Exploring cities can be an immensely rewarding experience, from uncovering hidden gems to learning more about the art, history and architecture of a place. There’s no denying, however, that in this era of mass tourism and overcrowded attractions it can be almost overwhelming to try and find those special spots. 

This is where a ‘culture vulture’ comes in – someone who knows the best places to go to gain an in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the culture of the city in all its forms. To become a culture vulture takes time, effort and research, but the result will be a richer experience and a deeper understanding of the city.

What is a Culture Vulture?

A ‘culture vulture’ is a person who has a deep interest in exploring and engaging with the culture of a city or location – art, history and architecture. They are open-minded, sociable and passionate about learning the story of each new place they visit.

The culture vulture wants to go beyond the obvious sights and attractions, which are usually crowded and bogged down with tourists. They delve deep into the fascinating arts, history, culture and people of the city, engaging with locals and getting a real feel for the spirit of the place.

Benefits of Becoming a Culture Vulture

The benefits of becoming a culture vulture are numerous:

  • Increased Knowledge and Understanding: By taking the time to explore and absorb the culture, art, history and architecture of the city, you can gain a better understanding of it.

  • Strengthened Appreciation for Art and History: Visiting cultural institutions, art galleries and key historical sites will allow you to appreciate the richness of any destination and gain deeper insight into its story.

  • Improved Social Skills: Chatting to locals and engaging with cultural institutions will give you the opportunity to improve your social skills and personal confidence, while bursting out of your comfort zone.

  • New Experiences: Whether it be a classic evening at the opera, a thrilling ride in a gondola, or a lifechanging visit to an iconic museum, the possibilities are endless!

  • Unforgettable Memories: You’ll be able to forge unforgettable memories that will stay with you long after you’ve left the destination.

Tips for Becoming a Culture Vulture

  1. Research: Before travelling, take the time to research the destination, so you can gain an understanding of the history and culture of the place. It’s also useful to research venues and local attractions so you can plan your visit.

  2. Get Local: One of the best ways to learn more about a destination is to speak to the locals. Spend some time chatting to them and discovering the hidden stories and off-the-beaten-path places.

  3. Tourist Attractions: It’s tempting to avoid popular tourist attractions, but the reality is that often these places for a good reason – those postcard-perfect landmarks often have a fascinating story to tell.

  4. Social Media: Use social media networks to connect with other travellers to gain tips, advice and great insider information.

  5. Ask a Professional: It can be worth while asking a guide to accompany you on your visit – they can show you the hidden gems, tell you fascinating stories and offer unique insights.

Exploring the Art and Architecture of Cities

Art and architecture have the power to tell the story of a city and its people. By learning more about its art and architecture, you can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of a destination. Here are a few tips for exploring the art and architecture of cities:

  1. Take a Guided Walking Tour: When it comes to exploring art and architecture, a guided walking tour is the best way to discover the hidden treasures of a city. An experienced guide is able to provide background information on the sights and sound that you wouldn’t otherwise gain.

  2. Explore on your Own: Although a guided tour has its benefits, there is something to be said for exploring on your own. By so doing, you can take your time and linger in places that interest you without feeling obliged to follow someone else’s agenda.

  3. Take Photos: Capture your experiences with a camera. Images have the power to evoke more immediate and intense emotions than recollections alone. Therefore, make sure you capture the unique sights and architecture of the city that spark feelings of awe and wonder.

  4. Visit Off the Beaten Track: Look for abandoned buildings, derelict buildings, public institutions, museums and more for an “authentic” experience.

  5. Learn about the Artist: Spend some time researching the artist. Learning about their influences, concerns and connection with a place gives a good background to understanding the artwork.

Exploring the History of Cities

History has the power to transport the imagination back to how things were and how the changes that took place paved the way for the present world. Exploring the history of a city is a great way to go beyond the tourist attractions and uncover the raw truth and spirit of a destination. Here are a few tips for exploring the history of a city:

  1. Take a Guided Tour: Signing up for a guided tour with an experienced, local guide is a great way to learn more about a destination. Not only will they be able to provide you with comprehensive information and facts, but also unique anecdotes and stories.

  2. Visit Historical Sites: Going to archaeological sites, monuments, ruins and museums will give you an overview of the city’s bygone days.

  3. Learn about Local Celebrations: Attending local festivals and events is another great way to gain an insight into the history of the city.

  4. Research and Read: A lot of knowledge can be accumulated by reading, researching and doing your homework before you set off. There are plenty of great books and websites out there dedicated to celebrating the history, culture and traditions of a city.

  5. Engage with Locals: Often there is nothing like a local to bring the city’s history to life. Chatting to local people and learning from their experiences, stories and memories can open up a hidden part of the city, untold in historical books and tourist brochures.

Exploring cities from the viewpoint of a culture vulture takes time and effort, but it’s worth it and will allow you to get a more in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the city’s culture, history and architecture. With the help of this article, you now have the necessary tips and advice to be able to explore a city like an experienced culture vulture. So, all that is left to say is, go out there and uncover the hidden gems of cultural destinations around the world!