Thanks to a busy acting career, Noah Bean is constantly on the road. But given the chance, he's always up for a good trip. "New York is the place I relate to the most, but I really enjoy seeing things I've never seen before," says Bean, 33. "I like to get my bearings, but I also don't mind being surprised and getting lost. I learn a lot about a place that way, actually."
Currently appearing as CIA agent Ryan Fletcher on the CW series "Nikita," Bean also is the star of the independent film "The Pill," which was shot on location not far from his New York City apartment. You may follow him on Twitter (at)noahbean.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. I have really fallen for Toronto. I went up there to work on "Nikita," and it's a great, exciting city that really took me by surprise. It's a great foodie town and has a nice art scene. It's a manageable city that's easy to get around. And it's filled with Canadian people, who are very nice.
Q. How does Toronto compare to New York City?
A. Both are places that I love. It's kind of fun when we shoot (in Toronto). When we're shooting scenes that are supposed to be set in New York, they'll have to haul in trash a lot of times to make the city seem grittier. I have nothing against New York. It's my home and I love it. But there's something to be said for a really clean city, too. Toronto actually reminds me of Brooklyn a bit. It's nice being by a gorgeous body of water.
Q. To someone visiting Toronto for the first time, what would you recommend they visit?
A. You have to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario (http://www.ago.net/home). It's a fantastic museum with a really significant Henry Moore collection. The building was designed by Frank Gehry. The architecture itself is a work of art. It's amazing. Take a walk around Kensington Market, which is this funky kind of Bohemian enclave that's filled with coffee shops and stores. It reminds me of (New York's) East Village. Then you could have lunch at Pizza Libretto (http://pizzerialibretto.com/), which has the most incredible artisan pizzas. It's fantastic! I've got to say, they can stand up to almost any pizza in New York. That's how good they are. On the east side of Toronto is an area of town called the Beaches. It feels like a small East Coast town and has this great beachy vibe. It's also family oriented, so you'll see a lot of strollers and young families. It's just a beautiful place to take a long, great walk with a friend or whomever.
Q. Do you prefer subways or cabs?
A. Subways. But I really like walking around a new place. I think that's the best way to really get to know a city. Whenever I go to some place new, I take a map and just start walking. I like knowing the geography of where I am and seeing the area by foot. You see so many things that you'd miss if you were in a cab just driving past it.
Q. What are some of your favorite bars and restaurants in Toronto?
A. I love the Local Kitchen and Wine Bar (http://www.localkitchen.ca/). They use fresh local ingredients. It's a wonderful little bistro. One of the best bars I've ever been to anywhere is The Communist's Daughter. It's got kind of a retro, hipster vibe. There's a guy who triples as a bartender, singer and trumpeter. His band is tucked into a corner playing music and he'll be slinging drinks with one hand and working his trumpet and playing bluegrass music with the other. It's a great place to get lost with friends for the night. Another funky place that I like is the Snakes and Lattes (http://snakesandlattes.com), which is a board game cafe. You go and rent a table and can eat food or have a coffee. But you've got to check out the board games. They have thousands to choose from. It's almost like ordering wine there. You tell them what you want, like, "We want a two-player game and have about an hour to play it. We don't want something where you need too much skill to play." And then they'll bring over a selection for you to choose from. It's fantastic fun!
Q. Where was the last warm place to which you traveled?
A. St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It's an incredibly beautiful place and the way we ended up doing it was affordable. We rented a villa on the east end of the island, which is a little more remote. The beaches there are absolutely stunning and unlike anything I've ever seen. You just feel like you're getting completely lost when you're there and it's a nice place to escape to from the New York winter.
Q. When you're not traveling for work, do you splurge on occasion and stay in five-star hotels?
A. No, because that can be astronomically expensive. When we went to St. John, we could've stayed at a resort but it was cheaper to rent the villa. But aside from that, it was a more enjoyable way of spending your time there. It was great to sit out on the porch and look at the sea and cook meals with family and friends.
Q. When's the last time you stayed at a youth hostel?
A. When I was in college and went around Europe. Now that I'm older, I'm looking for a little more comfort, whether it's a hotel or motel. I'm not booking myself into the Ritz-Carlton, but I'll look for deals online.
Q. Which destinations are on your travel bucket list?
A. There are so many places. I have so much to see still. I've never been to Asia. I'd love to visit China, Vietnam and Cambodia. I've got a lot of Australian friends, but I've never been to Australia, so I've got to get there soon and travel around and see Sydney.
Q. Do you have any advice for tourists visiting a foreign country for the first time?
A. Always know not only your destination, but also the route you're traveling to get to your destination. When I was in college, a friend and I were bumming around Europe on a Eurorail pass. We were traveling overnight by train from Budapest to Venice. The conductor looked at our tickets, then looked at us and said, "Problem." What happened was that we had left the European Union and gone into a place where our pass wasn't valid. We had very little money. It was the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere and they were ready to dump us off the train. And there was a major language barrier. Eventually through some innovative thinking and negotiations, we were able to stay on the train. But it was scary.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
Go Away With ... Noah Bean
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