Exploring a new city should be exciting. And let’s be real- burying your head in a guide book or hopping on a tour buses is not exactly the most thrilling way to see a place. It’s time to get creative with these alternative ways to explore a new city on your travels!
1. Go on a food tour
One of the best ways to truly experience and understand a new culture is by its cuisine. When arriving in a new city, going on a guided food tour will help you get orientated, gain invaluable local insight and most importantly, fill your mouth with unique delicacies that you might not have known about otherwise! In most large cities, you can find numerous food tours running through sites like Viator. If you don’t want to fork out the hefty cost of an organized tour, you can always create your own! Look online to find the top-rated spots to sample traditional cuisine and let your taste buds lead you on a culinary journey through a new place.
Another way to experience local cuisine is through a site called Eat With, a site where up-and-coming chefs host people for meals in cities all over the world! It’s basically the Airbnb of the culinary world and is a very cool way of getting a taste of local food and culture!
2. Skate through the city
Did anyone ever play Tony Hawk when they were growing up? Ever since that game, I always dreamed of kick-flipping and grinding my way through cities around the world. Honestly, can you think of a cooler way to explore a new city than cruising through it on a skateboard? It’s faster than walking, meaning you can get to places quicker, but still give you the flexibility to stop at your leisure and take in the sights.
Whilst my career as a skater girl never quite took off (most of my skating endeavors resulted in rather nasty battle scars), I have finally gotten myself a 22″ Penny Skateboard to take on future adventures. It is the ideal skateboard for travelling as it can actually fit inside my suitcase, and I love that Penny offer so many bright and colorful board designs. Now, my number one goal is to go to Iceland and recreate this scene from the Secret Life of Walter Mitty!
3. Use the GeoCaching App
If you aren’t familiar with GeoCaching, it is basically a real-life treasure hunt which involves using GPS coordinates to find small containers, or ‘geocaches’ all over the world which often contain trinkets. Millions of people across the world are devoted to this as a serious hobby! The cool thing is geocaches have been placed in over 100 countries over the world across 7 continents, including Antarctica. It’s a super interesting way of exploring a new place as you’ll end up in places that you never would have known existed otherwise!
4. Go on a scavenger hunt
Why not making your explorations around a new place a little more exciting by creating your own Scavenger hunt? Look online or make a list for yourself of all the weird and wonderful things you’d like to see in a city and then set out to take photos of them all. The more challenging and creative you make the list, the farther and wider you’ll end up exploring- most likely to places you never would have stumbled upon otherwise!
If you are feeling really daring, create a scavenger hunt that consists of a list of dares. One of my funniest travel experiences to date was a wild scavenger hunt I did when I was sailing through Croatia on a tour. We ended up climbing into a random person’s boot, forming a congo line through a shop and lying on the ground having shots of tequila poured into our mouths at a restaurant. PS. I’m not endorsing this kind of malarkey. But if you do any of these things please send photos.
5. Find out what events are taking place
When visiting a new place, it is easy to get fixated on ticking off certain sights and attractions and forget to see what is actually happening in the city at the time! It’s always worth looking up a list of festivals, events and and markets every time you get to a new place. This is always the best way to experience the authentic culture of a place as most the time you’ll find it is the locals hanging out at these events and not the tourists!
6. Explore the place at sunrise
There is something magical about exploring a new city before the city has woken up. Exploring a place at sunrise is the ultimate way of avoiding tourists and getting a taste of local life. Often, this is the time you’ll see shopkeepers setting up, commuters on their way to work or locals taking a morning jog. Also, it’s the best time to get photos as the light will be magical AND you won’t have to compete with the crowds to get photos outside famous monuments.