I have a thing for walking around cities, no planned destination or route in sight, more of a ‘let’s go this way and see where we end up’ mentality. And to be fair, it works more often than not. You get to see things that otherwise you may never have discovered if you caught the train or underground. You can come across landmarks, shops, monuments or even views you never would have spotted otherwise.
No matter how hard you try though, you will always miss things, where ever you are. I’ve learnt over the years that the best way to find some of the best spots and sights, is to find someone who lives in the city. For they know places as if they’re the back of their hands.
During my visit to Chicago, I did a walking tour around the Lincoln Park area through side streets and off the beaten track areas, learning all about the gang history and Al Capone’s involvement. I did this through ‘Free Tours by Foot‘ where we spent two hours walking around the area and learning all about. The tour was free and then at the end, we tipped the guide with how much we thought it was worth. Without this tour, I don’t think I would have ventured into this part of Chicago, which made it extra special.
In Stockholm, I made the questionable decision to do two two-hour-long walking tours in one day. Let me tell you, my feet killed by the end of the day, I was over walking in the cold. The first tour was through the ‘main’ part of the city (Norrmalm and Ostermalm), taking in the important landmarks, like the Kings and Queens streets, Kungstradagarden and even the H&M head office. The guide for this tour was super enthusiastic and informative, which made the two-hour walk through slush so much more fun. Walk 2 was through Soldermalm, showing us some amazing views and outlooks over the city. The best part was finding the viewpoints that I could come back to later.
Walking tours have the added bonus as well that you actually get to see the city, rather than walking around on your phone trying to find the right way, or searching about random facts and the history about where you’re walking too or past. Although you are in sometimes a large group, you really do get to feel like a local, walking around and almost knowing where you’re going.