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Offbeat

The Most Beautiful Places at Night

Some of the most beautiful places are even more eye-popping at night, when twinkling lights add an aura of fairy tale magic. Here, a few of our favorite spots to see after dark, including a few you’ve never heard of.

See recent posts by Kathryn O'Shea-Evans

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Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland

Churches are some of the most beautiful places. And it’s not hard to make them pretty after dark—a well-lit spire is an eye-catcher. But this one gets extra points for its architecture, which includes a 240-foot tower that was inspired by Iceland’s basalt columns. Did we mention it’s the tallest building in Reykjavik? Climb its steeple for a view that seems to stretch all the way to America.

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Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain, Seoul, South Korea

Nobody wants to cross a bridge over troubled water…but a bridge over rainbow-hued water? Yaaas. Banpo Bridge’s fountain is meant to evoke willow branches bending in the breeze, and it’s lit by 200 Technicolor lights four to six times a day for 20 minutes a pop. Drive on.

RELATED: Insider's Guide to Seoul

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The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England

There's Buckingham at night, and then there's the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. This 1786 former royal home is every bit the palace, designed as a beach vacation house for King George IV, complete with an opulent blue silk chinoiserie-style opera room (and—no surprise—a private saloon). Go in winter, when the facade is lit in glowing lavender—and the front lawn becomes a skating rink.

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Floralis Genérica, Buenos Aires

This 105-foot-wide aluminum sculpture by architect Eduardo Catalano blooms anew each day, opening its petals at 8 a.m. But come after dark to watch it glow a rosy red as it closes at sunset; or plan a trip around the four days a year it stays lit all night: May 25, September 21, December 24 and 31.

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MuCEM, Marseille, France

Once you’ve seen France’s nighttime classics—the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge—the MuCEM of Marseille should be your next stop. The unofficial museum of the Mediterranean straddles a 12th-century fort and a lattice-walled exhibition space designed by starchitect Rudy Ricciotti, all overlooking the Mediterranean sea. By night, it looks like it could be a factory for Tinkerbells.

RELATED: 9 Gorgeous Paris Hotels

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Niagara Falls, New York and Ontario

If you’re looking for more reasons to heart Canada, we’d include Niagara Falls’ new nighttime look to the list: the Niagara Falls Illumination Board has added some $3 million in LED-lighting to the Canadian side of the 200-foot falls last year, visible until midnight most nights of the year.

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Chrysler Building, New York City

We know we’re going to get flak for choosing this over the much-ballyhooed Empire State Building. But for design purists, the 1930, 1,046-foot Chrysler Building is an Art Deco mecca that’s even prettier by night, thanks to its stainless steel crown, with seven terraced arches that look like the jazz age sprung to life.

RELATED: 10 Stylish (and Affordable NYC stays)

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Courtesy of Hans Splinter

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The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Hilversum, The Netherlands

It makes perfect sense that this place should have Crayola-bright glass walls—it preserves the entire nation’s audiovisual (read: TV) heritage. But inside, you’re the star: visitors can act in a faux soap opera, play DJ or make a stop-motion video worthy of La La Land.

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