My favorite way to explore a new city is with Strava Maps


Galaxy A51 sits on a marble table showing a Strava Maps tab to the user.

Kaitlyn Cimino/Android Authority

Returning in-person events have taken me to several new cities over the past year. From a stop in Chicago with Motorola to a week in Las Vegas CES, I have a lot of opportunities to explore. As the actual antagonist of the Android Authority Team, that always means putting on a trusty pair of shoes and getting out for a few miles. However, my inner compass is about as bad as they come, so I had to rely on some help to see the sights. my application is running, stravaand specifically its maps, have become my go-to navigator when I’m on the road.

Run around like the locals

iPhone on user's wrist showing Strava.

Kaitlyn Cimino/Android Authority

There are plenty of ways to get out for a run when you get to a new city. You could meet up with an established running club, do loops at a local park, or maybe just build as you go. However, it’s not always easy to fit into a group that works together regularly — let alone find a way to sync up your schedule if you’re traveling for work. Running in a park can also be challenging, especially if it’s closing at dusk or it’s small enough that you have to run the same loop dozens of times. On the other hand, Strava provides all the flexibility I want.

the Global heat mapAs Strava calls it, it works like an invisible running club, highlighting the streets (and paths) most people commute from city to city. The most popular tracks are displayed in dark blue when viewed on mobile, while the web version works like a real heat map. The upper lanes appear bright white, slowly fading to a deeper red as the traffic fades. Both versions work the same way, so it’s up to you to decide how to make your plan.

Strava’s Global Heatmap is like your tour of the stars – if those stars are roads they’re good to run on.

In my case, the Global Heatmap is the perfect way to start running because it is not tied to a specific point. I like to get out the door and start running rather than heading to one of the many starting points. Even then, I tend to stick to a lighter route on the map so I can pick a main route. Sometimes it leads me past a hidden gem, but mostly it keeps me safe. I know where to run in my hometown in terms of sidewalks and broad shoulders, but that’s not always apparent in a new city. When I see a darker line on a Strava map, I at least know I can get past that without spending time in traffic.

Strava’s global heat map isn’t the only way, either. If you are heading back to the city where you ran before, you can go back to the city Personal heatmap. It follows the same idea, highlighting the most frequently used methods, but tailored to your activities if you want to recreate one of your favorite workouts. I have a few tours that I look forward to repeating in the future, but a personal heat map is also a reliable way to ensure you see new parts of the city each time you go.

Have you ever wanted a guided tour?

Although I’d rather look at a map and make a plan in my head, Strava Routes makes life easier. They go further than the Global Heatmap, letting you filter and sort through popular tracks to find your perfect workout. There are only a few exercise options out there right now, including running, jogging, and cycling, but they take a lot of the guesswork out of exploring. You may have to head to a specific starting point, but there is no shortage of them, as described above.

I don’t always follow my watch’s exercise recommendations while traveling—who knows if I can get a workout in on the hill—so filtering by distance became a lifesaver. When in doubt, I hypothetically walk to about eight miles a day, and it’s good to have an idea of ​​exactly where that takes me. You can also sort by elevation and running or cycling surfaces, but it’s not always easy to find gravel or trails in some cities.

When in doubt, Strava Routes takes the guesswork out of workout planning.

Perhaps most importantly, you can save a Strava route to your phone or a file GPS watch. Both Garmin And Coros is now supported, so you can pull up a map on your watch and follow every turn instead of unlocking your phone every half mile or so. It’s also easy to pause the route in the middle if you end up at one of the many photo spots or points of interest on the map.

How do you create your own Strava route?

Strava Global Heatmap Hawaii

Kaitlyn Cimino/Android Authority

It’s easier to rely on someone else’s Strava when you’re in a new city, but it’s not your only option. You can also draw yourself manually if there is a list of sites you want to see. Unfortunately, like many of Strava’s best features, creating tracks and getting up close and personal with the Global Heatmap comes at a cost. Specifically, you must have a file Strava subscription. Here’s how to manage tracks on mobile and web:

Strava tracks on mobile:

Creating a route on Strava’s mobile app has been simplified but still offers a lot of flexibility. Strava automatically creates routes using a combination of general activities and data from OpenStreetMap, which means it’s basically up to you to choose your starting point and distance. If you want to modify a previously created path, you can long-press on another one of the named starting points to create a new set of paths from there. You can also drag specific waypoints along the map, but drawing a map from scratch is not currently possible.

Strava tracks on the web:

If you really want to get into the weeds of Strava road construction, you have to do it on the web. It may not be as convenient as using your phone, but the more comprehensive interface makes life much easier. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Sign in to Strava on the browser of your choice.
  2. open the my tracks page.
  3. Choose Create a new road.
  4. Choose your workout type, height preference, and surface type.
  5. Click a point to start your path (it doesn’t have to be a distinct starting point).
  6. Add created segments or click along roads and lanes to add them to your route.
  7. Save your path.

Adding the parts and clicking along the paths might seem complicated, but it is very easy. Strava will automatically block your path to your current tracks and Slices So you don’t try to navigate through a home or school by mistake. Slides are also an excellent way to get some local legend leaderboards.

One last tip – if you don’t want to pay for Strava in the long run, start a free trial. While you’re testing it, save as many tracks as you think you want and use them later. You won’t be able to add new programs after the trial period ends, but you can still use the ones you’ve saved.

At the end of the day, you don’t have to be a Strava improv artist. You don’t have to take all your preset runs either. All that matters is that you get out there. There’s a lot to see in a new city, and you might even find hidden gems in your own city – all you have to do is get yourself out the door.

How do you prefer to explore the city? Let us know in the poll below.

How do you prefer to explore the city?

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