What is a City Guide?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2019
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A city guide, also known as a destination guide, is a publication that lists various destinations, venues, and services within a particular city. City guides are often structured in categorized lists that offer pertinent information and pithy commentary on each entry. Some city guides are available online, while others are published as books, magazines, or newspapers. A city guide may also be compiled by professional writers or may largely be produced by soliciting comments from the general public. Some city guides are targeted toward members of specific communities, such as the disabled, seniors, or the gay and lesbian community.

Unlike travel guides, a city guide is often targeted to locals as well as tourists. Particularly in large cities, many worthwhile destinations and providers of goods and services may be unknown outside their immediate neighborhood. A city guide can help even longtime residents of an area find and patronize these businesses. For newcomers to an area, a city guide can help them find needed services such as health care, dry cleaning, and natural food stores. Tourists who want to get off the beaten path can also take advantage of the information that a city guide has to offer.


Many city guides are available online and often include a combination of professionally written content as well as comments from readers. Quality online city guides develop editorial policies that allow for honest evaluations while preventing biased entries from distorting a profile of a business. The advantage of the online model is that it makes it easy for the general public to comment and to update information about a particular company.

Print city guides, on the other hand, may have a bit more durability and are often written by professional journalists. These city guides are a bit more curated than online guides and may offer more useful information about significant city landmarks and reliable businesses. Their writers may be professional critics with more experience and knowledge of what they are writing about than the general public. On the other hand, they may be more likely to miss tiny businesses that do not have access to public relations services.

Several large cities are home to magazine and newspaper-style city guides. These publications often come out weekly and combine feature stories and reviews with a city guide. For those who lack smartphones, carrying around one of these publications can be extremely helpful when meanderings about a city and making decisions about what to do.


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Post 4

@OeKc05 – The courthouse in my city has guides set out in racks right in the lobby. I'm sure that any government building would have them available.

These guides are free. The city wants to motivate people to take them, so they will spend money at the places advertised inside the publication.

Also, I have seen some in racks outside the local newspaper office. These are also free.

The newspaper inserted the guides into the papers back in June one day, and since I am a subscriber, mine came right to my door at no charge. I have used it extensively. It was interesting to read all the reviews of local places by the reporters, and I got a perspective on businesses I have yet to visit.

Post 3

Where can I find a city guide, besides on the internet? I have just moved to Boston, and a city guide would be very helpful to me right now.

I haven't been to many places yet. I have visited the grocery store and several gas stations, but neither place had a city guide out where I could see it. I feel a bit lost in the dark here, and the phone book is my only guide right now.

Also, are city guides usually free? It would be valuable enough to me that I would pay for it, but I know that sometimes, information like this is given away.

Post 2

@Perdido – A restaurant guide sounds like a good idea for a town like yours. I live in a college town, so we see a lot of new residents every semester. Our city guide has to provide them information about a number of places they might need, and though restaurants are included, they aren't the focus of the guide.

A lot of attention is placed on apartment complexes and condos in town. The newly arriving students are very interested in the different amenities and prices at various rentals.

The guide includes everything a resident could possibly need, from tax services to laundromats. I have lived here for ten years, and I learned a thing or two from the guide.

Post 1

My town is packed with so many great places to eat that the city council decided to publish a restaurant city guide. People often come here from neighboring towns to eat, and this magazine helps them find the best places.

Restaurants purchased different sized spaces in the guide. Some bought big enough spaces to list their menus, but others bought only enough space to put their address, website, and a short description of the food they offer.

The advertisements generated revenue for the city, and the guide brought in money to the restaurants. We just happen to have a famous chef who owns three of the restaurants in town, and when people see his name in the guide, they are drawn to these establishments.

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