Best NYC pizza? Hippest art in Berlin? These folk know what’s hot, right now
This is just a taster. Read more from The Knowledge section in this month’s issue of The Sunday Times Travel Magazine on sale now
The blog: laist.com
The city: LA
Why we love it: It’s so abreast of what’s happening right now. At the top of the page there’s a ‘trending’ bar, which could contain anything from ‘brunch’ to ‘Long Beach police department’ to ‘Caitlyn Jenner’, depending on what’s going on at the time — something you won’t get in a guidebook. It’s written for locals, so there are news articles and property guides, alongside updates on the newest Hollywood pools, artisan beers and green juices.
Must-read post: ’10 Amazing Tacos You Need To Try in Los Angeles’ includes trucks serving Baja-style shrimp and spit-roast pork.
The blog: parisbymouth.com
The city: Paris
Why we love it: If there’s one place you don’t want to get dinner wrong in, it’s Paris. This blog is not only a goldmine, it’s organised — a rarity. You can click on tabs (‘restaurants’, ‘cheese’, ‘wine bars’) for recommendations sorted by arrondissement. Opening hours are kept updated — especially handy in Paris, where restaurateurs change such things at the drop of a chapeau.
Must-read post: ’Our 50 favourite restaurants in Paris’ is your go-to link, split into smart categories such as ‘bistro’, ‘cheap comforts’ and ‘extremely difficult to book’.
The blog: thesmartlocal.com
The city: Singapore
Why we love it: Those ‘smart locals’ really do use it — its creators reckon they reach somewhere around two million Singaporeans a month, which says everything you need to know (when do you see a local with a guidebook?). The ‘things to do’, ‘food’ and ‘shopping’ sections feature articles that cut straight to the must-know lowdowns — such as ‘things you could do alone in Singapore’ and ‘epic bars you won’t believe exist’.
Must-read post: ‘52 things to do in Singapore before you die’ is inspiring and invaluable — there’s no excuse for being at a loose end here.
The blog: stilinberlin.de
The city: Berlin
Why we love it: As you’d expect from a blog with ‘style’ in the name, it’s sleek, minimalist and appealing, like Berlin itself. The city is constantly evolving and this blog keeps up. It’s a good idea to scroll through the Stil in Berlin homepage to see what’s new, whether it’s a hamburger, a sculpture or a movie. The art section often highlights small exhibitions you’d otherwise miss.
Must-read post: The map, marked with every address on the blog, is the quickest, handiest tool in town. You can choose just to display markers for whatever you’re looking for — say, ‘breakfasts’, or ‘flea markets’.
The blog: broadsheet.com.au
The city: Melbourne
Why we love it: Melbourne is exploding with exciting things to do, and this blog captures its essence beautifully, functioning like your man on the ground and distilling the unmissable. You’ll find sections for nightlife, shopping, art and entertainment, as well as a comprehensive directory. The ‘things to do’ section has a cultural focus, with lots of art, film and dance.
Must-read post: Click on ‘things to do’ and then ‘out of towner’ for some side-trip inspiration: Bendigo for art (two hours north), for instance, or King Island in Tasmania: ‘the most unique food destination in Oz’ (40min flight).
The blog: NY.eater.com
The city: New York
Why we love it: Eater is a bit of an empire, covering US cities from Atlanta to Washington. But in New York, it’s crucial — even if you’re a regular visitor, it’s hard to keep up. The ‘Heat Maps’ are infallible works of genius, marking little flame icons to denote the hottest restaurants in town right now.
Must-read post: If pizza is one of the city’s main draws for you, Nick Solares’s Complete Guide to New York Pizza Styles is a deliciously educational read.
The blog: iheartreykjavik.net
The city: Reykjavík
Why we love it: It’s written by a dedicated woman called Audur, who lives, breathes and loves her native Iceland. Considerately, she answers the exact questions you need answers to, such as ‘What‘s the best neighbourhood for accommodation?’ and ‘How do I get from Reykjavík to the Blue Lagoon?’. She also provides helpful phrases, money-saving tips and semi-serious advice on etiquette in Icelandic pools.
Must-read post: ‘The ultimate guide to the Northern Lights in Reykjavík’ is exactly what you’re after and details the when, where and how.
The blog: gringoinbuenosaires.com
The city: Buenos Aires
Why we love it: It’s a genuine insider’s guide, offering information that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the internet. The main blog supplies a stream of updates on ice creams, cocktails, pizzas, wines and steaks. But click on ‘neighbourhood guides’ for a priceless barrio-by-barrio lowdown; there are 35 in total, each with things to do, bars to drink at, and some candid pros and cons.
Must-read post: Monserrat is the barrio with lots of important buildings, while Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood are your go-to districts for fun.
The blog: slowtravelstockholm.com
The city: Stockholm
Why we love it: It encourages visitors to Stockholm to stay longer and travel slower, which is refreshing. This blog is good for browsing, so click on ‘articles’ and then whatever takes your fancy. ‘Meet the locals’ offers glimpses of the city through the eyes of local magicians, photographers, farmers and more…
Must-read post: ’50 free ways to enjoy Stockholm’ includes cemeteries, hikes, comedy nights and cocktails.
The blog: culinarybacstreets.com/istanbul
The city: Istanbul
Why we love it: Culinary Backstreets has blogs covering Athens, Mexico City and Tokyo. But the Istanbul one is particularly good because it’s partly written by the folk behind istanbuleats.com, a sterling 12-year-old food blog. It does a marvellous job of showcasing the city’s unsung food heroes: the man who fries the best eggs, the woman who churns out the best flatbreads, or the family behind the best baklava.
Must-read post: ‘Best Bites of 2014’ features Turkish sausages, pistachio ice cream, fruit molasses and spit-roast lamb. Look out for the 2015 edition.