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How to Explore a New City This Fall


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The words summer and vacation have been etched together in your mind since the final bell rang in school and you were free for three months. But you’re an adult now. And fall—with its temperate weather and often colorful scenes—poses a perfect time to take a trip.

Travel pros often call autumn the “shoulder season.” Prices drop and destinations once clogged with tourists tend to empty and quiet down. But planning a vacation is just step one. Seeing a city the right way is the most important task at hand. Here’s how it’s done.

Talk to the Locals

Group Of Friends Drinking Together At A Pool Hall

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You could let Yelp decide your next meal (potentially risky?) or dictate your morning hike. Your best bet, though, is asking the bartender at the pub downtown or a barista where to take in the views and grab a bite to eat. Chances are you’ll be chatting it up with local denizens already, so why not take your conversation further by letting them help you figure out the lay of the land?

Their advice works for two reasons: First, locals can easily discern between the talked-about restaurants, outings, and activities that are worth visiting and those that are all hype. Second, humans are social by nature. Talking to strangers—rather than ignoring them and looking down at your phone—can improve your mood, making your explorations that much more enjoyable.

Plan Less

Man with map standing outside SUV at remote roadside

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Skip the coveted dinner reservation in Venice and head out with this goal instead: Get a little lost. Spontaneity is an often overlooked, ignored facet of enjoyable travel. And research proves it. One study found that cramming your day full of planned activities (even the best ones) can suck the enjoyment out of those things.

Under-scheduling, on the other hand, can help you enjoy the moment (and aren’t we all working on that?). Who knows? Maybe the cafe on a side street turns out to be the stand-out meal of the entire trip.

Get Off the Main Strip, But Spend Some Time Being a Tourist

Man admiring the view from the top of Rock of Solutre at sunset, Burgundy, France

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St. Mark’s Square, Rodeo Drive, Lombard Street—popular streets, squares, and plazas pull travelers in from all over the world, but they’re not the place to go for the city’s best eateries or shops. It doesn’t take much to find those special spots, though. Do your best to lose the crowds even by a few blocks and you’re likely to come across quieter, quainter, more authentic spots to spend your time.

With that said, the right tourist attractions are attractive for good reason—they can showcase the best a city has to offer. So in New Orleans, listen to jazz; in Chicago, eat deep dish; in Boston, take the Duck Tour (seriously). Not sure which outings to pick and which to skip? See point number one (because no one wants to get stuck strolling Times Square).

Go for a Run

Back view of man jogging on country road in the evening

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What better way to explore a city than by foot? Speed things up and run instead of walk and you’ll not only see more, but you’ll also work up a sweat—a proven form of jet-lag relief when paired with a little natural sunlight.

Even without a time difference, a good (eh, even a half-assed) workout floods your brain with feel-good chemicals, setting the stage for a successful day. Even better? Exercise usually has a way of sending a hangover packing, too.

Ask Social Media

Man Taking Photos Of Burger With Smartphone

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Today’s photo-sharing apps can make even a dinky pond look epic, but instead of spending your time filtering photos, change up who you follow,. Filling your feed with important locals, tourism boards, and even hashtags (activities or locations: #surfing, #DeerValley) can help you ID outings you never would have thought of and connect you with like-minded travelers or locals.

Seek Out Awe

Germany, Bavaria, Oberstdorf, man on a hike in the mountains at sunset with paraglider in background

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It’s a powerful emotion evoked when we are overcome with a sense of wonder. Science says so. Awe can relieve stress, make you happier, and it can even make you a better person. Plus, the places it’s found tend to be on the highlight reel of any good trip—the top of a mountain, for one.



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LIFESTYLE

Rumpl’s NanoLoft Puffy Blanket Is the Best Waterproof Camping Blanket


Buy $149, rei.com; rumpl.com


Welcome to The Esquire Endorsement. Heavily researched. Thoroughly vetted. These picks are the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.


Tent camping in the fall is all about accepting dampness into your life. Everything from your socks to your layered sweatshirts to the roots of your unwashed hair is just a little bit wet. It’s glorious; you feel alive, one with the clouds and mist. But it’s also cold. To stave off the chill during all your outdoor adventuring, get yourself a camping blanket. Specifically, Rumpl’s new NanoLoft Puffy blanket, which imitates an ultra-cozy (but expensive) down blanket with synthetic, sustainable insulation.

And in case all that damp camping talk really turned you off, the Rumpl NanoLoft Puffy blanket is suitable for more than camping. Any place you go this fall where there’s a fire, some food to roast over it, and a chair or stump or rock to perch on—or perhaps a cold bleacher bench, a solo cup filled with chilly beer, and a bunch of guys in helmets running around—there will also be this blanket, keeping you toasty without weighing you down.

Rumpl makes the NanoLoft Puffy blanket in a range of different sizes, colors, and designs.

Tim Mulcare

It’s built for keeping you warm in the great outdoors.

No doubt you have plenty of lovely blankets lying around your home: baby alpaca, fleece, hand-knit throws passed down from your grandma. Those are indoor blankets. This is an outdoor blanket. Rumpl studied the fibers in down for the NanoLoft Puffy so that its synthetic insulation traps warm pockets of air similarly. You stay cozy, and the aforementioned dampness stays out. But it’s also lightweight, so there’s no danger in you feeling smothered with heat. And to further steel it against the elements is a rip-stopping polyester shell with a finish that makes it relatively impervious to sweat, spills, and other outdoorsy gunk.

Buy $149, rei.com; rumpl.com

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The blanket and its sack are waterproofed.

Tim Mulcare

It packs up light and small.

It goes without saying, but a blanket that’s properly made for roaming the wilds has to be small enough to pack. In its sack, the NanoLoft is a little over a foot long. Unrolled, you can buy different sizes to fit however many people it needs to cover. The sack has a clip on it to attach it to your backpack or simply use as a handle. And that insulated down stays light; the one-person size doesn’t weigh even two pounds. All you need to do is remember how to best roll up a sleeping bag—or in this case, blanket. Of course, this applies to packing the blanket up and carting it over to your friend’s place for a mid-fall bonfire-and-beer hang. Portability always matters.

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Every corner of the NanoLoft has loops.

Tim Mulcare

It’s made from recycled materials, which is very cool.

Rumpl also had an original Puffy blanket and a down Puffy blanket. But this one is made with a synthetic down alternative, which Rumpl named NanoLoft, which makes it ideal to those who are down-adverse. It’s also made from 100-percent post-consumer materials, which is ideal for all of us who share this planet. Specifically, Rumpl says that 60 used plastic water bottles go into every single one of its NanoLoft Puffy’s, instead of ending up in dumps or the ocean. Being the outdoorsperson you are, you’ve likely fully converted to reusable mugs and thermoses. But others haven’t, and Rumpl’s lightweight, super warm, packable blanket helps you pick up their slack. Even though you shouldn’t have to.

Buy $149, rei.com; rumpl.com



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Instagram Found a $10 Dupe for This Popular, Influencer-Loved Pearl Headband


Instagram Found a $10 Dupe for This Popular, Influencer-Loved Pearl Headband | InStyle.com

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Why Cara Delevingne Kept Her Relationship with Ashley Benson a Secret


Why Cara Delevingne Kept Her Relationship with Ashley Benson a Secret | InStyle.com

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