If you prefer the architectural wonders of a concrete jungle over the diversity of nature, then you should spend time in a city. You can find several things to do once you find the place that makes you dream and yearn more from life. For instance, you can meet people from different backgrounds. You can see art in unexpected places. You can also feel how the progress of technology transforms the spaces between the streets and establishments. The force of energy is powerful and widespread giving off a youthful vibe to the area.
Explore the City Your Way
Whether it’s a city in the Eastern hemisphere or an urban capital in the West, you can find several things to fill your travel schedule. You can pick between the usual touristy stuff or try unconventional activities that would result in extraordinary tales. If you do decide to take a cultural trip that isn’t a common feat for tourists, then you should check out the ways to explore the city listed below.
1. Shop at a weekend farmer’s market
A trip to the farmer’s market is a must for several reasons. First, it helps you eat healthily. You can stock up on fresh produce and prepare yourself some healthy food while traveling. Next, you support the local entrepreneurs. Most of the sellers in a weekend market Manila or laiki agora (λαϊκή αγορά) in Athens are farmers, beekeepers, or gardeners. They sell the foodstuff and plants they grow. Others sell homecooked meals or processed food such as jams and cured meat. The great thing about shopping in these markets is that you can pay a fraction of the cost to get healthy food. It’s because you can get the products directly from the seller. There is no intermediary involved or transfer expenses to settle.
Other reasons why should shop at a weekend market in the city is the opportunity to get a taste of the local products, meet people, and get a chance to observe how locals deal with their kin. The marketplace is the best location to see how other people deal with each other. You can see them haggle over prices and greet acquaintances. Before getting to the market, keep in mind of its schedule. Some markets are open daily, but they relocate. They don’t occupy the busiest parts of the city during the weekday. Thus, you should think of your travel route early before you set out or your day trip.
2. Visit the library
Instead of looking up the must-visit spots on Google or Pinterest, you can use local resources to plan your travel itinerary. Check out the local library to find resources on the best restaurants, sights, and tourist destinations. A visit to the library is also your ticket for scoring fantastic reads. You can discover local literature that can help you paint a picture of the city and its people. You might even find a new friend who is into books the way you are. Most of all, spending time in the library gives you a chance to survey the aesthetic of the city. The design and structure of a public building demonstrate the flavor and influence of the area. Meanwhile, the maintenance of the building is proof of the extent local government provides to care for its services.
3. Hire a bike
Some travels have the luxury to get a cab to go to places. Others prefer the bus or the subway system. All of those are fine especially if you must follow a strict schedule. However, it doesn’t give you the time to take in everything there is to see. The vehicles move swiftly that you miss out the names of the streets and restaurants that might be worth a visit. When traveling, it’s best if you rent a bike. Biking allows you to move at a comfortable pace. You can stop and move as you please. Its size also makes it easy to pass through narrow streets and alleys. Most of all, it doesn’t use fuel. You can save money on gas when you choose a bicycle over a car.
Besides biking, another way to explore the city is by walking. Getting to places by foot gives you a chance to look at shops and establishments up close. It also helps you save more from your travel fund. Most of all, it’s a form of exercise. If you do decide to walk, be sure to bring a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated throughout the day.
4. Get lodging with a host family
One way to get first-hand knowledge about the ins and outs of the city is by staying with a host family. Staying with a family allows you to find out about the household dynamics of locals. At the same time, you get to experience their hospitality while having a guide whenever you need one. You can also sample local homemade dishes without spending much on restaurant orders. Each day is an adventure when you live with a family especially large ones with a lot of kids.
5. Fulfill your scavenger hunt
If you haven’t tried it before, then you should try doing a picture hunt. During downtime, create a list of things you wish to see. It can be as simple as trees to teacups or ice creams. It can be specific sights to random things you find on the street. The list serves as your goal for the day. The city might have the usual stuff, but the picture hunt can make you see differently. It won’t be dull and boring. You end up with an adventure of a lifetime.
6. Set a theme for the day
Try not to act like the ordinary tourist who would only set their eyes on the cities major attractions. Remember, the city offers a myriad of activities and places to visit. You have to comb through them to find which ones are worth your time. If you don’t have time to go through all of them, you can set a theme that would dictate the places you will visit. You can spend a day hunting down cafes or parks. The areas you plan to explore depends on the theme.
These are six of the unconventional ways to explore a city. Though some of these are common in a few countries, most conservative towns and travelers are still aren’t comfortable with the idea. Traveling is a personal experience. You should do what makes you feel relaxed and excited during your trip and not what others tell you.