Taking a holiday or short trip to visit a city is very different to visiting a typical ‘holiday’ destination like a sleepy beachside town or ski cabin. Visiting a new city is about soaking up the culture and history of a place, as well as treating yourself once or twice in new bars and restaurants. When it comes to making the most of your time in a new city, it’s all about how you go about exploring. To help you on your way, here are five things to do when you visit a new city:
Get Your Bearings
Easier said than done, we know, but the sooner you can get your hands on a map and figure out where you are in relation to everything you want to see and explore, the better. If you have an idea of a few suburbs or landmarks that you want to check out, mark them off and formulate a bit of a plan so that you’re not trekking back and forth all day!
Avoid Tick-A-Box Tourism
Everyone succumbs to it at one stage or another in their travelling career—you want to see as much as possible and you end up racing around town just so you can get to everything, without actually enjoying any of it. Instead of trying to see as much as possible, find the things you really want to see and focus on really experiencing it.
Make the Most of Your Meals
One of the best things about being in a new city is the different food you can try, especially if you’re far from home. You can tell a lot about a city from its food scene (not to mention the fact that you can find some truly delicious gems) so avoid generic restaurants and immerse yourself in the city’s culture through your taste buds!
Chat to People
One thing tourists in new cities don’t do enough of is chat to people they meet. You’ll find there are plenty of opportunities if you look for them…that friendly clerk at the hotel, the waitress at the bar, your taxi driver from the airport. Ask them what their favourite parts of the city are and why they love living there. You’ll be amazed at the hidden gems you find that are off the beaten tourist track, like hidden nightclubs, multicultural areas with the best food imaginable and even quaint neighbourhoods you otherwise would have skipped past.
Take a Day Tour
It might sound like the ultimate in tourist kitsch but it is the best way to get to know the city and to also get an idea of where you want to go back and explore on your own. Most city day tours only take a few hours to complete and are hop-on/hop-off, so you can take the opportunity to stop and explore or make a note of the location and come back to check it out at your own pace.