No one could believe their eyes when Queen Letizia of Spain and husband King Felipe VI stepped out in Madrid's "hipster" neighborhood Malasaña on September 26. Dressed down in jeans, the couple caught a late Saturday night movie and headed to Gumbo, a Cajun restaurant where specialties include fried green tomatoes for $9.80 and jambalaya for around $14.
As they mingled with the locals, one lucky onlooker, @raqueloffduty, snapped a photo of herself with the royal couple in front of a graffiti-covered wall, posting it with the caption: "THE ROYAL FAMILY".
The King and Queen often frequent the Malasaña barrio and are known for showing up by surprise at neighborhood restaurants after making reservations under a pseudonym. "The first question is always, 'Is that them?' And the second is, 'What do we do now?'," one restaurant owner told HELLO!'s sister magazine ¡HOLA!. What's it like having royals hit up your local hotspots? Twitter fan @getmep summed up the reaction: "Madrid has some pretty cool stuff. But to be walking around Malasaña and bump into the King and Queen is at another level."
In the spirit of Queen Letizia's cool night out, we’ve listed some of the best up-and-comingneighborhoods in some celebrity fave cities:
BUSHWICK, NEW YORK CITY While New York City is home to many fashionable celebs, growing in popularity over the past five years is Brooklyn’sBushwick neighborhood, where celebrity spotting might include getting a glimpse of Girls star Zosia Mamet.You might bump into Zosia Mamet while you're out and about in Bushwick
Bushwick was even listed as one of the coolest neighborhoods in theworld by Vogue in 2014. It’s perfect for people watching, as trendsetters havebeen flocking here in recent years and testing out their latest street styles. The neighborhood’s uber-cool offerings include kitschy theme bars like BoobieTrap and Gotham City Lounge and shops like Better Than Jam and Schwick Marketthat feature local clothing makers and jewelry artists.
Serving up more locally created fare, Roberta’s restaurantrefuses to let its urban location stop it from growing its own ingredients. Ahub for Brooklyn’s sustainable food movement with its rooftop garden, Roberta’spleases any palate with pizzas and rustic Mediterranean-style entrees. Rightnow, Bushwick has all the ingredients for a hipster’s perfect paradise, but wesee rising rents and baby strollers on the horizon, so eat up the neighborhoodwhile it’s fresh.
Providing the colorful, bustling background for Scarlett Johansson’s break-out role in Lost inTranslation, Tokyo’s sparkling Shibuya district often comes to mind when peoplethink about the Japanese city. But Shibuya only shows a sliver of Tokyo’sculture, fashion and architecture. Next door, the Aoyama neighborhood providesan excellent contrast to Shibuya’s glitz and glam with its understated andsophisticated sleekness.
AOYAMA, TOKYOProviding the colorful, bustling background for Scarlett Johansson’s break-out role in Lost inTranslation, Tokyo’s sparkling Shibuya district often comes to mind when peoplethink about the Japanese city. But Shibuya only shows a sliver of Tokyo’sculture, fashion and architecture. Next door, the Aoyama neighborhood providesan excellent contrast to Shibuya’s glitz and glam with its understated andsophisticated sleekness.People travel from all over the world to check out the Blue Note club
Home to high-end fashion boutiques like Miu Miu, Prada andComme De Garçons, Aoyama is a celebration of moderndesign and culture. The Spiral building, an architectural stunner, presents artshows and theater events to the neighborhood’s visitors and young professionalpopulation. At night, crowds pour into the high-end jazz club The Blue Note and on weekends all ofTokyo rushes to the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium to cheer on their teams.Sarah Jessica Parker attended a Chanel party in the Tokyo neighborhood in 2012
Overallthe neighborhood is easy on the eyes and a great place to explore, uncoveringthe hidden intricacy of its simple elegance.
LA DÉFENSE, PARISStarlets like Kim Kardashian have used the City of Light almost as a second home staying near the Arc de Triomphe, but just a 10 minute subway ride away is an arresting cluster of shimmering skyscrapers in Paris’ La Défenseneighborhood. Its architecturally impressive glass and steal high-risessurround the Grande Arche de la Défense at the end of Paris’ nine-kilometerline of historical buildings and monuments, Axe historique.
Although the architecture alone warrants a visit, La Défense alsoboasts one of the best open-air museums in the area with over 60 statues andworks of modern art. Overlooking the Seine River,
Meliá La Défense Hotel offers modern décor with a cozy vibe, perfect for curling up and taking in thesweeping views of Paris after a long day of strolling the open-air museum andpastry eating. The many visitors that never leave the Champs-Elysee will missthe important insight into modern Parisian industry and lifestyle thisneighborhood has to offer.
SHOREDITCH, LONDONBeyond the posh Mayfair and South Kensington areas where Victoria Beckham frequents, in theeast end of London the Shoreditch neighborhood offers just as much shopping andgallery browsing as its West End cousins. Known historically for its theatersand music halls, today Shoreditch – home to British celebs like comedian Russell Brand – attracts a diverse crowd to its edgynightlife, accessible eateries and trendy vibe.Ahead of the pack – Keira Knightley made headlines when she bought a Shoreditch flat back in 2008
Restaurant Song Que representssome of the best (and cheapest) cuisine the neighborhood’s large Vietnamese populationcan cook up, and Hawksmoor Spitalfields provides Shoreditch diners the beststeaks renowned butcher Ginger Pig has in stock.
Behind the doors of the rainbow painted storefronts onColumbia Road, eclectic treasures abound. On this street, shoppers can findeverything from vintage clothing to modern housewares amidst a charming, artsyatmosphere. And on Sundays, the street is the setting for a beautiful flower market - which is worth browsing through just to soak up the atmosphere. The whole neighborhood acts as an art gallery, facades of manybuildings covered in impressive graffiti murals. It’s perfect to view from therooftop of hip nightspot Queen of Hoxton where hipster Londoners party likeroyalty until the early morning hours.