So you've arrived in a new city. You may be visiting for a short time or planning to stay forever. Don’t be afraid to get out there and explore! Exploration is key to falling in love with a new city, however long you are planning to stay. Here are some ways to get started:
Take public transportation
For most of us, public transportation is the most sensible and affordable option when visiting or living in a city, especially in a large one. Public transportation is also one of THE best ways to explore a city. Hop on the bus without knowing its destination, and you will see parts of the city you never knew existed. You may also see places you’ll want to return to in the future. Taking the bus, train, or light rail is also a great way to observe the daily activities of residents of the city.
Talk to the locals
The best way to veer from crowded tourist spots is to talk to the locals. They can help you discover the hidden gems of the city. Ask for recommendations in a lesser-known area of the city, away from where most tourists are. At the very least, most people will be happy to tell you about their favorite places to eat, or where they like to get coffee.
Get out of downtown
Yes, downtown is most often the cultural epicenter of a big city, but it should not be the only place you visit. Some of the best restaurants, bars, and local destinations can be found outside of the downtown area, and are often less expensive and less touristy as well.
Avoid chain stores and malls
When visiting or moving to a new city, you will undoubtedly see familiar fast food chains, restaurants, and department stores. There is no need to go to these places while discovering a new city. Find a local restaurant with a unique atmosphere. Find something to do that is different from your norm, and you will surely be rewarded.
You can learn a lot about the culture of a city by sitting at a cafe outside or on a bench, and just observing what’s going on around you. It can offer a great respite from a busy day, you’ll also have the chance to learn a lot about the city's people as you watch them go about their regular routines.
Rent a bike
Another great method of transportation while exploring a new city is one that also provides great exercise! Exercise and exploration are truly the best combination, and you’ll get to experience the city from a new perspective by riding around on a bike.
Look online for free and discounted events
By doing a quick search, you can find really cool things for next to nothing in cost. Many museums offer free entry, and every city offers unique events year-round. On a recent trip to Chicago, I was able to visit a photography museum, go on a brewery tour, and see an improv show—all in one day, and for free! The deals are out there; it just takes some research.
Visit local farmers’ markets and street fairs
You don't need to buy anything to enjoy farmers’ markets and neighborhood events. They are a great way to learn about and sample local foods, and there are often local craft vendors selling their products as well. A Saturday in a new city could be well spent visiting the local farmers’ market, buying a few items, and picnicking in a nearby park!
Travelling to a new city gives you the opportunity to make a fresh start, and to find a renewed sense of purpose and contentment. Be fearless in your exploration, and you will be rewarded with amazing experiences, or at the very least, some humorous misadventures. Have faith in your fellow city dwellers to help you out if you get lost and have faith in yourself to discover the best of what the city has to offer.