Finding the Heartbeat of a City: How to See the Sights Like a Local



When you venture to a new city, it’s filled with unique opportunities and exciting adventures. From discovering new people and cultures to exploring the architecture and food, there’s so much to see and do. But what’s the best way to explore a city and uncover its local attractions?

Here are some top ideas for getting to know a city like a local:

Create a Theme for the Day Ahead

Instead of walking aimlessly from tourist attraction to tourist attraction, try to create a focus for your day. For example, is there a particular attraction or venue you’d like to visit? Or is there something fascinating about the city you’d like to explore more? Perhaps there’s a personal interest you could indulge?

This theme could be touring art galleries, hopping from café to café, taking only water-based transport for the entire day, or focusing on something specific, e.g. architecture or food. The possibilities are endless and by picking something you love, you’ll explore a niche perspective of the city.

Cycle Around the City

Particularly in Europe, cycling’s a great way to explore a city. However, it’s also great for many places around the globe, allowing you to see different city streets and parks with ease. It also shows you the city in a totally different way to walking or taking public transport and is often a much more “local” way of getting from place to place.

As it’s faster than walking, cycling allows you to get around quicker but without missing out on any of the sights. Just make sure you’ve planned your route and have kitted yourself out with all the essentials, e.g. puncture repair kits and snacks.

Join in with Local Groups

Every big city has meetup groups, whether they’re hobby groups or enthusiast clubs. You should be able to find these online quite easily, and most groups will welcome newcomers with open arms. This doesn’t just give you a unique way of looking at the city, but it’s also a wonderful way of meeting new friends.

Feeling particularly adventurous? Then you might want to join a local running club during your time there. This is perfect for getting to know the locals while also seeing some areas of the city that you might have missed previously.

Get Creative with Your Photographs

To capture some truly inspirational pictures of your trip, write down some local landmarks that you want to take photos of before creating your very own treasure hunt. Make it as challenging as possible so you’re constantly exploring new areas of the city. You might even want to speak to the staff at your hotel because they may be able to recommend an attraction, viewpoint, or building that’s not mentioned in the guidebooks. For example, getting a picture of the sun going down from the rooftop pool of the Marriott African Pride in Cape Town is a fabulous idea!

However, you choose to explore a new city, stay curious and creative so you can enjoy fun new experiences that allow you to gain a fabulous perspective on your destination.

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