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Around the World in Ten Days

Around the World in Ten Days

What to see, where to stay, what to eat, and what not to miss when you have a day in Atlantic City, two days in South Beach, three days in Stockholm, and four days in Tel Aviv. Plus: Five other hot cities to visit this summer.

ATLANTIC CITY: A Day at the (Other) Jersey ShoreSnooki and the Situation have unfortunately become the tangerine mascots of a beautiful strip of Atlantic coast, the Jersey Shore. But the modern Shore isn?t all fake nails and hair extensions.

Morning
The Atlantic City Express Service -- or ACES, get it? -- train (ACESTrain.com) is like a New Jersey Transit route in a midlife crisis. It?s all about fun, drinks, and frivolity. By the time you arrive from Penn Station after two and a half hours, you?ll be toasted, courtesy of the line?s Pour Tour, a concerted effort to inebriate patrons with signature seasonal cocktails. Fortunately, shuttles ferry customers from the station to hotels.

Noon
Check into the Chelsea (ChelseaAC.com), a boutique hotel thankfully bereft of gaming. Instead of rows of slots and hangdog greed on display, the Chelsea offers 20 floors of contemporary luxury. But forgo the Luxe Tower for the retro Annex, where in the shell of an old motel, you can live out your Mad Men?at-the-beach dreams.

Afternoon
Old Atlantic City, though seedy, has its own charm. Stop at the White House Sub Shop (609-345-1564) on Arctic Avenue and order the Philly cheese steak. With a few booths and the requisite photos of luminaries -- Sinatra, Mr. T, Al Gore -- White House has been serving no-frills sandwiches for more than 60 years with little concession to the changing times.

Evening
A visit to A.C., even for 24 hours, wouldn?t be complete without at least a pit stop at a casino. Try Caesars (CaesarsAC.com), where faux marble statues of centurions watch blank-eyed as you feed money into a slot machine. If, however, you are unlucky and wise, stop by the Pier Shops at Caesars -- you?ll certainly lose money, but you might end up with a Kenneth Cole suit or a Bottega Veneta day bag.

Night
Head back to the Chelsea for a bite at the Chelsea Prime (609-428-4545) , a 1940s-inspired steakhouse and one of A.C.?s bright culinary newcomers. Though the eight-ounce filet is tremendous, opt for the line-caught miso-glazed escolar. You are, after all, seaside. Later, why not chance it with the natives at the Westside Bar & Lounge (WestsideAC.com). Sundays, Lady LaBelle?s Amateur Drag Contest lures the tranny chasers in droves.

SOUTH BEACH: A Weekend Without Superego

There?s something about the sun and sand that dampens the critical naysaying of the superego. Miami is all about pleasure. But it?s not all hairless circuit queens sporting reflective sunglasses.

DAY ONE
Morning
Lounging in South Beach is done mostly poolside. For some reason, South Beachers eschew the beach (is it because it?s sandy?), but a beautiful wooden walkway runs the length of the area. To prep for your coming debauchery, go for a run along the water to the newly renovated South Pointe Park at the southern tip of the Beach. Chase the run up with challah French toast at the Front Porch Caf? at the Penguin Hotel (PenguinHotel.com).

Afternoon
Miami gets a bad rap for its lack of culture, but the Bass Museum of Art (BassMuseum.org), in the heart of Miami Beach, has rooms and rooms of it. One of the few Botticellis in this country, a massive altarpiece titled Coronation of the Virgin With Saints, hangs in the Taplin gallery on the first floor.

Evening
Gather around the Lucite piano -- it used to belong to Elton John -- in the Florida Room at the Delano Hotel (Delano-Hotel.com), where mixologist John Lermayer pours clever cocktails, like the Nirvana, made of fresh strawberries and arugula muddled with Velvet Falernum and C?roc.

SOUTH BEACH

DAY TWO
Morning
Grab a caf? cubano at the Caf? Bustelo boutique in the Hotel Gansevoort (GansevoortSouth.com) and walk south on Collins. Speckled on the horizon off the shore is Stiltsville, a clutch of houses on stilts from Prohibition days. Though time and hurricanes have decimated the community, a few still remain. Call 305-443-2266 for tours.

Afternoon
Speedo-walk through the gay stretch of South Beach -- demarcated by rainbow flags -- at 12th and Ocean, then head back to the Standard Hotel (StandardHotels.com/Miami), Andr? Balazs?s beautiful redo of a former lido for old Jews. Now attractive hipsters relax in the sculpture garden where bubbelehs used to play bridge. Spend the afternoon poolside, cocktail in hand -- it?s by far the best scene in Miami Beach.

