In the past 20 years of my life, I have been blessed to be able to travel the world, exploring countries and cultures very different from mine. There is so much to be learned through experience, lessons that are so valuable and irreplaceable when it comes to relationships, lifestyles, and appreciating blessings. I want to share my top 21 places in the world this far, and hope it sparks some wanderlust in you. (The order of this list may vary upon my mood).

1. Toronto, ON

First things first, Toronto is home for me, and it is my favourite place in the world. Canada is a beautiful country, despite the weather being cold for 10 months out of the year. Summer in Toronto is unmatched, especially for young people in their twenties. The city offers a dynamic blend of culture, adventure, and entertainment. There is a vibrant cultural scene in every neighbourhood, with diverse culinary experience you can’t get anywhere else in the world.

Queen Street West has trendy bars and live music venues for nightlife. The Toronto Islands make for fun day trips, and the city hosts plenty of festivals and events, from the Toronto International Film Festival to numerous music and food festivals throughout the year. My favourite is Caribana, when the city lights up with multicultural vibes and endless activities. Toronto provides the perfect backdrop for making unforgettable memories in your twenties.

2. Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi is the future. It’s amazing how you can go from sleeping in a tent in the desert one night, to walking on marble floors with gold detailing in the world’s most elaborate Mosque. From Masdar City, the small city run entirely on eco-friendly energy, to the Formula 1 race track on Yas Island, the experiences are unforgettable. Abu Dhabi has a unique combination of adventure, culture, and luxury. As the capital of the UAE, it is a blend of awe-inspiring architecture, chic lounges and beach clubs but also water sports, dune bashing, and camel trekking.

3. Los Angeles, California

The first time I went to LA, I fell in love. I fell in love because The Grove at night is like stepping into a different world. I fell in love because Venice beach in the day is a cumulation of every picture, movie, or song that you would imagine LA to be like. I fell in love because you can get a chicken leg out of a drive-through window at El Pollo Loco. But mostly, I fell in love because of the smothered chicken and waffles at Roscoes. Los Angeles is a quintessential destination for people in their twenties. LA is home to iconic landmarks like the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Universal Studios. The city’s rich artistic and cultural landscape is filled with museums, galleries, and theaters, to ensures a well-rounded and unforgettable experience.

4. Santorini, Greece

The sunsets I witnessed on this island are far beyond anything I have ever seen in my life. My friend and I paid about 25 Euros to rent a car for the day, and drove from beach to beach, chasing the sunset from the Akrotiri Red Beach to the village of Oia on the opposite side of the island. Santorini is is ideal for adventure, romance, and relaxation. The island is small so you can spend the day exploring and relax at a nice restaurant while enjoying wine, socializing and making new friends. The breathtaking scenery of Santorini will be engrave in your memory forever.

5. Rome, Italy

Can I just say pasta, pizza and wine? I surprisingly didn’t gain any weight from eating as many carbs as humanly possible. Not to mention the gelato and cannoli’s. From (rome)ing the colosseum, to the clubs and restaurants, I definitely felt immersed in the Italian culture. I stayed just steps away from the Trevi fountain, lit a candle in a catholic church, and stopped at as many wine shops as possible to expand my palate (if you know what I’m saying).

Rome has a rich tapestry of history, culture, and vibrant urban life. It provides an immersive journey through time, with iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon, bringing the pages of our history books to life. The city’s dynamic atmosphere offers lively piazzas, bustling markets, and charming cafes. Visiting Rome in your twenties guarantees a blend of education, excitement, and endless exploration in one of the world’s most captivating cities.

6. Paris, France

I think I ate a crêpe each day the first time I went to Paris. I was about 16, not yet the legal drinking age in Canada, but I was drinking red wine as if I was. The culinary scene is riddled with charming bistros and gourmet patisseries. Paris is a dream destination for people in their twenties, offering an irresistible mix of romance and culture.

The city is so romantic and scenic with its iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre-Dame Cathedral. There are people playing accordions and singing French music on every street. The Louvre is an amazing combination or art and history, their shopping is ahead of its time, and floating past the Eiffel tower on a cruise will make you fall in love the same way I did. Paris captivates providing endless opportunities for exploration and awe.

