make something resembling a google search for the site for both finding a place and a topic
Yes Google search option implemented in a website is definitely going to be very useful for the visitors. I also have started the fashion discussion forums recently and now would like to get it optimized so I have hired the most renowned seo consultant Los Angeles team from http://visiblefactors.com/seo-consulting/. But before that I am now going to consult the developer team and will ask them to add the Google search option in the forums.
This is something we're looking into now. We'll probably keep a place specific search, but we are considering adding places to the "explore" results.
Any more input from our audience would help us consider all the options.