Mali's capital city, which lies astride the Niger River, is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa and a great place to just people-watch and walk around. Although the original colonial-style Grand Marche burned down in 1993, the merchants continue to set up their stalls inside the market grounds in the city center, which lies on the river's north bank.

Despite the state of emergency, new cultural spaces and music venues continue to open. The neighborhood of Hippodrome has a fun relaxed vibe thanks to the mix of African and European entrepreneurs, making the it a great place for guesthouses, bars, restaurants, cafes and ice cream shops.

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