Looking for somewhere a bit more exotic to pursue your creative ambitions? Or perhaps you want some validation that you really do live in one of the trendiest parts of the world.
Either way, this list of 12 of the best places to live as a designer – chosen by illustrators, designers and artists who live in each location, with great illustrations by Tom Woolley – will reveal some hidden gems that any creative needs to investigate. They may even provide some holiday inspiration. Here they are, in no particular order.
01. Istanbul, Turkey
Designer and illustrator Tamer Koseli shares his favourite places to work, rest and play in Istanbul.
"I usually go here to work. The beautiful interior and calm atmosphere helps me concentrate on my projects. If I feel that I need a break, I usually go to the gym or attend an event here. It's really everything I need in one place."
"A really nice and cosy music venue with a nice selection of artists. I trust their taste in music, so I regularly buy the tickets for their events even though I don't know the band or artist playing, and enjoy them."
"A former bank building that now operates as a library and contemporary art gallery. I love its identity and how it's applied to the interior. Order a coffee, grab a book and enjoy the amazing view."
02. San Francisco, USA
Design director Luke Finch, aka WeLoveNoise, shares some of California's lesser-known highlights.
"It doesn't look like much on the outside, but inside is an amazing museum full of antique arcade game machines, fortune-telling machines, player pianos and more. It's like a step back through arcade game history, and some of these games predate our politically correct sensibilities, which can be hilarious."
"A super-quirky bar with random stuff hung all over the ceiling and walls. You know that weird broken baby doll with spider legs in Toy Story? Yup, that sort of stuff. Every time I go there, I find something new. It's a great place for a few drinks and live music."
"The lights are a new and great addition to San Francisco. I love walking along the edge of the bay at night, past all the piers and eventually seeing this light installation that stretches across the whole bridge towards Oakland."
"This museum is an ongoing exploration of science, art and human perception. It's a very interactive experience that feeds your curiosity and lets you discover things you never knew about."
"I'm not really a cyclist, but this trail is pretty amazing. The route starts on the SF side of the Golden Gate bridge and ends in Sausalito, a small seaside town in Marin City with loads of independent cafes, shops and restaurants. It's a great way to exercise, relax and get inspired."
03. Berlin, Germany
"Situated in the south-central Berlin borough of Templehof-Schöneberg, this airport has been disused since 2008, but its vibrant, open space is now used as a public park," says Walrond. "It's a perfect spot for recreational activities such as skating, rollerblading, BBQs and - my personal favourite - people watching."
"This international children's book store is a real gem, offering a beautiful variety of books in different languages and hosting regular literary events and exhibitions," reveals Snir. "The store showcases many small independent artists and publishers which are hard to come by otherwise."
"If you want to get high on design books, comics, illustration books, toys and fresh clothes, Big Brobot is your place," says Bustamante. "This little shop located in the vibrant heart of Friedrichshain has a huge range of great products for all your creative, playful needs, wardrobe and much more."
"A food village, night clubs, flea market and skatehall - what else can you ask for?" Bustamante adds. "Until 1994, the RAW used to be a place where the trains were repaired. Nowadays it's a great place to spend the weekends thanks to clubs like Cassiopeia and Suicide Circus. Also there's a Sunday flea market and now also a new food market with more than international specialities."
04. Brighton, UK
Freelance designer Jason Drew takes us on a whistle-stop tour around Brighton's best spots.
"This is one of Brighton's most famous sites, and with the Hove Lawns as well as the beach, it's one of my favourite lunch spots in the summer. Some things are famous for a reason."
"My local cafe is home to one of the best breakfasts in Brighton. It's only a tiny little place around the corner from where I live, but put it on your list if you're visiting. They also do take-out, it's a must for any hangover."
"Directly opposite each other, these two pubs are both my locals. It's always good to see the street fill up with people on a Friday after work when the sun's out. The Basketmakers wins, just, for one of Brighton's best pub lunches."
"Apparently one of the oldest running cinemas in the country, the Duke Of York's Picturehouse shows a mixture of arthouse, foreign and mainstream films. They also have interesting director Q&As and preview events. It beats the hell out of your local Odeon, plus they serve pizza and have a licensed bar."
