How do you find things to do in a city that you’re not familiar with? Whether you are from the Reno area or not, exploring beyond local stereotypes takes some sleuthing skills, so here are some strategies you can use regardless of where you’re traveling to dial into the local scene and explore it as though you’ve been a local for years.
1. Use your smartphone to access locally-written city guides
With a smartphone in your pocket, anything is possible and resources at your disposal are endless. The first place to look for new adventure in an unexplored city is Atlas Obscura, a travel site that defines itself as, “the definitive guide to world’s wondrous and curious places”. If you’re searching for miniature cities, glass flowers, books bound in human skin, gigantic flaming holes in the ground, bone churches, balancing pagodas, or homes built entirely out of paper, the Atlas Obscura is where you’ll find them. Its usefulness is not limited to big cities, and though its knowledge of places to see in New York City is long and exhaustive, it will still point you to over ten wacky and wonderful spots to explore in Reno. Like a Local is another expansive, community-curated travel site that lists spots recommended by folks who actually live in the area.
2. Explore your local subreddits
Reddit is incredible for traveling, simply because every post comes from an individual person and every bit of advice is garnered organically. As an example, let’s say you and some friends want to make a trip to Lake Tahoe for the weekend, and want something to do when you’re tired of boating around the gorgeous lake or hiking amongst the giant pine trees. Either google “Tahoe reddit” or navigate to r/tahoe and scroll for a few minutes to find information on everything from nightlife in North Tahoe to threads inquiring about dog-friendly beaches with grills. Sounds like there’s even a $1 bike share that’s accessible pretty much anywhere. If the information you find isn’t specific enough, it’s easy to make a Reddit account if you don’t already have one and post a thread of your own. Let the experts flock to you and the travel adventures begin.
3. Area-specific Groupon Deals
To play off of our earlier example, let’s say you’re still looking for travel tips near Lake Tahoe but you’re going to be in the southern area for a day. Luckily, there’s a Groupon page just for things to do in South Lake Tahoe. For a place as small as South Lake Tahoe, you might have to travel a little over an hour from Reno, but the number of deals available is definitely worth the trip. For more highly populated areas, Groupon’s deals get even sweeter. On the site, you can explore reviews that others have left on each deal to look in more depth at how the deal is faring with people who decided to cash in. Find group-friendly rates on outdoor rentals, cheap weekend lodging, and great restaurant deals.
4. Tap into resident “Best of” Magazine lists
This tactic is one of the best to use when you’re looking for restaurants, shows, and venues. You may not know the name of the city’s local magazine, but a quick google search is usually all it takes to find out. For instance, type “Chicago magazine best of 2017” into a search engine and Best of Chicago August 2017 by Chicago Magazine pops right up. These articles are ripe with local-friendly information because ‘Best of’ lists are usually voter-based. Locals nominate and
vote on their favorite spots and the picks rise to the top. Chicago’s list is broken into categories, making it easy to find something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a late night done right or a baby’s day out. These lists exist for most places, including Reno, and are easily accessed to help bring tourism to the area and keep local businesses flourishing.
5. Make the most of Facebook’s search capacity
If you have a Facebook account, this strategy is perfect for finding specific local events and local group boards that list happenings going on each day and night. Simply type the city you’re traveling to + things to do in the search bar at the top of the page and you’ll be presented with events, pages, groups, links, and even posts by your friends that include those search terms. If you’ve been jealous of travel photos your Facebook friends have been posting, this search tactic
will give you a reason to reach out and ask them for recommendations so that you can take an even brighter sunset photo at Lake Tahoe. Back in search, each category is broken up neatly for easy navigation and the interface makes gleaning information from a variety of source types a breeze.