5 Urban Playgrounds Adventure Seekers Will Love

There is a great, wide world out there to explore, and so much to see with so little time available.

Often we associate outdoor activities with the wilderness, but you don’t need to leave the city to go on your next adventure. We’ve put together a list of the most exciting opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts so you can get your adrenaline fix all around the globe.

1. London, UK: A city of extremes

Arial London with Thames and Tower Bridge


With a reputation for world-class shopping, fine dining and incredible museums, plus regular rain, you might be fooled into thinking this historic British city is more about indoor refinement than thrill-seeking adventure. But if you take a closer look, London is filled with green spaces, spectacular scenery and urban energy that drives a thirst for new experiences. Just remember to pack all
three-parts of your 49winters outerwear, so you’re prepared for the unpredictable British weather.

Take to the river

Some of the most breathtaking views of London are from the water. Feel the wind in your hair as you glide through the spray as captain of your own motor boat, courtesy of Go Boat. Over the course of two hours you will travel from Merchant Square, near Paddington Station, to Camden Lock and back via Little Venice and Regents Park, steering your way through London’s most picturesque canals. There is space provided to enjoy some al fresco on-board dining with up to seven friends to really savour the experience.   

If drifting along the canal doesn’t quite have the adrenaline factor you’re looking for, you can instead experience the river by 740-horsepower speedboat.

Climb an ice wall in Covent Garden

Man climbing Vertical Ice wall


Even if you missed out on prime ski seasons, you can still take the temperature right down in London with a trip to
Vertical Chill. Whether you’re an experienced ice climber or you’ve never tried it before, this is guaranteed to give you a thrill. The 8 metre ice wall is located a short stroll from Covent Garden, and offers a variety of routes to cater for all abilities, from gentle slabs to drastic overhangs. Temperatures range from -5 to -12 degrees Celsius, so you will need those 49Winters layers!

49Winters design inspiration for London

The forest Parka with black inner down as worn by Ashton Turner, Co-owner of Evolve 353

The Forest Utility with Black Inner Down as worn by Ashton Turner, Co-owner of Evolve 353.

2. New York, USA: The great outdoors in a concrete jungle

New York Manhattan

Adventure runs through the veins of New York City by way of its streets and subway tunnels. Whatever you want, you can find it in New York, and that includes outdoor thrills. Sure, there’s Central Park which gives visitors a lot of options from running, biking, boating and even roller skating.f you want to avoid the throngs of tourists however, there are plenty of opportunities off the beaten track.

Climb to new heights in Manhattan

The Vessel Sculpture at the Hudson Yards


Manhattan is the city where dreams are made, and the new Vessel sculpture feels like a surreal dream you once had of a strange world come to life. This giant sculpture at the Hudson Yards can be climbed and explored for hours. You’ll feel like you are in an Escher design with 154 flights of stairs criss-crossing, going up and down with seemingly no destination. And with around 2,500 steps, you’ll be sure to get your heart rate up while experiencing some of the best views in town.

Kayak with the Statue of Liberty

It’s not everyday you get to paddle out with the Statue of Liberty, but at the Downtown Boathouse in Manhattan you can grab a kayak and do just that. Located at Pier 26 towards the tip of the island, this outdoor experience is free. If you want an up-close and personal experience, there are plenty of kayak tours that will allow you to paddle out further and closer to Lady Liberty. The experience of soaking up the famous New York skyline from the water,  in one of the world’s most recognisable harbours, with one of the world’s most recognisable women isn’t one you’ll forget in a hurry.

3. Shanghai, China: exploring futuristic skylines

Shanghai Skyline


The skyline of Shanghai seems to have been built for the set of a futuristic movie scene. With dozens of skyscrapers all begging for attention, this city’s outdoor spaces could easily be overlooked. But the ‘Pearl of the Orient' has a world of adventure contained between those impressive buildings.

Set sail on Dishui Lake

Sailing in Shanghai


If the idea of doing anything on foot is just not appealing, then what better way is there to explore the city and get active then with a spot of sailing? While the rest of the tourists are busy snapping pictures of Dishui Lake’s clear waters, you can set sail. The
Shanghai Sailing Club offer a range of boat rentals and sailing lessons to suit all levels. While they do have dinghys, we would suggest opting for their top end Fareast keelboats, so you can lap up the luxury and learn some new sailing skills.  

