Traveling is a fun experience, and the best part is getting to see new places. However, my favorite part of traveling is learning about the culture of the places you visit. To help you experience it more authentically, here are the seven places I recommend you go to every time you travel.
Coffee is a popular drink all over the world, so it’s no surprise that most cities you go to will have at least a handful of coffee shops for you to choose from. Stay away from Starbucks and local chains and, instead, opt for a local establishment. Coffee means something different to everyone, so it’s always interesting to see how other countries interpret it. Even if you don’t drink coffee, there are usually choices of tea or other drinks and food that you can enjoy. Furthermore, the best part of trying a new coffee shop is seeing how the locals experience going there and comparing it to your experiences.
When going to another city or country, it can be tempting to splurge on fine dining. However, take at least one day to try common cuisine that’s done right. Look online to find restaurants that have a great reputation with natives, rather than tourists, and try it out. Stay away from fusion restaurants and any place with an exceptionally large menu. Instead, try to find a small mom-and-pop shop that specializes in local cuisine only and does it very well.
Few places provide more insight about the local culture than museums. Sure, you may not learn a lot by going to world-renowned museums, but most places have at least one historical or hobby museum. You can learn a lot about the ethnic culture or the lesser-known interests of a city by their small museums.
Going outside and getting fresh air is great for your body, so why not go to a park? You’ll get to see some local greenery, and maybe even a few animals that you aren’t used to. Parks may not tell you the most about a place, but going to them can allow you to appreciate the quieter aspects of a destination.
If you want a real culture shock, go to a grocery store and browse the aisles. Better yet, check out a few markets and see how fresh food is sold in other areas. You can learn a lot about various food industries by seeing what other countries promote. It is always fascinating to find out what countries prioritize and how it plays an impact on health.
Finally, it’s a good idea to go downtown in whatever area you’re in, as long as it’s safe! See how the city operates — do people rush around everywhere or do they leisurely stroll down the street? Are there more bikes than cars? Is there a lot of construction, or are the houses old and solidly built? Downtown areas can provide the answers to all of these questions and more, offering a well-rounded perspective of the culture.
When traveling to a new place, take the time to really immerse yourself in the culture. Learn from it and see what positive things you can introduce in your life.