While it may be a must-do for many people to check off the most famous landmarks of a city at least on their first visit, sightseeing can quickly become boring and is definitely not what you would want to repeat on your second visit. Especially in hot spots like New York or Paris, doing the tourist program can be very stressful and not feel like a real vacation anymore. To make more out of your visit, get off the beaten path and explore alternative sights instead. You will see those destinations with totally different eyes and make experiences that are way more special than the mainstream tourist sights. Here are some things you can check out:
Admire stunning Street Art
When talking about graffiti, many people just think of blemished walls tagged with spray cans. However, the breathtaking murals that can be found in almost every big city will definitely change your mind about street art. Be it in the form of guerilla art or pieces that were commissioned by the city or some organization, the huge paintings created over many days will leave you highly impressed.
Street art has become a generally accepted form of urban art that attracts more and more attention. Talented artists have made a name for themselves by leaving their mark on walls across the globe, probably the most famous of them all being the British stencil artist Banksy. But also others like BLU, ROA, the Brazilian twins Ôs Gemeos or Pixel Pancho, amongst many others, are delighting people with their signature styles on masterpieces around the world. Hip neighborhoods of cities like London, New York or Berlin are covered with colorful art pieces which don’t just bestow a particular charme but also spread important political messages.
Roam Hip Areas
Most of the time, the cool neighborhoods where young and hip locals live and like to spend their days and nights are off the typical tourist routes with all the sights, momuments and museums. While these areas usually don’t boast world-famous landmarks and have a rather residential character, it is their unique flair which makes them a great destination. Spend some time strolling through the streets, discover pretty boutiques or cozy cafés and absorb the cool vibes.
Explore Abandoned Places
Every city has them: factories, mansions, stations that have fallen into disrepair and are completely neglected by the municipality. But what may be a thorn in the side for many people can be real treasures. Abandoned places are often spooky and enchanted. At the same time, they send out a feeling of a past grandeur and boost your imagination on what those places looked like when they were still full of life.
Be aware though that trespassing may not be allowed and accessing may be dangerous due to unstable structures. Visiting these places will be at your own risk and responsibility – don’t get yourself in danger for some nice photos!
Stroll through Neighborhood Markets
Many cities await visitors with grand market halls that delight with beautiful old architecture. Unfortunately, these usually attract so many tourists that a visit reminds more of Disneyland than an authentic trip to the market. For more authenticity and originality, check out less touristy and less gentrified markets that mainly attract locals and are part of the everyday life. You will be able to find delicious street food and try local specialties or buy beautifully made handicrafts. Enjoy the bustling atmosphere and almost feel as if you lived in the neighborhood yourself as you are running your weekly errands.
Go shopping at a Supermarket
This may sound very strange to you at first. A supermarket as an alternative tourist attraction? Well, probably not for a mainstream tourist who only travels to take pictures in front of world-famous monuments. But if you are interested in getting to know a place, exploring a supermarket is a great way to learn about a city’s culture. You will find many things that you cannot get at home and you will probably come across certain products or packagings that seem quite strange to you.
But since there is hardly any other place that is more integrated into the locals’ everyday life, supermarkets will give you a very authentic and non-touristy perspective on traditional food, customs and how people actually live.
Make friends with locals
Instead of just looking at stuff and doing your own thing, why don’t you get a little more social and meet new people? While cafés, markets and shops can look very similar across cities, the people living there will always be unique. And for sure there is no better way to make your trip a lasting memory than through long-term friendships!
Chill out in parks and other places where locals like to spend their free time. Take a break from exploring in a nice café or grab a drink at a cool bar and you will have plenty of opportunities to get in touch with the locals. Don’t be shy! Most people appreciate a little chat. And if you don’t just talk about work or other boring stuff, there is a good chance that you might actually make new friends that will show you their city and give you a great time.
To discover all these great alternative ‘sights’ in any major city around the globe, simply download Booee and start exploring!