If you look closely at pictures of the Titanic, you can see the word "Liverpool" on the ship's stern, just below "Titanic." Unlike the White Star Line behemoth, the city of Liverpool never sank, but it did seem to founder. It was heavily bombed during World War II, but its dockyards seemed to help right it. It staggered again in the early 1970s, when some of those yards closed, pushing unemployment to double digits. Liverpool righted itself again, and today it's hard to overlook, especially when it comes to pop music (the Beatles were just the start) and soccer.
Must-see: Catch several of the museums and attractions at the Albert Dock, now-converted warehouses built along the Mersey River in 1847 and part of Liverpool's UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Tate Liverpool has a significant collection of contemporary and modern art. The Merseyside Maritime Museum tells tales of the Titanic as well as the city's roles in the American Civil War and WWII. The International Slavery Museum covers the slave trade and its impact. The Beatles Story is a time-trip with flower-power memorabilia and sweet photos as well as a replica of the Cavern Club, where the Fab Four first gained fame. Visit the real (rebuilt) Cavern Club on the two-hour Magical Mystery Tour, which also goes to the Beatles' homes, along with Penny Lane and Strawberry Field.
The soccer scene: Liverpool plays at Anfield, which opened in 1878, and Everton plays at Goodison Park, which debuted a few years later. The stadiums are about a mile apart. Camp & Furnace, a former warehouse, has been converted into a nightclub, restaurant, party space and soccer-watching center, with all World Cup games projected on a wall screen (67 Greenland St.; 011-44-151-708-2890, www.campandfurnace.com). The smaller, funkier Sound Food and Drink is more of a neighborhood hangout (Duke Street, L1 5AA; 011-44-151-707-6363,www.facebook.com/SoundFoodandDrink). For soccer overload, TV screens abound at Bierkeller (6 Thomas Steers Way; 011-44-8455-333-000, www.thebierkeller.com/liverpool).
Beware: When you leave the stadium, know how much your taxi fare should be so you're not cheated. Also, avoid wearing items from rival teams; in this case, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Best time to go: Premier League matches are played almost every weekend between August and early May, but early in the season everyone is optimistic and the weather is pleasant. June, July and August are relatively sunny and warm, and several cultural and music festivals take place.