We all do it. Go about our daily lives with our usual routine and take the city we live in for granted, but there’s something to be said for being a tourist in your own city. Before you go, “Come on Hannah, I live here, I’ve seen it all,” hear me out. I grew up just outside of Washington, D.C. and I thought I’d “seen” and “done” it all. After all, it was always just a short metro ride away from my house, I could go whenever I wanted and I lived there, what did I need to do? It wasn’t until people came to visit and we started doing the proper tourist things that I realized I’d never actually done anything there. I’d walked past it all, sure, seen it time and time again, but did I experience it? No, not really.
I think the main reason we don’t do this is because we might be slightly embarrassed to pretend to be a tourist somewhere that we live, that somewhere being a tourist is wrong. No! Most definitely not! And really, who’s going to know or judge?
We move somewhere and we get to know it, but we’re too busy trying to settle and put down roots that we forget to just enjoy the place we’re in– I know I’ve done that. Even if you think you’ve seen it all there are museums, buildings, stores, hang outs, restaurants, sights and more you’ve probably never seen or knew were there. So here’s my list of how you can affordably be a tourist in your own town and get to see it through new eyes.
1. Go to the top attractions in the city: Sometimes these might be free and sometimes not (I know attractions can be total ripoffs though) but some cities offer a discount or it’s free if you live there and can prove proof of address.
2. Do something unique to your city: Is your city well-known for it’s cheese? Go to a cheese factory! Well-known for it’s parks? Go to the main park in the city and take a wander. Beaches? Have a walk along the shore. I live in Melbourne and it’s known for its alleyways and arcades, so I took some time to explore those long after I should have when I moved here.
3. Visit some museums: Is there a museum your city is known for? Head to it! A history museum about your city? Even better! You’ll learn so many cool facts that you probably never would have found out alone. I visited a history museum about Melbourne after living here for more than half a year and I learned so much fascinating stuff and got to see some really cool photos of the city when it was first founded.
4. Visit a new area: Most cities are sprawling and there are tons of suburbs or boroughs or whatever it is your city calls them and there are bound to be a few you’ve never been. Take a little trip there and check it out, you might find some real gems there. (The best part is you live there so you can go back!)
5. Check out local events: If you’re not big into these events normally it’s something you should make an effort to check out at least once. Local events can really show a cities’ true colors and there’s no better way to feel the sense of community. You might even make some new friends through these.
6. Walk: I know walking places isn’t as common in some cities as others, but this is a sure fire way to see any city and get the real feel for it. If you just take a bus or metro from point A to point B you’ll never see all the cool stuff in between and that’s a real shame. Walking even routes you normally take public transportation on will give you a whole new outlook on the area and you’ll get to notice stuff you wouldn’t have had the time to before.