How to be a tourist in your own city when you’re bored at home

Summer is finally here, which means for some it’s time to put on sunglasses, pack a swimsuit, and book a flight to the most touristy areas of the season.

But for others who can’t visit extravagant destinations, the question remains: what am I supposed to do?

Staying in your town or local town has its perks, including spending more time with loved ones and having the opportunity to explore your area beyond the obvious attractions.

Here are more ways to explore your city from a tourist’s perspective.

Discover the unexpected

When we know a place too well, we often forget that there is a certain mystery hidden in our territory. Chris Heywood, communications manager for New York’s official destination marketing organization, says people see the city as a chaotic destination.

But, there are actually many places people need to “settle down a little deeper”.

“When I say ‘borough a little further,’ I mean not only exploring downtown Manhattan in New York City, but also reaching out to its authentic neighbors,” Heywood said.

Staten Island has the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, for example, which is one of the few to exist in the country, and people can surf the rocks of Queens.

“I would also say it’s important to experience the peaceful side of a city, whether it’s a little botanical garden or places you could go to meditate,” Heywood said.

For small towns with a little different surroundings than a city, Joseph Fehlen, owner of Small Town Wanderer Travel, suggests going out and finding new experiences.

“Even in a small town of 8,000 people in northern Wisconsin, there’s still a lot going on,” Fehlen said.

Some examples include local parades, craft fairs, or car shows.

Embrace the history of your region

Each place has its own history and it is important to immerse yourself in the historical and fundamental roots of your region.  Edgar Allan Poe lived and worked near the building that now houses a museum in his name in Richmond, Virginia.  The hackberry tree which grows there presides over a garden inspired by the descriptions of his poems.

Even if you already know the history of the city where you reside, immerse yourself in the culture of your region. Chicago, for example, has the famous Victory Monument, which was built to honor the accomplishments of the Eighth Illinois National Guard Regiment, a unit made up of black soldiers and commanders who served in France during World War I. .

Maryland is home to the Edgar Allen Poe House and Museum, where the famous poet composed some of his early works. In addition to historical areas, there are also fundamental roots worth exploring. Some towns in northern Wisconsin, such as Nestlewood, were founded around the corner of certain rivers, so residents indulge in activities such as fishing and canoeing.

Visit local restaurants in your area

Visiting local restaurants in your area allows you to connect with members of your community on a deeper level, and you can experience the rewarding dishes that your city or town has to offer.  In this image, people dine at a restaurant at Union Station in Washington, DC

While this may seem like a typical routine in your schedule, you might be surprised at how many dishes you’ve missed in your area.

“If I were a tourist in my own backyard, I would really benefit from outdoor food culture because you connect with the city more intimately,” Heywood said.

Wisconsin is full of local restaurants, especially on the edge of Lake Milwaukee. South Carolina is known for having a unique sauce made from golden mustard for its barbecue.

There are also places that offer a unique dining experience. In Spokane, Washington, the steam factory allows diners to be exposed to an experience of the industrial revolution. Four huge steam boilers were converted into restaurant seats and wishing wells.

Connect with others

Meeting new people in your area allows you to build relationships and feel more connected to your city. In big cities, you can follow people who also live in the neighborhood on social media and meet them in a cafe or small shop.

“Social media is the new visitor guide,” Heywood said. “By searching for a certain destination on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok, then chasing it and seeing it, I think you will find a lot of interesting experiences and connect with people.”

Asking other locals for help is another way to connect with others.

“If you ask someone you’ve met and say, ‘Hey, tell me how do I get to this place,’ they might actually stop dead in their tracks and literally like to help you, and do it with with a smile on my face, ”Heywood mentioned.

In small towns or rural areas, volunteering is a way to connect with members. Rachel Pritchard, owner of Elite Travel based in Ashburn, Va., Says her family has always volunteered. For example, she volunteers with her sons at the Young Men’s Service League, where she connects with 30 to 40 philanthropic organizations.

Geocaching is another way to connect with people in a small area, even if you can’t meet them face to face. This is an outdoor recreational activity where participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) on their mobile devices and attempt to find containers hidden in specific locations.

Find out what makes your region unique

Wisconsin is known for its geography.  The upper regions of Wisconsin are close to the Great Lakes, including Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.  Here we see fishermen working in the waters of Lake Michigan.

Each town or village has its own peculiarity. Heywood describes how New York City is a melting pot of culture and diversity, ranging from Broadway shows and visiting the Statue of Liberty to experiencing the cuisine of different cultures.

“Try to discover and taste some of the cultural and culinary opportunities that exist in another neighborhood and appreciate another culture,” Heywood said. “I think it’s something people can do.”

Wisconsin, while also diverse, is also known for its geography. The upper areas are close to the Great Lakes, including Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, according to Fehlen.

“We have these amazing lake structures that we sometimes forget even though we live here,” Fehlen said.

In Virginia, there are many places where people can hike and enjoy nature, such as Shenandoah Nature Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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