City Love: How to Explore Where You Live
Midwinter beach getaways exist so we have a sunshine break and reprieve from winter. As the weather changes and Spring slides in, we feel the same inspiration to break our routines and go out to play. The good news is you don’t have to jet away at great cost—you can bring those travel feelings of curiosity, novelty, and awe to life by getting outside and enjoying your city in new ways in this bright new season.
1. Plan a visit like you would a vacation.
We all have those landmarks, museums, and vistas we keep meaning to do, but never stop to see. A getaway amounts to making time to see new things. Pick a day (or 3!) mark it on the calendar and treat it with the same delight you would for a landmark in a different place.
2. Visit your tourist info station.
Stop at the Tourist info booth or center near you. See if they’re offering anything you haven’t tried before. A lazier version of this would be to look for your city on Instagram and try to find those photo-worthy locations and shots for yourself.
3. Give yourself a history lesson.
What are those cool buildings, anyway? Who built them and what’s their story? Read up about your own town the way you might do one you were visiting. Look for architectural tours or historical walking tours of your familiar neighborhoods.
4. Take the long way home.
When you’re a tourist, you know much of your day will be spent en route—even taking wrong turns and getting a little lost. These detours are ripe for discovery. Break out of your routine and take a new route to see what there is to see. Look for new shops, restaurants, parks—anything you might have missed before.
5. Read books set in your city, then go see the places.
Bring your city to life by reading its best stories. Once you’ve connected the characters to locations, go find those places yourself and ignite your imagination about where you live.
6. Taste new foods.
One of the best parts of travelling to new places is trying new cuisines. So often our best tourist memories are made around the table. Look up regional specialties and best-known restaurants and tour your own food scene the way you would a new city.
7. Volunteer to see a new side of your city.
Volunteering introduces you to new people and new activities that are outside your day-to-day path. Attending a park cleanup event might show you a new picnic area, or working with a wildlife refuge can give you insights into local landscape. The charities might also hold events that are activities in their own right. Picking one that aligns with your passions can be a great way to explore.
8. Walk instead of ride.
So often, time in a new place means time without your usual modes of transportation. You see more when you’re moving more slowly on foot, discovering new restaurants, sights, and people. Allow some extra time in your routine to do a walking tour of your usual route, so you can take a closer look.
9. Do something outside unique to your city.
This lighter weather is perfect for spending time at the natural wonders that make your city unique. Take a hike, visit Redwood groves, go surfing, or even paint en plein air—making time and finding new ways to appreciate the landscape that sets your area apart.
10. Find the Festivals.
Festivals are destinations in themselves—what’s happening in your city? Are there film festivals? Music festivals? Food festivals? Search for these in your town and find the quirky events that pull your community together. Even if they’re relatively unknown, great weather gives people a reason to gather, and where they do, you’ll find something interesting.
Ready to get outside and make the most of your city? Check out one of these fantastic experiences for something incredible to do.