Before You Visit A City, Read Its Subreddit

Before You Visit A City, Read Its Subreddit

Most major cities around the world have an active forum on Reddit. And if you plan to visit any of these cities, you can learn a lot of tourism advice without even asking by digging through the archives.

Photo: Alexis O’Toole/Reddit

The culture on each of these subreddits is different; some welcome questions such as “What’s a restaurant with a view?” and some don’t. But on any of them, you’ll find existing questions and answers. Here’s what to check on every subreddit:

  • On the default view, “hot”, you’ll see what the city’s been talking about, and often what the weather’s been like, for the last few days. You’ll also see how active the subreddit is: On very active ones, all the hot posts will come from the last few hours, while less active subs might have month-old posts on the front page. The more active the subreddit, the quicker you’ll get comments if you post something new.
  • Still on the subreddit’s front page, click the “top” tag to see the most popular posts in a given time frame. Under “all time” you’ll see a lot of photos up top, then more useful info. Under “past week” you’ll see more local news. Look around for popular posts asking for tourist information. Since people ask the same questions over and over in these subreddits, you want to find the time that the most people answered.
  • The right sidebar often links to particularly good posts, especially posts with visitor advice. It also might link to outside sources and other subreddits for visitors. Since most of these subreddits are primarily for locals, the moderators want to help visitors without getting in the way of local discussion. This is also where you’ll find submission rules, so always check the sidebar before you make a new post.
  • If you’re researching a large city, there might be a more specific subreddit just for your situation. Google the city name plus “subreddit”, and check the sidebars for more links. New York has /r/nyc, /r/AskNYC, /r/nycpics, /r/newyorkcity (a smaller alternative for locals), a sub for each borough (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens), subs for neighbourhoods such as Astoria, a sub for cycling and two for the subway, a history sub, a food sub, and an opera sub. And we’re leaving some out. If you want to post a new question, start with the small subs and work your way up.
  • Check if the subreddit has a wiki. For example, /r/AskNYC has an extensive wiki with travel info, apartment hunting guides, restaurant and bar recommendations, history links, and answers to every frequently asked question. There are 12 links just covering New York’s “hidden gems”.
  • If you can’t find an answer to your question after thoroughly searching, and you know that you’re in a subreddit that takes travel questions, then go ahead and make a new post – but expect some people to complain anyway. Some locals just want to be pissed off.

Reddit also has subs for countries and travel styles, such as /r/irishtourism and /r/roadtrip. Add “Reddit” to all your travel search terms when you want to hear some public opinion.

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