7. Ochos Rios, Jamaica & 8. Kingston, Jamaica

Jamaica is on this list twice because I’m an island gyal; thanks to my parents who were born and raised in Jamaica. This country has the most beautiful beaches, the most delicious food, and the happiest people. It’s impossible not to be relaxed by the crashing waves, reggae music and Jamaican sunshine. The island’s stunning beaches provide the perfect spots for relaxation and swimming, or water sports like snorkeling and diving.

For the adventure seekers, there are opportunities for hiking, zip-lining, and exploring waterfalls like the famous Dunn’s River Falls. Jamaica’s cultural heritage is rich, deeply rooted in reggae music and Rastafarian traditions. When visiting, be sure to attend a local festival, music venue, or attend a beach party or bars. Jamaicans are some of the most welcoming people and create a vibrant atmosphere to soak up sun, culture, and adventure. The feeling of having your belly full of mangoes and jerk chicken, sipping out of a coconut will change your life.

9. Dubai, UAE

Dubai, just like Abu Dhabi, is very futuristic. I mean, where else can you find a whole aquarium in a mall that’s connected to the largest building in the world?! Dubai offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition that caters to a wide range of interests. The city’s skyline is adorned with futuristic architecture, including the iconic Burj Khalifa. The luxury shopping at famous malls, traditional souks, and world-class dining scenes are perfect for young adults looking to indulge and socialize with people from all over the globe.

10. Barcelona, Spain

I truly wish that I had spent more time in Spain, and definitely want to go back in the summertime. From sitting on the highest hill looking down on the city to eating paella and churros, sipping on sangria, I loved every minute. The city has stunning architecture, from Gaudí’s masterpieces like the Sagrada Família and Park Güell to the Gothic Quarter’s medieval charm, art is so important in Spain. Barcelona has gorgeous beaches, parks and outdoor spaces for relaxation and recreation. I truly enjoyed nightlife in Barcelona, bar-hopping, clubbing, dancing and socializing.

11. Athens, Greece

History was always one of my favourite subjects, but no textbook can do justice to the aesthetic of this ruined city. The hike up to the top of the Acropolis was stunning. The feeling of standing in empty stadiums and theatres, you can almost envision the people standing there all those years ago, preparing for the show of a lifetime. It’s amazing how someplace so broken can still be so gorgeous. Athens is the perfect mix of history, breathtaking landscapes, and delectable Greek cuisine. I enjoyed savory souvlaki, mouthwatering chocolate and pistachio desserts and other Greek delights. Athens makes for an unforgettable travel experience in your 20s.

12. London, UK

Every visit to London is different for me. Sure, it’s the same Big Ben and the same Buckingham Palace, and the same London Eye, and the same Harrods, but the culture is always new and up-to-date. From the music to the fashion and technology, I’m always put on to something new in the UK. Much like Toronto and New York City, each neighbourhood in London has something different to offer. Some areas with street art and trendy bars, others have the best stores for shopping or dining. London really is the “it” scene, with legendary nightlife, green spaces like Hyde Park and Regent’s Park, and all of the famous landmarks you’ve seen in the movies.

It should be on everyone’s bucket list to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace and drink tea and eat crumpets at a cute London café. With its dynamic energy, rich heritage, and endless entertainment options, London is an ideal cosmopolitan destination for 20-somethings., and will give you a reason to return home calling the subway the “tube.”

13. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

From ATVing through dirt roads, to jumping off of cliffs into water 30 feet deep, there is so much adventure to be had in Punta Cana. The stunning white-sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, create the perfect setting for tanning, snorkeling, and windsurfing. I went with a group of 10 girlfriends and we had the time of our lives dancing the night away in underground cave nightclubs, beach bars, and resort parties. The all-inclusive resorts are amazing for a stress-free vacation experience with unlimited food, drinks, and entertainment. With all the sunshine I got, my tan from the Dominican sun had me glowing like a goddess for weeks.

