The 10 Habits of Highly Effective Londoners

London is a vast, thriving, multicultural metropolis that has all the quirks, strangeness, and bewildering complexity that come with such a place -- so it might not be too surprising to know that there are some people who are just better at being Londoners than everyone else. And this is how they do it...

1. They go to soft openings

New restaurants open all the time, and if you catch them when they've just cut the ribbon, chances are you'll get 50% off your bill, or occasionally, free food altogether. Plus, you'll be dining at the hottest new place in town before everyone else!

2. They check out the museums & galleries

It's all too easy to take this for granted, but they're free! FREE! And not because they're terrible, or because it's a soft opening -- they're actually, in many cases, the best on the planet!

3. They know the late-night restaurants

There are a number of places that serve actual food past midnight and they’re considerably better than the Golden Arches. 

4. They assess the Tube vs the bus vs walking

The Tube gets you quickly from point A to point B most of the time. But there are also times when taking the bus or even *gasp* walking makes more sense. Like going from Hoxton to Soho. You could walk to Liverpool St and take the Central Line, or just take the 55 bus and be far faster. Or to get from Oxford Circus to Tottenham Court Rd, it's easier to just walk rather than take the bus or Tube. 

5. They know where the best views are... for free

The Shard has a spectacular view... but it costs £20 to see it. Unless you go to GŎNG, the bar on the 52nd floor of The Shard and grab a far less expensive drink (like tap water, if you really are there for the view). Plus, you get a drink! Or you could head to the Heron Tower (the third-tallest building in London) and head to Duck & Waffle for a similarly jaw-dropping view/thirst quencher.

6. They never change at Bank or Waterloo (if they can avoid it)

Precisely no one would be surprised if there was a Minotaur at the centre of either of these stations. 

7. ... And they ALWAYS check the engineering works

Nothing ruins a weekend more than realizing that half the Tube network is closed, and you're not going to make your dinner/movie/train/cat café reservation. Plan ahead.

8. They avoid the Leicester Square-Piccadilly Circus nexus

The journey between these two spots is a gauntlet of tourists, Angus Steakhouses, and M&M's World. (The only acceptable excuses are for The Book of Mormon and The Comedy Store.)

9. They know their apps

Tube Exits ingeniously lets you know where to get on the train in order to get straight off at the exit. Citymapper will make your journey above ground vastly easier. Hailo & Uber are pretty much indispensable.

10. They know the back streets & alleys

Weirdly, London was not built on a grid system, and as such, there are more small passageways than even Google Maps can handle. From Soho's maze-like myriad of passageways (like St. Anne's Court, for instance), to the alleys that get you from the Old Street Roundabout to Hoxton Square without touching the ever-populous Old St itself.

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