How to get to know a new city – fast

Doesn’t matter if it’s in your home country or abroad, if you’re new in town, you’re bound to feel a little lost. How does the transport work? Where do the locals eat? Who is this guy on the horse pointing into the sky with his sword in the middle of the Town Hall square? Follow our tips and you’ll be in the know in no time.

Take the local Hop-On Hop-Off tour

Yes, it’s a tourist thing and not cool at all, but it’s really the best way to map out the city and get the abstract of all the essential facts and figures, the city’s most important landmarks and neighborhoods. In just a few hours, it’s quite possible you’ll know more about the city’s history than many of the locals. Now that’s a good conversation starter!

Put on your walking shoes and go get yourself lost

Once you have a vague understanding of the city, or at least the neighborhoods to steer clear of, go into the wild and explore the city on foot. Take your time to wander around without a certain destination and get off the beaten track – see the city as they don’t show it to you from the tour bus. Remember to pack a map, though, in case you wish to get back home in the evening.

Get to know the people

The best excuse to acquaint yourself with locals is to ask for directions. Chat up passers by on the street and ask them for suggestions where to eat. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local cuisine. Once there, ask the waiter for suggestions on where to go next.

Use the public transportation

Now here’s a challenge. Once you’ve seen the sights and gotten to know the city in its natural beauty, it’s time to hop on the local transport and see if you can make your way back to your starting point. It might not be as fun as we’re trying to make it sound, but knowing your way around the local public transportation is definitely a must-have skill.

Tour the markets

A great way to get to know the city and its people is to visit their markets and see what’s for sale. The food market is a great place to start, but in many cities, the real deal begins where the tomato stalls end – at the flea market where old men selling antiquities share space with self-proclaimed fashion designers breathing new life into 30-year-old garments and coming up with some extraordinarily edgy stuff. It’s also a great place to make new friends, so be sure to make time to have a look around.

Let social media lead the way

Do a search on Twitter using the name of the city and see what people are talking about. In 5 minutes you’ll get the scoop of the most important news and happenings – from the weather and traffic jams to events and great eats. Follow trendsetters and you’re bound to start feeling like a local soon.


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