Queen Letizia's hipster hotspot & 4 more hidden locales around the world

By Kristin Walters

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-coming neighborhoods 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’s Bushwick 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 Photo: Getty Images

Bushwick was even listed as one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world by Vogue in 2014. It’s perfect for people watching, as trendsetters have been flocking here in recent years and testing out their latest street styles. The neighborhood’s uber-cool offerings include kitschy theme bars like Boobie Trap and Gotham City Lounge and shops like Better Than Jam and Schwick Market that feature local clothing makers and jewelry artists.

Better Than Jam has an adorable selection of clothes by local designers Photo: Yelp

Serving up more locally created fare, Roberta’s restaurant refuses to let its urban location stop it from growing its own ingredients. A hub for Brooklyn’s sustainable food movement with its rooftop garden, Roberta’s pleases any palate with pizzas and rustic Mediterranean-style entrees. Right now, Bushwick has all the ingredients for a hipster’s perfect paradise, but we see rising rents and baby strollers on the horizon, so eat up the neighborhood while it’s fresh.

Aoyama, Tokyo

Providing the colorful, bustling background for Scarlett Johansson’s break-out role in Lost in Translation , Tokyo’s sparkling Shibuya district often comes to mind when people think about the Japanese city. But Shibuya only shows a sliver of Tokyo’s culture, fashion and architecture. Next door, the Aoyama neighborhood provides an excellent contrast to Shibuya’s glitz and glam with its understated and sophisticated sleekness.

Serving up more locally created fare, Roberta’s restaurant refuses to let its urban location stop it from growing its own ingredients. A hub for Brooklyn’s sustainable food movement with its rooftop garden, Roberta’s pleases any palate with pizzas and rustic Mediterranean-style entrees. Right now, Bushwick has all the ingredients for a hipster’s perfect paradise, but we see rising rents and baby strollers on the horizon, so eat up the neighborhood while it’s fresh.

AOYAMA, TOKYO
Providing the colorful, bustling background for Scarlett Johansson’s break-out role in Lost in Translation, Tokyo’s sparkling Shibuya district often comes to mind when people think about the Japanese city. But Shibuya only shows a sliver of Tokyo’s culture, fashion and architecture. Next door, the Aoyama neighborhood provides an excellent contrast to Shibuya’s glitz and glam with its understated and sophisticated sleekness.

People travel from all over the world to check out the Blue Note club Photo: Yelp

Home to high-end fashion boutiques like Miu Miu, Prada and Comme De Garçons, Aoyama is a celebration of modern design and culture. The Spiral building, an architectural stunner, presents art shows and theater events to the neighborhood’s visitors and young professional population. At night, crowds pour into the high-end jazz club The Blue Note and on weekends all of Tokyo rushes to the Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium to cheer on their teams.


Sarah Jessica Parker attended a Chanel party in the Tokyo neighborhood in 2012 Photo: Getty Images

Overall the neighborhood is easy on the eyes and a great place to explore, uncovering the hidden intricacy of its simple elegance.

LA DÉFENSE, PARIS
Starlets 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 Défense neighborhood. Its architecturally impressive glass and steal high-rises surround the Grande Arche de la Défense at the end of Paris’ nine-kilometer line of historical buildings and monuments, Axe historique.

Melia La Défense offers spectacular Paris views and easy access to main attractions Photo: Melia La Défense

Although the architecture alone warrants a visit, La Défense also boasts one of the best open-air museums in the area with over 60 statues and works 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 the sweeping views of Paris after a long day of strolling the open-air museum and pastry eating. The many visitors that never leave the Champs-Elysee will miss the important insight into modern Parisian industry and lifestyle this neighborhood has to offer.

SHOREDITCH, LONDON
Beyond the posh Mayfair and South Kensington areas where Victoria Beckham frequents, in the east end of London the Shoreditch neighborhood offers just as much shopping and gallery browsing as its West End cousins. Known historically for its theaters and music halls, today Shoreditch – home to British celebs like comedian Russell Brand – attracts a diverse crowd to its edgy nightlife, accessible eateries and trendy vibe.


Ahead of the pack – Keira Knightley made headlines when she bought a Shoreditch flat back in 2008
Photo: Getty Images

Restaurant Song Que represents some of the best (and cheapest) cuisine the neighborhood’s large Vietnamese population can cook up, and Hawksmoor Spitalfields provides Shoreditch diners the best steaks renowned butcher Ginger Pig has in stock.

Columbia Road has been referred to as a "hidden treasure" of London Photo: TripAdvisor

Behind the doors of the rainbow painted storefronts on Columbia Road, eclectic treasures abound. On this street, shoppers can find everything from vintage clothing to modern housewares amidst a charming, artsy atmosphere. 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 many buildings covered in impressive graffiti murals. It’s perfect to view from the rooftop of hip nightspot Queen of Hoxton where hipster Londoners party like royalty until the early morning hours.

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