14. Atlanta, Georgia

Are we ready to talk about Southern hospitality? As soon as I landed at Hartsfield, I felt like I was home. I was welcomed with “How can I help you,” and “You finding everything you need, sweetie?” Now, I don’t know what you may have heard, but young people in Atlanta sure know how to have a good time. Nightlife in Atlanta is unlike anywhere in the world. The best club I’ve ever gone to was in Atlanta, and it was packed. The image of the crowd swag surfing, in a venue the size of a football field, will forever be my favourite clubbing experience. Midtown, Atlanta is known for its renowned for its lively arts scene, and East Atlanta Village is famous for its bars and music venues. Of course the Southern states are well recognized for their Southern cuisine with staples like friend chicken, mac and cheese, corn bread, and the list goes on. This city is brimming with culture, history, and youthful energy. A day in Atlanta can quickly turn from no plans to kickbacks, shopping at Lennox Mall, hitting a club, and stopping at Waffle house at 4 a.m. before you head home. Keeping it spontaneous is the best and only way to experience the infamous ATL.

15. New York City, New York

I like to think of New York City as my second home. I would visit the Bronx every summer to visit my grandmother ever since I was a little girl. I remember being a girl from the suburbs of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), used to be driven everywhere, having to walk blocks on end to get everywhere in New York. In this city, you’re always on the move; everyone has some place else to be, and a small window of time to get there. Of course you’ll want to visit the iconic landmarks, like Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty, but don’t forget to indulge in the arts scene by visiting world-class museums like the Museum of Modern Art, or by catching a Broadway show.

NYC’s nightlife is a beautiful mix of rooftop bars, underground clubs, and live music venues catering to every taste. Foodies will love the city’s diverse culinary landscape, from food trucks and street vendors to Michelin-starred restaurants. The city’s dynamic neighborhoods, such as Brooklyn’s Williamsburg and Manhattan’s Lower East Side, offer unique shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences. Visiting New York City in your twenties is a non-negotiable that promises cultural enrichment, nightlife, and endless urban exploration. It’s true that this is where the best and biggest dreams are made.

16. Cape Town, South Africa

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Cape Town twice in my twenties, and both times left me in awe. Cape Town is so rich in cultural and natural beauty with so many gorgeous and diverse landscapes. There activities are endless in Cape Town, it will make you feel like you’re on multiple vacations at once. From hiking up famous mountains like Lion’s Head and Table Mountain to spotting penguins at Boulder’s Beach, or surfing by the Atlantic Ocean, each moment is picturesque. Whether you’re interested in partying, dining, visiting farmer’s markets, or enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town has it all.

My friends and I ventured through diverse neighborhoods, like the colorful Bo-Kaap and trendy Woodstock, with its unique cultural and artistic vibes. We drank wine until we couldn’t walk straight at famous wineries in Franschhoek, after a scenic tram ride through the vineyards. One of my favourite activities was trekking through Kirstenbosch National Park and walking across the boomslang. Cape Town promises an adventurous and enriching experience, blending outdoor thrills, cultural exploration, and energetic city life.

17. Miami, Florida

I had to put Miami on this list because duh! It’s Miami! The fast cars, pretty women, handsome men, fun nightlife, beaches, malls, restaurants… It’s every 20-something-year-old’s dream! Walk down Lincoln Road on a Saturday, go shopping at Aventura mall, and stop in the Wynwood Art District to check out the street art. Grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant to taste the fusion of Latin American and international flavours, but don’t forget to wash down your meal with a strong drink from Fat Tuesday.

The best time to visit Miami is during Art Basel and the Miami Music Week, when there are visitors from all over the world looking for the best in entertainment. But let’s be real, is there really ever a bad time to visit Miami? Miami in your twenties is guaranteed to be filled with fun, sun, and unmatched vibes, but please, please if you do anything at all, go to South Beach and lay out in the sun.

18. Heidelberg, Germany

I’m not one who loves snow or the cold, but this pretty little snow globe of a city seemed too perfect to be real. Never had I ever imagined myself traveling to Germany, but when my friend was there studying abroad, I had to take the opportunity to visit. This little city was lit up like a christmas tree when I visited in January. The quaint souvenir shops and humming of people walking down the alleys made me feel like I was on the set of the perfect Hallmark holiday movie. From the cute boutiques and souvenir shops, to the château-style hotels, it is one place I don’t mind to see covered in fluffy white flakes.

