Traveling to a new country is exciting, but it can also be extremely intimidating. There are so many things that you want to do, but it’s hard to make solid plans when traveling to a place that’s brand new to you, and it’s also easy to do all the basic touristy things that pop up on websites like Trip Advisor and Kayak. As a native Chicagoan, I always try to encourage tourists to leave the downtown area and visit the various neighborhoods to really get to know the city’s culture, and I want to recommend that you do the same! By following some simple tips, you’ll be sure to have a unique experience!
Eat at a local diner: Of course, it’s nice to have a nice meal when you travel to a new place, but that’s where everyone is going! Diner culture is very common in the United States and you’ll be sure to meet some interesting people while sampling food you typically wouldn’t get if you chose to go to a fancier restaurant or a chain restaurant.
Take public transit: Technology has made it easy for us to get around, but nothing is as relaxing or scenic as public transit! Consider taking the bus or local subway instead of hailing a taxi or calling a lyft. If you have a day that’s not jam-packed with activities, consider taking the public transportation and getting off at a new stop! It’s the perfect way to find a new area to explore.
Visit a neighborhood festival or farmers’ market: Farmers’ markets are popping up all around the United States! They are a great way to find fresh foods, dessert treats, as well as mingle with the locals! While you’re enjoying a fresh strawberry, check out the calendar of events for the community! You might find festivals or other events to explore.
Visit an independent (indie) bookstore: I’m a bit biased (because I LOVE reading), but visiting the local bookstore is a must for me! These local stores usually have a unique atmosphere and offer books from local authors. Indie bookstores often have a variety of events – from book clubs to local author showcases. Get to know the culture and hopefully walk away with a new book!
Go to a sports event: Pick your poison: soccer, American football, basketball, or baseball? Most likely, the community you’re visiting will have a team that you can root for! If you’re staying an extended amount of time, why not see if there is a home game? This is a fun way to get to know your community, their passions, and learn about a new team!
I hope the above tips are helpful and that you find a bit of hidden magic wherever your travels take you!
Checking out a new city? Take a look at some of our resources on the Greenheart Club with ideas of local events, activities, and ways to get involved!