I recently had a trade show in a city I had been to once as a kid and really had no desire to go back. Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful city — for families and kids, but just really did not suit me or my typical travel interests.

I was going to be in the city for 5 long days. It was time to get creative and make the most of my trip! So 4 days before I left I decided to put my google skills to use. I began searching things to do in O-city, unique things to see, hidden gems etc. When you think you have searched every possible phrase, dig a little deeper. Read local magazines, blogs and websites. See if they have a local or community events page.

Often, the initial restaurants, bars and cafes you find online are significantly geared towards tourists. You can find better value, better atmosphere and all around better experiences by just digging a little deeper. On my last trip to New York City I went the full trip without stepping foot in Time Square. I also managed to visit many local coffee shops which were a treat outside of my usual Starbucks routine. If only there were more cute coffee shops where I live! Like THINK COFFEE in NYC. I absolutely love this place and the volunteer work they do. Check them out if you are ever in NYC.

So what did I come across during my last trade show visit to O-city? I found a cute little yoga study around the corner from my hotel. Being away from home with long trade show hours meant I needed to find a bit of my home routine away from home. What a great way to de-stress. I also found a cool speakeasy in the second floor of a shoe repair shop. This tucked away little gem had amazing bartenders who made one of the best cocktails I have ever had. Plus my coworkers were thrilled with my find, making me the office hero for the week. Two Thumbs up for O-city!

Embrace the city you are in, because who knows when you will be back in it.

About 4 months ago I had a work trip to Atlantic Canada. I was there for only two days but could have flown in a day early. I have wanted to see the Bay of Fundy for awhile now. But the trip was in December. It was cold and overcast. The Bay of Fundy was an hour drive away.. I would have to rent a car.. blah blah blah. Last week one of the most photographed flowerpot rocks at Hopewell Rocks crumbled. The stone was weakened by temperature changes. The rock was known as the “elephant”. I am disappointed that I am not going to get my chance to experience its beauty first hand, but it reminds me to take advantage of my surroundings, always.

Be a tourist in your own city!  

What’s your favourite local find? Tell us about it below or #explorelocal on instagram