fantastic destinations, these shoulder seasons are two of the best times of the year to travel if you’re on a budget. While beach vacations are perennial favorites, here are four budget picks for pre-summer getaways that will make you reconsider another trip to the shoreline. Continue reading

Tagged: California, Cruise

Jeanenne Tornatore

Jeanenne Tornatore

Jeanenne Tornatore has spent 14 years as a communications professional working with high-profile companies in travel, technology, and consumer products, currently serving as a senior editor for Orbitz.com. Learn more about her here.
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The clock is ticking. Book by April 7 for at least 30 percent off featured London hotels. (Credit: Seba Sofariu.)

By Valerie Moloney

Like its future princess Kate Middleton, London is legendary for an impeccable sense of style and statuesque presence. It towers over other cities in so many ways, from architecture to time-old traditions. With the whole world watching Londontown on April 29, it’s time  to rekindle our love affair with the city, starting with a sale on featured London hotels. Book by April 7 to save up to 30 percent or more off lodging, and be glad that you’re not the one footing the bill for the Royal Wedding.

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Valerie Moloney is a writer for Orbitz who was born in the Philippines, lived in Morocco and married a native Irishman. She now covers hotels around the world and contributes to the Orbitz blog.

Tagged: Uncategorized

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Stay at London hotels near Buckingham Palace this Spring for the best glimpse at the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Credit Rene Ehrhardt.

By Jeanenne Tornatore

What’s new on the travel scene? From the royal wedding to Disney’s newest resort, travelers won’t lack inspiration and ideas to plan a great vacation this year. Here are five destinations to keep on your travel radar in 2011:

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Tagged: Top 10 Lists

Jeanenne Tornatore

Jeanenne Tornatore

Jeanenne Tornatore has spent 14 years as a communications professional working with high-profile companies in travel, technology, and consumer products, currently serving as a senior editor for Orbitz.com. Learn more about her here.
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The Great Hall at Christ Church College, University of Oxford, was the inspiration forHogwart's dining hall -- the best cafeteria known to Muggles and wizards.

By Susan Johnston

Between The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening at Universal Orlando Resort earlier this summer and the latest Harry Potter flick due for theatrical release in November, this is a big year for Harry and his mystical friends. Which is why it may also be the year for a Europe vacation, during which you can tour many of the film locations and places that inspired J.K. Rowling herself. Here are a few of the spellbinding spots found in Harry Potter’s England.

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Tagged: Family time

Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn is a travel writer and Chicago journalist whose work appears in Chicago magazine, HuffPost Travel and Condé Nast’s HotelChatter. Globetrotting since infancy, she’s the daughter of a travel agent and considers thrill seeking part of the DNA. Find her on Twitter at @ninakhahn.
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Business travel By Joe Brancatelli

MILEAGE METER

Delta and US Airways Bow to Their Most Frequent Fliers: Faced with an unprecedented blowback from its elite SkyMiles customers, Delta Air Lines has changed the rules on its new Coach Choice program, which charges $5-25 for a seat assignment in supposedly preferred coach seats. Elite SkyMiles members will once again be able to select any coach seat at the time of booking without charge. Delta will continue to charge travelers without status, however. Meanwhile, US Airways has restored bonus miles for its elite fliers after months of criticism from its best customers. Effective immediately, silver members will receive a 25 percentbonus per flight; gold members receive a 50 percent bonus; platinum fliers receive a 75 percent bonus; and Chairman’s Preferred members receive 100 percent bonuses. Elites will also receive the bonuses retroactively for any flight taken after August 6, when US Airways first eliminated them. At the same time, US Airways announced that it is restoring the 500-mile minimum per flight for all Dividend Miles customers. … United Airlines has a new partner for Mileage Plus: Jet Airways of India. Effective December 15, Mileage Plus members can earn and burn on the respected private Indian airline, except for its soon-to-be-discontinued flight from San Francisco to Shanghai.

INTERNATIONAL ITINERARY

Suddenly, Everyone Wants to Fly to Geneva: The French-speaking crowd that dominates Geneva has always resented that Switzerland‘s main hub is in German-speaking Zurich. They hated it when now-defunct Swissair ended most of its international service at Geneva in the mid-1990s. And they even supported a Geneva-based carrier called Swiss World Airways, which lasted less than 90 days in 1998. So it’s notable that both Air Canada and United Airlines this week said they would launch new service into Geneva. United said it would launch flights from its Washington/Dulles hub on April 19 with a Boeing 767 configured with first class, United’s new business class and coach. And Air Canada says it will launch a TorontoMontreal-Geneva route on June 2 using a Boeing 767. United has also announced that it will revive its DenverLondon/Heathrow route on a seasonal basis between March and October. The airline launched Denver-London service earlier this year and killed it six months later. Travelers to India take note: Jet Airways is dropping its Brussels-Bangalore nonstop on January 12.

