5 Ways To Be a Tourist in Your Hometown
In our hunt for travel and exploring new and exotic locations, we often forget to see the places around us. Taking shorter trips that don’t require a lot of packing, airline hassle or traveling to other countries may not result in your top moments of an epic travel experience, but they can be just as rewarding. The same goes for exploring your hometown and viewing it through new eyes as a tourist.
I live in Chicago, the 3rd largest city in the United States with an abundance of museums, tours and attractions. I’ve seen people from all over the world strolling through the streets of Chicago with their cameras, travel guides and the look of amazement on their faces. Whether it is the jaw dropping height of the Sears Tower [sorry I’ll never call it the Willis Tower], the Chicago Theater lit up or the cultural melting pop that makes up Chicago.
And yet here I am constantly thinking of the furthest possible destinations to take me away from here - which is why I’ve decided to change that. A great way to see your city is to invite some out of town guests to visit and explore with you. Having others there viewing your city with fresh eyes can give you a new perspective. I’ve come up with 5 ways to be a tourist in your own hometown.
1) Book a Room
Nothing says vacation more than checking into a hotel room for a couple of days. Waking up in a hotel is the best way to set the mood for adventure and exploration. In addition to being away from your house, the amenities offered by a hotel or B&B are a great way to start the day. If you live in the suburbs, take a trip to stay overnight in the city and if you live in the city, head to the suburbs or spend the weekend in the town over.
2) Sign Up for a Tour
You can probably name iconic buildings in your hometown, but do you know the history behind them? Depending on what your city has to offer in terms of tours varies, but there are probably some available. Whether they are by bus, foot or water - tours are a great way to fill in the history gaps in your cities’ knowledge. Feel free to search for yourself and see what types of tours are offered in your city. Chicago for example is known for its 1920’s mobster activity, and the city offers a variety of Chicago crime and mob bus tours. Try something a little abnormal, you may surprise yourself.
3) Splurge on “Toursity” Attractions
Every city has that attraction that almost all locals avoid because it’s overpriced and extremely crowded. For me, it’s the Sears Tower (which I haven’t been to since I was about 11). You’ve already booked your room in the city so this is the perfect time to go and try it for yourself. Because you’re a local, you know the best times to go in order to avoid the crowds.
4) Take Pictures
When you travel to new and exciting places, we typically stop and take pictures of cool sights and attractions along the way. But when we’re in our own city, we typically don’t do this. Take some time to walk around and appreciate the architecture or a popular attraction and don’t be afraid of taking that camera up to snap some photos. It will make it feel more like a vacation and it’s a great way to preserver your memories of your staycation
5) Try a New Restaurant
One of the best things to do when visiting a new place is the get a taste of the local cuisine. Why not try that in your own hometown? Finding a local or family-owned restaurant is a great way to break from the everyday routine. If you live in a larger city that is broken up into subsections (for example China Town), be adventurous and try out some of their local specialties. Trying local cuisine is a great way to treat yourself as well as making you feel more like a tourist in your own city.
Feel free to adventure out to try something new and exciting in your very own city. You might even surprise yourself by finding a hidden gem you never knew existed in your hometown.