Raise the Sun


One of the most beautiful scenes to be found in Shanghai is locals performing Tai Chi routines at sunrise in parks throughout the city. Around 7am at Jing'An park you can find a group to join where you’ll balance your yin and yang to promote peacefulness and wellbeing under the trees. The locals are known to be friendly so if you aren’t a Tai Chi master, not to worry. Just follow their lead, breathe deeply and find your chi.  

49Winters design inspiration for China

Jalapeno Red Boxy Down


Jalapeno Tailored Down, as worn here by Beauty & Lifestyle Editor at British Vogue,
Lauren Murdoch Smith.

4. Queenstown, New Zealand: lost in an urban wilderness

Queenstown


No other city brings adventure and city life together quite like Queenstown. Nestled beside beautiful lake Wakatipu and the mountains, Queenstown is by far one of the best places to pursue outdoor adventure by day and city delights by night.

Take the mountain path


Ben Lomond mountain not only provides a beautiful backdrop for Queenstown but it also offers some incredible views. You can catch a Ben Lomond hiking trail right in the city at the end of Thompson Street. Once you’ve set off, expect 4-6 hours of roundtrip exercise. When you’ve descended, you’ll find lots of options in the city for dinner and drinks to celebrate the day’s achievement. Wine with a view? You’ve got it. While you can hike this trail year-round, the summer months offer easier access.

Reach new heights in a gondola

Skyline and Queenstown Gondola


If making your way up a mountain on two legs is just too pedestrian for you, you can take a
scenic gondola ride from the bottom of Brecon Street up to the top of Bob’s peak. At the top you’ll find a luge track with jaw-dropping scenery and an exciting ride ahead. Breathe in that mountain air as you wind your way down the mountain and take in the views. It’s guaranteed to give your lungs and your mood a much needed boost.

49Winters design inspiration for New Zealand

The forest Parka with camo inner down as worn by Ashton Turner, Co-owner of Evolve 353


The Forest Parka with Camo Inner Down as worn by Ashton Turner, Co-owner of Evolve 353


5. Paris, France: City of Lights

Paris


Paris is a beautiful city and one of the top four fashion capitals - what’s not to love? The architecture, the river, the food, the wine - they all provide the perfect combination of beauty and enjoyment, leaving you wanting more. The same is true of its outdoor parks and spaces. Once you experience Paris’ great outdoors, other cities will struggle to live up to it. After all,
Paris est toujours une bonne idée.

On your bike

Velib, Paris’ public bike scheme

 

Paris is not short of green spaces but one in particular offers a great opportunity for exploring by bike. Bois de Boulogne begs visitors to enjoy its bounty of lush landscapes, hidden forests and lakes. In fact, this park is so vast that it’s worthy of multiple visits should you have the time. First, pack a picnic. Then grab a bike at any Velib station near the park. Velib is Paris’ public bike scheme where bikes are rented at affordable rates via an app on your smartphone. Once inside the park, the best way forward is no way at all. Get lost and bike around aimlessly, and when hunger strikes you’ve got a picnic to enjoy amongst nature.

Let yourself float away


No matter how many times you might have seen Paris before, you have never seen it like this. Ballon de Paris Generali take you on a tour of the city of romance at an altitude of 150m. Paris is known as a city of excess, so, fittingly, this is the world’s biggest hot air balloon, making this a truly unique adventure.

49Winters design inspiration for Paris

The black Mid Parka with Jalapeno inner down, as worn here by Beauty & Lifestyle Editor at Vogue, Lauren Murdoch Smith.


The Black Mid Parka with Jalapeno Inner Down, as worn here by Beauty & Lifestyle Editor at British Vogue,
Lauren Murdoch Smith.

Everything you need to set off on your next adventure

Now all you need to do is select your chosen destination, choose a 49Winters design to suit your style and slip your passport into one of the many pockets. Better yet, our three part system works for all seasons, so you could do a round trip adventure and pick a layer to suit the climate and activity at hand.


If you’re an avid adventure seeking traveller then you might also enjoy our blog on The Best Places to Ski and Do Business or take a look at our list of outdoor brands that combine style with science.

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