One of the things I always try to do when visiting a new place is search out local recommendations for food, drink, and sights to see. For me just doing an internet search often isn't enough - major websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor tend to dominate the search results, and its hard to cut through the noise on those sites to get real recommendations. Oftentimes I'm also looking for an experience a little out of the ordinary or a restaurant that's off the beaten path; the major travel websites tend to all recommend the same major tourist spots.
My secret weapon for finding local hotspots in new foreign cities? Facebook, and more specifically, expo Facebook groups. Most major cities around the world will have at least one expat Facebook group. Smaller countries may just have a country-wide group, but the insights they can provide will be just as valuable.
Since we spend so much time in Croatia I've been a member of the Expats in Zagreb Facebook group for some time now. Not only do they have a PDF document filled with recommendations on where to shop, dine, how to find a doctor, where to buy pet food, etc., but the people in the group are an invaluable source of information. They know what its like to be a foreigner in Zagreb, and they can recommend places and experiences that you might not find in a travel guide or on TripAdvisor.
A quick search on Facebook for "expats in [CITY]" should yield some promising results. Give a try before your next trip. You'll often find that the advice of a local is worth ten times more than what someone says on Yelp.
Pssst - not to plug Croatia too much, but if you're planning a trip here are a couple other great Facebook groups/pages to check out for local recommendations:
Travel Tuesday is a new feature we'll be rolling out here on the School of Home blog - most Tuesdays we'll offer travel tips, highlight some of our favorite destinations, or share photos from a recent trip. Stay tuned, and let us know what travel tips or questions you have!