Heidelberg is enchanting for people in their twenties because many of the town residents and visitors are students of the nearby universities. Heidelberg boasts a lively atmosphere with a youthful vibe. The Heidelberg Castle is visible from almost everywhere, creating an Old Town aesthetic. The charming streets of Altstadt are filled with cafes, bars, and shops, perfect for leisurely strolls and socializing. The city’s rich cultural scene, with its theaters, music festivals, and art galleries, ensures there’s always something to do. Heidelberg’s mix of academic prestige, historical allure, and scenic beauty makes it an ideal destination for twenty-somethings seeking a captivating travel experience.

19. Bali, Indonesia

Bali is a paradise for people of all ages, but going in your twenties puts the icing on the cake. Bali is one of the most scenic places I have ever been, if you don’t believe me, read my blog, 10 Most Instagram-Worthy Places to Visit in Bali. Bali is your ideal vacation destination for adventure, relaxation, and hitting the reset button on life. Young travelers come here to surf, dive, and snorkeling, or trek through verdant rice terraces and up volcanic peaks. Downtown Ubud offers enriching experiences with its traditional art, dance performances, serene temples, and the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. There are so many beautiful temples, waterfalls, rice terraces and photo-ops all over Bali. Don’t forget to experience the Bali swing!

20. Seoul, South Korea

After living in South Korea for two years, it would be safe to assume that I would put Seoul on this list. Seoul is a playground for people in their twenties looking to explore, immerse themselves in a new culture, and meet other young travelers. This city is a dynamic fusion of tradition, technology, and urban culture. I was blown away one of my first weekends in Seoul, when I found myself in the mosh pit of a Korean reggae concert. The city has bustling shopping districts like Myeongdong and Gangnam, historical landmarks like Gyeongbokgung Palace, and entertainment districts like Hongdae and Itaewon.

Korean pop culture has become very popular in recent years, introduced to the western world through K-pop music and Korean dramas. Hongdae is the place to catch street dancers and live performances at every hour of the day. The people who say New York City never sleeps have clearly never been to Seoul. Seoul has a rich history exposed in its ancient palaces, temples, and traditional markets like Namdaemun. What I miss most about Seoul is the range of street food, trendy cafes, and delicious Korean meals like Korean BBQ, Bibimbap, and of course Korean fried chicken. Learn more about Korean food in my blog, Top 10 Foods to Try in South Korea.

21. Cartageña, Colombia

I visited Cartageña to attend a wedding, and it was more beautiful than anything I could’ve ever dreamed of. The venue was an outdoor garden inside the walls of a church. The sun shine and chirping of the birds were so beautiful it could make anybody want to stand up and say “I do.” Cartagena is renowned for its beautifully preserved colonial architecture, with colorful streets and the walled Old Town. The city has salsa clubs, rooftop bars, and dancing in the streets. We dined in exquisite restaurants and rode in a horse-drawn carriage like it was a fairytale. The beaches in Cartagena are stunning, so it’s no surprise why lively beach clubs are so popular here. The beaches here offer jet ski rides, parasailing, or you can swim or sunbathe. If you plan to visit Cartageña, be sure to eat some fresh fruit from local vendors, dance with palenque dancers and catch a wedding there if you can!

Embrace your twenties exploring the world

Your twenties are a transformative decade, a time to explore, discover, and create unforgettable memories. The 21 places we’ve highlighted, including the vibrant cityscape of Los Angeles and the iconic allure of New York City, offer a diverse array of experiences. From the bustling streets of Paris to the serene landscapes of Germany, and from the luxury and innovation in Dubai to the energy and diversity of Toronto, each destination promises adventure, cultural enrichment, and the chance to step out of your comfort zone. So, pack your bags, embrace spontaneity, and embark on journeys that will shape your perspective and leave a lasting impact. Here’s to exploring the world in your twenties—making every moment count and every destination a story worth telling. Happy travels!

Looking for your next adventure? Check out the Top 5 things to do in Tulum.