Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Orient Yourself to a New City in Five Steps

I am out of town at a conference this week. I am also in a new city that I had previously only passed by for airport connections in the past. Here's a few quick ways to orient yourself to a new city:
  1. Get a pass for the transit system and use it to explore the city. This is much easier than driving and finding parking, and you really don't get lost this way.
  2. Skip the tourist areas and get into the neighborhoods. Usually these places have great food and local (interesting) bars.
  3. Ask the locals. When I am looking for Chinese food, I head to the local Chinatown (most big cities have these) then ask a local where their favorite restaurant is. Another way to find great food it to look into the restaurant windows and find a place that is packed with locals--usually a sign of great food and great prices.
  4. Before you get to your destination, do a bit of research. Aside from the usual tourist guides (mostly outdated by the time you read them), I usually Google for "things to do in X city" and I also usually post a question about things to do in my destination city on the AskMetafilter site which tends to generate copious responses from the locals.
  5. Walk. It is hard to find out interesting things about your destination if you are zipping by at 60 miles per hour. Hop off the bus/subway and walk around a bit. It's good exercise and gives you a local eye view on the city.

1 comment:

  1. A bike is also a great way to get to know a city. Bike friday makes a great folder.