Cities fill void by creating ‘urban beaches’

  • Friday, September 7, 2012 6:14pm
  • Life

If you are fortunate enough to live near the beach, it’s difficult to imagine living in a place without sand and sunbathing nearby. However, in some parts of the world, ocean beaches may be hours by train, or even by flight, away from the city.

With this in mind, an increasing number of cities are creating or allowing “urban beaches:” manmade beaches with sand shipped in for the summer months. For city-bound travelers who don’t want to sacrifice their tans, the members and editors at VirtualTourist.com have picked the “Top Five Urban Beaches.”

Paris, France: It’s not surprising that the culture that gave us the bikini would be the first to figure out how to bring the beach to their fabulous city.

The original “plage urbaine,” the Paris Plage began in 2002, with the French converting the Seine’s banks into pedestrian areas as well as sandy sunbathing spots.

The plages spread from the Louvre to the Pont de Sully on Voie Georges Pompidou, along the Seine River, and at Port de la Gare and Bassin de la Villette.

Berlin, Germany: The term widely used in Berlin is “beach bar,” and they’ve been popping up along the Spree River since 2002. While these are not necessarily city-created urban beaches, we can’t discount them as part of the phenomena, especially since there are almost 30 of them in the summer.

The first documented “beach bar” was Strandbar Mitte. Another popular spot is Oststrand, the city’s largest urban beach, where visitors also can relax on the deck of an anchored ship along the river bank.

Copenhagen, Denmark: The Danish design denizens of Copenhagen created an urban beach that strikingly arises from the water and contains no sand.

Havnebadet, or Harbor Bath, at Islands Brygge is a riverside swimming complex, with five pools, two specifically for children, and two diving towers. Across the canal, a similar harbor bath exists at Fisketorvet.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Rue Quai de l’Horloge is complete with sand, brightly colored beach umbrellas and chairs, as well as a traditional wooden boardwalk and refreshment stand.

Unfortunately, no swimming is allowed, since the currents off the quay are too strong, but the locale is great for tanning and enjoying the lovely views of Old Montreal and the nearby islands.

New York, N.Y.: While it seems a bit crazy for New Yorkers to build urban beaches when they are within a few hours of some of the most beautiful beaches on the Eastern Seaboard, a few afternoons spent on the Long Island Expressway barely moving and we’d look into some local options, too.

Formerly known as Water Taxi Beach, the venue now goes by Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club and is located at the South Street Seaport, near the Financial District of Manhattan.

In addition to having sand, great views of the Brooklyn Bridge, and fire pits, the spot also serves as a concert venue.

The Frying Pan, a former “lightship” docked on Pier 66 Maritime on the west side of Manhattan offers booze and burgers and unparalleled views of the Hudson River.

&Copy; 2012 VirtualTourist.com, Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.

More in Life

Lots to see in Upper Skagit, even if the eagles are elusive

A guided hike through a mossy old-growth forest more than makes up for a lack of raptor sightings.

Shopping cart showdown: Which stores have best food prices?

Jennifer Bardsley compares Fred Meyer, PCC, QFC, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, WinCo and Whole Foods offers.

Take a closer look: Winter gardens share gifts in subtle way

Go on a neighborhood walk this month to enjoy the seasonal beauty offered by a variety of gardens.

Samish Flats in Skagit County prime turf for winter birders

This spot is great for birdwatching because of the mostly flat land, marshy areas and open water.

Outdoor classes and activities in and around Snohomish County

GET OUT Christmas bird count: Volunteers are needed for the Everett-Marysville Christmas… Continue reading

Relationship do’s and don’ts: Lessons from 40 years of marriage

Paul Schoenfeld reflects on what he’s learned about relationships after four decades with his wife.

Making it through the holidays on 4 legs and 4 wheels

1. Driving safety Here are some travel tips from the Red Cross… Continue reading

The top 10 albums of 2017: From Jay-Z to St. Vincent

This year saw an upward trend in music industry revenue due to the popularity of streaming services.

Snohomish County book calendar

Jennifer Wilhoit Noon to 1 p.m., Jan. 13, Edmonds Bookshop Wilhoit will… Continue reading

Most Read