Considering current COVID-19 travel restrictions, many of us feel trapped in our homes and our city. Even as we are at the beginning of 2021, there is still a lot of uncertainty in regards to travel. For this reason, the idea to explore your city like a tourist is perfect. In this post I will share some great benefits when you explore your city, as well as give you some ideas of what to do.
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A note regarding COVID-19. Due to concerns of the spread of Coronavirus, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed. Sometimes at very short notice. This includes restaurants, hotels and bars. Please check ahead on websites, social media and/or call ahead to confirm locations are open. Also, please wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Reasons to Explore Your City Like a Tourist
Before we get started I’m including a couple of resources to make planning your visit easy. Not to mention you probably already have them, but were not aware of these features. Google Maps has a handy feature that allows you to create and share custom maps. Click here to learn more. I use this feature Google Maps feature a lot! Of course, if you’re like me and love your Apple devices, then you will love the newest features in Apple Maps. Not only can you download city guides to see the top sites, but you can find places to eat, shop and explore as well. Click here to learn more.
Learn about Your City’s History & Heritage
Do you know the story behind how your city came to be what it is today? Do you know if you have any secret cool things to do or see in your city? If you don’t, then take this opportunity to learn more. First of all you can read books about the original people who started the city or you can visit museums and take tours to learn more. It can really be enlightening. For example, when I was learning more about Houston’s history, I discovered that there is an amazing and beautifully restored Cistern under the city. It was built in 1926, and was the original water source for the city. Not only did I learn about it, but I found out you can tour it. Definitely, you should do the same.
See Your City in a Whole New Light
Exploring streets and neighborhoods you’ve never been down before or discovering areas you’ve never heard of is thrilling. It will give you the sense of being somewhere new and fresh. When you explore your city like a tourist you have the opportunity to fall in love with it. Not only is this feeling fun and exciting, it will allow you to appreciate what you have. Sometimes we miss the beauty that’s around us because we’re too busy rushing around.
View from the Top
After you have spent some time exploring new streets and neighborhoods, it’s time to see it from the top. Go to the top of the highest building or find the highest viewpoint. From here, just marvel at the panoramic view. If you’ve never seen it before, you might just be amazed. Next, plan to do this very same thing at night for a completely different expericne. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?
You’ll Feel Refreshed
After you explore your city like you’re on vacation you will feel refreshed. If you really allow yourself to take it all in as if you’ve never been there before, I think you will be delighted at what you discover. Actually, this is one of the best things I’ve learned during COVID-19. Not only do I appreciate the city I live in more, but even my state. We take for granted that every state in the United States has something cool to see.
More Ideas to Explore Your City Like a Tourist
While there are a thousands of way to explore your city, I’ve included a few more that are great starting points to inspire you.
Go Outside & Take a Walk
First of all this is my favorite way to explore any city. If you are able to take a walk you should. Not only is it good for you, it allows you to really feel the city vibe. I always feel that I understand people better after visiting their city on foot. So this is a great way to really feel a part of your own city or town. If you don’t want to plan the walk yourself, then try using the Google and Apple Maps resources mentioned above.
You can take a free walking tour of your city. with Free Tours by the Foot, if you live in a larger city. Of course you can also use the GPS My City App if your city is not available on Free Tours by the Foot. This App allows you to create your own map and guides you along the way.
Visit Local Museums
Obviously large cities have all kinds of museums to explore that allow you to learn about art, science, music, natural history and more. Almost every town has a museum devoted to its history and heritage and I suggest you start there. Then you can explore any of the others If you have time. Museums are usually on the top of many tourists lists of things to see.
Take Part in Local Festivals
This is a fun one. By now, most cities and towns have found a way to allow local festivals to begin again as long as they follow social distancing, mask requirements and other health safety protocol. Enjoying local festivals is a great way to explore your city.
Explore the Top Tourist Spots
Yes, you heard me correctly. I am encouraging you to visit the places you probably like to avoid. Well the good news is that currently due to COVID-19, they are probably not as busy and it’s an excellent time to explore. Of course, avoiding weekends is the best advice during normal times.
Have a Picnic in the Park
Not only is this a simple way to explore the city, but also allows you to enjoy fun outdoor activities. You’ve probably noticed by now I keep nudging you outside. In addition to being more likely to social distance outside, you can also reap the health benefits of getting a little fresh air and sunshine.
Take a Food or Brewery Tour
Currently these are one of the favorite ways tourists like to experience a new city. Not only will you be able to enjoy great food and spirits, but you can learn about the culture in a very fun way. You can easily find a foodie or brewery tour on TripAdvisor.
Scavenger Hunt for Art Murals
Last, but not least is to take a scavenger hunt for local art murals. Not only are they fun, but they are perfect for any age group. There are apps for this and most charge a fee for the hunt. I recommend that you do a little research and find out what the top Art Murals are and the area they are located. Then instead of pinpointing it on a map, head to these areas and see if you can find them on your own. An added bonus is the other fun things you might find along the way, and the great selfies you can take and share with friends and family.
Finally, I hope you are inspired to explore your city and see it in a whole new light. I’d love to hear what you liked most about exploring your city!
Also, if you really want to feel like a tourist, then plan a staycation and stay in a local hotel. Marriott’s Homes & Villas program, as well as Travelocity and Orbitz, offer some great deals for staycations.
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