Night
Begin the night at Ola at the Sanctuary Hotel, a Nuevo Latino restaurant by James Beard Foundation Award?winning chef Douglas Rodriguez that?s heavy on sabor but not too sceney. After dinner, head to Twist (TwistSobe.com), the South Beach perennial. The club may not be new, but it?s always fun and packed with go-go boys as solicitous as the patrons, many of whom look like they stepped out of a 2(x)ist ad -- indeed, they might?ve.

STOCKHOLM: Three Sweet Swedish Days

Stockholm has long been one of Europe?s design centers, known for its purist aesthetic. But lately it has found the balance between pared-down style and flat-out fun.

DAY ONE
Morning
Hit the cobbled ground running and start in the Old Town (the Gamla Stan). Sitting on its own island, Stadsholmen, and billed as Europe?s largest intact medieval city center, the district is one marathon photo op of pistachio- and rose-colored townhouses. There?s nothing quaint, though, about its centerpiece: the 600-room 18th-century Italian baroque Royal Palace, where the Royal Armoury features the world?s biggest walk-in closet of royal couture.

Afternoon
Take a break at the Muren (08-10-80-70), a caf? built into the old city walls where the regulars nurse their blueberry cheesecake, a feathery thing, while watching the promenade outside.

Evening
Check into the Lydmar Hotel (Lydmar.com), across the harbor from the Old Town. The 47 boutique rooms feature a sleek but quirky blend of world-class documentary photos, tufted headboards, velvet settees, and some cherry-picked kitsch (tin toy ships, plastic laser guns, antique globes). At night, stylish locals gather at the first-floor restaurant-cum-clubhouse for revolving art exhibits and heady dishes like tarragon-fried scallops.

STOCKHOLM

DAY TWO
Morning
Devote your second day to ?stermalm, the largely 19th-century heart of Stockholm that sprawls behind the Lydmar. For a sense of streamlined Swedish design, stop by Asplund (Asplund.org) where the easy-to-pack wool blankets and throws balance hot and cold color blocks. Then make a pit stop at the ?stermalm Food Hall to ogle the pastries and the big-boned fishmongers standing behind mountains of fat pink Nordic shrimp.

Afternoon
The requisite culture stop is the National Museum (NationalMuseum.se) where the undervalued Scandinavian landscapes, lit by a pearly Northern light, make the collection?s better-known Watteaus look overwrought and soulless.

Evening
Head back into the center of ?stermalm for dinner, a nightcap, and people-watching at Sturehof (Sturehof.com) where the waitstaff wear braided epaulettes on their coats, the Dalaro sandwich (smoked herring, roe, and egg yolk) is the Swedish larder on a plate, and everyone races to the terrace tables to watch the Swedes glide by.

STOCKHOLM

DAY THREE
Morning
Start off in the artsy S?dermalm district, lined with boutiques, art galleries, and more boutiques. Grandpa (Grandpa.se), a typical example, mixes clothes (including Swedish brands Whyred and A.O), trendy doodads, and sometimes DJs.

Afternoon
Head to the edge of the Old Town to Torget (Torgetbaren.com), one of the city?s venerable gay landmarks. The vibe here is an understated Nordic camp that favors crystal chandeliers, red velvet banquettes, and live performances, including the popular drag show Tollie & Dolores, fueled by vodka tonics and strawberry daiquiris.

Evening
For a corresponding lesson in Swedish swank spend your last night in the Grand H?tel Stockholm (GrandHotel.se), the city?s recently renovated grand dame. Finish the day at Mathias Dahlgren (Mdghs.se), the hotel?s restaurant where Stockholm?s top chef dishes up master-class plates like lamb with sweetbreads, morels, and a bright green nettle sauce. If the price is too haute, Dahlgren also offers a much more affordable caf? across the hall.

TEL AVIV: Four Hot Days in the Holy Land

DAY ONE
Morning
The city has a glut of big brand-name hotels, but travelers seeking a trusted name should stick with the David InterContinental (Intercontinental.com), located in Neve Tzedek, the Soho of Tel Aviv. Boutique fanciers, though, ought to hit the Alexander (Alexander.co.il), a sleek spot next to the beach and Tel Aviv Port, an outdoor collection of restaurants, bars, and shopping. The downtown Montefiore Hotel (HotelMontefiore.co.il), a renovated 1920s townhouse, also offers 12 chic rooms and a restaurant that?s a favorite of the local cognoscenti.

