Top 9 Tips - How to Explore Your New City Like a Traveler

Top 9 Tips - How to Explore Your New City Like a Traveler

The traveler in all of us can be just as explorative when moving to a new city as it is when we travel to some far-flung destination. One of the most exciting parts of moving to a new city is the opportunity to explore what makes it special. All cities, from small towns to big cities, have something unique to offer. Being new to the area, just like when traveling, puts you in a unique vantage point to discover what that is.


Make it a point to engage with your new community. Making an effort to explore your new city will ultimately make you feel more at home. Make it a weekly thing to discover something new about your new home and soon you be local while never losing that traveler wanderlust. Here are 9 tips for how to explore your new city like a traveler.


Be a Tourist


itinerary map worcester massachusetts
Color coded map of all the things I want to see.


How many tourist attractions are there in your new home? The simplest way to explore your new city is to explore it like you were a tourist. Grab some brochures from your nearest hotel lobby, checkout a guide book from the library, or checkout some travel blogs about your town to see what all there is to do there.  The touristy things are the easiest to find, but after you have checked them off the list start searching for those things that are off-the-beaten-track.


Pro Tip:  I like to map out all of the things I want to see and do in a new city that I am visiting with Google My Maps. This allows me to see everything I want to visit on a map, so I can easily create an itinerary that makes the best logistical sense. It also allows me to categorize things with different colored pins so I can easily see what I am looking for.   


Foodie Adventure


soup dumblings boston massachusetts
An adventure isn't complete without some tasty food.


One of my favorite ways to explore any place is through my stomach!  I’m a huge foodie and love to learn about a new place and culture through the food. Food can tell you a lot about a place, but is also just a great way to explore new areas of town.


Try starting with the touristy restaurants to see why they are all the rave. Go on a food tour of your town. Try the local cuisine. Or my personal favorite, try the hole-in-the-wall restaurants (they always have the best food anyways!). 


Pro Tip: I always make it a point when I move to a new city to try a new restaurant at least once a week. This makes me keep exploring, not fall into a rut, and I get to try new food. 


Go on a Tour


Brochure map for a walking tour of the town. 


When you move to a new city it is hard to know everything there is to see or learn all of the history of the place.  Fortunately, many cities have tours that will take you around town and explain everything to you. Many of the more touristy cities have tours that you can reserve on buses/trams/duck boats that will drive you around town while a guide explains the towns history. There are usually also walking tours that are available. These are usually geared towards a certain feature of the city, but are still a great way to get out and explore.   


Pro Tip: Check for a tour app for your new city. If they have one, you can use it to create your own walking tour.  Walking tours are great because they allow you to explore at your own pace and you often also come across other amazing things along the way. 


Visit Local Museums


Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center
Local history museums, like this one, can sometimes be the most interesting. 


Let’s be honest, museums are great! If your new city has any kind of museums or historic sites, you should add them to your list of places to visit. Most cities have museums and they can range in theme from art and science to history and culture. All museums are a great way to explore your new city, but I highly recommend visiting the smaller ones. These can usually be very unique and often times the smaller local history museums are a great way to understand your new city better. 


Pro Tip: Visit museum websites to find out what days are Museum Days for them.  Most museums have a day or weekend each month that is either free or at a discounted cost. This is a great way to visit all the great museums that your city has to offer without the large price expense. 


Ask People Where to Go


Locals are usually a great resource to find those off-the-beaten-track locations in a city or to get recommendations for the best restaurants. Everyone has their favorite places; the places that they find special. Tapping into the knowledge of your friends, colleagues, and neighbors is a great way to discover things and places you may never have thought about. 


Pro Tip: Ask a friend, colleague, or neighbor to give you a tour of your new city. This is a great way to explore the city through the eyes of a local. It can also be a great way to found a friendship in a new place. 


Explore the Outdoors


Moore State Park
Local parks like this allow you to get into nature while also taking in some history. 


Spend time exploring natural preserves, gardens, and parks in and around your new city. Visiting city parks is a great way to see more of your town and to stubble upon hidden gems you might not know existed. Many cities also have botanical gardens that, though they may not be as popular as some of the other tourist attractions, can be really amazing to see. Nearby natural preserves and state/national parks can also be a great way to explore the general area near your new city.


Pro Tip: Just go outside, you silly human! Enjoy nature and everything it has to offer. City parks are free; and so are most natural preserves.


Take your Camera on a Walk


street view boston massachusetts
Capture your town through the lens of a camera.


Whether your have a fancy DSLR or use the camera on your phone, taking that camera on a walk is a great way to explore your new city. Let that inner photographer shine as you walk around town and take photos of the landscape, building architecture, or whatever your heart desires. We see the world differently through the lens of a camera. It is a finite area of scope; cropped to only the scene that can fit through the lens.  It is a great way to focus your exploration on a certain topic or to lets the lens show you the finer details of your new city.


Pro Tip: No matter what anyone says, you don’t need a fancy camera to enjoy photography. For exploration purposes, take photos like you were writing an article about your new city. It will cause you to think about what is most important about the city and what more you need to know. 


Attend a Local Event


A lot of a cities culture can be gleaned from attending local events.  Events show what is most important to the locals that live there. Attend a game of the local sports team, see a play, or listen to local music. Better yet, find a small event sponsored by a local organization. 


Pro Tip: When you first get to a new city, keep your criteria low and attend any event you can. This is a great way to make new friends and to find organizations or causes in your new city that you might be interested in.


Discover Public Art


street mural worcester massachusetts
Try to find what street murals your city might be hiding.


Art is everywhere.  Whether it be statues, fountains, murals, or anything else, getting out and discovering that art is a great way to explore you new city. Some cities have art walking tours, others have info on amazing murals in town, and others you will just need to walk around the streets or visit parks to discover. But discovering this art not only gives you a peek into the culture of the city, but it also gives you a chance to see a part of town you may not have visited otherwise.


Pro Tip: Taking or creating your own mural tour is always a great way to explore you new city. Usually on side streets, discovering murals is a great reason to explore side streets and other areas of town where you might find other hidden gems. 


What tips do you have for exploring a new city like a traveler?

Top 9 Tips - How to Explore Your New City Like a Traveler

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  1. I love taking the opportunity to be a tourist in my own city! Thanks to the pandemic, I've been able to explore a lot more close to home and discovered a ton of local gems I never even knew existed!

    1. Right?! There is always so much more to see in our hometowns than we ever expect.

  2. Great tips! The past couple of years have been a great te to explore where we live. I've actually been jealous of people who moved, they luck out getting to explore somewhere new. Although there is always something new to see no matter how long we've lived somewhere.

    1. You are right! There is always something new to explore. There are always things that we put off see or doing because they are in our hometowns.


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