I would like to be able to do something simple such as open up a finder and be able to select files that are in '~/' or '/' Is there a simple way to go about doing this? For instance, sometimes I would just like to be able to point XCode towards a file that finder doesn't show me normally. Is there a keystroke or something that lets me edit the path I want to view manually?
Go to the folder: dialog in the Finder window:
This will let you open any folder for the directory you type.
If you do this a lot, you can create a convenient symlink or alias to the system / hidden folder you want to access. Note that symlinks work in Terminal, aliases do not.