Barcelona from the W Hotel

Shop at the museum

Sending a postcard home? Avoid the souvenir stores like the plague and head to a museum or gallery shop. Because they often stock items from local artists and designers, I find they are often the best place to pick up cool mementos and gifts for loved ones. For art lovers and history buffs, their location is pretty convenient too.

Connect with its people

In Rome, I discovered a quaint wine bar and awesome street art in Pigneto thanks to one local, and Aperol spritz and the city's most popular tiramisu thanks to another. I knew neither of them before I visited the city. Ask for friends to connect you, or if you’d rather not take things offline, seek out local blogs or ask questions on a community driven site - couchsurfing and quora are good ones.

Get somewhere high

Everybody loves a view. Find an observation tower, a hotel rooftop, or a hill. If you have a friend in SF and that friend is mobile, beg them to take you to Twin Peaks. My friend Jared took me and I saw the whole city laid before me like a map. Many destinations offer a high vantage point that’s not only good for photo ops but a fantastic way to make sense of the layout of the city.  

Find a local to love

Find a favourite establishment to cosy up in. I can’t count on one hand how many times a local cafe has been my saving grace. In addition to wifi and toilets, they’ve stashed my bags, offered me shelter from nasty weather and staff have let me use their phones, given me recommendations, even housed me.


How do you see a new city? Feel free to write me or leave a comment.


Part 1 can be found here

Photo: Barcelona from the W Hotel.