Ever since I was a kid, I have loved looking at maps. I could spend hours mapping out possible road trips within the United States or figuring out the best walking tour route of New York City’s East Village, etc. While smartphones with GPS are eliminating the need for the old-fashioned map, they are still useful – especially for folks who don’t have a smartphone. While I like the convenience of having GPS on my phone, it’s expensive overseas and I still need a map to get a general idea where I am heading. Maps are also just fun to look at.
I recently discovered A la Carte Maps while looking for a map of Zürich on the internet. As mentioned on their website, their maps are a combination of guidebook, map and piece of art in one document. What’s unique about their maps is that neighborhoods are colored in and museums, restaurants, etc. are hand written directly on the map itself. Intrigued, I purchased the Washington, DC guide. As promised, the laminated map came enclosed in an attractive envelope and I was given access to the DC database for a more current list of restaurants, etc. I looked it over and was impressed by what they wrote about DC. I like this very attractive map but would only use it to plan trips. I would not use it while walking about a city as they are large. Also, I don’t want to advertise that I am from out-of-town to would be thieves, etc.
Speaking of city guides, I recommend my own, two-page, MY CITY guides. I would not classify them as art, but they are useful in planning a trip to Montreal, New York City or Paris, etc. In addition, you can use these guides in public as they are only 8.5 inches by 11 inches in size and thus, more discreet. Go to the Services page for more information. You will also find a free guide to Mexico City.