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Travel Tip: High Impact, Low Cost Ways to Learn About the Local Culture

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In this post we share our high-impact, low-cost ways to see and explore a city and acquaint yourself with the local culture.

Places to observe local culture and customs

  • Libraries
  • Churches and cathedrals
  • Public parks, lakes, walking trails
  • (Used) book stores
  • Public metro center
  • Grocery stores
  • Museums (many offer free admission days)
  • Universities – main quad


  • Participate in a free, tip-based walking tour
  • Rent a bike and cruise around town
  • Explore local festivals and fairs
  • Take a language class hosted by locals
  • Attend a literature or poetry reading at a bookstore
  • Go dancing
  • Check in with the local tourism board to see if they offer opportunities to meet locals willing to show you around town
  • Stop by iconic landmarks across the city without necessarily entering

People watching activities

  • Explore the city’s best hotel lobbies across town
  • Wander through public metro station stops to check out the local art
  • Watch a futbol (soccer) game of the city’s local team
  • Go to a live music concert
  • Watch street performers
  • Meander through the local flea or farmer’s market

Food & drink based activities

  • Stop by the local farmer’s market, pick up a variety of picnic fixings and picnic at a local park
  • Grab a coffee at a cafe and people watch
  • Try local cuisine during happy hour
  • Cruise by the food trucks and pick up bites from various vendors
  • Grab a drink at a local watering hole or dive bar
  • Try out tapas, appetizers, and other “small bites” plates and dishes to get a sense of the local flavors


  1. Airbnb’s Experiences – activities hosted by locals (prices vary)
  2. City’s event calendar for a “what’s on” guide
  3. City’s information/tourism center
  4. Your hostel/hostel/BnB front desk if they host any activities
  5. Ask local shop owners for their ideas of hidden gems throughout the city

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