Touring Great Cities with Podcasts

The iPod is not just for grooving to music anymore. Museums are using podcasts to help visitors better explore their
art collections (See our related article). Universities are doing the same for their campuses (see UC Berkeley’s tour on iTunes). Doctors are now using iPods to improve their stethoscope skills. And, travelers can now use them to tour through the great cities and countries of the world.

Along these lines, a venture called Soundwalk provides engaging, somewhat offbeat audio tours of New York and Paris. In New York, they offer individual tours of Little Italy, the Lower East Side, Times Square and the Meat Packing District. They also get into Brooklyn and the Bronx. Meanwhile, in Paris, they take you through the Marais, St. Germain, Pigalle, Belleville, and the Palais Royal. Each tour is narrated by fitting figures. The writer Paul Auster leads you through Ground Zero in New York. Vinny Vella, who has played roles in The Sopranos and Martin Scorcese’s Casino, takes you through Chinatown. To get a feel for whether it’s the right kind of experience for you, Soundwalk lets you listen to a sample of each tour. Unlike most things that we feature on Open Culture, these audio files are not free. They’ll run you $12 a piece. But in the scheme of a big trip, it may be worth the cost.

Now if you’re looking for free travel podcasts, then you’ll want to give some time to Travel with Rick Steves (iTunesFeedWeb Site). Some recent episodes look at Sicily, Spain, Cuba and Mexico. You can also find a separate collection dedicated to traveling in Paris and its environs (iTunes). Listeners give these podcasts high marks.

See all of Open Culture’s Podcast Collections:

Arts & CultureAudio BooksForeign Language LessonsNews & InformationScienceTechnologyUniversity (General)University (B-School)Podcast Primer

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.