When you’re stopping over for a few days in a city you’re not familiar with — assuming you’re not interested in the tourist traps — it’s hard to know what to check out. Even locals, overwhelmed with the responsibility of giving “good advice” to an out-of-towner, usually revert to the old standbys — recommending the same old places you could’ve learned about from a quick trip the city’s tourism website.
Enter the IST sites. This network of blogs was started in NYC under the name Gothamist. The New York site is fiercely energetic and opinionated, written by local scenesters, and covers arts, culture, politics and local oddities in the five boroughs. In the wake of Gothamist’s enormous success, there are now similar sites in many U.S. cities — and even a few international options — offering a plethora of information about their respective local happenings.
So if you’re traveling to Austin, Boston, Chicago, Houston, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Seattle, Toronto, or Washington D.C., start reading the corresponding IST site three or four days prior, and you’ll arrive ready to fit in like a seasoned local.