"Known as one of the only places in Brighton that can get me to dance thanks to a great mix of blues and rockabilly, the Mesmerist has plenty of live swing and jazz, and some great DJs. It's one of the better places to spend a Saturday night."
05. Bogota, Colombia
Designer, artist and paper sculptor Diana Beltran Herrera shares the cultural and spiritual highlights of her native city.
"There's a beautiful colonial neighbourhood in Bogota called La Candelaria, and one of my favourite places there is this museum. It hosts exhibitions from international artists and the building has beautiful surroundings."
"Cine Tonala is located in an old house at La Merced. It showcases independent national and international movies, and is a cosy place to go with friends, have a drink, watch a film or see some art."
"This museum protects one of the national treasures of Colombia: pre- Hispanic gold work. There are all kinds of objects made by indigenous cultures, and some are really tiny and detailed."
"This gallery always has great exhibitions by contemporary Colombian artists who are becoming known internationally. Exhibitions vary from delicate drawing to sculpture and installation."
06. Singapore, Singapore
Nina Geometrieva, chief creative officer of mobile dating app Paktor, shows us where she finds inspiration.
"In the middle of a tropical island where the only season is summer, Snow City provides winter on demand. To fully immerse in the winter simulation, I bring my virtual reality headgear and teleport to a cold mountain. Winter jackets come for free since nobody owns one here."
"I've found the perfect real-life pause button. It's called a sensory deprivation tank. It isolates all my senses so I don't hear, touch, smell or taste anything; I'm just alone with myself and the noise in my head until I decide to resume reality, then it's sensory overload again."
"It's an interesting game trying to guess what I'm eating and observing the power of suggestion by imagining different foods before I take a bite. I'm pretty sure I've consumed Cthulhu nuggets at some point thinking it was carrots - or at least Cthulhu noodles."
Boat Quay, Air Conditioner Alley
"I don't know what it's called, but this is Singapore’s definitive air conditioner alley. It's right behind Boat Quay, and it hosts hundreds of air conditioners, cables and pipes. The hum of the air cons makes for an ice orchestra, and if I need a singing companion I come here and sing along with the chorus."
"When I need a little bit of a thick, lush jungle with bike paths, I visit Pulau Ubin. This is where I go when I want to be unable to move the next day because my legs refuse to co-operate."
07. Brooklyn, USA
Illustrator Julia Rothman plots her favourite places in Brooklyn.
"One side of Park Slope is bordered by Prospect Park. Inside you can find a running/biking loop, bandshell for summer concerts, a weekly farmer's market, a drum circle, picnic tables, dog beach and waterfall. This is where I spend most of my time."
"The museum showcases compelling contemporary exhibits but toasts a permanent collection of art that dates back to ancient Egypt. Highlights are Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party and a giant replica of the Statue of Liberty in the parking lot."
"The chef who opened this Asian-American restaurant used to be on Top Chef. The menu is wild with pretzel dumplings, yuku guacamole, and lobster Tom Kha. It's not on the menu but you can ask for a secret halo-halo dessert which mixes shaved ice bubble tea, pearls and Cap'n'Crunch cereal."
"This beautiful high-end clothing store sells mostly locally-crafted clothing and pieces from unique designers. Everything is always very well-made and uses exceptional fabrics. They also carry a small selection of home goods and very fancy socks."
08. Tampere, Finland
Illustrator Daniel Stolle invites you to take a tour around the southern Finnish city of Tampere.
"A gallery owned by a local collective showing mostly works by young Finnish artists. It also houses a small selection of local comics, catalogues and art books."
"The only museum about Vladimir Ilyich in the Western world, located in the building where Lenin and Stalin met the first time, when Finland was still part of Russia. The exhibition has a mimeographed charm - and is in a good way definitely not over-designed. It also has the sofa Lenin slept on during his visit to Tampere."
"This simple K-Market is one of thousands in Finland. But this one's housed in a building that looks like an art deco spaceship (from the right angle at least). My working room was right around the corner from here - fond memories!"
"This is as close as you can get to nature inside a city. It's earmarked for development as a fancy residential area. Start your trip while it's still public land: go towards Pyynikin Näkötorni from here and enjoy the view on lake Pyhäjärvi."
"A cafeteria in the base of an observation tower. The speciality is 'munkki', a kind of doughnut which by Finnish law is only taken with coffee! The smell of munkki greets you halfway up the mountain."
