Tourism Ireland

How To Find Hidden Gems in a Destination

by Samantha DiMauro

May 4, 2015

© Zeljko Dangubic | Dreamstime

Tips / Travel

How do you find those often talked about but elusive “hidden gems” that give a city or destination it’s charm and character when you don’t know where to look?


These gems are often hidden because they don’t have the big budgets for marketing and advertising like your average Museum of Fine Arts or 5-star restaurant, yet they’re known by the locals for providing invigorating cultural and culinary experiences to the neighborhoods and cities where they reside.


Ask the residents what’s up

Where does the cashier at the general store like to go for dinner? Where does your train conductor enjoy shopping, or what do they like do on the weekends? The people who live and breathe a city know how to tell the overrated spots from the more practical, beneficial and rewarding options for everyday living, and they’ll know where to find the truly best cup of coffee in town.


Read the local literature

Chances are, one or more city guides or maps found at visitor information centers will be published by a small local company, and be mostly free to editorially tote the real worth of its destination’s charm, as opposed to catering to clients. Do some research to find out what the journalists, public relations specialists and critics of the area are saying about where they call home. Reading Yelp reviews is also a handy way of finding out what both visitors and locals think of their neighborhood resources.


Check out the road less traveled

Don’t judge a dive bar by its neon signs and gritty façade — hidden gems are often found because someone stumbled upon them unexpectedly. Venture off the crowded main strips to peek into the windows of little shops and cafes that may not be getting the attention they deserve. Museums, shops, restaurants, sights or other destinations that are considered “hidden gems” retain an outstanding quality, and can be identified by the strength of their customer service. Go in and have a chat with the staff. You never know, you could find your perfect fit.



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