Afternoon
The weather is always amazing in Tel Aviv, so work your tan at the unofficial gay beach, a small stretch of sand full of local flavor (i.e., tall, dark, and handsome men), beneath the cliff-top Hilton Hotel (corner of HaYarkon and Arlozorov Streets).

Evening
Skip Independence Park, the city?s infamous cruising ground, and try Atraf (Atraf.com), an Israeli gay-friendly online social network, that makes it easy to look for love in all the wrong places. Take your first step into Tel Aviv?s unrivaled gay nightlife with a few cocktails at Evita (972-3-566-9559), the queen of the city?s gay bars and a safe bet for friendly mingling.

TEL AVIV

DAY TWO
Morning
Explore Rothschild Boulevard, on your own or as part of a gay tour (972-3-5166188; gay-tours@glbt.org.il). The city?s prettiest street is a UNESCO World Heritage site and includes a wealth of Bauhaus architectural gems.

Afternoon
Avoid the crush of evening crowds at Orna & Ella (972-3-620-4753) by snacking early at this Israeli-meets-Italian caf? on Shenkin Street, known all over town for its sweet potato fritters, espresso, and tarte tatin.

Evening
Taste Tel Aviv?s signature bohemian cool at Joz ve Loz (972-3-560-6385), an effortlessly stylish restaurant owned by the eponymous lesbian couple that serves inventive Mediterranean fare. Afterward, join your straight friends at La Champa (972-3-77-2008636), a tiny Cava bar where the party inevitably spills out onto the streets.

TEL AVIV

DAY THREE
Morning
Jaffa?s Old City is home to ancient charm, a flea market, art galleries, Middle Eastern eateries, and the Ilana Goor Museum (972-3-683-7676; IlanaGoor.com), where eclectic art is housed in a gorgeous 850-year-old space.

Afternoon
Catch a performance at the Suzanne Dellal Center (972-3-510-5656; SuzanneDellal.org.il), Tel Aviv?s shrine to modern dance, in Neve Tzedek.

Evening
Hit up the PAG party line (MySpace.com/Pagit), a gay fave big on electronic music. The Playground Party at the -1 Club (52 Nahalat Binyamin St.) is a Friday night mess of energetic house music, alcohol, and guys. For a late-night snack or hangover-alleviating all-day brunch, head to Benedict (972-3-686-8657).

TEL AVIV

DAY FOUR
Morning
Wake up early for a 60-minute drive to Jerusalem?s Old City. Though you could easily spend a week there, a quick survey of the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the place of Jesus? crucifixion), and the Dome of the Rock (the world?s oldest Islamic building) can all be packed into one day.

Afternoon
Grab some delicious bagel bread sold by numerous vendors outside the Western Wall before taking the #444 bus 40 kilometers to the Ein Bokek entrance to the Dead Sea, where you can float atop the saline-heavy water, and self-administer a dead sea salt skin treatment you?d pay hundreds of dollars for at home.

Night
Celebrate your last evening in town with some cocktails and a great view at Sublet (6 Koifman St.), one of the city?s many trendy rooftop bars.

5 HOT CITIES FOR SUMMER 2010

1. Montreal, Canada
Though Vancouver may have the post-Olympic glow, Montreal, the old trader town on the Saint Lawrence, is more charming. Trust us, Montreal?s Gay Village parties harder than any Olympic village ever could.

2. Cartagena, Colombia
Centuries of trade have turned this fortified town into a palimpsest of Colonial influence, though the place jumps not for the past but for the present. The nightlife is unrivaled on both sides of the Equator.

3. Split, Croatia
Tourists flock to Dubrovnik farther south, but this coastal city has one major advantage: the spectacular 4th-century Diocletian?s Palace. Better yet, hop a ferry to the Dalmatian isles (and the busy gay beach at Jerolim, near Hvar).

4. Antwerp, Belgium
The host city of this year?s International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association Global Convention is not just an early adopter of gay marriage, it?s also home to Red & Blue (RedAndBlue.be), one of Europe?s largest gay clubs.

5. Marrakech, Morrocco
Yves Saint Laurent, Paul Bowles, Allen Ginsberg -- they all called Moroccco?s imperial city home. Last springs reopening of the legendary La Mammounia resort makes now the perfect time to visit.

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