09. Denver, USA
Illustrator Shaw Nielsen selects his all-time favourite place around America's Mile High City.
"If I'm looking for a creative gift I love to hit up the I Heart Denver Store. It's a fantastic, quirky shop that specialises in locally designed and crafted goods. It also supports over 160 artists, designers, and design-focussed local businesses."
"When I'm after inspiration I usually take a trip to the Denver Art Museum. The building has a fantastic collection of western American art and Native American floor is a must-see."
"When I'm looking for creative fuel, this cafe is my go-to spot. It specialises in classic midwestern comfort food that's made from scratch, such as its menu special the Kansas City BBQ."
"Denver is known for its beauty and City Park doesn't disappoint. With great views of both the city and the mountains it's a wonderful spot to relax and refuel."
"Part of Denver's thriving local beer scene, BSB is a small brewery specialising in only Red Ales and sits smack in the middle of the River North Arts District. So after a few beers, I suggest you wander on over to one of the many nearby galleries."
10. Verona, Italy
Freelance illustrator Andrea Manzati has beautiful sights to share from the World Heritage site.
"An old book shop with a huge selection of Italian vintage prints, advertising posters, maps, engravings and old books. You can easily feel lost with the amount of stuff you can find here! A must visit for enthusiasts and collectors."
"Nature and history meet in this beautiful garden, just a step outside the city centre and near the Adige river. Built in the 1500s, it's a quiet, meditative and romantic place. From the upper terrace you can find one of the best views of Verona."
"A typical Italian restaurant just in front of the Arena. It offers a good selection of traditional Venetian dishes and often holds free live jazz concerts with famous musicians. If you're into this kind of music don't muss this place."
"Step inside this cozy little osteria if you are looking for a spritz (the classic Venetian aperitif), one of the best in town. Also they offer a superb selection of wines and craft beers."
"You can't survive an Italian summer without gelato! You can find a gelateria in almost every street, but this one in Via Mazzini (the main shopping street) is my favourite, thanks to the quirky interiors and of course delicious gelato."
11. Paris, France
Art director and graphic designer Michael Thorsby talks fashion, gin and pains au chocolat as he takes us on a whirlwind tour of his favourite haunts in Paris.
"The flagship store of top clothing brand Lemaire is located on a backstreet in northern Le Marais. It’s simple and perfect, like everything they do."
"This is a great little restaurant tucked away just off rue de Bretagne. Everything you order is great and the interior is beautiful, if a little nostalgic."
"The best clothing store in Paris. The selection is unmatched with brands like Juun J, Raf Simons and Vetements."
"In my neighbourhood, Julhès is the go-to place for anything good to eat and drink. They have their own bakery and even a gin distillery. It’s a bit of an empire in the area, but a good one."
"52 is an excellent restaurant and café, and the place where I often buy my morning coffee. They get their pains au chocolat from Julhès, which is a plus."
"Les Enfants Perdus is a restaurant just around the corner from home. I mainly go there for their great cave à vin."
12. Bath, UK
Jamie Ellul, creative director of design agency Supple Studio and chair of the West of England Design Forum, shares his favourite haunts in the picturesque English city of Bath (also home to Creative Bloq).
"My day starts with a cycle or walk to work, the last leg of which is through Victoria Park. It's a good time to think about the day ahead and a reminder of what a beautiful city I live and work in."
"The 16th century pub has no jukebox, no fancy food, no hipster 'taches and not even a hint of Farrow & Ball. It's simply a good old fashioned boozer with a great selection of ales, open fires, and a diverse and friendly clientele."
"This little shop on Broad Street offers a wide selection of indie magazines and publications covering everything from design to gardening, all beautifully laid out with a lovely minimalist gallery feel."
"Formerly Colonna & Hunter, this cool little establishment is tucked away in the otherwise bland Milsom Place, serving top-notch coffee, locally sourced food and a fast-changing roster of craft beers."
"Situated over the iconic Pulteney Bridge, Found is a haven of designery gifts and top-notch threads. Owners Olivia and Niki have an encyclopaedic knowledge of fashion; it's one of my favourite shops for picking up a gift."
These articles were originally featured in Computer Arts magazine.