COCONUT WIRELESS

Oh, Those Wacky Hawaiian Skies: It’s never boring on the Hawaii inter-island routes. After Aloha Airlines folded earlier this year before the courts could consider its lawsuit against mainland interloper go! and Hawaiian Airlines won a big settlement from go!, things settled down a bit. Fares jumped up and it looked as if Hawaiian and go! would dominate the primary routes. But Mokulele Airlines launched 70-seat regional jet flights on a major inter-island route late last month and has announced its intention to go head-to-head with Hawaiian and go!. The flights will be operated for Mokulele by Republic Airlines, a well-known mainland commuter carrier. What’s odd there? Mokulele has been operating as the commuter partner of go!, which is owned by Mesa, itself a large mainland commuter carrier. Naturally, Mokulele and Mesa are now suing each other, alleging everything from non-payment of bills to anti-competitive activity.

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Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of JoeSentMe.com, a non-commercial Web site for business travelers. Copyright 2008 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.

Tagged: Europe, Hawaii

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OntheroadJoe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of JoeSentMe.com, a
non-commercial Web site for business travelers.

LOBBY LIFE

More interesting hotels in interesting places:
Notwithstanding the softening in the market, new, renovated and
reflagged properties in the pipeline continue to open with breathtaking
speed. In Dallas, for example, the former National Bank and SPG
building has been opened as The Joule. The 129-room hotel’s
most notable feature: a rooftop, cantilevered pool that hangs over the
building. The hotel is part of the Starwood Luxury Collection. …
Speaking of Starwood, the old Sheraton Atlanta at Colony Square has
been transformed into the W Atlanta-Midtown. The property has 466 rooms and typical frivolous flourishes familiar to W guests.

In Chicago, the old City Centre hotel has been reborn as the Doubletree Chicago
after a $21 million renovation. The 500-room property’s public areas
aren’t totally done, but it’s not a total loss: There is an Einstein’s
Bagel shop at street level. … In New York, the city’s overpriced
lodging landscape gets two new competitors. An old standby across from
Lincoln Center, the Empire, has been renovated and reopened with 413 rooms. And the newly built, 24-story Holiday Inn-Manhattan
has opened in the Chelsea neighborhood. … And nearly three years after
Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the old
Gulfport Beachfront Hotel has reopened as the Courtyard by Marriott Gulfport. The property now has 148 rooms

AIRPORT REPORT

BA finalizes schedule for its Heathrow T5 move: British Airways
is still recovering from the disastrous opening of Terminal 5 at
London/Heathrow in late March. But it passed its next test, when
flights from New York and Phoenix moved on June 5. According to a new
schedule posted by the airline on its Web site, most of the rest of its
Heathrow service will switch to T5 by the end of the year.
Washington/Dulles, Chicago/O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth and Toronto
flights, for example, move to the new facility on September 17.

Two new airport hotels of note: a 320-room Crowne Plaza has opened
at Changi Airport in Singapore. The property is connected to Terminal 3
by covered walkways. And a 168-room Holiday Inn has opened at Accra
Airport in Ghana. The 7-story property is newly built. … The Z Market
has opened at Dallas/Fort Worth near Gate 33 at Terminal B. The
operation is being touted as a combination convenience store and
upmarket deli. It sells take-out food created by Tim Love, best known
for his Fort Worth restaurants Lonesome Dove, Duce and Love Shack. … In
the midst of the cutbacks at Alaska/Horizon, there is an interesting
new route to report: a daily nonstop between Billings, Montana’s
largest city, and Helena, the state capital.

MILES & POINTS

American adds a fee for almost all AAdvantage Awards:
Effective June 21, the "free" award ticket is essentially dead at American Airlines. That’s when the carrier imposes a $5 "processing"
fee for claiming an American AAdvantage award ticket online. Only
Executive Platinum members are exempt. (If you claim a ticket by phone,
the cost is $20.) The airline claims that the online fee is being
imposed to offset the cost of technology upgrades. Meanwhile, American
is also bumping up the cost of many award seats. Most increases are
modest, in the 5,000-10,000-mile range, although a few premium
international awards as up as much as 20,000 miles. The mileage changes
are effective on October 1. … Porter Airlines, which flies to the
United States from a hub at Toronto’s City Island Airport, has launched
the VIPorter frequent flyer program.

NEED TO KNOW

Why NyLon matters: There’s lots of fallout on the New-York London route.
All three all-business airlines on the so-called NyLon run have now
folded (Maxjet last December, Eos in April, SilverJet last week). American Airlines is dumping its New York/Kennedy-London/Stansted route and the airfares paid on the remaining service from the British (Virgin Atlantic and British Airways) and U.S. carriers (American, Delta and Continental) are dropping. Of course, if you don’t travel
between New York and London, you might wonder what all the hubbub is
about. Well, here’s what it is about: According to Britain’s civil
aviation authorities, about 1.4 million passengers flew between the
United States and the United Kingdom in March. Almost 25 percent of
them (349,000) flew between New York’s two airports (Kennedy and
Newark) and London’s three facilities (Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton).
With that amount of market concentration, it’s no wonder everyone
obsesses over NyLon.

Read more "On the Road with Joe Brancatelli" at
roadwarrior.orbitz.com.

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Copyright 2008 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.

Tagged: Uncategorized