Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for City-Lovers!

We're kicking off December with our second edition of our ultimate gift guide for all those urban planners, data geeks and city-lovers in your life! Our team has revealed their top picks for the holiday season, guaranteed to WOW your loved ones for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Three Kings Day (Los Reyes Magos), Festivus or whatever other holiday you're celebrating this season. Check them out below, and if you need even more ideas, check out last year's guide!

Sidenote:  If you're interested in giving the "gift" of better places, we'd love to help! Our Sim-city style software quantifies what people love about cities (what makes them walkable, livable, sustainable) and automatically recommends ways to make them better while maximizing the bang for the buck and making the investment case for great places. Preview our platform, send us a note, or book a time to chat



$25 - $169

"A whimsically illustrated art card by Sophie Blackall about Missed Connections on the Subway."


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Mariela says: 

Back when I was living in NYC full time, one day, I happened upon this super cute poster in the train and it immediately brought a smile to my face! It perfectly captures the experience of riding the NYC subway - from its mundane routineness to its am-I-really-seeing-what-I-think-I'm-seeing ridiculousness! For years I wondered how to get one of these posters and bring a little whimsy to my walls. So happy I found it and can now share it with you guys too!




"Electric crackle, downpour, panic grass, sizzling asphalt steam. Respite on muggy summer days. A seven-ounce candle with notes of electricity, summer rain, concrete and steam."



Alli says:

I love giving and receiving specialty candles! It's a splurge that you can enjoy over and over again. But you can only have so many "sugar cookie" and "pine" candles during the holiday season, so surprise your city-lover with this unique scent!



$19 - $56

"A high quality, beautifully detailed custom made poster with the location and color scheme of your choice."




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You can create your own custom map and design on this newly launched Kickstarter-backed site! The maps truly are just gorgeous! The only way this could get better is to offer Nolli maps - these are my all-time favorite maps (and truly shows just how geeky I am about places!) as they're not just figure ground maps that clearly show the relationship between built space and the public realm (in reverse) but also captures the layouts of indoor public spaces. An idea for the 2.0 version!



$10 - $60

"This print is created using a genuine vintage US postage stamp that is cleaned, digitized, and meticulously retouched."





Sherry says:

This is a thoughtful gift for any lover of architecture or civil engineer. This print is a combination of beauty and history that they can proudly display in their home!




"The result of years of groundbreaking research, Becoming Jane Jacobs is the first intellectual biography to focus on Jacobs' early life and writing career leading up to her great book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities."





JOE says:

I highly recommend this phenomenal biography of Jane Jacobs. It's a deep-dive into the originality of her thinking, self-education and activist nature.




"Describing the battles Sadik-Khan fought to enact change, Streetfight imparts wisdom and practical advice that other cities can follow to make their own streets safer and more vibrant."




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This is an inspiring read about how Sadik-Khan transformed New York City, and it serves as an actionable guide to any city official who wants to make his or her city more livable.




"This book is for anyone who wants to change the way we live in cities without waiting for the glacial pace of change in government."



SHERRY says:

Someone recommended this book to me a while ago, and I found it so interesting! I highly recommend it for anyone looking to quickly go from idea to action in city planning.




"Rotatable globe features animals and landmarks, 6 continent puzzle pieces, 6 continent labels, and sheet of blank label stickers."



Michelle Says:

This rotating globe is perfect for your budding place-lover! The continent puzzle pieces make learning about our Earth fun and engaging, and it also looks super cute displayed on any bookshelf.




"Did you always want to try coloring your own map? Now you can! With over 40 bird's-eye view maps to color from all the largest metropolitan areas in the world, you'll get plenty of cartographic practice."


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Mariela says:

For the map lover in all of us - kiddos and adults alike will LOVE these three coloring books offered as a package deal by Amazon (btw, we're still waiting for that call, Amazon! ;) ). And especially for those of you with budding urban planners at home - say goodbye to screen time and nurture those future placemakers!!




"This engaging book is an easy introduction to the world of urban planning, and illustrates that "every building has its place."




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Michael says:

With two young grandkids (ok, they are not avid readers yet), I’m always on the lookout for an interesting book. So, I thought, why not start the urban planning process early?




"From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes a comedy-adventure set in the modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia. The film received widespread critical acclaim with many praise going towards the film's animation, voice acting, characters, humor, screenplay, and themes about discrimination and social stereotypes."



My kids love this movie about a city of anthropomorphic animals. They’re on a mission to solve a mysterious crime, and as a bonus, this mammal metropolis is also fun and clever for adults.




"Where you first met. The place you got married or engaged. The home you grew up in. Use our custom map tools to create your unique, beautiful, and memorable piece of custom map jewelry.  Map your story with True Coordinates!"


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Mariela says:

I LOVE THIS!!! What an awesome idea. This site lets you create custom-made jewelry - from necklaces to cuff links (for all gender persuasions!) - that captures a special moment - and place - in your life. Not to mention that street grids make for some super cool jewelry patterns. And you'll get super points for creativity, uniqueness, and that personal touch. No-brainer gift.




"A modern take on an ancient craft, this Made in the USA etched leather notebook cover showcases your favorite city."







Your favorite city-lover will definitely make all of her coworkers jealous with this gorgeous notebook! It’s dreamy. It’s practical. It’s perfect! The inside pages are replaceable so this gift will last a lifetime.




"Amtrak Vacations has you covered with a gift sure to excite, create fond memories, and provide incredible experiences. Send that special someone on an unforgettable journey to discover and explore renowned national parks, world-famous cities, and breathtaking natural wonders across the US and Canada."

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Amtrak’s long distance trains, like the Chicago Zephyr between Chicago and San Francisco. It is one most beautiful train trips in the world, and you can make yourself comfortable with an assortment of sleeping car options and three meals in the dining car a day. The biggest highlights are the scenery throughout the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevadas, and San Francisco Bay, as well as iconic stations like Denver Union Station, a great midway point to break up the trip and spend a couple days enjoying the hip streets of Denver. A 2 1/2 day trip in a sleeping car for two with meals included can run as little as $518, which is a great deal since it includes scenic travel, food, and lodging.

Mariela Alfonzo